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.



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.


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.


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.



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.