Top comics I want to read thanks to Free Comic Book Day

You’d think Free Comic Book Day would be good for your wallet, because—you know—it’s all free.

It’s rough on your wallet long-term, though, because you end up finding new series to love and spend money on. Granted, it’s not all bad, since that money goes to your local comic store, a small business that fosters the local geek community. Raising awareness for these stores is the whole reason we have Free Comic Book Day in the first place.

But still. My poor wallet.

I got a good haul last weekend once I figured out how to actually get the comics. My local comic shop had this system where you write the numbers of the five free comics you want on this little card, except I didn’t see the place where they had the numbered comics displayed, so I walked around in confusion for a while.

But I got my free comics and read through them last week. Some seemed more like ads than stories to me, and not all of them caught my interest, but a few definitely hooked me. Here are my top three. Continue reading Top comics I want to read thanks to Free Comic Book Day

Creating a Book Cover: The Ghost Machine

A good cover alone doesn’t make a good book.

I’d wager there are plenty of books out there with gorgeous covers that were quickly forgotten because the story inside didn’t live up to the captivating image on the front. But on the flip side, amazing stories go overlooked everyday because the cover is ugly or bland.

A cover has a critical job: to get readers to pick up the book.

As an indie author, I have complete control over my covers. This is great, because I won’t end up in one of those situations where the publisher chooses an inaccurate or just plain bad cover, and the author can’t do anything about it. This is also terrible, because I’m a writer, not a designer or marketer, and I don’t always know what type of cover will sell best. And I pay for the cover up front, so if the book doesn’t sell, I don’t get that money back.

What I’m trying to say is this: trying to figure out the best cover for your book can be… stressful. Continue reading Creating a Book Cover: The Ghost Machine

Book Review: Cold Stone & Ivy

You know that feeling when you finish reading a certain book? When you just have to tell everybody how awesome and amazing it was? You’re a reader, so you know what I mean

I finished Cold Stone & Ivy: The Ghost Club by H. Leighton Dickson a little while ago. I was in a bit of a reading slump beforehand, and boy, did this novel shake me out of it. Take a look:

Cold Stone and Ivy Cover

Book Description

Jack the Ripper gave her his heart. Now he wants it back.

The year is 1888, the clockwork British Empire is crumbling and young writer Ivy Savage has literally received a heart in the post. Terrified, her father sends her north to a strange sanitarium in Lancashire where the brilliant but unpredictable “Mad Lord of Lasingstoke” makes his home. Continue reading Book Review: Cold Stone & Ivy

Spectacular Steampunk Short Stories

Interested in traveling back in time and across dimensions? Good, because I’ve got a collection of steampunk short fiction to transport you to other worlds. The steam and clockwork-powered robots in these stories range from evil to enchanting, from sentient beings to human-piloted machines of mass destruction. The one thing they all have in common is being highly entertaining.

The Mark V Eleganté by Nelson Stanley

The Mark V Eleganté is a fantastic audio short over at Gallery of Curiosities. It’s set around an insanely dangerous race of massive steampunk contraptions where the only rule is that anything goes, and stuff gets smashed up worse than when the Hulk comes to town. The main character has a memorable voice, and the narrator fits him so perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else reading it. The story manages to be both super fun and really tragic at the same time, and you should definitely give it a listen.

If you like podcasts and steampunk in general, Gallery of Curiosities is a delightful little corner of the internet, and you won’t regret checking out the other stories they’ve published. Continue reading Spectacular Steampunk Short Stories

Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee

Mirror Dance CoverYou know the feeling of finishing a good book? You loved it but end up depressed that it’s over, longing to spend more time with the characters.

If I did my job right, that’s the feeling you got at the end of The Ghost Machine. And do I have good news for you.

The Braden Banshee, a short story set after the end of The Ghost Machine, is available for free in the latest issues of Mirror Dance Fantasy Magazine. You can read the whole thing online here.

The basic premise is that Ella, working as a spirit medium after everything that happened in The Ghost Machine, is hired not to do a seance but to banish a banshee to prevent the death its wail foretells. There are plot twists, steampunk machinery, and ghosts, of course. I hope those of you who liked The Ghost Machine will enjoy another gothic adventure with Ella Rosenfeld. Continue reading Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee

Turn Back the Pages: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Delilah Dirk Cover

I seem to be reading and writing a lot about ladies with swords lately. That’s not a problem, just an observation.

The latest swordswoman I want to share with you is Delilah Dirk, early 19th century adventurer and troublemaker. She’s been traveling the world from a young age, learning all sorts of useful skills like archery, acrobatics, and no less than 47 sword-fighting techniques. When our story begins, she finds herself in Constantinople, and that’s where she meets the Turkish lieutenant, Erdemoglu Selim: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Announcing the Secret Stairs Anthology

You mustn’t talk about the stairs.

There they stand, surrounded by nothing but forest, pristine as the day they were built. No sign remains of any other structure around them, no ruins of long forgotten buildings. They look… wrong. They feel wrong. Bad things happen if you get too close. Horrible things.

You must never, ever ever talk about them.

Thirty-four of today’s best up and coming writers provide wonderfully unique interpretations inspired by the urban legends of the Internet age. Tales range from science fiction to fantasy, horror to mystery, and one writer even penned a romance!

But you must never tell anyone about the stairs!

Secret Stairs Cover

Last year, I came across a call for short story submissions about stairs in the woods, the urban legend of creepy stairs standing alone in the middle of a forest. Inspiration struck, and I wrote a story about Ella and Viktor from The Ghost Machine. Set after the events of the novel, it features a mysterious staircase that’s the center of ghostly happenings, and–well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. 😉 Continue reading Announcing the Secret Stairs Anthology