2016: Goals

I sent Halfway Bitten off to beta readers, then it’s off to my fine editor Jennifer Clark Sells. 

What’s next?

Well, I’m going to read a little. I’m going to eat some pie. I’m going to drink some coffee, and finalize my author events for next year.

And then *cracks knuckles*, I’m going to write. I have three novels planned for next year. They will be as follows:

Book Five of The Fearless, in which a vicious killer from antiquity comes to Florida looking for his ancient weapon. One problem: the people who have it don’t want to give it back, unless it’s stuck in his belly.

Book Two of Banshee, in which we learn that not all cults are good, and not all dragons are awake. . .yet.

Book three is a passion project, in which the illustrious Delphine (I only kill for the kisses!) gets her own novel. She’s just too good to pass up, and this installment of her history will begin in 19th century Paris, when men and women shared secrets and beds– often with disastrous results.

We’ll also have three more audiobooks for your listening pleasure!

I’ll have cover art news in December, and a short story for the holidays about a dragon who wakes up to find that California is quite different from before his nap.

Chat soon!


The Knock-Down Rain

For lack of a better term, that’s what I’m calling our rain. Because it knocked down every leaf-like structure in the universe.

Up until two days ago, we were in that glorious stretch of weather that makes everything seem possible!

The sun was shining. The breeze was light. The sky, that perfect October blue that faded into the brilliance of stars I’d forgotten were so present. In a fit of achievement, we moved furniture purchased six months ago. 

After removing somewhere between ten and three hundred thousand spiders, the cabinet was ready for positioning, and in that moment, all was right with the world.

Then, the merest hint of rain arrived, and the lawn– now returned to a green splendor not seen since June– became covered with leaves who collectively gave up (quitters!) to land on the ground where they will absorb water until their density is somewhere north of concrete.

You know why people get depressed as the days get shorter? Because they have to rake leaves.
No one in their right mind wants to rake wet, heavy leaves. But here we are, and unless I buy a flamethrower, this is my fate.

In book news, check my amazon page for some .99 sales this week. I just mailed out a stack of goodies to readers, and will do so next month as well. Watch for the next giveaway!

Until the raking is done, I remain,

Terry, Leaf Boy.

Tuckerizing: The Art of Revenge

Tuckerization: To base a character in your novel on a real person. Popularized by Wilson Tucker.

Terry-orize: To base a character in my novel on a real person who deserves to be dealt with harshly.

Options include, but are not limited to: Dismemberment. Consumption by animals (real or imaginary), crushing, falling, disease, parasitical infestation, forced wearing of skinny jeans, and ironic tattooing. Also, death. LOTS of death.

I asked everyone on my mailing list if they would give me suggestions for Tuckerization (Terry-orize), and WOW. The outpouring of anger and seething grudges was a sight to behold. If you haven’t signed up for the list, here it is ( I don’t spam, so c’mon.) News. Freebies. Fun.

Some of the grudges range from rather minor offenses (a neighbor who honks every morning when she leaves) to actual bad people (a guy who poisoned a cat).

In all, I’ve gotten more than sixty (60!!!!) requests. So, I did the only logical thing and decided that instead of merely using one of these assholes in a scene, I’m going to use two. The first person (winner?) will be Terry-orized in a scene that I’ll post to this blog and my Facebook page.

However, the second “winner” will be included in my next book, Halfway Bitten, and yes– I’ve already written the scene. There are certain people who just make my teeth vibrate, and the suggestion I got from one friend/reader was too good to pass up. 

Regarding her suggestion: It’s a type of person we’ve all met. They’re (unfortunately) more common than I’d like to admit, and they make me irrationally angry. So, while the chapter will remain a mystery until the new book is released, we will start by giving you the title of the chapter:

                        “Chapter Twenty-Nine: You Picked the Wrong Diner, Lady”

The other “winner” will be dealt with this week, and I’ll post their unfortunate demise here. We might even have sound effects and/or pictures; it depends on how angry I am when the scene is complete.

So, to everyone who wants me to take it out on someone for them– Thanks! 

(And I hope I never get on your bad side) 



What is it?

A moon, but Super. And an eclipse, and apparently some sort of excuse for behaving like a rampaging gang of Visigoths, because blood.

This is a Supermoon:

I bring the assurance of your doom. And salty snacks.

And these are Visigoths:

Do you think she’s prettier than me?

Which brings us to the truly terrifying part of the SuperBloodMoon of Doom.

By my math, approximately twelve percent of women will be experiencing PMS during this event. Within the United States, that means around 17 million women will be engaging in their Lunar War of the Uterus. This conflict has unique conditions, weaponry, and tactics. Here is a general representation of what a logistics officer might need to become versed with in order to prosecute this war:

I’m crying because Andy Cohen won’t retweet me!

Note that there is little nutritional value, but do so silently, in a different room, and while breathing quietly.

The signs are easy to read, unlike portents of old. It used to be that a seer or wizard would spill the entrails of a goat and read them to divine the nature of an upcoming event. Fortunately, our society is well past such silliness. You merely look for a variety of this woman:

Why yes, I’d love your mother to come visit for a week.

So, while celebrity scientists are hailing this event, they clearly haven’t thought the issue through. My prediction for this catastrophic event is as follows:

3,671 murders.

198, 426  “Why don’t you just marry her, then?”

379, 511  “I think you know what you’ve done.”

597, 842  “That whore? Figures.”

2.26 million tears at every commercial featuring dogs, cats, or old people.

4.6 million cartons of ice cream/bags of chips.

That’s the rough math. Your mileage may vary. While the scientist urges us to look to the heavens, I urge you to look out for yourself.

You’ve been warned.

Terry (From an undisclosed location.)

Breast Cancer, Mom, and the Number 19

Mom died nineteen years ago today. Breast cancer. She got sick when I was a kid– it was a rare time when she cried, but she did so in the car while we were going somewhere unimportant.

“Why are you crying, mom?”

“They found a lump in my breast.”

A short sentence with long consequences.

She was sick for years– after six surgeries, she said, “I don’t want them to cut me any more.” 

So, we didn’t let them. 
For some people 20 is a more important marker based on our fingers and toes, but I damned near lost a finger nine years ago (they sewed it back on, it works) so 19 is important, too. I could be counting to 19 save for a dollop of good luck and a great surgeon.

She died from radiation tumors. They killed her just as surely as a slow moving train, but in the end, it was too much. She missed us before she was gone; we miss her still. I fed her a tomato and mayo sandwich ( her favorite) and then on a Tuesday she couldn’t eat. Then, she couldn’t speak, and then, she was gone. I scrubbed a small spot of urine ( there is no dignity in cancer) from the blue shag carpet, and I wondered if she would be standing there when it was clean. She wasn’t.

I think I mock activists too much, but it might be my own bitterness ( I still am, always will be), but get checked out. She was 34 when she got sick. She was 52 when she died. There were a lot of horrid nights from the chemo. I don’t know if it could be avoided, but I looked to see how long a mammogram takes– it isn’t long– but I guarantee you the wait in a doctor’s office for that procedure is far shorter than a day like she had.

So get checked out, that’s all.


September: The Glory Season

September. The Last Hurrah.

Also my birth month, and the month we lost my mother nearly twenty years ago. There’s a lesson here, I think.

I’ve been in an area afflicted by seasons for more than twenty years of my life, and in some way, September has become my favorite month. Crops and flowers start to look a little shopworn, and there are quiet places where creeks used to be during the height of the rains.

But then, we get a bit of rain and there’s a Renaissance in the fields. Things perk up. Flowers bloom. Beans get sassy, go a little higher. Things are moving again.

That doesn’t include the flowers. Here’s the thing about weeds and flowers: in September, they’re both the same thing. It just depends on where they are and if you want them. Regardless of our applause, they’ll bloom.

That purple stuff? It’s purple glory. It shows up in August, bursts onto the scene, and tells everyone that fall is nearby, so you’d better soak up what heat you need to get you through the inevitability of the oncoming gray. 

I turn forty-seven in five days. I can identify with the flowers and the weeds. I was slow to arrive, not really the best neighbor for a long time, and then, once I bloomed and got a little rain, I was okay. Now that I’m in my glory, it’s late in the season, and I’ve got to decide if I bloom until the bitter end, or do I fade out?

I think I’ll hang out and be purple, if that’s cool. At my age, the fall looks pretty good, and winter, too.


My Top Ten: Country Songs By Women

Nothing too fancy, I happened to hear my favorite country song by a female artist today, and thought about a list 
Here’s the good thing about lists: people will invariably disagree and tell me about other excellent music I’ve not heard before. I consider that a win/win.

So, without further ado:

1. Hands down, my favorite: Seven Year Ache by Rosanne Cash. It’s early-80s-electric piano at the top of the mountain. I love this song.

2. The Queen of Country, Loretta Lynn. This song is so amazingly redneck I can’t fathom anyone else singing these words. (Okay, maybe Dolly).

3. For sheer purity, there is nothing like the voice of Suzy Bogguss. It’s like bells in the wind, and this song about a rodeo and love and America ought to make you cry.

4. From the department of female empowerment ( take note, posers), an actual song about, you know, being an adult. Mary Chapin Carpenter is just so damned good, and she has the finest backup act in the history of the planet on “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”.

5. Martina McBride has the kind of voice that puts an air raid siren to shame, but with a pitch and clarity that blow my mind. “Independence Day” makes me want to invade Europe, it’s that uplifting.

6.  Jo Dee Messina. Her first album is loaded with slick pop country, but this is the song that established her as worth listening to. 

7. Trisha Yearwood has a dozen songs that will never leave my memory. This one is her first, and in my mind, the best:

8. The early 80s were a time of muddled charts and excellent music. This is my favorite from that era. Juice Newton and “Angel of the Morning”. 

9. In the same vein, Charlie Dore was a late 70s artist who crossed genres without really trying. Pilot of the Airwaves captures a time when Disc Jockeys were giants, country had a twang, and there was a western US flair to a lot of hits. 

10. Last but not least, is “She Can’t Save Him” by Canadian artist Lisa Brokop. This song could actually be number one for me if the subject matter was more upbeat. Her voice is rich, full, and so riven with emotion you have to ask exactly what the hell American music executives are looking for in a singer

I await your additions.



Consider The Waffle.

I require fuel, and that fuel must take a delicious form.

As a writer and college instructor, I have certain expectations placed upon me. I’m supposed to wear tweed (it’s itchy), drive a Prius (I’m too tall), and eschew all forms of sports (I love sports. I also love playing sports, which is a double no-no). I’m also remarkably opportunistic about where I drink my coffee. Case in point, one of my favorite restaurants?

Seriously, if you haven’t been, get thee hence!

I recently acquired this button, and it says a lot about what I’m willing to admit in order to fit in as a writer:

Coffee. Geddit?

I do drink coffee, and the time of day actually has nothing to do with my consumption. I think at this point in my life, caffeine and I have reached a peaceable kind of accord– it agrees to make me alert in the morning, and my aging body assures me that I won’t know if I have insomnia from coffee or muscle pain due to running. Voila! Problem solved. 

As I’ve mentioned often, baked things are an important part of my life. I bake. My wife bakes. My family bakes, and we all agree: you cannot go wrong with pie.

That beauty is a peach pie, but darn near any fruit will do. Let’s get real– the crust makes it great.

Now, onto waffles (and griddle cakes of all nature). I have a maxim, and that is, “If Uncle Buck would make it, then it’s probably big enough.”

And to clarify: Waffles and pancakes are, well, cakes. So, why wouldn’t you consider pie for breakfast? I have it regularly, and people come up to me all the time and say,”Do you really think you should be wearing such a small shirt?” Obviously, it’s doing great things for my body if people want me to take my shirt off. 

And speaking of shirts:

I can use SCIENCE to prove that pie and waffles should be a part of your life.

So. Why aren’t you baking?

Also, why aren’t you reading about waffles and magic? Hmm?

Waffles. Witches. Wonder. Halfway Dead. Get it here.

Until next time!


A Cover Model Made Me Cry: My Workout Story

I decided to get professional help. I’ve lost a good bit of weight, started lifting again, and was, until today, feeling rather chuffed about it (as the Brits say). I know the reality is different, but in truth—

Last year in one of my classes, I had a student who is a cover model and personal trainer. His name is Fred. He’s a nice guy, as long as he isn’t making you lift weights until you think you might die.

This is Fred.

So naturally, I booked for the full hour of training, because a half hour wouldn’t quite get me that six pack. Fred understood. The appointment was made. I went. I was confident. So is Fred, who I might add, works incredibly hard. Here is Fred being confident:

Oh yeah? Well nobody can outdo the unjust confidence of an aging formerly average athlete. No. One. Stretch? Hydrate? BAH.

Well then. The results were a bit different than I’d anticipated. There was good news– I’m ten pounds lighter than previously thought, thanks to a scale that isn’t clogged with dust bunnies and shame. As for the actual torture workout, it was a bit more challenging than I imagined. 

As in, I was unsure I could drive home. Without dying. Twice.

Oh, and Fred gave me dietary information. He plans regimented meals with a fitness goal in mind:

So my ordinary meals are a thing of the past. I made it home– barely– and now, it’s time to be aggressive about taking care of my body. I’m sure that I’ll be cool in about two or three weeks.
I’m an American. Not an Americant.

*if this blog goes dark, I’m dead from health. please inform my wife. thank you.