Tag Archives: The Mussorgsky Riddle

The Mussorgsky Riddle Nominated for the 2016 Manly Wade Wellman Award


This Saturday, 16 Jul 2016, the announcement of the winner of the 2016 Manly Wade Wellman Award from the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation will be made. I am among the nominees with The Mussorgsky Riddle as well as good friend Gail Z. Martin with THREE different books nominated: War of Shadows, Iron & Blood, & Vendetta; traveling buddy John Hartness for Raising Hell and the talented Ursula Vernon for Castle Hangnail. I am excited just to have been nominated among such awesome and experienced authors and can’t wait for Saturday night where we can all celebrate the winner! Here’s a link to the press release.

BookMarks Movable Feast – 25 Jan 2015


Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of being one of the 22 featured authors at the 3rd Annual Bookmarks Movable Feast in Winston-Salem, NC. Basically “Speed Dating for Authors”, this event has authors moving from table to table filled with readers every 10 minutes so we could introduce them to our various books. There were authors from as far south as Florida and as far north as Vermont and they were a great group of folks to hang out with. I didn’t get to hear their pitches, but I’m sure it would have been a lot of fun to see what everyone else was doing.


Over the course of two hours, I had opportunity to meet with ten tables full of excited readers, two friends of mine from college, a lady who lives less than a mile from my mom and dad’s house (I’m a native Winston-Salemite), and some nice folks from the Greensboro Library system. Every presentation was a bit different, but the common denominator was that every group was so much fun and so gracious, even if paranormal thrillers weren’t necessarily their thing.


After the two hours, the readers were allowed to go to a table at the back where the author’s various books were on sale. I found several new readers at this event, and only regret I didn’t get to meet with the other half of the crowd. I did get to meet Debbie Harlee, the founder of Bookmarks, who kindly bought a copy of The Mussorgsky Riddle and plans to read before passing the book on to a friend who is a fan of the genre.


Afterward, the President of the Bookmarks Board, Charlie Lovett, himself an author, had all the authors who didn’t have to bust a move over to his house for a fantastic dinner and socializing. The man has the largest collection of Lewis Carroll / Alice in Wonderland books and paraphernalia that likely exists. We all had a great time enjoying some great soup and desserts while getting to know each other before we all had to return to the hotel, or in my case, drive back to Charlotte.

After all, today was a work day… 😉

I hope to do more with Bookmarks in the future. This was a fantastic event. If you’re reading this, maybe I’ll see you there next year!

Link to original Bookmarks Movable Feast announcement.

Link to the Winston-Salem Journal article on the event. If you watch the video, you may see someone familiar gesticulating wildly at Table 19 a little under a minute in. 😉

Link to the Bookmarks website.

Link to the Bookmarks Facebook page.

See you all at the next event!


Mussorgsky Mondays – My Writing Goals


When you decide to become a writer, you should know what it is you hope to accomplish at various points in your career. For years now, I have established that I have had three main goals that I wished to achieve with my writing.

1) I want to walk into a Barnes & Noble and see a book I wrote sitting on the shelf.

2) I want a complete stranger to walk up to me and say, “Hey, I liked your book.”

3) I want Neil Gaiman to read my book and think, “Hey, that wasn’t that bad.”

Do I have other goals? Of course.

Would I like to be famous? Not sure. Maybe author famous, but not paparazzi famous. I’ll leave that to the fine people on Jersey Shore.

Would I like to be a best seller? Of course. But mainly because that would hopefully mean a lot of people really liked what I wrote.

Would I like to be rich? Again, of course.  However, as I’ve read a thousand times, if you’re doing this for the money, you are delusional at best… You write because you love it. And because not writing is unacceptable.

So for now, I’m sticking with the big three.

#2 has come true, so to speak. I’ve already received some very kind and heartwarming reviews through my publisher and on Goodreads, and knowing that those people enjoyed the story is enough to keep me going for a long time.

As for #1, first I’d like to again thank the fine people at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC for hosting my Launch Party last Saturday. It was a huge success and I’m still touched and honored by all the friends, family, and others that came out to support me. You are who I write for and I hope to do you proud with this book and future projects. Here are some photos from the event (with more likely to follow):











After all was said and done, we sold 82 books that day, and again I am humbled and grateful for all the support. I left a few copies for the store before joining everyone over at Cantina 1511 and went back this week to find Scheherazade and Baba Yaga doing battle on the New Release shelf at Park Road Books!


But Goal #1 was to see the book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, right? Well, my friend Regis Murphy posted this picture yesterday from Barnes & Noble – Birkdale, just north of Charlotte.

MR at BN

Naturally, I had to see it for myself, so Erin and I drove up to Birkdale yesterday for some Sunday afternoon sushi and to peruse the shelves at B&N. Goal #1, marked off the list. Here are the photos:



The nice girl who took our picture turned around and bought the book after we walked away… 🙂IMG_2569

Now, Regis may or may not have had something to do with the fact that I made it into a Barnes & Noble, as he is currently an employee of that fine establishment, but I will take it.

And right below Neil Gaiman to boot!

So – Goals #1 and #2 are complete. As for Goal #3? Well.. Mr. Gaiman, let me know what you think! 😉


Yes Neil, I know, I know. I should be writing. But there’s still time for one last photo from a particularly awesome evening a few years back.


And with that, it’s back to Project: Recapture the Lightning.

Now, if only my new Stravinsky CD would hurry up and get here. Oh well, back to YouTube… 😉


Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle – Kat at Quill or Pill?


I met Kat de Falla through various writing channels online years ago, and though we’ve never met in person, it’s been good to catch up with her from time to time over the years. Just like I’m a doctor by day and novelist by day, Kat splits her time between practicing as pharmacist and exercising her writing muscles when she’s not engaging in medical derring do.

I asked her a couple months back if she’d be willing to review The Mussorgsky Riddle and what she posted today brought tears to my eyes.

I’m glad you loved the book so much, Kat, and will endeavor to knock your socks off with next one as well. All best!

Find Kat’s review here.

A Shout Out to We Geek Girls


As many of you know, I spent 14 hours on Facebook on Monday, 12 Jan 2015, running the Online Launch Party for my debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle. One of the guests that hung out for most of the day was my new friend, Candice Carpenter from We Geek Girls, a cool website that caters to all things geeky, especially books and authors. As I was finishing up doing research for the new book tonight (yesterday now), I saw that she had sent me a link to their blog. I followed the link and found that she has written a blog about her experience at the party yesterday as well as created a master list to many of the authors at the party she was able to meet.

A link to the blog is here.

Thanks to Candice for hanging with us most of Monday and for doing this. On Facebook, I plan to tag all the authors mentioned here so we can send some love in the direction of We Geek Girls as well. Candice is going to read 50 books this year, so let’s give her our support!

Candice, thanks for being a part of my big day! See you around the interwebz!


Mussorgsky Mondays: To Celebrate Launch Day, an Excerpt

MR Cover - Wrap - 6X9Final

After 10 months of patiently (and, at times, not so patiently) waiting, the day has arrived. 12 Jan 2015, the launch day for my debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle. A big thank you to everyone who has made this day possible: my agent, Stacey Donaghy; Eugene, Lisa, Nikki, Clare, Andrew, and the rest of the crew at Curiosity Quills Press: my critique group; and my friends and family both near and far.

The Launch Event two days ago at Park Road Books here in Charlotte, NC was successful beyond my wildest dreams and I’m really looking forward to the Facebook Online Launch Party from 9-11 today. Come one, come all for a chance to win one of three prizes: a copy of The Mussorgsky Riddle, a copy of Chronology: The 2015 Curiosity Quills Anthology, or a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate!

To celebrate, a excerpt from the beginning of Chapter III –

No sooner do the words leave my lips than the barrage of light and sound stops. The sudden silence is somehow worse. Before I can take a breath, a burst of brilliance like a thousand flashbulbs firing at once blinds me. With ears still ringing from the auditory onslaught, I rub at my eyes as my vision adjusts to the muted luminescence of another place entirely.

An enormous hallway stretches out before me, the sheer opulence of the space reminding me of pictures from the Louvre. The way before me is clear, though the passage to my rear is blocked by a pair of ten-foot high doors fashioned of dark oak. A lock the size of my head hangs between them. Won’t be leaving that way.

“Dios mío,” I mutter, channeling my mother.

If even God can hear me in this place.

Its walls alabaster white with mahogany trim, the hall’s hardwood floor is laid in an intricate herringbone parquet pattern of alternating oak and rosewood. Above my head, the vaulted ceiling is decorated with a fresco reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel’s, though the style of the painter appears far more Dalí than Michelangelo. Also, where David’s sculptor found his inspiration in the many stories of the Bible, the tortured images that fill the ceiling of this place are all stolen from classical mythology, the entire surface an anthropologist’s acid dream.

Directly above me, Leda’s rape by the Zeus-swan fills my vision. Just adjacent, the three Fates continue their eternal task of spinning, measuring and cutting the thread of life, the product of their work resolving into a misshapen infant’s umbilical cord. Prometheus, chained to the rock with the eagle’s head buried in his flayed abdomen, lies in agony above the gigantic door that blocks my escape. The Titan’s gaze follows me as I venture farther down the hallway and an additional picture comes into view. Persephone rests on one knee in the darkness, her fist clutched around the crimson pomegranate that remands her to Hades for half the year.

Guess that minor in Classics isn’t looking like such a waste of time and money anymore, now is it, Mom?

If my theory about this place is right, two things are very clear.

Anthony Faircloth has an intimate knowledge of world mythology.

And he’s not too big on subtlety.

As I proceed down the hallway, the images above me grow more and more bizarre, even as the scenes they depict become less and less familiar. In one, a spider climbs into the sky with a bound python caught between its front legs. In another, a bearded man wears a black T-shirt with a white lightning bolt like the Gatorade logo and holds aloft what appears to be a glowing baseball bat. The largest portrays a half-dead Norse warrior standing atop a fractured rainbow. A multitude of slain enemies lie at his feet. The scantily clad women that graced the covers of my brother’s old Heavy Metal collection would look right at home next to Odin or Thor or whoever the hell Leif Erikson on steroids is supposed to be.

“Have you come to weave me a tale?” The whispered voice seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. “Of lovers and dangers and unrequited passion?”

“Anthony?” I work to keep the tremor from my voice. I fail.

“I know your secret,” the voice continues. “You hope to lull me with your honeyed words and clever plots.”

I’ve spoken with others mind-to-mind on numerous occasions in the past, a unique experience each time, to be sure. I’ve never been addressed this way before.

“Who said that?” There’s no sign of anyone else along the great hall. “Show yourself.”

“In due time, Scheherazade.” A low chuckle fills the hall. “We will meet soon enough, I fear.”

“Wait.” My pulse begins to race. “Where am I? What is this place?”

The voice doesn’t speak again, the only answer a quiet titter that echoes down from the vaulted ceiling. I hold my breath, hoping for any clue that might help me escape this place, but an oppressive silence, unnatural in its fullness, fills the air.

Neither masculine nor feminine, the whispered voice could represent an ally, but my money’s on adversary.

“Won’t figure it out standing here,” I mutter. “Time to move.”

As I continue my slow progress down the vast hallway, a name echoes across my psyche.


The voice called me Scheherazade.

Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle – Aimee *just one more page…* from Goodreads


Received word of another review for The Mussorgsky Riddle this evening, this one from Goodreads, and went to check it out.

This particular review has some sparkle and I wanted to share it with the world. Special thanks to Aimee Landis, not just for the kind review, but for the extra bit of effort and elbow grease she put forth in presenting her thoughts in such a unique way.

All best,


A Big Day


A few weeks ago, I posted a reference to one of my favorite movie memories from The Jerk. Steve Martin’s character proclaims “The new phone book is here!” again and again as he tears into said phone book searching for his name. Seeing your name in print is a beautiful thing indeed.

When I arrived home from work tonight, there was a box on my front porch. There was a box last night as well, but that was the universe’s big fake out – a box full of Vistaprint swag for 2015 that got here REALLY fast. Definitely the dolphin from mine and Matthew’s Dolphin-Shark theory… but I digress.

Tonight, it was the real deal. My box of ARC’s for The Mussorgsky Riddle has finally arrived.

And they are beautiful.

It’s funny. Over the years, I’ve had several short stories published, held those books in my hands, felt the pride and wonder of the experience each time.

But to hold in your hands the novel you slaved over for months, nay, years? To see it in physical form, a real live book (Pinocchio, anyone?) is truly a miracle.

These are just the advance reader copies which I need to get to said readers in short order to get ready to put out the actual book, but it doesn’t diminish what I feel. To see your story on a screen as a PDF or a Kindle file is one thing. To feel the matte cover against your fingertips, to flip through the actual pages, to read words that once existed only in your head and find them now on paper for anyone to read? Incredible, and a little daunting.

This little story of mine is about to be let loose upon the world, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

But for tonight, I think I’m just going to curl up with a good book.

All best,


Mussorgsky Mondays – NaNoProMo!


As we speak, all over the nation and possibly the world, writers everywhere are doing their level best to produce 1,667 words a day for each of the thirty days of November and thus producing 50,000 words of fiction before midnight December 1st. That’s right boys and girls, NaNoWriMo is upon us. That’s National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated. 50,000 words is a pretty short novel, unless you’re writing middle grade or relatively short young adult, but it’s definitely a start. As they say, you can’t edit a blank page.

The irony for me? It’s the first time in months that I haven’t been feverishly writing or editing in a LONG time. Nothing. Nada. Well, I’m still writing patient notes every day, but that’s not quite the same clump of neurons.

For me, this is NaNoProMo – National Novel Promotion Month.

The Mussorgsky Riddle comes out 12 Jan 2015 and I have right at 2 months and 2 days to be ready. This is really quite an exciting time. I’ve never geared up for a book release before. And as with all things as a writer – plot, characterization, editing, getting an agent, finding a publisher, negotiating cover designs – I’m having to exercise new muscles that haven’t been used before. Kind of like learning to swim a new stroke or play a new instrument.

So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to have several author friends offer to blurb my book (where authors or reviewer give a quote that goes on the book cover),  found several reviewers willing to write about my book on their blogs/websites/publications, lined up a few live appearances to include conventions, signings, and even a “moveable feast”. The fine folks at Curiosity Quills couldn’t be greater. Between Clare helping line up my online marketing, Nikki working on my live appearances, and Eugene making sure the book itself is done just right, (and let’s not forget Lisa, who like the One Ring, rules them all), this whole process is really coming together.

So, during the month of November, I may not put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard as often as normal, but it’s a good thing. Funny thing, this doesn’t stop on November 30th, or even January 12th. I will write again, but for now, I’m still learning to ride this new bicycle.

Fortunately, I have a helmet.

All best,


Mussorgsky Mondays – A Call to Arms


January 12th is eleven weeks from today. The release of my debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, is coming faster than I can fully comprehend and there is a lot to do. This blog may be a bit quiet for the next few weeks (big change, right?) as I work on lining up reviews, signings, launch parties, and the like. It’s a whole new world – I’ve never launched a book before.

Putting a request out there as sort of an opening volley: Is anyone out there interested in being part of the Mussorgsky Street Team?

Oh… What’s a street team? Just learned this myself in the last few months. A street team is a group of people working with the author and publisher to get the word out on the street (clever name, eh?) about a book so that it has a successful launch. These individuals help to turn up the volume on the buzz of the book. They might talk it up on Facebook and Twitter, post the cover on Pinterest, create artwork or graphics to circulate on social media, or any of a thousand other things. They are the lieutenants, and lieutenants get swag. Not sure what the swag is yet, but there will be swag…

So, feel free to contact me in the comments section, on Facebook or Twitter, or send me a telepathic message if being a member of my street team sounds right up your alley!




Quick addendum: As I was posting this blog, I think I may have had the first volunteer for my street team, as this was left on my front porch.

That’s right, a Mussorgsky Riddle Jack-O-Lantern.

Sometimes, life is good…