Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taciturn Ghosts and Markhat Release news!

Midway Cemetery, 2014
After capturing a loud EVP incident last week (listen to it here if you missed that blog entry), I returned to the same tiny cemetery yesterday, to see if anyone still felt like talking.

Armor-All the fearless armadillo was there, happily scooting about for tasty grubs. He was a bit more wary than before, though, and he waddled into the woods before I could get a good photo of him.

I spent 22 minutes among the headstones. I also took over a hundred photos, in case any of the spooks felt frisky. Of all those photos, I saw one unusual effect, which is show below:

See that squashed rainbow object at the lower right corner?

I've seen similar images touted as evidence of the paranormal. Sadly, I'm sure this is nothing but sloppy camera work.

Look how the shadows of the headstones fall. It's obvious the sun is off to the left of the image. Which means a ray of bright sunlight entered my lens and caused the prismatic rainbow effect, putting it opposite the bright light source. Nothing paranormal about this.

I did capture a single very faint sound that might be a voice. I'm on the fence about this one, because it is so faint. But listen for yourself (I put a link a few paragraphs below).

In the rear of the cemetery is a tall marble marker for a Mrs. Mollie Boone. I put my Zoom mic atop her marker and left it there for a while. Here's the mic atop the marker. Oh, and that fuzzy bit atop the microphone is a windscreen. 

The maybe-voice occurs around the ten minute mark on the full recording. I remark that the cemetery is peaceful, retrieve the mic, and walk away. As I am walking, I recorded a single very faint sound which sounds like a male saying 'hey.'

It's so faint I've amplified and looped it below:

Hey looped.

Like I said, I'm on the fence with this one. Could be a voice, could be a lot of other things, I suppose.

If you want to slog through the entire 22 minute recording, be my guest. The link is below.

Entire cemetery visit.

I have most of the components for a new ghost-hunting tool I've never seen built before. Hopefully next week I'll have photos of the completed device, or at least the smoking ruin of the prototype. Should be fun either way.

Meralda and Mug Update

Have I made progress on the new Mug and Meralda novel?

Yes. Yes I have. Fans of the first book, All the Paths of Shadow, will be happy to know that (gasp) Meralda and Mug have left the Royal Laboratory and indeed all of Tirlin. 

All the Paths of Shadow was written to be a sort of anti-quest fantasy novel. Look, I don't have anything at all against quest books. Loved The Lord of the Rings. Heck, I even enjoyed the Shannara books, when I was a kid. There's something innately exciting about a band of misfit adventurers slogging across the landscape in an effort to save the world.

But I'd seen so many quest novels. What about writing a protagonist who likes to sleep in her own bed, likes her morning coffee just so, and has no desire to drive across town, much less sleep in the mud?

That's Meralda. She just wants to be left alone, so she can do her research from morning till night. Of course that's not how her life is turning out, but if I was nice to my protagonists the books would be too boring to bother reading.

I'm trying another new thing with this book by including excerpts from Mug's private journal between chapters. Since this is his private journal, he's even more outspoken in these excerpts than he is in public. I'm waiting until the book is complete to see if these journal entries add or detract from the overall reading experience. So far I think they add a good bit of humor, and yes Mug can write using his vines to hold the pen.

I would post an excerpt here but there's no way I can do that without including half a dozen spoilers. 

I will say this book is a much faster-paced entry than All the Paths of Shadow. Sea monsters may be involved. And storms. And we may finally learn why the Vonats are so dead set against -- well, everything.

The Five Faces

Love this cover!

Good news! The Five Faces is now up for pre-order on Amazon. If you have a Kindle (or the free Kindle app), you can order your copy now and have it delivered to your device on June 17.

I'm really excited about this book. I believe you'll like it too.

In case I have any readers new to the series, there are 8 Markhat titles for you to choose from. I'm often asked what order they are best read in, so here's what I suggest:

Note that it really doesn't matter what order you read the first three tales in. Any order is fine, really.

Dead Man's Rain is set in a haunted mansion. Markhat doesn't believe in haints, haunts, and bumps in the night, but he does believe in greedy relatives and he's not one to turn down a hefty fee. But Markhat soon learns that the horrors lurking in House Merlat might just be all too real. As Mama Hog observes, 'sometimes good and dead ain't good enough.'

The Cadaver Client finds Markhat in the hire of a remorseful ghost, who communicates with him through a little old lady who claims to speak to the dead. The ghost wants his living wife to have a sum of money, but it seems even the dead have more lies to tell than truth.

The Mister Trophy sets Markhat against the deranged head of one of Rannit's Dark Houses. Three mighty Troll warriors hire Markhat to find their cousin's head, which went missing during the War that almost wiped out humanity. Markhat finds the Troll head, but bringing it home to his clients may be a war in itself.

Those are the first three Markhat adventures. They are available only in ebook form individually, but if you prefer print books you can get the print anthology The Markhat Files, which contains all three!

I suggest reading the rest of the books in the order below. Note that each of the following books is available as an ebook or a printed book.

8) The Five Faces (available June 17, 2014)

Hold the Dark introduces new characters and conflicts, and sets a story arc that continues through The Banshee's Walk, The Broken Bell, Brown River Queen, and The Five Faces. 

The tone of the Markhat series is a little bit Raymond Chandler and a little bit Nero Wolfe. Markhat lives and works in a city called Rannit, which houses some 600,000 souls. Rannit isn't on Earth; I created a new world for the series, which they call simply 'the world.' 

Think 1930s Chicago, with vampires called halfdead holding most of the money and Ogres doing the heavy lifting. Rannites have ironworks, gas lamps, cannon, and gunpowder. Markhat is an Army vet who earns a living as a 'finder,' which is what we would call a private eye. If you've lost someone, or something, Markhat will search it out for you. For a price, of course. A man has to eat.

What Markhat mainly finds is trouble, of course. Bad trouble, because the bigger the problem, the better the book.

If you'd like to check out all my books, click below. You'll see covers and links to various purchasing options, because I'm A) helpful and B) avaricious. 

Frank's Books

That's the cover for Brown River Queen, which is set aboard a lavish gambling riverboat. The Queen's maiden voyage doesn't go entirely as planned...


It's nearly March, and that can mean only one thing -- MidSouthCon!

This year's Con will be MidSouthCon32.  I love MidSouthCon -- it's large enough to attract some fascinating folks, and small enough to meet them.

For instance, here's the gang from Expedition Unknown, the Mid-South's premiere paranormal investigators. They have a website, and a YouTube channel featuring some of their best paranormal evidence. You should check out the YouTube channel -- the EVPs are fascinating.

And of course there are the cosplayers!

This year, Brown River Queen is up for a Darrell Award for best novel. I'm up against some stiff competition, so wish Markhat good luck!

I'm also being inducted into the Coger Hall of Fame, which is based on a body of work and not any single title. The judges cited my short stories and short story anthologies Saving the SammiWistril Compleat, On the Road, The Far Corners, and Passing the Narrows as the basis for my induction, and I'm honored and very proud of being included in the Hall of Fame. 

So, if you're planning on being at MidSouthCon this year, look for me -- I'll be the guy grinning like a fool!

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