My new FB author page and a general update

Hey folks!  I can now be found on Facebook here.  On my author page, you’ll find the full first chapter of my novel Ghost At His Back.  If you’re a fan, please feel free to share the page with your friends.

Shifting Furies is undergoing the formatting knife after some disastrous mistakes on my part.  I’m going to do at least one more pass through it when I get it back, but once it’s back in my hands, I’ll be fixing a few tidbits and hopefully getting it out to beta readers soon.

I also started the third novel yesterday, tentatively titled For All the Sins of Man.  It’s looking good so far.  I think the introductory chapter is the sharpest of the three novels.  It might be a darker novel overall, exploring themes like spousal and child abuse.  I think that’s a good thing.  I want my characters’ emotional limits pushed.  I want them to face down questions that don’t have great answers.

When will it be done?  I don’t know.  I’m hoping to get Shifting Furies out by late August or early September, and I’d love to have For All the Sins of Man out maybe by Christmastime, though.  We’ll see!

The first draft of Shifting Furies is done!

I’m happy to announce that the first draft of Shifting Furies (formerly Ghost and the Shifter) is now complete.  I finished it a day or two ago, and forced myself to take a little break before I come back to it and attack it with a machete.  It’s at about 110k right now, and with a bit of detail thrown in, it should top out at about the same length as GATHB.

I’m mostly happy with it.  I think the parts dealing with Brianna are the best of the two novels, giving her some flaws and cracks in her facade that she kind of needed.  Monica Ames, Rankin Flats’ PD’s finest (also known as the Ball Chomper), was also a surprise to me in this one.  I intended her to be a bit of a guide-type character, pointing the MCs in a direction of a crime to set up the novels, and she’s evolved into something more.  It’s nice when a character surprises you like that.

Anyways, editing will start soon.  I plan on taking my time with it and really polishing this one, but it shouldn’t need a full rewrite like GATHB.  I’ll hopefully have it out sometime in August or September.

Halfway home

I’ve been away for a bit, but here’s a quick and dirty progress report and a snippet of the WIP.

I crossed over 60k words today, which is probably a little bit more than halfway done with the novel (though I’ve added at least a chapter beyond what I had written in the synopsis, so my frame of reference is no longer valid).  Mind you, that’s just the first draft, though I’m happy with the work so far, minus one chapter that feels largely stationary.  I’m also not sure about the placement of a certain out of state trip the MCs go through – it’s a bit out of place and feels like it should either open their store or come earlier.  We’ll se

But I like it so far.  It’s been a lot of fun to see how these characters cope and heal.  Not to mention the fight scenes in this one are just absolutely brutal and a whole lot of fun to write.  Here’s a taste of that:

At Valentine’s place, she parked a quarter of a block away.  She got out, tucked the gun back in her pants, and pushed a tissue to her nose.  The house was dim, but Valentine’s car was in the driveway and the indistinct chatter from a movie could be heard all the way outside.  Making a point of sneezing as she made her way to his door, she could hear him moving around inside, pausing the movie, walking towards the door even before she rang the bell.  “Who is it?” he asked cautiously, well away from the door.

She sneezed again and muttered miserably, “Id’s me.”  She’d heard the prostitute’s voice when she’d followed her to the apartment and thought it was a reasonable facsimile of the tone and pitch, if not the specifics.  From inside, Valentine brushed open the curtain.  She blew her nose into the tissues and sneezed again.

“You sound like shit.”

“Allergies.”

“Hang on.”  There was a pause, and then the sound of locks being unfastened.  He opened the door and stood back, giving her room to enter.  “Didn’t call the service tonight.  What’s up?”

She brushed past him, letting him close the door.  “Are you alone?” she asked.

“Yeah.  You’re sure it’s allergies?  Don’t need a cold right now.”

“Fix me a drink?”

He sighed.  “Sure.”  Making for the kitchen, he led the way.  She rolled up her blouse sleeve and ripped the tape off the needle, letting it drop into her palm.  A bottle of cheap whiskey sat on top of the fridge.  He reached up for it and she flicked the cap of the needle off.  He glanced back at the sound of the plastic plinking off the ground just a moment before she jabbed him in the shoulder with the anesthetic.  Too high, damn it.  The needle scraped and broke off the bone, the injection rendered useless.  He barely had time for a yelp of pain before she was already adapting.

Whipping out the can of pepper spray, she turned, dropping the tissues.  His instincts kicked in and he brought a hand up to block the spray, but not before the shifter caught the edge of his vision with a blast of the stuff.  Instead of staggering away or wiping at his eye, he just turned the rest of his face away from her and trapped her arm, blinking away tears.  “What the fuck, Penny-?”

Then he saw her nose.  They were so close now they could kiss.  The details were close, but it was like looking at a photocopy of an already bad picture of someone he knew.  The generalities were right, but the details were just off – her nose was way too misshapen, the cheekbones not quite defined enough, her chin lacking a scar from another john.  Even the color of her eyes was just slightly off.  “Who are you?”

The shifter snarled at him.  From a pocket somewhere she produced a knife and slashed at him.  He snapped back, but not fast enough and the blade sliced through his shirt sleeve and across his shoulder.  A skirting cut, but not one to be ignored with his condition.  The next slash caught only air as he danced backwards, hands reaching behind him for the knife block on his counter.  She saw the move coming and feinted towards him with the blade.  He snapped his uninjured hand up to block and she changed directions, slashing him across the belly.  Another quarter of an inch of reach and she’d have gutted him.  The red gash bloomed and he grunted with pain, but he finally found the edge of the counter with his other hand and, unseeing, grasped at the knife block and pulled one out.

Valentine snarled triumphantly and slashed forward.  It was her time to jump back, flailing outward and knocking over a stack of dishes and dashing them in dozens of pieces upon the floor.  Her fingers brushed the edge of a glass and she tossed the blade to her other hand.  She grabbed the glass and threw it at Valentine.  Too experienced to flinch, he let it bounce off his chest and kept pushing forward, bringing the knife up in a practiced stance, the handle gripped firmly and blade up.  She had her own in a defensive position, the blade down but facing out.  Punching out with a tight left cross, she managed to slice his chest ever so slightly before he brought his own knife up and into her guts.

He roared triumphantly and knocked the blade out of her clawing hands.  Pain and heat ripped through her innards.  She fell to her knees, hands on the blade as Valentine stumbled back towards the counter, breathing heavily.  “Who are you, you bitch?” he asked again.

She shook her head and grinned at him.  The chuckle bubbled out of her and turned into a full on laugh.  The pain was dying out already, replaced by that old curious stitching sensation as her body rebuilt itself.

Furious, he launched himself back off the counter and punched her across the face.  “What’s so funny?” he shouted and hit her again.  “What’s so fucking funny?”

She pulled the knife out, little by little as he kept striking her.  Even if she’d wanted to speak, she couldn’t.  He broke her jaw on the fifth or sixth hit, sending stars across her vision and nearly causing her to black out for a second.  But it wasn’t enough, not with her metabolism roaring along like a train.  Her bones immediately started knitting themselves.  When he made the mistake of punching her with his bad hand, the wounded one he’d cut open a day or two before, she knew she had him and yanked the blade the rest of the way up as he jerked his hand back and shook it.

Eyes wide, he had just enough time to register her recovery before she sank the blade into his hip.  He screamed and fell backwards as she rose to her feet, her belly wound already closing.  She grabbed the other knife, her knife, and fell upon him, striking him with lightning fast little nicks, opening up wounds that on anybody else at any other time would have been trivial.  But he was already bleeding profusely and the toll on his body was starting to add up.  The whole front of his shirt was as red as a cherry.  He grabbed at the table before he could fall and she stabbed him in the side, blade punching through the skin and the fat effortlessly.

On its own, the blade wasn’t sharp enough to do more than puncture him, but with her strength, with the additional calories burning in her, she’d grown muscle mass beyond what was normal and yanked the knife through his liver, his pancreas, and into his intestines.  It caught on something and the blade snapped.  Still on his feet, he gaped down at the little bit of visible steel jutting out of his side.  Shock hadn’t yet dulled his pain and he shrieked.  Desperate to shut him up, she grabbed him by his jaw and yanked down hard, breaking the bone and ripping it, skin, tendons, and cartilage all alike from his neck and head.  Blood sprayed everywhere and he collapsed into a boneless heap, dead before he hit the ground.

She dropped his jawbone down on top of him, staggered back to the door and locked it.  Her metabolism had reached its peak and she could feel it cannibalize her fat and muscles.  Weakly, she stumbled back towards the kitchen for something to eat, anything to give her enough energy to change into one of his shirts.  She’d need to change out of her clothes soon.  If the neighbors hadn’t heard their fight, she’d still need to get back out to the Jeep for the tools and the food.

She glanced down at Liam Valentine’s corpse as she staggered past.  He stared straight up, eyes wide in eternal pain.  His tongue lolled down where his jaw should have been, nearly touching his neck.  The violence unsettled her stomach, but she had nothing left in her to spit up.  Time to change that and then figure out how to best become Hammond Stroud.

The Ghost and the Shifter – Progress Report

I shot past the 1/3rd mark in The Ghost and the Shifter last night.  Feeling pretty good about that.  I like the draft so far.  It doesn’t quite have the horror elements that Ghost At His Back did, but the series was always meant to be flexible in terms of themes.  It’s still very grown up, with pretty graphic violence and plenty of sex.  I’m going to pick through it sometime next week and maybe post a chapter up here for your reading pleasure.  At least, I hope it’s pleasure, anyways.

The draft is shockingly solid up till this point. With GATHB, I knew about at this point in the novel it would require a rewrite to change some fundamental things.  With this one, my only major complaint is that, again, it’s sort of dialogue heavy and could use more fleshing out.  I’m not sure it’ll be as long as GATHB – whereas that one came in at 130k words, I’m guessing this one will come in somewhere between 110-120k.  There’s a tighter focus and fewer villains to track, but more side character stories.

I’m really fond of Brianna’s story arc in this one.  This is a book largely about recovery and trying to heal, which just might not be possible for our vigilante duo, particularly Bri.

Anyways, I hope those of you who picked up GATHB are enjoying it, and if you are, don’t worry – it won’t be terribly long before you get to read the further adventures of Garrett, Murphy, and Brianna.

The Ghost At His Back is up on Amazon!

And here’s a link!

This is the first book I’ve ever written.  I’ve finished drafts of novels before, mostly a crappy horror novel back in the late aughts, but this is the first one I’ve ever published.  It’s rough – I didn’t have the money for proper editing – but I’m proud of it.  I wrote the first and second drafts in just over two months, with that second draft being a complete rewrite.  That’s the most words I’ve ever written in… ever.  Crazy.

The Ghost and the Shifter

I started writing The Ghost and the Shifter today, the follow-up to The Ghost At His Back.  I’m really happy with the progress I made, knocking out a first chapter I’m pretty okay with.  Hopefully I can keep up this pace, though I’ll be taking a small break when E3 comes around in June.  I’m hoping to have the central trilogy of novels done by the end of the year, with plans to start work on my fantasy series next year.

The music behind Rankin Flats

While I wait on my advance readers and the final edits to the cover (and to avoid doing real work), I figured I’d share some of the music that helped inspire and shape the direction of the Rankin Flats novels.  This is a growing playlist and will be added to throughout the years as I write more and more.  Enjoy!  It’s an eclectic list and I purposefully only included one song from each artist (for the moment – that might change later), but there were multiple songs that could have qualified here from John Carpenter, the Black Keys, and Blackmill.  There’s no particular set order in which these should be listened to, so have at them.