Greg Mitchell's Blog, page 3

September 30, 2013


Morning, folks.
This has been a day long in coming. I am very happy to announce that my next book--this time a non-fiction reference book-- Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology is available to purchase! Co-written by Rich Handley and published by Hasslein Books (the fine folks who brought you Timeline of the Planet of the Apes, Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes, and A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon--all available here) the book painstakingly chronicles every Back to the Future source. From the movies, to the cartoon, to the comics, to the video games, to random commercials--it's all in there, and cataloged into a cohesive timeline so you can make sense of all the paradoxes and temporal intersections. 
Back in Time is many years in the making as I started writing this BEFORE The Strange Man was even released back in early 2011, so wow! I'm extremely proud of the final product and I think you will be too. It is essential to any fan of Back to the Future, and a perfect gift for the holidays.
Through October, it's available exclusively at, the Official Home of Back to the Future on the internet. Starting in November, you can also find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Buy your copy today!
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Published on September 30, 2013 05:15 • 22 views

September 13, 2013

For those of you who were fans of the Avenir Eclectia stories involving my bug hunter Dressler, you're in luck. He's back!

Today on Avenir Eclectia, the first installment in a new journey for Dressler begins with my micro-story "Daddy/Daughter Date". This new story picks up some time after the conclusion of Dressler's last harrowing encounter--that one involving an undersea "angel"--and finds Dressler teaching his daughter Edilyn the bug hunting trade.

This story came about quite by pleasant accident. Friends and fellow AE authors Ed Erdelac and Jeff Carter approached me a while back about having Dressler appear in their individual arcs and asked if that was okay with me. I was thrilled and honored by the suggestion and was excited to kick back and read what they came up with.

Reading their stories, though, stoked a little fire in me and I thought it was time to leave my AE retirement to fill in the blanks of their respective tales, revealing what Dressler has been up to since we last saw him and set up how he gets into Ed and Jeff's stories.

"Daddy/Daughter Date" is the first of a new ride for my favorite bug hunter, so be sure to check it out.

For those who maybe don't know, Avenir Eclectia is a shared universe project where many sci-fi/fantasy/horror authors come together to create micro-fiction to run on the series' website. Eventually those stories are collected in a print version. The first such printed volume is already available and includes my entire first Dressler arc. Buy it today in print or ebook!

Also, click here and here to read a couple old retrospectives I wrote, detailing the inspiration behind Dressler's creation!

Be sure to stop over and read "Daddy/Daughter Date" today and keep your eyes peeled for Ed and Jeff's contribution to a Bug Hunter's tale! And Avenir is always looking for more writers to expand its mythology. So if you're a writer interested in playing in a huge sandbox, check it out and make your submission!
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Published on September 13, 2013 05:02 • 29 views

September 5, 2013

In case you missed it, yesterday was a big day for me. I saw the publication of my very first article for the Official Star Wars Blog. It's entitled "The Not-So Magnificent Seven" and shines the spotlight on seven of the Star Wars' galaxy's less successful bounty hunters (like Greedo over there to the left). Featured in the article is my very own creation--the Dusty Duck and her crew, including hapless hunter Rango Tel (you can read the story behind that here).

For this article, I dug deep in the well of obscurity, discovering gems from the old Marvel Star Wars comics published in the late 70s-early 80s, as well as the anthology Tales of the Bounty Hunters. It was an incredible experience dusting off these old characters that have been forgotten by most and giving them a spit-polish and a chance to shine for a little while longer.

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Published on September 05, 2013 04:00 • 46 views

July 18, 2013

Today over on my pal Bob Freeman's blog, he announced an upcoming project that I'll be involved in. Here's what he had to say:

"Yes, Weirder Tales is coming. In August.
What can you expect? A weekly comic page, free of charge, for starters. Sometimes more, depending on my mood and whatever else I’m juggling at that particular moment.
Who’s involved? Well, there’s me, of course. Writing. Drawing. Editing. And whatnot. We can’t forget whatnot. But also, I’ve already received two scripts (yes, honest to goodness comic scripts) from Grimacing Greg Mitchell, several St. Cyprian stories from Jovial Josh Reynolds, a couple of tales from the keyboard of Wily Willie Meikle, and the promise of fiction from the Tyrannical Tracy DeVore and Marauding Maurice Broaddus. And that’s just for starters (and I didn’t even mention Oddfellows Serenade from myself and Creepy Chris Wilson).
Why? Because we like you. M-O-U-S-E, baby."

Stay tuned for more exciting updates as this project comes together! 
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Published on July 18, 2013 11:20 • 31 views

June 28, 2013


I remember back in the day reading Wizard Magazine and always excited to see a feature called "Casting Call" whereby the staff at Wizard had a little fun and cast who they thought would fit best with hypothetical comic book movies.

Well, I thought I would give the same treatment to The Coming Evil Trilogy. Seeing as how this series began as a script (and one day I'd like to see it return to that format, if God so wills), I've always thought of this trilogy in movie terms. So, for fun, we're gonna sit down and cast The Coming Evil Trilogy. Some of these actors I had in mind while writing from Day One, while others I came up with just for this feature. Some of these actors have aged considerably, and some of them--sadly--are no longer with us. Therefore, this is a total dream cast, and I think that each of these actors embody the essence of the characters.

Here's the cast, broken down by each book. KEEP IN MIND, THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS BELOW!


Dras Weldon: From the jump, I always envisioned Ethan Embry (circa Can't Hardly Wait) as Dras Weldon. I mean, come on, look at that guy! He's got this open face and this squirrely smirk. He seems to be the absolute last person you would choose to fend off the armies of hell--which is why he's exactly perfect for Dras.
Rosalyn Myers: While Eliza Dushku's turn as Faith Lehane in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a major inspiration for the character of Rosalyn, I went through a major Jennifer Love Hewitt phase when I first started writing The Strange Man back in the late '90s. I think she's gorgeous; her eyes are so expressive and I think she has a great sincerity and vulnerability in her performances. In the books, Rosalyn goes from girl-next-door, to tormented victim, to lost soul. I think JLH could handle all of that and make us feel for her character's dark journey every step of the way.

Jeff Weldon: My wife and I agree that a young Tim Daly would make a perfect Jeff Weldon, while my brother leans towards The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder (who might also make a pretty good Strange Man, no?). However you cut it, we need an apple pie, upstanding good man and I think Supernatural's Jensen Ackles is a perfect fit. I think the early seasons of Supernatural show that Jensen is a powerhouse of an actor. He can be cute, threatening, burdened, desperate to please his father, and kind. He's got the full range (and I hear the girls think he's hot). Well, okay, I'll admit--he is a pretty good-looking man.

Isabella Weldon: When Jennifer Lopez is not all done up in her glamorous dresses, I think she displays a real down-to-earth beauty. She exudes strength, but also warmth and humor--everything a woman needs to play Isabella.

The Strange Man: This is a hard one, and I've changed my views on who should play the titular villain. But, these days, I'm gonna throw it to Tom Huddleston. Have you seen his creepy Loki grin? I think this actor could capture the suave appeal of the demon in his human form, as well as cutting loose and being wide-eyed evil and sadistic.

Lindsey McCormick: For the Strange Man's first victim, I would select none other than Vampire Diaries sweetheart Candice Accola. She's the right mixture of bubbly innocence and beauty--and we'd all instantly hate the Strange Man for taking her out of this world.


Sheriff Hank Berkley: For my money, the late great Lane Smith will always be Hank Berkley to me, hands down. He played the father in Son-in-Law (yeah, Pauly Shore!), and Perry White in Lois & Clark on ABC. I see this man and some of the characters he's played and I just want to give him a big ole hug. And that's exactly what kind of reaction I get from Hank. Hank is fatherly, a bit dopey at times, but all Southern heart. Mr. Smith would have knocked that performance out of the park.
Danny Carpenter: As stated in a previous commentary, I've always envisioned Norman Reedus as everyone's favorite rebellious punk with a heart of gold.

Millie Walker: Precocious Mara Wilson from Mrs. Doubtfire would have been perfect for the soft spoken, though courageous, toddler who dared to shove a defiant finger in the face of hell.
Annie Myers: Michelle Trachtenberg was the cute, though annoying kid sister in Buffy, and I believe she would have served the same purpose as Rosalyn's cute, though annoying kid sister :p

Leonard Fergus: Again, as already noted in one of my commentaries for Enemies, I want Bill Cobbs to play Leonard. That voice, that gait! Accept no substitute.
Christopher Perdu: Well, it has to be a young Robert Redford, right? I mean, I said as much in the book!
Deputy Ryan Stevenson: We need a hulking guy with a sinister glint in his eyes. Browncoats rejoice as I believe Firefly's Adam Baldwin would be a perfect and intimidating Deputy (and later Sheriff) Stevenson.
Will Baxter: Okay, so I chose Hayden Christensen. Attack of the Clones notwithstanding, there's something about this actor that I want to like. I believe (a younger version of him) could play the shy, untried assistant pastor--but with a darkness brewing in his eyes.

Ray McCormick: "Doom! Doom!" Marvelous character actor Jeffrey Combs has all the Lovecraftian nuance to play Lindsey's grieving father who falls victim to terrible visions of the Doom That Has Come to Greensboro.

Earl Canton: I struggled with this one, but I think I've settled on Clancy Brown in the role of Earl, playing the embittered father who distrusts his local government and wants answers for all the "mysterious events" going on in Greensboro. I've loved Clancy Brown in everything I've ever seen him in, so I'm confident he would bring an intensity, and also a great sadness, to the role of Earl.

Jack Weldon: For the role of Dras and Jeff's father, I needed a man who could just look at you and either build you up or cut you down. The late Jason Robards is just that good.

Reid: When Christopher calls in for some angelic backup, he gets this long-haired hippy in a "God Is Nifty" T-Shirt. Dean Haglund as Langley in The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen was, quite obviously, the inspiration for Reid and I can't imagine another actor playing him.

Carter Ross: I pretty much just ripped off Carter's look from the character of C.J. in the remake of Dawn of the Dead anyway, so let's just cast the same actor, Michael Kelly, yeah?
Sarah Browning: This was a tough cast, but I really like Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I think she's a solid actress and would make a great "cute nerd" who makes eyes at Danny. She's smart, quirky, and confident: good qualities for the Haven's resident computer tech.

TJ Walker: Shawn Hatosy's turn as a discontent jock in '90s creature feature The Faculty puts him in the prime position for the role of misguided monster in our movie.

Rebecca Walker: Penelope Ann Miller was a name that sprung to mind while creating this list. She's got a tenderness, honesty, and fierce motherly instinct that could serve her well in the Dark Hour.

Franklin Whitaker: It's a Supernatural reunion! Papa Winchester himself, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was always Franklin in my book. He's gruff, got the look of a hard worker, and has an easy-to-love smile.


Bonus round! I would be remiss not to include my dream casting for the Arbigast Group as featured in this e-novella that takes place between Enemies of the Cross and Dark Hour.

Jon Arbigast: I've already admitted in an earlier commentary that the character of Arbigast was directly inspired by my wide-eyed admiration of James Woods in John Carpenter's Vampires. Man, I love that guy.

Rashonda Spencer: I've never considered anyone else for the role of Arbigast's right hand woman than powerful lioness Angela Bassett.

Zabuto LeBeau: Idris Elba is everywhere these days, and there's a reason for that: He's just so blasted cool. He carries himself with humble confidence and power--perfect for Zabuto.

Nathan Callahan: Once again, the only person, in my mind, who could play the crude and brutish monster hunter is character actor Mark Boone Junior (and, hey, he's in Vampires too!).

Rachel King: Smoking hot Rachel Nichols would be a great fit as the rookie who has to prove her muster to the likes of Jon Arbigast.
So, there we go! The trilogy is cast! Do you agree or disagree with my casting? Who would you cast? Feel free to chime in and join in the fun!
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Published on June 28, 2013 04:00 • 65 views

June 6, 2013

I haven't made much mention of it around here, as I wanted to be further along in the process before I blew the whistle too loudly, but for the last three years (sheesh!), I've been working on writing a completely unofficial chronology for Back to the Future with the fine folks at Hasslein Books. I am very happy (and relieved) to announce that the book is finished--at least as far as my contribution goes. Now we're in the final editing phase as well as formatting and some amazing interior illustrations by the uber-talented Pat Carbajal.

Follow this link to read a brief Q&A with me about the book and look for Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology, co-written with Rich Handley, this fall!
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Published on June 06, 2013 04:00 • 37 views

May 13, 2013

Once again, Paeter Frandsen at Spirit Blade Underground has been gracious enough to let me ramble for a few minutes about a new book--in this case: Dark Hour, the final book in The Coming Evil Trilogy.

Head over there now to listen to the podcast where I talk about the process of switching publishers mid-series as well as the success (or failure) of the Christian Horror genre in mainstream Christian publishing. Go!

In related news, I didn't realize how often I said "y'know" Note to self: STOP IT. :p
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Published on May 13, 2013 13:39 • 39 views

April 27, 2013

Hey, everybody. Fellow horror writer Mark Carver (who recently stopped by this very blog for an interview of his own) has graciously invited me to his blog to chat about my inspirations, my fascination with the horror genre, and the perils of trying to sell a story about flesh-eating monsters to the traditional Christian market.

Here's a sample, and be sure to head over there to read the rest!

"Horror, however, is all about tearing away safety and this sort of illusion that we are in control of everything. It reveals the unspeakable monsters that lurk just outside of our peripheral and, in my mind, causes us to run screaming to God for protection. Horror, to me, forces me to consider something larger than myself and seek answers in God."
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Published on April 27, 2013 14:11 • 38 views

April 19, 2013

Today we're doing things a little different 'round here. 2013 was a big year for me, seeing the completion of The Coming Evil Trilogy--but 2013 also marks the end of the critically acclaimed and brilliant Merkabah Rider series written by my pal Ed Erdelac. In honor of this momentious occasion, I've asked Ed to stop by the blog and share his journey, taking us from the Rider's inception, to the final chapter in his tale. It's a great read and should prompt you to immediately run out and buy all four books!

Take it away, Ed!

This month saw the release of Merkabah Rider 4: Once Upon A Time In The Weird West, the last installment of my Judeocentric weird western series.
For those unfamiliar with it, it’s about a Hasidic gunslinger tracking the renegade teacher who betrayed his mystic Jewish order of astral travelers to the Great Old Ones of the Lovecraftian Mythos. Along the way, the Rider (so-called because members of his order, The Sons of The Essenes, assume a title to obfuscate their true names from malevolent spirits) encounters half-demon outlaws, a mystic cannon, a brothel full of antediluvian succubi, shoggoths, invisible monsters, Doc Holiday, zombies, an undead gunfighter constructed from the body parts of famous outlaws, and a pissed off animated windmill among other dangers.
Beyond the weirdness and adventure, it’s also a story about the testing of a man’s faith in the face of overwhelming cosmic horror and indifference, and, at its core, I like to think, the beneficial nature of tolerance.
 The stories of the Rider started for me in high school. I had just read Robert E. Howard’s stories The Thunder Rider, Old Garfield’s Heart, and The Horror From The Mound, and I was thinking about writing weird westerns. I tried my hand at a few, two of which show up greatly expanded upon in Tales Of A High Planes Drifter (namely The Dust Devils and Hell’s Hired Gun). In their original incarnation, the hero of those stories was an ex-soldier, an objector to the heinous Sand Creek Massacre who was shot and left for dead by his comrades, and rescued by a Cheyenne medicine man who sewed a mystical hide shirt to his skin that allowed him to shrug off bullets.  I wrote a couple more of these featuring that character “The Ghost Dancer,” but I lost interest after a bit as The Dancer’s mission was solely vengeance bent, and not really very engaging. I wasn’t ready yet to create a compelling central character.
I think my seeing the TV series Kung Fu when it was rerun on TNT in freshman or sophomore year of college planted the seed in my mind for a fish out of water individual traveling through the west, but it wasn’t till nearly ten years later, when I had moved to an orthodox Jewish neighborhood and my wife picked up an angelology book (Angels A To Z) that the Rider finally reared full blown into my mind.
I came across this entry –
Merkabah Rider – An ancient Jewish mystic who fasted and prayed to reach an ecstatic trance. While in this trance state, he sent his soul upward through the heavenly halls in an attempt to reach the Throne of Glory that is supported by the chariot of Merkavah (the fiery vehicle seen by Elijah). The objective of the Merkabah Rider was to join himself with the Universal Soul. During this journey, the Rider was constantly plagued  by demons. The Merkabah Rider used prayer, magical talismans, incantations, and asceticism to enlist the aid of angels, who would protect him throughout his journey and ultimately defeat his antagonists.            I also found an illustration by Gustave Dore for John Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Empyrean, which depicted the Heavenly Host turning as a great wheel or flock around the brilliant presence of God in the middle. It’s at once beautiful and harrowing.

Immediately my brain conjured this image of a Hasidic Jew in long black coat and hat, riding a horse made of flame.

I started tackling Jewish folklore and mysticism, reading everything I could. Little details began to fit into place. The Rider’s mystically embossed blue glass spectacles, etched with Solomonic seals that allowed him to look into the spirit world at its unseen denizens. His adorned Volcanic pistol (a favorite design of firearm for me – the protagonist of my straight, no ghoulies western novel Buff Tea carries one), the mystic symbols allowing him to carry it into the astral plane. Much of his asceticism I took from Jewish kashrut or kosherteaching, but some I culled from Kung Fu’s shaolin monks (the Rider’s refusal to ride a horse, for instance).
Only a year earlier I had discovered H.P. Lovecraft, and was thinking a lot about the deities of his indifferent universe. I needed a foe for the Rider to face, but the Jewish view of the Devil is quite different from Christianity’s. Satan is not directly opposed to God. He works for God, testing the souls of man and maintaining Sheol/hell as a crucible for the human spirit. He’s not the blasphemous entity popularized in horror films and books.
So I got to thinking, that in an ordered universe, the ultimate nemesis would be chaos. And in researching Jewish mystic thought, I came across another passage (in the fantastic reference The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth Magic and Mysticism) –
Rahav – A cosmic sea monster first mentioned in the biblical book of Isaiah….God slew him when he refused to help in creating the earth. The oceans conceal the lethal stink of his carcass, which is why the sea smells so strange.
Sounds like Cthulhu, right?
So then reading more, I found references to a forbidden area of mystic study, that which precedes Creation – the Olam ha-Tohu, The World of Chaos.
I had found my heavy for the Merkabah Rider series, and the more I researched and read, the easier things began to fit in with each other. That’s when I know I’m on to something – when I don’t have to force anything. When references just start making themselves known to me.
For a direct physical villain, again, the character just made himself known to me. I was watching a lot of Doctor Who and enjoyed the character of The Master – a diametrically opposed Time Lord and foil for The Doctor. I decided a failed Merkabah Rider who worships chaos might be interesting, so I came up with Adon (whose name means “Master” or “Lord”). When the time came to present a story for Adon, I happened to read the Jewish fable of the sages who entered Paradise.
Four men entered the pardes — Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher [that is, Elisha ben Abuyeh], and Akiba. Ben Azzai looked and died; Ben Zoma looked and went mad; Acher severed the root; Akiba entered in peace and departed in peace.
In some mystic schools of thought, our souls or astral selves are bound to this world by an astral tether which reaches from the corona of our head.
In the world of Merkabah Rider, I had established that this tether anchored the soul to the body and thus the physical world. It was a root, and Elisha ben Abuyah had cut it. He had severed himself from his body, but because he had done so before the Throne of Glory, he had somehow gone on (perhaps due to Merkabah Rider training), a disembodied spirit, able to possess other’s physical forms.
But what had the Sages seen that had caused such drastic reactions?
I decided, the Outer Gods, slumbering in the world of Chaos that bordered the universe as created by God.
What would such knowledge do to the Rider? That became a central point of the series. Could the Rider maintain his faith? Would it change anything for him? Would he go the route of Adon?
In the meantime, I could let my imagination run wild, and I did, borrowing or adapting creatures and people from folklore and literature (Ambrose Bierce’s Damned Thing shows up as a servant of the Old Ones in The Damned Dingus) history, and the Bible, and exploring my love of the Old West at the same time.
It was a wonderful experience, writing Merkabah Rider, and the positive response it’s received from those who have read and enjoyed it are very dear to me – particularly the unsolicited reader reviews on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, LibraryThing, and Shelfari.
I want to share just a few that I treasure –
“It is, quite simply, one of the coolest things I've ever read. It feels like something tailor made for me, and it feels genuine and sincere.”
“The best book I read last year. You don't need to like westerns to like his work--he is a genius. The Merkabah Rider Series is better than investing in gold. It will make you feel awesome inside---like maybe you finally read a book that meant something---he is that good.”
“This is great--no, stupendous adventure fiction, the kind that I often crave and rarely find.”
There are just a few, and I post them not to inflate my own ego, but because they mean a great deal to me, as all of them do. Even the negative ones. These are people that went out and bought the book on their own and got something from it, and in the age of file sharing and buying and selling reviews, that’s something to me.
Now I just hope nobody retracts their previous good opinions when they’ve read the last one.
In closing, it’s been a wonderful trip writing Merkabah Rider. There are still small stories about the Rider that can be told (one, The Shomer Express, has already appeared in anthology called The Trigger Reflex), and characters from the series might still appear here and there in related works, but for now, I turn my attention to other things.
The Rider and his onager walk off into the sunset.
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Published on April 19, 2013 04:00 • 39 views

April 15, 2013

Now that The Coming Evil Trilogy is over, the question I get asked most often these days is "What's next?" I mean, I've only been working on this series for my entire adult life--where do I go from here? Well, as a matter of fact, I do have a lot of projects going on, but as for my next series, it's already started--and it fits squarely in the world of The Coming Evil!

"You can’t even begin to understand the places in between, the unknowable depths of eternity, the mind-shattering realizations that wait just beyond your rather limited peripheral understanding of space and time."

This line is uttered by the Strange Man in Dark Hour, the final book of The Coming Evil Trilogy, and serves as a hint at my new book Rift Jump !

Rift Jump came out last summer through Splashdown Darkwater, my publisher for Dark Hour. In it, readers are taken to this "In Between" that the Strange Man was referring to and discover it to be the supernatural plane where all the angels and devils in all my stories, including the Strange Man and his gremlin hordes, originate. The In Between is the metaphysical glue that holds together the near-limitless worlds of the multiverse, an intricate network of alternate realities and parallel dimensions.

Rift Jump introduces us to Michael Morrison, the young man chosen by the Light to journey across this multiverse, combating some great Evil that is worming its way through the In Between, trying to consume the multiverse. The Strange Man knows this particular Evil very well and, if you've read The Coming Evil Trilogy, you might recognize it too, and already know the damage it could cause.

While The Coming Evil centered on the battle of good and evil across the landscape of small town Greensboro, Rift Jump takes that same battle to the cosmic stage. It's a clash of titans in this book, and shows what larger battles exist in the world--the multiverse--of The Coming Evil.

I have one more book to write in this new series, I believe. Among my many other projects, I'm slowly working on the follow-up to Rift Jump, that will bring to resolution whatever dangling plot threads remain after that first book. But, in the meantime, you can purchase Rift Jump from Amazon for its new low price in print or Kindle.

When Rift Jump was initially released, it was sort of lost in the midst of The Coming Evil Trilogy. But now that the Trilogy is finished, I'm hoping people will take another look at the book. It's already starting to get a little more attention out there in the world, garnering me a great new review and has even been nominated for a 2013 Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction.

I hope you all go check out the book and get a look at the larger mechanics operating in my fictional world. Rift Jump is an action-packed wild ride, straight into the In Between where devils lurk and back again. Don't miss it!

Today, I'm over at Lisa Godfrees' blog, discussing all things Rift Jump, as well as offering two free copies of the book! But the giveaway only lasts for a week, so hurry over, read the interview, and leave a comment (over there) for your chance to win!

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Published on April 15, 2013 07:45 • 21 views