Friday, March 16, 2018

Carrion Scourge: Plague of Monsters

Guess what.

My newest novel is NOW AVAILABLE in ebook and paperback. You can follow that link to the Amazon page.

Like every great work of fiction of the past 150 or so years, it features, drama, tragedy, and professional monster hunters battling zombified Antarctic researchers and giant monsters. Basically, the platonic ideal of the Great American Novel, you know? So, what's the skinny on the plot?

The Antarctic is an ice-locked land dotted with research stations and the frozen remains of dead explorers. However, when a large meteor crashes in a remote part of the icy continent, strange claims begin to filter out to the rest of the world.

In South Africa, former big game hunter Denise DeMarco has opened up a new office for professional monster trackers. When a mysterious group asks her to investigate some of the weird happenings on the world’s least-explored landmass, she agrees. However, Denise and her colleagues soon find themselves deep in a life or death struggle for survival. She must face remote outposts swarming with the ravenous undead, frozen hellscapes where gigantic monstrosities stalk the survivors, and madmen determined to protect the meteor’s secrets at all costs. And that’s if frostbite doesn’t kill her first.

Armed with an elephant gun and the knowledge that failure means death or worse, Denise must traverse the bottom of the world and exterminate the creeping horrors that have taken root there.

If you've read my other works, you probably already know that this is the third book in my Carrion series. The first is Carrion Safari, and the second is Carrion Shadows. Do you need to read those to enjoy this one? No, not at all. While there is something of an overarching plot for the series as a whole, it's going on in the background. Each novel works as a standalone adventure.

Like the others, this one was published by Severed Press, purveyors of cryptozoological monster battles to the masses. I don't know who does their covers, but they do good work.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Slow But Sure Progress

Greetings, humble readers. And also you loud, braggart readers. As you do.

If you're an aspiring writer, one of the pieces of advice that you probably hear over and over again is the importance of sitting your butt down in a chair and actually getting some writing done. Now, I'm not the most productive writer to ever walk the earth, but I have done some grinding for EXP points lately. To wit:

I recently completed the first draft of my tenth novel, a standalone work inspired by Michael Crichton-style techno-thrillers.

I'm drawing closer and closer to the benchmark of completing fifty short stories.

The third Carrion book just hit Amazon, and I'll put up links here once the print copy is available in a few days.

I'm almost done editing the second Jasper O'Malley horror-mystery for Grinning Skull Press.

I've been invited to work on a SeCrEt PrOjEcT involving supernatural-themed short stories.

The Beauty of Death 2, which featured my short story "Siren," was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Even if it didn't win, it's still nice to appear among such high falutin' company.

Once the new book is available in paperback, I'll see you again right here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Carrion Scourge: Plague of Monsters

Hear ye, hear ye, humble readers.

It's my pleasure to announce that the second sequel to Carrion Safari has been officially accepted for publication by the good folks at Severed Press. Carrion Scourge: Plague of Monsters will be the third book in the series, and it will follow Denise DeMarco on another adventure.

Let me lay out some highlights for you:

➤ Survival on the frozen plains of Antarctica!
➤ Monster hunters vs the ravenous undead!
➤ Science run amok!
➤ Some rather cross Frenchmen!
➤ Towering, unnatural beasts in an ecosystem of horror!
➤ Elephant guns, naval bombardments, and explosions!
➤ The secrets to immortality and the true memoirs of Bigfoot!
➤ I may have lied about that last part!

So, when can you get your grubby mitts on this gripping yarn? Sometime relatively soon, probably. Mark your calendars.

It should be out shortly after I receive the cover art, which will likely take a few weeks to a few months. You'll see it here after I give it my blessing. Until then, stay tuned.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Write For Your Lives: How Do Payments Work for Writers?

I know a lot of people who are interested in writing professionally but aren't quite there yet, so I'll do a brief spiel on how the money aspect works. There's a few different payment schemes in the writing world.

1) Exposure: Sometimes places will say that they can't pay you with money, but boy howdy, they can give you exposure. Ain't that grand? As a general rule, it's best to run screaming in the other direction from these people. I'm putting this one first because it underscores the point that you always want to get paid with actual money, even if it's not very much.

2) Flat rate and per word payment: Magazines and anthologies usually pay this way, and it's about what it sounds like. "If we accept your story, regardless of length, we'll give you $50." That's the flat rate. A per word payment means (surprise!) you're paid a certain amount based on the word count of your story. Professional rates for horror are usually considered five cents/word. For sci-fi and fantasy, the professional rate is usually considered six cents/word. Most places pay much lower rates than that.

3) Royalties: You probably understand this concept already. In your contract, it will say that X% of every sale of your book goes to you. Then, you receive a check every X months and an accounting of what sold in that period. This works great with novels and absolutely terribly with anthologies and magazines. Once royalties get split up between a bunch of authors, they disappear fast. Depending on when your book comes out, your royalties can do weird things, too. My novel Carrion Shadows came out the day before the publisher's quarterly accounting period ended, so my first check was for a grand total of $3.02. It had only been available for a few hours when the period ended.

4) Advances: This is where the big money comes from. When you hear that some celebrity signed a book deal for several wheelbarrows full of cash, that's an advance. The name comes from the fact that they're an advance on royalties. Generally, the author can't collect any royalties until the book has earned out its advance. If you receive an advance of $5,000, then you don't get any additional checks until your book surpasses the point where you would have earned $5,000 in royalties. Once you've earned $5,001 in royalties, you get a check for $1.00. A lot of books never earn out their advance, so you never see royalties on it. Generally, only large and established publishers offer advances. Smaller publishers only pay in royalties, but they might offer you a higher percentage of each sale.

There you have it. There's other, more obscure ways to make money off your writing, such as contests, but these are the options you see the most. If you read through this whole post, hopefully you found it useful.

Oh, look. It's a way to demonstrate how royalties work.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Updates

It's October, the finest month of the year. If you follow this site, you're probably here for some writing news, so let's do a little inventory of what I've been cooking up lately.

First, what's the forecast on novels?

The second book in the Jasper O'Malley horror-boiled detective series has been picked up by Grinning Skull Press. (Yippee! Hooray! Yay!) There's no release date yet, but you can bet I'll be here to throw a conniption fit of excitement when I receive all that. The second book in the series is called CESSPOOL, and it has what I consider to be my very best plot twist. You don't need to read the first book in the series, Substratum, to enjoy the second one, but it obviously doesn't hurt.

The digital version of Substratum is available right here for $2.99. Just follow the link for a healthy dose of private eye action, blood thirsty monsters, and a mystery set against the backdrop of Jazz Age Detroit.

When CESSPOOL arrives, we'll have new location, even more mayhem, and some ghosts from Jasper's past.

 That's cool and all, but I'm probably best known for my series starting with Carrion Safari and continuing with Carrion Shadows. Is there anything happening on that front? You bet your boots there's stuff happening behind the scenes here. Just how much stuff are we talking here?

How about this? There's two, yes two, new books that have been written and are in the process of being edited. The first is CARRION SCOURGE: PLAGUE OF MONSTERS, and the second is CARRION SEASON: UNNATURAL SELECTION.

I want to have Carrion Scourge in the publisher's inbox by Halloween. I'm pushing it toward something resembling a final draft right now. After the first two books visited a tropical jungle island and the South African veldt, now we're going monster hunting in the Antarctic.

I'll eventually have a nice long post about both books. I won't give you any details about Carrion Season yet beyond the fact that you'll start to see how the overall plot is going to shift toward a longer, more focused series with some recurring elements. The goal is still to ensure that anybody can pick up any of the books and read them in whatever order and enjoy them, but you're going to see a little more overarching plot providing a scaffolding for the series.

The Carrion Series books are all available on Amazon along with all the other projects I'm involved with.

Cool. That's a lot of hot novel action. Is there anything going on with short stories? As a matter of fact there is. I try to write either a short story or a novel every month. This year, I met my yearly quota in August.

From August through September, I wrote six short stories. Two of them have already found homes, and I think two more of them have a good shot at making it into the anthologies they're aimed at. The other two are a little less likely, but we'll see what happens.

Later this month, I plan to have a little more news regarding the short stories that were already accepted. Until then, have yourselves a spooky October.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

For I Am Become...

I recently made the biggest short story sale of my writing career. My story "Siren" was accepted to The Beauty of Death 2 - Death By Water. Why is this such a great sale? Well, check out some of the awesome company I'm sharing space with.

You've got Ramsey Campbell, who is basically Britain's answer to Stephen King. You've got Peter Straub, who a bunch of people remember for co-writing some stuff with Stephen King but also did some influential stuff on his own. You've got literary demi-god Dennis Etchison. You've got prolific novelist of the weird, Edward Lee. You've got the godfather of the splatterpunk movement, David J. Schow. You've got Bram Stoker Award winner and super cool dude Tim Waggoner. You've got the current president of the Horror Writers Association, Lisa Morton. You've got Lucy Snyder, who has won a small pile of Bram Stoker Awards. Plus, there's a bunch of other people I'm less familiar with but who are probably cool.

And then you've got me. Hey. Howdy. What's up? My names at the very bottom, right there. Not too shabby, eh?

My story is the tale of a WWI German U-boat that's been incapacitated and is stuck on the bottom of the Atlantic. As discipline breaks down, things get...weird.

The Beauty of Death 2 should be on sale in October of 2017.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


It's here. Feast your eyes on the cover for CARRION SHADOWS: UNDEAD ONSLAUGHT, clearly a work of great literary subtlety and an understated yet sparkling... Eh, who am I kidding? There's zombies, shambling hordes of ghoulish wildlife, and an undead dinosaur. Elephant guns, explosions, and monsters abound.

Feast your eyes on that cover. When you can bear to tear your eyes away from how cool that looks, let's take a look at the official plot description, shall we?

After years of working as a big game hunter, Denise DeMarco wants to retire to the quiet life of a park ranger. However, a doomed expedition into the caves beneath the game reserve accidentally sends something terrifying bubbling to the veldt’s surface. Something prehistoric. Something hungry. Soon, the dark ecosystem is colonizing the surface world, consuming everything and everyone in its path.

Armed with an elephant gun and years of experience, it’s up to Denise to save the blighted park. Swarms of the oozing undead, relentless poachers, and one very angry dinosaur stand in her way. And even if she survives all that, there’s still something trapped underground that wants out. Primeval horrors and ravenous ghouls lurk around every corner as night falls over the park. Denise must use all her skills if she wants to live through the experience.

She must become the ultimate monster hunter.

 This is an indirect sequel to my previous novel from Severed Press, Carrion Safari. You don't have to read one to enjoy the other.

The ebook is currently live on Amazon, and the paperback version should be available in the next few days.

Because you're here, I'll give you a peek at the logistics that went into it. Carrion Shadows was written over about twenty-five days in October of 2016. Some of it was written in a Portland, Oregon hotel room during a mostly dull attorney convention. With the exception of a few break days, it was written at a rate of about 4,000 words per day, and it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 85,000 words long. Around February, it was edited and eventually shipped off to the publisher for their input.