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I've been a musician and author for nearly thirty years, with music often taking precedence until 2013. My novels are usually literary
fantasy and the music is either instrumental rock or acoustic guitar,
though I now also have a metal band called Z-Order. Read more in my personal bio,
musician bio, or author bio.
I have eight metal plates in my head, build my own guitars, suffered a crippling case of tendonitis,
play multiple instruments, and work as a software developer, though my degree is in classical guitar.
Instrumental guitar favorably compared to big names, and acoustic guitar instrumentals. As of 2012, I perform all guitars, bass, drums,
Download free Mp3s
Serenade of Strings (2010)
The Lost Art(2010)
Some Things Are... (2007)
A melodic metal band with vocals, in the vein of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest, Z-Order will release
its debut album in 2013. Featuring Randy Ellefson on guitars, Chase Breedlove on vocals, Dave DeMarco on bass, and
James Goetz on drums. Read more...
The debut is a concept album dealing with isolation, communication, social medie, cyber bullying, child molestation,
drug addiction, suicide, and rebirth.
I write fantasy (literary and adventure yarns) and will publish in 2014-5, so please check back.
Blurbs, excerpts, and my author bio are online.
The Tales - a caravan of people tell stories on their way to see a famous sword.
The Champions Series: The Dragon Gate - four Earth friends summoned to another world
are mistaken for missing champions and must find their way home. The prologue is online.
Evermore - A hunter tries to rescue a friend from a city increasingy terrified that undead
from his forest will overrun it.
Four excerpts online!
I've spent 25+ years world building a setting where most noves take place. It features seven original species instead of
elves, dwarves, dragons, and other usual suspects.
Visit my channel on YouTube to see all videos.
Better Things To Do
Adrian Smith Solos 1
Adrian Smith Solos 2
It happened one night at the playing of ball, when a
young man caught a female admirer's fancy. Though he'd not seen a more lovely woman, or this one before, he straightaway felt her love wash
over him as if in a dream, intoxicating and berefting him of his senses. Still, as she invited him a short way down the road to view her father's
garden, he felt something indefinable crying out to him that he not go. But alas, she professed that he was
the boy she loved best, and if he were only to come, she would give her love to him this very night. So it was that he followed her away from the
village as she danced ahead in the twilight, first appearing and then disappearing down the road as if by magic. Like an apparition did she lead
him onward to a roadside home he'd long before seen but never in such condition. While it appeared a ruin to his eyes on all days but this, walls
falling, chimney crumbled, weeds reclaiming it, the abode now stood in good condition, candles glowing in the windows, the walls mended, and a
garden overflowing with flowers. He stood a moment dumbfounded as she swept past the gate into the garden, and then did something odd occur.
A boy his own age, but whom he'd never before seen or even heard approach, stepped from within the woods by the road, all earnest compassion and
concern on his face. With a manner of clothing some years passed and a look of innocence rent asunder,
he said with utmost insistence that naught but ruin and misfortune would find him were he to enter the lady's garden, for though her love was true,
there was another whose fury was truer. But a fragrance of such promising love floated to him from beyond
the walls that he heeded not the boy's warning, and in truth the fellow had disappeared as if he'd never been. With a heart full of desire, he strode
into the garden.
There amongst the blooming flowers and streaming sunrays sat the girl of his fancy, all love in her eyes, her bodice half undone.
He stepped forward to enfold her in his arms when from behind a bush sprang a shimmering figure of menace and despair. Eyes of rage flashed
upon him from the dark shade as the sun gleamed upon a silver blade. 'Not with my daughter' howled the spirit as it lunged. It was then that
the most frightful thing came upon him, for as he stood impaled by horror, a presence filled his being and assumed control, urging his
terror-stricken legs back and away faster than mortal legs would fly. A shriek rang out from the girl as the father howled and came onward,
but the young man fled to the road, where controlled was returned to him. He turned to the gateway with a
gasp. There the father lunged across the threshold toward him and simply vanished. Startled, the young man looked about and saw the boy at
his shoulder, relieved and happy, for while he walked only when the silvery moons were high, this one would enjoy the days of sunlight still.
It was only then as the young man looked upon the house once more that he saw the ruin he'd always known. No flames burned in the windows, no
flowers fragranced the air, and the now crumbled walls revealed a garden empty of all promise. The girl, if she had even been, was gone.
He turned to thank his savior, but the boy, too, had disappeared.
While it's always been known that great danger may lurk
along our path, and that sometimes such peril comes from beyond the grave, it is only of late that we've known such things lie upon the sea, too.
The Ghost Ship of Jonn is more feared than even the
pirates of Avaway or the Katani Fleet, for one cannot reason with the dead - not when what they want is far dearer to them than your life.
The twin pirate ships of Jonn and his brother always descended together upon their victims, plundering what they wished without fear.
But when Jonn learned of an especially wealthy ship, loaded down with gold and other treasures, he
decided the time had come to end this partnership. And so it was that he and his crew set sail in the cover of darkness, unaware
that his kin followed, having learned of the scheme. When Jonn captured the prized vessel, he took treasure and lives alike,
leaving the ship adrift with its dead. Neither he or his joy were long for this world, however, for his brother came on with
vengeance filling his sails. The grappling hooks flew beside arrows as Jonn's vessel and crew were caught fast in the grip of death.
Jonn's men were cut down one by one and thrown dead into the sea, a fire lighting
the ship in the night as the treasure changed hands. Jonn was tied to the mast of his brother's ship as his own roared first
in flames, and then in a swell of water that consumed it as it sank beneath the waves.
His brother's twisted laughter did little to calm him as they sailed on, stopping on a sandy beach before dawn.
There, on an island, his brother set
in motion a terrible thing that has plagued all who sails the seas since. After burying the treasuer in the sand, he beheaded Jonn and poured his blood
over the prize before tossing the corpse into the sea, placing Jonn'e head on the ship's prow. A ghost ought to prevent any from obtaining this prize, he reasoned.
But when Jonn's ghost saw his own visage approach, he'd
let those aboard land safely when only horror would meet all others. His brother then set sail without regret, which was not long to last.
No one knows how much time passed before a ship finally landed on that dreadful shore, or even what truly happened, but the first account of
something unholy on the seas came from a half-mad sailor. It seems his ship and crew were becalmed one dark night, resting quietly on the
peaceful ocean, not a breeze to stir their sails. The moonlight glistened on the ocean, the scene still like a
painting. Then the lookout cried out that a ship sailed toward them, its sails filled with a wind that touched them not. Understanding of how this could
be dawned in the most terrible of ways as the ship neared, for standing upon its deck, watching from its yard arms, and
steering it through the night were all manner of things from beyond the grave. Sightless eyes stared greedily at them, a ghost of fearsome hate
whispering orders to his crew, the voice slithering down their spines. Howls of hate from across the sea echoed their cries of fear
The living dead came upon the ship that, though becalmed, knew naught but terror.
Many a sailor cannot swim so that only one flung himself into the sea; it was to be their
doom, for Jonn took their souls for his and left the ship adrift in the night as he sailed away into darkness, searching for
revenge still. Tales of such abandoned ships, corpses without a mark upon them, soon sailed through port towns on a crest of fear, dashing the
peace of those on land and sea alike, for those who took to the waves were even less likely to be heard from again.
Lest you believe you are safe here ashore, know that they have come to port before. Rumor has it the ship sailed straightaway over the land,
slicing through the earth like the sea from which it came, felling the life before its prow like a scythe through wheat. On the winds of vengeance
did Jonn seek his brother in a brothel known to both, and all who were cavorting that night perished as the undead swept into port.
Only the sun rose the next morning, for all else lay still forever more.
When Jonn's brother learned
of this, he rightly fled far, some speculating he retrieved his treasure first on whatever isle is lies, but who knows what horror Jonn left in his place?
Surely he'd let no one have the prize for which he was damned. The ghost ship has sailed onward since, always searching, always sailing, always stealing souls.
Only one pirate seeks such a treasure, having no use for any other save that of his missing skull, for until some part of him is buried rightly, he will sail
onward forever more.
The story of the hanged nobleman got everyone's attention on hauntings, but what turned that attention to the woods was an incident just
It happened just south of the lake, which many believe acts as
a barrier between the spirits and those of the city. It seems that one of the hunters heard some strange sounds deep in the woods, and after
feeling watched and finally losing his nerve, he started home and returned early at dusk. He was a religious man by all accounts, but
superstitious and distrustful of the supernatural like many in those parts, and having just escaped what was in his mind a fate of supernatural horror, he was quite
upset upon discovering his wife's apparent activities at home.
None know for sure what she was really doing with the pot over the fire, the various herbs spread on the table, the candles, the chalk marks upon the
floor, or the open book from which she was reading aloud, but her husband took one look at her long disheveled hair, the loose gown she wore, and a holy
medallion around her neck that he forbade her to wear on the grounds that all talismans are evil, and flew into a rage. He pulled his sword from its sheath
and stormed into the small cabin.
She must have been terrified by the sight of him coming for her, his sword swinging toward her throat. He half sliced her head from her neck on the first blow so that
she fell without a sound, whereupon he struck her neck twice more to behead her, believing this stops a necromancer or witch from
acting again. He threw her head into the fire and dragged the corpse some distance
into the woods to dig a shallow, unmarked grave, throwing her in, covering her, and returning to the cabin.
It had now been hours since nightfall, and he lay down to sleep in the cabin's single room, across from the burnt-out fire, mistaking the stench for whatever brew the witch had been concocting.
Some time later, footsteps outside the cabin roused him as they shuffled through leaves to hesitate before the unlocked door, which
now opened slowly and evenly. As a dark figure entered the cabin, he spied his sword was across the room on the doorway's far side, out of reach.
Covered from neck to toe in dirt, the figure paid him no attention, heading instead
for the table where the book his wife had been reading earlier still lay open. This it ran one finger over as if tracing a passage before closing the book,
tucking it under one arm, and turning to go. Upon passing the fireplace, it knelt to seize the skull with its remaining bits of charred, black flesh.
The figure then rose and placed its decapitated head back on its bloody neck, where it somehow remained before the figure started to leave.
It was all of two paces from the doorway when he sat up more in bed.
The figure stopped at the motion,
its head turning slowly to gaze at him as if realizing he was present for the first time. Then it stepped away to pick up something, turning back with arm swinging.
He was too horrified to do more than stare as his own sword decapitated him.
None are sure what happened after this, as the seers who came to investigate could sense that this much had transpired here, but once the
two corpses left the cabin and disappeared south into the woods, the trail of information vanished. There existed no sign of either body or the book she
had taken. The bloody sword, the first clue that something had happened here, lay upon the floor.
Friends would later say his wife was no witch, just a cook who preferred plants to the meat her husband brought home, and so she
harvested and prepared them when he was away partly because he'd grown intolerant of her tastes.
She somewhat secretly worshiped the goddess of agriculture, the medallion she owned being this goddess' symbol, and the chalk marks just indications of
what plants she'd already added to her soup. None disputed her murder, but they could never believe the story of her returning from
the dead, despite the empty grave near the cabin and that neither was ever seen or heard from again.
Lest you think that all hauntings occur here or nearby, the tale of the Twisted Maple of Andar will make you think twice about fleeing elsewhere for safety.
A man visiting friends there was given a first floor room at the back of an old house, where a wide window stood just feet from the bed. It gave a lovely
view of a lawn stretching to a line of trees, where a peculiar maple with a twisted branch drew the eye. A path of loose stones passed under the window, and
he left the drapes open so the bright moonlight filled the room. He'd been asleep for some hours when a noise roused him, for the sound of stones crunching
uderfoot frew louder and louder so that he fully expected to see someone pass by outside. And yet one did not, even as they passed on.
Moments later, when the foot-steps returned, he cautiously rose and peered through the glass but again saw nothing despite the sound passing by.
Unnerved, he returned to bed and lay pondering until
the window drew his attention again, for a chance look showed something he'd not soon forget. Across the field, a tall glowing figure in white was moving by the
twisted maple. Unable to tell what it was doing, he lay still until it disappeared, then tossed and turned all night to awake tired the next morning.
He mentioned nothing of this to his hosts and went about his
affairs, but on returning to the house mid-afternoon, he decided to walk the grounds and soon found himself by the gnarled maple,
certain he'd dreamed the whole affair. The ground lay undisturbed and showed no signs of activity. Since the afternoon was pleasant and he
had a short time left to him, he lay down beneath the tree to rest.
He awoke with a start hours earlier, a deep, heavy sleep having kept him here past nightfall until a peculiar cold roused him. The frightful figure of the previous
night bent over him, a hideous countenance of glowing menace staring into his eyes. Terrified, he asked what it wanted, but the spirit merely searched the
earth beside the tree in agitation before disappearing. The man quickly returned to the house, refusing to stay in that room
another night,=, and yet curiosity overcame him days later, when he approached the twisted maple to search as the ghost had done.
Barely visible and wedged in a crack of the tree's trunk was a small golden key, which he retrieved after much prying.
That night, against his better judgment, he once again slept in the room overlooking the field, the key on the night table. When the footsteps sounded outside
as before, the walker remained unseen, passing by unmindful of the key,
if indeed this was known to be present. The man rose from the bed and stood before the window, key in hand, thinking to lay it upon the sill, when the spirit
appeared beneath the twisted maple, again searching. The sound of the window sliding open drew its attention, and only a moment passed
when it noticed him raising the key. The ghost whirled towards him with breathtaking, menacing speed to stand beyond the window.
Startled motionless, he stood staring as it slowly opened one palm as if wanting the key laid there, and this he did, trembling. The ghost gleamed
brighter, slender fingers closing upon it fast. With nary a nod of thanks, it walked away, the stones crunching beneath its feet.
The next morning he woke to a commotion, for a gold key had been found inserted into the lock of a prized box that had been in the family's possession
hundreds of years, and yet no one had ever been able to unlock it or otherwise devine its contents, even the most powerful magic-users. It resisted all
attempts to dash it to pieces, too. And the only thing that lay dashed now were the hopes of his hosts, for while the box now held the key,
it held nothing else, its interior
as empty of treasure as their hearts were of hope.
Only after the ghost did not appear again that night did the man reveal what he'd seen, whereupon he learned the ghost appeared to be that of an
ancestor rumored to have made a deal with the god of death, a deal which he had, perhaps, not honored.