By this point, some of you are aware, and maybe others aren’t, that I signed my book, Into Nod, AKA Child of Nod, with Curiosity Quills Press. I still can’t shut up about it, to be honest, and it’ll probably only get more annoying as time goes on, so brace yourselves. Anyway, the book is due out in November, but you can follow its progress here, on Twitter, or on the CQ book page, which I’ll link momentarily.
I do want to take a minute to once again thank everyone who helped me with the book – my editor, Lisa Gus, my wife, my moms (plural), and the entire staff at CQ for their support. Here’s the blurb:
Alice wakes one day to find herself on the other side of death, in the corrupted fairy tale land of Nod. Unable to remember much of the events leading to her demise, she sets out on a journey to discover her memory and the reason for her presence in Nod. Unknown to her, the man responsible for her death, Jack, is on a mission to find her spirit and end her second life.
Alice takes flight, only to find herself drawn into the lives of those around her and the mystery permeating that place. From the humble streets of Elysium to the mirrored spires of Memoria, her journey takes her on a path that leads to a decision that will affect the fate of Nod.
Along the way, she meets a cast of characters that include a madman with a dark secret, her faithful companion, Dog, and woman made of memory. Together, they help her on her journey as she uncovers the truth of Nod and the woman behind it all, the Red Queen.
You can read about the book, and see my ugly mug here: Child of Nod. In addition, as art is available, I’ll be sharing that here and around social media.
Thanks for reading so far!
So, here it is, an official announcement. I always kind of envisioned this as one of those old parties where they stand you up front in your 1920s tuxedo while glitter and champagne reflected the light in the room, and embarrass the hell out of you, but this works, too.
My first novel, Child of Nod, was picked up by Curiosity Quills Press. It’s a dark take on Alice in Wonderland, with a bit of Lovecraft, Pratchett, King, and the Old Testament thrown in for good measure.
It’s scheduled for a tentative release date of November 11, 2017, so hold on.
In the meantime, enjoy the champagne and the band, and try to say hi to Gatsby at some point.
Waldo Thelonius, last name, Fletcher
Was a Reaper, a wayward soul catcher.
He lived in the town of Necropolis
Land of the dead, decayed metropolis.
When it came to Reaping, he didn’t care
If you were young or old, or without hair.
It didn’t matter, your color or creed,
It didn’t matter, your good or bad deeds.
Waldo would Reap, in weather fair or foul,
He always showed up, in bright robes and cowl.
He was quite different, the others thought,
Though none of his charges wept tears or fought.
He was quite kind, patient, and always fair.
With a loved one’s soul, he took quite good care.
He had a neat trick, a gift, do you see?
A bag full of quirks, fun for you and me.
Waldo was ecstatic, doing his job,
Until the day he met Miscreant Bob.
Bob was a cheater, a liar, a sneak,
He’d once hid his mother’s socks for a week
Waldo came to see him in the dark night.
“You’ll not take my soul, without a great fight!”
Bob cried this to Waldo, quite unimpressed,
Waldo knew this was to be a harsh test.
Bob showed him a parchment, written in blood.
Waldo read it, and feared his name was mud.
The paper was signed, notarized and true,
The author was Satan – that really blew.
Miscreant Bob’s soul was inviolate,
With a Lord of Hell, it had a date set.
Waldo soon came up with a cunning plan.
He would trick Satan, and beat mortal man.
With a flourish, he produced his trick bag.
Inside was everything, plus a Swiss flag.
He pulled out a kitten, adorable,
Bob just sniffed, he was incorrigible.
Waldo tried a balloon, monkey and axe,
He even tried showing Clinton on sax.
He tried a sleazy porn he’d once had made,
Starring a donkey, small person, and maid.
Nothing he showed Bob seemed to sway the man,
Waldo disliked him, he was not a fan.
He seized the paper, and in a dark snit,
He shredded the contract, done with that shit
With a great heave, the earth trembled and shook,
In fire, Satan appeared, reading a book.
He looked up from his page, slightly annoyed,
Said, “Who was it summoned me from the void?”
Waldo pointed at Bob, white as a ghost,
Terrified of the Prince of the Damned Host.
“I’ll pull off your skin, and eat your old bones!”
Satan said, his voice in calm, measured tones.
Waldo capered and reached in his trick bag,
He handed Satan a pitchfork and rag.
“What’s the rag for?” Satan asked with a gleam.
“To stuff in his mouth when he starts to scream.”
Bob leapt out of bed and ran down the stairs,
Tripped halfway, broke his neck, thought “It’s not fair”.
“Well, that’s done, there’s nothing left here for me.”
Waldo heard Satan, and hopped up in glee.
Waldo grabbed the soul, put it in a jar.
‘Don’t worry, little dude, you won’t go far.’
He sat on the jar and let a great fart.
Bob was quite lucky it wasn’t a shart.
He shook and shook and shook the jar some more.
He looked inside and called it a great whore.
He even dumped in an angry old bee.
When he was finished, he let Bob’s soul free.
Miscreant Bob’s soul went floating on by,
Waldo leapt and trapped it like a black fly.
To the toilet he took it, it struggled,
He flushed it down the bowl, and then giggled.
When it was over, Satan he did say:
“Holy shit, that was harsh. No fucking way.”
He left the room in a roaring red fire,
Leaving behind an echoing Hell choir.
Waldo felt happy and looked at his watch,
Bob’s soul was down, a job he did not botch.
Before he left, he made a great bean soup.
Let’s be quite honest, his brain slipped a loop.
Waldo is kind, patient and funny, true.
But if you fuck with him, he might flush you.
I was having a good day. They were rare enough in my line of work, so I didn’t overthink it. It was a bright, crisp day, the air just between uncomfortably warm and chilly, and smelling of leaves and frost. Leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn, from greens to golds and reds. They scuttled down the empty streets of the Lot, making a sound like a dog’s claws on concrete.
I was in the back yard with Cora, my live-in assistant. She’d talked me into tilling up a corner of the yard and buying her some seeds so she could have a vegetable garden. She claimed I’d had too many waffles and Cokes. I claimed she was trying to kill me with roughage.
Brother Shaun (on loan from the Church of the Monstrum) was in the front yard, clipping the long grass. The trick was, he said, to keep it long enough that no one noticed you lived there, but short enough that things couldn’t hide in it. He said ‘things’ just like that, with a slight emphasis that made me think maybe he believed there really were tigers in the long grass.
Cora was on her knees in the dirt, ripping weeds out by the roots. With the ferocity that she went after them, I almost felt sorry for the little green bastards as they went flying over her shoulder. I sidestepped one as it came at me, and took a sip of my drink.
“Working out some issues?”
She blew a hair out of her face and leaned back onto her heels, and wiped an arm across her forehead.
“City’s giving me grief about our office. Says we’re in a private zone, and we should be in a commercial. Plus, there’s property taxes coming u-”
She was cut off by Brother Shaun calling from the front.
“Hey! Wolf! Cora!”
“Yeah?” I called up. I wasn’t feeling super motivated. The weather was making me feel lazy.
“You should come up.” Shaun called. “There’s a- there’s a guy here.”
Cora and I looked at each other. I set my drink down, and she got up and dusted her knees. We walked around the house, the tall grass whispering at our shins. Brother Shaun was standing in front, a pair of clippers dangling from one hand. He saw us and pointed to a figure in the street. It was just standing there, swaying slightly back and forth. I could smell rotted meat and fresh soil. It opened its mouth, and a groan escaped, drifting toward us on the breeze.
“Is that -?” Cora asked.
“Nah, couldn’t be.” I said.
Brother Shaun was already halfway to the man. I could see he was dressed in dirty clothes, and wondered if he was one of the Brothers. Maybe one who’d fallen on harder times. The man seemed to be suddenly aware of Shaun, and began to shuffle toward him, as though his limbs were stiff.
“Shaun!” I called out.
The brother looked over his shoulder and waved to us. “It’s fine. I know what to do.”
He closed the distance to the man, and in a second, had stabbed his clippers into his chest. Black goo ran from the wound, though the man didn’t seem to notice. I wondered if I’d just seen a monk stab someone to death. Shaun nodded once to himself, tugged the clippers free, and jammed them into the man’s eye socket. I cringed. I felt Cora do the same next to me. The man, whoever he had been, fell to the ground, unmoving. Shaun looked up and back at us, giving the thumbs-up.
“Oh shit.” Cora said beside me.
In addition to working on Back Lot and publishing Remnants, I have a third book I’m working on, a sort of modern retelling/homage of Alice in Wonderland. Over the next few weeks/months, I’ll be introducing that novel, hopefully in whole, to the blog. It’s an experiment in the sense that I don’t really know what the outcome will be, or what I’m expecting, except to maybe brighten a few days for people.
Hang on. It’ll be weird. Let’s hope it’s at least fun, as well.
I’ve been working on a novel. It’s about half done, and somewhat stubborn in that I’ve been working on it for about a year and a half, and I tend to write it in spurts. It’s a definite love/hate relationship, where I love the writing, but I hate half the words that come out. That said, the first draft should be done by spring, and I can start the rewrites. Rewrites – the hate/hate part of my relationship. Like a cobra and a mongoose, or a rodeo clown and a bull, or clowns and the general human populace.
The book is called Back Lot, and is built on the idea that the monsters of the 1950s era of film are real, alive, and well, and living on an abandoned studio back lot outside of L.A.
Here’s an excerpt:
Some days, you’re the Woodsman, some days you’re Red Riding Hood, and some days, you’re the guy with the biggest teeth. When I woke, I felt distinctly Riding Hood like. I rolled over, every muscle and bone seeming to protest. A groan escaped me. Where my ribs had been broken, pain throbbed in bright pinpoints of agony for a moment before quieting to the dull throbs of healing bone.
I lay on my back in the early half-light for a while, trying to collect my thoughts. The dream had left me shaken. It was a memory of things long dead, but in the wrong order. I hadn’t been stalked by a creeping darkness. I wasn’t confronted by Adam when we first met. A part of me knew it was the guilt of killing Manny that had crept into my sleep, but that didn’t make it better.
I wondered how I would tell my friends, and how they would react. I wondered what would happen when that news slipped from my friends to those I wasn’t so close with, or even to the Church. I wondered if I would be cast out, or maybe tried and executed, in house. I wondered if there was still room for understanding and forgiveness in the hearts of those who had shared the title of ‘monster’ with me not so long ago.
Depression tried to crash into me, to push me down. In my head, the Beast whispered, wandered the halls of my mind, still free from his cage. I hadn’t had time to constrain him again, to bring him under control, and he tried tempting me now. Whispers of freedom from guilt, of a life lived on instinct and passion slid through my mind, telling me it would all be okay if I just gave over, quit living the lie of humanity.