Monday, September 30, 2019

Update: She Lives!

A quick update based on the preoccupying incident mentioned the other day.

My mother is recovering from her stroke nicely.

Though the doctors have revised their opinion. It may not have been a stroke. It may have been a migraine... A migraine that caused word salad, partial paralysis, vertigo, that sort of thing.

This is the fourth time she's been in the hospital for a stroke. Maybe the fifth. It has been suggested that they were all migraines of this caliber. But the doctors can only suggest that in retrospect, with the glory of 20/ 20 hindsight.

We know she's had at least one stroke in the past -- there is definite evidence of one previous stroke. But the doctors can't tell when it happened, why it happened, or if it was serious enough to have been apparent at the time.

If you're wondering why I was a little casual in the previous blog about "mother with stroke," this would be why.

So, yes. My mother lives. I'm going to have a conversation with the doctors before they kick her out of the hospital. Though we have no idea when that might be. Though I'd love to know when the heck can block migraines.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A blog on blogging

I'm a little preoccupied just now, but I really should get a blog out there today. 

I've been told that one of the reasons for social media is for getting you, yourself out there, because readers who like you, personally, will buy your books, or review the books after they've read them, or do any of the dozen little things that help an indie author like me get by.

I, personally, think that's less than a great idea. Why?

Hey, my mother just had a stroke, could you buy and review my thriller serial Too Secret Service? Part two of which is out on Tuesday?

See how that really doesn't work very well? In fact, at all?

To quell any whiplash you might have, yes, my mother is really in the hospital with a minor stroke. That's not an egregious example on my part. Though no, I'm not overly concerned yet. It's the fourth one of those she's had in 10 or 15 years. It may be the second one she's had this year. She was gotten to the hospital within 2 hours, and given the anti-clot factor she needs in order to break up any clots in her brain. (Look up TPA if you're interested in the exact medication)

Of course, this included taking photos of her medication so the doctors knew exactly what she was taking, because she takes so much over the counter supplements and pills that it's not going to fit legibly on an 8x11 sheet of paper, to heck with an index card.

Right now, I have to wait to call for an update, as they are holding my mother overnight. So, yay.

The first one of these she had when she was still working. Have I mentioned that she worked in a microbiology lab for a hospital? Funny that. She went straight to the ER, they took their sweet flipping time about it, and it was me, my sister and my father all in the ER, and we were all reading books. Why? Because what else were we going to do?

Though the nurses were a little confused about why we were so calm.

But now, how exactly does one segue from that to "buy my books?" Really, now, is that at all sporting? Or does that sound more like the province of a complete sociopath? I'm going to go for the latter.

Honestly, wouldn't you rather listen to how I wrote an epic thriller about blowing up parts of the free world? Doesn't that just make more sense?

And yes, for those who are concerned, I'll have an update for when as and if something happens.

No, I'm not worried ... mainly because worrying accomplishes nothing right now.

All prayers appreciated.

If the medical bill looks bad, then yes, all book purchases will also be appreciated, but we'll drive off that bridge when we get to it.

I hope to get back to more cheerful subjects, like murder, gunfights and explosions, in short order.

Friday, September 27, 2019


For those of you who aren't Catholic -- and some of you who are, but don't keep up with such things -- this weekend is the Feast of Saint Michael (Michaelmas). 

If you've read my War Demons review (and honestly, if you haven't, why haven't you?) you know that the works of Russell Newquist center on a modern paladin who fights with the sword of Saint Michael. 

So Russell has put all the books on sale this weekend for $0.99. In solidarity with the man who signs my check, I'm spreading the word on my blog. And if you wouldn't mind, please spread the word about good badass Christian fiction this weekend. (If you don't, you're a bad Christian... non-Christians can please ignore this note. Heh)

The books are on sale now, and will be on sale through the end of the day on Monday at all sales outlets listed below.

The hashtags are also cute.
"Not your father's #ChristianFantasy"#Michaelmas#FeastOfSaintMichael

As for the pricing
  • Ebook: $0.99 (normally $3.99)
  • Paperback: $9.99 (list price $14.99)
  • Hardcover: $19.99 (list price $29.99)
The outlets are as follows

Oh, yes, and there's Vigil .... a novella I haven't reviewed yet -- I only just tried to open the review copy and found it corrupted, so, my fault.

The pricing on Vigil.
  • Ebook: $0.99 (normally $2.99)
  • Paperback: $4.99 (normally $5.99)
And the outlet links.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Influences of Too Secret Service

Too Secret Service, part one, is finally out. It is bat guano insane, action heavy, and thankfully, THERE IS NO POLITICS IN IT WHATSOEVER.

(If you think that the ending and villain is political.... it was written in 1999, so no.)
This was a strange book series, because a lot of it ended up being influenced by why I was reading at the time.

To start with, I was reading a lot of the early Jon Land novels, staring his professional badass Blaine McCracken. They were full of action and nonstop running. They were on par with Dirk Pitt novels. Maybe they were even better. The villains were all insane and over the top ... though I think my main villain wasn't quite as insane.

You can see some of the fingerprints still kicking around. There is a computer geek in the novel named Blaine Lansing -- the exact opposite of McCracken. Though "I'm going to use a computer hacker" was more inspired by Tom Clancy's NetForce novels. (If you ever get a chance to watch the tv movie ... read the novels.)

We won't even go into Dances With Werewolves. That book was more influences by the Modesty Blaise novels. If anyone ever tells you "female James Bond," hit them with the hardcover omnibus edition of Modesty Blaise. Then take them to the hospital after they are concussed. This series was particularly gonzo, but fun as well. And they had no problem with blurring genre lines between thriller, fantasy and science fiction (also like Bond). Modesty Blaise was another series with a Male / Female character duo.

Monday, September 23, 2019

On Balancing Characters (Too Secret Service)

Too Secret Service
Part 1
Twenty years ago (give or take a few months) I had heard that there was an operations department that investigated threats against the President. Wouldn't it be interesting to have a Secret Service agent as an action hero? (Trust me, I was not a fan of Brad Thor at first. There are days I'm still not).

The personality came easy. The Secret Service always struck me as more straight-laced and uptight than old school FBI (when Hoover had his agents as largely lawyers and accountants). I gave him a backstory that made him even more tightly wound. Though that would be cut out in further edits.

Just to make his life growing up more difficult, I gave him the name of the Atlanta Kidnapper, serial killer Wayne Williams.

The personality of his family came easier. Basically, my hero would be the most uptight, tense fellow of a fairly calm family. His father, an army Ranger, is far more laid back. His brother was a Catholic priest. You may remember them from A Pius Man. They were ... around.

But in all things, there must be balance. I wanted someone who was his personal equal and opposite. Wayne was a male Secret Service agent, therefore she had to be an assassin (she had to be CIA, I figured it was the most likely agency to have assassins). She would be relaxed and casual about her job. 

She would be named Catherine Miller.

Catherine came from Catherine Bell (pictured right), an actress I had a crush on at the time (please recall, I was a teenager at the time), from a TV show called JAG. (Oh Lord, I can't imagine the flak that show would get today.)

The last name of Miller ... was grabbed at random. My family insisted I must have stolen it from David Niven's explosive expert in The Guns of Navarone. I can't say that I recall it. But I will highly recommend the film (preferably on a double bill with Where Eagles Dare).

Too Secret Service
Part 2
Much to my surprise, as I reread them recently, I never made either of them a Mary Sue. (I was surprised because I was a teenager, and the books still held up). When I put Catherine up against someone twice her size, she either killed them from behind, shot them in the head, or spent a lot of time dodging. When Wayne was being shot at, he had body armor. 

I wanted both to be athletic. I had been impressed with ballerinas who made action stars, because I liked a lot of the moves that I thought of as "double jump kicks" were just tour jete (you do not want to know how much research I had to do to work back to the actual name). I wanted Wayne to do a lot of impressive melee, so he had taken ballet -- Mikhail Baryshnikov's was the definitive Nutcracker in my household. With Catherine, I made her a gymnast so I could have her do utterly insane things as well. 

He came up to people and confronted them directly. She was a bit of a shape shifter who liked her disguises.

She liked guns, he liked knives.

And damn, these two just kinda fit.

Yes, I was a romantic idiot even then.

But it was fun balancing the two characters, and making sure one didn't top the other. They each had different skill sets and made up for each other's deficiencies. 
Anyway, I had a great time writing this books. I suspect you'll enjoy them, too.

Friday, September 20, 2019

DragonCon 2019 AAR: Jim Butcher Solo Panel

Do I even need to do an intro for this one? It's Jim Butcher

And if you're new here, you're just in time for my new releases: 

Too Secret Service Part 1        Too Secret Service: Part 2   

Too Secret Service: Part 3

Music to write to: Fields of Verdun

This has got to be the most upbeat song about one of the most desolate battles in history. Seriously guys, Cannae was over within a day. And that was pure suck.

Of course, the most reasonable follow up to this is the cover by Minniva, who makes bad songs sound awesome, and good songs around awesome.

And next is where things get bat guano insane. 

In honor of Storming Area 51, here's a parody of Fields of Verdun, based exclusively on memes. And no, not even I understand all of the references

And speaking of Storming Area 51, the anthology of the same name comes out today. So be sure to pick up a copy.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Thursday, September 19, 2019

DragonCon 2019: Visitors From Beyond: Ghost and Spirits in UF

Ghosts of all varieties, from the helpful to the truly terrifying, make appearances in the works of our panel authors, who will explain why they chose to use these beings in their work.

Panelists: Jim Butcher, Eric R. Asher, Walter H. Hunt, Leanna Renee Hieber, Amanda DeWees, Tim Powers. Moderator: Carol Malcolm

And if you're new here, you're just in time for my new releases: 

Too Secret Service Part 1        Too Secret Service: Part 2   

Too Secret Service: Part 3

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Zachary Levi Dragon Con Panel, AAR, August 30, 2019

Zachary Levi talks about his movie Shazam, his TV show Chuck, and other roles at a Dragon Con Q and A on August 30, 2019

And if you're new here, you're just in time for my new releases: 

Too Secret Service Part 1        Too Secret Service: Part 2   

Too Secret Service: Part 3

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

DragonCon 2019: Magic Systems 101

A primary component of urban fantasy, the sources and uses of magic vary widely within the genre. Our panelists will explain the forms magic takes in their work and the role it plays in the stories they tell.

Panelists: Patricia Briggs, Melissa F. Olsen, R.R. Virdi, Jim Butcher, Tim Powers, Marie Brennan. Moderator: Carol Malcolm

And if you're new here, you're just in time for my new releases: 

Monday, September 16, 2019


I am happy to announce that I am returning to the world of A Pius Man, and going back to self-publishing thrillers.

And first up, Too Secret Service, a thriller in three parts.

And all three parts are up for pre-order.
Wayne Williams is a Secret Service agent sentenced to the outer darkness because his family pissed off the wrong president.

Catherine Miller is a CIA assassin who specializes in becoming anyone.

When terrorists threaten to nuke every spot on the President's world tour, they are both called in to handle the threat.

To stop World War Three, they must travel from Ireland to Rome to Israel. They will have to face terrorist gunmen, professional assassins and nuclear suicide bombers... and perhaps even a threat from within.

But first, they must survive each other.


I can hear what you're thinking -- 
Declan, WTF? Three parts? Just how long is this book?
It's more than twice the length of the longest Saint Tommy novel. Meaning it's three times as long as the minimum for a Hugo novel. Yes, I checked.

Keep in mind, Too Secret Service is back from the mists of time, when I just wrote because I was having fun blowing stuff up in exotic locations and having lots of character moments in the down time ... which were also to be interrupted by gunfire. You know, a nice quiet novel.

Irony is that this was one of my first thrillers. I think I wrote it just before or just after It Was Only on Stun! An early draft of Stun! had Catherine Miller (named above) show up to the convention. In fact, The Pius Trilogy was originally going to be the end of a series of novels where all of the secondary characters joined forces. If you haven't read my other books, you don't need to do that in order to understand what's going on here. If you have, the cross-cannon cameos are going to be entertaining.

Though if you think that's fun, just wait until the next volume, Dances With Werewolves.

Should I ask what you're blowing up this time?
Dublin. Northern Ireland. Rome. Masada. Parts of DC. The Cloisters. Central Park. 

Again, three parts? Why not one?
Because I'm greedy...

Okay, no. Because I put in a lot of work on this book, it's really long, and frankly, if I priced it "fairly," it would be prohibitively expensive. This way, if people think it sucks, they can simply not buy part 2. I have priced part 1 on par with other full novels of equal length. 

Will there be a paperback of the full novel?
Eventually. I need a cover first. 

Does that mean Silver Empire fired you?
Nope. It's just that Silver Empire is going heavy on urban fantasy, superheroes, and will be branching out into SciFi with a space opera that will be released sometime next year. Watch for that, and the upcoming Saint Tommy novel, Deus Vult. But this is off-brand. And as much as I like to drop books on Russell and Morgon, this is something I can put my own staff on without piling more on top of them. Yes, I have staff. My wife made the covers. Ain't they nice?

You can pre-order Too Secret Service Part 1 right here. And if you trust me enough to lay money on me, you can purchase Too Secret Service: Part 2 and Too Secret Service: Part 3 right here.

Let's have some fun.

David Tennant Dragon Con Panel AAR

Time to mix it up a little.

Have some Media guests.

David Tennant talks about being the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who, Crowley from Good Omens and other roles at Dragon Con August 31, 2019.

David Tennant talks about being the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who, Crowley from Good Omens and other roles at Dragon Con August 30, 2019.

Friday, September 13, 2019

DragonCon 2019 AAR: Heroes of High Fantasy

Authors of High Fantasy meet and tell us their tales of adventure and derring-do!

Panelists: Aleron Kong, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Marie Brennan.

Moderator: Jennifer Liang

And if you're new here and would like to try out some books.Try the ones on the right hand side.

Saint Tommy, NYPD

Love at First Bite

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

DragonCon 2019 AAR: Male Stars of Fantasy/SF

The best of the best tell their secrets of successful writing careers.

Panelists: Jim Butcher, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Stackpole, Robert J. Sawyer, Brandon Sanderson. Moderator: Nancy Knight

And if you're new here and would like to try out some books.Try the ones on the right hand side.

Saint Tommy, NYPD

Love at First Bite

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Dragon Con 2019 AAR: Contemporary Vampires

So, obviously, this is one that I'm interested in, of only because I'm on it. It was my first panel on the first day, at 10am... yes, I know that they have panels on Thursday now, but Friday is what I still think of as The First Day.

Anyway, this has a whole bunch of people, and some good ideas.

In this panel authors discuss how they refreshed everybody's favorite variety of undead for use in their works.

Speakers include authors R.E. Carr Declan Finn Clay Gilbert J.F. Lewis Mari Mancusi Lisa Manifold

NEW RELEASE; Storming Area 51, an anthology

Image may contain: 1 person, text

So, I'm in a new anthology, from Bayonet books.

It's called Storming Area 51.

It's gonna be a little strange.
Thirty-five awesome stories – one kick ass meme that started it all.

It started as a joke. Storm Area 51 they said.

"They can’t stop us all" was the battle-cry.

But all laughter stopped when the U.S. Air Force mobilized the reserves and pulled out the big guns.

It was too late, relentless mockery and derision by the media and the powers that be had pushed the weebs and alien enthusiasts too far. What else were they supposed to do?

They put on their big girl panties and showed up, determined to find out exactly what was hidden behind the walls of the clandestine government facility.

Buy this book and share in the terrible secrets concealed deep behind the barbed wire, fences and armed guards.

C.J. Carella - Naruto Charge
J W Kiefer - Dark Mater
Walt Robillard - More to Carry
Michael Gants - Eminent Domain
Sarah A. Hoyt - Sunny Side Up
Alice Peng - Embasy City Delivery
Jamie Ibson - The Sarge V'Sal
Tim Niederriter - Destinys End
Philip Ginn - Waterbenders in the Desert
Chris Winder - The Cricket
E. A. Shanniak - Stalking Death
Marisa Wolf - Home
Aaron Seaman - #Vaporize Doug Burbey - Shift Work
Nathan Pedde - The Rise of the Ghids
Tim C. Taylor - Angel-51: Princess of Earth
Casey Moores - Sanity Check
J. R. Handley & Cisca Small - Love Finds Away
I. Ronik - Fallout - A Vapid Vixens Short
Michael J. Allen - Crashing the Party - A Scion Story
Alex C. Gates - Controlled Chaos
Declan Finn - Area 51 is Not Enough
IQ Malcolm - Kyle: Respawned
Milissa L. Story - Paradise Ranch
J. William Adler - Viva la RevoluciĆ³n
Joshua M. Young - Evan and Kyle Meet the Survey Cube
Sophie J. Shepherd - Nothing’s Gonna Happen
Lawrence N. Oliver - Hanger Nine
Mel Todd - Routine Duty
Drew Avera - Storm the Gates
Philip K. Booker - Balancing the Scales
Tamsin L. Silver - The Trip Home
Robert W. Ross - Isabella's Campaign
Daniel Medrano - Hey Sweetie
R. Max Tillsley - Crickey!
You might be able to take a guess from the title of my story, Area 51 is Not Enough, it has some certain familiar characters.

You could say that one is a heartless, bloody thirsty monster.

The other's a vampire.

Yes. Marco Catalano and Amanda Colt are back!

Between her time as a spy and Marco's nature for getting into trouble, they're ready to storm the barricades of Area 51. After all, it is an R&D base for the airforce. And if the government is going to research things like the supernatural, where else would they do it. For years, Amanda had been worried of another Fort Dietrich Incident. This time, she wants to take a closer look. But she needs a distraction. 

And oh, look. someone wants to stage an invasion of Area 51. Nice distraction you got there. Pity if someone should ... take advantage of it.

But this one has everything.

You want action? We got action.

You want romance? We got some of that.

You want animals that eats, shoots and leaves? We got it.

You want dragons? Fae? Hell hounds? Invading armies? Mad science? Got it all.

You want more from the Love at First Bite universe? You got it.

But Storming Area 51 is released on September 20th. Available for pre-order here.

And if you are new here, you can order the Love at First Bite quartet here.

Monday, September 9, 2019

DragonCon 2019 AAR, part 1.

So, I'm back from DragonCon.

That was fun. Let's do it again next year, m'kay people?

I had three panels and a reading. This time, even though I was up against the Baen traveling road show, I had people show up. And since I had the hour all to myself, I read parts of Hell Spawn and Honor at Stake.

It's hard to describe the parts in between the panels. It's socializing and other people drinking. There's the author who proposed a business deal over the bar who remembered my freebie knives from LibertyCon, and had been talking about them with another friend of mine before I walked in the room. The (mostly random) encounters with friends that turned into three hour conversations, because I haven't seen them in months, or a year.

Or the "fun" of trying to get to the vendors area, which is up a hill, behind all of the hotels -- and two, count 'em, two, streets filled with parade. (Dear DragonCon, I remember a point when the parade was largely finished by the time the vendors opened ... and when I could get around the bloody parade. Please fix that if you can. Though I'm told that it's Atlanta's fault, so you may not be allowed to). But yeah, that was Saturday morning.

There's chatting with the Catholic cabal in the morning after mass (which is another story).

All in all, a fun time was had by all.

Unless of course, you were upset by the Dragon Award nominations. But that's another conversation. Heh heh heh.