20
Mar 16

Sneak Peek at ‘Roommates’ + Cover Reveal

As I continue my schedule of releasing one new short story on Kindle each month, I’m finishing up work on the third story of 2016. This time I’ll be releasing another unnerving, suspenseful piece – but it won’t be a bedtime story. April’s release will be called ‘Roommates’ and here’s a little preview:

Oh, you’re back. I missed you. Thought you’d gone. It was getting lonely here without you. I didn’t know how to keep on. The silence was driving me crazy. Well, maybe not the silence, but the emptiness. When you’re gone I can just tell. Even when you’re hiding or sleeping I know you’re there. Just the presence of you is palpable.

Yes, you frighten me. I don’t know where you came from or what you want. But I’ve grown so accustomed to your being here, it literally hurts when you’re away. Like a vacuous void in my head, my skull threatening to collapse in a pink, viscous implosion. Sucking into one point of blackness. The void you leave is more than the space you occupy. These hidden spaces in between my thoughts where you live are but hints at the place you take in me. Without you I am afraid I am less than nothing. Without you, my world threatens to collapse in on itself, taking me and God knows what else with it.

So I’m happy you’re back. Please sit. Stay a spell. We should go for a walk. I’ll carry you.

… and the cover:

roommates


14
Mar 16

‘Secret: A Creepy Little Bedtime Story’ is Free Right Now!

To celebrate the release of ‘Pretty When You Sleep,’ I’m giving away, ‘Secret,’ my first “creepy little bedtime story” for free on Kindle through March 17th.

So, if the 99 cents has been just a bit too much to invest in a short story, now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about for free. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

If you like it, the only thing I’m asking for in return is a review. If you’re feeling extra generous, tell your friends about it. And if you really like it, pick up ‘Pretty When You Sleep‘ (and come back in April when ‘Roommates’ is released!)

SECRETA terrifying thriller of the mundane. As a woman puts her baby to sleep she deals with the unrelenting drudgery known as bedtime and the continuing struggle for a good night’s sleep. As the night goes on, and weariness sets in, a secret finally comes out. A quick little read brimming with an atmosphere of dread, especially suitable for parents to read in bed at night just after getting their own baby to finally go to sleep – provided they’re okay with not getting any sleep of their own.

Get ‘Secret: A Creepy Little Bedtime Story’ here.


13
Mar 16

My New Suspense / Thriller Short Story Is Out Now!

About a month ago, I published my first short story: ‘Secret: A Creepy Little Bedtime Story.’ In the time since its release its been read by quite a few of you, and has gotten some great reviews. To follow this, I’ve decided to release a new short story on Kindle every month, and I’m happy to announce that May’s release, ‘Pretty When You Sleep,’ is available now!

Like ‘Secret,’ ‘Pretty When You Sleep’ is what I’m calling “a creepy little bedtime story.” It’s a short little piece, written as something you could read quickly before bed if you want to give yourself a chance of having a few bad dreams. It’s nonviolent, but unnerving, and I hope you like it.

Pretty When You Sleep

And if you liked my first two, be sure to keep your eyes open for April’s release. It’s called ‘Roommates’ and though not a “bedtime story” it’s still sure to make you squirm.


12
Mar 16

The Five Best Books Ever: A List

Over the past few years I’ve been making a concerted effort to dive in to a lot more “classic” literature. I’d already read a fair amount of it, mixed in with modern day thrillers and adventure stories, but until less than a year ago, I hadn’t even read a book by Steinbeck. Huxley has been a favorite of mine for quite a while, and I’ve slowly been working my way through his entire bibliography, but last year at a sale at the local library I picked up a few other books by authors like Camus and Sartre and Dostoevsky that I hadn’t touched before, and it spurred a return to the classics for me.

In High School I took a class called “AP Critical Response to Literature” and we read quite a few classics then, including ‘A Farewell to Arms,’ ‘Catch 22’ some short stories by O. Henry, and others – but due to taking this class, I also missed some of the classics everyone else reads in high school. I first read ‘Of Mice and Men’ last year, and I’ve still never read ‘To Catch a Mockingbird’ or anything by Dickens, but I’ve worked my way through quite a bit of classic literature – and as much as I love modern works, I find myself drawn more to the classics lately. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that in order to become a “classic,” a work has to be magnificent.

And so, as I stare at my to-read pile and thoughts bounce around my head for my own writing, I thought it might be a good time to share with you a list of what I consider to be the five best books ever (aka my favorite books). Bear in mind this is a totally subjective list, purely my opinion, and is also likely to change in the future as I hope I only discover even better books as time goes on. It would be a shame to have already read the best there will ever be.

#5 – ‘The Age of Reason’ by Jean-Paul Sartre

I was a Philosophy major in college, and have made my way through quite a few existential works, but ‘The Age of Reason’ was my first piece of existential fiction. It’s probably the best existential fiction I’ve read, and drew me in to reading quite a bit more, both by Sartre, as well as others – but The Age of Reason marks the high point in the genre for me. (Note: some people call a few others on my list “existential” as well, but I don’t know that they are as purely existential as this).

#4 – “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck

After finally deciding I should read ‘Of Mice and Men’ I found myself in love with Steinbeck. No one has been able to capture such honesty and simplicity in their stories like him, and as such I’ve been cranking through many of his works. Now, I’ve been focusing on his shorter ones so far, so no I haven’t read ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ or ‘East of Eden’ yet – but ‘Cannery Row’ was an utterly fantastic book. Just the story of some people living on Cannery Row, it sounds at the synopsis to be a book without a story – and it somewhat is – but that’s what makes it so believable. These characters seem real, and they are just living their lives. And those lives are told in only the way Steinbeck can tell them.

#3 – ‘As I Lie Dying’ by William Faulkner

When I first read ‘As I Lie Dying’ I hated it. I mean, I absolutely loathed it. It was hard to read, due to Faulkner’s style, and I didn’t really care all that much about the story. But I kept getting drawn back to it, and slowly, over time it somehow sunk into me. It wasn’t until several days after I finished this book, actually, that I all of a sudden fell in love. It’s a strange experience, falling in love with a book after reading it, but I liken it to those movies that stick with you long after you’ve seen them. The ones that grow on you, until you realize there was so much more going on than you ever noticed. I don’t read a lot of books twice, but I plan on going back to ‘As I Lie Dying’ sometime soon.

#2 – ‘The Genius and the Goddess’ by Aldous Huxley

Up until last fall, this was my favorite book ever. For a long time I’d actually listed ‘Brave New World’ at my number one spot, but it has since moved down the list as I’ve discovered books like this, and others on this list. ‘Island’ by Huxley is another favorite … but ‘The Genius and the Goddess’ is my favorite of all because it’s just so simply beautiful. Very short, for Huxley, it’s almost a novella and it can be read easily in one sitting. But like many others here on this list, there’s a simple sense of truth and beauty found in those pages. It’s the one book I recommend most to others, as I feel it’s not too “heavy” (like some might argue my #1 is), it’s a quick read, and it’s the best love story I’ve ever read.

#1 – ‘The Fall’ by Albert Camus

Over the last few months I’ve gone through a lot of Camus: ‘The Fall,’ ‘The Myth of Sysphus,’ ‘Exile and the Kingdom,’ ‘The Stranger’ and others (but still not ‘The Plague’). But it was when I read ‘The Fall’ that I became enamored with his work. It was my first Camus (I picked up a falling-apart paperback for less then a dollar) and it was like nothing I’d read before. Through the simple story he told, he got across the majority of his philosophy, as well as engaged the reader to think about themselves along the way. It’s the kind of work I strive to create on my own, and I can see this one staying at the top of my list of “Best Books Ever” for a long, long time.

Have you read any or all of these? What do you think are the best books ever? Did any book change your life? I’d love to find out in the comments below.


06
Mar 16

Review of ‘Tree Spiker’ by Mike Roselle


As I keep working on various short stories to break up the writing of my next novel, I have quite a few ideas on the back burner. One of them involves a radical environmentalist who gets stuck in a tight situation, and as part of that I’m doing additional research on environmental agitators and extremists.

I picked this book up at a big discount at a major retailer when I saw it in their used clearance section, hoping to get some research in to make this new character more fully fleshed out. It turns out that the book wasn’t all that useful in that vein, as Mike Roselle actually tends to stay away from the more radical / anarchist end of things than I had expected from the title. That said, it actually ended up being a pretty interesting read, as I don’t know too much other than what I’ve seen or heard in passing about those heading up the environmental movement.

Some interesting history here, and some great anecdotes – as well as some good clarification of the rationality of many of those who are leading the charge to ensure our environment is taken care of and respected. I’d recommend this to anyone who’s interested in learning more about the actual goings-on of the movement, beyond the sensationalist stories that are the ones that make the nightly news.

If you’re at all interested in the environment and what various grassroots organizations are doing and have been doing for the past 40 or so years, definitely give this one a read.

3/5 stars.


03
Mar 16

Working on Something New (Roommates)

So this new short story I’m working on (current title: Roommates) is completely crazy. I’m not quite sure where it’s going, but it’s on its way somewhere. (It’s currently slated to be the third in my series of Kindle short story thrillers).
Here’s a snippet.

I wonder, is he lonely inside? Or does he have friend like you of his own? Maybe he has other connections. Real people. Just the idea of it frightens me. Too much vulnerability with that. I tried to get you out for a while, but I failed. Then when you disappeared I was terrified. I lost you. But you were always here. Just hiding someplace new. Someplace all your own. I hope you share it with me someday.

Maybe I should share you.

I dreamed about you the other night. At least I think it was you. You were rising and expanding in my head like bread dough. I kept trying to push you back in, but no matter how much I pressed on the rising mass to push it back in, it just came out another place. Eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth. I didn’t have enough hands, so eventually I just let you expand. As you overflowed my cranium I scooped out a spoonful, ate it and let it digest. It spread throughout me, like a light to my toes and fingertips. I became one.

P.S. Here’s a bit of the music that’s “inspiring” this one.


02
Mar 16

Writing to a Soundtrack

headphones-1242530-639x426If you’re at all familiar with me, you know music plays a major part in my life. Besides working in the music industry for the past twenty years, I’m also just a huge music fan. As such, it should come as no surprise that music is a major influence on my writing.

Readers of my first novel, ‘The Trouble With Being God: A Philosophical Thriller,’ may recall that throughout that book I had footnotes marking specific songs to play at certain parts of the book. They were there as the book’s soundtrack, as well as a way to set the mood for the particular scenes. Some people loved this concept, and I think it is partly due to the fact that music can make such an immediate emotional connection – above and beyond what words or pictures alone can do.

As I’ve continued my writing, music has remained a constant part of my creative process. Everything I write is done with some specific music as my muse. Now, this doesn’t mean I always write while listening to music, or even have a specific song in mind the first time I’m writing, but overall every book or story I write has a soundtrack to it.

The process goes something like this. As I work out the structure of the novel, I look for songs that get across the specific feeling I’m trying to portray. Sometimes they’re lyrically connected as well, and from time to time the lyrics themselves will inspire the writing. As I’m working through the book I put together a playlist, and tie songs to specific story arcs and events within my book, which I think really helps out with setting pacing for a book. In the end what I’m trying to do is turn my writing into a sort of opera, with a musical score behind it that mirrors the ebb and flow of the story.

As you can see, this doesn’t mean I necessarily write with music on in the background, but I do tend to do that more often than not. The music that I’m listening to, however, isn’t always the music for the soundtrack, but sometimes it’s just something that can help me focus and block out outside noise. The music I find myself coming back to quite often as my background “get into writing mode” music usually has somewhat minimal lyrics, and focuses much more on sound. Artists like Beach House and Sigur Ros are quite popular for me lately in this usage. (In particular, the Beach House ‘Depression Cherry‘ album was pretty much on repeat while I did the actual writing for ‘A Confession.’)

So, while music does play a key part in my process, it serves different purposes for me. In structuring story and pacing, I find music to be extraordinarily helpful. Oftentimes I’ll find myself with a certain song and think “I need the writing to feel like this.” For example, the song ‘Diminished’ by R.E.M. was hugely influential in the actual feeling for A Confession. I didn’t write to it much, but I did listen to it before specific scenes to help get my mind in the right place for what I was attempting to accomplish.

As ‘A Confession’ gets closer to publication I’ll be sure to share more about the song selections behind the “playlist” for the book. But beyond just being a playlist, the songs each do tie in to specific sections of the book. I’ve yet to decide if I’ll include this in the final printed book like I did in ‘The Trouble with Being God,’ but I thought you all might find it interesting nonetheless.

If you’re a writer, do you use music to aid in your creative process? Do you need to work in silence? Tell me. I’m extraordinarily curious.