RETAIL HELL COVER REVEAL

New Author Photos Nighttime Edition

The other night my friend Bryan Politte and I took a walk around the lake with some remotely operated lighting gear. Our goal was to create portraits that looked nightmarish and weird, pictures that practically screamed HORROR AUTHOR. I think we achieved our goal.

New Author Headshots

My friend Keane Amdahl did me a huge solid by taking  these headshots for my author profile. What do you think?

These are the daytime shots. The nighttime shots will be up soon.

 

He Has Many Names Cover Reveal

Between the Extremes

Expectation arrived early
Reality was fashionably late
Expectation put out a vibe
Reality didn’t take the bait
I pulled up a stool
Between the extremes
Got too drunk to sort
This whole quantum scene
Where maybe things are
Or are not happening
Where everything is open
To misinterpretation
Now Mr. Brightside is blaring
Because the DJ is a sadist
And when the pre-chorus hits
I don’t want to think about this shit

Between the possibilities
I lost the path
Here I’m stuck on the sidelines
Doing the math
Either you’re lying
Or in plausible denial
Passive aggressive
Or as cold as crocodile
To think we gave special care
To somebody else
Kept it in the shadows
For the sake of his health
Now that we’re through
Why are you so keen to be
Bringing your party
Into the light with me?

Of disco balls and gaslights
Open arms and bar fights
I’ve got an axe to grind
Between two minds
Of diamond rings and casual flings
Body blows and mood swings
I’m the dunce
In two places at once
You were right
I’m just a two-faced hypocrite
One side is fighting tears
The other is making a show of it
I’m trying not to believe
I’m trying not to hope
I’m trying not to backslide
I’m only trying to cope

I watched someone propose
In the place we first met
He got down on bended knee
While I tried so hard to jet
I couldn’t make it out
Before she said, “Yes”
And when the applause hit
I was a total fucking mess
I have one trigger
One weakness, one curse
I’m not asking you to fix it
Just not to make it any worse
My stitches are fresh
The blood is still pumping
I’m begging you, please
Don’t pull this string

I happened to you
You’re ongoing to me
You’re so over it
I’m waiting to be
I don’t need the last word
It’s all yours take it
Tell me right off
But go off with it
Have the life
That I’ve already botched
Find true love
Just don’t make me watch
Leave me where you found me
Between the extremes
Reality and expectation
To live out my daydreams

Supernatural Solutions for getting Your Writing Done

As a working professional you know how hard it is to make time for your writing. You clock into your 9 to 5 and 9 takes its sweet time getting to 5. Then you clock out and 5 runs right back to 9, and frankly 9 isn’t all that interested in 5. It’s a one-sided relationship.

It’s hard for those of you trapped in this numerical cycle to meet your word count goals, let alone your career aspirations. You need supernatural solutions to get the job done. You need a tower full of lightning rods, a kaleidoscope of beakers, and a chemical bath in the cellar. You need a meadow filled with pillars, conjuring circles, and gathering of shadows worth talking to. You need ideas way outside the box.

Well you’ve stumbled into the right high-altitude secret crystalline observatory. Leave your coat on the pillar of antlers and take a seat upon the altar. The wizard of forbidden knowledge will see you now.

If you want to keep at this writing game whilst balancing a day job then you’ll need… Continue reading Supernatural Solutions for getting Your Writing Done

How to Breathe New Life Into Old Scares

A few years back I wrote an article called Horror Clichés in Need of an Exorcism . My premise was that superstitions erode over time. Horror authors can’t just conjure up the same old scares as their forbearers and expect them to work. The things that haunted older generations turn into clichés in the light of reason. Fears like razor blades in Halloween candy, the Satanic panic, and alien abductions all came with expirations.

Among the clichés my article targeted were Ouija boards. I thought it was common knowledge that Ouija boards depended on the subconscious movements of their participants, something known as the ideomotor effect, a phenomenon that’s been proven in lab conditions. I thought I spoke for the horror community when I asserted that spirit boards had no more scares left in them (of course I was wrong).

At the time I went to great lengths to design covers for my articles. That one featured me made up like the demon Pazuzu from The Exorcist. I couldn’t think of a great backdrop so I settled on a giant Ouija board.

Not long after I published the piece I got a DM from a Twitter user warning me to steer clear of those fabled Ouija boards. I told him to read the article to find out why he needn’t worry about me.

He DMed me back, “That’s funny and all, but seriously, don’t fuck around with those things.”

I didn’t know how to break it to him that I wasn’t playing the same role-playing game he was. The one he was playing required him to treat an alphabet on cardboard as a tool of the devil. Mine didn’t.

Here was a full-grown man who considered Ouija boards contraband. Part of me pitied him. Another more insidious part of me envied the hell out of him. Why? This man had retained a kind of childlike wonder that I’d never get back again. Maybe it wasn’t wonder but more of fear of some esoteric unknown. I wasn’t afraid of Ouija boards because I knew how the ideomotor effect worked. I’d seen it demonstrated and I’ve never been possessed. Continue reading How to Breathe New Life Into Old Scares

So You’ve Burned Yourself Out. Now What?

So you published something brilliant, filmed a book trailer, did the podcast circuit, the blog tour, local readings, and a slew of conventions. You’ve hand sold at outlet stores at a table fit for a three-card Monte hustler. You ran out onto a football field wearing nothing but a book banner. You did everything to promote your writing.

Now you’re out on parole, slouched on the couch, utterly spent. You never want to go through that process again.

Yet the shadow of Stephen King looms over you, a modern day Moses commanding, “Thou shalt write every day.”

So you dab your worn arthritic fingers upon the keyboard until autocorrect spits out some sentences and you find yourself questioning your own literacy. The spark of inspiration has fizzled to ash. What you once did for relief now feels like a chore. What should you do? Continue reading So You’ve Burned Yourself Out. Now What?

A reading from The Pigeon King

The following is a spooky excerpt from my short story The Pigeon King.

CLICK HERE to find out what happens next. Continue reading A reading from The Pigeon King

Are You A Social Media Sociopath?

Writers are always told to boost our presence online, to engage fans on social media and stake a claim on our respective genres, but these boosting bombardments eat into our writing regiments. Our manuscripts sit on the back burner while we argue with Reddit moderators. Our word counts diminish with every tweet we finish.

Writers only have so much creative energy. If we are always trying to lure readers to our blogs our energy drains fast. Our labor of love starts to feel laborious.

We’d rather use that stamina we spend on social media telling stories. So we ration our online interactions. We compose compelling questions so we can smuggle our spam onto public forums. We target influencers to reach new readers. We hijack hashtags.

The problem with rationing our involvement is that we tend to come across as inauthentic, intrusive, and inorganic.

“You say you’re struggling with depression, that it feels like no one will listen, and the walls are closing in? Sounds similar to a character I’ve written. I prescribe a double dose of my fiction. One copy for yourself and another for a friend.”

Not every writer on social media is stealth marketing to the unsteady, but thinking algorithmically does do something to your personality. Once the phrase “cultivate relationships” enters your vocabulary you lose some of your emotional intimacy. Your ability to empathize is diminished when you start seeing people as clicks. Continue reading Are You A Social Media Sociopath?

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