The New Book is Live! Johnny Lycan Goes to Vegas- What Could Go Wrong?

At long last, Book 2 of the Werewolf PI series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, is available. If you’ve preordered, blessings upon you and you should get it soon. If you haven’t, you can buy it at BlackRoseWriting (my publisher) The ebook is available at Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, and the paperback can be ordered pretty much anywhere you buy books.

What are people saying about it?

“I loved this book. A rollicking, clever ride with a story so good you forget it’s a genre novel. If Jack Reacher was a werewolf, he’d be Johnny Lycan.” -John Wing, Jr., comedian and author of A Car to Die For

“Witches, a Werewolf, and a Berserker. Only in Vegas, Baby! Johnny, Shaggy, and the gang are back in this page-turning, magic-infused thriller of epic proportions. Beware: Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker will cast a spell on you!” -Jean M. Roberts, author of The Heron and The Frowning Madonna

“As usual, Wayne’s fast-paced writing style draws you in immediately. Johnny Lupul is in fine form once again as he tries to keep some of Shaggy’s darker instincts in check and help those who can’t help themselves. If you’re hankering for a hairy good time, pick this novel up now!” -Katie Berry, author of the Claw and Abandoned series

Of course, if you haven’t read book one, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, what’s stopping you?

And, as always please review it and share your love as soon as you’ve read it to help others discover the book. Blessings upon you all, and don’t let Shaggy run the show.

The Redneck Wizard with Bob McGough

Indie writers are a tough breed, and the best and smartest know how to help each other. That’s how groups like #goindienow come together: authors banding together so they don’t all starve separately. Lately, I’ve been asked to play in the sandbox (you can watch the interview here.) with some of them like Madilynn Dale and today’s guest, Bob McGough.

Bob is the author of the Jubal County urban fantasy saga that stars a meth-addicted redneck wizard. Makes me wonder if Howard Marsh and Johnny would get along or just try to kill each other… but I digress. Here’s my conversation with Bob McGough.

Bob, here we go. Tell us about yourself.

I’m Bob McGough, an author born in the backwoods of Alabama. I trekked out from the wilds to get a couple of perfectly useless degrees, then decided to become a writer, because I must  enjoy poverty. I’ve lived a pretty wild and varied life, but balance that by being a boring technical writer by day.  I do a lot of other projects beyond writing however, from podcasting and indie ttrpg game design to short filmmaking and running an arts supporting non-profit, because I like to compensate for my lack of money with lack of sleep!

What should new readers know about your work, man?

My main series is the Jubal County Saga, which is about a redneck wizard with a crippling meth addiction solving backwoods occult mysteries. The main character, Howard Marsh, is this thoroughly inept wizard who does everything he can to avoid honest work, instead opting to support his lifestyle by water witching and stealing copper from air conditioners. But along the way, you start to get hints that under his prickly, thieving exterior is the core of a good man who’s simply forgotten that fact. Each book is actually made up of two self-contained novellas, each tackling a different bizarre mystery, though the scale tends to be fairly small. Marsh is not the man you call in when lives are on the line, or the world needs saving.

Where the great oogly-woogly did the idea come from?

The genesis of Howard Marsh and the world of Jubal County is heavily based on the people and places I grew up around. The deep south has this stereotype of genteel life I think, but for those of us who live here, we know that there is a lot of dirt under the fingernails, and a lot of abject weirdness if you know where to look. I like to play with expectations where I can, showing that the south isn’t this monolithic culture of evangelical white conservatives by any stretch. There are people here from all walks of life and political leanings, and I want to showcase that. My focus though tends to be on the forgotten people, the outsiders living on the edges of society, for whatever reason. 

As for the magic, it’s a mix of folk legends, spell jar hoodoo, and a lot of mythology, usually celtic. I based Jubal County on an area that has a large scots-irish immigrant heritage, and I play with the idea that the ancestral memories sort of inform the mystical, hidden world that Marsh finds himself having to handle. One of my degrees is in Anthropology, and that has informed a lot of my interests over the years. In college I used to take people on what were essentially ghost tours (even though I wouldn’t consider myself a believer), and on one of those treks I stumbled on a spell jar in a graveyard. Finding it, which spurred a lot of research on my part, was really the first step on what would eventually become the magic of Jubal County.

Who did this to you? Who do you read that influences your work?

My favorite author is Glen Cook, especially his Black Company series, which to this day is still my favorite fantasy series. In the Urban Fantasy space I enjoy a good number of my indie/small press peers, like Ben Meeks, Alexander Nader, VK Fox, John Hartness, and Bobby Nash. I also read a ton of horror, with Paul Tremblay and Adam Neville being some of my more recent favorites. I think Frank Herbert’s Dune is the best sci-fi novel ever written. A couple of small presses everyone should check out are Crone Girls Press and Falstaff Books.

Where can people learn more about your books, games and all the wonder that is you?

The one-stop shop for all things Bob related is my website: talesbybob.com. On Goodreads and Amazon, a search of Bob McGough will guide you to me and my works. And finally, I am on all the major social media platforms and Patreon as talesbybob. I love to hear from folks, especially other authors, or people working to become one, so feel free to reach out on the contact form on my site.

Not to hijack Bob’s time, but we’re less than a month from the launch of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, book 2 of the Werewolf PI series. While you’re ordering the Jubal County Saga, preorder your next favorite read.

A World War 2 Spy Thriller with Flowers

I’m a sucker for a good spy thriller, and the Second World War has no shortage of opportunities for espionage, thrills and great stories. But how many heroines of those stories double as both spy and professor of botany? I’ll wait, because there’s only one I know of. My fellow Black Rose Writing author, Karen K Brees, tells this story in her new novel, Crosswind.

Karen, what’s your story?

I’ve lived long enough, seen enough, and done enough, that I’ll never run out of ideas for books. I’ve been a librarian on a bookmobile, a cattle rancher, a goat herder, a reluctant boater, a Harley biker babe ), and an enthusiastic, if clumsy, horsewoman.  I knit well and hand quilt. To paraphrase Michael Travolta in Michael, “I listen. And I take copious notes.” I love history and especially love writing historical fiction. I can use the past as a framework and create a world that never was or might have been.

What’s Crosswind about?

Crosswind: The WWII Adventures of MI6 Agent Katrin Nissen is, at its roots, a story of the Nazi fascination with native plants that became their rationale for attempting to obliterate everyone and everything that didn’t fit their definition of “native.” The plot, of course, revolves around the search for a missing MI6 agent and the microfilm he possesses. The MI6 agent sent to find him and retrieve the microfilm is Yale Professor of Botany, Katrin Nissen. It flows from there, as she steps up to the plate to wage her own war against the Nazi agenda.

Where’d the story–and maybe more importantly, Karin, come from?

Strong female characters with a dry sense of humor have always appealed to me. Katrin is one of those women. She knows who she is and she does her job. Does it quite well, actually. But she always finds herself in some form of danger that requires her to use all her wits to escape.

Putting Katrin in a WWII setting just seemed natural. It was a time when ordinary people did extraordinary things to conquer pure (or impure) evil. Right and wrong were clearly delineated, and the fate of humanity hung in the balance. My WWII fiction tells the stories of these people. They’re composites, but they’re drawn from real life.

Totally unfair question, but what’s your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene, without giving away too much, is the night at the Blue Danube, a Bohemian bar, where Katrin meets two young women who have been targeted by the Nazis. What Katrin does at that meeting is pivotal to the outcome of the story.

I liked that scene a lot. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Crosswind  is my latest book. I’ve written several others both fiction and nonfiction. My website is www.karenkbrees.com. I’m on FB and Goodreads as Karen K. Brees.

You can find me at Black Rose Writing (FWIW you can find me there too! )

and on Amazon

The Second Book in the Werewolf PI series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker is out December 8. Preorder now from my publisher, Black Rose Writing, and save 15% with the code PREORDER22. You can also preorder it on Amazon

You can also join my new Facebook Author Page for constant updates and chances to win prizes.

Of course, if you haven’t yet read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, what’s keeping you? You can get it in Kindle or Paperback.

I Finally Caved and Have a Separate Facebook Page for My Writing

Ever since I started writing fiction and nonsense, I’ve been told I needed a separate Facebook page for that purpose. Until now I’ve resisted because keeping up with Social Media is freaking exhausting. Between the grind of the day job and my fiction addiction, I spend too much time tweetfacelinkblogging as it is.

But, with Johnny Lycan 2 coming out soon (December 8 to be specific, but who’s counting?) it is time to make sure I can promote my work without annoying the people on my personal Facebook page. For purely mercenary reasons, mostly so I can advertise my work, I needed to bite the bullet.

So (trumpets blare) I introduce you to my Facebook Author Page with the very clever and inventive name, Wayne Turmel Author. If you’re inclined, please like it and follow me. Over the next few months, there will be special posts, contests, and a chance to win signed copies of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker.

Stop by, like the page, and tell your friends. If you care about my personal life, yeah, you can still follow me on my regular page, but this is my big-boy author page. Enjoy and welcome to my orbit.

A Fun Interview Before I Disappear

I am going to go radio silent for a couple of weeks. The Duchess and I are fulfilling a bucket list item and going to London and Paris for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Try to get along without me.

Before I go, I wanted to share one of the more fun interviews I’ve done lately. Who would I want cast in the Johnny Lycan movie? What books corrupted me? You can learn all about it here. Thank you James Quinlan Meservy

When I return I hope I’ll have an interview or two to post, and maybe even a sneak preview of the cover for Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker. Be good to each other, read something, buy a book and leave a review.

See ya.

Witches and Villains with Isra Sravenheart

I believe one of the most important concepts in writing fiction is that the success of a story depends on the villain. Johnny Lycan would be a weird little adventure story without Kozlov. But good antagonists have a reason for being all villain-y. Some writers dig deep into that.

Enter Isra Sravenheart. Her books are full of witches, demons, warlocks, and others who have perfectly good reasons for doing what they do. I recently met her in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi Focus Facebook group. We also appeared on the same YouTube interview with Opus Knight recently.

Isra, tell us about yourself.

Hi. I am Isra Sravenheart, a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author. I first found success with my book Her Dark Soul in 2017 which is book 1 in my Dark Spell series. Of which I am currently promoting the boxed set of 1-4 in the series. I am very much an introvert at heart living with my four cats who are sassy as they deem themselves to be. I’m also an avid binge-watcher of fantasy and paranormal shows such as Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, Buffy Angel. I also am releasing my first PNR book this May “Forbidden Rendezvous with the Devil” an interesting tale about young lone witch Sabine who has faced a break-up and now founds herself entangled with two vampires.

There’s a lot going on there. Tell me about your series.

Dark Spell series is a dark fantasy series featuring witches and warlocks. It’s an epic vivid world that I created with angels, demons, unicorns, dragons, light-bringers and I mainly focus on the aspect of villains and their POV. It spans eight books and mainly follows Isra and Astrid in their journey however things are not as clear cut as they seem. Don’t judge someone because nothing is what it seems. The good guys might look cute on the outset but they have their own tale of darkness to tell.

It has been compared to Grimms and Disney by many of its readers however it has a dark tone and focuses on aspects such as betrayal, forbidden love, unrequited love and dealing with one’s own personal demons (darkness.)

What are the roots of the story? Where does all this come from?

I love exploring a villain’s POV and while we’re not justifying what they did and we know it’s bad, we can understand the root of the character so at least their actions become understandable, Not everyone is born bad. There has to be a good reason. What makes people tick? I look at the ins and outs of the whole emotionally dragged-out mess, whilst not condemning them for it because everyone has their own reasons for being a certain way. It’s been a fun series to write and I love how there has been such a wide range of characters and eccentric personalities. My fave characters to write are Astrid and Samuel the light-bringer. He is off his rocker, to quote my editor Jody Freeman. 

Who hurt you like this? Who are the authors who influenced you?

Neil Gaiman. Gregory Maguire, L Frank Baum, Phillip Pullman. lots of dark fantasy vibes here. That;s kinda my jam and read most of these when I was young especially the oz and Wicked series. 

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

Goodreads, Amazon links, twitter, Facebook author page, website etc. Everything is nicely situated on my linktree including the boxed set review copies pinned to top, boxed set 1-4 buy page and my reader magnet for dark spell series https://linktr.ee/israsravenheart

The second book in the Johnny Lycan series is coming out on December 8. Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, will be coming from Black Rose Writing. If you want to be the first kid on the block to receive swag or news about the book, sign up for my newsletter by clicking the link on the side of the screen. Meanwhile, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is available now in paperback or Kindle.

So, 2022 Looks a Little Busy

First, 2022 is not a real year. It’s science fiction. Blade Runner took place in 2019. Soylent Green takes place in 2022. But I’ll play along and pretend that it really is the Year of Our Lord 2022. If that’s the case, what will I be up to?

When it comes to the dreaded Day Job, there are two big creative projects in the pipeline.

We have signed a contract for The Long-Distance Team. Kevin Eikenberry and I have contracted with Berrett-Koehler publishers for another book. We’ll be following up The Long-Distance Teammate, Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and The Long-Distance Teammate, Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere.

The Long-Distance Team, which is about designing the work culture you really want, is under construction. It will be officially out on January 22, 2023, but available for pre-order before the end of the year.

Also, it’s likely I will be doing a podcast. It won’t be the late lamented Cranky Middle Manager Show, but it will be informative and snarky. Details to follow.

On the fun, creative front look for the second in my werewolf detective series. Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker will be out before the end of the year from Black Rose Writing. The third book in the series is under construction so it won’t be 2 years between installments, I pinky swear.

Check out my latest novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. It will give you something to do until your next WebEx meeting.

You can find out everything that I’m up to creatively by signing up for my infrequent but action-packed email newsletter. Use the signup box on the side of the screen.

Johnny Lycan 2 is finished. Kind of.

I just put finished to the second book in the Johnny Lycan series. Well, an ugly, squawling, half-assed first draft anyway. Our boy finds himself in Las Vegas, and faces, among other things: a megalomaniac rancher, a honest-to-god Berserker, an ancient relic that may or may not be from Earth, a coven of bad-ass witches, and more about himself than he wants to know.

Believe it or not, book 3 is already outlined and will be started soon. Sorry about the delay between books. Turns out that between buying a house, navigating a global pandemic, a demanding day job and the general yukkiness in the air, I’ve learned something important. Existential dread is not great for the creative juices. You may quote me.

It’s aliiiiiiiive

Watch for Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker coming in 2022 from #blackrosewriting (blessings upon them)

If you haven’t read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, there’s still time to be one of the cool kids who find stuff before everyone else and lords it over them. Read it here

John Wing Jr and a Car to Die For

My stand-up comedy days are long behind me. In fact, a quick check of the math says I started in 1979 and hung up my mic in 1996. But I still remain friends with many of the people I went through the trenches with.

High on the list of talented folks who have stuck it out wayyyyyy longer than I, is John Wing Jr. He is still grinding it out, most notably as a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent. But he’s also a podcast host, a poet with ten collections under his belt, and a new novel.

It’s a good read, and after knowing him for over 35 years (note to self: stop doing the math), it’s clear there’s a lot of him in it. Seemed like a good time to introduce John to you lot.

What inspired you to tackle a novel?

 I have always been a writer. I was a writer first. The first thing I ever tried to write was a novel, or a short story. So it wasn’t too outlandish to try again in my late fifties. I’d tried a few other times but I’d always gotten bored and decided the story was boring. Plus I wanted to see if I set a particular writing regimen, could I finish a novel in a set period of time.

I get that. Count of the Sahara started as a bet with myself. A Car to Die For might seem a surprise to those of you who know you through your standup. Where’d it come from?

I had the bare bones idea of the story — the small-town lawyer who is kind of a gumshoe — for a very long time. The character is based on my father. The main case of the burglar was a case my father had in the 70’s. And there were aspects of the man who keeps others’ secrets that I decided were very interesting.

There’s humor in the book but it’s not necessarily funny. Was it hard switching gears?

I wanted to have as much humor as I could find, but there were no intentions with regard to writing funny or not. I was trying to tell the story. If opportunities for humor came up, great, as long as they moved the tale along its way. I had a few jokey lines that I took out in the rewrite because they seemed contrived. (The draft took three months. I tried to write three pages a day (single spaced). Some days I wrote more, and only two or three days I didn’t make three pages. The rewrite took a year.)

Poetry, jokes, and now a novel. How is writing each different?

 Jokes and poetry are very similar in the writing. A visual picture and some powerful words, good-sounding words, and done as quickly as possible. Fiction is completely different, since you have to weave many strands of the story into the main story by the end. It’s the reverse of a comedy act, which is a river with many tributaries you can choose to go down or not. The novel has to flow into the main river by the end. Narrative is very unforgiving when compared to jokewriting or poetry, which have fewer rules.

Growing up in Canada, we had some different influences than American kids. I also know that you read even more eclectically than I do. Who did–and do–you read?

The two writers I read the most were Philip Roth and Mordecai RIchler, both dead. I read more non fiction now, a lot of scientific stuff, my favorite being David Quammen, a Montana-based writer. I like pulp, too. Stephen King, occasionally, (reading one of his now — The Institute), Thomas Perry, Michael Connelly, and I confess that I’ve read all or most of the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child.

Where can people follow you and all you’re up to?

@johnwing5 on Instagram and Twitter, The Bad Piano Player Podcast on Spotify or wherever you get yer podcasts, dude.

Check out my Amazon Author Page for all my fiction and non-fiction work, especially Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

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The Count of the Sahara Turns 6 Years Old This Week. (The Book, Not the Guy)

6 years ago today, my life changed forever. My first novel, and 6th book overall) The Count of the Sahara was published by Erik Empson (peace be upon him) at The Book Folks in the UK.

For the uninitiated, this is the real-life (mostly) story of a character I’ve been obsessed with for years: Count (cough, cough) Byron Khun de Prorok. He was an amazing mix of ambition, brilliance, talent, chicanery, and failure. How many archaeologists from the 20s have their own IMDB page?

For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s a pretty ambitious first book. It alternates between the imaginary story of Willie Braun, a young German-American teenager who becomes the driver and assistant for a charismatic archaeologist on a tour of the US Midwest in 1926. Then it flashes back a year to an ill-fated, well-documented expedition to the Algerian Sahara. We see how the tale de Prorok is spinning doesn’t quiiiiiite match the reality.

In the 6 years since publication, a lot’s happened. I’ve written 2 business books, The Long-Distance Leader and The Long-Distance Teammate. I’ve also written 3 more novels ( Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans, as well as Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk) and the sequel to Johnny Lycan is almost finished. You can see them all on my Amazon Author Page.

Whenever I beat myself up for not being faster, I allow myself to think about putting out 6 books in 6 years. I’m not James Patterson, but not bad for a 60-year-old with a day job.

Byron has given me the chance to speak and be interviewed dozens of times on the subject of this fascinating character. My favorite moment was when I heard last year from his Grand-daughter, thanking me for telling his story (as warts-and-all as it is.)

This book began my career (or whatever this is) as a novelist and I’m not stopping anytime soon.

If you have read the book, a million thanks.

If you haven’t, what’s keeping you? You can order it directly from the publisher, you can find it on Amazon worldwide.

If you want a SIGNED copy of the paperback, please drop me a line. You can get one for $15 plus shipping (if you’re outside the US it ain’t cheap) and you can pay me by Paypal or Zelle. The same is true if you want signed copies of any book, but today is about giving Byron his due.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I ain’t done yet.