Remote Working Arrangement


It’s been a crazy few months. Extra hours at the day-job reading long and contentious documents. Late nights. A whirlwind July 4th holiday. More work.

As a consolation prize, I’m taking some time off and working for myself. Here’s a picture from the balcony of my new office.

Ill give a free print copy of DARTS (or another of my books) to the first five people who can guess the city.



“Say again, Gerard?”

lucinda alone color Cropped2

I loved writing Lucinda for this story. She’s always been extremely independent, but as I drafted the series ending last month, I realized just how much she has to grow as a character. Most importantly, she needed to be able to defend herself. (She demanded a weapon.) So I gave her a dagger, sharp like her wit and suited to the conflict ahead. Knowing Lucinda, it won’t be enough. . .


She puts the book down and slides over, subtle as a pickpocket. Nobody else notices.

“How does one properly hold a dagger?” There’s a determined look in her eye, the same one that says she won’t take no for an answer. “Someone has to protect you two,” she says, glancing at Carmen.

“And Magnus?”

She ignores the question. “What do I do?”

“Depends on the kind,” I whisper back.

What she shows me is a rusty, double-edged Ralfian with a thin, stubby crossguard and no quillons. It’s definitely past its prime but still functional, and only slightly oversized for her hand. Not a bad pick for a beginner.

“Reverse, hammer, forward, and palm-enforced.” I flip through the basic grips at my side so no one else is likely to see. “Stick with forward. Only idiots and Nightshades use the palm-enforced, and reverse grip is for stabbing people from behind. Mostly.”

“Thanks, Teacup.”

“Just don’t use the pointy end on me.”

She smiles reassuringly, eyes twinkling, and slips it back into her dress pocket. There’s a light snapping sound as it clicks into place. . .

Available now on Amazon: RINGS.

Grassroots Launch and Tagline Contest

“Local or person-to-person. A typical grassroots effort might include . . .political, educational, artistic, and especially collegiate movements involving the common people.”  (Urban Dictionary)

As some of you know, I’m doing a grassroots launch for my fantasy novella RINGS, and I’d love your help. RINGS is the second installment of The Paladin’s Thief, a parody/pastiche series enjoying (and gently mocking) fantasy from the 1980’s.  (Think Dragonlance meets Lord of the Rings, with a hint of Terry Pratchett.) Can you help?

Any Kindle download on Thursday, May 28th  will make a huge difference in how RINGS is positioned on Amazon. The download will cost $3.99, and if you like epic fantasy and lighthearted irony, you will probably enjoy RINGS. Of course, any download after Thursday will also be appreciated. . .

The first novella in the series (DARTSwill also be available on May 28th as a free promotional.

Enlist people in your network—especially those who like fantasy—to download RINGS on May 28th. If you know someone that runs a blog or book review site, ask if they’d be interested in reviewing RINGS or DARTS. If you feel inclined, tell your Facebook friends or share a link on your twitter feed. Part of the difficulty in self-publishing is connecting with those interested in your work.

As part of my book launch, I’ve been told to write taglines. I’ve done a couple, but I’d love to see what my friends come up with. If you’ve read DARTS, post a tagline for a major or minor character in the comments section of this blog. If you haven’t read DARTS, write a tagline about me, and then go read DARTS. (If you haven’t done either, make up something outrageous. There will be a wildcard prize, in addition to the regular prizes.)

The best taglines boil down the essence of a character, book, or movie in one single, catchy phrase, becoming a calling card for the person/work/movement:

“I have a dream.”

“Shaken, not stirred.”

“One ring to rule them all. . .”

That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

“To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

“Don’t Panic.”

So get your grassroots on and post your best taglines in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below.  Bonus points for layered meanings!

rings filler


“It hits hard, like this morning’s poison. Someone tried to kill me today. In front of my kids. I may be small, but if I’m going down, I’m taking big people with me… .”

Teacup on his Knees

RINGS is out next week on Amazon. Thanks for the support!

And the Quote Contest Winner is . . .

Nate Ricks! 

“I swear, Dmitri, if you leave your spare dentures in the staff bathroom one more time, so help me, I WILL put a stake in your scrawny chest!”

I love the pairing you’ve made between the staple remover and dentures, the irritating behavior of co-workers that we can all identify with, and the genre-appropriate threat of a “stake through the heart.”

Send me your address via facebook messaging and I’ll mail you your very own print version!

Honorable Mention

Cami: The only caption that made me laugh out loud. I don’t know why. Probably because I expected more sophistication from such worldly vampires.

Ed: Best suggestion for use of genre-appropriate visual media. Also liked the addition of another character. Also plays on the bullying/predatory nature of the Vlad. It was such a fun concept I asked Marta to do a mock-up of a very worried Frank.


Caroline: Hitting closest to the original intention of the cartoon.  I also liked the realization  you shared that Dimitri’s behavior could eventually have a detrimental impact on his health. What a brave co-worker to take a stand for his friend.

Jaime: Conversion of cartoon to a murder mystery. Completely appropriate, and funny. Doubly funny as it reminds me of stuff I probably shouldn’t talk about in an open forum.(Did you know I used to work for the CFO at NASA?) Also liked the addition of a third character, the broadening of this universe.

Holly:  Sensitivity to alternative (and problematic) diets. One of my former co-workers was borderline allergic to onions. Anyone with who brought a philly-cheese steak into the cube farm really got the evil eye.

Andrea: Postmodernism award for use of “intertextuality.”

Jared: Deadpan delivery. Just like old times.

Original Caption

“For crying out loud, Vlad! It’s the 21st century!”

It was actually more fun to see your brands of humor in each interpretation. Thanks for sharing your creativity with me.

Quick Link to Caption Contest: Corporate Vampires

Quick Link to New York Pitch Conference Post

Contest: What is Vlad saying to Dimitri?

I sketched the attached comic several years ago, but saved it until I found a cartoonist. (For a laugh, ask me for the original. In celebration of my previous vampire-riddled post, help me come up with a caption for the following cartoon:


I have a caption in mind for it, but maybe yours is better? Submit yours in the reply section by next Wednesday, April 1st (not a joke) for a chance to win a paperback copy of DARTS. And Subscribe. It’s fun!