Fan Fiction using @ChuckWendig character Miriam Black

I can not stress enough that this posting contains explicit language and graphic scenes. If you do not like curse words or graphic language then I implore you not to read this posting. Miriam Black is a very foul mouthed character and I could not do her justice without including some colorful language. Continue reading at your own discretion.

Now, with that out of the way, I guess I should describe what this post is all about. Readers of my blog will know that I recently read Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It is an amazing book. Miriam Black is such a vibrant character and while I was reading it, I couldn’t help but to have a couple ideas for Miriam Black fan fiction come to me. So, that’s what this is. I haven’t read Mockingbird, so this takes place sometime after Blackbirds. It also has some cross over fan fiction involved, but you will figure that out if you actually read it.

Find out more about Chuck Wendig at his blog

Here is the story. I planned on it being a short, but it ended up being more of an intro to a larger piece than I’d planned. I probably won’t do anything else with it, but I’m not going to close the door on writing more if people like it.

A massive orgy of potential death swarms around Miriam as she squeezes her way down the city sidewalk. Covered by gloves, each hand is shoved firmly in the pockets of her tattered jeans. The last thing she wants is to come into contact with hundreds of people, only to find out how their miserable existence is going to end.

Her destination looms ominously in the distance. It’s a giant monolith of a building. Based on the appearance, it seems to be some kind of lawyer office. Miriam hates lawyers. She’s dealt with all kinds of nasty vermin and horrible people, but she’s never been able to handle lawyers. At least nasty vermin and horrible people tend to wear their colors out in the open.

What would be worse, being surrounded by a sea of people or being in a room with a couple lawyers? Inhaling deeply, she extends her hand towards the door. Why, oh fuck why, did Louis want her to meet him here of all places? Cursing under her breath, tightly cocooned fingers hesitantly linger just a breath away from the handle, and something smashes against her face hard and fast.

Flying violently through the air like a rag doll, she smashes into a bystander. The person simply keeps walking and lets her body slump down to the ground. It’s far from the hardest she’s ever been hit, but it catches her off guard. Violently blinking and sputtering, she attempts to catch her breath and open her eyes. A sea of blurry figures can be seen flowing above as a man pounces on top of her and grasps her throat.

Pepto Bismol colored pink light permeates the smoke filled alleyway. Blood drips down the side of the mans face. He runs as quickly as he can, but is not entirely sure where he’s trying to go. A dark, dense metallic door swings open in front of him and his head smashes into it like a ripe melon smacking against a mallet. Miriam starts to think that maybe she’s been watching too much Gallagher. He slides down, and his blood stained tears paint the frame of the door.

A tall man with paper white skin and matted black hair steps out from behind the door. He has a circulating saw in one hand and a pick axe in the other. Dried blood spatter covers his black and white striped clothing. He peers around the corner, and then walks back through the door, dragging the man behind him. A trail of blood leads from where the body was to the inside of the building. The door slams.

The man reaches to see if Miriam is carrying a purse or wallet or anything that might hold money. She grabs him by the arm and slings him into a nearby wall. The mans head smacks against the corner of a metal sign, digging a long scrape into the side of his face.

“Get out of here fuckwad! You’re going to have a bad enough day as it is.”

The man scrambles to his feet and runs down a dark alleyway with blood dripping down the side of his face. Miriam just stays where she is. There is no need to follow him. She knows what’s going to happen. There is no reason to add insult to injury. He was just trying to get some money to feed his family. Desperate people do desperate things.

As people walk around her, she just sits there contemplating what is about to happen. She can see it in her head. Louis walks up behind her, reaches one of his pitchers mit sized hands down, and pulls her up to her feet. She’s happy to see him.
“I was going to step in there at the end and help, but it looks like you have everything pretty well taken care of.” Louis grins and gives her a big burly hug. He squeezes tighter than he realized and her back pops under the pressure.

Miriam sighs and gives him a peck on the cheek. “Help me? Help me with that guy? Why the fuck do you think I would need help with that guy?” She takes a small mirror out of her pocket and looks at the bruise that’s starting to form on the side of her face. It would eventually go away. They always do. “It doesn’t matter. That guy’s about to die anyway.” She takes a cigarette out of her pocket. It falls out of her trembling hands before she can get it to her mouth.

She continues walking forward and steps on it. The object of her desire is smashed into a ball of tar, nicotine, ice, and random street trash. “Damn’t! Damn’t! Damn’t piece of monkey shit! That was my last cigarette! What the hell am I going to do now, suck on a smoldering rat carcass?”

Louis shrugs and laughs. “We’ll get you some more cigarettes on the way out of town.” His face turns dead serious. “So, that guy huh? You said he’s going to die?”

Miriam shakes her head. “He’s already dead. He was murdered.”

Louis looks shocked. He’s heard about everything one could hear from Miriam, and he would think that nothing would surprise him now, but this really takes him off guard. “Murder?” The word comes out of his mouth sounding more like a declaration than a question. “That’s pretty heavy stuff. Crap! I thought we might be able to have a moment of quiet after you got rid of that guy back at the lighthouse.”

Miriam looks Louis straight in the eyes. “I’m sorry Louis. Things will never be calm or quiet around me. This stuff. It follows me. I attract it like a damn magnet! It follows me everywhere I go! I can’t lose it! I can’t wash it off of me.” A single tear runs down the side of her face.

Louis puts a hand on either shoulder and gives her a gentle, concerned look that shows he understands, and is willing to face whatever he needs to so that he can still be with her.

She wipes the tear from her cheek and tries to look angry, but a lingering appearance of frustration remains in her eyes. “So why the fuck did you have me meet you here anyway? You know I hate lawyers!”

Louis laughs and his whole frame tremors. It seems the whole sidewalk would quake if he laughed any harder. “Oh, that! I never intended to actually let you go in the lawyer office. I just wanted to make you squirm a little. Unfortunately, that guy back there got to you before I could stop you.” He looks back in the direction the guy came from.

“No, I had to drop a haul off a couple blocks from here. Some S&M club was getting a shipment of sex toys. I wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, plus, I figured I could have some fun if I told you to meet me here.”

“Shit Louis! You ass!” She punches him in the shoulder. Louis grabs her arm, pulls her in next to him, and wraps his arm around her shoulder as they walk down the sidewalk. She wishes that he had been around her earlier. The crowd parts in front of his massive frame, and they move forward like a knife slicing through a stick of butter.

“So where are we going?” She looks up to see what his response is going to be when a toddler tornado whizzes past and steps on her foot in the process. It isn’t long before the frantic father follows suit. He stumbles on a crack in the oh so finely manicured sidewalk, and her cheek slightly grazes his before he continues chasing after his son.

Dim light meanders through the room, emanating from a bulb being suspended by a lone, frayed wire that hangs and sways from the ceiling. Occasional sparks pop from the wire and illuminate several small pools of blood that line the floor. Loud, piercing screams of pain and agony reverberate throughout the room. Faintly, in the distance, a small boy can be heard pounding on the door with all his might as he cries out for his daddy.

The image of the boy in the alleyway sticks with her. She becomes violently ill and crumples to the ground. She’s not cold, but her body shivers violently. Looking into a patch of ice just inches away, she can see the reflection of her face. She sees the bruise become ever more prominent on her cheek, she sees the people walking above her, she sees Louis reaching down to help her up, and above all that she sees a red balloon floating off into the distance.

Quickly, standing up to her feet, she brushes Louis off. “Sorry! No time to explain! I need to go!”

He gives a knowing glance. “I’ll follow you.”

“Whatever, I know I can’t stop you, but I need to go!” She rushes off in the direction she saw the man and his toddler heading. When she was on the ground, part of her jacket stuck to the ice. The fabric ripped as she stood. In her haste, she bounced from one person to another like a pinball.

A man hangs upside down in a cage. His face is covered with blood and desperation.

A half alive body is being slid along what seems to be an underground corridor.

A very large woman is being nailed to the wall by her skin flaps.

She turns the corner into the alleyway. The small, frightened boy is curled into a ball next to a dingy wooden door. His chest heaves and sputters as he cries uncontrollably. He doesn’t know it, but his father is already dead.

Miriam walks up to him and lifts him to his feet. Terrified, he diverts his gaze and his body goes limp. He is dead weight in her arms. She puts her finger up to her mouth and calmly shushes him. She doesn’t want to touch him, but also knows that he is young, mortified, and needs comforting. Nestling his chin against her shoulder, she strokes his hair.

An old man, in his late 80’s, sits in a rocking chair surrounded by a very large family. They are watching television. He slowly closes his eyes and lets his life slip away from him.

“You need to leave. You need to leave now. Walk away from here and don’t turn around. Find a local business that you feel comfortable going in. Tell them that you are lost. Tell them what your name is and that you need to find your mother.”

She stands the young boy up and pats him on top of the head. “O ooo ooooh ok. Th thank you.” The boy rubs his eyes and yawns. Dark circles under his eyes show that he is clearly drained from the occurrences of the day. Slowly, he walks away and stops at the edge of the alleyway for a brief moment before disappearing into the crowd.

“Why am I doing this? I don’t have anything to do with whatever is going on. Fuck! I made sure that the kid is going to be safe. Why should I give a damn if this maniac gets a hard on from killing people? People kill people all of the time. What’s so fucking different about this asshole?”

She just stands there. Losing complete track of time, she just stands there and thinks to herself. “Fuck it, I’m out! I’m going to go find Louis and we’ll go get some lunch, then we’ll get out of this hell hole of a city.” Turning around, walking away, step by step she gets further away from the door.

Something stops her. She can’t walk. She tries. She struggles as hard as she can, but she can’t take a single step forward. It’s like something is calling her back to that door. Even though every fiber of her being tells her not to, somehow, she knows she needs to go back and find out what’s going on.

She walks up to the door. It’s not necessarily that she’s afraid. She’s not afraid! She’s trepidatious. She knows that something very strange is going on. There’s no point in drawing it out any longer than needed. Raising a hand into a fist, she quickly and deliberately knocks on the door as hard as she can.

The sound of metal scraping on cement can be heard on the other side of the door as it slowly swings open. A pair of incredibly wide eyes peek around the door and focus on Miriam. It looks as though they’re the eyes of someone who hasn’t blinked or slept in weeks.


“Hi.” She doesn’t have any clue what she should say. She really isn’t even quite sure why she is there.

“Oh. Errr. Hi.” He opens the door the rest of the way. He is wearing black clothes that seem to accent the white of his skin. “What exactly do you want? Are you trying to sell me something?” He abruptly turns around and screams. “No Reverend Meat! I am not going to kill her! She might be a guest. She might also be a disguised member of the evil monkey army of doom! Are you?!”

Miriam cocks her head to the side and looks at him. “You’re a strange one aren’t you?”

He blinks. “Yup, probably. Why do you ask?” Twitching, he keeps looking over his shoulder. “Um, do you want to come in? Would you like a fruity pop?”

Miriam smiles wryly and shrugs. “I guess I don’t really have anything else to do. Well, I do, I tried to leave, but some invisible force pulled me towards here. I guess that doesn’t really make any sense. No thanks to the fruity pop by the way. I’m good for now. Thanks.”

“Hmm, well ok then. There’s a couch over there by the fridge. Make yourself at home? I think that’s what you’re supposed to say.”
Miriam walks into the room. It is one of the most repugnant settings she’s ever witnessed. Even if she had any notion of wanting a fruity pop, whatever that is, she definitely does not want one now. The air is permeated with the scent of vomit, feces, dried blood, and pizza. It also makes her highly questionable about whether or not she will ever want to eat pizza again.

The walls are made of cinder block. One wall is filled with pegs holding various different styles of knives. It’s obvious that he’s not a doctor, but there is something that closely resembles a surgery table. Several cages hang from the ceiling. They contain bodies in various different stages of decomposition. Miriam stands in the middle of the room. It’s the only place where she feels like she can avoid contamination.

The man walks to the far side of the room. The wall is covered with a thick, slimy substance that looks like blood. He walks up to a paint can situated next to the wall. Blood drips from one of the cages and into the bucket. A bubs burger boy figurine sits on the floor. He kneels down and grabs the figurine in one hand, and a paint brush in the other hand.

“See Reverend Meat. We have a visitor.” He appears to be talking to the figurine in his hand.

“My name is Miriam.” There’s a clearly visible, permanent grimace on her face.

“My name is Johnny. Some people call me Nny. This is Reverend Meat. He thinks I should filet you and gut you like a trout. Personally, I’m pretty tired. I don’t really feel like killing anybody else right now. Wait. What?” Johnny puts his ear down to the mouth of the figurine.

“Shut your dirty whore mouth Reverend Meat! Stop it! Stop it right now damn’t! Fuck! Why do you always have to be so damn negative? We’ve already killed 10 people today. I’m tired! If you want to kill her then you need to do it yourself.”

Johnny turns away from the figurine and faces Miriam. “I’m sorry. Where are my manners? I said shut up you worthless piece of shit! Anyway, you said your name is Miriam. As I said earlier, my name is Johnny.”

Johnny approaches Miriam. She takes off her glove to let him shake her hand.

Nothing. She sees absolutely nothing. Surrounding her is a deep, dark, and barren void. Off in the distance she can see a pipe. Blood, tissue, filth, and excrement pours out of the pipe like the burst sewer line outside of a funeral home.
“What the fuck are you?” She jolts back and a look of horror crosses her face.

“What do you mean? What are any of us? The world is full of sheep being led to the slaughter. Every day people die. You are not a sheep. I can sense that. There is something special about you. Damn’t Meat! Shut up! I am definitely not going to kill her just because she is special!”

“Sorry, he always is ready to slaughter.”

Miriam isn’t sure if she should laugh or if she should run away in terror. Deep down she can feel that they are somehow both pieces in the same puzzle. “Everybody does die, that is correct. Well, it seems that everybody dies, but you.”

Johnny moves his face within inches of Miriam’s and stares at her with an unbreakable gaze. “I have died Miriam.” He eases back and goes to sit on the couch. “I went to heaven, but they didn’t want me there. They sent me to hell. That is when the devil explained everything to me. Shit! I forgot what I’m supposed to be doing. I know Reverand Meat! I know I’m supposed to be painting the wall!”

He walks across the room and dips the paint brush in the bucket. A thick mix of fresh and dried blood drips from the brush like some horrific gelatinous ooze. The sight of it makes Miriam heave a little. With long, smooth brush strokes he works on adding another layer onto the hundreds upon hundreds of layers of blood that are already on the wall.

“Ah yes, back to explaining how I died. I had a very interesting conversation with the devil, and he explained a lot of things to me. You see, I am what he called a flusher. Everything wicked, horrible, and vile flows through me like a sewer pipe. I have to keep this wall covered in a thick layer of blood or a monster will escape through it and destroy the world. It’s already happened once. It happened when I died, but of course, no one living knows that it ever happened.”

Miriam laughs. She laughs uncontrollably. Normally she wouldn’t want to touch a single inch of the floor, but she falls and rolls around with body shaking laughter. “I bet most people wouldn’t believe you if you told them that.”

Johnny smiles. “Probably not. I usually don’t talk to many people while I’m killing them. It’s usually oh my god this, and ow my spleen that, and when will the pain end? It really gets tiring to hear their constant wanking. That being said, you’re probably right, I doubt anybody would believe me.”

She stands back up and does her best to brush herself off. Various types of residue fling off of her fingers as she attempts to become clean again. “Shit then Johnny. It looks like we have more in common than I could imagine. Well, don’t get me wrong. I don’t get off on killing people like you do, but there’s something about me that most people don’t see. I see when people are going to die when I touch them.”

He smiles a wide and maniacal grin. “And? You didn’t see anything when you touched me did you?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Of course you didn’t. He approaches her. We are both pieces on the same side of the chess board. We both see how the sheep are going to be brought to slaughter. You see the end of the line for the sheep. I wait at the end of the line to make sure that they’re slaughtered.” He turns around and goes back to painting the wall.


The little boy walks into a coffee shop. His face is red and still shows signs that he has been crying for quite some time. Another boy, several years older, walks up to him. “Hello, my name is Squee.”

Here is where I put the obligatory legal jargon. Miriam Black is the intellectual property of Chuck Wendig and he maintains all rights to said character. Johnny: the Homicidal Maniac is the intellectual property of Johnen Vasquez and he maintains all rights to said character.

If you enjoyed reading this fan fiction, even the slightest bit, you really should buy all of Chuck Wendig’s book. I promise you, I really don’t do Miriam Black the justice she deserves by writing this. I only hope my writing that includes her can contain a fraction of the quality that Chuck Wendig’s fiction so masterfully weaves together. Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it.


Coming Home From Vacation

Two weeks ago I released my first self published book onto the world.

Then I went on vacation. Well, despite a complete lack of any effort at marketing on my part, I have still managed to sell nearly a dozen copies or my book. That’s a lot more than I thought I would have. None of the people who bought the book have left a review yet either so I would imagine that sales will increase a little once I start getting reviews.

It’s been a great vacation, but now it’s time to go back home, go back to my day job, work on getting the brewery running again and work on trying to sell a few more copies of this novel. I hope to do a fair amount of guest blogs in order to get things going. I also would like to do a few more podcasts. I had fun being a guest on the podcast I did with 5 seconds in the paint and I have a feeling that stuff like that will be really helpful to get the word out.

I also plan on doing the formatting to get a print on demand paperback version ready through CreateSpace. I didn’t have the time to get the formatting done before I went on vacation so I just put that off until I came back home. I am hoping that will help a good bit since a large number of people don’t own ereaders.

I also want to do a good amount of research on marketing overseas and in India. Have any of you successfully marketed your book overseas? Do any of you run a podcast about writing in India and would be willing to have me on? I would imagine the best place to advertise in these areas would be where people from those areas look to decide what they want to read, but I am having a terribly hard time finding out where those areas are. I doubt there are any people that follow my blog who live in India, but on the odd chance that there is somebody that stumbles upon my blog who reads fantasy and lives in India, I would love to know where you look to decide what you want to read and what draws your attention to a book. Any information and advice you might have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Well, tomorrow we fly back and then Monday it is back to work. I should also be posting more frequently on my blog once I get back home. I have greatly neglected everything social media wise while I’ve been on vacation.

Introduction to The Final Requiem

Last night I self published my novel The Final Requiem to Amazon for Kindle. It is the first book I’ve ever published. I’m both excited and terrified to see what people are going to think about it. I thought it would be best to do a blog post as a brief introduction to my story so people can get an idea of whether or not they want to read it before they buy it.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an eReader. You can download a Kindle app that will let you read the book at this site.

You can buy the book itself at this site.

Here is the description of the book.

Michael is a normal guy that has been thrust into an overwhelming situation. An eternal war is being waged between Angels and Demons. The Angels have assigned Michael the task of going on a treacherous journey to close the gates Demons use to travel between Hell and Earth. Somehow, even though Angels have been visiting him in his dreams since childhood to tell him something was coming, Michael finds himself unprepared, and in the middle of it all.

One way or another, everything will change.

and here is the prologue and first chapter…


His legs quivered and shook as if incapable of holding his weight. A dark figure loomed in the distance. As the figure drew closer, quivering turned to trembling, which turned to something very closely resembling convulsions. The boys legs’ finally succumbed to the pressure and he crashed backwards onto the cold, unforgiving ground. He began to sob uncontrollably. The room felt very cold, harsh, and distant to his plight. He looked all over to find reassurance, but the figure in the distance was the only thing noticeable and it was getting closer with each foreboding step.

It was not long before the figure was standing directly over the crying boy. The boy looked through squinted eyes at the man standing over him and began to sob even more violently. Dressed in a fine white button down shirt, black dress slacks, and brown Italian loafers, there did not seem to be anything unusual about the man. Striking red hair flowed from the man’s head, across the pale, nearly translucent skin of his face and down to his shoulders. The man ran his long, almost claw-like fingers across the side of the boy’s face as he picked it up and held it in his arms. Desperately the child craved warmth and comfort, but all the embrace had to offer was a harsh, cold chill that spread to the depths of his bones.

​“Michael, Michael, Michael, even in your dreams you lack the strength to stand on your own. I would think by now that you would not react so strongly to my visits.”

The air became cold and vacant as the adult Michael looked upon the childhood image of himself. Every night during youth he was visited the same way; however, the dark figure had not visited his dreams for well over ten years. He could remember those dreams as if watching them through a window.

The dreams had never changed. They were the same as they had been when he was a child and they would always be the same. Something always drew him back to relive that interaction. He mouthed the words, knowing word for word everything that was going to be said. A long claw-like finger came from behind him and brushed his cheek, sending chills down to his very core.

“How sweet of you to remember our times together Michael.”

​“What do you want?”

​“What do I want? What do…I…want? Why the need to be so short and abrupt? It has been such a long time. I would think you would want to spend some time catching up on the good old days.”

​“There were no good days Azrael, we both know that. You have not come to visit in fifteen years; why are you here to visit me now? We both know I am too old to be within the scope of your corruption.”

“That is true Michael,” An evil grin crept across the face of Azrael like a crack spreads across ice. “You are beyond my reach of influence. Oh, how deliciously gratifying this is going to be for me! Gabriel and all his fellow angels reveled in their glorious might when they kept me from corrupting your immortal soul.” A loud bustling laughter erupted from the belly of Azrael.

“I have news for you, Michael. You never were the target. We wanted Gabriel and the rest of the archangels to believe that you were the target. It is too late now. Our plan has been set into motion. The last protector of the one we truly seek has fallen. Our time is now!” Azrael disappeared, and Michael woke up with nothing but questions on his mind.

Chapter 1 – The Collapse of Antonius

The veil of light crested and flickered on the crystal blue water. Antonia Borresca lived in a small area of Venice and had long been a respected member of the community. Her unexpected death sent shock waves throughout the city. The entire gathering had retreated to the chapel dining area for a brief after-funeral celebration of her life.

Antonius, her son and only surviving kin, was weeping and crumpled into a ball next to the grave site. Antonia had been his everything, his very reason for living. Antonius, having very little memory of his father, had moved with Antonia to the big city of Venice when he was very young. She comforted him when he had nightmares, when dark things came to talk to him in his sleep. However, Antonia was a very busy business woman and was often not around. Her absence led to many nights that Antonius would spend alone.

The mind of man is a strong and resilient thing, but even the sturdiest of minds has its breaking point. Antonius’ mind and will had been tested throughout every turn of his life and the only things that had been constant were Antonia and the figures that visited him in his dreams. Over the years, the figures began to have increasing control of his thoughts.

The day quickly turned dark as clouds came out of nowhere and blocked out the sun. Thunder rolled like menacing laughter, and the sky threatened rain, but there was none. The cloud cover offered no respite from the unbearable heat of the summer’s day. Sensing the pending rain, the outside help started putting things away.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of putting up chairs, rolling up carpet, and taking down flowers, Antonius continued to lie there motionlessly. He hoped that he would wake up to find that the whole thing had been a dream. There was no way that could happen. He knew he did not have dreams like that. The only dreams he had were the ones where the figures would come and tell him what he was to become.

The dreams always worried him, but his mother possessed the ability to ease his mind whenever she was around. That was not the case anymore. Had the figures been telling him the truth when telling him what his role was to be? Antonia would no longer be around to tell him otherwise. He knew the figure would visit him in his dreams that night. Then he would be able to talk to the figure about his destiny.

A short man timidly walked up to Antonius and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry son; we need to lower the casket. Maybe you should go inside and spend some time with the rest of the people. Talking to the others about the good things that happened during your mother’s life might make you feel better.”

“No, there is nothing that could make me feel better right now! This should not be happening! She should still be alive.”

“I’m sorry son. There’s nothing we can do. We have to lower the casket now.”

“No!” Anger started to rise through Antonius like he had never felt before. It began as a mild irritation, but it was not long before he was completely infuriated. Who were all these people? Where had they been all of his life? Where were they when he had no company other than the figures in his dreams?

No, none of the people knew him. They had all met his mother during her many business travels. They were clients, coworkers, and bosses. None of them knew or even cared about his lot in life. None of them approached him to express their condolences. They were all there for the perceived obligation that walks hand in hand with the passing of a colleague.

He knew his purpose. He had no doubts about the way he felt. Clarity enveloped his mind. He stood up and pushed the small man to the ground.

The smug looks on the faces of the attendants burned in his mind like a wound being exposed to acrid water. The sudden impact against the cobble stone path rendered the small man unconscious. Antonius stepped over the body and walked towards the dining area. Several other workers tried to subdue Antonius, but he had developed an unnatural sense of purpose. He sidestepped them and threw them out of his way.

The chapel dining hall was a shining beacon of everything that the city of Venice had to offer. A large building, it loomed over the rest of the town. One set of doors served as the only means of entering and exiting the building. Modern safety codes had not existed hundreds of years ago when the building had originally been erected.

A single phrase echoed through his mind as he approached the door. “No way out, there will be no way out. There will be no way out. This structure shall be cleansed with the fires of righteous damnation. There will be no way out.” No one paid any attention as he approached the dining hall. They were too busy tending to the men lying unconscious on the ground.

Antonius stood in front of the door, and an inkling of doubt began to creep through his mind. The entrance was composed of two heavy, white wooden doors. Each door arched upwards and had a small silver cross perched at the upmost tip. There were heavy stone benches and columns with various assortments of flowers set to either side of the doors.

The benches and columns had been placed on rollers so they could be moved easily. The benches weighed several hundred pounds each. Each column weighed nearly a hundred pounds. The people inside were oblivious to what was going on as he pushed the benches and columns in front of the doors.

Soon, one of the people in the building realized what was happening. They gently tried to push the door open. The door grazed against the hard, unrelenting bench, but it did not budge. Casual attempts to open the door turned to frantic and frenzied ramming of the door. It was not long before other people in the building began to notice what was going on. Mass hysteria spread from person to person.

Every scream, every shout, every pound on the door out of sheer desperation made the flame in his eye seem to gleam brighter. A fire doesn’t start without a spark. The spark had been created the moment the figures started talking to him and had grown to a roaring fire inside his soul. There was nothing left to do but to release that fire upon the world. Without hesitation, he grabbed a lighter from his pocket, lit the door on fire, and walked away.

There could be no looking back now. He had made his decision. There could be no changing it. He knew there would be no going back. There could be no getting out. The world would need to be cleansed by the fires of righteous damnation. He was near his flat when the sound of sirens became audible throughout the city. He could not help but let a sick, sadistic smile cross his face. Part of him felt horrified while another part of him thought that it was hilarious.

It wouldn’t take long for word to travel. He needed to find a place to stay. The building he lived in was unusually quiet. Being almost in the middle of the city, all traffic went through the area in one way or another. It was a flat that anybody in the city would have given vast amounts of money to live in, and normally he would not have been able to afford it, but his mother had bought it for him as soon as he was old enough to move out on his own.

A lady his mom worked with lived across town. She had been at the funeral. He took a sick bit of satisfaction in knowing that she would not need her place that night. He decided to sneak across town and find a way in. He would stay there until he could come up with a plan.

The journey across town didn’t take as long as he thought it would. It was no surprise to see that the city had returned to normal. It was as though the occurrences of the morning had never happened. He knew the city wouldn’t be in mourning, but seeing everybody so happy and joyous made him sick to his stomach. It started with a simple knot in his stomach and evolved to the point that he felt violently nauseous.

The world started spinning, and everything turned red. Each heart beat pounded and resounded with his foot steps. Thud thud, thud thud, thud thud…it was no longer his own personal actions carrying him. Pure inertia and gravity were moving him towards his destination. He arrived at the building seemingly without anybody noticing that he was there.

Luckily for him, but not for the lady that owned the flat, the day of the funeral had been an unusually hot day, and she had left her back window open. The fire escape led directly to her window. That gave him a perfect way of being able to get in. He would be able to stay there long enough to make contact with the figures in his dreams.

It was not far into the night, but Antonius only had one thing on his mind. He wanted to sleep. He closed his eyes, and darkness enveloped his line of vision, but he wanted it too much. Was it necessarily that he was not tired? That did not make sense. It had been a long and exhausting day.

Thoughts swirled around his head. He recounted the actions of the day. He had gone from being at the lowest point in his life to the newfound resolve and purpose that he now had. Sleep, however, would not come. What could be done? The level of activity circling through his brain would make it impossible for him to achieve any level of rest.

The flat was a sizable one. There would have to be something in it that would make it easier for him to sleep. Every thought and every memory rang in his head like a loud reverberating chorus that refused to be quiet. It seemed to grow louder and louder with every moment he continued to be awake. The conductor in his head was on the podium. The orchestra was primed, and they were crescendoing and surging to a level where any ability to think had ceased to exist.

Fumbling, reaching, searching, he looked through the flat for alcohol or sleeping medication or something that would help; something that would bring silence to his mind. A bottle of sleeping pills seemed to be the only sign of possible solace. He grasped it, held it tightly, cracked it open, tossed a couple pills in his mouth and washed them down with a nice healthy gulp of red wine.

“Hello Antonius.” A man wearing a white button down shirt, black dress pants, and brown Italian loafers walked up to Antonius. “You have done well. You have done very well. I am glad to see you have finally decided to accept your role. We knew that you eventually would.”

“There was nothing to hold me back.”

“There never really was anything to hold you back Antonius, other than your own self conceived personal boundaries. Boundaries are a false concept created by the limitations of the human mind. The more the human mind is developed, the further the boundaries of possibility are removed. I am sure that you have plenty of questions for me. I will answer your questions in due time, but that time is not now. A war is coming, and there is much that needs to be done to prepare for it.”

“I am not safe here. They will eventually find me.”

“It is very true that you are not safe in your current location. Even as we speak, there are people looking for you. There were people that noticed you on your way here. If we had not already had a plan, you would have been found by the morning.”

“You already have a plan?”

“Oh Antonius, Antonius, Antonius, we have had all of this planned out well before you were even born. These times have been prophesied for several millennia. The angels do not know the role you have to play. We have kept that carefully masked from them. They are too busy tending to what they think is their chosen one to pay any attention to what we have been cultivating in you. You are being taken care of as we speak. You will wake up in the custody of some; well I guess you could call them friends. They will explain what is going on, and tomorrow night I will answer any questions that you might have.”

“They are already handling me? I will wake up in their custody? What does any of this mean? You have been visiting me in my dreams for so long, but I don’t even know your name.”

“You have so many questions. I knew you would, so I do not fault you for that. This is a large amount of information for any mortal to absorb. Trust me. You are being handled by people who are amenable to our cause. They will have many of the answers that you seek. Ah, but there is one question I am able to answer. I am mostly known by the name Azrael.”

I hope you like what you’ve read so far. You can get the book to read the rest at this site.

Battle Results

As I get closer to being ready to self publish my novel, I thought it would be a good idea to make a post that has a list of the guest blogs I have been doing to promote the book. I have to say that I’ve had a lot of fun doing these guest blogs so far. Azrael has such a vastly different personality than I so it is very interesting to try to write things from his point of view and think the way that he would think. I still have several more to write and get out there and hopefully I’ll have even more to do after that. Here are the ones that have been posted so far and I am going to try to keep this updated and edit it as more guest blogs are posted.

CJ Davis Blog with Azrael Discussing the Afterlife
5 seconds in the paint, Azrael interviews me
Troy Jackson blog with Azrael discussing the book
Cult of Me, Azrael discusses the horror genre
Scottish Bookworm in Quebec, Azrael discusses the book

I also did a podcast with 5 seconds in the paint that you can check out here.

If I did a guest blog on your site and did not put it here then feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I will make sure I edit this post and get it up here. I should have another 1 or 2 posted on other sites by the end of the week. If you have a blog and like what I’ve done with these guest blogs then feel free to let me know and maybe I could do something for your blog. I really like doing the guest blogs where it is geared towards whatever you typically blog about. So it doesn’t matter if you blog about cupcakes or painting or your favorite thing to eat on Wednesday, if you want me to do a guest blog for you then I’m sure we can find a way to make it work. The more guest blogs I get out there the more exposure I will eventually get for my novel. It doesn’t matter if 99% of the post is about your site, having the post be from the point of view of a character from my novel will hopefully make the reader of that post want to learn a little more about the character and in turn want to learn a little more about the novel. Make sure to keep watching this post. Hopefully there will be many more entertaining guest blog posts to link here in the future.

*** Update: added a link to the new guest blog at Scottish Bookworm in Quebec ***

Joe Donahue Blog Invasion

Wow wow wow wow!! Being nearly ready to self publish my novel, hopefully sometime in the next few weeks, I have been doing vast amounts of research on the avenues of marketing available to indie publishers. There is so much out there! It’s almost a little too much for one single person to try to soak in.

I could see why somebody would want to go the traditional route of publishing in order to have somebody dedicated to marketing your book. I, however, don’t really think that there is anybody that could market my work with the ferocity or passion that I would. The other benefit of going through a traditional publisher is having a professional editor work with you on it, but I really don’t know if that outweighs the pains of going through the process of getting a traditional publisher to notice you.

The main thing I have noticed while doing my research is that you cannot constantly shove your book down the throat of people through social media outlets and expect them to want to read it, or even more so, pay to read it. You have to get a little creative. You wouldn’t think it would be hard enough for people who are creative enough to write a novel to also be creative enough to come up with ways of marketing that novel other than “BUY MY BOOK, please,” but I guess that isn’t always the case.

I have decided to focus on four things in my marketing campaign and I honestly don’t know if there’s even going to be enough of me to adequately address these four things.

Twitter – This is an obvious marketing technique and is actually probably going to be one of my least used. I plan on mainly using it to network. The more followers I get on Twitter the more people will see when I post a blog since my blogs are linked on Twitter the second I post them. I also plan on using it as an avenue for reader of my book to contact me if they wish.

Facebook – I’m essentially going to use it the same way as Twitter.

Goodreads – This is an excellent community that I have just recently stumbled upon. I wish I found it earlier. I absolutely refuse to push my novel down the throat of people though. I haven’t been researching this long, but I can tell that’s not the way to do it. I plan on mentioning my novel in the forum topics where it is allowed though. The other way I plan on doing it is just joining a handful of the groups on Goodreads and getting my name out there. People want to connect with you on a personal level instead of just having you tell them to buy your book. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to focus on this, but I definitely plan on working on it more once I get my novel out there and self published. Right now I’m still having to do a lot of work on getting my novel ready to publish.

My Blog – This is where I plan on doing a large majority of my work towards marketing. If you come here to read about my beer then I’m sorry, because over the next few months this space is pretty much going to be filled by post about the progress on my novel and guest blogs about whatever people want to guest blog about. That brings me to the topic of this blog and what I really wanted to focus on.

Yeah, you read it right. I want to go beyond doing a blog tour. I want to do a blog invasion. I’ve already started working on it and I honestly think it is going to be the best way to get the word out about what I’m doing. I’m going to make it fun though. Who would want to participate if it wasn’t going to be fun?

How am I going to make it fun? All of these guest blogs are going to be done from the POV of a character from my novel. They are going to be done from the POV of the archdemon Azrael. I’ve already written several of these and had a lot of fun writing them so I hope people enjoy reading them. I’m mainly focusing on writing/fantasy themed blogs at first but I’m not limiting it to that. I will post a guest blog to anybody that will have me. Alyssa Vaughan (@LyssaPearl) runs a custom nail polish company and I have written a possible guest blog for her where Azrael discusses nail polish. Like I said, I don’t want to do a guest blog tour, I want to do a full guest blog invasion. So if you’re interested then it doesn’t matter what you typically blog about. I’ll write up a guest blog from the POV of Azrael and we’ll have some fun. Who knows? It could be a way to spice up your blog and get you some new readers.



I love writing! I detest editing my writing! I wish I could write it perfectly the first time and never have to work on it again. I’m not that good of a writer though. I don’t think there are many writers that write everything perfectly on the first try. The picture above is me working on my third revision of my current work in progress.

I’m about a quarter of the way through this revision and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is gradually starting to become a product that I think I would be happy sending out into the world and self publishing. I joined a very awesome critique community at and I think I will use them completely for everything I write in the future, but I’m antsy to get my current work in progress out there for people to be able to buy, ermm…I mean for people to be able to read, and Scribophile moves just a little too slow for my taste. You do get some excellent reviews there and I definitely do plan on putting my future writings there. I plan on approaching it kind of like you approach test driven code in programming. I’ll write a chapter and then I’ll post a chapter for a critique. That’s the plan at least, but I need to get this novel out of the way first.

I’ve realized that my editing abilities are very limited. I’m decent enough at reading through my manuscript and editing sentences to make them flow better and fixing typos and the sort, but I really struggle with looking outside the confines of the structure of what I’ve written and noticing things that need to be added. I’ve been struggling with that throughout the entire editing process and I hope this short fall doesn’t keep me from adequately portraying the images that I have in my head.

I’ve considered using a freelance professional editor, but realistically the things they would be helping me with are the things that I am pretty sure I can fix on my own. There aren’t many editors that would would say, “OK, he’s sitting in a red leather chair by a brick fireplace, but what does the fire smell like? What is he wearing? What does he like to eat every Tuesday for lunch?” I know those are some pretty obscure questions and don’t really have anything to do with setting up a scene like that, but I think you get the point.

I like to think that I have set up the scenes and visual imagery pretty well throughout the novel, but I also have the imagery in my head and it’s hard to shake that. It is hard to cast aside the pre conceived images you have in your brain and focus on nothing but the images that are drawn by your words. I’ve tried to get several people to read through my novel and give me their impression on it, but they are all very busy people. One person has been able to finish reading it, and she gave a favorable review of it, but she said that it still needed some rewrites. I honestly already knew it still needed some rewrites so that wasn’t an “on no! You just slapped my baby!” moment.

I hope to have the editing done and be ready to publish sometime between the end of August and the middle of September. I’m making good progress and I think that is a somewhat reasonable goal. I guess we shall see. I just hope people enjoy reading my novel as much as I enjoyed writing it…minus the copious amount of time spent working on edits 😉

The Perfect Storm

Yeah, I probably over did it on the tags and categories, but this blog is going to touch a lot of different subjects. I’m not just throwing a bunch of crap out there to reach as many people as possible whether this blog pertains to them or not…maybe 😉

As far as I am concerned there has been a perfect storm of events happening lately that started back around the early 90’s. Breweries like Stone and Dogfish Head and other crafty connoisseurs of beer production created the craft beer market in the United States. They didn’t just make it popular. They birthed it and through blood sweat and tears turned it into an industry that now has a huge and ever increasing niche market.

The pioneers of the craft beer revolution are now very nearly regarded as rock stars. The most noticeable of these craft beer rock stars has to be Grek Koch. The man has become a legend. His speeches of the quality of strong flavorful beers over fizzy yellow mass produced beers have been taped and watched all around the world. In many countries American craft beer is probably placed in much higher regards than the country that it was produced in (but that is a blog for a different time.)

Fast forward to the past several years. People like Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Nika Harper, the rest of the Geek and Sundry staff and the people at Nerdist have done the ground work and put the blood, sweat and tears in to make the geek culture prominent. The uprising of geek culture very nearly resembles that of the rise of the craft beer culture. It has really been interesting to be able to watch how both of them came to be and the parallels between the two.

The craft beer revolution made it possible for thousands of breweries to open up all over the country. There are still more breweries opening up every year. Even I helped turn an existing restaurant into a brewpub. That didn’t exactly work out the way we planned and there are some changes coming down the line with it, but that is a topic for a different blog as well. The point is that craft beer has created limitless opportunities for businesses to be created.

You can parallel the cross analysis between geek culture and craft beer culture by the amount of business opportunities that the, I like to call it Geek Renaissance, is creating. The most obvious is the geek culture inspired merchandise like shirts and light saber candy and so on and so forth. The really cool things, and where there is the most room for growth, are the people who are going outside of the box and really pushing the envelope (two cliches in the same sentence…I think I just killed all writing cred I might have had).

There are people making video game inspired jewelry. I saw a really cool Tetris inspired necklace on Twitter a couple days ago. @LyssaPearl of Frakker Lacquer is doing some really cool things with geek inspired nail polishes. She is making these nail polishes herself and gearing them all towards various different sub cultures. This really shows the endless possibilities of growth out there. Yeah, you have to be careful about not stepping on copyrights or likeness rights, but if you have a good head on your shoulder and don’t directly use any copyrighted terms then you should be fine. Check out and to really see some of the cool things that can be done based on current geek subcultures.

Then it happened. In one glorious moment we found out what it is truly like when worlds collide. The titans of the beer revolution and geek renaissance combined to make a creation that many thought would tear apart the very fabric of time and space. Wil Wheaton @wilw, Greg Koch @stonegreg and Drew Curtis @drewcurtis collaborated to make Stone Farking Wheaton Stout. (I have a bottle of it at my house waiting on me seductively…squee!)

This crossing of cultures, cultures whose paths have so nearly resembled each other, makes it possible for even more new businesses. You want to make a brewpub where the beer lines are modeled after different things in beer culture…hell yeah! Want to start a beer festival/comic convention…right on! I know I do! Want to have a draft to go and specialty bottle shop that also sells board games and has a place to sit down and play them…why not?

The only limitation on these two separate markets and the uber combined market are the limits of the minds of the people creating the businesses. People like Alyssa Vaughan @LyssaPearl of FrakkerLacquer are the people that are going out and making sure that this surge continues. I don’t foresee either market bubble bursting either time soon. So geeks and beer lovers around the world celebrate the times that you live in and support the businesses that are doing so much to make sure the cultures continue to thrive. Things still aren’t perfect, but I see this as a world that the characters of Revenge of the Nerds would have much rather lived in.