Lyrical Darkness – The story of stories

lryical_MEDIUMA couple of years ago, I was listening to 70’s songs on satellite radio. I was paying more attention to the lyrics than I normally did, and realized that the lyrics of many of those songs told some interesting stories.

Being a writer, I’m all about the stories. I was rather amazed that some lyrics tell an entire story in just a 3 or 4 minute song. Writing that tightly requires a lot of skill, but also forced the writer to leave out a LOT of details… and I became interested in those details.

As a music fan, I had heard these lyrics perhaps hundreds of times, but I had never thought about those missing story details. Songs like The Hotel California told intriguing stories, but I wanted a bit more. I wanted to know about the mysterious woman at the Hotel California, and what kind of beast could not be killed by stabbing it with their steely knives. So I explored some ideas, and wrote them in a novelette titled The Hotel California where I expanded on the basic story and filled in many of those mysterious details.

Then I invited some of my writer friends to explore the themes behind some of their favorite story-songs, and what they came up with was amazing. Some fleshed out the bare-bones stories told in the lyrics, offering the reader the gritty details they lacked. Others wrote sequels or prequels to the stories told in the lyrics, giving them an entirely new dimension . Some used the song lyrics as a background theme to create completely unique stories.

The resulting stories were gathered and edited and put into a single volume titled Lyrical Darkness.

Putting this book together has been both challenging and rewarding. The authors involved have amazed me with their creativity and writing skills, and I have enjoyed reading their takes on some classic song lyrics.

Lyrical Darkness was published in June of 2015 and is available exclusively at Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.
So check it out, and see if you are not pleasantly surprised by some of the stories you thought you knew so well.

 Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and DownloadWatch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and DownloadWatch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

 Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and DownloadWatch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

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Lyrical Darkness – Dark Fiction Anthology

lryical_MEDIUMA new anthology titled “Lyrical Darkness” is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and print versions.

Inside, you will find 11 dark fiction stories inspired by the lyrics to popular songs. Songs like Maggie Mae, Satisfaction, The Hotel California, Angie Baby and several other are included.
I have 2 stories in this collection. Swamp Witch is one that I wrote just for this anthology, and I also included The Hotel California which was previously published, but now available in print for the first time thanks to this title.
I have read all of the stories in this book, and I’m happy to say I loved them all. Ten different authors bring you their literary visions provoked by their favorite song lyrics to create a chilling read you will not soon forget.

  • Experience the insanity of a young woman who seeks refuge from reality in the tunes on her radio in Angie Baby by Terri Reid.
  • Discover what happens to to Johnny the fiddler after his interlude with the Devil in The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Again by Ann Fields.
  • Visit a depression-era town on the edge of the Black Bayou where a witch named Hattie lurks just out of sight in Swamp Witch by Donnie Light.
  • Help solve a cold case with amateur sleuth Ronnie Lake as she links together clues to find a killer in Delilah by Niki Danforth
  • Get a glimpse into the mind of a deranged serial killer in the horrifying Satisfaction by David McAfee
  • Find out what the future holds for our youth in the eerie dystopian tale Rococo by Connor Millard
  • Terror ensues when former lovers are suddenly reunited in the haunting story She Loves You byOphelia Julien
  • Meet the mysterious and cunning Margaret Mae as she lures an unsuspecting young man into her lair in Maggie Mae by Sharon Love Cook
  • Witness the workings of a shrewd criminal mind in the chilling Smooth Criminal by Andrea Jones
  • A strange kind of stalker is on the loose and has targeted a young lady in this story with a great twist, titled Every Breath You Take by A.T. Reid
  • A rock star driving from Vegas to LA makes an unexpected stop for the night that will change his life forever in The Hotel California by Donnie Light

Lyrical Darkness brings your favorite tunes to life in a way you have never experienced them before. I hope you will look up this title and take a look. I’m confident that any fan of dark fiction will be happy to have found it.

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Author Tagging

Writing is a single-player sport for the most part. A game one plays with oneself, where words replace a ball or chess piece, and single game can last for months or years. Near the end of the game, others may get involved and lend some specialized expertise, but for the most part, its a lonely sport.

loose endsI was recently tagged in a blog post by the fabulous writer and friend, Terri Reid. Terri is the author of the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery series, along with some Fantasy and other genres worked into her bibliography. Check out her Amazon Author Page as well as her Website and Blog to find out more about Terri’s books. You’ll be glad you did.

I get to see Terri face-to-face on occasion, and always enjoy her energy and creativity. Her friendship and wisdom have had an impact on me, and I am so appreciative…

The idea of this “author tagging” is to have an author some basic questions about their work, give a shout-out to the “tagging” author, and invite yet others on the downstream side to participate. I was supposed to tag 3 other authors, but I’ve had 3 “thirds” now, and in each case, participation didn’t work out for one reason or another. So I hereby authorize one of those downstream authors to tag a 4th… You have my permission.

My Answers:

what are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a thriller with a working title called Delaney’s Cure. In this story, a cellular biologist discovers a breakthrough in veterinary vaccines. He creates a genetically modied virus for his testing, which is released into the environment, infecting a large number of dogs.

But this story is not about the science, it’s about dogs. It’s about what happens when the dogs in an isolated community turn viscious and begin attacking – and killing – the people who love them.

So Delaney’s Cure is about dogs – both demonic and heroic, and how one small town is driven to fear their family pets, and the steps they take to protect those that are not yet infected by this man-made sickness.


How do your stories differ from others in its genre?

I try my best to write “reasonable person” characters, which to me adds realism to the stories. For me as a reader, I am put off by characters who do not act as a reasonable person for sake of the story.

Now, I write horror and fantasy – so I don’t mind putting characters in unusual places or circumstances – in fact, that’s what I love to do. However, I want those characters to behave as a reasonable person would given the situation. Reasonable people don’t open doors to rooms where they think monsters lurk. They don’t attack a mob of 20 people with guns when all they have is a slingshot.

So keeping people real is what drives realism – not creating a realistic world or setting to put them in.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m sure the common answer is that writers write what they love to read. For me, that’s true. However, I like to write about topics that you don’t see in the news everyday, which leads me down the path of the paranormal or supernatural. I love being scared by a story, and my goal is to scare others with similar preferences. I don’t like gory, bloody splatter stories, but tight stories where the tension is palpable is what I seek. I also try to keep the story moving, and don’t tend to drag out subplots unless absolutely necessary. I want a story to read like a movie in the readers mind.

How does the writing process work?

Typically, by the time I get to writing a story, it’s been brewing in my head for months or even years. When I have idle time, like driving or waiting in line – I’ll be working out plots and scenes in my head. I must have a pretty good memory for this stuff, because this is what works for me.

When it comes time to write it down, I just jump right in. I’ve tried outlines, but find that as the details of the story emerge, it changes the direction the story might go, so outlines are largely abandoned – and therefore a waste of time. I will sometimes write scenes out of order, and sometimes I will move a scene to a different part of the book, depending on what makes the most sense for the story.

Then edit, and edit again, and then edit some more…


stunnerFirst on my list of “tagees” is Niki Danforth, author of “Stunner” – a Ronnie Lake mystery.
I’ve known Niki for over a year now, and we’ve had countless email discussions and several phone conversations – which saves a lot of keystrokes that we can both save for our next book! Niki is a class act, and her work shows it. Have a look at Niki’s website and blog, and you can find her book on Amazon as well as other retailers. Niki does everything full-out, and Stunner shows it.





WNCJannifer Powelson is another writer friend and author that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face as well. Jan is a principle at Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, and we have worked on a number of projects together. She has written a series of children’s books that are absolutely adorable and well done. The subject is nature and conservation, and the stories and incredible artwork make her “Rachel and Sammy” series a wonderful introduction to these topics for kids. Jan has also written an adult mystery novel titled “When Nature Calls” and also follows the Nature and Conservation theme. Her titles are available at Amazon and and other book retailers. Visit her website and Amazon Author Page to learn more. You can also check out Progressive Rising Phoenix Press to learn what Jan is doing over there.









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eBook Retailer Exclusivity – where will it end up?

bookI’ve just taken a big step with my writing – one that I had been trying to avoid for a long time.

The step wasn’t in the act of writing itself, but in how I try to reach readers with my writing. The act of doing my best to find that audience and deliver my work to them. For the past several years, I have made my eBooks available on every viable platform out there. I went through a lot of effort to make sure that my eBooks could be found anywhere a potential reader was looking for them.

But that just changed. I have now taken all of my eBooks down from those other sites, and they are now only available at Amazon in eBook and print versions. This was a move that I struggled with for a long time, but in the end, there was really no other alternative.

In my mind, every business needs a competitor.  The old saying is that “competition keeps everyone honest.” That makes complete sense to me. Having a single supplier is a risky move in business. What if something happens and the supplier can’t deliver? What if the supplier increases pricing over time? The only way you would know that is to get a competitive quote.

However, it seems to me that eBook retailers are not watching what Amazon does and trying to duplicate it, it seems they only want to complain about Amazon. I was truly hoping that B&N and Kobo and Apple would individually see how Amazon continues to take marketshare, and then try to mount a competitive response.

But that has not happened. The others just continuously pump the bestseller list, throwing out adds for the big-name authors and the books that are coming out as movies. They are not marketing what readers want, but what they want to sell. And that game is getting harder and harder.

None of the other eBook retailers came up with a single innovative marketing plan to help authors and publishers reach target readers. Amazon has, and it looks like it’s working.

Many of my writer friends and clients have been moving to Amazon Exclusivity through the KDP Select program, and giving up on the other retailers. They had been telling me that they sell far more books on Amazon than anywhere else, so gaining the tools that Amazon provides with exclusivity – Like KDP Select, paid Library Lending, The Matchbook Program, free promo days and Amazon’s intelligent marketing was much more appealing than having the other retailers who did basically nothing and sold basically nothing.

So I’m all in at Amazon, have run a very successful promotion through KDP Select and am selling more eBooks as a result. And it looks like a trend that is gaining momentum among Indie Authors and Publishers, and the result will be a one-retailer eBook marketplace unless the other retailers wake up and see what is happening and try to compete.


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The Ripper Trilogy – 3 books in 1 volume

The Ripper Trilogy

The Ripper Trilogy

For the many thousands of readers who have read Ripper’s Row for free and would  like to continue reading the story of Jack the Ripper as he battles the vampires who have killed his true love, you can now get all 3 books in one volume – The Ripper Trilogy – on Amazon, in Kindle and paperback editions.

The Ripper Trilogy contains the complete texts of Ripper’s Row, Ripper’s Revenge and Ripper’s Wrath.

Many thanks to all of you who have made this series of books so successful. Both Shawn Weaver and I appreciate all of the comments regarding the books, and will be working to create other books that you will enjoy.

Thanks again for reading!



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Ripper’s Wrath – the final book in The Ripper Trilogy

Wrath Cover

Ripper’s Wrath

Ripper’s Wrath, the final book in The Ripper Trilogy is now available at Amazon for the Kindle platform, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, and at Kobo Books for the Kobo readers.  It will also be available at the iBookstore, Sony and other eBook  retailers in the coming weeks.

The paperback version will be available on Amazon by the end of January, 2013.

The description for Ripper’s Wrath is below, but before you read it, I’d like to give you my take on it first.

What started out as a short story written by myself and Shawn Weaver turned into The Ripper TrilogyRipper’s Row was the first book, followed by Ripper’s Revenge, and now the trilogy wraps up with Ripper’s Wrath. These books have been great fun to write, and I fell in love with the characters early on.

About halfway through Ripper’s Row we decided that we would make a trilogy out of this story line. Early on, we focused on the action and slowly began to build the characters. We intentionally did not fully develop the characters as the intention was to let them develop through their actions – and I think we did that. In the final book, readers will learn much more about Jack and what drives him. Helena – the White Witch plays a much bigger part in book 3, and Dr. Watson shows why Holmes puts so much trust in the man.

Ripper’s Wrath completes the story line that started back in book 1, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Jack and Helena – perhaps others – will not continue their war against vampires and other Shadow Beings who prey on innocent humans. It is my hope that there will be more books featuring these characters. I know that I will come to miss them, and I have a good story in mind where Jack and Helena will face an evil so powerful that Jack’s blades alone cannot stop it.

Stay tuned to this website for updates on future books, and I would like to personally thank everyone who has been reading The Ripper books. I hope you enjoy Ripper’s Wrath. Early readers report it’s the best book so far.

Here’s the description for Ripper’s Wrath:

After destroying William Carpenter, the Master Vampire he followed from London to America, Jack Morrow, also known as Jack the Ripper, finds that his foe had powerful allies in New Orleans who mean to avenge their fallen leader. He soon finds himself tangled in a dangerous web of vampires and Vodou cultists who will stop at nothing to kill Jack the Ripper and end the wrath he has brought upon them.
Among the Ripper’s new enemies is a powerful vampire who appears as a nine-year-old southern girl, determined to avenge her fallen Sire. She calls upon Victor, a Vampire Elder and his devious clan to assist in killing Jack the Ripper, but Victor’s plan changes when he decides that the Ripper would make a powerful addition to his clan, and is determined to turn him from vampire hunter to deadly vampire slave.
The vampires align themselves with the powerful Vodou Queen of New Orleans, who has plans of her own for Jack the Ripper, who has burned her mansion and disrupted her comfortable lifestyle in his attack on the vampires she harbors.
Along with his mentor Helena, a powerful White Witch, and Dr. Watson, associate of the famous Sherlock Holmes, the trio must fight their way from New Orleans to Memphis. They are hounded every step along the way as Jack battles the growing army of vampires, while Helena challenges the Vodou Queen in a psychic battle that rattles the physical world.
Can Jack survive the onslaught before him? Can he save the soul of his beloved Sarah and her sister Samantha as she unknowingly steps into the hands of Vodou Queen, Marie Laveau?
Join the harrowing journey of Jack the Ripper as he cuts a swath through America, searching for salvation from the blood sucking hoards that hunt him and the mystical forces of Vodou that trap the souls of those he loves.



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Live Events versus Online Events

Public speaking

The past two weekends I have attended two live writer’s meetings. Yes, live, breathing humanoids -not avatars – shaking hands and dispensing wisdom.

Most of us writers maintain some kind of online presence in social media, blogs, online meetups and the like, but it was very refreshing to attend these live events.

I have learned a lot from my online activities, but being in the room with a great speaker brings it to another level. You can hear actual passion – not denoted by an inadequate emoticon. A genuine smile conveys so much more about a person than a yellow smiley-face – even if it is animated. Shaking hands and handing out business cards was for that time much more satisfying than exchanging links in an email.

At one of these events – The Green Pen Writer’s Conference in beautiful Frankenmuth, Michigan, I was also a speaker. I got to do a session on Print-On-Demand book printing and another session on eBooks – two of my passions. I have worked hard to develop my methods of creating eBooks and Print Books, and I love to be able to share what I have learned with others in a meaningful way. I hope that the sessions that I spoke at prompted those in the audience to do something with that knowledge, and perhaps share it with others. The best part about a live event, is that I didn’t have to type out everything I had to say, as I would in an email or other online form. I could speak freely without a limiting word count, and recount experiences that I have learned from to others.

Writing can be a tough business to break into, so I urge all my fellow writers to look for live events and speakers – then actually go there and partake in the wisdom being dispensed. Listen to the questions, and ask some of your own. Then, shake someone’s hand, or pat them on the back before you hurry home to blog about it.

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If you liked Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…

I recently saw the movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and was impressed with about every aspect of the movie.

The movie is based on a novel by the same title, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie version. 

The premise of the movie is that early in young Abe’s life, he has an encounter with a vampire that leads to the death of a loved one. From that day forward, Abe is determined to destroy the vampire responsible for the death which leads him to encounter a number of vampires along the way.

As I watched the movie, I could not help to draw some parallels between Grahme-Smith’s story and the “Jack the Ripper” series that I co-wrote with author Shawn Weaver.

 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was first published early in 2010, and our “Ripper’s Row” was first published in October of the same year with the sequel, “Ripper’s Revenge” published in 2011.

Of course Grahame-Smith took one of America’s most beloved historical figures and showed us all a dark side of Abe, where the 16th President of the United States secretely hunts vampires. Weaver and I took one of the most infamous characters of all time – Jack the Ripper – and told a story that shows the good side of Jack and why the famous murders took place.Ripper's Row

Like Abe, our Jack is bent on vengeance for the death of a loved one killed by vampires. The two stories take place the late 1800’s, so much of the background settings are similar as related to transportation and the state of technology.

In AL:VH, Abe had grown up with an axe in his hands, and the axe becomes his weapon of choice for vampire hunting, and he weilds it with the grace of a dancer and the skills of a ninja. Our Jack is good with blades – knives and razors – and uses them just as effectively. In fact, Abe has a specially-modified axe with a hidden gun barrel in the handle. Our Jack has specially designed blades that are hidden up his sleeves abd can be deployed at will.

Of Course AL:VH takes place in America. Ripper’s Row takes place in London, and the sequel, Ripper’s Revenge moves Jack to America in pursuit of his adversary.  Both Abe and Jack have mentors who taught them about vampires, and are with them throughout the story. Both Abe and Jack are absolutely determined to fulfill their missions, although each would rather have never known about vampires in the first place.

One of my favorite scenes in AL:VH is a battle with vampires aboard a moving steam train – close quarters vampire fighting at it’s best. In book three of our Jack the Ripper series, (in the final draft) Jack also encounters multiple vampires aboard a moving steam train, and has a tremendous battle both on top and inside the moving traincars.

Ripper's RevengeSo while there are many similarities in the stories in AL:VH and our Jack the Ripper series, they are an equal number of differences between them. I look forward to reading AL:VH now that I’ve seen the movie, and I believe that any fans of AL:VH would also find “Ripper’s Row” and “Ripper’s Revenge” an interesting read.

The story started in Ripper’s Row will be finished in Book Three (as of yet untitled), and Ripper’s Row is currently FREE as an eBook on Amazon and other eBook retailers. “Ripper’s Revenge” is currently priced at $2.99 and available at Amazon, B& and numerous other eBook retailers.

I hope all of you “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” fans will take a look at Ripper’s Row and Ripper’s Revenge – you may be happy that you did.



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