Bits and Bobs

News and Updates

Posted on: April 16, 2022

Engage Engines…Prepare for Lift Off

There is a lot going on in my life right now.

Let’s go back to March…when things began to stir for me.

Lexi Mohney, the intrepid leader of Courage Publishing, asked me for a revised blurb for the back of the book. Plus, she told me she and Clementine Willowdale, another of the heroic warriors at Courage, were working on some marketing stuff and had hired Breanna Bartels to help with all of it.

As you see over in the LOGOS page, I then went to England. My wife hadn’t seen her mum in nearly three years because of Covid, so she (we) was excited to travel across The Pond and see family and friends.

Whilst I was there, I had a flurry of messages about The Dark Stirs. Lexi told me that a formal decision to publish book one had been made—

June 28th

—and presales would commence on

April 19th.

At midnight on the 19th, you can click the book cover on the Kit and Caboodle page to go to the presale site. (So all my English and Irish friends and family will get an earlier chance than the Americans.)

THEN she gave me an “ambitious” deadline of the end of May to have a completed revised draft of The Dark Gambit (book two). I’ll talk a little more about that later.

THEN she (Lexi) sent a print draft of The Dark Stirs for me to examine.

When I got back from England, I got to work, resuming my job at Ashley Home Store and diving into the draft of The Dark Gambit—as well as having meetings about the format of The Dark Stirs.


Breanna sent me a slew of questions to help her with focusing on marketing. She produced an awesome video announcement for the book. You can see it here.

To pile on all this, Deb and I are helping with the wedding of my son Drew and his fiancé Emily. AND our granddaughters Ella and Cora—plus my father—have birthdays in May.

So, yes…engines have been engaged. I’m preparing for the final countdown. Mission Control (me) is trying to keep all systems optimal.

Update on The Dark Gambit

So, I’ve been in Phase 2 of revising TDG on Scrivener. I’ve avoided looking too much at how others have used Scrivener—there are a ton of vids on YouTube—because I’ve wanted to try to develop my own process.

In the last post, I showed you how I set up the transfer of files from Word to Scrivener, and how I worked at organizing the files. Now, I want to show you a little on how I am doing the revision.

What I decided to do, to avoid having to look at the Word files, I copied the folders. Thus, under Part I: That Darkness Peering (a phrase from E.A. Poe’s “The Raven”), you see two Angelique folders. The first (with the 30,752 word count) is the original that I will use as reference if needed. What do I mean by that? Sometimes I get into the revision—adding and changing text, moving scenes about—that I need to go back to the original to see what looks and sounds better. With both files in the same place in Scrivener, I don’t have to open and close files.

In the case of Chapter 1, I knew I would need to revise the beginning. This part was originally the last part of the previous draft of The Dark Stirs—before I pushed it to the beginning of TDG.

(Is this making sense? I discussed this in the last post.)

That means I need to change the beginning of Chapter 1 into the beginning of a novel, requiring a reintroduction of Angelique and more description. It could be a year since the reader had been in The Dark Stirs. I’ll need to do the same with Chapter 2 since it will be just as long since the reader had been with John Wilkins.

You’ll notice in Angelique’s revision a hyphen next to the filename:
1 (March 2008) –
That means I have finished working on the file revision. As you can see, I have finished all of Part 1 Angelique files.

This has worked very nicely for me as I was able to focus on Angelique’s story. This helped with plugging a couple narrative holes, smoothing out the narrative flow.

Once I revise all the files, I’ll compile them into a document and send it off to Lexi Mohney at Courage After Dark to give her a look at the completed second book.

The crazy thing is that I am doing all of this as I am engaging the engines of The Dark Stirs book launch!

To give you a little look at the complexity of taking something from the end of a book to making it the beginning of a book (and also to give you a little preview of The Dark Gambit), here is the beginning scene of Chapter 1, old and new, as it appears in Scrivener. (I have to crop the screenshots to enlarge them.)

This is 138 words into the old chapter. Remember, the old chapter was the beginning of Part 3 of the old draft.

There is no way this could be the beginning of a new book.

I had to get to work on crafting this into something suitable for a reader who may not have been with Angelique for a while.

The following screenshot goes 275 words into the chapter. It is nowhere near “How did you sleep?”

In fact, “How did you sleep?” doesn’t arrive until 1,192 words into the new chapter.

To give you some perspective, the old chapter is a total of 1,170 words; the new-revised chapter is 2,285 words!

The old Angelique folder is 30,752 words. The new-revised folder contains 32,243 words. This may seem like not many additional words, but the significant thing to keep in mind is that I reworked a number of scenes that may not have resulted in additional words.

I’ll have to do the same with John Wilkins’ beginning as well.

This is just a glimpse of the hard work of what “revision” is.

Don’t forget to preorder The Dark Stirs on April 19th and stay in touch with my social media pages. Lots of things will be happening between now and June 28th!

Posted on: December 13, 2021

The Dark Stirs Cover Revealed!

Here’s the link to watch my chat with Lexi Mohney of Courage After Dark to see the book cover for my forthcoming novel The Dark Stirs.

Posted on: December 2, 2021

You Get What You Got Comin’

There’s a catchy tune by Van Zant that discusses what goes around comes around, that one gets back what one gives. My problem is that I give too much information. In other words, I have a big mouth. And because of that, my publisher Lexi from Courage After Dark won’t tell me the tentative date for the release of The Dark Stirs. “It’s next year”—that’s all she’ll tell me. I probably deserve it.

Rest assured, my friends, there are plans being made in preparation for the book’s release.

The first major event is the cover reveal. But guess what? Yep. Lexi ain’t tellin’ big mouth. Yet. She teases me with “in December” and smiles that smile that says, “You get what you got comin’.”

One of the things I’m doing is looking for podcasts. I have a couple casters who are interested. I’d like more. If any of you know of any interested podcasters who would like to interview a horror author on the threshold of publishing his first book, please send me an email:

I’ve begun to work on the re”vision” of Book 2: The Dark Gambit. As some of you may know, I have announced I am moving forward with doing all my work now on the writing program Scrivener. I have three phases planned for this transition:


Phase 1: The Transfer

This is a basic copy and paste from the Word draft (on the left) into Scrivener (on the right). What’s nice about Scrivener is that I can organize all of Angelique’s chapters in one folder and the same with John Paul’s. You can see how the chapters progress, alternating between the two protagonists. If you look closely in the Scrivener side for part two, all of Ange’s are even numbers, John Paul’s odd. I recently finished this phase, and the total words are a tad over 100,000. Right in the wheelhouse, so-to-speak.

[ASIDE: Notice the title for part two: “The Suit That You Wear.” It is the title of a Stone Temple Pilots tune I felt fit thematically with the section. Niranjana Johar, one of the important secondary characters in the story, says this little phrase to John Wilkins. The early draft epigraph of the part included a few lines of lyrics. However, because of copyrighting, I learned that I cannot use the lyrics. So, I must either change the title and epigraph completely (hence the brackets) or I compose a new epigraph using the phrase “the suit that you wear.” I ran into this same issue with The Dark Stirs. For instance, one of the parts is entitled “Working Them Angels,” and I had used some of the RUSH lyrics in the old epigraph. I had to remove the lyrics, but I composed a new poetic piece using the phrase. Initially, I wanted to use quite a few lyrics as epigraphs, but I discovered this is a nearly impossible thing unless you’re a giant like Stephen King (rhyme intended). I like the STP title, so I will more than likely compose something using the phrase.]


Phase 2: Re”vision” and Organization

This is the difficult part, I think—well, I already know it is. The challenge of re-evaluating the series and reorganizing it from three long books into four shorter books was that I knew I’d run into organizational issues. To create the new second book The Dark Gambit (TDG), I combined the end of the old draft of The Dark Stirs (TDS) with the first part of the old second book, The Dark Harvest (TDH). Here’s a little chart of what I’m talking about.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Part [4] 1
Part [1] 2
As I was going through Scrivener phase one, I saw some backtracking in the old TDH part 1. Since it was the beginning of the old second book, I had rewound the timeline a little to introduce some new action, but mostly to remind the reader of the end of the old TDS.

When you look at this pic of the Scrivener binder, you can see all that strange notation in parentheses and brackets next to many of the chapters. Some of that is to refer to original chapter numbers, but some of it refers to chapters from the old TDH.

Don’t worry. I know what it all means. But I wanted to give you an idea of the complexity of what I’m dealing with when it comes to re”vision.” I have to “see again” the books so that the narrative flows naturally from one book to the next. I have no idea how long this will take. I would like to say a month, but it will more than likely take a few. And this guesstimate doesn’t consider what rewrites I may have to do with TDS once I get the report from the editor.

Phase 3: Physical Rewrite

Once I iron out all the wrinkles from phase two and get the story into a good narrative flow, I will start from word one and physically rewrite the manuscript into another file. 100,000 words, give or take. This is more difficult than it sounds and takes longer than you might think.

When I rewrote TDS, I didn’t want to. Lexi had given me copious notes on the earlier draft, and I went through those, making a number of deletions and expansions and changes. This was what I thought rewriting was. I was only half correct. I was still inside the manuscript—a part of it. Lexi encouraged me to step outside of it and physically reWRITE the book from word one. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t think it would amount to much more than what I had already done. Lexi explained that even if that were true, the book would be a little better … and better is good. Covid had hit, I had lost my job, and no jobs were on the horizon. What the hell, why not?

And I was surprised.

As I did the rewrite, there were parts I ended up revising. I added touches of setting. I got into the characters’ minds a little more. I clarified some things I hadn’t noticed were opaque. And I deleted some stuff I decided wasn’t that important. The word count went down a little.

So, I stand corrected. For me, a physical “alpha-omega” rewrite was a necessary thing, and I will do that from now on. I’m not certain what other authors do when it comes to rewriting. They seem a little vague when it comes to talking about their process. What I plan to do is to document some of that for you and post it on this website and social media.

One final word: If you haven’t checked out all the links in the last post, please do. There is some good stuff there.

Have a great holiday season!

Posted on: October 28, 2021

No Tricks. All Treats.

A few announcements coming atcha!

I have a Halloween surprise! Check out my interview and the reading of an excerpt from The Dark Stirs on Brad Peters’ SORCERY AND SUPERSTITION podcast. We talk about some of the things going on in my life as well as the forthcoming novel. Then he performs a dramatic reading. Even he admits it’s a pretty creepy selection. Here’s the link to the podcast:

I did a Halloween show for Brad last year. He read a short story I had written based on a secondary character from The Dark Harvest and The Dark Angel (Books Three and Four of The Dark Matter Series—yep, that’s how much I have already drafted). Entitled “Young Blood,” it takes place about a year after the end of the series. It’s about some nefarious activities around parabiosis, and it’s heavily influenced by Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Cask of Amontillado.” Here’s a link to that podcast from October 2020:

When I had posted before about my Kindle Vella story “The Long Shadow of Rising Night,” it was waiting on its acceptance into the site. Here’s a direct link to the story. Please consider supporting me by purchasing tokens to open all the episodes.

Lastly, I’ll be on Facebook Live on Halloween. I’ll be chatting with my publishing team Lexi and Clementine. Be looking out for that on Sunday afternoon of the 31st around 12-noon. We all will be making announcements about it as the time approaches.

Have a great Halloween weekend!

Posted on: October 5, 2021

Shadows in Orbit

Early drafts of The Dark Matter Series contained quite a few ‘ludes. No, not quaaludes. Preludes, interludes, and postludes. After quite a lot of debate over the focus of the series—especially The Dark Stirs—and the characters, I removed most of the ‘ludes and decided they would become “satellite stories” to revolve around the main series.

The first of these can be found on Kindle Vella.

In the search box, type in my last name, and you should see “The Long Shadow of Rising Night.”

So, this is how Vella works. Reading selections are divided into episodes. An episode can be as short as 600 words or as long as 5,000. The first three episodes of any story on Vella are free. To open or unlock subsequent episodes, you need to purchase tokens. The number of tokens needed for each episode is based on the word count.

Please consider supporting me and the story.

“The Long Shadow of Rising Night” takes place about ten years before the main action of The Dark Stirs and features Ben Carlson, Angelique’s father. (To find out a little about the major characters of The Dark Matter Series, check out my LOGOS blog on the Mots and Maxims page.) It is a dark and somewhat gruesome story, setting up how Angelique becomes the way she is in TDMS.