Archive for the Writing in Theory & Practice Category

A Tumultuous Tarot Tuesday

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Writing in Theory & Practice on April 3, 2018 by Occult Detective

On the last day of March I commented that it was “going out like a lamb to slaughter. Kicking and screaming a little bit, but of little consequence.” April has been a different matter altogether, with unexpected snowfall to the tune of a couple of billowy inches that blanketed my corner of the world on April Fool’s Day and into Monday morning, followed by today’s rather blustery cacophony of thunderous discourse in the heavens above.

I am quite partial to thunderstorms. While my seasonal preference leans toward Autumn, followed closely by Winter, Spring’s storms excite me. I revel in their majesty and marvel at the power that courses across the sky and tasks those of us below.

So, here I sit, in the haunted Hoosier heartland, while the wind howls and moans without, the driving rain pelting out pagan rhythms on the metal awning outside my office door… it seems the perfect atmosphere to do a little soul searching, occult detective-style.


Using the Major Arcana from my Occult Detective deck, I draw six cards.

  1. How I feel about myself: Death. Nice. It does mirror my inner thoughts — self-doubt, fear, feeling the weight of health concerns for myself and those closest to me. These thoughts are buried deep, but in quiet moments, they are there, like earthworms rising up in the lawn after a heavy rain.
  2. What I most want right now: The High Priestess. I’m looking for a secret to be revealed. No mystery there. Why else turn to the cards?
  3. My fears? Temperance. Ah, blissful harmony. How much longer can it possibly last? Deep down, it’s a fear many of us possess. Life is good, but financially it’s precarious at best. I have always tended to live on the edge.
  4. In my favor: The Chariot. Drive and ambition. Creativity is my strong suit. Ideas are in no short supply. Implementing them and staying focused on a single task, however…
  5. My opposition: Justice. Fate itself is against me? Not so, but close. Still, I am being warned against accepting bad advice and self-serving actions. Now that’s some advice I can take to heart.
  6. So, what lies in store for me? The Devil. Ah, a sinister warning to not over-indulge in my addictions. To succumb to such temptations is a danger to the world I’ve created for myself, but there is also the encouragement here to be bold, wild, and free, to cast aside all self-doubt and forge a path anew.

Were my questions answered? In part, and with further reflection, perhaps even more so. That’s the thing about a reading, it sparks self-reflection. I have a number of projects I’m working on at the moment.. well, that’s not really true. I have a number of projects I’m thinking about, all in various stages of development. I suppose it’s time to get down to the doing, to the completing of them.

Words seldom write themselves and pictures cannot be drawn until the pencil is in hand.

All acts of creation require magick to implement them. The artist must understand themselves, their purpose, their motivation clearly and succinctly before they can put their art into action, to bring it from the ethereal and into the world.

It is so easy to be lead astray, to lose focus. Life is so painfully short. There is no excuse not to live life to its fullest, to embrace with fervor that which makes you whole and complete. Live a life of adventure, but make it your own. It’s your story. You control your narrative. Be you, writ large on the page. Bask in the majesty and wonder of the world around you and celebrate your place within it.



Bob Freeman’s “First Born” Blog Tour

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , on March 12, 2018 by Occult Detective




I’ll be making the rounds all this week, promoting my occult detective collection, First Born, which is the opening chapter in my Liber Monstrorum Chronicles. As my appearances go live, I will update the blog roll accordingly.

Monday 3/12
Greg Mitchell’s The Coming Evil

Tuesday 3/13

Wednesday 3/14
Josh Reynold’s Hunting Monsters
Ginger Nuts of Horror’s “We’ve Got It Covered”

Thursday 3/15
Morgan Sylvia’s Through the Labyrinth

Friday 3/16
Sheila’s Guests and Reviews

Saturday 3/17
I Smell Sheep

Sunday 3/18
Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters

Tuesday 3/20
Book in the Bag

Tuesday deserves a hail of bullets

Posted in Dice Upon A Time, Writing in Theory & Practice on February 27, 2018 by Occult Detective
  • I’m doing a blog tour to support First Born from March 12 – March 18. First up is an interview conducted by my friend Greg Mitchell over at his The Coming Evil website. I’ll also be swinging by Josh Reynold’s place, Morgan Sylvia’s digs, and Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters, to name but a few.
  • I contributed to Matt Cowan’s Horror Delve Ultimate Fantasy List. This year’s subject was Weird Places and I tackled the Arthurian Chapel Perilous.
    Check it out HERE.
  • I’m working on a couple of reviews for the site including one for the spectacular Lunar Nomad Oracle Deck by Shaheen Miro. Watch for them later this week (maybe).
  • We’re slowly building a youtube channel for our gaming group, Oak Hill RPG Club, and we could use your support. Please: like, subscribe, and share.

  • On the writing front, I’ve got several projects in the works, including a collaboration with Greg Mitchell, a sword & sorcery short story submission, Born Again (the follow-up to Descendant, which should be launched later this year), and, the one I’m both most excited for and nervous about…
  • I’m writing the introduction to a Robert E. Howard Kull of Atlantis collection titled Slave, Soldier, King. As you all know all too well, Howard is my favorite author and I’m both thrilled and honoured to be a part of the project.
  • Thursday’s my birthday. My 52nd. I’m looking forward to taking a well deserved day off and spend some quality time with my family. I plan to make a few blog posts beforehand and schedule them to drop throughout the day, because otherwise I plan to be untethered from my phone and the internet for the duration.

Sanctum Sanctorum

Posted in Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error, The Library, Writing in Theory & Practice on January 8, 2018 by Occult Detective

Fancy a look at what an occult detective’s sanctum sanctorum looks like? Here’s a peek at mine, a place I call “The Aerie“, tucked away in the upstairs of our rural Indiana home. In it, I wrote the novels Keepers of the Dead, Descendant, dozens of short stories, and the lion’s share of First Born.

Yes, it’s a cluttered mess. I like clutter. It’s my clutter and I revel in the overwhelming sensory overload that occurs every time I ascend to my sacred space overlooking Little Pipe Creek.

Remembering JN Williamson (April 17, 1932 – December 8, 2005)

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice on December 8, 2017 by Occult Detective

I possess a number of curious artifacts. Few are as precious to me as my collection of letters penned by the late Jerry Williamson.

J.-N.-WilliamsonJ.N. Williamson was a Hoosier native who carved out a living as a mid-list horror author, journalist, and sometimes astrologer. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers of America in 2003 and passed away on December 8, 2005 at the age of 73.

Tom Millstead, one of Williamson’s lifelong friends, contacted me about preserving his collection of correspondences that he’d saved over the years, letters between the two of them that chronicled decades of personal history. Williamson discussed the ups and downs and craft of writing, the ins and outs of publishing, and so much more in these marvelous recollections from the late 40s on.

I have held on to these letters for the past decade, always meaning to do something more with them, to see them published in some fashion. There are some marvelous insights sprinkled throughout. It’s a shame for them to remain unseen.


Unfortunately, few people remember the authors of yesterday. Even though Jerry’s been gone but a short while, he is largely unknown to today’s readers. Despite having written more than 100 short stories and 40 novels, having edited numerous celebrated anthologies, a lifetime of hard work and dedication to the craft of writing, J.N. Williamson is largely forgotten.

Well, not be me.

Godspeed, Jerry. You are missed.


Horror for the Holidays

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice on November 24, 2017 by Occult Detective

Have you heard of jólabókaflóð? You must have, because the Icelandic tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and then spending the evening reading, is fast becoming a cultural phenomenon around the world.

Now that’s a tradition I can get behind.

If you’ve got loved ones who love to read, and prefer something a little bit more — shall we say — sinister, might I suggest my offerings, published by Seventh Star Press.


Available on Shadows Over Somerset  & Keepers of the Dead

firstborn ad

Available on First Born

Nothing says Yuletide quite like stories about occult detectives, werewolves, witches, vampires, and immortal swordsmen. Add a sprinkling of Norse Gods into the equation and you’ve got yourself one helluva Christmas Party.


Happy Birthday, Neil Gaiman

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on November 10, 2017 by Occult Detective


Happy Birthday, Neil Gaiman, born November 10, 1960.

I’ve always found Neil Gaiman quite quotable. He has a distinct and enviable way of stringing words together that invoke a sense of whimsical gravitas. One of my favorite quotes, of which there are many, is this —

Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.

I have always been something of a pulp writer with literary aspirations. Gaiman, on the other-hand, writes from a different perch, where myth and fantasy meet reality. He lets you peek behind the curtain, to see the cosmic machinations where the surreal collides with the mundane. He, in a phrase, weaves magic, and admirably so.

If you’ve not read him, you should. If you have, then you should revisit an old friend. I mean, it is his birthday after all…


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