Category Archives: Horror
I swear, I look down, get back to writing, look back up… and it’s almost been a month since an update.
How does time do this to me?
Well, this week I had not one but TWO cover reveals occur. The first one is the one that everybody has been waiting for, and HOLY CRAP it is beautiful! Here is Deathlords, Book 3 of the Kin Wars Saga.
Nice, isn’t it? Bonus quiz: can you identify the planet from the series that the suit is protecting?
Then, on Thursday another publisher released the final cover of Sha’Daa: Toys, the (from what I hear) final anthology in the Sha’Daa universe. This one will actually be out in a few weeks, but the cover is downright creepy.
They both are great, and shows once more while I will continue to support small press publishers. Both teams I work with are amazing people who put all their efforts into producing quality workmanship. I can’t ask for better people to write for.
Isn’t it pretty? It’s so pretty!
For this cover I managed to land the freakishly talented J. F. Posthumus to do the cover of the upcoming historical zombie story, The Dead of Babylon. It will be released on December 18th, just in time to satisfy your holiday horrorific cravings (even though it’s set about 3000 years ago and sometime in fall, and has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever, but don’t bother me with details right now…).
Edit: I should probably add that despite my initial “It’s gonna be free!” statement, I was reminded that I am paying a mortgage now and really need to make more money as a writer. So it’ll be available for $0.99. Huzzah.
Kaiju Apocalypse, a novella I wrote with Eric S. Brown, was sold this morning to Severed Press. I’m very happy at this, since it’s been about a month since I sold anything and I was beginning to get antsy once more. Now I’m working on two things — Prince of the Rotted, my Babylonian zombie story, and Murder World, another SF book with Eric.
I also got word last night that The Finder’s Keeper did not win the 2014 Darrel Award for Best Short Story. It was First Runner-up, which is good. I was just surprised and happy it was a finalist at all, really. Congratulations to Victor Lorthos, whose story Angels in Gas Stations won.
Next up… uh… huh. I’m not sure what’s coming out next. It may be Kaiju Apocalypse, since it was a pretty clean final draft we sent in. It also could be something else, like one of the Sha’Daa stories (I’m sure Sha’Daa: Pawns will be out before June, and Sha’Daa: Facets will be out soon after that).
Staying busy is good. One way or the other.
I sent off Homeworld: Rockfall to my coauthor Eric Brown yesterday afternoon. The first draft is done (yeah, I was slacking) and though it “only” took about 5 weeks to write, that was a rough five weeks.
While the book itself isn’t the longest thing I’ve ever written (I’m looking at you, Corruptor) it is, by far, the grimmest. I don’t think I’ve ever dug that deep into the MilSF genre before when writing. Not even Wraithkin went that dark, and considering what Wraithkin is all about, that’s saying something. To match Eric’s style, you need to channel your inner David Drake (if you have one of those) and try to keep up. Eric’s a very talented guy who is more known for horror than MilSF (at least, for me in any case) but when he wants to, he sure can imitate Drake nicely.
That’s not a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong. There are thousands of writers out there who wish they could sounds like David Drake. Eric’s one of the few who can pull it off.
My poison ivy is finally clearing up. My right side of the face is cleared at last, though the skin is extra dry (and flaky… ewwww), I can see my eye now without having to search for it. It still “feels” a little weird, like I still have some swelling around the zygomatic area, but all in all I call myself “healed”.
Still haven’t gotten my deer yet. I’m… perturbed by this. Of course, last time I didn’t get my deer until the last day of hunting season, so if the pattern continues… man. I’m going to be out there freezing my butt off again. The good side to that, though, is that if I get my deer at dusk, then I’ll be able to just hang it up in the shed and finish skinning it the next day. The downside? Skinning it the next day, when the deer is nice and cold and stiff.
The things I do so I can make my chili…
Okay, so I need to rehash my brain and get out of the MilSF set that it’s is. While I should buckle down and finish Wraithkin, Rockfall is still stuck in my mind and I really am worried that the two will seem too similar if I try finishing Wraithkin now. So I’ll need to get something “fun” written, like a Tobias Fox story (which I owe 6 of right now) or my little short, I, Godslayer. This should allow me enough time to “reset” and get the right frame of mine back for wrapping up Wraithkin and shooting it over to the agent to see if he likes it. I originally thought that I would have Unholy Vengeance done before October 31 but since I’ve barely cracked 10,000 words… I think it’s going to be closer to February by the time that one gets done. But still, at least I have some sort of time frame now as to when I hope to get things done.
“Hope” being the key word here.
Next week over at Shiny Book Review, my interview with author Kal Spriggs will be going live. Kal was a good sport about being interviewed, and barring some technical difficulties, his interview should be up on Monday. Barb is interviewing the polymath/rocket scientist/author Stephanie Osborne soon as well, and then there’s going to be one other interview going up a few weeks after that. Yes, we’re still doing book reviews, but right now interviews are easier on us (mostly). I still have three books I need to review (Mike Resnick’s The Doctor and the Dinosaur; Seanan McGuire’s Discount Armaggedon, and Misty Massey’s Mad Kestrel (which I’d been meaning to review for monthsnow). Barb’s got a full plate on her hands as well, so bear with us.
Other than that, my con schedule for 2014 is starting to fill up. I have a secret desire to attend Worldcon next year but unless I come into a lot of money, I doubt I’ll be making the flight to London, no matter how much I’d love to go. I’ve never been to London (or England) and it’s on my bucket list. Yeah, it’s weird that I’ve been throughout the Middle East and Eastern Europe, but haven’t gone to London. NASFic is a possibility, since it’s in Detroit and is close enough-ish to drive. But for right now, I’m only attending Mysticon, Ravencon and Libertycon. I had to turn down an invite from MidSouthCon since they are too close to Ravencon, and I usually give con preference to whoever asks me first. I’m still toying with the possibility of Congragate but since they’re very close to Libertycon, that might present some problems.
I’ve already seen people gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which is always confusing for me. I mean, while you’re “prepping” for NaNo, you could be, oh I don’t know, writing? I understand that a lot of people enjoy the support of other writers during NaNo, and I guess that makes a lot of sense, since everyone wants to be told that their writing is awesome and that they can do it. But I think that’s also a potential downside to NaNo as well. Everybody is so busy cheering one another on that, somewhere in the mist, the entire goal of “writing” gets lost. Skewer me all you want (I know you will, Mandi) but if you’re too busy applauding and cheering everyone else, then when do you have time to write for yourself?
Writing is a job. That’s the mindset that anyone wishing to be a writer full-time has to accept. There’s a set time you write, and you stick to that. For me, it’s from 9am-1 or 2 pm, depending on what my deadline is. I do this every day, Monday through Saturday, unless I’m out of town on Saturday. It sucks writing in the mornings, because my brain is fragged and I haven’t really woken up yet. But it’s beneficial as well, because I’ve now established a pattern of consistency and, as you may have read up top, my coauthor and I wrote a novel in 5 weeks. That’s… insane. Really.
Set your writing goals, then stick to them. It gets easier.
Wow. This got long in a hurry. And I got to lecturing. My apologies. Here is a picture of my cat.
I realized that I can’t post a review of The Doctor and the Dinosaurs (Mike Resnick) yet due to the simple fact that it won’t be published until December. So, uh, yeah… whoops?
On the plus side, that means I can go ahead and rush my next review, which is Discount Armageddon (Seanan McGuire). It was a fun, light little read in the urban fantasy genre (I’m reading more of this genre now, which is confusing). I’m supposed to be writing more on Rockfall, but I need to read as well (keeps my mind stimulated). I’ve found that if I don’t read once in awhile, my brain sort of atrophies, and then crap like “swag” and “YOLO” start to make sense. When this happens, I’m legally required to do one of two things:
1 — Read. Read a lot. Read books. Lots of books. Intelligent books. Funny books.
2 — Go on a murder spree. This is bad. Very bad. Besides the loss of life (though I’d try to pick the worst human beings imaginable… primarily, Twi-hards), I’m too pretty for prison.
…I seriously think that my moral compass is primarily guided by my fear of being the pretty boy in prison…
My guest blog over at Barb Caffrey’s site should be going up this week. It was supposed to go up last week but, well, I had that book come out and then I was all like “Yeah, let me link to it…” and then I forgot to link to it until it was too late. Thankfully, Barb’s cool like that and rescheduled me for this week. In the blog I’m talking about characters and jumping genres in your writing, something I’ve been told I’m pretty good at (plot? not so much).
When I was out on my walk Saturday, I stumbled upon the biggest coyote I’ve ever seen. It was one of those “fight or flight” responses when I looked into its eyes. Fortunately, he decided I was wayyy scarier than he was and he bolted. This is all well and good, except that the coyotes aren’t supposed to come down off of the knob (there’s some cattle on the property, and there are some newborn calves running around) and there’s a “shoot on sight” rule with them. Since I’d left the rifle back at the house (I was out taking pictures of the red-tail hawk that patrols the area), I was vastly unprepared.
I was also very lucky. I wasn’t prepared for an animal attack (which has happened out here… rabid animals do turn up, especially possums and raccoon) and I wasn’t wearing hiking boots (I had on a pair of old tennis shoes). I should have known better. Next time I go up the hill, I’m taking boots (not necessarily the rifle, though — that thing is heavy and doesn’t have a shoulder strap).
I should think about getting something small, like a compact 9mm or a .380 for my hikes. I doubt I’d need it, but if I ever run across a rabid coyote and find myself unarmed, I’m going to wish I had it.
Okay, now to destroy a planet (the “write” way).
BTW… have you picked up your copy of Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past yet? You really should. It’s only $3.99 for the Kindle version. You might like my story, Wake.
Just found out that another anthology I’m in, Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past came out today. My story, Wake, which I may have mentioned a few dozen times, is in it. It’s a story about an aspiring author and his new job at an old sanitarium — and the things that go bump in the night. Is it all real, or all a part of his overactive imagination?
Click here to buy the story and find out.
It’s a little chilly this morning, so there is some writing about to commence. First, however, I must share something.
I have designed my very first book cover. No, not the art (I can’t draw worth a damn), but designed the title, author name, spine design, etc. It’s my first effort, but I think if I can get the hang of photo shop then I might be able to become decent at this sort of thing. It’s not “bad”, but I know I can do better. But for now, this is the temporary cover.
This cover is a little important to me as well, because it’s the first anthology featuring Tobias Fox (and my first time ever leading off an anthology with a story. I’ve been the last story of an anthology –which is an honor too, because that means the “finality” of the book rests on your shoulders (or story)– but never started one off before). I could have faded the title text a bit, to make it blend in more with the background than it currently is. Overall, though, for my first try? I’m not displeased by this.
Okay, need to get Rockfall done now.
Edit: Yep, forgot to title it. So that’s the title. Go me!
#amwriting is, apparently, my most popular Twitter hashtag.
For some reason, it’s about a million other peoples as well. Seriously, I am the least original person in the world sometimes.
I’m still waiting to hear back about Hill 142. Patience is not my strong point, especially when I’m more than ready to crank out more stuff in that universe (you know, the one where WWI was won with magic, giant beasts and machine guns?) and I need to get my head into Collectibles. Of course, the dark and somber mood of Hill 142 is completely at odds with the partially-insane, whimsical attitude I am writing Collectibles in. Think of Dean Koontz’s Tick Tock (a book I absolutely loved, by the way) and you have a rough idea of the whimsical nature I’m aiming for here. Here’s a small sample of what I’m dealing with right now:
The one bad thing about being someone like me is the inability to have a permanent home. To wander, to travel, to simply find yourself in the next exotic locale is one of the biggest benefits of my life. It does, however, create some unwanted tension in your family. Especially when your family consists of a rag-tag collection of three hookers-turned-zombies, a male vampire submissive, and a gender confused mummy.
I used to travel with them via caravan throughout old Europe but, with the rise of Communism, the spread of new technology, and the fall of the old ways, we were forced to make a quick exodus to the New World. And by quick I mean a two year journey across two oceans, accidentally landing upon the wrong continent, losing one of my hooker-zombies, finding said hooker-zombie in a city four hundred miles away, and almost having my vampire staked by an overzealous dominatrix in one of the more seedier parts of New Orleans.
Needless to say, I was looking for some rest and relaxation when we stumbled upon the small inn somewhere in South Dakota.
Yeah, I have to get my mind into the right state in order to delve into this story.
I’m also waiting to see the cover for the Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past, where my story, Wake, currently is waiting to see the light of day. Their last anthology cover was really cool (see here) and I’m excited about the potential in this one.
I’ve kind of beat around the bush with this, but the starting August 9th I’ll be on the internet intermittently. By that I mean hardly at all. I’m moving, and since it’s across two states, everything has to be packed away well beforehand. I should be back up and running around the 30th, but no guarantees. So if I don’t respond to you, don’t freak out. I’m not ignoring you, really.
…speaking of, I really need to remember to send my new address to my publishers. I do like getting those checks every once in awhile…
Okay, back to work.
You see what I did there?
Ed (7:01PM): Just realized I never actually “linked” to the page where the cover for Mental Ward: Tales of the Asylum was at. Yeah, sorry. My bad.
Yesterday was weird. I got home, and the next thing I knew it was time to go back to work. I did literally nothing yesterday. No writing. No creating. No editing. No painting. No eating.
I don’t think I’m sick. But I did miss my word count goal as a result, which has set me back about two days. I can make it up this weekend, but it’s problematic, since I’m going to miss about a week’s worth of writing when I go to Mysticon. Yes, I’m grumbling. Grr.
Picked up some small book display easels today over at Hobby Lobby. They were inexpensive and exactly what I was looking for. I’ll be using these for conventions and book signings, which is a good thing. It means I actually look somewhat “professional”.
Okay, need to get some more writing done. Have to wrap up The Tree of Death and Life before I can start my next short story (for an anthology my buddy Stephen Zimmer is editing), Yet We Remain. I still need to finish up The Gods Anointed as well. Guh.
I think I may have overcommitted myself.
Don’t forget, you need to order your copy of my books soon if you expect to get them before Mysticon. Otherwise, what will I sign? Okay, I’d sign a napkin. Sheesh. I’m so easy.
I didn’t care who won last night. Not because I don’t like football (I love football) but because I didn’t like either team that played, I’m not a fan of the halftime entertainer, and I’m not going to watch something for commercials. It’s morally wrong to watch prime time TV for the commercials.
Have you bought your Kindle version of What Scares the Boogeyman? yet? Seriously, I need to buy socks. Are you going to deprive me of socks just because you don’t want to buy an ebook I’m in? Horrible people; simply horrible.
Yeah, that’s pretty much been my weekend. Painting, writing, and sleeping, with some work thrown in.
What Scares the Boogeyman? was released on Amazon Kindle today. Print copy will be up soon, undoubtedly. You should go buy it. It has a lot of great writers in it like CJ Henderson, Nancy Asire, David Conyers, Rich Groller, Janet and Chris Morris, and it was edited by John Manning.
I didn’t write a review today. I’ll put it up tomorrow. It’s probably going to be book 2 of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher, since my review pile is starting to get thin.
Don’t hate me, though. I didn’t even get any writing on Wraithkin done today. It was just one of those days I guess. That’s cool, though. The Tree of Death and Life is almost finished. Then I can finish up The Gods Anointed and not worry about anything except for Wraithkin until June.
I didn’t meet my writing goal the other day, so I didn’t get to paint. Came close, though. But close doesn’t cut it when you have deadlines.
Trust me. Editors hate when you start an email off with “So I was trying to work out some of the plot details and…”. You may as well be admitting “I was on Reddit and next thing I know I’m watching cat videos at 4 in the morning.” Editors — so damn particular, right?
I was looking over the Horror Writers Association guidelines the other day and realized that half of their referring links were either dead or completely worthless. Now, I’m not a member of the HWA (yet), but one would think that their website would have relevant information, like, for example, which publishers qualify. I mean, people dog on the SFWA at times, but at least they have a comprehensive list about what publishers make a writer eligible for membership, what publishers are on probation, which ones are blacklisted due to a variety of reasons (which they list).
It makes me wonder if the HWA is in a position much like the one the SFWA was during S/He Who Shalt Not Be Named* was the president.
Of course, making things easier would be difficult, due to the absolute flood of information that is on the internet right now. There are so many websites and various random bits of info that piecing together a comprehensive list of magazines and publishers who might be eligible is a nightmarish task I would only wish upon my high school geometry teacher. Yes, yes, I’m complaining. But since I feel that my opinion is relevant (hey, I’m delusional that way… I know I don’t hit the pop culture relevancy status until I start a flame war on a YouTube video comment section), I get to whine and complain to my heart’s content.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the concepts behind the organizations like the SFWA and HWA. Writers have a hard enough time researching material for their own books (what, you think all of us can pull random quantum physics out of our asses? Even Travis S. Taylor has to research once in a while, and he’s a freaking rocket scientist!), much less time to make certain that a book they’re writing is eligible for such-and-such market or award. There’s a lot of information that should be available to writers, like resources for what to do if your work has been plagiarized, or how to protect yourself against unreasonable or predatory publishers and agents (yes, they do exist).
I’m not going into the things that the organizations do that piss me off, however. That’s not my mission, and quite a number of them are deeply personal more so than professional (though there are a few things that affect me on a professional level as well).
By the way, I’m still claiming to be a SF writer, despite selling more horror stories than anything else. It’s my delusion, damn it.
*Openly vague so that your personal least favorite SFWA president can be added.
I screwed up yesterday and forgot that Thursday is a writing day. Granted, it’s not a Wraithkin writing day, but it’s still a “get something down on paper, you lazy bum” sort of day. Which I totally forgot in my haste to paint my Bretonian knights. *sigh*
So today is going to be a writing day, which is rare, because Friday’s are usually my best day to paint. I’m working on a bunch of horror stories right now in addition to Wraithkin and The Gods Anointed. I’m almost done with the followup to Nightwalker, which is in the upcoming Terror By Gaslight anthology. It’s called The Tree of Death and Life and hopefully will be in an unnamed horror antho due out in 2014. I also have to get Collectibles done for the Dark Corners anthology, which is going to be a lot of fun. I wrote the intro poem to it (hint: I suck at poetry). But all of those are taking a back seat to the wicked story idea I had the other day, which has expanded into Death, the unknown salesman, and a spirit baby. And a greasy spoon. Yes, I now how it ends. It’s writing the beginning that’s hard. Oh, and titling it. I hate titles, and mine usually suck.
But if I meet my word goal for the day (1,000 words today) then I get to paint Bretonians tomorrow. Huzzah!
Don’t forget: Mysticon is coming. Dr. Who (7th Doctor) is going to be there. And the guy who created Origami Yoda. Fun times.
One of the nice things about Perseid Publishing (one of my publishers) is that they love gorgeous covers. Behold, the cover of the Fantom Enterprises/Perseid Publishing joint venture for What Scares the Boogeyman? featuring my short story, “The Cold”.