My debut novel is now available!
“Lester Fuller knows isolation well. It has been his only friend since Jadarius Singleton humiliated him last year. But one night after Jadarius’s taunts go too far, Lester stumbles upon Gwynn’s body. He’s sure she’s dead. Until she bites him.
Vampires are extinct. There are only the dhampir.
Now something more than human, Lester struggles to determine where he fits in this new society. Just what secrets about the dhampir are his new friends keeping from him? And what will he do when a notorious figure from dhampir history sets her eyes on him?”
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Tomorrow is the big day and I am STOKED.
I’ve spent the past week and a half on overdrive and I’ll finally get to see the fruits of my labor.
OR WILL I?
Tomorrow is the first day of MANY years that Communion will be available to the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a stellar first day that proves to everyone I’m going to be a successful writer. In fact, most people who buy Communion tomorrow will be you faithful readers of this blog and friends I’ve met since becoming more active on the internet.
More readers and fans won’t come until later, some of them much later than tomorrow. Despite all my blogging and tweeting and commenting, the internet is a big place. It’ll be a LONG time before even a fraction of the internet knows Communion even exists, let alone considers buying it.
TOMORROW IS THE FIRST STEP
At this point, I’m getting tired of first steps. I thought planning the novel was it, then writing the first page, then revising it. But no, all of that was just the warm-up. Tomorrow, I cross the line from being unpublished to published. I’m out there. There’s a chance that strangers I’ve never met before will find me and come to know who I am (or what I say of in my ABOUT section).
But just like novel-writing is a marathon that took a great deal of time to complete, so is a successful writing career. Regardless of how well or how terrible Communion does tomorrow or even this month, I have to keep pushing on. I have many more books to write. Maybe I’ll see a return on my time and money invested with this first book. Maybe not until the third. Either way, I have to keep writing.
SOMEONE IS GOING TO DISLIKE THIS BOOK
Actually, I can think of at least 3 people who told me Communion wasn’t their cup of tea. All three were older (30+) women, which is completely outside of my target audience. Two of these three said they liked my writing style and want to see more work for me, but Communion wasn’t it for them.
There are going to be others who aren’t so nice. All of the greatest books I’ve ever read have 1-star reviews. Sometimes I read those reviews and think, “there’s no way this guy read the same book I did.” Regardless, it is what it is. You can’t please everyone.
So, I’ve spent the past two weeks going over Communion in my head, scene by scene, trying to predict what people will dislike. I’ve done calculations in my head to come up with how much I need to sale to become a full-time writer.
But enough is enough. The world gets its first taste of my dhampir tomorrow. I won’t sit back and wait. Instead I begin a month of aggressive marketing (release day party, blog tour, tweets, etc.). I’ve been watching the book market for over a year now, waiting for my chance to compete. Tomorrow, I enter the fray.
I need to a break from the marketing madness and spamming my Twitter account (it’s only for the next few weeks, I promise).
Did anyone see last night’s episode of Sleepy Hollow?
I’m still not sure how I feel about the show. I LIKE Ichabod and Abbie’s chemistry. And I LIKE Ichabod’s dialogue and overall wit. But there show has a very unrealistic feel to it. So many broken rules in regard to police policy. And there are other factors that seem kind of absurd, like the fact Ichabod is still wearing his 18th century gear.
As long as my Monday evening Criminal Justice class continues to let out early, I’ll keep watching it.
Excited for Agents of Shield to start tonight.
Pft, what else is there to say?
Communion is now on Goodreads.
So, anyone else see Sleepy Hollow?
And I know you’re all excited for Agents of Shield, right?
Ok you guys,
So in addition to a blog tour, I also ordered a release day party.
C’mon. It’s my debut. For my first novel to the world EVER.
I just wanna have some fun 🙂
If you’re interested in hosting, you can sign up HERE.
Please and thank you’s,
The man sitting across the table from me looked just like me, except he was older and his hair was cut short and professional. We usually had dinner together every evening. It was his way of trying to keep us close after my mom left.
“I got a call from Mr. Johnston at work today.”
But he wasn’t like me. Otherwise he would have known to leave this subject alone.
I let my fork scoop my rice into a pile I now felt too nauseated to eat. A grain had fallen off onto the pseudo-wood of the table. It reminded me that we once covered it with a table cloth before eating.
“He told me there was another incident with Jay. You wanna tell me about it?”
“There’s nothing to say.”
I looked from my plate to the dust bunnies on top of the book-case in the living room. Then back down. My dad chewed his food in quick, powerful meetings of his mandible and maxilla.
“Well, I’ve told you before the best way to handle a bully,” he said, food not fully chewed.
“Yeah, walk up to him in front of all his friends and bust him right in the face. Right, Dad?”
“That’s the best way there is.”
“That’s the suicidal way. Jay’s like twice my size. He’d demolish me.”
His fork dinged against the plate. “Son, bullying is about dominance. You stop being his easy prey and show him you’re going to fight back, and he’ll think twice.”
“Is that before he smashes me for challenging him in front of everyone, or after? God forbid he gets his friends to join in.”
“He’d be shocked. And it might lead to a fight. Just try your best to hold your own before the teachers break it up. You don’t have to win the fight; you just have to send a message.”
“I’ll pass. Besides, I stood up to him last year and that didn’t go well.”
“That was before your growth spurt. And those mixed martial arts lessons I paid for. You need to do something to defend yourself. This running away won’t cut it,” he said.
I looked up at him. I didn’t know where this new resolve came from, but it only irritated me further. Maybe he didn’t like being silent when his work buddies shared family stories around the water cooler.
“Are you finally tired of having a weak son?”
“If I said I was, would you finally stop being a little bitch?”
I pushed my food away and got up. I wanted to hit something again.
As my feet stomped the floor, I thought about Jay’s punches. One had knocked my head straight back into a combination lock. It happened almost six months ago but the pain was still palpable. I wasn’t sure if those hits or my dad’s words hurt more.
I needed to be alone. It was the only time the world made sense.
I lost myself in a tale about monsters and magic on the synthetic pages of my e-reader.
If only I could go on a quest to obtain a magic spell that would incinerate Jadarius. Or, even better, one that would make my mom come back. But that kind of stuff didn’t exist in the real world. Only the magic the other guy must have used when he got my mom to cheat on my dad.
My stomach growled and I realized two hours had passed since my first attempt at dinner. I could warm up the remains, but the food would bring back memories of the conversation.
I put on my hoodie— the leather jacket from last year had been ruined— and left. My dad didn’t say anything when I passed by the couch on the way out.
There weren’t any noticeable hills in Concord Hills. Nature was sparse, only coming along in residential neighborhoods and in isolated plots of land along the roads. Long, tiresome stretches of road. Route 8 ran northeast to southwest through half of the town. Running northwest to southeast was Route 343, which eventually led to Crain Highway, which could lead to Washington, D.C.
Concord Hills usually wasn’t in the conversation with other metropolitan towns, but it had a fair number of commuters, my dad being one of them.
I parked away from the building, my car facing a small wooded area that separated this parking lot from another. I hadn’t decided yet whether I would eat inside McDonald’s or come back to my car. I was still starved for isolation.
Before exiting, I noticed a dumpster in the corner of the lot. I collected my trash on the floorboards: loose leaf sheets of paper, napkins, and a few empty coffee cups. I stuffed everything into a bag and tossed it into the large, asymmetrical jade cube. I turned toward the building but stopped. I did a double-take and then walked behind the dumpster to confirm what I couldn’t believe.
A body. The battered body of a white female. Splotches of her white skin were interrupted by blood and bruises. I couldn’t tell if the putrid smell came from her or the dumpster.
An already lousy day had become the opening sequence in a Law and Order episode. But there would be no transition to the police scene unless I made the call. I took out my phone to dial 9-1-1, stealing another glimpse at her face. My finger never made it to the “1” digit. Instead, breathless, I shifted to get a better look.
“Oh my God… Guinevere.”
The recognition forced a mixture of emotions. Guilt. Even though I was merely the one to find the body, I indirectly felt as if I had done the crime myself. Sadness. The world would be less bright without her. And regret. I would never get another chance to make a move.
Taking a closer look, I noticed the blood was caked on her and there wasn’t any running off on the pavement beneath her. While I wasn’t a detective, I had a suspicion her body had been moved.
“I’m sorry, Gwynn,” I said.
I leaned closer to the body, one last time. She was now just a mass of pale white flesh, purple bruises, and a layer of red grime. Before I could take another breath, her eyes shot open and she closed the distance between us in a flash.
I caught a glimpse of the sparkle created by the street light reflecting off her elongated teeth, right before I felt her arms lock me in a vice grip and a sharp pain in my neck.
A sound somewhere between a cough and a shout caught in my throat. My head tilted back and I not only saw the black of night beyond the Golden Arches, but crimson and purple shimmering and swirling lazily in a stream.
Black consumed the other colors until it became the only thing I saw.
Find out what happens when Lester awakens in Communion, available Oct. 1st.
See that banners? That banners is fan-FREAKIN’-tastic.
I’m really excited to announce a blog tour for Communion. The tour will include book reviews, interviews, and guest posts by myself.
The dates are from October 7th to November 4th. We’re still in the process of finalizing the schedule of blogs. But as soon as I have it, you’ll have it on here.
Hope to see a few of you drop by some of the tour stops.
(Oh, and feel free to like my FB Page. It could use a little more love. Link on the right hand side)
I’ll be attending Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity in Baltimore, MD in September.
No, this isn’t to promote my debut novel Communion. Maybe one day I’ll have that kind of following, but right now I’m simply going as an unpublished author and a fan, looking to network.
There are a bunch of panes I’m looking forward to. Some are easy choices, such as
What makes a hero
Building a great series
Magic in “real life” and fiction
But, like all conferences, there’s always that hour that has TWO panels you want to attend at the same time. I’m torn between ‘What to Expect from Publishers and Editors’ (has a lot of business implications) and ‘Handling Sex in Crime/Fantasy Fiction’ (let’s just say things get steamy in the Communion sequel).
I’ll also be looking for booths ran by any authors who have self-published their books as ebooks only. I’m interested in doing this at some point in the future, but it would be nice to get some ideas on how it’s done first.
I won’t purchase a table for myself, but I will be giving out Communion bookmarks to anyone I happen to talk to.
But, it’s the first conference I’ll be attending… EVER. Any tips?
Back to our main question: How do authors get us to root for these malicious creatures of the night who feed on human blood?
Well, what if they don’t feed on human blood?
Below is a list of alternate food sources vampires have used in popular vampires book and television series.
Human blood (but from a blood bank): Damon in Vampire Diaries (the TV version) does this.
Animal blood: In Twilight and in Vampire Diaries (book and TV series). In Vampire Diaries, animal blood can sustain vampires but isn’t as gratifying or empowering as human blood.
Synthetic Blood: Bill Compton in True Blood.
Symbiotic feeding: Shori in Fledgling by Octavia Butler. This one in particular is rather interesting. The “vampires” (called “Ina”) in this novel need human blood for nourishment. However, humans feel an intense euphoric sensation when they are fed on. Being bitten by a Moroi or Strigoi in Vampire Academy is similar, but in Fledgling the feedings heal human wounds and increase their lifespan.
No Alternatives in Communion
Sorry, but my dhampir don’t get to cop out. In Communion, my dhampir are powered by something inside of them called vampiric essence. They still eat regular food for the sake of the human part of them. But their vampiric essence requires human blood. Feeding on goats and rabbits won’t give them their superhuman abilities, which is what most of my characters are after.
Those are all my notes on Vampire Morality. Let me know if there’s any other alternatives to human blood I left out or if there’s any other aspects of Vampire Morality I should explore.
Thanks for reading.
Also see: Vampire Morality: The Need to Feed