Tales of friendship, healing, death, forgiveness, family, love, redemption, and faith--with generous helpings of aliens, amphibians, reptiles, magic, and visions; a shot of biological enhancements; a dash of dragon folklore; a vampire, an artist, and a time travelling physician.
These eight stories were written over a span of years. Even so, there are common threads throughout; the mention of reptiles and amphibians for one, for which I've always had an affection. As one of my wife's friends once said, "It takes a special person to love a reptile." There are also elements of art in several of the stories. I've come to realize it's more than a hobby. Art is integral to who I am and shows up naturally whether I'm writing, conversing, or alone with my thoughts. In fact, two of the stories end in similar fashion as the protagonist embraces art in a symbolic act of renewal and acceptance.
Recurring themes of love, faith, and forgiveness also permeate the tales. However, these often come after intense personal struggle and following an unresolved loss or recent tragedy. You know, the way it often happens in real life.
The stories are also, for the most part, solidly grounded in the genres of Science Fiction or Fantasy, or a mixture of both. There is one exception in the case of "A Key Turning", but that one has salamanders and alligators in it and has the swamp as a setting. So I included it anyway. Besides, it's one of my favorites and was the first time I actually got paid for my fiction. (More on that after you read it.)
As many of my readers know, I'm a Christian, and my worldview is reflected in much of what I write. However, though the persons of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are mentioned (and even Mary in one story - though I, personally, am not Catholic), they are used in relation to the characters and do not take center stage. But they do influence my tales in a very real and personal way. I try to refrain from preaching, but may slip a time or two - mostly in regards to conservation and the environment, as I believe Christians should be more concerned with these things than what I typically see, since we are clearly given stewardship over God's creation.
That said, not many of the characters in these tales are squeaky clean. And in the case of Darvin Macallough, he uses what some folks would consider 'salty' language. It's not excessive, but it's there. He's also drunk at the time. There are also mildly risqué elements in the story "Waking the third eye". Mostly the mention of body parts. For all of the above, I can only suggest that it's no more graphic than what you'll find in the movies, possibly your own speech, and even the Bible in certain passages and with accurate translation. (And as I repeatedly tell my sons, you can curse someone without ever using a 'cuss' word. Intent and context is everything.) But when I look at the people Jesus chose to be his disciples I think, "Yeah, he'd pick someone like my character Darvin." After all, he even picked me.
At the end of each tale is a "story behind the story" section. An afterword of sorts. Please feel free to skip these if you want. There are interesting facts in a few, some recommendations, and even some links if you're curious and click-happy. But please DON'T read them first, as they often contain spoilers about the stories they describe.
All right, I've rambled long enough. Get on into these tales and have fun. Doesn't matter where you start...well, actually start at the beginning of a story and then read on through to its end. But read them in whatever order you'd like; that's what I meant. Just don't get lost.
Or maybe do get lost, at least for a little while. These are detours after all. A bit off the main path, and the surroundings may get a little strange and unfamiliar, but they'll get you where you need to go, eventually. In my experience detours often ARE the way, but in disguise. And they make for a much more interesting trip.