Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Internet Toxicity




I was afraid this would happen. To my dismay, it appears I have developed a case of Internet Toxicity. I know I'm naturally vulnerable to it, and I try to avoid it, but it seems this recent elections and the effects i has had on some people have made it unavoidable.

It's no coincidence that I wrote my first novel when the cable company dropped the ball and left me without internet for six weeks. Not wasting hours in constant web surfing certainly helped, but that wasn't the whole story. After a week or two without the non-stop drama of Facebook, forum arguments, and political discussions occupying my thoughts, my focus changed and made it easier for me to concentrate on other things. My creativity improved dramatically. My mind (especially when I was in "idle mode" while driving or doing other automatic tasks) now spent it's time musing on story concepts and situations as opposed to politics or other internet driven drama. It made being productive a whole lot more possible.

When I got my internet back, I learned I had to self limit. I needed to avoid the trap of wasting time continuously clicking that next link. It was destroying my attention span, and starting to eat up that "idle mode" I had started using for plot and character development purposes. So, after some experimentation, I found a happy medium that allowed me my internet fix without undue damage to my creativity and attention span.

Unfortunately, I have recently been forced to confront the fact that recent events, and the reactions to those events, have undone the balance I strove for. Despite efforts to avoid it, I have been poisoned by the current state of the internet, and I need to focus on recovery.

So that only leaves one solution.

I will have to drastically cut back on my internet usage, especially at Facebook (I will likely budget fifteen minutes at the end of the day for that so my friends don't think I hate them), and will have to confine my online activities to research and business. Also, I will especially need to curtail the amount of time I spend online in general. Time spent clicking that unending chain of links can be better used reading the works of other authors, or maybe even spent outdoors. Things that will help the old brain get used to focusing on things for longer than a few minutes at a time again. And things that will help me mentally detoxify.

I'm going to hate this, but my previous experience with kicking a twenty-year smoking habit means I know an addiction when I see one...and that means it needs to be done.

Time to go read a book.

Then maybe I can start writing one.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Crazy Nate's Big Giveaway!



Well, maybe not so much “crazy” as “intellectually sketchy”, but we won’t go there. The important thing is that it felt like a good time to have one of those free ebook thingies that authors do from time to time. Therefore I decided I would make all of my ebooks on Amazon free, but not all at the same time. Gotta mix it up a little.  Can’t make it too simple, right?
So below is the list of dates each ebook will be free…

The Ways of Khrem Jan 16-20
Nightwalk Jan 23-25
Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen Jan 25-27
Spiderstalk Jan 30 – Feb 1
Shades Feb 1-3
Dead Stop Feb 6-8
Nightwalk 2 Feb 8-10

I hope all of you enjoy them and read them in good health. Have a Happy 2017!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Nightwalk 2 is here!



Mark Garrett is about to go home again...

Two years have passed since the disaster at Coventry Woods, and Mark has made a good effort at recovering from the ordeal. He has published a new novel, replaced his lost belongings, and bought a new house in New Mexico. Life is finally moving on. He's hidden the few scars that remain, and with Casey having left for college he looks forward to a comfortable future with his wife.

But the past is not done with Mark Garrett.

The enigmatic man in white has returned and announced the world is doomed. Another survivor of Coventry Woods has sealed it's fate. The future's only hope is for Mark to go back to that terrible night and once again navigate his way through a death infested hell. Only this time he won't be trying to escape. His mission is to intercept and kill a man he's never met.

Now the clock is ticking as Mark races against a nuclear deadline. He must save the future, while at the same time trying to minimize his impact on a past that will not hesitate to eat him alive. And as he soon discovers, any change he makes can cause unexpected complications...

...especially when he gets stuck with the last travelling companion he would have ever wanted.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nightwalk Movie!



Yes, this is actually happening

An indie film company is trying to make a movie based on my novel, Nightwalk. It will be called, "Coventry Woods" They have already secured a location, and will soon start casting.

Words cannot express how grateful and excited I am for this opportunity to arise.There is still a long way to go, and a lot of hurdles to be crossed for this to make it to the screen, but things are moving. At this time I can't go into it more than that.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Rough Draft Achieved




I saved the file "Nightwalk2 Rough Draft.docx" to Dropbox last night. I have a whole laundry list of fixes that need to be incorporated, and a good bit of polishing before its even ready for proofreaders, but I now have a story.

Work proceeds.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tentatively Quarter Four, 2016




So this is my current project.

That's just a placeholder cover until something better occurs.

I have never written a sequel before, but I have had sequel requests for each novel I have written. Since the world of Nightwalk was freshest in my mind, I thought I would do some writing on ideas for that while I outlined another original novel project and prepared to get serious on that.

But a funny thing happened during the outlining. The writing on the sequel started to take off and get more of my attention each day. And since I had been fighting a season long case of writer's block all autumn, instinct told me to start going with where the action was happening.

So it appears we may all be going back to Coventry Woods.

I'm still early in the project, but the proofreaders are liking what they see so far and I put a lot of stock in their opinions. I've had a late start on it, so the odds of having a rough draft by the time the kids get out of school for the summer are minimal. Then there is the fact the CMT in my hands has gotten more pronounced so I'm typing slower than ever. That's why I'm predicting a winter release this time. I prefer early autumn, but I just don't see it.

Still, I have settled on a project and getting on with it.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Things That Worry Me as a Writer



Is this project too different from my other works for the people who read me to accept?

Is this project so much like my other works that people who read me will think I’m being formulaic?

Am I wandering too far into another genre?

Would my readers accept me wandering into another genre?

Are people going to get that I’m subverting this cliché, or think I’m just writing in clichés?

Is it okay to use an honest to god cliché now and then?

Is this prose too prosey?

What kind of stupid name is that for a character?

How many two part sentences with “and” as a conjunction do I intend to use in this paragraph?

Is this paragraph too big?

Is this scary, or just stupid?

Is this funny, or just stupid?

The plural of apparatus is apparatus? That just don’t look right.

Is this chapter dragging?

This isn’t funny OR scary. Just shoot me.

If that character does that, is he still likeable enough?

Is this piece of setting to obviously symbolic?

Oh my god, what is the timeline in this book again?

Does anybody talk like that?

Am I taking too long to do this?

Why didn’t I become a plumber?

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Few Thoughts On My First Four Novels





After spending the autumn promoting Nightwalk, and dithering between different future stories, I have finally settled on a project and have started writing it. The process of choosing inevitibly led to me taking stock of what I’ve written so far. Having done that, I thought I would pass along a few thoughts and observations on my previous novels for those who care.

1.      The Ways of Khrem was my first foray into writing. It is arguable whether it counts as a true novel since it consists of three intertwining parts that each stand on their own. The publisher chose to list it as an anthology, but I was never really comfortable with that. It’s intended as one piece and only has full impact that way. It was  my one novel ever done through a publisher, and the things I learned from that helped me become an indie. It’s also my only fantasy novel. Even as a fantasy it already shows the elements that made me realize I would be more comfortable as a horror writer instead. Yet the things I learned about world building, scene crafting, and character interaction have stayed with me from that project.

2.      Dead Stop was my first true novel, and my second indie project. (Shades was my first). I had been having trouble writing Spiderstalk, and despaired over my lack of progress. I needed something finished to get the old confidence up. I decided the best thing to do would be to shelve Spiderstalk and create a novel project with a straightforward scenario and ideas so that I would have a greater chance of finishing it. So Dead Stop was created on the premise of “Write the B-movie that you always wanted to see.” It evolved into more than that as I wrote, but that premise helped me formulate the ideas, character, and structures that became Dead Stop. I wanted zombies that actually made sense, so I researched like crazy until I came up with a model I liked. I wanted the creepy Night of the Living Dead feel instead of the action movie feel so many zombie projects devolve into these days. The important thing was I knew what I wanted to write, thus never doubted the project would get finished. The characters were based on real people I had met hanging out at truck stops over the years, so it felt like I already knew them.

3.      Spiderstalk is sort of my grand opus, at least so far. It was conceived to contain a number of genre elements, but to also deal with a lot of issues and themes that resonated with me. For instance, I wear the exact same braces Adam Sellars wore in the novel, and many of his tribulations with carpets, slanted surfaces, and uneven ground are based on my own experiences. Other personal trivia about Spiderstalk include the fact that Karen Sellars childhood encounter with a corn spider is based on a childhood experience of my own. I know they are allegedly harmless but since then I’ve had many meetings with them in my nightmares. So you might say I was also trying to exorcise an old ghost writing that novel. Spiderstalk is also my first novel to take place in Cole County, where many of my short stories are set. Cole County is part of a larger universe I intend to visit again from time to time.

4.      Nightwalk came about in a similar way as Dead Stop. After Spiderstalk, I was exhausted and used the opportunity afforded to me by getting the rights back to a bunch of my short stories to take a break while I compiled Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen from them. Once I was done with that, I still didn’t feel up to tackling another Spiderstalk sized project. Instead, I went back to my plan with Dead Stop and chose to develop a project based on my confidence in being able to finish it. This time the idea was to write a Lovecraft style novel that could be enjoyed by people who had never read him. There would be clues and creatures to alert attentive fans of HP Lovecraft what kind of book it really was, yet to the average reader it would be accessible as a straightforward monster story with the characters trying to escape. Followers of Lovecraft should recognize a shoggoth, a flying polyp, ghouls, a Man of Leng, and of course, Nyarlathotep himself. There are also Cats of Saturn but since Lovecraft never described those I did my best to flesh them into something he would appreciate. The rest of the monsters were completely of my own manufacture.  Like Dead Stop, Nightwalk evolved as I wrote it and became more than its original premise.

5.      A last note… I have not written any sequels yet mainly because none of the above novels were written with sequels specifically in mind. Some are open ended to a degree, but all were intended to stand as stories of their own. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a sequel to any of them, but I have a firm rule about not writing a sequel until I have a story worthy of its predecessor. To do less would be to sell that story and its characters short.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The World Has Changed



One of the ways I try to improve myself as both a writer and a horror writer is to read the works of the greats. Poe, Lovecraft, and Machen can be found in my kindle along with King, Straub, Bradbury, and Crichton. Throw in some Raymond Chandler and Ernest Hemingway and you get an idea how my writing is influenced.

But reading all the great old horror stories has become an exercise of looking back into a different world. It was a world where humans were more alone, and operated far more as independent actors. If separated from the crowd, they were more vulnerable in many ways…although in others I fear they may have been more resourceful.

But the event that truly led from that world to this one, was the introduction of the cell phone.
And believe me when I say it was only when I started writing horror that I discovered how fundamentally the cell phone changed things. The eighties are over and almost any kid running from the killer at Camp Bloodbath can now have the cavalry on the way in short order. This means the potential victim of the 21st century comes with a link to the rest of humanity that has to be believably and reasonably accounted for in every scenario.  And it behooves the writer to be careful and not keep using the same plot devices to neutralize the device.

As a matter of fact in some scenarios it may be better to find some way to use the phone to the plots advantage. But this is not always easy without being repetitive. And as cell phones become more sophisticated it’s the writer’s job to keep up with its capabilities, for they are out there and the reader is not going to be forgiving if the writer dispatches a victim who could have easily resolved the situation with the device on his belt. Not to mention, many phones can be tracked by authorities and used to located the person, meaning many of your 20th century slasher types would be leading the cops right to their lair.

So in that way alone, if you are attempting to write a hack’n’slash novel in the style of Friday the 13th, you are going to need a more sophisticated killer if you want the results to be believable.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you are writing a monster story and your monster does not have human intelligence and understands these things the problem is even worse. In today’s world his pic could be on Facebook before he knows what happened. Which brings us to the other game changer.

The internet.

Go back and look at many of the great horror novels of the past forty years, and then imagine them with cell phones and internet. How many would be radically altered? How many would have their protagonists and victims acting in entirely different ways?

It’s a different world. And it's the writer's job to meet the challenge of writing for that world.