It finally arrived! Volume Nine of Bardic Tales and Sage Advice is finally here, in my grasp…and it feels delicious!

As you should remember, last July my story “Behind You, in the Corner” was published in a fantastic online publication called Bards and Sages Quarterly. Of course you bought a copy. Then, at the end of the year, there was a poll for the best/favorite piece from each issue. Thanks for voting for me, by the way.

My story won for the July issue. There were a TON of votes on it, so obviously people liked it. It didn’t quite make story of the year, but that’s okay. There was a response to it, and I’m happy about that!

Not only did I get an extra couple of bucks, it was published in BT&SA vol. 9, which we’ve been waiting in deep anticipation for over a few months now. Friday, it showed up and man is it beautiful.

Big thanks to Julie Ann Dawson, the editor. She had the foresight to read my story through to the end, and accept it for publication. I love visionaries like her, they make the world a better place!

And of course, thanks so much to everyone who voted. Thanks for reading my stories, following me, supporting me, all that jazz. I truly appreciate it and mean every word I say. You’re all awesome!

If you would like to buy a copy, go here:

Bardic Tales and Sage Advice vol. 9!

So, in other news, I’m chugging along at the Third Tower. Since I sit in front of a computer all day at work, I haven’t had the drive to write much lately. Then I was like, what about pen on paper? So, several recent chapters have been handwritten. I spent some time last night transcribing them onto the computer, which naturally killed my eyes and back (maybe I should have used a desk chair instead of a wooden kitchen chair?), but they’re all set. The best news is, I’m only 13 chapters away from the end!

I never wanted to have another several years long novel on my hands. I started this three years ago, took a break, wrote some more, took another break, and on and on…

Hell, I didn’t even touch it in 2016! I tried, I thought about it, but nothing came out. Shame on me. But hooray for me for getting it done now! Only a few more weeks and then it’s complete, and I can do anything I want.

Other short stories have been getting done as well. I just had one up on the online workshop last week, and it got 11 critiques! Most of them were very positive and helpful, and a lot of the reviewers “liked” the story. That’s promising!

Next up, I’ve got a mind-fuck fantasy story that takes place in the summer, but autumn has already begun. Hmm, unlike here in Toledo, where it’s been autumn for two days and feels like high summer.

Wishful thinking maybe? Nah, I’ll fight the heat and enjoy my maple pecan lattes and wear scarves like the hipster doof I am.

Later, sexies! Stay awesome, and thanks as always!

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The Latest

May 15, 2017

Man, where has the time been? Lots of stuff keeping me busy in real life, which is good! I even missed two big announcements, but it’s okay, great traveler! It’s never too late to enjoy the goodness.

My short story “Out of Sight” was published in the latest issue of Pulp Modern. I’m very proud of this story and excited that it found a home. The publication is amazing as well. Lots of great stories in it, and worth checking out. You can get a digital copy of it, but you can also get a print publication of it!

Pulp Modern. Get it while it’s hot!

I implore you to pick up a copy. I already got my payment for it ($10, whoo boy!), so I don’t benefit from others buying it. Still, it’s worth supporting small publications, independent authors and businesses, and let’s be honest, it isn’t that expensive. Maybe even write a review on Amazon while you’re at it.

Thank you in advance!

Anyway, remember last June when my story “Tyree’s Diadem” was published on the awesome webjournal Crimson Streets? Of course you do—that was one of my best stories, and one that launched a franchise featuring Clay and Styg. (In fact, I’m working on yet another story featuring them as we speak!)

Well, the first 26 stories published on the website will be collected in an actual print copy! This includes “Tyree’s Diadem” as well as many other great stories. I’ve done my best to keep up with the stories they publish (one per week) so it isn’t a majorly time consuming process. Plus, I’ve gotten to read some of the best unknown and lesser known authors out there.

I’ll of course put a link to it when it’s available, but please keep this in mind! If you love fun pulp adventures (of every genre), good writing, or simply like supporting the community, please buy a copy (again, I make no extra money on this).

Also, last year my story “Behind You, in the Corner” was published on Bards & Sages Quarterly. Thanks to many of you, it won the Reader’s Choice award for the July ’16 issue. Due to that, this summer, Bardic Tales & Sage Advice vol. 9, the “Best Of” issue featuring the best stories from the previous year’s issues, is coming out. Hoping for an August release, details are pretty much what I just wrote, but again, you’ll be notified once I am!

Other than that, I’m working hard on getting other things done. Been editing a lot, working on Clay and Styg, and still trying to get The Third Tower finished. I’ve got a free story coming real soon on Smashwords, and who knows? Maybe In the Pale Moonlight will have a price break sooner than you know it? (As if $1.99 is too expensive for some people!)

Thanks a lot my sexies! Keep reading, and keep kicking ass.

Christmas, 1988. I was nine years old. Like typical kids, my brother and I watched cartoons after school, and our sister, a few years older, had a steady stream of television and the like to keep her mind turning into mush. We were pretty much your typical suburban white privilege kids.

And we wanted damn near every stupid thing we saw on TV.

So there’s this new game. Well, new to us, because we hadn’t seen it yet. But this new game, with these awesome commercials. This game that looks better than any board game we’d ever seen, and has a really cool theme with, like I said, awesome commercials.

Fireball freaking Island.

Go watch the commercial. Go on, I’ll wait.

Fireball Island Commercial!

Pretty cool, huh? Damn straight. So cool that you can find all sorts of stuff online about it. I’m hardly the first to write about it. Two of the more well-known reviews of it are the no-longer-written but still awesome X-Entertainment (Matt now writes Dinosaur Dracula and has more recently spoken about the game on his Purple Stuff Podcast), and James Rolf’s Board James persona. Both are worth checking out (and are actually linked on the Wikipedia page for the game).

As you can see from the YouTube video, there are several websites dedicated to the game. More video reviews of it. So much on the web that gushes love for this game!

But I’m not here to say the same things they said, or any other site. I wanted to talk about the game because it reminds me of some fun memories with my siblings.

Recently, my only nephew turned 11. I love when there’s a birthday or some sort of holiday, because it gets my brother, sister and me together. We all have a lot of fun, usually ending up talking about our childhood and laughing the whole time. With our nephew and niece, we can often relate stories to them of “when we were your age” and watch them cringe. It’s a good time.

So I was thinking of Fireball Island, and how the older we got, one of the few times the three of us would sit down together and be civil with each other was with a game. That Christmas, ’88, we received several other big ticket items. Our dad must have gotten a pretty big bonus check, unless our parents just managed to put aside a good Christmas fund.

Like I said, we were your typical white privilege kids, so Christmas was always a pretty good blowout for gifts for us (not so much birthdays, though). But in ’88, we had some big things. So imagine us all having our own things to do. And yet we still sat down to play a game with each other.

The rules were pretty easy. A lot of online reviews will talk about the complex rules, but I think that’s because the kids today are soft. They need someone to hold their hand every step of the way. Not us, no way. We got tossed in and left to deal with it on our own.

You moved your little explorer guy, and drew cards. If you had the right card, you could launch a fireball. The marbles would go down their respective paths, and knock over other play pieces, and even bridges. There were transport caves, and a mystical jewel that you had to claim. If you didn’t watch that commercial, go do it so you can see what I’m talking about!

I tried to play the game with friends, but they never wanted to. I had boring friends.

Maybe it was because we didn’t feel the need to fight each other with fireballs. Maybe that was why me, Amy and Andy loved it. We could compete in a friendly game, while knocking each other down with fireballs. Who wouldn’t love that?

For some reason, with the resurgence of games, especially board games, no one has brought this back. Go to any Barnes & Noble, or a friendly local game store, and check out all the amazing games they have. It goes far beyond Monopoly or Life, much more than anything Milton Bradley ever put out. Some games cost $50 or more, with hundreds more pieces. So why not bring back Fireball Island?

I keep thinking about this game. I keep wanting to write a story about it. Perhaps I shall. But more than that, perhaps I’ll sell a kidney and find a complete version of Fireball Island on ebay.

Maybe someone will realize how great that game truly was, and understand that a new generation needs to experience it. Bring it back, Milton Bradley. Bring it back.

Destroy All Monsters!

January 12, 2017

I’ve been lax on posting these flash fiction pieces, but hey, life happens. Anyway, enjoy!


Karen was no stranger to monsters.  Real monsters, beings that defied the laws of reality and logic as humanity knew it.  Real monsters, like from horror movies, not just horribly evil people that did horrible things.  Her job, in fact, was that of a monster hunter, and she had just received the commendation from her boss of being the best one in the country.

Yet how did one manage to get into her apartment?

Sitting on her blue couch, reading a magazine and eating unsalted popcorn, Karen’s heart attempted to burst through her chest when the door flew out into the corridor.  The wooden doorframe and plaster walls burst in, smoke and debris clouding her vision for a moment.

When the rubble cleared, she saw a monster.

It was once a human being.  It had grown at least three feet, gained close to one-hundred pounds—all muscle—and the skin was greenish-bluish-yellowish.  Much like the green guy from the comics, his pants were shredded but remained intact in one specific area.

Eyes, massive and bloodshot, landed on her.  Its huge nostrils flared, while its gaping maw of a mouth opened wider than she ever could have foreseen, revealing fangs and goopy saliva trailing down to the floor.  Its bare feet stomped in, boasting a skull-crushing size and toenails that could rip a man to shreds.

Karen’s hunter-like instincts took over.  As the intruding monster reared its grotesque head back and emitted a window-shaking roar, Karen sprang from the couch.  On the end table next to the television which she never watched, she kept her main sidearm, Victor.  As she pulled the .44 from its holster, she aimed at the thing’s head.

And immediately put the gun down.

“David?”  She took a tentative step toward him.  “I’d recognize that scar anywhere.  You’re my brother.”

The monster raised a massive hand to its cheek, running a bratwurst-sized finger along the deep scar, the last lingering memento of a cherry bomb in a coffee can from his thirteenth birthday party.

Suddenly the eyes became glassy pools in which Karen saw nothing but sympathy.  David had been working as an errand boy for Thomas Wick, the local mad scientist.  He was really a chiropractor that wrote articles about genetic engineering, but everyone called him a mad scientist.  Chances were, David had been outsourced to a real geneticist, who turned him into this mutated version of himself.

“You kill us,” David said.  His voice was harsh and clumpy, like he wanted to say more but couldn’t remember how.  With his body growing big, his brain must have shrunk.

“I can’t kill you,” Karen said.  “You’re my brother.  I love you.”

“Kill me.  Please kill.”  David stepped closer to her.  He reached forth and lifted Karen’s hand with the gun to point it at his chest.  “Put me out of misery.”

Tears stung Karen’s eyes.  She had made a vow to destroy all monsters, but her own brother?  How could she?

Just then, a howl split the silence.  Through the hole in the wall that once was the door, a man-sized jaguar leapt in.  Fists balled and teeth bared, it looked ready to kill.

It snarled.  “Grr, you killed my brothers!  Now I kill you!”  With its tail flailing wildly, it sprang forward, ready to pounce on Karen.

Eyes clenched and finger itching on the trigger, Karen needed to wait until the time was right.  When nothing happened, she opened her eyes.

David had reached out just as the werejaguar leapt.  His entire hand wrapped around its neck, the life had been squeezed out of it.  David smiled.

“I help.  I kill monster too.”

“You did,” Karen said.  “I can’t kill you.  But you can help me hunt other monsters.”

“I want to help.”  David dropped the werejaguar.  It fell to the ground like a sack of pudding.

“Then let’s go,” Karen said.  “Let’s start by finding the monster who did this to you.”


Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Vote!

October 24, 2016

Everyone’s talking about voting this year. I understand, it’s an important election. However, it isn’t just political stuff that you need to vote for.

Bards and Sages poll!

Earlier this year, I was published in Bards and Sages Quarterly. They have an annual poll to vote for the best story of each issue, and an overall best author. While I hope that you’ve been reading the publication (it’s awesome!), I ask, beg, implore, urge you to vote for me. I have a story up for election, as well as best author at the end of the page.

This is very important to me, and I really hope you can support me in this endeavor! Seriously, it takes like one minute to do it, so there’s no reason not to.

Thanks for everything, and stay awesome!

Now available! Go check it out!

It’s the Great Murdering Pumpkin, Charlie Townes

murdering-pumpkin

Everyone is always on my case about self-publishing, so here’s another one. Thanks for reading, and I really hope you enjoy it!

Kicking for a Start

October 2, 2016

Kickstarter has some awesome stuff going on. I hate how typically, I miss the boat with a lot of these campaigns, and don’t find out about them until shortly after they close. Fortunately, they mostly seem to make their main goal, oftentimes many times over. Still, it’s frustrating when I find out about something really kick-ass the day after funding stops.

The other day, I found out about Hath No Fury. You really should check out the page, it sounds awesome! Whether the pick my story or not, I’m excited for the anthology. I’m a man, yes, but I’ll gladly read anything that kicks ass, or characters that do so.

I think that’s the thing about this. It isn’t just about women protagonists (not unheard of, believe it or not), but women that kick ass and do cool things. I’ve long been a fan of Samus Aran, Ellen Ripley, and many of the Disney heroines (yeah, I like Disney movies. What of it?), plus many, many more. Hell, one of my favorite comic books ever was Gotham City Sirens (sigh…too short-lived. Where else could you get Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and my absolute favorite, The Riddler, all in one place?!).

I didn’t find out about Hath No Fury until after funding ended, but I’ll be sure to buy a copy, and you should too. Currently, I’m looking into other Kickstarter campaigns so I can support the hard-working people who make these things possible.

For me, it isn’t about bonuses and as much free shit as I can carry. It’s about supporting a dream. A vision. An idea that otherwise, probably wouldn’t get made. Seriously, a friend of mine told me that with books, movies, TV shows, etc., only about 1% of anything gets “professionally” made, produced, published, whatever. The other 99% either goes in the dustbin, or you make it yourself.

Getting into self-publishing, it’s easy to understand how some people just can’t let something die. While getting a paycheck is always nice, it isn’t just about the money. Well, some campaigns quite obviously are, but not usually. It’s about seeing your dream come true, your goals come into fruition. What’s so bad about that?

Unfortunately, a lot of these Kickstarters, Indiegogos, Gofundmes, etc. all have too many backer rewards. It’s like, Hey I won’t give you money unless you give  me stuff.

I have a confession. I donate to charities. Yep, I give money, anonymously, to organizations that use it to make a difference in this world. I expect nothing in return, except the satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped. Any time I see an awesome crowdfunding campaign, I wonder if my money would be better used with a charity that desperately needs it.

Sometimes I do it, other times I’ll do the crowdfunding. I understand the need for it, though, and might even do something myself some day. I hope you’ll all contribute, and support not just me, but all the other hardworking and deserving folks who will have contributed their stories (of course it’ll be an anthology! I’ve had an idea for quite some time).

In the meantime, go support the arts! Whether it’s through Kickstarter, or any of those others crowdfunding pages, or something else—a local art show, a used or independent bookstore, comic book stores, going to see a band play, donate a few bucks to a museum, or just spreading the word of fantastic artists of all sorts, we all thank you…and do the same for others, as well.

Omar’s Well

September 10, 2016

Very proud to announce my latest self-publishing venture.

Go check it out:

Omar’s Well

It’s free! Why are you still here?

Mummy Attack!

August 28, 2016

I promised you flash fiction, so here ya’ll go! More than that, I promised you the very first flash story I ever wrote–this is it! A friend had told me that “true” flash fiction was 100 words or less, but that’s not important. I managed to write something short that tells a complete story, and saves you time.

It was much shorter, but I had to fix some stuff. The writing was pretty atrocious, after all. Hey, I wrote it in 2004, what did you expect?

Anyway, enjoy!

MUMMY ATTACK!

I had been working as a grave digger for the past three months, literally working on the graveyard shift. Even though it was the end of September, it was hotter than blazes in the middle of the night. Worst of all, I was only half-way done with my work for the day.

At three in the morning, I took my lunch, as always. Color me disrespectful, but some of the tombstones made perfect picnic benches. As I sat down, a moaning wafted my way.

Jolting to my feet, I held my shovel in an attack position. My manager warned me about potential zombie attacks, but I had yet to experience one. This was no zombie, however.

It came quicker than I anticipated. A white blur ran in front of me. Seconds later, something from behind punched me in the head. Before my shovel even hit the ground, the white blur snatched it up.

Looking over my shoulder, I saw it behind my back. The sight of it grabbed hold of me, taking over my senses. I spun around, but stumbled backwards into the freshly dug shallow grave, knocking the wind from my lungs.

As it started piling the dirt on top of me, my eyes focused long enough to see what my bane truly was: MUMMY!


Thanks a lot for reading! Liked it? Hated it? Tell me in the comments!

If you enjoyed reading this, please check out My Smashwords Page for more writing, much of it free! (Okay, there’s only one story there now, but more is coming soon!)

We have liftoff!

April 8, 2016

May 18th! My story, “Valley of Iricia,” one I’ve worked diligently to get accepted, will finally be published.

9Tales from Elsewhere, an ongoing anthology series, will be publishing the story in their 6th volume. You can preorder now on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DWZL1RU

I’m really excited that this is finally available. By finally, I mean that someone picked it up. Ever since writing the story, it’s been one of my favorites, and something that I couldn’t stand to see go to the unacceptable pile.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love my other stories any less! Just that I always felt something with this one, like it was one of those stories that needed to be told, needed to be read, and needed to be out there.

As you all know my love for Conan and He-Man, two major inspirations for the tale, you can understand why I love it so much.

But I’m sure you will as well. Go, preorder, read and enjoy. And thanks for your support!