Night Plague (2018 Edition) Out Now!

Hey all, sorry for the recent hush here. I’ve been scrambling to meet my June goals, but I’m happy to announce that one of them is finished. An updated and re-published version of my first novel, Night Plague, is out in the world and ready for reading!

Night_Plague_Cover_for_Kindle

Humankind will soon be extinct.

 A mysterious pandemic cut through two-thirds of the population in just four short years, and within another four, it will decimate everything – and everyone – left. As the last days tick by, relentless and ruthless, the reclusive Mason Mild finds himself torn between a peaceful end and a brutal immortality. Between his hopeless, but comfortable days with his family, and something new…something violent and wild.

Have the fang marks above his heel dealt him an early demise or a second birth?”

Check it out on Amazon
Download Free from my Email List

If you feel like adding a few extra vampires and a dash of end of the world dread to your summer, you can find both digital and paperback versions on Amazon, or get a hold of a free digital copy through my email list. If you opt to give it a go, enjoy!

Halloween Updates

Hello bookworms! Apologies for the recent hush. In the last couple of months, my freelance business has taken off more than I could’ve imagined—I’ve been editing books for indie authors, writing short stories, drafting Night Plague’s sequel, reading submissions for All Worlds Wayfarer, and coding interactive fiction games. There are so many projects I can’t wait to share with you, but for now, let’s celebrate the horror genre for All Hallows’ Eve!

Ghost woman in foggy forest,3d Mixed media for book illustration or book cover

Download The “Woods at the End of the World” for Free!

If you haven’t checked out my latest full-length novel, now’s the perfect time—it’s free on Kindle through Halloween.

The Woods at the End of the World is a post-apocalyptic ghost story. The world ended before Sun was born, but her world ended when her sister, Moon, disappeared. To escape the same fate, she’ll venture into the unknown.

Check it Out!

 

 

Scare Street: Short Horror Stories

A recent development: I’m now a writer at Scare Street, a publisher specializing in horror stories and high-quality scares!

The books in the newly launched “Short Horror Stories” mini-anthology series each offer three distinct and haunting tales to sink your teeth into over your lunch break or right before bed. In particular, Let’s Play, one of my contributions, is a personal favorite from the short stories I’ve written…or at least, it’s the one that creeped me out the most while writing it (the lights in my office even started flickering). If you’re into audiobooks, Book 1 also has a chilling audio edition narrated by the skilled Thom Bowers.

If you’re looking for something a bit longer, try out the “Terror in the Shadows

anthology series (if you’re an arachnophobe, you’ll like—or perhaps despise—one of my stories, Flies, in volume 7) or Ron Ripley’s “Moving In” novel series.

For some fun with fellow horror fans, and Scare Street’s other authors and myself, check out the Scare Squad Facebook group for creepy trivia, dark-humored memes, and discussions about horror books, shows, and movies.

 

Horror Interview

If you don’t think I’m weird enough yet, check out my Halloween Spotlight interview with the Word Whisperer, where I talk about what draws me to horror and dark speculative fiction, tips for writing the genre, and some perhaps uncomfortably personal things!

Happy All Hallows’ Eve

May your holiday be filled with fun kind of frights!

 

 

All Worlds Wayfarer: Issue II

boy looking the meteor in the colorful sky

Hey all! Normally I’d post a flash fiction or short story on the 4th monday of the month, but since the second issue of All Worlds Wayfarer launched today with 12 free-to-read short stories and flash fictions, why not check out these talented authors and fantastic stories, instead:

All Worlds Wayfarer: Issue II (Autumnal Equinox 2019)

All Worlds Wayfarer specializes in character-driven and theme-focused speculative fiction. My co-editor and I search for stories that not only whisk you away on adventure, but also stir your emotions and spark new ideas. We hope you enjoy them!

Writing Habits: Set a ‘Trigger’

According to countless articles all over the web, habits are supposed to be automatic. Once you start and execute a new part of your routine for a month or two, it becomes easier to continue than to quit, so they say. If you’re anything like me, this hasn’t necessarily proved true for you. I’ve never reached a stage where a habit, even ones I’ve pushed through for over a year, started running on autopilot.

So I was skeptical when I came across a slightly different approach to the “write every day” refrain: instead of scheduling a certain time for writing, set up another action to use as a ‘trigger’ before starting. The idea is that it will help shift your brain into the right mindset for writing once you teach it this new pattern of cause and effect. As this great article on the neuroscience of writer’s block explains it: “If you light an orange-blossom candle or brew a pot of Café Verona prior to each writing session, and never at other times, neuroscience suggests that within three weeks, the scent of orange blossoms or taste of coffee will trigger the urge to write.”

I decided to give it a go. I bought a candle and committed to lighting it just before I started drafting, in hopes that my brain would come to associate that act, and eventually the scent of the candle, with writing. Other ideas for ‘triggers’ might be playing a certain song, wearing a certain hat, or signing yourself in using a Clock In app.

The shocker: it works! After just a few sessions, I noticed that it was easier to get into the flow of writing after performing the ‘trigger.’ My theory is that it works well for me due to my specific flavor of writer’s blockthat is, emotional regulation issues and OCD. The physical ritual of lighting the candle helps me let go of whatever thoughts or emotions are tossing around in my head at that time and give myself permission to move into a different mindset. Similarly, blowing out the candle after the session helps me let go of whatever emotions came up during the drafting process, itself. Overall, this new habit smoothes out the transitions, which for me, are perhaps the hardest part of being a writer.

If you’re habit-resistant, I’d suggest experimenting from this angle and trying to find a ‘trigger’ or ritual that works for you. The more you can uncover the underlying issues and fears holding you back, the more you can find unique ways of getting your brain to cooperate with itself.

Yellow Lines (Poem)

jake-blucker-sicsrP2EMgY-unsplash

Yellow Lines

Honey-sunset sky
reflects on stained cold tar
while cars shake the anxious Earth,
with headlights like a thousand falling stars.

Life roars by too fast,
in lines ordained by human hands
and faded yellow paint.

All chipped at the edges

and ready to crash.

Monday Blues: SOMA

(“Monday” Blues: On every first Monday(ish) of the month, I’ll recommend a new world – a book, a game, a podcast, etc – to escape into. Or at least to look forward to after a hard day’s work.)

SOMA

PreviewScreen_01

A Game by FrictionalGames

What It Is: A sci-fi horror game where the player scours a mysterious underground laboratory, searching for answers and escape while hiding from monsters.

Why You Should Play It: On its surface, SOMA is somewhat familiar, utilizing the same formula partially pioneered by developer FrictionalGames’ own previous work (including Amnesia: The Dark Descent): explore a strange environment while staying hidden from the invincible threats roaming with you. While the gameplay certainly has moments of raw intensity, it’s perhaps slightly less frightening than its spiritual predecessors in terms of its mechanics. In SOMA, however, the real horror comes from challenging themes,  moral choices without easy answers, and the claustrophobia of dark corridor after dark corridor.

While it’s a polished game, it’s a fantastic story. SOMA represents exactly the sort of character-and-theme-driven speculative fiction I savor and strive to create. I finished the game over a week ago and it’s still lingering in my head. In fact, I dreamed about it last night. If that’s not a sign of a worthwhile experience, I’m not sure what is.

I highly recommend SOMA to fans of sci-fi horror, man vs machine narratives, story-driven games in general, or anyone with a taste for a little existential angst.

Set at the bottom of the sea, SOMA goes deeper than most stories dare to in more ways than one.

The Woods at the End of the World, Out Now!

Hey all! Sorry that it’s been quiet here; June and July continue to be intense months as far as deadlines and target dates go. But I’m excited to announce that one of those goals has been met and The Woods at the End of the World is available now!


A Post-Apocalyptic Ghost Story

Ghost woman in foggy forest,3d Mixed media for book illustration or book cover

The world ended before Sun was born, but her world ended just under a year ago, when her sister, Moon, disappeared. According to Mama, the Woods shield Haven farm from the decay left behind by the End, but now she hates them for swallowing up her sister. Her curious, starry-eyed sister who dreamed too much for her own good, while Sun responsibly wrote her Archive, chronicling their lives as the last human beings on Earth.

Sun dismissed her sister’s bizarre behavior leading up to her disappearance as madness, but when she finds Moon’s diary and strange visitors come in the night, she begins to understand far more than she wishes she could. Where her sister found dreams, she sees nightmares. Questions that Mama can’t, or won’t, answer escape her errant tongue.

The truth she seeks waits for her within the Woods.

Find out More


Writing this novel was an interesting experience. It’s somewhat personal in the way it deals with certain emotions, but it’s also a blend of themes from many other projects I’ve worked on. It’s a bit out there, but I hope you enjoy this weird little book!

Ongoing Serials

Normally, I’d post a new flash fiction on the 4th Monday of the month, but I’ve been so busy editing that I haven’t had much time for actual writing. Instead, here’s a reminder about my ongoing serials. You can read the first chapters of both for free should they catch your interest. New chapters will be coming soon, on the first of June!


TAC_PatreonCover(Small)

The Atlantean Crown is an LGBTQIA+ YA SFF novel about merfolk and mad science, dreams and desperation, responsibility and freedom.

Princess Ellis Raihall was supposed to be queen.

So when her dying mother selects Ellis’ long-time rival, Leanne Lacer, as the heir to the deteriorating underwater kingdom of Atlantis, the hot-headed Ellis has never been so furious. Her mother’s wrong! She’s strong enough, smart enough, pretty enough to be queen! More than that, it’s…all she’s ever had to look forward to.

But when Ellis prays to her god for the throne she feels should be hers, the last thing she expects is an answer. Atlantis will undergo seven days of trials. If she can protect the kingdom, then the crown is hers.

As disasters weigh down on Atlantis like the ocean beyond its dome – sickness spreads through the kingdom; doomsday prophecies stir the public into panic; perhaps oddest of all, a stranger from the Surface arrives without any memory of how or why he’s there – Ellis begins to wonder if her mother was right. Does a power-hungry princess have what it takes to save her people? As she fights, an even more frightful question emerges: what is Atlantis?

Check it Out!


ChannilloCoverV1

Apocryphal is an epic-length LGBTQIA+ paranormal fantasy novel about claiming your place in a world that doesn’t always understand you.

When the magical island kingdom of Magdellyn defaulted on its deal with entities called the Others, even its memory was erased from the Earth. Now trapped in its own reality, its people slowly fall to the same curse, becoming something between human and Other—becoming Apocrypha.

Izette, a self-declared simple girl, tries to hide her Apocryphal status and live as normally as her world allows, even as the beginnings of war brew between humans and her kind. When a haunted childhood friend wanders back into her life, however, she finds herself drawn into battle – not only against the people who fear the Apocrypha, but against a force far more ancient and deadly.

Apocryphal is an epic-length LGBTQIA+ paranormal fantasy novel about claiming your place in a world that doesn’t always understand you.

Check it Out!


If you’re interested in keeping up with these serials or my other stories, subscribe to my email list to be the first to know any news and get access to exclusive discounts.

Dialogue Only Read-Throughs

I’ve been doing a lot of editing this month (on my own projects, on freelance projects, and on submissions to my literary magazine). While there seems to be a split between authors who prefer working with description and those who prefer writing dialogue, I land on the former side of that canyon. If you’re like me, I’ve found dialogue-only read-throughs of a scene to serve as a helpful trick.

That is, read through a scene from beginning to end while ignoring everything that isn’t dialogue.

Does the flow of conversation make sense even without any clarifying description or internal monologue?

Are the voices distinct enough that you can tell who’s speaking without reading the tags?

Does the conversation advance at a natural pace?

Do any ideas or topics seem to repeat?

Sometimes, it’s easier to catch these issues while temporarily tuning out everything else. Give it a try if you’re looking to level-up your dialogue!

Squinting Shadows (Poem)

eidy-bambang-sunaryo-517370-unsplashSquinting Shadows

We clench our lights in closed palms,
afraid to show our colors—
afraid we’ll shine too bright—
so we cling so tight,
to our gray cloaks—
our first birthday gifts.

The world wants to mold—
not teach—
drawing you into the dark
where only your shadow
—your simplified silhouette—
remains:
conform, it says,
play your part, it says,
your role was cast by
norms
before you were born.

So let out your light—
show your flames
and wash the shadows away
from the others like you
—and cast the world in color.

Make the shade-sowers
shield their eyes.

If we all shine bright,
if you shine bright,
if I shine bright

perhaps they’ll go blind.

The Woods at the End of the World: Sneak Peek

WoodsCover.jpg

The Woods at the End of the World will be my second full-length novel. It explores the importance of owning your identity, platonic bonds, and finding meaning. It’s also about recognizing, but pushing through, anxiety. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” —George Addair

It’s tentatively scheduled for a June 19th release date.

In the meantime, you can read the opening right now:


The Archive: Year 17, Day 141

To the girl who dreamed herself to death,

I know you aren’t coming back. I’ve known for a while, I think. I wonder if you miss me as much as I miss you. Maybe that’s just my own dream. Maybe there’s nothing left of you but a body decaying deep in the Woods. I don’t believe in other worlds—in this life or after—the way you did. Your mind, with all of those hopes and stories and songs is just gone. That mind that—I used to believe, at least—loved me. All of that is so incredibly sad. So sad that sometimes I think I might crumble into myself until I disappear, just like you. Other times I think it’s only my heart that will shatter—that one day I’ll wake up and never be able to feel anything again. I’d like that.

Since you’ll never actually read this, I’ll be honest: I hate you. I hate you for leaving me and Mama. When you rambled on about wanting to see the world beyond the Woods, I thought you were only making up stories. When you made up stories, I thought you were only trying to escape from Haven in your own safe way. When you stared past the fence, I thought you were only daydreaming. Even when you screamed…I told you it was only nightmares.

I’m sorry. I should have stopped you. The world that mattered was the world we shared together, not one that had long since ended. You were so much of my world once.

You ended that world, too.

I hate you, I really do. I can’t believe how much we lived through only so you could throw it all away on a fantasy. I don’t know that I’ll ever forgive you. I do hope you’ll forgive me for not saving you. Or rather, I wish there was still a you to forgive me. I wish you’d let me know how much you’d needed saving. Most of all, I wish you’d saved yourself.

I’d like to think there is a chance that you made it through the Woods. That a better world really did wait for you. That you’re alive and happy. That you made your dreams come true.

But then I’m the one dreaming. And if there’s one thing you taught me, dear sister, it’s the danger in dreaming.

Goodbye, Moon.

With love and hatred too,

Sun

Note to the Archive’s eventual readers: forgive me for this display of emotion. I couldn’t tell my sister what I wanted to say, so I had to tell someone. I will return the Archive to its regular format with the next entry.

 

Prologue: Sisters

I’ve never heard my sister scream like this. I wasn’t even sure it was her at first—some poor animal, perhaps, torn apart by a predator in the Woods. But I’ve heard Moon’s voice every day of my life. I know the way her voice cracks on the high notes, the way her low notes ring like bells. I recognize the quiver in that cry—amplified by thunderous magnitudes in the stillness of Haven house tonight.

I fly through the hallway, past Mama’s locked door and the attic’s ladder and the empty closets. It all seems so different in the late night dark—too long, as if I’ll never reach her. My heart hammers as fast and loud as my footfalls. I wish she and I still shared a room—that she hadn’t moved to the old study on the far end of the second story, filled with books and dust and big windows that overlook the Woods at the end of the world. I swear I can hear the branches creaking outside even through the moans of the house and the pounding in my skull, as if Moon’s cries disturb them as much as they frighten me. Why did she—not want to stay with me?—have to pick the room the farthest away from mine?

“Moon!” I let out a cry of my own as I throw open her door.

[Read more…]