**Spoilers** Elemental Damage (Confessions of a Summoner, Book 2) Chapter 1


Still a little out of breath, I threw myself on the light blue couch, rustled my sweaty hair, and stared at the ceiling for a moment, before unplugging my headphones from my ears and laying my iPhone next to me.

<You don’t seem to be in the best of spirits this morning,> Rebekah said, speaking from the pink obelisk stone in my black nylon gym shorts.

<Twenty miles is a record for me,> I said. <Just need a little time to gather myself.>

Being a Decanter—or a shapeshifter, as Rebekah liked to gall me, not call me—I’d gained a summoner’s abilities some months ago, and I found it quite useful that I didn’t have to be in my summoner decanted form to communicate with her, only to summon.

<Mmmhm,> she quipped. <When you got up to fifteen miles a few weeks ago, you didn’t seem so heavy.>

<There’s just been a lot on my mind lately. It’s why I started biking in the first place.> I picked up my phone from the coffee table and mindlessly swiped through a few of my favorite sites—REI.com being number one on that list.

<A lot of stuff like what? Like not being able to find a job?> Rebekah asked from the obelisk. <Quitting third shift was the right thing to do. Those hours were killing you. And you still have a few months of income saved up, right? Maybe you should take a little more time off after everything…that happened to me.>

<I’m not trying to be insensitive,> I said, <but it’s exactly you that’s been getting to me. I mean…> I fumbled over my words, realizing how harsh that must have sounded. <…not that what happened to you doesn’t still get to me, because it does. I think about it a lot actually. Probably more than I should. Wait. That didn’t come out right. Not more than I should. But just enough.>

<Lyle…you’re digging yourself into a hole here.>

<Look,> I said, letting my phone rest in my lap. <I know that the news crews surrounding Marcus’s death have all dwindled out, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this. I saw something similar when I was in El Salvador. A big-shot paranormal was taken down, and it created a vacuum of power. Literally every paranormal within a hundred miles or so came peeking their heads in just to see what lot of power they could hoard for themselves.>

<…> Rebekah was silent. <You think too much. For one, this isn’t El Salvador.> She enunciated it with a rich Hispanic accent. <And for two—>

<So you’re gonna’ start your counting again? All I’m saying is that it’s got me a little concerned; that’s all.>

<And for two,> Rebekah continued, <as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, there’s nothing of interest for a paranormal here in Raleigh, not after the dregs Marcus left behind. All of his employees were paid handsomely. No one in this town has that kind of pull or financial backing. I’m willing to bet that all the paranormals we saw at Marcus’s place a few months ago have already found other work up north or out west. If it were me, I would’ve withdrawn a boatload of cash and sowed my oats down in the keys somewhere.>

I turned my iPhone around in my hand a few times, feeling the obelisk heat up on my thigh as Rebekah became more exasperated.

I said, <For one, girls can’t ‘sow their oats.’>

<Oh, so now you’re counting?> Rebekah said.

<I’m just saying that you’re making my point more evident. If so many paranormals are moving out, then it only makes sense that just as many are looking at moving in.>

My phone buzzed in my lap. Since I didn’t recognize the number, I only stared at the screen, but chose to answer it before it went to voicemail. This had better not be a telemarketer. “Hello?”

I heard a flighty girl’s voice on the other end, though it seemed a little out of sorts. “Is this Lyle?”

“Yeah. Who is this?”

“Rebekah’s friend. Stephanie. Stephanie McPherson, the Druid Healer. We have to talk.”


Elemental Damage

Apple iTunes
Google Play

Interview with Eva, Part 1


Get a copy for free

Time traveling is one of the most exhausting forms of human transportation. However, it’s the only way I could go back and visit Kalarn, a time when King Oden and his Raiders threaten an entire nation, all to find The Girl with the Scar.

Eva Solace has been gracious enough to sit with me, albeit briefly. And after inviting me into a small tent of one of the Strikers, she’s even been hospitable enough to offer me some pine needle tea.

“Is it always this snowy around Winter Hills?” I can’t stop shivering, and this deerskin coat does nothing to ward off the bite of the cold.

Eva’s wearing nothing but this black leather, and she doesn’t appear to be cold at all. Taking a sip of tea, she shakes her head. “I don’t know. It’s the first time I’ve ever been this far north.”

The way she examines me, she seems to be far more suspicious than others I’ve met from the past.

“How did you find me?” she asks. “And the letter,” she shows me the note that I wrote to her, “how did you get it here? How did you know you even know I was in Winter Hills?”

Trying to keep the conversation calm, I say, “I talked to a few people who saw you heading this way.”

“A few people like who?”

“I…just a few people a long the way. Why do you ask? I mean, if you think I’m a threat of some kind, you can just talk to Wolf or Jahn. I saw them both on the way in and they vouched for me to the Strikers. Both of them did.” I thumb over my shoulder.

“I don’t care who vouched for you. I need to know who you are and why you’re looking for me.” Her grasp tightens on the handle of her mug.

How could I explain that I’m from the future, merely just a reporter interviewing those from the past? It’s too much to say, so I try a different approach. “I saw the Raiders not far from here, and they looked to be coming this way. Why? I don’t know. But either way, you and all of these people might want to think about leaving.”

That deflates her somewhat. “The Raiders? How far?”

“I don’t know. With an army that size, a week, maybe two. Word is that they’re looking for the Girl with the Scar and they’re closing in on her. If she’s hiding up this way, then she’d do best to keep her head down and lay low for a while.”

She stiffens at that, and resolutely, she adds, “Well, I hope for her sake that stays out of their way.”

“Me too.”

“Was the Dark Queen with them?” asks Eva.

“The Dark Queen?”

Her eyes narrow. “You know about the Raiders, but you’ve never heard of the Dark Queen? Lord Sekah, they call her.”

This is the first I’ve heard of the Raiders’ commander, and my astonishment only serves to unnerve Eva even more than she already is.

No longer offering me her full attention, she hurries out of her seat and starts out of the tent. “I’m sorry, I have to go and alert the Strikers. If the Raiders are close, then time is running short.”

I call after her, but before I can get the words out, she’s already out of sight.

Grab a copy of The Girl with the Scar for free!

Newbie Writing Mistakes

Oftentimes, new writers come into the field and immediately they’re bombarded with a host of do’s and don’ts. Show, don’t tell. Less explanation, more action. More dialogue, less prose. More prose, less dialogue.

The gamut goes on and on about what to do and what not to do, until finally, the new writer is up in arms as to just what is acceptable and what should be tossed out. After close to four years writing, I’ve got some advice for you.

Relax. It’s just not that serious.

The truth is, what’s right for one story is totally wrong for another. How one narrator might tell one sequence of events is completely different from how another narrator will recount the exact same story.

What’s more important than all the rules is voice. Who’s telling the story? And not only “who” but “why”. Are you writing a story about a kidnapped teen who’s scared for her life? OR are you writing a story about a kidnapped teen who’s about to get revenge on her kidnappers?

Two totally different stories, therefore two totally different tones. So where you might have a lot more inner dialogue and conflict with the scared teen, the vengeful teen might be more assertive and event driven.

This contradiction trumps the need to be locked into a “more vs. less” mentality. The answer is: What is right for your story?

I’ve read awesome books with sooooo much “telling” and explanation of character traits that the book should have never been published were it up to the infamous “writing guidelines.”

I’ve also read books that have attempted the “show” approach and have failed miserably, because too much of the story was left untold, meaning that a little more explanation could have really sufficed.

The point is: Don’t feel so overwhelmed with what should and shouldn’t be. In fact, it’s quite odd, but writers are the worst about scrutinizing one another with these fruitless aphorisms, when rarely do readers ever care about these faux pas.

What I have learned over the years is that I need to explain and prose is the vehicle to make it happen. And just when the explanation becomes mundane, I add in a little italicized text from the main character just as a reminder that the explanation is coming from her pov. Without fail, it ends up working.

Try out a few tricks like this to make sure you can bypass the do’s and don’ts. And remember, once you learn the writing rules, figure out ways to break every last one of them!



The Fairy Godfather. “Business is Good”

And it appears that we’re right on schedule! For those who’ve been waiting, here is The Fairy Godfather. He’s professional, but efficient.


Elemental Damage

Hey, so it seems like I’ve gotten quite a number of requests for book 2 of Confessions of a Summoner. I can’t believe that it’s taken me a year to get back to this project, but after all this time, here it is. Elemental Damage. It’s up and ready to go! Follow Lyle and his story!

Good news. Book 3 should follow within a month, I suppose.


Elemental Damage eBook (6x9)



“Let them eat cake,” allegedly stated by Marie Antoinette when she discovered that the peasants had no bread.

The reason that we’re looking at this today is because it’s a great way to characterize your characters. In Marie’s alleged statement, she flippantly assumes that everyone can live the lavish life that she enjoys strolling the halls of the castle where cake is a prerequisite to the beginning of the day. However, as we know, that is not the case.

But I think we should take this self-characterizing statement a bit further. Not only should we think of the phrase as a way to sum up a character’s persona, but what if we took the statement literally? What if we actually allowed our characters to eat cake?? What if we allowed them to sit down at a meal and make complete fools of themselves?

Think about it. When do we ever get to really know someone? At work? Nope! We’ll all politicians at our jobs. We have to be, right? But, if we invite someone over for dinner, we can truly see who they are. This is a great way to bring your characters to a focal point—a chance to let them say and do things and reflect on things that they may never have done before.

Movies often do this with bar scenes, which are a good time to throw back some drinks and allow your characters to let their hair down over a few shots. Typically I’ll incorporate a few scenes like these in my novels, especially early on. They’re good segues away from the action and plot, and can really be a mental reprieve for the readers.

Here’s the catch though. Too much of anything can get you off track…or er…sick…in this case. Having your characters characterized over cake over and over again can become as redundant as a constant overhead sword-swipe from your hero followed by a blast of fire. The first time it’s cool. The second time it’s necessary. The third time it’s redundant. And the fourth time…it’s unreadable.

So what’s a good practice when it comes to letting your characters eat cake? Always do so with the plot in mind. Like…always. Don’t ever have this random scene with your characters where they aren’t thinking about the plot, or where the plot isn’t somewhere in the back of their minds.

Here’s a facetious example. Say the dragon swallows your characters whole, and they’re having a long conversation in his belly. Add some stomach rumblings in there from time to time to remind the reader that “Hey, we may be having some cake in here, but we still need to get out of this dragon and take him down.”

Or for you romancers out there, you can have Julianne eat cake with her best friend Marianne, but please please please remember that there’s a hunk of a man out there who is desperately waiting to wrap Julianne up in his arms so they can live happily ever after.

Whatever “cake” conversation there is, remember that it’s only for a moment. Though bear in mind that a cake conversation is absolutely necessary. Brandon Sanderson does a great job with this in all of his novels. Sure, his “Mistborn” characters are drinking metal infused cocktails and jibing about how they’re better than each other, but robbing Lord Ruler is always at the heart of it all.

Lindsay Buroker also does a great job with this. Her characters are hilarious as they down their cake, some of them not even getting a word in as they stuff their faces, while others of them are dominating the conversation with how strong and handsome they are. If you haven’t read her Emperor’s Edge series…do it, and you’ll learn how to have your cake and eat it too.


Facing the facts, Linkin Park style.

If you’re a new author, the struggle may be to try to write the perfect book. You’ll want the plot to be just right, every word to flow together, the world to be intriguing, and the list goes on. This is a great way to be, but in the end, you have to get the book out.

I find that a lot of new authors spend years on the first novel, and what ends up happening is that they’re getting so far behind the authorial writing curve that by the time their book is published, the market and the trends have changed substantially.

The experts on indie publishing are saying that the author gold rush is over, so those making it big on book 1 are few and far between.

Here’s the good news though: if you’re not in this for the money, then that should actually be fine with you.

Why? Because it allows you to build your business. Yes, your business. Writing is the art; selling is the business. And we have to view ourselves as entrepreneurs. If I didn’t look at myself this way, I would have quit a long time ago. I’ve thrown money all over the place, trying to find the right cover designers, the right marketers, the right this and that, and if this were just money that I was bleeding into a hobby, then I’m not sure I would be okay with that.

However, when I consider the fact that all new businesses and entrepreneurs make tons of mistakes early on, then I can stomach the losses with my chin up.

And here’s the exciting thing. Writing is a business that will always, always, always, have a product to sell, especially with the ebook boom. It’s not like we have to pay for our creativity as a person selling energy drinks must pay for materials and such.

We have an endless supply of resources, and you can scrimp by with covers, selecting inexpensive options such as Fiverr.com (a place where book covers can be created for 5$). Skip Starbucks for a day, and buy a cover!

But we have options as writers. However, the number one thing is to get your product to the people, and let them judge it for you. There are fans for literally every quirky genre out there. And now, more than ever, readers have the ability to lock themselves into their true niche markets, since there is such a wealth of writers out there.

Don’t be discouraged at the endless writers who are surfacing. Some have come into the business and left within just the 2 years that I’ve been around. I’ve seen new authors hold on and edit and tweak their new manuscripts to exhaustion, never giving themselves solid deadlines to get their books out.

But, if we view what we do as a business, that is not acceptable. And if you can’t put out new content and new material regularly (every few months or so), then this business is not for you.

That’s the harsh reality. But listen to this. If you hunker down and decide to write 1000 words a day, you can literally write a 100k word book in just over 3 months. That’s easy!

And look at it this way. If your novel is 75k words, then that’s a 2 and a half months. Add some time in there for editing, and you’re on track for 4 books a year! That’s remarkable.

You have to see yourself as a businessman/businesswoman if you want to be a full-time writer. Those who struck it big 3 and 4 years ago fell into the ebook boom and were lucky that the market was expanding. But now, we don’t have that option. The race is not given to swift, but to him who endures to the end.

Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing!! I’m such a champion for people who want to follow their dreams. But I get frustrated, because sometimes people don’t understand the level of tenacity they have to have to make it in this business.

Do you need to be a salesperson? Not really. Do you need to be a smooth-talker and go to conferences and retreats and the like? Nope! But you do have to sell, and you do have to learn the business. You have to be willing to fail. Because when you fail—and you will—that’s when you learn to get up, grit your freakin’ teeth, make a cup of coffee, pick up that laptop, and crunch out some words until your coffee is cold and stale.

Make goals. Make deadlines. Meet those goals. Tell yourself how you’ll feel when you don’t meet those goals. There are goals set for us every day at our jobs! Every single day! And we have no problem with them, because someone is holding us to them.

What about your goal to be a full-time writer though? What about that goal? Who’s holding you to it? No one. No one except your dreams. And your dreams are literally screaming at you every day to get up and produce! Stop making excuses. Stop letting yourself watch Vine after Vine or send Tweet after Tweet or take Instagram after Instragram or watch YouTube video after YouTube video. Stop reading about writing to pretend that you’re writing. Stop acting like merely thinking about the book constitutes as writing the book.

It doesn’t. You can effin’ do this! I promise you, you can. You can and there is a market waiting on you. You have everything you need to be successful. Don’t let another month pass without cranking out some words. You can literally have 30k words written by 3/17.

Think about that. That’s roughly a third of a book. Don’t worry about perfecting it. Just get it done. And once it’s done, then you can fix it. And here’s the thing. Once it’s done, you’ll be more motivated to fix it, because you’re that much closer to being finished.

 Get back in the game, get your head on straight, and follow your dreams!


So The Girl with the Scar has been free on all platforms for the past 3 weeks, and it’s been pretty interesting. 

I bought one add from freebooksy.com for 50 bucks to promote the book and had about 2,000 downloads. That’s not so great, but what has been great is that book 2 was selling pretty steadily for about 2 weeks, and I ended up selling about 40-60 books in that time. 

I continue to see 1-2 sales a day for book 2, but it’s looking like sales are tapering off. I did notice a spike in The Pioneers series after my free ad for the The Girl with the Scar, and I even had a few purchases for Seize the Soul.

More info to come as time progress.



We talked about plot stealing in the last post. Now, I’m going to increase my thievery. We can even steal characters. Wow, that’s hard to hear. For some reason there’s the writers’ hubris that we must birth everything from our literary wombs.

That’s insane. How many times in an interview has the question been asked: “So where did you get your inspiration?” I’ve heard all types of artists respond by saying, “I modeled this after that.”

Continue reading



Anyone can author a book. Not everyone can be a storyteller.

Have you ever listened to someone tell a story and think, “Man, that had all of the elements of a great story, but something just didn’t hit home”? Or have you ever listened to someone tell a story, but you found yourself filling in the details? These are two instances that the person telling the story was not, at that particular instance, being a good storyteller.

Were they telling a story? Sure. But were they being a storyteller? Not exactly.

Here’s an example:

1) There were two children, and one of them ended up getting kidnapped. It was pretty sad.

2) A boy of eight and his younger sister drifted away from their parents at the supermarket. No sooner had they left their mother’s side did a nondescript man of no less than forty invite the two of them to follow him to his car with promises of treats. The boy and his sister were never seen again.

Number 1 is just facts. Something you hear and shrug off. Number 2 gives those facts texture. It lets you put the children in a situation where the reader sees danger coming but can do nothing about it.

What happens with many authors is that they have a tendency to want to finish the story rather than tell the story. Having facts and events and emotions doesn’t make a story. Stories need movement and transition and momentum, kind of like pistons in an engine. Slowly they build and build until there’s a fluid motion.

It’s not enough that your hero came from rags, found a sword, and now must save the world. There needs to be texture to it.

Here’s another example.

1) The hero found a sword and he went to save the world.

2) Stout-hearted Hayden reached down and wrenched Excalibur from the stone. “If this is what I must do, then let it be done with honor.”

The two statements are saying the same thing, but one of them tells the progression of facts, as a reporter does with the news, and the other lets the motions of the character tell the story.

“Motions of the character tell the story.”

Let me reiterate that point. A good storyteller is able to tell a story…without telling a story. What the heck does that mean? It means that the characters are experiencing the story which allows the story to be told.

Look at the example above. One tells you that the hero found the sword. Two lets you see the hero find the sword and understand what he realizes he must do with the sword.

You’ve heard of the “show, don’t tell” adage. Well, this is what this is. Telling is reporting. Showing is storytelling. And if we want to be appreciated as authors, we in effect, cannot be authors. We must be storytellers! Story is King.