Monday, April 7, 2014

That Magic Moment--The Value of the Connected Reader

When it comes to reading comments and reviews, I know some writers who avoid them like the plague, and others who feel they are essential in terms of feedback. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I appreciate when someone takes time to post a comment or review about something I've written, but I try not to get too high or low based on what they have to say. I'm just glad they took the time to read my work, and I'm even happier if they were entertained.

In terms of feedback, the most valuable thing to me as a writer is when a reader connects with a story or character I created, and wants to interact with me about it. I had a great experience recently I wanted to share.

Someone I know read Courting the King in Yellow a couple weeks ago and wanted to process the story with me afterward. She had questions about the events and characters that went beyond the book, and was genuinely interested in what happened before and after the story I had written. It just so happened that one of the characters that clicked with her the most was Nita Young, who I gave a supporting role in CtKiY, but revisited in the short story Private Showing. She read that story and became even more invested in the character, leading to another great discussion and many more questions. Some of those questions were answered in my second book Lovecraft's Curse, and some are being answered right now in the book I'm currently writing. In fact, I happened to be writing a scene with Nita in it at the time, and was delving deeper into an area this reader was asking about.

I'm babbling a bit, but the point is this--that series of discussions with that one reader was so amazingly validating. I don't know that readers realize what a profound effect they can have on a writer. As much as we say that we write for ourselves, and we don't pay attention to the bad stuff, we all hope that the things we write will connect with someone who reads them. And when that connection occurs, and that reader lets us know--there's no other feeling like it. The motivation that type of interaction provides can't be found anywhere else. At least for me, anyway.

So, if you've taken the time to read a story I've written, thank you. And if you really connected with something in that story, I'd love to hear about it. You may even give me some ideas about where to take things next!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Writing Begets Ideas

I’m four days into Camp NaNoWriMo, and it’s already a huge success for me. This morning I wrote a scene in my latest book that I’ve been puzzling over for months. As I’ve mentioned, I am finishing the draft of the sequel to Lovecraft’s Curse, a huge chunk of which I wrote during NaNoWrimo this past November. This scene involved a fight with the big bad of my book, and I’m pretty happy with how this first draft of it came out.

So, I’m back on track with my book and it’s awesome. But what’s even more awesome is what being in a writing frame of mind does for my creativity. Without fail, whenever I am immersed in a writing project, I come up with the ideas for my future projects.

Today, I came up with the idea and outline for a new book in the span of about thirty minutes. I wasn’t planning on this particular project at all, but since I’ve been writing regularly again, a certain corner of my mind is smashing ideas together like a supercollider. The idea for this book came together while I was sitting in a meeting, as it’s directly related to what we were meeting about.

I may decide to start this new project for Camp NaNoWrimo in July, but right now I need to get back to Lovecraft’s Pupil.

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I'm Heading to CT HorrorFest in August!

I am very happy to announce that on August 23, 2014 I will be attending CT HorrorFest in Waterbury, Connecticut! The show is being organized by Christine Caprilozzi and the rest of the great crew from the Horror News Network. Among the announced guests so far are the original Michael Meyers Tony Moran, The Walking Dead's Robert "IronE" Singleton and Paranormal Activity's Micha Sloat.

I will have a table at the show and will be selling copies of both Courting the King in Yellow and Lovecraft's Curse. I may also grab a few interviews for Secret Identity and the See Brian Write podcast.

If you're in the area, you should definitely come out on August 23rd and celebrate horror with all of us. The show will be at the Courtyard Marriott in Waterbury, and you can order tickets by heading to

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review--Altitudes and Attitude

One of the coolest things about the rock/metal scene today is that a lot of the bands I grew up listening to are either getting back together, or pursuing some really interesting side projects. it's like they've realized that you get to a certain point and you just want to create interesting music. Over the past few years, some of my favorite bands have put out their best music, twenty-plus years into their careers.

And then there's side projects like Altitudes and Attitude. Two of my favorite bass players of all time, David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Frank Bello (Anthrax) had been doing bass clinics together and decided to write some songs release them. The result is a three-song EP that is filled with great harmonies, incredible bass lines and a mix of both rock and metal that sounds like neither of the duo's regular bands.

The first song "Booze and Cigarettes" is a rocker about doing whatever makes you happy. "Tell the World" is a soulful, uplifting song in which Bello proves he's a pretty decent singer, and "Here Again" is a faster tempo song that you'd expect from these two metal masters.

The biggest compliment I can give this EP is that three songs is nowhere near enough from these guys. All three songs are great and I want a lot more in the future. I hope the positive response to this EP will get Ellefson and Bello back in the studio for a full album. But I'd even settle for a few more bite-sized offerings like this in between the work their doing with Megadeth and Anthrax.

You can watch the video for "Tell the World" below, and then grab the EP on Amazon for $2.99. It's totally worth it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday, Secret Identity!

Eight years.

It's been eight years since Matt Herring and I posted the first episode of the Secret Identity podcast. Well, technically we called it a "zero" episode, but it was the first show of what would turn out to be one of the longest running comics podcasts (or any kind of podcast, for that matter) around.

For eight years, Matt and I have gotten together every week to talk about comics, movies, TV, toys, games and all of the other geeky things we love. We've interviewed hundreds of creators, including some of the biggest names in the industry.

Most importantly though, we have made some really great friends and have been blessed with an amazing community of listeners who continue to make Secret Identity a joy to put out every week.

So, as we celebrate our eighth birthday, and we head toward our 600th official episode, Matt and I want to thank every single person who has ever taken time out of their own lives to spend an hour or two with us. There is never a day that goes by that we aren't not thankful for you.

Thanks for eight great years, and to whatever the future holds!

Oh, and if you want to hear the very first episode of Secret Identity, you can check it out in the player below. For newer episodes, you can check iTunes or our podcast page.