NaNoWriMo issues and why I may skip it.

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Every year I intend to write something for NaNo, but it falls apart in many ways. Let’s list them.

First, I plan out too much. I get bogged down in the plotting and process of getting it all right. But it’s only after the fact when I decide the story idea wasn’t solid enough for something longer. I know a lot of writing during NaNo is the editing that comes afterward. One can’t write that fast and have it come out perfect the first time, at least I know I can’t.

Second, nothing comes to me. I sit in the chair and it’s all just blah. I hate the process of writing during those times. I don’t like the words. I don’t like putting them down. The act of getting them processed out of my brain and onto the page bores the hell out of me.

It’s these times when I think of quitting. The work feels stilted, though my wife will argue with me on that one. There are too many moments when this happens that I get bored, stand up and walk around, stared at my phone, or turn my desktop on and play Warcraft or Warhammer, and it’s these moments that bog me down.

Third, I’ll call this the Aftereffect, it’s when I write immediately after NaNo ends. I’ve done this five times and I may not finish the story during the month of December, but it will be finished. Two of those stories are novellas and are out on submission.

Fourth, and this is the one I’m dealing with now. I start writing before November because I can’t not write.

I’m not a happy person unless I’m writing every day. My wife will agree with this one. It’s that I’m too melancholy and I slip into old habits. I think about all the times I’ve failed at this thing and they haunt me. My sleep suffers, I don’t feel normal.

Lastly, I don’t feel motivated.

There are days this happens when I’m writing throughout the year, but during those moments I’m able to myself up and get working. During NaNo, I don’t feel that. I feel like everything is forced, and that makes for shitty writing.

I feel constrained to a limit on when I can write. This is partially part four and this last one. Both of which I loath because I feel like something is wrong. That I’m not using the gift I have. And that’s how I’ve begun to look at writing. As a gift.

But I digress.

NaNo is not for everyone and while I feel like I must wait until November, I’m chomping at the bit to get into this story and discover it.

Either way, I’ll write it, but as I’m feeling now, it may come sooner.

Are you working hard enough?

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When I contemplated giving up writing, I wondered if the problem was my work ethic.

This is never a question at my day job. It’s never been a question for any job I’ve ever worked, at least not since I grew up, which is a subjective statement.

Each of us grow up differently.

My wife was more mature than I was when we started dating. I am aware that it took me a while to understand a few things. It’s not that I’m not smart, it had to do more with who we are as people. It had to do with our life experiences. My wife went to college straight from high school. I did a year of college and hated it. There are many instances of this in our relationship.

She’s told my I intimidate her because of how my mind works, which makes me uncomfortable. There are other instances, but I digress.

Why do I have this trouble with my writing when it’s not in any other job?

Let’s analyze:

  • Imposter syndrome is a big one for me. I often wonder if there’s something else I should be doing. That I don’t owe it to my writing to focus as much as I know I should.
  • Not setting work hours. I do that with my current project, but once I’m done for the day I put everything away and do something else. I know this is the wrong approach, but I guess there’s a part of me that has difficulty accepting what I’m doing. It’s the guy part. The part that says I should be working. That I should be making money to support my family. That’s the big one.
  • Putting away things that get in the way. This has a bit to do with my day job and how I’m not really happy with it. I feel my day job gets in the way of my writing. It stresses me out more than the writing that’s for certain.
  • Exhaustion from working late night events. This is a big one. I am tired as hell some days and pulling myself out of bed at 6:00 am when I got home at 2:30 is difficult. Today was one of those days.
  • Telling people no. This relates more to my day job, which is for a bartending service. They send an email or text and ask if I can work. I say yes or no. But there are days when I want to say no because I’d rather be writing.

All of these are difficult when my brain tells me I need to work harder, I wonder if it’s screwing with me.

What this all leads to is starting to set a real schedule. Only doing events after a certain time in the day.

I know my managers don’t look at my writing as a real job, and I guess sometimes I don’t either.

It’s hard to consider something you’re doing a job when you don’t get paid for it.

There are moments of hope during the week, but they’re few and far between.

I have received about $48.00 since I published my collection last year. I know it’s more than I received the previous year for anything, but it’s not much.

I’ll be setting up a real work schedule: Mornings are for new stuff, edits are for after lunch. I’ll be more stingy with what’s important to me. Some of these are folded into others when they’re done.

I’ll start tomorrow.

Getting past the book hangover

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There are two types of book hangovers I’ve dealt with and I’ll talk about them today.

Let’s start with the one that everyone, at least if you’re a reader, has dealt with. I’ll go into more detail about the other one in a minute.

The Readers Hangover

Have you ever read a book, finished it, thought about it for days, then realize you hadn’t started new reading material?

If so, this is for you.

Most of us who read regularly have dealt with this. It usually happens after a particularly engaging read.

This engagement may fall into a couple of categories, but because I’m a horror writer, I’ll stick to the way horror does this.

It could be after a book that upsets the hell out of you. For me the book that did this was The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I know this is a book that is suggested by many people, but step warily into this one, for it will do some damage to your psyche.

The thing about this book is the writing. Ketchum’s storytelling is incredible and it pulls you into a story that is unbelievable in its disturbing depictions. I won’t spoil it, but you feel complicit in what happens within its pages. It is an amazing book, but it’s not for everyone. I know quite a few horror readers who didn’t finish it and I understand.

I checked it out from the library and tossed it across the room a couple of times.

Then there’s the books that terrify in other ways.

Pet Semetary by Stephen King and The Reddening by Adam L.G. Neville did this. The Reddening was a book that I had trouble finishing because of a certain scene. My wife felt the same way. It’s one of those scenes where you wish you could pull the character out of the book to save them. Pet Semetary is a book that even King says he kept in a drawer because he felt it was too dark. There are moments in that book that truly scared the hell out of me.

Now there’s the books that you feel uncomfortable with. These are the hardcore horror.

Books like Urban Gothic by Brian Keene, The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White, and anything by Edward Lee. I have read the first two, but haven’t dipped my toes into Edward Lee out of fear, and a bit of worry. I’ve read the comments on his books, and the scare me.

Let’s move onto the other type of hangover. This one is for the writers.

The Finished Story Hangover.

You’ve finished a story. It could be a novel, novella or short story, but something happened while you wrote it.

It either took you to a darker place than you’ve been, made you rethink your life(as some stories do), or you confronted something within yourself.

This first part is difficult to get out of. You did some things in that story you’re uncomfortable with. You either don’t want to show it someone, like King did with Pet Semetary, or you wonder about what people will think about what you’ve written. The most important way to get out of this one is to not care what others think about what you write.

The second part usually deals with something about our beliefs. This is one each of us must deal with and while we’re dealing with it we’ll read scripture if we’re into that or philosophy. But pulling us out of that hangover is difficult.

That last is possibly the most difficult, at least for me it has been. You must face something you see in yourself. The confrontation for this disrupts the natural flow of your personal perception.

You may not understand why it came out in your writing, but now that it has you have to confront it, but you don’t want to. Seeing yourself differently after living however long you’ve lived changes something and I think improves who you are as a person.

All of these hangovers are subjective to you as the reader or writer and they don’t define who you are. The hangover is there because you read, or wrote something that changed you and that’s what the medium is for.

I hope you have a great rest of your day. I am reading Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby and I know it will give me a hangover. His last book Blacktop Wasteland did.

Truth be told…

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There is this life we have and we have a lot to do in it.

We must manage our personal lives, our work lives, and our relationships, but there’s one thing a lot of use forget about.

We must consider our dreams, for they push us to be better in our other managements situations.

Our dreams and whether we pursue them are some of the most difficult situations we undertake. It’s these undertakings where we may struggle the most. Where we may get our most strident resistance from others.

But, for the large majority of these resisters, it’s more to do with who they are, what they have or haven’t done with their lives, and how hard it was to give up their own dreams.

For some they gave up early because it was too hard. For others life got in the way of the chase, but there is a group who are offended that you dare chase something because they couldn’t.

This last group will tell you whatever you want hear, but in the dark, they’re saying other things. You should look at these people when your goals and dreams feel hard. These are your motivation. These are where you find the energy to do what you need to do.

The rage and anger you feel when you hear about the words they’ve said should push you harder than anything else. Your mind tells you to leave it alone, but that little voice in your head, it tells you to rip their throats out.

Listen to that little voice. Your mind says play nice, that voice…well, it says darker, more disturbing things.

Truth be told, that little voice, it’s your darkness. It’s the truth of who you are. Use it.

It’s difficult…

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A while ago, I don’t remember when, I came across a quote. I don’t remember if it was about writing or not, I’m fairly certain it wasn’t, but it was something to the effect of, “When things get hard, that means you’ve leveled up.”

I must have leveled up like a mother f’er, because things have been difficult as hell. I know my regular readers will acknowledge that.

Here’s the thing, you have to fight through it. I’ll continue to take some time off because I’m still struggling, but this quote popped in my head today, I don’t know why, but it did.

Now, there is this quote and there is my writing that I haven’t done shit with, at least not enough for me.

I’m also thinking about how I’ve looked at my writing. How I’d hoped getting published would help my family out, even a little bit, but that hasn’t happened, but this realization has.

So, let’s do a bit of retcon:

I’ve written 6 or 7 books since my family moved from Las Vegas to Utah six years ago. I’ve submitted nearly all of those books and received rejections on all of them. But with those stories I didn’t edit all of them. I wrote them and they’re on my laptop, but they’re only there, and that’s when another quote hit me, “If you decide rejection is the scariest thing to you, you’ll always avoid it, but if decide regret is the scariest thing, then you’ll continue. No rejection could be as painful as the regret of not trying.”

Rejection hurts like a mother f’er, but that act of not trying and the regret I’ll feel over that is more painful.

Back to the retcon:

Finding a way out and deciding to limit my exposure to social media as well as writing for me instead of writing to get published will change how I feel. I will continue to submit, but I will not submit so I can say, “look what I did.” That’s not going to work.

I will submit based upon whether I have something or if it’s a finished project, I’ll submit it, but as for submitting just for the act of it, I’m not doing that anymore. It’s too damn hard.

I will continue to write horror and maybe other genres, but my dark heart requires blood and I’ll feed it.

Where from here…

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I worked a bartending gig on Saturday and it was boring. I used that empty time to try and figure out where I go from here.

I love writing stories, but trying to get anything published feels like I’m wasting my time.

Here’s a bit of history:

  1. I started this blog in one iteration in 2004 I think. I’ve gained a lot of readers, but that never translated to readers outside of this blog.
  2. I’ve written 11 novels. I’ve submitted half of those to agents. All of them received form rejection letters.
  3. I’ve written over a hundred short stories, at least half of which I’ve submitted, with the same response as I listed above.
  4. I feel like I’m improving in my writing, but the submission grind has worn me down.
  5. It feels like I’m trying to prove something to someone, and maybe that’s where I’m screwing up.
  6. After over ten years of this I’m not sure I have the mental strength to keep submitting while only receiving rejections.
  7. I feel like I’m doing this alone. I don’t mean in the sense that I’m writing alone. It feels like the little bit of support I get isn’t enough to keep me writing.
  8. I’ve considered taking a step back for a while, without the blog or social media. I don’t use this blog as much as I once did and I don’t feel I get much of out of it anymore, and social media feels the same way.

That list is a lot to take in. As I read what I wrote it feels like I’m bitching, which maybe I am.

I once used this blog as a way to get my thoughts out, I’ve stepped away from that and used it as something that feels like I’m ranting constantly.

I get a few people reading here and there, but for the most part it and social media feels like a waste of time. There are a couple of reasons I’ve stayed on Twitter. I love the horror community on there. When everyone isn’t fighting over bullshit we do great. The second reason is, it’s the only place I’ve found reliable listings for submissions.

Maybe I need a reboot, a hard reboot. I hate to lose all of the followers of this blog and Twitter, but anymore, they’re only numbers.

I have a short story out for submission and a novella, but with my 10 year track record I’m not holding out hope for either of them.

Ten years ago my wife and I lost a storage unit. We had a lot of stuff in there, but it was just stuff we’d collected as kids or adults. We were upset, but I told my wife, “It’s just stuff. What’s important is us.” That’s how I’m feeling about social media and this blog. It’s just stuff.

To a halt

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I’ve been writing and submitting for the last ten years, I’ve written 11 novels, over a hundred short stories, and a few novellas.

And I self-published a short story collection last year which only a few people bought.

I’m fried.

I’ll be taking a break for a while. I don’t know how long, but for my mental health I’m taking a break.

I can no longer sustain this and I’m disabling comments on this post.

I’ve deactivated most of my social media and I need to take a step back and reevaluate whether I should keep going.

I love writing, and I’ll probably continue doing that, but as far as attempting to publish anything, I think that’s over. I have a novella out with a publisher and a short story out, but I’ve hit the point where I can’t do this anymore.

I’m sure my posts over the last few weeks have shown my waning enthusiasm, and I hate that it’s reached this point, but I have to think of my mental health.

Darkness comes in slow breaths

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There are moments, little pictures in my head of darkness. How it comes into my head, forming like clouds in the sky, I’ll never understand, but it does.

When these moments come, they’re like breaths on my face, or a whisper in the trees.

They came often enough as a teenager I wrote some of them down. Turned them into sad, shitty poetry, but later they came through as dark stories. I never understood where they came from, but thought it may have been caused by the divorce of my parents. Then, in my early twenties, it sound right, now, I think it was always there.

I’ve thought about darkness, the slow breathing of it, the rapid heartbeats that follow a particularly dramatic scene, and how I’ve always enjoyed that rapid breathing. How when I watch horror it does something to me.

I feel more at home in those dark cupboards, closed down buildings, and with the monsters, than I ever have in the light.

Some people are born in darkness, others have it showed to them, and it changes them. It needs prodding, poking, and sometimes, screams, to bring it out, but it’s always there.

Writing the story from this past week I dealt with a darkness I rarely touch on because it makes me uncomfortable. I feel it’s harder to write the human as the dark thing instead of a physical monster.

We can explain the monster as it being a monster, but the human that is the monster, it’s harder for us to explain.

The best example of this, for me, was The Girl Next Door. We see the things in the book, and because of Jack Ketchum’s brilliance with words, we feel complicit. We feel we’re part of what’s happening.

I didn’t read for a couple of weeks after that book. It all felt too hard knowing that what happened within the pages of that book were based on a true case.

The human monster, regardless of its form, scares the hell out of me. It’s also the most difficult for me to write and it takes something out of me when I do it.

We see the news, but we only experience it through a screen. We’re not there. That’s the brilliance of certain authors. We feel like we’re involved.

I’ve tried to grasp that, and know my diversity with books is a where I falter, and I will do better about that.

Each moment within a book is taken from that author’s mind, and if we want to get to the root, we must understand the process of writing better, or at least I need to understand my process better.

When the darkness would come as a child, I’d shrug it off. Now that I embrace it, it’s much easier to travel roads I never would have. This is where I’ve grown the most in my writing.

Embracing the breath. Chasing the darkness, and loving the full taste of it all.

Getting on sure footing

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Let’s face it, I haven’t been doing well.

If you’ve read my posts over the last few weeks you know that, but I’d like to say I figured out my new project, and while I may need assistance with parts of it, I like where it may be going.

I’m also reading “Suburban Gothic” by Brian Keene and Bryan Smith. I read Urban Gothic last October and well, that was one way to start with Brian Keene’s work. I’d recommend “Ghoul” instead.

But I digress.

Since I’ve learned a lot over the last few weeks about myself and how I need to manage certain aspects of my writing, as well as my life, I need to get something off my chest.

I’ve been drinking to get through this shit. I don’t know why, but that’s what it is.

I’ve put it away to focus on this story and my mental health, which sometimes goes hand in hand. I also intend to submit the novella soon. I’d intended to do it this week, but my wife is busy, and depending on what happens next week, she’ll be busier.

I was in a bad place for most of the last three weeks, maybe a month, and it’s been difficult to function.

I’m working through some shit and it’s been difficult, but writing is what keeps me sane, as well as above ground. There are many ways to get through depression and alcohol and brooding over shit is not the way to do it.

This new project is going to help, and as I said Wednesday, I’m skipping some levels on this project and will have to go to a very dark place to get there. Which is one of the reasons I’m reading “Suburban Gothic.”

I hope you have good weekend, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll chat with you on Monday.

Optimism and Doubt

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If you talk to me about anything besides writing, I’m optimistic as hell.

For some reason when it comes to writing the optimism goes out the window. It doesn’t matter that I’ve written 11 books, 5 novellas, and over a hundred short stories. When I sit down in the chair to work in the morning, doubt is the first thing in my mind.

Nowhere has this been evident than in the current project. I’m in the beginning stages of it, but the feelings that I can’t write it, that writing it will take me to a really dark place, and it’s all because of the subject matter, which is to say it lightly darker than I’ve gone before.

One thing about writing horror is that the dark is my safe space. I love to watch scary movies, read scary books, and sometimes play scary video games.

But the doubt that I can’t create this story the way it needs to be written has me doubting writing it at all, which would be a travesty since I feel the idea is awesome.

I’ve told my wife this story will have me skipping some levels. I won’t just be doing things in the dark like some of my stories, they’ll be out front for the whole world to see, which is scary.

My wife told me that with the subject matter, she probably won’t be reading this one, and I’m cool with that.

I have trouble reading some extreme horror, and it’s because it don’t enjoy it. I have set books down that took me somewhere my mind didn’t want to go, and there are authors I won’t read because I don’t enjoy what they write, but some people do and that’s okay.

When it comes to optimism I have the lion’s share with the pandemic, when a family member is sick, or anything else in my personal life, but trusting my gut is harder when it involves writing a type of horror that is on the outside of what makes me comfortable to write.

Writing is about boundaries, at least for me, and knocking those boundaries down can be difficult, as can taking the story slower than I usually do. Having written three novellas in the last three months has me wanting to move quick through the story, but this one can’t be rushed.

I usually sit down, turn on Mac Freedom, set a timer for 25 minutes and write, with this one that’s been difficult, but I’ll keep going because not writing isn’t an option.

As I get past this boundary I know it will make me a better writer, and less afraid of writing out of comfort zone. This one is so far beyond my comfort zone that my optimism took a hit, but I’ll keep going.

Hope you’re all having a great week, and I’ll talk on Friday about something else.

Keep rolling

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Withing in the spectrum of who we are, what we do, and solve our problems, there is a movement.

It depends on our deepest fears, our darkest desires, and without these movements we are flat.

The movement is a random act of falling into our projects, our journeys, or lives.

It can push us to the limits of our abilities, or in the worst of times, push us into the pit.

Within the movement are the clockwork parts. These are the items within our mind that pushes us to new heights, or when we’re depressed, anxiety raises its head and there’s only the thoughts of despair, it will drag us down.

These are the bottom movements. They are the worst parts of trying to attain what we want. They keep us stuck in the same place, deny us our desires, and restrict our goals.

Getting out from under these restrictions, denials, is the most difficult thing we can push through. We have to get through the bottom part of these movement to the top.

At the top of the movement, like the top of the clock, is the beginning of our new journey.

It’s where we can be our most creative. Where the lights come one. It may feel like we’re not all there, but digging out from the pit, reaching the top of the movement, it’s the creative place. Where we need to be in order to make our place, make our stand and rectify our thoughts.

These creative fluctuations are normal, they keep us moving to the next project, the new thing.

Some projects may give us a hangover, but the next day we must get to the desk, easel, or the stage. Keeping the clock in rotation engages the part of our mind where our goals are at the forefront of who we are,

Limiting our mind is the way to limit our goals and where we want to be.

Push forward, go stronger, get better, keep the clock rolling.

Starting over…

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After struggling with my mental state and my writing over the last few weeks, the thought of a reset, starting over, whatever you wish to call it, has been on my mind.

.A reset in the way I’m dealing with depression issues, my writing, my bartending, and whatever may come up.

In regards to depression, I’m making a list of what’s been setting it off. Why I’ve been struggling, and I’m fairly certain this has to do with the elimination of people who are better left out of my life, for one reason or another.

With writing, I’m going back to stories I’ve read that pushed me to get better. I’m starting up with Dark Descent again. There are amazing stories in that anthology, and I need to work on my short story issues. ,

I know there are writing problems with my short stories, and I’m working on them, but seeing how the greats do it helps me.

Bartending: I honestly don’t know how to approach this without sounding preachy. I worked last summer during the height of the pandemic, with some people wearing masks, but it feels like we’re back to that. I don’t like doing events. I’d rather be home with my wife and kids working on my writing. But the deal with my wife is I have to bartend until my writing eclipses my yearly salary, which is only 10k.

This reset and starting over hopefully will lead to better management of all that I listed above.

Have a good weekend and get some work done, or not. Maybe take the weekend to have fun.

Going it alone

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I’ve reached a point with my writing where I have to do some of this alone. I don’t have anyone to read my drafts other than myself.

My wife, who is usually my first reader no longer has time to read anything of mine. It sucks, but she pays the majority of our bills and its not worth forcing the issue.

I gave her a novella in July and she never got to it. So, I have to move forward doing this myself.

I’ve mentioned we can’t afford an expensive editor. This is me going it alone on all of my projects going forward.

I’ve looked at an editor for my military/political thriller, but it’s also 86k and the editors I looked at on Reedsy wanted over a thousand dollars for that. We can’t afford that.

This problem led me to reevaluate my writing goals numerous times, and even contemplate quitting altogether. When we don’t feel like we’re getting the support we need, the world feels like its on fire and we can’t locate a fire extinguisher. At least that’s how it feels to me.

Today I finished the edits on a novella, which means I ran it through Grammarly and the Hemingway app. I know that’s not ideal, but it’s all I have.

Going it alone is depressing. Now that my time away from doing events nears its end, I have to go back to dealing with people not wearing masks in a state with 1500 new cases as of today, 25% of those in kids, with the majority of them in the 0-3 years old range.

I don’t know another way, but going it alone is better than quitting. I may submit the novella as is. I don’t really want to, but I’m leaving that open as an option.

My hope in this working alone is that it represents a changing in how I approach my writing and how I approach everything else, which falls in line with my post from Monday.

I’m still eliminating the toxicity, and I feel better, but there are moments, like today, where I wonder if I would be better off quitting trying to publish my writing. I can’t stop writing, but working to get published became something more daunting recently.

I’ll keep going, but damn I wish I had some assistance.

Removing the Negatives

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I’ve had a rough time the last week or so. I don’t know why that is, but everything feels like it’s falling down around me and I’m the only one paying attention.

I know this is my depression issues setting in. Then there’s a bunch of family drama that I have zero time for. People that won’t get vaccinated, that kind of shit. My daughter can’t get vaccinated so I’m wary of anyone who refuses the vaccine. They’re also the ones who don’t wear masks.

But I digress.

My depression issues are something I’ve explored on here more times that I can count. With its reemergence comes the time to evaluate where I’m putting my energy.

I think about these people I care about too much sometimes. When they act a certain way, I try and discount it because I know they’re intelligent, but yeah, no time for that shit.

I’ve cut people out when they’ve shown who they are before, and I have no problem with cutting out others.

These are the negatives I’ve dealt with over the last week, as well as the fraud police showing up every time I open my laptop.

I finished a short story yesterday, and another last week, but they’ve been in my head constantly.

I have a novella that I need to finish editing this week and its been difficult to manage all of this.

There are times I’ve thought of quitting, considered stopping writing because I’d like to help out my wife and kids more money wise, and I’m really not enjoying bartending lately. No one is wearing a mask, no one appears to care about those of us on the front lines.

Hell, I bartended last summer during the darkest moments of the pandemic because I had to.

This mental health break I’m taking from events has been nice, but I’m so tired of worrying whether I’ll bring something home to my daughter. The stress of that will lower when she can get the vaccine next month, but damn I’m tired of people not caring.

I’ll be limiting the negatives for the foreseeable future. No bullshit texts, removing those I’m following who don’t offer me anything, something I should’ve done a while ago.

Removing the negatives starts with identifying where you’re stress lies. I know it’s from family bullshit, so I’ll be limiting that.

I know it’s from the fraud police, I don’t know how to fix that, other than to work on myself and my goals, so that’s what I’ll do.

Have a good week.

About Progress…

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There’s a moment when you finish a project that feels extraordinary. It comes at you, wraps you in a hug, and gives you endorphin high. But that high isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

The moment is magical, but it’s also one that you shouldn’t focus on. There is still other work to be done.

When I started writing I lived for that high. I’ve written 11 novels, ten novellas, and hundreds of short stories.

I did this by focusing only on that high. Only on finishing. What I failed to learn, until recently, was that I wasn’t finished. The editing would come after the finished first draft. But for the longest time I didn’t edit, which is why I have so many novels written, but none published.

I chased the high of finishing that first draft, but I didn’t have follow through. I stopped at the gates of what I wanted and moved further away from my goals, all by ignoring what needed to be done.

In the last year and half, I learned that editing matters. Yes, I know you’re all staring at this like, “no shit!” Well, I didn’t care then. I wanted that high of getting to the next “finished” novel.

When I sat down last year, during the lock-down and stared at all that I’d accomplished, it wasn’t shit. Yes I have my short story collection, but I published that afterwards. It came as a result of this talk I had with myself. It counts, but only as me telling myself that I had to publish something before my 45th birthday.

The collection needed work and I’ve gone through a couple of more rounds of edits with it. While it’s out there, no one is reading it. I understand the reasons for this.

I haven’t pushed it as much as I should. I didn’t market it, and because of that, I’ve sold about ten copies. But I understand what I did wrong with that collection. I know what to fix when I publish something else.

All of the above came as I progressed as a writer.

I know that a book isn’t finished when the first draft is written. I understand that working on a book means editing.

There are moments when I don’t want to edit. There are many moments when the time I’m spending feels worthless.

Oftentimes submitting feels worthless, but I do it because it’s part of progress. It’s part of writing, and I have to keep writing.

We progress a little at a time. Sometimes we progress dramatically, but we must progress. We must move forward.

Followed Into Darkness

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Now that I’ve redone this blog as geared mainly towards horror, there are a few things that will be different. Focus for one. Yes, I use that word a lot, but with regards to the blog’s direction, it’s a necessity.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know that I like horror. This is something that’s been with me for as long as I can remember, and while the blog does go off the rails onto depression topics at times, I’ll be trying to keep the focus mainly on horror.

With this change the topics will go from what I’m writing to what I may be reading, or what I may have recently watched.

While I don’t intend to have this be a review blog, there may be a few of those thrown in if a particular book, movie, or sometimes…a video game, forces me to.

On the topic of what I’ve watched, my wife hasn’t seen many slasher movies, and we’re going through the first three, maybe four of the Friday the 13th movies over the next few weeks.

This has more to do with her wanting to know more than anything.

I grew up with horror movies, and in her family, it’s not something they watched, while I would stay up nights and watch Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, or whatever horror film is playing on cable.

Her wanting to watch these movies plays into what she’s reading: The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones. I read that book a while ago and loved it.

She does have her limits, however. She does not want to watch Hellraiser or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the former of which is one of my favorites, but having watched it numerous times, I understand.

Anyway, that’s all I have for today.

See you Friday…

Something about vampires.

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The topic of vampires has been in my head for the last few weeks. I think it’s because my wife and I watched “Blood Red Sky” on Netflix. It was good, a very different take, but there were things about it I really enjoyed.

I won’t give a spoiler type review here, but all of it was good. Of course there are things I didn’t care for, but that’s with most movies.

Vampires have been one of the things I’ve avoided writing because of the deluge of vampire stories in the early and mid ’00s. But I need to get this off my chest.

I’ve been a vampire freak since I was a kid. I saw Dracula with Bela Lugosi at my aunt’s, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which is still awesome, but with the number of vampire stories I referenced in above, there have been few stories that received traction. There are some, but for the most part you have to go looking for them.

Now here’s where I go geek. I researched vampires numerous times. I know all of the lore, and while I find some boring as hell–Twilight–there are others that I found incredible–30 Days of Night.

But with being out of the vampire decade, which is what the ’00s felt like to me. I feel it’s time for them to come back.

Brian Keene has one out, and it’s next on my TBR. There is also Savage by Daniel Soule, and Villimey Mist’s Nocturnal series. Those last two hit my radar recently and I’m looking forward to diving in.

I am looking forward to the return of dark, scary vampires, but until then, check out the authors and their work that I listed above.

I’ll be back on Wednesday,

Enveloped by Darkness

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There is something to be said about discovering ones purpose.

It brings out thoughts of childhood, of adolescence, and early adulthood.

Memories flood in of things we thought, feelings we had for others, or ourselves. But it’s within these memories the truth comes out.

We’ve pushed those memories deep to keep them from ourselves because honestly, they’re too hard to deal with. But with hiding things from others, ourselves, and keeping them that way until a sudden realization comes about, we never truly understand who we are.

This darkness that’s enveloped me since childhood was a thing I pushed down. Something I didn’t want to see the light for a few reasons.

I grew up in a very religious community.

Living in Utah is like watching a movie about a religion and never being allowed to turn it off. Being a person who is not a member of that community is a careful dance. One can’t commit to too many things. You can’t afford to show your true colors, and you must never show any glimmer of darkness.

My darkness has been around since childhood.

It manifested every time I wanted read or watch something I wasn’t allowed to, but would sneak to watch or read. It was the times I’d stay up when I was left alone and watch Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, and whatever other show was on cable or other channels late at night.

In Tim S. Grover’s book “Relentless” he discusses the dark side and how everyone has a dark side.

I’ve listened to that book on audio at least ten times, and believed that a person’s dark side had to be a vice.

I recently had a discussion with my wife on this topic. She believed it had to be a vice as well.

But what if it’s not?

He says in the book that “what is the one thing that if people were to know it they’d look at you differently?”

Now, I believed it to be alcohol, like a vice, but I don’t feel that’s true anymore.

The one thing that I’ve kept to myself is that I like all these dark things. I like to watch a horror movie and be scared. I enjoy reading a book that scares me enough, or freaks me out enough, to toss it across the room after finishing it. I did that exact thing when I finished “The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum.

There is a story in my collection where I let my mind run and what I wrote freaked me out. It was very exciting to me that I wrote something that made me afraid to share it. And that is exactly why “The Leftovers” is in my collection.

That story felt freeing.

There were things in that story that I didn’t want to write, but I felt in order to be honest about the story I had to.

Now, as I’ve apparently accepted my dark side and that I’m no longer afraid to go dark, what I write may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t want to write for anyone else. I want to write what felt forbidden. Pull things from the dark recesses and put them on the page.

If you’ve read “The Leftovers” you understand what I’m talking about. If not the collection is only .99 on Kindle.

As I go back to the regularly scheduled program, I leave you with this. What is the one thing that if someone were to know it they’d look at you differently?

Use that to push yourself. I got looked at differently all my life for all the dark things I love. But it’s made me into the functioning adult I am.

Have a good weekend.

Writing In Denial

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“you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”
― Ernest Hemingway

I reached a point of fascination when it came to the macabre early on.

The darker the material, whether it was books or movies, I loved it.

I also knew that this was no accepted, at least when it came to books. I’ve said numerous times that he wouldn’t let me read what I wanted. This was different when it came to movies. I think he wanted to scare me, but it didn’t work. I was fascinated.

This was very evident when we watched Pumpkinhead. He said it would be a good and scary, yes it was scary, but that wore off, replaced with a fascination of the creature. When I found a copy of Fangoria with the details about the makeup and effects in Pumpkinhead it pushed me further to understand why I liked these things.

I don’t understand why I like darker things, and it took me a long time to embrace my love of them. It’s something that I resisted for a very long time.

I resisted it out of being tormented, and wanting to fit in.

As I grew older I found the books I wanted to read as a kid but weren’t allowed to. I watched a lot of horror movies, but the books were what I craved. I read a lot of King, read Barker, and these are two of my favorites, with Clive at the top.

I’ve read so many horror books, watched a lot of movies, oftentimes alone because my wife can only handle some movies.

In the last few years I’ve begun to understand this part of who I am as well as embrace it. I get looks when I talk about the horror books I read, the stories I write, but in being authentic to myself I have to embrace the dark side I’ve put away for a very long time.

This revelation came about while listening to an audio book for the tenth time. I put this part of me away so long that pulling it out is difficult. Letting it run loose is even more difficult.

While I’ve thrown myself into the dark end of the pool in the last couple of years, the pool has called to me since I was 12. Now I’m playing catch up.

I guess it’s time to move forward into the pool and realize it wasn’t dark, not exactly, it was the blood I denied myself.

Playing in this arena with my mind fully there is something I’ve set aside. I did that out of judgment, fear, and for the simple fact that the stories in my mind scared me. It’s these stories I’ll follow down the rabbit hole.

Focus is the issue

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As I sat down to write this morning I’d stop, check Twitter, and maybe go back to the story.

I’ve been doing this for the last week with every story I started.

Yes, what I said on Friday is true. When I’m not enjoying my reading material, I have trouble writing. And I must be reading within the genre I’m writing. I cannot cross the streams.

There it is in all of it’s horrible glory. I have a focus issue. I have Freedom for Mac and I’ve been neglecting using it for a number of reasons, let’s list them:

  1. I don’t want to use it because it feels like a crutch.

2. Using it feels like there’s something wrong with me.

3. I tell myself I don’t need to use it, but when I have this much trouble focusing, something has to change.

4. get interrupted by my kids a lot in the morning for various things. Then I have to stop it or let it run.

Now that they will be returning to in class instruction it will make the mornings easier, but I’ve also written with no problems while they’ve been home for the last year and a half.

It’s right now that things are a bit hectic with them going back, my wife crazy busy, and the bartending is slowing down heading into September.

There’s also one thing that has been on my mind: We’re getting a dog in the near future and planning for that in our house has been interesting. I have to fix cords, put things away and I worry about my book storage. It will be like a having a toddler in the house again.

So, focus is the issue, and the fraud police, as I stated in Friday’s post.

I only have a short story collection published, but I have a novella on submission and a short story. But as I’ve written 11 books, submitted three of them to agents, I find it hard to wonder if I’m doing something wrong.

Are my stories bad? Is there something I’m doing wrong or is my head just screwing with me?

I like to think it’s the latter, but with as many novels, novellas, and short stories I’ve submitted and received rejections, it’s a thing my brain throws at me.

I’ll keep writing because I can’t not write. Right now it’s difficult, but I will persevere, I will continue to write.

I hope you all have a good week.

I have two bartending gigs this week and while I’m masked during them, it’s starting to feel like Survivor: Pandemic Edition. Masks are rarely worn by guests and with the percentage of vaccinated in Utah, I doubt all of them are vaccinated.

But I’ll keep working because my family needs me to.

Lack of motivation is killing me

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For the last week I have had zero motivation to write. I have submitted a story, but I haven’t had motivation to continue anything I’ve started.

I’m not sure why this is. Oftentimes it has something to do with what I’m reading.

I had an idea to start another Grimdark novel, so I started reading Grimdark, but that’s grown boring and I returned to reading “Let The Right One In.”

I’ve seen both versions of the movie, and maybe that’s screwing me up in my reading of the book. If you haven’t watched either movie, they’re both good, and while I like the actors better in the Swedish version, I felt some of the scenes in the American version were better. Either way, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you like vampires.

But having scene both versions, I know too much about the story and when that happens the reading gets boring. I think the writing is great, however, I feel that having scene both movies, the story is too well known to me and I won’t be finishing it. Which I want to, but won’t. I’ve found it’s not worth forcing yourself through a story you’re reading just to have it listed on Goodreads as something you’ve read. I learned that from reading House of Leaves.

I have numerous books, some from my Nightworms subscription and others that I’ve purchased.

This lack of motivation crept its way into my bartending gig and the lack of motivation to deal with rich, entitled people and their weddings during Covid has reached its zenith and I find myself wanting to take a break from doing events but am financially unable to do so.

When you work catering events you’re going to deal with people who have more money than sense. There were 160 people at the event and the probability that they were all vaccinated in these United States is not good.

The event last night felt like one I did last summer, with a similar guest count. It was soon after that we stopped doing events with a large guest count.

I don’t want to say this summer is feeling like early last summer, but that’s how it feels. I like doing events. I like bartending, but I loath the people withe more money than sense.

But I digress.

I will change my reading material to something else because Let The Right One In is not doing it for me because I know the story so well.

I need to get back on track. When I’m lost like this those old thoughts come back. The feelings of I’m not good enough. The idea that someone will come and tell me I’m not good enough and I should stop submitting creep in.

I hate those feelings. They make me feel worthless!

But on to other things, better things. I have a couple of events this weekend and I’m hoping they go better than the last one.

My ego is messing with me.

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Twice a year, my ego screws with me. This comes in any manner of way, but lately, as I see other writers kicking ass, getting contracts, and generally doing better than I am, my ego is questioning what the hell is going on.

I know it’s my ego, that little bastard doesn’t shut up long enough to let me take a breath, much less acknowledge why and where I’m failing in my writing.

The thing is, I’ve been working. I’ve been writing and I know that I’m not sending things out all of the time, but I can’t. I have a life outside of writing. I have my wife and kids, and a bartending gig I do.

The bartending gig is something that pays the bills, but I’d rather be doing anything that bartending. That’s probably to do with how people are treating those of us in the food service industry. People became horrible in the last year and maybe they were always that, but something else has triggered them into believing it’s okay to act this way, but that’s another blog post.

I’d like to push things out of the way and get to writing, but I worry about neglecting my wife and kids. That’s something I did when I lived in Las Vegas and can’t to that route. I also worry about asking for things from people because, well, I’m not certain my writing is very good.

Ego is kicking me in the ass, envy is kicking me in the balls, and I’m sore as hell about it all.

I wonder if I’m doing something wrong. I’d like to take a break from bartending to focus on writing, but it’s the busy season for catering and it’s impossible to do that.

If I could find a crossroads that would work, I’d use that.

I’m so bent right now that I’m unsure of everything.

Am I writing well? Am I doing what I need to get noticed? Is there something I’m not doing?

All of this comes down to pushing things away and dealing with my mental issues.

I have to knock those back sometimes in order to gain some semblance of who I am.

The ego kicks my ass, but my mental issues do more damage.

Depression sucks, and I’ve tried to use it as a motivator, but I’m at place where my ego and the envy I have for others knocks me on my ass.

I guess I’ll keep going with this writing, but I wish I didn’t have to do these events sometimes.

The mental focus it takes to do these events and not scream at the top of my lungs as some half-wit berates me or my staff about how rich they are or that it’s their house and they can do what they want in their house makes me want to scream.

Some people are just assholes.

My ego is screwing with me and I’m working on getting it under control.

I’m planning on getting to this blog more often. I get stuck on things and then I try to get away and it just gets worse.

Anyway, have a good weekend.

The terror sets in…

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It happens when I least expect it…what if.

I’m writing whatever is the project and those words pop in. What if this project does well? What will I do if that happens?

It’s something I’ve thought about a lot after Stokercon. Watching all the other writers. Writers I’ve read, writers I’ve listened to during other events or classes. What if I get to that point? What will I do?

I know it’s a trivial thing. Most of us never make it to the mountain top. Some of us are left at the base camp, cleaning our boots, and sharpening our ice axe for the next ascent.

The events like Stokercon remind me that others are working day jobs, just like me. They’re out there teaching classes, bartending, or working in retail.

I like to write. I enjoy the craft more than anything I’ve done in my life, I mean anything. I’d rather be at my desk working on a project than at any sporting event, concert, or anything similar. There is nothing like that feeling of creating a story.

I bartend because it helps pay the bills. I used to like it. At one point in time I enjoyed making drinks. That time left years ago. Now it’s not very fun. During Covid, it’s been horrific.

I’m good at bartending though and that’s where the problem is. I know my cocktails, know the history of some types of alcohol, where they’re made, why they’re made in that place, and I can tell the difference between various types of whiskeys. But it’s not what I enjoy. It’s not what makes me want to get up in the morning.

I wake with a determined heart every morning, focused on whatever story I need to finish, or add to.

It’s these little moments of terror that remind me I have a ways to go yet and a lot more work to do.

I know at some point all of this will pay off.

I feel that there are points, forks in roads, and I’ve crossed a few off recently.

But I know it’s the start of a long weekend for most, so I won’t keep you.

Enjoy your holiday and I’ll see you Tuesday.

Stuck in traps

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This morning I felt as if I were in one of Jigsaw’s traps.

My intentions were to write a post to go up at 8:00 this morning, but I watched a movie for story research instead.

The movie, “Exorcist 3”, is one I hadn’t watched before and found a lot better than I expected.

I have a possession story idea that I’m working on to submit next week and I needed to watch something to get me in the mood.

The story is a bit different from my usual writing and I had to bury myself in the subject matter.

This led me to watching the movie past when I’d intended and left no time to write the post for today.

I’ve watched a few found footage movies to prepare for a submission in August and while most of them were good, those that I didn’t care for left me wanting to know why others enjoyed them. Mainly “Lake Mungo”.

I found it boring and continue to wonder why others enjoyed the movie. My wife, who is not a horror freak like me, watched Lake Mungo last night.

She feel the same as I do about the movie. There were a lot of things going on in it, but nothing that scared me, at least not until the end of the movie. The whole thing with the neighbor felt like it came out of nowhere. It felt, to me at least, like they threw all the tropes in to see what stuck. The neighbor part felt like the writers thought, “let’s see how screwed up we can make this woman’s life?” So that’s what they did.

But back to what I intended to write.

I’ve taken a break from social media for the next little while to work on writing stories. As I said on Monday, I have two novellas I’m working on, a few shorts stories as well as a novel in the political thriller genre. Each of these are holding my time and social media is a drag on that time.

This break will be for a few weeks or as long as a month, whichever is needed to finish these projects.

But as I finish these projects, others will rise. It is the nature of the work that others replace that which I’ve finished.

I hope you have good rest of your week and I’ll see you on Friday morning, unless another horror movie pops into the frame.

I have a bartending event tonight as well as Friday and I’ll be doing those, masked and ready to go. I have my vaccine shots, but the vax rate in Utah is only 30% and after the last year, I have trust issues with not wearing a mask at events, or anywhere else.

See you Friday.

Writing Horror and Future Things

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Good morning or whatever it where you’re reading this.

I hope you’re in good spirits and are enjoying your day so far.

I spent the last four days watching panels, readings, and taking two classes during Stokercon.

I learned quite a few things but what I’m taking away is the fire of other authors.

In all the panels, readings, and classes, I noticed one thing: there is a fire to produce in these authors.

I write a lot, and quickly, but I saw something in their eyes. It’s the ability to push away and grind. To put in extra hours at the desk of editing and/or drafting.

Horror is my safe place. I’ve always watched horror and it’s only been the last twenty years that I’ve truly read it.

I’ve talked about how I didn’t read certain things as a kid because of restrictions places upon my by my biological father, and I feel that set me back. I’m trying to catch up.

The first horror book I remember reading was Stephen King’s Four Past Midnight. My sister had it at her house and enjoyed the stories in that collection. Having a thing for vampires since I was little kid, I moved on to Anne Rice and her beloved Lestat. I fell in love with him in a way I’ve never been with another character.

I read all of the books up to Blood Canticle and while I know there are other books, Prince Lestat being among those, I didn’t care for those books. They didn’t feel the same. My love of Lestat was something I’ve wished to replicate in my own work.

He helped me get through a lot of bad things in my life and I wish for my own work to do that same.

I have two novellas I’ll be working on and sending off for consideration as well as sending out short stories for every call that comes in.

I also am considering what to do with a Political Thriller sitting on my hard drive. That one may get published under a pseudonym. I’ve considered this course since I wrote it.

I will be working harder this year than any year as I feel a fire has been lit and I’ll continue to fan those flames.

Please follow along, buy the collection on Amazon. It’s currently at $0.99 on Kindle and I have to plans to raise that price. If you wish to purchase the paperback, that would make this writer incredibly happy, either way, enjoy the stories.

As I close this post, click the link to follow along and I hope you enjoy the stories.

Writing your truth…

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There are many moments when I wonder what the hell my brain is doing. It’s all over the place.

It wants to do one thing, then another, all the while throwing things in that I can’t control no matter what the circumstances.

That’s why I write.

This gives me focus when I can’t find it. It’s a depository for my thoughts, though there are time when it feels more like a suppository.

When I write there’s clarity, focus, decision, and faith. Faith is a word that didn’t mean something to me, but writing gives me faith in myself. If I can create worlds, I can do anything else during my day.

The faith to create worlds, to drive story, and to maintain my mind are what get me up and keep me going on a daily basis.

The truth is this shit is hard some days. Lately it feels real hard.

I’m sure it’s the pandemic, but lately I feel detached, unavailable, and like there’s another something I’m missing that isn’t in front of me.

I don’t know where this is going some days, but with writing I get clarity in everything else.

I put a story away out of fear last year. That fear has driven me to work on it after the current project is done.

I hope you’re all well, I’ll be here contemplating the evolution of writing and where my head is.

Changing reading habits and me

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I’ve mentioned numerous times on here about the books I felt forced to read growing up. It was the 80’s and the techno-thriller was king, at least that’s how it felt in my little corner of the world.

I enjoyed those books, but as I grew older I found myself gravitating towards darker stories.

I recently purchased Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, the book not the game. The last couple of weeks have found me reading through it and I found so much of it boring. As a writer myself I found places the could have been removed through editing.

Was Clancy brilliant in his world building, absolutely. Were his technical discussions within the books not needed in most places? After reading the three hundred pages I’ve consumed of Rainbow Six, I’d have to say yes. It feels like there are so many parts that could be removed.

This is not a review of the book. But I don’t enjoy all of that stuff anymore. It was cool reading those things in Elementary and Junior High, but as and adult, I found them boring and unnecessary within the constructs of the book.

I have read a few books that are more concise and less grandiose in their wording and content, but I feel I’ve outgrown the monotony of how this book works. I haven’t read any of the new books in the Jack Ryan series written by other authors, but I’m hoping they’re most concise and less about adding words and more about the story…at least that’s my hope.

On the other side though, the horror books I’ve read in the last year have blown me away.

I think small doses of Clancy and war books are a better idea. It’s not the length of the book that felt daunting, it’s the unnecessary aspects of scenes. Some of the scenes in that book could be done away with as I don’t feel they move the story forward and are more of stopping point.

I think my days of reading Clancy books, at least those written by the author prior to his passing, are over. I want to read the books in that universe written by the other authors but haven’t had time to do so.

I’ll go back to reading other things for the time being. I have a subscription to Nightworms and I get a few horror books from them a month. They are wonderfully curated and come with all kinds of goodies.

For now, I’ll stick to the smaller war and techno-thriller books.

Getting the work part done.

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With any project it comes to a point where the work part happens.

After the first draft, there’s the part you let it sit, or at least I do. It’s usually a few months, but can be longer.

The reason for letting it sit is so when you don’t constantly revise, restructure or rewrite all of the time. Doing that, at least in my opinion, causes more problems than it solves.

The first draft is where you find out your story, or if you’re an outliner, you put what you’ve outlined into the story.

Being as I’m a mostly pantser, which means I will have a beat sheet and know where those beats will be places, but as far as the story itself, I don’t really know where it will go.

This may cause some people reading this to freak out, those are the outliners.

For the pantsers, here’s some truth: I have no idea what will happen at the end of the book, or if I do, it’s usually discovered as I’m writing. This works for me as I write in various genres.

Thriller as it pertains to all of its classifications: Political, Military, Spy…and yes sometimes horror is thrown into this category for the sake of selling books. Take a look at Silence of the Lambs, at it’s core, that’s a horror story.

I enjoy things that frighten me. I grew up in the 80’s with the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviets. It’s something that has stuck with me growing up. Knowing that fear and chasing it has lead me to write thrillers in the respective classifications I mentioned above.

I grew up next to an air base. The sound of planes taking off and landing is a fond memory of my childhood. There were also the times the base opened to the public, showing off the latest aircraft.

The first time I saw an F-117 Nighthawk was at one of these events. The sleekness of that aircraft combined with it’s dark color and insectlike bumps and ridges, still gets me excited.

Aircraft is a thing that I’ve always been enthralled with and watching them take off from the base as well as building models at home are great childhood memories.

But I’ve gotten off track.

The work part is what comes after the first draft. It’s the editing, rewriting, revising. They used to be things I hated, but the process feels different than it has in a while. I’m actually enjoying this 100k rewrite I’m working on.

But I am getting the work part done and that’s important. Without the work, the project wont be able to stand up, and at the end, when it’s done, it needs to be.

Have a pleasant rest of your week. Stay safe and I’ll see you Friday, where I’ll talk about my love of aircraft a little more.

Embracing what you fear

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As I’ve said numerous times on here, I avoided writing certain books because of things that happened as a kid.

I worried about what it said about myself, what it said about my writing, and whether my mind wanted to go in too many places at once. This fear has permeated me since I put pen to paper in high school.

The past week was one where I had to have talk with myself about this. I can’t move forward in my writing without either adjusting to writing military/spy/political thrillers, as well as horror, or I can stop writing one or the other. I chose to adjust.

Growing up in the 80’s Tom Clancy was the king of the techno-thriller. I looked up to him as a storyteller. Writing in that playground always scared the hell out of me. Mostly because I am not nor have I ever been in the military, CIA, FBI, or any other acronym.

But writing happens and last April I wrote a book in that genre and it scared the hell out of me for a couple of reasons.

One: I felt it was good.

Two: The fear of judgement from others about writing in genre, and that I’ve said numerous times how disrupted my childhood was because I felt forced to read those books.

But maybe it’s not so much that I felt forced, but that there’s the longstanding obstacle of my relationship with my father. He chose those books and I read them, even though there were other books I wanted to read, I read those.

I attribute my knowledge of history and politics to my father, something that maybe I should deal with personally.

That I’ve now chosen to write in whatever genre rears its head, is possibly a breakthrough for me.

I avoided writing these books because of childhood trauma. As I consider it now, those books did more to help me navigate my teenage years and early twenties, than perhaps anything except Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.

The Chronicles helped me deal with other things.

Now that I’ve gone and changed my author’s bio, and all of my bios on social media, I’m ready to deal with the fact that I love spy books for the simple fact that I enjoy them. I enjoy the hell out of writing them and if not for my father pushing them on me I wouldn’t be writing them today.

Here’s a writing fact for you. I read Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising in sixth grade. That book stayed with me as have most of Clancy’s books.

Have a pleasant week. I’ll be here this week.

Finding my genre identity

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When I started writing regularly this past year(and by regularly I mean unless I was sick or working, I wrote), I decided that I had to put the effort in if I was going to see any results.

This meant that I had to decide what I was going to write. This meant if I finished a story the day before, I’d start something new.

This schedule has helped my writing improve and has shown me where my weaknesses lie.

The one thing that I fought with over this period was my identity as a writer. Yes I have a collection of short stories that are in the horror genre on Amazon, but I’m also aware that I enjoy writing in various genres.

This became more clear to me yesterday when I started rewrites on the novel I wrote during lock down in April 2020. I wrote around 3200 words a day during that month and during the first few days of May, I completed the 100k first draft.

Fast forward to last month. I gave my wife the draft. She read everything that followed that draft and I came to me with worry on her face.

“I think this needs to be rewritten.”

“Why? What’s wrong?”

“Everything you’ve written since has been better and I think you need to rewrite it. You’re a better writer now.”

I hadn’t thought I’d improved that much since I finished that novel. But according to my wife, I had.

It took me until yesterday to get started on those rewrites for a few reasons. Fear that I’d screw it up and a greater fear of my identity as a writer. I’ve clung onto the belief that I was a horror writer, because I like horror a lot more than most other things. It doesn’t matter the form, I love it.

But I thought about my struggles with long form fiction. One that has persisted through the past year.

I have written over a dozen short stories since the novel I speak of. But as for novels, nothing.

I think the point is to write. It doesn’t matter the genre and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about your writing as long as you enjoy it.

So, with that viewpoint, I started the rewrite process, with an eye towards improving and/or removing sections in the novel which didn’t work.

It’s a process that I threw away for writing an outline. I write better when I’m partially winging it. It’s the rewrites that get me down.

On that note, I will leave you to your own writing, whatever you may be reading and the reminder that your identity as a writer is not beholden to one genre. Write in all of them.

Moving forward

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Growing up in the 80’s I read a lot of Tom Clancy books. I read Red Storm Rising in 6th grade and that was my first of his books. It wasn’t my choice to read these. I had to read the genre my father read. I was never given a reason for this but I read other books on my own.

When I started writing in my late twenties I avoided writing stories similar to the Jack Ryan books. I did this because of childhood trauma and bad memories.

That ended during lockdown when I wrote a 100k novel in 32 days.

I’ve avoided doing rewrites on this book because although I loved writing it, I’ve always felt like horror was more me and spy/thriller was more him.

My father and I are not close. I’ve seen him twice in the last 10 years

Now I feel that writing this book is a way to exorcise some childhood demons and maybe find my way a bit better.

I read a tweet the other day that said write what ever you want and while I love writing horror, I think the 13 year old me would like this one.

So I’m off to rewrite this 100k novel. I have short stories going out in the next 3 months for submissions and they’re all horror but this book is for me. I’m not sure where it will go, but it’s the 11th book I’ve written.

While I’ve only published a collection of short stories this one needs me to write it more than the others.

Have a good Tuesday.

End of the year thing

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I won’t tell you this year sucked, we know it did.

I did a few things this year that I never expected to do.

I submitted a lot more, published a short story collection, and pushed myself to write things that make me uncomfortable. I also read a whole lot.

But I didn’t quit.

I know there have been a lot of writers who just could not get words on the page this year. I understand that. The year had the opposite effect on me. I wrote more stories than I’ve written in any prior year.

In the next year I plan on writing and submitting more than I have this year, which will be a hell of an accomplishment.

I wasn’t able to work a lot of events as a bartender this year. It put a strain on our finances but good planning by me in the early months of the year sustained us through the year.

I look forward to doing events next year, but I’m so tired of people not being cautious or saying things like, “If it were up to us, you wouldn’t be wearing a mask” or “We’re all friends here, you don’t need to wear that mask.” As if being friends makes the virus go, “oh wait they’re friends, I won’t infect them.” The virus doesn’t care about your family or friendships.

This year I also started to use my whiteboard more. I list when a story is due, how many words it needs to be and who the publisher is.

This has helped me write a lot more and keep my focus on publishing. I haven’t had a story picked up yet, but I’ve come close.

I’ve made a list of submissions until May for short stories as well as for novels I want to publish or submit to agents. I have four novels or novellas I’ll be submitting, self-publishing, or writing in the next 12 months. There will be others that come along, but I know what I need to have done by certain dates and that keeps my head in writing.

I know I have a bit of privilege as my wife works from home and pays our bills with her salary, which allows me to write as much as I do, but if I’m not writing I feel like I’m letting her down.

I will continue to grind, to push myself in directions of horror and other genres that I’m uncomfortable with. I have to push myself because it’s the only way to improve.

Hope you all have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you tomorrow.

The argument of what genre one should write.

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For the last year I’ve had this argument with myself.

It goes something like this:

“You need to only write _____ genre. You can’t define yourself or finding a following if you write in every genre.”

This damn argument has been driving me crazy.

I write stories in a various genres and yes, they all have some element, though small to the reader, of horror.

I see my favorite horror writers who’ve written in comics, but I wonder if they write stories in other genres and file them only for themselves? Which is something I’ve considered doing.

But I like the stories I’ve written in genres outside of horror. They interest me and if they do that for me I’m sure they would for readers.

Do publish them under a pseudonym? That’s been something my wife and I have discussed. It’s where I’ve been leaning for books outside of horror.

I’ve written fantasy stories that I’ve enjoyed, yes they’re more of the Grimdark variety, but I enjoyed them. I have one due the end of January for an anthology.

I guess writing horror is where I gravitated to because it’s where I’ve always found the most enjoyment. I have an enjoyment of darker things, it’s just who I am.

The argument is getting to a point where I’m putting it in its place.

I write all types of things because I like to read horror, political thrillers, and spy novels.

Those are what I write. The book I wrote from April to May, political/military thriller. The stories I’ve been writing over the last couple of months, horror of various degrees.

I have spy novel I started in September but put it away because of this argument. I hate this argument. It always distracts me from the fact that I’m writing. It doesn’t matter the genre, I’m still writing.

My goal for 2021 is to put this argument to bed and just write. If it ends up as horror great, military/political/spy thriller, fantastic.

But trying to fit myself into one box or another is a worthless effort.

Writing is writing regardless of the genre.

What the hell is this?

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I get a bit weird when I’m starting a new project, my wife attributes this to imposter syndrome.

It’s also that when I’m starting a new project, I feel that I’m abandoning genres that I feel more comfortable writing.

The fact is that I’ve been writing horror for the last year. Following a set of rules when I write and I’ve tossed them and trying something new. Maybe that scares the hell out of me, but I want to write what I enjoy.

The new story has horror elements but is definitely Grimdark fantasy.

I happened upon this story when I wrote a short one that I’m submitting next month. I mentioned that on Monday’s post.

This whole thing started because of that story. But I have no path for it. I have no idea where it’s going and after writing with a beat sheet or outline for the last year, it scares the hell out of me to write another way.

The longer form stories I’ve written this year have been good, better than I’ve written in a while and maybe that’s why doing this scares me.

Let’s get to the meat of this issue.

The stories I’ve written this year have had a formula.

Take a story archetype(clowns, aliens, ghosts), add an element(serving a higher power, seeking truth, helping another), then throw in a thing(graveyard, hospital, guitar) and use those to create a story.

I have done none of those with this project.

I’m sure that’s the problem and I need to think about it more, or I need to pull something from my bags. I have bags where these archetypes, elements, and things are kept. It’s a thing I learned from Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner.

I abandoned it for this project and I’m sure that’s why I’m struggling.

I guess I answered my own question.

Sometimes working through by writing it down helps.

Wrapping your head around the new thing.

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I’ve started a new project in a genre I haven’t written in for a while. It’s taking some getting used to. The scope of the story is bigger than anything I’ve written in a few years.

It’s taking some time for my head to get into that brain space. I know what needs to be written, at least I have a good idea of it. There are many things in this story and I’m truly working to get those things written well.

This came about after I wrote a story for an anthology that is due the end of February.

I enjoyed the hell out of writing that submission. I thought I should go deeper into a new world along the lines of that submission.

I’ve submitted more stories this year than any prior year as well as publishing the collection in October. I will get my first payment for that collection this week, which though small, makes me feel as if what I’m doing makes a difference in our house.

I will keep writing, regardless of the money. I want to get paid, as we all do, but I enjoy the hell out of the work.

Ignoring that voice…

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I submitted a story two weeks ago which had a quick turnaround and I haven’t heard a response on it

My brain immediately goes, “it’s cause you’re shit.”

This little bastard of a voice comes and goes, but this week it has been at the forefront of my thoughts and screwing with me daily.

I find it’s hard to get past it and it almost sent me into a spiral of doubt, depression, and anxiety when I can’t afford to deal with any of those things.

There was a bright light in this tale though. Yesterday I finished a story for a submission due in February. It was in a genre I hadn’t worked in a for a while and I found myself enjoying the hell out of it and wondering what would happen with the characters after I’d finished the story.

This bright spot got me through the day and I finished with my head above board.

My mind hadn’t screwed with me this much in quite a while. I started to fall into the old feelings about writing. I had a nightmare because of the stress I was putting myself under.

That I didn’t hear a word made me go back, make sure I’d sent it to the correct email(I had), and wonder why.

I had to push these thoughts away; my mind will kill me if I let it.

Pushing off from these emotions, I felt refreshed. The new story pushed the reasons why I hadn’t heard back away. Isn’t that what new stories are supposed to do?

There are so many emotions in writing and I let self-doubt creep in when that bastard isn’t allowed.

I have stories to tell and I will wait for them for them to be read. I will continue writing because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

I love the work and I am intrigued by the characters that fall out of my head, but days where my head screws with me are not fun.

I’m glad I was able to dig my way out, much how I did yesterday with our recent snowfall.

Anyway, have a good weekend.

Tired, worn, but still writing.

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I’ve been editing and writing my ass off the last couple of weeks.

This morning I got 1500 words on a novel and immediately afterward edited a short story for an anthology due on the 31st.

I have a short story out for a submission which I hope will get a yes.

This weekend I’ll be working my first event since October 24th.

I’m glad to be able work and that have to of doing it during Covid scares me but while my wife’s salary pays the bills, bartending keeps me sane. And my sanity has been frayed as of late.

Writing a novel, submitting short stories for anthologies and helping me wife have been my mainstays since my last event. While I’m looking forward to do an event I’ll be masked and gloves for it.

This year has been unlike any other but I’ve been very productive. I’ve written and submitted more than I planned on and while my short story collection is at the bottom of Amazon’s rankings, I did publish as I promised myself I would.

You have to keep yourself accountable and I’ve done a lot of that this year.

Keep writing my friends.

Getting to it…and other ruminations.

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I got 30k on the draft of a novel today, finished a short story due for an anthology I’m hoping for, trashed, then rewrote a story for one due at the end of the month.

All I have is time.

I’m supposed to have an event this weekend, but with our numbers in Utah going up, that might not happen.

So I’m doing the only thing I can control. I’m writing…a lot.

I’ve written 6 short stories in the last 2 weeks with an average word count of 3k.

There is nothing else for me to do but write, read, fix dinner, and help my wife and kids.

This may lead to being exhausted, but as the month moves along I feel good about writing as much as I have. It’s productive and it keeps me from thinking about what’s going on politically as well as with the virus.

I’ll keep writing and submitting forever.

I have nothing but time.

Skipping some levels…

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There’s a point when you write horror that you’ll skip some norms. You’ll do some things in your stories that will turn stomachs, make readers(and family)question your morals, sanity, and whether the world is safe with you outside a padded room.

I never thought about going really dark or extreme with my horror until recently. This happened because or a novel I read. It was Brian Keene’s Urban Gothic, which if you’ve read it, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

That book took what I thought was okay to put in a horror story and tossed it straight out the window. I never would have thought to go so graphic, much less so hardcore before.

I read Keene’s The Complex afterwards and will be reading Ghoul after my current read, which is another author who I’m really enjoying.

Having never read extreme or hardcore horror, it took me a few days after reading the first couple of chapters to really get into the book, because it’s seriously messed up.

It has been compared to House of 1000 Corpses by Rob Zombie, and having seen that movie when I was inebriated, it’s an apt descriptor.

I’ve always been subtle or reserved in my horror. Never in your face gore, or anything similar and I feel like that’s been limiting me in what I write, definitely in what I read. I’m finding more enjoyment in the extreme stories than I have in quiet horror or soft horror. I will read those, hell, my favorite book of this year is like that, Stephen Graham Jones’s, “The Only Good Indians.”

It’s a master class in horror and one of the scariest and most unnerving books I’ve read in a long time, but it’s not in your face, at least not initially.

But moving on.

For me writing horror isn’t about scaring, not really. It’s about throwing normal people into terrible situations and seeing if they can survive. That’s what King has done for years with his horror.

Finding that I can write as messed up as I want as long as I do it well, has been revolutionary to my writing.

I have a short story due for an anthology on the 21st of this month, another due the 31st, and a first draft of a novel due in February(though it will probably be done sooner)and I’m enjoying the hell out of tossing in the most screwed up things at my characters.

Anyway, back to work…and skipping some levels

Under Control

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There’s this part of my day that begins before I start writing but after I’ve eaten breakfast.

I’ve usually started making coffee or my wife has and I’m thinking about the day ahead. I may have taken my son to school(he has two periods where he’s in school)or may not have.

This period is my contemplation.

I’m considering where the story is going. Thinking about the beats to get to the end and all that I still have to write, at least right now. Some days, towards the end of a project this moments are near fleeting and I’m just rocked to get into the story.

But lately, as I work my way through the current project of which is a novel right now, but I’ll be writing a short story the next few days for an anthology to be submitted before the end of the month.

I did that a few weeks ago and it was tough to work on two projects at once. There’s a shift in my brain when I’m writing two stories at once. It’s somewhat exhausting, but as the world is what it is, I have to write in the hope to make money.

If I don’t make the money, at least I have the stories. Every story is an opportunity to get better at the craft and that’s what we’re all after, isn’t it?

So, during this morning period and the thinking about what I have to do, I’ll space off, my wife will leave the room and I’ll focus on what I need to do.

Then as I set up my laptop, login, get the music ready, I check on my family. I make sure everyone is good before I start. This has become a habit as my kids are home most of the time and my wife and are sharing a work space. Well, we’re in the same room anyway.

As I’m writing, I try to become aware of where it’s going. What is the story doing? What is happening to the characters?

By the time I’m done it’s 11:30 or noon and I’m starting helping my kids with their studies.

This is how I control things. These moments in the morning and during the afternoon where I’m hopefully present enough to help with things, which as I haven’t been working events, has become my every day.

I write, help my kids, clean the house, and make dinner. It’s been this way for the last couple of months and at first I wanted to punk out on it, but kept going. Now I look forward to it.

When I’m making dinner or cleaning those are mine for thinking through what I’d written that morning.

I never looked at it that way, but now that it’s an everyday thing, I enjoy those moments of contemplation..

See you on Monday.

Write what works for you, not others.

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When I published my short story collection in October I knew it wouldn’t do well. The point was to publish something this year, regardless of what it was.

I loved writing those stories and enjoyed the process of editing them, putting them together, and putting them out.

When you write, there are things that you hope will happen: that people will read your stories, that you’ll get amazing reviews, and that you’ll connect with those people through your writing.

What happened was none of that.

The only people who bought the collection, now $.99 on Amazon for Kindle, are mostly family. There are couple of outliers, but it’s mostly family.

Here’s the thing about that. My family doesn’t read horror.

My mom used to, but doesn’t anymore. I guess I put together the collection for them, and not for myself, which is fine.

I’ve listened to a authors talk about the fact that their families don’t read horror so why should they write for them?

I took this to heart with the last few stories I’ve written. It’s about what scares me because in the end, if I’m not scared when I write something, the reader won’t be either.

Writing for you is more important than anything.

There are family members who will be turned off by writing for various reasons.

I realized I’m okay with that. I write for me first and if I like the scary parts I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Your writing should be important to you, not to your family. If someone doesn’t like the bits about gore, it’s not for them. If they’re turned off by those things, remember, you liked them and someone else will as well.

Throw the dirty, gory, nasty things into your writing that you’ve been afraid to. Put it all out there, someone will like it.

I’ve read a lot of extreme horror in the last few months because I hadn’t read it. I wanted to see how far other authors have gone, and realized something. There were great swaths of things I was afraid to write that these authors shrugged at and went more fucked up.

So I’m doing that now.

I’ve written scenes I wouldn’t have dared write six months ago, but seeing where other authors went, I dug myself a hole and followed it into the dark.

Chase the dark, it’s where the best part of horror lies.

Unregulated and unrefined

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There is a way to go about writing that’s been sticking in my brain.

I haven’t been able to work really well until recently, at least on a novel. I have short stories coming from everywhere, but novels have eluded my since May.

Recently, the last week actually, I found my way through them and into something more worthy.

This breakthrough or whatever you want to call it came out of writing for an anthology with a quick turn around. I realized I was entirely capable of writing a story in a couple of days, editing it the best of my ability and submitting it.

It was less difficult than I believed it would be and found myself actually enjoying the editing process, macabre as hell I know, but it did happen.

When I came back down from the editing and after I submitted it, I realized what I’d done and thought about it for a few days.

Today is the first day I’ve thought of putting something down about the experience.

I’d been avoiding this blog, though still paying for it, maybe because I was paying for I was avoiding it.

Whatever the case, I’ll be sharing my writing journey more often.

I write horror and that comes in many varieties.

My short story collection on Amazon has 11 stories in it. I’m working on a novel currently as well as writing short stories for any anthology that I see on Twitter or Horrortree.

I’ll see you on Wednesday.

Book birthday…

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Comes out today.

Today is the day I’ve waited for since my teens.

I published a book today. Its only a small collection but I promised myself I’d publish something this year and it’s not a big collection, but I needed to get it done in order to be happy with myself.

The collection is only a small part of my writing and there are a lot of other stories I could have put in this collection but chose these based on my feeling about each of them as well as how they show a progression of my writing.

Some are from a few years ago while others are more recent, but each one of them is special.

I intend to publish another book in January, it will be in a different genre though.

After that I will publish a horror novel, which I’m currently writing.

I will write what I enjoy writing, which is horror.

Since I was a little kid I’ve always enjoyed horror.

My mom rented Halloween(the original) on VHS and Children of the Corn when I was a kid. I watched Halloween at least ten times. Then in my sister had me watch Hellraiser, it was all over after that. I love that movie and it’s one of my all time favorite movies of any genre.

Today I’m working on horror, but later this year that may change.

In a world like this, an escape is a necessity. Reading books, especially those in horror can get you away from what you’re dealing with and help you find a way to deal with things better.

Seeing someone deal with a horrible monster and having an ending for that story helps, but anyway here is a link to get a copy…

Amazon Kindle and Paperback are here.

Barnes & Noble Nook is here.

I am working on getting it on Google Play as well as Kobo, but I submitted them for review late. They’ll be up soon.

We’re always figuring things out.

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Next week I publish a book and it’s been a learning experience.

The whole thing has changed my perspective on what I write and how I write. I used to think I could only write in one genre, this book and another I wrote in April made me rethink what I write.

The book next week is a collection of horror stories, while the book in January is a political thriller.

I denied myself writing a thriller book for years because I felt I shouldn’t write it.

I considered myself a horror writer because I love horror. My favorite books and movies have always been horror. Narrowing myself to only horror limited what I wrote. I didn’t intend for it to do that but it did.

I still love horror but for some reason I’m having a hell of a time writing long form. Short stories happen easily, but long form are a pain in the ass.

I wish I knew why I have this issue.

I loved writing the stories in the collection which comes out next week, they’re all horror of some sort or another.

You can find it on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes & Noble for Nook.

I don’t understand why I have this issue, but I do. I hope you’ll get the book. I enjoyed writing every line of those horror stories.

Bending the Spoon

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We reach a point in our minds where there are two worlds, the daytime regular everything and the written worlds within our minds.

The surrender of which world we’d like to live in exists somewhere in there. It comes and goes, but its there.

The story drives it and that story pushes the boundaries of whether we consider ourselves sane. It can be all consuming. Taking all of our time, energy, and often, patience.

There are two stories within this.

There is the act of ignoring the story, and may disappear from wherever stories come from, or it may stay. That depends on the writer and how much they love the story.

This idea of love of one’s writing is not something a non-writer will understand, hell, a non-creative won’t understand it. I don’t understand it sometimes.

But there is a love of our stories. It’s why we choose to keep it on our hard drives and not send it into the world.

The second part is fear.

We choose to live in fear of what others will say about our stories because the fear is like a warm blanket. It’s this fear that keeps us writing, but it also inhibits our growth as writers. For if we choose to keep our writing to ourselves we hinder its ability to move people. Which is what we want.

We want what we write to move people either spiritually or emotionally. It’s the reason so many of the top rated books in any genre have moved us to tears.

There is something else to this.

We have to move the way we see ourselves and our writing if we’re to ever do anything with it. Which may lead us to into a place where we’re no longer comfortable.

We must stretch our legs and write things we needed to write. Stories about our childhood that only we will see. Novels that only we will read.

There is a point in our writing where a story comes along, we finish it and have hope for it but after looking at our other work, it doesn’t fit. It’s completely outside our normal range of work.

But in writing that story we’ve exorcised a few demons. We’ve completed a story we don’t see.

We’ve move forward along our timeline in a way that makes us understand that it’s not the story that’s changed, but ourselves.

A Thing About Devotion

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This topic has come up in my head quite a bit lately and I’m trying to recon with the reasons.

The thought of devotion isn’t only one of religion or spirituality, not even to one’s spouse.

I am devoted to my wife, but I haven’t been devoted to my writing.

Sure I get words on the page, but do they go anywhere? Will anyone eventually read them?

This has been what has been holding me back. I’m devoted to putting words on the page, but not putting those pages in a book.

What is the written word without a book to hold it?

This came up when I watched something the other day.

An author was being interviewed and she said, her first book she did the best she could and published it. There were spelling and grammar errors, but she didn’t care because it was out there.

This has been my blockage, this hasn’t been my devotion.

My devotion has been to write words, not to see them in print. What good is it to write stories that aren’t seen?

I am devoted to improving my writing. I can’t improve without publishing it, no matter the form it takes?

I have written 11 books. Even if they’re shit, why haven’t I published them?

I’m devoted to the act of writing, but live in fear of being published. I have submitted novels, but when those novels come back rejected, I leave them on my hard drive. I don’t do anything else with them.

My devotion has to be two fold. To the writing and to the publishing. I have to want to publish, regardless of the final product. As I’ve said, my wife and I can’t afford an editor. With Covid-19 and my bartending gigs less, we can’t put money into something like that.

What we can do is go over what I’ve written, self-publish it and see where that takes us.

So, I’m going to continue to write stories, but I will write them with a certain collection in mind.

I write horror, it’s what I’m the best at. I will continue to write those stories but now my devotion to them is changed. I will publish this year. I will collect 10-15 stories set with a theme, organize them and publish them.

I have to do that.

I’m devoted to my writing and now to getting things published, no matter what form that takes.

Stressed, frustrated, and losing hope for my writing.

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I’ve written 11 novels, close to 100 short stories and I don’t have anything to show for it.

I submitted a novel today, and that’s a good thing, but I’m honestly at the point where submitting has lost its taste and I’m ready to move on to self-publishing.

My wife and I have talked about getting a collection of stories together and publishing those, and I believe that’s probably the best course of action.

I love to write. It’s the only thing I feel I’m good at. I’ve been doing it so long, like with bartending that I don’t know how to do anything else.

I could find a job doing something besides bartending, but I really enjoy it.

As far as my writing goes, I’ve written so many words in the last five years since we moved our kids from Las Vegas to Utah that I’ve made great strides in my writing. I’ve improved so much from the earlier stories after we moved.

The world is different from what it was five years ago, hell five months ago, but I get the feeling that something has to change soon, at least for my writing.

I keep submitting short stories and novels and they keep getting rejected.

I can’t afford an editor, it’s just not in our budget.

My greatest hope is that something I submit gets published but as I lose hope for that, I gain it in publishing it by myself.

Moving forward I’ll probably self-publish a collection of short horror stories. I have a few that I really enjoy and I’m looking for a theme among some of them. I may have one, but I’m still hopeful for my novels, though as I said, that hope is waning.

It’s not about the money, it’s about people enjoying what I write. If I only wrote for money that would be horrible. I can’t see myself doing anything but writing and that I haven’t had a novel picked up feels damaging to myself.

I know I’m wining about things when we’re in a pandemic, all of the racial injustice happening to Black lives, but sometimes I just need to put my feelings down on the page. True feelings.

I hope you’re all well. I will tell you if anything happens with the novel, but I think I’ll be moving forward with finding a throughway with the short story collection. That feels like the best thing to do right now.

Long past doing the expected.

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I haven’t written on the blog in awhile because I’ve been getting words in the morning and I honestly haven’t felt like it.

Right now is different.

I’ve written novels in almost every genre and I’ve learned what I like, what works, and what doesn’t(for me).

We’re all different which is what I added that little bit on the end there.

I work best with an outline.

I’ve written almost 11 books and the current work with the outline has been the easiest.

Those who know me, or at least think they do, believe that I should be writing horror. I understand their reasons and they make sense until you discuss life with me.

I haven’t had that difficult of time but there have been moments in my life that sucked. We’ve all had that.

On to the unexpected.

I decided to write the current project based upon what I read growing up. Sure I read fantasy and sci-fi. But those were books I had to hide.

The books I read in public were different.

Life a meal and dessert.

The meal was always what I read in public. The dessert was what I read in private.

Now that I’ve nearly completed the first draft of the project, I see where I’ve made mistakes in other books.

I often try to hurry to the end and that’s caused many rewrites.

I’m trying not to do that with this project and as I reach the end I feel there are only a couple of people who will read it but I’m okay with that.

I feel I truly wrote this for myself.

The Biggest Problem I have…

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When it comes to writing, I have things I enjoy and things I’m afraid of. You’d think at 44 I’d get over some of them, but they’re still there.

The biggest among these is the enjoyment of horror. Whether it’s writing it, reading it, or watching it, I worry about the judgement aspect.

I guess that happens to a lot of writers, but lately its been creeping into my mind and stopping me from enjoying things that otherwise I would have.

I’ve loved horror since I was a little kid and maybe it’s because I grew up in very conservative environment where horror wasn’t given the respect it deserves. Then there are the people in this world who turn up their nose at horror.

There are so many of those people.

I think it has to do with a lot of that. The being judged part of my brain still has a problem with it.

Take the book I just finished, it wasn’t in the horror genre, mostly because I felt like I needed to try something new.

After writing 10(now 11) books I felt that something wasn’t working. I’d submitted books to agents, short stories for collections and anthologies and heard nothing back. Maybe it’s my writing.

It possibly is. But if it is, I’m going to take the next few months and work on improving that.

I have story ideas all over the place. I can’t stop writing now, it’s the one thing that keeps me going daily, if I were to quit, I’d have to quit other things as well.

Its the feeling of being alone in this process that drives me crazy. I can’t afford to get and editor, especially not during this pandemic. All of our money is focused on continuing to survive.

I’m grateful my wife is able to continue her job and we can continue to have our house, when I know a few people who aren’t in our position.

I’d like to get a push. Some kind of win on this, not that it matters money wise, but for my sanity. it would be helpful.

I’ll keep writing horror and work through the issues I have with sharing them with others.

Sending them to a contest, collection or anthology doesn’t bother me, but having others know what I write does freak me out a bit.

I’m aware that most of my family, other than my wife, won’t read what I write, and maybe I need to get past their approval and stop caring about what they think.

That’s probably for the best.

Avoidance, Character building, and Confronting life

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When I set out to write the current project it never occurred to me what I was doing.

I’ve learned over the last 18 days of writing this project that I’d done something I hadn’t planned on. Confronting my past.

I’ve written a few times about the books I felt I was forced to read as a teenager, only to find other books, horror and fantasy novels on my own.

The project has taken my down dirt roads with barely any way of finding the end. It’s led me to places I didn’t know I need to go as well as places I felt were out of the way.

This project started in my head about ten years ago. I saw only the little things. Not the bigger picture. I saw one thing and I tried to write it then only to have it fall away.

I set it aside and left it. Forgetting all about it for a lot of reasons. The main reason was I didn’t want to write in the genre, but writing has a way of bringing things around again.

There will be a glimpse of something in our periphery. It will stay there for a while until we notice it.

After I finished the story from November and put it aside, I felt lost.

I’d written ten novels and though I’d submitted them to agents, they weren’t as complete as I wanted them to be.

I’m still happy I wrote them because they led me to the current project.

When I set out to write this project I never anticipated a lot of things. That it would take me to places I didn’t truly want to go, not to mention the whole pandemic.

Writing for me is about dealing with my life. Confronting things in my childhood has never been easy, but now that I’m writing in the genre I grew up reading it’s helping.

I enjoy this project more than any I’ve written and the world feels familiar as well.

I’m a much better writer and human for going down this rabbit hole and confronting who I was then.

I avoided writing in this genre because of the feelings I have attached to it. They are about who I was as a teenager as well as who I am now. They have been in conflict for a while.

I finally decided the confrontation was worth it.

Now 46,000 words later I’m better able to deal with the story and handle what it entails.

I’m moving forward through our new reality and I’m becoming a better person for it.

Happy writing.

You know when it’s not working.

I’ve written books with and without outlines and one thing I’ve learned is that some stories defy outlines and other deft discovery writing.

It’s this thing I’ve struggled with since yesterday’s post.

I’ve tried working this with an outline, but nothing comes.

I have the idea. I know the path it will take and which way it will go.

So as I write this on Tuesday, I’m sure I’ll start writing the new novel Wednesday morning. I can’t not write it and I’m feeling the force of the story coming harder than any in a while.

I want to know where it ends.