Well Hello 2018…Gonna Be A Better Year?

Well hey there 2018, how’s by you? I’m really hoping you’ll be better than 2017, but so far you’re not impressing me. You started by dumping a bunch of snow on us, and then…well, we all know living in Connecticut can be cold, but this was just stupid.

Okay, let’s be honest: 2017 wasn’t THAT bad. Sure, if you read the news more than once you’ve probably pulled most of your hair out in amazement at the level of stupidity that’s captured our collective attention, but…well, if this was a sitcom we’d all be laughing our asses off right now, yeah? Sadly, it’s not. 

But, in better news I DID manage to publish a couple things. I had a novella in the fantastic second volume of Books and Boos Press’ The Terror Project, Three on a Match. Nestled between two incredible novellas by Kristi Petersen Schoonover and Melissa Crandall is my bank robbery story All’s Well That Ends. From the promotional material:

In this harkening to classic pulp and grindhouse, police officer Angel Lewis has problems—with anger management, a frustrated and distant wife, a precocious daughter…and bourbon. The one thing he doesn’t have a problem with is busting baddies—until a typical call turns into a shocking bloodbath, and he discovers that one of those baddies has been holding more than just a grudge. As everything Angel’s ever believed is shattered, will he be forced to make an unenviable choice?

It’s a real honor to be part of the Terror Project, and if you haven’t checked it out you can get it here on paperback and here for Kindle. For you Kindle Unlimited folks, it’s totally free! Okay, not free…you pay for the service, and it’s included with the service so you’re technically paying to read it along with the thousands and thousands of other books available, but…yeah just go read it. Don’t be scared to also check out Volume 1, Triplicity. I had the pleasure of writing the foreword and can honestly say all three stories kick ass.

Also in 2017 I managed to finally — FINALLY! — publish my submarine novel Under A Sea of Red Foam. This just came out in November from Severed Press, and if you haven’t checked it out but have an interest in submarines, profanity, and oceanic horror you should check it out. Plus, there’s profanity. Lots. From the jacket:

When the nuclear submarine USS Alexandria crashes into the destroyer INS Lahore, the collision nearly brings both ships to the bottom of the Red Sea. The crew save their submarine, but find a derelict destroyer with a lone survivor, piles of bodies, and a tale they can barely comprehend. Petty Officer Rodriguez must work with Lahore survivor Dinesh as they head for a mysterious island hidden in the middle of nowhere that draws the submarine to its shores. They must survive long enough to explore the island, discover its deepest darkest secrets, and hope there are enough sailors left to somehow escape with their lives … and their sanity.

I worked on this book for 10 years (no shit). The original outline was written in my green book while at sea on the USS Alexandria…in 2007. I have no idea why it took me so long, but I’m really glad it’s done and I hope you’ll check it out. You can get it here on paperback and here for Kindle. Again: for those who have it, it’s included with your Kindle Unlimited plan.

So what’s in store for 2018? Oh yes, it’s that time of year. Time for planning all the fantastic things I want to accomplish even though I know I’ll be lucky to manage half of them but that’s not stopping me from writing them down and going for it!

Without further ado, here are my 2018 goals:

First off (because I’ve already done this) I’d like to join a writer’s group. I’ve always been slow with writing, but learned that I actually CAN write in a more reasonable time frame when I have deadlines (I wrote the above-mentioned All’s Well That Ends in one month, because I had a deadline). My hope is I’ll get more written when I have a group of like-minded individuals to answer to.

Next, I want to finish my two novellas-in-progress. They are Return to Camp Hollybrook and the next book featuring Celery Hand Duran (currently untitled). My goal is to have them both completed and published for Kindle, AND to combine them with the first books in two dual-story paperbacks (CH with RTCH and CHD with CHD2, you dig?). If you’re the Kindle-type, you can already get Camp Hollybrook here and Celery Hand Duran here. If you’re the paperback type, my goal is to get them in your well-manicured (or grubby little) hands this year.

Third, I’m thinking I might maybe publish another short story collection? I don’t know about that yet. They don’t tend to sell well, so I’m not sure if it’d even be worth the effort. However, I do have an ass-ton of shorts waiting to be published, so I might do it just because I love them and want to release them to the world. We’ll see about that one.

Lastly, and most current since I’m sitting in front of my computer with drum edits just one monitor away…

Finish my first damn album. I’ve got ten tracks in my DAW. All drum tracks are recorded and half of them are edited. I want to have them all edited within the next couple weeks and start recording bass tracks by the end of the month. February will be guitars and keys, and whenever those are done I’ll be editing bass/guitar/keys for probably a couple months before starting on vocals. The timeline gets a little fuzzy from there, but I can’t see not having everything at least mixed by summer. More on this as I get further along, including some preview samples heading to YouTube.

Okay, one bonus “in case I have time”: Stripped is in the process of a new edit, new cover, and a re-release this year. That’s if I have time. But seriously, I love that book. I’m totally gonna do it. More on that later. For now, this post has gotten too long. I really should have split it up into two. If you’re still here…Thank you! There’s much more to come in 2018, so here’s to a great year for all of us!

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Under A Sea Of Red Foam

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Greetings Internet! For a few years now I’ve been talking about this mysterious “submarine novel” that one day would actually be done and published…Well guess what? It is.

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I am more than pleased to present Under a Sea of Red Foam:

When the nuclear submarine USS Alexandria crashes into the destroyer INS Lahore, the collision nearly brings both ships to the bottom of the Red Sea. The crew save their submarine, but find a derelict destroyer with a lone survivor, piles of bodies, and a tale they can barely comprehend. Petty Officer Rodriguez must work with Lahore survivor Dinesh as they head for a mysterious island hidden in the middle of nowhere that draws the submarine to its shores. They must survive long enough to explore the island, discover its deepest darkest secrets, and hope there are enough sailors left to somehow escape with their lives … and their sanity.

Under a Sea of Red Foam is available in paperback and Kindle. It’s published by the folks at Severed Press, who publish all manner of monsters, dinosaurs, military, sci-fi and apocalyptic fiction. Check out their website. I’m certain you’ll find something that makes you think Damn, I need to read that.

Oh yeah, and I should probably warn you. I spent 12 years in the US submarine service, and the saying “curse like a sailor” is more than just a saying. I wrote the dialogue just like we used to talk to each other, so if you’re easily offended…well let’s just say “fuck” is in there 354 times. And there’s plenty of mom jokes. Because mom jokes never go out of style….

And in case my obvious links weren’t obvious enough, you can buy it here: CLICK ME!

Three On A Match!

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Greetings Internet. On this fine September day (September 5th, to be exact), the fantastic three-novella collection Three On A Match is finally available! It’s truly an honor to be a part of it.

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From the write up:

PLAY WITH MATCHES AND YOU’LL LIKELY GET BURNED. In Three on a Match, the second book in the Terror Project series, you’ll find not everybody makes it out alive. SPLENDID CHYNA by Kristi Petersen Schoonover – Cece’s hoping for a fresh start for her and her family when she moves to Kissimmee, but soon terrifying visions, strange artifacts, and her daughter’s erratic behavior prove that some dark secrets can’t be left behind. Although she’s done with the past, it’s not done with her—and she may be doomed to repeat it. ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS by g. Elmer Munson – Harkening back to classic pulp and grindhouse, police officer Angel Lewis has problems—with anger management, a frustrated and distant wife, a precocious daughter . . . and bourbon. The one thing he doesn’t have a problem with is busting baddies—until a typical call turns into a shocking bloodbath, and he discovers one of those bad guys has been holding more than just a grudge. THICKER THAN WATER by Melissa Crandall – Cora has secrets: her heart aches for her husband at sea; a young man is relentless in his unwelcome attention; she’s a witch, and her burgeoning daughter will be, too. Before long, there is vicious gossip, slaughtered livestock . . . and a witch hunter arrives. Cora insists she’s innocent, but will enough evidence be brought forth that even she begins to wonder? “Spooky, sinister, spine-tingling: these three keep-you-up-all-night tales of horror by Kristi Petersen Schoonover, g. Elmer Munson, and Melissa Crandall have it all!” ~ Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of THE TWIN’S DAUGHTER “THREE ON A MATCH is a frightening menagerie of horror that offers a shocking blend of well-crafted tales to keep you up at night. My imagination was fueled by this nail-biting collection!” ~ Patrick Rea, Director of NAILBITER and ARBOR DEMON

You can check out the Three On A Match book trailer here.

This is the second in the Books and Boos Press trilogy of trilogies, The Terror Project. The first book, Triplicity, features stories from Stacey Longo, Tony Tremblay, and Rob Smales. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Triplicity and writing the foreward, and I can tell you that all three stories truly deliver. I like to think Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Melissa Crandall, and I did the series justice by following Triplicity up the right way. With how incredible the first two books have come together, I can’t wait for the third book to be released some time in 2018. Of course, before then you should totally read the first two.

Maybe now. Go ahead, the puppy videos can wait.

I Totally Read (And Loved) These Books!

Recently I talked about a bad experience with an anthology of short stories. If you didn’t read that post you can read it here or just read this tl;dr – it sucked. Moving on.

To make up for that, I’m going to leave reviews for the three most recent short story anthologies/collections I’ve read. Not because I want to make myself feel better for not finishing the other book, but because these were all incredibly awesome and worthy of a bit of praise. Without further ado, and in the order I finished them, on to the reviews!

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Madhouse is a shared-world anthology from Dark Regions Press. It includes stories from Jeff Strand, John Skipp, and Mercedes Yardley among others. The basic premise is this: a bunch of people (inmates and non-inmates) get trapped in an asylum because of a crazy-ass sandstorm. Along with them is a super creepy (and also crazy-ass) inmate who everyone thinks is magical. Either that or he is magical. Or both…you never can tell with these things. Anyway, there is a wraparound story that follows a doctor and a security guard interspersed with individual stories about various inmates and how they fit into the larger wraparound story. Make sense? Good.

I’ve read more than a few shared-world anthologies and I’m generally a fan. The downside is there’s always (yes always) at least a story or two that either doesn’t fit in with the wraparound story or the writing style is so vastly different that it feels out of place. That’s the case in Madhouse, but even with that being stated, for me this is easily the best one I’ve read. The stories are all well written and engaging, they all move the story along toward conclusion, and none of them felt like a throwaway tale. Plus, as with most Dark Regions titles, the artwork is excellent.

It was difficult for me to pick favorites because all the stories (more or less) feed into the larger narrative of the shared world. Some could survive as stand-alone tales, I’m sure, but I feel the book is better treated as a whole. All in all this is a fantastic book well worth the read, especially if you like your horror a bit on the crazy side. You know, because it’s an asylum? With crazy people? Ahem, moving on….

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Stacey Longo’s Secret Things is a short story collection published through Books and Boos Press. It’s big on character and even bigger on tone. It’s not often that I read an entire collection that maintains such a dark, almost uncomfortable feel without being outright graphic horror. The stories in Secret Things exude a sense of loss, pain, even sadness. Many deal with interpersonal relationships that have gone bad…or worse. It’s a sobering reminder that relationships can bring out the crazy in all of us.

Highlights for me include the zombie love story Love Stinks and the snowpocalypse tale Trapped, with the creepy-ass cemetery visit of Mother’s Day being my favorite. Secret Things is one of the most consistent collections I’ve read in a long time, if not ever. I have nothing bad to say about any of the stories, as they all deserve their place in this fantastic collection. Plus, many are set in her (and my) home state of Connecticut, which is pretty damn cool.

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I had high expectations for Taylor Grant’s The Dark At The End Of The Tunnel. The collection was published by Cemetery Dance (ebook) and Crystal Lake Publishing (print) and it was recently nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (as was the included short story The Infected). Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback, I picked up a copy. It’s an understatement to say I was not disappointed, as reading this book is an impressive experience. It doesn’t read like an author’s debut collection, rather it feels like a master who has honed his craft through years of experience. It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s been writing in various other forms of entertainment for years, and yes, he’s had short stories published before, but this is his first book (first of many, I truly hope).

Highlights for me include…hell, all of them, with Show And Tell being not only my favorite story in the collection, but quite possibly my favorite short story of all time. That’s saying a lot considering how long I’ve been reading horror fiction. I’m glad I got a paper copy of the book, because I found myself actually gripping the pages on more than one occasion. I don’t think my Kindle would have appreciated that. The book is that good. No shit.

 
This is how it’s done, folks. These three collections are all fantastic in their own right, yet different enough to take you on completely different journeys that will entertain, frighten, amuse, and just plain creep you out. Links are embedded in the text above, but here they are once again because they all deserve a read.

Madhouse on Amazon

Secret Things on Amazon

The Dark At The End Of The Tunnel on Amazon

I Stopped Reading! (this one book)

So this week I felt compelled to stop reading a book.

“Who cares?” you may be asking. Well, I care. I hate when it happens, and not just because I know how much effort goes into the process of creating a finished product. In this case we’re talking about a multi-author short story collection with some “big small press” names attached, and I was really looking forward to reading it. Plus, I spent money on it.

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It’s been in my “to read” queue for a while and I finally decided it was time. According to my kindle, I made it to 32% before quitting. Half of that time was slow and painful (it took me a few weeks just to get that far!). So why did I stop?

Was it poorly written? Not at all, this is a collection of fine authors, some of whose work I’ve read and enjoyed in the past.

Was it poorly edited? Sloppily put together? Nope. It was published by a reputable (and at the time fairly well-known) small press…that’s no longer in business for some odd reason….

So why did I stop? It crossed my number 1 red line: —————– It’s boring.

I’ve read bad stories that were still entertaining in their own way. I’ve read books where the editing wasn’t great (although it’s a HUGE turnoff for me), because a good enough story can shine through a sloppy presentation. I’ve read stories that made little to no sense but still loved because they were a fun read (I’m looking at you, Bizarro writers!). But one thing I just can’t stand is a boring story.

Books are entertainment. Sleep is not. I pay for books because they entertain me. I don’t pay for sleep because I don’t want to sleep (it takes away from fun time). If I find myself bored to sleep by the very thing that’s supposed to stimulate my mind and make me want to read more, well…that’s the very definition of THIS BOOK SUCKS as far as I’m concerned.

Did I really write this entire post just to complain about a boring book? No. I did it as a caution to writers the world over. Even your perfectly plotted and immaculately edited word-child can fail miserably if you don’t add the one thing that draws in a reader – excitement. Sure, there are exceptions (someone has to read boring-ass literary fiction, am I right?), but as far as this reader goes, bore me and I’ll stop reading.

And do you think I’ll ever be back? With all the incredible books still to be read, you think I’ll take another chance?

Yeah. Hold your breath for that….

Congratulations to Books & Boos Press!

Big Congrats to the folks at Books & Boos Press. Their collection Tricks & Treats was recently named Best Anthology in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2016!

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I’m honored to have my story What About That Daughter Of Yours? share the pages with such an incredibly talented group of classic and modern authors, all from the great state of Connecticut. If you haven’t checked out Tricks & Treats, don’t be scared! After all, there’s no better judge than your fellow readers.

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Tired of 2016 Politics?

Join the club, we’re all tired! So…….

Politics, politics, politics. There we go, got that out of our systems, yeah?

Wait, it’s still stuck in that cranium of yours? Well don’t fear…I’ve got something to take your mind off things. This Tuesday, November 8th (that’s tomorrow, if you’re reading this on the post day), All three Kindle volumes of Tales From The Underground will be totally free.

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I know I can’t wait to stop thinking about this batshit insane political cycle, so I’m going to spend election night engrossed in some serious editing. Got a submarine novel to (finally) release, don’t ya know? I thought I’d share the love and give away something to help you pass the time as well. I bet you could have all three volumes read before we even have election results, and you would have something better to do than stare at CNN (or whatever your preferred news bias) for hours listening to the same assholes argue about the same opinions and make predictions that will likely change like the weather. Or not. Nothing’s been very clear this cycle. Throw your hands up like the rest of us….

Instead of all that mess, I give you fifteen stories of monsters, serial killers, zombies, pissed off cats, creepy dolls, and a little bit of insanity for good measure. Plus some other stuff.

Volume 1 can be found here. Volume 2 can be found here. Volume 3-Z can be found here.

The paperback compilation is not free, but if you prefer reading a physical book you can of course find that here.

Of course, nothing’s really free, right? So I do ask for something in return: if you’re an American, please remember to vote. I don’t care who you vote for, honestly. That’s your business, and I respect it. But as a veteran it means a lot to know you’re you’re making your voice heard. Not everyone in the world has that right, and lots of folks have died defending it. Family. Friends. Good people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for something we all take for granted. Yes, that’s a bit dramatic, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

If you’re not an American, no worries…I’ve got much love for all! The promotion is for election day here in the U.S., but it’s free November 8th no matter where in the world you are. 

If you enjoy Tales, perhaps some of you would do me the honor of a review. It doesn’t take very long, but it does mean a lot to us indie writers. I hope you’ll give Tales From The Underground a shot, and I truly hope you get out and vote.

I’ll see you on the flip side….

Meet Duran!

Greetings Internet…I’d like to introduce you to someone…

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Meet Duran. Duran’s a dick. He’s a self-absorbed asshole who’s hatred for humanity is balanced only by his love of pornography. Also, one of his hands is made of celery. Not just any celery, but a mutated-yet-functional growth that gives him a telepathic link to celery. All celery, even the Vegemasters, a vegetable army that works for The Mother; an army that is set on destroying anything that doesn’t come from the ground. With the help of the Vegetable Annihilation Group (V.A.G.) and many (many!) hours of masturbation, hopefully Duran will be “up” to the task.

Advance praise for Celery Hand Duran:

“This is easily the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever written” – The Author

“What the hell is wrong with you?” – The Trusted Reader

“Dear God, why?” – The Editor

Coming Friday, October 28th for Kindle…just in time to be offended this Halloween!

Seriously though, I’m not kidding. This is some pretty offensive shit. Mom, you might want to skip this one….

Upcoming releases and shenanigans

Greetings Internet!

Happy October,I hope your autumn has been just lovely so far. I’ve been pretty busy enjoying the weather and getting some new things done. But, let’s start with a plug for Camp Hollybrook:

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“A gory, fun-filled creature feature romp. There’s nothing pretentious about this one—just enjoy the splattery ride!” — Jeff Strand, author of DWELLER

Have you read it? Amazon tells me quite a few of you have, but to date there’s only one review. Big thanks to the reviewer, but if you have a few seconds I’d love it if you’d leave one as well. It means way more to indie authors than you could imagine. Unless of course you’re an indie author. Then you get it. Much love.

If you haven’t read it, check it out! There’s camping, swimming, hiking, butts, and a Bigfoot on a murderous rampage. What’s not to love? It’s available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Oh yeah, it’s kind of funny too. In a sick sort of way. Like me. Ahem….

Speaking of funny:

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Celery Hand Duran is edited and formatted, the cover will be revealed next week, and it will be released October 28th. That’s coming up soon! Celery Hand Duran is easily the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever written. That’s even the first blurb I received!

“Easily the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever written.” — the author

It’s my first bizarro book and I’m really looking forward to releasing Duran on an unsuspecting world. I just hope the world is ready for him…. More info next week when I post the cover.

In other news, I have a new novella finished (told you I’ve been busy!). I’m pretty excited because it marks my return to reality-based horror in the vein of Stripped. There’s no monsters, magic, beasties, or vicious vegetables. Just people. Bad people. And guns. Lots of them. And a bank. Well, what’s left of one. And of course profanity. Because you know…

F**k.

As-yet untitled, I’ll have more info on this novella soon.  

Shifting gears a bit: Things are moving along on my music project. I’ve got scratch tracks for 15 original songs, but I’m shooting to narrow that down to 10-12, depending on time. That may also include one cover, I’m not sure yet. I’ll figure that out when everything is recorded and I pick the final set.

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Once I’m done editing the new novella I’m going to start tracking drums and move on from there. I may post a snippet here for fun, who knows? I’m really hoping for a spring 2017 release, so it’s going to be a busy winter. More to follow on that.

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That’s all the news for now, check me next week for the Celery Hand Duran cover, and don’t be scared to pick it up on the 28th!

New Collection of Tricks And Treats!

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This week saw the release of Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors. Released by Books and Boos Press, it includes classics and modern tales alike.

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From the Amazon Page:

Some of Connecticut’s finest authors—from the eighteen hundreds through today—showcase their spookiest tales in this collection. Discover some lesser-known works from literary greats Twain, Gilman, Stowe, and Brainard, and chilling stories from contemporary authors Crandall, Foley, Longo, Munson, Schoonover, Strong, and Valeri. This collection will make you proud to be a Nutmegger. “Connecticut authors, you scare the hell out of me, but I grow to love you—more and more, with every creepy tale.” ~ From the foreword by Rob Watts, author of AMERICANA and THE CROOKED ROADS THROUGH CEDAR GROVE

The book is now available in both print and kindle versions. You can also check out the book trailer here.

With fall and Halloween fast approaching, don’t be scared to check this one out!