(Fantasy novel)

He is the Nocturne, and this is his story.

In a world where children are marked for life by the hour of their birth, one man breaks the rules. In Velin, those born in the dark, moonless night are perceived as treacherous thieves, while their brethren of the day are lifted up, glorified. But Shade entered the world in a brief window of darkness within the day, a phenomenon seen once a generation.

He is neither, yet he is both. Now, he must use the combination of day and night to solve the riddle of his past, but also to save the future of a people. Hunted by church and crown alike, the road he walks is long and lonely, yet he knows there is no one else. Only Shade. Only the Nocturne.

One of those searching for him is Kellis Matene, an inspector in training. Her superiors gave her the case of a man born in the night, calling on his fellows, urging action. A rebel, a traitor. As a king dies, a pretender emerges, and Kellis must solve a mystery. All she has to go on is a single name: the Nocturne.

Before I Wake

(Science Fiction novel)

Dreams, the original virtual reality.

CN Research offers the ultimate in control: a shared, persistent world shaped by its inhabitants while they sleep and dream. Through a head-mounted device and a network connection, their users gain access to this world officially called the Collective Unconscious, informally known simply as the Realm. All that remains before it can be released to the world is testing. For that, CN Research needs volunteers.

Down on his luck, needing the money, Jay Bailes takes the offer. He exchanges the privacy of his mind for the power of lucidity and the freedom of the Realm. But the peace of the virtual paradise is soon shattered. No network is fully secure from intrusion, and the Collective Unconscious is no exception. Someone has compromised the connection between brain and Realm. Someone is turning dreams into nightmares.

Either Side of Night

Part 1 of the Linear Cycle

(Dark fantasy short story)

Lines of magic run throughout the Valtian Empire. Some are natural, but many more are artificial, made by the hands of man, and it is these that have produced the great advancements of the modern empire. In the capital city of Midra, even a child can feel the magical energy coursing through the conduits beneath every street and into every house. To live in the empire is to live with magic all around you, to learn to wield its power from a young age.

But researchers in the southern town of Corvala have made a startling discovery. A new plague has arisen, a plague of magic. The very lines themselves have sickened, and all who draw power from them take find that power tainted. Those who are touched by this supernatural poison are consumed by it, becoming monsters, shambling abominations whose only desire is chaos. Lines created the Valtian Empire. Now, they may destroy it.

The Last Captain

Part 2 of the Linear Cycle

(Dark fantasy short story)

Midra, jewel of the Valtian Empire, lies in ruins. The Touched, human bodies controlled and animated by magic, are gone. What they have left behind is a city devastated, a people diminished and shaken. Yet they are not broken.

Kalle Varens, captain of the Valtian army, led the heroic defense of Midra’s survivors. Now, as the smoke clears, he has a new mission. For the Valtian Empire’s grandest city is without its high king, and rebuilding requires leadership. The road is dangerous. The Touched are still out there, and they are on the move. The empire’s fate lies in this race against time, a race led by the last captain.

Forged in the Fires

Part 3 of the Linear Cycle

(Dark fantasy short story)

As Midra, the capital of the Valtian Empire, burns under the arcane assault of the Touched, homes are destroyed, families are separated, and wills are tested.

Hella thought her husband would come for her. On the day the Touched came, he sent her away, entrusting her with the care of Arca, their young daughter. It was supposed to be a short stay at their cabin by the lake, but then the fires came to the forest around her. Now, Hella must run again, but how far is far enough? Can a shattered family survive in this new world? Will the bonds of love holding her together break under the strain, or will they be forged anew?

Beneath the Surface

Part 4 of the Linear Cycle

(Dark fantasy short story)

Porter, wizard of the Valtian Empire, watched that empire’s capital burn. With most of the city’s educated arcanists, he retreated to the hills, to the fastness of Mistel. There lies a sanctuary, a safe place beyond the reach of the Touched, and he must protect it. For Mistel is also his home.

The plague is reaching to every corner of the empire, but here is one corner which must be preserved. Behind Mistel, atop a ridge overlooking the valley, the last college of Valtian wizards seeks answers. Porter must buy them the time they need to find something, anything, to remove the taint from the lines.

The North Wind Blows

Part 5 of the Linear Cycle

(Dark fantasy short story)

Winter has come at last to the fallen Valtian Empire, a season to match its mood. The Touched are gone, the tainted souls having driven away the last vestiges of magical energy in the empire’s network of lines even as they scattered the land’s people like autumn leaves.

To the empire’s north lies the kingdom of Norbrad, a cold land ruled by a cold king. There, Leliya, a Valtian princess caught in a loveless royal marriage, watches from afar as her countrymen choose to brave both weather and scorn to build a new life in her adopted realm.

But the long, dark nights are only beginning. Sensing weakness in the Valtian heartland, neighboring Esteca is on the march. First, they came as raiders and spies. Now, they come as an army, and Leliya must convince her husband’s people to come to the aid of her own. Because without its magic, the Valtian Empire cannot stand on its own.

Out of the Past

Chronicles of the Otherworld, Episode I

(Science fiction/alternate reality novella)

It was supposed to be something simple. As any student knows, though, it never is.

What started as a training exercise to prepare sixteen college students for work in the field becomes something else entirely when one of them stumbles across a find deep in the Mexican wilderness. Studying it, the members of the expedition come to the conclusion that it is indeed something made by the hands of man, and it is much greater than it first seems. Much greater, and much older.

Its very existence may rewrite the history of the Americas, but the mystery of its creation pales in comparison to that of its purpose. Perfectly aligned to the sun, to the calendar, it promises to provide a spectacle on one specific day: the summer solstice. And that day is coming soon.

The City and the Hill

Chronicles of the Otherworld, Episode II

(Science fiction/alternate reality novella)

This was not part of the plan.

Eleven young men and women woke yesterday morning to darkness and unfamiliar surroundings. Now, they have come to the conclusion that those surroundings are far more unfamiliar than they first imagined. They aren’t in Mexico anymore. No, they are in a different land, a different world. Now must come the questions. Can they go home? When? And what will they do until then?

The natives are not alien. Indeed, they seem almost too human, and that is yet another mystery. In their time in this strange new world, then, the expedition must seek an answer to this, as well as so many other burning questions. They were meant to study ruins, and the hill of their arrival has those, but what lies beyond?

A Matter Settled

Chronicles of the Otherworld, Episode III

(Science fiction/alternate reality novella)

Surviving is one thing. Living is quite another.

The eleven members of the expedition have survived their first test in their new world. Now, they must endure. They must explore. That human desire beckons them all, each in his or her own way.

But this strange place, this other world, is not without its pitfalls. Stripped of their modern conveniences, how will these young students cope with the rigors of life itself? How can they integrate with a people so different, so…alien? For one of them, the answer is much more difficult, but all must learn to live in this land they call home.

Written in Black and White

Chronicles of the Otherworld, Episode IV

(Science fiction/alternate reality novella)

Some things are universal. Some of humanity’s best—and worst—traits can be found anywhere in the world…or even beyond.

Friendship, love, charity, unity. The people of the other world are human, as far as anyone can tell, and they have all of them. Yet they also have their darker moments. When a traveling caravan arrives, the members of the expedition get the chance to see that darkness up close, in more than one way.

The dusky slavers leave turmoil in their wake, nowhere more than among the Earthlings watching them from afar. Tensions rising, storms brewing, eleven students must confront their own prejudices, as well as those of the land around them. How far are they willing to go for what they believe?