The more things change…

I’m at the start of an exciting new transition in my writing life, and I’m excited to share it with you, my readers.

For a while now, I’ve been considering transitioning out of romance and into my first love, pure science fiction and fantasy. And I think now is the time. I’ve made some headway in the romance genre and won a few awards, but I haven’t found any real traction. And by that, I mean sales. I can’t seem to find much of an audience for my books. And I think it’s because I tend to be listed in the wrong genre.

So, I’ve decided to change gears…

Moving forward, I’m planning some new projects that will not be considered romance. Sure, there will probably be some romantic elements, but they will definitely be more fantastic adventures, without the assurance of a “happy ever after” ending.

And that brings me to my first project: The Demon Gate Chronicles.

A little over seven years ago, I published my second book, There’s No Such Thing As Werewolves, which evolved into my Demon’s Rising series. I’ve always meant to revisit this world and continue/conclude the story I began with these first three books.

Demons Rising

Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken these stories, re-titled, re-edited, revised, and re-imagined them, and I plan to release them soon. The romance elements have been softened. I’ve removed explicit sex scenes, and I’ve upped the dark urban fantasy elements to move them into a different genre. While the stories remain essentially the same, there will be some differences. So, to that end, the above books will soon be going away.


I’ve reduced the pricing on the Kindle ebook versions of these three books to just 99¢ in case anyone wants to read them in their original form. But they will only be available for the next couple of weeks.

You can find them here:

(But if it was me, I’d wait for the new versions, coming soon.)

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new/old series.


Wylde – Cover reveal.

The story is done and in to my editor. No release date yet but i wanted to share the amazing cover from my publisher:



Part human, part wolf, he walks on the Wylde side.


Xi Force Book 3

By S. C. Mitchell

Forced to undergo experimental procedures that grafted wolf DNA into his own and then given super healing powers, Jonathan Wylde wants nothing to do with civilization, preferring instead to run with his wolf pack. A reluctant member of the Xi Force super team, he keeps to himself unless is talents are needed.
Dove Locklear returns home after spending exciting and adventurous weeks with the Xi Force super team, and reconnecting with her childhood friend, John Wylde. But danger lurks in her father’s genetics lab. An agent of Red Guard, with nefarious plans, whisks her away at gunpoint to a secret Russian facility.
When his closest friend, Dove Locklear, is kidnapped, Wylde needs to learn to work with his team if he wants to save her. He knows where they took her, and the danger she’s in. He’ll do whatever it takes to rescue to her, even if that means confronting the man who created him—his father.


Romance Writers Weekly – The First Time…

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Welcome to the romance Writers Weekly blog hop, where every week a great group of romance writers answer questions and accept challenges. Diverse in what we write, we are unified in the quest to bring you, the romance reader, a very happy ever after.

You can join us daily on our Facebook Page:

Check out Ace by Lyra Parish

Check out Ace by Lyra Parish

If you’re starting your blog hop here, or just hopping over from Lyra Parish’s wonderful blog, welcome.

Today I provided our topic – Think back to that day you first decided you were going to write a book/story. Tell us about what led you to start putting those first words on the page.

I came up with this topic because I was remembering back to that time I first decided to write a book. I was completely naive about what it took, but I had this story rattling around in my head.

June, 1980: Yup, 36 years I’ve been at this, and I’ve got the rejections to prove it.

Anyway, I was a new father, and a few days after my son and wife came home from the hospital, we’d just put the baby down for his afternoon nap. I grabbed up my old manual typewriter (no computer back then) and just started typing. IMG_0389Yes, I still have that typewriter. I can’t seem to let it go.

Anyway, the story was a fantasy inspired by Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. I typed for days, every free moment I could find. And it was pretty bad. My spelling, grammar, sentence structure – complete crap.

But I still think the story is pretty good. It took me over 10 years to finish. And by finish I mean just barely begin. I had a very rough, rough draft, but I didn’t know that at the time. I packaged it up and sent it off (with the mandatory Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) and waited for the money to start rolling in. When it came back, it included my first official rejection.


Dear Author? Oh, that can’t be good.

The novel is still a piece of crap, though I have taken it out to work on from time to time. Maybe…someday…until then it’s hidden safely away from the world, in a drawer full of my early writings.

So, what inspired Leslie Hachtel to put pen to paper? Find out, as the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop continues at:

Check out Emma's Dance by Leslie Hachtel.

Fantasy Romance – What is it?

I’m excited today to be featuring a guest blog from the incredible Helen C. Johannes who is talking about Fantasy Romance. Helen is the author of The Prince of Val-Feyridge.

Her new novel Bloodstone releases today.

Please welcome Helen C.  Johannes.

I want to thank Steven for letting me guest on his blog this week. Steve’s a great supporter of romance writers in general and the FFPT (fantasy, futuristic, paranormal, time travel) “weird stuff” in particular. I’ve particularly enjoyed his SON OF THUNDER fantasy romance novel and his paranormal novellas.


I’m Helen C. Johannes, and I write Fantasy Romance, one kind of “the weird stuff.” When I introduce myself and what I write, I’m often asked for a definition by those who either know little about the romance genre in general or those whose knowledge of romance is limited to historical and/or contemporary categories. I understand why they are asking.


Fantasy Romance—What is it?


Romance’s umbrella takes in everything from Inspirational Romance to Regency Romances to Romantic Suspense to Vampire Romances among many more. It is a vast and expanding field as writers find new ways to tell love stories. Fantasy Romance is one of these many categories within the Romance fiction genre, and not all publishers give it a separate line; however, my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, puts fantasy romance specifically in their Faery Rose line.


The Fantasy Romance genre otherwise is often lumped in with Science Fiction/Futuristic (think THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, AVATAR) and Paranormal (think TWILIGHT, the Sookie Stackhouse/TRUE BLOOD series) as in vampires, werewolves and ghosts), but it does have its own distinct personality. Anyone who is familiar with the recent movie versions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE HOBBIT, or THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (CHRONICLES OF NARNIA) is aware of the basic elements of the Fantasy genre. Sword and Sorcery and High Fantasy are other common terms. Re-imagined fairy tales (TANGLED, EVER AFTER) are another type of fantasy romance.


The elements of Fantasy include a setting (often medieval) of the author’s invention, a quest or journey of some sort, magical or fantastical creatures (other than vampires or werewolves), a sense of destiny at work in the characters’ lives, and usually objects with some mystical power or significance to be recovered or obtained by the characters. Fantasy ROMANCE takes these elements and makes a love story the central force driving the plot.


To show you how this works, in my first book, THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE, I created three distinct lands (medieval setting) that had once been united under a king.  When he died without naming an heir, his three sons fought over the crown. Blood was shed, the three lands broke apart, and the crown they fought over was lost. Now my hero has a blood claim to the throne (his perceived destiny), but he must find the crown (the missing icon) to convince the various “tribes” to reunite behind him. Of course, his greatest prize (and ultimate destiny) will be winning the love of the one woman he is convinced he should not pursue.


My second book BLOODSTONE is a Beauty-and-the-Beast reimagining set in a no-man’s land where the boundaries of good and evil have been shaken (medieval setting). The hero, who was cursed by a mage (magical being), lives as the Shadow Man, a (magical) being feared and reviled who trades rare bloodstones—petrified dragon’s blood (the icon)—for supplies. The heroine is on a quest with her father to obtain bloodstones for a jewelry commission. They are drawn to each other by shared dreams (perceived destiny), but when Mirianna and her father are attacked, she offers herself in return for her father’s rescue. Living in the ruined fortress with the Shadow Man, Mirianna slowly realizes that a flesh-and-blood man—not a fiend—hides there in hoods and darkness. But are her love and courage enough to lift the curse (quest) and restore the man (ultimate destiny) before the mage returns?




This definition and description of fantasy romance fits what I write, but it also fits Steven’s SON OF THUNDER where the Norse gods’ world collides with the heroine’s human world over the quest for the belt of Thor.


Now, I’d love to hear how others of you define Fantasy Romance and what books and movies fit under your umbrella for the genre.


Visit Helen at:




BLOODSTONE debuts as an Amazon Kindle Select title Oct. 28th:


Excerpt from BLOODSTONE





“What about us? What do we do?”


Only the hood rotated, cocking with exaggerated deliberation. “Why, you die, old man.”


Her father blanched. His grip on Mirianna’s arms faltered.


She saw the Shadow Man turn, saw the muscles of his thighs bunch as he prepared to leap down the hillside, saw, in the corner of her eye, shapes gathering along the tree line below, horrible shapes she’d seen only hours before rushing at her from a darkened clearing. With a shudder, she broke from her father’s grasp.


“Please!” She reached out to the black sleeve. “Help us!”


He recoiled at her touch like one snake-bitten. The sudden, sharp focus of his regard staggered her, but she backed no more than a step. No matter how he terrified her, he’d helped her once. She’d been led to him again, and not, her instincts told her, without reason.


“Please,” she repeated. “Help us. I—we’ll do anything.”




His voice was a whisper that caressed flesh. Mirianna’s stomach quivered. Her breasts tingled. Her mouth grew even drier. Without thinking, she slid her tongue along her lips. Vaguely, she wondered what she’d done. And why time seemed suspended, as if everyone but she and the Shadow Man had been cast in stone and all sound arrested. All sound except the taut, guttural repeat of his question.



A new weapon in the war against the rampaging, mindless undead.

I have written before about my role in the crisis that looms just over the horizon. See my blog Gardening and the coming Zombie Apocalypse at:

Well I’m proud to announce that my new weapon of choice in the war against the Zombies is . . . The Blue Lake Pole Bean!!!


Yup, this little beauty will help win the war, and preserve the planet for those of us who survive the rampaging zombie hoards.

Now maybe I’m centered on food growing because I have no skills with a gun, or (and this is my preferred theory) I could be part hobbit. When a crisis looms, I think of my belly first.

In any case, I was out picking this little beauty in my garden just this morning when it occurred to me, the Blue Lake Pole Bean is the perfect food to be growing to feed the masses of starving refugees, and preserve my own skin.

It’s versatile: It can be eaten raw, boiled to tender perfection, or even deep fried as a replacement for unhealthy French fries.


It’s easy to grow: Once you get the vines started, food just appears like magic.


It’s unlimited: Yes, truly, and this is the important point. You probably only need one plant. Go ahead, pick every bean on the vine and eat your fill. Still hungry? Go look again, there’s more. Where did they come from? I’m not sure, probably magic. All I know is that even when I’m sure I found every mature bean on the stalk, I just have to look again to find more. These things pop out faster than bunnies, and hide better than chameleons. There are always more beans to pick.


I’m sure the magical nature of the Blue Lake Pole Bean inspired the wondrous tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Magic beans indeed, these things are a wonder.

So, to recap: In your Zombie survival kit (you do have one, don’t you?) make sure you add a package of Blue Lake Pole Bean seeds. Plant them as soon as you hear that first ‘strange’ news report of sections of the country suddenly going dark. Water and Nurture. These will be your most effective weapon when the mindless hoards come knocking at your door seeking brains.

Istock Zombies

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Stockpile all the guns and ammunition you want, but when your house is surrounded by a sea of mindless undead, and your kitchen cupboards are bare, you’ll realize you can’t eat bullets. Meanwhile I’ll be across the street with my rooftop garden, sitting comfortably, doors locked, windows boarded up, and (as always) full of beans.

Until next time,



Recovery and beyond.

I apologize for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. I spent most of last week at the Gencon Gaming convention in Indianapolis. I was able to do a bit of promotion and made some great contacts. The payback has been a few days of lethargy and lousy writing. I feel I’m back on track now, though, and ready to plot my way into the future.

I’m going to be stepping back a bit, over the next few weeks to reevaluate my game-plan. The past two years have been a real learning experience. One of the things I have decided to do at one point, is to pull all my books and redo the covers. This will make those original versions incredibly rare. So if I ever do make it big, my original fans may have a real collectors item.

Anyway, around the time I finish the third Demons Rising book I will be pulling the other two off the market for a bit then relaunching the series. I have also decided to scrap the title of the third book. I haven’t come up with the new title yet, but Knight of the Night just isn’t fitting the story that’s emerging.

Also on my platter for later this year, I have decided to self-pub my Fantasy novel, Amulet of the Fallen God. I am considering doing a Kickstarter on this book to raise money for professional editing and a nice cover. It is again something new to look into, but I was able to talk to some people doing this and it seems a good path to take.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my little world. Now back to writing…

Until next time,