A Demon in the Desert Fifth Anniversary

A Demon in the Desert cover

It’s been five years since I published A Demon in the Desert. Some time after I put it out, I blogged about everything I’d learned from. Five years on, those things still hold true but I’m not taking active lessons from it anymore. It serves as a very mixed gateway into the life of Grimluk and his adventures, with some people loving it and a few thinking it’s garbage. It’s a first book. And I don’t know what else to say on it.

I could talk about how sometimes I think about rewriting it but my desire to let it stand, as its own thing and as a sign of where I started mostly wins out there. It will stand as it is.

I could talk about how my friend, Krista Ball, told me about the five-year issue. It takes five years before you really get anywhere. But my fifth year is also the year of COVID-19 and I still only have three books. By Krista’s fifth year, she had 12 books out (or, as she put it when I asked, “A lot, and probably not enough, but also way too much.”). In self-publishing, quantity DOES matter, at least more than in traditional publishing. It’s also not smart to compare my journey to someone else’s. While Krista’s level of success is where I’m aiming, I’m also not her and I don’t write what she writes. Also at least one of those was a non-fiction and those always sell.
 
The truth is…this doesn’t feel like a big deal to me anymore. I’ve written and published three books and written a fourth that just needs the money for editing, proofing, and artwork (along with another couple of drafts). Releasing a book is still a big deal. Releasing a book is a big, nerve-wracking event where I push another piece of my very silly soul out into the world for people to consume, come what may. But the march of time? Not really.
 
The biggest thing about having been doing this for five years now is that…I can’t see myself not doing it anymore. Paying for the publishing sucks and is the hardest part of this, followed by marketing, but I love doing this. I love writing. I love creating. I love entertaining and it still makes me feel real. So even with COVID-19 rolling around, and the US absolutely DUNKING on itself, that hasn’t changed. Sometimes I feel like I’m being frivolous writing Grimluk and not like, some politically-charged, current events commentary sci-fi story. Which is kind of silly considering Grimluk is politically-charged in a different way. Part of a recent review for The Demons Within read:
 
I also like how Ashe has pretty seamlessly incorporated queerness and gender diversity into these books. In that respect, I do actually think I’d recommend these as good fantasy for middle school age queer/trans teens and early high school age queer/trans teens. Though gender and sexual diversity aren’t the main focus, Ashe incorporates them in a way that makes them feel normal and a part of the world, rather than make those characters anomalies or always in danger of persecution and ridicule. Not many other fantasy series featuring genderqueer orcs or queer elven or dwarven couples as a normal and accepted part of the world!
 
And that is a huge thing for me with this. So, sure, it’s trash adventure stuff but I’m still putting myself and my friends into it. Even if I was just writing pure adventure trash, oh well, people need that sometimes.
 
I’m just gonna keep going. In another five years, I’ll reflect on a decade as an author. Hopefully I’ll find 2025 a more welcoming place. A more stable and secure place. Here’s hoping we all do.
 
Now, given that I wasn’t really sure what to talk about and have rambled, mostly, I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has. I know most of you don’t really read these, but if you do, and something pop up, leave a comment or tweet at me or whatever and I’ll compile them together in a Q&A.

Stay safe.

Hark, some Holiday Stories

So, Rachel Sharp decided she wanted to put together an LGBT holiday-themed anthology of flash fiction. Because she’s punk rock like that. She asked me to include a story if I had one. I had an idea for another story I’m planning on doing and decided to make the little piece a lead-up to that one. There’s like twenty authors. You can get a copy from any of us by donating/pledging/backing/whatever. If you’d like one from me, I ask for a minimum of $2 to my sleep apnea gofundme campaign. I am a charity unto myself at the moment. Upon donation, I will send you a link with a zip file that contains an epub, mobi, and print-formatted pdf that you can print out for you own enjoyment.

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Four Year Anniversary Giveaway

It’s been four years since I released A Demon in the Desert and to celebrate, I’m doing a a month long giveaway. For all of June, you can get A Demon in the Desert for free in your choice of epub or mobi formats. I know by now that my first book was pretty rough but it got me started. It helped me start on a path to make me feel like a real person again and I’ll always be proud of that. Happy anniversary to my big green son.

You can get A Demon in the Desert here!

Holiday Sale

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Hey, y’all! I’m pleased to announce that I’m teaming up with some fine folks to run a sale for the month of December. From now until December 31st, A Demon in the Desert is 99 cents and Demon Haunted is half-off! For those new to my writing, the Grimluk, Demon Hunter series is about the titular orc and his adventures in a fantasy western land. A reader once described Grimluk as “the lovechild of Clint Eastwood and Hellboy”.

Next up is Brandon Draga with The Summerlark Elf, the first in his Four Kingdoms series. The book “introduces readers to compelling characters in an engaging world of swords and sorcery, personal turmoil and political intrigue!”

Erica Linquidst (who co-authors with her husband) has a slew of books on sale for you. Her sci-fi post-apocalypse book, Whisperworld, is 99 cents, along with volume 1 of her Lily Quinn erotica series, starring the titular Lily, a half-succubus monster hunter. And make no mistake, this series is graphically sexual. Last, My Guide to RPG Storytelling, a friendly guide to becoming a Dungeon Master!

And finally, we have Edward M. Erdelac with book one of his fantastic Merkabah Rider series, High Planes Drifter, about a Hasidic Jewish gunslinger on a mission of vengeance, and his short story anthology of weird fiction and horror, Angler in Darkness.

Between the four of us, you should be able to find something that makes your December just a little bit better. Happy reading, y’all!

Orctober: The Demons Within Character Intro – Manyara Arendse

Today we’re gonna meet a human. I know, it’s Orctober, but there’s reasons why. I mean besides me promoting The Demons Within. Manyara Arendse is a ranger. Given that this is a fantasy western: yes, I mean like a combination of Texas rangers and Tolkien’s rangers. But we’re here for her. Manyara is a tall, black human with a nearly shaved head. She’s hardworking, hard-fighting, hard-drinking, and her commanding officer, marshal, is an orc named Bringar. And she does have a softer side, especially with who she would say is one of her best friends, Emerald. We don’t learn as much about Manyara in the book as we do about Emerald but we do learn, from Emerald, that she’s dyslexic and if she wanted, she has the potential to become a fairly powerful magic user. As of The Demons Within, Manyara is still the least senior member of her posse but has been there long enough to be respected.

She was fun to write. Manyara fell somewhere between Emerald and Grimluk. Like Grimluk, she likes the work she does, even when it’s dirty and deadly. Like Emerald, she’s never dealt with demons before and never wanted to. Due to being a ranger, she can be a little stoic but she’s still plenty capable of being personable. Especially if there’s Cimmerian whiskey involved.

I hope you like her as much as I do. Get yourself a copy of the book and go meet her properly!

Orctober: The Demons Within Character Intro – Emerald

So, have you bought your copy of The Demons Within yet? You shooouuuuld…

To tempt you further, I thought we could take a look at a couple of the new characters for this story. First up, like Grimluk, we’ll meet Emerald. Now, you’ll learn some things about her in the book itself so this is more surface level.

Emerald is an orc who lives in Downingville, New Gilead. She works and lives at the Coming Conqueror Saloon and Hotel as a Companion ala Inara from Firefly except without the cultural appropriation/fetishization and much more saloon girl. She’s a sex worker and damn good and proud of her job. Like most orcs, she’s on the bigger side, with dark hair, and a somewhat rare beauty trait among orcs in the shape of her pupils. Though I don’t name it in the book, she stands about 6’3″, and while she doesn’t cultivate muscle, she still has a measure of her people’s inherent strength. She has some magical aptitude, as well, something she uses as part of her job, mostly in the form of minor spells using heat, cold, and electricity for massages and/or sense play. She could be considered one of the core members of the Conqueror’s Companions, as illustrated well in the book itself. She loves her peers, but especially one of her best friends, the elf named Tulip (who is the very picture of androgynous beauty). Emerald is gregarious, flirty, and good-natured, with a low tolerance for bullshit and not one problem speaking her mind. She’s happy to help those in need and happier still to ply her services.

I sincerely hope you enjoy meeting her in the book as much as I enjoyed writing her. When I was planning the book, I had the idea of having a saloon girl be one of the major characters and eventually, Emerald was the result. So get your copy of The Demons Within, and meet Emerald!