What’s Coming In 2016

Happy New Year All. Just a swift post to let you know what to expect from me this year writing-wise.

First off, I’m experimenting with Patreon, so head over to here and check that out. Five bucks a month gets you a brand new never before (or very little) seen short story from me. This month it’s a little story called The Mound Of The Night Panther about the secret history of the mound city of Cahokia and how it was brought down by weird happenings.

Next up will likely be my short novel Perennial, appearing in Emergence, the first of Ragnarok Publications’ new shared world superhero universe, Humanity 2.0. It’s about a man who gains incredible abilities but also has his physical aging process halted at age fourteen. That’s him on the cover, Pan. It features a scenario that is basically Die Hard with a skyscraper full of supervillains.  You can read more about that here. 


At some point early this year I’ll be sharing novel space again with author Willie Meikle in Canadian publisher April Moon Books’ new James Bond pastiche series, Bond: Unknown. Entitled Mindbreaker, this one’s a 1960’s era Lovecraftian mashup with Bond being seconded to an ultra secret branch of the service to chase down the abducted Princess Royal and stop an obscure Corsican cult’s plot to activate a prehistoric weapon. I’m an immense Bond fan, so this is one I’m looking forward to you all reading, as despite the Cthulhu stuff, it’s very much written with Fleming in mind. Were you aware the 16th century mystic philosopher and mathematician John Dee signed his letters to Queen Elizabeth 0-0-7? Ian Fleming was. You will be too…


I’ll have a few short story appearances scattered throughout the year, in books from Golden Goblin Press and possibly Chaosium, and, if things work out, a new Star Wars story (keep your lightsabers crossed for that).

Then in the last part of the year you’ll see my Arthurian fantasy debut The Knight With Two Swords again from Ragnarok, which is a high fantasy retelling of the story of Balin Le Savage from Mallory and a slew of other sources.

I’ve also dipped my toes back into the screenwriting waters this year, with the hopes of putting out a short film at some point. We’ll see how that goes.

Hasta pronto!

The Unrepeatables Appearing in Tales Of Cthulhu Invictus


Long before ivy grew on the walls of Miskatonic University or the Deep Ones first came to Innsmouth, centuries before the mad Arab penned the dreaded Necronomicon, the malevolent powers of the Cthulhu Mythos plagued mankind. During the Age of the Antonines (96 AD–192 AD), when the Roman Empire was at the peak of its power, dark and unknowable forces were at work. Ancient wizards sought ways to cheat death, explorers stumbled on the remnants of alien civilizations, foul cults practiced unholy rites, and inhuman creatures sought to mix their blood with ours.

Across Rome’s vast empire, a few brave men and women rose up to meet these threats for the greater good of mankind. They carried light into the darkness, dispelling a poisonous taint which grows best in the shadows. With steel and spell and burning torch, these heroic investigators of the ancient world defended their civilization from the fearsome powers of the Cthulhu Mythos. Golden Goblin Press is proud to offer up nine tales of their horrific struggles and sacrifices.

Tales of Cthulhu Invictus – Edited by Brian Sammons

  • Vulcan’s Forge by William Meikle
  • Fecunditati Augustae by Christine Morgan
  • A Plague of Wounds by Konstantine Paradias
  • Tempus Edax Rerum by Pete Rawlik
  • The Unrepeatables by Edward M. Erdelac
  • Magnum Innominandum by Penelope Love
  • Lines in the Sand by Tom Lynch
  • The Temple of Iald-T’qurhoth by Lee Clark Zumpe
  • The Seven Thunders by Robert M. Price      

My story, The Unrepeatables follows Damis of Nineveh, the former companion of the famed miracle worker Apollonius of Tyana, and ex-Centurion Modus Macula as they investigate the summer home of a famous charioteer under suspicion of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Here’s an excerpt.

roman-feast-1“Ah, you are an initiate then?” Atomus asked.

“Yes,” said Damis. “I have been trying to convince Macula to attend in the coming year.”

“Fat chance,” Calidas piped up. “If I remember Macula, he does not believe in the gods. Isn’t that right?”

“I believe in what I can put between my hands,” said Macula.

“Ah! A brimming wine goblet! A fat woman!” Bibaculus laughed, squeezing the girl at his side until she squealed and slapped his hairy arm.

“Or a sword,” finished Macula.

“But wasn’t Apollonius a devotee of Pythagoras?” Atomus asked. “How does one reconcile initiation in a Greek rite with monotheism?”

“By Jove!” Calidas spat into his cup. “You’re not a Christian are you?”

The room shook with laughter.

Damis smiled thinly.

In no other manner can one exhibit a fitting respect for the Divine being than by refusing to offer any victim at all; to Him we must not kindle fire or make promise unto Him of any sensible object whatsoever. For He needs nothing even from beings higher than ourselves. Nor is there any plant or animal which earth sends up or nourishes, to which some pollution is not incident. We should make use in relation to Him solely of that which issues not by the lips, but from the noblest faculty we possess, and that faculty is intelligence, which needs no organ. That is what my master taught.”

“Even Jews sacrifice,” said Calidas. “How else can that which is worth attaining be attained, save through offering and hardship?” he went on, squeezing Brehane’s hand. “Without the race there is no victory.”

“Is that what you believe, Atomus?” Damis asked.

“What makes you think I am a Jew?” Atomus countered.

“What are you then? A Simonian? One of these Valentinians?” He leaned closer. “Something else?”

“My father was a priest in the Temple when Titus burned it and carried off the Menorah for the Colosseum. What I knew of the glory of the holy city I knew from stories. I grew up in its ruins. I was there when Hadrian burnt the Torah atop the Mount, breaking his promise to rebuild the Temple and renaming Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina.”

The atmosphere around the table had plummeted into a silent coldness, and Damis and Atomus glared at each other with naked but inscrutable dislike.

“This is too heated a discussion for the dinner table,” Calidas said, finding his victorious smile again. “Don’t be boring, Atomus. Macula? What say you, Damis?”

Soleas poscere,” said Damis, signaling that the dinner had ended for him.

Dutifully, two of the slaves emerged with their sandals.

Macula, mouth full of dormouse, blinked surprise. Something had roused the ire of the old mystic, but he had no idea what.

They got up from the table. Damis took him by the elbow and guided him to the lararium on the wall to pay their respects to the household gods depicted in miniature statuary in the recessed little niche.

As Macula began to bow, Damis gripped him tightly, causing him to straighten, and steered him out into the atrium, where two burly slaves standing in the vestibulum pulled open the doors for them.

Soon they were on the dim, torch lit road winding down the hill, the lights of town below, the moonlight playing on the rippling bay.

“I take it you’ve found something,” Macula said.

“I’m not sure. Take this, for I fear we shall know in a moment.”

042From under his voluminous philosopher’s robes, Damis produced a short, glittering pugio in a silver frame scabbard which had been fashioned into a fanciful depiction of a man sinking a sword into the breast of some dragon-like monstrosity.

“Where did you get that?”

“Master Damis! Master Macula!”

Macula half-turned, to see the two well-built door slaves trotting down the road after them.

They had napkins bundled in their hands.

“Our master begs you not to forget your napkins.”

Macula narrowed his eyes. It was customary for the host of a party to wrap his guest’s personal napkins about some token gift before returning them.

Except they had taken their napkins with them.

As the first of the two big slaves reached them, Macula whipped the dagger free of its scabbard with a ring and thrust the point in his heart to the hilt.

He had to kick the body off the blade as the second slave lunged at him, something flashing in his fist.

Macula ducked under the swing and jabbed upwards, catching the second man under the chin, the point popping out of the crown of his skull.

He retrieved one of the napkins and wiped the blood from the blade.

The napkin of the first man had a dagger hidden in the folds.

“So I was right,” Damis breathed.

“What’s going on? Why did you bring a pugio to the party if you didn’t suspect anything?”

“Traveling with Apollonius I learned to take precautions. The star Sothis is ascendant. It is an ill-omen.”

“I thought you hated astrology.”

“I hate astrologers,” Damis corrected.  “I thought very little of this errand of yours, true, when the night began.”

“Till you saw that Iacchus in the mosaic?”

“It raised my suspicions.  You may not believe in the gods, Macula, and the guise in which you know them may indeed be a lie, but just as Jove is Zeus, once they had other names and other faces, terrible to behold.”

As he spoke, Damis removed a pouch from his robes and spilled its contents into his hand. There were six rings, each with a different colored intaglio gem, like the one he already wore, engraved with a symbol representing each of the seven stars.

He slipped them on one at a time.

maenads-silenus“Iacchus,” he said, “the son of Hades and Demeter, who was later known as Bacchus and Dionysus, whose maenad cult was driven to terrible ecstasies, ripping apart goats with their bare hands. And yet the nameless cult of Iacchus, or Icthiacchilius as he is known, sacrificed a goat without horns beneath the moon and the Star of Sothia, and tore their victim apart with their teeth. And behind him, behind Demeter and Mithras, behind Nuada, Ashur, Neptune and Cthulhu, the great whirling chaos, the Womb of Darkness from which the gods spawned, as far outside our knowing as is dread Tartarus. Chaos. Tiamat. Azathoth.”

Macula shook his head, staring down at the moonlight on the blade of the dagger, which was engraved with seals and unreadable voces mysticae.

“So what do we tell Marcius Turbo?”

“I fear there is no time to return to Rome,” said Damis. “This night, foul things are afoot in that house, and must be stopped.”

At that moment, a shrill scream rang out from high on the hill, a woman’s scream, prolonged in agony, which dwindled till it was lost on the sea breeze.

Macula was already running back up the road with Damis huffing behind.


On sale now at the Golden Goblin Press website.


De Horrore Cosmico At Kickstarter

6c586547735714014eda8f29c8cfc9f8_largeGolden Goblin Press is into the final seventeen days of their kickstarter for He Horrore Cosmico, six scenarios the the Cthulhu Invictus game. In their own words:

Long before ivy grew on the walls of Miskatonic University or the Deep Ones first came to Innsmouth, centuries before the mad Arab penned the dreaded Necronomicon, the malevolent powers of the Cthulhu Mythos plagued mankind. During the Age of the Antonines (96 AD–192 AD), when the Roman Empire was at the peak of its power, dark and unknowable forces were at work.  Ancient wizards sought ways to cheat death, explorers stumbled on the remnants of alien civilizations, foul cults practiced unholy rites, and inhuman creatures sought to mix their blood with ours.

Across Rome’s vast empire, a few brave men and women rose up to meet these threats for the greater good of mankind. They carried light into the darkness, dispelling a poisonous taint which grows best in the shadows. With steel and spell and burning torch, these heroic investigators of the ancient world defended their civilization from the fearsome powers of the Cthulhu Mythos. Golden Goblin Press is proud to offer up six of their adventures.

58634b4826cb1310d0efd57fb05efddc_largeOnce GG Press hits the $23,000 stretch goal, they’ll be putting out a companion fiction anthology edited by Brian Sammons and featuring nine stories of Lovecraftian horror set in Roman times to fire the imagination of players and GMs.  The lineup for that book consists of –

Vulcan’s Forge, by William Meikle
To the Fertility of the Empress, by Christine Morgan
A Plague of Wounds, by Konstantine Paradias
Time Devours All, by Pete Rawlik
The Unrepeatables, by Edward M. Erdelac
Signs of the Black Stars, by Penelope Love
Lines in the Sand, by Tom Lynch
The Temple of Iald-T’quthoth, by Lee Clark Zumpe
The Seven Thunders, by Robert M. Price

My tale, The Unrepeatables, is about Damis of Nineveh, the lifelong friend and companion of the renowned mystic and miracle worker Apollonious of Tyana, and an ex-legionnaire insinuating themselves into the estate of a famous charioteer to investigate rumors that he is profaning the secret and sacred Eleusinian Mysteries.

More about the story as the book is funded – which means, hey, if you like Roman history and Cthulhu, go kick Golden Goblin Press a buck or two. They’ve got some really killer swag for backers, including Lovecraftian lare (household god figurines – which feature prominently in The Unrepeatables), custom Roman coins, and more.

DT Moviehouse Review: Better Off Dead

Time once more for my blog feature, DT Moviehouse Reviews, in which I make my way alphabetically through my 200+ DVD/Blu-Ray collection (you can see the list right here and decide if each one was worth the money. Today I review Savage Steve Holland’s 80’s comedy Better Off Dead.

(1985) Directed by Savage Steve Holland

Screenplay by Savage Steve Holland

Tagline: You’ve blown up your neighbor’s mom. You seven year old brother has better luck with women than you do. Your girlfriend has a new boyfriend. Relax, you’re never….BETTER OFF DEAD.


What It’s About:

better-off-dead-stillWhen obsessive teenager Lane Meyer (John Cusack)’s girlfriend Beth (Amanda Wyss) breaks up with him for obnoxiously handsome ski team captain Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier), he begins to contemplate suicide. As if that wasn’t funny enough, he is stalked by a tough talking paperboy, harassed by a pair of Japanese drag racing enthusiasts (including Yee Sook Ree from Karate Kid 2), and outshone in every way by his wunderkind seven year old brother who entertains older women and builds a space shuttle out of household appliances. But when the crass mother of his creepy next door neighbor Ricky (Dan Schneider of Head Of The Class) takes on a cute French foreign exchange student (the gorgeous Diane Franklin), things start looking up.

Why I Bought It:


Didn’t ask for a dime….two dollars.

Re-reading that synopsis I just wrote (and re-watching auteur Savage Steve Holland’s 80’s classic after at least a decade hiatus), Better Off Dead would probably never fly today.  One of its running jokes is a teenager’s repeated attempts to do himself in. Other hilarities touched upon include molesting a foreign exchange student, knocking a ten year old kid off a mountainside, the pursuit of Lane’s teenage ex-girlfriend by everybody from a mystifyingly popular Geometry teacher (played by the late great Vincent Schiavelli) and a creepy mailman (comedian Taylor Negron) to Barney Rubble (himself), and Lane’s buddy Charles De Mar’s (Curtis Armstrong) perennial quest to find a substitute for cocaine.

Yet, I saw this when I was ten or eleven years old and loved it, sorely identifying with the put upon Lane and still laughing at the absurdities of his life.  Cusack plays Lane with the stoic acceptedness of Buster Keaton, the bumbling straight man who is the only guy in the movie that doesn’t get the joke.

better-off-dead-burgerHolland alternately peppers Better Off Dead with helpings of real awkwardness (Lane’s flashback meeting with Beth, where both her and Lane’s self-conscious inner thoughts can be heard) and romance, and then blasts it with some really out there zaniness. Lane’s mom boils bacon green and appears to be steaming a star spawn of Cthulhu in a pot at one point. She passes out gift wrapped stacks of Stouffer’s frozen dinners for Christmas and serves a French-themed dinner consisting of fries, bread, dressing, and “Peru” (Perrier water). Gangs of murderous paperboys pursue Lane through an ominous back-lit nightscape, and a claymation cheeseburger David Lee Roth shreds across his workstation. Even Lane’s own sketchbook doodles berate him.

Elizabeth%20Daily%20(PD)The supporting cast is just as likable as Cusack. I’ve got to mention two of my three biggest 1980’s coming of age crushes were in this flick together, the doll-faced, sweet but scrappy voiced Elizabeth Daily, who sings the title song at the high school dance and was Pee Wee Herman’s admirer Dottie in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (and who, amazingly, looks even better now than she did then), and Diane Franklin who plays Monique, and seriously shot me through the heart Bon Jovi style in the scene where she starts Lane’s long dormant Camaro. 26That image of her in the Dodger’s cap and coveralls, that bright smile shining through that motor oil was indelible. The other, in case you’re wondering, was Kerri Green in Lucas, who was just poetry to an adolescent boy.

Curtis Armstrong and Dan Schneider are both pretty hilarious in this movie, with Curtis being a bit of a scene stealer, and Schneider underplaying what could’ve easily been a very unseemly role, yet somehow in the end winds up sympathetic. Aaron Dozier’s Roy Stalin is a typical 80’s slimeball villain, a caricature of Johnny from Karate Kid, but he plays it to the hilt with his perfectly styled hair, ridiculously straight teeth, and obnoxious line delivery (“Lookin’ GOOD, Meyer. Lookin’ REAL GOOD.”) betteroffdeadLane’s father, played by David Ogden Stiers, seems at times, as he should, like an adult version of Lane, just world weary with the weirdness of his wife and children (“WHAT in the name of ALL that is HOLY?”), yet himself a source of comedy with his terrible attempts at employing youthful slang and his war with the paperboy over the sanctity of his garage door windows. Kim Darby, as mentioned, is hilarious as a slightly psychotic Suzy Homemaker.

I’m a sucker for 80’s movie music too, and this soundtrack has some great songs you won’t hear anywhere else the aformentioned Elizabeth Daily’s two tracks, “One Way Love (Better Off Dead)” and “A Little Luck,” Rupert Hine’s “I’ve Been Arrested By You,” and in particular, Howard Jones’ “Like To Get To Know You Well” are excellent, nostalgic tracks, to say nothing of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” and Van Halen’s thunderous “Everybody Wants Some.”

My friends and I quoted this movie up and down when I was growing up (“Meyer? Is that like in Oscar Meyer? Hey Beth, is he your main wiener man?” “Do you know what the street value of this mountain is?” “Gee I’m real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky. The doctors said she’ll be OK, I guess she just can’t eat any spicy foods for awhile,” and “Lane, I’ve been going to this school for seven and a half years. I’m no dummy.”), and though the political correctedness of the subject matter may have changed, for the most part it’s not too badly dated.

betteroffdeadABI dare say the overall theme might even still speak to depressed teens today, as it once did to me. That theme is, much of life’s seemingly most insurmountable tribulations are inherently absurd. Don’t take everything so serious.

In other words, go that way really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.

Best Dialogue:

When Lane comes home and discovers an angry Monique pitching oranges at a No Parking sign, she confesses to him that she speaks English (she has been faking a lack of fluency in order to avoid Ricky and his mom).

Monique: I figured if we had nothing to say to each other, he would get bored, go away. Instead he uses every excuse to put his testicles all over me.

Lane: Excuse me?

Monique: How do you say? You know, like Octopus? Testicles?

Lane: Oh…Tentacles. N-T. Tentacles. Big difference.

Best Scene:

There are a lot to choose from (Charles’ uncontrollable, continuous laughter at the dance when Stalin rips on him and Lane as “his vote for cutest couple…but you better shave her before you take her home” is one), but the scene that always comes to mind for me is one of Lane’s numerous suicide attempts.

Lane stands on the top step in his garage, contemplating his own demise. After looping a bungie cord around his neck and throwing it over the ceiling beam, he suddenly looks up and says;

“Hey wait a minute here. This is death here. I can’t do this. I’ve never even been to New York City. I’ve never been anywhere.”

vaccumAs he begins to take the makeshift noose off, his mother opens the door and walks backwards into the garage, running the vacuum as she cleans the hallway. When the door opens she nudges him off the garage steps, then whaps him with the door a couple times as he dangles behind the door, struggling.

It still cracks me up, and is very indicative of Lane’s overall plight as an overwrought teenager saddled with mainly oblivious parents.

Would I Buy It Again? Yes, though full disclosure, I almost never purchase comedies (I usually have terrible luck with them) – this was a gift from my wife, who knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

Next In The Queue: Big Trouble In Little China

Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft

Today marks the birthday of Howard Philips Lovecraft.

I was asked to do a birthday post for old HPL over at Fantasy Book Review.


Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm  Comments (4)  
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