Saturday, April 5, 2014

New! Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen is Out!


Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen is out!

These collection of thirteen tales spans the breadth of my writing career to date. It contains the very first short story I ever wrote (Designated Driver) and the very latest (That Last, Lone Kiss Goodbye). It is a diverse collection featuring drag racing spirits, stalkers with unearthly tenacity, a cat with an unwanted streak of responsibility, and even a story that both inspired and later evolved to become the prologue to my novel Spiderstalk.

There is also a story that I submitted and got accepted into a mystery collection, and another written for an anthology dedicated to revenge. These are two of the three stories where the evil is not supernatural, but found in the hearts of men. And there are a couple of others where Mother Nature comes up with a surprise or two and gets her licks in as well.

It's a diverse collection...with a little something for everybody. I hope everyone out there enjoys it, and I would love hearing peoples opinions on it.

Thank you very much!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's Been Going On....




I haven't updated in a while, and the reason is I seem to be stuck in this infinite spiral of going through the last stages of getting this anthology published. I finished the paperback version and sent a .pdf off to Createspace. I got the proof back a few days later and discovered there were problems.

Bleh.

Oh well, it's not like THAT never happened before, so I prepared myself for the tortuous process of proofing, remargining, and making other fixes before sending off another .pdf to Createspace. Unfortunately, this time I suffered a random bout of frugality and didn't order the expedited shipping for the proof. I figured why not save some money and let it arrive a day or two later.

Hahahahahaaaa! As IF!!!!

I ordered the thing last week and this week is almost over. From now on, it's expedited shipping for me! Live and learn....the motto of the indie writer. But I should get it today or tomorrow (hopefully) and then I'll know whether I can hit that "publish" button or if another proof is called for. Wish me luck.

And I really want to get this book out for another reason than you might think as well. Unfortunately, due to what I call my slightly Aspergerish nature, I can't really work on one project until another is either done, or shelved. Even if it's in the state of limbo that Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen is currently in. I have to finish the entire thing and get it out before my mind will switch gears and allow me to seriously work on another story. I am the world's worst multitasker. I can't even effectively do something else while I'm  waiting on news for my current project.

I bet Stephen King never has that problem.

Speaking of whom...I've been reading some of Stephen Kings works lately. Mainly his older stuff (Christine and Salem's Lot) but I also read Dr. Sleep and an anthology of his newer stories as well (Everything is Eventual). I've got to say, I really admire him as a writer. His early stuff was awesome. He went into a bit of a tailspin after It for a while, but it really seems he's getting his mojo back.

It's odd, I don't think he was near the influence on me writing-style wise as Hemingway and Bradbury, but it was his works that showed me you could take a serious writing approach to horror. It doesn't have to be just schlock. I do a lot of things style-wise that would probably make him cringe, but there is no doubt that he was a major influence on my work content wise. Him and Crichton. (I've always liked how Crichton made sure the internal logic of his story was tight, even when at first you were wondering what was going on)

Anyway, I think I might look into buying It soon. It's been over twenty years since I read that.

Now if the mail would just arrive....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Work Proceeds...Albeit Slowly



Work on my next anthology has been proceeding at a snail-like but steady pace. I have just about put the finishing touches on the ebook and I'm about to turn my attention to the paperback version. The formatting for kindle went surprisingly well and I didn't have to redo it a bunch this time, but the paperback version is still always a pain. Got to mess with headers, footers, page numbers, and make the papersize work before making the .pdf. Blech!

I have also been working on artwork and come up with a second cover candidate, pictured above.

While I like the old-timey look of the other cover candidate, I'm not really sure it captures the mood of a horror anthology as well as this one does. There is also the matter of this cover fitting in with the rest of my books covers better. I might need to move the background picture up a tad though. So there are decisions to be made on this front as well.

Next week is Spring Break for the kiddos, so you can imagine what that is going to do to my production. I'm lucky to string a sentence together with those two little hooligans swinging from the rafters. But I knew this was coming, and I think I'm still on schedule to have this out before the end of March. 

We shall see.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yet Another New Year Is Upon Us




And it's 2014.

I wasn't really ready for this New Year. I guess I either wasn't through with 2013 yet, or just wasn't ready to make that big leap into a whole new year full of expectations and plans. No matter. 2014 started without me so now I guess I'm catching up.

The month of January was spent pretty much spinning my wheels, but now things are beginning to inch forward. I finally got the cast off my foot, and I have even had molds made for new braces. So things are looking up in the foot department. I've also got most of my edits to my upcoming anthology back from my proofreaders, so I can start moving forward on that as well. I'm even starting to think in terms of backyard projects for this spring. That don't mean I'll actually go outside and do any of them, but at least I'm thinking of them :P

It still feels like it should be 2013 though. This year just doesn't feel "new" yet. Maybe it will kick in during February.

Anyway, Happy New Year....even if it was thirty days ago and still doesn't feel like it's gotten here yet.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Humble Suggestion From A Horror Writer



Being a horror writer, I like to think I know a thing or two about the stuff of nightmares. It’s a conceit of mine that I believe that I have learned some things about the things that evoke terror and revulsion in my fellow man…and if I’m not truly an expert on such matters then at least I have a fair working ability to spot the truly horrific when I see it.

Which brings me to the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the primal dreads to be found in Western Civilization is the fear of damnation. While some hold a fiery view of that concept, the reality is that both history and Dante provided us with a much wider variety of fates to choose from. The ancient Greeks gave us Tartarus, where Sisyphus forever rolled his stone and Tantalus suffered from thirst  and hunger while standing in a pool under a fruit tree. And it’s in that vein of prolonged despair that fans of the Dallas Cowboys have found their home.

They can’t win a playoff game. Hell, they haven’t even been making it to the playoffs lately. They can’t crater…because that would at least create the chance that some much necessary soul-searching and self-scouting would be done. Instead they are consigned to this spirit crushing torment of unending mediocrity, forever wondering if the next season will be any different, only to find out it won’t. It’s a hellish absence of hope that any horror writer would love to capture and inspire in his situations.

And after careful study of this phenomenon, I can put my finger on the precise cause of this unchanging delimna.

It’s their Leader.

Every team has a Leader. I don’t mean a leader with a small “L”, because there are several of those in any team. I mean the Leader. Every team has one. And over time, every team starts to take on the characteristics of that Leader. Lombardi’s Packers were champions who had the heart of football and the right stuff to win, Landry’s old Cowboys were efficient with a ruthless focus on execution, and Chuck Noll’s hard-nosed Steelers dominated the seventies. These teams had Leaders walking the sideline, and that is who they looked to for their identity.

The problem with Dallas is that their Leader does not walk the sidelines. This fact is so widely accepted that journalists report things that Jerry says, while often ignoring the daily press meetings with the coach. The problem is that this Leader sits up in a climate controlled owners box and makes business decisions, and over time this is the personality that the team has absorbed. Jerry is a talented businessman and promoter, and you are constantly hearing about how “talented” the Cowboys are. 

 But it’s hard to have a team that rises to face adversity and harsh conditions when their Leader sits in remote comfort. And it’s hard to be inspired and follow a coach who is not the Leader. You do not look to him for direction…merely to see what play he will call next. His inspirational speeches are ultimately just noise.
So bearing all this in mind, I would like to offer the following solution to the team’s never-ending doldrums…

Jerry Jones needs to fire Jason Garret and assume the mantle of Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

It’s the only hope left.

He will either rise to the challenge and learn the job well enough to lead the team to victory, or finally fail in such an utterly horrific fashion that not even he can continue on in denial. Either way, it will be the team following their true Leader to that destination. It will provide closure to this eternal limbo through which Dallas now wanders. That is something that just bringing in another coach who walks the sideline and hopes that the man upstairs is on the same page with him can never do.

So it’s all up to you, Jerry. It’s time to put on that coaches whistle and walk that sideline. Time to assume the responsibility of Leader that you already get the recognition for.


And if it ends up in a horror show that scars the psyches of football fans everywhere…that’s okay too. At least it’s an outcome. And that’s what Cowboys fans have been waiting for.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Coming in Early 2014




I am proud to announce the unveiling of my next project, "Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen."

The cover art is set, and the rough draft has been compiled. There is still much to do before I send it out to proofreaders, but the important thing is that a rough draft now exists. 

This anthology will contain a mix of stories previously published by Pill Hill Press, LL Dreamspell, Yours Truly on Amazon KDP, and a couple that are new. It is a blend I hope everybody finds to their liking.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November Blues





I woke up the other night, parched and needing a drink of water. Now common sense would dictate I put on my braces and then go get a drink, but since it was only a short walk to the kitchen and then I would be returning to bed, I decided it made more sense just to hobble there without my braces and not have to go to all the trouble of getting half dressed over a stupid drink. After all, it would be a mere fifty foot walk in the darkness on paralyzed feet and half paralyzed legs. 

What could go wrong?

Needless to say, I broke one foot and badly sprained another. The big toe on my sprained foot is a shiny shade of black, and my knee pops uncomfortably every third or fourth step. But that’s okay, I won’t know if I’ll need surgery until a specialist looks at later. Yippee!

So there’s that.

It’s also November, which means I probably won’t be able to write a word. Ever since I tried Nanowrimo one year, I seem to get the most obstinate cases of writer’s block in November. My muse can be a contrary little butt.

But this time all might not be lost.

I got the rights back to all my short stories published by LL Dreamspell, and if I were to combine those with the stories from Pill Hill Press and a couple I wrote as an indie….voila! Instant anthology! So guess what I’m gearing up to do.

Some of these stories were very early works of mine, which means I still had a lot to learn about writing, so they could definitely stand to be edited and revised again. I think it’s cool that they will get a second chance at life. So I’m going to let my muse vacation and work on improving those instead. Hopefully, by the end of the year I will have another anthology to turn loose on the world. 

I would really like to write one more story for it since I found a picture that would make an awesome cover, but I always try to have a story in my book match the cover. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.


I guess I should just thank my lucky stars that I have a career that is done sitting down.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A New Beginning, and a New Adversary

    

      Finally, after years of stopping and starting, and then months of editing, Spiderstalk was out the door and it was time to figure out what to do next. After giving it serious thought, I decided the only rational course of action was to buy a shiny new laptop.

      My previous laptop had served me well. It delivered two novels and an anthology of short stories, and that ain’t nothing to sneeze at. But the poor thing has been getting pretty long in the tooth. It has been getting slower to boot, slower to call up programs, and its Geek Squad warranty has expired. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew the time had come.

      So I gave the laptop to my wife and bought me a shiny new model with twice the power, memory, and a discreet video video card. Hey, I also do my own covers now so I need that video processing power. The fact it can also run all the cool 3D games out there is just a happy coincidence. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      Anyway, I discovered my new laptop also came with a shiny new operating system called Windows 8.1. So it was with great enthusiasm that I fired it up and dove in to my new computing experience. And after about an hour of playing with my new toy, I formulated a helpful mental picture that conveys my impression of Microsoft’s new OS.

      Imagine that Bill Gates sticks his head out of your computer screen, sticks his thumbs in his ears, wiggles his fingers, and gives you a big wet raspberry right in the face.

      Yep, that pretty much sums it up. What kind of boneheaded company puts new “features” in an operating system and then doesn’t tell the customer how they work! I almost had to shut the machine down to exit a full screen app! Then I had to go to Youtube to figure out how to do it in the future. Why am I having to go to Youtube tofigure out how to run my operating system?! And what’s with the toobars that pop out of the side of the screen when my cursor gets to close? Seriously? How the hell is this an improvement over Windows 7?? The whole point of changing things is in order to improve them. Where is the improvement? And for God’s sake, explain the changes you made so we’ll know what the hell is going on! And what is this “app” nonsense anyway? Apps go on cell phones! On computers they are called PROGRAMS!

      GAAHHHH!!!!

      Oh well, I’m sure in a year’s time I will be competent with it and couldn’t imagine using anything else. (yeah, right) But the important thing is finding the stories this new baby will crank out…and if a little 3D gaming gets done on the side, no harm done :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Now Available! Spiderstalk!





    Life hasn't been kind to Adam Sellars lately...

   Over the past year he has broken up with his fiancee, barely survived a terrible car wreck, and had his brother's family vanish while he lay unconscious at the hospital. The only thing he has left of them is a frantic call in his cell phone's voice messages, along with the blurry photo of a spider.
 Since then he has been a crippled shell going through the motions of life with nothing but the search for his brother to keep him going.

   But Adam is about to discover things can still take a turn for the worse.


   Much worse.


   His quest for his lost brother has brushed up against a very dark corner of the world and something has come out of that darkness with an unholy vengeance. Something unbelievable. He can't fight it, he can't hide from it, and not even the police can protect him as his world descends into chaos.


   His only hope lies with a mysterious pair of strangers who have appeared out of nowhere with an offer of aid. But they have their own agenda, and his survival may not be their top priority. Now Adam must keep his wits about him and learn to believe in himself again as events send him on a collision course with a monster more horrific than he ever dreamed possible.


   Spiderstalk is now available at Amazon.com