Tag Archive: HEX BREAKER


Yup, it’s here! Today’s the official release date for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hey, I’m not in this one, but it’s still a rollicking adventure, complete with mermaids, shape shifters, and demons!

We’re still waiting for Solstice Publishing to give us the buy link — it will be posted here and on the Jain Lazarus Website as soon as we get it.

In the meantime, enjoy some OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK!

Detective Wyatt East finds himself the primary suspect when hex breaker Jain Lazarus disappears after their romantic weekend in Vermont. In spite of the suspicions, Jain’s boss, Maitland Stiles, hires Wyatt to track her down, forcing him to face aspects of his own painful past and revealing more about hers.
Saddled with two rebellious runaway paranormal teens, he’s embroiled in a shapeshifter pack disagreement, and must learn to work with both a caustic dragon and a cantankerous mermaid to not only find Jain, but help her help an old friend who’s in over his head. Wyatt learns he is not without psychic abilities of his own, although he prefers old-fashioned detective work.

The desk was a beautiful, antique wooden one. Wyatt smiled. He remembered how, as a boy, he always wanted to find a secret compartment in a desk. He opened a drawer and ran his fingers under it, remembering the hours he spent at his grandparents’ house, fervently wishing one of their enormous old antiques would yield a secret.
His fingers found a switch. He pressed it, almost without thinking.

A panel slid out of the side of the desk, revealing an extra drawer. Wyatt pulled out the contents. There were several manila folders and a passport. He placed the folders on the desk and opened them. They were credit cards bills, but they were under the names of Ally Jensen, Beth Paige, and Carole Colley. Each credit card was paid off in full, with nearly $20,000 in open credit. There was also a passport. He flipped it open. The name on it was Beth Paige. The photo was Jain.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK releases today from Solstice Publishing:

HEX BREAKER, the first Jain Lazarus Adventure, is available digitally:

and in print:

Today’s the last day to download “Town Crier”, the short-story tie in to HEX BREAKER, available here.

And get ready — if you visit the Author Roast and Toast on Friday, July 13 — yup, that’s Friday the 13th, my friends! — you’ll be able to get the next Jain Lazarus short story, “The Occasional Ghost” both free and early. It won’t be generally available until the following week.

The best part of “The Occasional Ghost”? It’s all about me! 😉 Yup, it deals with one of my first indie film gigs, while I was still in college, and something that should have indicted that maybe I was destined for the kind of adventures I wind up in during HEX BREAKER, and then further into Book 3, CRAVE THE HUNT.

What’s that? You haven’t bought HEX BREAKER yet? Why not! You can find the buy links here on Amazon Kindle and here on Solstice Publishing.

Hey, you need something to take your mind off the heat, so why not something set in the cool and creepy Maine woods? The Jain Lazarus short story, “Town Crier”, is available for free download here until July 9.

I mean, I’m not in it or anything, which kinda sucks, but it’s still a fun story. It takes place ten years before the events in HEX BREAKER; I didn’t even know Jain then.

There’s gonna be a short story all about ME coming up next — again, before Jain and I ever met, but hey, it’s about me. I don’t often get to be the center of anything, cuz I’m a supporting character.

But this piece, right now titled “The Occasional Ghost”, will be available first to the attendees of the Roast ‘N Toast on July 13 – don’t worry, there will be more information on THAT next week!

‘Till then — read “Town Crier” and start looking forward to MY story!

The website problems are finally fixed, and the Jain Lazarus short story “Town Crier” is finally available! I’m stoked.

You can read an excerpt here and then download the whole thing.

It’s only live until July 9, so don’t wait too long!

I’m even more stoked because we have a Zombie Disco Party over at Author Roast and Toast on Friday, July 13, and those who attend will have the chance to download — early — a free short story starring . . . me!

Yeah, I’m a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short. Or any dollars short.

There’s a cool press release about the book here and we’re prepping for the short story, “Town Crier” to come out.

Long and Short Romance Reviews
will have an interview with Devon tomorrow.


HEX BREAKER is available from Amazon Kindle and from Solstice Publishing, only $2.99.

I’m thrilled — the book is out! We’re back in circulation!

Devon let me post this excerpt — it’s different than the ones in the press kit or on the Jain Lazarus website.

And, of course, if features ME!


Excerpt from HEX BREAKER (copyright protected):

Jain pushed the first button and the car was silent. The anterior car’s headlights filled the space.

“Clean up crew. I don’t like the sound of that,” muttered Billy.

“Nick, I need you to open the glove compartment.” Jain nodded in its direction.

“Okay.” He reached forward and popped it open.

“Run your hand along the top, inside. You’ll find a button. Press it.” She glanced at him. “You’ve played enough characters that use guns. You know how?”

“I’ve trained during research.”


Nick found the button, pushed it, and a compartment dropped down, revealing a gun. “This looks different.”

“Modified,” Jain responded. There wasn’t time for a weapons lecture. She just needed a little more time, get them set up to even the odds.

“To do what?” asked Billy.

“To work against things that aren’t human.”

“Um, I hate to break more bad news, but there’s more than one car behind us.”

“It’s only surprising it took them this long.”

“Shouldn’t you call that detective guy?”

“I’d like to leave him out of it, if possible.”

Nick glanced at Jain. “He’ll be pissed.”

“But he won’t be dead.”

“Yeah, but will we be dead?” Billy asked.

“Not if I have anything to say about it.”

“I hope you have a lot to say. Can this little car go fast enough?”


“You know you get kinda monosyllabic and terse when our lives are in danger?”

“Heard that rumor.” Jain glanced ahead, behind, and ahead again.

“‘Modifications’ has five syllables,” Nick pointed out.

Headlights flashed, coming toward them. Jain accelerated into the beam.

“Um, I think you’re on a collision course.”

“Didn’t you ever play chicken?”

“Not in cars,” Billy retorted.

“I was the number one chicken player in my state growing up, just as soon as I got my license.” The car’s engine roared as Jain pressed harder on the accelerator. The oncoming car began honking and the car behind dropped back slightly.

“They want to make sure one of them can run us off the road,” said Nick.

“Yep. And maybe by now they’ve figured I’m crazy and they also don’t want to end up hitting each other.”

“When do I use the gun?”

“Not in the car, if you can help it, and not with the windows rolled up. If we need it, wait until we’re in the open and you get a clear shot.”

“What am I shooting at?”

“Anything out of those cars that seems like a threat. Not anything coming in from somewhere else.”

“Don’t I get a weapon?” Billy asked.

“I’ve got an extra knife if you want,” Jain replied, “but you have to be pretty close for it to be effective.”

“We’re going to hit him!” Billy yelped, as the oncoming headlights filled the windshield. He ducked down in the backseat.


Jain Lazarus website here.

Amazon Kindle link here.

Solstice Publishing downloading link here.

Why Be an Actor?

It makes total sense why Devon decided to use actors in her story — I mean, HEX BREAKER takes place on the set of an independent film and if you’ve got a live action film, you need actors. Same as if you do a stage play, you usually need actors. Devon’s got a great story about working with a director in Seattle in the 80s who fired all his actors and used Barbie dolls instead because he said they “took direction better.”


So why did I become an actor?

Not to be famous. I mean, I want to get to the point in my career where I’m offered roles and can “take” meetings, rather than sitting in a waiting room with 87 guys who look like me but work out more. It gets depressing to spend day after day in a room full of clones. (Devon just said, “There’s a story in that” — so I’m scared now. But as long as I get to play the Uber-Clone and wind up alive at the end, I guess it’s cool).

People get famous now for being stupid, and that’s not my thing. I’d rather be stupid in private and not have it blasted all over the media.

I became an actor because I’m interested in what makes people tick. How does it feel to live inside somebody else’s skin? Why do they make the choices they make? When under stress, faced with a life-or-death decision, do you step up or fold? What are the consequences?

I also get to do stuff I’d never do in real life. I get to be a super-cool, super-smart computer geek. In real life, I’m lucky to get my iPhone working half the time. I get to shoot guns and take down bad guys, and make a positive change in the world. I’m not brave enough to do that in real life. But it’s really interesting to live inside that character and know how it feels.

It’s also interesting to live inside the antagonist, the villain, the guy who loses because the good guy’s got to win (it’s in a lot of their contracts). WHY does someone want to cause harm? WHY does a guy think he’s the best choice to run the world and everyone should do what he says, and he just kills people who disagree with him because it’s easier than having a reasoned conversation and negotiating? Even if I don’t agree with that guy, by living inside him, creating a character, I have a better understanding.

One of the great things about working with a good writer is you find a solid understanding of what makes that individual tick in the script. The writer KNOWS already the whats and whys and the backstory and all the details. The way the writer communicates it in the script gives me what I need to communicate it. Layer on a really good director, and you can go even deeper into the details the rest of us wouldn’t think f AND also get the big picture. The way the director tells me to tilt my head at a certain point of a line, and where I’m placed in the visual composition of the scene changes the impact of the scene.

When it works, it’s true magic.

When it doesn’t, you hope it goes to DVD, you cash the check and move on.

I’m not really good at walking away from a character at the end of a piece and never thinking of him again. Something of the character stays with me. Something of the understanding stays with me. And then I’m richer for it, when I approach the next script.


How did I wind up in HEX BREAKER? I’m an actor, and the book is set against the backdrop of filming an independent movie.

Like most actors, I have to go audition for roles. I’m not the kind of guy who gets called because someone thinks of me. I’ve got an agent, and the agent sends me out on calls. Most of the time, I’m in a room with thirty other guys who look like me and sound like me because they want a “type”. Maybe some inventive casting director will toss in someone who’s different, but, for the most part, we’re types.

I’ve got dark hair, blue eyes, I’m not leading-man tall or leading-man buff. I’m nearly thirty, but I play younger (although even I can’t get away with playing high school roles anymore). An ex-girlfriend says I play my emotional age.

I’m a sidekick. I’m the one, in the horror movie, who’s likely to go down in the scary basement or out to get some extra firewood and get chopped into pieces. I’ve done a couple of those movies. I’ve been the dorky best friend of the guy who gets the girl a bunch of times. They put a pair of glasses on me, and tell me to “play smart.” Oookaaaay. Whatever that means.

But that’s part of my job, y’know? I’m an actor. The same way a writer is supposed to personify “weird” in words instead of writing the word “weirdly”, I have to “play smart”, only I’ve got my body and my voice and my look and the clothes wardrobe gives me, and whatever life experience I’ve got to back me up.

Few years back, I did this movie with an actor named Nick Swift. Recognize the name? Yeah, thought you would. Pretty much everyone who goes to the movies or reads tabloids knows who Nick Swift is. He started as a quirky character actor, a “serious” actor, then he landed an action movie, and boom! He’s now a major star. A coupla action movies later, I was lucky enough to get a small role in a movie about pirates stealing Knights Templar treasure. Nick was the film’s hero. For some reason, we hit it off, getting to be friends off screen and having a lot of fun in our coupla little scenes on screen. Nick made them write more scenes for me, and we’ve done a few films since together. Basically, we’re playing variations on the same characters, but it’s fun. We’ve got a shorthand and a chemistry when we work together.

I actually did a film where I wasn’t the sidekick, but the romantic lead, and I got the girl for once. Unfortunately, it died on opening weekend; just couldn’t compete with the vampire and superhero films that came out. We’d probably have been better off if we’d done it as a movie on LIFETIME, or something.

A director named Vince Cannon wrote a small budget adventure piece and got it to Nick through a friend of a friend of a friend, the usual. Nick read the script and thought it sounded like fun, and the character was a little different from his usual. He thought the sidekick role was a good one for me, so he said he’d do the film if I did the film. Vince called me in to audition, he liked what he saw (and he wanted to sign Nick really, really badly). I was unemployed after my attempt at being a leading man, the script was fun, it would be great to work with Nick again, so why not? Vince’s girlfriend, Cady Bruce, was cast as the female lead. Maybe it was nepotism, but she’s a good actress and a nice woman, so that was all cool. And, somehow, Vince and Nick talked Clive Gaskell, that good-looking British guy, into being our villain. I think he and Nick did some buddy cop thing together a few years back.

We had a good cast, we had a good crew, we head off to Western Massachusetts to film. What could go wrong? As it turns out, plenty . . .

HEX BREAKER coming soon from Solstice Publishing!

Yup, it’s April first, but this isn’t an April Fool’s Joke. I’m Billy Root, a supporting character in the Jain Lazarus Adventures. Since fans keep asking for more about me, I get the chance to blog, and be both a character in a series, an actor in my life, and now. . .a blogger. School wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, so this will be, um, different. I hope you’ll stick with me as I navigate my multiple realities. I’m supposed to blog on most Mondays, but since April 1st is a Sunday, and Devon wanted to launch on April Fool’s Day, here I am.

I was like, “What, is this a comment on my intelligence? You think I’m a fool?”

She told me to look at it as The Fool in the tarot, which is someone getting ready to step off a cliff into a new beginning, with companions on the journey. I guess that’s pretty apt — I mean, in HEX BREAKER, I find out all sorts of cool and weird things about myself I didn’t know going in (and I’m not even a main character).

Maybe one day I’ll graduate to being the Fool in Lear — now there’s something to aspire to! Smartest one in that whole bunch.

Cool cover, isn’t it? This is for the re-release of HEX BREAKER from Solstice Publishing and the re-launch of the Jain Lazarus Adventures. It was designed by the amazing artist and writer PJ Friel.

Um, that isn’t me on the cover.

Kinda wish it was — I should look so good.

The cover features Jain and Wyatt, the two leads, along with the chaos dragon (who happens to be MY favorite character in the book). It’ll make sense when you read it.

I don’t have an exact release date yet, but you’ll know it as soon as I do! I’ll keep you up-to-date with what’s going on with HEX BREAKER, and the books in the series that follow. The third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, alternates between my point of view and Jain’s — but you’re going to have to wait awhile for that. I mean, Devon’s about haft way through writing it, but the second book in the series still has to come out. The second book, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, is from Wyatt’s point of view.

When HEX BREAKER re-releases, a new story called “Town Crier” will be available for a free download (for a limited time). I’m not in that one, either. It takes place before the events of HEX BREAKER.

Devon said maybe, just maybe, I’d get my own short story set in New Orleans. I make a reference to a trip to New Orleans I barely remember in HEX BREAKER, and she thinks it would be fun to play with that. If she does, maybe I’ll remember whether or not I had a good time there. I mean, how could you not have a good time in New Orleans, but I’d kinda like to remember how much of a good time I had there.

There are two other short stories that will also be re-released, in cycles, over the next few months. I’m in one of them — it takes place just a few months after the events of HEX BREAKER, but before what happens in OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you want to read an excerpt of HEX BREAKER and find out more about the series, you can visit the Jain Lazarus Adventures website.

Hope you’ll take the journey with us.