That Awkward Moment…

Hey there. It’s been a while.

Updating this blog is like trying to get together with someone  you haven’t seen for years. At first, you mean well, you say, “Yeah, let’s get together for lunch or something!” And you really intend to, but for whatever reason life gets in the way and it never happens. Time goes by, and you keep thinking, Hey, I need to follow up and call them again. But then you realize that’s become so long that it’s awkward now, and you deliberately make a point to remain distant because you feel like too much time has passed. And then you get old and die.

Wow, that got dark really fast.

What I’m trying to say is, here I am. I’m making the attempt, for whatever it’s worth. (more…)

Flash Fiction: Random Words

So there’s this guy, Chuck Wendig, who posts a prompt every Friday for readers of his blog to write a piece of flash fiction (less than 1000 words). I’ve participated in these a couple of times, but never actually posted anything here. This week, I’m changing that. So, this week’s challenge?

Pick three words from a list of ten, and write a story around them.

I did a random roll, and to make this slightly more fun, I’ll post the three words I ended up with after the story. That way you can try to figure them out before hand. Though I’m pretty sure you’ll figure them out.

Hope you enjoy it! (more…)

Scriptwriting

When I first started to get serious about writing again a few years ago, the first thing I wrote was not a short story or a laughable attempt at a novel. It was actually a script. There was a new reality show coming out called “Situation: Comedy” where they wanted people to submit original Sitcom scripts, and the top entrants would be featured on a reality competition where they would try and win the top prize of a pilot on some network or another. I had this great idea for a show called “NERDS”, featuring four friends just out of college who lived together in an apartment and were, well, nerds. I think the pilot featured an awkward attempt at a party, the slightly normal one pining for some attractive girl he could never have, and one guy getting beat up by a cop because he accidentally busted his lip at a racquetball game earlier and inadvertently verbally assaulted the officer because of his resulting speech impediment. It was, quite frankly, one of the worst things ever written. (more…)

Giveaway – Chorus of Dust

OH HEY THERE

It’s been a while. I once again find myself immediately kicking off a blog post for an apology for being away so long, which is not a good habit to get into. I would offer an excuse, probably having to do with how my day job has once again consumed all free time I have available, but would you care? Probably not, so let’s just say I’ve been a bad host and leave it at that.

As recompense, I offer you the delayed fulfillment of a promise I made waaaaay back in July, which is that I intend to give away a hardcover copy of my novella, Chorus of Dust. Here’s how you can get it. (more…)

Here Comes the Giveaway

I know, another extended absence. I have a good excuse this time though, I really do. Just see the next post down for more details if you don’t believe me.

So, the Hardcover of Chorus of Dust is finally out! Great news, right? Only, if you didn’t order quite a while back or if you aren’t a member of the Darkfuse Book Club, there’s a good chance you’ll never get a chance to purchase a copy, because they’re all completely sold out. Bummer huh? Of course, there’s always the eBook if you still want to check it out.  And you should, because it’s a great book if I do say so myself. (more…)

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.

Writing the Chorus

Chorus of Dust is a book I never really meant to write.

That might sound like a strange thing to say, as the first part of writing anything comes from first sitting down and deciding what story you want to tell. Even if that story is a technical procedure on how to install a light fixture, there must be a starting point. Though the finished product is rarely what you have in mind when starting out, there’s usually at least a decent portion of your original intention still laced throughout your story. With Chorus of Dust, this wasn’t the case at all.

It began out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico back in March of 2011. I had traveled out to one of our company’s offshore production platforms for work. It wasn’t the first time I’d been offshore, but it still wasn’t something I’d done enough yet that I was totally comfortable with the idea. While lying in bed one night at 8:00 PM (the days start early, so you have to hit the sack early as well if you want any decent amount of sleep), I was thinking about just how isolated we were from everything. It was true that we had phones, internet access, plenty of food, and most of the other creature comforts from home. Physically though, I’ve never felt as isolated as I do when I’m out there.  You’re literally surrounded on all sides by at least 100 miles of ocean, and at night when you look out into the darkness over the waves, it becomes impossible to see where the water ends and the black sky begins. It almost feels like you’re sitting out in the middle of outer space. Naturally, this gave me the idea for a story.

I won’t go into all the details or else this post will take you all day to read, but the long and short of it is that my thoughts on isolation eventually turned to my Grandfather’s cotton farm. We used to visit him and my grandmother (we called them Nana and Grandaddy) about twice a year. He had owned the farm since my dad was little, a sprawling plot of land that seemed to go on forever. It struck me how, in many ways, that farm was just as isolated as we were out in the middle of the gulf. If something happened there, something terrible, who would know? What secrets could be held in that place for years, or even decades?

This is where the eventual story of Chorus of Dust took root, and though it was nothing like I originally intended, I’m glad it developed the way it did. It was not an easy book to write. I started the first draft in April of 2011, and didn’t truly complete it until July. After that I went back and worked it over again, then sent it out to a couple of people I occasionally chatted with on a writing forum who agreed to beta-read it for me. When their comments came back, I went back for another round of edits, and then another. Eventually, I finally finished the book as it is now in December of 2011, a full nine months after I started it. Great for creating a baby, but for a 25,000 word novella, this isn’t a real good turnaround time. Still, despite the difficulties in writing it, I’m proud of what eventually turned out. What difficulties you ask? There were two main areas that really hung me up.

(1) Thematic Elements

Religion plays a large part in this book. My faith is a big part of my life, and so I find it hard not to bring it up in my writing. Here, I wanted to ask the hard questions.

The first question was, what is the absolute most frightening thing I could imagine? For me, the answer was simple: the concept of atheism. The idea of there being nothing after death is terrifying to me. So, my way of addressing this was to make the main character, Adem Comeaux, a die-hard atheist who feels the same way. What if the belief you held closest to you was also the one thing you were the most frightened of? That’s the essential conflict Adem must face in the story.

After that, the second question became, what hope can you possibly have when you have nothing to believe in? I won’t go into too much detail on this theme (you’ll have to read the book!), but the story deals with a number of issues in addressing it. The corruption of the church, the abandonment of faith in our society, and secrets that we all pass on from one generation to the next, to name a few. It was difficult to examine my own viewpoint with a critical eye, but in doing so, I believe my own faith has grown because of it.

(2) Swearing

Following from the first issue, this one was particularly difficult for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not swear, period. It’s just one of those things I don’t do. So when I sat down to write about this character Adem, and he naturally progressed into this rough-around-the-edges guy with the mouth of a sailor, I was genuinely concerned. How was I going to do this? I could take the easy way out and simply replace the bad words with words that were less-bad, or remove them altogether, but when I tried doing so it simply felt wrong. It didn’t feel true to the story or the character.

So in the end, the bad words stayed in, every last one of them. I’ll be honest, I’m concerned about what people are going to think of me when they read this book, especially people who know me well. I hope they’ll understand that this is a fictional story and the characters in it are not a reflection of me as a person or what I believe. Instead, they reflect a narrative that was begging to be released, and I had no choice but to tell it in exactly the way that I did.

I hope that they’ll understand, but if they don’t, there’s nothing I can do about it now. It’s brutal, it’s harsh, and it can be hard to read. It is by far the darkest thing I have ever written. It’s also beautiful in its own way, and I won’t apologize for it. That will have to be enough.

That’s all for now.  Chorus of Dust will be released soon in eBook format, so keep checking back. As soon as it goes live you’ll find out about it here first!

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.