Thursday, January 28, 2021

Fisking 1 star reviews

It's time for me to have some fun with one star reviews. Mostly by making fun of them. I already started a week ago by pointing out the review that bitched about how a saint made fun of other Catholic orders. No, seriously, look up Saint Jerome sometime guys.

Apparently, the holier-than-thou holy rollers are also illiterate. Because they apparently can't read that the genre on the books is CATHOLIC **ACTION** HORROR.

I've had people bitch whine and moan that my novels portray a Saint as violent.

"Oh, he's so vengeful!"

Apparently, no one has an idea of what vengeance looks like.

No, seriously, people. "Vengeance" isn't "this a-hole is shooting at me, I'm going to put three in his head."

Heck, that's it's not even retribution--which is a form of justice, to repay, to pay to someone what they are owed.

Vengeance is more like getting alone time with someone you hate, wielding a blow torch and pliers.

"He's a Saint! He should be forgiving and trying to save souls!"

.... I'm sorry, dumbass, Tommy couldn't hear you over the sound of MS-13's ROCKET LAUNCHER.

No, seriously, MS-13's slogan is "Rape, Control, Kill." They do everything but rip hearts out while screaming KALI MA! Their livelihood is drugs and sex trafficking. Tommy can't even scream POLICE, FREEZE! without being shot at.

But somehow, he's supposed to have a good sit down with them? How stupid are you? It says ACTION on THE COVER.

So, if you want a badass taking down the forces of darkness and sending them back to Hell, you want to read my books. Pretty much any of my books.

You want a spineless simp, you go read someone else.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Writing Horror: Hell Spawn

When I was writing Hell Spawn for Silver Empire, I knew it would be something horror based by the time I was done with the first corpse.

I didn't know it was actually scary until I got into Tommy Nolan's home.

If you haven't read the book, at this point, our Detective has been working his butt off on the murder inquiry for over a day. He hadn't gotten sleep for about 48 hours by the time he went back home to collapse.

Then he came home and discovered that his son's best friend in school had been murdered.

Yes, that was Nolan's victim.

Then night fell, and everyone tried to go to bed.

Then it REALLY got dark.

I will not go into all of it here, but I can tell you that as part of the writing process, I did some research. Hell Spawn went as dark as it did because I had researched serial killers in high school, and demonic possession and infestation for this book. For the record, look up John Douglas for serial killers, and demonology included Father Amorth and Deliver Us from Evil (the book, not the lame Eric Bana film).

By the time I was done with the scene, I think my immediate email to my publisher was "I know you wanted UF (Urban Fantasy) but I think I'm writing a horror novel."

Thankfully, Russell liked it anyway.

But after that, the entire novel got dark. There were times I had to remind myself that "this scene was written in daylight." It felt like this freaking demon was everywhere.

And all it wanted to do was kill Nolan.

Confronting the demon in its lair became interesting on a pure human level. It knew things it shouldn't. It turned furniture into deadly weapons.

Then there's the Rikers Island riot. But that's another story.

From there, I felt like the series settled down, but with the occasional dark moment where you thought, "Well, that's not good." Granted, I may have a warped point of view. I know what's in the dark. Perhaps zombies with automatic weapons are scary to some people. Perhaps going one one one with a Terminator-like bokor might be creepier than I had in my head at the time.

... Maybe I shouldn't say the story settles down, but that the sense of omnipresent dread is gone for Death Cult and Infernal affairs (books 2 and 3).

I decided we needed it back for City of Shadows.

... Okay. By the end of Infernal Affairs, the showdown with the ultimate villain involved some cool ideas that hadn't occurred to me before. So I made it the element of an entire novel.

Because I can, so there. But a little ombramancy never hurt anyone.

The Complete Works of Declan Finn (January 2021)

 The other day, I saw an old Twitter thread where I posted all the books I wrote.

Which reminded me that I should probably edit the list for 2021.

I started in 2012 with It Was Only On Stun! It was just a test run for what was to come, thought there are readers of mine who've read it repeatedly-- the high number being six times.

But over 9 years, it's ... quite a list.

This is a bit of a chart of "if you were reading things in publication order" ...

We'd start with...




If you don't recall, It was Only on Stun! introduces the professional security specialist Sean A.P. Ryan being dumped head first into an SFF convention.

He is hip deep in nerds, genocidal madmen, terrorists, IRA gunmen, and a cartel that has a grudge with him.

So it acts as a nice prologue to ....




It was a book a long time in the making. One part history paper, and one part "f*** Dan Brown" (okay, it was a different author that pissed me off), this was a mystery, an 80's action movie and a small war rolled into one.

You can find the Silver Empire Link here.

Then I did A Pius Legacy, then A Pius Stand.

Because nothing says "epic" like kidnapping the Pope, leading a jail break, and declaring war on the Vatican.

 


Then there was Pius History and Pius Tales -- basically, the footnotes and the short stories. These were also pulled from the shelves in order to be rereleased by a publisher. But I ended up with books of The Pius Trilogy. Because I'm apparently doing the Dune "trilogy" of a dozen novels.


Pius History: The Facts Behind the Pius Trilogy by [Finn, Declan] Pius Tales (The Pius Trilogy Book 4) by [Finn, Declan]

If you're new here, The Pius Trilogy is my answer to every Smrt Story who thinks they can jam history into a thriller so they can spread whatever Orwellian rewrite of history they like among the populous. In this case, there's a secret about the Catholic church that people are willing to kill to cover up. The only question is: who do you trust?


For those who want to purchase from the publisher directly


The Silver Empire links for


Then, in a post-Pius universe...






This is the return of Sean AP Ryan, after he appears in Pius, and it's more of a postscript to Pius than it is a sequel to Stun! 

This time, Sean ends up in the political end of the SFF spectrum, hip deep in lunatics, armed authors, all set in the city of Atlanta for WyvernCon.

No relation to DragonCon, which takes place in Atlanta.

And this is the companion piece. Sort of.





Long.... long story. It's insane comedy. If you don't know what the title references, you're probably better off without trying this one.

And with mustn't forget my solution to dystopias ... with gun fire.




This one is particularly interesting, because it's nothing like anything I've ever written. In fact, it's unlike anything I've ever read. I don't like dystopia. I think they're boring, filled with the exact same cliche.

Winterborn and UnSub -- the Dragon Award nominated work -- are set in a San Francisco that ... sadly, looks much like San Francisco of today, only a little worse. Add a spy of unstable temperament, a flaky assassin, and an unstoppable serial killer, and a collection of mercenaries who are increasingly enamored of the almighty dollar.

And, of course, the series everyone likes....


Take everything from Dracula about vampires.

Add philosophy and microbiology to explain how vampires work.


Add faith, redemption, a love story, Vatican ninjas, and lots of gunfire.

Shake well.

The first book is possibly my more published novel... because it's been killed by one publisher, resurrected in self publishing, then republished by a second publisher.

Oy.




My first Dragon Award nominated work. For best horror, as it says on the cover.

Kick ass vampire.

A romance that works.

Three-dimensional characters, even among the side characters.

And then there's Vatican ninjas.

One is a heartless, bloodthirsty killer. The other is a vampire.
College freshman, Amanda Colt knows few people and wants to know fewer still. She enjoys fencing and prefers facing a challenge every once in a while. She is beautiful, smart, and possibly the most interesting person on campus.
Then she finds tall, intense Marco Catalano in her fencing class. With a mind like a computer and manners of a medieval knight, he scares most people - but not Amanda. They both have secrets, for they are both monsters.
As they draw closer, they must find the line between how much they can trust each other, and how much they can care for each other. Each carries a secret that can destroy the other. But they must come to grips with their personal drama soon because a darkness rises around them. Bodies keep turning up all over New York, and an army of vampires closes in on all sides.
They have only one hope - each other.





Obviously, the sequel to Honor at Stake.

Take everything from book one... add in a demon that just won't die.


After saving Brooklyn from a nest of vampires, Amanda Colt and Marco Catalano are a little banged up. He's been given a job offer to deal with vampires in San Francisco, and it's a tempting offer - it would get him away from Amanda, his feelings for her, and get her away from the darkness inside him. When a death in the family compels Marco to move to the West Coast, they're both left to fend for themselves.

Then the creature known only as Mister Day leaves their world in tatters, and they must once more join forces against the darkness. Only Day is no vampire, but a creature beyond their experience. It will take the combined might of Marco, Amanda, and all of their allies just to slow it down. They have no weapons that can kill him. They have no way to imprison him. To even fight him is death.

But they have to try - or face the end of everything they love.



Book three of the vampire series.

And the 2017 Dragon Award Nominee for best horror.


A 2017 Dragon Award Nominee for Best Horror Novel!
Marco is spiraling out of control.
He knows it. His team knows it. Everyone around him can see that he’s just a bomb waiting to explode.
The only woman who can bring him back from the edge is also the woman who lit his fuse. Ever since the demon Asmodeus tried to murder Marco, Amanda Colt has been hunting down every lead to find the true evil behind the attack. Her investigation uncovers a vampire assassin that Amanda has faced once before - and she lost. Stronger than anything they’ve face before, the assassin isn’t alone. As Marco flirts with self-destruction and the armies of Hell prepare to descend, they must come together to stop a thousand-year-old assassin that has never failed.
Even worse, they must finally face up to their feelings for each other!

Then there's book 4.




The epic conclusion to the Dragon Award nominated series!


The final war begins.

Merle Kraft, Marco Catalano and Amanda Colt have battled against the mythical Council, a supernatural conspiracy that monsters fear. This war has brought them up against vampires, minions, and demons from Hell.. Along the way, they have accumulated allies among the police, the military, the mafia, college students, lowly street gangs, and even other vampires. Marco and Amanda have overcome their biggest terror - their passion for each other.

But now, they face the final threat, one that is the culmination of every threat before them. This creature from Hell has powers beyond anything they’ve ever seen before, and has allies of his own: including SpecOps minions, an army of vampires, and packs of werewolves.

And that was before Marco got bitten.
And there are some shorts...





One is a bloodthirsty monster. The other's a serial killer. 

This is going to get messy.

Blood Stained Cliffs of Dover
a Love at First Bite short story


In World War II, the allied invasion of the continent hinges on keeping one secret absolutely secure. No one must find out, or all hope is lost.

Tonight, German spy Konrad Achterberg is about to discover what that secret is.

He's also about to find out that the Nazis aren't the scariest predators in the night. 

Because something in the dark is colder than the dark. 

And it is hungry.


The Silver Empire Links


And, of course, my other nonfiction.




And, then, of course, there's



Thomas Nolan has a new found talent for smelling evil... And bilocation. Powers associated with Saints. His family isn't surprised. He attends every church function. He tries to reform every criminal he arrests. He is a good man.

But when the legions of Hell discover Nolan, he becomes a target for a possessed serial killer, a cult, a Warlock, Jihadi X-Men, sex trafficking succubi, a Lovecraftian Bond Villain, and a Kaiju demon.

But all of them are about to learn that "good" doesn't mean "harmless". And Tommy Nolan is going to send them all back to Hell, or die trying.

As of this minute, books 1-8 are published, books 9-12 are turned in to the publisher. And book 9 and 10 are edited. We're in the home stretch of the series.


My name is Officer Thomas Nolan, and I am a saint.

I can smell evil. I show mercy to the lesser criminals - the desperate. Even those I've put behind bars seem to like me. But now there's a serial killer bringing darkness beyond imagination to my city. I can smell his stench a mile away. But how can I prove it?

How do you do forensics on a killer possessed by a demon?

And I don't think the reviews get much better than this one.




All saints are dead.
Detective Tommy Nolan is no stranger to bizarre events. After all, he's a New York cop. And after the demon, he thought he'd seen it all.

When home invaders threaten his family, he was prepared to take it as a risk of the job. When it turns out the intruders were covered in the mark of the demon, he knew the trouble was just beginning.

Now, it's a race against time as the cult who raised the demon take their revenge. They know that Tommy is not yet a saint. Because all saints are dead.

Detective Tommy Nolan is having a bad day.

First, the celebrant was murdered during mass. Then the SWAT team knocked down his door trying to kill him. 

With the million dollar bounty on his head, every gunman and demonic monster is coming out of the pit to collect it.


Tommy has to discover who's out to make him a martyr before he becomes a saint for real.





London is alive with the sound of shadows.
When Tommy Nolan was sent abroad to avoid being made a saint too soon, he thought he'd be a glorified tourist. But when an impossible prehistoric artifact the Vatican is looking at is stolen from the British Museum, they do the first thing that comes to mind -- they call the cops.

But Tommy is soon convinced that the artifact is more than it seems. The crime scene looks like a war zone. The owners of the stolen merchandise eye him with suspicion. His new partner has a shady, mysterious past. The police are ready to arrest him. The city itself seems primed to explode.

Worst of all, the darkness itself is closing in on Tommy, the city, and everyone who lives there.

But Tommy isn't one to curse the darkness. The darkness curses him.





He might be on his last crusadeStill working abroad, Detective Tommy Nolan has a hot tip that leads him to Germany. Women and children are disappearing from Catholic Bavaria. The local police have their hands tied. Tommy is the last hope for answers.

Yet again, Tommy is in over his head. What starts as a sex trafficking ring turns into a terrorist conspiracy to unleash Hell on Europe. To stop it, Tommy must fight Nazi vampires, terrorists, and a swarm of succubi who want him as their next meal. Tommy has always crusaded for justice. But now he might be on his last crusade.







God wills it. A Saint must find a way.All Tommy Nolan wants is some peace to enjoy his family. He’s been to hell and back, and now he needs a break.

But evil doesn’t need to take a breather, and now the Vatican is back on his doorstep asking for help.

A nearby monastery has been desecrated and the exorcist monks murdered in the most brutal ways imaginable. A legion of demons is gathering for something big, and Tommy’s the saint they need to help.

An old enemy is the ally he needs, but can Tommy trust him? Can they track down all of the demons in time?

And what does the Necronomicon have to do with it all?


Detective Thomas Nolan has finally returned home. In typical police fashion, he is welcomed home with a murder case and gunfire.

After one arrest goes spectacularly wrong, Tommy is assigned another case and another dead body.

But everything goes wrong from the start of the case. The deceased is a member of a nearby military base, and no one wants to answer his questions. A local bodega gives him mind-splitting headaches. 

To make matters worse — Tommy no longer has his charisms.
 
Worst of all, someone is after his children. 



Lt. Tommy Nolan has enjoyed a relatively quiet life for the past three years. His promotion has taken him away from the streets and away from the line of fire.

But when a training camp for terrorists threatens his city, he's dragged back into the sulfur. Creatures of the damned are rising, and he's the only man who can stop them.




Silver Empire Links


And then there's


James is a college philosophy professor with too much time on his hands. When an old classmate asks for a favor, he drops in with little notion of what’s ready for him.

The year is 1976, during the dark times – for both the Catholic Church and New York City.

James’ college classmate is Father Gus Sadowski, the pastor of Saints Gabriel, Columcille, and Rocco church in the middle of Bed-Sty, where the drive by criminals are on one side of the parish, and the mob is on the other. Father Gus is all alone to run the parish, and needs help – because the live-in priest in the attic, Father Timothy A. Lessner, is worse than useless.

When Lessner takes a tumble down the stairs in the middle of the night, the casual favor has turned into a nightmare.

Can James solve the mystery of who killed Lessner before he finds himself the main suspect?


FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE EPIC THRILLER IS HERE, WHOLE AND ENTIRE -- AND IN PAPERBACK.

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.

My first serial novel, originally in three parts. The Omnibus edition is now available, but only in paperback. Sorry if you prefer e-books. But those you can get in the links below

Part 1 
Part 2
Part 3 




Secret Service Agent Wayne Williams is dead. But he has to keep busy somehow.

When a coven of witches reports a threat to the President of the United States, it's the sort of threat that must be investigated. But it sounds like a vacation for Wayne.

CIA Assassin Catherine Miler is on a mission to kill "Baron Samedi," a Haitian Prime Minister sacrificing American Tourists, with a sideline in drug dealing.

Author Matthew Kovach is looking for his own version of Derry, Maine.

All three are about to find themselves embroiled in San Francisco pagans, want to be vampires, pharmaceutical zombies, and New Orleans.

And all three have to survive their consultants on this case -- the Kraft Brothers.

For this one, the Omnibus is both electronic and paperback.

part 2 


Short stories

Well, this will be odd, considering that many of these are from out of print sources. So some of these are here for my edification. Don't worry, I'll try to track them for you.


This one SHOULD be out of print. It's from a press that no longer exists. Which means the remaining copies might be collectors items at this point.

This story hasn't been rereleased yet. Give me time.

Arresting Merlin: A Magical Short Story by [Declan  Finn]

Now, at one point, there was an anthology of the Tales of the Once and Future King. It had a poorly edited frame tale, and had a lot of selections that I've heard mixed reviews over. No, I never got a chance to read it, and the reviews talked me out of trying.

However, the people who left reviews liked my short story, Arresting Merlin, where a beat cop has no idea what's in story for him.


(Out of print)

The short story I published here was Zombie Jamboree, where a consultant who is prepared for everything gets to put his contingency plans to the test.




The Pirate King: An AP Ryan Short Story by [Declan Finn, Dawn Witzke]



Mad Dog Moon: A General Mattis short story (Love at First Bite Book 5) by [Declan Finn]

Once upon a time, there was another defunct anthology called MAGA 2020 and Beyond. The anthology is dead, but the short story is not.

Let's just say that I took the nickname of General Mattis a little too literally.
(Should be out of print)


Long before the Heroes Unleashed universe, the Newquists were working on superheroes. 


(Temporarily out of print... we hope)

Places Beyond the Wild: A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Anthology (Z-Day Book 4) by [Humphreys, Daniel, Corcoran, Travis J.I., Finn, Declan, Piatt, P.A., Schantz, Hans, Del Arroz, Jon, Anjewierden, J.M., Brumley, Bokerah, Paolinelli, Richard, Beckwith, J.D.]


My short story here is "Last Stand of the Mad Dog." 

Let's just say that Dan liked Mad Dog Moon.

Silver Empire link.



Short Story: Lupus Dei





This one is free if you sign up for the Silver Empire Newsletter.

And yes, It's a Saint Tommy short. It's Tommy's first day in Rome after Infernal Affairs.


Then we have the Planetary Anthology books I'm in 




Storming Area 51 (A Bayonet Books Anthology Book 2) by [J. R.  Handley, C.J. Carella, J W Kiefer, Walt Robillard, Michael Gants, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alice Peng, Jamie Ibson, Tim  Niederriter, Phillip  Ginn, E. A. Shanniak, Chris Winder, Marisa Wolf, Aaron Seaman, Doug Burbey, Nathan Pedde, Tim C. Taylor, Casey Moores, Cisca Small, I. Ronik, Michael J. Allen, Alex C. Gates, Declan Finn, IQ Malcolm, Milissa L. Story, J. William Adler, Joshua M. Young, Sophie J. Shepherd, Lawrence N. Oliver, Mel Todd, Drew Avera, Philip K. Booker, Tamsin L. Silver, Robert W. Ross, Daniel Medrano, R. Max Tillsley]

The short story here is Area 51 is Not Enough.

Let's just say that Marco and Amanda are back. And they think the government may just be up to something. 


Supernatural Streets brings together 14 Urban Fantasy authors to explore mysteries with a touch of Magic. The collection includes stories of psychic FBI agents, werewolf detectives, monster hunters, and an ordinary cop just trying to survive when the ritual daggers come out.
Urban Fantasy detective fiction. I think it works. 

My story stars Alex Packard... without Tommy.

Let's just say my story is the last one in that paragraph. :)

Current tally of published works.
  • 27 books total
  • 9 general anthologies 
  • 7 Short stories published by themselves.
And then, coming up the fun continues.
  • Destiny (St. Tommy NYPD #9)
  • Lightbringer (St. Tommy NYPD #10)
  • Dark Web (St. Tommy NYPD #11)
  • Blue Saint (St. Tommy NYPD #12) 

Not bad for only having done this for barely 9 years. Not bad. Obviously, I've been catching up recently, making up for the years that I wasn't publishing more than one a year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

And then Hussar Arrived

AND THEN HUSSAR ARRIVED...

On Amazon.

Yes, book #8 of Saint Tommy NYPD is up for pre-order on Amazon.

This one doesn't have EVERYTHING, but that's because I have four more books to go. You can't even imagine the finale I have set up in book 12.

But about Hussar? First off? **Some** of the chapter headings.
Texas Terrorist Massacre
Children of the Maxim
One Riot
Son of the Lone Ranger
NGO to Jail
Be Evil
Demons OS
Saint Death
Draugared Up Proper
Rain of Death
Worst Brat (We're going to visit Germany a little)
Attack of the Dead Men
Hussars

Yes, we have an evil tech company, evil CPS officer (redundant), a Texas Ranger Lloyd Lermon, armed zombies in power armor, demonic Jihadis, and new meanings to hellfire missiles. Heh heh heh.

Amazon link
Publisher link

Monday, January 25, 2021

Between Home and Ruin (Fall of the Censor Book 2), by Karl K. Gallagher

https://amzn.to/33VogMk 

https://amzn.to/2Lu0RuE 

During Karl Gallagher’s Torchship trilogy, I noted that he is as good as David Weber in the realm of space combat. It helps that he’s a rocket scientist.

With Karl’s previous book, Storm Between the Stars, he decided to show off his world building, with a little bite of weaponized physics at the end.

With the sequel, Between Home and Ruin, Karl just wanted to show off. Make a book that’s 25% world building / culture shock with some diplomacy and politicking? Sure. Make the next 40% about logistics and a murder mystery thrown in? No problem. The last 35% nothing but non-stop space battle? Why not?

And Karl makes it look so easy.

In Storm Between the Stars, we followed a trade ship crewed by the Landry family. Much of that book focused on the father, Captain Niko Landry, as the crew explored the strange new space of the Censor—a space empire that has all the worst traits of George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451. I’d throw in the French Revolution, but those guys are amateurs compared to the Censor.

Between Home and Ruin focuses on the son, Marcus Landry, during the return trip. After the events of Storm Between the Stars, the crew reported to their government about contact with the Censor. The Landry’s home system has decided that the opening step is to open negotiations, and has taken (most of) the original crew (and their ship) to haul an entire embassy full of diplomats to the Censor. And after a while, his wife, the local Wynny, takes up a lot of heavy lifting in the book.

What follows is impressive, in part because everything advances the plot, and contributes to world building at the same time. Even the recap of events from the last book service the plot, since most of it is to make the new characters understand exactly what the events on the ground really look like. And forget Chekov’s gun, we have Chekov’s weapons depot. I haven’t seen a story this well structured since Die Hard. Trying to introduce Christianity to a world where oral tradition names God Harold (old joke: Harold be thy name), or a three page description of a local movie turns two seemingly unrelated “throwaway scenes” into a plot arc.

When we get to the combat, I must admit that I haven’t seen space battles this good since Timothy Zahn wrote Grand Admiral Thrawn. And Karl spends his time on only two ships during combat. Everything is either from the point of view of one freighter converted into a gun boat, or a capital ship. And if you told me you could make a large space battle tense, just by restricting it to reports on a bridge, or capturing a space dog fight with fighters just by reporting what’s on the screen, I wouldn’t have believed it.

I also haven’t seen this much visible intersection of culture impacting warfare since Victor Davis Hanson wrote Carnage and Culture. The Censor kills culture by making certain that any created work is destroyed with the author’s death—which becomes a problem when it comes to writing military textbooks. Heh heh heh. Also, they get to learn the hard way what happens when their military hierarchy is run with political officers on hand.

All in all, Karl has captured a book filled with readable and entertaining diplomatic negotiations, politics of warfare, cultural clashes en masse, interstellar warfare, a romance thread that I didn’t mind, and a murder mystery thrown in for fun.