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Dec 14, 2014

Half a Prayer (The Tome of Bill, part 6): Teaser 1

It's that time again...time for a cover, blurb, and teaser reveal. That means a new release can't be all that far behind.

The Tome of Bill, part6

Coming soon!

Terror lurks below and it’s about to surface.

The end of the world is rapidly approaching, but Bill Ryder - gamer, geek, and legendary vampire - finds himself with more pressing matters to worry about: the women in his life. Sidelined from action, he’s forced to reevaluate his feelings. Sadly for him, it’s a luxury he can ill afford.

An unstoppable terror from the dawn of time has awoken deep beneath the Earth and is headed his way. To make matter worse, he’s been deemed a traitor by those he thought to be his allies. Now he finds himself fighting off enemies from all sides while warring with his emotions. Talk about sucky timing for introspection.

As the world crumbles to pieces around him, Bill must muster his courage, master his powers, and rise to the destiny he’s been trying so long to deny - because if he doesn’t, his love life will be the least of his worries..

"So what does it taste like?" Miranda asked as I took another swig from the canteen to shore up my enhanced abilities.

"Huh?" We'd taken a short break, and I'd stepped away from the group to recharge and double check we were still on the right path. I hadn't realized she'd followed me.

"The blood. I know you need it to survive, but do you actually like it?"

It had been rare for anyone outside of my roommates to ask that, and they'd mostly just made fun of me for it. Dave had inquired on a few occasions, but it was more in a clinical sort of way - like I was a lab rat.

"The truth is," I said, "it's hard to describe. Think of your favorite food."

"Oh, that's easy. There was this little roadside stand right outside of St. George that used to make these incredible fried brain sandwiches served with fresh okra. They were..."



"You ate fried brains?"

"Whenever I could get out there."

"That's fucking disgusting," I said, horrified.

"You drink blood."

"I know, and I still find that vile."

"You don't know what you're missing."

"And for that I am thankful." Ugh. My stomach churned at the very thought. I had figured nobody outside of that crazy Andrew Zimmern dude would stuff shit like that down their gullet. Man, people were just fucking weird. "Anyway, imagine that every single one of your senses was now attuned to...brain, I suppose, especially your taste buds. Think of how that sandwich would taste magnified a hundred-fold. That's pretty much how it is with blood."

"But even something that tastes that good doesn't explain why."

"Why what?"

"Why some of you are such animals."

I chose to ignore the implied insult. "Actually, I think it does. If something is so insanely good, it's gonna be almost like a drug."

"So what you're saying is that you're all addicts?"

"I'm not ready to call myself a crackhead quite yet, although I've gotta have some rocks in my head to be in this place."

"About that, why are you down here? I'd heard the official story upstairs, that it was a rescue mission, but there's gotta be more to it."

"No, not really."

"But this guy..."


"Fine, Ed. He's just a human," Miranda said skeptically.

I decided to hold my tongue on that just a human part. Ed was something else nowadays, something that had apparently not been seen before. Even so, at the end of the day, he was still my friend, and that was what counted. I voiced as much.

"That's it?"

I blinked for a moment. "What do you mean, ‘that's it'? Isn't that enough?"

"I didn't mean it that way. It's just that..."

"Most vampires you've met wouldn't step across the street to help out a human?"


"I know what you mean. Of the vamps I've met, I'd say the vast majority of them have been total assholes."

"But you're different?"

"No, he's still an asshole," Sally called from where she and the others were checking their ammo.

Goddamned vampire super hearing. "Will you stop fucking eavesdropping?" I lowered my voice to a bare whisper and added, "Bitch."

"I heard that."

"You were meant to," I snapped before turning back to Miranda. "Here's the deal. I've been a vamp for less than two years." Her eyes opened wide in surprise. "It's true. Before that...well, okay, during most of it too, Ed was my roommate. He and my other roommate, Tom, are my friends. I'd do anything for them."

"And they're not thralls?"

"Would I risk my ass to save a thrall?"

Miranda appeared to consider that. Finally, she nodded, satisfied with my answer. She glanced back toward the group where Sally was busy spray-painting a marker on the wall to note our passage, as she'd been doing every couple hundred yards since we'd started this journey. When it was time to bug out, chances were we wouldn't have the luxury of waiting for me to smell our way back to the surface. Finally, she stopped and put the can away in her pack.

It was time to move again.

Before we stepped to rejoin them, Miranda said, "Your friend is lucky to have you."

"Us," I corrected. "Sally didn't have to come along. This was her choice too."

"Are you and she..."

"In his dreams," Sally replied from her position a couple of yards away.

I sneered in her direction. "Only the ones that take place near a free clinic."

Nov 12, 2014

Bill The Adventurer - Character Class Summary part 2

Read Part 1

The Tome of Bill is the tale of a gamer / geek turned vampire. Thus it's only natural to wonder what would happen if Bill found himself and his friends in the very setting he often cites. How would he stack up as an adventurer on a character sheet? Time to find out.

For those wondering on the below, Pathfinder rules apply and stats are meant just as a relative examples - not true representations of their power in the books. Let's not drive the poor DMs too crazy.  ;)

Name: Sheila O'Connell
Class: Paladin
Alignment: Lawful Good
Race: Human
Level: 7
STR: 12
DEX: 17
CON: 15
INT: 13
WIS: 15
CHA: 16*
Special Abilities:
  • Aura of Faith - You radiate positive energy, as if from a continual Protection From Evil spell, 10 feet in all directions. As a swift action you may leave up to 2 allies per every five levels untouched by its effects.
* Unless your name is Bill Ryder, in which case consider it a 30 for charm, intimidation, and diplomacy purposes

Name: The Wanderer
Class: Horizon Walker
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Race: Vampire
Level: 15
STR: 24
DEX: 19
CON: 25
INT: 22
WIS: 19
CHA: 20
Special Abilities:
  • Font of Knowledge - Once a day per level, plus a number of times equal to your intelligence modifier, you may add 20 to any knowledge roll.

Name: Harry Decker
Class: Sorcerer
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Race: Formerly human, now Demilich
Level: 8
STR: 10
DEX: 12
CON: 13
INT: 15
CHA: 14
Special Abilities:
  •  Choose 2 additional spells per day, up to your max spellcaster ability, from the Madness domain

Name: Gansetseg
Class: Ninja
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Race: Vampire
Level: 12
STR: 20
DEX: 24
INT: 18
WIS: 14
CHA: 18
Special Abilities:
  • Your movement is double what your level, ability scores, and encumbrance would normally dictate.
  • True Love's Guidance - Designate another player character as your soul mate. At all times you have an innate knowledge of their general direction and location within a number of miles equal to your perception modifier - allowing you to track them unerringly as long as they are within range. Should your soul mate die, you may choose another after a two week mourning period.

Name: Alexander of Macedon
Class: Battle Herald
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Race: Vampire
Level: 20
STR: 30
DEX: 22
CON: 28
INT: 22
WIS: 21
CHA: 19
Special Abilities:
  • Die for Your Lord - Cast Dominate Person as a move action once per day / level. Targets save at -4 against it.  Protection from Evil has a 50% chance of failing to end this effect.

Name: Turd
Class: Barbarian
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Race: Dire Ape
STR: 28
DEX: 15
CON: 27
INT: 8
WIS: 7
CHA: 6
Special Abilities:
  • You are proficient with exotic weapons. 
  • Stench of the Woods - You radiate a continual aura of Stinking Cloud in a 15 foot radius. Slow Poison is negated by its effect.

Choose your equipment and spells wisely, mighty adventurer.

Nov 8, 2014

Bill The Adventurer - Character Class Summary part 1

The Tome of Bill is the tale of a gamer / geek turned vampire.  As Bill fumbles his way through the dark world of supernatural horrors he often calls upon his experience around the gaming table to guide his way - for better or worse.

But what if Bill found himself and his friends in the very setting he often calls upon? How would he stack up as an adventurer on a character sheet? Well, let's find out.

For those wondering on the below, Pathfinder rules apply.
Note: stats are meant just as a relative examples - not true representations of their power in the books. After all, it wouldn't do to allow a player to start the game with a 24 in strength, dexterity, and constitution. Let's keep it fair for the poor DMs out there.  ;)

Name: Bill Ryder
Class: Fighter / Barbarian
Alignment: True Neutral
Race: Vampire
Level: 3
STR: 14
DEX: 12
CON: 16
INT: 17
WIS: 7
CHA:  11
Special Abilities:
  • Blood Rage - Upon ingesting another vampire's blood, you gain temporary levels equal to the enemy's hit dice. Add one point of STR and CON for every level of hit dice gained, but lose two points of INT for every 4 levels gained.  If INT is lowered below 3, you enter a berzerker rage, attacking the creatures nearest you whether they be friend or foe. These temporary levels remain for 1d4 rounds for every 4 levels of experience.

Name: Sally Sunset
Class: Slayer
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Race: Vampire
Level: 5
STR: 16
DEX: 18
CON: 18
INT: 17
WIS: 16
CHA: 22
Special Abilities:
  • Hypnotic Personality - Once a day per level, you may choose to add your charisma modifier to an intimidate or diplomacy check made against the opposite sex. If the check succeeds the victim must succeed in a Will saving throw or be charmed for 1d6 rounds.

Name: Christy Fenton
Class: Witch
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Race: Human
Level: 4
STR: 7
DEX: 10
CON: 11
INT: 15
CHA: 18
Special Abilities:
  •  Choose 2 additional spells per day, up to your max spellcaster ability, from the Charm domain

Name: Ed Vesser
Class: Gunslinger
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Race: Human(?)
Level: 2
STR: 11
DEX: 11
CON: 13
INT: 14
WIS: 13
CHA: 9
Special Abilities:
  • You can gain access to Sneak Attack and Uncanny Dodge as a Rogue of the same level.

Name: Tom McIntyre
Class: Arcane Trickster
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Race: Human
Level: 2
STR: 10
DEX: 13
CON: 12
INT: 9
WIS: 7
CHA: 15
Special Abilities:
  • Insane Fetish - You may designate one non-weapon possession as your personal Fetish. When wielding this item you may Channel Positive Energy as per a Cleric of the same level.  In addition, once per day for every five levels you possess you may cast Holy Smite through your Fetish.  If your Fetish is ever destroyed, you must wait 2 weeks and spent 500gp / level to obtain a new one.

There's your beginning party.  Choose your equipment and spells wisely.

Should you survive your first few adventures, we'll continue this series in a few days with some of the higher level threats that exist in this world...

Read Part 2

Oct 28, 2014

Guest Post - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

It's almost Halloween and what would the holiday be without at least one public service announcement. Sadly, I'm ill equipped to discuss anything outside of surviving an attack on one's collection of Transformers - a scenario that will probably be fairly rare for most on this All Hallows Eve.

Fortunately guest blogger Naomi Shaw was kind enough to step in and help me hide my shortcomings with a little info and her awesome infographic about that perennial favorite (and ever present threat): the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

Take it away, Naomi!

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

If you haven’t yet jumped onto the zombie bandwagon in popular media, you still have time. Zombies have never been more popular across so many different types of media, meaning that you have plenty of options from which to choose, any of which will let you catch up quickly so you don’t feel left out during coffee break discussions with co-workers.

Zombie TV Shows

Much of what is driving the current excitement over zombies is The Walking Dead. But here are three zombie TV shows that fans of the genre are watching.

1.    The Walking Dead--This show has set records for cable TV viewership for a non-sports show at 17.3 million.
2.    In The Flesh--A quirky and well done British offering, In the Flesh shows an attempt to incorporate “cured” zombies back into society.
3.    Z Nation--The SyFy channel has greenlighted the newest zombie apocalypse show in Z Nation.

Zombie Movies

Plenty of great zombie movies have been released--far too many to list here. But there are three referenced in the accompanying infographic that will help you familiarize yourself with the zombie genre as its appeared in a few different eras.

1.    Night of the Living Dead--This cult classic in 1968 was one of the most controversial movies of the time.
2.    28 Days Later--A fast-moving zombie outbreak leads to a breakdown of society.
3.    World War Z--The latest big-budget zombie thriller grossed $540 million worldwide.

Zombie Books

Books about the zombie apocalypse are plentiful. And although there isn’t one book that’s generating the kind of buzz that The Walking Dead is generating, here are five can’t-miss zombie-related books to expand your knowledge of the genre.

1.    Adrian’s Undead Diary: Dark Recollections by Chris Philbrook
2.    Aftertime trilogy by Sophie Littlefield
3.    As the World Dies trilogy by Rhiannon Frater
4.    Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
5.    World War Z by Max Brooks

Taking the Next Step

If you’ve now become a fan of the idea of zombies, you’re probably ready to take the next step: Preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Now keeping in mind the idea of the undead rising up and taking over the earth is pure fantasy for all but the most hardcore zombie fans, you may not want to invest a lot of serious time in prepping specifically for the zombie apocalypse.

On the other hand, as you can see in the infographic attached here, much of the preparation you might do for a zombie apocalypse will apply to all sorts of natural disasters, such as a hurricane or outbreak of an illness. The folks running the web site don’t care exactly why you create an emergency kit, as long as you do. Some items to include in a kit include:

     Clothing. Keeping warm is always tough in a disaster, so pack your kit with clothing you can wear in layers.
     Documentation. Have your driver’s license with you in any emergency situation … even the zombie apocalypse.
     First aid kits. Any emergency kit needs basic first-aid supplies, including clean bandages and anti-bacterial ointment, as well as personal prescriptions.
     Food. Keep some non-perishable food in your kit, including packaged nuts, energy bars, and canned soup.
     Radio. Remember that your cell phone may not work in an emergency situation, so a portable radio may be your only source of news.
     Light and batteries. A small flashlight with extra batteries are both important items to have in an emergency kit.
     Water and sanitation. Finding clean water will be challenging in a disaster situation, so keep some drinkable water, as well as some tablets or household bleach for purifying water, in your kit.

And if you want more information on specifically how to battle zombies, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide is a great resource. It also is a fun read, keeping the idea of zombies fun and amusing.

About Naomi:

Naomi Shaw is a journalist and entrepreneur based in Southern California. She lives with her husband and three kids. She has done enough research to believe that, in the case of a zombie apocalypse, her family would fare very well. You can connect with Naomi on her Google Plus Page

Oct 21, 2014

Have you ever wanted to track down a reviewer in real life and...

I'll stop you right there.  If you filled in the above with any answer in the affirmative, you need to back up a step and reconsider everything you're doing. In the past week alone there have been two reported cases of author stalking. In one case the author showed up at the reviewer's doorstep. That's scary enough and a situation that could have easily escalated badly. In the other, it actually did escalate, ending with the author in question allegedly assaulting the reviewer with a wine bottle.

To anyone showing any sympathy whatsoever to the writers in question: what the hell is wrong with you? There is no justification under any circumstances for this kind of behavior over a book review. Repeat after me, it's a freaking book review - that's it. Nobody beat up your child, ran over your pet, or smothered your frail old grandmother in her sleep. There is no cause for losing your shit over the fact that someone didn't like your book. Get over it.

Should you consider any other action, whether it be petty online revenge or taking your fight into the real world, I would highly recommend you reconsider your choice of careers (in the latter case, please seek help as well). By publishing your written work and putting it up for sale, you are guaranteed that someone will hate it. Hell, they might even hate you for writing it. There is no IF here. It's entirely a matter of WHEN.

There is simply no such thing as a universally beloved artist. If you can't handle that, do yourself and everyone else a favor and think twice before putting yourself in the public eye.

I don't care how bile-filled of a rant you receive, even if they despised your book from the very depths of their soul. There is only one response that is even remotely justified by anyone claiming to call themselves a professional in this industry: succeed despite them. That's it. You have a critic who loathes you? Move on, get better at what you do, and let them stew as you prove yourself the better person. In the end that is truly the sweetest revenge, and it's one in which nobody has to get hurt or fear for their safety.

Sep 30, 2014

The Best Vampires are Free Vampires

There are reasons we fear the night. He isn't one of them... 
But he is FREE!

Bill Ryder was a dateless dweeb...then he died. Unfortunately for him that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke to find himself a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Unfortunately for him, he was still at the bottom of the food chain.

Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst yet, they all want him dead...permanently this time.

Bill isn't exactly average, though. A vampire like him hasn't been seen in centuries. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve, unlikely allies, and an attitude problem that makes him too damn obnoxious to quit.

Join him in this hilarious tale of monsters, mayhem, and the unlikely hero who's not afraid to tell them all off...even if it gets his teeth kicked in.

Excerpt from BILL THE VAMPIRE (The Tome of Bill, part 1):

Sally and I left James sitting there, drinking espresso - damn that was going to be one wired vamp - and walked back to the village. As we got to within a few blocks of the loft in which I’d been turned, she informed me that we were about to enter their (our) territory, and that there would, no doubt, be eyeballs watching us.

“Stop slouching. Walk straight with your head up and facing ahead. You need to look like you own the place,” she said.

“I don't slouch.”

“You look like you're studying the sidewalk. You might as well have a sign that reads ‘Professional Victim’ hanging around your neck. Walk like I do.”

“Like my ass is available to the lowest bidder?”

“I'm surprised you haven't made me an offer yet. You look like somebody who needs to pay for it.”

“Thanks. Maybe I should just pledge my undying loyalty to Jeff.” I adopted a mock-sniveling tone. “Oh, and, by the way, master, Sally's trying to fuck you over behind your back.

“Touché. But it still doesn't change the fact that you need to exude a little bit of this thing we call ‘confidence’.”

She was an arrogant bitch, but she was an arrogant bitch with a good point. I stood straighter and tried to put a bit of a swagger in my step.

“Tone it down a little, Superfly,” she said out of the corner of her mouth.

“What? You said to walk with confidence.”

“Yeah, but that doesn't mean you have to shuffle like some seventies pimp.”

I tried what she suggested until she finally agreed that it was acceptable.

“Oh, there's one other little detail,” she said, stopping. “Just to give things an air of authenticity.”

I was about to ask her what, when she suddenly flung herself into a pile of trash on the sidewalk. Before I could even speak a word, she was back on her feet and launching herself face-first into the side of the nearest building.

“What the fuck?”

When she was finished with her insane self-inflicted assault, she stood before me - covered in grime, small cuts, and with several bruises on her face.

“Ta da!” she said with a smile. “Now it looks like I successfully tracked down the ferocious Freewill.”

Holy shit, this chick was psycho. What the hell had she and Ozymandias dragged me into?

Been waiting for an excuse to jump into this hard hitting, loudly swearing Urban Fantasy series?
Well wait no more!

Currently FREE for: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Ibooks | Smashwords

Aug 28, 2014

Author sales milestones as told by a D&D Gamer...

So, young writer, you wish to be an author, eh?  Well, sit down and I shall tell you of the doom that awaits thee - be it wondrous treasure or a shallow unmarked grave.

Many have traveled your path. Most have fallen. Some have become lords of their own fiefdoms. And a select few have lived long enough to become legend itself.

Here be the levels of acclaim that await you as you seek out adventure.

You wrote a book:  Congratulations. You have chosen to walk where others only dream to tread. Your friends and family might be content with the simple life of a villager, but you see a different path. Trading in your plow for a sword or spell book might confuse or even anger some, but you are confident that this is the life you were born to.

Your Very First Sale: Be it kobold or brigand, you have conquered your first foe and survived to tell the tale. Huzzah! Others may scoff, but you know this is but the first of many victories to come. You may be alone in raising a toast to your conquest, but deep down know that someday that will change.

1000 Sales: You’re a fledgling adventurer. Your mentors at the fighter's or mage's guild have grudgingly admitted your potential and cast you out to be on your way. With coin in pocket and honed weapons at the ready, you eagerly set forth on whatever journey the fates have in store for you.  At first you seek out minor foes, but your confidence and skill grows with every enemy you fell.

10,000 Sales: You have attained the standing of local hero, having cleared out the surrounding woods of orcs, dire wolves, and other such threats. When the village constable has an issue, you’re the first person he approaches to solve it.  You dream of becoming one of the heroes of legend, but for now are content to launch into action whenever the call is made, knowing that your time shall come.

50,000 Sales: A grizzled veteran, you have waged many a war and saved many a kingdom. Lusty tavern wenches (or knaves) await your return at every town you visit as well as do your seemingly endless enemies, but you welcome whatever challenge they offer. You begin to attract the attention of henchmen and squires hoping to learn your secrets to longevity.

100,000 Sales:  You have earned much fear and respect as an epic hero.  Your victories are not easily counted and bards sing songs of your conquests throughout the lands. Nobles, Warlords, and the highest circles of mystic power call upon you when the very world itself is in danger - knowing that you and you alone can stand against the menace. You would be a king by your hand save that the thirst for adventure still holds sway over your heart.

1 Million Sales: In a flash of divine lightning, you shed your mortal coil and ascend to immortality as a minor deity. Followers offer sacrifices and whisper your name in the hopes that they shall receive your blessing. When you speak, your words thunder through the heavens and are written down on stone tablets as law for all to follow.  Unbeknownst to most, though, you sit on your celestial throne with a troubled brow,  knowing that the heavens are not as eternal as mere mortals may think.  You are not idle in your pursuits, however. Should your Pantheon fall, you are taking steps to ensure your name lives on for all eternity.

Now you see what glory awaits those who are worthy. Go forth, write many a book, and be eaten by your fate