Monday, October 30, 2017

Trick or Treat for FREE BOOKS! (Happy Halloween!)

It's time! Pumpkins are being smashed on lawns by teenagers with hockey sticks, and children are running through traffic! Department stores are putting up their Christmas decorations, and dentists are rubbing their hands greedily thinking about all the expensive cavities they're about to fill. And do you know the best part? Authors are giving out FREE BOOKS like candy!

Big thanks once again to the lovely PATRICIA LYNNE and her amazing hair for organizing Trick or Trick reads again this year. Be sure to check out ALL the authors on the list below to grab whatever books or stories they're passing out today. I've found some real gems this was in years past, so it's well worth your time to stop by them all to see what they're offering. And stop by Patricia's site to thank her for setting this up!

It's Halloween; everyone's entitled to one good scare.

Here's is the list of authors participating today:

Now check out what I'm giving away today!


A serious, grimly dark short story of hilarious misery.

SUGGESTED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES: Contains coarse language, violence, alleged dwarf ejaculate and candid descriptions of the genitalia of various fantasy races.

The Werebear vs Landopus series is for folks who love dark fantasy with a goofy, at times obscene sense of humour. It reads a lot like playing Dungeons & Dragons with your friends when you're all punch drunk/feeling silly, and you can't help but laugh when your half-elf wizard is bitten in half by a vampiric hippopotamus. 

Part Three should be coming out soon, so now is the time to catch up!

They say love hurts and time heals all wounds. 

Sometimes the reverse is true. 

Ten Thousand Days is a fairy tale set in the modern day, a fantastic journey of desperate love and horror with a twisted sense of humour. Inspired by Neil Gaiman with a touch of Terry Pratchett, and based on the ancient tales of Sleeping Beauty and Orpheus & Eurydice. It's a story of exactly how far a young man will go for love...

Ten Thousand Days is my first published novel and it's been around a couple of years, however earlier this year I made a MAJOR revision to it earlier this year, nearly doubling it in length and (in my opinion) making it substantially better. If you still haven't checked it out, now's the time! It's available for free on Smashwords until November 1.


I want you to tell me a story: A man and a woman in a loft a year ago. I'm sure you'll remember. You killed them, on Halloween...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

INTERVIEW with Author Amir Lane

This week in my on-going series of author interviews I spend a few minutes with Amir Lane, author of the Morrighan House Witches series. Lane is all over the place right now, having released two books already this year, and they also have a story in the upcoming Dawn of Hope Anthology from Dragon Realm Press, which will be released next month. Without further ado, here's my interview with Amir!


When did you decide to become a writer?

Seventh grade. I actually remember the exact moment, too.

This was back when Quizilla was a thing. I used to do all those personality quizzes where they tell you which character or colour or random picture they found online you are. Man, I loved those. I used to do them every chance I got. And then, because that's what I was into back then, I discovered Naruto fanfiction. Before this, writers were, I don't know, on some kind of pedestal. Normal People couldn't be writers.

(Don't laugh, I was 11.)

I said nothing. I wrote Star Wars and pro-wrestling fan fiction.

All of a sudden, here was someone who was maybe only a few years older than I was who had written this amazing series. It was a total paradigm shift. All of a sudden, writing was something that I could reasonably do if I wanted. So I started writing fanfic myself. And of course it was awful, but it was exactly what I needed to get started.

We all need to start somewhere. How about now? Do you write full-time or part-time?

I'm strictly part-time. As much as I'd love to write full-time, I think this is best for me right now because it's still something I look forward to. If I was writing full-time, I think it would feel too much like a job instead of something I do just because I like it. It'd be too stressful.

It's not stressful? I envy you. How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write?

I try to write every day when I get home. I like to get at least a scene out a day but life happens. So I find that if I do it as early as possible, it's more likely to get done.  I always keep at least notebook on me, because half my stuff is on paper and the rest is digital, so I can always write a few lines whenever I can grab a few minutes.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Yeah, what I do is I give myself a word count for my draft and a time period, and I stick it in a calendar that automatically tells me how many words per day I need. The cool thing about it is that I can set it so that, you know, I don't always have as much time on weekends so make my word count higher during the week. I try to meet whatever that assigns me and if I can't, it gets redistributed. I usually do about eight hundred a day. If I'm editing, though, I try for two chapters a day. I'm usually pretty good for meeting it.

You mention fan-fiction, which often has a collaborative aspect. Have you written works in collaboration with other writers?

I tried it a few times when I was just starting out. I wanted to write dual-POV books and I thought it would work best with one person writing one, one person writing another. It also took some of the pressure of writing every single chapter myself, and gave me someone to bounce ideas off of. The problem I consistently found, though, was that one person almost always lost interest before the other so they all fell through. I still love collaborating and I do back-and-forths as writing exercises. There is one thing that I've been planning to write with my partner but with everything on our plates right now, it might be a while before we actually get to it.

How much research do you do, and what kind of research?
It really depends on the book. I didn't do a huge amount for Shadow Maker, mostly because I didn't have to. The thing that needed the most research was the mental illness aspect that plays kind of behind the scenes with two of my main characters. I did do a lot of reading on that, but I was also able to pull a lot from my own experiences with some of the issues that come up.

The other books that I'm working on, though, are definitely going to involve a lot more research. The third book of my Morrigan House Witches series, Panthera Onca, is going to be partially set in Brazil. So that's going to be a lot of hitting the library with a notebook and reading until my eyes bleed. Which, you know, I'm actually looking forward to. And The Duality Series is a historical so I'm spending a lot of time getting a feel for what was going on, what my characters would have had access to, the kind of weapons they would use. Even things like, horses. I've got a ton of PDFs on my tablet that I'm marking up and taking notes in.

I'm really big on magic realism so it's really important to me to have as much accuracy and as much realism as possible, up until the point where you just have to go, 'Screw it, it's magic.' I come from an engineering background and an engineering family, so I still have this mindset of, you can have an entire dimension of a wall be negligible but only if it makes sense. And this comes up a lot in Aeqrab. I bring in a lot mythological species, and making them work in a modern world takes a lot of thinking. I have this Mesopotamian demon, it's, Could something bipedal have horns like these? If they have no pupil, how would they be able to see? And it's a lot of questions you can't find on Wikipedia.

Answering all of these questions has actually been so much fun for me. My younger brother did a year in biomedical science and he's finishing off a physics degree, and he is without a doubt one of the most intelligent people I have ever met (don't tell him I said that). He is so good at understanding the world and how it works to the point that he's the biggest idiot I've ever met, but he's always the smartest person in the room. And this works out perfectly because I can hand him these questions or hand him a list of features I want my lilin to have and he'll come back with, 'Okay so in this species, but also, maybe you could try.' And I have enough of a science background that we can go back and forth about, 'Okay but what if instead' or 'Okay but this species.' Meanwhile my parents are looking at us like, 'What the hell are they talking about, what's a...?' It's great. I love it.


Amir Lane is a genderfluid supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario. Engineer by trade, they spend most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.

When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour’s dog is.


Physics major Dieter Lindemann is perfectly content living in a world where the Shadows he sees and hears are nothing but hallucinations. But when one attacks him, he’s forced to confront the fact that the Shadows are not only real, but dangerous.

Though Necromancer Alistair Cudmore offers to help him, Dieter quickly realizes that what he and Alistair want are two very different things, and it’s difference that could cost him his life. Controlling and possessive, Alistair pushes him further and further into blood magic. An incident at a club forces him into Necromancy, and he’s dragged down into a world he never wanted any part in. As the spirits and Alistair grow more and more violent, Dieter must break away from his mentor and learn to control the Shadows on his own before they destroy him. Only, Alistair isn’t about to let him go without a fight.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trick or Treat for Books (2017 Edition)

It's that time again! The weather is changing, the grocery store aisles are crammed with boxes of individually-packaged candy, and kids are spending more time at school discussing their Halloween costumes than their math lessons.

That last one doesn't matter because the education system is gone to crap, anyway.

What the hell kind of sorcery is this?

In what has become a yearly tradition, I will once again be taking part in Patricia Lynne's Trick or Treat Book Blog Hop. You can check out the details on her blog, but the long and the short of it is, authors will be giving away free books on or about October 31, just like candy! 

The list of participants who have signed up so far is below. Fellow writers, please feel free to add your name!

Make sure to come back on Halloween to grab your free books, from myself as well as the other authors on the list!

In a weird bit of serendipitous symmetry, my announcement of joining this blog hop for the first time back in 2015 was my 100th blog post. Today, two years later, is my 200th blog post. It's almost like I regularly once per week, except I absolutely don't (I go through periods where I post like crazy, and then weeks/months with nothing). Still, 200 posts is nothing to sneeze at, so yeah, me!

Any excuse to use this GIF.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I'll Get Back to the Keyboard Eventually (#IWSG October 2017)

Holy shit! I've moved up to 102 on the IWSG list! I've nearly cracked the top 100! That's not really an accomplishment worth noting, but I've got to take what I can get. I'm also well over 6000 followers on Twitter! People like me, right?

I need to celebrate whatever I can. It's not like I got any writing done.

I didn't even do that much.

It's been a rough (rough) year for my family, and writing has fallen very far down the list of my priorities. I get up at 5:00 and rarely got to bed before midnight, and in all of that time I don't have many minutes to myself, let alone take the time to write. I've been forced to start driving to work every day, which is not preferred because as long-time readers know, my bus ride is usually my writing time. Not to mention parking where I work costs a fortune.

I watched about ten minutes of the new Marc Maron comedy special on Netflix. What I saw was pretty funny.

It sucks but it's life, and sometimes you have to deal with these things. There have been small improvements, so hopefully I'll get back to a regular schedule soon.

Oh, I've signed up for Patricia Lynne's "Trick-or-Treat Blog Hop" once again to give away free stories for Halloween. Only a few people have signed up so far, but enrollment tends to increase closer to the big day. Interested writers can sign up below:

For those not in the know, participating authors give away free books and stories on October 31 instead of teeth-destroying candy. Usually the stories are seasonally-themed, with ghost/supernatural/horror-type atmosphere, but I believe this year that particular requirement has been relaxed and everyone is free to give away anything they want. It's like getting Easter Eggs and Candy Canes for Halloween!

At the rate I'm going I probably won't have the new story I'd planned to give away finished in time, but I'm sure I'll find something appropriate to throw in the hat.


October Question 
Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

All the f***ing time.

Not as blatantly as some writers, though.

If you see a date in one of my books or stories, chances are it's a date important to my life somehow. I've also copied entire conversations I've had almost verbatim and used them in my writing. Even some that disgust reviewers who can't believe anyone would actually say such things.

Of course, in all cases I remove any context and change the details a little to remove any chance of guilt or shame, but I have had people call me out on it. Fortunately it's only people who already know me really well, and since there aren't many of those it's not picked up on very often. :-)

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

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