Favorite Character Blog Hop


I got tagged by Jori Mierek in a blog hop about favorite characters. I can’t say it was an easy choice, but I would have to say Althea from Prophet of the Badlands is my favorite by a smidge. Writing from Althea’s POV is fun because of how different the world is to someone with her upbringing. What is everyday and mundane to most people is full of magic to her. For example, old skyscrapers falling open aren’t buildings made by men, but giant nests constructed by unimaginable insects―because mere men couldn’t possibly have built something so massive.

1) What is the name of your character?  Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Althea is a fictional character in The Awakened series. She is painfully innocent, to the point of tolerating horrible treatment so long as she can continue to help others. Her world is one of harsh rules, where the strong take what they want unless someone stronger can stop them. She is able to control the energies within a person and speed up their rate of healing such that even the most grievous of wounds vanish in moments. For this, she has become well known, and everyone in the Badlands wants to own her.

I think she’s my favorite due to her combination of resilience, innocence, and compassion. Also, of all “powers” I’ve always been fond of healers. While I was writing Division Zero, I had Althea standing behind me tapping her foot waiting her turn. While writing Prophet of the Badlands, I had some plans in the outline about 65% of the way through that she rather didn’t approve of. When I hit that scene, she tapped me on the shoulder and shook her head. I wound up changing the story in a major way at that point, a tweak that rippled throughout the rest of the series. I am hoping her combination of inner strength, innocence, and plain horrible luck endear her to readers who (like I did) will want to reach into the story and pull her out to a safe place.

2) When and where is the story set?

Prophet of the Badlands is set in the year 2418. For the most part, the story takes place in the Badlands, which is basically most of central North America. Due to war involving cybernetic-enhanced gene-tweaked mutants as well as chemical/biological and small nuclear weapons, most of the interior of the continent has been abandoned. Modern cities line both coasts, but those who live in the middle are unaware of them, believing a curtain of fire marks the end of the world.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Althea is somewhere between eleven and twelve years old, and has been kidnapped over and over again since she was six. All she knows of her mother is from a faint story she heard of being abandoned at a small village by a lake. Her blue eyes emit bright light, a side effect of her Awakened nature, a visible manifestation of her ability to see in the dark. Her strongest psionic power is healing; she can command a person’s body to mend itself at a touch, sensing sickness and injury as distortions in the body’s “shapes.” Her second strongest power is telempathy (the ability to manipulate and read emotions). She is also capable of psionic suggestion, allowing her to force short commands on people, though she is far weaker (due to lack of practice) with that gift. Like most psionics, she possesses a degree of telepathy, able to listen to the surface thoughts of others, as well as communicate with a mental voice.

Since she was six, she has been repeatedly abducted by everyone from well-meaning villagers to marauding gangs. Everyone in the Badlands has heard the stories of the Prophet, and in a world without medical technology, they all want her to be theirs.

She has little reaction to the sight of gore, but cringes at violence–even balking at the idea of hurting people who keep her captive. She starts off desperate to help everyone she can while being terrified that one wrong move could turn the people’s adoration into hatred. Badlanders are notorious for their superstitions, and she tolerates captivity because she is afraid of how they would treat her if they knew she could do more than heal. Her reputation as The Prophet affords her a degree of protection, as those who hold her prisoner handle her as gentle as bloodthirsty marauders can―well aware of the legends which claim bad things happen to those who mistreat her.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Not all of her “owners” are the same degree of cruel. When the story starts, she belongs to a group of primitive tribals who have come to trust her promise that she will not attempt to flee. She is allowed to exist among them out of her cage, and forms a friendship with Den, a boy a few years older than her who is also the son of the chief. Her gifts let her see through the gossip, that he only wants her for prestige-to have the Prophet as his pet-and she knows he genuinely cares for her. For years, she has gone through an endless series of abductions, not caring too much about being taken because she had lost nothing. When raiders take her away from the little village, she remembers what it feels like to hate being kidnapped.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

Althea’s personal goal is primarily to help others. She doesn’t care what happens to her as long as she is able to ease the suffering of everyone around her. As the story progresses, and she develops emotional connections of her own, her goals change to one of protecting the people she cares about as she finds the courage to do so.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

PROPHET OF THE BADLANDS is complete, and will be released next year. Althea also reappears in other books in The Awakened series. Click HERE for more information on Prophet of the Badlands.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

The current date for publication is April 27 2015.



I was tagged by : Jori Mierek


I’m tagging the following authors: (If you are up for it, post your answers to these questions and tag more writers.)

James Wymore (Theocracide, The Actuator, Exacting Essence, Salvation) – http://jameswymore.wordpress.com/

Vicki Weavil – (Crown of Ice) http://vickilempweavil.com/

Sam Hunt – (Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree, The Law of the Wolf, Ten Thousand Devils) http://www.theusualmadman.net/

Matthew Graybosch – (Without Bloodshed – Starbreaker I) http://www.starbreakerseries.com/

Tony Healey – (Far From Home Series, Edge of Oblivion – Anthology, The Bloody Northhttp://tonyhealey.com/

Evan Hourihan – (Bent, Time Lapse)  http://ethourihan.com/

Sometimes, delay is good.


What a difference ten novels make. I recently got the manuscript for Prophet of the Badlands back from Curiosity Quills’ proofreader. For some reason, it took an abnormal amount of time to make its way through the process – but I can’t say it was a bad thing. In fact, I am confident it will result in a stronger work. Prophet was the third full-length novel I wrote, following Virtual Immortality and Division Zero 1. After I had finished Virtual Immortality (around self edit 2) I had a bit of a conundrum as to which to do next, Division Zero or Prophet. I wound up writing Division Zero first, but always with the feeling that Althea (the protagonist of Prophet) was standing behind me, tapping her foot and impatiently waiting her turn.

Almost two years, and ten novels later, I am looking at Prophet with new eyes. It’s frightening and amazing at the same time to peek into the (albeit not-too-distant) past, at the style and manner in which I wrote at the time. Minor mechanical flaws that either escaped notice or knowledge back then now stand out to me as plain as if I’d left a light on during a blackout. The opportunity to remove myself from it for over a year while focusing on other stories, as well as working with a myriad of editors, has been a boon.

There are a handful of quotes floating around regarding writers and a million words. If you count a 400,000 word monstrosity that I attempted a long time ago, and buried deep somewhere, I’m probably getting close to two at this point. Given the the contrast with which I can now view something I wrote almost two years ago, I agree there is something to be said for the idea that a writer must write. While I may be an unusual example of focus (if I am not at the day job or sleeping, I’m writing or editing), the end result of this process is indeed something tangible.

I suppose the message in all of this to other writers is not to dwell on where you are at the moment. Someone once commented to me something along the lines of: “A poor writer writes crap and thinks it’s good, while a skilled writer writes something good they think is crap.” Write for the sake of writing. Tell a story, and worry later on about making sure none of the mortar is showing through your bricks. Two, three, or six books from now, you’ll see the difference.

I know I have.

Lex De Mortuis Release Event


Wow, that was a fast six months. The release of Division Zero: Lex De Mortuis (Book 2) is coming up in just 4 days. To celebrate, we are doing an online release party via Facebook event. We will have several games and contests for prizes including:

Two signed paperback copies of the Division Zero book 1.

Two signed paperback copies of Division Zero: Lex De Mortuis.

Four ebooks (winner’s choice among: Division Zero 1, Virtual Immortality, or Caller 107)

Four items made by Rhonda from Justplummy Swagit.

Please join us online on September 9th at 8:00 PM EST.

Click here to go to the event on Facebook.

Cover Reveal | Borderlands Anthology

Actuator 1-5 Borderlands  E-book Cover

The release date for the Borderlands Anthology is coming up fast – Sep 11 2014. I am pleased to be able to announce the cover art for a collection of short stories I was privileged to be a part of. Each story is set in the world established in The Actuator.

Please join us on Facebook for the release party:


The Borderlands Anthology contains:

Remembering Emily, by Sara Wolf
Stolen Orchid, by Matthew Cox
The Blackbird’s Tale, by Dan Willis
The Dream Journal of Oren Wesley, by Nathan Yocum
The Austenation, by Mara Valderran
Escape, by Patrick Burdine
The Ritual, by Whitney Trang
The Gatekeepers of Change, by James Pratt
The Ringer, by Craig Nybo
Anna and Lena, by Jason Purdy
Once Upon A Frozen North, by Jenny Persson
Halfway, by Jay Wilburn
The Search for Punarav, by Juhi
15 Seconds of Fame, by Jason A. Anderson
Forever Young, by Wil Stanton
Cult of the Actuation, by James Wymore