If you liked This Plague of Days, you might like this!
Following a terrible tragedy, Tamara Smythe, a girl from Iowa discovers their are phantasms everywhere, watching us and waiting. But ghosts aren’t enemy. The Unseen is much bigger and more dangerous than Tamara imagined. Click it to get it!
Congratulations! Your e-book, This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition was awarded an Honorable Mention for Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published e-Book Awards in Genre.
So there’s that. But, you’ve probably already read TPOD.
No worries. I’ve got you covered.
If you liked This Plague of Days, you might even love this. I have a new book that’s the beginning of a series and, though it’s a fast and fun dark fantasy, there are elements of it that remind me of This Plague of Days. There’s horror here, but the tone is surprising and quirky.
The Haunting Lessons is about a girl from Iowa who has the perfect life planned out. When tragedy strikes, her world is upended and she discovers she has capabilities she never suspected. The world is a far more dangerous place than she imagined and now she’s thrown into a secret war in the Secret City of the Unseen: New York City. Expect swordplay, jokes, holy gunfire and instructions on how to survive the coming Armageddon.
Click it to get it now!
And while you’re at it, check out my coauthor’s novella. My friend Holly Pop had a real experience that will freak you out. She and a couple of friends messed around with a Ouija board. Read this story and you’ll need a night-light to fall asleep. It’s creepy and compelling and worrying and a necessary read: to pick it up, click the cover image below.
It’s been in the Top 100 Kindle Short Reads list since its release!
More developments, as they happen, reported here. Film at 11. Merry Christmas!
To claim the free book, readers go to a secret YouTube link at the back of the book, answer a simple question and send me an email address. I haven’t asked anyone to sign up for a newsletter or anything. Readers get the new book delivered to them immediately via Amazon. Easy-peasy.
But you know what the best part of the giveaway is?
Hearing directly from happy readers! I need reviews of my books, of course, but it’s also been truly wonderful and educational. It’s wonderful to hear how readers engaged with a mystery that is sifted through the story. I’ve got so much feedback now that I can say with confidence that the plot worked effectively the way I hoped it would. It’s also educational in that, with a little pull and a push, I’ve hearing from a lot of readers who wouldn’t ordinarily leave a review. (Again, I need those happy reviews and encourage them but the comments I’m getting are fun, too.)
I hope new readers will dig what I’m doing with my books and, heads up, if you liked This Plague of Days, you’re going to love my next book.
The truth is, I had a time travel book in the editorial pipeline, but, to be honest, it’s not ready for primetime yet. The time travel novel is a very complicated story and I can’t let anything come farther down the editorial pipe until I’m satisfied with it. It’s on hold for now until I can rework it. So let me tell you something about my next book, The Haunting Lessons.
A publisher approached me about contributing to an anthology. I was interested, but I wasn’t sure about the subject matter. It had a supernatural theme that I did not groove on. Still, it kept me awake nights in much the same way This Plague of Days did. How could I take the familiar and give it a nipple twist to make it work? I never want to do the expected. When I figured it out, I couldn’t wait to get the first draft down.
This one is a lot of fun. It has a strong female protagonist with a quirky sense of humor. Here’s the deal:
The Haunting Lessons is about a girl from Iowa named Tamara Smythe. After a shocking and tragic accident, she discovers she has acquired supernatural powers. She reveals the truth which, of course, lands her in a mental hospital. Not for long. Soon she moves to New York to begin a new, better life and to forget the past. Instead, she runs straight into a supernatural war.
The hook is ghosts. The twist is demons. The Haunting Lessons is a heartfelt and funny training manual for any who would join the fight to save the future for humanity. Forget winter. Armageddon is coming and it’s Hell hot.
This one is shorter and has a faster pace than This Plague of Days. I love TPOD, of course. Remember, I don’t let anything out of the bunker unless I love it. But the jokes and action in The Haunting Lessons come faster and are packed tighter. This Plague of Days was, in part, an homage to Stephen King’s The Stand. I don’t know what to compare The Haunting Lessons to, though there is a tiny influence of Harry Potter and not a little Hunger Games in there, I suppose. But with more jokes. And swords. Lots of swords! This is apocalyptic fiction with a paranormal twist that takes the story in a fun and funny direction (with just enough tragedy to make it matter.)
You’re really going to like Tamara Smythe. I’m hoping to have it ready in time for Christmas.
In the meantime, be sure to finish the Omnibus before New Year’s Eve when the offer of the gift of Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes runs its course. (Sorry, can’t give a novel away free forever!)
In the book I’m working on now, Tamara Smythe suffers a tragedy and a paranormal world, once hidden, opens up to her. Now she’s in New York, touring a secret society’s fortress in the middle of Brooklyn:
The top of the wall was just wide enough for two people to stroll abreast. Shards of broken glass and crosses lined the top of the stone parapet.
“This is our bailey,” Victor said. “It’s the outer wall of our little castle. One of New York’s first Roman Catholic churches once stood here and this rampart kept men out of the nunnery. That’s the legend. I think it’s true. This is our sanctuary from the war.”
“No sentries on your castle wall?”
Victor looked pleased. “Observant. Good. Most unusual. People rarely see what’s in front of them. Fewer still think to ask what is missing.”
“I watch a lot of Game of Thrones.”
I thought of the armoury and the Blade Room, stocked with so many swords. “It’s kind of like your life, Victor. You’re just short one handsome little person and a lot of gratuitous nudity.”
I think this new book will be a nice follow-up to TPOD. It has fun supernatural elements plus funny pop culture references readers have come to expect from the crime novels. Some of it reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except Tamara doesn’t really have superpowers. She’s smart and strong, but other than that she has the same experience of anyone who can see dead people walk the earth. Oh, and there’s a war coming and she’s out to save humanity, between working shifts at a funeral home, picking up and dropping off corpses.
Hi, TPOD readers! As I write this, the TPOD Omnibus is #1 in free Science Fiction on Amazon.
I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve been very busy getting the next book ready and fighting a sleep disorder that’s really been kicking my ass. My brain is a little too busy at night for me to be healthy during the day. However, I got some help and today is the first day in a long time where I don’t feel terrible as soon as I get out of bed.
I had planned a time travel novel for Christmas. However, I’ve decided not to release that one until 2015. I need more time with it to get it right. I’m not happy with it yet and I never put out any book I’m unhappy with.
Fortunately, I have another book coming down the pipe that I am ecstatic about. I hope to have a new fantasy thriller ready in time for Christmas.
I mention it because, if you liked TPOD, you might like the next one even more.
It’s shorter, has a faster pace and ventures into Buffy the Vampire Slayer territory. I loved that series and I wanted to do something along those lines mixed with some Harry Potter elements. It’s not a knock off of anything, though. I don’t believe in that. In all my books, I strive to do something different with the story elements. Whatever genre I write, I strive to take it in unexpected directions.
The next one is an urban fantasy featuring Tamara Smythe, a protagonist with a tragic past. She’s funny and charming and, to her surprise, dangerous. The heroine is from Iowa and, after her first romance takes an unfortunate turn, she’s a fish out of water in New York City. Expect ghosts, secret societies, hidden fortresses and, of course, Niceness versus Evil. To paraphrase Roadhouse, Tamara will be nice until it’s time not to be nice.
I’ll post more when I’m closer to publication. I’m working with a new co-author on this one. More on that later, too.
If you haven’t picked up a copy already (Oh! Horrors!), go pick it up for free. If you’ve already got it, the ebook would make a fine Christmas gift for your mom, if she isn’t put off by a little gore and likes post-apocalyptic plague stories with a fun and thoughtful autistic twist.
NASA revealed that we almost got sent back to the Dark Ages a couple of years ago. A massive solar flare (two monster flares in one, actually) just missed us. For starters, imagine all planes around the Earth simultaneously falling from the sky.
Now imagine you see this. A jet crashes in front of you! What do you do! Call for help, of course. Except your phone doesn’t work. No phones work. Anywhere. Uh-oh.
The experts say it was a rare occurrence. Could it happen again in our lifetimes? It could, but it’s only a 12 percent chance. To put this in perspective, if your parents get Alzheimers Disease, your chance of getting it is increased by around 6 percent.
Thinking this way is why people call me Mr. Sunshine!
Someone asked, “Do you really believe we’re headed for an apocalypse?”
Dude! The apocalypse is already here!
Sci-fi writer William Gibson said the future arrives at different speeds. Same is true of the end that could throw us backward a hundred years.
I look around and I see the power of antibiotics fading as the bugs come back stronger. There’s an excellent chance we won’t be able to have the surgeries we have now because our antibiotics will no longer work. Do you want to go back to pre-1928 medicine? Of course, not. Nobody wants to die of a sore throat, a bladder infection or appendicitis. But that is our present course.
I see fracking causing earthquakes and flammable water in kitchen sinks.
I see perma-war.
Most disturbing, I see an unwillingness to change, anti-science and anti-intellectualism.
Worst? I see a lack of compassion.
Citizens are in big trouble on Spaceship Earth and a lot of people, speaking from fear and ignorance, seem determined to be dicks about it.
One reviewer of This Plague of Days asked, “Why does everyone have to act like assholes in the apocalypse?”
I answer that reviewer directly in Season Three, but look around. The answer is obvious. People don’t think we’re in an apocalypse now (if they aren’t from Detroit or along the Mexican border or in Uganda.) But there already assholes everywhere. Panic and pressure brings out the nastiness stronger. It’s a scary world and people can be monsters. I didn’t invent it. I reflect it. You need look no further than the instincts of your average Internet troll.
But pressure makes diamonds, too.
Heroes can emerge. Will they? I don’t know. Are you willing to be a hero? An apocalypse — to nature, to people and to human dignity — is everywhere.
If you’re waiting for the siren call to action, it’s already howling. If we wait for the actual civil defense sirens to crank up?
1. The last book of the series kind of freaked me out. What’s the message about life and death going on there?
RCC: Aside from all the scary beasties running around, I suppose one theme that emerges is:
Our Existence is brutal, but we have it in us to make the future great.
2. I thought the atheism was preachy in Book 1. By Book 3, you seem to move beyond that. What do you believe?
RCC: Really? Dad is an atheist and Mom is a Christian. When Jack talked about her faith, did you think that was preachy? I think the parents have discussions that come up naturally when you’re constantly facing mortality. Just like a story, in life, we all want to know what happens next, even after we die. Make that, especially after we die. I explore a lot of ideas in This Plague of Days. I leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions. I think I give all the ideas I explore a fair hearing.
What I believe doesn’t matter, anyway. It’s about what you think as you read. I’m happy to provide stimulation, but if I tell you what side I’m on, somebody will say I’m “preachy.” Instead, consider the last chapter again. There’s optimism, but there’s also a deep questioning of what forces were working against each other. Please, meet me halfway and decide for yourself.
3. When is your next zombie book?
RCC: After TPOD, I’m not sure what’s left for me to say about zombies, at least for a while. My mission is always to do something different and unexpected with all I write. That’s why I consider myself a suspense novelist first. I played with zombies and vampires in TPOD (sort of) but it wouldn’t be fresh if I dragged it out or did more in that world. Never say never, but…no more zombies for now. I do promise all my books will be shorter with a faster pace from here on out. TPOD took years.
4. What book is next?
RCC: I’m committed to three thrillers this year: the autobiographical crime novel, the time travel savant novel and the third instalment of the Hit Man Series. I have plenty of other books in various stages of writing, but I’ve settled on those three next. At least one or two before the end of summer, I hope.
5. Which of the TPOD Seasons is your favorite?
RCC: #3, easily. Despite the weirdness and Jaimie’s unique point of view, I think Season One starts off in a place closer to what people expect in a disaster novel. I allow the crisis to unfold internationally and went deep into how slowly and how quickly civilization’s fall could occur. Many of the expected elements are there, despite the autistic twist and Jaimie Spencer’s other gifts.
#2, I like for the fast change in pace. People who appreciated the literary depth of Season One got a slap across the face with the evolution of the virus and of species. A few readers are uncomfortable with the paranormal turn Season Two takes, but I hope there’s enough going on and enough cool characters that they’ll hang in for the ride. A couple of reviewers have made the connection to Stephen King’s The Stand in a disparaging way. I can’t think of a higher compliment to my work.
Season Three gets crazy meta, metaphysical and a little psychedelic amid the carnage (and several beta readers said it could stand on its own as a book, with or without Seasons One and Two.) I love where things ended up because I always want to defy expectations. If anybody thought this was “just” a zombie novel, surprise! There’s enough action for lovers of Zompoc but jokes and brain tickles, too.
I love to tickle readers to zomgasm & braingasm.
~ The TPOD bargains continue and I’m back in Amazon’s Top 100 horror authors again. Word must be getting around. Thanks so much to everyone who spread the mind infection.
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