“Older and Fouler Things” Is Here!

The weird odor in the air, that managed to smell like blood, rot, sulfur, and burned meat all at the same time, got more intense.  My guts twisted and I tried not to inhale, but it seemed to reach into my nose anyway, forcing itself past my nasal passages and into my sinuses.  A piercing, stabbing pain started to build behind my left eye.

I heard Kolya grunt, and Eryn was panting, breathing shallowly.  I spared a worried glance at her, to see that she still had her shotgun up, though she looked pale and sick.  Granted, some of that might have been the green light of the candles on her already fair complexion, but whatever was happening in that room was not conducive to human life.

As soon as they landed on the corpse pile, both figures went limp, though blood continued to pump from their savaged throats, coating the floor and the already bloody meat that had once been human beings.  For a moment, all was still.  Father Ignacio was continuing the Rite of Exorcism, but the three still-living cultists, or whatever they were, were still facing the pile of human remains, still croaking that blasphemous sound, though they still flinched with each syllable of the Rite.

Then the pile started moving.

Older and Fouler Things, the fourth book in the Jed Horn series, is now live on Amazon!

Jed Horn has always known that there’s something odd about Ray’s place, which has always been a halfway house for Witch Hunters up in the hills of the Northwest. Between the Fae girl in the woods and Ray’s gigantic and uncanny dog, Magnus, there’s enough weirdness to raise eyebrows. But Ray’s never talked about it, and most Hunters don’t ask.

But when a demon follows them home after an exorcism in Spokane, Jed and his companions will have to find out what lies beneath the strangeness of Ray’s place. Because they suddenly find themselves attacked by demons inside, and a vampire outside, all aiming to take the Hunters out of the picture and awaken something ancient and terrible, something that would make the Walker on the Hills look nice.

Jed has fought monsters and banished demons before. But now, the demons are coming at them from within, even as the monsters assault them from without. It will take grit, determination, and faith if any of them are ever going see the light again…

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In The Deep Places Of The World

The Jed Horn series usually hasn’t involved a great deal of research (certainly nowhere near as much as either the Praetorian series or Kill Yuan).  A little bit of looking around for cool big-bore rifles for the Witch Hunters to carry, perhaps, but for the most part, the series has been a somewhat more serious version of telling spook stories around the campfire at Scout Camp (and depriving young Scouts of many hours of sleep).

But with Older and Fouler Things, I ran into the need to do some research.  Since the story is a cross between The Exorcist, Dracula, and an old-fashioned dungeon crawl (with holy gunslingers and a biker priest/exorcist), there is a substantial part that happens underground, in an old, abandoned silver mine.  Now, I’ve been in a hard-rock mine before, but it was many, many moons ago, so memory is hazy, at best.  I had to do some digging.

The best resource I found was a YouTube channel entitled “Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places.”  I got a good idea of general layouts of old hard-rock mines, whether silver, copper, or even tin.

I also found some stuff that kind of fit in with the Jed Horn series in an even more thematic way:

Pleasant dreams…

Older and Fouler Things comes out on September 22, and the Kindle is available for pre-order now.

“Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 4

Edit 2 is finished, and the preorder for the Kindle version of Older and Fouler Things is up!  It will release on September 22.  In the meantime, here’s a look at Chapter 4.

Oh, and there’s a cover, too.

Paul didn’t show up to breakfast, even though it was pretty late in the morning, and the sounds and smells of frying bacon and eggs were permeating the entire house.  After the events of the previous night, that was a matter of some concern.  I was about to go check on him, but Eryn put a hand on my arm.

“Let me get him,” she said quietly.  “If he’s as traumatized as I think he might be, a gentle voice will probably help him a little more.  No offense, hon, but you’re better at the ‘shooting monsters’ part, and I’m better at the ‘comforting victims afterward’ part.”

I just nodded, and stepped back.  I was still hovering in the hallway, though, and I still had my .45 on my hip.  The combination of Magnus’ reaction to him, the eerie activity at the witching hour that morning, and his silence and absence at breakfast were not serving to make me particularly comfortable.

Eryn knocked softly on the door to Paul’s room.  “Paul?” she called.  “We’ve got breakfast, if you want some.”  She waited, glancing at me.  “Paul?” she tried again, knocking a little more insistently this time.  “Are you all right?”

We waited, and I was gearing up to kick the door in.  Sure, he’d come to us as a terrified, traumatized victim, having narrowly escaped becoming a human sacrifice in a demonic summoning ritual.  But there was obviously something weird going on with him, and while Eryn had been right when she’d pointed out that some great Witch Hunters had started out that way, there were also some pretty gruesome stories floating around in which similar victims had ended up going bad.  Very, very bad. Continue reading ““Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 4″

“Drawing the Line” Is Out!

The Beginning

The security situation on the Arizona-Mexico border has gotten bad…very bad. The Border Patrol is all but helpless, as narcos, terrorists, and common criminals cross the line with impunity.

One Arizona rancher has put up the money to hire a PMC to secure his land. He can’t afford much, or for long, but with work hard to come by, the former Special Operations contractors of Praetorian Security have jumped at the job.

It’s hot, boring, and uneventful at first. But when a bloodthirsty mob of cartel sicarios set their sights on taking over the ranch, the Praetorians have to dig in and fight.

It is a bloody, bullet-riddled siege in the desert hills. And it is Praetorian Security’s baptism by fire.

The novella that tells the story of just how Jeff and the boys got their hands on the cash they used on Socotra in Task Force Desperate is now out on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  (No plans for a paperback version for the moment; I might look at a collection of short work sometime in the future.)

Now, it might come to some people’s attention that it’s actually been out for a couple of days, and there was no pre-order.  This was by design.  I’ve been learning more about how to make independent publishing work lately (there will be a far more thorough post about that coming up soon).  Part of that has been learning how to “train” Amazon’s algorithm to better target a book.  This kind of cold launch has been an experiment in that learning.  Still got some bugs to iron out, but I might be getting the hang of it.

More to come.  In the meantime, go enjoy some more blood, bullets, and mayhem.

“Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 3

Chapter 3

 

It was a long drive back to Ray’s place, and we were tired.  Fighting a demonic manifestation in a Bed and Breakfast can really take it out of you.  We stopped several times to rest along the way.  Eryn and I could switch off driving, but Kolya and Father Ignacio didn’t have that luxury.  At least Father Ignacio could go a lot farther on a single tank of gas, riding that Harley of his.

Paul wasn’t helping much; according to Kolya, he was spending most of the drive sleeping, when he wasn’t staring blankly out the window.  None of us necessarily blamed him; the first brush with the powers of the Abyss can be pretty traumatic.  He’d need time.

It was well after dark by the time we pulled in.  Ray’s house, a long, one-story, hewn-log building that he’d built himself, was dark, at least at first.  As the gravel crunched under our wheels, a light flickered to life in the window.  Either Magnus had heard us coming and woken Ray up, or he’d somehow known we’d be pulling in right at that moment. Continue reading ““Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 3″

Six Miles West of Nogales

If it hadn’t been for the earpiece, I never would have heard the radio over the snarl of the four-wheeler’s engine.

“Hillbilly, this is Plug,” Hank called.

I eased off the throttle and took one hand off the handlebars to key the radio.  “Send it, Plug.”

“Can you push up to the top of that ridgeline just to the east of you and take a look to the south?” he asked.  “Tell me what you see.”

“Sure thing,” I answered.  It wasn’t like we had a set patrol route, or even any particular need to be anywhere.  So far, this job had consisted of little more than long hours just hot-wheeling around the hills of southern Arizona on four-wheelers and the occasional pickup truck.

I gunned the engine and sent the sturdy little ATV surging up between the mesquites and the creosote bushes toward the ridge that Hank had indicated.  It wasn’t a long climb, but it was steep and rocky, with plenty more sagebrush and creosote bushes that I had to weave around.  But it still only took a couple of minutes to reach the top.

Halting my ATV, I stood on the running boards and pulled my binos out of the saddlebags.  As I lifted them to my eyes and scanned the open ground to the south, I quickly saw what Hank had been talking about.

There were four figures trotting through the grass and brush in the next draw over.  They were moving pretty quickly, and heading generally north.  Given that Hank and I were the only ones out on patrol at the time, and all of Manuel Lopez’s ranch hands were either working around the house and barns, or watching the herds to the east of us, that kind of narrowed things down.

“Plug, Hillbilly,” I sent, keeping the binos trained on the four.  “I do believe we have some uninvited visitors.”

“That’s what I saw, too,” he replied.  “Just wanted to corroborate it.  Meet you down below, and we’ll go say howdy?”

“Sure,” I answered.  I wasn’t going to complain about actually having some work to do.

The truth be told, even though we were all experienced warfighters, with years of work in the military and some in the contracting world, we had perhaps been a touch naïve when we’d started up our little company.  After all, we owned Praetorian Security, and we knew the score better than any of the soft-clothed financiers who owned most of the rest of the PMSCs out there.  We could determine our own equipment, pick our own jobs, and find the jobs that would keep us in the thick of it, in the shit.

We were finding out the hard way that those kinds of jobs were few and far between, and often involved a lot more shady business to get than we’d necessarily expected.  Most of the time, they were either outright illegal, or in some kind of gray area that tended to get all kinds of scrutiny, so the clients who had those sorts of jobs didn’t tend to be very forthcoming about them.  We’d set up our little private Special Operations company, only to find that we didn’t immediately have clients running to our doorstep. Continue reading “Six Miles West of Nogales”