Thursday, June 11, 2015


Many of you have asked me to publish this and here it is finally: my manifesto of The Hero Ethic, the ethics and qualities of a true-blue fictional hero. Dyed in the wool heroes are no longer in vogue these days, we like our protagonists flawed and damaged, struggling themselves with things such as ethics and morality, very much human and prone as much to be the authors of disaster as they are to be the solution. But in my opinion, it's hard to write any kind of hero, even a flawed one or an anti-hero, unless you have a solid understanding of what the real thing is. In just the way that we cannot effectively break the long-standing rules of narrative and prose until we understand those rules completely, we cannot truly create an effective anti-hero or flawed protagonist unless we have a sense of what the brand spanking new, out-of-the-package, shiny, non-dented or scratched model looks like.

One last disclaimer: these items are my own beliefs and opinions of what make up a true hero. I did not garner them from someone else, these are opinions I formed over centuries (well, okay, decades at least) of reading and writing fiction across the spectrum. They may be up for debate, but I submit this is the kind of hero that best deserves the title.

A hero never complains, or whines about how difficult a task is. He/she merely puts his head down and does what needs doing. Dirty, exhausted, and beaten half to death by the giant guarding the airplane, when Indana Jones is told that the ark has been moved to a truck for transport, he doesn't moan, groan, bitch, or complain. He sets his jaw and asks, "What truck?" (Raiders of The Lost Ark)

A hero never divulges information that is not his to share. Hired by a mafia boss to guard his daughter, Murph says nothing when the father asks him what ugly things his daughter has said about him, Murph merely changes the subject. The Don may be his client, but Murph was not hired to spy on the girl, only to guard her. He would never have taken the gig in the first place if that had been part of the deal. (Bullet's Wake, to be released fall 2015)

A hero is always courteous, respectful, and ready to defend the innocent and defenseless. Hunted by the a relentless United States Marshal, nevertheless Dr. Richard Kimble pauses to correct an error made in the triage of a woman in an emergency room, saving her life, even aware that doing so may well expose him. (The Fugitive)

Errol Flynn

Furthermore, a hero will never attack a defenseless opponent. In the famous sword fight scene, Inigo Montoya chivalrously waits for the man in black (the Dread Pirate Roberts, aka Wesley the farm boy) to finish climbing the cliff, and even to regain his breath, before they commence their epic dual. (The Princess Bride)

The true hero will never solve one dilemma by means that would cause another harm in any way. Several times then naval aviator and now Senator John McCain was offered the opportunity to be released from the infamous Hanoi Hilton (Hỏa Lò) prison camp and he refused each time unless every prisoner captured before him was also released, thus denying the enemy what would have been a propaganda tool and public relations coup. For these refusals he was brutally tortured.

A B O V E   B O A R D
A hero never sneaks, slithers, or uses subterfuge when confronting and fighting "evil." He stands boldly at the crest of the hill shouting, "Here I am! Come and get me!" He faces his enemies boldly and openly, with nothing to hide. William Wallace lines his army up in the open on the opposite side of the field from the English troops, and charges them openly. (Braveheart)

I T ' S   N O T   P E R S O N A L ,   I T ' S   R E V E N G E
The true hero never seeks revenge for personal injuries or insults, but he will relentlessly seek justice - call it vengeance if you wish - for wrongs done to loved ones. Harry Potter suffers no end of humiliations at the hands of his cousin Dudley and his friends, but while he once threatens Dudley he never actually follows through on any reprisals. But when Draco Malfoy calls Harry's dear friend, Hermione Granger, a "...filthy little mudblood!" Harry terrorizes the bully and his henchmen, sending them running and screaming from the glade.

A B O V E   D E F E N S I V E N E S S
A hero will never apologize, never explain, and will never stoop to defend himself against spurious accusations or defamation. He understands that apologies are weak, and instead bends his efforts toward rectifying, remedying, or repairing any damage done. Explanations are merely excuses, and the hero will never attempt to excuse his actions, nor will he defend them. He understands that his actions reflect his best and most honest attempts to deal with a situation given the information he had at the time, regardless of how circumstances may have changed later. He will never lower himself to the level of his critics by even attempting to defend himself against slander or ridicule. He understands that those inclined to think well of him will continue to do so, and those not so inclined will likewise persist in their bias. Nothing can be accomplished by engaging the petty and the strident except to appear every bit as petty and strident as they.

No matter the circumstance the hero will never betray these ethics, even when placed in a position where doing so would, in the end, serve the greater good. The ethic is always more important than any other consideration. In so many books and films that the reader must have read/seen at least one (too many to count really) there is the overwrought cliche of the hanging villain, clinging to the hero's hand lest he fall to his death, and the hero is never the one to let go first, even though doing so would rid the world of the villain. Sometimes even as the villain continues to lash out at him.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Sorry it's been a while since I posted on this blog. Been busily promoting the release of Bloodtrail, the enthralling sequel to Bloodflow. Sales are steady and we're pleased. I'd like a few more reviews on and but I am pleased with the ones I have. It strikes me as I read these reviews though, that many readers are reluctant to reveal certain details about the book for fear of giving spoilers. Well, as the author of the book there are certain details I don't mind you knowing, as I think they help readers see what a fun and exciting adventure the book is!

So below is a list of some of the details I don't mind you knowing about Bloodtrail before you buy:

  • In the first book, Bloodflow, Kate only had enough time to learn a few things about what it means to be a vampire when it became necessary to betray Darkthorne and help Litchner's militia destroy him. Even then, she was in a haze of denial. Now, in Bloodtrail, a year later, she still hasn't fully come to grips with what it means to be one of the undead. She has made the necessary concessions to her new nature - she only works at night, she feeds as her animal counterparts, the Falcon and the panther, and no longer eats regular food. But she is still striving to live her life as normally as possible. She avoids the use of her new capabilities where possible, has refused to explore what other powers she may have that Darkthorne didn't have time to teach her, and has otherwise entirely ignored the fact that she is no longer human. But this sort of denial of her true nature is a time bomb, and on her new assignment to find a poor misguided runaway teenaged girl, Kate will find herself confronted with the realities of her new form of existence in brutal ways that will no longer allow her to deny it - she is a vampire!
  • Kate runs afoul of a cabal of creatures that look entirely human but who are able to draw off of the most foul, greedy, prurient, unsavory emotions of human kind as if it were a narcotic. They are addicted and have resorted to hosting a series of gruesome and bloody gladiatorial games to elicit these emotions from their guest in order to get their fix. The creatures are able to recognize Kate for what she is, and she them, but as they lack any real power Kate dismisses them as no real threat. But struggle as Kate might with the moral and ethical implications of what it means to be a vampire, the leader of these creatures, a Mr. Konig, entices her, tempts her, and seduces her to drop all pretense to the hero's ethic and fully and freely indulge her power, take her place as superior to the humans around her, and rule them.
  • In all his eight centuries of roaming the Earth, Darkthorne claimed to never have met another vampire like himself, except those he, himself, fathered and later destroyed out of self preservation. Kate herself learns what this means first hand as she inadvertently encounters a newly-minted vampire and must fight him to the death in all their animal forms - she the panther and the falcon, he a hyena and a giant bat.
  • As in the first book, Kate finds herself pitting her supernatural powers against man's technology in a climactic scene, trapped in the belly of an unmanned fighter jet that is targeting two innocent young people fleeing for their lives.
  • Early in the book Kate saves the life of a very unlikely ally who, in the end, defends, protects and nurses her as she strives to recover from a catastrophic, near-fatal conflagration.
These are just some of the thrilling adventures waiting for you in Bloodtrail, sequel to the equally as exciting Bloodflow!

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