Re-release: Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency

Re-release: Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered where your loose change went? The missing sock that disappears without a trace: where could it be? Robert has seen it all. He spends his days watching awful daytime television and taking extended naps on his plush couch. One day, a strange little man appears beneath his couch, a leprechaun named Colin. Together, they hatch a plan to reclaim Colin’s lost fortune and defeat an army of lost socks and an evil gremlin. Carefully illustrated by the talented Steve Ferchaud, it reminds us that you’re never too old to have one more adventure. Loved by adults and children, this illustrated fairy tale is meant to be read aloud.

 

An excerpt from Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency:

Robert heard the voice again, the thick Irish accent clear as the little man spoke. “That’d be like me calling ye human all the time, not very polite that’d be.”

He opened his eyes slowly and saw the little man, the leprechaun, perched on the couch. Reclined back against the armrest, a pipe snug between his teeth, he snapped his fingers.

The light of the overturned lamp flickered on and floated back to the now right-side-up table. Robert watched in disbelief, his mouth hanging open and a bewildered look plastered across his face.

Robert pointed shakily. “Not a leprechaun?” he asked, the confused expression deepening.

The leprechaun sighed and stepped off the edge of the couch and landed upon the air as if it were another floor. The smoke from his pipe followed the tiny sprite as he stopped close to the huddled man. He tipped his tam-o’-shanter and pulled the pipe from his lips.

“We haven’t the time for this, laddie. I require your help, Robert Pendleton, and I be afraid that I have little time for lengthy introductions. You can call me Colin.”

Robert’s face twisted in befuddlement.

“Colin, the leprechaun,” he repeated––a long pause before he breathed once more.

“Just Colin, less you want me to be calling ye Robert, the human, all the time,” chided the sprite as he blew a colossal bundle of smoke from his lips.

Robert opened his mouth and then snapped it shut. His mind spun. “What can I do for you, Colin?” he finally managed to say.

The leprechaun eyed him for a moment and then as quick as Robert could blink, the sprite rested comfortably on the couch once more. “That’s better, laddie. Though I imagine you be thinking of pinchin’ yerself to see if this be real. I can assure ye that this be no dream.”

Robert nodded numbly.

“I be from another world just outside the one you know. A place of magic and wonder,” began the leprechaun, ignoring the vacant look on Robert’s face as he continued. “And in this place, we sprites live quite happily. You’ve heard of a leprechaun’s pot-o-gold?”

 

Get it today on Kindle!

 

Advertisements

Re-release: Hobbes Family

Re-release: Hobbes Family

Synopsis: The world had ended abruptly and without warning. How will a family navigate a world that seems bent on destroying them? Follow them in this exciting new serial adventure.

 

An excerpt from Hobbes Family:

As Michael looked out the broken window of the convenience store, he grimaced. The tall blue oaks that surrounded the building on two sides were dusted with frost; the ground was an amalgam of crystal sheets broken only by brave stalks of undergrowth that dared the frigid touch of the gales. The building wouldn’t serve as a long-term solution. However, it would be useful until the weather broke.

The trek out of the suburban areas began in the family Subaru. Highway 99 was so overrun with smoldering and abandoned vehicles that the Hobbes family was forced to make the remainder of the trek on foot. The winter months proved disastrous. Often, the snow levels came down into the valley for a day, sprinkling unsuspecting areas with brief, beautiful moments of frozen precipitation.

This was different.

A storm settled in the valley, trapped and angry.

When the sun managed to peek through the clouds above, it almost felt bearable. But the great star was soon obfuscated behind a gray wall once more, bloated and teeming with fury as a fresh zephyr of snow and blinding particulates dragged the valley.

Michael looked over at his wife. Susanna’s high cheekbones were prominent and the sallowness of her cheeks from periodic starvation saddened Michael as much as he was capable.

He hadn’t fared much better.

His beard grew in with dark clumps and gray patches; his bedraggled hair was curly in places despite its length. Were it on purpose, he imagined Susanna running her long fingers through it and calling it cute.

The store weathered the apocalypse.

Shelves remained intact for the most part, though they were barren fields. Coolers were popped open. Overturned cans, smashed and left for dead, littered the floor.

This was someone else’s last stand.

 

Get it today on Kindle!

Re-release: The Little Artisan

Re-release: The Little Artisan

Synopsis: Not all fairy tales involve young princesses waiting to be swept off their feet by a prince. Some heroines want to change the world. Camille has watched her village, and the surrounding area, slowly wilt from years of unrelenting sun and no rain. Mein was once a land filled with magic and dense forests filled with fantastical creatures. Now, it suffers in silence. Camille believes that she can change their fate by creating a machine to make it rain once more. However, the village is suspicious of her efforts, concerned that her deep love of science will anger the magicks that once protected them. She will have to learn to stand tall and believe in herself if the world is to ever change.

 

An excerpt from The Little Artisan:

She paused in front of the entrance; her heart fluttered and her stomach churned. So close. All of the trials and tinkering and prototypes would soon be put to the test.

Taking a deep breath, she pushed aside the curtain and stepped inside. It was bigger on the inside than it appeared from the outside. Mirrors covered all of the walls, which converged on a single hallway leading deeper into the tent.

Camille headed down the hallway. Its walls were also covered with mirrors, creating a maze of kaleidoscope images. She proceeded forward slowly, restraining her impulse to run.

A voice emerged from farther ahead.

“Maker. Artisan. Tinker. Why have you come?”

“For the final piece.”

“The final piece to what?”

“To my Rainmaker.”

Peeling laughter filled the hallway.

“You continue on this fool’s errand even though everyone doubts you,” called the Trickster.

Camille paused.

She didn’t give much thought to what others thought. Occasionally, she would consider how the townspeople might react if the Rainmaker worked; otherwise, she only felt sad when she thought about the people of Mein because they were too frightened to try anything, to take real chances.

“I can make a difference,” she responded.

“Why would you wish to make a difference when no one else will care?” boomed a voice that suggested a large being.

Camille couldn’t even comprehend such a position. She didn’t require others to validate who she was; she did what she thought was necessary. “I have no need of riddles, questions, or condemnations. I only need the final piece. I only need fuel.”

“Fuel?” parroted the Trickster.

Camille noticed a small shadow at the corner of the hallway. Creeping close, she found a small knob attached to a long, thin mirror. She pushed it and the mirror creaked and receded, revealing yet another hallway.

The hallway was unlit except for a faint light at the end. She stumbled forward, feeling the walls to stay upright. Camille turned as the door she came through closed; she could no longer hear the sounds outside the tent. She pushed on through the darkness until the hallway terminated in an open room with a tall chair at its center.  A small figure with sandy red hair and a thick beard sat atop it.

“You’re the Trickster?” asked Camille.

The Trickster hopped down, revealing that he was nearly a head shorter than the little artisan. A jagged scar ran from his nose to his chin, giving him a suspicious look despite his otherwise handsome features and green eyes. “I see that you’ve seen past my mirrors, little artisan.”

Camille didn’t like it when people other than her father called her little artisan. “Do you have fuel?”

He shoved his stubby hands into his pockets. “I do indeed. What do you plan on doing with it?”

Frustration itched at her. “I need it for the Rainmaker.”

“Ah, for your weather machine.”

She looked around the small room and saw a cot nestled next to shelves upon shelves of books. “You live here?”

“Our sleepy little village wouldn’t suffer an imp, so I hide behind my mirrors.”

She felt a stab of sympathy for the little man.

“I’m sorry that you must hide who you are.”

The Trickster shrugged. “We all hide a part of who we are. Some must be more cautious than others.”

Camille walked to the bookcase and touched the spines.

“I don’t hide who I am.”

“I suppose that is why we fear you.”

She turned around, surprised. “Fear me?”

He nodded and paced to a long desk with open books stacked on it. “Knowing oneself is a hardship. It forces us to face parts of ourselves we may not like, so we hide behind our fear. Someone who doesn’t hide like we do is certainly to be feared.”

The little artisan looked down sadly.

“That must be difficult.”

“Ignorance proves to be fantastic insulation,” replied the Trickster. Pushing aside some books, he procured a waxen cube and held it up to the light. “I believe I have what you’re looking for….”

Camille crossed the room and looked at the small cube.

“I don’t have much to give you.”

He closed his hand, obscuring the fuel cube from view.

“I ask that you don’t allow our fear to stop you.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I sell hope, and possibility. I wish for the world to be different; yet, I do nothing.”

Camille found his strange self-awareness disarming.

What was he playing at?

The Trickster extended his hand and placed the fuel cube in Camille’s hands. He smirked. “I expect to hear rumbling very soon.”

 

Get it today on Kindle!

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!

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.