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Love Murder and MayhemMy pal Russ Colchamiro–one of my colleagues in Crazy 8 Press–is editing our summer anthology this year. It’s called “Love, Murder & Mayhem,” and his only requirement for us at the outset was that every story has all three components: love, murder, and mayhem.

He also mentioned that he could use a superhero story. And since I’m leaning in that direction anyway these days, I came up with one. About a whole team of superheroes, actually–a close-knit team that does all kinds of good in the world.
What in real life could I bring to such a story? Well, lately I’ve been thinking about the Beatles, an early influence on me. I remember how cool I felt back in the sixties listening to “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “I Saw Her Standing There” or–God help me–“Norwegian Wood.”
If the Fab Four had stayed together, who knows what kind of music they could have made. But of course, they didn’t stay together–according to some sources because of John Lennon’s soulmate, Yoko Ono, who pulled him away from the other Beatles and ultimately broke up the group.
Hmm…what if someone like Yoko had been brought into the inner circle of a superhero team? What if…
Yeah. The story is called The Responders. It’s short and sweet, like a Paul McCartney ballad, and I hope you like it.
Cabal and Other Irresponsible Invocations of The Muse

Join the Kickstarter Campaign!

Short is Good

Cabal and Other Irresponsible Invocations of The Muse is my first book of short fiction. It’s got all the kinds of stories I’ve become known for in books, in comics, and on TV–fantasy, science fiction, and super hero tales.

It’s funny…until recently, I never felt compelled to write short stories. My natural inclination has always been to write full-length novels. If somebody was editing an anthology and they invited me to contribute, sure, I did that, and I invariably enjoyed it. But left to my own devices, I instinctively turned everything into an epic.

Then, about a year ago, I was kicking around a story called Cabal. We’ve all seen comic book heroes fighting teams of villains bent on taking them down for nefarious purposes, right? Well, in Cabal, I wanted to turn that notion on its ear. I wanted the team trying to take down the super-powered character to have only the best intentions. Then, as the story unfolded, we would find out if they were right or wrong to have those intentions.

And it would be a novel, of course. Because that’s what I’d always written. But Cabal didn’t want to be a novel. It wanted to be something shorter than that. I was flummoxed–flummoxed, I tell ya. But like any experienced writer, I knew better than to argue with my story. And that was how Cabal became a novella.

So great, I had a novella on my hands. Unfortunately, the market for novellas is a tricky one. I could have just made an e-book out of Cabal but, you know, I like the idea of holding a book in my hands. And it just so happened that I had other story ideas that I’d been kicking around, and the more I thought about them the more I realized they didn’t want to be novels either.

Eventually, I gave in. Short stories they yearned to be and short stories they would become. Which, in the end, turned out just fine…because I really like the work I’m doing in these stories. I’m proud of it. From top to bottom, these tales are as good as any novel I’ve ever written. (Better, maybe.)

But don’t take it from me. You be the judge. After all, you’re the one I’m writing for.

So, besides Cabal…what’s in this book?

* In The Speaker of Verse, a prequel to my Aztlan series of 21st-century Aztec Empire murder mysteries, a young Maxtla Colhua investigates the murder of a highly regarded educator.

* In The Scales of Justice, an untested advocate tries to right an old wrong in The City of A Thousand Gods.

* In Headless, a crewman aboard a starship does his best to persevere without a critical portion of his anatomy.

* In Behind Every Great Enhanced Being, the mothers of teenaged interplanetary heroes clash as only mothers can.

* In Connections, a woman with remarkable intellectual powers finally appears to have met her match.

* In The Wall…yeah, that Wall…we scale a possible future in a reality you just might recognize.

Okay, rewards!

In the world of Kickstarter, good deeds are returned in kind, and this campaign is no different in that regard. I’ve put together a garden of earthly delights for you to choose from. And why not? Who deserves it more than you, amirite?

Cabal and Other Irresponsible Invocations of The Muse is, of course, one of those rewards. You can get it in e-book form or as a signed trade paperback. And if you’d like to get yourself into the book, you can do that too–by earning a place on the acknowledgments page, which lets the world know you’re a bonafide patron of the literary art, or by snagging a one-time mention, or even by getting yourself Tuckerized as a fully realized character in one of my stories.

A la carte!

Because you asked for it, I’m including an a la carte menu. This allows you to customize your reward package–to receive all the things you want and none of the things you don’t. Just take any existing package from $25 up and add to it the dollar amount associated with any item or items on the following list, most of which are other books I’ve written. Then send me a message letting me know what additional reward or rewards you’ve qualified for. (International backers, there will be some additional postage; if you’re interested in an add-on, shoot me a message and we’ll figure it out.)

As always, I’ll autograph every item at no additional expense. That’s been my policy since I signed my first autograph more than thirty years ago.

See the Kickstarter page for the a la carte menu.

This is my sixth Kickstarter campaign. Those who’ve backed my previous campaigns will tell you I take these things very seriously. In this case, the book is already half-written. The cover art, as you can see, has already been delivered. Barring a worldwide apocalypse, Cabal and Other Irresponsible Invocations of the Muse will be sent out to the four quarters of the Earth right on time–or at least pretty close.