REAPERLANDS Pt.2: Los Muertos Trail

REAPERLANDS Pt.2: Los Muertos Trail

Hey Everyone, I’m back with REAPERLANDS Pt.2: Los Muertos Trail — Gus and Oscar’s adventure continues. Took me a little longer than expected. I was trying to get it out before the new addition to our family arrived in July, but alas, the editing process cannot be rushed, and James Mark Burdine got here first!

I’m running a launch deal on Kindle for the next five days — And with the Labor Day weekend here, it’s perfect timing — REAPERLANDS Part 1: Runner is available for free. Perfect time to jump onboard with the adventure! Download the opening chapter for free then get the newest installment for ¢0.99. Click HERE to get your copy.

So what’s Los Muertos Trail all about? Well, for starters I’m calling this one a Post-Apocalyptic Western because of the influences on me in the writing and telling of the story. Gus and Oscar travel across the desert to the fort city of Los Muertos, and the plains of the Reaper’s time seemed to me much like the tales of the desert southwest found in the great novels of Louis L’amour and Zane Grey, albeit minus the Viral hordes of mutated Wolves and other flesh-eating creatures. Here’s the full synopsis:

Gus and Oscar are back! After a successful Reaping run to the Los Angeles ruins, they set out to bring their scavenger spoils to market, a journey that takes them across the desert plains of the post zombie apocalypse future, and pits them against the mutant hordes of the animal kingdom, and the worst of their own kind, those who would prey on the survivors of a world gone to hell.

For Gus, this mission has a special purpose beyond just the monetary riches of his trade – To deliver a cargo of classic books to the library he is building in the fort city of Los Muertos in an effort to preserve the culture of a civilization that once was.

Get it HERE

What’s next?

The first two volumes of REAPERLANDS are the opening chapters in a larger, more complex tale awaiting Gus and Oscar, sort of setting up the world in which they exist. Let’s just say, the real story begins when they reach Los Muertos. Not sure yet whether I’ll wait and present the next installment when the full novel length adventure is complete, or if I’ll put it up in volumes as I go. I’ll keep you posted.

But first up — I’m hammering away at the next volume of my middle grade fantasy-adventure MEGAN’s BROOD — my goal is to have MEGAN’S Brood and the OLD ONE out by November in times for several shows I’ll be attending. Stay tuned.


NEW REAPERLANDS Part One Cover by Stephan Martiniere

NEW REAPERLANDS Part One Cover by Stephan Martiniere

Cool News! Just got a fantastic new cover for REAPERLANDS Part One by the amazing Stephan Martiniere. Take a gander and if you haven’t read Part One yet, now’s a great time to jump on. Part Two is just about ready to go! Click to buy

Here’s a short (unedited) preview of REAPERLANDS: LOS MUERTOS TRAIL  (Reaperlands Part Two):

Hooves beat the earth in a race with the falling orb in the west. Gus cracked the reins wildly, pushing the beasts to their limits.

Oscar scanned the horizon to either side of the darkness chasing them from the east.


A black streak on the plains.

Before he could raise his voice in warning, Oscar felt the thump at the wheels.

Panicked wails erupted from the horses.

Another black streak shot forward from the shadows, grazing the already strained hind cannon of the steed to Oscars fore, causing it to lurch in toward its companion, swinging the harness, and causing the entire wagon to swerve.

Gus strained against the bridal, forcing the frightened animals back on course.

Oscar drew up a gas filled bottle with a rag jammed into the opening from the supply pack he kept at the ready. Flicked the lighter from his pocket and lit the cloth. Flame flickered in the cold air.

He chucked the bottle to the ground alongside the vehicle. The exploding flash revealed the monstrously deformed bodies of a coyote swarm racing alongside them for a brief moment before the shadows swallowed them up again. He counted somewhere between five to ten.

The horses lurched once more at the explosion and Gus held them to their task.

“We’ve got visitors. Coyotes. Viral. Ugly motherfuckers.” Oscar called to Gus as he clutched his machete and swung his boot down to steady himself on the runner alongside the vehicle.

His eyes focused against the darkness.

A black streak shot out from the streaming abyss. He swung his blade. Contact. He felt the weight of the mass split, a heavy thump against the hummer door, a smaller mass, the head most likely, bounced across the hood and disappeared back into the receding gloom on the other side.

Oscars’ arm was still extended from the arc of his swing as another streak flew out from the black. He flung the blade back up, but only the broad side of his arm reached his attacker. It wasn’t enough to prevent the weight of the beast from slamming directly into him, crushing him against the vehicle and causing him to lose his footing on the runner, his grip on the luggage rack the only thing keeping him from slipping away into the darkness of the desert beating past below.

He kicked until his heel found the footing and steadied himself once more on the runner.

A fevered gaggle of yips and growls flew up from the breach. He felt the sudden beating of feet against the earth. A mass of phantom forms gained out from the shadows, keeping pace, the powerful snapping of anxious jaws.

Oscar raised a leg and kicked. Steel toes connected with flesh. Then a vice grip of teeth clinched the fabric of his cammos, snagging and pulling at him, the sudden weight dragging him down again.

He swung the machete at the black weight. Blade sliced to a hard stop against bone. He tugged, wresting the blade back up over his head and then swept down again, back to the bone. He repeated the process over and over, hacking away until the sudden release of weight at his leg. Bodiless jaws held their grip, teeth still snagged in the fabric.

Gus held his gaze to the horizon, Oscar’s struggles in his ears. Nothing to do but drive the stallions hard toward the abandoning sun in hopes they might reach the Salas outpost before being consumed by their numbers.

There was a loud clanging and the scrambling of paws from the rear. Gus recognized the sound immediately — one of the beasts had made it up onto the trailer.

He heard the scratching of claws as it steadied itself over the packed contents of the trailer, followed by the hard thud of its weight against the rear door panel directly behind him. Claws scratching desperately for a hold as it pushed itself up to the roof.

A chainsaw growl burned in the air.

Instinctively, Gus reached down and grabbed the lantern hanging from the rear view mirror. Raised it up with a wide stroke to meet the cranium of the charging Viral. Flame exploded, igniting the rotted flesh and mangy hair of the beast.

It writhed and howled, shaking madly until it lost its footing and tumbled off the roof like a comet to the abyss.

One lantern, one shot. Nothing left if another made its way up.

Oscar vaulted back up to the drivers box, chest heaving, blood flowing from a gash above his left eye. The truck lurched left then right, Oscar gripped the bar to prevent himself from going back over the side. “Too many – they keep coming.” He swallowed a deep breath. “Overwhelming me.”




Hey Everyone! The gorgeous paperback edition of MEGAN’S BROOD is now available in the Amazon store! It’s a PRIME offering, so order now and receive your copy with TWO-DAY FREE SHIPPING. Click the link below and grab one now:



ANNOUNCING a new print run of MEGAN’S BROOD! We sold out all of our limited edition 100 signed and numbered print run, so I’ve ordered a new printing — AND, in order to make this new edition special, we’ve added 6 BRAND NEW FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS by SHAWN McMANUS to the book! I’ve also added some fancy new text dividers along with an entirely new formatting by Polgarus Studio who handle all my digital formatting.  It’s a beautiful new expanded edition that I think you’re going to love. The new edition is now available digitally on KINDLE  and print in the Amazon Bookstore. Here’s a look at one of Shawn’s stunning new illustrations.  CLICK THE IMAGE to go to Amazon’s order  5  #40  b&w copy 2



It’s Halloween, what better time for some twisted psychological horror? Grab the newly released TXTme Book 2 on Amazon Kindle for FREE – today through this Halloween weekend (Promotion ends at midnight Monday Nov. 2nd).

Rex and his phone with the power to control minds through texting scare up a horrifying tale of revenge in TXTme Book 2. Rex has used the power of the device to wipe his memory of its existence, but its power lives on in his subconscious, tormenting him with the understanding of why his first attempts at exacting revenge met with such painful results:

(Excerpt from TXTme Book 2)

Rex dropped to his knees and dragged his fingers through the tightly packed dirt. Then he scraped harder and scooped handfuls of soil into his palms. He pushed the loose dirt aside and plunged his hands back in. He dug until his fingertips met something solid. The light of long-dead stars pinpricked the sky.

He cleared the dirt from around the object until his fingers could slide under it and free it from its earthly prison. It was a thin, solid slab of crafted stone and fit neatly in his palm. He wiped it clean on the leg of his jeans and raised it close to his eyes to see the surface was like obsidian, reflecting his face back on him. When he tilted the surface away, the stars above came into view as if he held the ancient sky itself.

What was it? Why had it called out to him?

Something rose in the silence of the night like a distant voice carried on the breeze. He almost thought there were words.

He studied his find. The surface was the same on both sides.

Then more words. Words, but not words. A chill danced up the curve of his spine. The light of the stars began to fade in the sky until a black canvas hung overhead. Clouds passed over the moon, giving it a wink, and the world dimmed around him.

He waited, ears straining against the silence, listening. Then it came again on the ether, a cold gust against his skin accompanied it. Goosebumps erupted. This time the words were words, a soft voice on the air.

“I know,” it said.

Rex turned around in a circle quickly, searching in the night for the source of the words that must be meant for him. He was met with nothing but the mute landscape.

Then he heard it again, more clearly this time.

“I know what you’ve done.”

He stared at the object in his hand. It sounded as if the voice were coming from it, but that was impossible, it was as solid as stone.

“What do you mean?” Rex said with a hollow inflection, certain there were no ears to receive his words.

Another gust blew across the flat basin and the whisper rose in the air to become words once again.

“Fate bequeathed you great power, and you squandered its gift on petty conquest.”

“Who are you?” he said, eyes darting from the stone to the dark brush around him and back. “How are you doing this?”

“You know who I am.”

“No, really, I don’t. How are you doing this? Is it a trick?” He ran his fingers along the edges over the front and back faces of the stone looking for a speaker or a microphone.

“The power you were given is no trick.”

“What power? What are you talking about?”

“You know the power of which I speak.”

“No — no, I don’t. Why do you keep saying I know? I don’t know.”

“The power to have everything you ever wished for.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You must reclaim that which you have given away.”

“Given away?”


Rex held the stone so he saw his face in its reflection once more and watched his mouth move as he gave in to his disbelief.

“Okay, so let’s say I had, as you say, the power to have everything I want. Why would I give it away?”


“But if I had everything I wanted, why would I be weak?”

“In the human family there are two forms of man. Those beset by compassion, caring, and sympathy, those with love in their hearts — the weaker of the species — the other form is unburdened by these traits — the dominant strain, the ones who rule others, those who shape the world, mold history. You are of the first group.”

“Because I have feelings?”

“It is within my power to relieve you of this weakness.”

“And how is that? What’s this power you keep talking about, anyway? You still haven’t told me — other than just having what I wish for. What power can make that happen?”

“The power to control others.”

“Control them how? How did I lose it — and how do I get it back?”

“I am forbidden to answer these questions.”

“Forbidden? What? Why? You started this and now you’re going to shut up on me?”

“I am bound by my own power not to say any more.”

“Your own power? This doesn’t make any sense.”

“By my master’s command I am bound.”

“Who’s your master?”

“You would not remember even if I told you.”

“Okay, so tell me, then. I have to know — even if I won’t remember.”

“Is it not obvious to you?”

“No, it’s not. Tell me: Who is your master?”

“You are.”TXTme2_cutaway

Megan’s Brood book one is now available on Amazon

final cover megan's brood copy

MEGAN’S BROOD is the first in a series of middle grade adventures for Megan and the brood of mysterious creatures she discovers in the attic of her new home.

Written by Roy Burdine, director of animated series such as Ultimate Spider-ManAvengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Dreamworks’ Puss ‘n Boots, and TMNT.

Illustrated by Shawn McManus, veteran comic book illustrator best known for stints on Vertigo/DC Comics’ Sandman (for which he and Neil Gaiman were nominated for an Eisner) and Fables series. He worked with Alan Moore on his legendary reboot of Swamp Thing, and has worked on many more titles over the years, including Aquaman and Dr. Fate.

MEGAN’S BROOD is now available on Amazon in two formats – Kindle digital download and limited edition paperback. Purchase Megan’s Brood on Amazon now.