WORLDBUILDING #3: THE UNITED STATES OF MONSTERS

Hey folks,

This is a long-time coming bit of world-building because my United States of Monsters series is multiple series and is an entire planet’s worth of history. For those unfamiliar with the United States of Monsters, it consists of the following series:

* Psycho Killers in Love (Psycho killers in Love)
* The Red Room Saga (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, The Fall of the House)
* Straight Outta Fangton (Straight Outta Fangton, 100 Miles and Vampin’)
* The Bright Falls Mysteries (I was a Teenage Weredeer, An American Weredeer in Michigan)
* The Morgan Detective Agency (Brightblade)

The premise of the world is the creation of a shared universe for telling my favorite urban fantasy and adventure horror yarns. It is a world where the supernatural is open and public as of 2008. Unfortunately, this has not led to peace between the races and every day is a new challenge for those who are human or mundane. It’s heavily inspired by White Wolf’s World of Darkness, Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, and the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries.

Pre-History (??? to 12,000 B.C.)

The universe began in light. The Earth began in darkness.

The Great Celestial War was fought between the Primals, Elder Gods, archdemons, archangels, and young gods. The conflict resulted in the Elder Gods being banished to the desolate third rock from the Sun where they were buried deep underground. Humans eventually evolved on this world, influenced by the dreams and will of the ancient beings. Human sacrifices awakened the Elder Gods and through their influence, they conceived a priestess named Lamia who prepared to make the human race a source of food as well as souls to restore her masters to full strength.

Ancient civilizations rose that were later wiped from humanity’s memory like Acheron, Babel, Atlantis, Stygia, and Ultima Thule. The humans of these lands worshiped demons and committed countless atrocities in order to guarantee their immortality. Lamia would share the blood of her goddess, Tiamat-Abaddon, with her followers and thus would the first monster races be born. Vampires, hunters, shifters, and mages would be created.

The atrocities of Earth would eventually draw the attention of their masters enemies. Inspired by a lesson from the Creator, Death, and other Primals, the vampire known as Marduk was driven to mount a successful revolt against the Elder Gods. Much of humanity was slaughtered in the resulting battles until only scattered nomadic tribes existed. Powerful magic forced the Elder Gods back into slumber and left the half-human supernaturals to inherit the Earth as a reward for their aid against the foes.

But immortality has its advantages.

Heroic Age (12,000 B.C. to 900 A.D.)

The conflict among humans and supernaturals would define much of the rest of human history. The survivors of Lamia’s empire would set themselves as gods, kings, and warlords. Normal humans were frequently unable to resist, so they turned to lesser magic (“hedge magic”) to make deals with spirits as well as demons. Others betrayed their own kind to become Blood Slaves, cultists, and soldiers for their miracle-working masters.

Gradually, humans armed themselves with tools and weapons that allowed them to overthrow their masters the same way that the supernaturals overthrew theirs. They learned the weaknesses of the undead and shifters. In-fighting among the supernaturals also prevented them from establishing any kind of order among themselves.

Aiding this conflict was the fact that both hunters as well as wizards chose to side with humanity against the monsters. They denied that demon blood, however diluted, was responsible for their powers as they battled for dominance. The hunters soon found themselves corrupted by the demonic magic they wielded, becoming obsessed more with killing than protecting. Ancient heroes like Herakles, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and others found their wrath lashing out at their own subjects. In the centuries to come, they would become known as slashers.

Still, the conflict among supernaturals kept humanity at an age of perpetual war and denied them the benefit of civilizations. Only those places where they had been driven underground or forced to cooperate with humanity thrived. It was with this awareness that Kim Su, immortal archmage charged with protecting humanity by the Primals, sought to create societies of mages that would protect mankind while raising civilization.

The Kingdom of Arthuria Pendragon would prove to be her last experiment in such, building an organization of wizards and knights that hunted down all hostile supernaturals in the British Isles. Her actions proved to be a mistake rather than a blessing as the knights’ objective turned from protection to conquest and genocide. The Fairy Kingdoms were annihilated and thousands of magic-users were enslaved or put to death.

After the defeat of Morgana Le Fey and her son, the knight known as Gawain reformed the Knights of Camelot to become the Knights of the Castle (later the House). The Black Knight, Red Knight, Green Knight, and Blue Knights would each raise their own order and spread across the land. Gawain created a false Siege Perilous and declared himself the Lord of the Throne (later, simply The Chairman).

The Great Lie (900 A.D. to 2008 A.D.)

The attempted conquest of Europe by the Knights of the Round Table had resulted in a humiliating defeat at the hands of both the Catholic Church as well as the remains of the Roman Empire. Norse raiders, led by King Karl Bjornson wielding the Eye of Odin, destroyed the majority of their forces. Gawain, realizing that sheer numbers would never allow the House’s supernatural forces to triumph over humanity or all other supernatural races, conceived of a plan that would allow them to defeat their enemies over the course of centuries rather than years.

Using a combination of religion, mind-magic, money, and propaganda–the House eradicated almost all knowledge of the supernatural in the world. Wizards were offered lives of wealth and comfort if they joined the House or death if they refused. Treaties were drawn with the other supernatural nations that allowed them to prey upon humanity “within reason” in exchange for keeping themselves secret from humanity. The House used puppet kings and infiltrators to weaken their foes while proclaiming peace. Groups like the Knights Templar, Legalists of China, Lions of Judea, and others were absorbed into the ranks of the organization.

Resistance against the House would become increasingly militant and turned to powers darker than black to fight them. Newly turned vampire warlord, Vlad Dracula, used the Book of Midnight and Chalice of Blood to empower himself with the power of Hell. He formed an alliance of the Ancients to create the Vampire Nation so that the undead could build the same vast wealth the House had accumulated. Similarly, Karl Bjornson forged alliances with the Rakshasa of India and shifter Pact in order to stand against the House. Non-House magicians created the Network to help smuggle supernaturals away from the oppressive politics of the House to freedom.

Strange stories like the Vampire Nation building their first capital in Nassau during the Golden Age of Piracy, the American Revolution being orchestrated by feuding House Divisions, Queen Victoria being a werewolf, and other stories were lost to time. The House used media like the novel version of Dracula and later the entire horror entertainment industry in order to help cover up the supernatural.

People claiming monsters exist was hard enough to believe but doubly so if penny dreadfuls talked about the exact thing they discussed. Some monsters, like slashers, actually fed from the infamy such works gave them. The Vampire Nation conceived of a hundred year plan following Dracula to transform the image of the undead from villains to heroes, believing sex and glamor would overcome common sense.

Unfortunately, the march of history started to work against the House. The World Wars resulted in the Houses’ one hundred “Divisions” being split along national lines. Corruption and demon cults perverted House magicians as other used their sorcery to create vast financial Empire. The largest of these, Pantheon Corp, became the dominant financial institution in the world. Laws against monopolies failed as it became the world’s largest arms dealer, bank, computer, energy, and medical firm. The treacherous Cassidy family, descended from Nazi collaborators, used the institution to leverage the House to their own ends.

Ironically, it was the invention of the cell phone and proliferation of the internet that made the Reveal inevitable. Traitors to the House helped bring the organization down and revealed the supernatural to the world after the US military encountered “monsters” during the War on Terror. The House’s leadership was assassinated and its Divisions broken up on national lines. The Chairman met his end at the hands of Morgan Le Fey’s youngest descendant, Arthur Morgan. Such was the chaos that, combined with the deaths of the World Wars, the Elder Gods began to stir anew and the world was flooded with alien monsters that made the chaos even worse.

The Reveal and Modern Times (2008 A.D. to Present)

The Reveal was accompanied by mass chaos across the globe as people struggled with the revelation that everything they knew was a lie. Ironically, money proved to be the deciding factor as the United States accepted a Bailout for its institutions from the Vampire Nation. Laws were drafted, many prepped ahead of time, that gave supernaturals legal protections while propaganda had been in place for decades to “soften” the blow when it happened. Still, mass racial strife occurred as many humans reacted violently to the presence of the superhuman among them.

The city of New Detroit was created as a shining example of what supernatural and human cooperation could do. Michigan’s state government was bribed and intimidated into giving supernaturals special rights within its boundaries while its most famous city was rebuilt into New Detroit. The Vampire Nation played on sex and vice to turn it into a second Las Vegas where humans could enjoy their every depraved whim while the undead bled them dry both figuratively as well as literally. New Detroit proved a fantastic success as vampires parlayed their allure into being the most accepted of all supernaturals despite being among the worst.

Ironically, the Vampire Nation overplayed its hand. Modern vampires were created with belief in rights and democracy that contrasted heavily with feudalist oppression of the Ancients. Many also desired to live peacefully among humans, trading the pleasure of the Bite for blood in place of violent attack or slavery. The Network became a full-scale resistance to both the Vampire Nation as well as the bigoted forces in the world’s governments.

The town of Bright Falls, Michigan would also prove to of interest as the tiny lumber community proved to have a population that was almost entirely composed of shifters. Unlike vampires, shifters proved subject to “varmint laws” and other legal restrictions that forced them to live among each other in poverty. The attempts by local leaders to organize the shifter nation to make a life for themselves ranged from the grass roots to criminal.

In 2016, celebrity businessman Karl Trust would be elected President on a platform of “law and order” as well as “human only rights.” This would spark crackdowns and the creation of a organization based on the popular image of the Men in Black (itself inspired by the House). Supernaturals now plot to overthrow the current administration and humans turn to demonic magic to fight their neighbors. History might not repeat but it seemed to rhyme.

I hope you guys will check this world out!

Psycho Killers in Love is now available in Kindle, audiobook, and paperback!

Hey folks,

I’m pleased to say that PSYCHO KILLERS IN LOVE is available in Kindle, audiobook, and paperback form. It is a prequel to the United States of Monsters series that is set against the backdrop of the 2000 Election. It’s an homage to the slasher movies of the Eighties and early Nineties.

Can a slasher and a Final Girl truly love one another? It helps if they have a cult of rich misogynist serial killers to team up against!

FROM THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA

What if all the villains of slasher movies were real? What if the movies made about them were just adaptations of real-life killers with supernatural powers? This is a fact known to William and Carrie because their father, Billy the Undying, was one of the worst slashers of all time. So much so that they’ve spent the past decade in an asylum out of fear they’d end up just like him. Escaping, the two have decided to form a new life on the road. Except, a chance encounter in a dingy diner introduces William to the girl of his dreams.

Too bad she’s a girl on a mission to kill all slashers. But maybe the best way to catch a supernatural serial killer is with another pair of them.

Enjoy this exciting prequel to the United States of Monsters books!

Kindle and Paperback

Audiobook

The Red Room Trilogy is now available in one volume!

A proud day for me as an author, my first boxed set! Now I can finally say that I’ve completed a series. I just need to work on completing all of my others now.

THE COMPLETE RED ROOM SAGA is the collected omnibus edition of Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and The Fall of the House. Supernatural spy vs. monster action! Also, the prequel to the United States of Monsters-verse! It is now available for $6.99 for all three books! 

ESOTERRORISM

There are no good guys in the world of shadows … but maybe some bad men are better than others.

Derek Hawthorne was born to be an agent of the Red Room. Literally. Raised in a conspiracy which has protected the world from the supernatural for centuries, he’s never been anything other than a servant of their agenda. Times are changing, though, and it may not be long before their existence is exposed.

When a routine mission uncovers the latest plan of the magical terrorist, the Wazir, Derek finds himself saddled with a new partner. Who is the mysterious but deadly Shannon O’Reilly? What is her agenda? Couple this with the discovery the Red Room has a mole seeking to frame Derek for treason and you have a plot which might bring down a millennium-old organization. Can he stop the Wazir’s mission to expose the supernatural? And should he?

ELDRITCH OPS

Derek Hawthorne has ascended to become a member of the all-powerful Committee, which rules the world through the nebulous House. The House, officially, exists to protect humanity from the vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness that imperil humanity. Unofficially, it exists to protect its own power.

When his old partner, Christopher Hang, turns up as one of the undead—Derek is nonplussed to say the least. Christopher also has a message that troubles the tiny remains of Derek’s conscience: the House is running a secret project to not only control supernaturals but eliminate them. Now, Derek has to figure out if he’s to side with the supernatural or humanity or neither. Oh and did we mention Dracula, pirates, and werewolves were involved too?

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE

Derek Hawthorne has slain Dracula and stopped the malevolent plan of his own employers, the sinister House. However, he has discovered that his ex-partner and lover Ashley Morgan has been kidnapped while a new conspiracy moves to expose the supernatural to the world. The House has overplayed its hand and all of its enemies are coming to bring it down. Derek will have to travel dimensions, fight monsters, and call in every favor he’s accumulated just to survive.

The Fall of the House is the exciting conclusion of the Red Room trilogy, tying the series to the greater United States of Monsters universe (Bright Falls Mysteries, Straight Outta Fangton, and Brightblade).

Available here

Esoterrorism and Lucifer’s Star on sale for 99c!

Hey folks,

I’m pleased to say that fans of my books who want to branch out and enjoy some of my other works are able to get a pair for an extra low-low cost. Both ESOTERRORISM and LUCIFER’S STAR are available for 99c at Amazon.com.

ESOTERRORISM

There are no good guys in the world of shadows … but maybe some bad men are better than others.

Derek Hawthorne was born to be an agent of the Red Room. Literally. Raised in a conspiracy which has protected the world from the supernatural for centuries, he’s never been anything other than a servant of their agenda. Times are changing, though, and it may not be long before their existence is exposed.

When a routine mission uncovers the latest plan of the magical terrorist, the Wazir, Derek finds himself saddled with a new partner. Who is the mysterious but deadly Shannon O’Reilly? What is her agenda? Couple this with the discovery the Red Room has a mole seeking to frame Derek for treason and you have a plot which might bring down a millennium-old organization. Can he stop the Wazir’s mission to expose the supernatural? And should he?

Available here

LUCIFER’S STAR

Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he’d been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland.

LUCIFER’S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer’s Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery.

Available here 

I hope people check them out!

Some of my best work.

Psycho Killers in Love now available for pre-order!

Finalversion2

 Hey folks,

I have some awesome news. The latest entry into my UNITED STATES OF MONSTERS series (Brightblade, Bright Falls Mysteries, Red Room, Straight Outta Fangton) series is now available for pre-order. PSYCHO KILLERS IN LOVE a homage to slasher movies, slasher villains, and all those wonderful invincible villains as well as their Final Girls.

FROM THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA:

What if all the villains of slasher movies were real? What if the movies made about them were just adaptations of real-life killers with supernatural powers? This is a fact known to William and Carrie because their father, Billy the Undying, was one of the worst slashers of all time. So much so that they’ve spent the past decade in an asylum out of fear they’d end up just like him. Escaping, the two have decided to form a new life on the road. Except, a chance encounter in a dingy diner introduces William to the girl of his dreams.

Too bad she’s a girl on a mission to kill all slashers. But maybe the best way to catch a supernatural serial killer is with another pair of them.

Enjoy this exciting prequel to the United States of Monsters books!

Available for purchase here

Book Announcement: Psycho Killers in Love

What if all the cheesy horror movies of the 1980s were based on true stories?

William England knows that they are for a fact. His father, Billy the Undying, was one of the most notorious slashers of all time. Wrongfully imprisoned in a mental institution with his ax-crazy sister, Carrie, William has escaped with his sibling out into the real world. Unfortunately, he’s literally haunted by his father’s ghost and has found himself driving to a small town in Kansas that is the center of murderous activity in the year 2000.

But circumstances result in William meeting the girl of his dreams just as his own murderous impulses finally kick in. Nancy Loomis is beautiful, deadly, and dedicated to destroying all the world’s slashers. Can these two bloodthirsty killers make it work or are they doomed to be enemies like their natures compel them to be? What about the secret cult in the area that has been kidnapping sorority sisters? And the vampire in the basement of his new home? Find out in this loving tribute/send-up of the horror genre. It is a comedy to die for.

COMING IN MAY

99c Bookbub deal for Agent G: Infiltrator

 Hey folks,

If you haven’t checked out my AGENT G series, it’s available for 99c this month from Bookbub. It is a contemporary cyberpunk series that follows the transformation of our world into a dystopia ruled by megacorps. Agent G is a cybernetically-enhanced assassin who has had his memories erased by the sinister International Refugee Society, a megacorporation that uses its charity status to hide a murder-for-hire business that caters to the ultra-rich. He’ll receive them back if he serves them for ten years.

Available here

Blackest Spells available in Kindle and paperback format

Hey folks,

I have a great announcement for you. My second and final fantasy anthology, BLACKEST SPELLS, has been released in paperback and ebook form for your purusal. It is a collection of over dozen short stories from some of the best indie fantasy writers today.

Magic to make the sanest man go mad.

Dark wizardry. Witchcraft. Curses. Hexes. Evil Sorcerers. Fantasy has a long history of people wielding the forces of darkness for nefarious ends. Blackest Spells is a collection of eighteen short stories and novelettes detailing stories of shadowy figures wielding unholy power. The sequel to the Blackest Knights anthology contains stories ranging from the machinations of the fae to wishes gone wrong to wicked plots in space.

Contains fiction by: Michael R. Baker, Allan Batchelder, C. H. Baum, Matthew P. Gilbert, S. D. Howarth, Matthew Johnson, Christopher Keene, Paul Lavender, Ulff Lehmann, Frank Martin, Richard Nell, Martin Owton, C. T. Phipps, Michael Pogach, Jesse Teller, Damien Wilder, and David Niall Wilson

I hope everyone will pick up a copy and enjoy it. There’s a couple of my stories in there as well.

Available for purchase here

Brightblade now available on audiobook and in physical form

 Hey everyone,

I thought you’d like to know that BRIGHTBLADE is now available on both audiobook as narrated by Heather Costa and also in physical book form. It is the adventures of a ex-superhero turned private eye/bounty hunter named Ashley Morgan.

Psychic. Superhero. Spy. Detective. Bounty hunter. Ashley Morgan has been many things and failed at all of them. The 28-year old has her whole life ahead of her but has already resigned herself to working a dead-end job bringing in the debt-ridden supernatural criminals of New Detroit.

A chance encounter with the vampire sheriff reveals a secret that motivates her to change her life forever: Her long-missing brother Arthur is alive (in a manner of speaking).

Ashley sets out on a quest to not only find him but also deal with old lovers, treacherous criminals, a magic sword, and a quest to raise an ancient vampire from the dead.

Brightblade is set in the same world as the Red Room series, The Bright Falls Mysteries, and Straight Outta Fangton.