Saturday, September 2, 2023

Short Story Time: The Bypassed Mind

Howdy! It's the first Saturday of the month so it's time for another FREE short story from my archives! This month’s story is one of my most beloved (and one of my very first) short stories that was published as part of the now defunct Amazon Shorts series back in 2007 titled "The Bypassed Mind." This romantic suspense/fantasy story with some hypnosis thrown in for good measure was directly inspired by the late, great Richard Matheson's novel Bid Time Return also adapted as the film "Somewhere in Time" starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. You can download the free PDF right here.

I'll see you again on October 7th for another free story. Until then, enjoy "The Bypassed Mind” and visit the links below for the past months’ free tales.

Breaking and Entering”, the story of a man who enters people’s homes just for kicks, never stealing anything, just to see what goes on behind close doors. One day he’ll stumble upon something that will change his life forever…

Scapegoat”, a tale about the Curse of the Cubs, the love of baseball, some time travel, and a whole lot of nostalgia. Even if you're not into baseball, this fantasy tale filled with mystery is sure to entertain you.

Last but not least, fans of Conan and Dungeons & Dragons can also download a PDF of the first two tales of the ongoing adventures of my Sword & Sorcery character AMOK right here. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Update on Amok's Third Tale...

Greetings! For those who have been following my Sword & Sorcery news lately, the third story in my barbarian Amok's series is back from the editor's desk. The tale is titled "It Fell from the Firmament" and continues Amok and Goyiir's adventures as they pass through a village and witness an unidentified flying object crashing in a field. This story sheds some light on Amok's past and reveals interesting details about his quest. You'll be able to read it in the fourth quarter of 2024 when the book of Amok's complete chronicles is published. Until then, if you haven't already downloaded/read Amok's first two tales available as a free PDF, then head over here to join the fun. I'll be starting to write Tale #4 later today. Stay tuned for more updates in the weeks to come!

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Short Story Time: Breaking and Entering

Greetings! It's the first Saturday of the month so it's time for another FREE short story from yours truly! Today I give you "Breaking and Entering", which was originally published in NexGen Pulp Magazine way back in 2008 and reprinted in 2010 in my collection The Bitternest Chronicles. It was also adapted as a short film directed by Jonathan Dubsky in 2010. It’s the story of a man who enters people’s homes just for kicks, never stealing anything, just to see what goes on behind closed doors. One day he’ll stumble upon something that will change his life forever… 

You can download this 13-page short story as a free PDF right here. I'll see you again on September 2nd for another free story. Until then, enjoy "Breaking and Entering" and if you missed last month's story, "Scapegoat", you can get it at this location

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Short Story Time: Scapegoat

Welcome to a new feature on the blog: Short Story Time. Back in 2018, leading up to the publication of my then-upcoming thriller Oblique, penned under the pseudonym Neal Vandar (an anagram of Alan Draven), I had decided to republish all my short stories for free as well as a couple of my novellas. The links to those tales have long disappeared so I figured it was time to bring them back and introduce them to new readers. Starting today, I’ll upload one of my short stories or novellas on the first Saturday of every month as a free PDF. It will lead to the publication of the collected Amok tales as a print/Kindle book around November or December 2024.

To get the ball rolling, since we’re in the middle of baseball season, why not start with the only short story I wrote as Neal Vandar back in 2018 titled “Scapegoat.” It’s a baseball tale but I promise you, even if you don’t care for baseball, you’re bound to get a kick out of it. It’s a fantasy tale that deals with the Curse of the Cubs, the love of baseball, some time travel, and a whole lot of nostalgia. It’s 26 pages long so you can read it in one sitting. You can download it right here. If you enjoy this tale, drop me a line here or on Twitter to let me know; I always love to hear from my readers. You can come back here on August 5th for another free story. Happy reading!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Alan Draven’s AMOK Has Arrived!

About four months ago, I said I'd be publishing a Sword & Sorcery short story to introduce my new character, Amok. Well, the time has finally come! Below you'll find a link to download a FREE PDF booklet of 76 pages featuring Amok’s first two tales. These two novelettes serve as an introduction to Amok and his world. There will be six more novelettes to come that will be available by the end of 2024 in a novel-length collection of the complete eight tales chronicling Amok’s quest to find answers about his past. His journey will be fraught with peril and full of challenges.

The first two tales are titled “Evil Soul, Evil Deed” and “Denizens of the Deep.” Also included are four beautiful illustrations spread throughout the booklet to give you an idea of what Amok and his friend Goyiir look like. If you like what you read, then I hope you’ll join me for the full ride come November or December 2024 and purchase Amok the Powerful in print or as an eBook. In the meantime, enjoy Amok’s first two tales and spread the word to anyone you know who’s into Sword & Sorcery, Conan, or Dungeons & Dragons. Thank you for reading me and stay tuned for more updates over the next eighteen months.

Download Alan Draven’s AMOK

Monday, February 20, 2023

And Now For Something Completely Different...

For about 17 years now, I've been writing under the pen names Alan Draven for all my Bitternest stories, novellas, and novels, and as Neal Vandar for one novel, Oblique, and one short story, "Scapegoat." I've written mainly in the horror/supernatural thriller genres, dabbling into action, adventure, and sci-fi occasionally. I called it a career last October with the publication of my final novel, Once Upon a Time in Bitternest, but you know what they say about retiring from anything, right? It usually never lasts for very long. Anyhow, I’m done writing novels, that’s for sure. I’ve climbed Mount Everest enough times already and have no desire to do it again. I’m also done writing horror and dark fiction; I’ve outgrown those genres over the years. But it turns out that I'm not done writing fiction, not anywhere close.

I’ve just finished what is the first in a series of Sword & Sorcery short stories featuring the ongoing saga of a Conan-type character. This series of short tales will eventually be collected into a single volume available in print, digital, and audiobook formats. These tales will be episodic in nature, chronicling the adventures of Amok, an adventurer, mercenary for hire, and thief who lived in a distant land long ago. His adventures will be fraught with peril; he will embark on a deeply personal quest, encounter many evil men, battle scary monsters, deal with dark magic, and rescue a few damsels in distress along the way. Amok won’t be alone on his journey; he’ll come across some reliable friends on his path and will ride on the back of his trusty white stallion Melrik.  

The plan is to write about ten tales, ranging between 5,000 and 10,000 words each, and to publish them individually at first on Amazon’s Kindle. In April or May, I will also start recording readings of those tales (as well as a selection of my old Bitternest horror/thriller stories). Those audio files will be available on Bandcamp and on YouTube for your listening pleasure. Once I’m done the first phase of Amok’s adventures, an audiobook comprising the complete saga will be available on Audible as well. I’m also aiming to have an audiobook done for what I consider my best Bitternest short stories written between 2006 and 2018 to release individually on Bandcamp and as a collection on Audible as well by the end of 2023. Ideally, I’d love to have a book’s worth—about ten Amok stories—by the end of 2024. I feel reinvigorated writing in the Sword & Sorcery genre, something I’ve never tackled before. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to get the inspiration flowing again and reignite a fading passion for writing fiction.

The first Amok story is titled “Evil Soul, Evil Deed.” It is an introductory tale that sets up Amok’s world and sees a mysterious one-eyed man hiring our hero to seek and retrieve a rare katana from the clutches of a masterless samurai and his ninja acolytes. Deception and bloodshed ensue. Stay tuned to the blog for a release date and more details in the weeks to come. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Pub Day! Once Upon a Time in Bitternest is LIVE!

My final novel, Once Upon a Time in Bitternest, is finally out! You can grab a copy on Kindle on Amazon at the links below in the United States, Canada, and the UK. It's priced at $4.99 US, $6.90 CAD, and £4.47. If you'd like a PDF version instead (which always looks better and is formatted closer to what a print book would look like), you can message me on Twitter @alandraven or email me directly through this blog and we'll set it up via PayPal. I hope you'll enjoy this final ride in the city of Bitternest. Thank you for your support throughout the years!

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest @

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest @

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest @

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Pre-Orders Are Live!

Pre-orders are live for Once Upon a Time in Bitternest! The novel will be out Tuesday, October 25th. After much debate, I've decided not to go ahead with a paperback release for my final book. The demand just isn't there. So, it'll be available as a Kindle exclusive on all Amazon sites. If you'd like a PDF version instead (which always looks better and is formatted closer to what a print book would look like), you can message me on Twitter @alandraven or email me directly through this blog and we'll set it up via PayPal. It's priced at $4.99 US and $6.90 CAD. You can find the links below. Enjoy and thank you!

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest @

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest @

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest @

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Once Upon a Time in Bitternest

Every journey comes to an end. This is it, folks, my final novel. It’s been a couple of years in the making, a few changes along the way, but now it’s done. I’ve told all the stories I needed and wanted to tell. It’s time for me to ride off into the sunset. Writing a new novel is like climbing Mount Everest every single time and I just don’t have the passion and imagination to keep doing it anymore. I’ve been at it, chasing a dream, pursuing a goal for a little over seventeen years. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride, with many more lows than highs, but in the end, I have no regrets. But I won’t stop writing. I’ll just be writing something different, not fiction. If you want to know what I’ve been mostly up to these past two years and what I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future, you can check out my music blog, Harbinger of D.O.O.M.

It ends where it all began, in my beloved fictitious city of Bitternest, Louisiana where supernatural occurrences happen on a daily basis. Here’s the official synopsis for Once Upon a Time in Bitternest: “Bitternest. City of drunken ambitions and sunken dreams. For more than a century, dark and supernatural occurrences have been a part of day-to-day life in this Louisiana town. Jeremy Cyrus, a vampire who was around in the first decade of the town’s inception, has returned to the beloved city he calls home. The Woolrichs, a wealthy family of werewolves, now rule the city from the shadows with an iron fist. They’ve had bad blood with Cyrus dating back almost 150 years.

Marty Johnson is a struggling freelance writer living in Chicago. His lifelong fantasy has been to rob a bank. One day he decides that it’s now or never and finds the perfect opportunity down south in a town he’s never heard of called Bitternest. Meanwhile, one of Marty’s best friends, Carter Adams, is obsessed with catching a serial killer who slipped through his fingers in Chicago and who appears to have made his way to Bitternest. Along with a couple of their pals with delusions of grandeur, they’ll join forces to pursue their goals.

Cyrus. The Woolrichs. Marty. Carter. Their paths will collide in an action-packed, supernatural thriller where the stakes are at their highest. No one will come out unscathed and not everyone will make it out alive. It’s a tale for the ages where past history clashes with the present and the outcome will change Bitternest’s future forever.”

The book will be published by Pixie Dust Press on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022. It will be available in print as a trade paperback and on Kindle. Links and more details to follow in the weeks to come. Below is the cover artwork for it. I hope you’ll join me for one final trip to Bitternest! I’d like to thank all my readers, publishers, and fellow writers who have supported me and spread the word about my books and stories throughout the years. It’s been fun. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Some reading material for those cold winter nights...

My mind-fuck of a thriller Oblique penned as Neal Vandar has been out for six weeks now. For about the price of a coffee, $4 US/$5 CAD, this digital novel can be yours! It’s perfect reading material for those upcoming cold winter nights where you can snuggle under the covers with a hot beverage and a good book on your favourite ereader! Check out the synopsis below as well as links to purchase on Amazon and Kobo in the US and Canada. As usual, you can always purchase the beautiful PDF directly from me (which looks the way the book would look like if it were a paperback). Thank you for your support!

“A man has dinner at a restaurant with a woman he hasn’t seen in twenty-five years. Before they order their food, he goes to the basement washroom. When he returns ten minutes later, the patrons and staff are seemingly all dead. No signs of struggle or traces of blood anywhere. He panics and flees the scene.

Following an encounter with a group of bullies, his paranoia reaches soaring levels. Exhausted and afraid to go back home, he seeks refuge at a motel on the edge of the city for the night. When he awakens the next day, he finds himself in a completely different town, clueless as to how he arrived there. After meeting a man whose past might be linked to his, he uncovers some information that sends him on a wild quest in an attempt to get to the bottom of an incident that occurred a quarter-century ago.

He’ll be chased, shot at, lied to, and drawn into a web of mystery and confusion as he seeks the truth—and does his best not to get killed in the process.”