A Tide of Ice is Available!

My new novel, A Tide of Ice, is now available in print and for Kindle.

A Tide of Ice is the second novel in The Citadel of The Last Gathering, continuing Alaji's story from A Count of Five as she travels into an era of sword and sorcery. Here's the sales pitch:

A New Land. A New Gate. An Age of Steel and Blood.

Alaji has seen impossible wonders and faced incredible dangers in places beyond imagination. She has already traveled in time over a thousand years, but she is about to learn that is less than a heartbeat in the life of the world. To reach the Citadel of the Last Gathering, her journey will need to take on a far grander scale, one where geology changes like the seasons, where nothing is constant.

Now she finds herself in an era where imperious wizards create powerful monsters and unleash them upon the lands of their enemies. But these threats may be nothing compared to the men and women who are able to thrive in such harsh times.

If you haven't gotten a hold of the first book, you'll want to give that a read before picking up the sequel. To make it easy, I'm making Kindle copies of A Count of Five free this coming Saturday and Sunday. Grab a copy, give a read, then buy the sequel if you like it.

I think you will.

Updates and News - October 2015

It's been too long since I've posted here, so I wanted to provide at least a little news. Lindsay and I are in the process of revising A Tide of Ice, the sequel to A Count of Five, and still plan to get that out in November. Expect an exact date and cover reveal soon.

I've also been working on a few short stories, some of which I'll be posting over at Mainlining Christmas later this year.

What? You think it's too early to think about Christmas? You're more interested in Halloween? Humbug!

Tell you what: I'll meet you halfway. Here are five Christmas horror pieces I've written to help ease the pain of Christmas gradually overtaking the world one department store aisle at a time:

The Christmas Thief: A horror story about a robber who discovers he isn't the only thief out on Christmas.

The Perfect Gift: Is it easier or harder to go shopping after a zombie apocalypse? Find out here!

A Man of Snow: Is consciousness a gift or a curse? This dark fantasy story offers a different account of life as a magical snow elemental than you're probably used to.

Heirlooms: A simple, classic ghost story.

Double Feature: A killer Santa Claus is on the loose. Again.

Get A Count of Five FREE Until 8/31

I've got some good news for those of you who have been wanting to check out my new fantasy novel, A Count of Five, but also wanted to save $3 for a rainy day. From now until Monday, August 31, you can pick up the Kindle version absolutely free.

That's right! COMPLETELY FREE!

But only until Monday. After that, the price returns to $2.99. So don't wait, or you won't have enough money left over to buy... I don't know. Can you still buy a Starbucks coffee for three bucks?

Whatever. The point is you should go grab a digital copy. And probably tell your friends and loved ones to do the same.

A Few Days at a Volcano-Top Observatory

Lindsay and I took a couple days and went to Paradise (I'm not trying to be cute - that is literally the name of the location), which is located on Mount Rainier. We've been to Rainier a few times in the past, but this was the first time we ever stayed overnight there.

The trip, obviously, was breathtaking. I don't think we could have chosen a better time to visit, either. Because we're experiencing a warm summer in the Pacific Northwest, the roads and trails were clear earlier than usual, meaning the area wasn't quite as busy as it could have been. In addition, we got two beautiful, clear days.

We did two hikes, plus a short walk. The first hike, which I foolishly thought was going to be easy, was to Comet Falls. It wasn't that far, but the elevation gain was intense. But the falls were worth it:

We were able to walk right up to the falls into the spray, which was a nice break from the heat.

We stayed overnight at the Paradise Inn. The rooms were perhaps a tad reminiscent of a college dorm, but that's part of the charm. Also, it's part of the reason you can stay on Rainier without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

On Friday, we did the Skyline loop, which is best described as a trail traversing a ridge offering you views of Mount Rainier on one side and an overlook of southern Washington on the other. We could see Mount Adams, Mount St. Helen's, and even Mount Hood from the trail (Hood was too faint to appear in the photos I took, but trust me: it was between the other two).

We're exhausted from all the hiking, but it's an understatement to say it was worth it. This has been an absolutely wonderful couple of days. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go collapse into bed.

Movies and Herons

Other than the release of my new novel, I caught a few movies this past week. After it set an opening weekend box-office record, I almost felt obligated to check out Jurassic World. Overall, I thought it was a fun, if somewhat underwhelming, experience. It was funny and the action scenes delivered, but I didn't feel like it did anything new. A decent work of nostalgia, but I'm ready for this franchise to move on. I go into a little more depth on my other blog, if you'd like more details.

I was far more impressed with Pixar's new movie, Inside Out. This is easily the best movie we've seen from the studio since at least Toy Story 3, and it can hold its own alongside anything in their catalog. My full review is here.

In order to offset all that time spent in a dark theater, Lindsay and I drove down to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday. It's a good place for bird watching: we saw herons, bald eagles, and a number of other avians. The eagles were too far away for me to get a good picture, but here's a shot of a whole flock of herons.

Okay, okay: it doesn't quite do the experience justice. Take it from me - it was pretty incredible to watch.

Speaking of pictures not doing things justice, the Wildlife Refuge offers a great perspective on Mount Rainier. Staring at it across the marshes had a real Mount Doom effect. I took dozens of photos trying to capture the sense of scale, but my phone wasn't really up to the task. Here's about as close as I came:

If you squint, you should be able to tell there's a mountain there.

Today's the Day: A Count of Five is Available Now!

As promised, A Count of Five is available on Amazon now. The Kindle version can be purchased here for $2.99, and the paperback is for sale over here for $9.99. It's enrolled in Matchbook, so you can also get a digital copy for free after ordering the paperback.

A Count of Five is the first novel in the Citadel of The Last Gathering, an epic fantasy adventure blending in elements of science fiction and other genres. Its sequel will be available this November - more on that soon!

I Did Not Realize That Killer Whales Drown Great White Sharks

So here's why I haven't seen Jurassic World yet....

Lindsay and I took a four day weekend and camped on Orcas Island. We went on several short hikes, visited the town, and wrapped up our last night there with a whale watch in the sound.

We had a fantastic time. Orcas Island isn't the absolute most magnificent place we've been to in Washington State (the Mountain Loop Highway and Olympic Peninsula are tied for that honor), but it was still breathtaking. More than that, the attractions were surprisingly quiet, giving us far more solitude than we've gotten from other destinations in the area.

One warning: settlers killed off the island's native bear and wolf populations more than a century ago, which has left Orcas Island at the mercy of a single animal:

Deer. That picture was from our campsite. We saw deer everywhere while we were on the island. They do not fear humans.

My pictures really don't do justice to the Madrona trees we saw there. These things look like they're made out of bronze or something.

It was a much needed break from work and writing. I don't think I find anything as inspirational as a vacation to a new climate and setting. I'm eager to get back to work on the next novel.