—THE WAYWARD SIREN—
Kay Hunter is a witch, a siren—through tone and modulation her voice becomes a weapon.
The year is 1969 and the Vietnam War rages across the Pacific. The 1026 Guild, a group of terrorists, fight to undermine the war efforts by sabotaging military objectives at home. A former Agency specialist known for extracting secrets, Kay is hired by her old handler to infiltrate the Guild and locate its founders. With her little brother, Matt, stuck in an overcrowded special-needs home, Kay needs the payout to get him proper care.
Once inside the Guild, her trials of sedition begin: facilitate a jailbreak, locate a classified weapons cache. Though Kay’s ability to mesmer makes short work of their tests, the trials escalate and Kay falls for the D.C. cell leader, Celia. But betrayal is the final stage in a job well-done, and Kay has never failed. Besides, her loyalty to family trumps lust, even love.
But her handler left out a small detail. After pressing Celia and Guild member minds, Kay discovers the founders are wanted for more than domestic terrorism—they witnessed a mass murder, sanctioned by a government official. When that official tracks Kay down, she’ll have to choose: take Matt and run, again, or join Celia and the revolutionists and become an enemy of the state herself.
—THE HYDROS PLAYER—
Charlotte (Charlie) Walker has completed a lifelong journey overcoming her irrational fears of water. She’s a recent hydrology alum—a scientist, like her father. But her future derails when she returns from death able to see H₂O at the molecular level. And while collecting freshwater samples from deep in the Carson Range, she catches a man dumping toxins. Under her influence, the man nearly drowns in his own fluids. The proof lay writhing at her feet—she’s a witch.
The state coven leaders condemn her outburst then offer covenship at a price—practice the approved, concealed craft. But for her forests and its animals, Charlie can’t afford to hide. Her sample collection grows revealing a deadly chemical signature. As she plots its source, she’s targeted by a con man who wants her data, and her silence. Worse—he’s aided by a rogue witch. The coven stands ready to defend Charlie and focus her mercurial power. But Charlie struggles to embrace a gift that could save their aquifer—the accident that made her a witch also took a loved one. And with the rogue witch casting against her and a rival coven vying for her membership, Charlie is caught in the crosshairs of a brewing witches’ civil war.
—DOG UPON ATLAS—
(adult urban fantasy / speculative fiction)
In the five boroughs of New York, seven canine families rule–an oligarchy of privileged working against the average mutt. Deacon Tawnyside, mutt and private investigator, is looking for Jomo, a young dog accused of conspiring to undermine the Seven.
During the course of his investigation, Deacon discovers that Jomo is a member of the Undead Mongrels and that they’re waging an underground war against the Seven. And someone is running a secret laboratory filled with genetic nightmares, the Seven and mutts victims alike. The trail leads Deacon to polar answers: the lab contains cure experiments to rid the Seven of their inbred diseases; it contains the results of an engineered mutt-loving virus.
Deacon has five days to uncover the truth and stop the decimation of his own kind. Before the Mongrels and the Seven turn mutt against mutt and sell the glory of the oligarchy for another twelve years.
Township of the Psyche: Elle (book 1 of 4/fantasy/spec fiction)—”Where does Anansi go to get his eight shoes shined? Where does the Monster Under the Bed go between sunrises? The Township of the Psyche—a world above, below, between realities.
Elle is the Tooth Fairy, the mother of superstition. Ancient, immortal, and the virtual queen of the Township. Bored of eternity and desperate for a good time. Nick is Santa Clause. Once benevolent, driven by the spirit of unsolicited giving. Now the epitome of Black Friday and a bottomless well of want.
Both Elle and Nick are after what they can never have—a slice of humanity, the real ‘human experience’. The Artifact of Longing is a myth in a myth-made world. A device of untold power with the ability to move its holder across the threshold of the worlds. After a hundred years and sign after sign, Elle can feel her fingertips brushing the Artifact. Only to find Nick’s chubby digits grasping at the same clues.
Knowing Nick’s desire—for her and the Artifact—is stronger than his good judgment, Elle must find it before Nick destroys the veil between the worlds, revealing the Township and shattering the precious human psyche.
Where do superstitions go to die? Blushing General—hospital to the ailing psyche characters. Freud and Jung and Leary, oh my! Mythologies and religions have been the dumping grounds to our imaginings since we’ve been drawing on cave walls.
The ‘Township of the Psyche’ is the coalescence of our beliefs, our emotions, and our rituals. Working together like dispersion of light through a glass prism giving the township form and structure.
As the Tooth Fairy, Elle is a character drawn from millennia past from around the world. As our minds evolved, making up stories of why we lose our milk teeth, what it means, and possibly who looks after our good fortune and/or futures. She carries the burden of the essence of superstition. The Queen of the fertile psyche, she’ll live as long as we do.
This is a dynamic world. Filled with death harbingers, furry mythology creatures, sweet and nasty elves, near-sentient boats to carry you to the underworld (or down the street), a Santa Clause that’s been corrupted by the age industrialization, Ted, Ted, ‘the Monster Under the Bed’, and Elle. The Tooth Fairy of then and now—primordial, self-realized, still obsessed with a bright smile, and a collection of hats to envy.
The Crop Murders(adult/paranormal)—”Crafting is taken to new heights in this tale of bloody quillers and fleshy die-cuts. Linda Curtains is funeral director and owner of Behind the Curtains Mortuary. She works with the dead; she speaks with the dead. One of her corpses has something to say.
Meet Rose—a sixty-seven year-old seamstress from Reno, Nevada, an avid scrapbooker and lover of all things glittery…also, recently-deceased, recently murdered. She seeks Linda’s help from beyond the grave.
Rose’s old posse, the Ladies of Perpetual Glitter, are preserving more than memories in photo albums. Rival ‘scrapping’, dark secrets, and vengeful subterfuge. Searching for clues to unveil the identity of Rose’s killer, Linda finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy, not to mention tape dispenser debates. Navigating a web of deceit as she tries to discover who amongst them murdered her new ethereal friend.
But the clock is ticking as another crafter disappears and the murderer leaves behind viscera-laden scraps.”
So…my mother is an avid scrapbooker and meets to ‘crop’. A year ago, I asked her–what the hell? I imagined a coven of women dressed in strange costumes and using mysterious weapons to weave paper stories while performing ancient rituals. The truth is, as it happens, not far from my imagining.
A bit of history–scrapbooking is HUGE. Like, world huge. It has its beginnings in the Mormon community. A woman, or group of women, would gather with pictures to document their families’ history. Births, birthdays, family reunions, picnic outings, you name it. It quickly gained popularity with everyone else and has become its own industry.
The Witches of Norwood County (expired draft)–“Witches…we’re not what you think. We’re not green-skinned, covered in warts. We don’t cook in cauldrons, eat babies. Hell, we’re not even all women. Witches can be guys, too. I’m a witch. A famous one. They call me the ‘Weaver’. Because I can weave, re-imagine, the Fabric of reality. Sounds a bit crazy. I wasn’t always like this. I was born a sleeper—a person unaware of magic. My grandmother used to say—the world is full of magic, Virginia. I learned, late one rainy winter night, that she was wrong. The world isn’t full of magic, it Is magic.”
My first (and first professionally edited, exciting!) eBook. Certainly not my first manuscript but the first I thought worthy of folks reading. After reading and researching paganism and my personal experience with shamanism, I thought–wouldn’t it be cool if there were an underground world of magic and covens? Like biker gangs but with less exhaust fumes and more casting-of-spells.
Digitize and transmit it across the airwaves. There is only one problem. Like many scientists, Aleera has the patience of a Texas oil tycoon in a dry winter. When Aleera uses the technology on herself, she discovers a boon and surprise—she can hear the thoughts of one of her patients—Big Momma.
After their meeting of minds, Big Momma becomes Aleera’s right-hand and cybernetically-enhanced canine. Big Momma assigns herself the role of brood-leader and mad-scientist lab assistant. But Big Momma is not just thirteen pounds of gorgeous flesh and fur. She is part dog, part technology, and all ambition. And she is changing.
Together the canine-godfather and human-biohacker perfect their small army of robot dogs and set off into the world to exact revenge on those who’ve been—as Big Momma would say—naughty dogs.
What will Big Momma and her brood of organic and inorganic canine friends become? And will her human be able to keep up…”
My second eBook. A project of which I’m particularly proud. And I must tell the story of its inspiration. Several years ago I started working at Austin Pets Alive! A non-profit animal shelter. I met two little seniors in the summer of 2011. Saxon, a teensy 6 pound mini Rat Terrier with tons of energy. And a husky little 8 pound Chi named Maja. Both had been used as puppy mill momma’s and found their luxury retirement with me.
Maja, who is now waiting for me in Rainbow Bridge, was one hell of a dog. An inspiration in and of herself that so much life and attitude can be contained in such a small package. Both of them slept on my bed but Maja liked to sleep on the pillows. One night, I woke up from a deep sleep realizing that I was having trouble breathing. It was my little blonde diva smothering my mouth with her girthy belly. At this point I became convinced Maja was actually the reincarnation of a highly-skilled and creative assassin/Ninja from feudal Japan. Thus–Big Momma was born.
This is an illustrated novel. Yeah. Not a graphic novel but an illustrated one. Most of the graphics on this site were taken from The Figure Eights. The insanely cool and amazing artwork was done by Amanda Smith and Will Kozak. My visual counterparts. These two are not only wonderful people but equally talented artists. They love, love working on illustrating stories and do amazing advertising work. Feel free to contact them for book cover work. Tell them Big Momma sent you.
I miss Big Momma terribly but she has been immortalized in the pages of: The Figure Eights. I’m also hopeful that this project gains traction as I’d like to donate as much money as possible from the proceeds to Austin Pets Alive!
Playtime for half-brothers Jasiri and Faraja.
Both come from the Amboseli region and, we believe, share the same father! Very sadly, they were orphaned at a young age & are growing up together, as a family, at our Umani Springs Reintegration Unit #MeettheHerd
Great article and with some deeper calls for us as readers to not be lazy F-heads. (paraphrasing)
If you need to set up a video chat about the protest (or anything else sensitive) it's important not to use Zoom. They work with the cops, FBI, etc. Instead, use Jitsi for secure conferencing. It's free and you don't need an account. Stay safe!