Archive for First Born

Three from Seven

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

I’ve had three books published by Seventh Star Press — two in the Cairnwood Manor series (Shadows Over Somerset / Keepers of the Dead) and the first in my Tales of the Liber Monstrorum (First Born), with the second (Descendant) soon to follow.

I am, understandably, proud of each of them. They are, oddly enough, all very different. Shadows is something of a Gothic Horror, while Keepers is far more Fantasy/Adventure. First Born is a mixed bag of traditional Occult Detective tales and Urban Fantasy, while Descendant will have elements of both of those with a bit of Police Procedural for good measure.

One thing I can promise about each and every one of them is this — I did my level best to spin a good yarn.

I hope you agree…

The Cairnwood Manor Series

sosShadows Over Somerset
Trade Paperback / Ebook

kotdKeepers of the Dead
Trade Paperback / Ebook

Tales of the Liber Monstrorum

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Trade Paperback / Ebook

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My future’s in the cards. So is yours… #Tarot

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , on July 27, 2017 by Occult Detective

Here’s a sneak peek at the Tarot Deck I’m in the throes of designing.

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Taking a cue from my short-lived Weirder Tales online serial and even shorter-lived Occult Detective Illustrated comic magazine, I tapped into those past resources and conjured some additional art to create my latest deck experience.

Pictured above (from left to right, naturally) are The Magician (Landon Connors with Boo), the Queen of Pentacles (Sarah Jones), The Hierophant (Guy Starbiter, co-created with Freeman Presson), The Star, and The Devil

The Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot will be available soon, as will a deck of Rune Cards.

In the meantime, you might like to check out the other Tarot Decks I have available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

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And don’t forget my occult detective collection — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum — is available via Amazon and other online retail outlets.

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Who is Landon Connors?

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , on July 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

Here’s what people are saying about FIRST BORN:

If you like the genre, you’ll love Landon Connors and the entourage of standing characters in Bob Freeman’s imaginarium. The tales in this volume range from the classic noir detective yarn with Connors at the center, to horror stories set in rural places like those of the author’s youth.” — Freeman Presson, Wizard

The connections stand out so vividly when put in order.” — Greg Mitchell, author of The Coming Evil trilogy (not to be confused with a certain now-spectral Outrider)

“The tales here breathe, and oft times, there’s a hint of brimstone, perhaps some of that old black magick lurks in the exhale.” — Steven Shrewsbury, co-author of Bad Magick

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I don’t think it’s a secret that Landon Connors is the “star” of my Liber Monstrorum series. Oh, sure, there are plenty of other characters, many of them shining brightly, but let’s not kid ourselves — this universe revolves around Connors. So, I guess the big question is, where does he come from?

drconnorsWell, to dissect that mystery, we need to turn back the clock to 1987. I was living in a basement apartment in Muncie, Indiana, doing a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have been doing, but I’m awfully glad I did.

Anyway, in amongst the mind-expansion, self-exploration, and general magical mayhem, I was also pretty heavily into tabletop roleplaying.

We were playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition), a bit of Car Wars, a pinch of Call of Cthulhu, and two comic book related RPGS — Marvel Super-Heroes and DC Heroes.

It’s those last two games where Landon Connors origin story takes center stage, only he had a different name back then.

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Landon started out older and more cryptic, but the chain-smoking, drug abusing, occult detective was alive and well and going by the name Solomon Killingbeck, Private Eye.

We had sort of merged the Marvel and DC RPGs into a single somewhat cohesive game, utilizing the best bits from both systems and sprinkling a healthy dose of d20 mechanics into it.

Solomon Killingbeck was a character I rolled up and used as a Doctor Strange-type of NPC, a valuable resource for my players who helped shepherd them through many occult-themed adventures in the super-hero multiverse.

So, almost 20 years later when I decided to delve into writing occult detective fiction, obviously it was to Killingbeck that I first looked.

Yes, I made him younger and better looking, tossed him a demon-enchanted fedora, jettisoned his Jewish heritage, and changed his name, but the essence of the character was still there.

Oh, and about that name change: it was done to honor my son, Connor. His middle name, an homage to his maternal grandmother who passed just before he was born, is Landon.

Seemed like a perfect fit.

Anyway, you can read all about Landon Connors in First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, available now via Amazon and other online retail outlets.

And if you really want to submerge yourself in all-things Landon Connors, there are Connors-themed Tarot Decks available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

Playing Favorites #FirstBorn

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First BornOver on twitter, a friend dropped me a congratulatory note via DM regarding the release of my occult detective collection, First Born: Tales of the Monstrorum.

We chatted back and forth for a bit, them politely asking about the collection, what stories were included, how many were unique to the work, and so on.

They mentioned reading the blog in which I shared my favorite illustration from the book, and then they dropped a heavy question on me — of all the stories in First Born, which was my favorite?

Man, that was a tough one, but answer it I did, with a short response. Here’s a longer version of it —

For the longest time, I would have named Mourn Not the Sleepless Children as my favorite. It was originally published by Burning Effigy Press back in 2009, part of a chapbook anthology entitled Fresh Blood. It was one of three stories, the others written by Dave Alexander and the horribly underrated Kelli Dunlap (better known now as Kelli Owen).

I worked closely with Monica Kuebler, BEP’s editor-in-chief, and I was so proud of the final product. To this day, Monica was the best editor I’ve worked with. She was professional, courteous, and helped me polish that story and make it something special.

Thankfully, in the chronology of events in my Liber Monstrorum tales, it comes first and thus was the lead story in First Born. It’s a great lead off and is a great showcase for what I can do when everything is clicking just right.

That being said, another story has supplanted it as my most favored tale. That distinction now falls on Wyrdtails.

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Wyrdtails was written and serialized back in December of 2014, one of those “writing without a net” Harlan Ellison writing exercises I’m so fond of. I had no idea where the story was going, no idea from where it even sprang. It just fell out of my keyboard onto this website, growing in the telling.

We learned a lot more about Landon Connors, his father Ashton, the Order of the Sacred Hart, and saw Greg Mitchell’s ghost come out to play a bit.

In a lot of ways, Wyrdtails has been my most quintessential occult detective story, made all the more special because it came from the ether, like, seemingly, all the best stories do.

So, there you have it. If you’re curious, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is available via numerous online retailers, but as Amazon seems to be the overlord of that heap, I’ll direct you there by way of the following link. If someplace else is more appealing to you, I trust your google fu will serve you accordingly.

 

The Art of First Born

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on July 17, 2017 by Occult Detective

There are several illustrations in First Born, but I think my favorite is that which serves as the collection’s frontispiece.

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The illustration, featuring Landon Connors and Boo, with Baphomet at the top of the stair, encapsulates for me what Jimmy Page called the “power, mystery, and hammer of the gods”.

I like the symmetry of it.

And I like the fact that, though unintended, the illustration evokes thoughts of a keyhole.

First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is available now and can be purchased online via Amazon in Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook as well as other outlets found on the world wide web.

 

Occult Detectives are alive and well

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2017 by Occult Detective

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I keep hammering the point, but its one I never tire of. The occult detective genre encapsulates so many of my obsessions.

As a writer, I get to explore witchcraft, magic, and religion from the inside out, I get to delve into the mysteries of the universe and dissect the workings of mind, body, and spirit.

As a reader, I get to experience those same themes from the other side of the fence, peeking behind the veil through someone else’s eyes and experiences. I get to thrill at the mysteries these authors have dreamed up, and take a ride through their psyches.

Cover 01 First BornHaving a new book out, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, has found me reminiscing about some of my favorite literary occult detectives, from John Constantine to John Thunstone, Harry Dresden to Harry D’Amour, Adam Sinclair to Diana Tregarde…

I have sang the praises of a near countless number of authors who have added to the genre and now, I want to shine that spotlight once more on five modern takes on the occult detective by authors who have made contributions to genre that are sure to be remembered.

5. James Brimstone (Jason Ridler)

Brimstone may have only appeared in one novel this far, Hex-Rated, but he sure made a lasting impression, largely due to the Brimstone Files being set in 1970s Hollywood and all that that entails.

4. Charles St. Cyprian (Joshua Reynolds)

St. Cyprian and his assistant, Ebe Gallowglass, shine in Reynolds’ The Royal Occultist tales. Set in the ’20s, they defend “the battered and dwindling British Empire against threats occult, otherworldly, infernal and divine”.

3. Derek Adams (William Meikle)

If you like your private eyes hard-boiled, look no further than Adams, who stalks the shadowy byways of Glasgow with the same cynicism one might find in Sam Spade…if he had to deal with witches and water demons.

2.  “Golden” Dawn Seliger (Nick Mamatas)

If ever a character deserved a follow-up novel, it’s “Golden” Dawn, who leapt off the pages of Mamatas’ brilliant “Love is the Law”. She’s a teenage devotee to Crowley and Trotsky. If that doesn’t sell it, nothing will.

1. Levi Stoltzfus (Brian Keene)

Stoltzfus is an ex-Amish magus who traverses the back roads with his dog Crowley in a magical Amish buggy, drawn by a horse named Dee, and armed with a magical grimoire called The Long Lost Friend.

There’s a whole host of other authors who “get it right” too. Folks like Steven Shrewsberry, Justin Gustainis, Charles Rutledge, Greg Mitchell, Nick Kaufmann, Amanda DeWees, Tim Prasil, Christine Morgan, and on and on. For that matter, pick up a copy of Occult Detective Quarterly and you’ll see the truth for yourself.

The occult detective genre is alive, well, and kicking.

Now, while I have your attention, maybe I can interest you in trying First Born on for size. It’s available in the following online outlets:

AMAZON
Trade Paperback
Kindle

AMAZON UK
Trade Paperback
Kindle

BARNES & NOBLE
Trade Paperback
Nook

KOBO
Ebook

iTunes
eBook

Liber Monstrorum Begins Here…

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Occult Detective

 

I am proud to announce that First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is, at long last, available for purchase. First Born is an occult detective collection, bringing together twelve short stories, a novella, and two illustrated tales.

These are the stories I’ve been working toward since I first put pen to paper as a boy growing up in rural Indiana. My obsession with witchcraft, magick, and religion, in both fact and fiction, has all led to this.

Published by Seventh Star Press and edited by Scott Sandridge, First Born is my love letter to the occult detective genre and to those glorious supernatural tales that thrilled me as a child… I hope these stories do the same for you.

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From the arcane sorceries of “The Wickedest Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe, this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…

First Born can be ordered from the following online outlets:

AMAZON
Trade Paperback
Kindle

AMAZON UK
Trade Paperback
Kindle

BARNES & NOBLE
Trade Paperback
Nook

KOBO
Ebook

iTunes
eBook

Below are some examples of the artwork you’ll find inside:

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