Monday, July 6, 2015

Panel Alert! I'll Be Hosting a Podcasting Panel Friday July 10th at ConnectiCon!

Matt and I at ConnectiCon 2014
ConnectiCon will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first hometown show Matt and I did when we started the Secret Identity podcast almost ten years ago. Both our show and the con have grown so much since then, and every time we go back there now, it's like a reunion of sorts.

I'm especially excited to head to ConnectiCon this weekend, because I'll be hosting a panel about starting your own podcast with my show partner Matt Herring. Not only will we be talking about our experiences over the ten-year run of Secret Identity, but I'll be sharing a lot of the podcasting advice and resources from my book Making Ear Candy. I'll also have print copies of Making Ear Candy available at the show.

The panel will be on Friday, July 10th at 10:40am in the Goliath Room (meeting room 14). Here's where you can find us on the map:

You can find out all about ConnectiCon and get tickets at I'll be posting our booth information for the weekend as soon as I have it. If you're in the area, come by the show and say hi!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Back at Camp and Ready to Rock!

I seriously have no idea where May and June went. Okay--I have some idea, but I still can't believe we're already into July! And that means it's Camp NaNoWriMo time again!

I am bringing some serious writing momentum into camp this month. If you've been following me on Twitter, the blog or listening to the podcast, then you know I have been working with the amazing Jolene Haley on HARROWED, the first book in our new YA horror series, The Woodsview Murders.

HARROWED actually was born during the final week of April's Camp NaNo event. Jolene and I had been talking about working on something together, and Jolene made it happen. Ideas were kicked around, and by the time April was done, we were thousands of words into the first draft of HARROWED.

Our work on that book had been going all all through May and June, and we are finishing the story now, with an eye on a September release.
Jolene handed out these awesome HARROWED flyers at ALAAC15.
SO, our Camp NaNoWriMo project for July is going to be book two of our Woodsview Murders series. As we were writing book one, we were jotting down plenty of ideas and plot points for the next book (and the one after that, and the one after that), so we have a pretty good idea of where things are going.

I really like the idea of writing the first two books back-to-back. The characters are so fresh in our minds, because we've never left them. And like any good slasher sequel, things will be even crazier this time around.

Stay tuned for Camp NaNo updates, and get ready for some really cool stuff we'll be doing as we lead up to the HARROWED release!

You can follow all the HARROWED fun on Twitter by checking out the hashtags #WoodsviewMurders and #TeamBrolene.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Best Father's Day Ever!

This year's Father's Day was easily the best one I've had yet--the perfect combination of family time and fun activities that I'll remember forever.

The day began with my wife and kids giving me a brand new chair for my writing desk. I have had a crappy, cheap computer desk chair for probably fifteen years, and they replaced it with this beauty:

After testing out my new chair for a bit (the words seem to flow a little easier from this baby), we went out and had an awesome breakfast, then headed to what might be my new favorite place in the world:

The Quarters is an amazing place that is part pub and part arcade. Rather than try to describe it, I'll let the Phantom Gourmet show it to you:

We spent a couple of hours playing everything from BurgerTime, NBA Jam and X-Men to 1943 and The Simpsons. All of the machines are in good shape, and the retro game theme extends to everything from the decor to the menus. It was a blast, and I cannot wait to go back there.

We wrapped up this amazing Father's Day be heading out to see Jurassic World. The theater was as packed as I've seen one in years, and the movie was the perfect summer blockbuster.

One of my favorite things about the ages that my kids are at is that they enjoy a lot of the same things I do. Sharing old arcade games with them and going to the movies together is so much fun for me, and it was the perfect way to spend Father's Day. And knowing that my wife isn't a gamer, the fact that she helped the kids plan this day means a lot to me, and I really appreciated it. It was an awesome day from start to finish.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Super-Secret Project is Revealed! Announcing HARROWED (THE WOODSVIEW MURDERS #1)!


Those of you who follow either Jolene Haley or I on Twitter have seen us posting about a "super-secret project" for over a month now. Today, we can finally tell everyone what we've been working on!

Jolene and I are beyond excited to announce HARROWED, the first book in our new WOODSVIEW MURDERS series. It's a YA horror story inspired by our love for both '80s slasher flicks and '80s rock/metal.

This book marks my first foray into the YA genre, and I could not found a better partner to work with than Jolene Haley. This has honestly been the most fun I've ever had on a project, as apparently Jolene and I share the same brain.

There's so much we want to share right now, but we're going to pace ourselves, so today let's start with the blurb for HARROWED:

Journalism Rule #1: Always report the story. Never become the story.

Avery Blair has accepted the fact that nothing exciting ever happens in her small town of Woodsview, Massachusetts. As the editor of the high school blog, she prays for something--anything--to come along that would make for a great headline.

When Beatrice Thompson’s body is found in the girls’ bathroom, Avery has her biggest story ever. The rumors circulating the school say that Beatrice took her own life, but Avery doesn't believe it for a second. Her instincts prove true when the next day brings another body bag.

The tiny community of Woodsview has become the hunting ground for a killer known as The Harvester. The killer targets Avery and her classmates, stalking their every move and terrorizing them with morbid messages.

With the help of her boyfriend Jason, her best friend Quinn, and an aging detective who can't keep her off the case, Avery dives head-first into her own investigation. She discovers that the secret of the Woodsview Harvester is buried in the town's history and its annual Harvest Festival celebration. With every clue she uncovers,

Avery grows closer to unmasking the killer--and becoming the next victim. Avery Blair has finally found a story to die for...if she can stay alive long enough to write it.

And here's a little more about my amazing co-author, Jolene Haley:

Jolene Haley is an author and the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press. She also runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, the author resource site Pen & Muse, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press. She writes every genre under the sun, but prefers horror. When she’s not writing she can be found cuddling her two dogs and enjoying the beach, where she lives. 

HARROWED (THE WOODSVIEW MURDERS #1) will be released on September 22, 2015 through Horror Twin Press. We'll be revealing a lot more over the next couple of months, but for now you can add HARROWED on Goodreads and follow the #WoodsviewMurders tag on Twitter to keep up with all the fun.

Stay tuned! Check out Jolene's blog as well for updates!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Collaboration is Making Me a Better Writer

A lot of the time, writing is a very solitary process. We write alone, and the worlds and stories we create exist in our head alone until we share them with our readers. We spend a lot of time in our own heads, which is not a bad thing. In fact, it's one of the reasons many of us write in the first place.

But letting someone else into that headspace--or better yet, creating a shared headspace with another writer--can be a very powerful thing. And in my case, it is making me a better writer.

Now, I have collaborated on projects before--specifically comic projects. Mo Stache is something I created with artist John Cordis. I write, he draws, and together we make Mo. I have a couple other comic projects as well (one you'll see very soon), and so I've had that writer-artist experience a few times over the past several years.

But not with fiction. With fiction, it's always been my vision, my world, my story.

Until now.

For a little over a month now, I've been working with Jolene Haley on what I consider a dream project. It's a story that is inspired by two of our favorite things--'80s horror movies and rock music. It's so much more than that, as you'll see when we start sharing details, but those two things are at its heart and I love it.

There are so many ways my writing has benefited from this collaboration so far. Take the characters, for example. They are much more fully-realized right now than in previous first drafts I've done. This is especially true of the the supporting cast. It's not uncommon for a writer to have a very clear vision of their main character, but at least for me, the supporting cast usually comes into its own during the revision process. This is especially true because I am more of a "Pantser" than "Plotter" (or as I like to call myself, a "Signposter").

The world of this story is also more well-defined with the two of us building it. From the town's history and traditions to the people and places that populate it, our little town is filled with places inspired by those Jolene and I have visited in our own lives. The setting of our story is much richer because of our collaboration.

But where I think the collaboration process has had the most profound effect on my writing is in the areas of style and voice. The way I write dialogue, the rhythm of my prose, etc. Working with Jolene and learning her style has really helped me reflect on my own. I've realized where I need to get better, and I've learned a lot from Jolene because she writes relationships and character interaction in such a wonderful way. We've found a common voice together, and it's really a great combination of both of our styles.

We crossed the 47,000-word threshold on our project this week, and it's amazing how much we've accomplished in just over a month. I could not have asked for a better writing partner than Jolene, and I cannot wait to share our project with everyone. Stay tuned!