Tuesday, December 8, 2015


So the first draft of the cover for The Demon Maelstrom is complete and ready to show. I'm trying to preserve a sense of continuity in the looks of all three covers, with the solid background and the iconic silhouette. I hope y'all like it, and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Another Goody for My Readers

This week is turning out to be quite the treat for you all who are following the creation of the second book of my trilogy! I have another small excerpt from what I've been writing, which I hope you'll enjoy. Again, let me know what you think, with any possible theories as to what it happening in the scene in question. I love to hear speculation as to what you think is going on.


Adam watched the craft rise up in a kind of hypnotized silence, only rousing himself when it had ascended to half the height of the Central Admin building and begun to turn towards Georgetown. His mouth bent into a macabre grimace as he laid the sniper rifle on the side of the Phalanx's turret mount, powering on the scope and hunching behind the weapon. He closed his left eye and peered through the scope, noting the flickering digital numbers underneath the cross hairs that accounted for wind speed and direction. A diamond-shaped tracking pip appeared on the scope and locked onto the helicopter's slowly retreating shape, following it doggedly as Adam slowly shifted position and locked the gun's chamber shut.

He froze as the window of the helicopter turned towards him and the head of a woman appeared in his target reticle. He could clearly make out Anna in the co-pilot's seat, bent over her tablet working on something, her long hair draped around her like a heavy concealing curtain. She reached up with the hand closest to him and swept her hair behind her ear, and Adam swallowed as he stared at her pale face. She was beautiful, a graceful creature, a dead lookalike for her mother.

A hot tear not caused by the wind trickled down his cheek, followed by another one from the other eye. His whole body became rigid, shivering more from some undefinable emotion than from the cold. He swallowed again, blinked to clear his targeting eye, and put his face back to the scope. The helicopter had turned farther and Anna's figure was no longer easily visible. The craft's engines made an easy target, however, and Adam's cross hairs drifted towards the right hand engine as his finger moved towards the trigger.

His body relaxed again, a necessary prerequisite for a decent shot. He breathed slowly several times, compensating the reticle in response to the changing numbers inside the scope as he did so, zoning in mentally. His thumb drifted over and dropped the safety switch to the Fire position, and his index finger wrapped around the trigger.

Breathe. Recheck the numbers. Breathe again.

At the last moment his lips parted, his eyes clouding over for a split second as a memory rampaged through his mind and left his features contorted with suppressed feeling. He drew in a long breath, let it out halfway, and squeezed the trigger all the way to the trigger guard.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A New Excerpt For My Patient Audience

I'm almost reluctant to post this excerpt as it deals with a pivotal moment in the book, but I think it's both vague and enticing enough to whet your appetites more. This entire scene has been exhausting to write but I think it is coming together exactly the way I wanted it.

We are once again reminded that our heroine, Miss Annalise McLean, is no saint. What she is upset about remains for you to find out on launch day.

Have fun!


Anna dissolved into a fresh wave of tears and buried her face in the couch pillow. After several body-racking sobs she let out a horrendous scream at the top of her lungs, only for the sound to die into the upholstered surface muffling her mouth. She screamed again and again into the pillow, feeling her throat vibrate and strain, emptying her lungs in one shriek of grief after another until nearly hoarse. She felt like wrecking something, like throwing Central Admin onto the floor in a rage and smashing it into tiny pieces as if it were fine china. She wanted Adam dead.

As she lay weeping on the couch a sudden craving rose up inside her, a bitter tide of lust for numbness and indifference in the face of all this despair. She knew that feeling all too well but it filled her now like it never had before, consuming her body with the urge she knew she should resist at all costs. Her stomach growled at her, her head swam a bit as a pulsating ache occupied itself with tormenting her left eye.

She wanted alcohol. Now.

Her willpower to resist evaporated. Once the decision had clicked over in her brain she acted almost without thinking. A kind of tunnel vision set in and she knew she was standing and moving towards the cabinet on the far wall. It was a kind of buffet service with a wide glassed-in cabinet on top, and behind the glass lay several bottles of choice red wine. A warning bell in her mind blared in vain that it was the wine Mr. Vickers used for mass, that she ought not even touch it much less drink it like the alcoholic she knew she was. She grabbed the door handles and pulled.

The cabinet rattled but didn't open. She pulled again, and only on the third tug realized that a lock held the doors fast shut. Some neuron in her brain spasmed and she pulled her sweater sleeve over her fist and struck the glass hard. The glass splintered with a muffled crack and she cleared it away hurriedly with her wrapped hand, then reached in for the closest bottle. In her rush to extract it from its nesting place she banged her fingers on the inside edge of the door, sending excruciating pain radiating up from her knuckles. Swearing hard, she snatched up the wine key from the lower shelf and knifed open the foil around the neck of the bottle, then drove the corkscrew into the cork and extracted it with the precision and speed of a former master of the art. Without even attempting to look for a glass of any kind she put the bottle to her lips and took a long swig.

Friday, October 9, 2015

THE DEMON MAELSTROM: A New Excerpt, For My Patient Fans

For everyone waiting patiently for the release of the second book in my trilogy, here is another excerpt from my work so far. I'm sorry it's been a while since anything new has been released; I've been dealing with issues both medical and personal, and the words simply would not come. However, the floodgates of inspiration seem to have opened again and the words are forming into sentences which are forming into paragraphs, which have formed another chapter of this book.


He was perhaps twenty steps beyond the doorway, outside security camera range, when he suddenly bore to his right and began skirting parallel to the front of the building. He checked his tablet: still within range of their network. He switched apps and pulled up a simple window with a large cartoon picture of a bomb in the middle, in the middle of which was the single word BOOM! He grinned at his own whimsy as he crouched behind a decorative maple tree growing from a hole in the concrete entrance patio. At the moment only he was aware of his charms; soon the whole city would know them intimately. Of course he had to reserve a bit for himself, but that only served to spice up his own experience of the intricate plan now beginning to unfold.

Thirty seconds…

Steam clouded out from his mouth as he huddled near the tree, his gaze now glued to his watch as the digital numbers ticked down the seconds he had left. At the twenty second mark his finger moved to hover over the obscene little picture of the bomb, and at fifteen seconds he mashed it a little harder than he needed to. QX computer code began to stream across the screen, duplicating itself across the invisible data connection into the giant building beyond. Gerald watched the code with a face full of almost childlike expectation; an eager, hungry face that twisted into a grin when he began to see his success in the code.

Inside the building, in the languid atmosphere of the glass guard booth, a warning began to flash on the security camera feed. All three guards glanced up and soon found themselves glued to the screens in a daze of non-comprehension. Each screen blinked, stuttered, then dissolved into strange code that streamed across a dark background. The master intrusion alarm began to sound and red lights lit up the entrance lobby. Tony looked back at the other two guards, his face ashen. “Did either of you two mess with our camera feed data?” The pair of guards shook their heads back at him, their faces equally astonished.

The screens blinked again and then turned white, and a single word appeared in the center of each one: SURPRISE!

Zero and zero seconds.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Demon Maelstrom, Excerpt #4

Dear Readers,

Here is the fourth excerpt from The Demon Maelstrom, the second book in the SubVersion Trilogy. I hope you enjoy, and I hope it keeps you guessing! Stay tuned for more news and content about the book, and as always, Let There Be Life!

Excerpt #4

I'm here,” Sam admitted, “to talk about one person in particular who happens to interest me greatly. Someone who has been needing thorough investigation for months now.”

Farkas shot him a despairing look. “Is that person the next in line to the Secretary's desk, perchance? Is it a woman? Is she the one redesigning our entire computer and database system here at Central Admin? And is her name Annalise McLean? Because if the person you're talking about bears any resemblance to that woman then I can assure you that I am not interested.”

Color flushed into Sam's face and he moved to the edge of the seat in his anger. “How could you not be interested?”

It's easy, Sam,” Farkas shot back. “You have absolutely nothing on her. I have nothing on her. She is as clean as a whistle, and I am not interested. You've had seven months and you've failed to change my mind.”

Sam dropped his briefcase next to the chair and slammed a fist onto the armrest, causing the metal to vibrate dully. With an oath he verbally tore into the other man. “Her commex stayed in her house in exactly the same place for eighteen hours! And after she came back to Central Admin was when everything began to fall apart! And speaking of falling apart, she fell apart when I- when Captain James died, and now on top of everything else she's pregnant! There's a pattern here, I tell you, and nobody else is concerned about it!”

Farkas jumped to his feet and propped himself over the desk, his burning eyes fixed in a glare on Sam's face. “She's clean, Sam! She's clean, cleaner than anyone I've ever known! Jim Jarvis in IT has scanned her personal office computer and found nothing, three separate times! We've followed her movements throughout Central Admin and they represent nothing erratic! We've run trace after trace on the wedge file data dump that Vérité pulled on you and Jim, and the only thing we've been able to find is that it ends in the UK, nothing else. Miss McLean is either completely innocent of any attachment to Vérité or she is one of the best hackers on the planet.” He glowered at his old boss. “In short, if she is Vérité then she's a ghost.”

 Sam stared back incredulously. “And you've done nothing else? Like have her followed to her home?”
Farkas groaned and sat back down. “Don't start on this again.”
Answer my question!” Sam insisted. “You didn't have her followed? Why in the world not?”
Because I was not authorized to do so,” Farkas replied wearily. “As a matter of fact, I was told to avoid doing so at all costs.”


Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Demon Maelstrom, Excerpt #3

Dear Readers,

Here is the third excerpt from The Demon Maelstrom, the second book in the SubVersion Trilogy. I hope you enjoy, and I hope it keeps you guessing! Stay tuned for more news and content about the book, and as always, Let There Be Life!


Her hands fell from her face and she glanced out the window again. It must be almost three o'clock, she thought. She checked her watch and confirmed the time as two forty-five. Her expression softened as she stared off through the falling snow to the west, trying to divine what lay beyond the city, beyond the beltway, inside a house miles away in the middle of a snow-covered field. Three o'clock was the prescribed time for a meeting more important than anything she was doing at Central Admin today.

She was startled from her reverie by Bridgit, who somehow had materialized right next to her without her noticing. Bridgit stood staring down at Anna's large belly with a serious look on her face, her manner uncharacteristically hesitant and quiet. She had only been part of Anna's coding team for a week but had already demonstrated an extraordinary aptitude for her work; she had also shown a penetrating mind that picked apart every bit of their project with a fervor that disturbed Anna to no end. If Anna was worried about any of her team discovering her secret, she was worried about Bridgit.

The younger woman stood wordlessly for a full minute, glancing out the window in the same direction as Anna before licking her lips and clearing her throat to speak. “I've got two questions before you get all gussied up for your party downstairs. If you have the time, that is.”

Anna nodded, her stomach clenching with a vague dread but her face betraying nothing. “I have a couple minutes. Go ahead.”

Bridgit's cocky grin half-appeared, but without its usual gusto. She scratched her chin nervously, the tattooed snake that encircled her wrist flexing with the movement. “I'm concerned about the new module code. I didn't want to say anything in front of Jeremy, but I think he's hit on something. A generic operating system process shouldn't be conflicting with the security software the way it has been.”

I was right, she is sharp, Anna thought uncomfortably. She put on a thoughtful face and regarded Bridgit with a cocked head. “Probably not. This module has been rewritten several times now, though. Did you think to check for any conflicting code from the previous version?”

Bridgit gave her a strange look, somewhere between respectful disagreement and incredulity. “That was the first thing I checked, before you even got here this morning. There was only new code. The conflict is occurring right where the module turns on. You get like two commands in and it just dies.” She narrowed her eyes at Anna. “Jeremy told me once that you sometimes set him up to look like the fool with some sort of 'lesson' in the code for him to pick apart. As fun as it is to do stuff like that to him, please tell me that's not what you were doing here.”

Partial relief washed over Anna and she gave a little smile. Jeremy must have been lying to gain sympathy, but it worked to Anna's advantage. She put a hand on Bridgit's arm. “No, I wasn't trying to test anyone, except maybe my own patience. I'll bring it home with me tonight and try to fix it, I'm sure it was just a stupid mistake on my part.”

Bridgit raised an eyebrow at her, not looking entirely convinced. “But you don't make mistakes.”

I try not to,” Anna replied, growing wary again. “But statistically we're all bound to at some point.”

Shrugging, Bridgit appeared resigned to the answer. However, she still didn't turn to the door, only stood there with the same hesitant attitude. Anna frowned at her.

You said you had two questions?” she inquired.

I did, yes.” Bridgit's gaze moved back down to Anna's stomach. “You're . . . pregnant, right?”

Friday, January 2, 2015

Some Tidbits

The creation of The SubVersion Complex and the world it inhabits has been one of the most intensive, fun, infuriating, and inspiring projects I've ever worked on so far. While the next two books in the trilogy are already proving to be a far more monumental task in scope and emotional scale (I am writing them both at the same time for the sake of consistency), the first still astounds me by the simple fact that a year ago it didn't even exist, and now it does. It's humbling.

So I figured I would give back a little bit here, take a break from writing the second book and share a little about the process of writing the first. I found myself intrigued by the process, and I hope you do too. Call it a "behind-the-scenes" look. Or whatever, you get the idea. So here goes, a list of interesting tidbits about various aspects of the creation of the book.

(1) If you read the Acknowledgments section of the book, you'll notice that I credited the band Nero for indirectly providing the inspiration for the novel. It was a very weird inspirational moment. I had just finished writing and editing a short comedic novel and was bored thinking of what else I might write. So I began trolling the music videos on YouTube, and Nero's "Must Be the Feeling" popped up. I like Nero and I began to watch. The video was heavily dystopian/police-state in content, involving a car being chased by a robotic cop on a motorcycle. As the protagonists are chased at top speed through an unidentified city at night, a glowing billboard warns that the driver and passenger in the car are wanted by the government for "subversion," among other things. In a strange moment of word association, I distinctly remember pausing the video, opening my word processor up and typing down "The Subversion Matrix." That sounded too much like "The Matrix." So I typed beneath that "The Subversion Complex." And a title was born, with no story attached to it. I had no clue what a "Subversion Complex" was, but I was excited to discover what it meant.

(2) In my original treatment, the black box is not occupied by the little girl, but by the man Daniel Marcus himself, and the entire story revolved around Anna "meeting" him through the interface and finally breaking him free out of compassion.

(3) I wrote three separate openings to the book as tests, one of them even experimenting with first person. The first person opening went nowhere, thankfully.

(4) Practically every bit of "tech" in the book already exists in real life right now, in one form or another. The book is partly a true story in this regard. This includes the giant incinerator inside the Complex that Miriam is thrown into. That scene is based on a medical waste processing plant in the United States that incinerates the dismembered bodies of aborted children. Other tech that already exists includes the self-driving cars, the idea of the quantum computer, the lab-created babies, animal/human DNA mixing, robotic military vehicles, population control measures with drugs, the "aural dosing" sessions, even the reactive computer to a very limited degree.

(5) Real events in the news both inspired my writing with ideas for scenes, as well as flogged me to continue. Every time I put the book away and decided I was done writing for a time, something horrible or frustrating in the news would pop up to compel me to continue, and I thank God and/or my angel for providing those moments.

(6) Practically all of the names in the book have significance, whether intentionally on my part or discovered fortuitously later:

Mr. Vickers is a British name that I liked, but it also worked beautifully as a play on the word "vicar." Appropriate, since he is a priest.

Another name of significance is Daniel Marcus, who is obliquely named after former SEAL team member Marcus Luttrell of Lone Survivor fame. Besides being a good rugged name for a good rugged man, it provided a sort of homage to a particularly courageous real-life soldier.

Sonya was another name I chose with purpose, it being the Russian version of the Greek name Sophia, which means "wisdom." The name is an irony of sorts, as she is loaded up with knowledge via computer, but the inputting of that knowledge shows lack of wisdom on the part of the scientists controlling her.

Both the names Annalise and Miriam I chose because I liked them, only to discover later that they both meant very significant things for their respective owners. As Daniel tells Anna at the kitchen table in the book, her name means "full of grace." An irony of sorts at first, as Anna is about the least grace-filled woman at the beginning of her story. And Miriam was a spectacularly appropriate choice made by accident, a name meaning "sea of sorrow."

(7) The entire book was written without an outline. Whether for the better or the worse, that's how I do things. The book pretty much existed in my head, and just needed coaxing out onto the computer.

(8) Anna's friend Meghan, who joins Anna for coffee near the beginning of the book, is named after the singer Meghan Trainor of "All About That Bass" fame. Knowing that I can't stand Meghan Trainor will probably make the choice of name obvious.

And those are 8 tidbits about The SubVersion Complex that you may not have known. Now you do!