Category Archives: Writing

Miscellaneous talk about the writing process.

An Agreement With Hell Has Been Re-Released!

an-agreement-with-hell-coffee-table-promoAn Agreement with Hell has been out of print since 2014, so I’m happy to announce that you can now pick up a copy  from Amazon Kindle, just in time for Halloween!

An Agreement With Hell, Revisited!

An Agreement with Hell Cover

An Agreement with Hell has been out of print for a couple of years now, and since the rights were returned to me, I’m planning to put it on Kindle soon. Its fantastic new cover here was designed and realized by Rebecca Poole of Dreams2media! The dapper gentleman on the cover is Professor Edward Todd….

And the third man, the third man was nothing but a deep tunnel, a human-shaped doorway into the limis, with a devil looming over and behind him, its dark wings covering him and its toothed beak leering in mockery.

“Hellbender,” Penemue hissed with recognition. The Watcher had heard of this creature, this Edward Todd, whose true nature it could discern only now that it had regained the selective sight of the mal’akhim—Todd was the Walker Between the Worlds, the man who mocked both heaven and hell. “What have you brought upon us?”

The Walker’s figure moved forward, his torn silhouette filled with shifting doors and staircases, bridges and tunnels, walls and arches. He reached inside of himself to bring forth another wall, this one of sigil-covered silver that hummed and rang like a bell. The diabolic shadow behind him flinched away as the Walker thrust the wall between them.


The Hangman’s Oath

Paul Delaroche [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“A very curious ceremony took place when the hangman was appointed. He was taken into a hall, where the oath of office was administered to him. On the table in the hall lay an axe, well sharpened, the same as that used for the beheading of traitors, – a pair of leg irons, handcuffs and other fetters – a small coil of ropes, and a pair of white caps. The magistrates made him repeat the following oath;

“‘I swear to hand, or behead, and to draw or quarter, or otherwise destroy all felons or enemies to the peace of our Lord the King, and of his subjects duly sentenced according to law, and I will do the like unto father, or mother, sister, or brother, and all kindred whatsoever. So help me God.’

“Thereupon a black veil was thrown upon him at his rising, when he was conducted out of the court amid the groaning of the assembly, the tolling of the dead bell, and the horrifying words of the magistrate grating in his ear, ‘get thee hence wretch.’”

— Alexander Lowson, Tales, Legends, and Traditions of Forfarshire, as quoted in Alex F. Young (1998) The Encyclopaedia of Scottish Executions 1750 to 1963, p. 146.



Divided Loyalties in Revenant

manzanarMy short story “Divided Loyalties” is published over in the inaugural issue of Revenant. The story was inspired by my visit to the internment camp of Manzanar and by the subsequent reading I did about life in the camp. It’s always risky to write about a culture I don’t share and experiences that are still lived reality for some people, so I apologize in advance if I have made any mistakes. I do hope that the story might encourage others to learn about this shameful moment in U.S. history … a moment that seems especially relevant right now, when prejudice and fear again threatens to undermine our nation’s ideals.

Photo Credit: Manzanar Entrance by Ansel Adams, from the Manzanar Photo Gallery

Cool Conjunction

coolconjunctionThis painting, titled Cool Conjunction, was done of me (L) and my writing-and-teaching partner in crime Terry Spehar-Fahey (R), by the artist Harold Muliadi this fall. It’s currently on display in his show at the university art gallery.


Interview at Robin L. Martinez’s Blog

I’ve been interviewed over at fantasy author Robin L. Martinez’s blog — you can read it at !

Catching Up

keepcalmAh, the academic year is over and I’m (mostly) free! Check out my students’ comic book final projects over at ComicComm.Com!

Current writing project: With my housemate traveling for a week, I’ve usurped the kitchen table with my laptop and Right of Rule notebooks, incorporating my writing group’s comments. If I work really, really hard I might have them all in before I head out to Croatia for summer vacation….




nathapalaV2…And here’s another fantastic drawing for Right of Rule from Candela Riveros!

This character is Nathapala, the ysura who lives in Katakot (you can find his lair on the city map) and oversees the realm of si’Urai…. The question of to whom he will grant right of rule when the realm’s former leader dies gives the novel its name.

Katakot Bestiary

rukh-Australian artist Candela Riveros has sent me the first few sketches of various beasts and inhuman characters in my work-in-progress, Right of Rule! This is a rukh, an avialan (dinosaur proto-bird) standing on one of the skulls spiked on the nine sacred iron arches that stand over Lamentation Square in Katakot…. I’ll be adding more of her fantastic sketches to the Bestiary page over at the Right of Rule website, so check it out once in a while!

Katakot Map

katakotThis the city in which my novel-in-progress is set — Katakot. I never seemed to need a map for Ondinium, in the Clockwork Heart trilogy, but Right of Rule is deeply embedded in the city, with the characters doing a lot of traveling around and referencing of locations. My rough-draft readers told me they were having trouble visualizing the areas, so I decided that commissioning a map would be a good long-term investment. Plus, I’ve always loved fantasycity maps!

The cartographer behind this map is talented Robert Altbauer of Fantasy Map.