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!

 

 

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!

The Woods at the End of the World: Sneak Peek

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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…]

Introducing All Worlds Wayfarer Literary Magazine

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Submit your story for a chance at publication!

Launching today, All Worlds Wayfarer is a new literary magazine for speculative fiction focused on strong characters and themes. We pay writers and promote each published story. This magazine is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’m excited that my co-editor and I have finally made it happen! I hope you all will enjoy taking tours through the fantastic once our first issue launches this summer.

In the meantime, if you write fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or otherwise speculative short stories of any sort, I would love to read your work and consider it for inclusion.

Submission Guidelines

If you’re interested in reading our upcoming issues when they’re ready to share with the world, or if you’d rather submit to a later submissions call (we publish quarterly on every equinox and solstice), then sign up for the All Worlds Wayfarer newsletter and I’ll keep you updated.

Find Out More

Happy travels through whatever fictional destinations you choose to create or explore. 📚 ✨

Glass Preview

Normally, I’d post a poem this second Monday of the month, but March 11th happens to be the protagonist’s birthday in one of my novel/game projects, Glass. It never fails that I end up thinking about this particular story on this particular day, so here’s an excerpt from the novel version:


12/22/10

Entry 1: Lost Boy

10/04/00

If Heaven is a real place, can I go there?

-Ervay

Cold. Why was it so cold?

I couldn’t tell. I opened my eyes – or were they already open? – and saw nothing but black. There was no sky. There was no soil. I stretched out my arms. I felt nothing. Nothing but a chill that tingled along the outline of my body. My fingers trembled. My legs shook. A shiver raced up my spine and pounded at the top of my scalp.

Wait. There was something. I noticed the roaring of the river for the first time. Why hadn’t I heard it before? Had it been my mind or my ears lagging behind? I still don’t know. Maybe the blackness outside was seeping inside. Maybe it was coming in through my ears. Maybe it was traveling over my tongue. Maybe it was bleeding in beneath my eyes, crawling into my veins, and painting over the white of my skull. Maybe it was clogging up my thoughts as well as my senses.

I looked around again at nothing. I needed to get away. If I was asleep, I needed to wake up.

The water was loud. Close. But no matter how much I searched, it wasn’t there. My hands couldn’t touch it. My eyes couldn’t find it. I could breathe, so I wasn’t beneath it.

Perhaps it was just an illusion, after all. Perhaps it wasn’t even there.

Or perhaps it was me who wasn’t there at all.

“Er…vay!”

My head jerked in the direction of the noise. My pulse crashed against my ribs. That single word pierced the black. My name.

Should I have recognized that voice? For a fleeting second, I almost believed I had, but then that faint tint of familiarity was gone. It passed right through my hazy head, lingering only on the edge that emptiness failed to permeate.

Whoever it belonged to, they were frightened. Terribly frightened. I’d never heard so much dread before.

“D…o…n’t… Go…!”

Don’t go? But I had to go. I certainly couldn’t stay!

“Don’t go!” the voice begged, as if it were arguing with my thoughts. It was a scream. The type of wail that cuts off as a heart stops beating forever.

I didn’t move.

“Ervay…!”

They were calling for help. They were calling me for help.

My throat condensed with a heavy swallow. “Where are you?”

No answer. The nothing ate my noise. Could the stranger hear me at all? That thought sucked the voice right out of me.

“Ervay!”

My stomach tightened. I needed to save them. I wanted to save them.

But somehow, I knew that I couldn’t.

My own dread drummed in my heart and drowned out the river’s rumbles. “Hey, who – ”

[Read more…]

Monthly Updates: February 2019 – Speculative Soul Story Editing Services

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Speculative Soul Story Editing Services is Live!

Wow, February flew by! For my fellow authors, I’m excited to announce the launch of my new editing services website. If you find yourself stuck in the revision process, or in need of a second set of eyes, feel free to get in touch. I offer services ranging from developmental editing to copyediting to critiquing. I know firsthand how tight an author’s budget can be, so I strive to keep services as affordable as possible. We can negotiate prices and service options, too. Editing has always been one of my favorite phases of the storytelling process, so I’m eager to bring this passion into the spotlight.

Check it Out!

 

New Book Giveaways and Deals

My own books are still baking in the editing oven, but like usual, here are some new giveaways across the speculative fiction spectrum if you’re on the hunt for more to read without breaking the bank:

Giveaways

Happy reading!

I hope you enjoy what remains of winter (of your current season) with warm beverages of choice and a bevy of good books.

Monthly Updates: January 2019

Well, there goes the first month of 2019.

My 2019 Goals

I wrote more about my goals for this year in an earlier post – for this month’s update, I’ll just say that they’ve been keeping me busy. I’ve also been working on a new venture I’m not quite ready to announce yet 😉

If you’re curious about the upcoming novels, feel free to check out their synopses in the meantime. I’d love to hear any feedback or thoughts you have. You can also find a preview of my main project – an epic-length dark fantasy that’s been in the works for several years – in my recent interview with WriterWriter.

New Giveaways

Have you made any reading resolutions this year? I’m going for 52 books – one per week. If you’d like to get your hands on more books without straining your wallet, here’s a new round of giveaways from Prolific Works:

I hope you have a fantastic February!

Happy 2019

Hello all! Apologies for the recent silence. First came NaNoWriMo, then came major life changes that weren’t entirely expected. But now, 10 days into the new year, it’s time to get back to schedule.

Here’s a peak at my writing and game development related goals for 2019:

  • Indie Publish 3 Novels
    • The Woods at the End of the World (tentative title): A YA supernatural horror novel about a girl who might be one of the last people left on Earth.
    • Paragon (tentative title): An epic-length dark fantasy about a wayward scientist and his soldier companion who find themselves drawn into a cult that wants to recreate their troubled world.
    • (We Are All Made of) Glass: A horror-ish, YA-ish novel about a boy who finds himself trapped in a strange castle that doesn’t seem to want him to leave.
      • This one’s an adaption of the currently unfinished game called Glass.
  • Indie Publish at Least 1 Novelette/Novella
    • To Dust: A paranormal, post-apocalyptic story about a scavenger and her best friend who find more than scrap when they search an ancient house called the Origin.
      • If you came here from my email list, this is the Wish List story and it’s still on its way. A longer length than anticipated and the aforementioned life shakeups caused a delay. Updates will be coming to your inbox soon.
    • I may also aim for a couple more short story adaptions, schedule and inspiration permitting.
  • More Indie Publishing
    • All of Our Endings (Short Story Collection): On that note, I’m planning to put together a collection of my favorite short stories and flash fiction once further editing is done and publishing rights revert. These stories will highlight one theme that I’ve noticed showing up in a lot of my work – crossing thresholds. Worlds ending while others begin.
    • Introvert’s Anthem (Poetry Chapbook): I’m also working on my first collection of poetry, with themes centering authenticity, solitude, and purpose.
  • Game Development
    • Finally finish and publish the sequel to Happy Birthday.
    • Finish and publish a short horror game called Amaranthine.
    • Finish and publish an interactive fiction game called Remote.

I’ve been optimistic in laying out my goals. I don’t know that I’ll accomplish all of them, but I’m aiming to challenge myself this year as a writer and designer. I’ve had many projects in progress over the last couple of years – 2019 will be the one where I send them out into the world.

If you’d like to follow along, my email list will chronicle the journey.

I hope the year has treated you all well so far. What are some of your goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments so I can cheer you on!

Paragon Preview

(Friday Updates: I’ll post updates from my projects every other Friday).

Well, school is over for the summer, but with over 5 books in various stages of (near) completion and 3 indie games in the works, I’ll be staying busy.

I’d like to share an excerpt from Paragon, a dark fantasy thriller and my favorite child longest standing novel project, for the first time.


CW: violence, blood, death

End of Summer

“Tell me, what is it like to die?” the woman hissed, so close that the man tasted the heat of her words. “I’ve always wondered.”

The man couldn’t breathe. Pain pulsed up through his spine and tied knots around his lungs. He lay on his stomach, wet grass cooling his dry tongue.

Every instinct told him to pull out the chakram embedded in his back, but he couldn’t. His body simply wouldn’t work anymore. The wound itself wasn’t particularly deep, but it burned. It burned like he’d been gouged by fire instead of a blade. It burned, and then it was cold. Cold like there was nothing left of his tingling skin at all. He shuddered, fresh blood trickling down his sides with each tiny movement.

Memories from the last few moments flickered in and out through black haze. Even as his fellow soldiers had fled, he hadn’t. He’d charged that woman – the one who’d sliced his brother nearly in half – out of anger. Blind, desperate, stupid anger.

Her circular blade had blocked his dagger. She’d stopped him, sent him stumbling, and thrown the chakram after him. His armor had already worn away through the hours of combat, and the weapon had buried itself into him without mercy.

What a childish mistake. A Lyrum should never confront a Human, not physically. He should have guarded his distance and relied on his Translation instead, if only the long struggle hadn’t exhausted his strength to summon it. He’d let his rage take hold of him. He was a fool.

The Human approached the Lyrum soldier, fallen leaves crunching beneath her boots and signaling the end of summer. Her paced movements belied the chaos of just minutes earlier. It seemed the conflict was nearing its end.

“I suppose it’s foolish to ask you about something so frightful as death when you don’t feel fear in the same way Humans do,” the soldier’s voice was as calm and dissonant as her body. “You’re lucky, really, even if that makes my job less satisfying.”

She yanked the weapon from his back, spurting blood splattering her stained armor.

The Lyrum snarled, “you’re the one who feels nothing! I don’t know what kind of soul you have that lets you do this, but it’s one that has much more to fear from death than mine.”

The Human laughed, “why would I be afraid when I have nothing to lose?”

Her boot slammed into his skull.

The Lyrum’s teeth clamped shut on his tongue with a screech.

“Tell me,” the Human ordered, “what are you and your kind after? This whole mess was futile from the start. Surely you’re at least intelligent enough to realize that. What were you trying to do?”

The Lyrum glowered up at her, the embers of his hatred smoldering in his eyes.

“Tell me!” she snarled. “Tell me, and I’ll end this quickly. Otherwise, I’ll hear you beg.” Her nostrils flared. “I know how to make you suffer.”

The Lyrum remained silent.

The Human’s fingers clenched around her chakram. “You -”

“Johanne, that’s enough!” a voice ordered from somewhere behind her. “There’s no need for this.”

A Human general strode towards them, a scowl on his face. The gold accents on his armor gave his title away, shimmering under an afternoon sun as beautiful as any other during the first days of autumn.

The woman didn’t look at him. “For creatures that live on instinct, Lyrum make so little sense. It should have fled with the others.” Her dull face lit up, “still, this gives us quite the opportunity.”

She rammed her heel into the Lyrum’s skull a second time, and he rewarded her with a series of sputtered coughs.

“Stop!” the general spat. “Shakaya Johanne, I order you to stop. It’s not going to talk. They never do.”

Shakaya hesitated, but her narrowed eyes never left the Lyrum.

The general’s face hardened, “have at least a little honor. Put the poor thing out of its misery and call it done. I believe it’s the last of them.”

The Lyrum stared at the mud, no longer able to move. It seemed he’d be heading out for Heaven early. He thought one last time of his family in Riksharre, assuring himself they’d be just fine without him. Just fine…

Shakaya glanced up at her general with the gaze of a scolded child. Something flickered behind her blue eyes – something cold – but it faded just as quickly. A smirk took its place, “with pleasure.”

The Lyrum smiled. The second squad should have arrived at the Academy by now. If his comrades succeeded…if they succeeded, then everything would be worth it. He might be a fool, but so were the Humans standing over him.

He closed his eyes. He never saw Shakaya raise the chakram a final time and slam it down where his head met his shoulders.


Thanks for reading. Feel free to chime in with thoughts or comments, or to share excerpts from your own projects in the comments for feedback.

If you’re interested in finding out what happens next, my email list will feature more updates and previews, and discounts when Paragon and my other projects find their way to release.