Stealing Freedom Is Out! Why Should You Buy It?

Stealing Freedom Is Out! Why Should You Buy It?

StealingFreedomGreetings all,

Stealing Freedom went live Oct. 1, and so I wanted to take the chance to let you know that and give you a bit of information on why this might be the right story for you.

It is currently 99 cents and will remain at that price until midnight Oct. 16, when it goes to the standard $2.99.

A mother strives to free her daughter from the ruthless communication laws of her planet. 

The initial inspiration for this story was a mental picture of a mother standing in line just so she could buy the right to say “Happy birthday!” to her daughter. Ardelia’s whole motivation for her scheme was ensuring her daughter wouldn’t grow up in a world where speech was restricted.

A gang of thieves become the heroes when they use their skills to free the planet from tyranny.  

I’m talk about this a bit more later, but Stealing Freedom is basically a heist story. The cast is diverse and unique (in a manner of speaking). My favorite part of this aspect of the story is Elvin, who has no business being in a gang of thieves. Why is in the group? Well, I guess you’ll have to read to find out.

LeverageDo you miss the TV show Leverage? Stealing Freedom is what would happen if Leverage took place in a dystopian, cyberpunk future.

I personally loved that series. It’s honestly fantastic from beginning to end. Even then, I don’t think give it enough credit because I never seem to place it in my top ten TV shows. Regardless, the add copy above is accurate. If someone were to post in a review: “This is pretty shameless imitation of Leverage!” I’d respond with, “Thank you so much!”  So why not go and watch that show? What’s the difference?  Well there are a few.  First, the MC is female. Second, she’s a family woman. Unlike Nathan Ford (a great character in his own right), Ardelia isn’t morning and regretting the loss of a child. Instead, she’s fighting for the child she loves, and the bond between Ardelia and her daughter is plain from the first scene.  Elvin (mentioned above) is also another twist. Where the cast members of Leverage are all highly competent, highly proactive characters, Elvin is a wonderful fly in the ointment.

A cop turned thief faces off against the best cop in history in chess match where the prize is the future of a planet.

I love a good chess match. I love when two worthy opponents face off. The relationship between Ardelia and Vance (said best cop, called monitors on this planet). They’re both smart. They respect each other. They constantly work under the belief that they’ve accurately anticipated one another’s future moves. This conflict is what drives up the stakes. Vance isn’t cookie cutter though. In a lot of ways, he’s supposed to be the hero. If he were defending a law people supported, he would be. He hates Ardelia for choices she made. He thinks of her as the traitor, and his conviction, I think, is believable. If you like movies like “Catch Me If You Can,” I think you

Stock image from Pixabay.

‘ll like this. “White Collar” is another good comparable show that has these themes, though the relationship between Vance and Ardelia is far more antagonistic than those shows.

In a world where any form of communication is ruthlessly suppressed, how do people communicate to support each other or enact change?

This was the biggest causal inspiration to the story. Even today in the news, people are talking about the freedom of speech in some pretty negative ways. What horrifies me is that in our efforts to silence speech that is just plain wrong, we’re closing the door on our right to say things that need to be said. It wasn’t that long ago someone was “wrong” or “stupid” for saying a woman shouldn’t vote or a black man was less than a white man. If we silence or restrict speech just because people are saying things we don’t like to hear, we prevent humanity from being able to hear the things they need to hear.

All of those “sell lines” apply to this story. Any one of them works for an accurate description of what the book is and why anyone should read it. My hope is you’ll give the story a chance and feel free to let me know if one or any of the above promises aren’t fulfilled. You can purchase it through the link above, or just click here.

Thanks for reading,


Three Authors Confirmed! The Power of Words anthology is taking shape!

Three Authors Confirmed! The Power of Words anthology is taking shape!

Power of Words Cover_FRONTGreetings all,

There’s only one month left till the (hopefully final) deadline for The Power of Words update. If you’re interested and want to know the requirements and submission method,  please feel free to click here or just send me an email.

I did have a chance to review the submissions that were sent in so far, so I’m happy to announce that three authors have been confirmed for the anthology!

The contributors so far are:

TW Iain:

Here’s his bio. Writing is an escape, and an outlet.
The job, the family, the things that make up a normal life — these are no place for wild, dark ideas. And so, in the quieter moments, TW Iain emerges. He taps away on a laptop, or on a phone, sometimes at a ridiculously early time in the morning, and gives these ideas their freedom. When he’s not writing, he’s lurking in the shadows, thinking about the next story.
Maybe he’s always existed, in the school-boy who filled exercise books with stories. Maybe he was there one winter, when a first novel emerged around shifts at a four mill (a first novel, like many, that does not deserve to see the light of day). Maybe. But he came to the fore at the start of 2015, and work on these stories became serious.
Since then, TW has published three novels and other shorter works in the Dominions series of dark Dystopian thrillers, and the first novel in a new sci-fi/horror series, Shadows. He also posts a free short story every fortnight on
Image taken from TW Iain’s Amazon Author Page.

TW’s story is called Ghost Stream.  Here’s a summary:

In the Citadel, everyone listens to the Voices, and it is Cass’ job to monitor this, swimming in their streams. But then she stumbles upon the mythical ghost stream, and discovers how this can be used to influence the Voices. With attacks to the north, and a silent protest in the heart of the Citadel, those above her are not happy. And when she works out how to add her own voice to the ghost stream, she knows they are after her.
But is staying silent ever an option?


You may recognize the name.  His book Expedient was featured in one of my Book Cover of the Month brackets. So I was just thrilled when he sent a submission. His story went straight to the theme of the anthology. I was excited to read the submission, and I’m happy to say I just received his revisions.

Richard T. Drake:

Here’s his bio. Richard T. Drake is the author of the Hollow World series of Epic Fantasy novels.

At age seven, in the dungeon-library of his 19th-century boarding school, Richard discovered the classic fantasy gamebook The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and became so lost within the infamous ‘Maze of Zagor’ that he needed to draw a map to find his way out. His love of epic adventure and fantasy has been growing ever since.

Image taken from Richard T. Drake’s website.

He graduated from gamebooks to tabletop role-playing where, as game master, he would invent worlds, draw maps, and weave adventures for his friends. As heroes fell and legends grew, Richard discovered a love of epic storytelling.

Over the next few years, he set to work crafting an original fantasy universe, envisioning a vast array of planets and galaxies bound together by powerful magic, ancient covenants, and the schemes of primordial gods. Finally, the Hollow World was born.

When he isn’t writing, Richard keeps busy with the other staples of a heroic fantasy lifestyle: dressing up in superhero costumes, playing MMORPGs, and collecting an absurd number of action figures and comic books. He’s also a black belt ninja.

You can learn more about him and his work at

His submission is called Catalin’s Gambit. Here’s a summary:

In a shadowy tavern in the slums of Syrentium, one meeting will decide the fate of the city.

Catalin Ruic, a young woman raised in the throat-cutting alleys of the docklands, is about to come face to face with the most powerful and dangerous man in the Circle of Kingdoms.

Her plan goes beyond bravery; it is practically suicide.

But the stakes are too high for half measures. Catalin is the last protector of the lives of her people, and perhaps the very soul of Syrentium.

This is a clever negotiation story I felt had great tension and conflict. It’s clever because lots of authors use fighting for tension. It takes a lot of skill to build tension in a simple conversation. Richard has done that. He’s currently working on revisions based on my initial feedback.

Heidi Angell:

This is particularly awesome as Heidi is a friend of mine I met during my online adventures as an author. She and I did a few panels together, and I’m pretty sure she’s a mind reader. We don’t really disagree on much. She heard about the anthology and was kind enough to send the first book in a new series she’s working on. She’s someone I respect enormously, and I’m honestly flattered she decided to join in on the fun.

Image taken from Heidi Angell’s website.

Here’s her bio. Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Saga, The Clear Angel Chronicles, The Hell School Series and Survivalist Bible series releasing Fall 2017. She also created Royal Prince Vince, Creative Exercises to Inspire, and A Penslinger’s Ponderings. When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her family. You can learn more about her and her work here.

Her story, Survivalist Bible – Genesis, is a fun zombie outbreak tale. Where most zombie stories feature people who are ironically suited for such things, her story features a character with no business surviving such an event. What does it have to do with words? Well, our square-peg-in-a-round-hole main character is writing a journal of events for others to reference in order to survive. This is more in line with the prompt of the title than the First Amendment, but that’s just fine. It fits the theme.

Here’s a summary:

Gabriel Llewellyn is a writer. He’d like to be happily wooing women during the off hours of a writing conference. Instead he’s leaping out of windows and fighting off people who’ve suddenly decided to tear apart anyone near by. However it’s happened, he’s left a message in hopes that people will be able to look back at these events and remember. His first words are:


My name is Gabriel Llewellyn. If you are reading this, then I am probably dead. Or infected. Or maybe I dropped it while fleeing the infected. I suppose it is hard to say. I hope it’s the latter. 

He’s not suited for survival in this world, but someone comes along to help him survive every time he’s supposed to end up dead, but how many times can he be saved before he has to step up?

I’ve already talked about my contribution here. I’ve already had a few alpha readers get back to me, and I’m pleased to say they liked it.

That makes four stories so far. I’ve had a few people reach out to me and say they intended to submit. I’ve had some stories I just didn’t feel were right for the project. My intention is to select four more stories, so please feel free to send in something if you think it fits the theme. I’d love to see it.

Thanks for reading,



A Power of Words Update! A deadline extension

A Power of Words Update! A deadline extension

Power of Words Cover_FRONTGreetings all,

It’s Dec. 1 (as I type this) and that means the deadline for The Power of Words has come and gone. I’d like to update everyone on where things are.

At this moment, I’ve had four submissions. Those submissions as well as my own story  add up to about 58,000 words. I have not had a chance to get to read any of the contributions. I’d always intended to start looking at them once the deadline passed. However, I feel the best course of action here is to extend the deadline.

My reasons:

Simple value. A print edition of a work only consisting of 58,000 words isn’t quite sufficient as a stand alone in my opinion. Anthologies I’ve seen usually have quite a lot more. I’d always intended to have eight total stories, and if I receive three more submissions, that should get the book to a size where the cost of printing and production are more appropriate.

Readers demand more. Anthologies are about giving the readers a diverse set of quality stories. I love reading them specifically because they introduce me to new authors I might not otherwise try.  I don’t tend to buy anthologies that only have a handful of authors because I want to meet a lot of authors.

Finally, I still believe in this with my whole heart. I feel strongly that others out there will find inspiration as well. My hope is more time will let others participate.

constitution-62943__340So, for those reasons, I’m going to extend the deadline for The Power of Words to Jan. 31. This will allow authors who want to participate to work on their stories. While I write every day, I am aware of the holiday season. This means travel. I want to make sure authors can work in a reasonable timeline. I will begin reading the other contributions and contacting those authors regarding this extension. I’m hopeful they feel as I do that the anthology should happen, and it should contain quality stories from at least eight authors.

In regard to how to progress from there, I think I’ll present some options to the other authors regarding the rest of the process (additional edits, work-shopping). I’ll consider it more as I contact those who’ve already submitted. I’ll post another update once I’ve reached out them.

Thanks for reading,




Just About a Month Left: A Power of Words Anthology Update

Just About a Month Left: A Power of Words Anthology Update

Greetings all,

constitution-62943__340A few weeks back, I let you know about the anthology I’m editing, The Power of Words. While I’m still not entirely sure what the results of this idea of mine will be, I can say I’ve had a few people approach me with interest. I’ve even read a short story for the project, one author was particularly excited about the idea.

I’m still in the planning stages of the anthology as a whole, but I’m working out the kinks. I just wanted to keep awareness up and let people know it’s still scheduled to happen. That of course depends on how many authors submit.

Entries still open Nov. 1.

Entries close Nov. 30.

The word-count limit is now 30,000 (though I’d appreciate if you attempt to keep it below 20,000).

There is no limit on how many projects you can submit, but be advise I will only take one submission from each author.

The story must either be about the First Amendment or inspired by the title “The Power of Words.” As long as your story is about one of those two things, and it falls within the word-count limit, your entry will be valid.

My own story for the anthology is currently third in priority. (Repressed is first. The second edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter is second.) However, I still think it’s a great little heist story with some great plot twists (he said arrogantly).

All stock images taken from Pixabay.

If this anthology does well at all (a lot of participation, a lot of sales, both), I’ll try to do anthologies on a more regular basis. They’re fun, and it lets me meet other authors and read some great work. I’ve always considered myself one for an eye for talent and good stories, so projects like this let me sort of put it all together.

I hope all of you are typing away on short stories you love for the anthology. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing your entries.

Thanks for reading,