Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Obscured, Book Three

It's already been five short months since Book Two of The Obscured came out, which means at least some of you have had the chance to read City of Demons by now. So, any thoughts? Good? Bad? I'm always open to criticism, believe me. Over on Amazon the book has exactly one review right now, so, please, click over and take a minute to tell me what you thought, and the same goes for Book One. You're only helping me and the future of the series by telling me (and the world) what works for you and what doesn't.

Speaking of the future, I'm also announcing the first details on Book Three, including the reveal of the title, which you can see in the first, official teaser image below. The name of The Obscured, Book Three will be...


Hot Dirt follows Liam Cain, semi-reformed killer looking for a place to hide in the desert, who instead finds himself in the middle of a fight between two ancient enemies. The release date is TBA, all I can say is it's coming sometime in Spring of 2016 and I'll leave it at that.

That's it for now. Hopefully soon I'll be sharing some news on an interesting new way to read books, including my own. It's a format I'm excited to be a part of that I think has a lot of potential if it gets off the ground. I'm always up for an experiment, so we'll wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

It's Alive

The second book in The Obscured series, City of Demonsis out on Kindle. For you tree-haters in the group, I expect the paperback to be out by the end of the week, so keep an eye out for that, you two. It also means Shallow Veins, the first book, is free until the 13th. Not like free to date or pursue a career, free to read. It's just a sale. This is for four days only, so download now and read at your leisure. As always, you don't need a Kindle to read a Kindle book.

City of Demons took a while to come together, but I think the longer development has been kind to it. Where the first book was Butcher kind of stumbling across this widening mystery, this time around the universe of The Obscured has really begun to expand. Events are set in motion that will have repercussions in future books, and new characters- the ones that make it out alive- will return to cause problems for our heroes.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Salt in the Dark River

I have a new short story up on Inkitt for their 'Darkest Place" horror contest. The first part is here, the rest of it past the link. Make sure to vote for it if you enjoy it.

 The house sat empty at the top of the hill. Its security lights were a beacon in the night, like a lighthouse alone in the mist, warning ships away from the kiss of sharp shores. The closest neighbor was further away than a man could throw a rock, a fact that didn't appear to be a coincidence.

Inside its smooth walls, gray hardwood spread out across an expansive, single floor. The leather furniture decorating the space looked like someone’s idea of a futuristic catcher’s mitt and felt half as cozy, chosen, as was the case for much of the house, for color more than comfort. Doubly so for the tank of tropical fish that shimmered against the far accent wall. Its forty-odd gallons of water sparkled in the dark, cared for by a professional who came out to the house on alternating Tuesdays.

Overhead spotlights clicked to life. They were triggered by the abrupt opening of the heavy front door. A burst of cool air was followed into the house by Douglas, the owner. He shut the door just as quickly as it had swung open, his gray, unblinking eyes flecked with bits of blue.

Three hard clacks and the door was locked. Four beeps and the alarm system was activated.

In the kitchen, Douglas stood at the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of water, drinking it down in one gulp, then did the same with a scotch. He was thirsty and had been for some time. His nerves were on fire and needed extinguishing. After another scotch, this one over ice, he drew the blinds and ran the shower until the mirror couldn't be seen. Then he undressed and stepped in.

Under the hot water, Douglas kneaded his sore neck like a baker working a tough batch of dough. Three days now it had been stiff, three days of limited movement, of waking in the mornings with a cry. The rub helped, but he knew within twenty minutes of getting out of the shower his neck would be back to the way it had been before. A masseuse was in order, he thought to himself, one of those cute girls he always passed by at the gym. The thought alone was enough to relax him.

The little hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood up. He felt the unmistakable presence of a man standing just behind him. He rubbed the water from his eyes to catch the intruder in the act, ready to pounce on him in a commotion of fists. But he was alone in the steamy shower, and though the feeling faded the longer he kept his eyes open, Douglas swore he could feel subtle changes in the direction of the air- shifts so slight they didn't move the shower curtain.

Almost like breathing, yet soundless, and cold.

Ready for bed, Douglas turned off all the lights in the house. As he went from room to room he checked the windows to make sure they were locked properly, noting with some comfort the wires of the house's alarm system. He had settled into a decent state after two large scotches and a hot shower, and he looked forward to a good night's sleep for a change. He crept into the bedroom, slipped between the cool covers and let his eyes close of their own accord.

The house was quiet. Secure. A few odd moments in the shower notwithstanding, Douglas felt the closest to content he could expect. Already the silken kiss of sleep was swallowing him down, like sinking into the warm sap of a thousand, billowing trees.

“Tastes like salt.”

A whisper in his ear. He jolted awake at the man's voice, with it the sensation of breath on his face. A moment later came the loud bang of something hitting his bedroom window from the outside, first the impact, then the shimmy of glass dancing in its frame. It sounded like a fist had pounded at the window. He threw the covers off and jumped out of bed, looked around the room for whoever had whispered to him. Once he was sure he was alone, he yanked the curtains open.

No one. Just his front yard, a hill which sloped down to the empty street, all of it blanketed in yellow-white moonlight. Douglas leaned in close to look under the window. Possibly the trespasser had ducked down and was hiding against the house, tucked in behind the azaleas.

A black bird twitched in the grass. Its wings flapped in erratic rhythms and its legs were two, hardened sticks. Douglas looked for and found a sign that the bird had hit his window- an impression of the animal's shape had been left behind, a fine silhouette rendered in dust, the body at the center and the two feathery wings spread outward. The bird continued to twitch in the grass until the movements slowed, its solid, black eyes finally drained of sight, left to stare unfocused into the sky.

Douglas watched the bird die. Then he returned to bed.

The rest:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shallow Veins is here.

The day has come: Shallow Veins, my fourth book, and the first in a series, is alive. Since announcing it four months ago it's seen a successful Kickstarter campaign, the hiring of an excellent artist by the name of Michael Macrae, and as per normal, multiple edits. The end result is in my opinion the strongest work I've put out to date.

Obviously there's an issue with distance here- not only did I write the thing, I JUST wrote the thing- but as my second harshest critic (top spot went to this guy), I think the book came out really well. It definitely has me excited to continue the series, which is a good thing considering I'm planning to put out two entries per year. This is by far the biggest challenge I've set for myself, but I know that without pushing past our comfort zones we never really grow. A bit like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, except when I push out of my coffee can, I'm not planning to eat anyone.

Not planning to.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Mountain and The City Coming to Audiobook

Thanks to ACX, I can officially say that my first audiobook goes into production starting Monday. Sometime by Christmas you'll be able to listen to The Mountain and The City: The Complete Saga in its entirety.

The book will be voiced by the talented Victoria Smart, @smartvic on Twitter, and if what I've heard so far is any indication, it promises to be a unique and emotional ride, a real performance rather than a simple reading. I'm probably anticipating this project more than anyone else, because I'm looking forward to being able to experience one of my novels without having to look at the actual text, which more than anything becomes a regret-fest: "Why did I put that comma there?" "Did that dialogue really need a character tag?" These are the things that clench my stomach and ruin my afternoon, and if it sounds a little excessive, all I can say is, A) it probably is and B) that's fine, and I hear you, I do, but I can't do anything about it. Audio has a great way of wiping all that aside by making it real. Hearing an actor perform your work is usually equal parts terrifying and exciting, but in the rights hands it can lean joyfully toward the exciting. Thankfully, I found the right hands.

I'll update when there's an update. Until then.