Friday, December 8, 2017

The New Mediocrity

Someone asked why I don't post much here on my writing blog. Simple answer - there's very little interest in my published books, so I would logically imagine there's even less interest in an obscure writer's blog that promised from the start to tell the ugly truth about writing, the publishing industry, indie publishing, and the sad and secret life of writers. Let's face it - not a lot of love and light, joy and cha-cha there, so rather than burden others (and myself) with those dark and nasty truths, I took a break from blogging and, to be honest, a semi-permanent break from writing in general.

So if you are looking for helpful hints on how to break through the Amazon algorithms or a phony-baloney YouTube pep talk to convince you that you're going to be the next Stephen King if you just keep at it, you've come to the wrong place. So move along and take your shiny expectations with you. I'm not the droid you're looking for, because the truths I've discovered about trying to be a professional writer in today's market are not truths any sane and relatively stable human being wants to hear.

My grammar teachers were so strict that
they would say the word "Grandpa" should
be capitalized because it is a substitute for a
proper noun (grandpa's name). Then again,
we live in a different world now where we
 make up the rules as we go along and
ignore those that are inconvenient.
For starters, if you're at all serious about writing, you've honed your craft. You can spell, punctuate, create reasonably correct paragraphs, and you have a workable grasp of grammar and the English language (or whatever language in which you're creating your masterpiece). And if you don't, you'd best have a very good editor, proofreader and - at the very least - a spell-check device.

And yet... all one has to do is go to Amazon, pick a category at random, choose the "Look Inside" feature, and be prepared to be dazzled... not with brilliance, but with baffling and brazen bullshit. What you'll find, just to pick on one area, are stories written in first person that shift abruptly and without reason to third person... and that's just the tip of an iceberg the size of a planet or two.

My name is Peter, and I went out walking late last night. But by the time Peter had gone only a few blocks (inexplicable shift from first person to third person), he realized he'd left his sell phone in the pocket of his other jeans. So I  (shift back to first person) had to run all the way back to the apartment, all the wile (sic) hoping my girlfriend hadn't been home and checked (past tense) my messages to see I've (present tense) been cheating on her with Emily and Jack and half the Denver Broncos.

Yes, the writer referred to it as a "sell phone" and used the word "wile" where he clearly meant while. No, it wasn't just an affectation or manner of speaking intrinsic to his character (an excuse often used when writers get called out on their atrocious errors). There were also numerous grammatical errors throughout - even though the character was presented as a young man with a college degree working in corporate America. Perhaps it's really just a matter of money - when writers are too cheap to hire an editor to fix these glaring problems before their magnum opus hits the cybershelves. The tense changes were maddening just in the opening few paragraphs, but what's really mind-blowing is that this writer and plenty of others just like him (her?) are very high in the Amazon rankings, raking in the big bucks while highly competent writers who are far better storytellers languish in obscurity with no clue as to how this world operates nowadays, or at what point in time readers turned into illiterate revenants who clearly never struggled through rudimentary language skills in third grade. Put simply: they don't know the difference between good writing and bad, or they just don't care.

When I've questioned readers about how they can tolerate this kind of blatantly bad writing, they generally tilt their head like a confused puppy meeting his first kitten and come up with some response that sounds vaguely like, "I just liked the part where the zombie was banging the dude's girlfriend and his dick fell off. That was really cool!"

At which point... I realize we are living in a world where there is no longer any value placed on anything with relevance or even competent writing, but instead the value system has shifted to how many obligatory sex scenes the writer can cram into the first three chapters (to insure those are the first things a reader encounters when surfing through the Look Inside feature.) Sex sells. Hell, if it didn't every cheap whore and expensive call girl (or boy) on the planet would be asking if we'd like fries with that Unhappy Meal. But at some point it started to become virtually the only thing that sells, and that's where I begin to question not only the quality of so-called literature, but the role the internet and indie publishing is playing in the dumbing down of the hoomans inhabiting Planet Earth.

Don't get me wrong. I love sex. I even loved writing it for many years. Got nothing against it - not the act itself or the tomes of erotica (or outright porn in some cases) describing what goes where, how hard he shoved, and the resulting torrent of ecstasy and expletives following in the wake of the little death. Overall, my problem isn't with the genres of erotica, porn or various degrees of both masquerading as "romance." My problem is the quality of what is being cranked out without any manner of quality control whatsoever.

Seems to me that if Amazon (and others) can have software that can listen in on our cell phone conversations or monitor our email to see what brand of condoms and laxatives we prefer, they could perfect some sort of program that could detect atrocious writing skills and simply decline publication accordingly. If a writer can't (or won't) bother to learn his craft, perfect his skills, and produce a product that isn't riddled with errors, perhaps that writer doesn't deserve to be taking up space that would be better filled by someone else. After all, if a doctor prescribes heart medication for a raging bladder infection, or amputates the wrong limb because he doesn't know his left from his right, he's pretty sure to lose his license and end up in the unemployment line. Unemployment lines do exist for incompetent doctors and even buffoon lawyers. They don't exist for writers.

Point being - consumers hold providers to a certain standard, and when that standard isn't met or, worse, when it is ignored altogether, consumers tend to lose faith in the thing itself until, eventually, that thing disappears from the market. How many Ford Pintos do you see on the road these days? Would you like a prescription for fen-phen? The list is long, and in my opinion one reason the publishing industry is in the crapper is because the quality has been allowed to slip below what even minimally-educated readers would consider to be reasonable expectations. Even if a book is indie published, that's no excuse - and even more of a reason - to provide a quality product at a reasonable price. And to be fair, some indie writers do, but far too many simply don't.  Instead, I've heard newbie wannabe writers say they consider the indie publishing bandwagon to be "a way to make some bucks without doing a lot of heavy lifting." Apparently they should also include in that statement, "without doing a lot of heavy thinking."

I'm off topic. So many problems in the writing industry today, it's hard to stay focused on any single issue. So I'll keep it personal for now. It's all about Me after all.

More & more, I'm convinced that the key
to success is outright Copy Cat
Pretenderism. Pick a famous author,
slap a similar cover on it, and

make your book look just like theirs. 
My main gripe today is that my non-fiction books seem to be largely ignored, and whenever I've tried to determine why, what I keep coming up with is something that can't be easily fixed. I'm a woman writer in a field dominated primarily by men. In fact, I was joking around with a friend lately and made the comment that I'd have to change my name to Don Julio Carlos de Flores in order to be taken seriously in the world of shamanism, nagualism, and Toltec practices (a field in which Carlos Castaneda became the resident guru, whether he wanted the job or not). In reality, I've had more experience than most of the up-and-coming male writers in that field, but unless I petition the courts for that name change and pursue gender reassignment while I'm at it, I've had to accept that nothing I write in the field is going to be even remotely successful - not because of the quality, but because of the obscurity that comes with being a fish out of water in a pond dominated by sharks and leeches. As an example, I recently read a book by a male author in the same field (shamanism) that I considered to be sub-par at best, nothing more than a rehash of what's already been said a thousand times, and yet the book is receiving good reviews and ranks high in the Amazon standings. Trust me, folks, it's not because the book is good. It ain't.

So what can be done about any of it? For starters, if you're a female writer in a field dominated by men, get yourself a male pen name and see things as they are and not as we might want them to be. If you're in a field dominated by women (such as the romance genre) consider a name like Destiny Dawn as a pseudonym, but keep in mind that your success or lack thereof usually won't be based on merit, but like everything else in the world, it will be reflected by who you know and who you blow. Such is life. Nothing wrong with it as long as you're aware of it - but don't go in with blinders on as I once did, expecting to be successful on your own merit, when the reality is that bad writing seems to far outweigh the good, and your ranking on Amazon will be based on social media popularity rather than the quality of anything you may do.

When I was still in high school, teachers and friends alike encouraged me in my writing. Some even went so far as to say it was my destiny. My own mother was fond of telling me, "Cream rises to the top." What she failed to mention is that turds are also notorious floaters.

My mother - rest in peace, Mom - was either a consummate liar or altogether ignorant of the ways of the world or (most likely) simply programmed by her time period and culture to believe in the inherent goodness in the world and in other people. Amazing woman, really. Barely scraping by while married to a turd of a man who sat on his ass at home while she waited every morning in the dark for the Greyhound bus to take her into the seedy cobblestone streets of downtown Tampa where she worked as a waitress at the Walgreen's lunch counter. Yet despite her own hardships, she taught me to believe in myself, assured me I could be the first woman president or a surgeon or even a best-selling author to rival Ellery Queen (one of her favorites). In reality, I've come to think I would have had a much better chance of becoming a president (no skills required, judging by the present administration) or prominent surgeon than I ever had of becoming any sort of successful writer.

So what's the point of this long and rambling rant? Absolutely no point whatsoever. Except perhaps to illustrate that few things in life come to us by merit these days. Perhaps they once did. I remember picking up a brand new copy of Carrie by some obscure writer named Stephen King at the local magazine rack one day in 1974. Read it in one sitting and then read it again because it had a "shine" to it that most books simply don't. Same thing with Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire. So perhaps things were different in The Way Back When - when good writers could reach the top on merit and skill rather than how many "likes" they might get on Facebook in a single day.

The world has changed. Some change is good. Other is just rearranging the broken furniture in the name of progress, but all too often I fear the wheels of progress run over fragile wildflowers and crush rare butterflies into extinction. Not that I consider myself either butterfly or flower. I'm just that fish out of water I mentioned previously - usually swimming to the side, shaking my head in confusion at the machinations of a world gone mad. But occasionally I feel some strange (and altogether pointless) need to examine that world on paper, which only brings home to me once again how altogether pointless it really is.

I see good writers trying to jump through hoops in some misplaced belief that the next workshop they attend will be the one that launches their career and brings them the accolades they so richly deserve. The reality, of course, is that most of these conferences & workshops only benefit the people running them, who collect thousands of dollars to provide naive, desperate writers with the privilege of staying at an expensive hotel for a weekend (an additional charge, of course) while attending panels comprised of "successful" indie authors (usually the promoter's daughter is among them) who do little more than talk about their own success, offer nothing of value to the attendees, and often conclude with the words, "I really can't tell you what I did to get where I am, but here I am and here you are listening to me blow smoke up your ass, and god bless us one and all." You really do need a barf bag, or at least a hefty dose of common sense to know your money would have been better spent on a cruise or even an ugly designer sweater. Most writers I know who go to these things are already good, solid, competent storytellers. And for the record, I actually can tell you what 99% of those "successful" writers did to get where they are.

Lean in. Want to know the secret? I'll tell you, but you have to promise not to pass it around.

Here goes...

There isn't a secret. In almost every case I know of "overnight success" on Amazon, the writer was simply at the right place at the right time and got struck by the random (emphasis on random) lightning bolt that puts their book on some sort of fast track to getting noticed. It's not that they spent a lot of money on advertising. Been there, done that, got the merit badge but it didn't do squat to improve sales. It isn't that their book is actually good or even competent. In most cases, it's riddled with errors in the first 10 pages and only gets worse from there. It might be that the writer cajoled 500 of her very best friends to review the book on Amazon or Goodreads, but even books with 100 reviews or more are often very low in the sales standings.

So after having actively engaged in the indie writing circus for more than 15 years now, I can only conclude that it's like a random pull on a slot machine. Maybe the jackpot rolls up and you retire to some exotic beach where you sip mimosas by day and wear a corduroy jacket with fashionable patches on the sleeves by night while smoking a wretched clove cigarette and boasting your accomplishments to passing strangers in an affected writerly accent. But for most who play the game, that jackpot remains elusive, frustrating and - after awhile - rather like those sour grapes for which the fox wasted a lot of time and energy prancing about before realizing the game was rigged from the start. If you are lucky enough to finally see the leg trap (most never do) you stop desiring what you can't have and direct your energies toward something you can accomplish.

Yes, I'm older now, and a tad bit bitter. Can you tell? I'm tired of watching good writers chasing that jackpot with such fervor that it becomes their sole reason for Being. I'm tired of looking at book previews only to find myself wanting to take a red pen to the monitor. That's one major reason I quit reading almost entirely several years ago. Nowadays, I'll only read a book if it's recommended to me by someone I trust. And, no, I don't trust reviews by the writer's illiterate friends and inbred relatives. Basically, I'm tired of jumping through those hoops when it's plain to see the only thing on the other side is more hoops, more false promises, more roads leading nowhere, and more disappointment. So I pet my kittens, post meaningless crap on Facebook when I have spare time on my hands, and concentrate on the business we own that does actually pay the bills and keep food in the dog's bowl.

Oh dear. Did I give anyone the impression that this was going to have a happy ending? I hope not, because if there is one, I haven't found it yet, and neither have 99% of the good writers I know personally. So don't bother writing to offer thoughts and prayers, or shake a finger of admonishment about my darkness and negativity. This isn't something that can be fixed or ignored - and that is the hardest lesson of all. When mediocrity becomes the new normal, there is seldom any 12-step recovery program to bring back the standards of excellence that got crushed under the relentless grind of the profit-motivated juggernaut.

You will either get struck by lightning or you won't. That's my experience from the desert - where the lightning is rare and not particularly interested in what's right or fair, or even what's good or competent. That's what it means when I say there's no secret.

It's all random. Just like the lightning.


And, of course, the next question becomes: What happens if you do get struck by the fickle finger of success? Who or what do you become and would you even recognize yourself in the mirror? To what extent does "success" spell certain disaster for your identity? Another rant for another dark night of the soul.


Della Van Hise is the best-selling author of KILLING TIME - without a doubt the most controversial STAR TREK novel ever published!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Coyote - Free on Amazon!

Coyote - Free on Amazon, Feb 28 - March 4, 2017!

Journey with River Willows as she runs from the law, only to be swept up into a parallel reality where she is destined to meet a man she had believed was only a dream. Suitable for young adult and up. 5-Stars all the way!


A Novel of Love, Honor & Personal Sacrifice...

When River Willows is accused of a murder she didn't commit, her life takes a turn toward the sanctuary of a world existing at right-angles to our own. Combining the mysticism of martial arts and the romantic conflict of a young woman torn between two powerful men, COYOTE takes the reader on an epic journey of dangerous secrets, military cover-ups, and the infinite heart of the peaceful warrior.

"So who's Coyote?" I asked, trying to ignore the effect he was having on me. "You?"

Steale laughed easily, though it did little to hide the torment behind that mask of indifference he wore so well.

"Coyote's a scavenger, Jack of all trades. The Native Americans call him the trickster - the one who brought chaos down on the world." He shrugged as if altogether unconcerned. "Original sin, I guess."

"Is that what you are?" I asked, keeping it light despite the growing knot in the pit of my stomach.

He kept his profile to me, eyes straight ahead as he drove. "Sure you want to know?"

I couldn't help wondering if I had cornered the coyote, or if the clever trickster had cornered me.

Della Van Hise is the best-selling author of KILLING TIME - without a doubt the most controversial STAR TREK novel ever published!


To view all of my books... Click Here

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Alexis Fegan Black is Dead

Perhaps Alexis's greatest fault was that she expected the world to be reasonably fair, she expected people to be true to their word, and she believed it when her mother told her the cream rises to the top.

Alexis was very naive.

Having any such expectations from the world today is rather like expecting Donald Trump and his cronies to do something reasonable for the people they pretend to represent. Might as well wish in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one gets full first.

All of this started when I received a rather snottily worded letter from AO3 (Archive of our Own, for the mercifully uninformed) telling me that my works on the archive were in violation of some obscure (and petty) little "rule" which prohibits "advertising" on the site. (As of this writing, I've just received an email from the same twerp who deleted my works, saying "there can be no mention of any commercial works at all." Nothing like making it up as they go along. Any site that expects authors to contribute FREE material, and then makes it impossible for that author to promote herself, is not a site I would promote, and not a site I would encourage any sane writer to contribute to.)

When I looked at the specific work that had allegedly been reported as offensive, all I could find were the typical mentions any self-respecting author would make in the end notes, as a means to guide readers to her more recent works - such as what might appear on the author's website, blog or her author page on Amazon. I should also point out that the author page on Amazon doesn't sell anything. There are no links to put anything in a cart or buy it now. The author page is nothing more than a listing of the author's works - and a link to that page from the archive seems a tiny price to pay in exchange for the stories and novels I had uploaded for their readers to enjoy, absolutely free of charge. In order to actually buy anything from Amazon, a potential reader would have to click on the title, and only then would they see anything offered for sale. So for the "powers-that-be" (term applied very loosely) at AO3 to make an arbitrary decision that I was attempting to "sell" something on their precious little site is not only ludicrous, but downright stupid in the extreme. Yes, stupid - a word I generally reserve for Irish Setters and anyone with an IQ below 70. Sorry, but if the shoe fits...

When no issue exists, social justice warriors crawl
out from under the rocks in their mommy's basements
to create one. Haven't we all had enough of this?
So here's the thing... when I was asked (no, when I was commanded) to remove all mentions of my website, my Amazon page, my blog, etc., I found the demand so completely unreasonable that I could only laugh at the self-importance of whatever social justice warrior had "complained" in the first place. First of all, I have some serious doubts that there was ever an actual complaint. Reason being - the author is not allowed to confront her accuser, so any half-baked "admin" on the site could simply decide for herself (based on rumors or based on nothing whatsoever) that she was going to make a stink and threaten me with taking down all of my works, even though the complaint was based on only one of my works (Private Possessions).

So I gave it some thought, and made the suggested changes to the novel in question. I removed all potentially-offending links & mentions, tidied up the front and end notes like a good little girl bowing to the whims of some over-zealous spawn of The Entitlement Generation... and then this morning I received notice that all of my works had been removed from the archive. Actually, this comes as no surprise - not even the fact that Private Possessions was also axed, even though it had NO violations of the petty little rules of the petty little dictatorship that apparently runs the petty little archive.

So I guess that makes it personal, right? I mean... if 13 works are in violation, but the 14th is perfectly fine, why would all the works be removed even if one is not violating any precious policies? Yup, I'm going to say it's personal. I'm going to say it's targeted harassment, and I'm absolutely going to say this is just indicative of the kind of crap that caused me to leave fandom many years ago. I know at least a dozen other authors who post direct (and clickable!) links to their websites or their Amazon author page, etc) and never have they been targeted for this kind of harassment which suggests prejudice and possibly even bigotry at a level which defies explanation. I'm a gay woman, after all. Perhaps I should be an SJW in my own right and say I'm being harassed for that. Makes as much sense as anything else.

I had originally chosen to upload my stories (including two long novels!) to the archive as a gift to fandom, to express my love for Star Trek and my appreciation to the fans who read my works for years when I was still producing fanzines back in the dinosaur days before the first social justice warrior crawled out of the belly of a jackal. The real sad thing here is that removing my works from the archive really doesn't hurt me in the least. The ones who are hurt are the fans who clicked on those stories, read them with obvious joy, and left kudos numbering in the thousands. The archive isn't hurting me by removing my works. It's hurting its own readers - and for absolutely No Thing whatsoever.

There were other ways to handle this. For starters, they could just as easily have removed the entire end notes or front notes, if they were so terribly offensive to all those social justice warriors seeking truth, justice and Having Their Way. Hell, I wouldn't have given a fat rat's ass had they done so, since time has proven that the "links" actually served no purpose whatsoever. They certainly didn't increase sales by even a single book that I can tell. They didn't lead to a multi-million dollar movie deal when some lost producer found my novel and realized it was the Holy Grail of possibilities. They did nothing for me, other than maybe give fans a clue as to where to find my other books should they ever have even the vaguest of interest. (No one did that I can tell). So, what was the harm? And why remove the entire work when it would have made far more sense to simply remove the tags some self-righteous twat found offensive?

Yes, I am outraged, because this just dredges up all the reasons I left fandom in the first place. Sure, there are rumors of every description as to what Big Bad Della "did" to fandom. There are just as many stories from people she helped - with their writing, their art, their zine publishing, and so forth. Believe what you will. But the bottom line is that there came a day when I could no longer abide the back-biting, underhanded, duplicitous and outright lying that had become the norm in fandom, rather than the exception.

More times than I can count, unscrupulous zine editors lied to artists and writers in order to get those same writers and artists to write for their zines instead of mine. Unfortunately, most of those writers and artists never even bothered to ask me if the load of crap they were being fed was true. They simply swallowed it, hook, line and sinker, and pledged their allegiance to the liars at the same time they apparently sold their souls to the devil. No great loss - except for them. Because it really only validated what I had come to see over the years - Star Trek was no longer about the values and philosophies put forth on the show, but had apparently lost its true meaning and de-evolved into a shark tank of fangirls who were far more interested in "Shatner's package" than in anything remotely meaningful. Over the years, I watched even the genre of K/S de-evolve from stories about love into nothing more than sexual escapades between two characters who bore absolutely no resemblance to the Kirk and Spock anyone might have recognized.

During that same time period (very late 80s, early 90s) I was also seeing various articles in high profile magazines or newspapers talking about K/S, and occasionally some reporter would even ask the actors about their feelings on the matter. Both Shatner and Nimoy were always very gracious and never came out and said, "Don't do it," but the message was obvious for anyone who bothered to read between the lines. It made them uncomfortable - and who can blame them? It wasn't the fiction, one of them once said, but the artwork - which, let's face it, knew no restrictions. But be that as it may... I began to wonder if perhaps I was trespassing into someone else's life, and I certainly knew I had been trespassing into someone else's characters from the moment I wrote my first Star Trek fan fiction story at the age of eleven. No, it wasn't K/S, just a standard Mary Sue story, but those characters didn't belong to me, and they don't belong to "fandom", despite what many will try to tell you.

But in the big picture, I started having second thoughts about the "moral" implications of all of this. And when I combined that with the changing attitudes I had witnessed in the shark tank of fanzine publishing, I began to truly realize that I no longer wanted to be a part of it in any capacity. I'm certainly no prude. I've written some of the most explicit stuff out there in the world of K/S, and I have no regrets about that. I loved writing K/S, and still have dozens of stories and novels in my head... but I have no desire to write them because 1) I am a dinosaur and the ideals I hold about Star Trek would appear to be every bit as obsolete as the writer; and 2) The universe is ripe with so many possibilities that I don't need to trespass on the characters someone else has striven to bring to life.

There is certainly a split opinion of fan fiction in general. Some authors actively encourage it, while others have placed a "Do Not Touch" sign on their characters. Anne Rice, for example, expressly forbids fan fiction about Louis and Lestat, and personally I not only agree with her decision, I openly applaud it!  Why? Because as a writer, I know how important my original characters are to me, and while I would be flattered that anyone else might want to write about them, I would always feel that someone else's take on my characters would never be my take - and, let's face it, many writers are territorial, and with good reason. No one else can know what's in Anne Rice's head - Lestat is hers to do with as she pleases, and despite the cries of certain members of The Entitlement Generation, he doesn't belong to the world. He belongs to Anne until she says otherwise. Write whatever you want for your own entertainment, but when you start posting it to the internet because you believe you're entitled... maybe better re-think that and read up on copyright laws and what they actually mean.

Off topic, but such are the ramblings of a displaced writer. Let's just say that there came a time when I had to evolve and grow as a writer, or forever stagnate in the fields of fan fiction. And while I truly loved every story or novel I ever wrote as a fan, I don't think it's the be-all and end-all of a writer's career. My own life took a sharp turn to the left around 1992, when we moved to the desert and I embarked on a spiritual journey that truly and literally took me "where no man has gone before."  In order to devote the time and energy required by such an undertaking, I had to give up the pursuits that were no longer advancing me in the direction of my heart's desire. Sure, I still loved Star Trek. Still do. Always will. But I have watched fandom as a whole change (though not necessarily "grow" in any real sense). I'm sad to say that, and I hope I am wrong. I've made some good friends along the way, but I've seen into the dark and twisted hearts of others. I suppose that's true with anything in the world, but for myself, I am choosing to put the Star Trek I love and remember on a shelf, in a glass case, where no harm can come to it.

As for the archive... I can no longer support its "efforts," for I have come to view it as just another petty organization in a petty world. Hypocritical and self-serving at best. The publishers of tens of thousands of illegal works, yet they prohibit legitimate authors from posting a link to their quite legal books and remove an author's entire list of works on what appears to be a personal whim and personal vendetta.

I'm done. Simply. Finally. Absolutely... Done.

So it is without regret that I must announce...

Alexis Fegan Black is Dead.


If you want to read any of my fan fiction stories, a few of them are available on the archive at Fanzines Plus

You can also purchase out of print fanzines at Fanzines Plus.

To access my professional works, including male/male erotica and gay romance, please visit my Amazon Author Page

 Alexis Fegan Black

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Two Brand New Quantum Shaman Books!

Two new releases from Quantum Shaman!


Questions Along the Way: Conversations With a Quantum Shaman
Book 3 in the Quantum Shaman Series
Available from Amazon or directly from

Into the Infinite: Opening the Door to the Unknown
Book 4 in the Quantum Shaman Series
Available from Amazon or directly from

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Effect of Moonlight on Tombstones

Available on Amazon
Also Available from Eye Scry Publications

A dark little collection of poetry gleaned from the gnosis of vampires and songs of the muse. The Effect of Moonlight on Tombstones is Della Van Hise's first full-length book of poetry, spanning more than 25 years of her writing. If you enjoy dark fantasy and gothic grimoires, this is one book you don't want to miss!


Moments Frozen In Time
(A Foreword by the Author)

Poetry has never been something I consciously set out to write. Instead, it is something that comes or not, entirely at the whim of whatever it is that writers call "the muse." Over the years, I have come to think of my own poetry as a form of shorthand - an attempt to capture a moment frozen in time. A wayward leaf caught in mid-fall. A glimpse of a shadow cast by nothing at all. The effect of moonlight on tombstones.

Though I write primarily novels and nonfiction, I do find myself pleasantly haunted by what my mentor once referred to as "the gnosis of vampyres." What does that mean? In essence, I would say it is the voice of silent knowing - the observer within all of us who possesses the ability to see the world clearly, and at times perhaps too clearly. As another dear friend once said, "Poetry is the streaming download from the broken heart of the universe." I have found that to be true, at least in my own humble attempts at the art form.

The poems in this anthology represent approximately two decades of those streaming downloads, most of which were scribbled hastily and in bad penmanship into cloth journals. If I have been at all successful in capturing some of those moments frozen in time, perhaps a line or two will resonate with you, hopefully bringing a smile to your face or a chill to your spine.

At the very least, enjoy the dark side of the light.

Della Van Hise
November 8, 2015


Candles keep journals
of time’s passing
in empty books of matches.


My heart is a haunted room,
sinister sanctuary.
When it breaks,
shattered by your sharp white smile,
all the shadows come leaking out,
phantoms of neverland
loosed on the world of men.

The cemetery lies empty,
pallid headstones only coloring books
for the idle hands of time.

To view all of my books, please consider...

Questions Along the Way - Just Released!

Available in print or digital format
On Amazon

Anyone on a journey of personal growth and enlightenment is sure to come face to face with difficult questions that will keep them awake at night and may even plunge them into the dark night of the soul. In Questions Along the Way, Quantum Shaman Della Van Hise talks frankly with seekers on the path of heart and opens wide the door to a new understanding that lies beyond the false belief systems and cultural programming all of us must confront when emerging from the dark into the light.

Just wanted to let everyone know I've completed the third book in the Quantum Shaman series. "Questions Along the Way" is a compilation of questions I've received over a period spanning more than 20 years - inquiries from seekers who find themselves faced with conundrums that run the gamut from 'Is there a God?' to 'How can I improve my relationships right here and now?'

Much of the work I've done with others on a path of heart - a journey of personal growth, enlightenment and evolution - has been previously scattered over a wide variety of groups, online forums and in-person talks and seminars, so it is my intent with this book to bring many of those questions together in an easily accessible format.  "Questions Along the Way" is available on Amazon, both in digital and print versions, as well as on the Quantum Shaman website.

I hope you will give the book a try, and as always - look me up on Facebook if you would like to follow my ongoing endeavors.  I do plan a second installment of "Questions Along the Way," most likely to be released in 2017. Also, I have another book in the works in the Quantum Shaman series entitled (tentatively) "A Love Affair With the Unknown: True Tales of Otherworldly Encounters," which will be released in January or February of 2016.

As always, thanks for your interest in my work.  May your path be filled with wonder, imagination and freedom.

Many blessings,
Della Van Hise

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bring Your Own Marshmallows

I've decided what I'm going to do for Halloween this year. A bonfire. A big one. I have a free-standing barbeque pit in my back yard - perfect for constructing wood-burning fires, and big enough to accommodate all the copies of my fiction books currently on hand. I estimate there are probably about a hundred books, so it should make for a full evening of roasting weenies and toasting marshmallows and saying goodbye to what I once (foolishly) thought might be my "writing career." Gotta laugh. In reality, of course, one cannot call writing a career, but only an obsolete hobby - at least that is how it has begun to appear in today's "market."

Market.  What market?

I have been doing the fiction writing thaaang for over 35 years, and other than KILLING TIME and a few short stories, I'm sorry to say I have not been especially successful. If I listen to my fans and critics, it's not because I'm not good enough. It's not even because I haven't been especially prolific in the past 10 years (hard to be a full time writer when one actually has to work for a living). It's largely (but not entirely) because the "market" has become glutted with garbage (and most of it actually IS garbage) so that anything with any substance 1) can't be found; and 2) if it IS found, it is generally given a wide berth because the reader has been burned far too many times by all the previous garbage; and 3) even if the book is found and the reader decides to give it a look-inside, chances are high that some clique of trolls has posted so many negative reviews that the reader ends up tucking her tail 'twixt her legs and fleeing in terror. Who can blame her? Certainly not I.

My SO, Wendy Rathbone - who is a seasoned, published professional writer and highly-awarded poet - recently attended a "writer's retreat" in San Diego, which was geared specifically toward the kind of fiction she writes (male/male romance). Aside from the fact that the convention itself was organized in a very peculiar manner (no dealer's room, no place to actually SELL one's books even though readers were there allegedly wanting to BUY books), Wendy had an author signing on Thursday morning (worst possible time, since people are still arriving or won't even show up until the weekend) Not sure whose bright idea that was, but it basically sucks. But no matter...  

After much chaos and fuss to get everything in order, Wendy managed to sell precisely no books whatsoever, even though she had over a dozen titles on her author table, including two brand new ones which just became available this month. She received multiple compliments on the covers, but ultimately it was all for naught. I had originally been scheduled to attend, but as the time approached when I should have been getting in the car, my own "little voices" gave a shrug of screaming indifference and strongly suggested that I stay home with the new puppy and enjoy the rare desert rain. So, as it turned out, my own books weren't even put out (which is no one's fault but my own), but at this point I have no doubt that my sales would have been nada-times-nada as well. As Mr. Spock was fond of saying - "If I drop a hammer on a planet with positive gravity, I don't need to see it fall to know that it has, indeed, fallen."

Lotta truth to that.

Also a lot to be learned from the science of logic. It's one thing to have hope. It's another thing altogether to have false hope. And to be brutally honest with myself - if I haven't made a real dent as a writer in 35 years, logic dictates that I probably ain't gonna. So... no worries, no regrets. Just simply time to put my energy toward something else. Sure - who knows? - maybe I'll start a  new book next week, but right now, I can see no reason to keep writing book after book... only to watch them languish in total obscurity. 

Wendy's words upon returning home from the convention were, "But I had a good time."  Hmmm. The same words spoken by beauty contest runners-up and people who get thrown off the island. That's the difference between Wendy and myself. She's the positive one always finding that golden ray of sunshine and looking to the future, whereas I tend to be the darkling who can predict the future based on the past  - and I must say that the future of writing doesn't look the least bit promising. Wendy is already planning her next novel. And I'm preparing for a bonfire.

Bring your own marshmallows.  (And your own books, if you feel so inclined.)

Being a fickle bitch prone to occasional fits of drama, I reserve the right to change my mind. But right now... I've got a book of matches burning a hole in my pocket.  Bon appetit.

Just a few of the titles that will be smokin' this Halloween!  Get 'em while they're hot!