Back in 2017, as I was begging each and every one of you to buy my book, I was neck and neck in a Contest against Dean Fearce, author of MINE (formerly ’Murder Happens’)...and a strange thing happened:

Bromance blossomed. I decided that I liked the cut of his gib. I wanted to hang out with Dean. At the very least, I wanted to write with him.

Dean, being the fierce lone wolf he is, was diplomatically non-committal. Then I showed him the very beginnings of a story I’d been thrashing my brain against since 2010 - Ruining Boise - and an amazing thing happened:  Dean said he’d work on that book with me because he liked the premise even more than he liked his independence, or me.

Enter late 2018, both Dean and I are both nose-to-the-grindstone working to bang out final versions of our respective, contest-winning books:  Mine was formerly ’The Vampire and the Dragon’, now titled ’PrOOF’ - the very book you pre-ordered, and his aforementioned MINE.  Inkshares decides to hold their first contest in over a year - the 2018 Inkshares Mystery & Thriller Contest.  Since Ruining Boise is a crime/mystery/suspense tale, I looked at Dean (me seated in Western NY, he seated in Northern CA) and said, "Should we?"  Famous last words, perhaps?

I don’t expect anyone on this email to buy a copy of Ruining Boise - even though it is technically funding. I feel I’ve already asked for far too much with PrOOF, and won’t ask for any more of your hard-earned money. If you love the concept of the book and want to pre-order one, I cannot and will not stop you, but make no mistake; this email is not asking you to buy anything. All I’m asking is that you utilize your Inkshares account to follow the book - the link is peppered throughout this email, but here it is one more time:  RUINING BOISE

Dean and I love the premise of this book and feel that it’s fair to test if there’s a market for it. We don’t have very high expectations. Above all, both of us remain humbled and grateful for all the support you’ve shown us over the past year plus. We hope the looming holiday season and 2019 will be a boon and blessing to you all!

Thanks - Michael James Welch

Supporters...you wonderful, handsome/beautiful supporters, you...

If you head to this link:

you will be able to read the entire (abandoned) first draft of the novel. Since I am re-writing the novel with a new plot from the ground up, I figured it would be safe to have you all able to read what got us this far. Forgive any formatting weirdness - it’s all part and parcel of copy/pasting it onto the Inkshares site.

Stephen still exists, and he will interact with a dragon. Jones and O’Bannon will still be the agents representing PrOOF. But Stephen’s journey will differ wildly from what was originally written.

It’s my hope that you enjoy reading what might’ve been - and take joy and knowing that what does finally get published (as PrOOF: Preservation of Occult Figures) will be head and shoulders above this work.


Michael James Welch

The biggest update on this book/series that you’ll ever read.

My development email finally came (from my development editor @ Inkshares), and they like the character of the vampire, and they like the world-building. Most of all, they like the idea of a ‘Men In Black for the supernatural instead of aliens’ concept. Or, at the very least, want that concept expanded.

I’ve been anticipating this day for close to a year now. I knew it was going to bring changes, require me to kill darlings, etc etc etc.  Within 30 minutes of reading the email, I already knew which direction I needed to head with this story. Within 18 hours, the development editor @ Inkshares was in agreement that my planned changes were the direction they’d hoped for.

SO. Here are the changes: 

1.)    The Vampire and the Dragon will be going by a different name. Originally, this is one of the things I was willing to fight about until the end, but with the changes that are being made, it no longer makes any sense. PrOOF, the agency (Preservation of Occult Figures), is moving front and center. The title will likely be PrOOF: something something.  Possibly just PrOOF.  Possibly the whole thing spelled out. Unsure.

2.)    It’s possible that this will still be a series rather than a standalone book. Nothing is promised, but it’s in everyone’s best interest if the story and characters and concept are strong enough to warrant a series. Again, see MiB…they made…what, 4 of those films?

3.)    Everything good about The Vampire and the Dragon and none of the bad is staying. Trust me when I say that doing this the way I plan to do it removes every single thing I hated about my original plot (but had painted myself into a corner and forced myself to live with) and retains almost exactly everything I liked about my plot; if not exactly, then in spirit. But more likely, exactly.

4.)    Many of you did not follow the sequels I had planned – The Vampire and the Wendigo and The Vampire and the Djinn. That’s fine now, as those two books (and their plots/concepts) are going to be folded into The Vampire and the Dragon’s plot. They all dovetail rather nicely.

Soon you’ll see changes to my marketing materials – the FB page, the Inkshares pages, etc…to reflect the direction that the book/series is heading. Everything will have the name ‘PrOOF’ front and center.

I have to say that my initial dismay only lasting about 20 minutes before I was defending the very changes the dev editor was suggesting is about as good as it gets. I feel badly for my fellow authors who were not able to twist their own stories, characters and plots to meet the suggested changes that their own dev editors gave to them, and I sympathize for the positions they were in. I feel very grateful that what’s been suggested to me does not violate the spirit of the story I wanted to tell, but instead raises it from a small tale to a very, very large tale, with much higher stakes.

Thank you all for sticking with me through this – I know it’s been a minute or two since you plunked down your hard-earned money to help support my dream. I don’t take any of that for granted for even a moment. I’m still hoping for a late 2019 publishing date, but there’s a LOT of things that have to be done between now and then – including a complete re-write of the entire book. Stick with me, folks, and I promise you I’ll write the best story I’m capable of writing. And you’ll be holding the PrOOF in your own hands when I’m through.


Michael James Welch

It’s official. 

Last night, I emailed Inkshares the manuscript for PrOOF Vol. 1: The Vampire and the Dragon...along with a copy of (hopefully) the cover art, my intended author bio pic, my dedication/thank yous, and lots of other stuff related to the book (marketing stuff). 

I am free, for the first time since 2013. Until Inkshares replies, and then the REAL work starts on this book.

Thank you all for your support! The rubber is about to meet the road in a big way!

Michael James Welch

Work continues on The Vampire and the Dragon, PrOOF Vol. 1.  In order to solidify the trilogy, I’ve skipped ahead to some key points in books 2 and 3.  This will ensure that no ’ret-conning’ becomes necessary if books 2 and 3 should be published as well, which is my hope.

Here’s a taste of what’s going on in PrOOF Vol 3 - The Vampire and the Djinn:


Josh Josh M. Parker · Author · added 7 months ago
Solid start thus far. I’m guessing this scene is our framing device, and that most of the story will come from him talking to the recorder. I’d like to read more of this for sure.

If there’s one change I’d make, I feel like the line "for starters, I’d be dead" reads a bit awkward. Maybe consider "Aside from being dead, the bullet would’ve obliterated the affected vertebrae as well as taking my heart, most of my lungs and probably my entire diaphragm along for the ride out of my torso."

That said, I’ll be looking forward to you posting more on this, I’d love to keep reading about Stephen.
Nik flannel Nicolina Torres · Author · added 7 months ago

Well, most of my peers are updating their readers, and I’m terrible when it comes to peer pressure, so...

The Vampire and the Dragon continues. Act 3 is complete.  Act 2 is being revised slightly, and Act 1 simply needs a ’finish’ to be completed.  Once the whole manuscript is done, I’ll be sending it off to Inkshares for them to brutally tear it apart.  ; )

When will that be, you ask?   The easiest answer is - I don’t know. I’ve been trying to write daily, but real life and day jobs have prevented much from happening for the latter half of January and the first half of Feb.  

Happy Valentines Day, by the way.  You know you’re the only one for me.

Long story short, there’s almost no chance of TVatD showing up in 2018. Early 2019 is a much more realistic goal.  This is partially due to me and my inability to press my nose to a grindstone, but is mostly affected by the rampant success of Inkshares as a publisher and media platform; there are simply a LOT of books in the queue ahead of me, regardless of when I submit the manuscript.

Things that might change:   While I will almost certainly fight against most of the following, bear in mind that Inkshares has a huge vested interest in the success of this book, and as such, will exercise some creative controls. So, the title might change, the protagonist might become a woman instead of Stephen (because if him having a penis isn’t central to the plot, then all bets are off), it might have the swearing removed and become a Young Adult title (that’ll probably end up a hard ’no’ from me), or they might tell me that I have to make it a LOT scarier/gorier/suspenseful.  I’m open minded enough to know that I’m not Stephen King/Cormac McCarthy and therefore will very carefully choose the  hill upon which I die.  But I have decent justifications for pretty much everything I’ve done and why I’ve done it, so....we’ll see.

But the point of this long and rambling update is to let you know that I didn’t take your $ and run. TVatD *will* be in your finely manicured hands (omg, I LOVE your nails) at some point during our lifetimes, and that, as always, you guys make my world go ’round. Without you, I am not a published author.

To quote Hall & Oates - you make my dreams come true.

Also, interestingly enough, your kiss *is* on my list of the best things in life.  But I wasn’t going to mention that.

The Vampire and the Dragon (PrOOF Vol. 1) manuscript continues to be added to and refined; the story honed to a sharper edge. Here’s a new excerpt from Act 3. Very much in the home stretch now!
I was dumped unceremoniously on the floor of the kitchen, close to the door that led out onto the rear deck of the house. [spoiler] swore as he rifled through drawers, slamming them each shut before moving on to the next. Finally he found what he was looking for with a satisfied ‘ah ha!’, then flipped me onto my back from the fetal position I’d been left in.
I could tell from my head’s movement that [spoiler] was tugging on something. I saw one of my boots sail across my vision, followed after another few moments by its counterpart. Another brief moment of tugging, and then [spoiler] was straddling my chest. He balled up one of my socks and said, “Open wide!”
I mutely refused.
[spoiler] reached behind himself, then produced a pair of orange-handled scissors. He displayed it to me, then said simply, “Open up or this goes in your eye.”
We stared at each other a moment. I considered that since I was to die in agony anyway, what was the harm in losing my vision now? At least I could scream for help. When I realized my choices were to be rescued but blinded or to keep my vision and die, I aimed my last words carefully and coldly at [spoiler].
“You’d better fucking hope that you kill me, you little bastard. And you’d better hope there’s no such thing as ghosts–“
[spoiler] rolled his eyes and shoved the balled up sock into my mouth as I formed the ‘O’ sound. He shook his head and laughed a small, pitying laugh, then worked my other sock around my head, tying it off painfully tight at the base of my skull. He stood up, admired his work for a moment, then stepped over me toward the door.
He collected the collars of my shirt and jacket and dragged me one-handed out into the grass of the backyard. Cold dew soaked into my hair. The sky above remained dark, but my growing headache told me that the horizon had already started bulging with light. My anger was mutating to terror; a shudder that would’ve normally run up my spine instead started at the back of my neck and dissolved into millions of points of cold on my scalp.
More tugs. I saw [spoiler] working on something in my lower body, but couldn’t see. Once he turned me over on my side, I realized that he was using the scissors to cut all of the clothes from my body. My view fell upon the tall, wooden backyard fence. It had to be at least nine feet with no gaps to see through. There was little chance anyone would see me here, and they certainly wouldn’t hear me. I wondered if they’d smell my flesh as it broke down its constituent atoms, liquefying into a putrescent puddle impossible to identify as ever having been human.
As if in answer to this, [spoiler] carried a small metal fire pit over to my left, about five feet from where I lay. He disappeared, then reappeared with logs of wood, which he stacked carefully in the fire pit, then covered with my tattered clothing. He piled more logs next to the metal legs of the pit, then plopped down a white plastic bottle of lighter fluid. He looked into my eyes to ensure I could see his smile, then removed his hand from the bottle and was gone from my vision.
I closed my eyes and willed myself free; willed my worthless hands and legs to move again, to rip apart this stupid tape and set my curled fingers upon his throat. I envisioned myself pulling the esophagus clear from his bloody neck and tossing it over my shoulder like a useless plastic toy.
My arms and legs ignored my commands.
I screamed into my gag with all of my strength. I heard [spoiler’s] distant laugh once my ragged voice subsided.
The first rays of the sun found me, then, and despite there being no feeling in my extremities, I discovered that the nerves to every cell in my body still worked to transmit pain.
I screamed again, then; an unending scream that spiraled inside my chest like a saw blade set free.

There’s a facebook page for the book! The link is:


Michael James Welch

Fun Fact:   If Susan K. Hamilton had entered The Devil You Don’t in the 2017 Inkshares Horror Contest instead of the 2017 Launchpad Contest, she would’ve won.

Less fun fact:   The Devil You Don’t is still roughly 40 pre-orders away from hitting the Quill publishing milestone.  

We have until 12/31/17 to make this happen!  If you supported The Vampire and the Dragon, please consider supporting Susan’s book - she’s been incredibly supportive of me.


Michael James Welch

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