The Writing of The Shadow of Oz, and How it Nearly Killed Me. Or… Heaven and Hell and everywhere in between.

I’ve never been very good about blogging. I prefer speaking to writing in this case, which is very odd considering I’m an author, but I truly had a good reason to not have blogged in a while. The last 9 months have been the most up and down rollercoaster of my life, but it led to a very happy place and the writing of what I think might be my best piece of work yet, The Shadow of Oz–a dark twisted retelling of the Wizard of Oz, but I’m getting ahead of myself. How did I get it written? Well…

It all started when the girl who I made vows to spend the rest of my life with decided to leave me for a guy she met at CHURCH. AT CHURCH! That is possibly the greatest ‘what the fuck, god?’ moment I have ever had. She eventually told me how she knew we were never meant to be together, which broke my heart, not because of her, but because of the three beautiful children she had that knew me as their only father. I tried to work with her, even went out of my way doing things making sure that my daughters (and they ARE my daughters, I don’t care what DNA says) were taken care of. Those three were my angels. I rocked them when they were sick. I kissed booboos. I was there for nightmares, wetting the bed, and just all around needing loved and cuddled. I got to be a daddy and I loved it, but because said ex-girlfriend kept breaking her promises to me, it led to her pulling all contact from the children from me and there’s nothing legally I can do, because being an ex-boyfriend gives me zero rights, no matter how the scene was set and how we lived. Needless to say, it shattered me.

I’m going to open up here and maybe give away too much information, but I have suffered and fought with depression since I was 8 years old. I am a survivor of multiple suicide attempts. It was a monster I thought I had beaten, but having my daughters taken from me brought me back to the darkness. I was falling to pieces, considering options I shouldn’t have and making attempts to get my last affairs in order. Then, fate stepped in.

I had a date with a girl where I got stood up. It seemed about right for the way life was treating me lately. So I called an ex-girlfriend of mine, thinking she’d get a good laugh out of it. Well, come to find out I was only about an hour away from seeing her. I hadn’t seen her in nearly six years. This was the best decision of my life. I met her for lunch and the minute I saw her smile, I was hooked. Just like that. Like the old fights didn’t matter, the break up didn’t matter, all I wanted was to see her again. So, we decided to give it one more try.

Okay, so how does Oz work into this? Well, Oz was meant to be part of a box set. I signed on to doing it somewhere between the “banging a dude at church” and “you can never see your kids again.” Made it nearly impossible to think, but I wanted in this box set. I wanted to take that chance and go for being a best seller.

The muse started working again, and Dorothy’s demented story began to come to me… and that’s when I had the craziest 24 hours of my life. While visiting my beloved, her roommate decides “it’s time to die,” and proceeds to try and hang himself with a belt. Yea, what the fuck indeed. Police get called. Police chase crazy man through woods. Man gets away. By the time this finally finished, it was 4 am. What a night! But it wasn’t over yet. I then get a call from a long-time friend who got himself so sleep deprived from talking to a girl he met online that he fell for, that he had a full snap from reality and threatened to murder me. Not even like, “I’m gonna kill you,” but “I am not afraid of prison, I will put you in the ground for reals kill you/kill you.” Yea, blindsided.

So I end up moving in with my Faith into a room that you could stretch across and touch either wall. It was tight, it was cramped, and it forced us to move in together well before we were ready to do it. All this, while a deadline breathed down my neck.

Luckily, found an apartment that we fell in love with and was out of there in about a month. Now, for 3 weeks we were sleeping on couches and loveseats b/c that’s all we had, but I kept plugging along at the book what I could. When I finally got a proper work space to operate in, I had a month to write a novel more or less. It took me to the very last minute, but i finished.

But there’s even more to this story than that. You see, “Shadow” is a name that is very dear to me. One of my best friends was named  Jessi, and my nickname for her was Shadow (which she spelled Shadeau). We helped each other through so much. I know I talked her down off a lege a dozen times and she talked me down at least that or more. I literally would not be here without her, and a few years ago she ended her life. She was the first dreamer I truly loved. We both wanted to be writers. She never got to see me accomplish my dream. The Shadow of Oz is dedicated to Jessi, and, in many ways, Dorothy IS Jessi. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being gone. Now she can live forever in the pages of a book. I love you, Jess. Wacka-chicka sauce, bitch!

And as for my beloved, Faith, I was alway meant to be with you. Glad we finally realized it. I love you so much. Thank you for your support.

If you’d like to check out “The Shadow of Oz,” you can do it here: viewbook.at/shadowofoz

It’s got dragons, witches, necromancy, revenge, murder, madness… everything Jess would have loved.

Keep your chins up, people. heads on high!

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So hey, what’s this “Talon” thing about?

Long ago, before Underworld, before the blasphemy of Twilight, I started a Vampire novel. It wasn’t really meant to be a novel, but let’s not split hairs. I started writing Talon, which had (and still does) have a much deeper meaning to me than first appearances. I took the Vampire trope and rewrote it to be the way *I* wanted it to be.

Crosses? Ha. Only if properly blessed, so that little trinket you bought at Wal-mart won’t help you. Bibles. Again, only if properly blessed. Garlic? Best served on bread and served with spaghetti. Need an invitation to your house? Hardly. Vamps will walk right on in. Daylight? Yea, it weakens them a bit so they try to limit their time out in it, but explode? Naw. That’s Hollywood bullshit. Stakes through the heart? Hurts but won’t kill. Going to high school and sparkling? Get the fuck out of here.

Vampires aren’t soulless Demons. They also don’t tend to be broody melancholic creatures who would fit in at an emo gathering. They can run the full gambit of emotions, but the blood that gave them immortality has corrupted them. It brings out the worst in each of them. So yes, they tend to be brutal, even sadistic monsters–all the worst of mankind’s emotions walking around with an insatiable thirst. But, under the right circumstances, they can be much more than that. And that’s where I found Nicky.

Nicky is definitely an Alpha-predator. He’s not only been trained to be sadistic and cruel, part of him takes great pleasure in it. He never wanted to be a hero. He never asked to be saved. He knows what he’s done is wrong. He knows a lot of the thing he *continues* to do is wrong. He sees himself as unworthy, already damned, case closed, shut the book, game over, man–game over. I think this is where Nicky and my souls overlap just a little bit.

As a person who has done some bad things in his life (nothing like Nicky mind you), I have felt that “I’m already damned.” feeling. I never asked for redemption. I never felt I was worthy of it, but through chance, or destiny, I ended up on a better road than I was one. Like Nicky, I was given the chance to atone for my sins. Nicky’s story, while brutal, vulgar, full of violence and foul language–in the end this saga is truly about being redeemed and God using the worst of us for good if we’ll just take that chance.

The Talon series, despite being so many things that would turn most Christians off, actually has a strong Christian undertone that comes out over the course of many books. You see Angels, Devils, Demons, Lucifer, and even God himself hiding in plain sight in this series. It’s an action/adventure full of blood, gore, and violence. But there’s also a love story and the question of “How far would you go to protect someone you loved?” I can’t classify this series as any one thing. Is it dark fantasy? Yes. Is it action/adventure? Yes. Is there a touch of paranormal romance in there? Yes. It is blood and gore and violence and beauty and ecstasy and chaos. It’s a beautiful chaos. There’s something for everyone in this series. It’s my great symphony, my Bohemian Rhapsody, my attempt to leave a mark on the world.

So, what is Talon about? It’s about everything and everyone. It’s the Alpha and the Omega. It’s the hope that even washed up, battered, broken and twisted people can find some peace in the world. Now bring on the Demons. Nicky has some ass to kick.

What’s going on? LOTS!

Been a minute since I updated, so forgive me. Let’s do some news reveals!

APRIL SECOND: A release party will be held for Alabama: Nightmares & Urban Legends on Facebook. The party starts at 2pm – 7 pm Central Standard Time. We have some free goodies and e copies in books up for grabs so come spend the day with me. You can find the event HERE.

April 9th: My first book signing! If you happen to be in the Walker County area, come to the Jasper public library between 2-4 pm Central Standard Time. I will have autographed copies of The Rise of UMBRA and Alabama: Nightmares & Urban Legends for sale. I will also have 11 x 17 framed posters of the book covers for sale at $25. UMBRA will be $15, Alabama: Nightmares & Urban Legends will be $20. You can find the library’s facebook page HERE.

July 22: Talon: The Spider’s Web is finally coming out! Everyone’s favorite fanged Alabama resident makes his formal debut. Five Points South, Smith Lake, Homewood–a whole bunch of local places get featured as this Vampire tears a bloody path through the state. You don’t have to be an Alabama resident to enjoy this dark fantasy adventure. Get ready…it’s almost time!

I am openly working on The Rise of UMBRA sequel while waiting on Talon’s edits. I have tons going on. Keep coming back. I promise to be more active.

The Rise of UMBRA: Get it HERE.

Alabama: Nightmares & Urban Legends: Get it HERE FOR KINDLE and HERE IN PAPERBACK.

Burning Willow Press: Find their awesomeness RIGHT HERE.

NEW ANTHOLOGY RELEASE THIS MARCH: Death & Pestilence featuring my story “The Board.” Find it HERE.

A message from Nicholas “Talon” Watson

So yea, life was peachy-fucking-keen. Sure, I was alone…and a murderer. Yea, guess I shouldn’t leave that part out, huh? Well, what the fuck do you expect? I’m a fucking Vampire. I drink blood. It’s what I fucking do. Everything was just fine, until I saw her.

If my heart still beat, it would have stopped. If I still breathed, it would have taken my breath away. It was like staring at a ghost. No, it was worse than that. This girl was real. She was right there in front of me. The strawberry blonde curls, the line of freckles running across the bridge of her nose, the same sad brown eyes—in every way imaginable, this girl looked just like my dead sister.

It wasn’t enough that she was dead. Oh, no. She had been murdered right in front of me along with my mother. I was seventeen at the time, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The Colony of Roanoke had itself a good ole fashioned fucking witch hunt, and my family was the victim.

I should have died that night. Shit, sometimes I wish I had died that night. But no, God and his sick fucking sense of humor had me live through it long enough to catch the attention of a Vampire named Tessa. She was beautiful—red hair and emerald green eyes. She looked like an Angel. Man, was I ever wrong about that.

As beautiful as she was, she was twice as ruthless. She taught me to kill. She taught me to relish in the suffering of others—and I did. I became the very hate that I despised. One by one, we killed them all. Well, all but Molly Hale. She was the daughter of the bastard who murdered my family, and I had loved her as a mortal. Tessa thought it fitting that I turn her. So I did. She became my Dark Bride. Together we slaughtered all who crossed our paths, and tortured for our own amusement. Others’ suffering became my bliss. Their agony became my release. Some flee from the darkness. I ran into it and let it consume me.

Four hundred years. Four hundred fucking years of death and mayhem, all ruined in a moment by the eyes of a stranger. I trembled. I remembered my humanity and I hated myself for it. I thought of my sister, frozen in the woods, tied to a fucking tree like some discarded piece of trash left to rot. The soul that I was sure had died oh so long ago twisted up in my belly until the agony of it set my mind on fire. Worse than any pain I had ever felt, it was like dying all over again—and I wept. Tears fell from my eyes, something that hadn’t happened in centuries. Suddenly, I wasn’t the monster I had become. I was that scared seventeen year old boy watching his sister die all over again.

And I shouted in my mind, “No! Fuck you, God! Not again! Not like this! Not here and not today! Not on my watch, old man. You’ve already taken everything from me. Would you really torture me like this again?”

Of course, there was no fucking answer—there never is, but I knew what I had to do. I could right the wrong. The monster could be the hero. Where I had failed, I could succeed. This poor girl, whoever she was, I would save her and atone for my sins. I would do this, for my sister Lizzie’s sake.

How could I have known that plucking this thread would unravel my entire world. Everything I knew, everything I was, everything I was meant to be would be turned on its head. The road it set me upon, there would be no turning back. There would be no stopping the avalanche once it started pouring down the mountain. No more cares. No more regrets. This is the path I’m on and I will ride it all the way either to the gates of Heaven or the pit of Hell. I care not which.

So, come for me, dark ones. I can hear you hiding in the shadows, whispering your foul threats and lies in my direction. If it’s my head you want, come and fucking take it. You say I’ve broken your rules. Fuck your rules. Fuck your petty aristocracy with your noses turned up in the fucking air. Fuck being bound by an authority I no longer recognize as my superior. I am my own man. I make my own rules. I am the Vampire Talon, and I will fucking destroy you.

–Nicholas “Talon” Watson

Talon: The Spider’s Web: 7/22/17 from Burning Willow Press

Autographed Copies of “The Rise of UMBRA” available.

The Rise of Umbra

Have you checked out “The Rise of UMBRA” yet? It’s a Sci Fi action/adventure story with shades of “Firefly” like humor. For a limited time, I am offering autographed copies for the price of $15. This will INCLUDE shipping (as long as you live within the continental U.S.) This is LESS than the book costs from Amazon after you add in shipping and handling AND you are getting it autographed. Each autograph will be personalized and I will also include 2 bookmarks, 1 autographed as a keepsake and another for you to use.

If interested, please email: jaymichaelbookoutauthor@gmail.com and put “UMBRA AUTOGRAPH COPY” in the subject. There’s a limited number of these so act fast.

Join my mail list, get the Talon prequel FOR FREE

Like free stuff? Like being kept up to date with book releases and crazy facts? Sign up for my mail list HERE and get Talon: The S.S. Trinity for #FREE as a thank you.

UMBRA sequel in the works!

Since “The Rise of UMBRA has been so successful, selling nearly 30 copies in just over a week, I immediately started working on the sequel. The title will be: UMBRA: The Nightmare Squadron. All your favorite characters are back facing an enemy that they know nothing about. Full of action, snarky wit, and all the things you loved about the first. So far, I’m three chapters in and closing in on 10k words! Stay tuned! UMBRA ain’t done yet!