The Afterglow

Hey there. I’m back again, and I brought another friend with me.

Everyone knows about the afterglow: When someone dies, their spirit briefly visits the living soul who meant the most to them, before quickly fading from this world.

Jake and Emma were normal teens in high school, until a tragic accident claimed Emma’s life. Jake’s understanding of the world is fractured when Emma’s afterglow appears before him—but somehow doesn’t recognize him at all.

Confused, depressed, and in a daze, Jake turns to Emma’s sister Elise for answers, and instead finds a bond unlike any he’s ever felt before. But Elise knows what Jake doesn’t, and the secrets Elise swore to keep could tear the two of them apart.

The Afterglow is a young adult coming-of-age story about ghosts, railroad tracks, summer, and what it means to connect with each other on a spiritual level.

The Afterglow will be available in print and eBook formats July 26th, 2019. You can pre-order digital editions at the links below, which I’ll update as more editions become available.

AmazonSmashwordsBarnes & NobleiTunes Books ⋅ Google Play Books

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Crypto Bizarro

It’s been a while, but I haven’t been idle. I have a few projects in the pipeline, hopefully coming soon. In the meantime, my latest is available right now.

Introducing Crypto Bizarro.

Welcome to the world of Crypto Bizarro, where all manner of ghosts and ghouls and things that go “bump” in the night come out to play. This fully-illustrated collection of horror includes short stories, poems, puzzles, cryptograms, secret messages, a choose-your-own-adventure tale, and more. From restless spirits to physical monstrosities, dastardly acts and forbidden rituals, the frights found within ask the reader to question their reality. As the tome comes to life in your hands, you’ll have to search beyond the book itself to unlock all of its mysteries, but take care—when you venture into darkness, the unknown has ways of making itself known.

Crypto Bizarro is a fully-illustrated collection of horror-themed short stories, puzzles, and poems for a mature audience. This collection is the culmination of two and a half years’ worth of work and correspondence between myself and Josh Leichliter, as well as the contributions of our wonderful writing and producing team: Sarah Carswell, Seth Thomas, Nick Brown, Aerys Bates-Leichliter, Andrea Wright, and Ariana Wright.

The book is available in hardcover and eBook formats. You’ll find links at the bottom of this post.

Crypto Bizarro is more than a collection. It’s a brand, a flavor if you will, and this collection is just the start. To keep up on all of our crazy ideas, visit www.cryptobizarro.com and sign up for our mailing list, or follow our page on facebook. Right now you can find a few free samples and a nice little puzzle, with more on the way. This is meant to be a growing, evolving, living (or perhaps undead?) collection, and Josh and I have much more up our sleeves.

Amazon (Hardcover) • Amazon (Kindle) • Google Play (Coming Soon) • iTunesBarnes & Noble (Hardcover) • Barnes & Noble (eBook) • Smashwords • Direct Purchase

Build Yourself Better and Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails Available Now

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

From today my poetry collections Build Yourself Better and Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails are available.

cover art by david j. lovato   cover art by david j. lovato

Build Yourself Better is a narrative poetry collection, meaning the poems tell an overall story while also standing on their own. Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails is a collection of my narrative poetry collections, and includes Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, A Means to an Ens, Build Yourself Better, and a collection of poems originally scrapped from the above three works, titled B-Sides and Rarities.

You’ll find both available in eBook and softcover, as well as a hardcover option for Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails. Those interested in checking the books out before buying will find samples by highlighting the “Samples” link on my site’s top menu.

Store links can be found below.

Build Yourself Better
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, CreateSpace

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Lulu (hardcover)

As always, thanks for everything.

Two Books. One Post.

This has been finished for a while, but A Means to an Ens had been finished even longer, so this one had to wait its turn.

cover art by david j. lovato

Two people meet, fall in love, fall out, and fall apart, left wondering what to do with the pieces that remain. A collection of narrative poetry.

Build Yourself Better is a poetry collection, and the final in a trilogy called Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, which consists of Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, A Means to an Ens, and Build Yourself Better.

cover art by david j. lovato

The whole trilogy can be purchased as a set inconspicuously titled Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, which will also include a fourth collection, B-Sides and Rarities, consisting of poems cut from the first three.

All in all, each collection is a set of narrative poetry, meaning the poems tell an over-arching story. Together, the collections form a thematic, loosely-related trilogy.

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails gathers four poetry collections:

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages details a narrator’s struggle to find his place in the world as he drifts through parallel universes, replaces the people around him with fictional characters, scatters his poetry to the wind, and keeps the things he can’t bear to lose by writing them down.

A Means to an Ens follows the last man on earth. Years after waking up to find himself seemingly alone in the world, the narrator heads out on a journey to find any sign of life in a desolate place, but is instead confronted by the ghosts of his past.

Build Yourself Better chronicles two people who meet, fall in love, fall out, and then fall apart, and what they do in the aftermath with the pieces that remain.

B-Sides and Rarities features poems originally cut from the above collections.

Build Yourself Better and Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails will be available in eBook and print formats on February 29th, 2016. Because the chance to release a book on February 29th doesn’t come around very often.

Before then, you can look forward to previews of a few of the poems by keeping an eye here, especially on my Scenes page.

Thanks for everything.

Pre-order links (more will be added as they become available):

Build Yourself Better: Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails: Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play

In the Year of Our Death and Zombiemandias – Available Now

In the Year of Our Death, the sequel to After the Bite and In the Lone and Level Sands is now available in print and eBook formats at various retailers, and should go live at several more over the next few hours.

In the Year of Our Death

It’s been two years since the zombies first appeared and changed the world forever. Keely and her friends escaped the hell of Seattle and settled down near an abandoned radio station. Bailey finds herself caught up with a ravenous group of survivors. Georgie has set up a courier system to move mail across the remains of America. Will and his friends—all of them orphans now—are out of water and have to leave their quiet suburb for the first time in their lives. Nelson, the engineer charged with running Hoover Dam and powering the American Southwest, breaks his glasses and must wander the wasteland nearly blind looking for a replacement.

Adam, however, knows the truth about the zombies: They aren’t monsters, they’re angels, sent by God to cleanse the world of the survivors, and Adam and his Church of Lesser Humans were put here to help them do it. Armed only with faith, a bus, and the steadfast rule to never allow harm to come to the zombies, Adam knows Judgment Day is coming, and will stop at nothing to herald its arrival.

You can read a sample chapter here as well as download samples from the retailer of your choice.

Store Links (more will be added as they become available):

Amazon • Google Play • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • SmashwordsKobo • Paperback (CreateSpace store) • Hardcover

The paperback edition should be available through Amazon’s website and Barnes & Noble’s website soon.

Also available is the collected edition, Zombiemandias: In the Zombie Apocalypse Collection, an eBook that includes After the Bite, In the Lone and Level Sands, and In the Year of Our Death.

Zombiemandias: In the Zombie Apocalypse Collection

Amazon • Google Play • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • SmashwordsKobo

Thanks to everyone who makes what I do possible. This includes you, the reader, without whom I’m just sitting here shouting random nonsense into a void. Thank you.

In the Year of Our Death

Things have been exciting lately! I published my first game, Hinterland, and while it was a little bit glitchier than I thought, it’s been mostly smooth. I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and a lot of fun watching people play it on YouTube.

Now it’s time for me to shift my focus to my other big October project. This one is a book announcement.

In 2012 I published After the Bite, a collection of short stories I wrote with my friend Seth Thomas, set during a zombie apocalypse. This was a companion book to a novel we released a year later called In the Lone and Level Sands. Now, I couldn’t be happier to announce the sequel to both: In the Year of Our Death.

In the Year of Our Death

In the Year of Our Death picks up roughly two years after the end of In the Lone and Level Sands. Like the previous book, it follows different groups of characters across the zombie-ravaged country. Returning from In the Lone and Level Sands, Keely and her friends live in a motel near a radio station in a small, quiet part of Los Angeles they’ve barricaded off from the zombies and the outside world. Young Will and his group of orphaned teens have been waiting out the apocalypse in a peaceful suburb, but have run out of food and water and have to leave to find a new home. Ruffian Bailey found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and has been running with a bad crowd ever since, until she decides to flee them and try to do some good in the world. Slow but well-meaning Georgie, who could outrun the devil himself on his bicycle, has set up a courier system to shuttle packages and information across the United States. Engineer Stephen Nelson has set himself up at Hoover Dam, where he keeps power running to the Southwest—until he breaks his glasses and has to head blindly into the wasteland to replace them.

At the heart of it all is Adam. Suffering from nightmares of a church fire he survived at the onset of the apocalypse, Adam believes the zombies to be a higher form of enlightenment, and now commits his life to protecting them. His most important mission is to find the man on the radio who feeds daily advice on how to kill what Adam calls the “greater humans” and silence him for good.

After the Bite told the small tales of a zombie apocalypse, while In the Lone and Level Sands serves as a record of survivors at its onset. In the Year of Our Death finds the survivors—and zombies—struggling to survive in a world that changed forever two years ago. Every day now is a war, and this year will claim its fair share of casualties.

You can read a sample chapter here: Chapter 16

So this is how I find myself sitting on a series of finished books. I have to say I like how it feels. On that front, I’m also announcing an eBook collection of all three books:

Zombiemandias: In the Zombie Apocalypse Collection

Buying the three of them together will end up being a little cheaper than buying them separately, but fair warning: This is going to be quite a long eBook.

Both books release on October 20th, 2015. Pre-orders will be live soon, I’ll update with links as they’re available. Also, in celebration, the eBook version of In the Lone and Level Sands will be available for free and/or at a deep discount at most retailers through the month of October.

So that’s that. Stay tuned here for release info, teasers, and other goodies.

Thanks always for reading.

WIBUT 6/8/2015

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs. I recently gave this site and all of my books a makeover, and now that things are getting settled in, I figure it’s time for a general status update.

Writing

I definitely didn’t meet my Camp NaNoWriMo goal. That’s okay. I’m still working on the novel version of Let the Moonlight Give You Wings, my RPG and novel tie-in project. I have most of the plot hammered out, and writing it as a novel is presenting scenarios not possible in the game (and vice-versa). No idea when it’ll be finished, but it’s coming along smoothly.

I set that down to work on another project the past few weeks. I finished the first draft of it, but I can’t say anything else about it yet. Soon, though, I’ll be ready to talk about it.

The next session of Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up. I’ll probably focus on finishing some older projects, specifically a novella or two.

Playing

Aside from writing news and reviews and features for Cubed3, I’ve been playing a lot of Destiny, Splatoon, and finally getting around to the Fallout: New Vegas DLCs. I’m pretty upset about the whole Silent Hills cancellation fiasco, but I’m super excited for Fallout 4.

I’m also working on my own games. Lately I’ve been putting together some music and sound effects for Let the Moonlight Give You Wings, and I’m working on a much smaller game that will probably be finished and released first, but more on that later.

Reading

I’m working my way through The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin. So far it’s very different from the rest of her Ekumen books (which makes sense, being written over 20 years after the previous one) but I like it so far. I’m actually a little sad that I’m almost finished with her novel series, but the books aren’t going anywhere, they can always be re-read.

 Watching

Game of Thrones, mostly. Exciting things happening on that show. I’ve also gotten into House of Cards, which is a lot of fun. I’ve been watching Wayward Pines with my mom; it’s interesting, and I like that what some shows would’ve left as the bigger, dragged-out mysteries get figured out as early as the first episode. I’m cautiously optimistic about True Detective; word is it’ll be a lot less weird this time around, which is one of the things I loved most about season 1.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m still hoping I can share some pretty big news on a few of my projects pretty soon here. I’m always at work behind the scenes.

Until next time.

What’s in a Name?

Big changes incoming!

Perhaps you’ve noticed this very site (as well as Twitter) list me as “David J. Lovato” while the name on all my covers and storefronts simply reads “David Lovato”. That’s going to change.

Big changes this far along can get messy, and I spent the better part of two days updating all of my book covers and websites to add one little “J”, but the end result will be worth it. Why the change? Well, “davidlovato” wasn’t available for use as a WordPress site, so I added the J way back when, and it’s always good to keep things streamlined. Another reason is that I’m not the only David Lovato in town, and I think it’s best to keep any potential confusion to a minimum. So, starting in the coming weeks, you should see “David J. Lovato” on all of my books and store fronts. Also, it turns out I really like the way it looks. It’s like a little hook cementing my name in place. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I think I’ve realized you can tell a great font by its J.

Anyway, It’s a lengthy process to change all of my links and descriptions and profiles, but I’m almost done, and hopefully I did it without breaking anything too badly.

So, while I’m busy writing a post about my writing, I guess I should give a general update.

I’m way behind on Camp NaNoWriMo, thanks in part to burnout and in part to a household emergency. I may or may not get caught up, but I do plan to finish this project someday, and hopefully not too far away.

I have another project, a big one, that I’m hoping to release by Halloween. More details on that when it’s a little more ready for the spotlight.

I’m kicking around ideas for another poetry book. Possibly two of them. I enjoyed writing and publishing Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, but for these two, I’m thinking bigger. Maybe louder.

I’m sitting on some novellas! One is finished and polished and I’m working to get it published traditionally. Another one is finished but not edited, and the last is unfinished, but I hope to put the final touches on those two this summer. Not sure whether I’ll self-publish or try the traditional route with them; that will depend on how I feel about the finished products. I also have an almost-finished short story collection that will most likely be self-published; the stories are all set in the same world and follow a specific theme.

And, as always, I have plenty of projects always moving, some slower than others, but they’ll be revealed when the time is right.

In short, I promise I’m working on things, and I’m pretty sure at least one of them will see a release this year.

Speaking of Halloween (I know that was a few paragraphs ago but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want), last year I started a second RPG Maker project in the spirit of Halloween. With any luck I’ll finish it and release it before Halloween this year. It’s just a short little adventure where I challenged myself to see how odd I could make things go in that game engine, but I don’t see the harm in getting it out there, supposing I finish it. My main project is still Let the Moonlight Give You Wings, but that one is a lot larger and less predictable, so I can’t give an ETA on it. If I do pick up my Halloween-ish game again, expect to see some previews around these parts.

That about does it as far as talking about what I’m working on. One last thing though:

My favorite band is back! I can hardly express how excited I am to see Brand New recording and putting out new material. My history with this band is a long one. I’ll probably write a whole post on it pretty soon. But for now let’s just say they have a new song called “Mene” and you should buy it because it’s awesome.

And that’s it for now. Until next time!

These Shoes

These Shoes

See these shoes?

When I got these shoes, I had just graduated high school. I was starting to hang out with some new friends, I was going to college, I was working my first real job.

I was wearing these shoes when I had my first panic attack. I wore them through countless others. I walked to and from school and work and the bus stop in these shoes. I sat through my classes and worked through my shifts and rode the bus along the highway.

When I missed the bus, I walked that highway. I walked the streets of several cities, I walked the woods with my friends. Up and down steps formed by roots in mud, sitting on gigantic stones amid maple trees in a woods surrounded on all sides by a city that, to us, in that circle, might as well have not been there.

I wore these shoes when I lost old friends. I wore them when I made new ones. I wore them when I graduated college, got a different job, worked through that one and realized writing was my job all along.

These shoes accompanied me through millions of words, through the moments that inspired them, the people that became characters, the characters I wished were real people.

Shoes in a Car

These shoes have walked the earth of several states. They’ve been on camping trips, to concerts, in parks and on gravel roads, touched the pedals of several cars, carried me over broken glass and cracked cement. They’ve walked the neighborhood beside a dog once so small I had to carry her the rest of the way home. The laces have been frayed by kittens playing with them, and those kittens are as big as lions, now.

I wore these shoes that year I lost forty pounds. Along the treadmill, trying to stay in shape, just trying to sort out plot lines or real life problems in my head. They’ve seen rainstorms, tornadoes, car wrecks, changes. Slides, park swings, that merry-go-round that made us sick, the track around that park where some people we barely knew abandoned us, that thunderstorm outside the house where they abandoned us again. They were here when I published my first book, they were here when I published my latest. And they were here when I wrote them both.

All the movie theaters, the stores, the midnight releases, the parties, the quiet nights on the back porch swing; I wore them when I helped my best friend move into his first place. Up and down three flights of stairs, carrying furniture, wearing these shoes. Around town in the snow that time the gate fell over and the dogs got out, looking for them everywhere, wearing these shoes. Rushing pets to the vet, and later burying them, wearing these shoes. Planting flowers in these shoes, re-arranging my room just to feel something new, decorating for birthday parties or cleaning the house for Thanksgiving.

When I got these shoes, I couldn’t imagine the feeling of finishing a novel. I couldn’t imagine the feeling of arm pain so bad I thought I’d never finish another. Didn’t think I’d shuffle favorite bands so many times; back then I had never even heard of La Dispute. Thought my furniture would always stay the same, thought I’d always walk around the woods with the same people, I wasn’t aware how fragile everything around me was. You never see the cracks, only the broken glass you can’t help stepping on later. And after the collapse, you can’t see yourself fitting the pieces back together. And usually you don’t. But sometimes you do, and sometimes I did, in these shoes.

Shoes Camping

Sure, they were a little worn, but that didn’t matter. I thought I’d be wearing them when I did my first book signing, when I released that game I’ve been making, when I moved into a new place of my own. I thought I’d be wearing them when I move out in a year, when I renew my license in a month, when I start my next novel in a few weeks, when I switch cable companies in a couple days, when I go downstairs to make coffee in a minute.

But the seam tore on my way up the steps. Just like that, they’re done in.

What do I do with these shoes that have seen so much, been so many places, defined vague concepts like “here” and “there” and somewhere and anywhere, those critical moments I needed them to get me nowhere, those panicked flights I had to move without them, the people that came and went and the things I wrote and the people who read them; the rubber and cloth and laces, and even the scuffs and the holes and the frays.

I should just throw them away. What matters isn’t the shoes you wear, but the steps you take. And those will be with me no matter what, and I can’t even imagine the miles I have left, the places my next pair will get me.

But I think I’ll put them on a shelf somewhere, beside those things I look at from time to time to remind myself where I’ve been, and where I can go.

Besides, you never know when you’ll need an emergency pair of shoes.

Shoes in the Sun

The Ones Who Follow the Water Release

It feels strange posting a book release almost directly after posting said book’s announcement, but what can I say? My November has found me occupied with writing a new project, which I’m just about finished with the beginnings of.

My fantasy novel The Ones Who Follow the Water is available now, at the links below.

The Ones Who Follow the Water front cover

The town of Welby is surrounded by a high wall, erected in long-forgotten days when people remembered their magic and Immortals walked the earth.
Oren and Carah grew up together in Welby, but when Oren makes a mistake that could get Carah exiled, he has no choice but to climb over the wall and enter the unknown world beyond, following a river and looking for a necklace.
The world is full of creatures and people Oren never dreamed of, but friend and foe alike offer him the same advice: Don’t follow the water.
Oren’s journey leads him to an impossible castle, and inside, Oren finds the necklace, and a reason to never go back home.

Amazon • Apple iBooksGoogle Play • Barnes & Noble • Kobo •  Smashwords • Hardcover (Lulu)

Thanks for sticking with me, checking out my books, reading my reviews, and especially to those who leave reviews of your own.

For now, I’m going to get back to my NaNoWriMo project. After that… I have my eyes on the horizon, and I see some exciting things.