John Cleaver - Tor/Forge Blog

New eBook Bundles: 11/14/17

Here’s the new ebook bundles that went on sale today!

The Complete Texas Rangers Series by Elmer Kelton

Poster Placeholder of - 12 Elmer Kelton’s award-winning series tells the story of the Texas Rangers, who fought to defend the edges of settlement from Indians and outlaws. This is the story of Rusty Shannon, who joins the Rangers in the wake of tragedy, and Andy Pickard, rescued by Rusty from a Comanche war party.

This discounted ebundle includes: The Buckskin Line, Badger Boy, The Way of the Coyote, Ranger’s Trail, Texas Vendetta, Jericho’s Road, Hard Trail To Follow, Other Men’s Horses, and Texas Standoff.

The The Complete Article 5 Trilogy by Kristen Simmons

Image Place holder  of - 86 The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police-instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior-instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back. When seventeen-year-old Ember Miller finds herself on the government’s most-wanted list, she faces a choice: Go into hiding… or fight back?

This discounted ebundle includes: Article 5, Breaking Point, and Three.

The John Cleaver Series by Dan Wells

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John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

Having grown up helping his mom at the family mortuary, dead bodies are no big deal to John. He likes them. They don’t ask for the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the clarity to recognize that something is frighteningly different about the freshest body on the slab.

For the first time, John must confront a danger outside his own mind, a threat he cannot control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

This discounted ebundle includes: I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, I Don’t Want to Kill You, Devil’s Only Friend, Over Your Dead Body, and Nothing Left to Lose.

The Complete Book of the New Sun Series by Gene Wolfe

Placeholder of  -3 Young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, has been exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession—showing mercy toward his victim.

This discounted ebundle includes: The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, The Citadel of the Autarch, and The Urth of the New Sun.


New Releases: 6/6/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason After allying itself with Pakistan’s intelligence services and notorious terrorist group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), ISIS is ready to achieve its ultimate dream: Forcing the US into a clash of civilizations in the Mideast. The best way to accomplish this mission is to acquire three Pakistani nukes—then set them off in three US cities.

The head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk, Elena Moreno, and an intrepid journalist, Jules Meredith, are on their trail. Unfortunately, a powerful Saudi ambassador is blackmailing a corrupt American president, and now both men will do anything to stop these two women—to the point of having them killed.

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem.

Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson

Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson Not So Good a Gay Man is the compelling memoir of author, screenwriter, and activist Frank M. Robinson. This deeply personal autobiography, addressed to a friend in the gay community, explains the life of one gay man over eight decades in America. By turns witty, charming, and poignant, this memoir grants insights into Robinson’s work not just as a journalist and writer, but as a gay man navigating the often perilous social landscape of 20th century life in the United States.


Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Hi. My name is John Cleaver, and I hunt monsters. I used to do it alone, and then for a while I did it with a team of government specialists, and then the monsters found us and killed almost everyone, and now I hunt them alone again.

In this thrilling installment in the John Wayne Cleaver series, Dan Wells brings his beloved antihero into a final confrontation with the Withered in a conclusion that is both completely compelling and completely unexpected.

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

Placeholder of  -25 Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives and works as a steeplejack in Bar-Selehm, a sprawling city known for its great towers, spires, and smokestacks – and even greater social disparities across race and class.

Ang’s world is turned upside-down when her new apprentice Berrit is murdered the same night that the city’s landmark jewel is stolen. Her search for answers behind his death exposes unrest in the streets and powerful enemies.

Takedown: A Small-Town Cop’s Battle Against the Hells Angels and the Nation’s Biggest Drug Gang by Jeff Buck, Jon Land, and Lindsay Preston

Image Place holder  of - 1 Takedown is the story of heroic undercover cop Jeff Buck’s battle with Hells Angels and drug-smugglers on the American border with help from Jon Land and Lindsay Preston.

Twenty years working undercover in the netherworld of drugs had left Jeff Buck burned out and grateful to assume the quiet job of police chief in the small town of Reminderville, Ohio. That is, until a simple domestic assault case turns out to have links to the murder of a drug runner in upstate New York and a syndicate smuggling billions of dollars in drugs across the U.S.-Canada border.


Captive Hearts of Oz Vol. 2 Story and art by Mamenosuke Fujimaru; Story development by Ryo Maruya

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness Story and art by Kabi Nagata

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan Vol. 3 Story and art by Kenya Suzuki


Sneak Peek: Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells

Over Your Dead Body by Dan WellsIn Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells, John and Brooke are on their own, hitchhiking from town to town as they hunt the last of the Withered through the midwest–but the Withered are hunting them back, and the FBI is close behind. With each new town, each new truck stop, each new highway, they get closer to a vicious killer who defies every principle of profiling and prediction John knows how to use, and meanwhile Brooke’s fractured psyche teeters on the edge of oblivion, overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of dead personalities sharing her mind.

Chapter 1


I looked up, holding the side of the truck bed as we rattled down the highway. Wind whistled in my face, changing its pitch as I raised my head. I’d fallen asleep, and my dreams—all blood soaked, all screaming—faded away in welcome relief. In a panic, I looked for Brooke, fearing the worst, but she sat beside me, her short hair whipping around her face, and she smiled. She hadn’t jumped. She was fine. She pointed at a billboard as we passed it.

“Proud America Motel,” she said. “Ten miles. I could get all the way up to E with that, but there’s no B.”

We were in farmland, by the look of it: low fences on either side of the road, the flat land beyond covered with wheat and sectioned into squares by fences and trees and old dirt roads. A cloud of dust hung in the air a few miles off to our left; some farmer or ranch hand driving a tractor on a dirt road. The truck jostled us again, and Boy Dog whined. He liked his floors stable, so they didn’t disrupt his sleep, but hitchhikers have to take what they can get. Brooke put a hand on his head, scratching the fur behind his floppy, basset hound ears. I scanned the farms again, hoping for an orchard, but it looked like nothing but wheat as far as the eye could see. An orchard we could have eaten in, but wheat might as well be a field full of sticks.

“There we go,” said Brooke, pointing at another sign. “This Highway Adopted by the Baker Community Church. B, C, D, E.”

“Are there really enough signs to play your game?” I asked. “We’re in the middle of nowhere.”

“Ten miles from a motel,” said Brooke. “That means we’re ten miles from whatever town we’re going to, maybe less.”

“That’s not too bad, then,” I said—and even though I knew the number by heart I added up our money again in my head: one hundred thirty-seven dollars and twenty-eight cents. I remember when I used to never count the cents—round everything down to the nearest dollar and lose the change in the couch. These days that was a luxury too painful to think about. Save enough change and you eventually get another dollar. A dollar could buy a burger in a truck stop, or some apples if we found a roadside stand. My stomach rumbled, and I put the thought of food aside. Don’t think about it until it’s close, I thought, you’ll just torment yourself.

Wind lashed my hair back and forth across my eyes. I needed to cut it. Brooke had cut hers short last month, a kind of page-boy cut that was easier to maintain on the road. I looked at her peering ahead, past the cab of the truck, searching for more road signs. She probably needed another cut soon, too. We both needed a shower.

“What’s the name of it?” she asked.

“Of what?”

“The town we’re going to.”

“I told you already,” I said, and instantly felt badly about it. The edges of her mouth tipped down in a frown, from frustration or embarrassment, or maybe both. “Baker,” I said softly. “Same as the church sign we just passed.”

“I don’t remember,” she said. “You must have told one of the others.”

I nodded, looking behind us at the road as it slipped away into the distance. Long and flat and lost in a faraway bend. One of the others. “Do you know which one?”

“F, G,” she said, letting my question slip by without an answer. “Food and Gas, Five Miles. Now we need that hotel sign again; we could get H and I.”

“And get stuck on J,” I said. “We never see Js.”

Brooke nodded, staring ahead, but her eyes looked blank—not searching, but simply staring, lost to the world and deep in some memory from another life. “Maybe Kveta,” she said at last, answering my question from earlier. “I’ve been her a lot lately. Or Brooke. I think I’m her more often than not.”

“That’s because you—” I started, and then stopped myself. Brooke was her default state, or at least it used to be. If it wasn’t anymore, bringing it up would only make her feel bad. It made me feel bad to think about it, because this whole problem was my fault. It was supposed to be Brooke’s body; I was the one who’d let all those other memories in there.

I used to never feel bad about anything, but now …

Well, that’s not true. I used to feel bad all the time. I guess the difference is that now, sometimes, I felt good, and the contrast made the bad times that much worse.

I kept my eyes on the road, avoiding her eyes. “Who are you now?”

She glanced at me, though in my peripheral vision I couldn’t tell if she was hurt or surprised or simply curious. “You don’t know?”

“Sorry,” I said. Brooke had been possessed by a monster who had previously possessed tens of thousands of other girls, maybe hundreds of thousands, and all of their memories and personalities had fused with hers. Barely a fraction of the memories in Brooke’s head were actually hers, and with numbers like that you could never tell which personality would rise to the surface in any given moment. “You all have Brooke’s face, you know. You need to … announce yourselves or something.”

“I’m Lucinda,” said Brooke. “You remember me, right?”

I nodded. She was Lucinda a lot, especially while we were traveling, though the little I knew about Lucinda didn’t suggest a lot of travel. “You died on your wedding day,” I said, then paused, looking at her curiously. “Lucinda died hundreds of years ago. How do you know the alphabet billboard game?”

“I don’t know,” said Brooke/Lucinda with a shrug. “I just do.”

I sat up straighter, curious, my back against the wall of the truck bed as I gripped it for balance. “Do you think that means anything? About how your personalities talk to each other?”

“We can’t talk to each other,” she said. “We just kind of share things—like, I know some things that Brooke knows, and some things that Aga knows, and different things from different girls. I don’t know how it works.”

“But do you want to?”

She said nothing for a long time, thinking and scratching Boy Dog’s head. The truck slowed slightly, and Brooke shouted abruptly: “H, I, J, K! Baker Junior High!” She pumped her fist and leaned against the side of the truck bed to look ahead past the cab. “Yes! Js are impossible! Let’s see what else we can find.”

We were driving into the town itself now—still a mile or two out from the main drag, but close enough that buildings were starting to pop up more frequently. We passed the Proud America Motel, but I hoped we didn’t have to stay there; I thought about money differently now that I was carrying our entire worldly possessions in a pocket and two backpacks. We could afford a night in a motel—probably several, if it was as cheap as it looked—but then what? Having money wasn’t the same as having income. If we spent it all today, where would we stay next week, and how would we eat?

One hundred thirty-seven dollars and twenty-eight cents. We could get more, sometimes, from the stashes Albert Potash had left here and there around the country. Money and guns and supplies, in bus station lockers and storage units and sometimes gyms or rec centers. We’d found the list in his gear after he’d died and it had kept us going for over a year now, but even that was running dry. There were only a few locations left, and the nearest one was thousands of miles away.

“L,” said Brooke, skipping from letter to letter without slowing down to say where each had come from. “M.” Pause. “N, O, P. Dangit, we’ll never find a Q.”

“Look for ‘equipment,’” I said, closing my eyes and trying not to fixate on our dwindling funds. “Someone’s bound to be selling farm equipment in this town. Or maybe there’s a quality … something. Quality Hair Salon.”

Brooke laughed. “You think they have hair salons that good in a town this small?”

“I think the scale of quality is relative,” I said, permitting myself a small smile. Anything that made Brooke laugh was a good thing. “The best one in town is the quality one, regardless of the wider world of hair care.”

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and find a place that sells quality farm equipment,” she said. “Then we’d have a Q for each of us.”

“I’m not playing.”

“But you could.”

“I suck at this game.”

“That’s because you try to spell things out,” she chided. “You can’t just see a car and claim the letter C, you have to see the C written somewhere.”

“But you never let me write it.”

“Obviously you can’t just write yourself, that’s cheating.”

I shrugged and looked at a passing restaurant. “I don’t think I get the allure of this game.” The restaurant was a greasy dive, some Dairy Queen knockoff called Dairy Keen. Probably out of our price range, unless there was literally nothing else in town. I saw a couple of teenagers in front of it, just hanging around, leaning on the front wall, and it reminded me of the old Friendly Burger back in Clayton. A tiny little place where nobody ate but the locals, and then only until a McDonald’s opened up. Brooke and I had gone on a date there. And Marci and I, too. There weren’t a lot of options in a town like Clayton. Or Baker, by the look of it.

I missed Marci. I tried not to think of her, but she was always with me, like a ghost in the back of the truck. Invisible and intangible yet relentlessly, inescapably present.

“No Q on the Dairy Keen,” said Brooke. “Come on, guys, think about the alphabet game when you name your restaurants. Doesn’t anybody plan ahead?”

I thought about our next moves. Our first stop would be a bus station, if we saw one, or a bank if we didn’t—not because we had any use for a bank, but because it was a good place to ask about a bus station. We couldn’t just ask anywhere in a little town like this; we looked so obviously homeless that if we walked into a store, word of the teenage beggars would spread too fast and we’d get locked out of any real assistance. Small-town shop owners looked out for each other. Bank tellers, on the other hand, tended to move in different circles, and we could talk to them without any real fear that they’d call the local grocery store to warn them. Our end goal, of course, was that bus station, where we could find either cheap showers or some fellow drifters who could tell us where the nearest shower might be. Drifters looked out for each other just as much as shop owners. Once we were clean and changed into some better clothes, we’d look like regular tourists passing through on the way somewhere else and we could walk around the town without setting off any mental alarms. We’d get some food and then look for the church—not Baker Community, but the other one. The commune. The reason we’d come here in the first place. I figured most of Baker’s regular residents wouldn’t want to talk about it, but they’d all know about it, and if we got lucky they’d point out one of the members.

“Quality Feed and Fertilizer,” said Brooke. “Q and R. And over there’s an S, T, U … V. Video Rental. They still rent videos in this town? Did we hitchhike into the past?”

“Looks closed,” I said. We’d had a place like that in Clayton—it rode the home DVD boom, then crumbled when the Internet made their business obsolete. They’d closed a few years ago, and nothing had moved into the building. Looked like the same story here.

“At least they left the sign up,” said Brooke. “I’m glad somebody in this town was thinking about my needs.” She grimaced, and looked at me. “What’s it called again?”

“The town?” I asked. She might have just switched personalities again; a lot of ideas transferred from one to the next, but some didn’t, and she tried to hide the transitions by faking a poor memory. “Baker,” I told her. “We’re here to look for The Spirit of Light Collective.”

“Yashodh,” said Brooke, nodding. “We’re going to kill him.”

I felt the old, familiar pull of death. “Or he’ll kill us.”

“You say that every time.”

“One of these days it’ll be true.”

The truck was slowing, probably looking for a good place to drop us off. I grabbed the strap of my backpack, getting ready to jump out, but saw that Brooke was ignoring hers, staring instead at the buildings we were driving past: tall brick storefronts with ornate, peaked facades on the second story. Some of them were painted, some were covered with wooden or vinyl siding, others were bare brick or bore the residue of old-timey signs too weathered to read. A barber shop. An antique store. A pizza place that looked way more modern than the rest of the street. I wondered if we could beg any food from the back door.

The truck pulled to the side of the road, by a bright green lawn in some kind of town plaza—city hall probably—and I was already over the side and reaching back for Brooke’s bag when the driver rolled down his window. “This good? I could take you a few more blocks if you want.”

“This is perfect,” I said. A few more blocks would have been nice, through the town and out the other side where we could infiltrate at our own pace, but it never helped to ask the drivers for extras. Always make them feel generous, not put upon—like they would have done more if they could, instead of wishing they’d done less. Instead I pointed at the tailgate. “Do you mind if I open the back to get the dog out?”

“No problem,” said the driver. He didn’t offer to help, which meant I was probably right to refuse the extra ride. He was already forgetting us, free of his hitchhiker burden with his mind a mile down the road. I dropped the tailgate and lifted Boy Dog out, smelling the strong scent of dirt and hound. He needed a bath as much as I did. He sat on the sidewalk where I left him, scratching his ear with his stubby front leg, and I offered Brooke my hand. She seemed lost in some kind of reverie again, all too common for her, and I said her name to get her attention.


She turned to look at me, but her eyes showed no recognition. “Who?”

“Lucinda.” I said, remembering. There was no response, so I tried another. “Kveta?”

“I’m…” She paused. “I’m so sorry, John.”

The warning signs were all over her face—the disorientation, the downcast eyes, the subtle whine in her voice. I put on my biggest smile and grabbed her hand, knowing that physical contact was one of the best ways of bringing her out of a mood swing. “We got here early,” I said, “everything’s great.”

“I don’t want to be this way,” she said, not moving. I tugged gently on her hand, trying not to glance at the driver for signs of impatience. If he yelled at her to hurry, it would only make her worse.

She remembered the lives of a hundred thousand girls, and she remembered dying as every single one of them. Suicide was as natural to Brooke as breathing.

“You want some pizza for dinner?” I asked. “I saw a good place about a block back.”

“We can’t afford pizza.”

“We can splurge,” I said, and pulled on her again. “Come on, let’s go take a look. What do you think they have here, deep dish or New York style?”

She didn’t respond to the conversational bait, but another gentle tug on her arm finally prompted her to climb down from the truck bed. She dusted herself off with a grimace, showing far more emotion than the dirt seemed to merit. I risked letting go of her for three precious seconds, closing the tailgate and shouting a thank you to the driver. He drove off without a word, and Boy Dog barked irritably at the cloud of exhaust that puffed into his face.

“My name is Pearl,” said Brooke. “Pearly, they called me, and my father said I was the jewel of his life. I had a dozen suitors, and the finest horse in the county. We won all the races that year, but they let me win. I don’t know why. I was horrible, and if I’d lived to know them better they’d have seen me for what I was—”

“I’m starving,” I said, cutting her off instantly at the mention of death. I had one of her hands clasped in mine, and brought up the other quickly, looking closely at her eyes, not talking her out of it because that never worked, but talking around it. Distracting her from it. “My favorite pizza topping is mushrooms,” I said. “I know a lot of people don’t like them, but I think they’re delicious—soft, savory, full of this incredible flavor. When you put them on a pizza they get roasted right there in the oven, hot and fresh, and they go perfectly with the tomato sauce. Do you like mushrooms?”

“I threw myself off of that horse,” said Pearl. “I … don’t even remember his name. He’s not the one that killed me, anyway, it was the ones behind me. No one could swerve in time, and they trampled me right there in front of everybody.”

“What about pepperoni?” I asked. “Everybody likes pepperoni. And that red pepper stuff you can shake on top—you think this place has that? Let’s go check it out.”

“Will you stop it!” she yelled. “I know what you’re doing, and I hate it! You always treat me like this!”

I took a deep breath, trying not to look too worried—this wasn’t exactly a bustling street, but if she attracted too much attention it could be disastrous. Even without a suicide attempt, there were people looking for us—people and things. Things we desperately didn’t want to be found by. If she started fighting me, the police would get involved and we might be trapped for good. I spoke softly, rubbing her fingers with my thumb.

“You’re tired,” I said. “You’re probably exhausted, and starving, and uncomfortable, and that’s all my fault, and I’m sorry.”

“Shut up!” She tried to yank her hands away, but I held tight.

“You need to rest,” I continued, “and get some food, and change your clothes. And maybe we can sleep in a real motel tonight. Does that sound good?”

“You don’t want to stay with me,” she said, swinging in half a heartbeat from hating me to blaming herself. “I’m horrible. I screw everything up. You could be doing this so much better without me—”

“I couldn’t be doing this at all without you,” I said. “We’re a team, remember? You’re the brains and I’m the hands. Partners to the end. The only deadweight is Boy Dog.” I cringed immediately after saying it, cursing whatever neural pathway had brought out the phrase “dead weight,” but she didn’t react. She stayed still, looking at the ground, and I looked up as a semi rumbled past, spitting gravel at us from under the tires. Boy Dog barked again, a short, halfhearted yelp. I changed tactics, and pointed at the receding truck. “Weller Shipping; there’s your W. All we need now is an X, and there’s bound to be a … saxophone shop around here somewhere, right? Axle repair? A pet store that specializes in oxes and foxes?”

I stepped toward the sidewalk, trying to pull her toward somewhere, anywhere, that she could sit down and eat and get some water, but she slipped out of my hand and ran toward the middle of the street—

straight into the path of another semi. I spun on my heel and reached for her, missing her trailing fingers by half an inch. The truck blared its horn in angry warning, slamming on its brakes, and Brooke planted herself in front of it, spreading her arms and closing her eyes. I ran toward her, watching from the corner of my eye as truck swerved, hoping I could get Brooke out of its way without even knowing what its new way was. I collided with her in a football tackle, pushing her toward the side of the road, stumbling and scrambling to stay on my feet, until finally we collapsed in the gutter on the far side, bouncing off a rusted fender as we fell between two cars. The semi roared past, correcting its course, avoiding a crash by the width of an eyelash. Brooke was sobbing, and I checked her quickly for injuries—scrapes on her arms, a tear in her jeans, but no broken bones or cuts that I could see. My own right arm was a mass of blood and gravel, which I brushed away gingerly.

“You okay?” asked a passing pedestrian. He looked down at us from over an armload of brown cardboard boxes.

“We’re fine,” I said, though my arm felt like it was on fire.

“You ought to get that looked at,” he added, then hesitated, and continued walking.

Somebody else’s problem.

Brooke was still crying, curled up in the gutter. I rested my hand on her arm, looking around to see who else, if anyone, had noticed our near miss. If anyone had, they weren’t coming out of their shops to mention it. I wanted to scream at them, to rage against the entire world for allowing this scrawny, broken girl to be so coldly forgotten and ignored. I wanted to kill them all. But being ignored was the best thing we could hope for, and I couldn’t risk making a scene. I turned back to Brooke. “It’s okay,” I said softly. “It’s okay.”

“You saved me,” said Brooke.

“Every time,” I said. “You know I always will.”

“You shouldn’t,” she said. “I’m not worth it.”

“Don’t say that.” The sky was growing darker; we needed to find shelter and a shower, now more than ever, and probably some antiseptic for my arm. I couldn’t risk the clinic, though—they’d ask too many questions, and try to pry out information we couldn’t give. A pharmacy, maybe. Even a little town like this ought to have one somewhere. And the sign will have an RX on it, I thought. Maybe that will cheer her up. I stood slowly, reaching for her with my good arm, but she caught me and pulled me back down to the curb, clutching me in a sad, desperate hug.

She sat up, wiping the tears and dirt from her face. “I love you, John,” she said.

“I know you do.” I tried to say it back—I always tried to say it back—-but I couldn’t make the words come out. I’d only ever loved one person, but Nobody had possessed Marci and killed her before moving on to Brooke, now almost two years ago. The monster had come for her, and I was one victim too late to save her. At least I’d saved Brooke.

And guessed I was going to keep saving her until the day I died.

Copyright © 2016 by Dan Wells

Over Your Dead Body comes out May 3rd. Pre-order it today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in June

The Darkness Rolling by Win Blevins and Meredith BlevinsLong Black Curl by Alex BledsoeSeriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in June! Once a month, we’re collecting info about all of our upcoming author events. Check and see who’ll be coming to a city near you:

Alex Bledsoe, Long Black Curl

Thursday, June 11
A Room of One’s Own
Madison, WI
6:00 PM

Saturday, June 13
The Avid Reader
Davis, CA
7:30 PM

Sunday, June 14
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Saturday, June 27
Mystery to Me Bookstore
Madison, WI
2:00 PM

Win and Meredith Blevins, The Darkness Rolling

Saturday, June 20
The Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Tuesday, June 23
Albuquerque, NM
7:00 PM

Tuesday, June 30
Marie’s Bookshop
Durango, CO
6:30 PM

Tina Connolly, Seriously Wicked

Thursday, June 4
Stayton Public Library
Stayton, OR
7:00 PM

Saturday, June 6
Also with Fonda Lee, Ali Berman, Paula Stokes, and Mary Elizabeth Summer
Barnes & Noble
Beaverton, OR
2:00 PM

Thursday, June 18
Raven Book Store
Lawrence, KS
7:00 PM

Alan Gratz, The Dragon Lantern

Tuesday, June 9
Asheville, NC
7:00 PM

Peter Orullian, Trial of Intentions

Monday, June 1
Powell’s Cedar Hills Crossing
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Tuesday, June 2
Weller Book Works
Salt Lake City, UT
6:00 PM

Wednesday, June 3
Barnes & Noble
Orem, UT
7:00 PM

Anne A. Wilson, Hover

Tuesday, June 2
The Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Dan Wells, The Devil’s Only Friend

Tuesday, June 16
Weller Book Works
Salt Lake City, UT
6:00 PM

Wednesday, June 17
Barnes & Noble University Crossings Plaza
Orem, UT
6:00 PM


A Writer’s Dirty Little Secret

The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells
Written by Dan Wells

The dirty little secret is that I don’t write for you. Sorry. I think that most authors are the same, or at least similar: we love it when you read our books, and we certainly hope that you like them, but in the end we’re not really writing them for approval, and we’re not writing them for fame, and we’re certainly not writing them for money. There are easier and far more efficient ways of getting all of those things.

When we write, or at least when I write, I do it because there’s a story inside my brain that I love so much I can’t not tell it. There are characters I want to learn more about; there are situations and problems and thorny, complicated, impossible choices that I want to force an imaginary person to grapple with. I tell stories because I love to tell stories, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading them, but even if I were the last person on the planet I’d still be writing them, using whatever lonely writing device managed to survive the apocalypse. I write for me, is what I’m saying, and that makes me the first and toughest audience I have to deal with.

Which makes it tricky when my editors start asking for more books in a series I consider finished.

The John Cleaver trilogy—or as I’ve had to start calling it, The First John Cleaver Trilogy—came out about six years ago, and people liked it, but I finished it and moved on to other things. I wrote a mind-twisty thriller about schizophrenia, and a post-apocalyptic YA series, and a book about cloning that isn’t out yet, and some tie-in fiction, and some horror shorts, and a thing about a Mormon pioneer superhero, and the point here is that I moved on. When you write what you’re excited about, and you’re an easily excitable person, you end up piling your plate with a little bit of everything from the Genre Buffet. People kept asking about John Cleaver, asking if I ever intended to write more, and my answer was always the same: “I love that character, but I’m done with him. He has completed his arc.”

I’ve lived in Germany, in Stuttgart, for the last two years, and I absolutely loved it, in part because it gave me a chance to talk to new people and see the way they acted and reacted to things—very different reactions, obviously, than Americans would have. This helped me to see my own life in a way I hadn’t before, and that got me thinking—I guess you could say that I looked at myself as a character in a story, in a place and a situation that weren’t originally part of the outline. It changed my story fundamentally though I remained true to who I am.

Those experiences made me think about John Cleaver, and how a wild new shake-up to his life might change certain parts of him while leaving his core identity untouched. I began to wonder about new arcs that his character might take, and about different challenges that he might face, and all of a sudden I had it—an amazing new idea that I couldn’t let go of. I knew I could write a new John Cleaver trilogy, but more importantly, I was excited to write it. I was thrilled. I called my German editor and asked if he might be interested in another John Cleaver series, and his response was to email me the cover he’d already mocked up for it, with a title and everything. It seemed safe to say that I wasn’t the only one excited by the idea, so I contacted my agent and my American editor and we got the ball rolling, and now it’s finally here: The Second John Cleaver Trilogy. I think of it as The Last John Cleaver Trilogy, but I guess the one thing I’ve learned is to never say never, right?

So what, you might be asking, is the new book about? I don’t want to spoil anything, but here’s a quick teaser: in the first trilogy John was alone, fighting creatures he called demons in his own home town. The new trilogy starts one year later with John on an FBI kill team, which might sound like a good step up, but come on: if there’s one thing John hates more than monsters, it’s authority figures telling him what to do. The teenage sociopath does not play nicely with others, and the monsters they’re hunting do not take kindly to being hunted….

Preorder The Devil’s Only Friend today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Dan Wells on Twitter at @TheDanWells, on Facebook, or visit him online.

I Am Not a Serial Killer gets a starred review from Kirkus

Image Placeholder of - 75 I Am Not a Serial Killer receives a starred review from Kirkus Reviews in the March 1 issue!

They say: “Well’s debut, the first in a projected trilogy starring a character who seems the love child of Showtime’s Dexter and F.Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack, is an unabashedly gory gem…this deft mix of several genres features a completely believable teenage sociopath (with a heart of gold), dark humor, a riveting mystery and enough description of embalming to make any teen squeamish even if they won’t admit it. Buy multiples where it won’t be banned.”


Salt Lake City, UT
Sam Weller’s
Tuesday, March 30, 6:00pm *Release party!

Orem, UT
Barnes and Noble
Wednesday, March 31, 6:00pm

Seattle, WA
University Books
Tuesday, April 6, 7:00pm

Portland, OR
Powell’s (Cedar Hill Crossing)
Wednesday, April 7, 7:00pm

Sacramento, CA
Barnes and Noble
Thursday, April 8, 7:00pm

San Francisco, CA
Friday, April 9, 7:00pm

Los Angeles, CA
Dark Delicacies
Saturday, April 10, 2:00pm

San Diego, CA
Mysterious Galaxy
Wednesday, April 14, 7:00pm

Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, April 15, 7:00pm

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