An Amateur Author's Odyssey to Recognition


My First Professional Review (And Some Other Things)

You know I don’t say much on here, so I suppose I’ll start to own up to it.

Got my first professional review (from Kirkus, no less) for the book. Not too bad, all things considered. Release is likely July or August, by the way.

If you’ve actually been following, you’ll notice that I’ve been doing this thing where I post the First Words of the books I’ve been reading, with my own wrap-up Final Word review. I think I’ve lost the taste for that project, tell you the truth. I might return to something a little less ambitious later on, but things are kinda busy right now. Full-time job, just bought a house, acquired a traveling home of misanthropic dolls. Ah, adulthood.

Please stand by.

First and Final Words of March, 2017

Speak Easy, by Catherynne M. Valente

First Word: There’s this ragamuffin city out east, you know? Sitting pretty with a river on each arm, lit up in her gladdest rags since 1624. She’ll tell you she’s seen it all, boy howdy, the deep own and the high up, champagne and syphilis, pearls and puke. Oh, she’s a cynical doll, nothing new to her.

Final Word: Reading this, you might almost think you’re reading the voice of that same city, all smoky and seductive and never quite smiling.


The Secret History of Twin Peaks, by Mark Frost

First Word: A wise man once told me that mystery is the most essential ingredient of life, for the following reason: mystery creates wonder, which leads to curiosity, which in turn provides the ground for our desire to understand who and what we truly are.

Final: The thing about the wise is they say the obvious thing.

First and Final Words of February, 2017

Infected, by Scott Sigler.

First Word: Alida Garcia stumbled through the dense winter woods, blood marking her long path, a bright red comet trail against the blazing white snow.

Final Word: Two clues right there about where this is going.


At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft

First Word: I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why.

Final Word: ‘Forced into speech’ is a very Lovecraftian sort of predicament.


Spider Kiss, by Harlan Ellison.

First Word: First there was only the empty golden circle of the hot spot, blazing against the silk curtains.

Final Word: They call them stars because they burn.


Version 43, by Philip Palmer.

First Word: I was in a cheerful mood.

Final Word: The fact that he’s a nigh-immortal renegade cyborg cop should tell you just how this bodes for the bad guys.

The First and Final Words of January, 2017

The Boys, Volume 1: The Name of the Game, by Garth Ennis.

First Word: “I’m gonna fuckin’ have you. You cunt.”

Final Word: Take that as a certainty, if you have super powers and intend to step out of line.


The Boys, Volume 2: Get Some, by Garth Ennis.

First Word: “Doctor–I can’t stop fucking things…”

Final Word: You will hear that word a lot. I make no apologies.


Lumberjanes To The Max edition, Volume 1, by Noelle Stevenson.

First Word: Friendship to the max!

Final Word: Because these girls do nothing to the min!


Notes from the Shadowed City, by Jeffrey Alan Love.

First Word: I cannot remember my name, or how I came to be in this place.

Final Word: From the beginning to the end, this is all any of us will be certain of.


The Death of Mr. Punch, by Jonathan Carter.

First Word: He rubbed his eyes and peered into the gloom.

Final Word: His mind would never be so accommodating.


The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, by Jesse Bullington.

First Word: The story of the Brothers Grossbart does not begin with the discovery of the illuminated pages comprising Die Tragodie der Bruder Grose Bart tucked inside a half-copied Bible in a German monastery five-hundred years ago, nor does it end with the incineration of those irreplaceable artifacts during the firebombing of Dresden last century.

Final Word: It begins with deaths of the most horrible variety, and ends in death as well.

The First and Final Words of December 2016

The Compleat Ankh-Morpork: City Guide, by Terry Pratchett.

First Word: We lay before you this most comprehensive gazeteer encompassing all the streets of Ankh-Morpork, as well as information on its principal businesses, hotels, taverns, inns, and places of entertainment and refreshment, enhanced by the all-new and compleat map of our great city state.

Final Word: Rest in peace, sir.


Interview With the Vampire, by Anne Rice.

First Word: “I see…” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room to the window.

Final Word: The things those eyes have seen…


Strange Attraction: Turns of the Midnight Carnival Wheel, edited by Edward E. Kramer.

First Word: Sculpture itself is a most unique medium.

Final Word: The carnival is a most unique unique sculpture, and it, in turn, sculpts us.


The Dark Man: An Illustrated Poem, by Stephen King.

First Word: I have stridden the fuming way of sun-hammered tracks and smashed cinders; I have ridden rails and burned sterno in the gantry silence of hob jungles:
I am a dark man.

Final Word: I have avoided you in the past, Mister King, as your words have always intimidated me, but perhaps I should give you a try.


Threshold, by Caitlin R. Kiernan.

First Word: The girl named Chance is standing in the rain, plain and skinny-tall girl shivering beneath the April night sky pissing rain like icywet needles, and she can’t stop giggling.

Final Word: The writer named Daniel is lying in bed, reading words about albino girls and fossils and death, and he can’t stop grinning.

A Reading and Some Updates.

A little story for the holiday.

I’ve gotten quite a few ideas for holiday-appropriate stories, which is something I’ve often hoped for. As such, my plans were put on slight hold, but I hope to get back on track now.

Nearly done with the novel, I think. Not as long as I’d hoped, but this is the first draft. So we shall see.

Also, this just came out. You should buy a copy. I have something in there.

The First and Final Words of November 2016

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake

First Word: Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain architectural quality were it to have been possible to ignore the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its Outer Walls.

Final Word: A likewise epidemic that besets this place is presumably a diminishing gene pool and hereditary insanity.


The Child Thief by Brom

First Word: It would happen again tonight: the really bad thing.

Final Word: Bad things always happen, magic or no.


Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

First Word: In a beautiful home in a beautiful part of town–the town of Nolgate, site of the state prison–Dr. Munck examined the evening newspaper while his young wife lounged on a sofa nearby, lazily flipping through the colorful parade of a fashion magazine.

Final Word: Beneath every scene, however mundane, is a dream-in-waiting, ready to blossom nightmares.


Toybox by Al Sarrantonio

First Word: It was In-Between Time.

Final Word: Proof at last that the Unlikely Things that come to us have no fear of time.