On July 15, 2016, I turned 40 years old. That was the same day I sold my first full-length novel. I also took a nap. Hang with me, that will become relevant shortly.

I knew in theory that selling my first novel was probably going to be a surreal experience. I could never have imagined just how surreal though.  Courtesy of Melanie Meadors, Tim Marquitz, and the rest of the esteemed gang at Ragnarok Publications, it certainly lived up to those expectations. And it all began with a birthday card…

The first half of the day went a lot like any other, except for the notable exception I’d taken the day off work because it was my 40th Birthday.  Hooray.  Huzzah.  And such.

Around noon, I sat down at my desk with an obligatory slice of pizza and a Chelada. My bulldog Tank was snuffling and snorting beside my chair, hoping I might knock a pepperoni or two off the truck for him. I scrolled through my Twitter feed. Puttered around on Facebook.

Then, out of the blue, I get a message from Melanie R. Meadors (Publicist Extraordinaire, Associate Publisher at Ragnarok Publications, and all-around Empress of the Geekverse Squared).  Not really a message, per se.  More like a command.  “DOOD. GO CHECK YOUR EMAIL.” Well, when Melanie Meadors issues a command, a wise man sets his Chelada down and goes and does it. The bulldog would have to wait for his pepperoni.

Doing as I’d been ordered, I checked my email. Lo and behold, I have a birthday card from none other than Melanie herself. My first thought?  “Oh, wow, that’s really nice. Mel and the folks at Ragnarok remembered my birthday.” Hey, it’s nice to be remembered on your birthday. She’d sent me an eCard. Being a sucker for a good eCard, I clicked the link and followed the rabbit down the hole.

It landed at this:

bday-card-mel

Yes. That thing was fully animated. It had music. Narration. The whole nine yards. There was even this wonderfully awkward pause as the animated “stud muffin” inserted my first name into the dialogue wishing me Happy Birthday from the gang at Ragnarok.

I expected cheeky birthday greetings, so to be honest, I didn’t even hear the entire message the first time.  I was giggling and chuckling and had gone back to sipping my Chelada when I clicked play again. Listening to it for a second time, these words sank in:

“…we are accepting Endsville for publication…”

It wasn’t just a birthday card.

It was an acceptance letter.

The wackiest, zaniest (and most coveted and cherished) acceptance letter I have ever seen. Out of the blue.  Like a bolt of lightning.  Like a tray of blueberry muffins heaved at you by a sexy, apron-wearing dudebro while you’re sipping your Chelada on your 40th Birthday.

Holy shit.  I’d just sold my first novel. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I think I did what a lot of people do when they finally sell that first full-length novel.  I laughed.  I might have cried (manly tears).  I downed my Chelada.  It was mostly backwash at the point anyway. I sent a (somewhat frantic) message to my wife.  She squeed.  I squeed. There was a collective squeeing that probably echoed across the universe.

Melanie had left instructions for me to contact Tim Marquitz (Ragnarok’s Editor-In-Chief and esteemed dark fantasy/horror author in his own right) for further details. To put this deal in the can, so to speak. To shake hands, make it official.

And I did.

Three hours later.  After a nap.

Yes. That’s right. I stopped everything I was doing.  And took a nap.

Like an overwhelmed 5-year-old child who has had too much BIGNESS for one day, I put away my wonderful, quirky, weird acceptance letter.  I finished my lunch.  I patted my bulldog on the head.  And I went and took a nap.  A three hour, full-shutdown-mode might-as-well-have-been-sucking-my-thumb sort of nap.

Because, sometimes, you just have to fold up your tent and hit the off switch.  It’s either that or explode in a giant pile of tiny versions of yourself, all running around squealing and giggling like insane, evil little sprites.

So. Thank you Melanie, Tim, Joe, and the whole gang at Ragnarok Publications for taking a chance on my debut novel. That, and for giving me the most incredible birthday present a grown-ass-man could hope for while simultaneously driving me into a short but profound coma.  It will never be forgotten.

———-

ENDSVILLE (Outlaw Arcana #1) is my debut novel, coming Fall 2017 from

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Welcome to Los Angeles – where the secret worlds of the criminal and supernatural collide.
Crime and Black Magic pay. In the City of Angels, no one does it better than the House of the Crow.

ENDSVILLE

Born into a mercenary coven known as the House of the Crow, Gabriel and Delilah St John have each earned their outlaw ink in different ways. Gabriel is a ruthless street captain, prince of their father’s house, a killer with a haunted conscience, struggling to justify the things he’s done for the love of his family. Delilah is a sorceress by trade, a rock star talent, heir to their mother’s arcane legacy, coming of age into the brutal truth of what it means to be a princess of the Crow.

When gangland king Mr. Dante Washington becomes the victim of a heist perpetrated by a mysterious enemy wielding black magic, he enlists the Crow to help settle the score. What does he want? Answers, retribution, and his 34 Million dollars back. Endsville drives Gabriel, Delilah, and their fellow Crows through a meat grinder of lethal magic, demonic spirits, and gangland warfare, raining blood and fire across Southern California every step of the way.

Murder, mayhem, magic, and betrayal. Anyone who crosses a Crow, beware. They don’t just play for money – they play for keeps.

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