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Story Updates

New content for your reading pleasure and feeback

Welcome, July

Jacksonville, FL, has been hot.  First Tropical Storm Debbie tries to drown us, now it feels like summer is trying to bake us.  We’ll reach a happy medium several months from now but will have to hang in there until then.  Fall cannot get here fast enough.

What’s Been Happening

We’ve just wrapped the Trinity Gateways Newsletter, so I can now spend more time on other projects.  Currently, I have a cover to design for Tricia Sparks as the artwork’s come in, and LJ Gastineau has sent me a few stories that I need to review for the anthology we’re putting together.  Then, of course, is my own series work.  I’ve had to scale back on my writing in order to get the newsletter out before the end of June but am pleased to say that I’m back on track as of this week.  Descent Into Darkness: His Command has now broken 36,000 words and 110 pages in MS Word, making it the longest installment of the series thus far.  It feels like it has about another 10,000 words left in it, maybe a little less than that.  It’s due out in October but I hope to have to it finished by the beginning of August in order to get it edited by Tricia Sparks while I work with LJ Gastineau on finalizing the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind.

It means that the busy trend of the last few months won’t be slowing down any time soon.

While all of this is going on we’re prepping for Ancient City Con, July 20-22, 2012.  I’ve received my shipment of Descent Into Darkness, Volume 1: He Begins to sell at the Trinity Gateways table.  Most of the promotional materials have come in at this point, and we’ve gotten almost all of the display components for the table setup.  We’re excited about the con, seeing old friends, making new ones, and are looking forward to a good time.

Now For The Update

The rough Chapters 13 & 14 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command are now up for those of you who are interested.  Happy reading and enjoy!

Just A Quick Post

There’s a lot on my plate today and I’ve gotten a very slow start.  The caffiene’s finally kicked in, so I can now draft a post that actually makes sense.

My Current Projects

Most of you may know that I’m a member of Trinity Gateways, and that we’ve opened submissions for the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind.  As an editor for the project, I’ve been working with Acquisitions Editor, LJ Gastineau, in order to review submissions and give constructive feedback where applicable.  As writers ourselves, we know the value of a good critique.  Doing that takes extra time, but we believe in doing what we can to promote a writer’s growth.  It’s our hope that the authors are able to use our feedback to strengthen their writing.  Right now, our submission deadline is August 1, and we go to print on August 31.  An announcement will be made when the book is available for sale.

In addition to the horror anthology, we’re also looking at our next anthology project.  Once we have the details ironed out, we’ll post it on the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.

Another Trinity Gateways project is the second newsletter for this year; I’m the layout editor there, as well as a contributor.  It’s due for release on the site later this month and will be available as a free PDF download.

I’ve been writing the fourth installment of Descent Into Darkness.  My publication deadline is in October; I’ll post an actual date for that in the next month or so.

The printed omnibus entitled Descent Into Darkness Volume 1: He Begins is currently out on Amazon; I just approved the final proof.  The edition includes the first three installments of the series: His Own, Her Lord, and His Beast.  I’m working on getting distribution for it elsewhere and will make an announcement once that’s done.

As for graphics work, I’ve got the map to update — again — and cover art to assemble for Descent Into Darkness: His Command.  I’m trying to get a head start on it.

Oh, and while I’m think about it…

A Reminder

Trinity Gateways is still taking submissions for the Shadows of the Mind horror anthology.  We’ve gotten some excellent entries so far.  There are still slots open so anyone who is interested has until August 1, 2012, to get their stories in.  Please visit the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page for requirements and guidelines.

Content Update

The rough draft Chapters 9 & 10 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command have been posted.

Until next time, folks!

Love Staying Busy

I can honestly say that I haven’t been this busy in a very long time.  Let’s forget about the 40-hours-a-week day job and the overtime that’s been required of me over the last 4-6 weeks.  Let’s just look at everything else — which is more than enough.  Writing a set number of chapters every week for Descent Into Darkness: His Command, editing through/reworking the map for/creating the cover for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast, editing through/formatting/creating the cover for/researching printing options for the printed omnibus of Descent Into Darkness Volume 1: He Begins, reviewing submission entries with LJ Gastineau for the Trinity Gateways horror anthology Shadows of the Mind, working on/acquiring ads for the Trinity Gateways newsletter which comes out in late June 2012, dealing with the business setup for Trinity Gateways, and personal things such as helping out my future sister-in-law’s wedding preparations.

On one hand, I am very tired.  It’s a lot of work, a ton of time involved, which means that I don’t typcially get very much sleep.  I’m craving some quality shut eye time, closely followed by some quality Xbox time.  I don’t know if many other writers, traditionally published or self published, go through the same thing.  I do know that video game developers have a similar experience in the course of their work — crunch time, they call it.  I’ve borrowed the term for my own pre-release process, which took up the majority of my time in the last month or so.

Yet, on the other hand, I am extremely happy.  While I’m not crazy about working what amounts to 2.5 full-time jobs, I absolutely adore the 1.5 jobs I have to juggle in around the day job.  Writing’s in my blood, the business of writing, of publishing is a constant fascination — even my crunch time periods.  I love doing what I do.  One day, I’d love to make that all I do, but I’m realistic enough to know that will take a great deal of time and work to accomplish.  Still, that’s the dream and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

To succeed in anything, you have to love what you do and want it badly enough to make it happen.

This Week’s Update

Today I’ve posted the rough draft Chapters 7 & 8 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command.  I hope you enjoy it.  Now I’ve got to get back to work — I still have to make my chapter quota for the week.

Until next time!


Descent Into Darkness: His Beast is out!

Descent Into Darkness: His Beast, the third installment of the series, is currently available for sale via Smashwords and Amazon (Kindle) for $2.99!  It should be available for the Nook and other e-readers within the next week or two.


Two years have passed since the blood mage Ba’tvian Delthanurk had killed his former mentor and taken his student, the elven lady Nerisse se li Astorae, for his own. With the Mancers still on the hunt for them, the lovers travel into the northern wilderness during the dead of winter. There Ba’tvian continues to formulate plans for the future, while Nerisse struggles to overcome an ability that has now a hindrance. Yet as they seek solutions to their problems, another issue arises: a barbarian fleeing his people in the arctic Ice Fields will cross their path. He will bring with him his own set of dark skills – something that may be of interest to an ambitious blood mage…

And now a taste of what’s in store:

Sample Chapter

BA’TVIAN Delthanurk stared into the eyes of the man as his knife cut symbols into his chest.  He saw the grief, pain, mindless fear in the glassy depths.  In a few short hours, this northern trapper had been stripped of reason, of hate, and filled with loss, with suffering.

He was, he reflected, getting better at it.

Around him, his Shadowed Ones slithered in an accompaniment dance.  Light from the lanterns, fireplace, and brazier gilded their outlines, illuminating the corpses that littered the room.  They lay waiting for his creatures who had not yet begun to feed.  They would stave off their own hunger until he finished.

With the last rune drawn in living flesh, he drew back to check his handiwork.  The placement was precise, the lines clearly defined.  He was ready for the next step.

Up to this point, he had taken his time with his victim.  Now he quickened the pace.  Chanting the words to capture the life force as it was released, he cut into the body just below the ribcage.  He thrust a hand inside, shoving his arm up into the chest cavity as the man screamed, and closed his fingers around the sacrifice’s beating heart.  A deft twist, a hard yank tore it free of its moorings.

He felt it, the beginning of death, the ending of life.  It filled him, coursing through him like a drug, euphoric, erotic, exciting.

He brought the heart out, the body twitching, the vital organ still pounding in his palm.  Life force, blood-born magic – power – was gathered in as he raised it above his head, chanting.  Crimson liquid dripped down his arm.

He ended the chant with a triumphant phrase in a long forbidden tongue.  The heart flared with a red glow before turning black.  The ritual ended, he deposited the heart in a leather bag for later, motioning his shadows to take their reward.  While they swarmed over the dead, he looked for a wash basin, found one in the corner of the room.  He did what he could to clean himself up.

Ba’tvian didn’t bother with gore lying around.  He stepped around it, searched the larder, then the simple chests against the wall.  He took food and clothing; what the trapper family had possessed was warmer than what he wore.  With that in mind, he took the time to change out of his bloodied garb for the cleaner, heavier garments.

One of the chests had clothing of better quality than the rest.  Fur-lining, more ornamentation, a finer weaver in the fabric.  Trade goods, probably.  He had no desire to trade, but knew the value of having such items in the region they were in.  They could be a key into a settlement, if need be.

Coming upon a woman’s embroidered cloak, he glowered at it.  It was a beautiful article, colorful embroidery on brown velveteen with rabbit fur for lining and trim.  Nerisse would want it.  She wouldn’t ask for it, wouldn’t expect him to give it.  Yet she would want, would hope.  Then she would be disappointed when he didn’t give it her.

It was one of her more obnoxious traits.

The elven chit had her uses, however.  She had been his first taste of sex, served to slake that thirst when the need arose.  She was pretty, a little shy, an outward innocent.  People trusted her.  As bait, a lure, she did well.  Her Empathy, her ties to the earth found them game and shelter in the wilderness.  Her herb lore meant that their food was flavorful, their wounds or ailments treated.

In the two years since his old master’s death, Nerisse had proven her devotion, her convenience.  As his tool, it wasn’t enough.  He wanted more from her.

She was trying, however.  He could not say that she wasn’t.  Still, she failed frequently.  It galled him to find that flaw, that weakness, in a tool of his choosing.  He didn’t bother to hide that from her.  It spurred her on, made her try harder to succeed, to please him.

He had to admit that her growing desperation to be what he wanted was something he enjoyed.

Perhaps…perhaps it was time to give her more incentive, however illusory it might be.  He had been very careful not to make a commitment, though he demanded one from her.  He slept with her, used his attentions as reward or punishment.  There had been no gifts.  Calculating, he considered the cloak.  It might serve the purpose.  He stuffed it into a satchel along with the other trade items he’d selected.  Another bag held more ordinary, practical clothing as well as the food.  Having pilfered what he wanted, he deposited his loot in the snow a ways outside the cabin, then went back inside.

The shadows had finished their meal.  They turned their pale white eyes to him as he scanned the interior.  There was only one thing left to do.

“It will burn.”

Yes, lord. 

The sibilant voices sounded sated, pleased.  Those nearest the lanterns turned them over.  Glass shattered, oil spread.  Ba’tvian scattered the clothing he hadn’t taken about the floor, soaked blankets with oil stored in one of the chests if they weren’t already drenched in blood.  Once done, he led the way out into the cold.

He paused by the satchels, looked back.  A bare moment’s concentration, a wisp of freshly harvested magic, and the interior lit up like the sun.  When the glare faded, flames were consuming everything left inside.

Should a Mancer find his way here, there wouldn’t be much left to tell him what had transpired or who had done it.  One day, he thought, he wouldn’t need to be so careful. He had plans.

He hefted his loot and left.

Like it so far?  Get the unabridged version, including bonus content such as a map, glossary of people, places, and terms, and new chapters never befor seen, no on sale at Smashwords and Amazon (Kindle) for $2.99.

And While We’re At It…

Chapters 5 & 6 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command are now up for those of you interested in the rough draft.  Enjoy!

Two Weeks To Go

Editing and revision has taken over my life recently — or as much of my life as the day job is allowing these days.  I’ve just completed an editing/revision run through for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast, and there will be at least one — perhaps two — more before it e-publishes on 5/6/12.  That’s two weeks from now.  The printed omnibus entitled Descent Into Darkness, Volume 1: He Begins, which includes His Own, Her Lord, and His Beast, is scheduled to go to print a few weeks after that.  There’s still a lot of work for me to do before that happens so my blog posts will continue to be relatively short.

Meanwhile, work has not let up on His Command, the fourth in the Descent Into Darkness novella series.  The rough versions of Chapters 3 & 4 are now up.  Let me know what you think.

TrinityGateways.net Horror Anthology Submissions

Submissions are still open for the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind.  If it’s horror, disturbing, and contains no graphic sex, we want it.  If you, or someone you know, would be interested in contributing to this anthology, please visit the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.  We’ve gotten some really good entries so far and are looking for more.

A New Descent

The abridged rough draft of His Command, the fourth installment in the six part series, has been launched. You can read Chapters 1 & 2 HERE.

His Beast has been taken down completely, save for a few sample chapters. The unabridged version of Descent Into Darkness: His Beast will be released as an e-publication on 5/6/12. For anyone interested in reading the unabridged versions of His Own and Her Lord, the first two installments of the series, they are currently for sale at most online e-retailers, such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Juggling Isn’t Always Easy

As you might already know, I’ve been loaded down with mandatory OT at the day job, which has greatly impacted the time I’ve allocated to writing. Thankfully, it hasn’t impacted my posting schedule. While my writing productivity hasn’t been the greatest during the last few weeks, I’m happy to report that I still have content to post, and that the amount of OT has been decreased. The OT isn’t gone – I wish – but has lessened. Hopefully, I can get back on track with writing soon.

The thing about juggling is that you have to absorb any shift in the established routine you’ve set for yourself. Not only is it akin to being thrown an extra object to juggle, the bloody thing’s a different weight and shape. It messes up the routine, and you find yourself fumbling with the objects as you attempt to keep them in the air. Try as you might, you will occasionally let one fall to the ground.

It’s frustrating. When you’re suddenly handed 10-15 extra hours to work at the Evil Necessity, it almost always means losing a “free day” – time you’ve slotted for some serious keyboard pounding. That loss might mean a dropped ball, and you may not have the time to pick it up off the ground and work it back into the juggling routine.

There are ways to handle it. You can short yourself on sleep to write, grit your teeth, bear the extra load, and pray that you’ll be able to make your goals, or, if given the option, refuse the work. Weigh your options, analyze your priorities, and make your decision.

Writers don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t set our writing aside. We find the space to compromise, the time to jot down as many words as we can, all the while dreaming of the “big break” in publishing or winning the lottery so that we can pursue our true calling. Sometimes we have to make the really tough and onerous decision to cutback on writing (not give it up, just do it less often) in favor of the day job. It’s not an easy one to make. For those who make it, it’s temporary, brought on financial/economic necessity. Yet once the need for it passes, they go back to writing like they used to.

It’s the never-ending tug-of-war, one that we can’t stop participating in – at least, not until we’re writing full-time. Once we stop the tug-of-war, we stop dreaming. We stop writing. Whole worlds die in that instant.

That’s something I refuse to let happen to mine. What about you?


Just A Short Note…

I’m keeping this post a bit short this time around as it’s a busy day for me.  The Evil Necissity that is the day job is showing how evil it can truly be; I’ve been put on mandatory OT for the foreseeable future.  Because of this, I won’t be moving to more frequent posts on the site starting in April as I had previously planned.  Sorry, folks, but I got to pay the bills.

Descent Into Darkness News

The unabridged version of Descent Into Darkness: His Beast will be available for sale as an ebook at the beginning of May 2012 and here’s the cover.  I hope you like it.  The last rough chapters for this story have been posted for those of you who follow it.

The fourth installment, His Command, has been started and rough chapters will be posted during the next update.  The update schedule will be revised later today so please be sure to check it out this afternoon.

Frozen Reflection

My good friend, LJ Gastineau, has just published her first fantasy YA ebook entitled Frozen Reflection.  Congrats, LJ!  It’s currently on sale at Amazon and via Lulu.com.  It’s a fun variation of the Snow White tale with a few twists, and is a fast read.

Getting back to work, so I’ll leave it at for now.


Graphics Galore

I’ve been working on a lot of graphics lately.  The world map for the Descent Into Darkness series is being updated with locations from the latest installments, then I have not one but two covers to work on upcoming releases in the same series.  In addition to that, LJ’s been tagging me for help on the formatting/layout for her own cover. Thankfully, writing hasn’t taken a back seat to graphics work.  The two are running neck-and-neck, though.

Speaking of writing…

The Status Quo

TrinityGateways.net Submissions Still Open

If you write horror and are interested in submitting a story for this horror anthology please visit the TrinityGateways.net Submissions page for requirements and guidelines.  You will be paid for submission if it is accepted. If you have questions, e-mail aquisition editor LJ Gastineau at submission@trinitygateways.net.

Descent Into Darkness: His Beast

The rough draft is finish and is in the editing/revision phase.  Since I entered this phase before the last chapters were posted, you will continue to see rough draft chapters updated through the end of March.  Within the first week or two of April, all rough chapters will be taken down and replaced with the chapters.

The cover art for His Beast is not yet complete.  I’ve been juggling several graphic projects, as indicated above, and haven’t been able to concentrate on it as much as I would like.  I hope to change that this week.  Once the cover is completed, I’ll announce a definite release date (as opposed to release month) for the e-book and will post the cover for everything to see.

Descent Into Darkness: His Command

The fourth installement for the series now has a real title!  I’ve already started work on the story, which has, in turn, prompted additions to the world map.  Once I begin posting rough draft chapters, I’ll add the teaser description to the Descent Into Darkness series page.

Descent Into Darkness: He Begins

The omnibus, which includes first three installments of the series, is still on schedule for a May release date.  I’m aiming to have it published (e-book and in print) in mid-May, a week or two after the e-release of His Beast.  Work on the cover art will begin after the cover art for His Beast is finished.

I’m compiling the Appendices at the moment and am wondering if anything else should be included, or expanded.  If there’s something more you’d like to see the Appendix for He Begins, post it in the comments.


Printed editions of He Begins will  be available for sale at Ancient City Con in July at the TrinityGateways.net dealer table.  If you’re in the area, drop by!

Update Changes

Starting in April 2012, there will be changes to the update schedule.  I’ll be posting new content more frquently, and there may be other changes as well.  most of you know that I’m also a founder of TrinityGateways.net, and our sites are linked.  We’re looking to implement some new features that will impact my personal site.  As things get locked in, I’ll post more info on that.  Right now, it’s still in the “let’s see what we can do” stage.

That’s rpetty much it for now.  It’s back to work for me!

It’s Been A Fantastic Week

It’s been great in my world recently.  I’m overworked but that seems to be an acceptable price to pay for everything else.  Let me give you the bullet version of what’s been going on:

  • TrinityGateways.net has been going through submission for their anthology, Shadows of the Mind.  Submissions are still open so if you’re interested, please check out the submission and payment details HERE.
  • I’ll be at Ancient City Con with my partners at TrinityGateways.net!  We have three panels lined up and will be selling books.  For more details about the con, click HERE.  For more details about I and the Trinity gals will be doing, click HERE.
  • I’ll be printing an omnibus volume of Descent Into Darkness to sell at the con.  Titled He Begins, it will include His Own, Her Lord, and His Beast, representing half of the series.  These printed books will also be available for sale online before then — I’ll provide more details once I have them.
  • I’ve finished the rough draft for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast.  Chapters will continue to be posted on the site, but you may have noticed that I’ve taken down the “full” abridged version of the draft.  I’ll be starting the edit/revision phase shortly.  The e-book version of His Beast will be available for purchase in May.
  • My partners and I have been discussing expanding the TrinityGateways website.  This means a ton of more work for me, as I’m the webmaster of both my site and TrinityGateways.net.  But if it works the way we want it to, there will be new features for users that we think everyone will appreciate.  I’m to begin the testing phase for the new upgrades in the very near future.
  • I’ve started work on the cover art for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast.  I’m about a third of the way through it.  It’s going to be a little different from the previous two covers, which I hope goes over well.  Once that’s complete, I start work on the cover art for the omnibus, He Begins.
  • The Evil Necessity that is the day job has recently implemented overtime for my department.  While its not mandatory for me to participate, there’s a ton of stuff I won’t be able to get done without it.  I don’t want to have to explain why things aren’t getting done to my CFO, so I’ll have to work some OT.  This will, of course, impact all my other work — my real jobs, as I prefer to think of them — but I will endeavor to keep that impact as minimal as possible.

As you can see, I’m super busy right now.   Most of it has to do with the work that I love, though, and that helps a great deal.


Update Content

Chapters 19-21 for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast have been posted.  Feel free to read and leave a comment or three.  As this story will be beginning the edit/revision process soon, each posting will only be up for two weeks before being taken down again.  Read it while you can.

That’s pretty much it for now.  I’ve got to get back to the background and story notes required for Descent Into Darkness #4.  It hasn’t been titled yet, but I’ve got a few possibilities roaming around in my head for it.  We’ll see which one wins out.


Making Progress

Hi!  Today’s been a very productive day for me.  Each weekend I set a chapter quota for myself; the amount varies depending on whatever else is going on.  This Saturday, however, I made the quota in a single day — and I decided to celebrate with a double update.

Content For This Update

According to my schedule, Spartans: The AWOL Squad Episode 23 was the only material being posted.  The additional content is the next two chapters, 17 & 18, for the rough draft of Descent Into Darkness: His Beast.  I hope you enjoy them.

News On The Current Projects

I’m in the process of wrapping up DID: His Beast.  I estimate that I’ve got maybe another 6 chapters to write before the first draft is finished.  Provided that things go smoothly, I’ll post more chapters every two weeks until the abridged version of the story has been completely posted.  It will remain up for at least another two weeks at that point, then be taken down (except for sample chapters) as I enter the edit/revision stage.   The unabridged version of His Beast is projected to release as an e-book in May 2012.  I’ll be starting work on the cover art next month, and will begin writing DID #4 almost immediately after completing the draft for His Beast.

Descent Into Darkness will consist of at least six novellas, each one detailing a stage of Ba’tvian Delthanurk’s journey to becoming the Dark Adept that all of Einlienn will fear.  I don’t have titles for the remaining three parts of the series yet.  When I do, I’ll post them on the DID page.

Something To Think About

I am toying with the idea adding a seventh novella to the series, one that would be more of a side piece as it wouldn’t focus at all Ba’tvian.  One of the characters that is slated to be introduced in DID #5 has a backstory that’s more involved than rest of Ba’tvian’s cohorts.  I’d love to tell the tale, but will wait until the rest of DID is completed before acting on that wish.  We’ll see if it makes it in.

Trinity Gateways Submissions

If you write horror and are interested in being included in a horror anthology, TrinityGateways.net is now taking submissions.  This is a paying gig.  Requirements, submission details, etc, can be found on their site.  I’ll be doing the cover art for the anthology once the submissions are closed, so please submit your horror stories!