Just in time for a holiday…

The end of summer means the last great hurrah: one last family vacation, one last weekend at the beach, one last big cookout. One last chance to bask in the sunshine and warmth. A final opportunity to lament airborne pests.

If that’s you, I would love nothing more than to encourage you to download a copy of September, the newest installment of At Calendar’s End for your Labor Day relaxing.

I would love to, but I’m not going to.

As I have been informed (repeatedly) by a certain loyal reader, At Calendar’s End is not “easy” reading. It has also been (playfully?) suggested that a support group be started for readers of the series.

In light of this news, I cannot in good conscience suggest you go out on your last holiday weekend and read something that might traumatize you. If previous installments have been hard to deal with, September will prove the rule, not the exception.

So enjoy the sun while you still can. When you have had your fun, come back to the series, it will be waiting.

But don’t wait too long, the Intercalary don’t have much time left.

Schedules being what they are, the finished cover for September has been delayed. It will be going through some iterations, but I will update as soon as humanly possible. With this in mind – and the holidays looming – we shall see how it effects future covers as we finish out the series. The stories, however, will continue to be delivered to you on the first of each month, as promised.

As always, click the art of the talented Mr. Ritson to be directed to Amazon.

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Patience is a Virtue…

But the wait is over.

After a brief delay, the artwork for August has been update – I am currently waiting for Amazon to agree with me. Kindle publishing reflects the new artwork, but Amazon has yet to get the memo.

I just wanted to take time out of our collective day for an art appreciation break. You can click the image to be directed to the Amazon listing.

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Cover to cover…

I’m going to put out the pertinent information first, and then I’d like you to bear with me for some long-worded winding on a related topic.

First, August is here, as undeniable as the rise and set of the sun. And equally unstoppable is the arrival of August: part eight in the series.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the cover has been delayed slightly. I apologize for the delay, but the story itself is moving right along schedule and you can find it at the link below.

Fortunately for ebook reading, the cover will be easily updated as soon as it is in my hands and I will post its beautiful sights for all eyes.

But even more interesting is how my covers, my work, and my calendar have all culminated in a spectacular announcement:

Today celebrates the third anniversary of Empty Hallways’ haunting re-cover. You may or may not know that the first edition of the book had a very disappointing cover. I did it myself, in a rush of amateur publishing (which I am still finding I don’t know everything about. Surprise, surprise.) but the book was later refaced by my talented cover artist and wonderful friend Brian Ritson.

His cover made me feel like a real author, not just an amateur. And he has continued to provide covers that might actually oversell the content within.

And therein lies the amazing coincidence: today is not only the third anniversary of Brian’s Empty Hallways cover. August will be the tenth cover to proudly display Brian’s art.

Brian will continue to be my artist as long as he can entertain channeling my stories for his art.

So thank you Brian, and congrats!

To three years of work.

To ten covers.

To a lifelong friendship.

Cheers, my friend.

August, as well as Brian’s other covers (and my stories) can be found on Amazon.

Another Page Torn from the Calendar…

Happy Indie Authors Day!

And happy July!

Well, happy for everyone but the Intercalary. Their ranks have been cut in half now. As if that wasn’t bad enough, not only are they dealing with a supernatural killer, they have a traitor in their midst only making things worse. But it couldn’t possibly get any worse for them, could it?

Maybe not. Maybe everything will be okay. Maybe, for once, things won’t fall apart and the lines between good and bad won’t blur to the point of confusion. Maybe just this once, friends won’t be revealed as monsters, hiding behind kind eyes and warm smiles.

Maybe somewhere else, that could totally happen. But if you’ve been reading At Calendar’s End up to this point, I’m sure you have a decent idea of what’s coming.

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My Father & Mr. Brooks

Many years back, when I was a precocious young lad, my father devised an ingenious method of education and torture – you’ve heard of edutainment? This is tortucation – or it might have been for some other kid.

When I got in trouble, my punishment was not a simple grounding. Instead, I had to read a book and write a book report. At home. Had to. The horror.

I was allowed to choose the book, but my dad got veto. I wasn’t such a fan of writing then, but I already enjoyed reading. The writing… well, you can see where that got to. I was already a reader, I don’t think anything in the world could have stopped that. I had a good system and a lot of encouragement to get me into books. But if ever there were a fundamental set of moments in my life that turned me into a reader, this is where it started.

While I got to choose many of my own “punishments,” on occasion my dad would pick out a book and tell me that was the one I was going to read. It was a test. He’d pick out books he already knew, and ask me questions about them, to see what I was getting from the reading. Often enough, I was getting the story, but not the subtext. I needed to be persuaded into understanding that – I won’t lie, it took years.

But through this process, I was introduced to many of the greats: Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffery, Harlan Ellison… and somewhere among them was Terry Brooks. And of all the authors that attempted to cross the line from the “dad’s authors” camp into my own favorites, Terry was one of the few who truly won me over with his brand of fantasy.

When people recollect their favorite stories, when they get glassy eyed about a story, like they’ve been there – like they’ve lived there… for me, that was Landover, the magical land in Magical Kingdom for Sale – SOLD.

I’m not going to get into the story. I’m not even going to persuade you with anything but the fact that I love it. It was MY Harry Potter… long before Harry would ever figure out his legacy. It’s a series that I have never finished, mostly because I didn’t want it to end. But after last night – close to twenty-five years after that first introduction – I feel like I should finally finish it. I feel like I owe Mr. Brooks that much.

I met Terry Brooks tonight at a signing in one of my favorite places – Schuler Books, Eastwood. (There’s nothing wrong with the Okemos one, I just prefer Eastwood.) He read us a bit of his latest work, he answered all the questions we had to offer. He was charming and down-to-earth and just everything we all hope our idols will be.

And if you have ever met one of your heroes, you know that everything you think about while you are watching them, everything you think about when you are in line, everything you want to say – it’s gone when it’s your turn to say anything. Maybe you are better than me, but I stammered out a thank you. It carried all of the words I wanted to say, and whether he heard all that or not, he still seemed appreciative.

Then I did something I had been debating since I parked my car.

I brought a bookmark. One of my bookmarks. On the front was the House of Thirteen cover, and on the back, I wrote something (in the car, where I left most of my wit and courage).

I wrote: “Terry – Thank you. For a lifetime of inspiration.” Then I signed it.

I handed it to him and stammered out something about hoping it’d be worth more someday. He looked at it, then he said thank you to me.

Me.

We talked for a quick second, he asked where he could find my books, and he said he’d check me out. I got a photo, we shook hands, and that’s where my moment ended. Even if it was just banter, I appreciate the hell out of it.

Seriously, Terry Brooks, thank you. For the twenty-five years of wonder you have instilled in me. For being part of a great and wonderful pantheon that I strive to one day join.

For being you. And for doing what you love.

Thank you.

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Half Way Home…

It’s June! 6 months into the year, leaving 6 months to go.

We’re halfway through the Calendar. And we’re half way to the Calendar’s End.

If I may say myself, this is the point in the story where things start to get a little screwy. Maybe a twist has been revealed, maybe it’s a zig instead of a zag, maybe it’s a purposeful left turn.

Needless to say, things are not looking so great for the Intercalary, and by the end of June, things are going to look a whole lot worse.

As always, you can click the cover here to be directed to the Amazon page. If you haven’t read At Calendar’s End yet – or if you are missing an installment, look in the Amazon description for links to the rest of the chapters.

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And yet, we May…

Another month has passed without pause or hesitation. And just like that undeterred passage of time, a new chapter of At Calendar’s End is also upon us.

May begins, and with it, yet another step in the ever-escalating tragedy that is the ongoings of the Intercalary. Are they any closer to unmasking – much less stopping – the terror that stalks them? Am I laying this on too thick? Am I stringing you along too much?

I have to admit that it is very difficult to look back from where I am in the story, knowing what is coming, and not share spoilers with you. But the secrets are slowly coming out in the story, and won’t you be surprised over the summer…

Click on Brian Ritson’s gorgeous cover art below to find your way to the next installment.

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