Red Litten World arrives October 6th, 2015

First Look: Red Litten World Trade Paperback

Well, well, well, look what arrived in the mail last Friday… behold, the first look at the Red Litten World trade paperback! (Okay, technically, it’s the second look, since subscribers to my newsletter got the first look on Tuesday. You can join their illustrious ranks and get access to content early, just sign up here.)

Watch the Periscope capture above (apologies for the quiet-ish sound) or just check out the images with my commentary below. I’m so excited for everyone to see this. I couldn’t be more pleased with how well the trade paperback turned out. It feels so good in hand.

Red Litten World - Trade Paperback
Red Litten World trade paperback

I’m super proud how well this turned out. Every time I start the arduous process of laying out a novel, I feel like I get better and better. Red Litten World is my biggest book yet, each tome is 400 pages on the dot. (For a comparison, Old Broken Road (the smallest) is 356 pages long and The Stars Were Right comes in at 364 pages.)

The Bell Forging Cycle series
The three books in the Bell Forging Cycle

The series is looking incredible, and I really have Jon Contino to thank for that. The consistency between covers is stunning, and as you can tell the three look absolutely wonderful sitting next to one another on the shelf. Jon’s lettering has a lot to do with that. As always the work is fabulous.

Just like in the interior of Old Broken Road there are stars illustrations breaking up paragraph breaks. These are the same hand-drawn stars done by Illustrator Sean Cumiskey for the Bell Caravans patch. They look great in the book, I love seeing them in print. Returning to form, the glyph atop the chapter titles was drawn by Lovecraft himself, just like the elder sign we saw on The Stars Were Right. Like the titles themselves, this will be a motif that will continue through the rest of the series.

Red Litten World interior
Left – title page, Right Top – chapter titles, Right Bottom – paragraph breaks

There’s a special surprise inside for paperback owners only, but I’m not going to go into details about it here. I’m going to keep that under wrap for now, that said, I’m sure it’ll leak eventually. As with everything in the Bell Forging Cycle it’s always layers upon layers, often the biggest secrets are hidden in the background.

I can’t wait for this to get into everyone’s hands! Red Litten World arrives Tuesday, October 6th, 2015. EBook readers, you can pre-order it today for Kindle, Kobo, or Apple iBooks and have it delivered on launch day!

Hold onto your butts. We’re getting close!

Bell Caravan Patch

Bell Caravans Patches Are Now Available

Show your loyalty to the company with this three-inch black and white Bell Caravans patch. Put it on your jacket, your bag, your keff, or whatever you want! Patches are only $5.00 and are available in my store. Get yours today!

Bell Caravan Patch Now Available Bell Caravans Patch Now Available In My Store

The logo was based on a concept by Ray Frenden and illustrated by the talented Sean Cumiskey. Long time readers will remember that Sean did some amazing fan art for The Stars Were Right last year. After I saw it, I contacted him and asked if I could use the logo above the door for a Russel & Sons bookmark and he agreed. I loved his work so much that I hired him to work up the Bell Caravans logo. He hit the ball out of the park and the result is this incredible patch.

Check out more of Sean’s work at his website. He is available for freelance projects, and is open to commissions, so seriously consider hiring him if you’re looking for an illustrator on your own projects. I cannot recommend him enough.

Old Broken Road

Behold, The First Print Proof For Old Broken Road!

If you’re not following me on Instagram you probably missed the news. Today, the first print proof for Old Broken Road arrived! I didn’t have time to record a video like I did when The Stars Were Right print proof arrived, but I did take some time to snap a few photos.

Old Broken Road cover detail

It turned out looking fantastic. Yet again, I am blow away by how good the cover look. The lettering—illustrated by Jon Contino—works perfect. Nails the mood. Check it out below sitting next to The Stars Were Right. Starting to look like a series!

Old Broken Road and The Stars Were Right side by side

I’m also introducing some fun little details in this go-around. There’s a new symbol leading each chapter and on the spine. Also there are some star illustrations, drawn by Sean Cumiskey, separating sections within chapters. They look fantastic. Add a nice level of polish, don’t you think?

Old Broken Road, Spine and Star Details

All in all, it’s turned out pretty swanky! What do you think? Leave a comment below, or drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook. There’s a lot more to come, new swag, new free backgrounds, and even a new giveaway all leading up to the launch of Old Broken Road on October 14th!

Friday Link Pack—End of the Year Edition (2013)

Medieval & Renaissance  Cartographic Sea Monsters

Every Friday I compile a list of my favorite links I’ve seen throughout the week. Since this is the last Friday of the year I figured I’d go back and see what interested you the most and combine them into an End of Year Edition that featured the most popular links. Have a link I should feature in the upcoming year? Let me know!


Random Story Title Generator
The name says it all, while the results are often silly I do find it great for brainstorming. Let me know when your first edition of: “Madman Fights Desert” hits bookstores. I’ll be at the front of the line.

12 Real Life Inventions That Science Fiction is Neglecting at its Peril
One of my favorite bloggers, Charlie Jane Anders, compiled a list of real life inventions that has been neglected by modern science fiction. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own project look no further. There’s a lot here.

The Best Symbols To Throw Some Scare Into Your Story
I am a huge fan of symbolism. I think it can add an extra layer of depth for the readers willing to do the leg work. It also creates a richer experience overall. In this post Lauren shared a few spooky symbols you can add to your own writing. No surprise this made the list. Lauren’s posts are always amazing.


Jason Thompson’s “Lovecraft’s Dream Quest”
There was a lot of interest in this visual retelling of Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. Not only is it beautiful but Thompson’s style has a level of detail rarely seen in the webcomic space. Worth spending time with.

Sean Cumiskey’s Fan Art for The Stars Were Right
I loved this piece when Sean sent it to me. I still love it today. Dark, moody, engaging. Apparently you all liked it as much as me.

Heath Lewis’ Wowly Heck
Heath Lewis (who created some awesome fan art) also started Wowly Heck—his experimental blog featuring new spins on some amazing monsters that you all loved. Very cool stuff.


Behold, the Moon as you’ve never seen it before
It’s a rad animated gif of the Moon! Who doesn’t love the moon!?

8 Ruined Cities That Remain a Mystery to This Day
io9‘s list of ruined cities is not only fascinating but also a great way to awaken your inner Indiana Jones. (Like your inner Indiana Jones was ever asleep.)

Medieval & Renaissance Cartographic Sea Monsters
BibliOdyssey’s great post exploring the subject of monsters on old maps. It includes some great high-resolution scans of the creatures: Renaissance-style dolphins with strange ducks bills, horned whales devouring ships, even the elusive marine chicken.

Lovecraft Story of the Year:

Unda; or, The Bride of the Sea
I was feeling a bit nautical when I selected this poem, apparently you all were as well. Out of all the “Lovecraft Story of the Week” it generated the most interest.

Farewell Gif of the Year:

Good ol' Ford


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Friday Link Pack

Every First-Edition Ian Fleming James Bond Book Cover (1953-1966)
It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! I’m always looking for new links if you have any suggestions, let me know.


The Best Symbols to Throw Some Scare into Your Story
I am a huge fan of symbolism. I think it can add an extra layer of depth for the readers willing to do the leg work. It also creates a richer experience overall. In this post Lauren Sapala shares a few spooky symbols you can add to your own writing.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Superfan Scorned (Warning: Divergent series spoilers)
“Allegiant”—the last book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series (this years Young-Adult juggernaut)—has landed and it didn’t end the way fans expected or wanted. This has lead to over three-hundred 1 star reviews on Amazon, shocking reactions from the fan community, and some pretty shameful behavior as well.

Every First-Edition Ian Fleming James Bond Book Cover (1953-1966)
I debated between putting this in Writing or in Art. Decided it worked better here. As the title suggests it’s every single one of Ian Fleming’s covers for the James Bond series. Live and Let Die is probably my favorite. What’s yours?


The Shopkeep and the Umbra
Once again, if you missed Sean Cumiskey‘s fanart for my own book “The Stars Were Right.” Make sure you give it a look. It’s awesome.

Enki Bilal at Musée des Arts et Métiers
My good friend Jimmy lives in Paris and he blogs about being an expat. His recent post highlights a recent art exhibit by comic book artist Enki Bilal and it’s pretty dang rad.


Meme Scenery
The backgrounds of famous internet meme’s extracted and show by themselves. They feel so … lonely.

Sex, Drugs, and Broomsticks: The Origins of the Iconic Witch
Atlas Obscura, one of my favorite blogs, tracks down the origin of the icon witch: the pointy hat, the broomstick, etc. (Note: if nudity in classical painting offends thee you might want to skip this one.)

Dance + light + music + awesome cinematography = um … just do yourself a favor and watch this.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Cats
A short little poem for your Friday. Some good (and creepy) mental imagery.

Farewell Gif(s) of the Week:
cow trouble


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Fan Art Highlight – Sean Cumiskey

The Shopkeep and the Umbra by Sean Cumiskey
“The Shopkeep and the Umbra” by Sean Cumiskey

Do yourself a favor and click on the image above or click here and see this illustration larger. It needs to be see at full resolution. This piece of fan art comes from Sean Cumiskey and is entitled “The Shopkeep and the Umbra” and as you can see it’s incredible.

His attention to detail within this piece is astounding and the charcoal style really captures the mood of the prologue. (Which you can read right over here.) Note the reverse name of “Russel & Sons Optics” in the window, the way the umbra is holding the straight razor, the details and highlights in Thad’s eyes, and even the rain on the windows. It’s so well done!

Huge thanks to Sean! I love seeing readers artistic interpretations of Stars. Make sure you check out more of Sean’s work at his website: Sean is also available for freelance projects and commissions. As you can see he’s incredibly talented.

Here’s a video showing how he created this scene. Make sure you view it full screen and in HD:

Let me know what you think of “The Shopkeep and the Umbra” in the comments! Does it match with your imagination? What’s your favorite part?


I’m going to keep highlighting art from “The Stars Were Right” fans and readers and sharing it with everyone! If you have any fan art submissions please email them to me at: with the subject line: “Stars Fan Art Highlight.” Include any links to a website showing your work so I can share that as well and let me know if people can buy your piece/prints/etc.