“Share the Horror” Why? Because We’re a Happy Family, That’s Why/

I recently read an article posted on Jim McLeod’s GINGER NUTS OF HORROR site (you can read it HERE). He made some good points and got me thinking. As horror writers and musicians, we’re constantly forced into being self-promoters. This makes us look like egotistical dicks most of the time, but it comes with the gig. If we don’t shout it out loud over and over and over again, people aren’t going to know we (or our goods) are here and available.  Well, Jim went brought up something that some of us may do (whether intentionally or not I can’t say), and that’s a lack of sharing. You know, on social networks, the “Share” button? Yeah, we have all of these friends and comrades in arms on Facebook and Twitter and we’re all pushing our Brand, but Jim pointed out that it feels like some of us think we’re all fighting for one piece of pie. Like if I share your book, that somehow loses me a chunk of cherry, or a sale if you will. Now, I don’t know how many of us do this with with the dark side of the Force coursing through our veins, but I think it’s something to consider. I know if I just add “Please share this” on Facebook, I get like five shares out of the hundreds of friends I have. Now, they could be busy, or have their settings so that they miss my post, or they just don’t want to do it. I don’t know. A lot of times they just hit the “like” button. (Hey guys! The “share” is right there next to it!) I don’t want to come off as a whiny baby here, because when I really have something important to share and I go to my friends individually, 9/10 come through for me and help me out. But that’s me. I’m not afraid of rejection or the word no, or someone telling me to fuck off!

With all of this in mind, I decided to spend Black Friday sharing books I’ve read this year that I loved. And you know what? It felt GREAT! Not sure if I helped anyone, but I know a few friends added some of my “shared loves” to their Good Reads, and a bunch more commented and shared them with their friends. I’d say my self-less campaign (coined “Share the Horror”) was a smashing success. And I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly thing. I invite all of you to do the same.

Here are the 20 books I shared:

montauk monster

JJ DD

DOW BM

KD SI

DS MM'

CN HELL

BK BP

ACCON j

AATK

AA HH

AA BT

pldg (1)

AA KL

AA WM

AAPD

AANK

AANC

AACATH

AACB

These are the 20 I shared. I tried to stick with smaller writers, but Barker and Keene slipped through the door.

If any of these covers look good to you, click on them and they will redirect you to the corresponding Good Reads page.

Buy ’em and add ’em to your to-be-read lists!

SHARE THE HORROR.

I Lost My Super-Amazing Girlfriend…I Miss You, Cobra Skulls

cs ar

I remember the first time I heard the Cobra Skulls. The song was called, Faith is a Cobra.

“well I don’t know if  god is coming back but I think you’re fucking crazy to welcome an attack that would signal Armageddon, but to you it’s just as well cause you don’t know you’re going to go to hell”-Faith is a Cobra (from Sitting Army)

The sound drew me in; the lyrics kept me coming back.

Their debut album, Sitting Army (2007, Red Scare Records), featured so many terrific songs, but this band wasn’t just bringing the sound, they brought something more to the table…these guys stood for something. They stood for many somethings. Not just a random “serious” song stuck between a bunch of tunes about girls and dead end towns, but an album of serious songs (with a song about a girl stuck in a dead end town in-between).

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Songs about California’s ridiculous use or misuse of water (Cobra Skullifornia), songs about political, homophobic hypocrites (The Cobra and the Man Whore), songs about overpopulation (Overpopulated),  songs about the faults in the ICE (ICE in the Night), songs about governments that push their “freedoms” onto countries who weren’t necessarily interested in that countries “freedoms” (Cobra Acoustic). You get the picture here, (yeah, they used to put “cobra” in all of their song titles)…these guys were more than loud, obnoxious punks in love or hate with small town dealings. These guys were all about the big picture.

“Freedom is relative, I feel relatively free where I live, but down Cairo freedom’s not ours to give, down in Cairo, freedom’s not ours to give. Stop fearing people before you meet them, and don’t keep enemies until you must defeat them.” -The Streets of Cairo (aka Cobra Acoustic) (from Sitting Army)

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They slithered out of Reno, Nevada and toured across the world. Lead vocalist and main songwriter, Devin Peralta , sang a handful of songs in Spanish (or at least a verse or chorus in Spanish), yet the message (to this non-Spanish speaking fool) still came across loud and clear. They put out three amazing albums (Sitting Army, American Rubicon, Agitations) and a number of Ep’s and singles. All excellent!  I was lucky enough to see the band in Boston. They put on an amazing show. I even got to meet Devin! (I wish I’d had the balls to say more to him than “hi, you guys are awesome.”)

COBRA Glenn

Cobra Skulls officially called it quits on December 19th, 2013. And just like that, my favorite punk band of the last…well, since Rancid was still relevant, walked away. It took me all this time to process my feelings on this surprising separation. They were like that super-hot girl you dated who also had brains and loved True Romance and Life Won’t Wait. You were lucky to have her when you did. We were lucky to have Cobra Skulls for the time that we did. Nothing gold can stay.

Cobra_Skulls_01

Thanks for the music, guys.

“As I look into the atmosphere, I change with every breath I take/ I’m beleaguered by indifference and denial of all the mess we make at the same time quick to herald how we harness what Gaia will provide, but the effect is not benign.”- Solastalgia (from Agitations)

Check out their still active website: COBRA SKULLS

Updates and Such….

Since this is my blog/website  I figure I’ll keep everyone up to date on things:

AB SAM

Just under a month and a half until Abram’s Bridge is available. (Jan. 6th)

There are some early reviews rolling in…HERE

I just received the mobi/ePub/PDF files of my next Samhain release, Boom Town (April 7th)

BOOOOOM

Terror from below!

In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.

Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.

Also, I signed the contract with Samhain for my werewolf novel, Blood and Rain. Woo hoo!

It has been a crazy 2014. Between short stories and my Samhain works, I signed eleven contracts. Pretty rad and unbelievable to me.

For 2015,  I will be concentrating on my longer pieces, so short stories will be few and far between.

Here are my WIP:

Things We Fear (novella)  1st draft finished, doing revisions

Becoming (novel) 1st draft finished, will start revisions/ re-writes in December.

Window (novel)  55/65 K words. Aiming to have the 1st draft done by the end of January.

non-writing stuff:

My fantasy football teams stink.  I have rediscovered my love for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (thanks to my kiddos).  Been digging on some AC/DC, Gaslight Anthem, STP, Alice Cooper, and Joe Satriani. I also saw Edge of Tomorrow (AWESOME!) and read The Martian by Andy Weir (also AWESOME!) …my review 

mart tmnt ga ldr

Don’t forget to check out these titles available now: 

THE HAUNTED HALLS 

HH Promo

SLUSH

SLUSH

Slow ride…take it easy. Why you should consider setting that first draft aside. Part One: The Novella

 

This year has been busy. I released my first novel, finished and sold my first two novellas, re-wrote 55-60% of a novel I thought was finished, and put out my first collection of short stories. Also, in the last two months, I finished the first drafts of another new novella and a novel I started last year. Seems like a lot to some, but I’m a slow poke to some of the scribblers I roll with. So, where am I going with all of this? Where is the slow down?

There was recently a little Confession Session between myself and some writing friends of mine. We talked about our pace. Our speed, our need to create and release. We discussed our process a bit. How long we waited, if we waited, to start our first edits/re-writes on a just finished piece. For some, the answer was immediately. For others, myself included, it was a matter of weeks. I believe it’s like that book I read to my daughters about little Ruby the duckling, we all work at our own pace, and get things done, like Ruby, in our own time.

rubyduckling

So, here’s my process and why I choose to do things the way I do.

Obviously, with each piece, with each baby, the process has room to move and change accordingly.

If I’m writing a short story, I may jump right on the edits. Usually, that means I’m trying to sub somewhere that has a submission deadline, otherwise the piece may sit in my laptop until I stumble across it in a desperate attempt to mine some forgotten gold.

I’ve written three novellas now (and I love them all equally). The first one came really fast (don’t be a pervert).I had a submission deadline to aim for that was fast approaching. Even with the pressure, the story truly was a magical experience to craft. I hate taking credit for it when they feel that way. I prefer to think that I was granted access to the great writing ether and weaseled the tale down through my fingertips. When that first draft was complete, I immediately sought out and found four or five beta readers to hand it over to and have point out the flaws (there are always flaws). The few early readers mostly enjoyed the story, gave me their questions and and tips, and I was onto editing/rewrites. That was it. That story was not taken by the intended publisher, but on a whim (and a hope and a prayer), I sent it to Samhain, and they said yes!

Novella #2 was a different case. It started the same: deadline less than a month away, idea, story, go! I had no time for beta readers and no time to make sure the story looked real pretty. What do you think happened? Rejected. Of course. That story was put away (to be mined at a later date). Almost a year after finishing that 1st draft, I hauled it back out and re-read it. There was a great story in there….I just needed to decide for certain about a very important aspect of the story that read very wishy-washy. Very John Kerry, if you will. I made up my mind and viola! I wrote a new beginning, re-wrote a few middle bits, and fixed the ending in accordance with my other changes. Two beta readers, and one editor later, and BAM! novella #2 subbed and sold.

john kerry

I finished the first draft to novella #3 at the beginning of September (started it in late-July). Again, I got a late start on a submission deadline. I finished the first draft in time for the deadline (with 2 days to spare!), but, having learned my lesson from novella#2, decided not to submit it. I knew it needed edits and re-writes. I know it needs to be looked at by another set of eyes, or two, or three. I just started those edits/re-writes last night, and I’m glad I waited.

What have I learned, and why should you care?

Maybe you don’t care, but I do. I’ve learned that I can craft a novella in about four to six weeks (first draft, mind you). I’ve learned that I can’t see all of those ugly spots right after finishing it. I need time and space to step back and help me gain some perspective.

The way I write plays a huge part in this, as well. I can’t plot to save my life. I always , ALWAYS fly by the seat of my pants. I start with a character or two, an idea, and a scene. I let the story take it from there. So, I usually don’t even know who my main character is when I get going. By the time I type in ‘the end’ I do,  and this always leaves room for change. As with novella #2, #3 has a John Kerry-thing going on that needs to be pressed for a decision. I could just leave that piece in there. I could, but looking at it a month and a half later, I think it is a weak spot in a good story. The pain is that I’ll have to do more re-writes, and then make sure  the flow and continuity remains intact. It’s more work, but if I think the story deserves the extra elbow grease, why wouldn’t I shut up and make it happen? Aren’t these things supposed to be precious to us? I’m doing my first revisions now… that time is coming. Rather than fear it, cry about the extra work, or allow myself to think that the rest of the story will make up for that weak spot, I welcome the challenge. I want this story to be really good.

My plate is full. I usually have multiple stories going, and I’ll admit, the temptation to rush a story in, because I have an editor that is willing to look at any piece I think he should see, is always poking at me. Selling a piece is an amazing feeling, but I’m putting these things, the babies, out there for the world to see. Why not make sure the story is as awesome as it can be, as awesome as it deserves to be?

slow down

 

My advice for any writer, from the slowest to the most speedy, who finishes that first draft…let it breath. Some people have that pre-sold story, those plotters and their trusty editors, but if you have the option… set it aside, work on anything else, and then come back to the piece and be ready to have to do some more heavy lifting. You might be able to take that good story and turn it into a great one.

 

Novella #1 is available for pre-order now at Amazon, and on December 7th at  Samhain Publishing.

Abram’s Bridge (Samhain Publishing, Jan. 6th, 2015)

AB SAM

 

ABRAM’S BRIDGE: My debut with Samhain Publishing will be in AWESOME company.

So, the new Samhain Publishing website has a “Coming Soon” tab. Today  my novella, Abram’s Bridge, that releases on January 6th (and is my first with the family), made it’s debut on the site. It’s a pretty amazing thing for me to see. Just another step toward that dream come true moment.

The thing that really blew my mind tonight is seeing who else I’m coming out with…it’s a pretty stellar line-up:

dreamwalker

the-nightmare-girl

island-of-the-forbidden

Of all the Samhain authors, these three have been the most gracious, open, and supportive guys to me since before I ever had a deal with Don and Samhain.  All three are amazing talents in the horror field and wonderful human beings.

I haven’t met Jonathan or Hunter in person yet (interviewed them for this blog, and I’ve messaged with them plenty), but I was lucky enough to get to meet Russell at this year’s World Horror Convention/Bram Stoker Awards. Russell was awesome and gave me some great tips on talking to Don and how to go approach our boss with any new projects. I actually pitched my second novella, Boom Town, that weekend and Don accepted shortly after. Russell’s pre-game speech definitely gave me some much needed confidence going into that little session. Thanks, Russell.

This entire year has been amazing. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. Whatever it is, its got to follow this amazing release line-up.

I am so grateful and honored to be part of this amazing family.

That is all.

Did I mention that I’m super excited???!!!

Check out Abram’s Bridge making it’s official debut on the Samhain page: HERE