Re-release: Dawn

Re-release: Dawn

Synopsis: The world is divided between a nation of men and a nation women, each of whom rules with absolute authority. A war brews deep beneath the surface of the peaceful negotiations between these two nations as a love blossoms between a princess and her guardian, a slave of the Society of Dawn, in the first entry of this romantic fantasy series.

 

An excerpt from Dawn:

Aurora had never journeyed so far alone. In the six years that Aeschylus served as her guardian, she left Pa’ngarin no more than a handful of times. She touched her saddle horn and rubbed the pearl there delicately.

She thought about the day Aeschylus was chosen as her guardian. It was her twelfth birthday, a milestone among maidens and Children of the Dawn. Her aunt, the Lordess Ascendant, the beautiful and powerful ruler of Pa’ngarin, picked Aeschylus for Aurora from among the horde of unseasoned and dirty men who worked the mines and fields.

Her aunt’s words were soft that day.

Soft speech wasn’t Lordess Ascendant’s way. However, on the day when Aurora was presented before the Court of the Nine Blossoms, she spoke in hurried, loving words. She told the young maiden that this man was the strongest among the bloodthirsty and hate-mongering species of men.

He would protect her until his death.

Her new guardian would be her steadfast companion for as long as she saw fit. He would see to all her needs; and if she required, be her First––marking her ascendance.

Aurora smiled as she remembered young Aeschylus. He was already a man when he was appointed as her guardian. Strong-jawed and tight-lipped, he was a cordial, but removed, warrior just a moon past his eighteenth birthday.

At the time, she didn’t know that Aeschylus followed her around long before he became her guardian. His mother died in the same Scythian raid that killed her mother when she was an infant. Every time young Aurora wandered without supervision, Aeschylus wasn’t far away.

But his assistance had a price.

When he was only thirteen, he carried Aurora from the orchards after she fell down and injured her foot. It was against Pa’ngarin law for a man to touch a woman without consent, especially to treat her as if she were powerless to help herself. His act of compassion earned him ten lashes at the center of the Court of the Nine Blossoms. After that incident, he became more careful, making certain to remain hidden from view as he protected her.

Aurora shook herself from her reverie.

Along the side of the road sat a heavy black stone etched in sparkling silver lettering. The letters read Ma’oren.

Ma’oren was a rich town built around mining and forestry operations and run by a minor ascendant named Eris. Aurora couldn’t remember having met her.

Rows of tall trees obscured her vision to the north and south, but she had little fear in her heart despite the circumstances of the previous evening. The silence enveloping the surrounding forest would’ve been disarming if Aurora didn’t know that mining drove the creatures of the forest deeper into the woods. There were few dangers to a woman of her station in a society governed by women. If she were attacked and kidnapped by brigands, they would swing in the Court of the Nine Blossoms.

The trees lining the road soon gave way to cramped male dormitories built upon each other like sloping cliffs. The buildings had no windows except for a wide opening on the second floor.

A man stepped out of one of the dormitories’ slanted doors. His long gray hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail and his brown eyes, wide and wise, watched the young maiden pass. He didn’t meet her eyes, but instead stared intently at her mount. He knew the penalty for looking at a woman, if not asked to do so, was the sealing of the eyes.

Opposite the dormitories stood a vast cavern dug deep into the earth, beside which sprawling mining equipment was placed. A piercing whine filtered from the mine’s entrance, as if a whistle were being blown deep below. Aurora spurred her mount forward through the haze of dirt and dust spewing from the mine and made her way up the road toward the city proper.

As if by magic, the haze disappeared and a gleaming citadel rose in the distance. A dawn sphere was a great, ribbed structure composed of symmetrical, ivory pillars from ground to sky.

Get it today on Kindle!

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Re-release: Drained

Re-release: Drained

Synopsis: A frightening new case. A mysterious journal. The beginning of the end. Lauren Westlake has left behind the horrors of northern Minnesota to investigate a strange package with a cryptic return address. Crossing the country to the city by the bay, Lauren discovers that Locke was only the beginning. Crossing paths with a stoic SFPD detective and a surprise from her past, she must figure out what hunts the foggy streets of San Francisco in this new novella. Is it vampires? Is it something more?

 

An excerpt from Drained:

THE OVERPASS that separated the yuppie, hipster youth of the city from its poorer denizens was indistinguishable from any other place in the city.

Benny squatted under the comfort of his concrete shelter to avoid the light drizzle that replaced the evening fog. His grizzled features and unkempt salt-and-pepper hair might be charming if he weren’t several shades of crazy and hungrier than a feral cat. He remembered when he could wink and say a few smooth words and a beaming waitress might swoon––regaling her with stories about his gigs around the city and the promise of a little danger.

In the late 70s Benny fancied himself a musician, playing the tall bass with a few friends; it was tough for Benny to think of them as friends now. What passed for a friend on the streets was someone who wouldn’t steal your blankets or chase you out of a rat-infested hole with a taped-together shiv made from broken bottles and pieces of fenders from stalled-out cars.

The 70s hadn’t been kind to Benny. Cocaine went from recreation to lifestyle, and then to death-style. As his other bandmates started lives, Benny spiraled deeper into despair.

His friends lost his number.

It wasn’t long before he didn’t have the money for electricity, and then he lived his life in darkness. From there, it was a short hop to not being able to pay rent; soon thereafter, the streets became his home. After enough time wandering the cold pavement, he became too volatile to bunk in the homeless shelters.

He was a creature of the streets.

Benny made a strange sort of existence for himself under the overpass. Newspapers were arranged like a well-manicured lawn. Boxes, crushed and water-damaged, were the wings of his great destitute estate. The barrel at the center of it all, burning brightly like a lighthouse upon rocky shores, was full of the wisdom of Western society: newspapers, magazines, and various novels.

Grumbling angrily and unintelligibly to himself, Benny dug through one of his grocery carts filled to the brim with postmodern junk; he was looking for a broken umbrella amidst the sea of garbage and treasure within his cart. As Benny extricated the battered object of his desire, he was startled by a voice. “I do enjoy these brief moments of gentle rain. Do you find them as soothing as I do?”

Turning, Benny was immediately irritated by the man’s presence. Dressed to the nines––with angular, symmetrical features––there was something unreal about his figure.

“I don’t want no trouble.”

The man smiled. “Nor do I. But I wonder, Benny, what is it that you’re looking for?”

Benny looked at the streets and saw cars zip past between the concrete dividers that obscured his shelter from view. It was the main reason why he stayed there: it was his island, his cabin in the woods.

“Mister, I’m hungry. Do you have any food?”

The man smiled again, disarmingly. “I must admit I’m a bit peckish myself. Though I have no food, at least nothing that you’d find satisfying, Benny.”

Benny was struck by the disconnected nature of their conversation, as if the man weren’t talking to him at all and instead reading from a script. This feeling became more surreal as the man stepped past him into the darkness of the overpass. His features were adulterated by the shadows there: his dark hair made darker, his gray eyes disappearing.

There, in the darkness, Benny heard something move.

“Watch out, mister, there are rats back there. I catch them sometimes and cook them up.”

The man chuckled but didn’t respond, turning his back to Benny. When he spoke again, his voice had changed; it seemed bloated and distant. “They never look for the wretches, Benny. Give me your poor. Give me your hungry. Those are just words. I’m hungry as well….”

The sound came again.

There was no mistaking it for a rat this time.

It was bigger.

Hollow, deliberate steps haunted the shadows.

A tremor crept across Benny, rising from his toes like acid reflux after he ate from the dumpster behind the Korean restaurant a few blocks away. “I don’t want no trouble,” repeated Benny, his voice quaking as he took a few steps back.

“You won’t have to worry about trouble any longer. I will take your fear. Feed on your fear….”

Benny thought to run.

Panic gripped him, but his muscles wouldn’t respond. He wondered if the lady doctor at the center was right: Was he crazy? Was he chasing shadows in the dark?

Looking at his bin of junk, he saw the broken pipe he’d taken from a rundown building in the Tenderloin. He thought it was copper, but it turned out to be rusted and useless like him. Gripping it like he was Babe Ruth waiting at the plate, he watched the darkness. The well-dressed man had disappeared, but his voice drifted on the air like a spirit.

“Why fight it, Benny? Is this really worth living for, this sad little life?”

Benny’s fear turned to anger.

Gesturing with the pipe, he shouted into the dark.

“How do you know my name?”

The laugh sent shivers down his spine.

Something in the darkness tripped and fell, collapsing the third and fourth cardboard bedrooms of his sprawling street estate. A figure emerged in the darkness: something frightening beyond words.

“We know all about you, Benny.”

As it took shape in the half-light of the passing cars, Benny held his breath and swung the pipe as hard as he could, lurching forward as it connected with thin air. With a gnashing maw, it blotted Benny from view and pulled him back into the darkness.

 

If you loved Bitten (or supernatural fiction, a good mystery, and a fun story), then you’ll want to give Drained a look. The third novella in the series, Frighten, will be released in early 2019.

Get it today on Kindle!

Re-release: Bitten

Re-release: Bitten

Synopsis: A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined FBI agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could imagine.

 

What readers are saying about Bitten:

“Bitten is an extremely well-balanced and engaging novel. It contains mystery, suspense, horror, romance, and best of all – a creative, genre-bending twist on werewolf mythology. The story is quick-paced and dark without being too heavy or overdramatic. The protagonist is a strong and courageous FBI agent who is able to assert herself without casting aside her femininity. She reminds me of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum…. If a sequel follows, I will definitely read it.”

“Author Dan O’Brien left his mark with Bitten. I’ve now read three books by O’Brien, but BITTEN is by far my favorite. It not only showcases his literary skills, but leaves the reader wanting more. What else could an avid reader ask for?”

 

An excerpt from Bitten:

THE CREATURE crashed into the sides of its space. Tearing broken, rusted objects from the shelves, it threw them to the ground in angry fits of rage. Tears streamed down its face and the guttural whimper that echoed in the oversized shed was the only shred of humanity that remained.

With each mashed piece of its life, it plunged deeper into madness; closer to the monster it was slowly becoming. The light of the day had all but faded. Reaching out and grasping a light bulb that hung dimly at the center of the shed, it crushed it, allowing the shards to rip apart its hands.

Blood dripped on the work table and the partial husk of Wayne Joyce’s mutilated face. It had stretched out the flesh, drying it and coating it with deer oil. Its cries were crocodile tears; there was no emotion left except rage, hatred. Remorse and guilt long since disappearing into the abyss that was its mind.

The winds howled.

It responded.

Black thread, spooled with a sharp needle, sat beside the human mask. It reached down with one of its mangled hands, lifting the needle and then the flesh. Pressing against its skin, it drove the needle into its own face, drawing blood and an angry snarl. Each time through, there was a growl and a pool of blood. The task was complete: the flesh attached to the monster.

Little folds lifted from its face. The wind whipped against them, drawing its attention. Reaching out to a staple gun, it pressed it against its face. The creature drove thick steel staples into its face, flattening out the macabre mask.

The table was a massacre.

Leftover pieces of the trophies it took were lifeless artifacts of its ascension to death-bringer. Reaching out for the long claw of torture it wore as a glove, the creature groaned. Language was lost. More and more, it felt like an animal, a creature meant to destroy everything.

The rage built like steam. It coursed through its veins, polluting every aspect of humanity that remained. The moon would rise soon––full and omniscient. That would be the moment of its ascension.

It would be its masterpiece.

 

If you love supernatural fiction, a good mystery, and a fun story, then you’ll want to give Bitten a look. Releasing in July as well is the follow-up novella, Drained. The third novella in the series, Frighten, will be released in early 2019.

Get it today on Kindle!

DC Should Tackle Batman Beyond Next And Cast Donald Glover

DC Should Tackle Batman Beyond Next And Cast Donald Glover

Nerds of the world will recall Batman Beyond as a refreshing animated take on the Batman mythology. We were gifted with an incredible Batman animated series in the 90s that stands the test of time. (Don’t believe me? Go back and check it out.)

Here are some reasons why DC should tackle a Batman Beyond movie next:

 

They can stop rehashing the same story. Even Nolan’s trilogy was beholden to the rogue’s gallery of villains and characters that had previously existed in the Batman movie universe. Whether it is the Joker or Catwoman, they have to be reinvented in a new decade, but much of the story remains the same. In setting a movie in the future, you can create a new set of villains and characters in this  version of Gotham. For too long has the detective aspect of the character been absent on the big screen, but a reboot in the future could allow for new methodology. An aging Bruce Wayne would be playing mentor and watch tower for a younger Batman: this means new challenges and methods for overcoming problems.

 

 

Recast Bruce Wayne. Since this version of Bruce Wayne would be an older man, you have an entirely different set of actors from which to choose. There would be no need to hire the en vogue  actor who is going to provide an appeal to key demographics. You could cast based on the needs of the character, which would no longer be purely (or predominantly) physical; the detective aspect of the character would be more important, as well as being a mentor. I think it would be interesting to bring back Michael Keaton as an older, grumpy version of Wayne.

 

Add diversity to the story. Not to be a prisoner of the moment, but Donald Glover is fantastic. I’m one of the many fans who would have loved to see him play Spider-Man on the big screen. Sure, he got a cameo, but that’s not the same thing. Can you imagine a movie where Michael Keaton plays mentor to a snarky Donald Glover in the ultra-tech version of the bat suit? If you don’t want to go with Donald Glover (or perhaps he wouldn’t be interested in it), then utilize some diversity by casting a person of color.

 

 

Guest Post: The Long Road to Publication by Anna Belle Rose

Guest Post: The Long Road to Publication by Anna Belle Rose

Years and years ago, actually decades ago, I was a stay-at-home mom for a bit, with my then youngest child who would not fall asleep at nap time. Over time, I realized that while he wouldn’t sleep, he would sit in his crib for a bit each afternoon, listening to Yanni at the Acropolis, looking at story books, and I could sit and write. And write I did. I wrote and wrote and wrote over many months. By then, my youngest was talking, and he somehow understood that Mommy was writing a book, and he kept nagging me to keep going. And I did.

Fast forward many years, and I’d keep opening the word file of that first novel, print it out, edit and revise, and eventually send it out to a few agents. Rejections would come in, and I’d put it away for a while, then that same son would poke at me again, and the process would start all over again. During this same time, I also started several other novels, and kept working on them in the same way. All of them were contemporary romances, heavily linked to life in Vermont, and all have gloriously happy endings – I mean, who doesn’t love a happily ever after?

Finally, late in 2016, I decided I needed to either get serious about writing, or give it up for good. So I pulled those two complete novels out again, and hired incredible professional editors to go at them. Then I started submitting them to a few agents, and a couple publishing houses that didn’t require representation by agents. And on June 13th, a publishing contract arrived on the novel I wrote first, The Phone Call. And on July 13th, a contract arrived for my second, That One Small Omission. And joy of joys, on December 4th, a contract was offered on my third, More Than I Can Say.

On October 11, 2017, That One Small Omission was published in e-book and print versions, and on December 12th, The Phone Call will be published. The joy and excitement I feel each time I look at my mantle and see my first published novel is an emotion that I think only other authors can understand!

 

Amazon link to That One Small Omission: https://tinyurl.com/yb5bc2ux

Amazon link to my author’s page: https://tinyurl.com/y8uzgxeh

 

Guest Post: Earth to Centauri – Alien Hunt

Guest Post: Earth to Centauri – Alien Hunt

The year is 2118. The First Journey from Earth into interstellar space has been successful, but the explosive secret carried aboard Voyager 1 will have grave consequences.

As Captain Anara and her crew returns to Earth aboard their faster than light spaceship Antariskh, civil war breaks out on the world they have just left behind. A cryptic message warns her of the dispatch of mercenaries to Earth. Their mission – unknown but deadly. She may have just days to prevent unimaginable carnage on Earth and stop the outbreak of interstellar war.

Her crew and the National Investigation Agency, or NIA, engage in the greatest undercover search for the mercenaries in the streets of the megacity. As they race against time to uncover the plot, a traitor is unmasked and Anara herself comes under suspicion. She must use every ounce of her resourcefulness to protect 30 million people and one unique innocent life.

Immerse yourself in an edge-of-your-seat thriller on a realistic future Earth and geek out on the technology just a few decades away from today.

Releasing in December 2017!

Read the prequel Earth to Centauri – The First Journey https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071RYBF3D

The Marketing Blues

The Marketing Blues

Writing a book is difficult; revising and editing is an odyssey.

However, marketing looms large, hanging around your neck like an anchor. Indie authors face an uphill battle. There are hundreds of thousands of new books created each year across a myriad of genres. Depending on the pool you dive into, you may (or may not) have a bastion of potential supportive fans.

Unfortunately, the grind is indeed a millstone.

You must learn to embrace the suck.

I love a rousing speech, but marketing is about discipline and a real desire to share what you have made with the world. Often, in the throes of sending out review emails or contacting media outlets, you are struck by a desperation to simply give up. You might consider just being content with having completed a book.

And truthfully, finishing a book is a real accomplishment. Very real.

Some things that help me get through the grind (and also result in some progress):

  1. Advertising.  Not everyone has the budget to run a full-page ad in The New York Times (I certainly don’t). However, you can chip away with a smaller budget using Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. If you ran an ad 2-3 times a week, you might be able to run an ad that reaches 10,000 new potential readers for as little as $50.
  2. Starting a conversation. You’re probably on social media; you probably even retweet some truly interesting people. But you likely aren’t having a conversation. The importance of this is in building relationships, showing potential readers that you don’t just want to sell them something: you want to make them a lifelong reader.
  3. Talking to someone new. Every so often I like to shoot for the stars and reach out to someone on social media who’ll probably never respond. You don’t need to tweet Chris Pratt in order to talk to someone new. You could reach out to a columnist you admire (Lauren Duca) or just someone who covers your genre to say you enjoyed what they wrote. Writers are always excited to hear from people who enjoyed their work.
  4. Making a plan. Wondering what to do next? Decide what you want to do. Sell 10 books today? Sell 10,000 books by the end of the year? Get a thousand new followers on Twitter by the end of the year? Figure out what you are aiming for and then build a step-by-step plan to reach it. That’s what I do anyways.
  5. Throwing out the plan. Then sometimes plans change…goals change. You need to adapt with them. Throw out what wasn’t working and plan for something new. The world is constantly changing; you need to be changing with it.

All I know is that if you are unwilling to share your book, then potential readers will likely not be interested in reading it.

 

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