Posts made in July, 2016

Sunday Quote’s collected Clockwork Dagger stories will be out in 2 days

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote’s collected Clockwork Dagger stories will be out in 2 days

“When I am all done I shall relax but not until then. My life isn’t very long and I must get one good book written before it ends.”
~John Steinbeck

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Spreading the Word: Kickstarter for “Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device”

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Blog, others books | Comments Off on Spreading the Word: Kickstarter for “Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device”

I’m generally not a fan of zombies. They squick me. But I love good writing and a good premise, and the Kickstarter for James Aquilone’s”Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device” completely hooked me. This is the first book in a new fantasy/horror series about a drug-addicted zombie detective and his homunculus frenemy. So yeah, with a zombie lead and all, I couldn’t help but contribute so I could read the whole thing… and I asked James if I could help spread the word about his nifty project, too. It has already funded, so add your support and know that the book is a sure thing!




Dead Jack isn’t the best detective in Pandemonium. He’s just the cheapest. In fact he’ll work for fairy dust. But don’t judge. Jack needs it to curb his hunger for sweet, succulent flesh. In “Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device,” the first book in the series, things go bad for the brain-licker after he tries to score from his old dealer. Jack and his homunculus sidekick Oswald find themselves on the run from angry leprechauns. But they have bigger krakens to fry, because Pandemonium is in danger of going bye-bye — and our duo is its only hope. Lucifer help them!

Check out the Kickstarter



Waiting for My Wee-Man

I reached into my jacket for a Lucky Dragon once the shakes began. The undead aren’t known for their dexterity, so I had a bit of fun getting that hellfire stick. I was like a drunken mummy trying to do jazz hands. I burned off half the skin on my left index finger lighting the damn thing. That made four fingers now that were practically nothing but bone. If this kept up, I’d end up a skeleton inside a cheap suit and fedora. I doubt anyone would notice.

Being a member of the great unwashed undead isn’t all bad, though. I was happy for my dulled sense of smell. The alleyway stunk like rotten cabbage and sour apples.

I took a deep drag on my hellfire stick. Smoke poured out from the hole in my right cheek like exhaust out of a busted tailpipe. I sucked that thing halfway down and it barely made a difference. My hand still trembled like a virgin at a satyr convention. I needed fairy dust. Bad.

I had tried everyone in downtown ShadowShade, but no one was holding. Out of desperation I came here to Irish Town, in search of Flanagan, my old dealer.

Without dust, the hunger becomes overpowering, and when I’m hungry no one’s safe. I’d eat my own mother.

I had been waiting in the alley behind Finn McCool’s for at least an hour before the leprechaun finally appeared.

Flanagan isn’t your typical lep. First off, he’s not that short. Maybe five-foot-two. He’s broad shouldered, barrel chested, and someone you don’t want to mess with. He also has the saltiest mouth in all the Five Cities of Pandemonium.

As he entered the alley, he sang, rather jauntily:

“There once was a fellow McSweeney
Who spilled some gin on his weenie…”

A large sack was slung over his shoulder as he swaggered past the reeking dumpsters full of what must have been hundred-year-old cabbage.

“Just to be couth
He added vermouth
Then slipped his girlfriend a martini…”

“Sorry to interrupt that charming little ditty,” I said, and slipped out of the shadows as I blew smoke out of all the holes in my face. All nine. Real bad-ass.

The lep stopped deader than my libido. Like I’d caught him bathing naked in his pot of gold. (Leprechauns don’t really have pots of gold, by the way, but they are known to carry sweet, sweet fairy dust, the closest thing to heaven in this godforsaken world.)

The sack jerked and he gripped it tighter.

“What’s in the sack, Flanny? Someone didn’t pay their vig?”

“None of your fookin business. Now if you wouldn’t be minding. I have better tings to do than converse with a brain-licker.” The lep took a step forward, but I blocked his way.

“Look, meat bag, I don’t want any trouble.”

“No trouble. I’m just looking for dust.”

The lep exploded into laughter. He actually placed his hand over his belly. A real guffaw.

“You fookin dust head. Oh, Jackie boy, I thought maybe you were on a case.”

“Just a gram. The hunger is starting to eat through my innards.”

“You have innards? Figured it’s all just sludge inside ya by now. Like your brain.”

“The last time I went cold turkey, it ended real bad for some fairies. I went wilder on them than a pack of werewolves. I’m still not welcome in The Red Garden.”

“You ain’t threatening now, are ya, ya dead dick?”

My hands shook and my bones rattled as I held them up. It looked like I was trying to conjure a pixie spirit. “I’m desperate.”

“Then you’re out of luck. I don’t deal anymore. I have new opportunities.”

There was a clink, like a glass bell, and the sack flew up. Flanagan nearly lost his grip on it but was able to pull it back down.

“What’s in the sack, Flanny?”

“None of your fookin business, ya filthy corpse.”

He drove his shoulder into my crotch, shoved me into the wall, and took off down the alley.

Maybe the hunger had reached its apex or maybe I didn’t like the way he called me a filthy corpse. I didn’t mind the crotch shot. As for my zombie genital situation, let’s not go there. Either way I was on him like a werewolf on a moonpie.


  Read more by supporting the Kickstarter for “Dead Jack”



About the Author

James Aquilone was raised on Saturday morning cartoons, comic books, sitcoms, and Cap’n Crunch. Amid the Cold War, he dreamed of being a jet fighter pilot but decided against the military life after realizing it would require him to wake up early. He had further illusions of being a stand-up comedian, until a traumatic experience on stage forced him to seek a college education. Brief stints as an alternative rock singer/guitarist and child model also proved unsuccessful. Today he battles a severe Tetris addiction while trying to write in the speculative fiction game.

His short fiction has been published in such places as Nature’s Futures, “The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014,” “Unidentified Funny Objects 4,” and Weird Tales Magazine. Suffice it to say, things are going much better than his modeling career.

He lives in Staten Island, New York, but don’t hold that against him.








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Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, fudge | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge

Life might really suck. But don’t worry. Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge loves you.

Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge

This fudge exists in Zen. It simply is. It does not think. It is here. A thing that you may partake of, a thing that makes stress fade away as dulce de leche-smooth chocolate melts on your tongue.

Its creation is fairly peaceful, too. This fudge is super easy. It comes together in just a few minutes if you use your microwave.

Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge

You can find cans of dulce de leche by the sweetened condensed milk in the grocery store, or on the Hispanic foods aisle. You can also caramelize a can of sweetened condensed milk to make it yourself.

I used bittersweet chocolate for the top layer. I’m not a bitter or dark chocolate sort, but it really works well here with the mild sweetness of the fudge. And the salt—the salt is essential. Coarse salt is nice because it keeps in crystals on the top—I really recommend pretzel salt, if you have it around.

Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge

However you tweak the recipe, know that the end result will love you, and you will love it, and all will be right in the world for about twenty-two seconds. Until you eat more fudge.

Modified from Easy Salted Caramel Fudge at Something Swanky, with my version originally posted at the Holy Taco Church.

Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge

This microwave fudge comes together in minutes for a treat that is sweet and indulgent. Store it in the fridge for as long as a week!
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chocolate, no bake, quick fudge
Author: Beth Cato


  • 13 - 14 ounce Dulce de Leche can
  • 3 cups white chocolate chips or white candy melts
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips or bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 - 2 pinches coarse salt pretzel salt or kosher


  • Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with foil or parchment. Apply non-stick cooking spray. Measure out the two kinds of chocolate, separately, and open the can.
  • Over low heat in the microwave or on the stovetop, melt the white chocolate. Once it is smooth and completely melted, mix in the dulce de leche and a pinch of salt. Stir until the color is consistent. It will be very thick.
  • Glop it into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top with a rubber or offset spatula.
  • Melt the darker chocolate morsels in the microwave; 30 seconds, stir, then another 20-30 seconds should do it. Pour the melted chocolate over the fudge. Even it out with your trusty spatula. Sprinkle salt over the top.
  • Let it cool completely on the counter or in the fridge for 3-4 hours, until it's set. The chocolate top will likely crackle some as you cut it, but that's okay. It makes tasty crumbs. Cut into small squares.
  • Leftovers will keep sealed in fridge for upwards of a week.


Bready or Not: Salted Dulce de Leche Fudge


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Sunday Quote lives in hell (aka summertime in Arizona)

Posted by on Jul 24, 2016 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote lives in hell (aka summertime in Arizona)

“A good editor tries to figure out what the writer was trying to do, and helps him or her do it better, rather than trying to change the book into something else entirely. A good editor doesn’t insist, or make changes without permission. Ultimately a writer lives or dies by his words, and he must always have the last word if his work is to retain its integrity.”
~ George R.R. Martin

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Breath of Earth: Real San Francisco Film Footage, Before and After 1906 Quake

Posted by on Jul 23, 2016 in Blog, breath of earth | Comments Off on Breath of Earth: Real San Francisco Film Footage, Before and After 1906 Quake

This post kicks off a series on the research and worldbuilding for my new book Breath of Earth. There is no avoiding the fact that a major earthquake happens in the book, but the cause is quite different. That said, I still intensively researched the actual earthquake. These are some of the interesting historical tidbits I discovered along the way.

Countdown to Breath of Earth‘s release: ONE MONTH FROM TODAY.

As a native Californian, I grew up with earthquakes. I have seen major devastation firsthand. That’s why I have been drawn to reading about the 1906 quake since I was a kid. I felt the 1989 Bay Area earthquake from some 200 miles away. It made the news footage of that distant destruction all the more eerie and personal.

That, however, was on a small scale compared to what happened in 1906. Below are two films in stark contrast. One is a somewhat posed scene following a mile of Market Street in 1905. The other is footage right after the earthquake in April 1906. These are images I kept in mind as I tried to recapture the horror of what happened 110 years ago.





Breath of Earth



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