Archive for June, 2017

In restless walks she’ll prowl the night

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Writing in Theory & Practice on June 30, 2017 by Occult Detective

And so June has come to a close. It was slow ’round here, a month of scattershot activity behind the scenes, fraught with soul-searching, yarnspinning, and surreal meanderings through mystic portals best left untraveled, but I walked them just the same.

Much of my June absence will bear fruit in July, beginning as promised, on the 3rd, though the fruit of that tree has been exchanged for another.

Here’s a couple of clues to the magics I’ve been brewin’:


tarot sample

An occult detective’s work is never done.


Keep July 14th circled on your calendars.

#FirstBorn is coming…




My Review of HeX-Rated by Jason Ridler

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives on June 28, 2017 by Occult Detective

hexA couple of weeks back, Brian Keene mentioned Jason Ridler’s HeX-Rated in his newsletter, calling it one of the smartest, fun, transcendent pulp novels he’d read in a long, long time.

I happened to be a quarter of the way into my read of the pdf ARC Nightshade Books sent me when I received Brian’s newsletter.

I’ve always had a deep respect for Keene’s opinions, especially regarding genre matters. One of my fondest memories was a long talk he and I shared mostly centered around our mutual appreciation of Manly Wade Wellman.

He knows his occult detectives.

His full blurb for this Brimstone Files Novel reads, “Jason Ridler’s HEX-RATED is deliciously uncomfortable, wonderfully gritty, and a worthy successor to the occult detectives of old.” — Brian Keene – Bestselling author of THE COMPLEX and PRESSURE

High praise, indeed, but what did I think?

This was my first experience reading Jason Ridler’s work. I understand he’s published a number of crime novels and his experience shows.

Here’s an excerpt from the back cover copy — “After attending his mentor’s funeral, Brimstone signs his first client: Nico, a beautiful actress with a face full of scars and an unbelievable story of sex, demons, and violence on the set of a pornographic film in the San Fernando Valley. The cops chalk it up to a bad trip from a lost soul, but Brimstone knows better.”

Sounds like something right up my alley, no?

I found HeX-Rated fast paced, clever, and a great example of world-building. I loved the diverse and complicated supporting characters throughout and found the magic and lore to be consistent and handled deftly .

An occult detective story, however, lives and dies by the main protagonist.

James Brimstone, an ex-carny and Korean War vet, is a newly licensed P.I. in 1970 Hollyweird. Ridler really makes the era come alive with just enough pop-culture references to keep us old folks happy, though the allusion to Alan Moore seemed out of place and a couple of decades early.

If there’s a fault here it lies in the fact that Brimstone seems a tad too progressive, too modern thinking. I think it would have played better, had been more immersive, if Brimstone felt more connected to the era he was navigating.

That being said, I loved the book and certainly look forward to future installments in the series.

If you’re a fan of the occult detective genre, Ridler’s Brimstone skews more toward Harry Dresden than John Thunstone, but it has everything you should be looking for in a supernatural-drenched thriller.

And that cover art is sweet.

HeX-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel by Jason Ridler will be available August 1st, but you can pre-order it today on Amazon. I highly recommend you do so.

Friday, riddled with bullets

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice on June 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

“Out of the doorway the bullets rip to the sound of the beat.” — John Deacon (Queen)


  • 129 days until All Hallow’s Eve.
  • I’m feeling the old fire rekindled, a spiritual rebirth of sorts. How this will express itself remains to be seen. I have been too silent of late, too introverted and self-examining. There’s a storm brewing…
  • For the record, American Gods was far too short. A long wait ahead for season two. Gaiman’s novel has long been a favorite of mine. I’m very pleased with how its being adapted.
  • Kim, Conn, and I have delved into Babylon 5. Ambitious storytelling, to be sure. Pleased that they’re enjoying it, especially Connor, who can learn a lot from its narrative structure.
  • I’m waist-deep into a new Landon Connors short story which will be released in early July.
  • I continue to juggle two weekly Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns, both in 5e. The Saturday game is turning into an old school dungeon crawl as my players navigate Undermountain, while the Monday game is more of sprawling mystery leading them toward the snowy wastelands of the far, unexplored north.
  • Even more Landon Connors in the works, this time in a supporting role, in a new occult detective novel that will spotlight Michelle Hawkes, Operations Director of the FBI’s Paranormal Operations Division aka “Monster Squad”. Look for Stillborn to be serialized beginning in July.
  • Twin Peaks. Genius. Pure genius. David Lynch is at the top of his  surrealistic, psychedelic, schizophrenic game, while Mark Frost keeps him from straying too far off point, keeping the original cast as a poignant, nostalgic reminder of dark days past.
  • The Water Street Book Club is reading The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Long time coming with these books. Glad to finally be tackling the series. So far, Aloysius Pendergast has lived up to his reputation.
  • I released a trailer for my Cairnwood Manor series. You can watch it below. Cairnwood Manor will be featured in Stillborn by the way.


Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on June 21, 2017 by Occult Detective


“…the lamps expire.”

Posted in Archive, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on June 11, 2017 by Occult Detective

Robert E Howard81 years ago, Robert E. Howard left this world, leaving behind a legacy of visceral and kinetic prose that has inspired millions.

Howard has been my favorite author since I was ten years old. Living in rural Indiana, with a clear running stream, fields, and woodlands as my backyard, it was Howard’s tales that fired my imagination.

When I took up a stick (or hammock pole) and it transformed into a broad sword, I became Conan of Cimmeria, fighting for survival in the Pictish wilderness.

To this day, I am still overwhelmed by Howard’s words. They still speak to me in much the same way they did more than forty years ago on the edge of that small farm I called home.

Robert E. Howard was larger than life. He single-handedly created the sword & sorcery genre and left an enduring mark on fiction.

As his mother slipped into a coma she would never wake from, Howard, in the early morning hours of June 11, 1936, chose to proceed her in death, but it was his life and the yarns he spun that we celebrate.

Robert E. Howard is immortal, his words destined to be read, studied, and enjoyed for as long as there are humans to do so.

The last words he wrote — “”All fled, all done, so lift me on the pyre; The feast is over and the lamps expire.” — are sad and mournful, but reflect the eternal fire lit, heralding his place in the pantheon of literary legends.

That burning pyre became a shining beacon to all those who would follow in his footsteps.

Rest In Peace, Two-Gun.

Comically Distracted

Posted in Archive, Occult Detectives with tags on June 8, 2017 by Occult Detective

No, this is NOT a project I’m working on. It is, however, a rabbit hole I fell into today while working on something else entirely.

I thought it was far too fun to not share, so here you go… Something that might have been, could have been, but isn’t —

ocg comic

40 Days

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , on June 4, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First Born

First Born has a due date, something akin to 40 days from today. Somewhat fitting, methinks. Shall we count down the days together?

First Born is available July 14th, but why wait? You can place a pre-order for the kindle version now. But if you’re more partial to the trade paperback, well, 40 days and nights aren’t so bad.

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