Current/Upcoming Projects – Spring 2020

Hey all, around this time last year I did a post talking about upcoming projects and then never really put out an update. Well, consider this that update! Below are the projects I’m currently working on and a few that are coming out very soon.

A Man of the Mountain

This story has been in the works for almost three years now. I actually wrote the first draft back before Aberrant Literature had even agreed to publish Whiteout. It’s a prequel to Whiteout, and tells the story of Jonas, a man hell bent on maintaining the Bigfoot Legend, and Shirley, the tabloid reporter who sets out to stop him. It’s releasing in three formats, audio drama, paperback, and kindle. The audio drama is releasing episodically on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and just about everywhere else, with the final episode set to release March 3rd, the same day as the paperback. Check out the first episode below:

If you want to pre-order the kindle edition, paperbackl or purchase the full audiobook, you can do so on Amazon.

Downpour

I am currently knee deep in a round of edits from Jason Peters at Aberrant Literature, but we are getting into the final stages of this book! If you don’t know, Downpour is the sequel to Whiteout and sees Nick pitted against some fresh foes in the South American jungle. I don’t have any word on an official release date, but I can say with confidence that it’s coming out this year. Want a sneak peak? Here’s the prologue!

Cryptids Decrypted

A lot of my time right now is also going to producing a surprisingly popular podcast, Cryptids Decrypted. It’s a show where my friends and I break down myths about creatures on the fringe of reality, and I interview guests from the cryptozoological community. It’s a hell of a lot of fun and we’re about midway through our second season. Below is a link to our latest episode on Spotify.

Chadpocalypse

The first draft of Chadpocalypse is complete! I’m about midway through my first round of edits on it, but it’s on the back burner until I complete Downpour. Chadpocalypse is all about Chad, the one lowly bro who knows the apocalypse is coming and is tasked with stopping it. It’s inspired by 80s metal, Constantine, and a host of other weird shit. If you want to read my chapters in progress, I’ve posted most of them to ABCTales where they’ve received some acclaim. I can’t wait to get this one out to the public, but honestly, no idea how that’s going to look or when it’s going to happen. I’ll keep you updated as I know more.

A Woman of the Swamp

Ok, last project and this one is still in incubation. I’ve written a full outline and it’s an exciting story, but I haven’t even put the first chapter to paper yet. Theoretically this will come out some time after Downpour and will serve as an interlude between it and the final book in the Nick Ventner trilogy, Maelstrom. It centers around an amateur necromancer in the bayou who turns evil after failing to raise her husband from the dead, and of course, the monster hunting crew that’s called to stop her.

Downpour – Prologue

Hello! This is the prologue for Downpour, the upcoming sequel to my first novel, Whiteout. If you haven’t read Whiteout, STOP HERE, because there are spoilers ahead. Go pick yourself up a copy on Amazon, and then come back and check this out 🙂

Downpour is scheduled to be published in 2020 by Aberrant Literature, and is going to be one hell of an adventure.

Downpour

By, Ashton Macaulay

“Of course, you want to hear about South America. Land of the Dead, nothing but bones, angry corpses and a lack of proper booze…” Nick took a gulp from the beer in front of him and sighed in relief. The Haven may have been grungy, but they had strong beer and stronger cocktails. Nick took a long look at the woman sitting opposite him. Why would she want to know about the Land of the Dead?

A lanky man leaned on the bar for support and turned to Nick. “This time you’ve gone too far…” He let out a belch that could have shattered glass and slumped away to the dimmest corner booth he could find. Most tables at least had flickering lights above them, but everyone knew that the booth farthest from the jukebox did not. It was where people went to sleep off whatever it was Jimmy had served them. Slumping onto the worn vinyl bench, the lanky man snored softly, clutching a half-drunk glass of questionable brown liquid to his chest.

“Well, it doesn’t really matter if you believe me, Marcus,” Nick called out. “Wasn’t talking to you anyway.” Marcus didn’t even twitch. Nick turned his attention back to his date, remembering that he was not at The Haven to debate Marcus and the other drunks hiding in the shadows. “Sorry about that.” He made a dismissive gesture in Marcus’s direction.

She sipped a gin and tonic, staring at him intently. “Happen often?” A sly grin spread across her face as she set the drink down.

“More often than I’d like.” There was something familiar in her eyes, but Nick couldn’t quite place it. God I hope I haven’t been on this date before. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Why oh why did I take her to Jimmy’s? The answer was simple. He had never intended to spend the entire night at Jimmy’s. Nick had put on the best clothes he owned; a faded suit jacket, slacks that barely fit, and a pair of shoes he had stolen off a corpse. He had then wracked his brain for the names of the fanciest bars he knew, realized he could afford none of them for very long, and decided to do the bulk of the night’s drinking at The Haven.

“Now, where was I?” asked Nick, trying to assuage the urge to tell Marcus off again.

“You were about to spout some lies about how you’ve been to the Land of the Dead,” said his date, her eyes shining with the tiniest hint of menace in the dim bar light.

Nick looked to Marcus who was snoring louder than ever and groaned as he noticed a barrel of a man pushing through the western-style double doors that concealed the bathrooms. Albert sported a long, unkempt beard, overalls, and a larger-than-necessary crossbow that always seemed to be strapped to his back. It said something about one’s mental state when they needed to take medieval weaponry to the toilet. Then again, monster hunters were a paranoid bunch. The man pulled at his overalls. “Why don’t you save us all a few hours and skip to whatever ending you’ve concocted this time.”

Nick flushed. He had told many lies at The Haven, that was for sure, but lately real life had been too interesting to embellish. “They’re not lies,” he said with a sigh. “When have I ever lied to you, Albert?” He immediately regretted asking.

Albert’s eyes glazed over, the wheels of his mind spinning. “I think it was,” he paused, scooping up an empty glass from a table and trying to drink it. Dismayed that it was indeed empty, he set it back down and scratched his chin. For a good minute, he sat there, staring at the ceiling, muttering to himself. Eventually, he returned from his great reverie and declared: “Yesterday. Yesterday you were trying to fill us with some cock and bull story about a man who fancied himself Bigfoot and murdered some folks in Clearwater.”

“That one was on the news, Albert!” Nick was growing exasperated. He looked to his companion for confirmation.

A flicker of recognition crossed her face, like she was about to say something, but she picked up her phone instead. Nick couldn’t be sure, but he suspected she was googling the incident.

“Oh sure, Local Eye, hell of a paper that is. Good thing too, I was worried Elvis actually was dead for a while there.” Albert let out a hearty laugh and zigzagged through the mess of tables toward the bar. “But that’s none of my business. She’ll see through you soon enough anyway.”

Nick cursed the day that Albert had wandered out of his mudhole and into the city. “Usually,” started Nick, trying to regain the flow of conversation. “Usually, it’s not this bad.”

“So, the great Dr. Ventner is a tale spinner, eh?” The woman finished her drink.

Never said I was a doctor. Nick didn’t bother to correct her and finished his own glass, motioning to the bar for another. “Mostly, yes,” he admitted. “But sometimes, just sometimes, I’ve got a tale or two that are true, and this is one of them. If you’re not satisfied by the end, the door is there.” This was a desperate play and Nick knew it. Tonight was the first date he had been on in years and surely he had given her the excuse she needed to leave.

A sleepy bartender shuffled over and plopped a glass down. It fizzled and popped with acidity. He placed another gin and tonic next to Nick’s companion. “Compliments of Mr. Albert over there,” said Jimmy, and then walked back to the bar to polish dirty glasses and watch his TV.

“You have this much time to impress me,” said the woman, motioning to the height of the glass. There was a joking manner to it, but Nick could not help but feel there was also a little bit of truth.

“Right, well, no time like the present.” Nick took a drink of the fizzy, popping mixture and felt an instant rush of confidence. The words spilled from his mouth like a river. “Well, it all started when I took what some would consider to be a rather ill-advised trip into the Amazon…”

Mokole-Mbembe – A History of the Mystery

Mokole Mbembe – The One Who Stops the Flow of Rivers

The Congo River at sunset, Democratic Republic of the Congo“The Congo River at sunset, Democratic Republic of the Congo” by water.alternatives is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

This week on Cryptids Decrypted, John and I are talking about a fascinating myth from the Congo River Basin, Mokole Mbembe (pronounced M’Kay-lay Bem-bay, we think). This beautiful beast of legend is a modern-day sauropod that hates rhinos, allegedly scared all the hippos out of the region, and despite being a vegetarian, has a killing streak. Mokele Mbembe’s myth comes from the early 1900s when discovery and display of dinosaur bones was at a fever pitch. At the time, many people still believed Africa to be a ‘dark continent, because that’s how Europeans viewed a lot of things they hadn’t mapped yet. Taking the natural combination of an unexplored land and the public fascination with giant lizards of a bygone era, Carl Hagenbeck cashed in.

That’s right, this guy…

By this point, Hagenbeck was already famous for displaying large wild animals at zoos across Europe, so dabbling in myths was the next logical step. In his book, Beasts and Men, he discussed sightings from the Congo region of a large, dragon-like creature. Unsurprisingly, these tenuous eye-witness reports fueled public speculation, and before long, the cryptozoology community believed there were living dinosaurs hiding in the jungles of Africa.

Over a century later is where we, the crack team of Cryptids Decrypted, come in to discuss whether there’s any truth to this myth. Sure, we might get a little off topic and call on Rob Lowe to come on our podcast from time-to-time, but what else are you going to listen to on your commute? Please don’t say other, better podcasts…

The episode is live now on most streaming platforms, links can be found below. Remember, if you enjoy, share it with your friends and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts (it’s the only network with ratings).

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mokele-mbembe-a-history-of-the-mystery/id1473505510?i=1000465266218

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1UXTTfr33lsS8ICNfMQ6FQ

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cryptids-decrypted

All other platforms can be found on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/cryptids-decrypted

We got interviewed on Word Play!

Word Play with Kristine Raymond

Earlier this month, a few of the many writers behind Aberrant Literature were interviewed on Word Play with Kristine Raymond. She’s a fantastic interviewer, and I’m really pleased with how our episodes came out. If you’re curious what goes into making a book, how indie publishing gets done, or just need more info on the infamous yeti beach scene Jason cut from Whiteout, it’s all in there. We also made the top 10 last week, so throw that up on our awards shelf!

Below are links to our interviews:

Me: https://www.wordplaypodcast.com/2020/02/episode-135-guest-ashton-macauley.html

Jason Peters (Aberrant Founder, Editor, Hat-Wearer): https://www.wordplaypodcast.com/2020/02/episode-136-guest-jason-peters.html

M.T. Roberts (Upcoming Aberrant Author and All-Around Cool Dude): https://www.wordplaypodcast.com/2020/01/episode-131-guest-mt-roberts.html

In addition, I’m doing  a special promotion for the release of Man of the Mountain early next month. If you want a signed copy of my newest work, please send me an e-mail at AshtonDMacaulay@gmail.com. Price is $15 (which includes shipping/tax). I’ll send you a signed copy with a guaranteed saucy message. If you want your copy by release (3/2/20), be sure to e-mail me this week! Own your piece of Aberrant Literature  history today.

Meantime, you can also listen to the episodic audio drama reading of Man of the Mountain for free on all streaming platforms. You can either search “Man of the Mountain Ashton Macaulay” or find your platform on Anchor.fm/Man-Of-The-Mountain

Review in Brief – Thrawn: Treason (Book 3)

Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Thrawn series might have stumbled with its second book, but #3 fixes most of those mistakes and makes for an exciting entry. Eli Vanto is back and Anakin/Vader is relegated to mere mentions, which is a blessing, because I’m not sure I could read more of that storyline. While direct interaction between Vanto and Thrawn is minimal, it’s great to see the team back together again. The interactions between characters feel believable and enjoyable, driving what might have otherwise been a dull story.

Much like the prequel films, Thrawn 3 revolves around politics, but unlike the former, it’s actually interesting. Examining The Empire from the perspective of those that are not necessarily faithful to The Emperor’s zealous vision for the galaxy is refreshing. It creates a wide diversity among the characters and makes each chapter exciting, even when much of the conflict is simply political machinations.

I’ll be honest, these books are not literary masterpieces, but they are fun and provide some interesting new Star Wars stories that make me want to keep reading. If you’re a Star Wars fan and/or love the Heir to the Empire trilogy, this one is worth a read. I also highly recommend the audiobook which has excellent voice acting, SFX and soundtrack.

View all my reviews