The Wall Came Crumbling Down

Ever since “going public” with my atheism, I must admit that I’ve had to work extremely hard to avoid what I see as common mistakes that new deconverts often seem to make. I can’t help but be excited about this new perspective that I’ve discovered, and my first instinct is to want to “spread the good news,” so to speak. And truly, it is good news. We aren’t being eternally judged by our finite actions in this relatively tiny slice of time we’ve been given. No one is going to burn in hell for all eternity. How very precious does this life become when it is our only focus? This is all very good news indeed!

But not everyone will see it that way. In fact, most of the people closest to me will see it in the complete opposite light. And just as I don’t enjoy being preached at, it’s important for me to understand that proselytism is a two way street.

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The Reviews Are In…

Well, a few of them anyway. You can’t expect a book like Chorus of Dust to be reviewed by the NYT or anything. However, a couple of excellent websites have posted reviews of my first novella, and both are very positive! (more…)

It’s Live!

It’s official, Chorus of Dust is now live on Darkfuse. You can get the eBook from a number of retailers online such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google, but I recommend going directly through Darkfuse if possible. It’s a good way to show support to a fantastic small horror publisher.

Again, if you prefer to read it in a fine, limited edition hardcover, you’ll have to wait until July. It’ll totally be worth the wait.

For all those who have already bought and still plan to buy my first book, thank you so much. Really, it’s crazy to me that people would actually pay to read something I wrote, and humbling as well. You are all amazing.

Chorus of Dust

I suppose I’ve put this off long enough, and I think it’s time to make it official.

My first published book, Chorus of Dust, is releasing this July in limited edition hardcover, and will also be available in May as an eBook.

 

Let me repeat that in case anyone missed it: I have a book coming out in a month. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!

So yes, it’s technically a Novella, but as far as I’m concerned that counts as a book as much as anything else does. Think of it as a full novel with all the extraneous pulp and fluff filtered out, squeezed down and refined to a relatively small but surprisingly satisfying nougat of chocolaty goodness. Only, instead of chocolate, you get an extra concentrated dose of mind-bending horror!

Or something like that. I’ve never been all that great with metaphors. In any case, as you can see, I’m definitely excited to see this one in print. I spent the better part of 2011 writing and refining this story into what it is today. To me, it felt like something special, but the hard part would be finding a publisher who agreed and felt that it would be a good fit for them.

That publisher turned out to be Delirium Books. Founded and still run by Shane Ryan Staley, Delirium has been putting out quality titles in dark fiction for over a decade and is one of the leading names in the horror genre, publishing lots of well-established horror authors such as Jack Ketchum, Greg Gifune, and authors such as Lee Thompson and Weston Ochse who I was honored to appear next to in Shock Totem Magazine. Delirium was one of the first publishers I looked at when I first started shopping this book around, but at first I didn’t think I had a chance. Still, you have to aim high, right? If I truly felt this story was special, then anything less would be selling myself short.

So I took a chance, and it paid off. Delirium accepted my novella for publication in January, and from that point forward we were off to the races. I don’t think I can express my thanks enough to Shane and the other folks at Delirium Books for taking a chance on a new author like myself. I shouldn’t be surprised, as they have a long tradition of doing exactly that, but it still means a lot to me.

That’s it then, it’s as official as it can be on this website. As we count down the days and weeks to the release of Chorus of Dust, I’ll be talking a little more about it. Specifically, the process of writing it and the inspirations for the story. Once it’s available for purchase as an eBook and in hardcover, you’ll be the first to know about it right here.

EPIC!

After much deliberation, I’ve recently determined the following is, objectively, the most epic song ever written.  What is it, you ask?

 

The Soulforged, by Blind Guardian

 

 

In case you’re curious, the song itself is about a character named Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance series of novels.  From Wikipedia:

 

Born to a mother prone to trance-like fits and a woodcutter father, Raistlin inherited his mother’s aptitude for magic. He undertook the arduous Test of Sorcery, which he passed, but in the process acquired golden skin, and was cursed with hourglass eyes which see the effects of time on all things. His health, while never robust, was ruined further, leaving him weak and subject to frequent bouts of coughing blood. Initially wearing the red robes of neutrality, as the first series progresses Raistlin’s powers increase while his mood and actions darken, and he eventually adopts the black robes of evil part-way through the War of the Lance.

Raistlin, although physically very weak, is extremely intelligent, and possesses uncommonly powerful magical abilities. While ruthless in his pursuit of power, he holds to a code of conduct which repays all debts and protects those disadvantaged through no fault of their own. His relationship with his much stronger, better-liked and good-natured twin brother Caramon is fraught with tensions as Caramon seeks to protect and shelter his weaker brother, while denying his cruelty and penchant for hurting any others while in pursuit of his goals.

 

But who cares about all that?  All that matters is that amazing drum fill at 4:00 in.  And the awesome guitar riffs throughout the song.  And a chorus that might just inspire me to finally finish this novel.  Yes, it is epic, and this is not up for discussion.

Shock Totem #4 Is Here!

That’s right folks.  Nearly eight months after being accepted, my short story Lobo is now in print in the latest issue of Shock Totem Magazine!

 

 

You can purchase this issue from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly through Shock Totem’s Website.  I personally recommend this latter method, as it ensures that more money goes directly to the publisher, but that’s up to you of course.

In celebration, I officially declare this horror-week!  Stay tuned in the next few days for an all new horror-themed entry of Literal Daze, as well as an original horror piece from me that has never appeared anywhere else.

So, thanks to K. Allen Wood and the rest of the crew over at Shock Totem for bringing this issue together, and especially for making me a part of it.  They will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first publication to accept my work, so best wishes of continued success to their top-notch magazine!

Coming Soon

 

Issue #4 of Shock Totem, featuring work by your’s truly, should be showing up for purchase any day now.  When it does, make sure to first go buy a copy, and then come back here for a full week of horror-themed fun!

Shocked

I’m pretty excited.  Why?  Because the official Table of Contents was just posted for Issue #4 of Shock Totem, which will feature the first published work by yours truly!

Go here to check it out, or read on as I repost it below:

Miracles Out of Nowhere: An Editorial, by Nick Contor
Beneath the Weeping Willow, by Lee Thompson
Full Dental, by Tom Bordonaro
Tragic and Gorgeous: A Conversation with Rennie Sparks, by Mercedes M. Yardley
Web of Gold, by Rennie Sparks
Weird Tales, by David Busboom
Playlist at the End, by Weston Ochse
Lobo, by Justin Paul Walters
Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
Living Dead: A Personal Apocalypse: An Essay, by K. Allen Wood
Dead Baby Day, by Michael Penkas
Long Live the Word: A Conversation with Kathe Koja, by Nick Contor
Fade to Black, by Jaelithe Ingold (2010 Café Doom Competition Winner)
Bloodstains & Blue Suede Shoes, Part 2, by John Boden and Simon Marshall-Jones
The Many Ghosts of Annie Orens, by A.C. Wise
Howling Through the Keyhole (Authors’ Notes)

Yeah, that’s my name in print up there!  Or at least, it will be when the issue comes out sometime in July.  The great thing is, it’s not only the fact that I have a story appearing in this issue that’s exciting.  The thing I’m most looking forward to is reading the other stories.  The first three issues of ST were pretty much excellent all around, and I can’t wait to see what the editors have put together for this one.

Once the issue is available, I’ll post a link up here in case anyone wants to check out a fantastic collection of horror stories (along with my own drivel).  Until then!

The Intruder

As people who know me can attest, I’m a fan of scary stories.  I don’t know why.  It seems counter intuitive that a story which can illicit the horrible emotion of fear could be entertaining, but there it is.  In fact, the crazy thing about it is that the more a story can bring about that response, the better it is.  Crazy, isn’t it?  There are plenty of theories for why this is.  Some say it’s an adrenaline rush, some say it hearkens back to our primal days when we were constantly on the run from predators, while still others link the response to some dark part of our psyche that desires the emotion of fear to keep us motivated.  I don’t know the answer.  I just know that I like scary stories.  The scarier, the better.

So when I found Ghost Goons a few years ago, I was thrilled.  Apparently, several of the members of the Something Awful forums got together and collected various original stories and put them up online.  They were fantastic.  Unfortunately, the original Ghost Goons site let its domain expire, and now has withered away into nothing.  The good news is, some fine soul kept the stories and is re-posting them on his personal blog.  So, as far as I’m concerned, this is the new Ghost Goons.

One of the most memorable stories on the site, and one that still occasionally keeps me up at night when I think about it, is the story of The Intruder.  You see, many of the entries there were written almost as encyclopedia articles, as if the things contained in them were real and were simply being discussed from a purely academic point of view.  For some reason, this adds to the effect for me.  You lose yourself reading these articles, eventually questioning where the truth ends and the story begins.  Of course, in the end, you know that it’s all made up, but the fun had during scouring their contents can’t be matched.  The Intruder is one of these articles.

Enjoy.  You can thank me tonight when you’re trying to fall asleep.

 

The Intruder is a silhouette and similar in shape to a Siamese cat. When sitting, it is about 7.5 feet tall. It has two overly large, slanted eyes, which glow a bright fluorescent green, and have no pupils. It blinks these eyes occasionally. Other than the eyes, it has no other discernable facial or body features.

Whenever you enter your home after dark, The Intruder is always watching. It sits about 10 feet away from you in plain view. It remains immobile and does not even try to conceal its presence. While outside, it can only be seen by one person at a time. If it were to be within the sight range of two people then the first person who sees The Intruder would remain being able to see it while it would remain completely invisible to others.

It emits no noises of its own. The only time it can be heard is when it is stretching its claws on a tree or your house siding. If you approach it then it will run away very quickly and violently, kicking up dirt and rocks. The sounds of the wind from The Intruder’s movements and flying debris from under The Intruder’s feet can be heard. If you were to throw an object toward it or discharge a firearm at it you would get the same effect. Once you turn back to the door to insert your key you will find that The Intruder has noiselessly returned to its previous position where it continues to watch you.

Some say that The Intruder listens to your key hit the lock. They say that The Intruder can eventually ascertain the shape of your key simply by hearing the pins of your lock moving. It is unknown how many times The Intruder must hear you unlock your door before it can determine the exact shape of your key.

You see, The Intruder wants to kill you, that is, if this creature is even capable of wanting anything. Perhaps it is better to say that it intends to kill you. However, The Intruder can only kill you inside your house, and may not force its way in. Furthermore, it cannot enter an empty house. You must already be at home in order for it to enter. If you were to run outside of your house once The Intruder enters, The Intruder will pursue you, drag you back inside, and then kill you.

If you ever hear a key hitting your door in the dead of night then it may be The Intruder trying out its key that it has made. The Intruder only tries to use its keys when it is close to perfecting them, so if you do hear it trying to unlock your door then you can be certain that it will have a proper working key within a few nights. If you enter your house through another means, for example a garage or screen door, then you may suddenly find it them inoperable from the outside, through both remote or attempted physical operation of the door. If you attempt to leave your door unlocked in order to prevent The Intruder from hearing the shape of your key, then you may be disappointed to find that the door has been locked by the time you arrive at home.

If you hear a key hit your lock it is advised that you turn off all of your lights and attempt to push on the door to try and prevent The Intruder from entering, although it likely outweighs you. Once The Intruder enters your house all light sources above that of a candle become blinding to all inhabitants other that The Intruder. If you have time to light a candle then it is suggested, as this will still allow you to see the silhouette without becoming blinded. A very small advantage that you may have is that, once inside a home, all inhabitants are able to see The Intruder simultaneously.

The Intruder will kill every human inside of the house. It will only attack pets if the animal chooses to engage The Intruder. Most animals choose not to engage The Intruder. The only time that the Intruder will make any noise of its own is during a kill strike. The Intruder will make a quick hissing sound during this strike, and will not make this noise again until it claims its next victim. The Intruder has never been known to kill anyone without hissing during the kill strike. It will usually try to completely disable its prey to the point where it cannot move before it makes the kill strike. It is thought that The Intruder prefers to disable its prey before a kill strike because the act of hissing may be the only time that it is vulnerable to damage. This is purely speculation however.

 

For more scary stories of a longer variety, hit up my links section at the top of this page and scroll down to the end.  The story of Ted the Caver is particularly chilling.

It’s Ragtime!

Nope, I’m not dead yet, but after four days of National Electrical Code training, I’m starting to feel like it.  I’m definitely too tired to put much effort into a post right now.  So, in the meantime, enjoy this awesome video of some dude playing Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag on a double-necked guitar.

That was totally rad and you know it.