Category Archives: Books

Summer Releases

As it turns out, I’ll have two new novels coming out this summer from Moonfire Publishing.

I already mentioned Ipswich, the long-awaited sequel to Arcana, in an earlier post, back when it was originally accepted for publication. It was tentatively scheduled for a spring release, but it’s looking like it will be summer now. We’ve been working on the editing and the manuscript is shaping up great. I’m very happy with it. I think you will be too.

If you liked Arcana you’ll love Ipswich. It’s a tighter, more accessible story that doesn’t skimp on the elements that made Arcana a unique novel. There’s magick, of course, along with necromancy, witchcraft, and spirits.

The second novel is a collaboration with Sheila Marshall, a paranormal vampire tale titled Written in Blood.

Written in Blood is set on the North Shore of Lake Superior, around Two Harbors and the evocatively named Castle Danger. In case you’re wondering, the latter is a real town. You can find it on a map and everything.

It tells the story of an ancient vampire with the power to write the fate of the Northland in his blood. He uses this power to write his ideal companion into existence, and summons her to Castle Danger. But she carries with her a secret that may lead to both their undoing.

Fans of vampire and paranormal fiction will love Written in Blood. It has mystery, romance, action, and of course plenty of bloodletting. Watch for it along with Ipswich this summer, and check out the Moonfire Publishing website for updates and announcements.

Ipswich Accepted by Moonfire Publishing

ipswich_coverIt’s been a while since I published my last fiction piece, but that’s not because I haven’t been writing any. Arcana, my first novel, was published by Pendraig back in late 2009. At the time, Pendraig was primarily an esoteric press, and my debut novel was their first fiction release. Arcana did what most indie novels do – it racked up some sales the first year it was released and then tapered off substantially.

Pendraig would go on to publish my Enochian series, but over the last couple of years the company made the decision to focus on esoteric titles rather than pursuing more fiction releases. As their esoteric titles are their best selling books, that probably is a good business decision for them. But it also meant that Ipswich, the second novel in my Guild series, was without a publisher. Fortunately, that has now changed. Ipswich was picked up by Moonfire Publishing, a new independent press here in Minnesota. The novel has been scheduled for a spring release if all goes according to plan.

Ipswich was shaped by some of the feedback I received from Arcana. The biggest problem with my debut novel is basically that people either loved or hated all of the technical magical exposition. All of that is in there by design, but treating urban fantasy more like hard science fiction was not what mainstream readers were used to, and resulted in a book that mostly appealed to folks already interested in esotercism. And the fact is, statistically speaking, there aren’t very many of those. So the idea behind Ipswich was to write a novel that was less heavy on the technical magick side and structured more like other urban fantasy titles that are currently popular.

I suppose time will tell how popular Ipswich turns out to be, but so far my trial readers have agreed that it is more readable, more fun, and less technical than Arcana. It tells the story of Sara Winchester, a young heiress and newly empowered magician. With the help of the Guild, she explores her newfound powers and the mystery of her mother’s untimely death. In her search for answers, she confronts a killer who can control the spirits of the dead and the machinations of a rival order seeking the Guild’s destruction. It also introduces some of the alternate history of the Guild universe, in which the direct Winchester family line never died out and the Winchester corporation became one of the world’s major multinationals.

I am currently in the process of working with an editor on the manuscript, but once it is released you’ll be the first to know. Watch this space for future announcements.

Liber Spirituum Deluxe Edition Available

I have just received word that the deluxe edition of Liber Spirituum, the new anthology containing my essay “Evoking Zodiacal Angels,” is now available from Azoth Press. It is limited to 28 copies, so if you want one, get it while you can.

The deluxe edition is admittedly pricey, but the standard limited edition that I have in my possession is a beautiful book. I expect that the deluxe edition meets a similar standard of excellence, and it looks fantastic from the images that I have seen at the publisher’s web site.

Also, as a collector of such volumes, I can testify that they generally appreciate substantially in value after only a couple of years. So not only do you wind up with a lovely edition of an excellent book, it makes a solid investment as well.

The deluxe edition of Liber Spirituum can be ordered here, direct from the publisher. There are also more images at the link for you to check out.

Adventures in Marketing

In 2013, I contacted up and coming YouTube star (and fan of the book) Xsavior Mussolini about making a promotional video for my 2009 novel Arcana. At the time, I decided that the resulting shoot did not go well.

Because of that initial assessment, I decided that I would be better off not releasing the footage. However, this year, after seeing the success of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, I am no longer convinced that such a thing as bad publicity exists.

Therefore, I figured that I might as well go ahead and make it available. Enjoy, and if this motivates you to buy a copy of Arcana, available from all major online retailers, more power to you.

Should I Really Be Writing Like This?

I ask because a friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I thought that the book summary had to be a joke. It isn’t. But here’s what’s more depressing – its sales rank is currently #10,083. The top book of mine at the moment is #163,060. That’s a pretty big difference.

Now to be clear, I haven’t actually read this thing and maybe it’s well-written. It’s the seventh book in the series, so we’re talking about an author with an established fan base. It could be something like The Southern Vampire Mysteries, which seems like it adds a new paranormal trope with every book, so by the time you get to the end of the series the whole world is basically one big mess. Vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, were-everything-elses, witches, maenads, fairies, you name it.

Still, the setup seems like the author was especially careful to jam every paranormal trope she could think of into a single story, along with terrorists, cowboys, and vikings (!). So is that the secret to becoming a bestselling author? Combine so many tropes together that there’s something for everyone, whether or not it makes any sense? I sure hope not.

Understand, I don’t begrudge Sandra Hill her success. Making serious money as a writer is really tough. She must be doing something right, I just haven’t figured out what it is yet. I totally want to know.

I have a novel that I’ve been working on that basically satirizes this sort of thing and I wish I were a lot further along on it, because we have to be reaching the perfect time to release it any day now. Sadly, it’s not even half done.

Liber Spirituum Now Available For Pre-Order!

LiberSpirituum_540x200I am happy to announce that Liber Spirituum, a new anthology that includes my article “Evoking Zodiacal Angels” is now available for pre-order. If you’ve ever looked over the planetary conjuration work and wondered how you might apply those same methods to the angels of the zodiac, my article explains how to do just that in a fairly comprehensive fashion.

In addition to my article, the anthology also includes essays by a number of other well-known authors in the ceremonial magick field:

  • “Introduction ∙ Opening a Book of Spirits” by Adam P. Forrest
  • “The Place of Mingled Powers: Spiritual Beings in the Magical Lodge” by John Michael Greer
  • “Patrons and House Gods: Building Lifelong Relationships with Your Spiritual Guardians” by Aaron Leitch
  • “The Evocation of Metatron: A Golden Dawn Z-2 Ritual” by Charles Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero
  • “The Prayer for Success” by Jake Stratton-Kent
  • “Lay Thy Tongue Upon My Heart: Forty Days of Ritual Communion Between a Pagan Adept and the Archangel Raphael Tipherethel” by M. Isidora Forrest
  • “Substance Through Spirit: A Reflection on Magical Evocation and Talisman Construction” by Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)
  • “Kalein tous Theous: Divine Invocation in the Late Neoplatonic Tradition” by Jeffrey S. Kupperman
  • “Evoking Zodiacal Angels” by Scott Michael Stenwick

The hardbound edition is limited to 500 copies. Printed in two colors throughout, with 2-color illustrations, bound in faux leather silk-touch cloth. Foil stamp on both the front and back boards, with a full color frontispiece by acclaimed artist Caniglia. The deluxe leatherbound edition is limited to 32 copies, with satin ribbon sewn-in marker, custom endpapers, and housed in a handmade tray case.

Exploring EBooks

ebooksLately the ebook scene has been getting a lot of coverage, with talk about how it finally has become the next big thing in publishing. Experts have been predicting the shift away from traditional publishing, but in the last couple of years sales numbers show that it finally is happening.

Creating ebooks has also gotten a lot easier. You used to have to take your word processor document and run it through an application like Calibre in order to convert it to a proper ebook format, which was a picky process that took a fair amount of work. But now both Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing have conversion programs that work with regular Word documents.

A while back I created my first ebook on Smashwords, of a story called Cthulhu Unbound that I had submitted to a number of magazines. The story is a satire of the classic Lovecraftian tale. which follows the basic pattern of those stories but ends with a humorous twist. None of the places I submitted it seemed to know what to do with it, as it’s not exactly a horror story and not exactly comedy.

I think the ending is hilarious, though. Maybe you just need to have dealt with weenie Lovecraftian magicians who are all spooky and serious to get the joke. Obviously, that’s an experience that people outside the occult world probably haven’t had. So it fits the criteria of something that my readers will probably enjoy, even if regular folks find the central joke a little confusing.

In the ebook I also included a preview of the opening chapter of Arcana, with a link to buy the ebook edition of the novel. I released it on Smashwords for free, hoping that would mean lots of people would find it and read it outside my usual blog audience. However, that really didn’t work. Over the last year, it only had a couple hundred downloads and didn’t result in any sales of the novel.

So now I’m changing my approach. I’ve redone the ebook as a 99 cent title on both Smashwords and Kindle Direct. I’m also going through my library of unpublished material to see what else I might have that I could turn into another one. I also am going to be promoting Cthulhu Unbound more directly, as my previous experiment didn’t quite work as I imagined.

So if you’re interested in picking up a copy, you can buy it from Amazon or Smashwords. And as I explore the ebook format more thoroughly, there should be more of these to come.