Saturday, January 30, 2016


This post is full-tilt humblebrag.

I've been blown away by the type of authors who have agreed to read and blurb my upcoming release ALL SMOKE RISES: MILK-BLOOD REDUX.

You see what I mean. Braggart. But it has truly been humbling.

John FD Taff for one, the modern day king of pain, who writes books with such emotion, and the epitome of proof that dark fiction writers have the finest hearts. But he's been a digital friend of mine for years, and, you know, friends read your book...

Then along comes another Jon. Jon Bassoff, someone who is on my short list of autobuy writers. Winner of the Darkfuse Reader's Choice Awards for his book Corrosion. He writes with a tone so unique, and with characters so cool, that I hate to message him for every second he responds means less time spent writing fiction for me to read.

Well, he read ASR fast and gave it a blurb.

Les Edgerton, who writes crime fiction so real that you'd think he'd opened up the brain of those who commit such dark atrocities and dropped you inside.

Blurbed my book.

Richard Thomas, who writes like he has a gun to his head, with lyrical sentences, modern day urban epic poetry, (Read Breaker and read Disintegration) blurbed my book.

I know, when you score a touchdown or hit a home run, you're supposed to act like you've done it before. I'm not hearing that. I know I work my ass off, I know I obsess over what I write. I write from the wound and the scar, and God forbid I ever bore a reader or make them think they'd rather be reading something else. Still, this is not how it's supposed to be. I'm a self-published hack. A hobbyist. So I'm not pretending I'm not surprised, humbled, because I am. And I'm bragging on it.  I may sound like an ass. But, I don't care. Cause I'm going on

Bram Stoker Award winning author Kealan Patrick Burke, a horror writers' horror writer, whose fiction you can not deny is art, whose novel KIN is the one book I would choose if asked to pick an example of how to write Horror,  agreed to do an introduction after reading the book.  When I read what he wrote, it was perhaps the highlight of my writing career (um, hobby, ... ). Not just for his words on ALL SMOKE RISES, but for its explanation of what horror and dark fiction is all about.

I feel incredibly indebted, so thanks to you all above, and for the many who have helped shape the book.

I am like a Lannister, I always pay my debts, and I will be paying them back as I'm able. It starts with Kealan Patrick Burke, and my mission to release a bit more KIN into the world. I'm going to explain more in a future post on the elements of KIN that make it how one should (in my humble-bragging opinion) write horror, but first, I'm gonna release a bit more KIN into the world.

I'm doing a twitter giveaway of a KIN paperback soon. Like real soon. Look for it on twitter later today.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

FLORENCE+ The Machine

Florence + the machine is perhaps my current favorite artist. Her songs are like Anthems, all of them, full of imagery and creative metaphors. She's not afraid to play with language, so many of her songs work as stand-alone poetry, but when screamed aloud by a beautiful, red-haired flowing banshee, they stick to my skin and burrow into my soul. (she'd have either written that better, or sung it with such power that it did the same to you).

Her songs explore love, death, heaven, hell, and often come with emotional bursts that explode from relaxed emotional states. There's a tender desperation that runs through all of her music, all of it backed up by the best percussions you've ever heard.

Her music has served as much of the soundtrack for my next release, ALL SMOKE RISES, especially Lilly's current state stuck in her darkness. I see this in songs like COSMIC LOVE.

 I was all set to see her live a couple years back, but child sickness changed all that, and I sold the tickets last second on Craigslist to some happy folks.

Not sure who she is? Well, you may know her from "Dog Days Are Over" or from "Sevin Devils" which was used as a Game of Thrones Trailer.  "Sevin Devils" captures the series so well, it was a slam-dunk to pick for the show.

(And now I've just found a twitter account that actually traces what books Florence is reading, and tries to read along. I'm in.

So, Florence, please, make eye contact with me. I may suck a bit of your soul out when you do (you have plenty to spare). I’ll be in the 28th row at DTE theater, Detroit Michigan (really auburn Hills). Say this song is for Mark. Or for Lilly. 


A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it's left me blind

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat
I tried to find the sound
But then it stopped, and I was in the darkness,
So darkness I became

I took the stars from my eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


This blog, my life, and most everything I did in it used to revolve around running.

I would eat food based on my run for the day. I would look at the weather for the running conditions for not only that day, but for the week. Laundry was sweaty running clothes. Vacations were filled with runs in some of the loveliest beaches on the earth: Galveston, San Diego, China (yes, China). I've run on cruise ships in the middle of the Caribbean, run in the nastiest of winter and through lightening storms. In all, I ran 13 marathons in multiple cities including Boston, Chicago, New York, Detroit. I would often sleep in my running clothes, so that I could wake up and run first thing out of bed.

Running was the best way to detox my body and brain and let my spirit escape from this carcass, if but just for an hour or three.

Well, now I don't run at all.

A herniated disc from playing hockey has changed all of that. Now I often walk with a limp. I have seen a million doctors, a zillion physical therapists. Running ain't happening.  I haven't given up, but my running life appears over.

23 years ago I gave up getting high off alcohol and drugs, and now I'm giving up getting high all over again. The Running High, however, was quite a bit healthier.

Self-pity is poison. For suckers. I hate it. Doesn't mean the whole thing hasn't torn me up and seem like a cruel joke played by a cold-hearted God. I wake up mornings and imagine that it will have magically fixed itself overnight. It hasn't.


Truth is, I am blessed with much, probably more than I deserve. I remind myself of that.

I've written a handful of running-based books. On the Lips of Children, that fine piece of running horror, was based on a true run I took at 4 am.

The other two running books are free this week:

*Chasing the Dragon: Running To Get High*
Marathon and running tips, and the role that running plays for recovering addicts and those looking for the high of the run

*The Jade Rabbit*
The story of a Chinese adoptee who runs marathons in order to deal with the stresses of her past and her job managing a shelter for runaway youth

Crazy thing is, I am starting to forget the person who wrote these books.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I'm in that exciting as Hell (because Hell is exciting) time of an author's life. Book is done, edited, beta read, combed over, hashed out, taken behind the shed and beaten and taken out to dinner and then breakfast. I'm shooting out review copies, and am finding readers are getting to it faster than I would have imagined.

I used to beg for takers to read my self-published piles of steaming dog crap, now they take it willingly. Huge thanks to all of them, and to the beta readers who are my friends for life

I've been chasing highs all my life, but this high of waiting for a book to be released can't be chased, but rather slithers up your leg, slips into your body through your orifices, and then replaces your spine until you're all wobbly. It's a different kind of thrill, and once it's inside you it takes over. You become "The Thing" not really yourself anymore, but pretending to be yourself and going about your daily duties while inside all you can think of is the book release.

At least that's me.
Part of the book preparation for ALL SMOKE RISES:MILK-BLOOD REDUX was done by  Julie Hutchings, who is a fantastic editor. I contracted her partly since I knew she had a passion for books and an understanding of the work they take, and that she would treat my baby with care. Well, she did an incredible job, and returned it much better than I left it. She made so many sentences zing by eliminating lame-ass words that I had stuck in there as clutter. (I clearly saw their 'lame-assity' once they were removed.) She reordered some sentences in paragraphs. Identified over-used words. Noted tense issues. All of this, and she got it back to me not only on-time, but early.

And if you've ever had anything edited and stared at those comment circles in the right, you've also felt that cold isolation in your soul. Well, it's like a conversation with Julie. Her comment bubbles came alive. They spoke to me. They rose out of the computer like ghosts from the machine and had more personality than any comment bubble in the history of all time. I shook my head, laughed to the dog, and commented back while going over the edits. I recommend her highly and without reservation. Contact her here.

I worked hard for ALL SMOKE RISES to serve as a stand-alone read. The kind of book you can pick up without having read MILK-BLOOD and still fully 'get-it'.

If you're not sure you should start with ALL SMOKE RISES, well, here's the deal. If you pre-order it, and shoot me a message here that you did, I'll gift you a free kindle version of MILK-BLOOD so you can have both of them on your kindles. Read them in whichever order you'd like. Bamn, problem solved.

(This blog post would be better if Julie had edited it.)



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