Monday, September 30, 2013

My Adventure: I've Chose Life!

IN HONOR OF BRIANE PAGEL's Temporary Anne blog tour, which continues today at Sandra Ulbrich's blog, he has been writing a choose your own adventure type of tale based on reader comments. Genius idea.

As such, I read one a week or so ago after hearing the topic of Choose Your Own Adventure style stories on a podcast. One of the panelists said Choose Your own Adventure #71: Space Vampire, was the single greatest entry into the market ever made for those type of books.

So I purchased. I read. I reviewed (Read that review by clicking here).

I won't rehash, I went back and checked every option in the 118 pages of story and figured out that there were 25 possible endings to the story.

Of those, I counted 10 endings where the Vampire(s) was defeated.
"I vant to suck your Space Blood!"

12 where the hero (YOU) died, some of which overlapped with the Vampire's death.

And a smattering of no confrontation with the vampire(s), but instead a court-martial, or banishment or even accidentally loosing a vampire on earth.

All in all, it was great fun. I can see why those were so popular when they were new.

LITTLE DID I KNOW before a few weeks ago that there was a kickstarter campaign, a successful one, that was to take Shakespeare's Hamlet and turn it into one of these tales.

Did I mention it was successful? Like, of an initial goal of $20k, they managed to squeak by with $580,000 dollars! Yeah, that happened.

It ended a long time ago, but the actual video was so amazing that I had to share. Yes, it is a choose our own path story for adults!

It did sort of bum me out that after raising nearly $600k, that the the price point for the kindle edition is still $9.99... maybe has something to do with not owning the copyright and he needs that price point to make something he feels is reasonable per sale. Anyway, it's too much for me to make as an impulse buy, but I'll be watching for possible sales in the future.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Damned Titles

Hey everyone, a quick reminder that Briane Pagel's enormously fun choose your own adventure style of story continues today over at Jessica Bell's blog. All part of the promotion for his latest release, Temporary Anne.

Please stop by and check it out. 

Speaking of new releases, thanks to everyone that picked up a copy of my latest, which I snuck out into the world recently. The pic and link to the amazon page is on the sidebar. Of  course, about 75% of my blog hopping happens on on my phone, which doesn't include a sidebar. So, I suppose it's possible that other folks could have all sorts of things in their sidebar that I never see. Regardless, for your reading pleasure, please click here and enjoy..

Of course, when I put it up, my thought was to just slip it up and never mention it again. I really didn't think anyone would notice. So, kudos to those of you that did, you're paying attention.

Anyway, it's a twenty something page short story, one I enjoyed writing quite a bit. Hopefully, it's not too much of an investment to read. Oh, and if anyone want's a freebie from Amazon, let me know and I can send one.

The cover, it was more work than I like to do, but then again, I enjoy doing my own covers because I tend not to stress over the fact that my robot looks more like an alien cybernetic skeleton. I figured I could have kept working on it until it was perfect, or just go with it as-is. So, I have a robot that clearly has a femur. I figure, it's a robot, it can have a femur if it wants one.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Temporary Anne Blog Party Continues!

DAY FIVE of the "Temporary Anne" tour is continuing on the blog 

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THAT BLOG and find out what happened on the spider web!  Here's a teaser:

My back arches with agony, the spider's legs grab me, and the speck grows even larger.  

I have one hope.

Just one.

And, for those who haven't gotten it yet, 

THANKS to everyone who's following the Temporary Anne blog tour!  

TEMPORARY ANNE is free again today!

AND, as an added bonus, I'm going to let you get a complete book of horror stories, FREE, today.  "The Scariest Things, You CAN'T Imagine" is full of monsters tormenting kids, dead wives coming back from the grave, catacombs full of bodies, angry babies stolen by gargoyles, and more.  NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.  Get it free today by clicking here!

Praise for Temporary Anne:


"Amazing to read. The man just oozes cleverness. And his descriptions of the demon world are the best I've ever read anywhere. Creepy as hell." Speculative fiction Author Rusty Carl.

 "It's fascinating. If you like horror, this is definitely a book worth reading."-- Fantasy/Spec fic author Andrew Leon

"Another chilling tale from the author of The Scariest Thing You Can't Imagine. ...Pagel's style reminds me a lot of Vonnegut's work in that while the narration seems jaunty with its humorous asides and such, there's a lot of hidden depth to that narration."-- Author PT Dilloway.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Temporary Anne and Choosing Your Own Adventure

Briane Pagel has released the much ballyhooed Temporary Anne. And he's celebrating with a blog tour. Over the course of the past week or so he has been writing an entire tale based on the recommendations of commenters. So, please, contribute ideas so the story can continue. I'm such a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure styles stories that the latest book I ordered off Amazon was Space Vampires: Choose Your Own Adventure # 71. Because, how can you not love that? So let's see where that story takes us today.

And as a side note, I did read and review Temporary Anne, check that out here if you'd like to see my thoughts, which surprisingly enough, barely mentions the book I was rating. Still, great job, Briane, it's always a huge treat to read something of yours.

Please, take it away...

This is DAY FOUR of the release tour for my newest book, Temporary Anne.

Temporary Anne is a horror story about a woman so desperate to avoid Hell -- the fate for the evil she's done during her life -- that she makes things infinitely worse after her death. To celebrate the release, I'm doing a blog tour in which I'm writing a short story, LIVE, with your help!  At each stop, I'll do an installment of the story and you can suggest where it goes next!

Below is PART FOUR of the story. PART ONE appeared on Tina Downey's Life Is Good, PART TWO on Andrew Leon's Strange Pegs, and if you didn't catch either, click here to read PART ONE and HERE to read PART TWO.  Then Part Three was on Laws Of Gravity, and now

PART FOUR of "This Is How I..."

(Special Thanks to Crystal Collier for the intro to today's installment.  She wrote the first paragraph. (Check out her blog here!)

I froze, standing stick straight as uniformed men funneled around me, fixed on the Drum Major's steely eyes. A sucking sensation tugged at my gut, curling upward, like the smoke essence of my very soul leaking through our connected stares.

I didn't want to look down.






and the Drum Major held my gaze.

"Don't," she said, softly, so softly I could barely hear her.

"I..." I said.

The soldiers were rushing forward, shouts of don't move and arrest and the like ringing out. They were almost to the stage.

"... have to," I said.

And suddenly I was 















at one point when I turned over I saw above me the Drum Major standing on the edge of the abyss that had sucked me down the moment I'd turned my eyes on it -- the real things of this world becoming less real in my eyesight just as the imaginary things of the other worlds could be made real by my thinking about them -- her own beautiful eyes wide and her mouth saying something as a soldier grabbed her from behind and tried to wrestle her hat out of her hands.

I saw her struggle on the edge of the abyss, in flits and flickers as I tumbled overandoverandover the dim light of the auditorium spinning away from me and the circle that represented safety -- a smashed auditorium filled with soldiers ready to shoot everything, and containing a captive, angry, ENRAGED, Beast was now safety! -- getting smaller and smaller and smaller and then I 


I stopped falling but had no idea why, there in the darkness of the pit.  I could see nothing, hear nothing (even the gunfire and struggle above was a tiny speck of light and distant shouting), and I tried to lift up my head to look around, but couldn't move it.

Fighting, I pulled my arm up but couldn't move that, either.

I kicked with my legs but they wouldn't move, either.

"This... like some kind of..." I began

Don't say it don't say it don't even think it something in the back of my brain, the part of me that still thought I had some sort of control over this, screamed at me as loudly as it could.

"Spider web," the rest of my brain rather unhelpfully finished.


I heard.


I heard.

I closed my eyes as tightly as I could, hoping against hope that if I didn't look it wouldn't be real.

I heard a tiny faraway shout above me.

I opened my eyes, almost inadvertently.

For just a second I saw a speck drop or be thrown or dive or something into the opening far far far above me.

Then I saw eight eyes, the smallest the size of bowling balls, the largest terrifyingly bright and shiny and close, looming over me and just below them a set of fangs as large as my legs but far far sharper.

Clikkerclakk, the fangs went.



What happens next? Use the comments to help Rusty decide, and follow the story on the next tour dates:

The Tour Dates: 

1. Life Is Good: Friday 9/13
2. Strange Pegs: 9/1
3. . Laws Of Gravity 9/18
TODAY; 4. The Blutonian Death Egg 9/20

8.  Jess' Book Blog 10/3 10/10
The FIRST REVIEWS ARE IN:  "It's fascinating. If you like horror, this is definitely a book worth reading."-- Andrew Leon

"Another chilling tale from the author of The Scariest Thing You Can't Imagine. ...Pagel's style reminds me a lot of Vonnegut's work in that while the narration seems jaunty with its humorous asides and such, there's a lot of hidden depth to that narration."-- PT Dilloway.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

CassaStorm Arrives!

Alex J Cavanaugh has finally given us the third in his trilogy of books centering on Byron, the warrior that yearns for peace. The early draft I was privileged to read was very sharp, and gave a surprising amount of depth into the relationships of everyone involved. I'm betting this will be his best yet.

See the announcement below, you know, in case you've not been on the internet for the past few months and this is the first place you've checked to get your news.


Comment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!

You ever think of having Byron's sister play a bigger part in any of the books?

No, because she represented Byron’s past, which wasn’t pleasant, and he wanted to escape it forever. The last time he saw her was closure for Byron and he moved on with his life.

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

"Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together."
- Charity Bradford, science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:
Amazon -
Book trailer -

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Friday, September 13, 2013


This is, if I’m not mistaken, the most I’ve posted in a very long time. Twice in one week? Honestly, blogging has become a much smaller part of my life over the past year, and I’ve scaled it back to what I feel is something I can accommodate into my life.  In other words, I REALLY appreciate every single one of you that has continued to stop by and visit over the course of the past year. I’m not always the best at reciprocating, but it’s not because I’m a jerk. It’s because I’m self-absorbed and thoughtless… Jerks are intentionally that way, for me, that just isn’t the case.

Three things today to discuss rather quickly.

I'M PLAYING IN A BLOGGERS FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM this year, brilliantly conceived by Briane Pagel (whose newest kindle book that just came out, and contains a tale from yours truly way back in the back… just sayin, more on that below).

In said league, my ‘funsies’ league, where I risk things, gamble on risky players, and all round seem to have forgotten that I need running backs to compete, I have managed to take Calvin Johnson as my superstar… and he gave me a whopping 3 points. For comparison’s sake, that’s like purchasing a brand new Ferrari and putting a second mortgage on your house to pay for it… only to find out later in maxes out at 30 mph.

Also, I didn’t understand the scoring rules, as it is different than the league that I’ve played in for the last several years, so I took Peyton Manning and his historic performance last week as an indicator that I’m a genius, only to realize later that while still impressive, my QB’s passing stats are handicapped just a bit. In other words: I’m in big trouble.

Also, I'm saying that Fantasy Football is Dungeons and Dragons, except it's for people who don't realize they're nerds. I've come to grips with my nerdidity years ago, and since it's got some ironic coolness factor now it's not that big a deal. But still, I find the whole thing funny.

And another thing I'm saying, my son plays High School football (the real kind, not the fantasy kind) and his game was moved to Thursday for TV. It kicked off at 7 p.m. and ended at 12:08 a.m. He didn't get home from it until after 2 in the morning. Needless to say, it was a little ridiculous. Two weather delays and overtime. It was like it would never end.

But they won. So, yay?

SECONDLY, OVER LABOR DAY Weekend, there was a Hitchcock marathon on TCM. My wife loves that channel, and really loves old movies. She coerced me away from other things (i.e., the internet) in order to watch.  After the Birds, which I found a bit silly but with fx that holds up much better than I would have guessed, we ended up watching one of his earlier movies (early 40’s, I think) that I’d never heard of previously. And it blew me away.

It was called, Shadow of a Doubt, and was the story of a young woman, still living at home with her mother, father and younger siblings. Her beloved Uncle Charlie, who rolls into town early on as the jet setting businessman that’s finally returned home to the adoration of the whole town, immediately shows why he’s so beloved. Frankly, he’s the most awesome person ever.

Except, the young woman (also called Charlie (short for Charlotte), it was confusing, but it was explained that she was named after her Uncle, who is awesome) begins to suspect that her perfect uncle is a serial killer that’s come home to hide from authorities that are on a nationwide manhunt for him.

It was a movie of its time, but it was also really dark. The accidents that start happening around our young heroine and her suspicion that her Uncle is trying to kill her AND her realization that this horrible monster has everyone convinced he is a saint it brilliantly done.

Also, the nerdy coworker of her father who is obsessed with the idea of committing the perfect murder (as a thought experiment only) is awesome. I highly recommend this one.

AND FINALLY, BRIANE BAGEL's Temporary Anne is out today... and it's FREE! (today only) Click here to download. Also, his blog tour begins today. Check him out over at Tina Downey's blog for a chance at prizes and to create a true 'Choose Your Own Adventure' type of tale. It's going to be amazing!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


So, it’s Tuesday again. Seems like Tuesdays are starting to roll around weekly nowadays. Since when did that start happening?

Anyhow, congrats to everyone that took the quiz I posted last time. It reinforces to me my pet hypothesis that writers to tend to fall on the right hand side of the bell curve of human knowledge. That isn’t to say that quiz was in any conceivable way an intelligence test, but it is a gauge of at least having some basic grasp of the world we live in and how it works.

I think that everyone who took that quiz got 12 or 13 of the 13 questions right. Well done everyone, it might have seemed really easy, but the truth is that very few American adults are capable of getting that many right.

Actually, that’s very sad.

Moving on…

The family went horseback riding recently, I won’t try to inflate my knowledge of horses by lying here, but I tend to think of them as 1000 pounds of death and destruction. My wife thinks of them as baby dolls that eat hugs and kisses and poop love and affection.

I did grow up in the country, and horses were always around. If you didn’t respect them they would kick you in the head. I never saw that happen, but I did know two people that happened to. Those can be lethal. Also, they will crap all over you if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (wait, maybe that’s cattle, I forget now). I’ve ridden before on multiple occasions, with friends mostly, especially if they owned horses – that was when I was younger. Before last weekend, it'd been 20 years at least.

So, it was with much trepidation that I approached my black horse, with its flaming red eyes and razor sharp fangs. I knelt and gave it my offering of fine grain and fruit. And begged for it to spare me.

My wife, she got the rainbow pony. They hugged for a bit and maybe talked about puppies and sugar cookies, not real sure about that.

Regardless, my prayer to the horse demon worked, as I survived the horrific ordeal. And the missus is none the wiser towards the great evil we faced together.

That kind of makes me a hero I suppose. It’s a mantle I wear reluctantly.
Me and the two Juniors... battling evil!

Seriously though, it did make me think of my grandfather, who has long since passed away, who used to travel to North Carolina (just over the mountains) to court his woman, who eventually became his wife, and my grandmother. He traveled by horseback to see her and said it would take about a week to get there. A WEEK!

That’s a lot of love. I remember thinking I was the most romantic person alive because I was willing to drive 30 minutes to see a girl.  If you’re traveling out in the elements for that long you can almost guarantee that you will, at some point, be 1) Wet 2) Cold 3) Hungry 4) Scared, and 5) Bored

My grandfather died almost 30 years ago now. Were he still alive he’d be almost 110 years old. But thinking about his day to day life is almost like looking through a time machine.

He hated rabbits more than Elmer Fudd. He had the biggest bicep I’d ever seen on a human being in person – even well into his 70’s. And he believed cornbread in milk was the single greatest treat a person could indulge in.

Funny how things like that come just from me riding a horse for an afternoon.