Jun 26, 2012

Interview with the Vampire Writer, Bigfoot Hunters Trailer, & more

Hey all! Here's my version of a blog post buffet.

It's a combination of a quick "I'm not dead" post combined with a whole lot of coolness I'd like to share.

In short, today has been filled with all sorts of awesome.  Who'd a thought it for a Tuesday?

For starters, I'm currently featured over at the awesome Paranormal Book Beat site. I'm there to discuss my favorite undead geek, Bill The Vampire, as well as my unhealthy Transformers obsession.

Next up, I'm running an ad in my hometown paper for my horror / adventure novel, Bigfoot Hunters. If you're in central NJ, be sure to grab a copy.

But wait, it gets better.  Beth Lynn Lynne and her fabulous team at BZ Hercules have put together this kickin trailer for Bigfoot Hunters. It's my very first book trailer and I dare say they did a wonderful job with it.  I for one can't wait for the movie.  :)

Like free stuff?  Well my very first book, The Poptart Manifesto, a collection of humorous short stories - and the namesake of this website - will be FREE Wednesday through the end of this week.  June 27 - July 1.  If you haven't read anything of mine yet, it's not a bad way to get introduced to my style. See how my journey into writing began and get some insight into the wackiness that came before my novels.

Finally, and perhaps coolest of all, my latest novel, The Mourning Woods, is back from the editor! It's all polished and nearly ready to go.  That means it's only a matter of time before I put a bow on it and get it out there. Bill the vampire's story is about to continue and believe me, this is his wildest adventure yet.

All in all a kick-ass day to be a writer!  I hope yours is going just as fine.

Jun 14, 2012

Repeat Performance Anxiety

Ah, performance anxiety.  So many people suffer from it.  Not me, though!  When the lights go off I am Hector tamer of horses.  I am Thor God of Thunder.  I am Godzilla stomping through...well ok, what I really am is full of shit.  Fortunately, I’m not talking about THAT kind of performance.  What?  Do I look like Dr. Ruth to you?  Go work out your sexual issues on your own time.  We’re here to discuss writing.

More specifically, I’m talking about something I see a lot of on Twitter, FB, and blogs.  It’s the flip side of the “Can I really finish this?” question that I think almost all beginning writers ask themselves, namely...”Can I do this AGAIN?”

It doesn’t really matter how you got there the first time.  No doubt, some of you had that first story idea pop into your head only to watch it practically spew itself onto the paper within a month or two. Conversely, I bet there are also plenty who put years and years into that first effort. In that case, it wasn’t so much a book as it was a lifestyle change. Regardless of the effort, though, there comes a time when it’s finally out there. You’ve done it.  You’ve finally finished your labor of love what? 

I’m sure some people are content at this point. Having said what that came to say, they move on to the next challenge that life presents. Those of us with the writing bug, however, may find ourselves wondering if we have it in us to do it again.  Even worse, we might find ourselves doubting that we do.

Personally, I think this is only natural.  While logic seems to dictate that whatever can be done once can probably be done again, our insecurities are always there to make us wonder if that first time was just an aberration or maybe beginner’s luck.

Having just finished up my fifth book (and fourth full length novel), I will caution that if you have this anxiety it never ever really goes away.  The good news is that eventually it just becomes part of the routine and little more than background noise. 

What starts off as an, “Oh god, what if I don’t have another book in me!?” panic, in time will turn into a, “Hmm, I wonder if that last book was it. Oh well, best start writing and find out,” challenge.

Thus, my advice is simple: relax.  Rather than freak out, remember what you did to climb that summit the first time.  Bring all the same supplies, plus a few extras from the lessons you learned the first time.  Then sit down and give it a try.  Deep down you probably already know you can do it. Likewise, you know that fretting about it won’t get the job done.  So do what you did before: plot, outline, characterize, etc...and then sit down and write the damn thing!

The beauty of doing this is that you will definitely learn whether or not that first time is a fluke. If it is, it is. Sometimes we have a passion that once spent cannot be rekindled.  Don’t feel bad about it.  Rejoice in that you were able to accomplish what so many never will.  You’ve climbed that mountain.  Take a little bit of time to enjoy the view from the top.

That being said; if you are able to conquer that daunting peak again, you can be sure of one thing: once might be luck, but twice means you DEFINITELY can do it over and over again, no matter what your silly hang-ups tell you. If so, get back to writing! I expect to see a lot more stories from you in the future.

Jun 10, 2012

A (not so) horrifying ghost story

So being that I have been known to write in the horror genre (allegedly at least), I’ve been thinking I should maybe...I don’t know...occasionally blog about something horrific.

What to write about, though? Taxes? Nah, too scary. My ingrown toenail? Definitely not!  Aha!  Ghosts!  There’s nothing quite like the classics.

So where to begin? Once upon!  It was a dark and stormy night...nope, nothing there either.  A long time ago in a...err...galaxy...oh screw it!

*sigh* Unfortunately, I just don’t have all that many horrifying ghost stories. Growing up, my parents claimed our house was haunted, but I never really noticed our walls bleeding or anything.  I’ve had a few spooky encounters over the years, but nothing that sent me screaming towards the local exorcist.  In fact, the longest haunting I ever experienced was pretty darn benign.  That being said, maybe I’ll put a spooky title to the tale just to help set the mood.  If it helps, assume I didn’t make it out of this alive... 

The Apartment of Infernal Apocalyptic Evil from Which There was No escape!

AKA: The Ghost Cat.

Before getting married, I lived in a single bedroom apartment. While not exactly a luxury abode, it was a pretty good place. The rent was ok, the neighbors were quiet, there was a cute girl who lived downstairs from me, etc etc. There was just one bit of oddness about the place...shadows.  No, not ordinary shadows. Those don’t frighten me...well not much anyway.  From the time I moved in, I always saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  I had several friends likewise comment on this bit of weirdness.  A few of them even refused to come over afterwards...although this latter part might have had more to do with the small army of inflatable Godzillas I kept in my living room (don’t ask!).

All in all, though, this didn’t bother me much.  While I have always been fascinated by the paranormal, I always look for a logical explanation first and the thing with shadows is that they can usually be explained. In short, it wasn't that big of a deal for me because I was always sure it was either all in my head or one of those aforementioned rational explanations.

At least I was.  One night I was home alone (a tragedy in of itself).  I was sitting in my living room reading.  It was late, so most of the lights in the apartment were on. At one point, I looked up from my book and saw it.  A dark mass was directly in the middle of my living room about three feet away from me.  It was small and low to the ground.  As I watched, it moved across the room until it disappeared into the bathroom. After sitting there for a moment wondering if I had really seen it (and questioning my sanity), I got up and went to investigate. As can be expected, there was nothing there.

So you’re probably wondering what I did next.  I’ll tell you.

I went back to reading.

Here's the thing; it didn't freak me out.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  See, having finally gotten a good look at it, I immediately came up with a theory.  All of the movement I had ever seen in that apartment had been small in size, quick, and usually low to the ground, much like what I had just witnessed.  Therein was the key.

The complex I lived in pet theory at least.  That being said, nearly everyone else there owned a cat.  I was literally surrounded on all sides by cat owners.  I couldn’t even use the balcony of my apartment because my next door neighbors had a cat that hated me (that’s OK...we had an unspoken rule. I didn’t complain about their cat, they tolerated me watching horror movies with the volume cranked up). 

You can probably see where this is leading. My theory: whoever lived there before me had probably owned a cat which had passed away at some point.  When they moved the cat, not knowing any better (because, hey, it’s just a cat) had simply stayed behind to be adopted by it’s new owner, me.

I lived there for a while longer and saw the “cat” several more times after that.  Everything was fine until the fateful night that...well ok, everything was fine period.  The cat never bothered me and eventually I just moved.

I know, not exactly the traumatic story you were hoping for.  Alas, I have never been afraid of living cats.  Thus I see no real reason to be afraid of dead ones.  The end.

Anticlimactic no?

So how about you?  I love a good ghost story, scary or not.  If you have one to share, I’d love to hear it.

Jun 3, 2012

An Open Letter to the Future

This past weekend I found myself doing one of my least favorite tasks: mowing my lawn.  Sadly, it’s one of those necessities of home least until such time as I just pave the damn thing completely over (one can dream, can’t one?)

So there I was, pushing my gas-powered, pollution-belching blades of mowing death, when suddenly I found myself feeling guilty.  No, it wasn’t because I had accidentally chopped up my wife’s flowers...again.  It was because I realized that I was wasting precious resources and dumping all sorts of toxins into the atmosphere...and for what?  Is it really worth raping of the planet just so that my family and I can walk around on the lawn without being harassed by snakes, ticks, and whatever other god-forsaken creatures live in the tall grass?

But that got me thinking (warning: this is usually a bad thing).

It seems we go out of our way an awful lot for the sake of the future.  We torment ourselves, we browbeat others, and we spend far beyond our means all so that our unborn generations can have their futuristic utopias.

You know what...fuck that!

This is America, the land of Capitalism.  You know what that means; it’s all about give and take.  I give something and I expect to get something in return.  Yet here I am, giving myself a guilt trip (and no doubt erasing several years off my life from the stress) with little or no expectation of a return investment.  Sure, you could argue that my children’s’ children shall reap the benefits.  That’s all fine and well for them, but I’m kinda stuck living in the here and now.  I’m not so sure I care to work hard just so that some great great great grandchild can have a sense of entitlement.

So I’ve decided no more of that. Just like I don’t care to spoil my own children, I prefer to do the same for my future spawn.  In short, they need to earn it. How so? Well, I’m a fair person.  I don’t require a lot.  Thus, I offer this deal for any descendents who happen to be reading this: I’ll do my part to keep this world pristine and, in return, I only ask for one be rebuilt as an indestructible cyborg.  Simple, no?  While this may be daunting right now, I’m sure it’s little more than a trip to the corner store for whatever future Gualtieris are looking at this on their holo-vids.

Just to keep it fair, I shall hold off on further environmental endeavors until such time as I get a message affirming the deal from whatever chrono-version of Fedex happens to still be around 1000 years from now.  It’s ok, I’ll wait.

If the answer is no or, worse yet, the lazy bums are too busy exploring the galaxy to answer me (which I shall assume is also a no), then I say this to the future generation: suck it!  Have fun fighting off the Morlocks from your rapidly disintegrating biodomes.  See if I care!

ps: If whatever descendents happen to be viewing this are doing so while mining spice and fighting off sand worms on a distant desert planet, the deal’s off.  No offense, but you’re probably all boring dipshits and I’d rather stay dead.

ps ps: If a different future comes to pass, let me just say this now...Get your stinking hands off my corpse, you damn dirty apes!**

** Unless you’re planning on rebuilding me in that cyborg body I mentioned earlier.