Monday, June 26, 2017

Listen to Me on Amber Love's VODKA O'CLOCK Podcast!

My friend and fellow writer Amber Love was kind enough to invite me on her podcast Vodka O' Clock for the second time recently, and it was a blast! We talked about being a writer in your forties and some of the challenges that come along with it.  You can grab the episode on iTunes or Stitcher, or listen right on Amber's site here.

You should also check out Amber's Patreon, which helps support the show.

AND, Amber just released the third book in her Farrah Wethers series, Miscarriage of Justice. The book is available on Amazon right now and you can get it here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Spring Cleaning in Preparation for Camp NaNo

Camp NaNoWriMo starts in less than two weeks, and boy do I need it. I have really struggled to get any momentum going with my writing lately.

This past year has been a challenge for me, for a variety of reasons. And I've spent more time thinking about writing than actually writing in the past few months. And despite the factors in my personal and work life that have affected my writing time, my current lack of production is a problem of my own making.

See, I've allowed my writing life to become too cluttered. Quite simply, I have too many book projects in various stages of production. I got away from the creative process that had worked for me in the past, which was very simple. I never focused on more than two book projects at a time, and I never focused on more than one during the drafting stage. When I moved into final edits for the first project, I could start digging more into the creative process for the second project. But when it came to the initial writing, I stayed in the headspace of one project at a time.

Currently, I have three books and a novella written and in various stages of edits and rewrites. A fourth book is about a third of the way drafted, and a handful of other projects are in the outlining and planning stages. On the one hand, that's a positive, because I have lots of exciting things to work on for the next year or two. But for me personally, splitting my focus between too many book projects has resulted in me not making headway on any of them. And so I have been doing some spring cleaning as far as my writing. I am bringing my focus back to where it belongs--on getting the books I have already written polished and released.

So, my focus for the remainder of 2017 is on getting two book projects that are already in the editing stages finished and out the door.

The first is Haunted, the second book in the Woodsview Murders series that I co-write with my good friend Jolene Haley. We are deep into edits on this book, and I am beyond excited to share it. Jolene and I love this series.

The second project I'll be focusing on until its release is Chasing the King in Yellow, a Parted Veil series novella. This book follows the cast of Courting the King in Yellow, and shows what they've been up to during the events of Lovecraft's Curse and Lovecraft's Pupil. I am in the early stages of revisions now on this one.

So, those two projects are what I'm focusing on until they are released. Specifically for Camp NaNo I'll be working on edits and rewrites for Chasing the King in Yellow.

As far as non-book projects, I've still got Secret Identity, Co-Op Critics, Thrash it Out and the See Brian Write sites and podcasts to keep me busy. And I'll be sharing big news about one of those in the very near future. I also have a couple posts a month over at the Midnight Society (my most recent one was about Creepshow). I'll be posting weekly here as well, and next week's post will be about reclaiming my writing time, which is something the past year has wreaked havoc with.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mr. Big Rocked the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den on 6/9

I went to see Mr. Big at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den on Friday night and they were fantastic. Seeing Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert play live was so great.

Their original drummer Pat Torpey has Parkinson's Disease and cannot fully play anymore, but he is still very involved with the band and helped create their new album. On Friday night, Pat joined the band on stage for most of the set, playing tambourine, singing background vocals and even taking the kit for a couple songs.

It was awesome. Here's the setlist:

Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)
Alive and Kickin'
Just Take My Heart
Take Cover
Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
Everybody Needs a Little Trouble
Price You Gotta Pay
Guitar Solo (Paul Gilbert)
Take a Walk
Wild World (Cat Stevens cover)
Around the World
Bass Solo (Billy Sheehan)
Addicted to That Rush
To Be With You
Colorado Bulldog

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

David Lynch Inspires the Hell Out of Me

This is not a post about Twin Peaks.

Well, maybe a tiny bit. Let's just say that I am a big fan of Twin Peaks and the first four episodes of the new series have been beyond my wildest expectations.

But this post is really about the man behind Twin Peaks--David Lynch. Because every time I experience something Lynch has created, or listen to him talk about creativity, it inspires the hell out of me.

Just watch this brief clip of him talking about ideas:

Beautiful right? And it's exactly how I feel about ideas, too. They are never fully formed when they come to me, just a small piece. I usually call my process "letting an idea marinate," where I let the idea just float in my mind and become flavored with other, ideas, events, emotions, etc. I scribble down notes and record voice messages when other bits and pieces come to me. And when that original idea has marinated to the point hat it's become something I can build on, I take it back out and start working on it.

This past weekend I read Lynch's book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. And it proved to be a great reminder of something that I think I had lost track of--staying true to the idea.

Lynch talked about this in relation to a lot of outside interference regarding the movie Dune. The gist is basically that the idea is what matters most, and you have to follow that. You shouldn't stray from your idea to fit into someone else's box, or because you think that's what other people might want or like. You have to stay true to the idea.

I think it's very easy for creators to get pulled away from their original ideas, especially when they try to anticipate what people will want to read, or what they think will be successful. You convince yourself that "this is too weird," or "I need to add this to my story," or "I need to fit my story into this genre." Or you let other people tell you that you need to change your story.

Because we are our own worst critics, it can be easy to get pulled away from our original ideas. But more often than not, when that happens, we are less than satisfied with the end product. The stories I am most proud of are not my always my most popular ones, but they are the ones where I stayed true to that first, special kernel of an idea that beckoned me to follow it.

To bring things back around to Twin Peaks, I am so incredibly thankful that we are getting 18 episodes of pure, unfiltered David Lynch. I don't care what the critics think of it. I don't even care what everyone else thinks of it. I'm just glad it exists.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Come See Me at Broad Brook Comic Con 5/21!

Another month, another great local show! This Sunday (5/21) I'll be in Broad Brook Connecticut at the first annual Broad Brook Comic Con! The show will be at 98 Main Street from 11-5, and will feature writers, artists, vendors and more, and it's only $5 to get in!

Of course, I'll have copies of my Parted Veil books with me, as well as the second edition of Making Ear Candy, featuring a gorgeous new cover from my pal Chris Giarrusso.

So if you're in the Broad Brook area on Sunday, come down to the show and say hi!