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Some of you may know this already, but the working title “The Gallows Tree” has been changed to Old Sins. The new title just fits better and isn’t as clumsy-sounding. To me, anyway.
So, without further ado, I give you the cover to my upcoming horror novel, Old Sins:
This book will finally be available for your reading…uh…pleasure (?) next week. Just in time for some good old Halloween Heebie Jeebies.
I do not have the back cover copy ready as of yet, but I will be working like a dog over the next week to get everything ready. This darn book has been sitting on my hard drive and in my head for too damn long. It’s high time someone else got to read it.
Look for OLD SINS next week.
Um, we are doing “sleep training” for Cole. Does that count as news?
Oh, and The Gallows Tree is finally going to come out to meet you guys. Yeah, it’s almost ready. I wanted to release it in September and I think I just might make that deadline. If I miss it, it won’t be by much.
For those of you who don’t know, The Gallows Tree has nothing to do with vampires. It’s a ghost story/horror set in a small town in East Tennessee. I don’t have a proper cover blurb yet, but the basic idea is that small town in Tennessee is haunted by the spirit of a young black child who was lynched there decades ago. I’ll have a better description in a week or two, but suffice it to say, it’s a creepy, scary read that will probably push a few buttons and piss some people off.
Carpe Diem, as they say.
That’s it for now. Keep your eyes on this space for news about 79 A.D., an omnibus edition, and a few other things I have in the pipeline.
P.S.: By the way, sleep training really, reall, REALLY sucks.
Readers! Eight award winners in the 2012 eFestival of Words “Best of the Independent eBook Awards” have grouped together to offer you an amazing opportunity. They’ve reduced the prices of their award-winning novels to 99 cents for August 27 and 28th!
Whether you like to read mysteries, romance, horror, young adult, women’s fiction, or fantasy, this group has it. Are you a writer yourself? Do you want to learn all about digitally publishing your next masterpiece? They’ve got you covered there too.
Get all eight award-winning ebooks for the price of one single paperback!
Best Mystery/Suspense: Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Best Non-Fiction: DIY/Self-Help: Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
Best Horror: 61 A.D. by David McAfee
Best Romance: Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne
Best Young Adult: The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto
Best Fantasy/Urban Fantasy and Best Novel: The Black God’s War by Moses Siregar III
Best Chick Lit/Women’s Lit: Carpe Bead’em by Tonya Kappes
Award for Best Twist (“I’ve Been Shyamalaned”): The Survival of Thomas Ford by John A.A. Logan
Here’s a one-stop shopping link for your convenience: http://amzn.to/MO7qBY
Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Laura Carnegie gave up on the man of her dreams a long time ago. He’s fashion designer Jeremy St. James, and not only is he her boss, everyone knows he’s gay.
When the woman who holds the company purse strings is found dead in the office, and Jeremy’s arrested for the murder, everything changes. If Laura can just solve this crime, keep the cops off her tail, break up a counterfeiting ring, and get the show on the runway by Friday, she might stop being Seventh Avenue’s perpetual loser.
If you love Project Runway, or enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada, try Dead Is the New Black.
Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
This guide contains over 60,000 words of essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 33 bestselling indie authors including J Carson Black, Bob Mayer, Victorine Lieske, Mark Edwards, and many more.
It covers everything from how the disruptive power of the internet has changed the publishing business forever to the opportunities this has created for writers. It gives you practical advice on editing, cover design, formatting, and pricing. And it reveals marketing tips from blogging and social networking right through to competitions, discounts, reviews, and giveaways.
If you are considering self-publishing, if you need to breathe life into your flagging sales, or if you want to understand why it’s a great time to be a writer, Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should will explain it all.
61 A.D. by David McAfee
61 A.D. For ten years, Taras has lived in the young city of Londinium, feeding off the city’s underbelly. But now Theron, his old enemy, has come looking for revenge, and Taras’ nights of living in relative peace are about to end.
Yet not even Theron can slip into town unnoticed, and the Council of Thirteen sends Ramah to deal with the two renegades once and for all. But unknown to the Council, a much older enemy is also in Londinium, and this time even the great Ramah might not be safe.
Set against the backdrop of the Iceni uprising in Roman-era Britannia, 61 A.D. continues the story of Taras, Theron, and Ramah, as they fight their way through history.
Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne
Nic Lamoureux’s perfect movie star life is shattered by a stalker who threatens any woman close to him. When he meets photographer Lauren James, the attraction is instant–and mutual. She’s exactly the sort of woman he craves, but the stalker makes deadly clear Lauren is the competition.
And the competition must be eliminated.
“Stock up on ice cubes because this is definitely one sizzling debut. Readers will be hooked from the first sentence- on the book and on Nic! As rich as a white chocolate cheesecake, Cayne’s entrance into the suspense genre is invigorating, explosive and simply intoxicating.” ~ RT Book Reviews Top Pick
The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto
When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Worse, someone has used an evil spell book to bring back two of history’s most nefarious killers.
Ivy’s got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But first, she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits: the school’s hotter-than-brimstone demon bad boy, Nick Marcelli. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and Ivy soon discovers it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end
Her father-king wants war.
Her messianic brother wants peace.
The black god wants his due.
She suffers all the consequences.
“Moses is a fine writer deserving of success, and I think that it will follow … I really enjoyed Moses’s work.” – David Farland, NYT Bestselling Author of The Runelords
That is, until she’s transferred back to the hometown. Not wanting her past to cross paths with her future, Hallie puts her life on hold.
Aunt Grace is still up to her old tricks, but Hallie finds some sanity at a local jewelry-making class where she uncovers a hidden talent for beading.
Will she keep searching for the happiness she may already have found?
Thomas Ford is the only survivor of the car crash which killed his wife. He is also the only witness who would be willing to identify the young, reckless driver who caused the crash. But the driver would sooner see Thomas Ford dead than ever let that happen.
When it comes to my books, it seems like 33 A.D. is the wonder child. 33 A.D. gets all the attention and all the love, with 128 reviews on Amazon and even more than that on Goodreads. My other books still sell, but 33 A.D. is typically the one most people know about.
So it was nice to find out that 61 A.D. got a little recognition the other day, winning the award for Best Horror at the first annual eFestival of Words Best of Independent eBooks awards.
How cool is that? Now, I know this isn’t a Pulitzer or anything, but this award is special. The festival was organized and managed by Julie Dawson, of Bards and Sages Publishing, and all the titles had to be nominated by others in the Indie Book industry. Authors were not allowed to nominate their own books. Once all the nominations were in, the titles were put to the vote, again by people in the Indie publishing world. So this is, in effect, an award decided by my peers in Indie publishing.
What’s that famous line? “You like me. You really like me.”
In any case, considering some of the comeptition in the Best Horror category, I am floored that 61 A.D. took the top prize, beating out such fantastic books as The Zombie Bible, by Stant Litore, Knock Knock, by S.P. Miskowski, Dead Things, by Matt Darst, and even Origin, by Indie horror legend J. A. Konrath.
To say I am honored would be a huge understatement.
So to whoever nominated 61 A.D., and to everyone who voted for it, a huge, heartfelt thank you.
Lastly, some of the winners and I have decided to celebrate by putting all the winning books on sale. Not all the authors participated in the promo, but 8 of us did. Keep watching this space for details on how to get all 8 award winning books for 99 cents each!
Today in McAfee Land, we have a guest speaker. Scott Fitzgerald Gray is in the middle of a blog tour to promote his newest book, We Can Be Heroes, which he describes as a “high school coming-of-age SF techno thriller.” I asked him to tell us a little about his individual publishing journey. Here is what he had to say:
When David very generously offered me a spot at McAfee Land for the blog tour, he asked how I’d feel telling folks about my publishing journey. The answer, of course, is, “I’m a writer, so the hard part is trying to shut me up about my publishing journey.” I’ll try to hold it together, though.
My name is Scott, and I’m an indie publisher. [Insert support-group chorus of “Hi, Scott.”]
Through several accidents of fate, I’ve worked in publishing and media most of my life. At various points, I’ve been a page-layout artist, a technical editor, a content editor, a graphic designer, a production manager, a web specialist, and — most ultimately satisfying — a writer. I made a living messing around in film for a while, and have written a smattering of freelance journalism, and in more recent years, have worked pretty steadily as an editor and writer/designer for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. (Geek card: played.) I’ve worked for trade magazines, small-press book publishers, mainstream magazines, alt-weekly newspapers, daily newspapers, and new-media outfits. These days, I split my time pretty evenly between roleplaying game work, freelance editing and story editing for fiction and film, and writing and publishing my own fiction.
My publishing journey is a little bit different than many self- and indie-publishing authors, because my journey has taken me on a grand tour of the publishing industry through all the years that I’ve been bashing away getting better as a writer. And because I was fortunate enough to work in publishing for a long while, and because I was doubly fortunate to work with some incredibly talented people, my sense of what’s involved in being an indie publisher begins and ends with two simple facts:
Publishing is a complex process. Publishing is hard work.
I publish my own works and call myself an indie publisher, which I know annoys a number of honest, decent small-press people who are used to referring to themselves that way. And I apologize to them in advance, because I’m sticking with this nomenclature for its ability to most accurately capture what I do and how I do it. I’m a writer who publishes on my own — which is to say, independently — maintaining complete control over all the complications and the hard work involved in the publishing process.
When I call myself an indie publisher, I do so knowing that all the things I do in the process of publishing my own work are the same exact things that I’d be doing if I were publishing other people’s work. I remind the writer that knocking out a first draft isn’t good enough; I want to see work that’s revised and polished before I’ll even consider whether it’s ready to be published. (Thankfully, as a self-publisher, the writer and I are on pretty good terms.) I look for and find people who can produce the kind of cover art that I think works for a particular book. I have experienced editors and proofreaders that I call on to make sure every book I unleash on the world is as solid as it can possibly be.
The world of self-publishing and indie author-publishing right now is filled with equal numbers of inspirational tales and horror stories. And as the latter get more circulation, we hear more and more about the problems with this new model of indie publishing. People decry self-published books as buggy and error-ridden, as lacking in the quality that comes from traditional publishing. And the thing is, those people are often right — but it’s important for proponents of indie author-publishing to understand why they’re right.
I know that sloppy books exist in self-publishing, because I’ve read (or at least started to read) more than a few of them. But here’s the thing to realize. If the books of a self-publishing writer are coming up short, it’s most likely a sign that the self-publishing writer isn’t living up to the full implication and obligation of that title.
It’s not enough to want to be a writer who self-publishes. You need to be a publisher who specializes in your work as a writer, because publishing is a separate process that’s just as important as the writing is. Publishing is a complex process. Publishing is hard work. Not impossible, though. Not so difficult that writers shouldn’t take up the challenge of being publishers.
But as self-publishing writers, we all need to be as committed to publishing as an art and a craft and a process as we are committed to the writing. Because publishing isn’t the singular act of clicking Send on the Kindle Direct website or Smashwords. Publishing is all the stuff that happens before that.
Scott Fitzgerald Gray has been flogging his imagination professionally since deciding he wanted to be a writer and abandoning any hope of a real career in about the fourth grade. That was the year that speculative fiction and fantasy kindled his voracious appetite for literary escapism and a love of roleplaying gaming that still drives his questionable creativity. In addition to his fantasy and speculative fiction writing, Scott has dabbled in feature film and television, was a finalist for the Jim Burt Screenwriting Prize from the Writers’ Guild of Canada, and currently consults and story edits on projects ranging from overly obscure indie-Canadian fare to Neill Blomkamp’s somewhat less-obscure “District 9” and the upcoming “Elysium”.
More info on Scott and his work (some of it even occasionally truthful) can be found by reading between the lines at insaneangel.com.
Wow. It’s been a while since I posted here. I really should get better about keeping this blog updated. Sorry about that, folks.
Okay, so I know many of you are wondering when the next Bachiyr novel will be ready. How do I know this? Your search terms show up on my blog stats. So I figure I owe you guys an explanation of why it is not available yet. Here goes:
A few months ago, I was contacted by someone who was looking for a ghostwriter to work on a project he planned to bring to the market. It was an interesting project, and his offer was too tempting to pass up. (I make enough from book sales to keep the lights on, but that’s about it, so when someone offers me four figures to work on their project, well, I have bills to pay, y’know?) In the old days, I’d probably have turned it down in favor of working on my own projects, but with Cole around it’s hard to justify something like that. I don’t mind being a starving artist, but Cole deserves better.
This project had a deadline, and so it required me to focus all my attention on it for about three months, leaving me no time to work on my own projects. That is the status of 79 A.D. as of this moment: incomplete.
The ghostwriting project is now finished, aside from a copy edit, and I have resumed work on 79 A.D., which finds Theron in Pompeii just prior to the eruption of Vesuvius. My initial intent was to release 79 A.D. this month, but I have had to scrap that date due to the time I put in on the ghostwriting project. So now I make you this promise: 79 A.D. will be released before Christmas, along with The Gallows Tree (finally!) and another collection of short stories.
Thank you all for being so patient and bearing with me.
I know, I know. It’s not my birthday. But it’s close. 39 years old. Wow. Where does the time go? I suspect a group of gnomes have been sneaking into my house at night and stealing it, like Butters’ underpants. (Gotta love South Park!)
I bought myself a present: a 2013 Trek Mamba 29er Mountain Bike. (The term 29er applies to the wheel size, in case anyone is wondering.) Pretty, isn’t she? She and I have a date with a trail on Saturday, and I can’t wait.
Me likes airguns, too:
I’m not sure how well the formatting will translate over, so if it’s a bit messy, I apologize:
A cave in the southern slope of Mt. Vesuvius, 79 AD.
The heat rose from the floor in rippling waves as he wound his way through the stone passageway, reminding Theron of the importance of tonight’s test. Not that he could forget. Too much depended on the outcome. He’d been working on this experiment for the better part of a decade. Hopefully, this time it would work.
No, this time it would work. It had to. He’d gone over the psalms and the blood too many times for it to fail again. By the end of the night he would be even more powerful; yet another step above his Bachiyr brethren. And where would the Council of Thirteen be when he waltzed unhindered into their precious Halls? Hiding, probably. Or running. Helpless against his might.
In his mind, he pictured the great Herris on his knees, begging Theron to spare him. Theron would let him beg for a while, just for fun, and then he would kill him, along with the rest of the damned Council. Especially Ramah. He clenched his blackened fist at the memory of Ramah coming to Jerusalem to corral him. That black-hearted bastard would be the last to die. Theron would make sure of it. But not before he, and the rest of the Bachiyr, realized what true power was. Only after they realized their folly; the stupidity of their blind servitude, only then would he allow them to die.
The Father, he thought, will not protect you. Not from me.
Of course, for that to happen, his experiment would have to work…
He stopped at a thick wooden door. Its surface was covered with words of magic. Theron had written them in the occupant’s blood, which he kept in a small glass vial. Before he opened the door, he checked to make sure he had the vial with him. It wouldn’t do for him to enter without his sole means of control. It was there, tied to the thin leather thong around his neck, just like always. Satisfied, he tucked the vial back under his shirt, grasped the handle, and pulled. The door opened easily—he never bothered to lock it—and he stepped into the small, stone room, eager to grab the woman and go.
She lay in a heap on the floor, glaring up at him through tangles of matted, filthy hair. Her sparse frame—thin even before they met—showed the underlying structure of her bones. Her pale skin almost gleamed in the light of the room’s only torch, her pallor enhanced by the dried, crusted blood on her chin. A short distance away, the body of the small child Theron had brought her the previous evening lay cold and empty on the stone floor. A girl this time, no more than six or seven years of age, with the dark hair and brown eyes of her people.
The girl’s eyes were closed, and her dress had been manipulated to cover the mortal wounds in her young, otherwise smooth throat. Theron could not see the punctures through the fabric, but he knew from experience they would be minimal. As small a wound as his prisoner could manage while in throes of her hunger. The girl’s hands were folded peacefully atop her tiny chest. Apart from her unnatural pallor, she could have been sleeping. He couldn’t suppress a chuckle.
“Why do you arrange them like that, Galle?” he asked. “Does it ease your guilt to imagine they are only napping? Does it make you feel better about killing them?”
She spat at him, a thick, red wad of blood and saliva that fell far short of its mark.
Theron could not help but smile at the irony of it. She hated him for bringing her children, but her stubborn and rebellious nature meant he could not bring her anything else. “If I could trust you,” he said, “I would bring you stronger blood. Adults. Perhaps even criminals. People who deserve your wrath. Your own intransigence forces me to do this.”
“I would need none of them if not for you,” she replied, her voice hoarse. “Why don’t you kill me and be done with it?”
“You know I can’t. I need you.”
“You don’t need me. There are others. Take someone else.”
“So you would wish your life on another?”
“A criminal, perhaps?” she pleaded. “You could find someone who deserves this fate.”
“Indeed I could,” he admitted. “But I will not.”
“I did nothing wrong!” she screeched, the points of her fangs extending beyond her lip. In her ire they had grown, probably unbidden. “Nothing! My only mistake was to trust you.”
“True enough,” he said. “You should have walked away.”
She scrambled forward, her bare knees scraped against the rough stone and left twin trails of blood on the floor. Once she reached him, she knelt at his feet, grasping his leg with thin, clawing fingers.
“Please, I beg you,” she said. “Release me.”
He reached down and plucked her fingers from his clothes. Easy. Like pulling a child’s hand from a broken toy. “No.”
She stared at him for a moment, her own self-loathing and fear etched deep into her face, then her shoulders slumped. She sat back on her legs and looked at the floor. Probably wishing she could cry. A stupid thing to wish for, in Theron’s mind, and a complete waste of time. Tears would never come for her again.
“It’s time,” he said. “You must earn your keep once again.”
Galle raised a thin arm and waved him away. Her many scars and burns stood out against the pale skin of her forearm, a mute testament of her time with him. Theron noted them and absent-mindedly rubbed the skin of his right hand, running his fingers over the burned and blackened flesh. The wound had never fully healed, the result of his brush with the Nazarene over forty years ago.
“Go without me, then,” she said as she rose to her feet. “I will help you no longer.” She turned her back on him and walked to the other side of the room.
Theron laughed, long and loud, as he reached under his tunic and produced the vial of her blood. “My dear Galle,” he said. “You are wrong about that.”
He brushed his fingertips along the outside edge of the vial and whispered, “Ba’ar.”
The effect was immediate. Galle screamed and fell to her knees, her body curling into a tight ball as she rolled over and flopped across the floor, frantically slapping her skin with her own hands. Thin tendrils of steam rose from her eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Even though her crotch was covered by her thin clothes, Theron knew steam would be flowing from those places, as well. Any opening in the body, he thought. If he cut her, steam would billow forth from the wound. He recalled her scraped knees and checked. Sure enough, small clouds of vapor rose from them, as well.
“What…what are you doing to me?” Galle screamed, the words barely decipherable.
“I call it Ba’ar,” Theron said. “A little psalm I created about five years ago. The heat you feel inside your body is your blood burning away. Is it painful?”
Galle whimpered, still slapping her skin.
“Then we have an understanding,” Theron said. He allowed the burning to continue for another thirty seconds, just to make his point, then he whispered a second word over the lip of the vial. “Mayim.”
Galle’s frantic rolling ceased, but her whimpering continued even as the flow of steam from her eyes and mouth abated. She lay on the stone, panting. Theron couldn’t understand that. The woman had no need of air. The panting must be instinctive; a holdover from her previous life. Curious. He would have to do some tests on that, too.
But first, the fire.
“Come Galle,” he said, tucking the vial back under his tunic. “We have work to do.”
Obediently, Galle rose on shaky legs. She turned to face him and he almost swore. Her face had thinned, even wrinkled. She looked like a grape that had spent too much time in the sun.
I burned too much, he thought. She will need to feed again sooner than I expected. No matter. The city below was full of urchins. They wandered the streets of Pompeii like rats in a grain warehouse. He could pluck one as readily as the last, and with little fuss.
The fact that many of them were Roman children only sweetened things.
“Shall we?” he asked, tucking the vial back inside his tunic.
Galle stepped forward, stumbled, and then righted herself. She spared a glance for the dead girl in the middle of her cell, then turned toward the door. She raised her head and, without further incident, walked past Theron out into the passageway.
As she passed him, she paused. “You will make a mistake one of these nights, Theron. When you do, I will be ready.”
“I know,” Theron replied, grinning. “You and the Council.”
“If they are as powerful as you say, they will find us eventually.”
“I certainly hope so,” he replied. “Now go. We have only a few hours of night left.”
She looked like she wanted to say more, but Theron tucked his hand inside the folds of his tunic, and she took the hint. She turned away and walked down the passage as steadily as her legs would allow. Theron watched her go, admiring the results of his psalm. He’d never had the opportunity to test the Ba’ar before. To his delight, it had worked better than he had predicted. It would prove useful in the future, especially against the Council of Thirteen and their minions. Of course, he would first have to acquire some of their blood. It was the only flaw in his scheme.
But then, once he figured out the secrets of Vesuvius, even the Council would be at his mercy. Not that he would show them any.
He chuckled to himself as he followed along behind Galle. She was right, of course. The Council of Thirteen would find him eventually. They always found their prey. He would be no exception. The thought didn’t scare him as much as he would have thought. Ever since Londinium, he had been experimenting with blood manipulations that had never been taught to ordinary Bachiyr. He supposed he had Taras to thank for that. The tall Roman had inadvertently shown him there was so much more to the world of blood and psalms than the Council of Thirteen had ever mentioned. Ever since that moment, his world had opened up to a myriad of new and deadly possibilities.
When the Council did finally locate him, he doubted they would be ready.
Well, I hope you guys enjoyed that little taste. I am still working on 79 A.D., but the plan is still to have it out to you by the end of August.