by | Nov 18, 2016

I have been incredibly busy with Accentus-Ludus the last three years, which has taken me away from writing fiction.  I will be back to it soon.  Two books:  the first is the complete compilation of all the Wylde books, in a LENGTHY mss (over a quarter million words) which combines a complete revision of the first two books and then the final book in the trilogy.  It’s a monster tome titled WYLDE.  Long overdue, I know.

The second book is THE ACHY MAN, the next installment in my urban fantasy experiment that began with THE SWORD OF MICHAEL.  I had a great discussion with a friend of mine, a retired Federal investigator with an extensive history of dangerous undercover assignments overseas and Stateside, and he helped me structure some of THE ACHY MAN.  He’s working on a RICO case and while he couldn’t give me specifics about his case, he did share some great stories and helpful insights on mine — my story, I mean.

Structuring THE ACHY MAN along the lines of a RICO indictment is actually a fascinating exercise in narrative structure.  Ten year time span, like from 2006-2016, multiple action/turning points from predicate crimes, and the constant turning this way and that…great fun.  To be released concurrent with WYLDE, hopefully around January 20, 2017.  We’ll see.

Below is a repost of the strange dreams that started THE ACHY MAN; I also enclosed a lengthy snippet from the opening chapters.

Enjoy, and maybe I’ll meet this deadline!  Fingers crossed!

In between marathon revision on my own almost-due manuscript, I’ve dipped into the DARK TOWER series by Stephen King. I’m astonished that I missed this when it came out and I’m making up for lost time now. King recounts in the foreword to THE GUNSLINGER how he woke from a dream with a disturbing refrain that later became Roland’s beachside encounter with the Lobster Things.

I’ve had a similar series of dreams.

My dearly appreciated fans often tell me how they LOVE my bad guys: Jonny Maxwell, Alfie, Johnny Wylde and his crew, the Faceless Man His Own Self, Mr. Smith aka Hank…there’s an interview on my friend Lance Storm’s (the WWE great) website about evil, villains and story-telling that I wrote for his Book Club’s about WARRIOR IN THE SHADOWS.

My recent dreams are about an evil character I call the Achy Man: bent and twisted with chronic pain and hatred, the patriarch of a clan that makes GAME OF THRONES look like THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Like Stephen King’s strange refrain that birthed THE DARK TOWER, mine started with a non-sensical riff on that old nursery rhyme: Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children’s alone…

But instead I got these, a long series that I woke up and wrote down:

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your life is on fire, your children’s alone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your sons are all cowards, throw ‘em a bone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your friends are all laughing, that’s why you’re alone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
The Country Club dissed you, you’re a no-fly zone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your PI done lied to you and left you alone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your car needs polishing, are you getting stoned?

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Fox News gots your picture and your friends’s picture too —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
There’s a Federal indictment in your time zone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
I’ll be there next week — maybe I’ll leave you alone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
I’ll be there next week, all old and alone,

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Maybe I can help you? For a significant loan —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Threaten a child and I’ll burn down your home —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
There’s some Street Crimes killing in your patrol zone —

Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your hookers done left you and they laugh at your bone —

Seem crazy? There’s a story here, I think…like THE DARK TOWER it may connect to my previous stories and to those in the pipeline.

I thought I’d share that with you, since I rarely write about the creative writing process, being one of those writers that would rather write than write about writing. But going back and forth between projects has given me a particular perspective right now.

Among those projects: nearing the end of the revision to THE SWORD OF MICHAEL (working title, may be changed) my first urban fantasy for Baen; once that’s done, sometime next week I’m thinking, then it’s on to finish THREE’S WYLDE. I’m also working on some short fiction, some of which I’ll post here and some of which will appear in some magazines.

Thanks for staying tuned — more later!

PS: You know what’s great about the Achy Man rhymes? They make PERFECT tweets…

cheers, m



They had been beating him for a long time.

One of them, who’d been a deputy for not quite as long as the other, wondered how long the prisoner would last. His partner, a big porcine man, had been working on the man’s face, which no longer looked like a face – it looked like old meat turning blue in the sun.

But there wasn’t any sun.

Just a quarter moon in the night sky, the only sounds beside the dull wet thump of flesh breaking under fists and boots the whisper of the wind in the corn stalks, and every once in awhile the distant hiss of a car passing by.

“How long before he dies?” the younger deputy said.

The older man looked over at him. Silent. Blood spray on his face. Considered the question. “Not long.”

He stepped away, then kicked the man curled in a ball at his feet.

“I want you to kick him,” the older deputy said.

“I’m not…”

The look on the older man’s face set the younger to almost shitting his pants.

“I’m not asking you. Kick him.”

The younger man poked at the prisoner with his boot.

A slap across his face stunned him, the solid thwock of the meaty palm across his narrow face echoing in the corn field.

“Don’t play with me,” the older deputy said. “Kick him. In the face.”

So he did.

After, when the last breath wheezed between the broken stubs of the dead man’s teeth, the younger deputy leaned over and vomited his fried chicken dinner. The older one threw him a shovel.

“I did the work,” the older deputy said. “You dig the hole. Dig it deep. And roll him in it.” He laughed. “That’s how we roll in Mason County.”

Chapter One

Lieutenant Dick Gant steered his Mason County Sheriff Department squad car around the parking lot in a big circle. The other deputies were careful to ignore him, avoid eye contact. Gant wasn’t a big man, but he had a hateful, bitter twist to his face, and besides the stink of tobacco that surrounded him there was always a sense of, well, jangling was what one deputy described it. Loose cannon didn’t catch all of it.

Just plain mean, was what one dog handler said.

“If he was a dog, I’d put him down,” the handler said. “No training that bitch.”

` The other deputies laughed long and loud, as they always did, as long as the lieutenant wasn’t around. The loot had a long memory, and if you got on his bad side, you never got off, and he had a gift for making life hell for people. He nursed a particular grudge for anybody who did their job well, and an open contempt for the deputies who might actually take their job and the shield they wore seriously.

Made you wonder what his idea of the job was about, but then, in Decanter, you didn’t ask those kind of questions. Not if you were a deputy and you wanted to get out of the jail and out on the road, not get caught in the hell of the corrections unit or, worse, court services.

And then there was always the question of the payroll.

Not the paycheck, meager as it was, they collected every other week.

The payroll.

The Loot had a lot to do with that.

But then, he’d been around for a long time.


Wilhelm (known as Will or Willy at his insistence) Eichmann threw his golf clubs in the truck of his Crown Vic, slammed the hood down and slid into the front seat. From a distance, the brown Crown Vic looked like a police cruiser; it was the same basic model as the State Police used, with a mounted light on the driver’s side, and a set of antennas on the rear bumper.

Pretty fancy ride for a bank guard, or so some of the cops he liked to hang around with said. He pretended not to hear, forced a laugh, and bought more rounds than he should, but that was the price he thought he had to pay to hang out with the real cops. Once, a long time ago, he’d thought about going for it, taking the exam, going through the academy…either the police department or the sheriff’s department, but the prospect of having to ride in a car alone, even with a gun, at night in Decanter, was something he never wanted to face up to.

So he settled for the next best thing, which was an okay paying job as a guard which led to pretty rapid advancement, and after twenty years he had his look alike cruiser, a lieutenant’s rank in the bank’s regional investigation team, and a whole team of his troops, as he liked to call them, to order around.

And he had his cruiser.

He backed out of the parking lot, shooting a hard look at a couple of old-timers who brushed by his car — washed everyday, stroked lovingly by hand himself, in the driveway of his house — almost marring the near mirror finish he liked to keep on the car. He rolled down the power window, and propped his elbow in the open window, just like a real cop, or so he thought.

He drove down Woodrow to Washington and made a left, tooling down past Sacred Heart Church, then onto the main drag that took him into the little downtown of Decanter. He parked his car across the street from the courthouse, checked the time on his cheap Rolex knock off, and went into the lobby, and paused beside the security checkpoint.

“Hey Will,” said Deputy Jeff Parrott. He was short, lean built in the same way a pit bull is, all muscle and bone, blond and with a certain coldness that led most anyone with any sense to avoid him. Hard to do when you’re a prisoner in custody, but then in Decanter, what happened in the jail stayed in the jail. Or so that was what word on the street was.

Willy Eichmann puffed up, looked around as he did, always checking to see if anyone was looking at him – especially someone of importance, somebody higher up the food chain than him, and even in a town this small, there were quite a few, in the Sheriff’s Department, the County Attorney’s office, the County Board, the bank management…the list went on.

But in his little world he liked to think he was the top dog. He wasn’t shy about reminding those that worked for him, including the deputies who moonlighted (against county regulations) as armed couriers on his armored truck runs, and they tolerated him because he paid well and on time, and in Decanter that went a long way.

“Jeff,” Eichmann said. “How’s it going? How’re the troops today?”

Jeff let the hint of a sneer cross his face and looked away. “Troops?” he said. “Yeah, us troops are just fine.”

The other deputy, a heavy-boned man with the long jowls of a hound dog, head closely shaven, crossed his arm and grinned at Eichmann.

“Hey Will,” said the deputy, whose name was Fergus. “Saw your kid the other night. Over by the high school.”

“That’s where he works,” Will said.

“I thought they was a law against school employees hitting on students,” Fergus said. “In this state I believe that’s a sex offense.”

Will grinned, quick and false, looked around. “That’s funny.”

Fergus grinned. “Yep. Real funny. Kinda weird, but what do I know?”

“Kids,” Will said. “Your kids, somebody else’s…pain in the ass. I don’t know why people bother anymore.”

“Funny thing for a father to say,” Jeff said.

Will shrugged and looked into the distance. “Some kids are more of a pain than others.”


Will Eichmann’s kid was cruising around in his red Ford Explorer, his elbow resting propped in the open window, his hand curled around a Styrofoam cup of coffee — just like a real cop. His buddy Danno was sitting in the passenger seat, flipping through a magazine of Eastern European porn, “the fancy stuff” as he liked to say.

“The fuck?” Bryant Eichmann said.

“What?” Danno (known as Good Twin) said, distracted by the high resolution close ups of shaved pussy and dick, something he thought of often in his role as catamite…

To Be Continued…