They Like Marcus, They Really Like Marcus

I just wanted to share the exciting news that Plaguewalker has been named a finalist in this year’s Midwest Book Awards in the historical fiction category. The winners will be announced in May, but it’s already a great feeling to know that Marcus is getting more love from readers. Thanks again to everyone who has supported Plaguewalker!

(And yes, I’m still alive. I’ve been quiet on the blog since starting a new and hectic job, but hope to be back to posting more regularly soon.)

Happy Halloween!

Thanks again to everyone who came out to Boswell Book Company and the Wauwatosa Public Library last weekend to the Plaguewalker events, to those of you who purchased Plaguewalker and to all the great Milwaukee media folks who featured the book on air, online or in print (in case you missed last week’s media blitz, I’ve gathered it all on a new media page).

As promised, over at, my main blog, I’ve posted a special holiday treat that I hope you enjoy. Go check it out!

A few new Plaguewalker events are in the works, and I’ll be posting about them soon, but first I’d like to ask you to write something. Tomorrow, November 1, marks the start of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.  Back in 2010, I broke a deadly case of writer’s block (deadly to my characters, anyway) by participating and writing what ended up as The Guardian, the sequel to The War’s End (which, yes, I still need to finish editing).

The great things about NaNoWriMo are that it’s free, it’s easy and anyone can do it. Whether or not you’ve written before, they offer all kinds of motivation and tips to help you get to the finish line. Check it out today! (And if you join, you can find me there as AllegedMastermind, one word.)

If you have no desire to write a novel, consider supporting those who do by donating to NaNoWriMo’s various endeavors, including a Young Writer’s Program.

Thanks again, and enjoy your holiday!

Media Coverage…Now with More Plague!

Online culture hub Third Coast Digest just posted a Q&A with me about Plaguewalker that I think you’ll enjoy. And please be sure to listen to yesterday’s interview on Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect. I was told today that I “made the plague enticing” by someone who heard the chat. Stay tuned for more media coverage as all of Milwaukee celebrates National International Intergalactic Plaguewalker Week.

And, if you’re finding the egomaniacal focus of this website increasingly irksome, trust me, you’re not alone. I really do not enjoy talking, typing, musing and hyping about myself. But then, as the ever-wise Boromir said:

On The Radio, Whoa-oa-oa-oa on the Radio

If you didn’t get to hear me talking about Plaguewalker this morning on Lake Effect, one of the great programs on Milwaukee’s public radio station WUWM (89.7 FM), you can listen to it online. My interview is the final segment, starting around the :45 mark, but the whole hour is interesting and informative.

You can also get a behind the scenes glimpse of taping the segment, including why I grin like a crazy person when discussing rotting corpses and death, over at my main site, Hint: it has something to do with nuns.

New Ways to Contract The Plague

If you think I have a whole heap of groan-worthy plague puns just waiting for the right moment, you’re correct.

Since leaving Norway and returning to Milwaukee earlier this month, I’ve been busy on a number of fronts, including getting ready for the official intergalactic launch of Plaguewalker on Friday, 26 October, at Boswell Book Company (the link will take you to Boswell’s general upcoming events page. Check it out. They bring in a wealth of great authors from near and far). Part of that includes doing press, something I have discovered I don’t particularly enjoy.

Like Marcus, I’m an introvert who prefers to do my work quietly, without fanfare. Also, like Marcus, I prefer to be the one asking the questions.

That said, much thanks are in order to a number of media outlets that are covering Plaguewalker‘s launch. I’ll post links as they become available but, if you’re in Milwaukee airspace, so to speak, please tune in to WUWM (89.7 FM) and its Lake Effect program at 10 a.m. Monday, 22 October. My segment isn’t scheduled to air until the second half of the program, but as a longtime Lake Effect listener, I can promise you the whole show will be intelligent and entertaining.

It was a strange experience, after years of listening to and loving the show, to be sitting in the studio–an actual, serious radio studio–for the taping yesterday, but Stephanie is great at her job and made me feel comfortable. I do worry that I seem like a crazy person when I start talking about the voices in my head, but she promised to make me sound good. It should be available online if you can’t catch it Monday morning; I’ll post that link as well.

I hope to see you either at Boswell next Friday or the following day, when I share billing with award-winning author Paul McComas at a Halloweeny author reading at Wauwatosa Public Library (I’ll post their link when it’s live). But if you’re not in the area, you can still catch the plague (ahem). The awesome folks at Boswell (they are incredibly supportive of local authors) will get you a signed copy of the novel if you order it in advance (before 25 October) here.

This is important: when you get to the checkout page that asks for your billing and mailing address, you’ll see an “Order Comments” box. Please indicate that you want me to sign the book, and specify any particular inscription you’d like me to use when personalizing your copy (within reason!).

Stay tuned for more ways to get your hands on a signed copy of Plaguewalker, as well as where to get a special Halloween treat from me next week–in part to thank you for support, but also because Halloween is the most bestest holiday EVER! (you’re shocked I think this, I’m sure.)

Plaguewalker In The Flesh!

My time in arctic Norway is coming to a close, which makes me sad–but the great news is that I’ll be returning to Milwaukee in a week to gear up for Plaguewalker‘s official launch on October 26, with a very special “tag team of terror” reading with fellow author Paul McComas the following day.

If you’re in the southeastern Wisconsin area–or if you’ve got a lot of frequent flyer miles and like Marcus a lot–please come say hello at one of the events and let me know you’ve visited this site.

Reading and Book Signing, 7 p.m. Friday, October 26 at Boswell Books, 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee: This is it, folks, the official worldwide, dare I say galactic launch of Plaguewalker thanks to the fine folks at Boswell, who have been so supportive of local authors. As someone who is only slightly less introverted than Marcus, I am kind of dreading the actual public part of this, but I promise to drink too much coffee and be entertaining in a wild, rambly kind of way.

Tag Team of Terror Reading, 2 p.m. Saturday, October 27 at the Wauwatosa Public Library, 7635 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa: I’ll be doing another reading, another over-caffeinated ramble and signing any copies of Plaguewalker thrust in my direction, but this time I’ll be sharing billing with award-winning author Paul McComas, who penned Unforgettable, Planet of the Dates and Unplugged. Paul was an early supporter of Plaguewalker and has been a great mentor. His writing is an addictive blend of sci-fi, horror and comedy, with his native Wisconsin often featuring as both place and character.

I’ve got a few other projects in the works for Plaguewalker and am almost finished with the final edit of The War’s End, so watch this space for more announcements. Thanks as always for reading and please say hello later this month at Boswell Books or the Tosa Public Library!

Looking Ahead

While I’m looking forward to Plaguewalker‘s official “in the flesh” launch next month in Milwaukee–October 26 at Boswell Books, for those of you in the greater Milwaukee area–I have to admit my attentions of late have been focused on fulfilling another dream. I’ve been in northern Norway for the past week, visiting the Lofoten and Vesteralen islands and making my way towards an exciting professional opportunity that came sailing my way like a longboat emerging from the fog.

Please stay tuned for more details about Plaguewalker‘s launch. But please also check out my travel and adventure blog, Stories That Are True, as I wander above the Arctic Circle!

A New Post for a New Continent

It turns out moving from Antarctica back to Wisconsin demands a little more time and energy than planned. Now that I’m back in the States, I’m gearing up for some exciting Plaguewalker events. I’ll have more news about that shortly. Until then, be sure to check out my farewell to Ice and thanks as always for reading!

The Plague Is Spreading

If you’ve read Plaguewalker, thank you (and thanks to those of you, friends as well as several strangers, who’ve left such thoughtful reviews on Amazon and GoodReads).

You’ll know, then, that Marcus is a man of few words, a practical man and also, perhaps more than anything, a man often puzzled by basic human interaction. The notion of befriending someone, or even simply engaging in pleasant conversation, flummoxes him. He is also an honest man, often brutally so. He would be hopeless in politics, advertising or, it must be said, stand-up comedy.

I admit feeling a bit like Marcus when it comes to marketing his story. Dutifully following the guidance of various indie publishing bloggers, I joined assorted indie publishing groups and posted on a number of indie publishing boards, despite feeling that, generally speaking, the experience was like being in a room full of preschoolers when Santa made a surprise visit, all of us shouting what we wanted (“read my book!”) and none of us listening to each other. (I did meet a couple interesting fellow authors, but more by chance than part of any organized campaign.)

I also had a number of messages from fellow indie authors who told me if I gave their book a five-star review they’d give mine one, too. The lack of punctuation and indifference to grammar in some of these emails alone gave me pause. (I’m no saint when it comes to perfect English, but at least I try. When you spell the title–the title–of your book three different ways in a single paragraph, I seriously question your commitment to the craft.)

So I’m trying something new, and that might be how you found your way here: advertising. If you’ve landed here via Facebook or my travel blog, Stories That Are True, or the smattering of newspaper and magazine articles about me, welcome. Here’s the deal. Plaguewalker is a dark but ultimately redemptive historical novel set in fourteenth century Bavaria. You can read the first chapter for free or download the first 20% or so, also for free, onto your Kindle or iPad through Amazon as a sample.

You can also read one of my previous posts on this blog that covers a little bit of my inspiration for the novel.

I hope that you’re interested enough to check out the book in eBook (Kindle or Nook) or paperback format and that, if you do, you enjoy reading it. It’s not for everyone, but I believe it’s a good story. A highly biased opinion, yes, but, like Marcus, I tend to be brutally honest. I didn’t write it to make money, or to find fame. I wrote it because it was what I, as a reader, wanted to read.

Regardless of how you found your way here, thanks for reading, and thanks in advance if you decide to walk the cold, snowy road to redemption along with Marcus. Now, speaking of cold and snowy, I’m off to take a walk myself. It’s a lovely day here in Antarctica. The wind chill is a mere minus 16 F and the midday skies are black and starry.

And no, I am not making that up.





Here’s another cross-post from my travel blog which may be of interest to anyone who enjoys history with a little “h.”

Stories That Are True

Next to the Polar Plunge and the chance to see auroras (though they are fickle beasts, and I’ve yet to spot one this year), my favorite thing about wintering at McMurdo is the open house hosted by the Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators over at Scott Base.

Because, for someone who loves to geek out over historic stuff, it’s like Christmas.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust was set up to help conserve the historic huts around the Ross Sea area that were built and supplied and used by the likes of Scott, Shackleton and other early 20th century explorers. In the summer, conservators work at, well, conserving the sites themselves. I can’t really say “fixing” or “improving” the huts because they’re trying to keep them as unchanged as possible. But the summer AHT teams do things like painstakingly remove floorboards one by one, place an invisible layer of sealant to protect against…

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