Monday, November 23, 2015 No comments

Guest post: Roy Huff, "The Fall of Brackenbone"

I know what it’s like to have a long-running fantasy series that won’t let go. Today, I turn the blog over to Roy Huff so he can talk about his own ball and chain, Everville. (It turns out we share a birthday… cool!)

So let me shut up―take it away, Roy!

Not writing it was unthinkable, yet the process taunted me. At times, the anticipation burned at my insides and tore at the fabric of my soul. That was the reality when creating The Fall of Brackenbone, the latest book in the Everville series.

The process was not of the actual writing, but forcing myself to sit down and write. It’s not that I didn’t want to. There were so many distractions, problems, and at the end of the day, excuses that kept me from setting aside my other semi-productive pursuits to ink the most recent book in the series.

I found myself in the middle of a firing squad, and I was the main target. One crises after another gave me ample reason to delay and postpone, and before I was ready to begin I had to confront each one of my demons and excuses head on. I brought out the brass knuckles and took them on in a street brawl of epic proportions that would make Rocky Balboa proud.

I focused my attention on an action plan for myself, one which I went into great length to discuss in a recent post on how I lost 40 lbs in 40 weeks. Succeeding at most of the items on that list gave me the added health and mental focus to plod through the daily challenges of my life and embrace my self imposed destiny.

Success came in April when I finished the rough draft and went through the final process of gathering feedback from hundreds beta readers, editors, reviewers and then marketing for a May 1st launch.

The process has continued, feedback has been positive, and thanks to my literary agent, Peter Miller, I have been fortunate enough to garner the praise of Brian Herbert, writer, collaborator, and son of Frank Herbert, of the famed Dune series.

I am happy to announce that Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone will be free on Kindle from 11/22/15 through 11/26/15 (my 39th birthday). Read it as a stand alone novel, and then catch up on the first three books in the series in the newly available boxed set, which will have a coinciding 99 cent Kindle Countdown Deal in the US and UK 11/22/15 through 11/28/15.

The process has been rewarding, and I hope to see you there. Mention the promotion and earn free entry in my $225 Amazon Gift Card blowout Rafflecopter giveaway contest on my homepage. I hope to see you there.

I do know what it’s like to try getting a book written when the universe seems to be trying to keep you distracted. But like Roy says, you just have to keep pushing until the thing gets done. So go check out Everville, and enter the contest. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to win!

Monday, October 05, 2015 2 comments

New Blink adventure!

Blink is starting his latest adventure, My Dad, the Supervillain! at WriteOn. Go to, click the drop-down, and start with Part 3. Or start at the top if you need a refresher. 

Updates go live every Monday until it’s done… then we’ll see about Part 4…

Friday, September 25, 2015 4 comments

Stealth and High Explosives (#FridayFlash)

Hey look, a #FridayFlash! I woke up Tuesday morning with the phrase “stealth and high explosives” in my head, so here’s how two opposites work together…

I could imagine the calm-faced bodyguards: Sir, we need to get you to shelter this second. I adjusted my tie and hefted my briefcase.

The side entrance slammed open, and a torrent of bureaucrats and office drones poured out, babbling to be heard over the alarm buzzers. Some were poking at their phones, half an eye on the foot traffic crowded around them. Some might be texting I’m OK to family members, others sharing the excitement on Twitter, it didn’t matter either way. After the initial crush, the traffic tapered off and I slipped inside.

Swimming against the current, I did get the occasional “what the hell?” I didn’t blame them; they were low-level government workers, and running into a bombed building wasn’t in their job descriptions. I was ready for them, though, with a fake badge they wouldn’t take the time to scan. “Security. Please remain calm and evacuate the building,” I said, and they would comply.

Even if I hadn’t memorized the layout of the building, I could have found the stairwell by following the people leaving it. It smelled in there, too many worried bodies in too small a space. Flashing my badge again, I got the crowd of evacuees to make a lane for me along the wall. I took the steps two at a time, in both show and need of haste. I had to get them to clear a lane at each landing, so it was slower going than I liked. But I’d crunched the numbers. If I didn’t get completely blocked, I’d have just enough time.

“Excuse me!” a young woman called. “Are we in any danger?”

“Not at the moment,” I assured her. “The incident occurred at the lobby. But you need to exit quickly, and move away from the building, in case they have more surprises. Tell anyone you see standing near the exits.” I passed her as I said the last. Attractive, especially for a government drone. She must be new; the work had not yet begun to wear on her. Give it a couple years.

Third floor. I had to wave my badge and repeat the magic words several times before I could get enough space to squeeze through the door and into the hallway. There were still a few people lined up, looking anxious. “Plenty of time,” I told those, waving my badge one last time. “Just keep moving away from the building when you exit.”

Past the stairwell door, the third floor was nearly deserted. One or two guys were still at their desks, looking like they were trying to squeeze in one last thing before bolting. Probably looking to prove they were Promotion Material. I was so glad I wasn’t part of that rat-race anymore. But it did remind me of the other potential snag in my plan: someone might still be in Dr. Wackjob’s office suite. He wasn’t the kind to order office assistants to stay at their desks in a crisis, so said his profile. Actually, he was a decent type to work for—which said nothing of how he treated those he worked on.

Dr. Wackjob’s other quirk was that he was ultra-paranoid. None of his work ever touched a computer. That’s why I was here. And—better than I’d dared to hope—the suite was empty, and the doctor’s office door was open. His bodyguards didn’t let him lock up behind. I added a minute to the time I had to work.

His desk had someone’s file on it. Nobody I knew or needed to know, so I went to the file cabinets lining one wall—fireproof, and built like tanks. If we had dropped the whole building, the files would have survived. Dial M for Mayhem, I thought, and opened that drawer. Zachary Malovio’s file was near the front, and I pulled the folder. It was thick with paper, and I knew I had no time to go through the whole thing, but what I needed most was on the front page: facility name, room, attendants, the works. I stuck the whole thing in my briefcase and left.

There were still a few stragglers in the stairwell, and I joined them. We all made haste, although I knew there would be another bottleneck at the exit. I was about the last one out, and joined the throng heading for the transit station.

I hoped for an open table at one of the cafes and bistros lining the street, but all the other evacuees had filled them. Not everything went perfectly, after all, and I was three-fourths done. I stopped and scanned the street, looking for possible tails, but saw neither potential sanctuary nor potential enemies. Three fire trucks blasted by, making a godawful racket, and I ducked onto a quieter side street. There was a coffee shop, a little downscale for how I was dressed, but there were plenty of open tables. I took off my jacket, loosened my tie, and took a chair.

“Everybody okay up there?” the barista asked, checking his phone.

“I think it was mostly the lobby. Can I get a medium with cream, no sugar, to go? And your wifi password?”

“Oh, yeah, no prob.” He rattled off the wifi password as he poured up my order, and I punched it into my phone. “You know they can sniff the traffic, right?”

“I have VPN,” I assured him, and set up a connection. “Just needed to send one item I couldn’t before they chased us out.” I worked from memory, then cleared and shut down the phone. I’d leave it on the train later. Zach would be discharged tomorrow and spirited away, and all would be well. I left a five on the table for the barista and hit the streets.

Stealth and high explosives might not sound like they go together, but sometimes that’s what you need to get the job done.

Monday, September 07, 2015 5 comments

Sliding Into Six

It's our timeshare week, and Mason's birthday was yesterday.


Today is the last day the waterslide is open, so we made the most of it this weekend. DD, Fizzle, and his kids all joined us Friday night, but left Saturday so Fizzle could get to his mall cop job. We went back to the manor for Mason’s party. To my shock, Snippet called for the first time in a long time. She texted me pics of her other two kids; I sent her a couple recent shots of Mason.

Of course, even though we’re on vacation, Mason keeps waking up at 7am and insisting on asking me questions instead of playing quietly until I’m ready to shamble out to the kitchen and start some coffee. We spent all morning at the waterslide, pool, and lake (where there’s a slide going into the water, as I demonstrated last year). He was seriously worn out, but a warm bath and lunch got him roaring back to life. He was hungry, he ate: a piece of bread (aka mayo sandwich), a slice of pizza, a piece of ham, and a cheese stick. He left one corner of the bread uneaten. Now, he’s badgering me to take him to the clubhouse.

And they call this vacation? :-P

Sunday, August 30, 2015 3 comments

Getting Organized

We were poking through some stuff in the garage a few weeks ago, before leaving on vacation. To my astonishment, my old Dayrunner turned up:

It’s been a while
As you can see from the date in the corner, it sat in a storage box for roughly 23 years. What was really amazing was the felt-tip pen (a “LePen”) still writes!

I remember buying the thing back when, after attending a time management seminar at work. Both the seminar and the planner were centered around to-do lists, with A/B/C priorities, long before the rise of portable electronic devices. To be honest, I don’t know how long I used it until I gave up and tossed the thing in a box.

Between then and now (spring of 2007 judging from the receipt), I heard about Getting Things Done (aka “GTD”) and bought a copy of the book. It was far more relevant to my life than Seven Habits or that time management course, and I did take a stab at implementing the system using the “Hipster PDA” forms from It didn’t take, for whatever reason. Of course, I’d forgotten all about the organizer, and it was geared toward that A/B/C to-do list system anyway.

I started jotting down things I knew I needed to deal with in the organizer, then grabbed GTD off the shelf and read it through again. The forms in the organizer hadn’t magically transformed into GTD-compatibility over the years, but I knew how to fix that… DIYplanner loves GTD, and has gobs of forms that you can download and print. The selection was a little spotty for my organizer size—3.75"×6.75" or “Size 3” as they call it in the office supply stores (and Amazon) now—but I have LibreOffice, a punch, and a guillotine (paper cutter). Then I found that DayTimer sells blank pre-punched sheets in my size, and I ordered a pack. That’s handy, because (for some strange reason) they don’t sell undated refills… anywhere.

Part of GTD’s setup, and one of the things I didn’t do before, was to have a filing system within reach. My filing needs are fairly simple so far, so I figured a file box would be sufficient. The wife happened to have one empty, so I grabbed it and added a handful of paper clips, Post-Its, and an X-acto knife…

It’s not all over my desk!
It’s nice, the way it doubles as a file drawer… especially since I don’t have one on this desk. My home desk is nearly clean, now!

Somehow, I think it’s going to take this time. I have the system established, and I’m using it both on and off working hours. I already feel like my mind is clearer, which feels weird to be honest. I keep thinking, “now what?” even if the “what” is already written down where I know I can find it. Give it another week or so and I’ll get used to it. I hope.

Cue apocalypse in 3… 2… 1…

Friday, August 28, 2015 3 comments

Pain in the… [UPDATED]

It’s off to the doctor’s office with me. If you’re wondering what’s happening, I’ll give you a hint:

UPDATE: In at 10:30, out at 12:30. They put me OUT for the procedure, so I didn’t feel a thing besides the IV… and the horrible purging procedure yesterday, anyway. Doc said “we removed one polyp, nothing evil.” There shouldn’t have been anything evil up there… all that got shot out the tailpipe last night.

The nurse said I’d probably want to have a nap when I got home to sleep off the rest of the anesthesia, and she was right. She also told me no booze until tomorrow, which kind of shot down my plan for this evening. Tomorrow is, however, another day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 1 comment

Cover Wars! Final Round…

Thanks to all of you, Beyond the Sea of Storms made it to the final round of Cover Wars! And so did all the covers I highlighted in my previous post.

Keep voting daily!


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