A preview of The Scarlet Cavern [updated]

As I mentioned last week, I’m getting ready to release a new book series, The Makalang, later this fall (likely late October). Drafts of the first four books are done (there may be more, if it’s popular enough), and I’m working on getting the first one, The Scarlet Cavern ready for release.  What you see up there is a portion of the pencil sketch for the cover. The other covers are also in the works from the awesome Kenshjn Park, and I’m really happy with how they’re shaping up.

So, as promised, I’m going to post some preview chapters from The Scarlet Cavern starting today. Hope you enjoy it.

[Update: This reflects the current WIP, which is pretty close to the release version.]


I came out of a gray fog of unconsciousness to find myself lying on my face.

Under me was a layer of loose, sandy dirt. My head throbbed. Groaning in pain, I reached around to the back of my skull, feeling where I’d hit something during the fall. I felt a sizable lump, but my hands came back clean. There was no blood. That was something.

I looked up, realizing that I was on the floor of a cave. The area around me was dimly lit from the opening above where I’d fallen through. 

I sat up slowly and spent a few moments assessing my injuries. My back ached, and I seemed to have struck my shoulder and left arm on the rocks. A lot of me hurt, but nothing appeared to be broken. 

I stared upward out of the darkness. I’d fallen at least ten feet, bouncing off the sides of the cave on the way down. There was an old, gnarled tree root near the opening that was likely what I’d hit my head on.

A light rain fell through the hole, and the smooth walls of the cave were getting wet as they caught the drops. Climbing out would be difficult in the best of circumstances, which these definitely were not.

I checked my phone. Nothing. There was no signal down here.

As my head began to clear, I looked around for a way out. There was a boulder I could get my feet up onto, but from there, I could not reach any handholds. Every time I tried to climb out, I found myself sliding back down on the slick rock. I tried jumping toward the tree root, but even after I took my backpack off, it stayed at least a foot out of reach. 

I had a decent amount of climbing experience, but I had no gear and my skills were pretty rusty. My ex-wife Jacqueline hated that hobby of mine, and I hadn’t done anything serious in at least ten years. But rusty or not, no amount of skill can compensate for a complete lack of purchase. 

I had no rope, but maybe there was some other way to haul myself out. I dug through my pack for possibilities. I decided that the rainfly on my tent might be long enough to reach the opening. I tied a rock to one end and tossed it up. All it did was bounce back down.

After several tries, the problem was clearly getting it to hook securely on the edge. What could I use? After a moment or two, I had an idea. 

I spent a few minutes tying my tent stakes together into a makeshift grapple. That worked – the first throw easily caught on the tree root. But when I put some weight on it, the aluminum stakes just bent and came free. 

Two hours earlier, I’d dropped my kids off with Jacqueline. 

Now I was at the bottom of a hole with no way out, and no ideas about what to do. 

Which seemed about right. It fit pretty well with the rest of my life at the moment. 

“Bye, Daddy!” 

I hugged my daughter Cassie and stood up as she turned and ran to the doorway, where her mother had already scooped up her brother Hunter. Jacqueline and I exchanged the same look we did every time I dropped my kids off, me pretending to be civil and her pretending I had any reason to be.

“I’ll see you next week, guys.”

Jacqueline gave me a polite smile and a quick wave.

“Bye, Will.”

Behind her, her husband Richard looked my direction, but I ignored him as I always did. We rarely if ever spoke, not that there was much to say after he broke up our marriage. It still gnawed at me that their affair had gone on as long as it had. 

Part of that was on me. I had been willfully blind, trusting her excuses and explanations long after I should have gotten suspicious.

I walked back to my car as they went inside. Jacqueline and I shared custody, and I’d had the kids for the past four days. She had them this weekend, so I was going out of town on a campout. Because when the rest of your life sucks, one way of dealing with it is thinking up a new one. 

I was heading off for three days up in the mountains with my live-action roleplaying (LARP) group, hiking around the Cleveland National Forest. Since we would be on public land, we’d planned it as a low-key affair so as not to alarm people. Just the seven of us, dressing up and rolling dice as we hiked up and down the mountain. 

It was part role-playing, part camping and drinking in the woods. The rest of the group was already on their way to our campsite, but I told them I’d be late because I had to drop my kids off with Jacqueline after work. 

The trip from Jacqueline’s house up into the Laguna Mountains above San Diego took about an hour and a half of driving through mesquite and scrub oak before the pine forest began around 4,000 feet. I finally turned off the state highway into the parking lot just after 5:00. 

I bought a Forest Service pass at the gate and found a parking place near the trailhead. There were a few people there, but I tried to ignore their looks as I got into costume. 

Our current campaign was a fantasy-steampunk pastiche, and I’d envisioned my character as a sort of samurai-artificer. Part of my outfit was a replica katana I bought as a divorce present for myself. It was a well-made Chinese knock-off rather than anything authentically Japanese, so it wasn’t period-correct by any means. The blade was simple carbon steel instead of traditional tamahagane, but it looked nice and honed to a very sharp edge. Since our LARPing was about role-playing rather than mock combat, it didn’t matter that I was carrying an arguably deadly weapon on my back.

The rest of my costume consisted of a suit of armor I’d made in my garage. In-game, it was supposed to be “green dragon scale plate armor,” but it had ended up looking more like a green stormtrooper suit, minus the helmet and gauntlets – only less neat and symmetrical because I’d made it by hand, piece by piece over six months, out of colored carbon fiber and epoxy resin. Even though the end result was fairly rough – my attempts to create a scale-like surface hadn’t really worked – I was proud of the effort I’d put into it. It worked well enough as armor without being too heavy for hiking, and the green carbon fiber looked reptilian enough for my purposes.

Once I was suited up, I slung my backpack over my shoulders and started out. Our campsite was about three miles up the trail, where the rest of the group was presumably waiting for me, patiently or not. I hadn’t been to this particular spot before, but I had a trail map and our gamester (GM) assured me it was well-marked and not hard to find. 

The trail was level for the first half-mile before I reached the spur leading up to our campsite. From there, it was a fairly steep series of switchbacks going further up the mountain. I leaned forward and just focused on the climb. 

Once it dawned on me that my marriage was over and I could start dating women who weren’t determined to make me the most miserable person on Earth, I’d made a concerted effort to get myself back into dating form. Like lots of people dealing with a major emotional upheaval, I’d gone completely overboard.

I revamped my diet, started working out and running, and when I felt up to it, joined a local crossfit gym. I went on the long-distance hikes Jacqueline had never liked me doing. I even got back into the martial arts I enjoyed as a teen, when I earned a black belt in Shaolin karate and weapons my last year of high school.

I definitely got myself back into physical shape. After a year, though, I realized I was still putting off the emotional work. Getting my six-pack back was no help when I was still an emotional mess.

I had dreams of dating and screwing all sorts of hot girls in their twenties, but I’d gotten nowhere trying to make it happen. This was largely because I could never figure out the right approach to online dating, and I was using the few women who connected with me as unpaid therapists. In a year, I managed four dates, none of them repeats, and no sex.

So when a friend of mine mentioned his LARP group – I’d been into role-playing games as a kid too – the prospect of a fantasy world off in the wilderness seemed attractive. I’d been playing with them ever since. Maybe I’d figure out something up in the mountains, maybe not, but it was something to do besides stare at the walls of my apartment.

I got myself into a steady pace where my head was emptying all my work and love-life crap behind me, and I was feeling a bit overly proud of how fit I was now, when I heard a distant rumble across the valley. 

Shit. Our GM warned us that the weather forecast predicted a chance of rain tonight, but being the bold adventurers we were, we’d decided to tough it out. And as I looked out toward the ocean, there was definitely a squall rolling in. I stopped to dig a poncho out of my backpack and threw it over myself.

I got another quarter mile up the trail before heavy drops of rain began to fall. It wasn’t a downpour, but the trail and forest around me was rapidly growing wet. I slowed my pace to avoid slipping but I had a good pair of hiking boots, so I kept going.

A few minutes later, I encountered a split in the trail. I stopped to look at the map, but I was pretty sure where I was, and no branch was apparent. Which way was I supposed to go? Both trails were thin and led off beyond my sight. One angled uphill, the other slightly downhill. I looked for tracks from my friends, but the rain had obscured whatever might have been there. 

After thinking it over and not wanting to get any wetter, I chose the uphill trail, deciding that these were likely two branches of the same trail that came together further ahead.

The trail took a sharp turn up the hill, and I was soon clambering up a half-buried pile of rocks. I was about to turn around when I got to the top and saw a clear trail leading down the ridge. I paused to enjoy the view inland and noticed some kind of cave about ten feet down the other side. There was an opening in the hillside about four feet across leading down into darkness.

Caves were fairly rare up here, but not unheard of. This one didn’t look terribly interesting even if I’d had the time to check it out. 

I turned to continue down the trail, but the cave had distracted me enough that I misjudged my next step. What I assumed was solid ground was in fact a loose stone that gave way under my foot. A split-second later, I lost my balance with all the gear on my back, and I fell backwards onto the hillside. I reached out to my sides, trying to gain some purchase, but the muddy ground slipped away under my fingers. 

As I slid faster down the slope, I realized I was heading straight for the cave opening. I shot my arm out toward a dead branch and caught hold of it, only to have it snap off in my hand. 

I slipped rapidly down into the cave. Something hit my head and everything went black.

I’ll post chapter 2 next week.

I’m Back (?!)

Like everyone else, my life this year has been upended by the coronavirus, and I’ve been working from home since late March. One of the things about WFH is that it allows you  more flexibility in arranging your day, as well as saving time on commutes. That also means more flexibility in writing.

During the last period I was writing regularly, from about 2014–2016, I was working from home. But I changed jobs in 2017, and with it went realistic time for writing. That’s (partly) why haven’t followed up with the Twin Magic and Dark Web series (more on that below).

But in early July, I got bitten by the writing bug again, and I’ve been feverishly working on a new series. This series I’m not going to publish until it’s done, so I won’t be leaving people hanging like I’ve done in the past.

What is it? Very generally, it’s an alien/sci-fi harem adventure that I’m calling The Makalang. The first book is called The Scarlet Cavern, and it follows some familiar tropes in the harem genre, starting with “the main character is transported to a world full of horny women.” But I’ve been working hard to put a fresh spin on things. If you’re familiar with my past work, you probably have an idea of what’s in store. There’s some explicit sex, but it’s not erotica.

I’ve not been shy in the past about calling out failings in the various genres I’ve written in, and Harem-lit has its share of failings. In particular, I’ve spent quite a bit of time and effort on the world-building here, because too many works in this genre don’t really think through all the implications of their worlds. If you’ve got a setting that’s 99% female (as this one is), that is a society that is not going to operate like the one we live in. That’s a change that’s going to affect almost everything, including a lot of things that the tropes in the genre depend on. There’s a lot more. Whether I succeeded here, I’ll leave to my readers.

The good news is that I have completed drafts of Book 1, as well as Book 2, The Black Sky, and Book 3, The Golden Staff. The fourth and (I think) last book I’m still sketching out, and I don’t have a title for it yet. Each book so far is about 50,000 words. I’m going to be posting some excerpts from The Crystal Cave over the next few weeks.

I’ve commissioned cover art for the series from the awesome Kenshjn Park, and I’m really excited to see what he comes up with. I’ll post sketches and the covers as they come in.

When is it coming? I’m hoping to release The Crystal Cave some time in late September, and the other books about 2-3 months apart. That’s going to depend on what the beta readers think, as well as getting Book 4 done first, since again, I’m not releasing anything it until it’s all finished.

So, about Twin Magic. I realized with the third installment that I’d bitten off way too much with this series. I’ve written about 25,000 words, but I’ve had to conclude that there’s no realistic chance I’m going to finish it in the near future. The narrative got stuck in a place I can’t really get myself out of because of what Book 3 is about. And there’s so much left to write that I haven’t been able to get myself into it again.

The Dark Web series is probably dead as well. I was disappointed in the sales for Spider, and though I started the sequel, Scorpion, I have considerably less of it done and even less of an idea of where it might go.

So if you’ve been waiting patiently for either or both of these, I apologize for abandoning them. It’s just a thing that happens with writing.

What’s Up

Okay, I get that I seem to have disappeared lately. That’s a fair assessment. To set the record straight, I am not dead, I am not sick, and I am not suffering from anything keeping me away from writing beyond life. But I changed jobs around the first of this year, and as a result, I don’t have the same amount of writing time that I used to. But I am writing, and I do still intend to get what I owe my readers out eventually.

Here’s where we’re at with the ones people have been asking about.

The Knight’s Folly (Twin Magic 3): This is the big one, naturally. Remind me to never promise publication dates for sequels. I suggested I’d get this out mid-2015, which means it’s two years late. Hey, at least I’m not as late as George R.R. Martin is with the Winds of Winter. But I set out to address some of the criticisms of the first two books with this one, namely that they were too short and rushed over things people wanted more of. So I’m aiming at 100k words on this one. I’m not there yet. I won’t tell you where I’m at, but there’s a ways to go yet. Some hints: Hans and Julia are back. The third color will be revealed. There’s going to be a war. Martin Luther puts in an appearance. Beyond that, who knows?

Scorpion (A Dark Web 3 2): I actually started this one before Spider was even released, but didn’t get all that far. I’ve written a bit more here and there. All I can tell you is that most of it takes place in Africa, it’s even darker than the first one (there are two murders in the first chapter alone), and the title refers to Makayla. The rest you’ll have to wait for.


The Spider is Coming


I’ve just uploaded Spider for pre-order on Amazon, and it will be released March 4. I’m really happy with how it came out, and though it’s not for everyone, I think many of my regular readers should really enjoy it. If you liked the creepiness of Vector and some of the darker stories in The Wisdom of Dogs (especially “A Needle through the Heart”) you should like this. One of my beta readers insists it’s the best thing of mine she’s read. Hopefully you’ll agree.

I’ve got some notes and initial ideas down for a sequel (tentatively titled Scorpion), but it’s off to The Knight’s Folly (the long-delayed third installment in Twin Magic) after this.

Enter the Web

After a month or so of revisions and beta-reading, I’m getting ready to finalize Spider and upload it for pre-order. This is a somewhat unusual book in that it’s not a romance, even a dark romance, of the sort you usually see in dark erotica. It’s certainly very dark, and (I think) erotic, but otherwise departs from a lot of the usual conventions. One of those conventions is the often cartoonish feel of a lot of books I’ve read in this genre, full of stereotypical villains and unrealistic settings—all-powerful crime families, hit men in tuxedos, action scenes torn from the latest Michael Bay movie, and so on. With Spider, I made a conscious effort to spin as grittily realistic a story as I could manage. I wanted to achieve as little suspension of disbelief as I could get by with. That’s part of why Spider has taken me nearly a year to finish (and partly why, if you’re wondering, the third Twin Magic book is so late). I had to do a lot of research and reading to build the setting and the main character.

About that main character: One of my beta readers called him “creepy in a hot-as-fuck kind of way,” but you aren’t likely to fall in love with him. If he scares you a little, or more than a little, then I’ve done my job.

I don’t have a cover yet (still not sure about the title), so instead I’m going to post an excerpt here. Enter if you dare.


The man woke with a start. He’d been dreaming of things a lifetime ago and momentarily wasn’t sure where he was. He’d thought he’d heard a gunshot, but he slowly realized the shot had only been in his dream.

The beach in Kuwait City the night before the Marines moved north. The teenaged Iraqi soldier who had come upon them while they were laying the explosives. The bullet he had put through the kid’s forehead with his suppressed MP5.

He pushed the dream back into the cobwebs of his memories and sat up, remembering.

He was in a cheap motel room in Chula Vista, where he had gone after arriving the night before and picking up his truck from the long-term storage lot. After leaving the flight attendant bound on her knees in the airline club conference room.

He thought about finding the woman again. He knew the hotel where the airline put their flight crews up during layovers, and he figured he would have little trouble convincing the desk clerk to give him her room number. He’d have two or three hours to work on her. And after last night, he knew she would let him, husband or no husband.

But he had other things to do. Another woman to worry about.

He climbed out of bed and stretched, first his arms, then his neck, then his hamstrings. After a few minutes, he lay face down on the floor and began doing pushups.

He was nude, and had the flight attendant from the previous night seen him—something he would never have allowed; she would have been blindfolded again—the shock might have been enough to jolt her out of her deer-in-the-headlights fascination with him.

There was a puckered scar about the size of a dime on his left thigh. On his back was a chaotic expanse of scar tissue from his right shoulder blade down to his lowest rib. Around this dinner plate–sized mess of keloid tissue were scattered more irregular scars, the smallest about the size of a pea, the largest about half an inch long, as if he had been stabbed repeatedly with a dull table knife, or perhaps sprayed with fragments of metal.

His hands were rough and heavily calloused, especially along the edges and knuckles. The flight attendant hadn’t noticed it, but he was missing the last joint of his right pinky finger.

On his right bicep was an old, faded tattoo of an eagle clutching a trident and a flintlock pistol. On his left bicep was a tattoo of the word Alex. That one was newer, no more than a few years old.

The rest of his body was as craggy and weathered as his face. His muscles were as hard and defined as any male model’s, but the sight of him would have had any self-respecting talent agent recoiling in horror at the idea of him representing anything anyone was supposed to buy.

The pushups continued for about ten minutes, the pace of them only slowing near the end. When he had counted off five hundred, he stopped and caught his breath for a moment. Then he rolled on his back and commenced doing sit-ups.

Three hundred sit-ups later, he went to the door of the bathroom and hooked the tips of his fingers over the doorframe. He lifted his feet off the floor and hung there for a moment or two, making sure of his purchase on the molding. Then he pulled himself up until he was facing the wall above the door.

His fingers began to ache after a hundred pull-ups, but he ignored the pain—it was nothing to what he had felt many times in the past—and continued.

When he was done, he went to his bag and extracted a pair of nylon running shorts, a gray microfiber t-shirt, his running shoes, and a light shoulder pack. After dressing, he left his room and set out across the parking lot. The motel was just off H Street, a few blocks from the harbor. On his way over, he passed a group of Latino teenagers standing outside a convenience store. They gave him wary looks, one of them staring at him intently. He returned the stare, and the boy dropped his eyes after a moment, not liking what he saw.

When he crossed over Interstate 5, he began running along H Street. He soon reached Bayside Park and turned left. He ran until he had circled the entire park and marina and reached the small sand beach at the north end. He could just barely make out the familiar buildings across the water in Coronado, though it had been many years since he’d been to the base. But he remembered all of it, despite the decades since he first arrived there, not long after boot camp.

He took off his shirt, shoes, and socks and placed them inside a plastic bag in his pack. Then he entered the water and swam the mile or so to the south corner of the park, taking care as he crossed the entrance to the marina. He turned left and continued swimming along the breakwater until he reached the shallows along the south edge of Marina Park and climbed out of the water.

He rinsed off under a public shower, dressed, and ran back to the motel. The same teenagers were in front of the convenience store, but they avoided his gaze this time. When he arrived at his room, a stocky middle-aged man was leaving the room next to his. He could tell from the sweaty flush on the man’s face and the way he avoided his gaze what he had been up to, not that it mattered. It was the sort of thing that went on at motels like this one.

Half an hour later, showered and dressed in his jeans and a blue golf shirt, he walked three blocks up the street. He had picked this motel in part because there was a indoor shooting range not far away. When he got there, he rented a booth and a S&W SD40, and bought 200 rounds of ammunition, paying cash for all of it. He had a gun back in his room—a Glock 27—but did not want to use it here for a variety of reasons.

He didn’t expect to shoot anything during this undertaking; neither did he expect to do any ocean swimming. But practicing skills only when you thought you would need them was a good way to get out of practice in a hurry, and if he needed to do either, it was better to be ready than not.

The rangemaster watched as he meticulously shot the 10-ring out of five straight targets, then amused himself by shooting intricate geometric patterns into the next five. The rangemaster, who was used to this sort of thing given what went on just across the bay, was impressed but said nothing.

The man went to a taco stand for lunch, then returned to the motel. A different man with the same purpose as the previous one entered the room next to his. As before, the man avoided his gaze.

Once back in his room, he went to his bag. Inside was a zippered pouch. He opened it and withdrew the contents: a Blackberry and eight thousand dollars in cash.

The Blackberry was not his; it connected to a special encrypted network and had been given to him by the SAD so they could communicate securely with him when necessary. There were no messages there either, nor had he expected any; the SAD knew he was busy with another job, though he had not told them what. He had only promised to check messages every few days. Having done so, he turned it off and shoved it back into the pouch.

Then he checked his phone. It was a dual-SIM Android model that allowed him to switch between accounts on the fly. Both SIM cards had come from burner phones he had purchased and discarded. He checked both accounts—one was personal, the other business—finding nothing urgent.

He lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. Sounds of rough, hasty sex came through the wall from next door, but he ignored them.

Though he remained motionless for about half an hour, he was not sleeping. Rather, he was thinking about the things he needed to do. And the woman. He knew where she was, but he needed to wait a bit longer. He had thought these things through many times, but hard experience had taught him that the little oversights, the unintentional assumptions and shortcuts that could trip him up when it mattered, usually revealed themselves only when the rest of a plan had become rote. So he rehearsed it again in his mind another few times.

Tomorrow he would do a dry run in person. He could do this only once lest the repetition draw attention, so he could not afford to miss something he should have thought of beforehand.

This was the last step. Everything else was ready.


Later that afternoon, he went to the convenience store up the street and bought a six-pack of Stone Pale Ale. He didn’t drink very often, but now and then he felt the need to release the ratchet on his life and just do nothing. Things would be getting very tense very soon, so this would be his last chance.

In front of his room was a picnic table and an ancient propane grill. He opened a beer and sat at the table, looking out across the street.

About ten minutes later, a girl emerged from the room next to his and lit a cigarette as she stood in the doorframe. She was younger and prettier than he had expected; he doubted she was much older than twenty. She was short and slim, with long brown hair, and wore a black stretch minidress that looked to have been taken off repeatedly that day.

She saw him looking at her and regarded him warily.

“How’s business?” he asked.

He watched as a parade of emotions flowed through her eyes: annoyance, then embarrassment, then resentment, before settling on weary resignation.

“Okay,” she finally said. Then she forced a smile onto her face. “Interested?”

He shook his head. “Not today. Want a beer?”

She stepped forward, and he opened one for her.

“Short on your rent this month?”

He could tell she was a part-timer; the girl she had been was still apparent under the façade she carried when she was working. She nodded.

“How much?”

She shrugged. “About $600.”

He could see she had a silver stud in her tongue. “How come?”

“Some stupid shit. Doesn’t really matter, does it?”

“Guess not. What’s your day job?”

“A checker at Target. I’m off today.”

He nodded. He’d seen it before.

“What about you?” the girl asked.

“I’m between work.”

“What do you do?”

“I solve problems. It varies.”

That was true, though he had found that a person’s definition of problem could vary quite widely. Great wealth such as his clients possessed tended to change one’s perspectives on what that might be.

The girl looked at him curiously. He could tell she could see the military in him, though it was surely for different reasons than Rachel the flight attendant had. The San Diego naval base was only a few miles north, and if she hadn’t had sailors among her customers, she would have seen enough of them around.

Her phone rang. He expected her to return to her room, but she answered without moving from her spot by the door.

“Hey.” She listened for a few moments, glancing at him briefly. “I can see you at 5:00. Would that work?” Her voice was bright and flirty, emotions that were not matched by the flat expression on her face. “I’m near the marina in Chula Vista. Do you know where that is?” Then, “Okay, just call me again when you get close, and I’ll give you directions.”

“It’s not even 3:00,” he said when she hung up.

She shrugged again. “I need a break.”

The man could see that. He finished his beer and returned to his room. He found his zipper pouch and extracted seven $100 bills from the stack of cash. He folded them in half and went back outside. The girl was still there.

“Here. Go home.”

Her jaw dropped as he handed her the money. She counted it slowly, then looked up at him in shock.

“Why?” she finally asked.

“I solve problems, like I said.”

She looked back and forth between him and the wad of bills several times before nodding.

“Okay. Um, thanks.”

She disappeared into her room. He picked up the remaining beers and went into his.


About five minutes later, there was a knock on his door. He’d left it open partway for the fresh air—the A/C in his room didn’t work—and he saw it was the girl.

“Hey,” she said. She had on the same dress but was carrying an overnight bag.


She glanced around behind her and stepped into the doorframe. He could tell she had something to say, but it took her a few moments to get it out.

“Um, I was thinking, before I go . . . did you want to, you know . . . ” She shrugged.

He returned her gaze evenly. “That’s not why I gave you the money.”

“I know.”

He had seen this before as well, a desire to get back to having sex because she wanted to, not because she was paid to.

“What’s your name? Your real one.”


“Tiffany, you are a pretty girl, but I have rather refined tastes at my age. Things that may be a bit much for you.”

Her face paled a bit, but she didn’t move. “I’ve done stuff.”

He nodded. “Shut the door, then.” She did, setting her bag down on the table in front of the window.

The man stood. He was taller than her by nearly a foot. She looked up at him, eyes wide.

“Take off your dress.”

She had nothing on under it, as he had expected. Her pubic hair was shaved, and he could tell from the redness of the skin that she had done it recently, probably that morning. Her breasts were small, but firm and well shaped. There was a red spot—a hickey, he assumed—on the left one at the seven-o-clock position under the nipple. She had another piercing, a little crystal stud in her navel. He had thought at first she was Latina, but he could see now she was a mix of something, which was hardly unusual in San Diego.

“Go stand by the bathroom door.”

As she walked nervously to the bathroom, he looked into her bag. Among the other things inside—condoms, makeup, lubricant, a bottle of water—there was a small collection of lingerie, including a pair of stockings. He took them out, then unhooked the shoulder strap from the bag.

Tiffany waited, motionless, watching him. He opened the loop on the shoulder strap.

“Give me your wrists.”

She slowly extended her arms, crossing one wrist over the other. He tightened the loop over her, then pulled the strap up over the door and closed it, trapping the strap in the doorframe.

Then he blindfolded her with one of the stockings, and used his foot to push her ankles apart, making her hang from the strap.

He pulled the lone chair at the window table over to the bathroom and sat in front of her. A flush was spreading over her pale skin, and he could smell her growing arousal.

“Are you afraid of me, Tiffany?”


“Hmm. And why not? Most people are afraid of me.”

She swallowed hard.

“I trust you.”

“We’ve just met. You don’t know me at all.”

“I know.”

He nodded. This was interesting.

He leaned forward in the chair and began tracing his fingers over her body, up and down, back and forth. She quivered under his touch, breath coming more unevenly. He gently felt her breasts. The flesh was firm and springy. He lightly tugged on her nipples until they stood out. He flicked his fingers over them.

He stroked her legs, the insides of her thighs, avoiding her sex for now. He continued touching her like this until she was shivering and breathing hard.

Then he reached between her legs, finding her slick. He brought his fingers to his nose, smelling the lubricant she had used that day, and the real fluids he had drawn out. He traced the tip of his finger over her inner lips, back and forth, touching her clitoris lightly.

In some ways, he’d often though that stimulating a woman in this fashion was not unlike sitting in a spider’s web, waiting for one’s prey to draw closer. Just as one had to be patient and wait for the best moment to strike, the arousal he was stoking needed to be brought forth in stages.

So when the muscles in Tiffany’s abdomen began to quiver in incipient release, he slowed his movements, then stopped. He expected her to protest, but she didn’t. She just stood there, breath ragged, and waited.

He began again in about a minute, starting exactly like he had the first time, just touching her up and down for a while, then her breasts, and then finally between her legs.

Her thighs were wet and sticky by now, and it took much less time to bring her close to her peak. And again, when her stomach started to twitch, he stopped.

She whimpered softly, but said nothing. He went to her bag and found the bottle of water. He gave her a small drink and set it aside.

Five times, he went through the same routine, each time stopping her short of release. By the last time, she was shivering and shaking in frustration, but still had said nothing, nor had she done anything to escape her confinement.

The man sat back and regarded her, intrigued. This was not the sort of girl he would have expected to find selling herself out of a motel room. She had potential. Not for him, necessarily, but there were others who might be interested. There were wealthy men who regarded the absence of a girl like this from their lives as a problem needing to be solved.

He waited several minutes, watching as Tiffany’s arousal began to ebb. He could tell she was unhappy with this, but again she said nothing.

Finally, he resumed, this time going straight for her breasts, then between her legs. Stroking her briskly now, he brought her up to the brink of orgasm—then stopped.

She cried out in frustration, arching her back, trying to push herself forward for him to touch. He waited just long enough for her arousal to plateau, then took her sex in his hand. He slipped his middle and ring fingers inside of her, pulling up, trapping her clitoris against his palm. Then he began rubbing her rapidly.

The climax that ripped through her was so intense that her legs flailed against him and her entire body shook uncontrollably. She cried out again as he lifted her up by her sex, curling his fingers back inside her and continuing the stimulation through her peak, which went on for long seconds. She was taken by a second orgasm, then a third, before he released her, letting her hang against the door twitching and gasping for breath.

A minute or two later, he freed the strap from the doorframe and carried her to the bed, limp as a ragdoll. He tied the strap to the headboard, pulling her down the mattress until her arms were taut. Then he turned her over, pushing her up to her knees. He found the other stocking and tied her ankles together.

The man undressed and found a condom in Tiffany’s bag. Unprotected sex with married flight attendants was one thing, but a professional—even a part-timer as young as this girl—was a different matter.

She moaned softly as he entered her from behind. Her sex was flooded with her fluids and still twitched and throbbed in the aftermath of what he had done to her. He held her narrow waist and moved in her slowly.

For a few minutes, he simply focused on himself, but before he grew close to finishing, he returned to working on the girl. Her arousal had ebbed only a little, and a minute or so of firm downward thrusts had her whimpering and shivering under him. When he felt the tremors of her release subside around him, he withdrew, untied her ankles, and rolled her over. She spread her legs, lifting her sex toward him, moaning for him to take her again.

He entered her, driving hard against her clitoris. He drew one last orgasm from her thin body before letting himself go. He lifted up on his arms and watched himself pumping into her bare sex before finally stabbing forward with a grunt and ejaculating inside her.

Dark Erotica Incoming!

Several times I’ve teased a book called Chinese Vengeance, and for those of you who’ve been around since the beginning, you may recall a novella of that name I published on Ruthie’s Club in 2001. As with a lot of stuff I’ve been doing since restarting my writing career, some old fans have asked about it and wanted to know if I would re-release it.

The problem with the original CV is that it’s a bit too extreme for Amazon. There are some awfully dark elements in it, to the point that it could arguably be viewed as erotic horror. A lot of people liked it, but it would almost certainly be rejected because of the lines it crosses.

But I liked it then, and I still do. So I decided not just to rewrite it but remake it. I took all the main characters, the same basic theme, and started an entirely new novel. What came out at the other end, as of this afternoon, is something quite different from the original book, both in plot, character, and theme. It’s still dark erotica—darker in some respects than the original—but doesn’t cross any lines Amazon would find objectionable. (Does it dance up against them repeatedly? Yes, yes, it does.) It’s also, in my humble opinion, a lot better, maybe one of the best things I’ve ever written.

Because of all these and some other reasons, I’ve decided that Chinese Vengeance no longer works as a title. It deserves its own identity. So I need to come up with a new one. (Right now, I’m calling it Spider, but I’m not entirely happy with that.)

I’m sending it out for beta reading shortly, and once I’ve come up with a title, I’m ordering a cover. If all goes well, I expect to have it up for pre-order in January. Stay tuned.

Bissell is Back

As I promised not so long ago, I have updated and revised Richard Bissell’s classic Cum series for re-release. I have renamed it Family Chemistry, and it is up for pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords. The pre-order pages for books 3 and 4 on Amazon have not shown up just yet, but should be visible later this week. The blurbs will be the same, so feel free to check out the book listings on Smashwords if you’re curious.

The books will be released once per week starting Nov. 6, with the new and concluding novel released on Nov. 27. That one came in at around 55,000 words and is currently out for beta-reading.

Bissell now has his own book page, which you can reach through the menu above.

It’s Cumming

Long ago, in another life, when I wrote erotica mainly to amuse myself (as opposed to now, when I do it to help pay the bills and only secondarily for entertainment), I wrote a short story that was intended to satirize the trashy, out-and-out incest pieces that made up a significant portion of internet erotica in the late 1990s. The story was called My Sister the Cum Addict, and it was about two siblings who discover an unusual method of breast enhancement. Though the fellow authors I had gotten friendly with got the satire, as did most of my regular readers, the story produced a reaction I didn’t anticipate: The incest crowd loved it and wanted more.


So I wrote a second one, My Cousin’s Cum Diet, and a third, My Mother the Cum Magnate (note: that’s not a typo), trying to keep up with the satire but also trying to give the readers what they wanted.

Because these were not “Michael Dalton”–type stories, I published them under the same pseudonym I’d use to publish Amber: The Making of a Fuck Toy, Richard Bissell.

Fast forward to now. The Cum series has lain dormant ever since, since I didn’t see any reason to republish it. But as I’ve become more well known as an indie author, my old fans are resurfacing, and they’ve begun asking about these stories. That, plus the unflagging popularity of step-sibling erotica made me think it might be worth brushing these off and updating them.My-Cousins-Sex-Diet-web

I did all that fairly quickly in early September and ordered some covers, which you see here. Naturally, with Amazon’s well-known sensibilities about this particular genre, I had to make some changes. But in doing so, I began to feel as if the series was unfinished. We end My Mother on
something of, if not a cliffhanger, at least some unfinished business: Jimmy and Kim looking to the future but unsure of what it holds.

Of course, once I began wondering about where they might end up, another story became inevitable. But the piece that I’ve spent the last two weeks writing, My Father the Sex Master, is a very different work. For one thing, it’s a lot longer—longer by at least 30% than the other three pieces combined. It’s also not in any way a satire (though it does carry forward some of the humorous elements of Book 3). It addresses Jimmy and Kim’s relationship in a much more straightforward fashion, which meant digging a long way into what they were thinking and feeling. What it turned into, believe it or not, was a ménage romance.My-Mother-the-Sex-Magnate-web

For those of you who have read the first three books, this one takes place two years after Book 3 ends, mostly over the course of Jimmy’s last college spring break. The titular father is the one who showed up at the end of Book 3, and his shadowy background plays a significant part in how this one unfolds. The third member of that ménage is a new character Jimmy and Kim meet on spring break in Florida.

My Father is a good book (or at least one I really enjoyed writing), but there are some rather My-father-the-sex-master-webstriking thematic inconsistencies between Book 1 and Book 4. Unfortunately, they’re inconsistencies I can’t resolve without a complete re-write of Books 1-3. That’s something I’m not inclined to attempt, and it isn’t what the readers clamoring for their re-release are asking for anyway.

I’m going to have the whole series available for pre-order on Amazon very shortly, staggered because I’m not 100% finished with Book 4 (it refuses to stop writing itself even though I keep thinking it’s done). But for those of you waiting for these, and those of you who haven’t read them yet, I promise it will be worth the wait.


Something Old, Something New

Okay, yeah, it’s been awfully quiet this summer in part because my day job has sucked up too much of my time and partly because I’m trying to write three books at once (Chinese Vengeance, Magnitude, and The Knight’s Folly) and consequently not making a lot of progress on any of them.

None of those are coming out immediately. What is coming out—or rather, coming back—as a result of some discussions with old fans, is Richard Bissell. Yes, my erstwhile colleague/pseudonym is coming out with some books of his own, namely the long-lost Cum series. If you read it, this is an updated, slightly modified, and improved version in professionally polished (by me, but I’m a professional, so that works) ebook format. If you haven’t read these three stories, well, there’s a reason I’m letting RB publish them instead of me.

They will be available for pre-order on Smashwords soon and on Amazon, assuming they aren’t rejected for content reasons. The covers are on order, and I’ll be posting them when they’re final, likely later this week.

Back in the Saddle

With The Witches’ Covenant released and briefly hitting number 1 on Amazon’s Myths and Legends bestseller list, I decided to take a break from writing and blogging to recharge my batteries. Thus, the hiatus in newsletters and blog posts.

Though it’s been quiet here the past month or so, I’m now working on three different novels: The sequel to Vector, which I’m tentatively calling Magnitude; a new dark erotica thriller called Chinese Vengeance (no, this is not the same story I published on Ruthie’s Club; it’s a new one inspired by that work); and, of course, Book 3 in the Twin Magic series, The Knights’ Folly.

The latter one is likely to slip a bit from my promised mid-2015 release date, both because I need to do more research and because I have larger ambitions for this one than the first two. The only teaser I can provide at this point is that it’s going to center around the Knights’ Revolt that took place in central Germany in 1522.

Chinese Vengeance will be the first one out, hopefully early this summer. I’m really likely how it’s coming along, and it’s most definitely not your typical piece of dark erotica with the dangerous-but-sexy male protagonist and the innocent-and-vulnerable woman who falls under his spell. I hope to be able to say more about this one over the next few weeks, but for now, I’ll give you only one teaser: Stare Kiejkuty.