Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nightstalkers! Coming in One Week!

Next week, the vampires and werewolves you only thought you knew return in a brand new adventure! First introduced in the Halos & Horns fantasy saga, these vampires and lycanthropes have their own stories to tell. Pandora's a carefree party girl who just happens to be a vampire. With her best friend Sharon Mordecai, a hybrid vampire; her boyfriend Cody Fenris, a werewolf; and Cody's sister Lupe, who transforms into a wolf, they run Nightstalkers, Inc., a private detective agency in Las Vegas. Pandora and Sharon also belong to Nosferatu, Inc., a worldwide corporation set up to provide relocation services for vampires, who cannot remain in one place indefinitely, lest the “breathers” question why they never age.

Nightstalkers is the second novel in the Fangs & Fur series, Previously, in Flashbacks (Book 1), readers learned the origins of the vampires and lycanthropes they'd come to love in the Halos & Horns series. Now, they're back in a brand new tale packed with action, adventure, drama, and laughs. When a Grigori unwittingly entrusts trouble-prone vampire Pandora with an ancient leather-bound box containing primordial evil, what could possibly go wrong? At least Pandora doesn't know her best friend slept with her boyfriend. Or that her werewolf beau has been targeted for revenge by one of his victims. Meanwhile, Sharon — the hybrid vampire infused with an angelic life force — has enough to worry about now that a deranged scientist/occultist is creating his own Frankenstein monster and requires an angelic life force to animate it. He's resurrected the spirit of Jack the Ripper to supply the body parts he needs from Las Vegas hookers. Should our beloved prostitute Kennedy be worried to walk the city streets? And after a Valkyrie whisks the Nightstalkers, Inc. team of private eyes — vampires Sharon and Pandora, and lycanthrope siblings Cody and Lupe Fenris — off to the Otherworld dimension of the Fae to recover Thor’s golden gauntlets from the Dark Fae's leader, the Morrigan, the team will be forever changed.

I had a lot of fun writing this new book, especially introducing two new characters: casino owner and landlord Kitty Bast (who also happens to be the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet) and Bartholomew J. Ruggles, who may turn out to be two of the most amusing characters I've ever created. Ever since I introduced the trouble-prone vampire Pandora seven years ago back in Paved with Good Intentions – in which Sharon chided her BFF that trouble followed her like a shadow and soon she’d need a box to carry her troubles around – readers have been asking me when will Pandora get her box? All I can say is be careful what you wish for!

So pre-order your copy now!



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hair - the Age of Aquarius

I was at the barber shop the other day and I ran into a guy who...  what's that? OK, you're right. I admit it: I haven't been to a barber shop since I turned 14 and had my last 50-cent haircut. The Vitalis, greased back wet look was on the way out and the blown-dry "dry look" was in vogue, so with the start of junior high, I convinced my mother to do what all the cool kids at school were doing and have my hair not cut by Sam the barber but instead coiffed by a men's hair stylist.

The storefront bay was dimly lit and filled with the scent of burning incense. Jimi Hendrix's guitar reverberated through the eight-track system's carefully arranged speakers. Blacklights eerily illuminated posters on the walls and lava lamps adorned the reception desk and several coffee tables. Copies of Rolling Stone magazine, Zap Comix, and the Daily Planet (an underground newspaper the local hippies hawked on street corners for a quarter) were scattered across the tables, along with a few roach clips. I didn't think my mother knew what a roach clip was, but I nonchalantly covered them with the newspaper anyway. Why take a chance of getting barred from such a cool place?

My hairstylist introduced himself as Mister Lucky, or Lucky for short. I never knew his real name. Not that it mattered. He was a persona, not a person. That's how he wanted it: a virtuoso coiffeur, larger than life. He had ego, he had flair, and he had panache.  More importantly, he had talent when it came to cutting hair, so I traded in the Opie Taylor look for the David Cassidy style. It cost $10 and even Mister Lucky’s tip was twice the cost of a barber shop haircut, but when I look back on those days and recall my tie-dyed shirt, bell-bottom slacks, and Peter Max sneakers, I can thank Mister Lucky that at least he made my hair look cool.

I found another gray hair today. I keep pulling them out, but they’re like hydras: for every one I yank, two more sprout elsewhere. Mister Lucky would know what to do. I guess I’ll just have to accept aging gracefully. The years go by so quickly as you get older. And now, another has passed. Happy New Year.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Janus Effect

One of the factors that makes writing difficult is the uncanny ability of the English language to be filled with words that mean completely contradictory things. If I DRAW the curtains, am I opening or closing them? I can CLEAVE two pieces together or separate them with a meat cleaver. When you DUST, you could be adding particles, as in dusting crops; or removing them, as in dusting furniture. One might be an UNQUALIFIED success, which is very good; or UNQUALIFIED, meaning lacking any qualifications, which is not good at all.

You can SECURE something from someone, which means taking it; or SECURE something to prevent anyone from taking it. A FIX can be a predicament or the solution to one. OFF can mean deactivated, as in turning OFF the light; or activated, as in the alarm went OFF. When you SEED a lawn you’re adding to it, but when you SEED fruit, you’re taking something out of it.

Any chef will tell you to GARNISH means to add something, but a lawyer will say GARNISH means the court will be taking away your wages. If the court ENJOINS you, it may be directing you to do something or forbidding you from doing it. It could also SANCTION you, which means allow you to do something, or punish you for having done it. STAY can mean to continue or to postpone.

OVERSIGHT can refer to a watchful eye; or an inadvertent error. ROCK can be used to show firmness (“solid as a rock”), or conversely, swaying motion (“the waves rocked the ship”). SCREEN can mean conceal or display. SPARE can mean meager or extra. OVERLOOK can mean to inspect, or to miss something during an inspection.

If you TRIM a cake, you’re adding decorations; but TRIM a tree and you’re removing part of it. If you WEATHERED a storm, you came through safely and are looking good; but a building that was WEATHERED is worn away. One who is LEFT might be remaining or departed. RESIGN can mean to quit or sign up again. CLIP can mean to attach or separate. CULL may mean to select or reject. If something holds FAST, then it’s not going anywhere; but if one is FAST, he is moving quickly. If a project is a GO, then things move forward; but when your old car starts to GO, it will come to a halt.

And you thought being a writer was easy. These types of words are called contronyms because they’re so darn contrary. They’re also called auto-antonyms since one word means the opposite of itself, and more colloquially, Janus words – Janus, you may recall, was the two-faced Roman God of beginnings and transitions, simultaneously looking in opposite directions. The beginning of the year, January, is named for Janus, which makes today’s New Year’s day blog post all the more fitting. Happy New Year!

Order Your Copy Today!