The Week That Got Away

The Week That Got Away

A few of you sent tentative questions wanting to know what happened last Friday. Was I on vacation? Had Misdirected switched to a weekly publication schedule when you weren’t looking? Had some other mysterious event befallen me?

In truth, it was a series of events…strap in and I will bring you up to speed.

Puppy Gymnastics

First, meet our new exercise program:

The ghosts of Samson and Frankie watching over her little doggie bed…

Her name is Delilah. She is a 6-month old Chi-Weenie, and no I didn’t come up with that breed name. On the 9th through the 11th of June, our local Albuquerque Humane Society ran an event where they were attempting to “empty the city shelters” by adopting pets for only $5. We visited, and Delilah was the result.

At six months old, she came to us very confused about life in general, and about house rules like potty-training in particular. So she has completely destroyed our daily schedules, including gym attendance.

However, she herself is a profound exercise generator. A few weeks ago I was speculating about how to get over 10,000 steps a day consistently. We have found the answer. Socializing and playing with a new puppy has kept us above our daily step goal every day, with one marathon of a day putting us at nearly 14,000 steps. She hasn’t been great for our weight-lifting routines, but boy is she good for the heart. In more ways than one.

The Inheritance Marathon

Inheritance Book Cover

Speaking of long-term exercise, my longest-ever writing exercise is over. I finished writing Inheritance last week. It has now been handed off to my editorial review team. Who will undoubtedly find so many issues with it that I will effectively have to re-write it. I couldn’t care less.

This is a big one for me, folks. When I started writing Misdirected all those years ago, it was a daily journal of my gaming activities. I had no idea that it would begin a chain of events that would lead to me completing an entire novel. But, it has done just that, and I couldn’t be happier. Even if I never sell more than two copies (I have two parents, remember), I will be able to go through the rest of my life knowing that I actually sat down and wrote an entire novel. This is huge for someone who couldn’t put a sentence together ten years ago.

Once again, if you too are suffering from a disability, keep pushing those boundaries. You never know how far you will get until you try.

The ACE Fitness Iron-Man

I also finished my course of study for the ACE Fitness Personal Trainer course last week. I got myself revved up, sat down for the practice exam…

And flunked it.

I even got a consolation note from the ACE Fitness on-line study system: “That’s why we call it a practice exam!”

So, yeah. I now have just over 30 days to get my real exam scheduled and to take another practice exam, this time (hopefully) passing.

Needless to say, I am glad I already finished Inheritance. I won’t be doing any fiction writing of any kind in the next month. I am going to be busy.

Studying for this certification may be the hardest thing I have ever done. I have never been an athlete. I have never had any aptitude for biology. I always watched bodyworkers like Lor with a certain mixture of awe and jealousy.

Becoming professionally certified as a personal trainer could not be further out of my comfort zone.

But, if Misdirected has taught me anything, it is that there are a bunch of people out there looking for support and advice. And the ACE PT certification is my first step toward feeling comfortable providing advice from a professional background, rather than just shooting from the hip. Personal experience and internet research can only take you so far.

So, yeah. Here we are. Wish me luck as I study constantly for the next month. I have a feeling I am going to need all the luck I can get.

Hitting The Books Like I Used To Hit The Girl Scout Cookies,

Jeremy

(Fiction Friday:) A Perpetual Party

The Perpetuals Cover Art

Quick, what do you get when you combine two septuagenarians, a nearly naked fireman, and a bowl of Punch-a-Punch?

I don’t know either, but it sounds like one hell of a Friday night to me.

The Perpetuals, Episode 2

Next up in The Perpetuals storyline, K. Edwin Fritz begins to explore what it really means to be a dhampir. Enhanced senses are explored in new and unexpected ways. Dark figures pursue our protagonist down lonely streets. Warning – feral cats may (or may not) be molested.

Our protagonist, Ben, brings to life the idea of what it means to desire to become a vampire while striving to remain human. How does one live while a dhampir?

And, more to the point, what does a colony of dhampir look like in its day-to-day operations? What do you even call a group of dhampir? A hive? A tribe? A murder? Oooh, I like that. Let’s call them the Murder of Dhampir, congregating nightly at Ammit’s Bar and Grill.

Seriously, has anyone ever studied the sociology of these things before? ‘Cause I sure haven’t. You get bit, you get bit again, you get bit a third time, and BAM! – You’re a vampire. What Fritz is doing here is so interesting to me that I keep demanding to see his work early, moving up his timetable.

I claim it is in the name of the editorial process, but we all know the truth, don’t we?

Seriously, go read this episode. You’ll come out the other side scratching your head and saying “Huh…I never thought of that.”

At least, that’s what I did.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, The Perpetuals Episode 2 is now available at Fiction Vortex.

Jeremy

(Fiction Friday:) Inheritance Returns

We’ve now worked our way through all five initial episodes of the new Ash Falls stories. They are darker than I had expected and so much better than I could have hoped for. In comparison to my fellow writers, I find myself a little intimidated: I may have created Ash Falls, but I am by no means the most talented author here.

Episode 2 means it is time to bring my “A” game.

A Closer Look At Jessica

From Lor, to my Beta readers, to the couple hundred people who have visited Inheritance so far, one opinion is consistent. Everyone’s favorite character is Jessica.

I was taken aback by this, really. I’ve created a murderous supernatural ruling council. A fragmented protagonist. (I can’t bring myself to call Brian Drake a hero.) A crime lord, a consigliere, an eco-warrior Werewolf…and everyone’s favorite character is the crack addicted ex-wife.

I asked one of my editors (I have several) why Jessica was so compelling. Her response? “I feel like Jess is my annoying little sister or my neighbor in the RV park. She is easy to connect with.”

I looked at my first episode with fresh eyes after that. And Jessica is a compilation of several women I have known over the years. I have known individuals with all of the issues Jessica has. (Not all in the same person, thank goodness.) And, I have to agree with the comment several of my readers have made: Jessica feels real.

The Hero’s Dilemma

Episode 2, Cavalier, returns us to the relationship between Brian and Jess. And it brings us to the eternal question: how do you rescue someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

This is Ash Falls, remember. There will be no easy answers. There will probably be no fairy-tale endings. (Unless you are into the fairy tales where little kids throw an old lady in an oven.) But, if the setting is imaginary, the interactions between our characters is real. No stake through the heart hurts as much as watching someone you love willingly go down in flames.

Inheritance Episode 2 is now on sale at Fiction Vortex.

Jeremy

(Fiction Friday:) Two For The Price Of One!

This morning I decided to get some ideas for my introduction to Steve Cotterill’s Fallen by looking at last week’s article. Only one problem: it wasn’t there.

So I went digging through my posts, expecting to find that I had once again written an article then forgotten to post it.

Nope.

There is literally nothing there. Not an article, not a draft, nothing. I completely forgot to write an introduction to C. Charel Kunz’ Reborn last week.

Life with epilepsy: it’s a thing. But it’s a thing you won’t remember.

So, with sincere apologies to Ms. Kunz, here are two introductions to the latest properties from Ash Falls.

Reborn

You all know my phobia about hospitals, yes? The emergency rooms, the operating theaters, the shared rooms where everyone speaks quietly to avoid disturbing the dying person in the next bed…yeah. Hospitals. Not my thing.

So, I will admit that the opening to Reborn scared me more than any other piece I have read associated with Ash Falls.

Loss of identity. Inutterable longing. Voices from beyond. And, through it all, completely evil hospital staff in a completely evil hospital. Did I say evil twice? I meant it.

This character and this setting belong in Ash Falls. No politics, no vampires, no werewolves. At least, not yet. Just some of the scariest atmospheric writing I have read in a long time. I put down the first episode and was this close to calling Ms. Kunz and demanding to know what happens next.

Reborn is now available at Fiction Vortex. And has been for two weeks, since I forgot to write it up last week. Sigh. I can’t promise it won’t happen again. Because, you know, epilepsy.

Apologies to the author. Again.

Fallen

Horror has common themes, or “tropes.” It is one of those things that makes a new book in a specific genre easy to approach while you work out plot elements. There will be familiar sign posts along the way.

And then there is Fallen.

The protagonist is not at all what you would expect. In fact, he is a disembodied petty criminal of Kurdish descent. Get all that? I am not even giving up spoilers by telling you that: this is all established on the first page.

Then it gets really weird.

I have seen more of the character of Ash Falls in Fallen than in any other story I’ve read, including my own. Given that I created Ash Falls, that is kinda impressive. It is a view of the city from the bottom looking up. You thought Brian Drake was a broken character? He has nothing on Jay, the protagonist from Fallen. He takes existentialism to a whole new level.

The protagonist is most certainly not a “good guy.” There are a host of antagonists. Everything from familial relationships to social interactions is skewered. The primary bad guy erupts from the pages in an explosion of supernatural activity.

Seriously, take a look at Episode 1. You will never look at Ash Falls the same way again.

I know I sure didn’t.

Still Creeped Out,

Jeremy

 

 

(Fiction Friday:) Vampires Suck!

The Perpetuals Release

What happens if you are attacked by a vampire and it doesn’t finish the job?

Do you get yourself patched up and then attempt to go through life like any other trauma survivor?

Or, do you suddenly find yourself drawn to darker desires…without any way to fulfill these dark imaginings?

Welcome to life as a dhampir.

A Life of Perpetual Suffering

K. Edwin Fritz tackles this very subject in the latest Ash Falls series The Perpetuals. A fresh take on classic vampire mythology, The Perpetuals dwells on a community of “half-turned” humans. Losing grip on their humanity, but fighting to not take that final step into eternal darkness, these victims are attempting to preserve what remains of themselves as the desire for blood slowly overcomes them.

There are no sparkly vampire sex scenes here. No happy undead playing joyful baseball games in thunderstorms. Instead, there is a community increasingly aware that they are staring into the abyss of eternal torment.

Juicy stuff. You owe it yourself to go grab Episode One right now.

Five For The Price Of One!

Or, if patience is not your strong suit, you could just download all 5 Episode #1s at once. Like, get the introductory episodes of Fallen and Reborn before they are even officially released!

“How do I do this?” you ask?

Head over to NoiseTrade, where we are currently running a promotion for the Ash Falls Storyverse Sampler. Download a copy of all 5 first episodes in your preferred format and, if you are so inclined, leave a tip!

Because Starving Writers, you know.

Despite the fact that the NoiseTrade promo is in my name, any and all proceeds from tips are going to promotional costs and then being shared out between the five of the Ash Falls authors. So, tip early and tip often!

The NoiseTrade promo runs through this Sunday, thereafter you will actually have to head out to NoiseTrade and search for the sampler, rather than it being featured on the shiny front page.

And if you know someone with the slightest interest in reading, direct them out to NoiseTrade as well. They may start with our sampler, but there are tons of other books to be checked out there. Trust me, I know. I’ve already grabbed a few myself.

Next Week on Fiction Friday: Demonic Fire Spirits and You!

Burning Down The House,

Jeremy