After Knocking On Death’s Door, I Redecorated His Office

Am I the only one who sees the irony in being a Grim Reaper cosplayer before and after almost becoming his most recent acquisition? No wait; don’t answer… there’s more! There’s nothing quite like a near-life experience to remind you of priorities and those I’ll-get-to-them-eventually plans. I came quite close to death a year ago, so now I’m getting closer to Death as a way to celebrate my extension.

I joined a gym, healed up, and have kept it going; youthful energy is a good thing. I’ve earned my way up to a better day job, rebuilt my workshop as well as upgraded my crypt for you-know-who, and pushed forward in all the things I want to accomplish. I need to get four books out the door before Christmas 2017 — my fourth Matriarch book, two new Spooky books and a novel-sized Spooky anthology — plus launch a few other ideas I’ve had… including (fingers crossed) a regular web show featuring Grim D. about movies and general pop culture with a Halloween twist.

For today, however, I’ll continue to catch up on my reading… including this book Grim left for me as a gift.

New Key Art for The Matriarch: “The Waiting Tree”

Inspired by a scene from the new book, Janiss prepares to vanquish a foe. Even though she’s vamped out and her eyes are blackened, she has also chosen to arm herself with a Decapitator. I may have to make this into a poster!


First Draft of The Matriarch III is Complete! #amwriting

TheMatriarch3WorkingTitleLogoSmall58,800 words written in 48 days completes the first draft of this third book (out of a planned four-book series). Now it’s time for a well-earned step away, letting the words settle on the page for a bit before trading “good enough for now” up to “as near to perfect as any mere mortal can hope to be.”

Like the first two novels, I have strived to infuse as many human elements as possible into this vampire story. There are plenty of individual elements, but to bring the adventure to life, the risks and the rewards, you must also show love, hate, fear, surprise, betrayal, jealousy, and all the rest. Plot is what happens to our characters; story is how it affects them.

Coming soon: the official title, the actual cover, chapter teasers, and the publication date! As always, there is plenty more information and other goodies at Cedarcrest Sanctum.

I cannot wait to show you what I’ve been working on!


Is The Matriarch a Gothic Novel?

Matriarch3DBoxCover2013OctAccording to, there are 10 specific points regarding whether or not a novel ought to be deemed “gothic,” citing Horace Walpole’s 1764 publication The Castle of Otranto as the first such work. While I had no such specific intention to do so, it appears that The Matriarch is, indeed, mostly a gothic novel! I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, so here we go!

1. The villain is a murderous tyrant with scary eyes. Check and check. +10%.
2. The heroine is a pious, virginal orphan, prone to fainting. Well, not so much. Janiss is neither an orphan nor prone to fainting, but she certainly fits the bill of “good girl” although she isn’t actually a virgin. To quoth ye olde The Cabin in the Woods, “We work with what we have.” +5%.
3. It’s set in a spooky castle or stately home. You caught me; I did this on purpose. It wasn’t done to make it gothic, but I was thinking about the equivalent of a modern-day Dracula’s castle when I created Cedarcrest Sanctum as a vampire stronghold. +10%.
4. There is (probably) a ghost or monster. Yep: vampires AND ghosts, but with the requisite twist and fresh take. +10%.
5. It’s set in the olden days. While the setup for The Matriarch does refer to century-old events, it isn’t set in the distant past; no points for this question. 5 more to go!
Continue reading “Is The Matriarch a Gothic Novel?”

The Matriarch: Guardians

She is NOT the last…

The Matriarch novel officially has a sequel in final editing.

The Matriarch: Guardians

Supernatural horror thriller, mature content.
Coming soon – in final editing now.


GuardiansRightfaceebookcover2014She is NOT the last.

“I’m going to find as many of them as I can, the makers and their progeny.” When a woman in white is encountered along a lonely highway in Jackson County, West Virginia, an unusual number of vampires are discovered.

Once their mysterious maker is found out, Janiss Connelly will have until sunrise to stop the killer – but only if the remnants of her previous life fail to destroy her first.

Get the details and sign up for updates at


Reader Review of The Matriarch – “A Highly Original, Enticing Read!”

5.0 out of 5 stars: A Highly Original, Enticing Read!
November 9, 2013 By CLynn
This review is from: The Matriarch (Kindle Edition) verified purchase, Amazon UK

Matriarch3DBoxCover2013OctAn unsolved murder…and a surprising revelation that solves the mystery, I liked that.

The heroine was strong, I cared about her. That is so important in a novel. I particularly cared as I witnessed her adjusting to her new existence. The villain was very well done, without being overdone. I found him deliciously savage! And I liked, too that everything was wrapped up nicely with no loose ends.

I really enjoyed the author’s take on vampires. He’s given them very interesting characteristics. The heroine for instance discovers that she will never dream again and I found this very poignant.

I like vampire fiction that depicts vampires as complex characters–where their living lives and their undead existence is developed nicely. It makes for an interesting story.

There are also ghosts and hauntings and surprises too. What more could you ask for?


“The Lucky Five”

A Matriarch short story by Kevin A. Ranson

TlalocIconBetween the passengers and their equipment, six people occupied the space of twelve, almost the capacity of the elevator.

Five of the riders wore blue gloves and knee-length white coats over scrubs; the sixth wore a dark suit and a wireless earpiece. A lab cart had been assigned to each of the technicians while the man in the suit carried a computer tablet. Everyone looked straight ahead in silence, focused on the task at hand.

The doors opened; the stop switch was pulled. The suited man started a timer on his tablet as the five techs pushed their carts out of the elevator. Of the twenty doors in the long hallway, five had been pre-selected; in concert, the techs knocked and waited while the suited man watched.

One by one, the techs disappeared into the rooms as each door opened. The suited man quietly observed from the hallway so as not to interrupt the collection; time was of the essence.

In the first room, the elderly resident had been watching a movie before pausing it. He surrendered his right arm as the tech prepped his skin and expertly inserted a needle attached to a cup. The resident winced for a moment and relaxed.

Collection was already proceeding in another room. The tech quickly inserted a red-capped glass vial into the needled cup and twisted it to begin the flow of blood. When it was filled, she twisted it out again and replaced it with another. The move was practiced and smooth; the donor smiled at the absence of any discomfort. Once the needle was removed, a sterile gauze pad was taped over the skin as familiar instructions were hastily issued to the donor.

The suited man checked the time as the technicians emerged from their assigned rooms. On each of their carts were ten red-capped glass vials filled with blood, fifty in all. Noting the collection on his tablet, the group headed back to the elevator. Once everyone was inside, the stop switch was depressed to release the elevator; the doors closed.

On the ground floor, the collection carts were pushed into the secured blood lab while the suited man followed. Each of the procured vials were quickly but carefully inserted into a circular tray that held the exact number of samples collected. The tray was pushed beneath a stainless steel apparatus that aligned with each vial simultaneously; a lever raised the tray into the metallic device and locked it into position. Levers on two support arms elevating the apparatus over the table were disengaged, allowing the entire device to be inverted.

Alerted by the beeping from a standard microwave oven, a warmed ceramic cup was withdrawn, black on the outside and white on the interior, the tall kind used in trendy coffee houses. After securing the cup beneath a nozzle, a button was pressed that drained the vials into the waiting cup below, filling it to within half an inch of the top – a perfect pint.

The suited man noted the time on his tablet, nodded in approval to everyone in the lab, and took the cup away with him. In the office he worked out of, he set the cup down on the far edge of his desk and checked to ensure there was no spillage. Satisfied, he sat down and resumed his work, waiting.

Within a few minutes, the executive administrator entered the office. Going right to the cup, she smiled at its warmth as she picked it up.

“It never ceases to amaze me that you have this waiting every time I come in,” she said. “Who are today’s lucky five?”

The suited man looked away from his laptop. “You tell me.”

After flashing him a knowing smile, the administrator lifted the cup to her lips and drank deeply.