Self-Published Book Award Scores & Commentary

awardEarlier this year, I entered The Ghost Princess in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

I didn’t win, but I have received my scores and commentary from the judges:

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4 out of 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4 out of 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5 out of 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 4 out of 5
Character Appeal and Development: 4 out of 5
Voice and Writing Style: 4 out of 5
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“Look the Other Way”

This received an Honorable Mention in Allegory e-zine (vol. 24/51)
It’s more of a straight horror story about a young couple driving through the country who happen upon something not quite human.


Rain pounded the front windshield like they were driving through a carwash. The wipers darted back and forth with their constant rhythmic hum, but did little to aid the view. It was just good fortune the road was empty—almost nothing could be seen ahead, even with the headlights at their brightest. An oncoming car would likely create blinding white glare.

Laurie Brooks had been staring out the passenger window, seeing little more than the rain slide down and across the glass at an angle. Near the ground, water sprayed outward as though they were on a speeding boat. Beyond was near total darkness. She was able to make out some open fields of wheat or weeds, but as far as she could see, they might as well have been driving through a tunnel.

She looked at her husband, Tom, and noted his normally boyish, carefree face set with stern concentration. He looked stiff and uncomfortable, like someone watching a movie and anticipating a loud jump-scare. She’d seen that look when he was studying for law school. She sympathized, but also found his seriousness endearing at the same time.

“I say if the next town doesn’t have a motel,” she said, “we just pull over and sleep in the car.” Continue reading

“The New Babysitter”

This is one of my first short stories, and I think the first work I ever tried to get published. I’ve never been really sure what genre it should fall under—a sort of horror-comedy-thriller, I guess. Can’t say if it holds up, but it has a special place for me.
It’s a twist on the old babysitter story where said babysitter gets harassed on the phone by a creepy guy lurking outside.


I know I have problems.

My parents knew—I knew—we were taking a risk letting me babysit the McAllister kids. But in my defense, honestly, what are the odds? I certainly didn’t go in that night thinking things would escalate the way they did. I didn’t want anyone to die … Continue reading

Interview For Hungry Monster Book Reviews

After his review of The Ghost Princess, I was interviewed by Hungry Monster Book Reviews about my book and its characters….

(minor spoilers ahead)

There are some intriguing characters in your novel and they all intersect in different ways. How did you develop the characters interactions?
The core protagonists—Katrina, Lily, Krutch, & Scifer—were developed individually in short stories I’ve written (none have been published). I had an idea of these characters existing in the same world, but they were each built up in my mind by themselves. When I finally decided to just write a novel, it was a matter of thinking of a plot that would tie them all together. Even though Katrina is essentially the central character, I always thought of The Ghost Princess as much Krutch’s story and Lily’s story as it is hers. So that was how I approached the writing. The first draft was divided in three sections—the first entirely from Katrina’s perspective, the second from Krutch’s, and the third from Lily’s. With the second draft, I started putting the three POV’s together. I was happy to find how well everything ended up syncing together…Katrina and Krutch, in particular, forming a sort of anti-”Hero’s Journey.” And Lily wound up fitting in the middle of that perfectly.
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Hungry Monster Review of “The Ghost Princess”

New review for The Ghost Princess by Hungry Monster Books Reviews:

“[Katrina Lamont] is a drunk, a vagrant, and unpleasant to say the least, but she wasn’t always this way. She was once a hero of the kind you call on to slay dragons and save kingdoms. Those days are well behind her and she’s happy to keep it that way. Her plans to drink herself into obscurity are derailed when an infamous pirate is hired to capture her, the elite guards want to arrest her, demons roam the land, and a warlock wants to sacrifice her. But people are not who they seem and [Katrina] is about to find friends in the most unlikely of characters.
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Review for “The Ghost Princess”

Unlimited Book Reviews was kind enough to review The Ghost Princess:

“This darkly humorous fantasy adventure addresses the question of what happens to those heroic Chosen Ones whose stories don’t end happily ever after.

“The Ghost Princess of the title is Katrina, who was once a heroic Princess out to regain her kingdom from the forces of darkness, but is now just a drunk trying to forget the past. Unfortunately for her, there’s a prophecy and some evil nutters want to sacrifice some girl under the full moon. So she finds herself being dragged back reluctantly into the hero-ing business as a bunch of bad guys and sort-of-bad guys converge in a way which will definitely not lead to a happy ending for anyone.

“There’s a good deal of over-the-top violence of the splashy variety from the start and throughout. I don’t like blood and gore, but the humour, good characters, and clever plot kept me reading. The writing is decent and generally well edited, although there were some annoying errors.”

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Kirkus Review of “The Ghost Princess”

“In this subversive debut fantasy, a fallen heroine is drawn into the schemes of madmen.

“Alcoholic Katrina Lamont is in the frontier town of Dictum in the untamed Graylands that separate the Two Empires. While drinking away memories of her tragic past, she’s approached by the suave Rasul Kader who needs help tracking down a mystery woman with a grand destiny. ‘I’ve had enough destiny in my life,’ she declares. Meanwhile, Capt. Deacon Marcus of the Sentry Elite has arrived in Dictum on a hunt for the stolen Dragon’s Fang dagger. He meets with Guardian Mage Elijah Warren, who informs him that a sickness is brewing in the nearby forest and he must investigate a possible breach into the Black, where evil rules. South of Dictum, in a fortress near the Dark Lands, the vile Jacob Daredin waits for his machinations to bear fruit. He possesses the Dragon’s Fang and needs only to spill royal blood during the Devil’s Moon to become all-powerful. And finally, there’s the legendary pirate Krutch Leeroy, whose agents have assaulted Katrina, pushing her to join Deacon Marcus on his quest in the Derelict Woods. Katrina, however, has no idea that she’ll soon confront the brutal, invincible Enforcer and a girl named Lily, whose fate overlaps with her own. If these ‘Travelers on a mission’ and ‘talk of quests and destiny’ make author Walsh’s debut seem like every other fantasy adventure, think again. His self-aware approach to genre blending (using not just orcs and gargoyles, but also a serial killer) provides a rigorous example of tight, engaged storytelling. The playful prose dances the line between silly and epic, like when Krutch is described as ‘a legit, real-deal pirate.’ After the complex chess-style setup, Walsh begins savagely removing pieces from the board in ways that should satisfy fans of gory creature features. It’s Katrina and her incredible past, though, that make this a must for casual and hard-core fantasy readers.

“This debut features a string of startling, satisfying twists wrapped up in mesmerizing fantasy.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“The Ghost Princess” Excerpt

A brief excerpt from The Ghost Princess:


When it rains, it pours.

The thought crossed Katrina Lamont’s mind as she heard the rain outside. The raindrops were hitting the ground so hard she heard it over the crowd. She figured it just as well—she had no intention of leaving any time soon.

Rasul Kader didn’t follow after she stormed out of the bar. That was good for his sake, because if he had, she was certain she would’ve wound up punching him in the throat. The fresh air did her good, and after smoking two more cigarettes, she calmed down and got something to eat at the Pilgrim’s Stop.

However, any appetite she might have had dwindled upon seeing the three Sentries and their Mage. They were talking among themselves and paid no mind to her, but seeing a group of soldiers and magic-user— mostly likely on some mission or quest of their own—so soon after listening to Kader’s pitch made Katrina feel uneasy and tense.

Barely touching her food, she eventually returned to the bar, hoping Kader would be gone. He was thankfully nowhere to be found, so she decided to forego any sense of pacing herself and started hitting the ale as soon as she arrived. The first two pints stung her throat and made her stomach tumble, but she developed a pleasant buzz that made it fade away.

Unfortunately, drinking did little to ease the growing paranoia nagging her mind. She sat in the back corner, by herself, scanning the bar for anyone who might be staring at her. Most of the other patrons were regulars she recognized from previous nights, and she noted more than a few guys leering at her—all seemed as it should be.

Nevertheless, she couldn’t shake an increasing dread someone was watching her and Kader was only the beginning. The beginning of what, she didn’t know … nor did she want to.

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“The Ghost Princess” Now Available

My first novel, The Ghost Princess, is now available.

Sometimes …
Destiny isn’t all it’s cracked up to be …
bookcover
Graylands is where people go when they don’t want to be found.
A neutral, mostly frontier country between two opposing empires, it is a haven for drifters, pilgrims, outlaws, and everything in between hoping to build a new life, find adventure, or just disappear.

Katrina Lamont is one such individual.
Once upon a time, she was the Chosen One—a warrior charged with a great and heroic destiny. But when she finished her journey, there was no happy ending waiting for her. Now she lives as an embittered, alcoholic drifter, haunted by the ghosts of her past.
But when an evil sorcerer, Jacob Daredin, seeks to fulfill an ancient prophecy that may grant him god-like power, Katrina will have to take up the sword once again as she finds herself caught in a race to find the young woman whose sacrifice is the key to Daredin’s mad dream.

Along the way, she will contend with Krutch Leeroy—an infamous outlaw who is not all he seems—and cross paths with Lily Blackthorn—a perky, but mysterious woman with a dark secret of her own.
As Daredin’s forces close in, they will traverse a haunted landscape of pirates, demons, killers, con-men, an immortal juggernaut, and worse in an adventure where the line between destiny and plain bad luck is razor thin.

Paperback copies can be purchased for $9.95 (plus shipping) on Amazon.
Also available on Kindle for $1.99

Hope you enjoy.