It’s no trick: Magic’s Daughter is live!

cover of Magic's Daughter

My latest Altaerran adventure is but a few clicks—or taps—away.

As of today, the first few chapters of Magic’s Daughter, my new YA fantasy novel, are available on Radish, an app that specializes in serial fiction.

App Store logo button         

Once you’ve installed the app, search for Magic’s Daughter and dive in!

The prologue and first two chapters are already free. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, additional chapters will be published. You can pay to read them right away or wait a few days until they, too, are free to read.

If you’ve already read The Renegade Chronicles, you’ll feel right at home with Selena Nelesti, a young Superian aristocrat grappling with the dangers of magic in the days before the Renegade War. (You might even find a few familiar faces.)

If you haven’t read The Renegade Chronicles, don’t worry! Magic’s Daughter takes place before the trilogy. It can be enjoyed as an independent entryway into the world of Altaerra.

If you like fantasy, YA fiction, and/or smart stories with heart, give Magic’s Daughter a try!

(More questions? Click here!)


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4 freebies for 4th annual Reader Appreciation Day

book covers

They say you get what you pay for, and that’s true…

…except when it comes to Reader Appreciation Day, when you get what you don’t pay for!

Four years ago, I arbitrarily dedicated Sept. 13 to doing nice stuff for the people who have supported me on this crazy adventure of authorhood.

I’m keeping the tradition alive with four free things for you to enjoy.

Please tell your friends!



Cover of "If Souls Can Sleep"

The Soul Sleep Cycle

Some people possess the ability to sneak into other people’s dreams. They’re called dream drifters, and they can cause quite a lot of trouble in the collective unconscious. For a very limited time, If Souls Can Sleep, the first installment in The Soul Sleep Cycle, is free for Kindle and other e-book formats!

Please tell your friends!



The Renegade Chronicles

Knights, wizards, pirates, assassins — what more could you want out of a fantasy adventure? Rebels and Fools, Volume 1 of The Renegade Chronicles, is also a free e-book download for a short span!

Please tell your friends!



Magic’s Daughter

In case you missed the announcement earlier this month, my newest literary work is being released as a serial novel. Magic’s Daughter, a YA fantasy coming-of-age story, is now on the Radish app, and the first few chapters are free. (And every chapter will eventually become free, making this the gift that keeps on giving!)

Please tell your friends!



Cover of "Capricon and Beyond: The Renegade Chronicles Compendium"

A Deeper Delve into Altaerra

What goes into world building? So glad you asked! Capricon and Beyond, an e-book compendium to The Renegade Chronicles, explores Altaerra’s people, places, history, magic, and more.

OK, OK, this book is always free. Regardless, please tell your friends!



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Meet Magic’s Daughter

In just three weeks, Magic’s Daughter will make its debut on the Radish app.

Meanwhile, I’ve conjured this Q&A to prepare you for my return to Altaerra.


What is Magic’s Daughter about?

Behold, yon back-cover blurb:


Selena Nelesti wants nothing to do with her noble name.

While her mother schemes to find her a highborn husband, young Selena escapes into her studies, learning about the warriors and wizards who shaped the world.

But ancient history cannot free her future. To destroy the shackles of duty and forge her own path, she must seek out new knowledge—forbidden knowledge.

All magic requires sacrifice, however, and if Selena is not careful, it may consume her completely.

At its core, Magic’s Daughter is a coming-of-age story of a girl who feels out of place in her own family as well as the world. The tale falls within the sword-and-sorcery fantasy genre.

Who is the book about?

Selena Nelesti, the youngest daughter of a Superian duke, is our protagonist. She’s smart, stubborn, and, at times, self-centered.

We also meet Selena’s parents, her many brothers and sisters (each with his/her own quirks), and a couple of love interests as she gets older.

What does the title mean?

Selena was named after the moon, where, according to myth, the Goddess of Magic dwell. Since Selena can’t relate to her mother and siblings, she fantasizes about running away and being someone—anyone—else.

“Family” is a big theme in this book; the title tips its (conical) hat to that.

Where does Magic’s Daughter take place?

The book is set in Altaerra, the same world as in The Renegade Chronicles. But whereas that trilogy primarily took place in the island province of Capricon, Magic’s Daughter focuses on Superius, the most powerful kingdom in the Continent United.

Altaerra is a medieval realm populated by humans, elves, dwarves, and other fantastic races. It’s also home to all kinds of magic.

Is Magic’s Daughter a sequel to The Renegade Chronicles?

Although I wrote Magic’s Daughter after The Renegade Chronicles, it actually takes place a few years before the events of that series.

So it’s a prequel then?

Not precisely. Magic’s Daughter starts before the Renegade War and ends during its aftermath. A few names from The Renegade Chronicles crop up, but Magic’s Daughter is about a new cast of characters in a different (though not-too-distant) part of the world.

Who is the intended audience for Magic’s Daughter? What’s it “rated”?

Any fan of sword-and-sorcery fantasy is susceptible to Magic’s Daughter’s spell. Because the book stars a 14-year-old girl, the story fits nicely into the young adult (YA) subgenre.

If it were a movie, it would be rated PG or maybe PG-13 for some violence and sexual situations.

What was your inspiration for this book?

Selena Nelesti is one of three wizardly characters who play a pivotal role in future storylines. Rather than start with a book about how the trio meets—and jump into another saga—I wanted to try my hand at a story entrenched in family drama and focused on a single character, rather than an ensemble as in The Renegade Chronicles.

Moreover, I wanted to explore why Selena is how/who she is when she eventually connects with her future companions.

Could I write a self-contained, coming-of-age story that champions intrigue over battle? Is Selena’s childhood and introduction to magic worth telling? Am I capable of weaving disparate mysteries together to create a satisfying story?

Magic’s Daughter answers those questions with a resounding “yes!”

Where will Magic’s Daughter be available?

The book will first be released on Radish, an app that specializes in serial fiction. The first seven chapters of the book will be available on Sept. 3, 2019.

The first three chapters will be free. Readers can pay virtual coins (that equate to real-world currency) if they wish to read ahead. New chapters will go live every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday thereafter.

I’ll publish the entire novel in paperback and e-book in spring 2020.

What’s next? Will there be more books set in Altaerra?

My initial hope was that Magic’s Daughter would serve as an alternate entry point into my Altaerra fiction and serve as a “Book 1” for a new series that centers on the magic-casters. I have half of a rough draft of a potential Book 2, so it’s altogether possible that their future adventures will be released in some way, shape, or form.

In the short term, however, my next novel will be a standalone YA portal fantasy set in a very different world. (More on that in the months to come!)

Where can buy The Renegade Chronicles?

So glad you asked!

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A return to Altaerra

Dorothy was right: there’s no place like home.

A long time ago, I built a fantasy world and penned countless adventures across many of its locations and time periods.

I eventually wrote a series of sword-and-sorcery novels set in Altaerra and, much later, published them, releasing Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters on an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday in 2016.

Then I moved onto a new series, not anticipating a return to Altaerra anytime soon.

Neither did I expect that returning home to my story about a wickedly brilliant witch would feel so good.


I mentioned Magic’s Daughter briefly last month, listing it among my upcoming projects. To start at the beginning, I wrote the first draft of Magic’s Daughter immediately after finishing the final book of The Renegade Chronicles in 2005.

The goal was to write a story that could serve as a bridge between The Renegade Chronicles and a new series that focused on spell-casters, including Selena Nelesti, the titular character of Magic’s Daughter. Worst case scenario, Magic’s Daughter would be a standalone novel.

But even though I completed a first draft of the book, I never truly finished it.

I read the completed manuscript, took notes for editing, and then didn’t touch it again for years. I simply couldn’t get motivated to work on it. For one thing, it was a very different from The Renegade Chronicles (more on that later), and for another, I was eager to write what happened next.

Which I did.

In fact, I made it halfway through the sequel before stalling out. It felt like I was connecting the dots between the two series and, truth be told, I was feeling burned out. I had been reading and writing sword-and-sorcery fantasy, exclusively, for a dozen years. Nothing felt fresh anymore.

Could it be that I was—gasp!—tired of Altaerra?

Plot twist

Before I explain why I picked up Magic’s Daughter again after 14 years, let me expound on the differences between The Renegade Chronicles and this “new” book:

  • Magic’s Daughter starts well before the Renegade War and only tangentially touches upon the political strife in Continae.
  • Whereas The Renegade Chronicles features an ensemble cast with multiple point-of-view characters scattered across Capricon, Magic’s Daughter focuses on a single protagonist (Selena) in Superius.
  • Because it functions something like a biography, Magic’s Daughter favors drama and intrigue over fast-faced action. (Think of it as a slow burn rather than a barrage of flashy fireballs.)
  • While a few familiar names from The Renegade Chronicles pop up in Magic’s Daughter, Selena’s story introduces people, places, and concepts that stretch far beyond the rebellion and the wars that follow.
map of Western Arabond

Whereas The Renegade Chronicles primarily took place in Capricon (that small island south of the mainland), Magic’s Daughter is set in Superius.

For these reasons (and more), I’ve been reluctant to rework Magic’s Daughter, though I never stopped thinking about it. In fact, I reread it shortly after The Renegade Chronicles were released. Since then, I had earmarked it as a story more suitable for some other storytelling medium—such as a comic book or a serial novel, perhaps released chapter by chapter on my own website.

When I stumbled onto an article about a popular app for publishing serial fiction, I knew I had to give it a shot.

A happy ending…hopefully

Radish ( puts thousands of serialized stories at readers’ fingertips. It’s built on the premise that people like reading on their phones or tablets during their commute, while on break, or in some other small pocket of time.

Quick and easy—kind of like magic.

Authors can choose how they want to release (and monetize) their fiction on Radish. Here’s how it will work with Magic’s Daughter:

  • The first seven chapters of the book will be released on Radish in early September.
  • The first three chapters will be free. Readers can pay virtual coins (that equate to real-world money) if they want to read ahead.
  • New chapters will go live every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday thereafter.
  • Eager readers can spend coins to read the new chapters immediately, while more frugal fans can wait for them to become free a few days later.

Once the book has been published in full on Radish—and after the statute of limitations has expired—I will publish the entire novel in paperback and ebook, likely in May 2020.

Work in progress

As I write this, Magic’s Daughter is in the process of being proofed, and a few beta readers are paging through it. I hope to have the teaser as well as more information about the characters and plot ready to share in August.

Expect a cover reveal in the next couple of months, too.

In September, I’ll share the link and instructions for accessing the free preview and, if you like what you see, additional chapters.

I can’t wait to introduce the readers of this world to Selena, Superius, and the Assembly of Magic. If I owned a pair of ruby slippers—or some other means of trans-dimensional teleportation magic—why, we’d already be home!

Want to learn more about Altaerra?


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stacks and stacks of books

My latest novel, If Dreams Can Die, launched just last month, but I’m already elbow-deep in The Big Shiny New.

No, that’s not the name of a new book, but an umbrella term for the myriad projects and events currently on my plate. I’ll go into more detail in the months ahead, but for now, here’s an overview of what’s coming next from yours truly.

(Note to self: consider the title The Big Shiny New for a future work.)


Magic’s Daughter

Who: For fans of sword-and-sorcery fantasy, especially folks who enjoyed The Renegade Chronicles, with a possible skewing toward a female demographic.

What: A novel set in Altaerra before and during The Renegade War starring Selena Nelesti, a young noblewoman who proves knowledge is both power and peril.

When: Magic’s Daughter will be released as a serial (i.e. chapter by chapter) via the Radish app starting in Fall 2019 and as a paperback and e-book in 2020.


Why: Partly because I want to explore a new revenue stream and partly because the story and intended audience lends itself to the medium.

‘Sir Larpsalot’

Who: For YA readers, especially males age 13-15.

What: A humorous adventure about teen larpers (live-action roleplayers) who must work together to rescue their friend from an all-too-real fantasy realm. Think Galaxy Quest meets D&D.

When: I hope to have my outline done this fall and complete a first draft by the end of the year. Release date could be as early as 2020 but more likely 2021.

Where: the paperback and e-book will be available at

Why: Sir Larpsalot started as an idea for a comic book character, but over time, the concept evolved into a book with a full-fledged cast of characters (including Elvish Presley and Tom Foolery). I’m looking forward to writing a book my kids can read and enjoy.

New Website

Who: For present and future fans of my fiction.

What: A complete overhaul of this website, courtesy of BrownBoots Interactive (where I work as a content specialist).

When: Sometime later this year.


Why: My current site is 7 years old, which is equivalent to 97 in website years. I need more functionality than an out-of-the-box, WordPress-hosted website offers—and can’t wait to be rid of the stupid ads that pop up everywhere!


Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market

Who: Fond du Lac members of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin: Mark J. Engels, Thomas P. Ramirez, Christopher Whitmore, and I.

What: We’ll be selling and signing our books at the local farmers market.

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15.

Where: In front of the Gallery & Frame Shop, 94 S. Main St., Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Why: The Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market is very well attended. Hopefully some of the marketgoers appreciate good books.

Books Books Books Books (Books)

Who: Friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who loves books!

What: Instead of a traditional book release event, I’m combining the celebration of my new novel with a rummage sale featuring hundreds of used books, fiction and nonfiction, across a variety of genres—all for 25 cents apiece. Earnings support my future writing and publishing endeavors.

When: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22.

Where: Outside my home, 1122 Carriage Circle, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Why: Cover art, Library of Congress registrations, barcodes, ISBNs, proof copies, miscellaneous marketing efforts—these things cost money, which means I must sell more books.

I’m booked for a few more gigs farther out. The new website will have a page devoted to events, but for now, you can find details on Facebook.

Busy is good. Although I feel fully booked right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more events appeared on my agenda before year’s end.

The writing is on the wall.

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If Dreams Can Die is available now!

Promotional graphic for If Dreams Can Die

The grave could not contain her grief

Annette has devoted her life—and afterlife—to reclaiming her departed family, no matter the cost. To stop her from destroying the dreamscape, former enemies must unite and declare war on the so-called Lady of Peace.

But how do you defeat someone who is already dead?

If Dreams Can Die depicts the final confrontation between a death-defying cult and the CIA-sanctioned dream drifters sworn to defend the collective unconscious.

Where to buy:


In case you missed it:


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Q&A: If Dreams Can Die

As we creep closer to launch day, here’s an in-depth look at Book Three of The Soul Sleep Cycle:

What is If Dreams Can Die about?

Cover of If Dreams Can DieLife and death, love and hate, hope and despair, dreams and reality, identity and illusion, friendship and rivalry, faith and doubt, damnation and redemption—these are all themes found within The Soul Sleep Cycle and If Dreams Can Die especially.

But the back-cover blurb sums up the story much better:

The grave could not contain her grief.

Annette has devoted her life—and afterlife—to reclaiming her departed family, no matter the cost. To stop her from destroying the dreamscape, former enemies must unite and declare war on the so-called Lady of Peace.

But how do you defeat someone who is already dead?

If Dreams Can Die depicts the final confrontation between a death-defying cult and the CIA-sanctioned dream drifters sworn to defend the collective unconscious.

Who is If Dreams Can Die about?

The book focuses on Annette Young, a woman who lost her husband and daughter early in life and never fully recovered from the emotional trauma. She takes matters into her own hands, making compromise after compromise in the pursuit of what she perceives as a happy ending for everyone.

It’s up to the reader to decide whether Annette—as the so-called Lady of Peace—is a hero or a villain.

Characters from the first two books also carry the story at various points, including Milton, a dream-drifting pioneer recovering from a coma; William, a brilliant but dangerous fugitive; and Allison (a.k.a. Syn) a CIA-sanctioned dream drifter. If Dreams Can Die introduced a new point-of-view character as well: Brynhildr, the valkyrie commander of Project Valhalla.

Where does If Dreams Can Die take place?

That’s a tricky question since many scenes take place in shared dreams. Real-world action is split between the East and West Coasts in the U.S., while various dreams and memories will take readers all across the globe, including China, Russia, and maybe even Antarctica.

And then there’s the tumultuous space between dreams, the setting of the series’ climax.

Who will enjoy this book?

I’d love to say anyone can pick up If Dreams Can Die and enjoy it, but that’s simply not true. Although I think the story is strong enough to stand on its own, newcomers to the series would lack necessary context to understand the full extent of the plot.

Readers should definitely read If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep before diving into Book Three.

As for the series as a whole, fans of speculative fiction are the most obvious audience. The Soul Sleep Cycle contains elements of several genres, including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and suspense. The series could also be categorized as dreampunk, a subgenre that raises the question “What is real?”

However, anyone who loves rich characters and unpredictable plots can enjoy the series.

What is If Dreams Can Die “rated”?

The suggested audience is age 18 and older. While If Dreams Can Die lacks the explicit sexual content of its predecessor, Book Three nevertheless contains course language and explores mature subjects, including infidelity and suicide.

What does the title mean?

I established something of a naming convention with the first two books, If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep. I’ve always liked using “if clauses” for the series because they inject a sense of suspense.

I decided on the title If Dreams Can Die very early in the project. Dreaming and death have been prevailing themes throughout the series, and then there’s the ambiguity. Are all dreams on the chopping block or just one woman’s vision? The alliteration didn’t hurt, either.

Does Book Three pick up where Book Two left off?

Yes, it does.

Whereas the first two books were parallel novels, covering roughly the same time span from different sides of the saga, If Dreams Can Die begins immediately after the events of If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep.

How difficult was it to write Book Three?

In some ways, it was more difficult than I had anticipated. I knew, broadly speaking, where the series was headed. I knew how it had to end. But how I was going to tell this story changed throughout the planning phase and from draft to draft.

The greatest challenge was choosing the right narrators. Book One, by and large, was told by three point-of-view characters; it was Vincent’s story, as told by Leah and Vincent himself, with Milton’s scenes providing hints at the bigger picture. Book Two centered on Allison/Syn, with chapters from William’s and the Wolf’s perspectives sprinkled throughout.

I knew Annette had to tell her story in Book Three, but what other voices were needed? I struggled to find the best support narrators. In the end, I decided not to artificially restrict myself to only three p.o.v. characters.

Milton, Allison, and William return to provide their perspectives for a handful of chapters, and Brynhildr also steps into the spotlight to reveal more about the dynamics within Project Valhalla.

Is this the final book of the series?

I honestly don’t know.

I do know If Dreams Can Die spells the end of the story I set out to tell when planning Book One. But I’d love to return to the dreamscape someday. I suspect Daniel’s daughter has an interesting life ahead of her, for one thing, and the future of Project Valhalla surely contains some twists and turns.

If there is enough interest—and if there are enough sales—to justify it, I’d love to add a fourth book to The Soul Sleep Cycle.

For now, however, I’m excited to pursue something new. I’ve been working on this wonderfully weird series, on and off, for 12½ years, so there’s a backlog of stories I’m eager to tell.

Where did you find inspiration for this book?

First and foremost, I wanted to provide a satisfying resolution for the series. I’m not one to tie up storylines with tidy, little bows. Yet the first two books posed a lot of questions, and I felt it necessary to answer the most important ones before the end of Book Three.

If Dreams Can Die is largely Annette’s story, a tale that started decades ago when she lost her family. What makes Annette remarkable isn’t her ability to dream drift, but her single-minded determination to defy the natural order of things to accomplish her goal—no matter the sacrifice.

It’s a stark contrast to the Vincent’s actions at the end of If Souls Can Sleep

And while I didn’t set out to write a book about grief and hopelessness and the value of life, I have seen the impact of depression firsthand. Even though I write books with fantastic elements, I believe it’s important to ground my stories in reality, which means writing believable characters grappling with relatable problems.

What is your next project?

As mentioned earlier, I have no shortage of ideas.

Staring a new series sounds like too much of a commitment right now. Maybe I’ll try my hand at a stand-alone novel, something for a slightly younger audience so that my kids don’t have to wait so long to read it.

I’m also flirting with the idea of releasing a new novel set in Altaerra—the same setting as The Renegade Chronicles—as a serial on the Radish app. I’d love to transform The Soul Sleep Cycle novels into audiobooks to reach a wider audience.

All I can say for certain is that I’m far from finished with this crazy thing called being an author.

When will If Dreams Can Die be available to purchase?

If Dreams Can Die will be available in paperback and for Kindle at on May 21.



Only one more week to go! Plenty of time to catch up on anything you might have missed:

Psst…could you do me a favor? If you’ve read If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep, please leave a quick review at Amazon and Goodreads!


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