Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Awards and Updates!

It's been a hectic month, to be sure, but I wanted to stop in with some good news and some announcements.



Firstly, Operation: Montauk has been nominated for a Cybil award in the Science-Fiction and Fantasy category in the Teen age group. There's quite a few nominees, including Silence in the Library's other book released this year, War of the Seasons: Book 2 - The Half Blood. You can check out the full list here. 

If you still haven't read the book and want to see why it would have been nominated, pick up a signed copy in the store, at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

I'm not expecting to win (especially if I'm up against War of the Seasons) but it's a thrill to be nominated.

I also wanted to thank everyone I met at Anime Banzai this weekend. The response to the books was great and I was humbled to hear how many people enjoyed them. I'm told I caused many sleepless nights at the con because people didn't want to put down my stuff and it was great to hear.

As a heads up, if you happen to be at the Geek Media Expo (GMX) in Nasville, TN this weekend, I'll be there. I'm on a number of panels relating to writing, publishing, and even Star Wars. I'll be signing books all weekend, too. I hope to see some of you there.

I also wanted to point everyone to my latest piece for the official Star Wars website. This one is about Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious and its influence on The Clone Wars.

And don't forget to check out my audio horror stories on youtube as read by Marcus. They're perfect for getting you into the Halloween spirit.

And here's an interview I did:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Curse of the Werewolf

I've just released a new, three story collection of werewolf themed shorts on Amazon and Barnes and Noble called "Curse of the Werewolf."

The stories contained inside vary in length, but it runs about 16,000 words total, which Amazon calculates out to about 45 pages of horror content, just in time for Halloween.

The first story in the collection is a brand new tale called "The Black House" about a lovesick teenager trying to unravel the mystery of the Black family, whose decrepit house and unusual daughter have caught his eye.

The second story is called "A Pistol Full of Silver" which first appeared on this website and my "Man Against the Future" collection and features the story of a man hunting something monstrous that has attacked his family.

The third story is another all new, original tale called "Fenrir's Lament." It's set in the desert in the 1950s and reads like I imagine some of that era's more pulpy magazine horror stories would be.

It's the perfect, brisk read for an autumn evening of reading atmospheric horror tales.

As an added bonus, "A Pistol Full of Silver" has been recorded for the audio book version of "Man Against the Future" and is available to stream on youtube below.


As an even bigger added bonus, there have been two other short stories from "Man Against the Future" released on youtube for you to listen to, all perfect for Halloween. The first one is Hatchet, a zombie story, and The Hero and the Horror, a vampire tale. The complete audiobook will be available before the end of fall. And don't forget to pick up "The Curse of the Werewolf"  on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Scott Snyder talks about writing

In my opinion, Scott Snyder is one of the best writers working in comics today. He's currently writing Batman, Swamp Thing, and his own American Vampire and more comics are on the horizon. I interviewed him last week for Big Shiny Robot! and the Huffington Post about the return of the Joker in his upcoming Death of the Family arc.

Scott's been an inspiration of mine for a while, and it's not just that I envy his career and want to be where he is, it really is that he's a great writer and brings something to his stories.

I took a minute to talk about writing with him and I wanted to pass off some taste of his knowledge to you guys.

I asked him what he would go back and tell himself before he started working on these projects and the biggest advice he'd give himself (and, in turn, us) is to not quit. That seems rather obvious, but if you're writing, you really do need to go all in and stay there. We all get better the more we write and if you quite, you're just not going to have a career.

But more specifically, Scott talked about what it's like working on iconic characters and the daunting challenge it can be.

"The key to writing them," Scott told me, "is to write them like you made them up. Bring your love of the character to it and the readers will feel that love. It's intimidating still, but the thing that's exhilarating about it is that if you've made it yours, the universe is known better to you than anyone else because it's your unique version."

But he wasn't always so even handed about it. He related a story to me where he was "super-freaked out" the night before he started writing Batman, and how he told his wife he couldn't write the book. "My kid is asleep wearing Batman pajamas." It was just too much responsibility for him.

But he did it anyway. And made it his own. And we've all benefited from that perseverance.

He also talked about injecting literary qualities into every story, comics included. "The only way to approach iconic characters is to see something in the characters they relate to themselves and bring that to the script. You do the same thing in literature. I work on my comics adding in layers and symbolism. In Batman there's echoes of Hamlet, Peter Pan, the Royal Court, the Danse Macabre..."

That layering is something that allows readers to come back to the story and find new things and enjoy it all over again. And again, and again, and again.

And, again, it's something I'm grateful for and we've all benefited from.

One thing I do, as a writer, is to try to pick up and learn or glean any bit of writing style, technique, or approach from writers whose work I admire. There are few writers working today whose work I admire as much as Scott's. And while these few tiny gems of information and introspection are probably the tip of the iceberg for what he can provide (he is a writing teacher), they're still full of wisdom and inspiration.

Or maybe I just read too much into things.

Either way.

If you guys like these, I'll bring more to the table. I talk to lots of writers I admire and get them to tell me what they're doing right. I'll be back next with Walt Simonson.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Life Imitates Art

This is truly one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.

Back about 7 or 8 years ago, I wrote a short story called "Late Term Abortion." It was the second story I ever published to this site and you can click the link and still read the beginning of it. It's since been published in the collection called Man Against the Future (which is available digitally or signed from my online store).

It tells the story of a family who wants to abort their son after he becomes too rebellious. It's clearly fiction and was written to point out the absurdity of hating dissenting voices and showing the lengths some will go to to eliminate that dissent.

It was farce.

The story is so wonderfully absurd, I was convinced I'd turned the world off the idea.

I was wrong.

Meet Charlie Fuqua, an Arkansas politician running for their state legislature. He wrote in a book released this year:
 The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21...
You can read the full passage and more about his ideas about killing children over at The Huffington Post. It was a two-fold shock for me. One, that there would be someone this maniacal run a competitive race for elective office, and two, that he'd use the basis of one of my absurd short stories as a talking point.

Wow.

Like I said if you want to read it, you can check out the beginning of the story here and pick up the full collection of short stories here.

The audio version will also be available before the end of the month.