The Moon Can Be Lonely

Moonlight is the Great Mood Setter.

I’m writing a book where the main character loves the floor of her kitchen because that’s where the moon shines. That’s autobiographical; in our house, the moons shines perfectly onto the kitchen floor with a buttery square that, over the course of a night, turns into a rhombus. Or a parallelogram. Maybe both are true, but this isn’t 7th grade math, so we’ll just say the light from the moon changes shape.

This is, allegedly, a rhombus.

People like to write sad songs. Enter the moon.

If love and the moon didn’t exist, I’m not sure what anyone would write songs about. Let’s face it, the moon does double duty– it can be uplifting, and it can signify the futility of every stupid thing that is happening in your life at the moment you cast your eyes skyward and see that Big Ball of Judgment hanging overhead. Seriously, if you can listen to Neko Case sing about the moon and not feel queasy, you’ve got a constitution of stone.
A full moon elicits us saying that everyone except us is crazy, unless you’ve just said to hell with it and embraced your own crazy. More power to you. I for one have experienced both sides of this moon issue. On the water, the moon is particularly powerful. It can force us to assess our lives, or try for a kiss at the girl standing with us, or even decide to pick up the phone and forgive someone. The moon has that kind of clout.

“Don’t mind me. I’m just snickering at your life.”

A sense of wonder, too.

Maybe you’re immune to wonder. I hope you aren’t. I hope that whatever happens, you aren’t robbed of the ability to be dumbstruck by the elegance, or distance, or even the sheer alien nature of something that seems like a marvelous, luminary toy that hangs just out of our reach.When the moon is a whisper, at its thinnest state is when I tend to think of it as being something exotic. Stars crowd around and, for a day or two, it becomes an echo. Is that the saddest moon? I don’t know. Maybe any moon can be joyous, although I tend to find it something that  makes us think more than just feel inexplicable happiness. Maybe it’s because the moon is second-hand sunlight, and it needs us to recognize a purpose other than life. Maybe the purpose is something that changes as our moods change, just like the face of the moon itself.

Cool to the Touch

Well, someone had to do it. 

A friend of mine wondered why there wasn’t any zombie erotica.

“That’s interesting,” I thought. So I sat down and wrote something that answers a few questions about what happens after the zombie apocalypse. As in, what happens to someone’s carnal desires.
It’s only 99 cents at Amazon (free if you have KindleUnlimited).
Get it here: Zombies Need Love Too!

So, after you’ve gotten done being freaked out, go take a look. It’s short, atmospheric, and unique.

Here’s the cover art, which captures the feel:

Oh, and one more thing: Don’t you judge me. Heh.

Haircut Day.

I Have Two Hair Stages.

Acceptable, and unacceptable. There is no middle ground.

I like to keep my business in order. This stems from years as a victim of 80s Hair Syndrome. For women, it involved aquanet. Cans and cans of aquanet.

I am a dude. Ergo, I gel.

Tomorrow. Haircut day.

I have two basic looks as well, based on the length of my hair and the time of day. When my hair is long(er), or as my wife calls it, “normal”, then I look a lot like someone who might be a news anchor at a small station you’ve never heard of. Here is an example of said hair in 1986:

Problems. Time of Day. And Problems.

If I am unable to get a haircut every three weeks, then we have a problem. When I wake up in the morning, I have a distinct look that my wife calls Handsome But Homeless. Here is what you might expect during the hour of 5-6 AM.

So.
As you can see, it’s in everyone’s interest that I maintain a sleek look, about the same length as that of a beagle’s coat.

Thanks for your time. Now let’s mousse up. Or gel up. Whatever.

 

A Brief Word About Pie

Maybe not too brief, but definitely about pie.

Pie transcends my need to eat. I love pie. I specifically enjoy pie between the hours of 1-3AM, usually eaten while standing at the kitchen sink, looking over the back yard. On nights with the moon, I have the reflected light of the sun to illuminate my shameful gorging. And yet, the moon always welcomes me back, or maybe I just ignore any protests because there’s pie. And milk.

I come from a long line of bakers; our family restaurant was actually called “The Pie Stand”, so this fascination is both genetically acquired and learned. It’s here to stay.
Here is a peach pie I made when I visited my buddy Tim. Nothing says, “I’m glad we were pals before puberty” like a baked good.

Question: What Makes A Pie?

I know we’ve all had sweet pies. Can pies be savory and still be considered pie? I’ve eaten meat or potato pie varieties in several countries, and I think I’m comfortable with that nomenclature. True, I have no desire to drink milk while eating a delicious, gravy laden Australian meat pie, but still. There was a crust and filling. I feel the same way about spicy Jamaican meat pies. Chicken pot pie, Shepherd’s pie– still technically pie. Right? Or, no?
Fruit. Chocolate. Dairy. Hybrids.
Fruit makes for an excellent filling (blueberry, apple, cherry, strawberry-rhubarb). I can also see the attraction of cream pies– Boston or Coconut make me crazy. I would fight a circle saw for either of those kinds of dessert. Holidays bring out the baker in all of us. Thanksgiving? Pumpkin. Sweet Potato. Apple. Christmas? Mincemeat. Apple. Pecan.
I heartily approve of holidays that activate our latent baking genes.
The Hybrids.
These are the pies that really take some culinary willpower. Your Black Forest, Chess, and Chocolate Silk fall into this zone. They’re stunning to look at, but more labor intensive. Not really fussy, just demanding.
The Endless Variety.
Look at this bowl of berries:

There’s a lot of pie-tential in that bowl. I can think of three kinds of pie offhand that can be made from that simple bowl of fruit, and that’s without getting Second Level Awesome and using terms like “coulis” and “measuring”.
I’m open to suggestions. I think– and this is just a guess– that there are as many recipes for pie unknown to us as there are in even the most experienced baker’s repertoire. I submit this in the hope that I’ll be inundated with new pie ideas.
Like I’ve been saying all week, it’s February. What else are we going to do?

Between Loss of Family and Myth.

It’s February.

My mom’s birthday was this past week, had she still been here, she would be seventy. She died when she was fifty-two. I’m forty-six, so that seems quite young– in fact, it seemed that she was really young when she died.

I have a son who is six. I find myself placing a hand on his forehead when I enter or leave the room. It’s a sort of reassurance, probably more for me than him. My mom did the same thing to us kids. Even when she was sick, her hands felt warm. I remember that warmth as something other than just a touch; it was a remembrance of her presence as she moved about the house.
She died almost nineteen years ago. At what point do the factors of my own memory and aging begin to overtake the brilliance of her impact on my psyche? Will she pass into a state of legend? I have learned more about my mom since her death than I knew of her during her life– not the details, or the “mom” aspect of her, but who she was as a human.
She was a person before I arrived. She lived for twenty-four years. When did she decide that something as simple as touching her children on the forehead would be the right thing to do? Was it natural? Or learned?

For me, it was learned.
It seems like an anchor that keeps her memory closer to me than just a myth, or a legend. I think that when we lose someone we love so much, our goal is to stop them from becoming a part of history.
History is distant; loved ones are now, even if they are giants in our memory.

February Sucks and I Want This Desk: A Love Story

February: I’m not a fan.

It’s the shortest month for a reason. Football (in the US) is over). Sports as we know it begin to hibernate until baseball season. For much of the nation, the weather is putrid. Naturally, in this national funk, my thoughts turn to a fifteen year quest that remains unfulfilled.

It’s So Much More Than a Desk.

Before I discuss my personal Great White Whale, let me give you some back story about my wife’s  eerie ability to find rare and unusual gifts. She’s like a tall, Norwegian bloodhound with really great legs, but a high customer rating on Ebay to boot. Nothing escapes her internet sleuthing, except for an odd furniture request I’ve had as a standing goal– even she hasn’t been able to find my dream desk, which is crazy given her skills. Since there isn’t anything else fun in February, I shall reignite my search for The One That Got Away.

Scene: 2002. The Hemingway Collection from Thomasville

I was watching television and saw– and got excited, mind you– an advertisement about a furniture collection. Thomasville announced that they were creating two American collections based on Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart. Look, I write books and I’m over the age of forty; either one of those men lived the kind of life that I was raised to consider just short of Godhood.

How Writers See Themselves. But Of Course.

 So, I see this desk.Yes, it’s mass produced but I don’t care. I freak out and start looking to buy one, only to find out it’s around 2500 dollars.
“No, we can’t take a post-dated check,” Said every Thomasville store. Trust me, I asked.
All right then. I file the item away as *to be located* and move on with my life. I’ve seen two versions of the desk in various locations around the United states– one in California (of course, those people horde all the cool things) and one at an undisclosed location. The seller was rather tight-lipped, leading me to think the desk was stuffed with human skulls or something; naturally I wanted that desk even more.
I envision myself sitting at the desk, writing novels of great weight, penning letters on handmade vellum and generally acting like it’s 1937, but without all the Nazis and Stalinists ruining everything. I would wear some sort of linen something, a devil-may-care attitude, and I would have my first whiskey at eleven a.m., right after I had my first screaming match with a shadowy editor somewhere– this brawl would ensue on a vintage handheld telephone and would include terms like scalawag and reprobate. Seriously, it’s a fantastic desk.

Wanna see?

Be still, my heart.

 Do I need a desk with faux Arabian Oryx horn legs? Of course not. But I want it very much indeed. So, I’ll keep poking around on ebay, pinterest, whatever, and then one day, it will be in my grasp at a reasonable price, though located in the U.P. of Michigan or something. No matter, there’s a lesson in here somewhere about patience and, character, maybe. Or just plain old consumerism. Either way, if you see one of these beauties, you tell me. I’ll be there with my postdated check.

2015: Look What’s Coming!

Welcome to what will be the busiest writing year of my life.

I’ve recently made some Super Executive Command Decisions based on requests from readers, and the menu for 2015 has changed. So, let’s begin with what is happening right now.

I’m thrilled to be working with the brilliant Rebecca Cook once more. She’s currently applying her repertoire of voices to the third book in The Fearless, and I can tell you with complete certainty that ‘The Waking Serpent’ will be the best audiobook we’ve done together. Rebecca inhabits my characters, and the early samples are fantastic. Here is Rebecca pretending to be Rebecca:

Rebecca, Sans Braiiiinnnns.

Fun fact: I have multiple pictures of Rebecca in zombie makeup. She’s a crew member on Z Nation (Zombie freaks, take note!) and yet, in the spirit of altruism and all that is pure, I chose this delightful photo instead.
(I know not to anger the talent!)
Moving on. In the clearest demonstration of “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know”, I’m proud to announce that the voice of my new series Banshee is the stellar Henry McNulty. He’s an actor, musician, and according to Rebecca, “one heluva singer” (note to self– write musical for dragons. Like Fame, but more fantastical!). Henry attended a workshop hosted by Rebecca in which she imparted knowledge on the art of voiceover acting. I asked Rebecca, “Hey, know any guys for this dragon thing?”, one thing led to another, and here we are. Henry begins production of Banshee the first week of February; the series will be released in all forms simultaneously. Here’s the rakish baritone himself; I’m told that, like Rebecca, he hails from a place called “Washington State” which frankly sounds made up to me, sort of like North Dakota or the Smithtown Mall.

The Alleged Washington State Resident

While those projects are rolling along, two other books aren’t just happening; they’re moving forward at ludicrous speed. I’m well into book five of The Fearless, and if the concept of sexy Nazi werewolves isn’t for you, well, you can just skip that chapter. It’s fantastic. Love the villains, and I know you will too. I cannot wait to hear Rebecca spit curses in a Germanic/Schnauzer accent. Next stop: Vocal Gymnastics!
My third series begins in 2015, and it’s a departure for me. It’s a comedy/fantasy based on a young witch who doubles as a short order cook in a resort town. She lives and works in a mythical lakeside tourist trap in the Adirondack Mountains; this area is my family’s natural habitat, and if you’ve ever waited tables and wanted to hex the person who just stiffed you, then I have the book you’ve been waiting for. It’s funny, and sad at times, and the character is totally unique. She has a hate/hate relationship with cars, so her teenaged neighbors extort money from her for rides, but she wrecks their love lives so it all evens out in the end. I am targeting this series for publication in June of this year, and will keep you updated.
I’m also writing a short ghost story for an anthology that will fund the breast cancer vaccine. As you may know, I lost my mother nearly twenty years ago, as well as my Nana, and two aunts– breast cancer is an utter plague on the women of my family and millions more as well. I am honored to be a part of the anthology, which is in the capable hands of my good friend author J.L.Brooks.
So! Lots going on, and I’d  better get typing. Grab your copies of all my books this week; I’m looking into this new alpaca farm thing and I want to fund it soon. I need sweaters.
Cheers!
Terry

The Voice of the Dragon: Audiobook News

Banshee is coming.

Rather dramatic, eh? Thanks. I spent hours crafting that announcement.

But seriously. Banshee, the dragon, is getting closer. Before I tell you the news about what’s coming, I’d like to mention some great news from 2014: The Forest Bull made the Audiobook Review’s Top Ten list. Audiobook Reviewer: Top Ten of 2014

Let’s face it, I got lucky when Rebecca Cook allowed me to shmooze her into voicing my books. That moment of weakness on her part has paid off, and the proof, as they say, is on the internet. Or pudding. The next series promises to be stellar as well, and I’m thrilled to announce that Banshee, my dragon, has a voice– and what a voice.

Henry McNulty is a trained stage actor and musician from Washington State, the same area that provided me with the talents of Rebecca Cook. That begs the question: just what’s in the water out there? Amazing talents, and I’m lucky to have them.

Banshee is a story of the last war we’ll ever fight. Hell is real, mankind is in retreat, and dragons have risen to fight by our side against creatures boiling forth from the darkness. It’s violent, desperate, and beautiful, and I love every detail about it. Here’s the first promo teaser:


If that doesn’t make you want to join the fight, well, I’ll repeat it a hundred times until you do.
Moving on.
So, about Henry. He’s brilliant. Take listen to this two minute preview of what’s on the way. Our heroine Saavin and her dragon are on patrol in the high Texas desert, and the world we know is long gone.
Saavin and Banshee: Patrols

For those of you keeping score at home, I’m thrilled.
Banshee is already expanding to a trilogy and beyond; the world of dragons, demons and war is too interesting not to explore.

So, after listening, what do you think? 

Until next time, cheers, Happy New Year, and go pick up a few of me books for winter reading, won’t you?

Best,
Terry

It’s Not You. It’s Me.

It appears I miscalculated.

I was originally under the impression that I’d written a Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. It seems I am mistaken. After nearly one-hundred-fifty reviews, the consensus is as follows:

1) It’s fantasy. It just happens to be in a civilized area, free of roaming dragons and orcs. Sort of like a suburb, but with vampires. Oh, and succubi.

2) I can channel the female mind when writing my characters. To every ex-girlfriend who said I wasn’t listening, nyahhh nyahhh

3) I’m appearing at more Sci-Fi/Fantasy events in 2015, and less general fiction events. I need to connect with the people who I huddled with at the lunch table in middle school. My tribe. My herd. My nerd herd.

4) Writers are supposedly the product of a vivid, often tormented existence. For your consideration, I present the following and ask you, does this look like a face that knew torment? With that hair? No. Now hand me my hair gel and give me some room to grow.

5) Now that you’ve recovered form your laughter, allow me to tell you about what’s new with my books. There’s a new boxed set available, and two new books coming soon. Book five of The Fearless will be available in March, but before that, my new series starts. Do you like dragons? Do you hate civilization? Well, I have the book for you. Banshee is the first novel in my post-apocalyptic dragon series. Check out the first teaser:

6) Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Yule, and may your new year be bright and warm. Thanks for visiting throughout the year, and we’ll start the Outlander blog as soon as the next episode is onscreen. I’m like many of you ( I think) in that casting Bree and Roger is a major concern of mine. We shall see!
Thanks for spreading the word about my series, and I look forward to our next time together.

Cheers!

Terry
Terry’s Books