Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why would you want to write for a living? (The Conclusion)

Every day, somebody steps off the ledge of security to follow a dream. Sadly, the landscape is littered with the decaying corpses of many a dream that has died. Many starve after they are deemed too difficult to maintain. Often, those dreams are treated by those closest to The Dreamer as brazen and filthy harlots that drag The Dreamer away from responsibility and duty. How many songs bemoan "the Boulevard of Broken Dreams"? Yet, like a siren's song, they beckon...and far too many unwary pursuers end up crashing on the rocks.

Not all who chase their dream are destined to fail. I am chasing a dream that so many share. I want to be a writer. Not just a person who has a few books out that are read by friends and family. Excuse me if I offend, but anybody can do that if they choose. I want to be read by thousands...millions. I want to walk into a coffee shop and see my book in somebody's hands, or hear two people chatting about it over dinner. I want to walk into a theater and see a preview for it during the "Coming Attraction" before the feature film or catch a commercial for it while I am watching HBO, AMC, or even the SyFy channel. Simply put...I want to hit the "Big Time" and achieve "Best Seller" status. I want to have sales numbers that match my KDP freebies. (To date, in 10 combined promo days, Zomblog has given away over 50,000 copies, doing over 10,000 in 48 hours on the average.)

Doesn't that seem to fly in the face of a lot of what I have said? That whole "write because you love it" thing and the "I don't want to write...I have to write!" Those are true. However, I would be lying to you and to myself if I did not admit that I covet the successful end of the spectrum. I am not afraid of fame or success. Odd as it seems, there are many people who are terrified of those two states of being. It can be a scary thing to some. By nature, many writers are not all that gregarious. They were the wallflowers or the kids picked last in gym they turned to books. Some are very uncomfortable in the spotlight and might lack certain social skills due to years of introversion. Let's face it...that is why the social media is their haven. Give a writer a keyboard and remove the actual interpersonal interactions of true relationships and they are in their realm of comfort.

In April of this year, 2012, I walked away from my "day" job. My book sales had reached a point where I could pay my bills. It was time to step off the ledge. I am fortunate that I am married to somebody who accepts my "mistress" without feeling threatened by it. With several of my books reaching triple-digit sales each month (versus triple-digit totals for the year like they did in 2011) it was time to see if I could do this.

So, why do I write? After all...isn't that what I said this whole column was going to reveal. Truthfully? Ego. For me there is no greater rush than when I get an email or letter saying that I made a person laugh or cry with nothing more than my words on paper. When I have people who make a comment about one single line in my book that they say "touched their heart" or made them feel just a bit queasy. I write because I love hearing I have become somebody's favorite. I write because I get a thrill when a story takes a turn that I never saw coming. (Like I said earlier...I don't use an outline.) When a complete stranger thinks enough of my work to spend the time to write a review like this: "I have never been moved to write a review for the products that I have purchased on Amazon or any other site before. But after reading this book, and several others from Mr. Brown. I cannot put it off any longer.I have read several zombie books that are of good quality, and even more that were.... well to be honest, downright sucked. I saw this book on Amazon and decided to give it a shot. Well, I must tell you that as far as I am concerned, after reading Mr. Brown's books I have placed him as one of the best writers for me. I devour his books at every chance I get. I will give up sleep just to read more of his work. ... Mr. Brown has done what most authors cannot do, or have a hard time doing. And that is making me believe that this is happening. I can see this playing out in real life if this was to happen.I truly wish this author the most success available for him, simply because the more success he gets the more of his craft I will be able to enjoy. I know he reads these reviews, and I want him to know that I consider his work, his craft, his ability as a writer to be one of the greats. Thank you for sharing your story Mr. Brown." I could share a hundred other such things...some from reviews, others from emails or letters. THAT is why I write. When somebody says that about your work...about what you do for a is a wonderful feeling. Many people long to hear those sorts of things at a job they hate or can barely tolerate. Can you imagine what it feels like to hear that about something that you do because you love it? I may not be wealthy yet...but I am richer now than at any point in my life. Is it scary at times? Sure. But I wouldn't give it up for anything. I get to say something every day that so few can utter as they head off to work. "I am doing what I love."

Friday, November 28, 2014

Why would you want to write for a living? (Part 5)

Sitting at my desk with my Border Collie demanding my attention (she grabs her toy of choice, slips under my desk and shoves it in my lap so I will toss it across the living room...she can do this for hours!), sipping coffee, and glancing at my aquariums (my NEWEST hobby) while eating fresh berries and yogurt. I have steaks marinading for the barbecue tonight. On my KDP sales page, I am having my BEST MONTH EVER! All of this might seem trivial...but considering where I was a mere 14 months ago...where I spent 13 years of my life...this is HEAVEN. Less than a year after my return to society, I am able to quit my day job and focus on my dream job of being a writer. That is just one of the things that makes this country great...if your work hard and put all your heart into following your CAN succeed. But it ain't easy.

After the first few months of Zomblog being available, the reviews started coming in and they were surprisingly favorable. I say surprisingly because I had never intended it to be read as an actual novel. It was a warm-up exercise. Also, I started getting asked by a couple of friends who read it, "When are you gonna write the next part?" I was currently up to my eyes in Dead: The Ugly Beginning. It was going well and I was actually a bit excited because I had decided to "borrow" from George R.R. Martin and his Game of Thrones book. I was going to write my zombie book in rotating chapters. I had Steve, The Geeks, and Vignettes. That last chapter would just be snapshots of what was happening around the world. However, I started discovering that a few of those vignettes would have to carry over beyond just one chapter. Also, I was in the process of compiling and editing May December Publications' first anthology: Eye Witness: Zombie.

Let me take an aside moment to mention that compiling an anthology is A LOT of work. And even offering up "just" a contributor's copy is an expensive undertaking. The best parts were reading a story and feeling so blown away that somebody would send such a great story to ME! After all, we were just getting started and had not even started to gain a name for ourselves. Yet, some of those submissions for Eye Witness: Zombie really floored me. (Childish Things by William Wood and Baby Killer by Ron Harris are still two of my favorites--for very different reasons. I still giggle when I think of a man trapped inside a killer whale outfit and hopping down a hallway to try and escape zombies.) After almost three years, we are just now starting to be able to offer little stipends to some of our wonderful anthology contributors.

I decided that I would write two more books in the Zomblog series (that has since changed and I have just finished the fourth book because fans of the series have asked for it...and the readers are who I consider to be my boss). The Zomblog books would give me a break between the DEAD books. However, I was really focused on Dead: The Ugly Beginning. I completed it and decided that I wanted to release it on my son Cody's birthday. I don't know what I expected. I had sold close to a hundred copies of Zomblog by the time it came out. Yep...a hundred. Not great...but I just knew that Dead: The Ugly Beginning was going to change things. It was out for three days before it finally sold its first copy. I was beyond discouraged. How was it that nobody else was seeing my genius? Or...maybe I'm not that good. Those were the thoughts I did battle with.

I shook off those feelings and went right to work on Zomblog II. I believed That I learned a great deal since the first one and actually had an endgame in mind for this installment. I tried to ignore the fairly abysmal sales of my first two books. Dammit! I was a good writer. I knew it. It would just take time. Folks would start coming around. It was not too long after the release of Dead: The Ugly Beginning that a group of people took it upon themselves to decide that I should not be writing. How could anybody read my work? After all, I was in prison. I should not have a life...I should not be allowed to prove to society that I am worthy of reintegration. I should be judged solely on past deeds. Even better...people with no actual knowledge decided to simply fabricate what they knew nothing about. Again...this is not a place for me to debate my criminal record, the fact that people do time and may not actually be guilty--unless you think the criminal justice system is perfect and NEVER makes a mistake--to defend myself or anything else of the sort is just pointless. However, I will say that very few publishers, editors, or writers have provided as much detail about their private life as I have. How do you know what sort of person each writer that submits to your anthology is in real life? What do you really know about that editor or publisher you work with? Everybody has skeletons in their closet...but the difference between them and me is that I keep my closet door open. I wasn't "discovered"...I put my stuff out there on my own.

This whole time, every instance where I was considering whether or not to just walk away, there was Denise telling me, "You can't quit your dream. It will happen if you just give it time." There were so many opportunities to give up. "Why would you want to write?" "Why subject yourself to this frustration?" Those questions bounced around inside my brain almost daily. The answer was simple: It's what I do. It's what I love. I don't feel whole if I am not creating something with words. I picked up my pen and dove into Zomblog II. My brain was in overdrive and I already felt story lines forming for the second book in the DEAD series. I even had a working title: Dead: Revelations. Dammit...I didn't just WANT to write. I NEEDED to write...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why would you want to write for a living? (Part 4)

Happy Thanksgiving to those enjoying this holiday. To everybody else, Happy Thursday before Black Friday!

I've met and spoken with a number of writers who mourn the lack of family support. I hear them vent in frustration about how nobody--neither friends nor family--has so much as cracked a cover of even one of their stories. I can certainly understand their frustration and even hurt feelings. However, let me just take one moment to remind you that your family is NOT your target audience! I understand that you want those close to you to see just how amazingly talented you happen to be...but they are not ever going to BUY one of your books.

Now that I have spewed my hypocritical line of drivel...let me remind you that it was lack of support that drove me away from my dream time and again. The real truth is that we (referring to us writing types) are a very selfish bunch. Our pursuit of being a writer takes up far more time than most people realize (unless they are married to or in a relationship with a writer). It is not something that can normally be considered a couples, team. or group effort. It is a solitary effort that demands ALL of our focus. We shut out those same friends and family members who we later ask to read our latest piece. That is sorta like bringing home a girlfriend (or boyfriend) and asking your wife (or husband) to fix dinner for the three of you.

Our job requires that we try to find ways to make strangers interested in our wares. While we may make claims like "I don't write for the money." If you are trying to make a living at being a writer...that is a HUGE contradiction. I will admit here to all who care to read this that I am absolutely in this to make a living. I will sell out in a Florida Flash. I have a family to support. Last I checked, the electric company does not accept a pat on the back in lieu of payment. They want cash. Therefore...I need my books to sell.

This brings me back to where I left off yesterday: Zomblog. I finally had somebody who supported me once again. This time, she was willing to do more than just give me the green light. I need to make it clear that I NEVER intended for Zomblog to see print. It was a warm-up exercise as I got in shape to write my DEAD series. I actually wrote it day-by-day. When I felt I was ready to move on to my "real" novel, I wrapped it up. All the while, Denise was posting it in daily installments. It gained a bit of a following, including a small press. An offer was made to me to compile the entries and release it as a novel. I was blown away. I may have sprained my tongue saying "Yes!" so fast. Just before it was due to be released, the publisher wanted to change the contract. In short....more money for them and less for me. My response is not suitable for family viewing, but you get the point. I said "No thanks."

Just as fast as it had begun, the ride was coming to an end. kinda like an amusement park. You stand in line for three hours to ride a seventy second roller coaster. I was disappointed, but not devastated. After all, the DEAD series was my focus. However, Denise was not satisfied with that outcome. My wife (who happens to hold a Masters in accounting and business) filed all the paperwork and created a company using the copyright tag I used for my writing--May December Publications. I have used that dating back to when I wrote Dakota. My daughter Ronni was born on December 15th, my son Cody was born on May 30th, and my son Alexander was born on December 13th...hence, May December Publications, LLC. It was under that label that Denise had Zomblog printed. I received it for Christmas 2009. When you get a book sent in to you in prison, it is always neat...when it is YOUR is inexplicably cool.

Having somebody in your life who not only understands, but actively supports your dream of being a writer is a treat. It is a luxury that I do not take for granted. My first several books, (the first two DEAD books, the first two Zomblog books, and Gruesomely Grimm Zombie Tales Volume 1) were handwritten by me, then sent home and typed by Denise. After several back and forth mailings and numerous edits over the phone, those books saw daylight. So...the truth is that none of that would have happened when it did had it not been for such amazing support.

So, the books started becoming available. The first month of release, I think Zomblog sold six copies. Disappointed does not quite cover it. The rush and the thrill of holding a physical copy of my book was quickly deflated by the reality of next to no sales. It was time to delve into the seedy underbelly of the writing world--the part none of us likes to talk about. Promotion. There is a fine line between promoting and being a nuisance. Also, just as I sat down to start on Dead: The Ugly Beginning, a letter came in and asked when the next book in the Zomblog series was going to be released. What next book? Crap...this was gonna be a bit harder than I thought.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why would you want to write for a living? (Part 3)

When you are little, you have all those amazing dreams about what you want to be when you grow up. I grew up when some of the most common dreams were astronaut, the president, and Billy Jack. (If you don't remember Billy Jack...ask your parents or older siblings. Best Billy Jack line: "I'm gonna put my left foot on the left side of your face." How cool was it that he took his shoes off and that was the signal that he was about to kick butt!?!) But I digress...

As you grow older, life has a way of using a sniper rifle to pick off those dreams one at a time. Pretty soon, many of us settle. After all, chasing a dream is very difficult. So few can actually catch theirs. And you have to surround yourself with people who will help you overcome obstacles and face hardships. Oh yes...catching a dream can come at a steep price.

Just as my dream was about to come to fruition...I ended up in prison. This column is not about that. I won't get into a debate about it or engage those who wish to try and provoke me. It started in 1989 and culminated in 1998. No matter what, I am not the man now that I was then. After three divorces, you have to start thinking "Maybe it's me." I spent my incarceration becoming a better person. I obtained my degree (only an Associates, but I did pull a 3.96 GPS...damn B in Calculus!) through Blue Mountain Community College and LSU. I took years worth of cognitive behavior courses to try and figure out why I was so full of hate and anger. I learned how to play guitar. I got a job helping inmates obtain their GED (some of my most rewarding work), and I became a hospice volunteer where I learned that no matter how bad I thought I had it...I wasn't going to die in prison. Not everybody I knew could say the same.

During that long period of my life, I had two choices: give up and become what is expected of me...or become the man I knew I could become if I was willing to work. I chose the latter. I set a goal of having three full-length books ready to go upon my release. I didn't count Dakota (which I received a letter from an actual New York agency who wanted to represent me while I was sitting in jail. I told them it wasn't a good time and I would have to pass.) It was during my pursuit of my degree that one of the teachers told me after I'd written a short zombie piece for a creative writing course, "You need to be writing all the time. You have a gift." That evening, during a phone call home to my wife, I mentioned writing a blog. Only, it would be fictional. It would be the story of a guy who lives through the zombie apocalypse. Denise said that if I wrote it and sent it to her, she would post it on an actual blog that she would create for me. Like I said earlier...if you chase your dreams, you need somebody who is willing to have your back and be there to support you.  The dream was about to become tangible...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why would you want to write for a living? (Part 2)

My love of stories goes back to when I was little. My grandfather taught me to read at an early age. I already had the basics down by the time I started school. In fact, my grandmother told me that I came home from my first day of kindergarten very disappointed. "All they taught was numbers to 10 and started on the ABC's. Who doesn't know that?" were apparently my first words off the bus. I did, however, happen to walk out of the library--despite the librarian's insistence that I choose a book with more pictures--with my first "big boy" book. Savage Sam: Son of Old Yeller. (For the record, I had no idea who 'Old Yeller' was...yet.)

As I settled down enough to start getting serious, I was plunging headlong into marriage number 2. There were a lot of bad things about that marriage, but I will stick to the ones that are relevant to my writing. I started laying down the groundwork for an idea inspired by my time in Charleston, South Carolina. My ship, FF-1079, the USS Bowen, was doing circles waiting for a fog to lift. Looking at the city in the fog, it was like being back in time. The city has fought to preserve its "Old South" heritage. The downtown area is almost a shrine to history. That gave birth to Dakota--my first novel.

I started spending a little time each morning with my notepad and my coffee. When I felt ready, I moved to my computer. (A Commodore 128D!) The words started flashing across the screen and I was underway. However, about five or six weeks into it, my wife (and eventually ex-wife number 2) told me "You are wasting your time with that! Nobody is gonna read it. You should be spending that time with me!" So, I put it in a box and shoved in to the back of the closet where it would stay until I moved out one Memorial Day weekend.

Once again, my dreams of writing were put where most dreams go...away. After all, isn't that why they call them dreams? Once I freed myself of that matrimonial bond, I drifted around with no purpose. I had jobs ranging from club DJ to home automation technical support. (Yep...I yawned just typing that last part.)

Eventually I went back to my old stand-bye of being a waiter and a bartender at some of Seattle's nicer establishments. That is where I met wife number 3. For as terrible as I was as her husband (every bit of the fault in that divorce is truly mine...I was awful...not violent, but words can be far more damaging if used {im}properly) I actually owe a big part of where I am now to her. She found "the box." When she asked me who wrote all the stuff she had been reading that day while I was at work slinging drinks to the business elite...I shrugged and admitted to the deed. I don't know what I expected, but it was not the response she gave me.  Her words to me that day were simple. "You have to write. I may not know much...but I know what I see here is good. I also know that you will always wonder about what might have been." So...I got a Brother word processor (that would eventually be replaced by my P133, 2GB hard drive desktop computer) and I went to work. This time it would be different. However...things would not go exactly as planned...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why would you want to write for a living? (The intro)

As many of you know, I will be spending the week with my daughter, who I have not seen for almost 2 years. Even more exciting, this is our FIRST ever Thanksgiving together! So I went through some oldies but goodies and found some things that you might have missed when they first ran.

I've heard that question a few times in my life. (Including from ex-wives.) To me, the simple fact that you would have to ask means that you won't be happy (or perhaps even understand) my answer. I am going to share my own personal reasons here. Some of them will seem silly, a few will definitely sound selfish. Still, they are mine and I am not ashamed of them.

First off, if you know me personally, it comes as no surprise that I am a bit of an attention whore. Simply put, I like being in the spotlight. I've been the lead singer and a guitarist for a few bands. Nothing major...but an absolute blast. I've played in front of a few hundred people. Even on the tiniest stage, I always treated it like it was a packed arena full of thousands. I put my heart into it every time I stepped up to the mic. When I strapped on my guitar, I felt like Ace Frehley or Stevie Ray Vaughn...even though I played

I have a hefty amount of stage credits to my name; having been in shows like Pippin, Oliver, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The World According to Snoopy. I discovered my knack for the stage in high school and decided to pursue it into adulthood. I feel fortunate. I never auditioned for a show that I wasn't cast in during those years. I have a ton of great memories from that era in my life.

Still, I always had that yearning to write. It has been part of me since I was a kid telling bedtime stories to my  teddy bear. I have just loved the idea of sharing a story. I was the kid on the camp outs who had a million ghost stories. When I got to high school, I took every writing class I could get in to. When the teacher in my Creative Writing class would ask if anybody wanted to share their work, I always raised my hand. The payoff would come after class when the other kids would give their feedback. My favorite comment came from the pretty girl who didn't ever remember my name. "You should write for a living." I'd like to say that she finally remembered my name I was still invisible to her. Still, she did smile and occasionally say hello in passing. (Wasn't high school great?!) The biggest thing that I kept hearing was that I had a knack for creating something on paper.

The problem I faced when I was young is nothing that hasn't plagued most teenagers: focus. I was in the Navy...seeing the world. I enlisted as a submarine sonar technician right out of high school. It was the 80s. The US and the (still in existence) USSR did not get along. My job was to find and classify Soviet contacts of interest. Very Hunt for Red October. I would write in fits and starts for several years.

In 1989, when I left the US Navy, I would seriously consider what I wanted to do with my life. It always came back to writing. Whether I was writing comedy bits for the morning show at the radio station, or ad copy (the least glamorous writing job EVER!)...writing was my love. Next time I will dish up dirt on a relationship that almost put me out of action forever...and the one that restarted me on this path.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I must say farewell...

Our reunion after 16 years apart.
...but just for a while. You see, my daughter is coming in from Illinois for the week of Thanksgiving. It has been over a year since we have seen each other and I want to spend every single spare second with her. That means that I will be posting "reruns" next week. We have tons planned, and even one day where we will just sprawl on the couch and sip coffee. So much has changed since that picture above where we saw each other for the first time after 16 years. We were both a bit nervous (I was terrified) and you might notice that we are sort of leaning away from each other. Things have changed since then. And we are both so excited that we can't stand it. She has had a countdown on her phone for months...and now we are down to the last few days.

Her Halloween costume...Nerd Lumberjack?
So, my friends, I wish you all the happiness and hope that you are experiencing things that make you thankful. I know it is common to moan about family dysfunction around this time of year, but if you have ever lost it all for an extended period, believe me when I tell you that you would appreciate it so much more. Take this time to maybe reach out to the one person who meant so much in your life but has perhaps slipped away.

Believe me when I say, the reward is beyond belief. And now, I must clean my house (again) and pace nervously as I await the arrival of my little girl.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My first LIST of the season.

I realize that the over-commercialization of the holiday season has ruined Christmas for many. And there are those who want to gouge their ears out when they hear that first Christmas song before the Halloween pumpkins have even been tossed out. Personally, I can't wait for November 1st, so I can crank up my Spotify "The Cool Christmas Collection" playlist. (You can search for it under that title and become a follower so that the playlist is available to you.)

I know there are some out there who HATE Christmas music. I am just the opposite...I can listen to it in July and it had nothing to do with the holiday...I just dig the music. Personally, Christmas was never a favorite season of mine when I was young for personal reasons that would just be a downer to read, so we will skip it. Yet, the music has always really done it for me. And now there is just some VERY COOL stuff. I know these lists are share yours.

I had to really think it over to narrow down MY top 10. (And most if not all of the can be found on my Spotify playlist "The Cool Christmas Collection".)

But before I get to it, just can't forget this song that was perhaps one of the largest gathering of Pop Stars who wanted to make a difference:

#10 The Waitresses...perhaps the best "Story" song EVER! Patty was under-appreciated.

#9 Dino! The man was awesome!

#8 Bing & Bowie...I actually watched this special that spawned this classic...

#7 This was hard to put at 7..I like it WAY more...but it gets tough from here for me.

#6 I never miss this...and will NEVER grow tired of this classic.

#5 Okay, I cheated here...I know it is three songs, but it is MY list.

#4 Today's female pop tarts got nothing on the original Cat Woman!

#3 Karen Carpenter was my FIRST crush!

#2 I am a sucker for the instrumentals...

#1 The guitar work simply blows me away and the power behind this piece is amazing!

Now...I have to include a couple of "honorable mentions" just because they are fun.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First Concert Ever! Remember yours?

C'mon, you LOVE Poison...stop pretending. It's cool...they are "retro" now!
Saturday night in Portland, Oregon. It is cold, windy, and mid-November. After the last few stress-filled weeks, it was past time to just have a little fun. It is no secret that I am a fan of the "Tribute" music scene. (NOTE: The difference between TRIBUTE and COVER band is the fact that a Tribute band focuses on one group, and even tries to go for the "look" that band was known for.)

You wanted the BEST...(you know the rest)
Dr. Love is Portland's KISS tribute band. Seriously, I know of no other. As a fan, the first song I learned when I started hacking at my guitar was "Cold Gin". (Hint: I would love to "guest vocal" someday!) These guys go all out when they hit the stage. One of the nice touches is when "Peter Criss" sings the song "Beth", he passes out roses that are attached to drumsticks to some of the ladies. A real kick is listening to "Gene Simmons" and his constant banter with the crowd and the band. They guy is a natural performer.

Holy Diver indeed!
Believe in Dio was next. I actually saw this band a month or two ago and joked about "Scrawny James Dio" in a prior blog post/review. My problem was not just the fact the singer was so skinny, it was that his lips were not moving while the vocals were still going. Not saying he was not singing...but he had "help". The new guy has the chops. He struggled on some of the more ballad-driven cuts, but when it was time to belt it out, he had all you could want from a guy singing Dio tunes. Note to sound techs, too much guitar was drowning the vocals a bit. The guitarist is talented, but it covered some of the vocals and everything else at times.

Naughty Boyz...
Poison'us was the final act. Having seen them before, I was pretty stoked. This was Jenifer's first concert and I knew these guys were high energy stage performers. They really proved it during this show. I write zombie fiction for a living...and comparing the audience with the walking dead is kind of a cut on zombies. But, like true professionals, they left it all on stage and hit the marks on all the classics. They sounded great as always.

Jenifer gets up close with "Brett Michaels"
And with such a small venue, the band actually came out into the gathering and interacted. (I won't say crowd...let's leave it at gathering.) To be standing a foot away from "Brett Michaels" while he croons is something that my character from That Ghoul Ava might have to experience for herself some day. (I Wonder if Brett/Will would be interested in reading about her and then letting me use him loosely in one of her upcoming adventures?)

...and "C.C DeVille"
But there was something different about Poison'us this time. "Bobby Dahl" on bass is now played by Roger Jamie (also the Gene Simmons with Dr. Love). Take away the greasepaint and this guys still has a presence on stage that is undeniable. His energy and banter is great and he "acts" the part of the bass player for Poison. It is like watching a clinic of Onstage Rockstar Poses from the 80s-101. Scratch that...this was graduate level stuff. He can strut and shake with the best of 'em.

This might be the longest he stayed in one spot.
I had no problems with the former Bobby, and bands go through changes. But I will say that this  new member brought a GREAT energy level to the show. The band interaction was up several notches. He even had some fun banter with the female backup singer (who might not get enough credit...she adds a very nice tone to the vocal side of this band).

All in all, Jenifer had a great time. She even got presented with a drumstick from "Rikki Rockett" who is played by the talented Andrew Losli. If the night had not already been memorable enough...she had something physical to commemorate her first concert experience.

A side note, I briefly mentioned the sparse audience. I wanted to take a moment to re-visit that part. One of the things about playing in the bars and clubs is that "hit-and-miss" factor when it comes to the audience. For me, this audience was a miss. Too many people sitting around, not enough people treating this like an event. Polite applause is fine for a musical or community theater production, but this is a chance to step back in time with some bands you love who actually care about the audience. These guys (and ladies) all have "real" jobs to deal with. Then, they find time to practice so that they can put on a helluva show. So next time you are in the quote "Brett Michaels" (aka Will Barnes) "MAKE SOME NOISE PEOPLE!" Kudos to all these bands for not letting the downer crowd (at an establishment that seemed to care less about this event...sorry Analog, but you lost a customer Saturday Night) keep them from putting on one kick ass show.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A thank you to the Ava fans!

So, I want to lead this off with a thank you to a very special reader: Caroline Harmon. (President of the That Ghoul Ava fan club...I know, Ava has a growing fan club!)

Caroline is not just an Ava fan, she also loves the DEAD series and recently sent me about thirty or so pictures to use in an upcoming DEAD book. Not only that, but Caroline comes from a long line of "carny folk". Now, since I have no idea if that is the PC term, I am going to say it anyway with confidence that Caroline would not care either way.

Caroline has the distinction of basically running the That Ghoul Ava Wastebook page. My friends all know that I do not surf that outlet (for reasons mentioned a billion times). She promotes the page, drags people in, and basically is like a puppy with a sock. Now, I don't know what that means exactly, but my point is that she is tireless in her Ava love. It is for this reason that I am pleased to announce that she will have a lifetime spot on the Ava Beta team. Also, she will be gifted with the audio version of every Ava adventure. It is a small thing really, but it is the best way I know to say thank you to such an incredible and helpful person. And the stuff she sent me for the upcoming DEAD book...absolutely awesome!

Now, I want to share a few titles that you have to add to your "MUST READ" list:

First, the ultimate parody for the indie writers (readers will love it as well!) in the zombie genre, a clever short titled Return of the Night of the Walking Dead.

My review read as follows, "This is hilarious. The writer did an exceptional job of spoofing the Indie Zombie book scene. If you have read OR WRITTEN a zombie story, you must read this. It has some vulgar language, but it all fits perfectly. Everything from crappy editing to weak character development is made fum of in this neat package."

But my front runner for best of 2014 is a short titled Survival. This book is listed as the first of a series and if Rhonda Hopkins can keep up this sort of pace for a full-length prepared to lose a lot of sleep.

Those are just a couple of (very different) titles. What are some of yours. Also, unlike others, I will also be treading on some toes with a list of some of the disappointments of the year when it came to books that I read. Sorry, but there has to be balance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What was your favorite this year? Vote now!

The AVA face lift continues! Book 1 Redux

Every year about this time, the BEST OF {Insert Year} lists start to make their appearances. I will also be hopping on that bandwagon, But what about you? I will be posting a series of some of my faves of the year. But next week I will only be tossing out a few of mine and asking for yours.

In the meantime, I have the new cover for my That Ghoul Ava: Her First Adventures. Can I get some input from my Ava fans?

Tune in Friday for a cool announcement as well as some of the books that I read this year that are on my list of potential "Top 10". Also, one of my fans gets a special thank you.

Short and sweet, but I do have one last thing to share, so I will leave you with it. It was sent by a reader with the caption "If I had to describe TW (Todd) Brown's DEAD series with a video..."

Monday, November 10, 2014

What are they saying about me?

More specifically, what are they saying about my most recent work.

As many of you may or may not know, the new DEAD is out. DEAD: Reclamation is having a decent run in that all-important first few weeks. It has been in the Amazon Top 100 for horror, and peaked in the twenties. Overall, the response has been very positive on the book that I was actually very worried about until I started getting the feedback from my beta readers.

So, if you are are some of the early reviews:

"Todd (TW) Brown is a madman. I love to think that I would survive the end of days given that I have spent so much time reading about it, preparing for it, and thinking about it, but if the end of the world as we know it crosses into the territory of the Dead; I am not sure I would make it. The Dead tales are wrought from human experience, the words are steeped in emotion and as every breath is captured in stunning detail; you live (and die) along side of the characters. To me, the best part is that every page is part of the story: no filler, no wasted words or space, just full throttle excitement from the first to the last."

"I've been a fan of this series from the Ugly Beginning, and if I had to pick my favorite of the series, it would be DEAD: Reclamation. Several years have passed in the DEAD world, and our favorite characters have been through hell through those years. I don't want to give anything away, but this book shocked me and broke my heart. Through this series, I've become very attached to the characters. You can't help but feel like you know them. To me that is TW's biggest strength as an author. He writes these characters in such detail and description, that you feel like you know them and they're part of your family. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed!!!!"

"I read Dead: Reclamation this weekend and it did NOT disappoint at all! It took me a few minutes to pick up the story because this book jumps forward about 10 years from where the last book left off but I was sucked back into the lives of the DEAD survivors immediately.

In this book, its not the zombies you really have to worry about, its the scum of humanity that is the threat now. He does a great job in showing the ugly side of people that is just under the surface of "civilized" behavior that we have today. I'm sure that if some catastrophic event ever does take place, a lot of his scenarios will happen. It was really cool to get a glimpse of how people have adapted years after the initial apocalypse. Most books of this genre concentrate on the first days, months or maybe a year or two after but this author takes the leap years into the future.

As the author has shown in his books in the past, people die in this book, people that I REALLY liked died in the book (and in a terrible way!!) and I was so MAD at him for a minute (Todd, you suck!!), but I guess that's the point, isn't it? These books make you feel the horror, the happiness and sadness when people are lost.

I enjoyed the peek into the side stories as well but there were some story lines from the last book that I wish would have been tied up and I didn't like the lack of continuity from the last books but that has more to do with my need to know every little thing that happened to the characters then with the writing.

All in all, I loved it and can't wait for # 11!!"

All in all, I am happy with the response and even more excited than ever before about the next two books. To top it off, I have been greatly inspired and have some wonderful things in store for those of you who will be along for the ride in the DEAD: Snapshot series. 2015 is gonna be an exciting year!

Friday, November 7, 2014

When an author's story does not belong to him or her...

Okay, this is not about people stealing other people's stuff. Instead, it is about the approach that I have decided to take as an independent author. Here is the reality, as a writer, I am employed by the thousands of people who buy my books (physical, e, or audio). (Did I just say thousands? Why yes...{pats self on back} my readership has actually risen to those lofty heights where my readers went from being counted in the tens, to the hundreds, and now...the THOUSANDS!!! Seriously hard not to say "suck it" to the haters, but I digress.)

As many of you now, the DEAD series is rolling into the final arc of the series. But this is merely "goodbye" and in no way should it be considered a farewell. I have already turned to you, my readers and asked for towns that you would like to see wiped out in my DEAD world. The first book, DEAD: Snapshot--Portland, Oregon is already in production. The second will be DEAD: Snapshot--Leeds, England, and it is on deck.

Additionally, I am working on Kevin's own series spinoff. Many who have already read book 10 will understand that there is A LOT to tell about what happened to him between books 9 and 10.

So, what does that have to do with today? Well, I have decided that my "That Ghoul Ava" fans deserve some special treatment. To that end, I have decided that my readers will be the ones to pick the "monsters" that Ava will face in her adventures. This one is submitted by Caroline Harmon. She submitted the "Lamia" to me. Now, normally, I post a sneak peek of the first few pages, but not this time. This time is special...


When the Children Cry

“Yeah?” I mean, seriously, what else was I gonna say?
“You don’t watch the news at all, do you?” Morgan said this with her normal lack of emotion, but the disdain was clear.
“Too depressing.” I gave a shrug.
Tell me if I am wrong here. Every time I turn on the local news, people are killing each other, abducting kids…or worse. And don’t even get me started on the politicians. I refuse to even turn the idiot box on during election stuff. Did you see the story about the little girl who wrote her local politicians—I think they were senators or something—and said that they made her sad with all the negative talk? Democrat or Republican or Independent…they all say what they need to to get you to like them, then nothing really changes no matter who you vote for.
All that said, I still vote. But it mostly because of ballot measures and stuff. And since I actually read my pamphlet, I don’t need a commercial to tell me what I think. Wow…how did I get here?
“Children are being killed.”
See? THAT is why I don’t watch the news. Who wants to sit down to dinner and hear that?
“When you say children…?”
“Seven so far.” Morgan actually had a tinge of emotion in her voice. “All no older than eleven. The youngest was three.”
“How do you know it is our fault?” I asked. “Last I checked, humans can be a pretty vile bunch.”
“Hey!” Lisa objected.
“Westley Allen Dodd…Albert Fish…Ian Brady and Myra Hindley…” I started to tick off on my fingers.
“Okay!” Lisa snapped.
“Can we get back to the subject at hand?” Morgan asked, breaking the locked glare between me and Lisa.
“Please.” I gave a rolling gesture with my hands.
“We know because we have an eyewitness.” Morgan did not say a word, but my front door opened.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Belinda said with a lascivious wink.
“You have got to be kidding.”
Standing in my doorway was the blond-haired, blue-eyed vampire that became my first Supernatural nemesis. She was dressed like a hooker pretending to be a schoolgirl. Her hair was a pair of braids on each side with the part down the middle in a razor-straight line that only the OCD of a vampire would have the patience to achieve. Seriously, if you were to take a measurement, I am willing to bet that it runs exactly down the center of the top of her head.
My eyes only paused for the briefest of seconds on the adorable saddle shoes she was wearing. Instead of the standard black and white, they were an emerald green and ruby red to match her plaid skirt and cotton blouse.
“Well?” Belinda said with a hint of agitation. And if she did not think I noticed her eyes dart over to Lisa, she would be very mistaken.
A little while ago, Lisa was supposedly meeting “in secret” with Belinda. I still have no idea what that might be about, and since I am trying to mend the rift that developed between Lisa and I, it has not been something that I have brought up. When she is ready, she will talk to me about it.
“Fine.” I gave a wave with my hand.
“Belinda, please tell Ava what you saw,” Morgan said after what seemed like an eternity of very uncomfortable silence.
“I believe we had an agreement.”
Those words hung in the air with an almost physical presence. I thought I was the only one who gave Morgan a ration of grief. All the other Supernaturals that I had met up to this point had been very respectful and almost reverent when dealing with my regional Psychic (unless they were trying to kill her, but that was a rare occasion…so far).
“Now is not the time, Belinda,” Morgan said, her lips pressed so tight that they practically disappeared from her face.
“Now is precisely the time,” Belinda shot back. “You gave me your word.”
I was a little surprised. I tried to imagine a situation where Morgan would either offer up freely or be coerced into “giving her word” to do anything. She was boss, and in my world, that meant she told people what to do and that was all there was to it.
“Lisa,” Morgan said after what might have been just enough of a twitch around her eyes to count as a glare at Belinda, “Belinda requests for you to return to her residence to…work out the details of your agreement.”
The old Ava would have blown a gasket. However, I was not going to say a word.
Oh, who am I kidding!
“What the hell agreement are you talking about?” I exploded. It was actually a second or two before I realized that my fingers and toes had gone switch. Yeah…I was pissed.
“This is between the human and me.” Belinda gave a dismissive wave as she strutted past me and stopped in front of Lisa, her head tilting to one side like a puppy hearing a dog whistle.
I have no idea where it came from, but a growl escaped me that would have scared me if I had not been the one doing it. Faster than I think anybody gave me credit, I was between Belinda and Lisa, one switchfinger pressed into the soft spot under her chin.
“I don’t know if it would kill you, but I am certain that it would at least sting a bit if I push all the way up into whatever passes for a brain in your pretty blond head,” I snarled. Now, I know that word gets used a lot when people describe an angry person saying something, but I was seriously snarling.
“You think I’m pretty?” Belinda said with no more concern than if I might be simply offering her a cup of coffee.
“Children!” Morgan said with actual anger. This was out of character enough to make both Belinda and I turn to face her. “There is a monster in my district that is devouring children! Set your petty squabbles aside immediately and we can deal with all of this later.”
When she put it like that, I was actually a little bit embarrassed. She had a point. After all, she had led off with the whole thing about something killing children, and here I was getting into it with the fanged she-bitch. Although, to be fair, she started it. At least that is how I remember it.
“And I am not a bargaining chip!” Lisa snapped.
The nasty look she shot Belinda made me smile. Take that, Fang Face!
“I said enough!” Morgan turned to Lisa, however, she was back to her level, unemotional self. Apparently Lisa did not merit the wrath of Morgan.
“So what did you see?” I willed my switch digits to retract, but I still could not help but smile when I saw just the smallest drop of blood well under Belinda’s chin. To her credit, she did not even bother to wipe at it with her hand.
“I was up at Washington Park with my evening meal when I heard something from a nearby ravine. At first I ignored it, humans are always doing terrible things to each other, and I tend to make it none of my business. Only, despite what you might think, I will not ignore the cries of a child.”
Belinda paused and stared at me like she was daring me to say anything to the contrary. Actually, I was too surprised at the admission to speak. After I kept my mouth shut, she resumed her narration.
“I bespelled my meal and went to investigate. Sadly, I was too late. I arrived just as the two tiny feet were vanishing down the gullet of the bitch.”
If I did not know better, I would have thought that Belinda was actually just a bit upset. She sounded a little choked up and her voice had changed to that strangled rasp people get when they are talking and trying not to cry.
“I was not sure what I was seeing at first. Honestly…” she took another deep breath and I actually caught my hand halfway to her shoulder where I would have tried to offer a conciliatory pat or something equally out of character, “…I honestly did not realize what I was seeing until that upper torso turned to me and fixed me with her eyeless gaze. Then I knew.”
I heard Lisa gasp. I could see the grim expression that looked so out of place on Aoife’s face. Heck, even Morgan seemed to be a little bit upset. That meant that yours truly was once again the idiot who had no idea what in the blazes Belinda was talking about.
“She is what is known as a lamia,” Morgan said before I could ask my stupid question. “There are many myths about their origin, but the bottom line is this, they are the incarnation of evil. They are former women who were…indiscreet with married men who were fathers. According to the Grimoire, they made deals with a demon that would result in the man actually following through with what is usually the empty promise of leaving his spouse. They have their former upper body at its prime, but they are a serpent from the waist down.”
“Yes, and this one took off down a drainage pipe the moment that she realized she had been spotted.” Belinda actually shivered. “There was no way I was going to follow.”
This was a lot to digest. I was not sure where to start. The whole snake-lady thing, the fact that Belinda had said she arrived just as the feet were vanishing down this thing’s throat, or the fact that Belinda was too scared of it to pursue. We were not friends, but she did not strike me as a scaredy cat.
“Wait!” I said as my mind snatched at something else Belinda had shared. “You said something about eyeless?”
“A lamia is tormented by nightmares whether she is awake or asleep. Visions of the lives of the children that she destroyed and the children she would never be able to raise as her death in human form would come while in the act of labor in the birth of her first child,” Lisa blurted.
All eyes turned her way. She blushed at the attention, but after rolling her shoulders back, she seemed to rise up just a bit taller before she spoke again.
“The deal with the demon ensures that she will marry the man and that she will become a mother. What they do not know is that they will never live to see a single day of that child’s life. The nightmares and visions are said to drive them to the point where they gouge out their own eyes to try and avoid seeing the visions any longer. Unfortunately, that is when they discover that the visions will never subside as they play out in their minds. They eventually are driven to seek out and kidnap children, but they are so horrifying to look at that the children understandably scream and cry uncontrollably. They devour them, some say to keep their souls…much like a ghoul keeps other Supernaturals, in their mind.”
I looked around and saw the same open-mouthed stares that I know I had on my face. That was a feat considering the company. Oh, getting my jaw to drop is really no big thing, but when you have Morgan and Belinda both slack-jawed with wonder, that is saying something.
“And where did you get your hands on a copy Unnatural Grimoire?” Morgan eventually rediscovered her ability to talk. Personally, that was not the question I had; in fact, it wasn’t even in the top five.
“The only way Templars can effectively prepare for an enemy is to utilize every resource available.” Lisa said it with a lot of hesitation in her voice. I had a funny feeling that she was not supposed to share her source. Only, when you thought about it, it made perfect sense.
“We can discuss that issue at a later time.” Morgan was back to being as smooth as glass. “What else can you tell us?”
“Actually, there is not much more.” Lisa shot me a look, but I had no guess as to what it meant.
“Wait!” Now I was ready to wade back in to this little conversation. “You said that the lamia thing was just finishing with swallowing a child.” My attention was on Belinda now.
“Yes, the feet were just disappearing down her throat.”
“So she what…opens her mouth like a snake or something?”
“As far as I could tell.”
“And you are here sending me after this thing why exactly?” It was now time to poke Morgan for a few minutes.
“That is the role of a ghoul. You are, for lack of a better term, the hired muscle. Ghouls are responsible for eliminating rogues and anything that may bring harm to a region of the employing Psychic.”
I noticed her wording. She used the term “employing” because she had not claimed me specifically for her district. Of course, I was bothered at first, but I have learned why and am okay with it now.
“So you want me to…” I guess I still needed to hear Morgan say it in order to make it real.
“Hunt down and kill this creature.”
“No talking or maybe trying to capture her and maybe have Betty create a cell. Just—”
“There is no need. A lamia will not be reasoned with or convinced to do anything. They are mad with grief and anger.”
I guess that was it. Now for the ugly part of the business. Well, not actually ugly, but maybe uncomfortable would be a better term.
“And what does this job pay upon completion?” I had learned that it is best to get specific terms with Morgan. She is good at changing the game just when you think that you have crossed the finish line. “And by completion, I mean, when I kill this lamia, I bring you the head or whatever and you make the arrangements however you do them and this job is done.”
It might seem like I was being silly, but I’d been working with Morgan for a little while now and knew that she had a way of telling me that a job was still not finished when I would report in and tell her that it was.
“The head will suffice,” Morgan agreed with a slight nod. “And the pay will be a base of one million dollars, but that amount will be decreased by a hundred thousand with each subsequent child death that is reported and can be attributed to this lamia.”
That seemed kind of vague. I mean, how would she know if some child’s death could be pinned on this lamia. Obviously, that was written on my face.
“I am receiving…ripples would perhaps be the best way to describe it to you, each time a child dies. My only guess is that it is something emanating from the creature.”
Fair enough. Sure, some random tragedy could strike and she could deduct money, but that was definitely not Morgan’s style. I could at least trust her in this regard. She was always pretty generous with the payments. It was really always just a matter of her accepting my version of done.
With the details ironed out, I figured we were done. I stood for a moment waiting for Morgan and Belinda to leave. For several seconds, nobody moved.
“We can speak outside,” Lisa finally said, leading Belinda to the front door.
I wanted to protest, but I did not really have any grounds. Lisa could do as she pleased. Our issue had come down to my trusting her. Admittedly, that was difficult for me in any regard and with any individual before she became a Templar. Now that she was a member-in-training for the organization that had tried to eradicate all of ghoulkind that now apparently had a price on my head specifically, it was understandably strained.
Morgan stood motionless like a porcelain statue until the door shut, then fixed me with her gaze. “Lisa is obviously proceeding with her training.”
It wasn’t a question, but there was just the slightest lilt to her voice that might be her either asking me or showing some level of concern. Since I had no idea what she wanted, I stood quietly and waited for her to continue or simply leave in the blink of an eye like she so often did.
“And has Race been trying to put an end to this ridiculous bounty on your head?”
“As far as I know.” He was almost as bad as Morgan when it came to not telling me things. However, I was almost touched that Morgan said it was a ridiculous bounty.
“And we still have the Claude situation to deal with, but that all needs to be shelved. This takes priority,” Morgan said. When she took my hands in hers, I almost shed my skin. “I need you to make this happen quickly, Ava.”
Besides the fact that children were being killed, I’d heard enough to know that a lamia was nasty. Seriously, the whole having an affair with a married man was bad in and of itself. Breaking up a family was bad. But making a deal with a demon to ensure that the man actually left his family was abhorrent. And then to stack on having her own baby with the guy as part of the deal? Seriously, who does that?
Oh…wait. Lamia’s do it.
“I will handle it.” I wanted to have something snappy or witty to come back with, but I couldn’t think of anything.
I blinked. I swear that was all I did. And in that amount of time, Morgan was gone. I really wish that I knew how she did that.
If you ate her, I bet you would find out.
How long have you been out, Blodwen? I asked.
Long enough to hear that a lamia is loose. Nasty creatures those.
Then you also know I have been tasked to kill her.
I was growing to sort of like the old gwyll. Blodwen was settling in nicely as a permanent resident of my head. The fact that a ghoul absorbed the essence of certain Supernaturals and that their souls, or whatever you want to call them, took up residence in my head was something that I was starting to get accustomed to. Also, I was really getting the hang of being able to communicate with them without talking out loud…or looking like I was either constipated or trying to figure out a really hard calculus problem without a calculator.
The door opened and Lisa stepped back inside, patting her arms and I saw little flakes of white brush away. That could only mean—
“It’s snowing.” Lisa’s nose was a bright red and her cheeks were all rosy from the cold. Her smile was so warm that I did not think it was possible for a chill to reach her.
“Does it look like it is sticking?”
I felt just a little nibble of happiness fill in the cracks that had been etched on my soul these past weeks and months. I always loved snow. There was just something so peaceful and settling about it. Add in the beauty of a world blanketed in pure white, what was there not to like. Well, except for having to drive in it. The Portland-Metro area in Oregon is not really known for snow. Drivers all turned into absolute idiots whenever there was a drastic change in weather. There would be no way in hell I would take my precious Corvette out in this sort of thing.
“Yep. We should see a few inches by the look of things.”
Lisa walked past me and I could tell she had something on her mind. Still, she did not say a word as she went into the kitchen where Aoife had retreated and was currently making some sort of stew on the stove.
I debated for a few seconds and then finally followed her in. Screwing my mouth down so that, hopefully, I did not go too far, I slipped into a seat at the kitchen ‘s little breakfast nook and folded my hands in front of me.
“You ready to tell me what else you know about lamias?” I asked.
It was like I had flicked a switch. Aoife turned off the burner, removed her big pot and left the room. Lisa stood with her back to me, her face reflected perfectly in the window that looked out across a rolling hill of growing pine trees that would never see the inside of a house except maybe for firewood. I was not exactly sure what the faeries’ mindset was when it came to fires. And it wasn’t like I needed a fire to get warm, but they did look and smell nice.
“This thing has no known weakness. They die of grief.”
I heard what Lisa said, but I was not really registering it. There was something about her answer that gave me a chill. I was about to press the issue when she continued.
“The Templars have other resources besides the Grimoire. And one of the first things you learn is the weakness and how to kill whatever creature it is that you are looking up.”
It dropped like a lead balloon. She was telling me without actually telling me that the Templars knew how to kill practically everything they came up against. Considering the fact that ghouls were their number one target, that would lead me to believe—
“Ghouls, vampires,” Lisa turned to face me, “even psychics are listed. There is an appendix with a list of monsters that have no known weaknesses or sure methods of elimination. Lamias are on that list.”
I absolutely noticed the very slight pause before she said the word “elimination.” She was trying her best to be politically correct, or whatever this could be called. The problem with that was the fact that I do not follow those same conventions.
“So do you have all the ghoul killing methods committed to memory?” Stupid Ava! Why can’t I ever learn to keep my big mouth shut? To her credit, I barely noticed the flinch that passed over Lisa’s face.
“Can we worry about that later? Right now you need to know that you are going after something that nobody has been able to kill. We are talking about a creature that has records of existence going back centuries.” Lisa’s voice became strangled and I thought that she might break into tears. “And they are not a defenseless creature.”
“Obviously,” I snorted, trying to laugh off her serious tone and dire sounding warning, “they eat children. You really have to be something special to hurt or kill children.”
“They don’t seem to feel any forms of physical pain,” Lisa insisted, undeterred by my dismissive attitude. “There are reports of them being the second most resilient creature when it comes to damage.”
“Second to what?”
“See!” I pointed with one hand and touched a finger from the other to the tip of my nose. “That must mean that we are tougher.”
I will admit that my logic was faulty at best, but the last thing that I needed in my head when going into a fight was a big, Thanksgiving Day-sized scoop of doubt. I had plenty of that on my own without others feeding the monster.
“Just be careful.”
“Hey,” I tried to give a lopsided grin that would make Han Solo proud, “it’s me!”
Lisa left the kitchen. I could tell that she was unimpressed. And now that I was alone, I had to admit, she had done her job if her job had been to make me nervous. My mind drifted over to another track as well.
Morgan was never one who was not in the know. She seemed surprised by Lisa’s little dictionary recital on the lamia. Since I had no idea what the Grimoire said, I had to think that perhaps the Templars might have more of an inside track in the knowledge department on this particular beastie.
There was only one thing I could do. Pulling out my phone, I scrolled through my contacts. There it was: Race Mitchell.