I’m a haunted playing card. Again.


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My dad is a magician.

That ranks up there with my favorite sentences. Some time ago, I wrote the patter for a stage routine of my dad’s and did the voice recording for the ghost. The routine has since been updated with some new effects. Here it is. Magic by Mark Doetsch. Ghost by Joshua.

Bloody Love


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Here are some lovely words that have already been laid down regarding Blood & Smoke from various sources:

“Blood & Smoke is like V:tR and V:tM came together, had a revenant baby and it grew up to be a blood drinking fiend of pure awesome.”
–@AlienStoneDog, Twitter

“I’m so enthralled by this release. There’s this casual, powerful confidence to the writing that continues to wow me and drag me in. Seriously, hats off.”

“Blood and Smoke is clever, sexy, and stylish. The tragedy is still there, in the subtext. But it’s all delivered with smooth smiles, confident strides, celebratory grotesqueness, and blood-stained cool.”
–ArcaneArts, Onyx Path forums

“I really love the energy that the writers put into this. It’s clearly a labor of love that makes reading it a joy.”
–Aiden, OP forums

“That aside, the book is gorgeous. Not just the art (which is fine), but the words are so well done. I’m only 25 pages in and I keep stopping to go ‘Wow, that was a pretty turn of phrase.'”
–BitterOldJoe, RPGnet

“The language and artwork of the book so far has so much flavour with better descriptions and different points of view that it quickens the original EVEN without using the rules. So Bailey and co for the win.

“Interestingly one of my first impressions is that there is a mechanical and narrative shift to night by night play. Not that it dissuades from the longer term but there is so much ‘juice’ in what could happen over several nights that you would hate to miss even one drop!”

“And, overall, the names were correct & rest of the terms properly applied. I think this is a first ever for an RPG book referring to modern Greece. I’m impressed.”
–Yo! Master, RPGnet

“I’ve been reading more. You know what? I’ve been a WoD fan since almost the beginning, and this is the first Vampire game I have seen that works for me. I want to run a game of it. I’m going to try selling my group on it when I see them. I haven’t had that experience before. I’ve pretty much stuck to the other, non-Vampire gamelines.”
–Dionysos, RPGnet

“This book remembers everything I remember about vampires.”
–Tiresias, OP forums

“‘Vampire is about sex and murder’ is a hell of a ballsy way to open a book.”
–Stephen Lea Sheppard, RPGnet

“So I’ve almost read the whole thing now, and, well, it was as I had expected: A masterpiece. Cover to cover a marvelous piece of Darkness.”
–sikker, OP forums

The Endless Night: a bloody valentine to fanged noir


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Blood&Smoke small

You’re not human tonight… Maybe I never was or ever will be… Maybe we all get like this in the cold half-lit world where always the wrong thing happens and never the right. …you’re not human tonight.

That dripping, noir morsel is from Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister.

Back in the mid 90s, a sixteen-year-old me opened up Vampire: the Masquerade. I’ve never been the same. That’s the short-hand version. Today, Blood & Smoke: the Strix Chronicle was released. I’ve written for White Wolf (and Onyx Path) before. I wrote a novel, a short story, and a little game writing on the side. But this book is the thing that tickles that teenage fan boy rattling my ribcage.

I wrote the vampire clan chapter and the “All Night Society Chapter.”

This book is an overhaul of the Vampire: the Requiem game. Rose Bailey, the developer, gave the book the most focused and relentless vision of any group creative project I’ve ever worked on. I’m a writer who benefits from an editor who works me. She worked me, and I’m proud of the result.

One of the things that Rose did with the line (and that I felt very comfortable diving into) was dousing it all in Chandleresque noir. And if you need a little foreplay to get in the mood, I have just the thing.

Howzabout a teaser sample, loveling? Here’s a little micro-ficiton for each vampire clan.

Something dead approaches…

Daeva: the ones you die for

He warns you. You’re going to do it anyway. You both know that. Eyes like TV ads that enslave you to debt. Voice like the fast food jingle talking you into suicide by tiny bites. The wanting. Every happiness you already have turns to bile. You smile. “Yes,” you say. “More,” you say. “Anything.”

Gangrel: the ones you can’t kill

Wasn’t the howling. Weren’t the claws or magnesium eyes or the lizard brain keening, “Run, run, run!” Was the change. Like them trashy drive-in horrors, only on rewind. Monstrous bulk shrinking — snout flattening — fangs dulling down to pearls — fur receding to a naked obscenity. The smiling little girl walking towards you on filthy feet. That’s what did it. Ten thousand beasts pressing out on her belly like it’s a theatre curtain on opening night. That’s what emptied your bowels and sanity.

Mekhet: the ones you don’t see

That shit-eating grin. The shit-heel prick. How’d he get into your game? “Not playing the cards; I’m playing you,” he croons. He’s not wearing shades, but you can’t see his eyes. Chuckle. “Always wearing shade,” he says. Did you talk out loud? The fucker is playing the cards, because you just did a bottom deal, a triple lift, and two moves that ain’t got names. You know his hand. He’s already lost. Bastard’s not even looking at his cards. He knows. He doesn’t say, “Fold.” Says something else. Says your secret. The thing no one else knows. The thing you sit up at night praying no one ever finds out. The table flips. Loud noises. Your poker buddies beat you bloody. Through it all, you see his grin. He just fades away, and the last thing floating in the tobacco smoke is that grin.

Nosferatu: the ones you fear

“Shhh.” The voice behind you sounds like a squeezed handful of grave worms. It tells you that it will follow you home. It tells you that if you can make it to your front door, by the long path or the short, without turning around or nary a peep, it won’t kill you. When did you lose your shoes? The pavement turns to tongue meat, tasting your bleeding soles with every step.

Ventrue: the ones you can’t deny

“Let’s make this interesting,” she says. She tells you all the heinous things you are about to do. You laugh in her face. Ridiculous. Then, one by one, all of your limbs betray you. You see everything. You see it all through the socket windows of your Judas body. You try, and fail, to scream through the frozen smile fracturing your face.


Speak the Devil’s name on Twitter, and he shall appear…


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Power of Christ Compels You

I Eat Raven Brains


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Raven brains and lunch boxes, that’s what you’ll get in my story “The Mulligan” featured  in The Booked. Anthology, brought to you by those wicked lit-jockeys over at The Booked. Podcast. It’s a motley collection of authors doing untoward things with words. Here’s a little audio taste of my story:

Have a taste for more? Head to store at http://www.bookedpodcast.com/ (and get 50% off with the code: LR50). Read some twisted tales and join the October-long discussion.

Over the summer, I participated at the anthology’s release party, where I signed books, and read a new story, “Alas.” Give a listen to the Booked Live Event.


GenCon and the Siblings Three


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Motivational Growth


It’s that time of year. Once again, I ready for the Valhalla of geekery that is known as GenCon. My brother and I go most every year, but this year’s a little different. This year, a film that our sister is in (Motivational Growthwill be showing at the convention (click above picture for event details). And now my sister is very suddenly visiting her first GenCon. It’s her first time…and she’ll be on a QnA panel! How did my little sister get on a QnA panel at GenCon before me? What a strange world…

Are you ready? Is GenCon ready? Because the Doetsches are showing up in force. For the first time ever, we siblings three will be gathered, at the same time, in the same convention. THE EARTH MIGHT SHATTER! That’s right! See GenCon as it was always meant to be seen: In 3-Doetsch!!!

We siblings three...

Empty Spaces in the Dino Saddle




My thoughts this week have been a roiling, burning, churn-churn-churn. All frayed fibers and caffeine burn. I have absolutely no idea how to express myself to the right people (and I make a living expressing). I didn’t sleep a minute of Sunday night. More than one somebody I know has recently found out they’re not long for this world, and one has already passed (far too young). More post-it reminders on the mortality fridge saying, “Live! Live! Live” and “Do! Do! Do!” and “Say! Say! Say!” My problems are tiny by comparison. And it seems like obligation eventually swallows everyone in life. Comfortable oblivions. I keep bouncing around on my silly little adventures, and one by one, another someone fades into “real life.” I can’t rightly hold it against them, but it gets a lonelier riding dinosaurs.

More coherent, useful posts (on life developments, moving, travel, and upcoming publishing/reading events) coming soon. Stay tuned. Tonight, I’m off across the Ocean in search of vikings.

I, Cyborg


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If you were to look at a cyborg PoV visual display, from my perspective, at mealtime, the text would read something like this:

CONUNDRUM: Raw vegetable more optimal for health / Cooked vegetable (with cheese) desired


SOLUTION: Exploit natural laziness


Thoughts, as I pack, of places and gods…


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He sat down on a grassy bank and looked at the city that surrounded him, and thought, one day he would have to go home. And one day he would have to make a home to go back to. He wondered whether home was a thing that happened to a place after a while, or if it was something that you found in the end, if you simply walked and waited and willed it long enough.

–Neil Gaiman, American Gods


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