Call for beta readers!

The Embodied trilogy of urban fantasy-science fiction YA novels is almost complete. As you can see in the image below, I’ll be revealing the name and cover of book 3 on April 4th. I’m now looking for beta readers for the entire trilogy, which includes new editions of books 1 and 2: Silent Symmetry and Starley’s Rust.

So… the first 50 people who sign up for my mailing list or email me ( will receive a FREE ebook of the entire Embodied trilogy to read and give feedback on if they have any.

Diamond Splinters cover tease

This is a very cool opportunity for fans of the genre who haven’t read the first two novels to catch up, and for followers of the series to get in on the action before the thrilling conclusion is released to the general public.



Starley’s Rust signed paperback giveaway!

That headline is well worth an exclamation point. Goodreads is giving away ten signed copies of my new urban fantasy novel Starley’s Rust (book 2 of the Embodied trilogy) and to enter all you have to do is click on the image below then follow the instructions. The contest is open until April 8th and it’s a random draw, so good luck!

Starley's Rust Goodreads giveaway


Silent Symmetry on Wattpad

For those of you who don’t know, Wattpad is a website and app where authors can upload works in progress or chunks of books. Wattpad is a great way to reach new readers, so I’ve begun publishing book 1 of the Embodied trilogy, Silent Symmetry, on it. Right now, the first three chapters are available to read for free (which is about the same amount as can be read for free in online stores like Amazon and Smashwords) so click on the image below to take a look.

Silent Symmetry on Wattpad

I’ll be publishing more of Silent Symmetry and the sequel, Starley’s Rust, over the coming weeks, as well as a sneak peek of a new YA sci-fi short story I’m working on. It’s called Breath Less and I’m very excited to get it out there for fans of the Embodied trilogy.

Silent Symmetry Goodreads giveaway

Here’s the answer to Tuesday’s mystery video featuring the lovely Lily! You could win a signed copy of Silent Symmetry, book 1 in the sci-fi fantasy Embodied trilogy (contest open to residents of USA and Canada only from now until November 10).

Just click on this link ‒ entry is free and easy. Good luck! Now here’s a further example of the best and brightest in child labor:


Hide No Seek

Flash fiction

It was never easy to get into the old house. A month or so after the authorities had repossessed it, Jake had swung by on the way home from school to check it out. He’d found it sealed like a tomb. The next day he’d returned with a claw hammer from his uncle’s garage. In back of the house was a small basement window with rusty bars over it. He’d jammed the claw between the frame and the brick and pushed it like a lever with his foot planted on the wall. This was the year he’d filled out. His newfound pecs and biceps did their job. The bars had creaked, then suddenly given way and he’d almost fallen over backward. The window itself wasn’t even locked. He’d crawled into the basement. The vague chemical  smell still lingered there, despite the best efforts of the realty company.

He’d come back a couple times that year, just to hang out. And as he grew bigger, it got harder to crawl through the window. But he could never leave through the front door. The last time was the last time. Ever.

Hide No Seek

Sometimes he lay on the floor of his lifeless old room and read. Once he posted a photo of the ceiling on Facebook. Another time he brought his iPhone dock and listened to music in the kitchen like his mom used to do. When he went upstairs to pee, he could still hear the music drifting up ethereally through the heating duct in the floor. That’s when the idea came to him to bring his little brother.

“I’ll pick Sam up from kindergarten tomorrow,” he said innocently over supper, and his uncle seemed proud at this show of responsibility.

The trees were leafless. The cold had snapped. As the kindergarten disappeared from view behind them, Sam chattered incessantly about the letter to Santa that their aunt had helped him write. Four years old was prime Santa territory.

Sam didn’t remember the house but Jake explained to him that they used to play hide and seek there. This visit was an adventure. In fact, it was a secret.

The claw hammer wasn’t needed anymore and Sam’s eyes widened as Jake pulled off the bars with his bare hands. Jake crawled through first. Sam trusted him completely and wriggled in too. Jake gave him a tour, describing each room from their former life in photographic detail. In the kitchen, Jake pulled out a Bugs Bunny Pez dispenser he’d bought at the gas station.

“Every time you find me, you get a candy.”

Sam beamed.

“And you can have one for free to start.”

He flipped open the head and Sam pulled out the purple rectangle with his grubby fingernails.

“Now don’t count too fast. It’s a big house.”

Sam nodded and crunched.

“Go stand in the corner and cover your eyes. Okay, now start counting.”

They played for a while. Jake knew that Sam would copy his hiding places. Eventually he hid behind the bathroom door, just as Jake had done. Jake made a big show of looking in the bathroom but missing him.

“I know! You’re in the… bathroom. Aw, man…”

Then he went back downstairs to the kitchen and kneeled down against the wall, lowering his face to the heater vent.

“Sam,” he boomed into the metal grille, using his best Santa voice. “Sam Kelly, this is Santa. I hear that you’ve been a good boy this year so I’m going to bring you the Star Wars Lego that you asked for in your letter. But make sure you keep being good. Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Then he raced to the bottom of the staircase and shouted up, “I give up! Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

When Sam appeared at the top of the stairs Jake knew the trick had worked.

“Where were you?” he asked.

“In the bathroom,” answered Sam.

“But I looked in there.”

“I heard Santa.”



“Really? What did he say?”

“To be a good boy.”

“And? Are you a good boy?”

“I guess.”

Jake pretended to look at his phone. “We should get going. You can eat the rest of the Pez on the way to Auntie’s.”

As they left the old house, Sam looked back at the upstairs windows, still in awe. Jake smiled. From now on, he would always smile when he thought about the old house. And he’d made sure that he’d never hidden in the closet where they’d found his father.

Photo credit: Jim Rees / / CC BY-NC-SA (Photoshopped by John B. Dutton)

Targeting the right readers

I’m currently running a final 3-day Amazon KDP Select free promotion for The New Sense before setting the ebook loose on Apple, Nook, and Kobo. This is my last chance to gain “internet airplay” before making the book full price for the foreseeable future, and on day two the targeting seems to be working! This is a distinctly female-oriented book. Hold on, there’s already a shorter phrase that encapsulates that concept: Chick Lit. Whatever you call it, The New Sense is currently sitting at number 3 in Amazon Kindle’s Free Women’s Literary Fiction chart:

Amazon Women's Literary Fiction screenshot 30-10-13 10am

This is cool, but what’s also great is that the book is ranked number 2 on Amazon Kindle’s Free Mystery, Thriller & Suspense chart:

Amazon Mystery Thriller Suspense screenshot 30-10-13 10am

I shall now continue tweeting and facebooking. It seems to work.