Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Treat Yourself

I had a friend recently ask on Facebook for some advice on feeling stuck with his current WIP. I also know he has a lot on his plate and has as many struggles as anyone - I know what that feels like when you're trying to work - 2013 was the year of being a single full time Dad - but when it comes persevering with the work, I did have a few things to say.

Looking back this is a good a reminder for me as it hopefully is for him.

(And these are pic's of me writing in paradise last weekend - made a lot of progress on a noir-fantasy novella)

This is a paraphrased response I gave him.

I go through ups and downs just like ANY writer/creator/artist out there. It comes with the territory. But ultimately I have to write/create, it must come out, it must be made and finally shared.

Sometimes it really sucks when it doesn't feel like you're getting the recognition - whether it be sales, reviews, awards or spoken appreciation, but I do think a lot of that is just how you feel - I know there are people out there who appreciate my work that I have never heard from and that I don't know even exist. Its like that for everyone. 

What I'm really getting at though, is the number one person you have to please is yourself, you have to have the self-satisfaction with what you have done regardless.
You have to have that as a writer.

I'm also a believer in that it takes ten years to be an overnight success = meaning it takes a lot of work (not luck) that almost nobody else ever realizes was happening behind the scenes.

Other people will appreciate and love your work - BUT you have to first.

 If you're not feeling like writing, reexamine what gave you a passion for the piece in the first place, regain that passion --- or drop it and move on to something that does excite you.

I also try and stop at a place where I know what happens next. ;) 
I got that from Hemingway.

Monday, May 2, 2016

World Horror Con 2016

World Horror Con 2016 in Provo Utah. It would be fair to call it an intimate con as writers present almost equaled the attendee's. Some of our panels - well pretty much all of them were sparsely attended but that's not always a bad thing. We definitely had more opportunity to have more personal conversations with fans - everyone's questions on panels could be addressed and we all got to spend a lot of time getting to know each other.

It was great to see so many writers and have a chance to chat with them. Very pleased that my friend Michael Collings was given his award. He has such an amazing body of work and deserved some recognition. When he gave me a positive review of Whispers Out of the Dust I was tickled pink.

I got to make some great new friends and I still sold a few books. I autographed even more because of some of the shared anthologies, like Redneck Eldritch, I think about half of the contributors were present at the Con.

There was a massive book signing Friday night and it was great to interact with everyone and chat while sgning books, here you can see Michael Arnzen juggling Sarah Seeley's brains. I also got some books signed by the likes of Darren Shan, Sanford Allen, Joe McKinney and artist Keith Thompson.

Friday night while Craig Nybo and the Freestyle Gargoyle band was setting up, I noticed a few people who got locked out of the hotel and came to their aid - Jack Ketchum, Michael Arnzen and Linda Addison - so that was cool.

The Freestyle Gargoyles jam was awesome, 7 authors gave creepy new spoken word pieces - Steve Diamond, Scott Tarbet, Nathan Shumate, Jason King, Holli Anderson, Dave Butler and me.

I gotta say thank you to Craig Nybo and the bad they were magnificent.

I was the finale and everyone said I rocked the house - I'm sure it will be available soon (Youtube, iTunes)  and I'll gladly share that.

I did pitch a project to an agent (it went very well)  and I'll definitely keep you all informed on that progress as it escalates. Hell, Dan Well's NYTimes bestselling author, told me he wants to read it and I said, I'd hold him to that for the sake of a blurb.

Saturday, my fire was dimmed when it was a No Show event for my reading, but I resolved to remind myself that writers gotta have thick skins and just keepin' on.

Later we did a Space Balrogs game, the attendance was sparse but the laughs were huge - much thanks to Callie Stoker for filling in she was hilarious - and then out of 9 audience members we had a three way tie! 3 people for all three panelists = unprecedented.  I don't think I could have pulled that off if Darren Shan hadn't been rooting for me.

Sunday I did a Western Horror pane that was awesome and afterward I moderated Why We Love Lovecraft panel - there were six panelists and seven audience members at first - it grew a little as it went on but among all the esteemed panelists, I had to incorporate audience member Keith Thompson who has done pre-production design work for Guillermo Del Toro and the ill fated "At the Mountains of Madness" movie - we all had to soak in his expertise and experience and the heartbreak for that not happening - so glad he came to listen and we could take advantage of that - he's a helluva nice guy and it was wonderful to talk with him.

Keith also did the monster in an hour panel with my buddy Carter Reid, I shoulda got a pic of Keith's creepy surreal art but I did get one of Carter's magnificent specimens.

Oh, and since Redneck Eldritch released during the con I was doing some online promotion and signing books there and I did keep tabs on the amazon rankings, the highest I saw was #11 in Horror anthologies so that makes me feel good! Thanks to everyone who bought a copy.

So all in all it was a great weekend made new friends, new contacts and hopefully reached a good handful of new fans.
Sanford Allen and me and the great Darren Shan.
the Lovecraft panel.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Iä! Iä! Y'äll! Redneck Eldritch! Releases Today!

Redneck Eldritch! A cold one for an old one is out today! Grab yours print copy HERE! Kindle Here or even Smashwords Here!

And with strange aeons, 
Even Death may take a dirt nap...

From the publisher of the SPACE ELDRITCH comes a flavor of cosmic horror that's much closer to home! Sometimes amusing, sometimes horrifying, always unsettling, sixteen authors bring you sixteen tales of white trash meeting dark gods, the yellowed bones of antiquity, and colors that can't be named. Including Writers of the Future winner and Hugo/Nebula/Campbell nominee Brad R. Torgersen, Writers of the Future winner Robert J Defendi, Hugo nominee Steve Diamond, and many more!

I've read a lot of these tales already and they are awesome!

Here is the TOC!

“A Hole in the World” by Ian Welke
“Recording Devices” by D.J. Butler
“Mine of the Damned Gods” by Sarah E. Seeley
“Blood” by Steve Diamond
“Ostler Wallow” by Nathan Shumate
“Nightmare Fuel” by David Dunwoody
“The Swimming Hole” by Theric Jepson
“It Came From the Woods” by Jason A. Anderson
“Lake Town” by Garrett Calcaterra
“Taxed” by Scott William Taylor
“The Gears Turn Below” by SM Williams
“Slicker” by Robert J Defendi
“A Brown and Dismal Horror” by Jaleta Clegg
“The People of the Other Book” by Robert Masterson
“The Diddley Bo Horror” by Brad R. Torgersen
“At the Highways of Madness” by David J. West

Yes, I'm very pleased that my tale is last!

Monday, April 25, 2016

World Horror Con This Weekend!

World Horror Con in Provo Utah.  April 28th - May 1st

Yes, I'm a little surprised its in Provo, Utah, but it sure is convenient for me. This is the same close location that LTUE was at and in years past the Storymakers writers convention when I would go to that.

Guests of honor include Brian Keene, Kevin J. Anderson, Jack Ketchum, Keith Thompson (he did the artwork on my latest Utah Geek issue) and fellow Space Eldritch alumni Michael R. Collings gets an academic award of achievement.

It will be great to hobnob with everyone as writers are my favorite people to mingle with.

Here is a quick schedule of my panels etc:

2pm Horrific Fantasy: A Touch of the Macabre. Dark fantasy as a subgenre that often dances across the line between fantasy and horror.  Is there a line, and how can you effectively cross it?
Darren Shan
Steve Diamond
Robert J Defendi
Jason King (M)
Christopher Husberg
David J. West

8:15 - Historical Horror.  An historical setting can add depth to your story.  Why is historical horror – and historical fiction -- popular and who is writing it?
Eric Sweden
John L. Campbell
David J. West
Sanford Allen (M)
This will be a fun one.

10pm to Midnight: I'll be jamming with the Freestyle Gargoyles
You may remember that last year about this time I did an improv jam with the band - we're doing it again with more authors and recording it live! - It was a blast last time, so I gotta come up with something fresh and eerie for this one!

I'll be doing a reading of my REDNECK ELDRITCH tale 'At the Highways of Madness'- well a good portion of it anyway.
I'd be tickled pink if you would pre-order a copy!

10pm - A Space Balrogs panel
I think we'll be doing a classic monsters Choose Your Own Apocalypse but not sure yet.

11:30 - Western Horror.  Horror-themed westerns can be a lot of fun to read and write.  Come learn more about this epic sub-genre.
Dan Wells
Cody Langille (M)
Steve Diamond
David J. West

12:45 - Why We Love Lovecraft.  It’s been more than 100 years, and yet people are still reading and talking about Lovecraft.
Eric Swedin
David J. West (M)
Nathan Shumate
Carter Reid
Sanford Allen
Sarah E. Seeley

Oh Yeah, and my novella "At the Highways of Madness" will release in time for this con in the Redneck Eldritch collection - even if you can't make the con - check out the anthology of weird backwoodsy Lovecraftian horror!

This will be a creepy good time. And I need to get a copy of the King of Bastards book that either (or both) Keith or Paul told me about so I can get Keene to sign it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Emerald City Comic Con Recap

I could'a should'a would'a posted this if not Sunday, Monday, but even then I was too tired yesterday. So Wednesday it is for what happened last Friday etc.

I flew out of SLC last Thursday night, landed in Seattle late. We (Jason King and Holli Anderson and I) enjoyed our chatty shuttle driver. We got to the hotel, right near the Space Needle and find out that Jason and I (who were sharing a room and we find out it had only one bed) The night manager brought a rollaway that barely fit in the room - it literally blocked the hall to the bathroom.

Jason got the rollaway.

We had breakfast then went downtown to the convention center. Loads of people were already there first thing in the morning but we got in without any real delay. We got our guest passes and started looking around for friends.
I'm used to a very large virtually one level con here in Utah, But Seattles' was multiple levels and floors and when we looked for the room our panel would be in I got us lost, because I took us to room 302, instead of T302.

I'm glad to say T302 was big room and once we did our Space Balrog game it was almost full of people.

Earlier, we met with pal Dave Butler, and a few others I've met at cons before. We saw some great cosplay and the Weta Workshop booth. Ireland Reid as Daphne (above). This was  a fantastic Ant-Man cosplay.
This is Cara Nicole = AZ Power Girl (who I met at FanX) she is currently running for the AZ House of Representatives. Wish I could vote for her.

These Masters of the Universe guys were great.

I bought a DVD from the Zombie Orpheus Guys and I highly recommend you check out their "Dorkness Rising" or "Journey Quest" parody fantasy movies = funny stuff.
Vera Bambi - very nice gal.

After lunch we walked down to Pikes Place Market, I bought some books and took a pic of a wonderful Cthulhu statue - really wish the guy had been willing to sell it but then I wouldn't have sold it either. It was great talking to him - he knows his pulp stiff we talked about how we wished there would be a Kane movie - he didn't have any Karl Edward Wagner books - it impressed me that he knew exactly who I was asking about.

We met up with Jason and Holli's marketing publicist Nikki of Curiosity Quills, she was very nice and took the group pic of us - not her fault it was dark. This Choose Your Own Apocalypse game was between Holli's Aliens (Interplanetarians being the politically correct term - this was Seattle after all) - Dave Butler's enraged ancient deity, Emmerod  of the insatiable itch and I was an Illuminati Service Representative.

I did very well in our initial debates, getting a lot of laughs, and briefly did some table dancing but ultimately Butler won out. I still can't believe people chose hemorrhoids for their apocalypse but alas we made some new friends and gave away some T-shorts Jason had made that unfortunately had a typo on our website logo.

We then went out to dinner, had some laughs and flew back to SLC the next day.

It was a good time and I'm looking forward to World Horror Con the end of this month.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Happenings 'Round These Parts

I'm off to Emerald City Comic Con 2016 tonight.
 My good friend, Jason King, arranged for us to be guests and do one of our Space Balrog: Choose Your Own Apocalypse audience participation games. Along with Holli Anderson and the gentle giant Dave Butler we're gonna rock the con tomorrow night.

One thing I love so much about going to con's is hanging with friends and meeting new people and considering I haven't been back to Seattle in a couple years I'm looking forward to it.

On the writing side, I'm almost done with my story for Jason King's Valcoria anthology, then I've got to jump on the next chapter of 'Walking Through Walls' for the next Utah Geek issue.

And I have made great progress with two novels ~ In My Time of Dying and Blood of Our Fathers. I'm hoping to have both finished by summers end.

I've been told that I should have a short Porter Rockwell piece, Six-Gun Serenade out in Hangmen & Bullets come May.

And my novella "At the Highways of Madness" will be released the end of this month at my next scheduled con - World Horror Con 2016 - so conveniently located just a bit down the road from me in Provo, Utah this year.

The story is kinda like The Big Lebowski going on a dream quest to Unknown Kadath.

Here's a look at the cover  just in case you haven't seen it yet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mage, Maze, Demon

Mage, Maze, Demon, by Charles Gramlich

I always enjoy a Gramlich tale and this one rocks!

We follow Bryle, a barbarian, through the fire and beyond to a cavern ~ the beginning of the maze where he is given a treacherous choice. Serve a sorcerer (how revolting) and face a demon (equally unpleasant). Its tough not to say too much regarding a short, but when its all said and done, the time you enjoy reading is well spent. I felt the sting of the flames and smoke, the scratching of claws and the surprise of life anew.

Charles always has crisp action scenes and vibrant prose and I was excited to read this as I haven't read anything from him in awhile but count myself a fan (I love his Talera books and his sword & sorcery collection Bitter Steel)  M,M,D is dripping with surprises around every corner I enjoyed it quite a lot.

As I said before it's a quick read (only being a few thousand words) but well worth the .99 cents for anyone who loves their fantasy with some grit.

Grab a copy here