“The Minotaur” is live on Amazon!

“The Minotaur” is a collection of short stories/novellas with mostly horror / sci-fi themes. It will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, and can be read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Otherwise, it will be $0.99.


“The Minotaur” – 12 year old Billy Jacobs battles the devil for his soul in a game of pinball.

“Members Only” – How much would you pay to experience your darkest desires?

“Symbiosis” – “I know how you feel” is no longer an empty platitude thanks to the latest STRIKE therapy for soldiers returning home from combat.

“Paradoxis” – A serious vehicle accident ruins Anthony’s day, but it’s only the beginning…

“A Christmas Tale II” – A dark tale of Santa, stressed out parents, and naughty little children.

“The Minotaur” by Travis Hill
cover art by: Trevor Smith
typography by: Keith Draws

The History of Books: Part 3-ish (or 2.5, whatever)

Part1 / Part 2

CHAPTER 2.5 – More Backstory But This Time It’s The Story Of Congo, Orange, Shed & Highborn, and Some Other Random Bullshit That Probably Has Nothing To Do With The Rest of This Chapter

Update / Newsflash

Right. So this isn’t really an update, as for you, it is three seconds after reading the last sentence. For me, it is the next day, and at some point during the time I finished the paragraph above, and right at this moment, I realized there is more to this story. It isn’t really important, but I’ll tell it to you anyway. You’ve read this much. The poison is already going to kill you, might as well try and hope that reading more of this crap will speed the death process up so you don’t suffer too much more.

One day, back in the ancient lands of a place called Silicon Valley, was an enclave of wizards and magicians and sorcerers. This enclave, it was full of some of the most powerful mages in the entire realm, and even realms that had never been discovered yet. That sounds about right. I’m kind of making this one up as I go along too, so… you know, put your bullshit filters back on. Which you should have never taken off.

These mages at the Enclave, they heard the far-reaching stories of a great sorcerer, one unfamiliar to them as this sorcerer, Congo The Wise, had come from a land called Seattle, far to the northwest. The Enclave became curious as to how this unknown sorcerer had become so powerful that his name traveled the winds all the way to the Valley. The enclave was well known for the way its various sects had begun to shape the land and the lives of the humans that lived within its sphere of influence, which was quite far and wide.

When the Enclave learned of what the sorcerer had been doing to garner such praise and rumor, the members openly scoffed, brushing off this ‘wise’ sorcerer as nothing more than an illusionist, a trickster, not a real wielder of the great arcane power known as Technology. Privately, the Enclave’s wizards and mages and warlocks and sorcerers and even those granola-eating bastards called druids who rode their stupid bikes to work all began to worry.

And so the High Council of the Enclave of the Unmatched Power of the Arcane Technology, and this is why I just call them ‘The Enclave, because that shit gets old after about the nineteenth time, these elders began to send their best and brightest to this place called ‘Seattle’ to find out exactly how the sorcerer was doing his magic, and to craft their own magic to capture the interest of the citizens (mostly peasants still) of the realm and get some of that internet money. I mean gold. They were after the gold. Continue reading

The History of Books: Part 2-ish

Anyway, out in fiefdoms, the peasants… er readers were growing restless. This new sorcerer named Congo came along one day and started messing with people.

“Hey,” he’d say, like every conversation ever in the history of humanity began, “would you like to see a neat trick?”

And the peasants would say, “Hell yes, entertain us, but be careful, if you use your wizardly sorcerer powers, we’ll call you a witch-demon and put you on the rack until you confess.”

To which the sorcerer replied, “What? I thought this story had moved into like the 20th or 21st century by now. I have to go change costumes into 15th century period fashion.”

But then Congo, the great sorcerer, showed them the trick. He let them choose an item they wanted to buy, and then he would teleport it right to their front door. Or barn door. Or hovel door. Congo didn’t care, he could make items appear right at anyone’s door that had a legal address in a proper zip code.

This caused another revolution of sorts, but it really had nothing to do with The Publishers. Yet. Soon though, the tides of war arrived on the publishing shores, and they had no choice but to take up arms and do battle against the evil sorcerer. For the evil sorcerer Congo was now teleporting books to the doors of peasants everywhere, but this particular spell, according to The Publishers, not only teleported the book to the front door of a peasant… er customer, but a side-effect of the spell is that it also nicked a few cents worth of profit out of The Publishers’ coffers.

The battles raged for a while, but eventually the sorcerer won the ability to demand the terms of a treaty. He didn’t outright destroy The Publishers. He wasn’t really an evil sorcerer. He was pretty damn intelligent, as he knew that his own trick depended on The Publishers doing their job to work. How could the sorcerer teleport books to a peasant’s house if there were no books to teleport because the great sorcerer had destroyed The Publishers who produced the books?

(side note: This wouldn’t be the last time The Publishers clashed with Congo. There’s some more conflict in Chapter 2.5 somewhere. I’m too lazy to look it up, but trust me, Congo The Wise is a very tricky trickster, and The Publishers, by Chapter 2.5, are these old dudes like from The Dark Crystal, which is a kick-ass movie if you’ve never seen it… you really should check it out. Jim Henson and stuff. It’s going to be cheese, but it’s a totally awesome badass cheese. Like Pepper Jack cheese or something.)

And during a night of drunken debauchery with an entire ballroom full of virgins or rappers or something, after almost setting the King’s couch on fire with a slurred Power Word, it came to him. The sorcerer’s epiphany was that he could craft a new spell, one more powerful than any he’d ever crafted, that would teleport the books directly from the author to the peasants. Customers. Sheesh.
Continue reading

The History of Books: Part 1-ish

So I got into a discussion with a friend the other day about a bad review on one of my books. He wanted to know why I hadn’t armed myself like Rambo and chased the person down and I guess blow him up with an explosive-tipped arrow (I mean, these arrows can blow up Russian attack helicopters, so I’m pretty sure I can blow up a reviewer pretty easily, assuming I can even draw a bow without folding in on myself like an accordion in a Bugs Bunny cartoon).

I just shrugged and said I didn’t take it personally. I realized a long time ago that no matter how great something or someone is, there’s always got to be one (or as usual, more than one) person who has to go and take a shit all over it. That’s human nature. I mean, I bet if Jesus showed up, there’d be a mob posting troll comments all over his YouTube sermons.

That phrase, by the way, ‘taking a crap all over <insert whatever someone was taking a crap all over>,’ is actually from around 400,000 years ago.

In the ancient days, a caveman looked at another caveman’s drawing about a mammoth being hunted, and smeared excrement in the shape of a penis on it. This was Og’s first bad review, and he was incensed enough to hunt down the offending reviewer, and crush the reviewer’s head with a heavy stone.

Rokk, the first caveman lawyer, successfully defended Og, earning him the world’s first acquittal. He then went on to draw cave paintings of how he successfully defended Og. Of course, there were plenty of other cave persons who thought Rokk was the lowest form of caveman scum, even for caveman lawyers, and they smeared many pounds of excrement all over Rokk’s masterful drawing of his lawyerly prowess.

However insultingly disgusting that was, Rokk’s ego was saved by the many more supporters he had who would smear honey or blood on the cave paintings, while others would draw little cave paintings of praise below Rokk’s masterpiece.

Those little drawings of praise were the first set of known reviews on Amazon.com. The little drawings of trolls or ice cream cones below the little drawings of praise below the cave drawings were also the first comments on the first reviews at Amazon.com.

Yes, I know it was before electricity and computers were invented. Who’s story is this? Mine or yours? That’s what I thought. Now shut the hell up and learn about some book history stuff!

*****

 A long time ago, this guy wrote a book. It was a pretty damn good book, but it was getting all messed up because everyone wanted to read it, and it was the only book. Producing a book back in this time was pretty expensive. The author had to write it all out by hand. (I hear young authors crying out in disbelief, but it is true, I swear. I even wrote by hand once, and not just to be “retro cool” either… it sucked but it was either that or lug around a 72 pound typewriter, which only got it stolen from you, and then you got your ass beat by big kids who called you names like “Eternal Virgin” and “Sissy Bitch.”)

And paper wasn’t like today. The author couldn’t just go down to Ye Old Wal-Mart Emporium and stock up on 200 count, college-ruled, spiral-bound notebooks for $.28/ea (Price Drop!). There were no name-brand pens and pencils and fuzzy troll eraser buddies and Scooby-Doo lunch boxes. You spent a small fortune for paper, or maybe papyrus if you are imagining this author living waaaaay back. Ink was messy, you had to dip something called a ‘quill’ into it, then once you wrote about two words, you dabbled sand onto the page to soak up the extra ink and help it dry.

If you are like me, your question is, “How the fuck did anyone ever write a second book?” Continue reading

“Hallowed Ends” cover update

Many thanks to Rebecca Weaver as she brings this cover to life!

“Hallowed Ends” is a classic fantasy tale of a powerful weapon’s forging in a world about to be plunged into the nightmare of war.

Initial "rough" sketch for "Hallowed Ends" book cover

Initial “rough” sketch for “Hallowed Ends” book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hallowed Ends" book cover, still a Work-in-Progress (but looking fantastic!)

“Hallowed Ends” book cover, still a Work-in-Progress (but looking fantastic!)

The Minotaur

First chapter of what will probably be a long short story, or a short novella. Horror genre, though nothing disturbing like limbs being ripped off or such. Maybe like a Stephen King type of horror. There will be errors in this like missing punctuation or words or weird and incorrect grammar. This is just a rough draft. If you dig it, let me know.

CHAPTER ONE

May 3, 1986

Billy Jacobs arrived at the Circle-K ready to play. He had two full hours to kill, and he planned to unlock wizard mode on The Minotaur again. As he looped the braided stainless steel cable through his bike’s frame and front wheels, then around the frame of the bike block, he replayed in his mind the one and only time he’d ever achieved wizard mode. Three weeks ago today, as a matter of fact, offered his brain while another part of it helped him clip the Schlage padlock to the anti-theft cable. Borah wasn’t a hotbed of criminal activity, but if his mom ever found out he’d left his bike unlocked, she’d ground him from it for a month or more.

Billy stood up and adjusted his backpack, light for a Monday, even for him. For the last two Mondays, he’d burned through twelve dollars in quarters, The Minotaur greedily gobbling them down then laughing at him in its most insulting tone. Screw you, dude, he thought. I beat you once. I’ll beat you again. From all around him came the booming laughter of The Minotaur, making him visibly jump just as he opened the door to the convenience store. Billy stood still for a few seconds, wondering if he’d been hearing things. He decided he’d psyched himself up so much for today’s play that he was just letting his imagination get to him.

“Hey, squirt, in or out,” Jimmy Garvin called to him from behind the counter, an issue of Jellies in his hand. Continue reading