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Hunter of the Light

My first story, an arena-style combat adventure titled The Enforcer of Rom, was basically a slug-fest; a complex series of fights with an ever escalating number of opponents and an ever-changing variety of weapons.  I kept losing count. How many arrows had the good guy loosed?  How many bad guys had tumbled off the cliff?  The only way to keep track was to take pen to paper and write it down.

Over the next few months, as my hand-scrawled notes and tallies evolved into a full-blown trunk novel, another story-idea came to me. Before long, I knew the tale of The Hunter of Éirinn (my original title) start to finish. I also knew I couldn’t write it.

During my brief, self-indulgent foray into fiction, I’d neglected the house, meals, laundry, sleep, and family. The Enforcer of Rom taught me how to write, but also taught me that novel-writing was its own special brand of obsession, and highly addictive. How could I consider immersing myself in another book when I had “real” work pending, a home to manage, and an infant at my breast?

My resolve to keep Hunter on the back burner lasted all of three months. I had written and sold two family-oriented articles and was in the midst of a third, when the compulsion to return to fiction grew too strong to resist. I began sneaking onto the computer when no one was around, sometimes pecking at the keyboard with one arm while cradling a baby in the other. In the snatches of time I was able to commandeer, I began building a world where the Hunter’s tale could unfold, constructing it from bits and pieces of nature, prehistory, folklore, fairy tales, legends, myths, songs, poems, and dreams.

While still a work-in-progress, The Hunter of Éirinn was embraced by members of the erstwhile writers’ group, the Melville Nine, notably by James Killus, Joel Richards, Janet Berliner, Robert Fleck, and most notably by Dave Smeds, who created the map and championed the book among his peers and publishing contacts. Through the group, I found a literary agent, Richard Curtis, who read, liked, and then sold the book.  Christopher Schelling, my editor at HarperPrism, showed enormous respect for my work by leaving it intact. The publishers asked for only one change: the marketing department wanted the Irish Gaelic deleted from the title.  I'd expected as much and was ready with an alternative, Hunter of the Light.

I requested a change of my own. The Stag in the original cover art bore a marked resemblance to the dog in Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, down to the drab coloring and the pathetic rack of twigs on its head. Unfortunately, the illustration was lost in a house fire, or I'd post it here. Granted, the final cover artwork makes the Stag look more like a cuddly stuffed animal than the divine and dangerous embodiment of all the light in the world--but compared to the original, it’s a masterpiece.

Shadow's Road

After Hunter of the Light, I set off in an entirely different direction. I was well into Darkdays, a futuristic detective story featuring an alien-werewolf protagonist, when characters, settings, fights, and plot-lines for an untold Éirinn story got hold of me and wouldn't let go. Ticked me off. I was already struggling to find time for the space-noir. Didn't need the heroes and villains of an entirely separate world demanding my attention. I hadn't signed up to do a sequel.

Then the ending came to me. The final plot-twist that would bring the tale full circle. The lines that nailed it. The clincher. The wrap up. An Deireadh.

So, I had to write the book.

And I did, but I missed my window. Apparently, I was supposed to follow up with a second Éirinn novel within a year of Hunter's publication, two at most. When the ms. finally made it to editors' desks, they praised its storyline, characters, and writing, but they had no interest in publishing it.

Shadow's Road picks off shortly after Hunter of the Light leaves off. At its heart, Hunter is a simple fairy story, a patchwork of folkloric motifs pieced together to tell a ripping yarn. Shadow's Road is an epic poem, a new song in the old tongue, rooted in ancient rhythms.

I've just taken Shadow's Road out of the trunk to give it a final polishing edit, get the map re-drawn, and double-check the Irish. When that's done, I'll see if there's a publisher out there willing to re-issue Hunter and get the sequel into print. Failing that, I'll look into self publishing, print-on-demand, e-books... I'll get it out there somehow. Promise.


Darkdays is an intergalactic take on the classic noir novel. My "tough guy" is an alien werewolf bitch fighting for survival in a corrupt and mendacious universe. The story is 1st-person, from her point-of-view.

The bad news is, Darkdays and all its backups were destroyed in a house fire. Only the first seven chapters survived.

The good news is, those chapters survived because I'd sent them to Jacquelyn Kruzic, an artist who is particularly brilliant at drawing human/animal hybrids, such as the one shown here. I hope that someday Darkdays will be reborn, not as a novel, but as a graphic novel.

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