Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday Giveaway!

The book will be available FREE on Amazon Kindle the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Just my way of saying Thanks to all the fans.

Share the book with all your friends.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005XHABAO

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reviews Disappearing

In the last several days, four of my positive reviews have disappeared from Amazon. I have contacted Amazon and they tell me they can't discuss the matter with me, but they told me reviews are either removed by the reviewer or because the
y didn't meet the guidelines. I contacted one reviewer and they say they didn't take it down. It appears I am under some kind of attack. Someone is challenging positive reviews on some technicality, getting Amazon to take them down, and a new one disappears each day. If you've read the book and haven't written a review, please write one. If you have written a review, please check to make sure it's still there, if not, please write a new one. Thanks. Jonah.

PS, and please share the book with everyone you know.

Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005XHABAO

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Secret Prologue: The Mummy

Here it is:  The first part of the new first chapter of the sequel to Limbo's Child.  Those of you who know me, know I like to do this a lot.  I get the plot settled and then BAM!  I have to change it all at the last moment.  Oh well.  It's a goodie.

This might make it in the final book it might not.  I meant it to replace the old first chapter (available here) but my wife begged me to keep that one in.   At the moment I consider this a "secret" chapter.  That is, it's not really crucial to the rest of the story, it just contains relevant backstory that would make the story more enjoyable.  These "secret" chapters contain some mild spoilers, but nothing too bad, but you've been warned, so no whining if you read on. Ok?  BTW - this has been through exactly one edit, by me, and not my editor, so it's kinda rough in places.

Parts II and III will be posted later this week.  And I will be doing a live reading of the entire chapter on Livestream this week so stay tuned for details.

And with all that throat-clearing out of the way...I give you, The Secret Prologue:  The Mummy Part I.


The Secret Prologue:
The Mummy


The body had been dead for forty days, but Pepy was still terrified of it.  It wasn’t that he was squeamish around bodies.   As the head royal embalmer he had mummified twenty-two royal persons.  As apprentice to the last head embalmer he had assisted with forty-five!  No it wasn’t dead bodies that bothered him.  It was this particular dead body.
She was a lovely thing, young, no more than fourteen, a daughter of one of the pharaoh’s minor wives, but a favored one, but it wasn’t her age that was so troubling, many died young, even in the palaces of the god-king.  No, it was the manner in which she died.  She was found, in the dawn, pale and lifeless on her own bed, safe in the palace.  The only mark on her was a subtle wound on the neck, two tiny punctures, small and needle like, like the bite of an asp, but the fang holes were so far apart, it could only have been made by an enormous asp with a mouth the size of a hyena.  Not another  trace of disease or injury was on her, but there she was, calm and peaceful, like she was sleeping with her arms crossed, as if someone had arranged the corpse for death, but the doors had been locked, from the inside.
The priests were beside themselves with anxiety and thought it a terrible omen.  They wanted her chopped into pieces and tossed into the Nile but the pharaoh forbad it.  Things only got worse from there.  Pepy himself had to make the small incision to remove the internal organs in preparation of embalming, but when the knife cut the flesh, it was utterly bloodless.  Not a single drop of blood was left in the girl.  Her flesh was as bloodless as a piece of salted beef in the marketplace.  Half the priests and nearly all of his assistants attempted to flee the room at that point until forced back at the point of the guards’ spears.  Pepy had nearly blanched himself, but he carried on.  Ramses the Great was not a man you wanted to disobey.  He had to carry on alone though.  The others wouldn’t pull themselves away from the walls.  Pepy dutifully removed the lungs, stomach, liver and intestine and placed them for preservation in the four sacred canopic jars with the heads of the four sons of Horus.  He took the heart, he yib, the seat of truth and knowledge and placed it carefully back into the body.  She would need it when her soul would be judged.  He packed the empty abdominal cavity with linen and natrun, the sacred salt that dried out the body, but he had to say all the prayers himself.  The priests were too scared.
Now he was back to finish her.  The body had been sealed in this chamber forty days ago.  She needed to be wrapped in the precious linens and resins.  When he broke the seal and entered the chamber, everything seemed normal, but that all changed when he pulled back the mummies linen covering.  In forty days the mummy should have browned, the eyes and cheeks becoming sunken, the lips taut.  She had hardly changed at all.  There was some anxious foot-shuffling on the stone floor when they saw her, but the others kept their tongues.  There was nothing to do but get on with it.
            As he went about wrapping her body in the resin-drenched linens, placing the sacred eye of Horus over the small incision on her stomach, intoning the sacred prayers beneath his breath because the priests were too scared to, Pepy couldn’t help but think that everything about this was wrong.  These rituals should be completed in the daylight, with great ceremony, but here they were in the middle of the night, with only a handful of priests and guards.  The pharaoh had insisted it be done as soon as the fortieth day had set, so here they were, after sunrise, in the embalming chamber with only a few oil lamps to light the way.  The pharoah had procured a dozen large jars of the most precious resin for the process, but he could only persuade two of his apprentices to come, so he had to carry two of the jars himself.  But the worst part, the very worst part of it all was him.
            He had arrived late, dressed in long blue-black linens and wearing the mask of the jackal-headed god Anubis, which completely covered his face.  When he entered the guards and priests turned their backs to him and studiously stared at the walls, avoiding even looking at him, almost as if pretending he didn’t exist.  Pepy’s assistants obviously didn’t know the protocol, but quickly stumbled over each other to shove their noses in the nearest corners of the room they could find like naughty school-children.  He was tall and gaunt and though no one saw his eyes, you could tell he was watching you, intently.  Pepy didn’t even know who he was.  He wondered if anyone did.  He had never seen him before.  He had only heard rumors.  He was nameless, faceless and appeared only at the most dire times, plague, famine, war or perhaps the death of a pharaoh.  He never spoke, and even the Priests of Amun were afraid of him and bowed and backed away whenever he entered.  If he ever spoke or held counsel with anyone, it was only with the Pharaoh and then only in private.  He could disappear for years, but in times of distress, he would appear, and it was rumored that he had been doing it, since the days of Djoser the Great more than a thousand years ago.   No one could be certain it was the same figure behind the mask but everyone thought so.  Some said he was the god Anubis himself, others, only that he was an ancient magician.  Pepy wasn’t given to idle rumors or superstition, but the fact that he appeared here, at the embalming of a minor princess was troubling and Pepy was already nervous enough. But he couldn’t do his work with his nose to the wall, so he carried on, and tried not to think of the bloodless corpse, the fang marks or the ominous figure hovering over him like a vulture.
            Soon, however, he found his rhythm despite his fear and worked quickly but carefully through the night, wrapping the body, working from the abdomen to the feet and then from the feet back to the head, placing the sacred amulets between the folds of linen at their proper places.   He placed the golden finger-coverings on each of the dead princesses’ delicate digits, then placed the ankh, the symbol of life in the palm of her hand before wrapping each hand carefully.  Then he folded the arms across the chest and wrapped them against the body, binding them tight in layer after layer, so that she had the same repose she had had when they found her dead.  He worked carefully this way through eleven layers of linens and resins until he reached her neck and head.  He placed a tiny amulet in the shape of a headrest, behind her head, an emblem of the hope that she would at last find rest in the afterlife.  It was nearing dawn, under the best conditions it took days to properly do the job, and with his assistants’ noses planted firmly against the wall, it should have taken even longer, but somehow he had managed it, and gave the princess a respectable wrapping.  He was about to place the last amulet, the eye of Ra, over her mouth and finish the wrapping when the “vulture” spoke.
            “Stop.”  The black draped figure behind Pepy said in a low voice.
            Something clattered to the ground.  Pepy spun around.  He checked his hand.   He hadn’t dropped the amulet.   Thank the gods! That would have been sacrilege.  He glanced around.  A guard was slowly crouching down to retrieve his spear from the floor.  By Horus! thought Pepy, what courage! he thought sarcastically, but then he noticed he was clutching his own heart with the hand that didn’t hold the amulet.  It was pounding.
            The figure for his part, was calm and inscrutable.  For a minute Pepy wasn’t certain he hadn’t imagined it speaking, but then it took a step forward and spoke again.
            “I will finish her.”
            Pepy froze, blinked and knew not what to say.  Was the menacing figure a royal embalmer as well as a magician?  Pepy looked around the room.  The guards were frozen, the priests were muttering prayers for their own salvation, and his assistants were grinding their own faces into the relief sculpture as if they were hoping they disappear into the decoration.  Pepy looked down at the mummy of the princess, her pale face shining and all too life-like and then at the amulet in his hand.  When he looked up a pale, gaunt, corpse-like white hand had reached out from behind the tall figure’s robes.  It had fingering coverings of its own, made of silver, as if it were a mummy itself!  Pepy decided not to question him.  He put a knee to the ground, bowed his head, and offered up the amulet.  The black masked figure took the amulet and moved past him noiselessly. When it reached the other side of the chamber it inclined and its head to them and spoke one last time.
            “Go.” He said again in a voice like death. “Seal the chamber, return in thirty days to entomb her.”
            No one waited for a second command.  The guards and priests piled up at the door, only a scornful look by their master kept Pepy’s apprentices from doing the same.  They danced on their feet until he got to the door, but couldn’t bear it anymore.  Once it was clear they were outside.  Pepy would have to reprimand them later.  He was a master embalmer after all and they should have followed him dutifully out of the tomb, but their scolding would have to wait.  He too was anxious to leave.  At the doorway Pepy looked back at the black figure standing over the body of the princess.  “Seal the doors?” he thought.  There was only one door to the embalming chamber.  He opened his mouth and nearly spoke the question, but then he looked into the empty eyes of the Anubis mask and thought better of it.  Best not to question the mysterious person.  He certainly had his own way of getting out.  Or at least he hoped he did.  He would hate to come back and find him there, though something told Pepy the mysterious figure could survive the thirty days internment without any effort.   Pepy gave one short bow from the neck which the figure graciously returned, though more slowly.  Pepy swallowed hard before he pulled the doors shut.  He quickly pulled a cord from his side and ran it through both door handles and tied it off.  He then produced a lump of soft beeswax mixed with clay from a small pouch and pressed the wax tightly around the knot.  As he pressed the seal of his signet ring into the wax he spoke over his shoulder to his frightened apprentices.
            “No one is to speak of this. Understood?”
            Pepy turned around but his inquiry was met only with the sound of sandals on stone departing into the predawn darkness.  He huffed an angry sigh for the moment, but then, alone in the dark, he decided to drop his remaining dignity and follow his apprentices’ prudent example and fled.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

7729

That's how many words I wrote yesterday.  7,729.  Let that mull in your brain for a minute.  That's a really good sized chapter by itself, but no, I added that to an existing 5000+ words for a grand total of 13,005 words, and I'm thinking of adding more this morning.

This is all for the first chapter of the sequel. A new first chapter.  Those of you who have stuck with me through this know that on the eve of publication of the last book I did the same thing, added a whole new prologue and chapter one, so this is old territory for me.

It's a big chapter in more ways than just wordcount, however.  It takes place (mostly) in ancient Egypt.  It's a Hokharty based chapter and it establishes a lot of backstory, metaphysics and groundwork for the whole sequel, and the whole chapter.  It's stuff that I had floating around in notes, but somehow, it was just better to tell it in a story of betrayal, death and carnage between two ancient Egyptian vampires than just having Lucy explain it to Nephys, or vice versa.  It has Hokharty, a mummy, a royal embalmer and attendants, Hokharty's most trusted servant, and hey, even a couple of Egyptian gods thrown in!  One is the enigmatic and stonelike Anubis we've met before, the other is Sekhmet, lion-headed goddess of revenge that comes off as a snarky anthro.  All that and Miles, Sky and Nephys make a cameo appearance at the end.

It's insane.  And long.  Yep, it's a genuine Hewitt production.

And I'm going to be putting it up here.  No guarantees, but hopefully by this monday it will be available to download here, FREE.  It will be pretty rough, so no snarking on my spellings, but I hope you will enjoy it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Flying. Zombies.

Writer's block is principally about motivation and discipline, not a lack of ideas.  I've heard of plenty of writers who can't get motivated, but I've never known one who would give you a blank stare if you asked them what they were working on.   The problem is not a lack of ideas.  They usually have at least a dozen projects going simultaneously.  That's the problem.    The ideas poor out of the walls like leaky plumbing and flood up the room to your neck.  Which ones to give precious access to your limited time and mental energy?  You work on the ones that won't leave you alone.  The ones that pour out the cracks you can ignore for now. The ones that run up your nose and shout "Me! Me! Me!" you have to deal with or they'll drown you.

I've been working on the sequel to Limbo's Child and this idea only happened last night, but it's been running up my nose so hard I had to sneeze it out.

So I wrote up a piece of flash fiction, just to set the characters, setting and ideas for now.  It's happy for the moment and I can come back to it later.

What's it about?

Flying. Zombies.

No joke.  It's called Risen and it's here, on Google Docs.  It's short and a little rough but fun.  Check it out.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blog shutting down

I hate to do this but the blog will be effectively shutting down over the summer.  I have writing to do on the book and more importantly we will be re-launching the website with a new domain name and all new graphics. (To tie in with the release of the sequel!) None of the old content will get lost and there will be plenty of new graphics as well. 

Thanks for all the support!

J.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another five star...

Ok, now my ego is getting involved, which is bad, but I got another good review, and I do love sharing them.  Here's just a snippet but be sure to read the whole thing here.

Limbo's Child has vivid imagery, a relatable setting, and characters that are easy to love - and several that are just as easy to hate at the same time. It's well-paced and gripping, though the chapter lengths (and the fact that each chapter is a change in scene) are perfect for a break where you don't have a lot of time, but want some solid entertainment. My favorite parts of the book are the underlying dark humor surrounding so much of the content, and the touching scenes of difficult decisions and forced choices.

Thanks again to the reviewer and remember, the sequel is coming out this Fall.  All the characters you love and all the ones you love to hate will be back.

J.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Scrapple.

I was tickled by this addition to the book's Shelfari page.

The book takes place in and around the environs of Southeast Pennsylvania. The specific places are mentioned are Chester, Harrisburg, Ephrata and Germantown. All of the places are based on real life locations. The vampire's den, "Rivenden" is based on the famous 18th C. Manor in Germantown called Clivenden. The author lived in the area for twelve years and accurately describes the climate and locations, right down to Scrapple.

Ah Scrapple.  The taste of authenticity.  Love it. And thanks to whoever updated the page.

J.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

OVER 9000! (Almost)

8824.  That was the final tally.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we'd have that many downloads.  For a time, we were even number 2 on the top 100 contemporary fantasy fiction free downloads on Amazon, and thirty-seven on the overall top 100 free downloads list.

Ya gotta hope that those people will help spread the world.  If I can't get another 30-40 reviews out of that many downloads...I don't what I'll have to do.

Thanks to all those that helped spread the word about this free promotion.  We will have another just before the release of the second book.

Thanks again everybody,

J.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm living in the Matrix...

And I took the blue pill.

That's the only explanation I can think of when I keep getting awesome reviews like this.  Another five star review.

Check out the full review here:  http://www.amazon.com/review/RJJBYJSQC9BV6/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B005XHABAO&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=

But here's a snippet:
This is the first review I have written on Amazon but I felt compelled to do so after reading this fantastic book. I bought it thinking that as a 99c book it would be readable and if I was lucky entertaining. Boy was I wrong, it hooked me from the beginning and had me reading into the wee hours on nights when I knew I really ought to be asleep.
Voluntary sleep deprivation is the greatest compliment an author can ever get.

Thanks Mandy! whoever you are, and when you want to buy the sequel at full price, let me know and I will send you a signed copy with a little sketch of Hiero.

Thanks!

J.

Summer Reading!

Start your summer reading off right! This memorial day weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Limbo's Child will be available free to download on Kindle.

It's the only book you'll need this summer. Seriously...it's like the Anna Karenina of humorous vampire action comedy young adult novels. Not joking. Dead serious here. 
Besides, it's nearly 800 pages of fun reading for FREE.  You can't beat a deal like that.

It's a young adult fun fantasy read with lots of action, thrills, humor and some other cliche I'm forgetting...oh! Heart, loads and loads of heart. Ooodles of heart, and oh...blood. Seriously, it's just dripping with the stuff. It's sort of a vampire teenage horror comedy action adventure fantasy kinda thing.

Perfect summer reading, really.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005XHABAO

Big Changes Coming

Big changes are indeed coming.  Not only to the website, but to my life in general.  We are moving... forward on the writing and publication on the second book, but that isn't the only thing that's moving.  We are also leaving behind one life and starting another.  It's scary...and terrifying, and not altogether unhumorous. 

We are also putting together some videos and other promotional materials for the series.  All of this costs money and your help would be greatly appreciated.  So I've decided to add a "donate" Paypal button to the website so that you can show your support.

If you can spare a few dollars we sure would appreciate it as we transition to a new life.



Thanks for everything and as always, share the book with friends.  If enough sell I can make this my full time gig and that means you get the sequels and updates that much sooner.

J.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Live READING! Tonight, May 4th, 8:30 CST.

So tonight I will be doing a live reading online of excerpts from the first book, Limbo's Child as well as a few samples of my next book, The Silver Guitar.

Hope you join us.

Here's the link for Livestream: 

http://livestre.am/UIqJ

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And the raves keep coming in...

Another great Five Star review.  She even mentions the pajamas, which are a running gag throughout the book, but you'll have to read it to find out why.

Another Five Star Review!

It's short and sweet.  Poetry really.

I won't ruin it, just go over and read it here.

FYI - I feel I should mention that I have nothing against a particular volume of popular books on vampires, though I am on Team Jacob.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Live Reading Online and Contest

Just a reminder, I will be performing a live reading, online on Friday evening on May Fourth from the current book, Limbo's Child, as well as select readings from the upcoming book, The Silver Guitar.  We hope to "see" you there. 

Check back here for more details.

Also remember I am holding a "Name that Vampire Contest."  I have a rather nasty and brutish vampire who is introduced in the second book, and who becomes a minor recurring character in the series.  I was having trouble coming up with a suitable name for this thing when I decided to turn it over to the fans.  I will take submissions until the end of August and the winning entry gets a signed copy of the new book from me.

The details and excerpt are here.

Thanks,

J.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Got another GREAT review!

Another thoughtful five star review popped up on Amazon.com.  Here's the link but here's the review in full:
This book starts with an odd premise combining multiple afterlife concepts of some of the more ancient religions and an existential conflict of some of the characters of the afterlife wanting to change or stop death (or rather, Death - being a character). It's a nice paced action filled story, yet with very well developed characters and a thoroughly developed foundation and premise - that remains odd, interesting and intriguing throughout the story. This is not some silly vampire or witch story, it's a full fantasy world and system in conflict and in action! I really enjoyed it! 
Thanks Akiva, whoever you are, for a great review! It's always great to get reviews and yours was especially thoughtful.  I really tried to get the metaphysics of my universe down and when I read reviews like yours it makes me feel like I hit the nail on the head.

If you are ever in my neck of the woods, I owe you a coke. Thanks again.

NAME THAT VAMPIRE CONTEST!

Last night I wrote a really fun scene. 

It their hunt to track down the mystery of "The Cowboy," a rival vampire, the crew take a trip to Texas and wind up in the oil patch south of Odessa.  There "The Cowboy" is hosting a vampire cage match as a sort of audition to join his clan.   Miles and Sky go undercover, after a fashion, and enter to see if they can  get closer to the mysterious "Cowboy." The trouble is, you need an entrance fee...one mortal.  So Lucy winds up as the part of the prize-money in a winner-takes-all fight to the death.  If Sky and Miles lose, well...you get the picture.

Great fun.

At one point however, I introduce a minor, but NASTY vampire for Schuyler to fight.  A real piece of work and I just couldn't come up with a scary name for him.  So I decided, heck, why not have some fun with my fans?!

That's right, I'm holding a NAME THAT VAMPIRE CONTEST.  I will post a description of this nasty vampire and ask for submissions.  I will personally judge the submissions and narrow it down to the final three.  Then I'll let the fans vote on the name they like the best.  The winning pick not only gets to be the name of this vampire in the book, I will send an autographed copy of the new book to the winner once the print edition comes out.

So get working on those names and I'll have the description up tonight.

Update:

So it took me a day to clean this up, but here it is.  This is a vampire that will turn into a minor recurring character in later books.  My initial placeholder name was "Varka" but it wasn't doing it for me.  Looking for something mean, ugly and intimidating.  So get to it!  I'll cut off submissions by the end of August.


A low rattling breathing sound rasped out from behind the metal door. A wave of silence fell over the tittering crowd. Then, from behind the metal wall was animal-like grunting that sounding like something chortling through a throat full of blood. Instantly Hissing and spitting laughter erupted from the vampires. They were teeming with near ecstatic anticipation and barely constrained glee. They knew what was coming through that door, something big, something terrifying, but Lucy couldn’t imagine what could be more horrible than what they had already seen.
            Lucy’s hands tightened on the bars of her cage and she swallowed hard. The other Renfields, the entrance fees and future victims and prize winnings of this vampire fight to the finish were pressing in behind her to get a better look themselves. Lucy put out her arm behind her searching for Nephys, but her eyes never left the ring. Nephys grabbed it, and she pulled him in tight beside her. He buried his head into her arm but still peeked out anxiously. Heart pounding Lucy looked sideways. Mordeth was pressed against the bars herself and instead of puffing her cigarette she began chewing it back until it was all in her mouth, where she chewed it for a moment before coughing and spitting it out.
            In the ring, Sky looked towards the banging metal door opposite him and tried to stand up straight and face it head on despite the lacerations on his back and the swollen mess that was his left eye. He stiffened his spine and tried to shrug off the ache of the last battle as if coming off a workout, before trying to pose like he was in a photoshoot. Lucy sniffed. Even in this battered state, Lucy had to admit he was a wonder. He still tried to carry himself like he was a prince or an underwear model. It was hard to tell which.
The pounding on the metal ceased. Whatever was on the other side seemed to have finally managed the locks. The crowd fell silent in expectation. They saw the handle turning slowly until finally, the tiny metal door swung open with a rusty grating sound and the whole doorframe was filled with a grey-white mass bigger than the whole door. All that could still breathe drew in a breath. The thing was so big it practically had to get on all fours to get through the doorway. It had to tilt one shoulder this way, and then the other way to manage it. At last it pushed through and stood up. Instantly the heartbeats of the still living behind her, which were already beating at near impossible levels of anxiety shot up another three octaves in pitch. The horror of being prize meat for the winner was bad enough. The thought of being eaten by what stepped out of that door was another.
            It was massive, almost comically so, or it would have been comic had it not been so horrifying. It was all out of human proportion. Sky was over six feet but this thing towered over him and was nearly as wide at the shoulders as it was tall, and its arms hung past it’s knees like a gorilla’s. Other than black pants, it had no shoes or shirt or clothes of any kind, its horribly muscled physique was on full display. It was narrow waisted with comparatively skinny legs, but above that it was a just a giant tumor of muscle.
Its flesh was ghastly grey weight and riddled with blue-black veins; its massively muscled form, like a body-builder that had been abusing steroids for far too long. But it was far worse than that, because its muscles were not like any natural muscles, organized in any coherent way but ran all over his body like snakes or tumors in random ripples. Wrapped around his biceps, abdomen, throat and chest were miles of barbed wire, strung so tight the wire was digging into his flesh. Tiny trickles of black blood were streaming down wherever the barbs pricked the skin. It was hard to tell if the wire was there as decoration of to hold his muscles together. They were so large and bulging it was as if they might explode at any moment without it. Looking more closely it was clear that the thing had been through a lot of fights itself, with large gashes across its back and chest. Lucy guessed the wire was there as ad hoc stitches, used to hold the wounds closed so that it could keep fighting. Its feet and hands were huge and ended in long toes and fingers with long black claws, but the most terrifying thing about it was its face.
It was mostly bald except for a long black streak of greasy hair at the back of its head. It had large pointed ears like a bat and a flat face with beady eyes and monstrous fangs. Either its nose had been smashed flat during the fights or it had no nose to begin with, but a long black stain of gore trickled down from its nose and mouth and onto its chest.
“[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]!” One female vampire with wild blood-matted red hair shouted out pointing to the hulking figure. “[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]!” So that was the thing’s name. The crowd exploded into wild cheers and screams, chanting “[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]! [NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]! [NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]!!” Lucy looked around at the manic crowd, flailing, teeth-gnashing. The events of the night had changed them. They were no longer the sleek and pretty things that had filed in hours earlier. Splattered in the black gore of the victims, they were little more than animals now, consumed by bloodlust, pounding the makeshift metal bleachers on the old oil tank arena so hard Lucy thought that it might fall down. She let go of the bars to press her hands against her ears, it was so loud.
[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!] [NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]. They kept chanting, stomping on the metal seats thunderously, cheering this new champion. It...it was just so...inhuman. A cross between a man and something...something else, she couldn’t exactly guess what, a bat or wolf maybe, but it was far worse than anything they had seen so far. How could Sky ever hope to fight that?!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Talking to myself...

Like most writers I do a fair amount of pacing and day-dreaming, working out plotlines, dialogue, what have you.  And I also do a fair amount of talking to myself.  I don't think this makes me crazy however.  It's more like an actor rehearsing his lines than say...the ubiquitous crazy street person that some unwritten law seems to mandate each small town must possess.

So it was quite a surprise to come across the following exchange while revising some dialogue in my current manuscript. 

[This dialogue stinks...change it.]

and then below it just a few lines down...

[No it doesn't, you're an idiot. shut up.]


Now let me back up a bit.  You see, when I write a new novel and I get "stuck" on some issue, I never let it get to me for very long.  Instead I skip over it, and forge ahead.  If needed I put in a small note in brackets [like this] that tells me what was troubling to me, so that I know I need to come back to this part and rethink it some.  At some point in the writing, I will hand this to an outside reader, but at this point, the only one reading the text is me. So obviously, on some past revision, I rethought my original re-thinking and told my past self he was an idiot.  I have no memory of writing either comment.

This raises some questions.

Why didn't I just delete the first edit in brackets, instead of adding a comment to the version of myself from the past?  Was I angry and my former self and just needed to put the old doubter in his place?  It makes no sense.  Doesn't this make me crazy?

Don't answer that.

If you need me, I'll be down on the corner shouting at the emptiness about aliens, dental work and the Denver airport.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapters Online

It's been a while since I started this adventure, so I just wanted to remind everyone that the first nine chapters are available online.

Here are the links:

Prologue: Fred the Unkillable
Chapter One: The Accident
Chapter Two: Nephys
Chapter Three: Lucy
Chapter Four: The Necromancer
Chapter Five: The Marsh of Lost Souls
Chapter Six: Amarantha
Chapter Seven: Hunting Hunters
Chapter Eight: The Bark of Nephys
Chapter Nine: Miles and Schuyler

I'm also going to be putting up more excerpts from later on, as well as doing a live reading May 4th.

So check back here often for more info and excerpts from the upcoming book.

Thanks,

J.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Live Reading...Necromancer's Night

I'm going to be doing a live reading of my book which will be broadcast over the internet.

Not sure if it will be a Google Hangout or a Livestream event but the date is set.

Just before midnight on May 4th, I will begin reading live from Limbo's Child.  The date is significant.  May fourth is the anniversary of the events of Book One! It's the Night Lucy becomes a Necromancer, so I thought it would be fun to revisit Nephys' and Lucy's wild introduction to the world of Necromancers on the date it actually happened.

I will be reading for several hours and I am happy to take requests in advance if anyone would like me to read their favorite parts.

Also, I will be reading excerpts from the next book, The Silver Guitar!  So this will be your first chance to hear about the future adventures of Nephys and Lucy.  Should be fun and I hope to see you there.

I will post final detail here on the blog as we get closer to the actual day.

J.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Downtime for the Blog

I wanted to apologize for the blog being so inactive, but let me assure you, as inactive as it appears here, there's been a ton of activity behind the scenes.  We have been getting the book ready for print and we are embarking on a new marketing campaign in advance of the next book, The Silver Guitar.  Of course I'm right in the middle of writing it still, so that is taking the most time, but it is all gearing up to a big marketing push for the series in advance of Christmas this year.

Should be fun, I hope you enjoy it.  So if the blog traffic seems light, it's just because I'm working behind the scenes on bigger things.  Thanks for all the support so far and I will be writing like mad if I'm not here posting.

J.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Book now available on Amazon! IN PRINT!

You can now buy the book one of three ways.

You can buy it on Kindle.  On Createspace and now, in print form, on Amazon.

Buying it on Kindle is of course the cheapest, and buying through the Createspace page gives me a little extra.

Here's the link: https://www.createspace.com/3807737

The links are available for the Kindle and Print version on Amazon over on the right.

Thanks!

J.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book now available in print from Createspace!

The book is now up and ready to purchase, in actual print and ink! NOW on Createspace! This is print on demand so it is a bit pricey, $20 plus shipping, but remember it's still only 99 cents, and always will be, on Kindle!

Here is the link to the e-store:

https://www.createspace.com/3807737

Friday, February 24, 2012

Print edition of the book coming to Createspace

The e-book revolution hasn't quite reached everyone.  Many expressed interest in the book but had no desire to read it on an e-reader. 

I understand completely.  E-readers have many advantages but there is an unmistakable tactile quality to a paper book, not to mention the reduction of eye strain.

So I am making the book available on Createspace, a print-on-demand subsidiary of Amazon.com.  That means that you will be able to order up a print copy of the book and have it delivered to your home.

The book will be available soon, but in the meantime you can check out this exclusive preview.  It contains an never before seen excerpt from a later chapter called "The Diner" that I know you'll love.  It's the moment that Miles, Tim and Schuyler first meet the book's title character, Nephys, the child of Limbo's Child.

Hope you enjoy it.  Here's the link.  And as always the book is still available on Kindle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One year ago today (or close enough)

I'm not sure if is yesterday or tomorrow, or today, (I didn't think to remember it at the time) but this is approximately the one year anniversary of when I started my novel. Within about 15 days I had nearly 50,000 words written. Within a month and a half, about 130 thousand, and I wasn't even half done yet! That's when I started reading it to Jenn and she convinced me to finish it and publish it. I took most of April and early May off, but when none of my summer courses filled up, I had plenty of free time so I threw myself back into it. I finished by mid-July, but the editing was nearly as big a chore as the writing. By October though, it was up on Kindle. And even more amazingly, so far, everyone seems to like it. Heck...they LOVE it and no one is more surprised than me. It's been a heckuva an adventure and I can't wait to start the next part of the journey. I have no idea if it will ever become a success, I sure hope so, but it's been a lot of fun to come this far.

I'm already nearly 85,000 words into the sequel, but I can still remember which words I wrote first that night a year ago when I started writing just after midnight, the words that started it all. They come from near the end of Chapter Two where I introduce the person, or...THING...that would become the breakout character of the novel...Hiero, the imp.

Here it is, I hope you enjoy it and thanks to everyone for all the support.

From deep inside the house behind him came a hoarse, bleating, honking sound, followed by wheezing and a punctuated “Ka-chunk,” as something metal bit into the ground. He listened to the thing making the sound as it slowly got louder and scraped its way across stone floor until it was nearly right behind him. It was silent for a while and then the thing hooted out a short, impatient blast.
“FAAAARNT!”
Nephys sighed and ignored it for a moment. Then the whooshing, honking, bleating sound became even more indignant. Nephys didn’t need to turn around to know what it was, but he did so anyway, just to keep it quiet.
It was Hiero.
Hiero was a devil, an imp to be precise, from one of the Pits of Punishment. There were many horrifying residents in the lower hells, but the majority of them inspired neither fear nor terror, but rather disgust and even a little pity. Most were, in fact, rather pathetic: misshapen abominations, cobbled together from odd parts and pieces, both inorganic and organic: sting rays with raccoon heads or dogs with the heads of finches with broken table legs for limbs. They were forged from the pure psychic trauma of the damned and lived to torment the souls that had begotten them. Hiero was one of these.
Every once in a while an imp staggered up to Limbo from the depths. There was no one to stop them. Once upon a time, there had been horrible, implacable guards and sentinels with lidless eyes at every ring and crossroad of Hades preventing the residents from mixing, but over time most of those had wandered off or faded away when they had discovered that they weren’t needed. Rarely did anyone ever leave his assigned place. The afterlife, it seemed, was dominated by inertia, and few looked beyond the horizon anymore. You don’t need guards for creatures that have lost all hope.
Still, every now and then, some unknown cataclysm deeper down belched up a few imps and lesser devils who staggered aimlessly across the Plains of Asphodel. Most got bored when they couldn’t get a rise out of the impassive inhabitants of Limbo, and returned to the depths looking for someone new to torment. An imp without a soul to torment was like a squirrel without a nut…desperate and lonely. Hiero was one of the few that had stayed and made himself somewhat useful. He occupied a position here in the houses of the dead somewhere between an indifferent messenger and a cantankerous pet. Perhaps he had lost interest in tormenting souls down below, or maybe he was so pathetic now no one down there was scared of him anymore. That was hard to believe because he was an unholy mess to look at, and even amongst abominations he was noteworthy.
His left arm was a tiny, piglet arm, fleshy pink, hoofed and entirely useless. The right one was long, thin and spidery, with three sharp fingers stained shiny black to the elbow. In this hand he carried a large, ragged butcher knife nearly as big as the whole imp himself. It was so heavy, the imp struggled to lift it at all, but his grip must have been strong because those three spindly, black fingers never let go of it. The right leg was also a short and stubby piglet leg, but that was the only part on the monster that matched another. The left foot was a webbed goose foot – a stiff and arthritic one at that. These two feet were worse than worthless, so much so that Hiero had to use the tip of the butcher knife as a kind of gruesome crutch and walking staff, which probably explained why he gripped it so tightly. With these three limbs he would half shuffle, half pull his body along. He’d stab the knife down and drag the rest of his misshapen carcass forward while his stunted, mismatched legs waddled desperately to keep up. Stab-drag, stab-drag he made his way everywhere he went.
But this was not the most disturbing thing about Hiero. No, the most disturbing thing about Hiero was his body, which wasn’t a body at all. Nephys had seen some revolting amalgamations in his time. He had seen a fish-headed cat with bricks for feet and a parrot-bodied imp with porcupine quills with anteater tongues where its eyes should have been. He had even seen a salamander-bodied imp with the head of a cabbage. But Hiero took the biscuit. His body was a set of bagpipes. The bulbous air bag made up his body. It was made from a sheep’s stomach, all veiny and sickly white. It expanded and deflated with every labored, hooting, honking breath, and if a bright light shone behind Hiero you could see that he was literally gutless. Inside he was all air. What need did an imp in the afterlife have for guts or eating anyway?
The neck, canter and blowpipe of the bagpipes made up his head and shoulders. On his head he wore a black cowl, like a medieval monk. Out of the back of his head, and the long pointed tail of the hood, came the blowpipe complete with a mouthpiece. This functioned something like a blowhole on a beached whale. Disgusting phlegm and spittle wheezed out of the pipe with every struggling, bleating breath. Up front, underneath the dark hood you could see two glassy, fish-like eyes and between them, like the long bill of some bizarre crane, was the flute-like canter, complete with finger holes. Out of the trumpet end of this beak, there flicked a tiny, bloody, red tongue covered in sharp barbs. Hiero had no teeth, lips or jaws to speak of, so it was a good thing he had no stomach. He couldn’t talk or speak either, except in shrill, discordant hoots and honks, but he never seemed to have any trouble making himself understood.
Jutting out of his back, like the bones of a bat wing that had been stripped of their membrane, were the other pipes and drones, blackened and skeletal. They rose and fell with each difficult breath, guttering out discordant tones and shrieks more unsettling than a pack of howling wolves. And when he got angry they stood upright, like the spines on a spiky fish, hollering like a demonic steam organ. The pipes on his back were also tangled up in black, stringy cords, like spider webs or ripped sinews, and from these hung an odd assortment of ghastly flotsam. There was a broken inkpot and an old, bloody whetstone, bits of parchment covered in vile glyphs only known or spoken in the deeper hells and small dead rodents, hairless and eyeless from a lifetime in the depths. And hanging from the largest pipe dangling from the far end on a scarlet silken cord was a severed human foot. Whether these were Hiero’s treasured possessions, or just junk that had gotten stuck there, Nephys didn’t know, and even if he asked, Hiero couldn’t exactly tell him.
Whether Hiero was a damned soul who hated bagpipes so much that he had somehow fused with the instrument of his torture, or whether he was a set of bagpipes whose tone was so awful it had sprung to life as an imp, no one could say. Imps were neither created nor born. Instead, the monstrosities just seemed to pop up from their vulgar surroundings whenever a damned soul arrived. They were all pain, frustration, shame and humiliation personified. Unlike the residents of Limbo, who drifted about in endless stoic repose and resignation, Hiero was always in a foul mood, and frequently flew into psychotic rages. Nephys liked that. It broke the monotony.
In all the houses of the dead, Hiero was the closest thing that Nephys had to a friend. There wasn’t much to like about Hiero. He was a vile abomination: a shrieking, stumbling, near-homicidal bagpipe – but a honking, hollering imp can never sneak up on you, and Hiero seemed to prefer Nephys’ company to any of the other souls here. Maybe he just liked to torment Nephys. Maybe he found Nephys a challenge and secretly wished for nothing more than his pain and degradation, but strangely, in this grey and twilight place where any motivation, even a sinister one, was rare, that was enough.
Nephys turned to face Hiero. The second Nephys made eye contact, Hiero’s impatient hooting ceased, replaced with a low droning breath. Hiero turned and began stabbing and dragging itself away. Nephys knew right away that Hiero wanted him to follow. Out of all the listless occupants of Limbo, there was an interest that only the two of them seemed to share – a morbid fascination with new arrivals that had entered the realm abruptly.
Hiero had obviously just found one.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Weeping Woman

Some people have asked me if any of my characters are based on existing myths and legends...

So Ok, no one has asked me but the answer is yes anyways.  Amarantha/Amanda is based on the legend of La Llorona.  Mexican folklore tells of a woman who drowned her own children, so in punishment she is doomed to wander the earth looking for them.  She is described as a tall spectral figure with long black hair.  Sounds familiar?

I plan on weaving more of the La Llorona legend into the third book when our protagonists actually travel to Mexico and Aztec mythology will be a significant part of the second book, which I'm writing now.

Can't wait to get there.

J.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another review on Amazon.com!!

Joseph, whoever you are, thank you for a wonderful review!  I'm going to name my firstborn after you. Sure, my firstborn was born 14 years ago and she's a girl, but I want my fans to know they come first. ;)

The entire review is below, and he is absolutely right.  The price is awesome.
I seriously LOVED this book! It is definitely a MUST READ if you are into fantasy novels. The characters were complex and believable and the dual story lines made it difficult to ever put the book down. I would be reading about the land of the living wondering what was going on down in Limbo, and then reading about Limbo wondering what was going on up above. The plot was pretty fast paced throughout the book (which I love). Great story with great characters and for an AWESOME price.
Check out all the reviews on Amazon.com here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Musical Inspiration for the Next Book

I'm writing the next book now.  It's tentatively called Silver Chains / Silver Guitar, haven't quite decided yet.

It revolves around a mystical object that is a Silver Guitar, but the silver chains are also important.  Both are objects that have the power to control vampires, and more.

It's a great story, because, well frankly, it's a love story, on the level of Verdi's more tragic operas.  It's about the love between two vampires and how their love gets twisted and nearly unravels the whole world.  There is a lot of early blues and country music involved too.

One of the main characters is one I'm calling Rattlesnake Annie for the moment, but that might change too.

Someday people will ask me my inspiration for her, or at least I hope so, so here it is.  The wonderful Sheila Marshall.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Over 500!

So with the promotion and the most recent sales, the book has been downloaded over 500 times!  That's really impressive.  I can't wait to see what happens in a month or two when those who downloaded the book start talking to friends. 

If you downloaded the book, first, thank you, and second, when you're finished, please write an honest review and share it with others.

J.