The Clock Man

The Clock Man started with a single idea: what if you could meld the fantastic Chinese martial arts and mysticism with American steel? It would be kind of like Steampunk but without the Victorian underpinnings. Rather than brass and bronze and the analog details that make Steampunk so interesting, what if you had a world that was powered by magic? What if – like the stories in Kung Fu Theater – martial arts were an important part of that world?

Thus was born Aluna.

In all fairness, I think I should point out that Aluna (at least the name) was my son’s creation. He used to tell us stories of the wars and things that happened on Aluna; it was his planet and he was populating it with all manner of high technology and fantastic creations. I took the name and used it for a different world – with his permission, of course.

I like the way the story turned out. It’s rare that I’ll start editing one of my own stories and not be able to put it down, but the irascible Felix Crow still brings a smile to my face.

The book sort of snowballed from there. It was originally intended to be a short story collection but of the eight stories only a few fall into traditional short story parameters. Most of the stories fall into the novelette range and the Clock Man itself is toward the top end of the novella range. This must be just how I think about telling stories.

Some of the stories, like The Protectors, link directly back to the events of The Clock Man but take place outside of Aluna. Others have more tenuous links but Aluna is very much present. Other stories, Eve, The Hunt, and Awaken, are very much part of the Henchmen universe. Some flit back and forth between those two worlds.

The nice thing about giving Eve, Wilford, and Dreamer their own stories is it allowed me to answer questions left over from Henchmen and Arise without having to muck up the narrative of both of those books. Those two novels are told from the point of view of Steven and he doesn’t know everything nor is he really meant to.

Bar none the most difficult to write was Duérmete Niño. That started out as a simple look at the world through the eyes of Coco, but how do you make the bogeyman a sympathetic character? He doesn’t talk, he’s got a limited understanding of the world, and exists solely for the purpose of eating children. There’s not much you can do with that. I like to think I found a way to make him work, though.

Awaken was originally published as a stand-alone piece and was available online for quite a while. The sales were dismal – I think because no one wants to pay to read a short story that’s not erotica. Even as a free download it really didn’t go anywhere. I made some serious edits to it, added a bit of Dreamer’s point of view, and included it here because I think it’s an interesting story and does a pretty good job of setting up Dreamer’s motivations.

As an interesting side note – The Protectors was based on a dream I had. The story is almost a scene-for-scene retelling of that dream. Some embellishments were added (like the entire end scene). If you’ve ever wondered where stories come from, that’s definitely one place: an overactive dreamer.

At some point I need to figure out what to do with Jack and his devil girlfriend. She’s only referenced Zona Peligrosa, but she has her own story in the Holes anthology. I think they’re both interesting characters.

Without further ado, the Clock Man is now available on Amazon for $2.99 or you can read it on Kindle Unlimited.

Enter worlds of magic and dragons, martial arts and mayhem

  • A woman waits in a plain white room, wondering why she’s there and what’s about to happen.
  • A man and his talking gun hunt the bogeyman.
  • A family finds its house is haunted and sets out to trap the ghosts, but what if the ghosts aren’t the real problem?
  • Far underneath a city, the figure of a man rests. For decades he’s remained perfectly motionless. Last night he moved.
  • In a world of magic, martial arts, and dragons, one man controls the flow of magic. Now his daughter wants him dead.
  • Zapp Blander always dreamed of being a hero. When a man named Jack shows up, Zapp might just get his chance.
  • She was designed to choose which slain warriors got to go to Valhalla, but Kara has developed her own ideas.
  • The bogeyman of New Mexico is beaten and fed what should be a simple task: Kill the boy.

TheClockManFinal

Get your copy here and spend the weekend curled up with some amazing stories.

Cover Reveal – Hell Becomes Her by R.A. McCandless

Hell Becomes Her, the latest book in R.A. McCandless’ Flames of Perdition series,
releases Thursday, November 19th.  Here’s what all the fuss is
about:
Angels should be a human’s worst nightmare. Del didn’t think there
was anything worse than angels, or their fallen kin, demons. She and her
partner Marrin helped to keep the world safe from the horrors of escaped demons
for generations. But when Del’s daughter is kidnapped by a shadowy group, Del
will find that the world is even more dangerous than she suspected.
There are worse things than angels and demons.
 
Release Thursday, November 19th
Excerpt
The doors slid back exactly as they were supposed to, and Del pointed both her SIGs
through the opening. She knew it was wrong. Two hands on one gun with a
straight-thumbs hold was the correct way to give proper support to aim and
shoot quickly and consistently. Hollywood liked to show action heroes shooting
from the hip, or blasting away without aiming and taking down a room full of
bad guys, whose best response was to fire impotently at the ceiling or
comically into other bad guys. It was all so much useless eye candy. A gun in
each hand gave support to neither and made it impossible to sight. She’d need
independent use of each of her eyes, like a chameleon, to train the guns on
different targets at the same time.
Del knew it was wrong, but it looked damned impressive from the receiving end.
“Hold your fire!” a voice commanded from outside the elevator. “Hold your fire!”
Del wasn’t certain if the order was for her, the two ranks of Ljosalfar soldiers in their
body armor who surrounded the elevator, or both. Either way, holes weren’t
being punched into her favorite skin and that was a good thing. She might still
die, riddled with bullets and spitting blood, but not yet. Not yet.
She unwrapped and wrapped her fingers on her SIGs, and smiled.
“Hello boys,” Del said. “Who wants some?”
“Hold your fire!” Alfred Waru said again.
“Alfred, you cunning bastard,” Del purred. “Come on in and give me a hug. I’ve solved almost
all your problems. There’s only one left.”
“I’d rather you put down your weapons,” Alfred replied. Del homed in on his voice from
behind the second rank of soldiers, but couldn’t make him out through all the
helmets. “We’ve locked the elevator. The doors won’t close, and the car won’t
move. Let’s talk about this.”
“Talk about what?” Del said and laughed. “How you lied to your people?  How you
betrayed and murdered your own?  How you’ve doomed them through your
schemes and plots?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell Becomes Her releases Thursday, November 19th 2015

 

Absotively, Posilutely Free

Back in March or April of 2015, a little tipsy from good Scotch, I was browsing and chatting with some author buds on fb when inspiration – or madness – struck.  We’ve got a good group of indie authors that get together and share information, trade arcane secrets, and review each other’s works.  On that fateful night, when inspiration and good Scotch came together, an idea flashed: a horrible, wonderful, terrifying idea.

We should write an anthology of short stories.

After bouncing around ideas for a theme and a title and various rules of writing, we settled on a theme of holes, a maximum word count of around 7500 words per story, and titled it Holes.  Nico Laeser illustrated the cover using various digital and arcane means, I did the cover text layout and eBook formatting, and thirteen authors (including myself and Nico) put together some short stories.  The result was pretty damned amazing.

The Indie Author Support and Discussion Group proudly presents Holes: An Indie Author Anthology
Starting with the theme of holes of any kind, an international group of indie authors put their writing minds to work to come up a collection of stories that will make you laugh, cry, shudder in fear, and want to clap your hands. Inside you’ll find stories about:

A twisted story about innocence and revenge.
A young woman racing for her life and her love against the age of clockworks.
A man who lost his life in a traffic accident and discovers the afterlife is being stuck in a classroom.
A young African schoolteacher who tackles a band of ruthless, marauding terrorists.
A Russian mobster who made a deal and thought he’d found a loophole to get out of it.
A cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for…you just may get it.
A place where life disappears to when you’re not watching.
A question about whether we are really the dominant species and masters of our own future.
A reader-interactive comedy of errors.
An anomalous client demanding something written from the soul, a soul he is threatening to take
An Inspector Winsford murder mystery.
A legacy gift that just goes on giving.
Slapstick comedy with a touch of British buffoonery
A pretty tease who toys with her theology professor until dark revelations stop her in her tracks.

Some stories are full of sorrow, others full of joy, but all of them will leave you wanting more.

HolesRevC

But don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself.  It’s absolutely, positively, 100% free.  You can find it on:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Kobo

and

iBooks (sorry, I don’t have a link for iBooks, but I know it’s there.  Search for Holes by IASD)

Why are you still here?  Go get a copy and read it.  My story is Loophole, by the way.

A Smorgasboard of Awesome

Back in March I had an idea and approached an indie author group I hang with it.  I say hang with because it makes us sound like a street gang, like yo, I’m just hangin’ with my homies; they’re creating worlds and telling stories, yo.

Yo.

Anyway, the idea was to put together an anthology of short stories that would showcase our talents (which are significant).  Ian D. Moore, author of Salby Damned and generally all-around good guy, took the idea and ran with it.  While I’ve got a small group still putting together an anthology, Ian grabbed some folks and put together one of his own.  Mine is still in progress (but close!), his is done and all the proceeds are going to charity.

In his own words:

“An international group of indie authors, inspired by the personal grief of one, decided to collaborate in the spring of 2015 in a project to create this multi-genre smorgasbord of original short stories, all with the same potent theme – relationships. Some are heartfelt, some funny, some poignant, and some are just a little bit scary – much like relationships themselves. All are by authors fired by the shared enthusiasm to give something back in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Cancer touches us all. It has in some way affected those who have contributed their time and talent here. This is our way of showing that we care.

Indie authors carry forward a revolutionary shift in publishing, which allows the author to be creative director in their own work. There are many exceptional, experienced and acclaimed writers who have decided to take this bold step in publishing. In producing this anthology we have also had the inestimable assistance on board of artists, graphic designers, and bloggers – all of whom have a place in our acknowledgments. You, the discerning reader, are the other vital part of this equation. By buying this book you are supporting the work of indie authors, as well as discovering their worth. You are also supporting the charity to which we have chosen to dedicate our work.

100% of the royalties earned or accrued in the purchase of this book, in all formats, will go to the Pamela Winton tribute fund, which is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.”

11705837_967531943267360_280957472_o

Since I wrote one of the stories in the mix and it would smack of reviewing myself, I’m reticent to write a review of these stories, other than to say I really enjoyed them and there’s a great deal of talent in here.  I will say this, though, if you’re looking for a good read this is a good read.  Please buy a copy and enjoy it.

Get your copy on Amazon

A little pick-me-up for you

I don’t often read Reddit.  Of my many failings it’s the easiest one to keep hidden from the world.  All I have to do when people mention Reddit is say, “Yeah, I totally saw that Reddit thread” and everything’s cool.  It’s not that I don’t like Reddit, I just don’t get over there very often.  For whatever reason the place doesn’t enter into my browsing field of vision.

Nothing but love for y'all

Nothing but love for y’all

“Hey, Eric.  What do you wanna browse?”

“I don’t know other Eric, what’s good?”

“How about this stuff on your bookmarks bar?”

“Word, other Eric.  Word.”

Maybe I should just dump some of the links on my bookmarks bar and put a shiny Reddit button on there.  In fact, I’ll mark that on my to do list right now.  I guarantee, though, I’ll get distracted and forget all about it again, lured in by the siren song of Fark and Facebook.  Or Arkham City.

Anyway, I don’t browse Reddit much but they have a cool feature called “Ask Me Anything” where a celebrity will hop online and answer questions – in real time – from Reddit users.  Recently they featured Todd McFarlane creator of (among other things) Spawn.  If you’re not familiar with Spawn, he’s this cheery fellow.

Happy to meet you!

Happy to meet you!

I started reading the Spawn comics back in the 90s sometime and watched the animated show and the (mediocre but underrated) live-action movie.  Spawn was great, a perfect anti-hero that you could sympathize with.  It had bad guys, worse guys, magic, Hell, action, everything you needed.

But back to Todd McFarlane and Reddit AMA.  In his AMA he mentioned something I found very interesting.  Adam Oster (I mention Adam because he does superhero books), if you’re reading this, it might be of interest to you, too.

“But here’s what I’d like to leave you with: right now, Marvel comics is owned by Disney. And DC Comic Books is owned by Warner Brothers.

What that means is neither one of those companies is going to let any of their characters outside of their company. So here’s what’s happening: Universal, Paramount, Sony, and FOX and a lot of other smaller studios are looking for content.

And they can’t have a Marvel or DC character – which means they are now knocking on our door.

So if any of you have ever thought about putting an idea down on paper – today is the perfect day. Because there is a great hunger for stuff that isn’t Marvel and DC right now.

We have 17 books that are currently optioned in Hollywood. It can be done.

What I tell people is: If you do a book, and if it’s the 150th best-selling book – BUT the 149 books ahead of you are Marvel & DC – You have the number one book for all the other studios. So you don’t have to be a big-selling book to have people interested in you right now. The studios have to scratch out Marvel & DC and then go “What’s left?” and in the top 100 books – that might be #1 to the people at the studios. So I’m telling ya – it is a GOOD time to be an independent creator right now.” – Todd McFarlane

There’s a huge spate of superhero movies floating around and they’re generally a license to print money.  Done correctly, a superhero story can be a great thing.  Done poorly they’re abhorrent.  The bottom line, though, is all of those heroes are currently owned by some group or another so a studio that wants to make a movie may be stuck because the characters they want to use are already owned by someone else.

If you’re a studio looking for something that would make an awesome move, may I recommend Henchmen or Arise?  Two great books about supervillainy where the good guys are the bad guys and the bad guys are even worse.  If you’re looking for superheroes, Buddy Hero may be your guy.  Wanna try something completely different?  Check out the inimitable Del.

May cause unexpected awesomeness in readers

May cause unexpected awesomeness in readers

Has been known to grant readers nearly godlike powers (6)

Has been known to grant readers nearly godlike powers (6)

Thank you, Todd McFarlane, not only for the awesome Spawn, but for some much-needed encouragement.  Now I just need to figure out how to get the right people to notice this…

(6): There’s very little correlation between godlike powers and this book.

Sorry, Dr. Spengler

In 1984 an emboldened Dr. Egon Spengler proudly declared print was dead.  The movie, of course, was Ghostbusters and I was thirteen.  I loved every second of that movie and went on to watch it a couple more times in the theater.  Times being what they were, I didn’t see it again until it aired on TV many years later.

Still loved it.

Who da man?  You da man!

Who da man? You da man!

For the most part, Spengler was the man.  Stantz and Venkmen got all the credit, but it Spengler who did the real work.  He and Zeddmore were the unsung heroes of the movie.  Remember that, and then forget you ever heard it.

Still, it was a bit premature for Spengler to declare print dead.  After all, computers at the time were clunky, cantankerous beasts.  I know, I started programming them right around the time Ghostbusters came out.  It was all one cryptic command after another and I soaked them up, which may explain why I’m kind of hard to communicate with.  Even now, with the rise of ebooks and readers, it’s difficult to declare print well and truly dead.  As I pointed out in a previous blog entry, the print on demand services have finally realized Gutenberg’s goal of easy and cheap printing.  Throw some data in one end and pop! out comes a book from the other.

Books have some advantages that tablets and eReaders lack, too.  Sure, sure; you can put like, a gagillion books on an eReader and they’re easy to read, easy to find, and easy to buy.  But take this scenario into account:

There you are, lying in bed, reading the latest Bigfoot Erotica or staring at pictures of bunnies with pancakes on their heads and you notice something small and black crawling on your bed mate.  Whatever it is, it has far too many legs and its beady little eyes are shining in the soft light.  This being the Southwest, you immediately recognize the hateful gaze of the wily(1) – and deadly(2) – Black Widow Spider, the scourge of the Southwestern United States(3).

black-widow-jg-jones

Whoops.  Wrong one.  This is the beast:

Stealing your soul through this very picture.

Stealing your soul through this very picture.

Keep your wits about you, lest the foul beast suck the very soul from your bed mate!(4)  Look around and find what you have at hand: a pillow, your trusty Nexus 7 tablet, and your fists.

The pillow won’t cut it; it’s far too fluffy to take out the beast with many legs.  Your fists won’t work because the demon will sink its fangs into your hand and the last thing you’ll notice before you die is a sudden craving for human brains!(5).  This leaves your Nexus 7 tablet.  There are two problems with smacking a black widow with your tablet: You may kill the beast, but you’ll hurt your bed mate because tablets have sharp edges.  The other problem is you’ll likely break your tablet that’s loaded with Bigfoot Erotica and then where will you be?  SOL, that’s where.

Don’t fret, though!  I’ve totally got your back here.  With a little help from my buds at Amazon, I’ve cut a deal whereby you can buy physical copies of Henchmen or Arise and get their digital versions absolutely free!  That’s right!  FREE!  These are friend prices, you understand.

SO AMAZING!

SO AMAZING!

So, next time you find one of the blasphemous little devils crawling on your bed mate, reach for a copy of either book and send that eight-legged demon back to Hell.  Each book is printed with special ink on the covers that will allow you – yes, you! – to smack the living snot out Black Widow spiders and just wipe their hated remains off with a tissue.

BAM!  No fuss, no muss.  That’s how much I care for you.(6)

How many other books do you know of that double as stories hailed as “the greatest ever told”(7) and spider killers?  None that I’m aware of.(8)

What are you waiting for?  It’s time to LIVE!

Would you like to know what else you can do with a print book that you can’t do with an eBook?  Look awesome.  Unless you’re reading Bigfoot erotica, there’s no better way to meet new friends than by reading an awesome book in public.  Especially if it’s one no one’s ever heard of, like one of mine.  So, buy several copies, go forth, and look awesome!

whosawesome

 

So, sorry Dr. Spengler.  It would appear print is very much alive and well.

notes

(1) They’re not really terribly wily.  Black Widows are actually pretty shy critters

(2) Sometimes, not often.  Most bites are dry bites.

(3) I think Taco Bell is actually the scourge of the Southwest, but that’s just my opinion

(4) Black widows don’t actually steal souls.  They have been known to borrow them, though.

(5) The link between Black Widows and Chronic Zombieitis is tenuous at best

(6) And dislike Black Widows.

(7) I said that, but you can totally trust my unbiased opinion

(8) Try it with War and Peace or The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; you’ll break your bed mate’s bones.

Guardians of the Galaxy

guadians-of-the-galaxy

This is one of those rare times that I’ll review something on this blog (the others being plugs for some books a couple of my buddies wrote), but I had to point out that this is a freaking good movie.

I’ve read most of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” comics over the past year or so and have come to the conclusion that it’s one of my favorite series.  Seriously, it’s right up there with Transmetropolitan for me.  Transmet’s story line is incredibly intricate and extremely well written, but Guardians is downright fun.  Guardians is kind of like Hack/Slash, before Hack/Slash got all weird and Samhain-y, you know back when it was just Cassie and Vlad having a good time and bashing in heads.  The characters in Guardians are having a good time and it makes for a fun read.

We had the opportunity to catch a preview showing of the movie on July 31.  It was raining and the jackasses that ran the theatre still made everyone wait outside, so there’s my geek cred story.  I waited in the rain for, like, twenty whole minutes in a line filled with people who were pretty fun to talk to, to watch a movie I’d been looking forward to since I heard it was coming out.

The movie did not disappoint.

If you’re old enough, you might remember Star Wars before George Lucas completely cocked it up with those abominable sequels.  When I was six, I got to see Star Wars (back before it was Episode IV – A New Hope, it was just Star Wars) in the theatre in Phoenix, AZ.  It was one of those completely mind-blowing experiences and I spent the rest of my life wanting to be a Jedi.  I still do, in fact.

The original Star Wars was a labor of love for Lucas and it showed.  The action was quick, the dialog was snappy; it was a great movie all the way around.  The Empire Strikes Back picked all that up and made it darker.  Return of the Jedi gets dissed for being the weakest of the three, but I still enjoyed it.

The other three movies in the series, save the last 15 minute fight sequence between a newly minted Darth Vader and a desperate Obi Wan Kenobi, were completely hopeless.

So, flash forward to 2014 and we’ve got something that’s on par with the feel of the original Star Wars.  Yes, Guardians of the Galaxy was that good.  If you haven’t seen it, drop what you’re doing and go now.

And, now just because you’ve patiently read my nergasm, have a joke.

galactus