With Plasma Rain in print, we’ve brought conclusion to our ten-years-in-the-making series, Angry Ghosts; and we’re simply thrilled at the response. Page reads in the Kindle Lending Library are at an all time high. (We credit Marek Okon’s incredible talent on the cover for Plasma Rain, and maybe—just maybe—we got the pages between right)
Okay, the series is done. Now what?
Some might think we’d rest on our ample haunches, clinking tumblers, in celebration. Well, sure, there were more than a few Old Fashioneds poured, but Luxardo Cherries don’t buy themselves. And ultimately, it really is about creation. Writers write. Publishers publish.
Beaning around in Farnham’s noggin is a supernatural/psychological thriller in the vein of Dean Koontz. It’ll be a standalone novel, not a series, and oh my is it daaaaarrrrrrrrk…
We also have a story that’s hard to classify. Kind of a “Bedtime Story for Adults,” if you will. We’ll put it out shortly.
There may be an anthology of short stories, as well, taken from the Vivid Dreams posts on this blog and projects elsewhere.
In the meantime, thank you for your support! It means everything to us. And, please, if you’ve read our books, would you leave a review? Reviews are crucial to building visibility online. Goodreads, Amazon, blog pages, chat rooms, anywhere you can, we’d be immensely grateful.
In the absence of regular updates, a fair assumption is made: we must have given up on this whole publishing thing, knuckled under to the strong arm tactics of digital gatekeepers, and abandoned our beloved readers, leaving them hanging like a prom date on the doorstep.
To be blunt, we’re just not smart enough to choose the easy way out. We’re too addicted to completion, too pigheaded to give up. And we really, really love torturing our author for pages. Seriously, we almost define our existence in his ritual flogging. But before you start typing a report to Amnesty International, you should know he totally deserves it.
More important than any of this, of course, is that real progress has been made. Sixty-seven chapters in, there are a handful more before the first draft of Plasma Rain is complete. So many threads beg for resolution we can’t rush or fudge our way through. No shortcuts. That said, we’re approaching ten years since Angry Ghosts, and, looking back at that span of time, we’re amazed readers are still with us. In plainest sincerity, we are blessed beyond measure that you are still with us. We owe you denouement worthy of the wait.
Meanwhile, we’re always looking for means of motivation to spur our abeyant author. Send us your most diabolical, inimical ideas. In return, we’ll reward you with images of your ideas implemented and a completed novel by year’s end.
It has been Cadre One Publishing’s policy not to become involved in political matters. There is no joy, or sense, for a publisher of fiction to be concerned with anyone’s political views or opinions. What the Standing Rock Sioux are enduring, however, is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of those with little power being trampled by those with power. It is a grotesque proof that this is not a democracy, because democracy is rule by citizens. This is something far less noble.
This isn’t a Bolivian water riot. This isn’t Venezuela or Ecuador battling an environmentally devastating petroleum company. This is American soil, where Americans are defending their water and land from bulldozers and a pipeline that, if it fails, will ruin both water and land. It is absurd to think such a thing could happen in this country. Now that it has, and we are forced to stare, unblinking, at brutal force turned on those who exercise their most basic rights to exist, unmolested, on their own property…we have to contend with a simple fact: if it can happen to them, it can happen to us all.
History will judge this event correctly. It will look back and see yet another abuse of power on those without power. And future generations will shake their heads, decrying the sins of their elders. But there is opportunity right now to demand the Standing Rock Sioux enjoy the same protections that the rest of us expect. Is it not clear that if it is happening to them, in this country, it can happen to all of us?
Ask yourself what you would do if a company bulldozed your family farm? What if it was your home? Or a cemetery of those who had died serving your nation? Honestly, what would you do?
Our silence dooms these people. And it dooms the rest of us, as well. Please do not remain silent. Get involved! If you feel, even for an instant, that the treatment of the Standing Rock Sioux is wrong then tell the people you elected to serve.
Feel free to use the following letter, if you like. Change it around to suit you, or write your own, then send it to your senators and representatives.
Mr/Ms. (Elected Official): I’m deeply troubled by what I see happening in North Dakota between the Standing Rock Sioux, DAPL, and local law enforcement. The Standing Rock Sioux (and other supporting tribes) are standing up for the most basic of rights (land and water) that were guaranteed by treaty. They are now being violently evicted from the site of peaceful protest.
This is one of the ugliest actions our uniformed services can take. It places those in uniform on the WRONG side of a contest in total opposition to the people they are supposed to protect. It builds an Us vs Them mentality that makes their jobs so much harder going forward, and moreover, it feeds the paranoia of militia groups and anti-government zealots. Our uniformed services should NEVER be in such blatant service of moneyed interests, especially when the legality (by treaty) of such action is still very much in question. My heart goes out to them as much as to the Tribes who are being trampled by greed and threatened with environmental disaster.
ANY support for this indecent action is unacceptable, and I sincerely beg you and your colleagues in office to do whatever is in your power to protect these Americans from a shameful re-enactment of the heinous treaty violations of the 1800s. Please, help make these Americans whole, because the entire nation is watching, and learning, who government truly serves.
Some may think we’re not listening, or that we’re immune to recommendations, but it’s not so. If anything, we’re a friendly, accommodating lot and we like to make people happy. That’s when we remind our readers they must be thinking of our indolent author. Nothing gets through that hard head of his. And lately, nothing seems to be coming out of it, either.
Since we can’t seem to beat anything out of him anymore, it’s high time we outsourced our Author Motivation Campaign. Help us find new and interesting ways to motivate our couch-lounging layabout. Send us your dastardly ideas/drawings/diagrams/implements by e-mail, postal worker, sled dog, or drone. For your troubles, you might get something good sent to the return address…
And while we’re at it, we went back through the meager work he has produced. With reader feedback in mind, we’ve issued a revised edition of Black Hawks From a Blue Sun.
The new and improved version features a deeper intro, better flow, and smoother action. We’re also giving the e-book away FREE starting this Wednesday, Jan 21st, through Sunday, Jan 25th. Click below for your downloadable copy:
Looking forward to your thoughts. Well, yes, on the books, but also on exciting new uses for superglue…
Being a micro publisher means we can try a few things to maximize efficiency, experiment with them to see how they work. Another way of saying it is that our day jobs keep getting in the way, so we do as much as we can in the time we have.
One distributor seemed to offer our biggest bang for the buck: Kindle Direct. Biggest market, national distribution, easy set up, nice automation, and strong returns for exclusivity. But recent events are a tad concerning.
Why should Amazon have any say whatsoever in what a publisher charges for their books?
We have no affiliation with Hachette. And to be frank, we do think their ebook prices are high. But who are we to say? If that’s what the market will bear, then let them charge what they like. There just isn’t any sense in Amazon trying to strong arm a publisher into a pricing model.
So we’re branching out. Something we should have done ages ago, in fact. As of today, all three books from Cadre One Publishing are available for download from Barnes & Noble Nook Books:
Next stop will be iBooks. Would be there already if Mavericks OS would run on our old Black MacBook. We’ll let you know soon as they’re up and available.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, work continues on Plasma Rain. We know this one’s been a long time coming. Bringing the series to conclusion will take many pages, and we want to make sure it never turns preachy, never drags. Hang in there, folks. We’ll make certain it’s worth it.
In the meantime, keep that hate mail coming! We use it to keep the fire going under Farnham’s feet.
I played soccer when I was younger. Always a fullback, which was ok with me. Defense is righteous. (You’re gonna score on my team? Not with busted shins, you’re not) But the game was boring. Often scoreless. 90 Minutes of my life that was totally fruitless. Sure, I’d have a bit of an all right time getting the ball back to the other side of the field, and then it was just tedium. I’d be standing near the mid-field line watching our forwards and halfbacks perpetually stymied. The ball would get knocked out of bounds over and over. There was an occasional shot on goal, deflected or caught. Man, as bad as it was to play, it was even worse to watch. Total frustration without catharsis.
I’ve been down this road before. But it took close friends (and a couple six-packs) to really drill down on what makes this game suck so hard:
YOU CAN’T USE YOUR HANDS.
Far from being a creative quirk, this is just the dumbest idea in sporting history. What other sports out there would be as interesting without the use of hands? For example…
You get the point. But I haven’t even drilled down to the number one, worst part about soccer: the Drama Queens.
If they would just man up and carry Wolverine knives and Pole axes, it’d be a decent game. Would definitely temper the riot-potential of disgruntled fans.
Since that’ll never happen, we’re offering a satisfying alternative to brooding over “That Ludicrous Display Last Night“, and we’re putting Angry Ghosts up for free download, permanently. Interested readers will find an Easter Egg on the Cadre One Publishing site that links to the full book pdf.
(Need we mention the book is still copywritten? Please, no reselling or plagiarism, but you can download and share as much as you like.)
We’re also making Angry Ghosts for Kindle free for the next five days, starting June 30th and running through July 4th.
From all of us at Cadre One Publishing, have a safe and riot-free Independence Day!
I’ve threatened to do this for a while now…talked about making my journal public (for the Hoot that it is). But before I do, you should know the main reason I keep a journal is to record dreams.
For as long as I can recall my dreams have been vivid. All the senses are present, if slightly dimmed. Upon waking, the sensation is of having just lived through something either hilarious or traumatizing. Sometimes, they’re warnings from my subconscious. Other times, they’re old insecurities trying to resurface. And sometimes they’re just out there.
This one falls into that latter category…
Jan 31st, 2014
The dream last night: apocalypse. Failed civilization, scarce resources. But it wasn’t the aftermath of some single cataclysmic event, this was a global plague. Something manufactured.
People I knew, people I didn’t, all heavily armed, and scheming. The buildings, unmaintained for months, strewn with discarded clothes and trash. Metal cans burning cardboard and sticks of smashed furniture. Sodden carpet gone gray with pulverized drywall.
I’m escorting a young woman. She’s not my lover, not my wife or daughter. But I am bound to her. She must survive. That’s my only concern.
Government soldiers stalk the ruins. Hunting. Exterminating. But the wars have thinned their ranks. They come less frequently, and when they do, they’re green. Easy to sneak up on. This one, I’m so close, I plant the end of my rifle between the raised kevlar collar and the low helmet. A pull of the trigger, a dull flash, and a hushed round sneezes out. A pile of silenced armor collapses in the street.
Glimpse of red hair and pale skin. This one was a woman.
Staying off the streets, working through broken building interiors. Better than the permanent gridlock outside with all the rusty, tetanus-loaded edges to catch ourselves on. But there is a different danger in here. One of practiced patience, crouch and creep, far deadlier than the soldiers. These are experienced hunters.
I swap rifle for SMG and rack the action. It spits out a bullet and I curse myself for forgetting it was already loaded. When I stoop to collect the precious brass, I feel it, sharp and cold in my neck. A sting and slap of barbed needle. It’s under my skin. Too late.
I yank the dart out anyway, and whip around, wanting my last moments to be spent killing the sons of bitches who just killed me. But they’re smart. They stay hidden until the plague takes hold.
First, my limbs go numb from the extremities in. I can still move, but without feeling, I’m clumsy. Can’t tell if I’m holding my weapon…
I look down, and there it is: A HK MP5 knock off. Something heavier and less delicate. But I can’t feel it at all, can’t feel the weight of it or the resistance of it in my hands.
My vision clouds at the periphery and works in, as if looking through a billowy cocoon. I release my grip, and the weapon drops to the gritty floor. I tell her to go. Her eyes tell me she does not want to, but she is no fool. I taught her better than that. She pulls her sweatshirt hoods close and creeps away into the blackened building depths.
“Come on, then!” I shout. “Let’s see you! Show me your faces so I can haunt you forever!”
They come out. Three of them. Hair razed to the scalp, oddly pudgy, but fit, like they were fattened up for a long winter. Well-adapted for the cold, mean days ahead. Their clothing is durable, ordinary. Raided from a sporting goods store, maybe. Perfect camouflage in a post-civilization America.
I can barely stand. While I do, two of them pluck my weapons, search my pockets. The third keeps watch, hanging on to a long deer rifle with scope.
“You did good,” says the man keeping watch, “but we’ve got it from here.” He looks right at me and grins. “You’re just another Hungry fuckin’ Ghost now.”
My mouth won’t move anymore, won’t say the things I want to spit at him. He’s gloating in front of me, knowing that in moments, my mind will be gone and the only need I’ll have left is to feed.
You’ll be my first, I think with complete sincerity.
Strangely at ease with my fate, I embrace the dying of my nerves, the corruption of internal processes. My mind does not give in, however. I force consciousness to remain. I’ll be awake when I find this motherfucker. I will remember his face so that when my rotten teeth rip his skin I will know that vengeance is mine.
If he had any idea this was possible, he’d have put a bullet through my skull. But he indulges himself in what he believes is my fate, not as careful or methodical as I know he must be otherwise. This is a special moment, possibly one he has waited for. He’s savoring it.
The man pushes three fingers into my chest and I fall, a semi-rigid stack of bones and dying meat, eyes glaring at the cracked ceiling. My limbs contract toward my body, and I see them twitching. Hands curled into claws, back arching, jaw clenching, teeth bared. I feel nothing.
The man readjusts his grip on the rifle and spits, then urges the others on. They stalk away into the building as I writhe.
Blackness pulls at me, wants to submerge me in oblivion, in forgetfulness, in the dissipation of life. My heart stops. My chest no longer rises or falls. My limbs fall slack. There is no sensation whatsoever, not even the fuzzy numbness. It is as if I am constructed of wood and dirt, no longer flesh. I only resemble what I was in appearance.
Yet I remain.
I raise a hand and turn it over in front of my face. It obeys my wishes, clutching or releasing as instructed. Just now I am aware of a path not taken, that a portal to cross over has just closed.
No, This is where I must be, I think. This is what I must do.
Too much time has passed, I’m sure, because I no longer have any sense of it. No idea how long I lay writhing on the floor. All I have left is urgency to rise and find them.
And I do.
Distance means nothing. There is no fatigue. Out in the open, just before dawn, the stars cast ample light to see all. I see a descending hill, covered in grass, every blade shining with dew in the starlight. Half-way down, I spot them. A line of three, spaced diagonally.
My movement is silent, as if I’m not touching the ground. Gravity offers no hindrance. I lope, I leap. I grip by the shoulders and bite down into the base of his neck. Skin parts, living tissue cleaves, mouth fills with magnificent taste…
He drops to the ground and I fall with him, still drawing on the wound. As I draw, I know I am also putting in–the same pestilence shot into my neck, I am chewing into his. But he will not endure as I have. His will is not strong enough. His fate is sealed, and I move to finish the others.
Bullets whiz through me like the firm tap of a finger. There is no injury. Their skin tears as though my fingernails were razors. Warm mist against my face. They fall, gurgling.
I stand, drenched, looking across the landscape of grassy hills and occasional trees. The girl is nowhere in sight, and I’m grateful. Grateful that she kept my lessons, that she moved with speed to keep ahead of these killers, that she will live on…and most of all that she will never see what I have become. No matter that love moved me to remain beyond death, I am an inhuman monster, and I have reveled in my vengeance.
An ache, deep within. I know I have to let her go.
It’s a hard thing to do. Even though I know it is right, that it is correct and natural, it is difficult to let go. But I must. My task is done. Maybe I’ll hear about her again, as a leader, as someone’s wife, as a builder…
And it hits me all at once: I am utterly alone and always will be. My future is to remain in this hunk of meat, roaming, never again being capable of connection or meaningful contact.
I chose this for selfless reasons, I know. I would do it again. And again. And again, and again. So I choose to move among the living, on the edges, catching glimpses of normal lives. If I see evil acts, I can intervene…there is still meaningful work to do.
But how do I camouflage myself? What could I clothe myself in that would allow me to be near people without them ever wanting to get close? So they will keep their distance…
The frock, the starched collar and rosary…
An old stone church seems to call from among the ruins surrounding it. The lock on the oiled oak door is rusty. It breaks easily. The door groans on ancient hinges, and I wonder how long ago anyone entered.
Inside are rows of dusty pews. Yellowed hymnals curl with moldy leaves. The altar is sacked, the stained glass windows long ago shattered. But birds do not roost here. No plants spill over the open sills. It is unbelievably quiet.
I move up to the altar, find a passage to one side, and follow it back to a simple room with peeling white paint. An armoire, a desk, and a bunk are the only furniture. A crucifix still hangs above the headboard.
The armoire is dusty, like the pews, but well-preserved. Inside, a priest’s robe hangs. Polished black leather shoes beneath. A skull cap on a shelf at the top.
I peel the bloody rags I wear and use the cleaner parts to wipe down my not yet rotten skin. When I dress in the priest’s robe, it fits as if tailored. I don the skull cap and it hides my graying hair. The shoes slip perfectly over my feet.
I creep out the way I came, taking care to seal the door quietly behind me. As I walk away, I see an older priest, a bit thick in the middle. He is watching me. We stare at one another, and I know he recognizes what I am.
“It suits you,” he says without judgment or malice, and he waits.
I purse my cracked lips, dip my head in thanks, and steal off into the night.