by Sam on June 8th, 2017

We are one week away from the official release of the second edition of my first ever novel, The Thief and The Red Mandolin! As we inch closer, I'll give you guys a few insights into the nature of the changes from the first edition of the book.

The first difference that you'll notice as soon as you open the book is the addition of maps! I've always wanted to have a set of maps for the book series, but lacked the know-how to put them together so they looked decent enough. When working the second edition, one of my top priorities was to figure how to create good-looking maps.

I mean, every self-respecting fantasy adventure book has maps, right? I'm pretty proud with how these came out. Hopefully, you guys will like them, too.
Stay tuned tuned for more reveals throughout the coming day until release.

See ya!

by Sam on May 15th, 2017


The June 15 release date for the second edition of The Thief and The Red Mandolin looms ever closer, less than a month away in fact. I can't wait to bring this updated version of my first-ever novel to the world. Keep an eye on those calendars folks. In the meantime, enjoy the image above to help tide you over.

Other Tidbits

If you happened to see Facebook this last month, you saw that Cardboard Carnage launched the first episode of an interactive radio play based on the card game Sentinels of the Multiverse. The play, titled, "Fragments of Reality," is fun, new outlet to test my creative abilities. It's been a neat challenge learning how to write the script, direct the actors and mix all of it together.

I'm looking forward to getting more episodes out. Voting for the first episode is already closed, but you can still listen to it on Watch that space for future episode postings.


by Sam on February 23rd, 2017

Greetings and salutations, one and all! This first post of 2017 has not one, not two but three announcements (well, the sneak preview could technically be a half-announcement, but I'm gonna round up). So, buckle in and read on!


For you ebook readers, you now have access to my books and short stories across more platforms than ever. Thanks to Pronoun and Smashwords, you can now get my stories from major book outlets like Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, Nook (Barnes & Noble) and Google Play. My work has been available in various ways across these before, but never all of my stories across all platforms. Also, thanks to the network of ebook libraries that Smashwords works through, they will be available to readers in Germany and the UK. Going forward, all of my books will be released across all of these platforms at the same time.

There a couple of exceptions: 1) Ellie was too short to include for distribution for Google Play and will not be available there. 2) Unplugged & Unfinished has some unique formatting that does not translate easily to ebook. I want to make it available electronically at some point, but for now the only way to get it is in hard copy via or directly from me at conventions and book signings.

Lastly, my books will become available on DriveThruFiction in the near future. The whole goal here is to make it easier for anyone and everyone to have access to my books in the way they prefer.

The Thief and the Red Mandolin (2nd Edition)

​I'm super happy to finally announce that the second edition of my first book The Thief and Red Mandolin has a release date:

June 19, 2017

This release is long, long overdue. This edit tightens up a lot of writing, rearranges of couple of scenes and adds more details that help up set up the rest of the books in the series. Eventually, The Island of Istburn will get the same treatment and we will, at some point, see the long-awaited Guild of Steam.

Stay tuned for the next update which will include a cover reveal. For now, I leave you with this teaser...
More details on the release to come over the next few months as close in on the launch day.

Sneaky Sneak Previews

Hmm, what could this be?
Or this???
So many mysteries!

by Sam on August 24th, 2016

ICT Comic Con

It's high time I gave you guys an update. First up: this weekend, on Saturday, August 27, I will be at ICT Comic Con! This is a new convention in Wichita that appeals to fans of fantasy, science fiction and horror in all its various forms (comics, literature, movies, you name it).

This being their first year, they are (wisely) starting small; the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center located at 21st and Ridge will house the event. Best part: it's completely free to the public! Doors open at 10:00 am and close at 6:00 pm. I will have copies of Pentinium and Unplugged and Unfinished on hand as well as a few first editions of the Black Armor Tales books.

Project R 2nd Edition

​​As a special surprise, I will debut the second edition of Project R at ICT Comic Con! If I'm being completely honest, I'd almost prefer to call it the 1.5th edition, but that just sounds weird.

The changes to book are purely cosmetic. I tweaked the cover with a new font in the title, added the Chateau Mayo logo to the back, changed out the author pic and updated the website. The text itself sees a format change using my now-standard template for print books. I also ran a quick editing run for some cleanup in areas that needed it. Nothing story-wise has been changed. So, if you already have a copy of the book, you are not really missing out on anything (though I won't say no if you decide to buy a copy of the new edition).

Other Updates

Speaking of second editions, the one for The Thief and the Red Mandolin hit a big milestone recently. I've made it through the bulk of the edits for this edition. I'm now running it through a cleanup edit, just for that extra bit of polish. Unlike Project R, this edition does add new story elements and even new scenes. It will also feature a new book cover and spiffy clean interior styling.

I am also re-working a campaign I wrote for the card game Sentinels of the Multiverse called Shards of Reality. The first version of it was fun, but a little on the long side. The campaign will still take a while to complete, but I've cut out a healthy number of encounters. I also incorporated a modular aspect to the campaign so gamers can lengthen or shorten their experience as they so desire.

Additionally, several more expansions for the game released since I initially wrote the campaign, so naturally I had to find ways to bring those in. I think I've done so fairly well, though the proof will be in the play-testing. More to come once it is finished.

Lastly, I have a few more projects in the hopper than I'm pretty excited about. I don't want to spoil anything just yet, but I'm hoping to have the first of them ready in time for the holidays. The second--and most ambitious, dare I say--we likely won't see until the start of the new year.

All right, that's all I've got for now. I'll catch you guys later!

by Sam on June 10th, 2016

I finally have a chance to catch my breath and jot something down here. Things have been kinda crazy lately, so I'm only able just now able to properly collect my thoughts from the last few weeks. A lot of cool stuff happened that I wanted to share with you. We'll start with the book reading, then dive into our trip to PlanetCon 2016 and finally end on a look-ahead for what's coming next.

Be warned: this post is link heavy. Keep track of those browser tabs.

Book Reading

The book reading at Reverie went over fairly well. We had a few things working against us though. The sound equipment wasn't ready. The coffee shop was unusually busy for a Thursday night, so it was really loud. Lastly, they kinda put us in a back corner that made it even harder for folks to hear us read.

Despite that, my family and I had a great time. I had never done anything like it before, and it took me a bit out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot just in prepping for the reading. Not only that, I connected a little more with some local author buddies. And I got to hear readings from two genres that I don't very often: paranormal romance and literary. I enjoyed the unique voice of the other two authors reading that night.

Overall, it was a fun experience. Some friends came out to partake, I got to show off to my wife and daughter (always a plus), and I even sold a couple of copies of my latest book, Unplugged and Unfinished.

Planet ComiCon

​Last year marked the first time my wife and I have ever been to a comicon. That isn't to say we've never had the desire to go. Growing up, I read a wide variety and large volume of comics (and still do to this day), but I always stayed so busy with school, sports, what-have-you that we never really made it a priority. The only geek conventions I had ever heard about were the likes of Star TrekSan Diego Comicon and E3. None of these occur even remotely close to us. Over the last couple of decades, we've seen a rise in all manner of conventions, including one in Kansas City called Planet Comicon, or PlanetCon for short.

​Our experience last year was a bit overwhelming, to say the least. The con was huge. Booths everywhere, cosplayers of all shapes, sizes and colors, celebrities, panels, artist alley and terrible con food. A lot to take in, but we had a ton of fun, and we resolved to return.
This year, we felt like old pros as we waded through the mass of con-goers. Our big goal this year was to meet our favorite voice actors, Nolan North and Troy Baker, which we accomplished. We got to sit in on their panel, take a combo photo with both of them and spent time chatting with them. Both guys are hilarious and great conversationalists. And yes, Nolan North really is Nathan Drake

I did get a chance to see the living legend, Stan Lee get a selfie with Lou Ferrigno (AKA the Hulk). I wanted to take a photo of the occasion so badly, but the three muscle-bound goons surrounding Stan told this would be a bad idea.

I have a soft spot for indie artists, so we made several forays into the artist alley. We met a number of interesting folks there, but the highlights were Brian Gordon (creator of the always hilarious Fowl Language webcomic), nooligan (a very cool artist that has a nice, clean retro style), and the very sweet Tori Gedvillas (whose drawings my three-year-old had to have).

To round out our trip, we got to mix business with pleasure in meeting the fine folks of Wordfire Press including Kevin J. Anderson, Quincy Allen, D.J. Butler and last, but certainly not least, Jim ButcherI got to meet Bryan Thomas Schmidt, the first editor for The Martian. He had a lot of great advice for aspiring writers; his words still float around the forefront of mymind even as I write this. Connecting with other authors at various stages in their careers, from fairly newly published writers to seasoned bestsellers, left my head spinning with all the great information and discussion. 

A major thanks to the great folks who put on the con and the wonderful celebrity guests they brought in. We had a wonderful time.

What's Next

Getting to meet all the awesome folks at the con gave me more fuel to get my rear in gear. Among the things I have in the pipe (see the In-Work Projects section of the site for a full list), my next focus will be on getting the second edition of my first book done. The cover art is pretty much finished (Will I show it to you? Nah, not yet. Soon, but not yet). I have about 1/4 of the text to finish editing. After comes another quick editing run using some software for extra tidiness before finally getting the text into a book template and sent off to CreateSpace.

Once this is done, the short story I want to do for Hugh Howey's Sand. universe on Kindle Worlds has been screaming at me for weeks, so that will be on deck for a draft. Finally, after that's done, I need to get back to The Cartographer. Been dragging my feet on that one.

That's all for this time folks. See you next time.

by Sam on May 12th, 2016

Next Thursday, May 19, at 6:00 p.m. I will be at Reverie Coffee Roasters in Wichita, KS doing a live reading from my latest book, Unplugged & Unfinished, and answering questions from the audience. This is part of a new regular event in town for indie writers, and I will be joined by two other indie writers from the area. Here's the blurb for the event:

​Each month, three new local writers will take the floor for 20 minutes each. Each Indie Writer will have a 10 minute reading followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. Books will be available for purchase, and all sales will be directly between the customer and the author. This is a free event, open to the public!

For you Facebookers, here is the link to the event: ​

If you're in the area, stop on by!

by Sam on May 10th, 2016

Surprise! I've just released a new book. It's called Unplugged and Unfinished: Anthology of Consequence Vol. 1. More than a simple short story anthology, this book collects all of my self-published short stories, some previously unreleased material (including older versions of published pieces) and a few essays that delve into some insights I've learned over the last eight years. Lastly, it also includes a sneak peek at the first chapter of The Guild of Steam (yes, I am actually still working on the book)!

The book acts as a snapshot or photo album of my progress as a writer and all the things I've learned since I decided to--as we say in the biz--write a book. 

You can snag in either paperback or ebook on And, as a special bonus, it is part of the Kindle Match program, so if you buy the paperback from Amazon, you get the Kindle version free! How awesome is that? Go check it out today!

To celebrate its release, and my writing journey that began 8 years ago, you can snag Unplugged & Unfinished at 8% off for the next week. To take advantage of the promotion, follow these instructions:

1) Click this link:
2) Click Add to Cart
​3) On the next screen, enter the following discount code under Options & Discounts: QQ5FRAW3
4) Continue checking out

NOTE: Even though CreateSpace will charge for shipping, the discount code factors in the shipping cost.

Also, stay tuned for another cool announcement coming within the next couple of days.

by Sam on April 16th, 2016

In my last post, I promised some announcements. Well, I decided to lump them together into one larger announcement. I've just published two new short stories, both of which are pretty fun, but for very different reasons. 
Genre: Military sci-fi, dark humor

​Description: As a squad of elite corporate soldiers preps for another mission to exterminate an alien menace, one of them experiences an existential crisis. And it's really annoying.

This short story came about as a result of a writing exercise. I challenged myself to write a story using only dialog. I cheated a little and added names and sound effects to the mix, but I still managed to hit what I was after. I mixed in my love of military sci fi and the end product is quite satisfying.

Plus, the idea of a crack soldier experiencing an existential crisis in the midst of battle is hilarious to me. Not sure many others would think so, but it made me laugh out loud a few times while editing which doesn't happen often.
Genre: Fantasy/Superhero

Description: A girl with a special power that is both blessing and curse experiences a painful episode that could help save a life, but at what cost?

This one was another writing exercise where the concept was to write a supernatural/fantasy themed short story with a female protagonist. The caveat was that she had to be in pain in some way.

Ellie was the result. I have to say, for having written it before we had our daughter, I'm kinda proud of it. Gets me in the feels every time I look at it. The ideas in this short fed directly into Amelia and the two share many of the same themes.
To celebrate the release of both of these short stories, for the next 5 days "A Skull's Lament" is available for free for everyone on! You don't even have to buy the two new ones to take advantage of this. Oh, and If you enjoy the stories, please be sure to leave a review on Amazon. It helps a ton.

by Sam on April 13th, 2016

Heh heh. My wife hates that song. ​Yes, 'tis true ladies and gentlemen. I have not gone away, though I have been pretty dang busy. With copious amounts of work, a plethora of travel and other things that would require more inappropriate adjectives and inappropriate use of other adjectives, things haven't gone as smoothly as well as I'd like with my writing.

Now that things have calmed down a bit in real life, I've been able to catch my breath and refocus (yet again...sigh) on writing. I have a number of updates so settle in.

The Website

First up, you may have notice that the website looks a bit different. ​I felt it was high time I gave the 'ol gal some tender loving care. The new look is courtesy of a different hosting service. I didn't have any problems with SquareSpace, my previous host; in fact, the service they provide is top-notch, especially for the quality of the website and ease of use. Heck, we're still using them for the Solid Fiction website.

But, an offer came along that, as they say, I couldn't refuse, and I have adopted Snap Pages as the new host for the website. Snap Pages provides many of the same features and functionality of SquareSpace all wrapped in a slick and simple interface.

I hope you enjoy the changes.

Additionally, I've made a clean break with the blog so I can keep my focus on what matters: the writing. Well, I mean the fiction. I'd rather keep my attention on that rather than beat myself up or churn out crummy filler content just to say I updated the blog. From now, it'll be strictly announcements and the random interesting tidbit I find lying around the internet.

The State of Things

Though my lack of updates may indicate otherwise, there actually has been some progress on the writing front.

This last summer, I hammered a (very) rough draft of The Cartographer novel. I wanted to give it a good long while to gestate before beginning the rewrite stage. Expect more news on this in the near future.

I have moved away from doing the chapter posts for the 2nd edition of The Thief and the Red Mandolin for two reasons: 1) as mentioned above I didn't want to just post things for the sake of posting them, and the chapter posts had become just that (plus, almost nobody read them), and 2) I have a new idea I want to use for its release. Stay tuned for that.

I have a whole slew of projects on burners--both back and front--that I'm really excited about. There are couple of announcements to come later this week, so stay tuned for that. You can check out the progress of all the open projects on the In-Work Projects page.​

It's going to be a big year, folks.