The Piper Gods Novella Series


Stiffed contractor or scheming mass child abductor?

Did he send the rats in ahead of time? Were there rats at all?

Where did he lead the children of Hamelin in 1284, and what happened to them?

And to paraphrase the last line of Ancient Aliens‘ introduction…


In the Piper Gods series, the answer to that last question “is a profound ‘yes.'”

(Excuse yet another borrow from the show, I’m a big time Ancient Aliens fan.)

Are there aliens, you ask? Yep. And black-eyed people (the “tregathi”) and shadow people and Sumerian sorcerers (who are also pop divas) and black ops creeps and immortals with invisible flying crystal ships and…

Well, I could go on and on but that’s it – there’s really too much in these to do descriptions here. Time travel is a major part of the series, as the Piper’s appearance in 1284 is echoed by the year he was immortalized in poem (1482, no kidding) and the year of his return: 2148 A.D.

When you do this many stand-alone stories, you end up with LOTS of characters, and in the Piper Gods series the gallery of the good, the bad and the prodigy includes a global age-spanning cast…and others.

Enough background. Here are the covers for the first eight installments. Five are out already, nine stories are finished and the tenth is in work.Piper Gods Series Covers 1-8.jpg

Roberto Guiseppe Antonio Polito very, very kindly allows me to use his digital artwork wonders as backgrounds for these. Check out his stuff on Facebook, it’s so cool.

The first four novellas are already available in print as Legacy, with the second four to be collected as Prophecy and the final set as Ultimacy (yeah, it’s a word…I looked it up because I wanted it to end with -cy like the other two.)

Legacy - Piper Gods Vols. 1 Through 4 PRINT COVER.jpg

Excuse the different cover on Chance, it has been changed because when I got to the point of writing Moonlight and the Phases I realized that piece of art–moon over dark water–belonged there rather than with Chance and the Longshots. I’ll be updating this collection cover soon…like today if I have time (9/10/19)…so if you buy it now you get a “collector’s item” cover in print. But if you wait a few days you can get the “final” cover, so your choice. For my part, I have a copy of Heart’s third album, Magazine, that has the band’s disclaimer of involvement on it because they were in a dispute with their record label or something. I treasure it even though its version of the song “Heartless” isn’t quite as good as the one they subbed in when they finally settled the issue. Very good album either way…their first four were fantastic records, but they kind of lost me with “These Dreams.”

Finally, here’s a little table showing significant facts about the series, including the “revolutionary bands and artists” who get a mention or a nod in each book as well as the Piper’s instruments, each of which is featured on a different cover.

Volume 1: Aramander and the Mist                                    Harmonica          The Doors

Volume 2: Xyla and the Sirens                                              Bongos               The Who

Volume 3: Chalcedony and the Truth                                  Recorder            Jefferson Airplane

Volume 4: Chance and the Longshots                                  Piano                  Bob Dylan

Vols. 1 to 4 collected as Legacy for Kindle, also available in print

Volume 5: Destiny and the Shapes of Things                       Syrinx                  The Yardbirds

Volume 6: Harmony and the Convergents                            Lute                     Grateful Dead

Volume 7: Trinity and the Cosmic Medicine Show             Flute                     The Band

Volume 8: Moonlight and the Phases                                    Trumpet               Janis Joplin

Vols. 5 to 8 to be collected as Prophecy and released in Kindle and print versions

Volume 9: Nisha and the Revolution Blues                          Double Bass         Neil Young

Volume 10: Johnny Winston and the Freedom Surfers     Lyre                       The Beatles

Volume 11: The Traveler and the Incredible Beyond        Violin                     Jimi Hendrix

Volume 12: Eternity and the Immortal Riff                          Guitar                   Rolling Stones

Vols. 9 to 12  to be collected as Ultimacy and released in Kindle and print versions




Venturing into Strange New Lands

Hot off the cyber-presses! Pointy weapons, twisted spells, formatting by yours truly, edited and layout concepts by Alex S. Johnson. Features the debut of my alien acrobatic heroine Kalyx of Marini, who shows up in the Sinbad Forever series as well as Michael Kanuckel’s Zorro tribute anthology Star-Fox: Adventures of Zorro Across Time and Dimension, and my first co-write (with Alex) in Bane of the Black Wizard.

Expect the unexpected.


Great Monsters Have Something to Say

The defining fiction of my childhood, perhaps my whole life, is the Godzilla series. When I was a kid, other kids would rip on me because I dug Godzilla and not so much “American” King Kong. They thought Godzilla was silly and Kong “respectable”. They’re both tragedies, of course, but the tragedy of Kong is about human/American desire to “grab the unknown and stick it somewhere where one’s own species can gawk at it at their leisure”. And since we’re “hunting Bigfoot”, we’re still doing it. In fact we almost HAVE to “bring in a body” in this age of digital deception. Yes, this is an aspect of human nature. And it’s an important one to scrutinize–hence Kong, despite the ridiculous “I’m in love with a nearly hairless little kewpie doll” aspects–is necessary and critical to our culture. That’s why it was iconic even in the early Sixties.

(Image below is from Hake’s Americana & Collectibles. Had these as a kid but didn’t have a safe to keep them in so they ended up getting thrown away like all my other collectibles. Monster figures by Palmer.)


But Godzilla speaks to the darkest of all aspects of human nature: The strange urge to destroy, quite often just because we can. Yeah, this is worse than what we do with captured species because at the core of the thinking that gave us the atomic bomb is the mentality, “If WE can’t have it, no one can.” Many say there was no need to drop the bombs on Japan: that it was simply done because we’d spent so much on the technology and wanted to see how many “enemies” it would kill. Then we went on to blow up over 2,000 more of the hell-spawned devices afterwards…and probably counting. Godzilla? Godzilla is our righteous indignation at people like Edmund Teller and his military sponsors, monsters all. Godzilla is our hope for overthrowing the horrible war merchants running the world. Godzilla is how WE feel when we see the human race destroying and taking and using and poisoning. So I’m just fine with being that nerdy little kid of the Sixties who’d skip football in the street because Godzilla vs. the Thing was on TV.


Let’s look at other famous fictional monsters and see what messages, if any, they contain.


The Creature from the Black Lagoon – I steadfastly avoid anything “Oscar” but it was impossible to miss the fact that the Academy decided to finally throw another bone in the direction of SF and fantasy this year. The Shape of Water, in fact, will probably make it tricky for Universal to do a reboot of the original Creature film/trilogy, at least for a while. (Of course we know Universal’s monster series sank with last year’s The Mummy, but if you didn’t see that coming you probably think what’s his name can actually act.) Back to the point, though, which is basically the same as King Kong’s: Just because you’re curious about an animal does not give you the right to kidnap it and put it on display in a foreign environment. This is a great point, and it’s odd that I love the Creature movies while not being that big a fan of Kong (just King Kong Escapes and Skull Island so far). I refer again to the kewpie doll syndrome.


Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Them!, The Giant Behemoth – all atomic bomb parables like Gojira/Godzilla, King of the Monsters. The Beast was released from arctic ice during an atomic test. The Behemoth, originally intended to be a huge mass of radioactive slime like the piece on the beach that burns local good guy John’s hand, is, according to prototype environmental hero Steve Karnes (Gene Evans) the end result of not just nuclear testing but the dumping of atomic waste in the oceans. The giant ants in Them! are mutations arising from the fallout from the first bomb test at White Sands. And in a movie that I personally like even more than those three, X: The Unknown, Dr. Adam Clayton (Dean Jagger) is up against a mass of sentient radioactive mud that’s been drawn to the surface of the Earth from deep below because it has sensed the presence of its food—radioactive isotopes—and come looking for it. The message here is age-old: Never let your reach exceed your grasp.


Now quite often in the golden age of movie monsters it wasn’t our fault at all. Sometimes, as in The Monolith Monsters (another favorite), The Blob, War of the Worlds and quite a few others, something was invading. Whole different thing. Not necessarily morality tales whatsoever, unlike the previously mentioned groups. Definitely lighter entertainment conceptually, but since I had nightmares about The Blob throughout my childhood, it’s pretty obvious that such things matter little in terms of the movie’s ability to imprint upon the memory.


Then there’s John Wyndham’s fantastic Day of the Triffids, which in its original form strongly suggests that the monster invasion was an oversight on the part of the military that resulted in blinding the world (which freed a maneating mobile African plant to breed without constraints and go on to assault the helpless populace), becomes one of the latter category as a movie. Confession: Love that movie anyway. Great settings whether the military screw-ups get off the hook or not.


Do we find underlying moral “points” in Dracula’s movies? Sometimes. The monster is often portrayed as at least in part a victim. Same with all the vampire stuff his legend has spawned. Morality varies a lot with vampires, werewolves, even the Frankenstein’s monster concept and the Mummy flicks. But Joss Whedon taught us that quite a while ago. Sometimes the Mummy is just a jerk, sometimes he’s a victim, often a bit of both. Sometimes Frankenstein’s “Creature” is a good guy, sometimes he’s a bad guy, sometimes he just wants to scare Lou Costello. So the message is…well, it varies. But there’s not generally any overall moral point to be made with these popular creatures, or zombies either for that matter. Probably why they’re all so popular—no deep thinking required.


Now, do we NEED messages in our entertainment? Good question. Joe Dante, director of my favorite movie, Matinee, said in a recent interview that (approximate quote) “…if movies changed things, we’d all have disarmed after Strangelove”…and that is a pretty good point. We WATCH The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1951, but as scary as Gort might be, the next morning we’re back to building and testing more bombs and weaponry to send into space. Mankind, indeed, may be nature’s D student. Too bad, because we’re just bright enough to realize we’re screwing up, but for most of us it’s like, “Oh well…that looks like a lot of work to fix.”


I’m not sure that a movie could not change things. I think they affect our culture. All stories do. But the culture is vast, and to shift its overall direction would require one pervasive “mind virus”, that’s for sure.


Oh well. Piece said. Back to creating more literary mind viruses.




Of Tinfoil and Ostrich Feathers

It’s pretty much always been “the move”: If someone is telling you something that frightens you, something you don’t WANT to believe (whether it’s true/real or not), the least witty among us will go for the cliche.

Let’s call it THS – Tinfoil Hat Syndrome. And let’s be clear, it’s not about discourse, or argument, or disagreement of any kind. When someone tells you to put on your tinfoil hat, or suggests you’re already wearing one, this is their equivalent of holding up a cross to ward off vampires. Because a vampire is “bringing them bad news” too. Not that they’ll actually consider the possible existence of vampires, which I will neither confirm nor deny here.

I call these reflexively fearful types ostriches. I even make up memes for them.

Perhaps this seems harsh, but the truth is that they can’t handle the truth. (No movie cliche intended here, I still haven’t watched that flick.) But that is no excuse to allow them to try to disparage and ridicule those who bring them the truth. So…”ostriches”.

I’m hoping the term will catch on.

Of course, calling people weasels and rats (and yes, ostriches too) has always made me feel a little off the mark: After all, weasels and rats and ostriches are hardly “dishonorable”, by and large, as I understand it. But the animal analogies are part of our world cultural dialogue, so ostrich it is. Do they actually hide their heads in holes in the ground out of fear? Not even sure of that. But it’s the cliche, and the world “gets” it when you post this…

So You're Sure.jpg

The thing is, it’s unfortunate that it must come down to “My Meme vs. Your Meme” at all. I for one like open-minded, scientifically based discourse with as little emotional content as possible. Emotion precludes what little notion of objectivity we might ever put into social context. So if I say, “I saw a flying atomic fireball encased in the shape of a perfect sphere, about the size of a bus, cruise silently through the night sky at about five hundred to a thousand feet overhead, catching meteors along the way”, though I am telling the truth there are many who would immediately go for the tinfoil hat comment, image, GIF, meme, etc. They immediately want to reduce the discussion to the lowest common denominator.

So I play along.

I have GIMP 2, a wonderful Photoshop-for-free thing that lets me make memes all night long. It’s fun. It’s great practice for the book covers I’m getting paid to do these days. And the funny thing is, with most of them, once you’ve gone as “dumbed down” with your responses as they have, they’ve got nothing else. They can’t do the highbrow argument, and you matched them on the lowbrow one.

You have to attack fear from every possible angle. It’s our greatest nemesis, so it’s the hardest to beat.

Here’s hoping you remember the ostrich memes next time someone is throwing foil hats at you.

Anthologies Compiled by Kevin Candela

Anthologies. They’re everywhere. But these aren’t your everyday “send me a story” collections. Both are invitation only–fans of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson for TDII and fans of Sinbad for Winds of Destiny. We don’t mess around with these legends–we give them the respect they have both earned: Sinbad as one of the greatest heroic legends of all time, and HST as one of our greatest and most honest journalistic voices. If you like either or both, check ’em out! Covers by Anthony Eldridge (The Doctor…Is In) and Gary McCluskey (Winds of Destiny).


The Dragon’s Game Trilogy

Dragon's Game Board with Card Spaces

Okay folks, here it is–the story I HAD to tell. Like George Lucas had to do the prequels, for which I will be eternally grateful (also The Clone Wars animated series).

It’s even got this neat board game on the way, with the board basically done and “only” the game cards and rules to go.

The trilogy is a tale of two worlds, a distant one called Gavelin (after Darrin McGavin of Kolchak: The Night Stalker fame) and our own modern day weird Earth. A handful of characters span the entire saga, but as you can see this is an epic with many characters along the lines of a new era Lord of the Rings. Monsters, shadow masters, mastering the powers of our minds–all this and much, much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean everything I publish–even the humorous stuff like Nakedman and The Oz Files–but this is my statement. If you believe in conspiracies, particularly the X-Files/Chris Carter global control stuff, well…that’s in here. If you think immortals may live among us, that’s in the trilogy as well. And if you, like Terence McKenna, believe that sentience (and possibly extraterrestrial intelligence) may be found in the networks/mycelium of fungus, hey–it’s all right there in the title of the first book. Sorta.  Either way, this is a ride you probably won’t find anywhere else.

Like all my works, you’ll find these under my name at