Monday, December 9, 2013

FLICKERS launch!

Flickers on Amazon
Flickers on Smashwords

At last, Alex and Moira's story continues!

Alex Cronlord has failed.

The zombie apocalypse that she foresaw months ago has come to pass--in part because of her visions. Trapped in the now-quarantined city of Dallas, Alex struggles both with the undead and with her own guilt. She blames herself for the fall of Dallas, for leaving FBI Agent Moira McBain to die, and for the lies she's still telling her father. When Zach, her friend and fellow superpowered fighter, makes a startling confession, it only increases Alex's inner turmoil.

Unknown to Alex, Moira is still alive. Imprisoned in an alternate dimension and facing certain death, Moira receives help from an unlikely source. To get home, she must fight her way past both the soul-sucking Xorda and a frightening and mysterious group of werewolves. She knows who her enemies are. But can she trust her only ally?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Linguistic Love Blog Tour

Today I welcome my editor, Chryse Wymer (she's the reason that Identity Theft was and Flickers will be technically flawless), who's showing off her glorious grammatical gifts (one might even say, her fantastical phrasal finesse) and looking for new clients, too.

Enough with the rhyming, here she is:

Thank you to John Abramowitz, who has graciously allowed me the blog space to talk about grammar. Well, in this case, I’m talking about usage. This is the second part of my series on commas. If you are interested in reading part one, visit A.B Shepherd’s blog at
This month, I’ll be hopping along from blog to blog to share my knowledge on the nuts and bolts of great writing. I am a copy editor, proofreader, and author—published both traditionally and independently. I’m also raffling off Amazon gift cards to get you started on your editing bookshelves. So here goes:

As I said in the previous blog, a comma’s main function is to separate. I wrote about this in detail, as well as the first function of a comma, at
The second function of a comma is to separate coordinated main clauses. (A clause is a sentence part that contains a subject and a verb.) The easiest way to look at this is that if you have two independent clauses that are joined by the conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, then a comma is generally used to separate them, e.g.: The front windshield was cracked [,] and a zombie lay writhing on the hood. Comma needed.
There are a couple of exceptions with coordinated main clauses: (1) when the main clauses are closely linked <Do as I tell you [no comma] and you won’t regret it>; and (2) when the subject of the second independent clause, being the same as in the first, is not repeated. <They were digging through trash cans and shambling across lawns.>
The third function of a comma is to separate most introductory matter from the main clause, often to prevent confusion. The introductory matter may be a word <However,>, a phrase <In the meantime>, or a subordinate clause <If you hate her so much,>. Very short matter may not need this comma <On Friday we have music class>, but phrases of three or more words usually do—and even the shortest of dependent clauses always do. <That said,>. In almost every case of introductory matter usage, a comma increases clarity. It never hurts to use it, and sometimes, it’s absolutely imperative. <While eating, the baby clapped her hands.>
The fourth function of a comma is to mark the beginning and end of a parenthetical word or phrase, an appositive, or nonrestrictive clause—e.g.: “I am sure[,] however[,] that dogs bite harder than lizards.”/ “Doug[,] who is single[,] doesn’t like to dance.”/ “She wants to play Jesus, which is traditionally a baby’s role, at the church’s nativity play.
Join me tomorrow at Robynn Gabel’s blog:, where I will continue to discuss the function of a comma.

Chryse Wymer is a freelance copy editor and proofreader whose main focus is on indie writers. Her clients have been well reviewed, and one was recently chosen as a top-five finalist in The Kindle Book Review's 2013 Best Indie Book Awards in his category: mystery/thriller. For some years, she has been particularly obsessed with William S. Burroughs’s writing, who happened to coin the term heavy metal ... her favorite music. She’s also a published (traditionally and indie) author. You can contact her at, follow her on twitter: @ChryseWymer, or like her on Facebook: For more information and/or pricing, e-mail (above) or visit her Web site: (and yes, the first letter of Web site is capitalized. Look it up on Merriam-Webster’s.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sneak Peek at Flickers!

Just a little farther. Just a liiiiittle farther….
With every creeping step Alex Cronlord took toward her front door, her heart seemed to leap into her throat. Zach was just outside. Soon she’d be off to a movie and… whatever else he had planned. All she had to do was get out the door without being heard. She took another step…. Then another…. Her hand reached for the knob….
“Going somewhere, young lady?” That’s just the sort of thing Dad would say.
Alex froze as the contralto voice rang out from behind her. So close! Arranging her face into pure innocence, she turned to face her mother, who stood a few feet away with her hands on her hips. That’s just the sort of thing she would do.
“Just out with a friend.” Alex squirmed under the glare of those green eyes. “I told you about it, remember? You said I could.”
Technically, that was true, but Alex knew that wasn’t why she and her mother were having a staring contest. Or rather, why her mother was staring at her and she was trying to avoid the sudden impulse to run up to her room and hide.
To be a normal teenager living with a normal family and going out to do normal things. But this….
“I also said that if you’re going out with a boy, I want to meet him first.” Neither the older woman’s tone nor her posture left any room for disagreement. Turning her head, she called, “James!” Definitely the sort of “disagreement” they would have.
Alex let out a deep sigh. Getting up the nerve to ask a boy out had been a big deal for her— who knew if he’d still want to go once her mother got through with him? Next time I’m climbing out a window…. “Come on, Mom. I’m sixteen. Don’t you think—” Before she could finish the sentence, her father’s voice rang out.
Her eyes brimmed over. This wasn’t real.
“Yes, honey?” he said as he descended the stairs. Coming to a stop next to his wife, he wrapped an arm around her waist. The hint of a frown touched his lips as he glanced at Alex. “Everything all right?”
“Dad,” Alex said, letting the words tumble out of her mouth without even stopping for breath. “I’m supposed to go to a movie with Zach tonight and it’s probably the only date I’ll have in my life ever and Mom’s determined to ruin it and—”
Her father laughed, holding up one hand in a “stop” gesture. “That’s a little melodramatic, don’t you think, sweetie? We just want to meet this Zach; that’s all. We’re curious. Are you afraid we won’t approve?”
Well, given that Mom barely approves of me most of the time…. Alex knew better than to say that. “No.”
“Then open the door,” her father said. “Let’s meet him.”
Holding back a sigh, Alex turned and reached for the doorknob….
This was her fantasy. Real life was… complicated.

Thursday, 3:32 p.m.
Alex Cronlord

“You’re still here?
The contralto voice brought Alex out of her thoughts. She was standing in her childhood home all right, but unlike in her daydream, the front door had a deadbolt on it. The windows were boarded over, too. And the stinging sensation in her left arm reminded her of the injection she’d gotten just hours before.
All the energy seemed to leave her body in an instant. She’d have given anything to live in that dreamworld for just a few seconds more. But you can’t. And it’s your own fault. Trying as hard as she could to look like nothing was wrong, Alex turned around. Her mother stood there, just as she’d imagined—but without her father. Holding back a sigh, she said, “Huh?”
“I’m surprised you’re still here. I thought you’d be eager to get back to James.”
Was that bitterness she heard in those last words? “I was just… thinking. That’s all.”
Her mother arched an eyebrow. “Oh? About what?”
Alex knew better than to tell her mother what was really on her mind. She could hear the older woman’s stern reply in her head: “What’s happened has happened. Your life is what it is. Don’t waste time on fantasies.”
“Nothing.” Without waiting for a reply, she turned, opened the door, and stepped through it.
Just like in her daydream, Zach Mason was waiting for her on the porch. But it wasn’t for a date. For some reason, the wiry young man always insisted on coming with her when she went to get an injection. Wish I knew why he does that. As always, his jet-black hair was tied back in a ponytail, and there was a hardness about him that belied the boyish innocence in his features.
“We get attacked on the way back,” Alex said, stepping past him and onto the front lawn. As she walked, her right hand dropped to the gun at her side. Reassurance washed over her as her fingers closed around the cool metal of the butt.
“Full-blown Xorda, or the gimpy zombie kind?” Zach asked. His voice suggested that he relished either prospect.
“The zombie kind. One of them drops right off the overpass and onto the hood of the car. You crash. We get swarmed.”
“Guess we’re taking the long way back to the hideout, then,” Zach said, referring to the abandoned building where a small group of survivors had taken refuge after the city had been overrun. “I take it you had a vision?”
“Always do when I get a shot.”
Alex stepped off the curb and into the street, not bothering to look both ways. Not like there’s much chance of getting hit by a car. As if to underscore that point, a green compact car was parked behind the white Toyota Camry that she and Zach had driven here. A thin film of dust covered the windshield. Several newspapers, still wrapped in their plastic bags, lay on the lawn just beyond the car. She saw no lights on in any of the nearby houses. Mom’s probably the only one left on this street.
When it had become clear that the zombie outbreak was more than just a few people taking bath salts, many Dallas residents had scrambled to leave town before the quarantine was imposed. Alex had opted to stay behind. This was her mess, after all—it was only right that she help clean it up.
Her teeth chattered. It wasn’t cold. As she willed her skin to stop crawling, Zach caught up to her, pulling the car keys from his pocket. “I don’t trust her, Alex. Your mom, I mean.”
Hearing the doors unlock, Alex slipped into the front passenger seat. Technically, she was a licensed driver and he wasn’t, but who followed those rules anymore? Besides, with all the zombie-killing runs they’d done over the last three months, they’d all gotten plenty of practice. “I know you don’t,” Alex said as he started the car. “But I do.”
“Why? She’s Wells Society. They’re bad people.”
Alex turned a glare on him. “My mother and the Wells Society didn’t cause this mess, Zach. I did.”
“Whatever you say,” Zach said, shaking his head. Without another word, he buckled his seat belt, and they set off for the hideout.
They drove past the Browning family’s house. Alex had gone to school with their daughter, Melody, though the two had never really been friends. Through the living-room window, she could see Melody’s mother shambling about. She couldn’t help but wince. I hope she and her dad are okay, at least…. A few blocks later: Dr. Hartman’s office. Her dentist. The windows were all boarded up. Hartman herself was dead—Alex had encountered her during a zombie-killing run a few weeks prior. Pulling the trigger had never been harder. My fault. All my fault.
Seeing a teddy bear lying in the middle of the road jolted Alex out of her guilt. Looking up, she saw a large U-Haul truck parked in front of the house on the corner. Guess moving day got cancelled.
“Couldn’t this guy have parked in the driveway?” Zach said. “Now I can’t see around the corner.”
“Not like there’s gonna be traffic coming.”
“Hey now.” Zach’s scowl was replaced by his familiar smirk as he glanced over at her. “You never know.”
They turned the corner—and found a giant man standing just a few feet ahead of them… right in the middle of the street. He was shambling along, apparently oblivious to his surroundings. “Zach!” Alex said, pointing at the zombie. “Look out!”
There was a terrible screeching noise as Zach turned the steering wheel wheel wildly. Alex held her breath, gripping the door handle so tightly that her knuckles turned white. But it was no good—the zombie filled their windshield as they hit it head-on.
Pain shot through Alex’s head as it struck the dashboard. Then there was black.


Did you like what you read? Tweet about it under hashtag #TheWeaverSagaIsBack!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Good news!


I have just received word that On The Bird books (all of them) will soon be on Oyster! This means that you, or your friends, or your enemies, or that girl you had a crush on in high school who never knew you existed, can read them for FREE! And when they do, I STILL GET PAID! What's not to like?

I'm not sure when exactly the books will go up on Oyster, I'm not sure, but it could be as soon as Monday. For those not familiar with the service, Oyster is basically Netflix for books. You pay a small monthly fee (I think it's $9.95), and in return, you can read any book in their library for no additional charge. Said library contains over 100,00 books, including self-publishers like me and best-sellers like Neal Stephenson or Kevin J. Anderson. Sounds like a good deal to me--what do you think?

Also, I'm proud to announce that an audio-book version of my novel Atticus for the Undead is on the way. I'm not sure of the exact release date yet, but it will either be December of this year or early 2014. Audiobook versions of my other books may follow, so stay tuned for information about that.

And, of course, my new book Flickers (Weaver Saga #3) goes live Dec. 10, 2013 on Amazon and Smashwords! Are you excited yet? Well, are you??

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flickers Cover And Release Date!

At long last, I can unveil the cover for Flickers, Book 3 of The Weaver Saga! Check out this little beauty--my cover artist Steven Novak has really outdone himself this time!

And we've set an official release date: The book will go live on December 10, 2013! In a couple of weeks, I will post a snippet from the book just to whet your appetite.

For those not familiar with the Saga, my plan was to put a terrifying twist on the usual paranormal romance tropes. The trouble starts when the story's teenage protagonist, Alex, meets the boy of her dreams. That proves to be less than a good thing, however, since the dream involved him killing her! From there, she is drawn into a complicated web of conspiracy and intrigue as she begins to have visions of murders that have not yet occurred. It's a world where no one is what they seem--not the young man at school who seems a little too interested in her; not the brash FBI agent who shows up at her doorstep; and not her mother, whom Alex begins to suspect is involved in what's happening to her.

If you want to sample the Saga, you can read part of Book 1 on Booktrack!

Books 1 and 2 (Weaver and The Void, respectively) are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever e-books are sold.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"A legend, Mr. Wayne"

So one piece of advice that I frequently see given to new writers is "Define your goal." Is finishing the book enough by itself--does your satisfaction come from the act of creation? Do you want an agent? Are you writing a "niche" book with the hope of finding a small cult following? Or are you out for a place on The New York Times bestseller list and a movie deal?

In the two years since I made the decision to start publishing my stories, the answer to that question has eluded me. I certainly find satisfaction in telling stories--I don't think writing would be worth doing if you didn't. And I'm as invested in the development of my characters as a parent in his children. (What does it say about me that I'm nevertheless willing to kill them off with gay abandon? Don't ask.)

But that's not enough. I've known for a long time that I wasn't content simply to invent people and let their adventures bounce around between the four corners of my brain. That's why I was a roleplayer before I was a novelist. I have things to say, and I don't want to just talk to myself. (If you do that, people think you're crazy. Oh, wait....)

That New York Times bestseller thing sounds kind of nice, too. And I wouldn't say no to a movie deal. (Actually, if I got one, I'd probably be so stunned that I'd stand there babbling incoherently.) But while all of those things (making fiction, finding an audience, achieving commercial success) are goals of mine, they're not my goal. None of those things, if achieved, would make me sit back and go "Yup, this is what I got into publishing to do."

So what would? Good question. And a few weeks ago, I realized that I didn't have the answer.

While I was thinking about it, my mind wandered to Batman Begins. (If you're looking for a logical connection between "writing goals" and "superhero flick," don't waste your time.) I remembered something Liam Neeson said at the start of the movie: "If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, then if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely."

To which Christian Bale asks "And what is that?"

To which Liam Neeson replies, "A legend, Mr. Wayne."

And he was right. The reason that the Batman franchise can be rebooted over and over again is that the character has achieved such a stature that the specifics of his adventures hardly matter. He is an icon. A fairy tale. And because of that, individual storytellers can tinker with the specifics of his world and still have their narrative accepted by the audience. Heath Ledger's Joker, for example, bears little resemblance to Mark Hamill's, but I didn't hear many viewers complaining. Which version is right? They both are! And so is Jack Nicholson's. As long as the legend is right, the details are fungible.

The success of ABC's Once Upon A Time is built on the same principle (though in that case the characters are literally fairy tales). Audiences will readily accept a version of the Snow White story that differs radically from either the Grimm's tale or the Disney movie because the specifics of her story are irrelevant. There's a Snow White. There's an evil queen. There's a magic mirror. The rest can take care of itself.

And that's my goal. I want my characters to win a place like that in the minds and hearts of readers. Thirty or forty or sixty or seventy years from now, I want someone to reboot Hunter Gamble's story and name the zombie something other than Sam Pollard. Or make his courtroom opponent someone other than Ellis Boyer. Or even do something really gutsy, like kill off Weldon somewhere in the book. And I want it to be okay that those details are different from the details in my version of the story, because the legend is the same: a hard-charging young lawyer who stands up when no one else will.

Do you think I'm asking too much?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fundraiser for Blood Kiss Movie!

So, maybe you've all heard of the upcoming movie Blood Kiss? That's the one that was written by Michael Reaves (who also wrote for this series; oh, and this one too) and stars Neil Gaiman (do I even need to tell you who he is?) and Amber Benson (Tara from this show). Sounds awesome, right? There's only one hitch: it's an indie film. And that means, if it's going to get funded, we're going to be the ones to do it.

Now, I basically grew up on Gargoyles and Batman: The Animated Series, so when I heard that one of the people responsible for those masterpieces was making a movie, I was super-psyched to do my part. I was even more psyched when I heard that Amber gets to sing again!) The problem is that I don't have all that much money of my own. So I decided I'm going to raise it.

Starting on Friday, May 31st and going through Sunday, June 2nd, I will donate the first $1,000 in profits from my book sales straight to the Blood Kiss Kickstarter! This applies for all four of my novels as well as my short story. So if you've been waiting for the right moment to find out what On The Bird Publishing is all about, this is it--get a good book for a good cause!

To recap, the things I've written are:

Atticus for the Undead (Hunter Gamble #1)

A zombie on trial for eating brains? Yes, please!

Hunter Gamble is an idealistic young attorney in a very special area of the practice--arcane defense. Funded by enigmatic billionaire Charles McClain and aided by shy-but-energetic research assistant Kirsten Harper, he's making the world a better place--one vampire, zombie, or werewolf client at a time. After all, they deserve their day in court, too, right?

When a young zombie walks into Hunter's office accused of murder (by brain-eating), Hunter's idealism is tested as never before as he struggles to secure the man's freedom. To do so, he must square off against a savvy and ambitious district attorney, contend with a judge who is deeply biased against arcanes, and stand up to a human supremacist group which will stop at nothing--not even Hunter's own death--to see his client convicted.

"...punchy dialogue, sonic action, and vivid description...." Kirkus Reviews
"...creative genius and exceptional writing." Moonlit Dreams

Identity Theft (Hunter Gamble #2)

A man walks into the Texas Capitol. Shots ring out. A young aide lies dead. Sounds like a job for Hunter Gamble, right?

Wrong. After his disastrous "victory" in the trial of Samuel Pollard, Hunter has turned his back on defending oppressed vampires, mages, and zombies. Having accepted a position at his father's giant litigation firm, he's trying the glamorous cases, working in a corner office, and making a six-figure salary... and hating every minute of it.

As Hunter plots his exit strategy, he finds himself inexorably drawn to the case of the Capitol shooter, who is an old friend from law school. As he works to clear his friend, Hunter discovers that there is much more at stake in this case than whether one man was under a spell. Before long, he finds himself pulled into a magical conspiracy dating back to before the Unveiling--and with a singularly cold-blooded wizard at its heart.

The clock is ticking. The search for answers is on. And the author of Atticus for the Undead invites you to come along for the thrill ride--and get the magic back.

"This is a tale of the supernatural at its core and begs to be given a chance."
"Identity Theft is a great read, fast paced and exciting, it definitely keeps the reader on their toes." Lindsay and Jane's Views and Reviews

Weaver (Weaver Saga #1)

Fifteen-year-old Alex Cronlord just met the boy of her dreams. Literally. Unfortunately, the dream involved him killing her. When she encounters him at her school the next morning, Alex understandably freaks out--and her mother's bizarre behavior only makes it worse. What Alex doesn't realize is that she can see the future--which will get her into a whole lot of trouble.

Across town, FBI Agent Moira McBain and her partner Andy Hall investigate a series of house burnings in Dallas, Texas. When a clue leads them to the Cronlords, Moira discovers a disturbing link between Alex's family and her own--which opens an old wound Moira has spent years trying to ignore.

Something is rotten in Dallas, Texas--something involving a secret society, children with extraordinary powers, and human-looking creatures who may literally be out of this world....

Welcome to a different kind of world-wide web.

"Attention fans of The Vladimir Todd Series, Alex Rider, Suck It Up, or even The Reformed Vampire Support Group or James Patterson YA--especially the Maximum Ride series, I've officially met your next obsession...." Ricochet Reviews
"Weaver is one part science fiction, one part paranormal fantasy, and a whole lot of fun!" Candy's Raves

The Void (Weaver Saga #2)

The zombie apocalypse is nigh!

The trouble is, Alex Cronlord is the only person who knows it. She is a Weaver--one of a group of superhuman children who are able to see the future--and she can still remember the vision she had just week ago of being chased by a shambling undead horde. But that's all she's seen of the coming horror, and lately, her visions have mostly been confusing. Dead bodies in dumpsters, a strange place called "Pinnacle," and no sign of a Xorda anywhere. At least, not at first.

As Alex struggles to make sense of these bits of information, a stitch-faced assassin surfaces with a vendetta against Ainsling Cronlord, Alex's mother. Ainsling is a member of the enigmatic Wells Society, a secret order of women who genetically mutate their own children to turn them into fighters against the Xora. She is the person who gave Alex her Weaver powers. And she is the person Alex can least afford to trust.

But when the stitch-faced man steps up his campaign against the Cronlord family, Alex begins to realize she may not have a choice. As she learns the disturbing truth behind her recent visions, Alex must decide how far she is willing to go to save the world.

"It would be a great book to read as a mother with your daughters.... Oh, and anyone who likes Buffy or Angel? You really should read it." Cabin Goddess

"If you're looking for a fun summer read, you can't go wrong with this set."

The Antlerbury Tales

A rogue, a bard, and a paladin walk into a tavern....

That sounds like the start of a joke, but it's actually the start of several pages full of them. This short story follows the exploits of a comically mismatched group of adventurers as they embark on a quest for The Dice, mythical objects with the power to change fate itself, and compete for the affections of a beautiful barmaid.