Thursday, June 22, 2017

YouTube update: 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN

 I am still reading my coming-of-age horror novel, 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN, on my YouTube channel. Below is reading #56. You can catch all the previously posted videos for the book on my YouTube channel at any time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


That's right. To celebrate the passing of the summer solstice and the beginning of shorter days, my short story THANATOS POSTPONED will be available for FREE on Amazon Kindle this Thursday and Friday.

This is something of an "innocents abroad" story set in Mexico. I've also read this one on my YouTube channel. Enjoy.

Monday, June 19, 2017


If you'd like a free short story of mine this Tuesday, feel free to download THE VAN for free to your Amazon Kindle. 

Troy is a single father, traveling with his 13-year-old daughter, Ellie, through Tennessee. 

When they stop in a restaurant, Troy becomes alarmed as two rough-looking men begin paying his daughter unwelcome attention. 

Troy is soon to discover that the two men harbor a horrible secret…a secret with implications for himself, Ellie, and other lives as well. 

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


....The paperback will be available in about 2 weeks! description:

What would you do if you overheard three of your coworkers planning a murder?

Frank Joseph has a quiet life, a 
daughter he loves, and a “typical boring desk job” in the purchasing department of Thomas-Smithfield Electronics. 

One day he overhears three of his coworkers plotting the “elimination” of another coworker. 

Frank is both shaken, and uncertain of exactly what he has overheard. But he is also incapable of standing by and doing nothing, while an innocent person’s life is in imminent danger. 

Frank attempts to intervene. But he soon discovers that he has the situation all wrong, and now he is the next target of a complicated and deadly conspiracy.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

FREE today on Amazon Kindle: GIANTS IN THE TREES

One my early short stories. Get it today on Amazon Kindle for free.

Amazon description:

Jim knew that his older coworker, Paul Taulbee, had a checkered past. But he was unprepared for the horror he discovered on the night he gave Paul a ride home from the office.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

40 years of watching 'Star Wars'

Last night I watched Rogue One, the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, with my dad.

It occurred to me as we were watching the movie that much had changed since the last time the two of us watched a Star Wars film together. 

In the summer of 1977, I was nine years old and my dad was 31. He took me to the local cinema to see Star Wars, which was a really big deal that summer. 

I'm now coming up on my 49th birthday. My dad is 71.

What about the movie? When the film came out a few months back, I understood that it was embroiled in various political controversies. (Isn't everything, nowadays?) 

If you'd care to wade into that, you can Google "rogue one politics". I'd rather not. I was more concerned with simply watching the movie. 

Rogue One was a fun film, and--in my estimation, at least--probably the best one to come out since the original three: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). 

And yes--in case you're wondering--I refuse to refer to the original Star Wars as "A New Hope". The movie that was released in 1977 was called Star Wars. It doesn't need a new name.

THE EAVESDROPPER: a change of plans

Well, I have good news and bad news, depending on how you enjoy consuming your stories. 

The production schedule for the Kindle/print versions of THE EAVESDROPPER has outpaced the readings of the videos on my YouTube channel. The Kindle version should be available next week, and the paperback version will be available a week or two after that. 

I'll be honest with you all here: I love YouTubing and making videos. If it were up to me, I would delay the production of every book and short story in order to fully serialize it on YouTube first. Because that's something I really enjoy. 

But at the end of the day, my priority is giving stories to readers, when they want them and in the formats they want them. 

Recently readers have told me that while they enjoy listening to my YouTube videos in order to "sample" a story, they prefer to go to the print or Kindle version when it comes time to really jump into it. 

This makes sense to me.  I enjoy watching videos on YouTube, but I recognize that a 50- to 100-video playlist may not be the most convenient way to read/listen to a novel. 

For those of you who have been watching all the videos--don't worry! I will continue to read chapters of my books (and entire short stories) on YouTube. But I may shift my scheduling priorities a bit as I move forward. Readers have told me that they want Kindle/print versions first, so Kindle and print versions will be my priorities.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A hot crime thriller for summer

Are you in the mood for a pulse-pounding crime thriller? Try my Kentucky crime novel, Blood Flats.

What's it about?

Lee McCabe, an ex-marine and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is framed for a double homicide. Battling local meth traffickers and mafia hitmen, Lee goes on a gun-blazing battle across rural Kentucky in order to clear his name.

Who is it for?

Fans of Stephen Hunter, Lee Child, and David Baldacci. 

What formats are available?

Amazon Kindle and paperback.

Can I read it in Kindle Unlimited?

Yes. Blood Flats is currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. 

Can I sample it on YouTube?

Yes. At the time of this writing, I've read a handful of chapters on YouTube

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hot, hot, hot..writing in a heat wave

It's hotter than Hades in Cincinnati this past week. My lawn is dying from a combination of blazing sun and scant rain. When did they relocate Southern Ohio to Arizona?

June is typically a slow time for book sales, but it's a great time for writing--especially if you aren't fond of hot weather. (So long as the air conditioning holds out, that is.)

If you're in the mood to sit back and listen to my serial corporate thriller, THE EAVESDROPPER, you can listen to all the videos in the playlist on my YouTube channel. 

If you're in the mood for a scary walk down a haunted road in Ohio, try ELEVEN MILES OF NIGHT, which is available in both Amazon Kindle and paperback.

The summer, and the stories, roll on...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Storytelling in rock music: “Hotel California”

I was thirteen years old the first time I heard “Hotel California” by The Eagles. 

I loved this song immediately, and I love it still, even though I’ve heard it literally thousands of times. (Hey, I was thirteen years old in 1981; that’s plenty of time to hear a single rock ballad thousands of times.)

This is a great example of compact storytelling. In a mere 345 words, Glenn Frey and Don Henley manage to spin a tale that contains multiple scenes, vivid surrealistic imagery, and a deeper theme of lost innocence. 

Consider the first stanza:

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair 
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air 
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light 
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim 
I had to stop for the night.

When you read these lines, you can actually see an image of this guy, riding along a “dark desert highway.” 

Frey and Henley don’t mention his means of conveyance, but I have always pictured him on a motorcycle. Why? He feels the “cool wind” in his hair. (Note the genius of brevity and implication here.) 

The hotel is mirage-like (“a shimmering light”). You feel the weariness of the narrator (“My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim…”)

But I really love the next stanza:

There she stood in the doorway;  
I heard the mission bell 
And I was thinking to myself
'This could be heaven or this could be Hell' 
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way

Consider the lyricists’ choice of words: This lone woman is waiting in the doorway of the establishment. This conveys (without Frey and Henley explicitly telling you) that the Hotel California is an old Spanish-style inn, versus the local Best Western. He hears “the mission bell.” When was the last time you heard a mission bell at a Best Western or a Motel 6?

And to completely cement the atmosphere, the woman lights up a candle to show the narrator the way. Wow. Can’t you just see this woman, holding a candle, as she leads you down a darkened hallway through a converted Spanish mission in Arizona or New Mexico? I sure can. 

And that’s only the first two stanzas. “Hotel California” gets even more surreal as it continues. There’s a fairly solid story here; and again: 345 words. But not a word is wasted. No wonder this song still gets a generous amount of airplay, forty years after its original release.