And the world moved on ... Los Nefilim

I don't have a lot of clear memories from my childhood, but there are a few, and some of my best memories are the days, especially the nights, that I would spend with my grandmother. My grandparents had a farmhouse that they heated with a wood stove even though the rest of the house was wired for electricity. I remember snuggling down under a mountain of quilts with my grandmother beside me, and she would answer my hundreds of questions, or just listen to me talk.

The cool thing about Grandma was that she answered me like I was an adult; I always knew she would give it to me straight. She never told me to be quiet, or to not be so bossy, or any of the other things adults said to me when I was a child.

On one of those many evenings that we shared, she and I were in bed at my parents' house. I remember being so happy, and on that particular evening, I felt exceptionally safe and secure. I told her I hoped nothing ever changed. To my surprise, she laughed and said that everything changes, nothing stays the same forever, and that I needed to learn to change with the world around me.

To her surprise, I burst into tears, because I wanted to be six years old forever, and I wanted my grandmother to live forever, and of course, I wanted to feel safe forever. The thought of the world changing terrified me. The concept seemed unstable. Why change? Why disrupt happiness?

What I didn't understand then was I wanted the feeling of safety to last forever, not for the world to stay the same. But I was six, and as a child, I thought like a child, and my grandmother, well, she was so much wiser than me.

Nothing stays the same. In spite of our desires to freeze-frame life, the world moves on. Attitudes change, perceptions change, people change, and unlike the six year old child that I was, I now embrace change, even when it frightens me.

As I grew up and began to read, I happened upon R.A. MacAvoy's brilliant Damiano series in A Trio for Lute. Damiano is a witch, who loves his little town and his life there. When an army marches on his city, he takes it upon himself to make a deal with Satan, because Damiano wants to preserve his hometown exactly the way it is. Satan argues against the deal at first, telling Damiano that if his town doesn't experience privation and war, the city will likewise become stagnant and die. The devil's argument is that adversity leads to growth, a polemic that Damiano ultimately rejects, persisting in his desire to save the town.

As a condition of his bargain, Damiano is forced to leave his hometown, never to return, and by leaving, by experiencing the very change and adversity that he doesn't want to visit on his town, Damiano grows wiser and more worldly. In regards to the town: Satan was right. The world moved on, but the town did not. Peel back the layers of those three novels, there are metaphors there, the kind that I love.

As I became older and discovered adversity and grew through my pain, I began to truly understand my grandmother's wisdom. Everything changes. Nothing stays the same forever. The world moves on.

Not wanting to be left behind in the changing world, I learned to travel through books. Likewise, I write about people and cultures so that I might research them and gain a better understanding of the world in which I live.

In the process of trying to comprehend this ever evolving world, I wrote a novel, it didn't sell, and at the time I was very frustrated by that particular turn of events, but now, in hindsight, I am glad. In spite of all my research and numerous attempts to avoid tropes about gay men, I accidentally wrote those very tropes into that story without realizing it. If I get a chance to re-do the novel, I will, and I will do it differently.

The world moved on, and I listened and I learned.

However, I was so pleased with the characters from that novel, I wanted to resurrect them in a different way. The loveliest thing about embracing change means we get second chances, or as Diago likes to say, "Our incarnations change us."

When you read Los Nefilim, you see those characters, Diago, Miquel, and Guillermo, in a new form.

It's no longer Guillermo's story--I don't think it ever was. Diago Alvarez is my protagonist, and Diago is gay, so is Miquel. With these stories, I wanted to reverse the negative stereotypes of gay men that I had read about or seen on film. For a long time, these perverse images were all that were available and colored people's perceptions: the gay man always on the prowl for sex, or the prancing effeminate male, or the man dying of AIDS. Each of these stereotypes indicated that living as a gay man had terrible consequences. The not-so-subliminal message is that to be true to one's sexuality risks unhappiness, ridicule, and death.

Yet I knew gay men who lived happy fulfilled lives with caring partners. When I write about Diago's and Miquel's relationship, I am showing you what I have seen in my friends. Two men who love one another and are trying to work through life's everyday difficulties while remaining true to themselves.

You know, just like any other couple.

Well. There are a few differences ...

Welcome to Los Nefilim where Diago's world is changing around him, and he is struggling to keep up. He isn't entirely comfortable with his sexuality, but he has something very important in his life: close friends who love and accept him for who he is, not who he sleeps with, and a loving understanding partner, who wants nothing more than to protect him. It is love and acceptance that sustains a person through even the most violent changes, and in these opening novellas, Diago experiences quite a few of those, but he keeps getting up, a little taller each time, because adversity gives him the impetus to grow emotionally.

Collected together for the first time, the three novellas—In Midnight’s SilenceWithout Light or Guide, and The Second Death—brings to life the world of Los Nefilim, Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. In 1931, Los Nefilim’s existence is shaken by the preternatural forces commanding them … and a half-breed caught in-between.

Diago Alvarez, a singular being of daimonic and angelic descent, is pulled into the ranks of Los Nefilim in order to protect his newly-found son. As an angelic war brews in the numinous realms, and Spain marches closer to civil war, the destiny of two worlds hangs on Diago’s actions. Yet it is the combined fates of his lover, Miquel, and his young son, Rafael, that weighs most heavily on his soul.

You see, the world moved on, and I listened and I learned, and when the opportunity arose to make critical changes to the story, I grabbed the chance. These novellas were an absolute joy to write. I hope you enjoy them half as much as I loved working on them.

Whether everyone is ready for a protagonist like Diago or not is still up in the air, but let me tell you something, I have no regrets.

The world moves on, and I listen and I learn, and I hope I never stop.



A new series, Hugos, Los Nefilim review, & a Giveaway at Amazon

In case you missed it over the weekend, I've started a new series called Sunday Snippets. Based on a newsletter poll, people said they wanted more Los Nefilim vignettes, cut scenes, and backstory. I posted the first one in the series yesterday with Solomon Dying, Guillermo Awakening.

A few people have asked me about Hugo nominations for the novella category. They've noticed that both In Midnight's Silence: Los Nefilim Part 1 and Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim Part 2 were published in 2015. If you are new to the series, or if you only have time to read one prior to the deadline to Hugo nominations, I suggest you begin with In Midnight's Silence.

On the fence as to whether or not the series is for you? Check out the Los Nefilim review at Fantasy Faction. A.F.E. Smith gives a comprehensive review of the entire series.

If you haven't had a chance to read either In Midnight's Silence or Without Light or Guide, I am running a giveaway at Unfortunately, Amazon only allows giveaways for the U.S. entries at this time, so this is only open to those in the U.S.

Just go click the links below to go to the contest:

In Midnight's Silence

Without Light or Guide

When the Amazon package drops down, click on it. You will immediately know whether or not you win. Instant gratification ... we all love it.

For those outside the U.S.: never fear, I'll be running other giveaways as we draw closer to The Second Death, and I will have COMPLETE control, so some of those giveaways will be worldwide.

I'll be writing blog posts for other folks during the rest of this week in preparation for the coming of The Second Death, the exciting conclusion to this portion of the Los Nefilim series. So stay tuned for more ...

Where I've been and what I've been doing ... 2015

I've been leaving you in the capable hands of some guest posts over the last few weeks, and while it seems like I've been neglecting the home front, I've had a lot going on in the background:

I finished up the third Los Nefilim novella, The Second Death: Los Nefilim, Part 3, and turned it over to my editor.


Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim, Part 2 is kicking along strong. I've had some interesting reviews, my favorite of which includes a recipe. Deb at Kahakai Kitchen reviewed the novella and gave out an awesome recipe for Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas). I think she liked the novella, too.

No recipe, but at You Can Read Me Anything, Without Light or Guide is called "a great story; so much is packed into its brief page count that you’ll never believe that you read a little over a hundred pages and got an entire tale out of the experience."

Dreams, Etc. says that Without Light or Guide has the "perfect level of creepiness."

Blog Posts:

Over at Fantasy Book Cafe, I talk about Angels, Daimons, and Los Nefilim. I had a load of fun writing this post where I talk about skunks, guardian angels, and my somewhat warped childhood.

Auston Habershaw graciously gave me some space on his blog to talk about why I like my Super Heroes to bleed just a little.

Michael R. Fletcher gave me some space to rant on the attitude: WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' ROMANCE at his blog. The post spawned a super discussion on r/fantasy at Reddit, as well. [Let me pause here and compliment all of the moderators at r/fantasy for working so hard to make r/fantasy such a safe place for discussions like these. Give them a shout-out when you can. They have busted trollish behavior until the r/fantasy forum is an excellent place to hang out online. The romance discussion enlightened me as to how some of the fans think, because everyone stated their position with the utmost respect for one another. I appreciate any forum that exhibits that kind of dialogue. Great job, guys, carry on ...]

So what's next?

I'm working on a synopsis and the first three chapters of a new novel, which feels very Gothic in tone. I am having a great deal of fun with it.

After the holidays, I'll have more blog posts coming live at you. Some of you have specifically requested blog posts--don't let me forget you.

No matter how much I tried to dissuade him with my hearing issues and the technological obstacles we must surmount, Rob Matheny is determined that we will put together a podcast for you. So with a little luck, you might get to hear me swear at you on a future Grim Tidings Podcast. I hope so. I like swearing at you.

Meanwhile, things might get quiet around here for a few days. It's been a very hard year for me. I was on several tight deadlines--all of my own making--and I will pace myself better in the coming year. Essentially in 2015, when I wasn't writing, I was writing. It was a busy year:

I've had two novellas published by Harper Voyager Impulse (In Midnight's Silence was written at the end of 2014), and I wrote two more novellas in one year, promoting them all to the best of my ability.

I joined The Supernatural Underground this year and will post once a month on the 30th of each month. I will be talking more about writing over there rather than my usual ranting, which I will keep right here.

I updated my Bibliography page so that it includes some of my more popular non-fiction posts. I even had a post published at this year.

It was a summer of health scares and mad travel, but everything eventually turned out all right. Our lives have finally settled back into our routines, and I am trying to remember how to relax again.

Relaxing is always difficult for me, especially when I've been going full-tilt boogie for a year straight. I have to come down off the work routine slowly and begin to integrate quiet days back into my life. My beautiful daughter helps me by inviting me over to her house for tea.

I have a stack of about fifteen to-read books, and I am looking forward to delving into some of the ones that I have saved for when I have the time to fully enjoy them. I will most likely review a few of them here on my blog when I finish them.

I'll also still be promoting Without Light or Guide and the forthcoming The Second Death. I might even think up a title for the work in progress.

And that is where I have been and what I have been doing. What about you? If you care to, drop a comment and let me know what's been going on with you. I try to keep up on Twitter and Facebook, but I still lose some of you from time to time.

If we haven't touched base lately, let me take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays and a lovely new year.

Things that are happening right now ... Labyrinth of Flame, Group AMAs, excerpts & reviews

All week this week, r/Fantasy will be running group AMAs with a host of your favorite fantasy authors. Today, I join Anne Leckie, Janny Wurts, Michael J Sullivan, Shawn Speakman, Holly Black, Emma Newman, and Brian McClellan in a group AMA where you can ask us ANYTHING.

While you're there, think about giving to Pat Rothfuss' Worldbuilders. Today (Tuesday, December 1, 2015), all donations through Worldbuilders will be matched by Patrick Rothfuss AND Heifer International will match that amount towards their work in Haiti. So, if you are so inclined, give a $1 and watch it grow.


Courtney Schafer's third novel, THE LABYRINTH OF FLAME, is out in ebook today! 

If you haven't already checked out the Shattered Sigil series, you really should give it a go. It has adventure, mountain climbing, and a really cool twist on demons. Strong characters and plot will leave you wanting to sit down and read all three novels back to back.

You can read an excerpt from WITHOUT LIGHT OR GUIDE at Bishop O'Connell's blog! While you're over there, say hi to Bishop and check out his American Faerie Tales. Bishop will be stopping here soon to talk about his series, so stay tuned.

Over at The Supernatural Underground, I tell you to Step Away From That Manuscript -- After #NaNoWriMo.

The first review for Without Light or Guide from the TLC Book Tour is live! Kelly Woodward reviews Without Light or Guide at You Can Read Me Anything. For those of you who are hesitant to pick up a sequel without having read the first novella, please give this review a read.

I was really very glad that someone who had not read the first novella reviewed Without Light or Guide. It is incredibly difficult to make the second story in a series stand alone.

So that is it for now. I'll be back with another round-up later this week.

A Round-up of Los Nefilim, Grimdarkness, and the Spanish Civil War

For those that missed the ten thousand tweets, Facebook posts, and other mayhem ...

This was launch week for Without Light or Guide, Part 2 of Los Nefilim. I've been talking a lot about the novella, and the series. I posted one round-up on Monday, which you can find here.

Since then, Without Light or Guide has had a lovely review from Joel at the Total Inability to Connect.

Blog posts:

Is it Grimdark, or is it Horror? was my attempt to suss through some of the issues I've had with the definition of grimdark. I have enjoyed reading the comments to this post, both on the website and on a separate thread on Reddit. I tried to stay out of the conversation for fear of influencing it. I wanted to read what other grimdark readers had to say about the topic, and they all made some excellent points.

What are Los Nefilim? was my attempt to answer some questions about the back-story of Los Nefilim.

A Primer for the Spanish Civil War is the companion piece to What are Los Nefilim? The primer is a very, very, VERY short history of the events that led up to the Spanish Civil War. I will also be working on a primer of the angelic hierarchies--a blog post for which I will soon be seeking a home.

I have some guest posts coming from Beth Cato and Michael R. Fletcher, so stay tuned for those!

And for now, I will be going silent until I finish the last two scenes of The Second Death, Part 3 of Los Nefilim. The first draft is always the hardest for me, and once I have finished, I will be back around with some thoughts on Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher, and a review of True Detective, Season 1.

Where I've been; what I'm reading; what I'm watching

Without Light or Guide will be here tomorrow!

*throws confetti*

Read Chapter 1 RIGHT HERE!

I've had a couple of blog posts about Los Nefilim go live recently:

A CONTEST! We all love contests: At r/Fantasy, I am running a contest just for Redditors. If you're in the community and want to enter, go here to find the details.

If you're still on the fence about whether Los Nefilim is worth your time or not, here are a few early reviews:

T.O. Munro: In "Without Light or Guide" Frohock continues to carve out a unique path for herself through the hinterland of horror with an digression towards fantasy.

Sense of Wonder:  The writing is beautiful, with a more serene prose and more profound and detailed descriptions, that help build a really evocative atmosphere.

Over the Effing Rainbow: Los Nefilim is so enticingly fresh that I can’t help loving it for that alone.

Bibliotropic [Personal note here: I'm sad and happy to see Ria stop reviewing books at Bibliotropic--sad, because she has really grown as a reviewer over the years, and I have enjoyed her reviews. I'm also very happy that she is now pursuing her own writing career. I hope you will join me in wishing her the absolute best of luck in all her future endeavors!]: Frohock’s storytelling shines as she tells a story of redemption and love and faith, all wrapped together with angels and demons and music and vivid history. It’s a series with a low level of investment and such a high payoff that if you enjoy any of those things, or just enjoy dark fantasy in general, then you’d be foolish to overlook it. Without Light or Guide is a brilliant follow-up to In Midnight’s Silence, hands down, and I’m already eagerly anticipating visiting all the characters again in the next installment.

The BiblioSanctum: Typical urban fantasy takes you to current American city streets, but here we walk alleys and roads and tunnels in Spain, with the Spanish Civil War looming on the horizon. We also have a a main protagonist who is older than usual, and an approach to magic that toys with your senses.

What I'm reading: Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher. Grimdark and, in some places, hysterically funny--okay, I have a weird sense of humor--Fletcher manages to take the reader into a world where madness is the road to godhood and belief creates reality.

I'll be reviewing this one for you when I'm done.

What I'm watching: True Detective, Season 1. I know most of you saw this when it first came out, but I had to wait for the DVDs. I have thoughts about this show that I might be sharing once I've finished it.

Read Chapter 1 of Without Light or Guide

Read Chapter 1 of Without Light or Guide

Chapter 1 of Without Light or Guide is now live. No password necessary.

Have a nibble before taking a bite. If you enjoyed In Midnight's Silence, then the adventure continues in Without Light or Guide. Diago Alvarez is now working hard to prove his loyalty to Los Nefilim, but there are many who do not trust his daimonic nature. All around him, events conspire that only fuel the other Nefilim’s suspicions--including the fact that every mortal Diago has known in Barcelona is being brutally murdered.

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hey ho, here we go ... just a spot of updates ...

hey ho, here we go ... just a spot of updates ...

Just a few things going on behind the scenes:

First up I join several other authors for a Mind Meld at the most excellent SF Signal on The Most Memorable Deaths in Science Fiction and Fantasy. That was a fun Mind Meld.

The next piece of news concerns the ebook Miserere, which is still on sale for $1.99 at most online retailers. How long this will last, I do not know, so if you haven't read it, and you want to read it, go out and get it, BUT ...

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