Wednesday, August 28, 2019

September Giveaway (Newsletter Builder)

September is coming . . . and really should hurry up!

We’re doing another newsletter builder, giveaway in September.

This will include another $20 gift card and a four-volume eBook prize pack.

Of course, you can always just sign up for the newsletter, where giveaways happen every month, and you get the latest news on my various projects, appearances, and whatnots.

But if you want to wait for this particular newsletter sign up, it will start Sunday, September 1st and run through the end of the month.  There are some great writers being offered, including a little known steampunk novel.

If you’ve already signed up, or after you’ve signed up, please share with everyone you think might be interested!

2019 The Numbers - Revised

If this is wrong, I don't wanna be right!
This time it wasn’t me who was wrong.

Really, it wasn’t anyone.  It was just an oversight in the reporting.

A few days ago, I provided you an update on the sales for THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE. The numbers were good.  Very, very good.

Turns out, the numbers were even better than that. I’m still not in Stephen King/JK Rowling territory. I’m not even in S. Andrew Swann territory, but over the past six years I’ve seen some real improvement in the number of sales from quarter-to-quarter.

So, it’s sweeter than sweet to report the revised sales numbers for the first three months of release:

Books Sold
Running Total
2 Quarter 2019

Eleven books isn’t that much more, but it will pay for some new D&D dice I’ve been eyeing recently! It is also as close to double the sales I saw in the first year for TEARS OF HEAVEN. I will always love my first book, just like any parent loves their children, but it's nice to see my steampunk novel doing so well.

If you’re still reading this, thank you. You’re very much the reason that all my books do any business whatsoever.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Company of the Damned by the Numbers

Wrong again, Hero!

As usual, I was wrong.

Also, thank you for proving me wrong.

The quarterly report for THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE arrived, and I was completely thrilled. The numbers were good. They’re never as good as an indie-author hopes. These aren’t Stephen King or even Hugh Howey numbers. You always hope that they report will show a couple of hundred sales. Really, any sales are reason enough for celebration.

That said, I’d thought I’d managed to sell at least 100 copies of TEARS OF HEAVEN the first year it released.  Nope.

A little better than half the goal I’d hoped for. Not bad for a brand new author writing in a niche of a sub-genre. HELL BECOMES HER performed well out of the gate, and sold 71 copies in its first quarter.

Things got a big murky after that release, and I’m too lazy to chase down the numbers for the first year of the sequel’s publication. That all said, I’ve seen some real success—as I would define it—from THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE.  The book released May 7th, 2019, and here are the results:

Books Sold
Running Total
2 Quarter 2019

Yep!  The goal that I’d hoped to reach in the first year for my first book was achieved in the first quarter of release for my fourth book. Here's hoping I see some similar numbers of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED!

In the mean time, eat those edibles if you’ve got 'em!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Carol G. Gives COMPANY OF THE DAMNED Five Stars!

If you want something done right, get Del.

A beautifully written, and wonderfully on point review of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED:

If you like epic stories of good versus evil, with some innovative takes on the battle, this book is for you.

If you like complex characters with human flaws combined with imaginative powers, this book is for you.

If you like badass babes, this book is for you.

This is not a same-old, same-old story. Company of the Damned builds bridges between myths and fables, introducing the gods and creatures of old to the heavenly host in a unique take on what it might mean to fight for “good.” There is love and friendship, failure and victory, simple joy and beyond-human agony woven together in a fabulous story that was ALMOST worth the wait….OK, well worth the wait. I think the first two volumes help set the stage and bring the characters to life, but this book would also stand on its own, and honestly, I cannot rate it highly enough.

I WISH this was a paid testimonial, but nope. I just like the book.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

MidWest Book Review of The Clockwork Detective

If ever we needed Aubrey Hartmann!

Hahaha! I received the following email this morning from the Midwest Book Review:

Dear Robert McCandless:

I'm very pleased to announce that the August 2019 issue of our online book review magazine "Reviewer's Bookwatch" features a review of "TheClockwork Detective (Constable of Aqualinne Book 1)".

Reviewer's Bookwatch: August 2019
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575

Yeah, I don’t mind if MWB called me “Robert”. It’s a great name! Here’s the teaser for the review:

If ever we needed an Aubrey Hartmann, it's now. Because the sexually fluid, painkiller-addicted, clockwork-legged, fast-drinking, hard-talking (or maybe the other way round) constable who strides across McCandless' dizzying new world like a limping cross between Ripley and one of the later-model Terminators, is, quite simply, magnificent.

She takes shit from exactly NO men. Or women. Or weird supernatural beings, and is extremely unhealthy to be around. Fun, but lethal.

Did I mention steampunk? Not yet? Well, that's intentional.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Company of the Damned - Available Today!

Ever have one of those days?

It’s good.  It’s better than good. It feels absolutely great to have my first trilogy on the books. COMPANY OF THE DAMNED released last Friday, and the Kindle version is now available.

The print version will be along directly.

The audio version of TEARS OF HEAVEN is coming along nicely. The voice actor is doing an impressive job, and I can’t wait to see/hear the final version.

I’ve started work on a new Aubrey Hartmann steampunk book, but one of the characters from Del’s world keeps showing up in my head with story ideas.  I’d heard other authors complain about this kind of thing, and I handwaved it off, and yet, here I am. If only an entire manuscript would come along with it.

In other news, I’m feeling better. I’ll have to post up about the camping trip with the Scouts last weekend. That was a . . . interesting.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Airships, Docking, and The Haenlein

Fits like a glove!

This thing is SOOOO gorgeous. This is something that should be framed and put on a wall. The diagram was part of the basis for the dirigible docking that takes place in the first chapter of THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE:

The Haenlein’s twin Jupiter engines screamed into a higher pitch that shook the entire airship. The rattle ran across the open deck of the command gondola, over the sparse crew and up through Constable Aubrey Hartmann’s teeth. The vibrations in the floor made her left knee throb. She didn’t need another reminder that the Imperial field hospital had cut her leg off below the knee to save her life. Nor that she stood on a clockwork replacement of iron, steel and bronze that had to be wound twice a day.  But the cannonball sent courtesy of the Glorious Republic of Hamill had insisted. When it rained, or when it got too cold, or when it got too hot, or when an airship powered up its engines for docking, she could feel it grind up through her hip.

The crew of The Haenlein, with goggles in place over their eyes, rode the vibrations of the powerful engines without notice. The voyage, to that point, had been as smooth as a dream. At the captain’s invitation, Aubrey has chosen to stand on the command deck, above the cargo and passenger decks. She was at the side of the open gondola to watch The Haenlein maneuver the last thousand yards into the Aqualinne docks.  The air whipped around her from all sides. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes. She hadn’t thought to ask the crew for a pair of their cumbersome goggles but refused to look away.

Contrary to popular opinion, The Haenlein is NOT named after scifi author Robert Heinlein, but rather for German engineer Paul Haenlein, the first to create a dirigible airship that was powered by an internal combustion engine.

Buy The Clockwork Detective and Read the Rest!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Greater Than the Sum

Usually, the corset-as-outerwear bugs me when it comes to steampunk fashion Traditionally, they functioned similarly to a bra, but also as a bit of a #Victorian torture device, shrinking the waist, and sometimes doing irreparable damage to the wearer. Both men and women wore corsets, but almost always under their outer layers of clothing.

There were actually “dress reformists” who viewed corset wearing similar to how some church groups in the 70s and 80s viewed rock and roll music or D&D gaming.

Most steampunk corsets are for decorative purposes only. They attempt to create a sensual/sexual image of the woman, with just a hint of S&M. They're like the steampunk goggles that most characters wear without a reason for actually wearing them.

Not really my bag.

All that said, this image caught my attention. It’s photoshopped and those boots are . . . uggh. But the hat and the suggestion of cannon smoke from battle aboard a ship all works to convey a bit of story here. That fact that she’s standing, unmoved, while the crew appear to be rushing, is also a fun bit of the story.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Everyone Likes the Airships!

Oh yeah.

A friend of mine wrote a delightful review of The Clockwork Detective. I suspect I may have to write a second book.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The story moved at a good pace, characters and their actions made sense, and before the end of the first page, I felt immersed in the setting. It is definitely not the kind of book you pick up when you have just a few minutes to kill because you'll probably end up negotiating how much time you actually have before you absolutely need to do the thing. I can't wait to join Constable Hartman on her next adventure.

Thanks Chris!

 A quick reminder that Company of the Damned will release this Friday, August 16th. I’ll be off camping, but if you don’t hear from me on Monday, it’s because you guys all bought so many copies that I decided to retire from this life of crime!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Indie Web Series AFK Needs Your Help!

Elves, and Orcs, and Rangers—OH MY!

Making a public appeal for support today. Not for myself (although, you’re welcome to buy my books) but for a free web series that kicks ass and takes names.


All you have to do is give it your vote. It's not even competing against other shows!

This is a brilliant show that takes one of the what-if scenarios from our modern culture, and really extends it through the story: What if you could actually go into that computer role-playing game that you love so much? There are a number of movies and series that have already explored this—Tron, Sword Art Online, Ready Player One—but what’s great about AFK is how it delves into the real-world issues of putting people into a fantasy computer game.

What happens to your old life? What if you have kids or people who depend on you? How did you even manage to get into the game in the first place?

How do you get home?
They'd do it for you!

The bloody, awful truth is that being in a computer game would be freaking scary. Mobs and big bads would be everywhere. There are always people who are going to be jerks, or make life hard because “reasons.”

AFK doesn’t pull any punches on these. The world-building is fantastic, and the characters—both “good guys” and “bad guys”—are interesting and fun to watch and root for.

AFK is trying to get its third season greenlit. All they need are fan votes.  They’re over half-way to the goal of 3,000 votes, and it costs nothing but a few clicks to give them your support.

Then, go watch the web series.  Totally free, totally fun, and well worth your time.

Did you watch the show? Who is your favorite character?
Tell me in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Company of the Damned - Cover Reveal

Did someone order a rogue demon banishment with extra awesome sauce!?

Chapter 1—The Night that Covers

Del smashed her boot heel against the door with all her Nephilim strength. The frame buckled inwards, and the door tore free of the hinges. It flew into the room, striking sparks as it skidded across the floor and drove itself into a concrete column. A large chunk of masonry broke free and fell with a ka-thump on top of the door.

“Breach!” Del rushed through the open doorway. “Go, go, go!”

Del’s team followed right behind her. Misha, a half-angel Nephilim like Del, was only a half-step back. Del went left and cleared her corner, and Misha veered right to do the same. Ahadiel’s newest recruit was a quick learner. Del missed the certainty of Marrin at her back, but Misha was fast becoming a close second.

The rest of Del’s team—tall, stocky Dokkalfar and the equally tall but thin and wiry Ljosalfar—swept through the door after them. The dark elves and light elves moved fast and crossed the ‘fatal funnel’ in moments. Demons weren’t known for using firearms, but their human servants were quite partial, if generally untrained. Those servants could be as dangerous to themselves as anyone else. Del snugged her H&K assault rifle against her shoulder and scanned it down her side of the room. Misha was clearing the opposite half. For the first time in six months, Del didn’t feel the tickle of fear that her back was turned to a room of potential bad guys. She was tense, but not with the worry that someone would forget their job or fail a critical check.

Her team knew what to do.

She trusted them with their jobs.


“Mortals!” a deep, resonant, and particularly scary voice said from the darkness inside room.

Del’s skin prickled at the sound, but she refrained from turning toward the speaker.

The last two team members, big and heavy Dokkalfar carrying Kel-Tec combat shotguns, immediately opened fire into the rogue demon. Solid slugs, with cold-forged iron cores, slammed into his chest. The rogue’s roar filled the room and vibrated through Del’s center. It felt like the first big hill of a roller-coaster, when the sensation of falling to your death felt very real.

Del swept her rifle barrel across the blank wall until she targeted the rogue. He was a giant of a man. Taller than any member of her team and with the mass to match it. He topped Del and Misha by head, shoulders, and chest. He looked like a stereotypical barbarian-slash-bodybuilder from the 1980s—the kind they oiled up, slapped on fur-trimmed underwear, and rolled film.

Except now he had two gaping holes in his chest.

Lines of clear fluid, with bits of matter, leaked down the rogue’s ruined shirt. The scent of rotten flowers filled the air.

“You will pay for this insult.” The rogue’s roar surrounded them.

COMPANY OF THE DAMNED Releases Friday, August 16th!

Monday, August 5, 2019

August Newsletter News!

We're gonna need more grenades.

The August Steampunk and Urban Fantasy newsletter will release tomorrow. There will be sneak-peaks at the new COMPANY OF THE DAMNED cover art, a giveaway or two, and some other fun updates and surprises.

You can subscribe/unsubscribe anytime and rest assured that I don’t spam or any of that nonsense.

Speaking of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED, the cover reveal will release here on Wednesday, August 7th. We’re still looking to Friday, August 16th for the book release, so mark your calendars!

In other news, I’ll once again go camping with my Scouts next weekend. I’m taking my middle son as well. I offered to take him camping just with me, but apparently it’s not camping if you aren’t with the Scouts. Fortunately, it’s beach camping, which I still have some romantic notions about.

What’s your favorite or least favorite kind of vacation?
Tell me in the comments below!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Another Cover Tease for Company of the Damned

Whose hand is that, anyway!/

Some news:

Wednesday, August 7th—Cover Reveal for COMPANY OF THE DAMNED
Friday, August 16thRelease Day for COMPANY OF THE DAMNED

Yep, we have a release day! So, let’s do another teaser for the COMPANY OF THE DAMNED cover reveal and some more teaser text:

“Del,” Joshua said, “allow me to introduce you to my father, Jaccob Smalls, and our associates, Vince Anastagi and Mariya Samusenko.”

“Anastagi?” Del nodded to the man. “As in The? I thought you were dead?”

“The The is dead.” Vince’s smile was infectious. “I’m not.”

Del smiled back. “Clever of you.”

Vince nodded.

“I thought so.”

Both Mariya and Vince were armed, both were capable. For some reason, Mariya glared at Del. She searched her mind, but was reasonably certain they had never met, or run into each other. Maybe Mariya had one of those faces—angry without meaning to be? Vince shucked a bidi from a crumpled pack and tucked it into the corner of his mouth but didn’t light it. He looked like he could use a drink or three. They definitely weren’t immortals. There was no scent in the air of the ancient around them. Even Joshua, who Del knew was at least fifty-plus years older than his mid-thirties looks suggested, didn’t give off the degree of experience and knowledge that an immortal or near-immortal had.

Jaccob, on the other hand, had all the trappings. Everything about him was subtle, subdued, and composed. He wore gray slacks and a simple white, button-down shirt, with a matching gray jacket that fit him so perfectly, they could only be Dormeuil or Alexander Amosu. His brown, alligator shoes looked like Testoni, or knockoffs so perfect they might as well be originals. Del doubted Jaccob bought fakes, even if they could pass muster. The Chopard watch on his wrist glittered silver, gold and diamonds from the brown calfskin strap. Altogether, Jaccob’s clothes alone were worth nearly a quarter of a million.

The two moved forward, and in front of Jaccob.

“Vince, Mariya,” Del nodded to each. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t shake hands.”

“I don’t like it, Mr. Smalls,” Mariya said. “She’s dangerous.”

So, it’s not just her face that doesn’t like me. Del snorted a laugh.

“Is that true?” Jaccob asked her, an amused smile played across his lips. “Are you dangerous?”

“For some,” Del admitted.

What has Del gotten herself into this time?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lloyd Alexander Lives On

Why photo-realistic for the third book!?

Somewhere, in a box, are my copies of Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark trilogy. Unfortunately, I don’t know where that is. The other day, in lieu of television or games, I made my boys sit down and listen to me read. I was going to read to them from this series.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just buy an ebook version from Amazon.


It’s not available for digital download.

I’m not clear why Penguin wouldn’t put this book out in a digital format.  Afterall, we’re talking Lloyd Alexander. Westmark alone was the winner of the American Book Award, ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. I grant, that was back in the heady, salad days of 1981, but still!

I saved a kingdom once.
But I did it with my shirt buttoned!
I ended up reading to the boys from The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn by John Bellairs—he of The House with the Clock in its Walls fame.  But in the back of my mind was the desire to make certain that I had copies of Westmark, The Kestrel, and The Beggar Queen.

This meant only one thing: I would have to hunt for new copies of the books.

Hunting books is one of my favorite kinds of hunting. In this case, I was first going to settle for the reasonably cheap and easy to find covers that I remember from my youth. Then, I found that there were hardcovers.

Cue the salivating.

The first edition hardback books were released in a lovely artistic style that lines up well with the story. I still have a fondness for my paperback versions, and I love the cover art there as well, but I suspect those books will turn back up, so I’ll have two wonderful versions on my shelf.

 What’s a favorite book from your childhood/youth that you’d love to have in hardback? Tell me in the comments below!