Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Silent Recuperations

Things have been quiet around here lately. I suppose that's appropriate. A moment of silence after the bombs dropped in Book 6. Actually, I needed a few silent moments myself. It's been a long, strange year for a great many reasons. Most of those reasons aren't even interesting to me and I'm the one they've been happening to. Many of the reasons have been very interesting indeed, but not exactly the sorts of things I should talk about here. So where does that leave us? Mostly...with a blog that doesn't see a lot of action lately.


To be honest, I try not to write here unless I've got SOMEthing to say. It's never earth shattering, but it's something rattling around inside my skull. The holiday season is upon us and I've been busy with that. Merry, merry all around. Whatever you celebrate, have a good one. Bills need to get paid and I've been fretting with that just like everyone else. Doesn't make for very interesting blogging apart from all the usual bullshit about decorations showing up too early and which classic stop-motion animation special is the best.

I haven't forgotten about those ebooks I promised. The first one is going through the editing wringer right now. I'm working with an artist to design a cover and once it's out there, I intend on following up with plenty more. Actually, the plan is for me to hit the ground running in 2012 where all the ebooks are concerned. After taking some quiet time to gather my strength, it's time to get off my ass, charge forward, and get the stories out there I've been dying to tell. Again, nothing earth cracking, but plenty of action and adventure and a hell of a lot of fun. That's what the storytelling business is all about, right? At least, that's the important part. Maybe now you can see why I was never much of a businessman. Honestly, I don't know how this first ebook will go over. There's really no way of telling. The concept is something I came up with and really enjoyed writing. I love the character and the world wound up feeling like a place I could play around in for a good, long time. Does that equal book sales and readers enjoying themselves?? I sure hope so. We'll see.

And of course there will be Skinners. After any big project, the last thing most writers / directors / creators want to do is dive right back into it again. I DID want to dive straight back into Skinners and I will. Taking this breather, however, was good and it was necessary. Gives me some distance and time to let things settle. The intention was always for the next book to take place a little ways after Book 6 so this helps me get into a solid Skinner mentality. More to come.

In other news, I just saw the trailer for the new Hobbit movie. Looks awesome, but I was hoping for a glimpse of Smaug. Are they still planning on stretching that out into 2 movies? I don't know. Also saw the new trailer for Dark Knight Rises. Looks pretty cool, but Joker and Two-Face are a tough act to follow. I'm sure it'll be great. So will The Avengers. In other geeky news, I'm still loving what I'm reading of DC Comics' New 52. Justice League has yet to disappoint and seeing Jonah Hex ride alongside Amadeus Arkham in All Star Western makes the Marcus Galloway part of my heart feel good.

So that's what I've been up to lately. Quiet, but winter is always kind of quiet. You know, like when you step outside after a good snow and the air is frozen and still. There's no quiet quite like that. It's nice. Something tells me once I get rolling again in the next month, I won't have many quiet days. That's nice too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


When I was writing Extinction Agenda, I knew I wanted it to be apocalyptic. Things in the Skinners world were never exactly cheery, but I wanted them to get pushed into a whole new realm when I made the transition from one story arc to another. As I discussed earlier, I decided to go along my intended route even after HarperCollins decided this would be the last Skinners book they would publish. What I had in mind for the next arc was cool, exciting and fell in line with all the groundwork I've been setting. To bring it all to a halt now would just feel wrong. Even so, some very important things do come to an end in this book. Just reading the title would tell you that much. For those of you who haven't read Extinction Agenda yet, I'll warn you there may be some spoilers coming up in the rest of this entry.

So...writing the end of Book 6 was difficult for me. VERY difficult. What happened in it, I feel, had to happen. It's the way the story played out when I conceived it and still feels right to me now. From the very start, I didn't want any of my characters to feel safe. Nothing bugs me more than main characters in any sort of fiction who walk away from every explosion, dust themselves off after every fight and survive every catastrophe simply because they're the main characters. Skinners, above all else, are warriors. In Book 1, one of their greatest was killed so he could pass the torch on to Cole. They've been dropping off like flies for centuries, partly because they're the nut-jobs who stand toe-to-toe with monsters and partly because they are in a VERY dangerous line of work. The sacrifice that was made at the end of Book 6 paves the way for the rest of the series. Those who were lost will NOT be forgotten. On the contrary, their memory will be carried throughout the rest of the books by everyone who was strong (and lucky) enough to have survived the events of Extinction Agenda.

That being said, and no matter how confident I felt in my choice or how well I think I portrayed those events on paper, I knew I would hear about it from readers. That's a good thing. It means you guys are out there reading my books and paying attention to what happens in them. I understand why some of you are upset. Honestly, I got broken up every time I had to read through that last scene. After all, I've been with these characters longer than anyone. Most of the responses I've heard have been good. Thanks for that. Some of you are mad and some are saying this is a crappy way to end the series. If I was ending the series here, I agree. This WOULD have been a crappy way to do it. It's not the end, though. Trust me. I'll write more Skinners books because, if for no other reason, I won't have it end this way. There's more story to tell and if you can believe anyone who says that, you can believe me. 

Finally, what happened at the end of Book 6 was necessary. If everyone had come away free and clear after having retreated to fight another day, things would have been a WHOLE lot worse for the world in general. Since Skinners don't retreat (at least, not the Skinners who are the focus of the series), they had to charge into a fight against a purely destructive force. Having everyone walk away from that with just a few more scars and a wary chuckle didn't set well with me. Not only will the survivors return with the proverbial vengeance, but they will do their damndest to make sure every bad guy out there regrets the loss of those who didn't make it. Until now, the Skinners have been fractured and fighting with their backs in a corner. Now, they can become something more. Maybe something even scarier than the werewolves they fight. Nobody will forget about those who fell at the end of Book 6. I'll make sure of it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Release Day #6

And so Book 6 hits the shelves.
Hope all of you guys enjoy it.
Today was pretty quiet around here. As I mentioned Borders to go to and sneak a peek at the shelves. Not even any big name bookstores within thirty miles (give or take). Strange. I kept my eye on Amazon sales for a little while, but I'll go nutso if I get too wrapped up in that. So far, so good though! Already, my brain is churning with where to take the series next. I've already mentioned on this blog about my plans to go the ebook route. With that new Kindle Fire coming out, this could be the perfect time for it. Even without a new device, it seems ebooks have more than made their presence known.

So get out there and buy the book. Read it. Let me know what you think. Can't wait to hear from ya!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Odds & Ends

These last few weeks have been strange. I've been working on some older projects, some ghostwriting (a guy's gotta pay the bills) as well as some new projects. The new projects include a few steampunk offerings, two of which are with editors in NY and others are going straight to ebook format. The first draft of one series is completed and I'm liking it a lot. It's pure adventure with plenty of retro sci-fi goodness thrown in that was a ton of fun to write. Thank God for ebooks because this series would never make it past the editors wondering "How does THIS tap the marketplace that reads [insert some other currently popular series here]?" Sink or swim, I'll finally be able to write the stuff I've wanted to write. Hopefully you guys will think it's just as fun to read as it was to create. More details as they come along.

Also, I've been into some new video games. Arkham City is a big one, but I'm also well entrenched in Gears of War 3. Both are awesome games that make me wish I could chuck everything else and just play. Some of that time is taken up by reading comic books. I'm still loving most of DC's New 52. At the top of my list are Justice League, Animal Man, Aquaman and Deathstroke. Aquaman???? Yes, I'm loving Aquaman. It does a great job of making him cool while also acknowledging how un-cool he's been for so very long. "So," one reporter asks Aquaman in issue #1, "how does it feel to be NOBODY'S favorite super hero?" Niiiiice.

Tuesday, Extinction Agenda is released. Since Borders has closed up, I really don't have anywhere to go to check shelves around here on release day. You guys will have to let me know if you spot them out and about. I know I've said I gave up on checking the shelves on previous release days, but who am I kidding? I go out to have a look and everyone knows it. After some of the editing blunders that made it through the process of putting Book 5 together, I'm a little nervous about that aspect as well. I tried my damndest (as I always do) on Book 6 and even enlisted some extra help, but I'm sure there will be flubs here and there. In my own defense, my books aren't the only ones with crap like that in them. All I can say is oh well. I write to provide a fun experience for the readers and hopefully that's what they are.

This last year or two have been one hell of a roller coaster ride for a great many reasons. Many are personal, including my move out to West Virginia. That's been fun getting used to a whole new part of the country. I've always been a Midwestern boy, but am liking it out here just fine. Also, the entire publishing industry has been tossed on its ear lately. I've already mentioned ebooks, but there's also been the loss of some big name retailers along with the looming arrival of game changers like the new Kindle Fire. A Kindle with some snazzy tablet computer functionality combined?? Sign me up! This thing looks to be huge and even if it flops, ebooks aren't going anywhere anytime soon. These kinds of things have scared the shit out of most everyone in the writing / publishing industry because they represent such humongous changes. My hope is to keep getting my stories out there so they can be enjoyed. Who knows? Maybe I'll even be able to get MORE stuff out there!

Anyway, look for Extinction Agenda on shelves or online starting October 25th!! Let me know what you think and I'll let you know what's next as soon as I have some definite news to share. Trust me, I'll be sending some cool stuff your way.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

As anyone who even dabbles in comic collecting can tell you, DC has relaunched all of their titles and reset everything to #1. I, like many people, thought it was a marketing gimmick. On the other hand, I've been wanting to dive in to DC for a long time, but have always gotten lost in the mire of storylines, history and references that come along with characters that have been around for 50+ years. I know my Batman and Lobo well enough, but as much as I want to really dig in to titles like The Flash or Green Lantern, I get left behind when I realize I have no clue who these bad guys are or what's so monumental about what they're saying / doing. DC relaunch? Hmmm. Sounded interesting, but I was skeptical. I figured, just give it a few issues and they'll start referring back to shit that happened 16 years ago.

I've always been more of a Marvel guy. Spidey got me into comics when I was a kid and Punisher drew me back in when I was in high school. Marvel answered back to DC's move by relaunching all their Ultimate titles, but I'm just not interested in anything but The Ultimates and maybe Hawkeye. That leaves new Spider-Man and X-Men in the dust. Wha-HUH????

So I read Justice League #1. I loved it from the first panel. Awesome art. Great interaction between Batman and GL. Amazing run-in with Superman that leads to the inevitable Bat / Supe fight next issue. I've heard plenty of bitching form the DC fans already. The cool part is, I seriously AM jumping on right now after being put off by the dozens of layers of back story which contradicts itself anyway. See also: X-Men. My mind is a clean slate (as always) and so far these reboots are making me excited for DC stuff! Superpowered beings are looked at with suspicion and hunted by the Army / authorities. Last night, I read Men of War which looks like it'll be showing that fight from a soldier's perspective and that soldier is SGT. ROCK!! For some unknown reason, I was pumped to read a title called Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE. Ok. Not really a strange reason. A bizarre comic with monsters shooting and ripping folks apart led by f'ing FRANKENSTEIN. Actually, it's Frankenstein's MONSTER, but I won't pick.

This is the biggest point. I read comics for over-the-top, escapist fiction complimented by great art. I'm not into the black-and-white graphic novels focusing on someone's spiral into depression or their lovelife (which usually leads to a spiralling depression) and I'm not interested in tearing everything down as an analogy for life. You like that kind of thing? Fine. Enjoy. Give me monster armies and people with super powers any day. For anyone who's read SKINNERS, this should be no revelation about my psyche. Say what you want about how the new DC titles fit into existing history. To me, it feels fresh and most importantly FUN! Marvel's, on the other hand, seem like more of the same.
Seriously, if I have to read one more time about how sad and picked on the mutants feel before Prof. X or whoever bands them together, I'll gag. They killed off the original Ultimate Spider-Man and now there's some new kid who will just happen to get the SAME powers that Peter Parker got BY ACCIDENT? I was there for the first reboot when Marvel launched their Ultimate titles in the first place. I loved them then and love them now. ANOTHER reboot?? ANOTHER kid gets to swing about joyously until he learns about responsibility? Next thing you know, there'll be yet ANOTHER X-Men storyline where someone develops a "cure" for mutations.
Some random mutant who's brooding: "Don't you want to be NORMAL? This (fill in the blank treatment) will give us our normal life back. It will cure us all!!"
Some other mutant: "Being a mutant isn't a DISEASE!!! (tear rolls down their cheek) It's who we are."

Maybe this is the same sort of bitching that longtime DC people are saying about this reboot. I guess the Marvel ones seem stale because I've been with Marvel for as long as I've read comics. Have I given up on Marvel? Hell no! Have I jumped onto this DC bandwagon? For now...hell YES! So far, I like what I see. It's cool, well written / drawn, and fun. That's all I want in my comics. It's a win-win situation for me as well as the dude who runs my local comic shop.

One little caveat to my Marvel rant: I went to the comic store after having talked myself into taking the higher road and letting that new Ultimate Spider-Man swing right by me. Then I saw there was only one more issue of #1 on the shelf and it was in a cool plastic cover. Just ONE LEFT!! Maybe I should at least read the first issue before I complain. Give Spidey a chance. I bought the damn thing, but haven't read it yet. I think that comic shop dude saw me coming and hid all but one of those Ultimate Spideys. Evil freaking genius. Ultimate X-Men #1 will NOT suck me in!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stuff, stuff and MORE STUFF!!!!

I'm noticing a trend in TV shows lately. NOT the idiot reality stars who are famous just for being stupid and obnoxious. I mean the junk shows. You know...American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Auction Hunters, Hoarders and all of the many variants of each show. Maybe it's a sign of the troubled economy. Remember back in the days when we would watch shows about rich people? Were we living vicariously through them? Waiting for them to fail? Idolizing their houses? That was back in the 80s or so. Then came the shows about average people. The Real Worlds, Survivor, Big Brother, American Idol and all the countless derivations of those. We were (supposedly) watching real people trying to score big somehow. Or watching them fight for a moment in the spotlight, trying to be stars. Whatever.

Then along came the junk shows. To be honest, I watch American Pickers, the pawn shop shows and all those ones where they bid on abandoned storage units without really knowing WHY I'm watching them! I seriously get a thrill when someone turns over an old cooler in one of those units to find a gun case. Hey! Guns are valuable!! Yay!! Pawn Stars is cool because there's the historical stuff or just the weird crap that comes through those doors. Hardcore Pawn is about some huge shop in Detroit run by a guy who looks every bit like the stereotypical guy you would imagine who runs a big pawn shop in Detroit; slicked back hair, gold chains and all. That place gets mostly jewelry and fur coats like you would expect, but the people are always fighting and it's fun to watch.

And then there's Hoarders. That's just about houses that are filled with garbage! I sit and watch the people explain why they need their garbage piled around them, watch as the therapists try to talk them out of their garbage piles and watch as the cleaning crew scoops out their garbage with shovels (always in the span of two days). Hoarding is a mental disorder. I get that. I'm not making fun of them. I'm wondering why I'm watching them. Alcoholism and mental retardation are disorders and yet we don't watch those people. Are the Kardashians still on the air? Jersey Shore? Ok. Well I don't watch those.

I've actually sat and wondered why I'm so fascinated with Hoarders. It's a popular show, so I'm not the only one watching. Maybe it's because the shows are about some degree of order coming from chaos. But, I like chaos. That can't be it. Maybe it's about people facing their inner demons. No. I like demons too. Seriously, though, if I was into personal tragedy, I'd also be into shows like Intervention and My Weirdest Addiction or whatever that show is where the lady eats rocks. Look it up.

I think it's a sign of the times. Things are tough right now and lots of us just don't have it in us to watch a game show and believe something like that could happen to us. Personally, I sure as hell don't want to spend my nights watching rich people in their big houses being So, I watch shows about junk. I watch people buying it, gathering it, pawning it and eventually traveling across the country to pick through yards of it so they can sell it to someone else. I can relate to junk. I can afford some junk of my own. It's nice to see people digging out from their junk and moving on...or selling it. Maybe I could sell some stuff! See, THERE'S a dream that can actually happen!!

Maybe that's it. Or maybe TV shows just suck nowadays. Times are rough.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I know the first one got mixed reviews, but I thought it was fun. This looks pretty cool!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Such predicaments...we must forge ahead!

The moment I got my copy of The Breaking, I was happy. No matter how many books I've written, it's still a thrill to see the finished product. It's even cool to see the ones I've ghost written without my name (or even my own pseudonym) anywhere on the covers. Skinners has always been something special for me. They're the books that I've ALWAYS wanted to write. Sure, they were released in a time when the greater reading public wanted their vampires cute, cuddly and brooding. And sure, the majority of folks looking for Urban Fantasy wanted werewolves to be ripped, sexy and...well...brooding. That's the way it goes. I was just glad to be in the mix and I've always been beyond grateful to the readers who've enjoyed what I've had to offer. All of that rushed through my head as I flipped through The Breaking and lasted right until the preview page. "The final book in the Skinners saga"??? Oy.

Here's the deal. EOS Books (now Harper Voyager) has been great. The covers have been great. The books have been out there on all the major shelves. Some ads showed up in major magazines. My editor gave me free reign to take the series wherever I wanted it to go. Most importantly, EOS gave Skinners a chance when so many others had rejected it for whatever reasons. When it came time to renew the option for more books in the series, they passed. It was a business decision, I'm sure. If Skinners was a New York Times Bestseller, it would say so on the cover. It doesn't. Them's the breaks. I poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into them and think they're pretty damn cool. I don't know all the money figures (the bean counters don't share everything with me just because I'm the writer) so I guess EOS decided to move on to something else. I found out about this a while ago and have been trying to convince EOS to change their mind or shop Skinners around to another publisher. I kept it quiet because I didn't want it to stir anything up with you guys.

Now, by that I don't mean there's been this big backlash or panic. I just wanted the transition from one place to another to be relatively seamless. It's about the story, not the publisher. Like I said, I'm no business guy. And that transition brings me to my next big point. There will be more Skinners. Perhaps you've noticed my current fascination with ebooks? Well, I see that as a great way for writers to take control back, write what they want and put it out there to sink or swim. I'm about to turn in my Dead Man book (Which I mentioned in earlier posts. Definitely check that series out if you haven't already.) and have been starting a new project of my own that will be an ebook exclusive series. It's an idea that's been kicking around in the back of my head for some time and I literally just started writing the initial groundwork last night. When I have some more of it pieced together, I'll post about it here. I'm even working on a website with a few other authors so we can all do our own ebook exclusives and give readers one spot to come and see what we have to offer.

Sounds exciting, right? A little scary for me, to be honest. Working with a contract and advance money is a nice way to go for someone who doesn't have a day job. This doesn't mean the picture is bleak. I've got plenty of other projects with several different publishers and things are looking really good on a few different fronts. I've always had a scattered mind, which means there's a TON of stories rolling around in my noggin. The process of working with big publishers (even when things are looking good) is a slow one. As I wait for those to bear fruit, however, I've decided to take my destiny into my own hands and strike out for myself. Because of this, I can tell you for certain (as I've been saying this whole time) that there WILL be more Skinners.

I knew EOS had passed on the series when I was working on Book 6. I've always dealt with Skinners as an ongoing world with story arcs covering each contract. That way, I would know I had so many books to wrap up an arc without bringing the entire thing to an end. One of my favorite things about Skinners is watching its world and characters evolve. Some is for better for the characters and some is for worse, but the world moves on. Rather than change my plans for the overarching story so Book 6 truly was the final one, I wrote it as if there was still another contract. That way, the story is what I truly wanted and not what I clipped and twisted around to fit the circumstances. The way I ended Book 6 is definitely the end of that story arc and paves the way for the next one. There are MAJOR changes with the Skinners world and I'm excited to continue the story in a new format. If I get an offer in the meantime from a big publisher...great! If not, the show will go on. I will still write the stories with all of the care and effort I put into the first 6. It's still my world, they're still my characters and I won't do anything to make any of them less than what they were. They will still go through hell (after all...they ARE Skinners) but the story is mine and I'll tell it the best way I know.

So there you go. Book 6 comes out in October and I love it. Hope you guys do as well. In the meantime, I'll be informing you about my new series (plural, mind you) and tell you when you can expect the next Skinners and how you can get it. My other projects include science fiction, adventure, and steampunk. Hope you guys come along for those as well because they're gonna kick ass. The website I talked about will be up and running early in 2012, but I'll put my first ebook offering into the various online marketplaces as soon as it's ready (which should be sometime in the fall or early winter of this year).

Change is good. There are great things on the horizon. I'm excited (and still a little scared...but in a good way) about branching off on my own and in new directions. But that's what life is all about. The path that's easy to walk usually doesn't take you anywhere worth visiting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Boot to the Head

Day 1,479 of being without the main TV in my life.
Ok...maybe it hasn't been that long, but it sure as hell feels like it! The lamp in my cool hi-def TV burnt out, so it's been waiting for repairs. Had to go back and forth with Panasonic, get them to honor the warranty without a receipt (since I threw it away without knowing they'd EXTENDED the warranty for my model), find a repair guy, get him to take the TV away, wait for the part to be ordered and now wait for it to be brought back. Hooking up my games and crap to an older TV has been a pain in the ass for no good reason, which means I haven't even been on XBox Live for weeks. ARGH!!!! Sure, this stuff isn't essential for survival but it sucks to be without it.

No hi-def graphics on my games. No Blu Ray movies. No surround sound system. Damn near had to go back to a freaking VHS player just because I didn't want to move my living room into the guest room. It'll be ok. I just don't get out much so this stings.

Been going to Borders to try and take advantage of those Going Out Of Business sales. The cafe was all shut down and the chairs were up on the tables. That was even more of a depressing sight than the shelves which all now look like they've been randomly jumbled. I saw a trade paperback I wanted, checked to see if I already had it on Kindle. I didn't, but I also found the ebook version was $8 less than the SALE price of the book store copy. I bought the Kindle version, feeling like I was putting my foot on top of Borders's head and shoving it even further beneath the water. Strange days for the publishing industry.

Saw Captain America. Although I don' t agree with the folks who call it the "best comic book movie ever", it was pretty great. Red Skull looked perfect and the treat at the end of the credits nearly made me mess my pants with geek delight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breaking Borders

I know everyone even vaguely connected to the publishing industry has been commenting on losing Borders, but I feel like I have to say something as well. My initial reaction is, like many of you, that this is undeniably shitty news. I've always loved going into Borders, smelling the coffee, having a warm drink in the winter and perusing the shelves. I've had plenty of great (and not so great) signings at my local stores and they've always been very accommodating. I love seeing the books on the shelves, the whole sensory experience. Having some of these places taken away before was tough. Having ALL of them disappear now is brutal!

There have been rumblings about this happening for a while now. I'm no economist and have no clue how this crap works. I seldom have enough money to get through my own meager existence, so why would I make it my business to know how millions or billions of dollars flow back and forth? As a consumer, though, there's been this lazy sort of "we'll always be here" attitude with big book stores and publishers alike. Both just seem to do the minimum amount of work and know the people will come back because where the hell else would they go? It was the same attitude with video stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. I know not all of these places stank and I know good people work(ed) there. I was one of them! I'm talking big picture here and those video rental places had bad prices, shitty customer care, policies that screwed customers and any number of little things that companies put into action when they know they've got ya. Then along comes Netflix. They nailed it and stuck it to the video stores. If the stores can't compete, they need to step up or step aside. That's the cruelty of Capitalism. Now, we've recently seen how Netflix decided to tighten the screws to their customers because they got us. Their time will come unless they treat the customers right.

Borders never treated me badly. Like I said, I love the places. As an industry, though, it's easy to see how they're getting it handed to them by ebooks and smaller presses. More and more, I'm seeing quality books on my Kindle that are written with love and would NEVER have made it past a bored NY editor's desk simply because it's not like something else that's selling like hotcakes. As a reader, I crave uniqueness and that's been tough to find lately. As a writer, I want to write unique things and believe me, it's an uphill climb. I'm definitely not the only one in this camp and when I see ebooks about giant crab monsters, superheroes, or something other than the four or five flavors of the month on shelves, I smile. So many of these books are written with love by authors who just want to have fun at work again. That benefits the readers too! Big stores are still looking for something that's LIKE something else. This lazy attitude was shown nicely a year or two ago when I went to a store (yes, it was Borders) and there was a shelf with the newest Sookie Stackhouse book on it. It said, "If you like Charlaine Harris...TRY THESE". Know what was on it? MORE Charlaine Harris!!! I've got nothing against Miss Harris or her books. This just shows the limited scope of an industry that should be about imagination and creativity.

I go to conventions and hear debates on which vampires aren't realistic enough or about conservation of mass in shapeshifters. This just makes me sad. It makes me wonder what future there is for writers when we can't even play with mythological beings. Then I see a fresh crop of ebooks put out there by authors who just want to write what they love or see turns in genre like steampunk and I smile again. There is freshness to be had, but it's been awfully hard to find in bigger stores.

Of course I also know that plenty of ebooks are crap. At least they're trying, though. There's money to be made and I'm sure the big publishers will step up to find a way to exploit it more than they are now. Plenty of others have said it and I agree: this isn't a bad thing. The publishing / professional editing process weeds out a lot of garbage. It's made me a better writer. Now if only they'd allow writers to flex their creative muscle a bit more. There's nothing wrong with writing pulp-style books, even if they're not big sellers. Good ideas don't happen because the ad execs in New York get a bug up their ass to drive zombies or whatever else into the ground for a while. If someone who loves their sub-genre wants to write about zombies or whatever else the big topic may be and they have a cool idea, LET THEM DO IT!!!! With the old system, they would have to wait for lightning to strike to get the book published and then MORE lightning to strike for a big store to actually put some work into selling them. Now, with ebooks, we're all on more equal ground.

I'm giving it a go as we speak. There are ideas that have been kicking around in the back of my head that I haven't been able to sell because of the market or an editor having a bad day or projected sales figures or whatever else. Now, I get to write the damn thing, put it out there and see if it'll fly. The ebook market is MILES ahead of where self published books used to be even a few years ago and authors in my same boat feel like we've got a real shot. Maybe my ideas never went anywhere because they suck. Maybe nobody wants to read them after all. There's one way to find out. At least they'll be out there giving it a go.
I'm a writer. I want to write.

Times are changing. If it was up to me, Borders would still be in business. It's not. I've taken my share of hits over the last couple of years as well and we all need to roll with the punches. I think ebooks are a roll in the right direction. Don't forget, this is America. If a business tries hard enough and adapts, it will be back.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bloody Summer

This has been a very patriotic few days. That's par for the course considering the holiday and all, but my last July 4th was a lot less...well...just a lot less. Back then, I spent my holiday weekend working on a manuscript, listening for the occasional pops outside my apartment, poking my nose out to see some distant flashes and then going back to work. This year, I did the whole cookout / fireworks combo and it was a lot of fun! I also indulged in my usual Independence Day movie treat which guessed it...Independence Day!! That film may be flawed in some pretty serious ways, but it's still a lot of fun. Definitely one of the ultimate mindless summer blockbusters. Love it.

I also recently watched Sucker Punch. This one had me intrigued the moment I saw previews with dragons fighting biplanes and demon Samurais weilding chain guns. At the very least, it was a prime piece of eye candy (and I mean beyond the young girls dressed in every fantasy piece of clothing from schoolgirl to warrior woman). VERY cool on Blu Ray. As far as more recent flicks, I'm anxiously awaiting Captian America and Cowboys & Aliens. After that, it's hibernation time again.

Been playing Portal 2 and even dug up a game from a few years ago called Dark Void. The latter has an Indiana Jones meets Rocketeer vibe. I'm liking it, despite the noticable lack of Jennifer Connelly in that amazing white dress. Hubba hubba!! I can still remember the day young Marcus was in a movie theater and "sat up to take notice" of that scene. Too much info? Oh well. Dark Void is cool so far and definitely enjoyable. Portal 2 is simply brilliant, however. Just about every other line of dialogue has me laughing and the game simply rocks. Jennifer Connelly. What the hell is wrong with games these days??

I'm working on my installment of the Dead Man series of ebooks. After that, I'll be dipping my toe further into the ebook pond by writing an original to be released independantly. That should be a fun experiment! I get to just have an idea, write it up and put it out there to see if it flies. Lots of writers are jumping on this train and for good reason. It's very appealing to be able to get something out there without jumping through all the usual hoops. Could be an amazing venture. However it turns out, it should be exciting! I'm working with a few other writers to put together a central website hub for all of our works to be displayed. Something should be coming to fruition within the next few months, so I'll keep you posted. Hopefully, you guys will like what you read!

I'm off to donate blood now. Haven't done this for some time, mainly due to all the tattoos I've been getting. I should probably eat something and have something to drink first. Either that, or I can go in empty and enjoy that delightful swirly feeling of near-unconsciousness followed by total unconsciousness. Ok...maybe I'll have a sandwich.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Busy busy!

Putting the final tweaks on SKINNERS 6. That doesn't mean I've caught every last mistake. After all, with so much awesomeness distracting my attention, some things are bound to slip through. If you'd like to know where I got my swelled head, click here to take a look at this AMAZING article that just appeared on the Barnes & Noble Book Club page about Skinners! Many thanks to Paul for bringing a much-needed smile during a hectic time.

Book 5 seems to be doing pretty well. I've abandoned the practice of checking in on sales figures and such. If they're good, I'll hear about it eventually and if they're bad, I don't wanna know. I'll keep doing my thing, always trying to do my best no matter what. Is that healthy? I don't know. I'm the guy who eats Ramen noodles most of the time for lunch and blew my load at the very sight of Brownie Crunch Cocoa Puffs. Those are pretty good, but not as good as the normal Cocoa Puffs, in case you were wondering. Anyway, I know my "don't ask, don't check reviews" policy works well enough. When I was keeping on top of it, I nearly drove myself into a heart attack.

The next project I'm working on is an installment in the Dead Man series of ebooks. These things are great! Very reminiscent of the slam-bang, hit hard and hit fast sort of books that I read growing up. The Executioner, Remo Williams, all that great stuff. Ebooks make them a lot easier to find, buy and read. Still madly in love with my Kindle, just to be clear. Heh. Not sure when my Dead Man book will be out, but the newest one is Blood Mesa by James Reasoner. The Kindle version can be found here and the Nook version here. Check 'em out!

So there's my update. Talk to you in a bit...

Monday, June 27, 2011

After the snafu mentioned earlier, I've decided to hire a new editor. Hopefully she catches some of this stuff that I might have missed.

She takes excessive breaks to "check her messages", but I can tell she's playing with a squeaky toy. At least she's cute.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It ain't easy being with envy? Eh, to hell with it.

Yes, I read comics although it's become an expensive habit and I've fallen way behind. (see previous blog posts). Yes, I know some stuff about Green Lantern. No, I don't know everything. For GL trivia or lore, I always go to Webmaster Steve and even then it's a tangled mess of characters, deaths, rebirths, villains, changing alliances, etc. That's pretty much the case with any long-running comic series. With all of that said, I do like GL but have always found him to be kinda hokey. Don't get me wrong, hokey isn't a bad thing. In this case, it's more of a hokeyness harkening back to what makes kids like comic books in the first place. A lot of that stuff is hokey. Superman can do anything and wears a blue and red suit. Spider-Man sticks to stuff and wears a blue and red suit. What's the deal with blue and red?? The Flash goes really fast. Red and yellow. Green Lantern creates things with his ring. No blue and red to be found. At least he's not a slave to fashion.

When GL wants to punch someone, he makes a giant boxing glove. Somebody's falling? He catches them with a big hand or makes a giant mattress or something to break their fall. Again, this is just based on the limited amount of GL I've read throughout the years. Webmaster Steve has pointed out all the coolness to the character such as the awesome science fiction elements and the many other ways the ring is creatively used. I was convinced! I wanted to get into the books, but have yet to find a good diving-in point that doesn't get me lost in all the characters / bad guys I know nothing about. Still, from offerings like Blackest Night or Green Lantern: Rebirth, the character is a lot cooler than I'd previously thought.

So I went to see the new Green Lantern movie. I've heard bad stuff and good stuff about it. Most of the bad stuff sounds like it either comes from people who knew nothing about GL and found it too hokey or those who know everything about him and were disappointed by the condensed movie version. Personally, I thought the movie was AWESOME! It had a good amount of hokeyness (GL making giant springs to lift something or hit someone with the good ol' enormous fist) to be fun and perfectly retained the shiny, sparkling, "gee whizz" feel where all the science fiction elements were concerned. It felt like a comic book and I loved it. Seeing it in 3D was amazing!! I've become a fan of GL since Steve's big push to get me on board during the Blackest Night crossovers a few summers ago. Black Lanterns creating zombies of dead DC characters? Cool! That was the same summer as Marvel's Dark Reign crossover, which made for a dark summer. Awesome, but dark. I like dark.

I also saw X-Men: First Class. Like a lot of other people, I wasn't going in with very high hopes. After X3 and the Wolverine movie, (which I didn't hate as much as most, simply because I thought it was just a fun spectacle) the X movies seemed to have been tossed aside by quality film makers for some reason. As for total accuracy to the comics, let's face it, there is no possible way for ANY movie to get X-Men stuff accurate any longer. The comic story lines are so twisted up and feeding back on themselves that it takes several crossover events to make any of them fall in like with each other. The most a movie can hope to do is show the characters being true to themselves and adventuring in their own way. Did the Wolverine movie do that? I think so, more or less. Was it a great movie? Eh, it's fun to watch.

I love seeing Magneto doing his thang in any of the movies. He's just a great character with a power that looks freaking great on screen. And going back to the whole hokey thing, there simply isn't a way to see Beast in his full blue & furry form without him looking funny at first. That's the way Beast looks, though, and I got used to it. I'm WAY behind on X-Men comics, having given them up after not buying them for a while. Jumping back in is like flipping on a soap opera after it's been rolling for decades and expecting to know exactly why each character is mad at another. Because of that, I may have missed out on why Angel wasn't only a woman in First Class but that she had insect wings instead of feathery ones. Is that a new Angel from the books or just something for the movie? Hang on...I'll Google it and see.......

OH!! She's not THE Angel. She's Angel Salvadore  aka Tempest. Told you I was behind on all my X-Men stuff. I've read plenty of the books, but was always more of a lone hero sort of fan. Spidey, Punisher, Moon Knight, Batman, that sort of thing. Where teams were concerned, it's pretty much Avengers for me. Anyway, I still thought the insect Angel was cool too. It was also great to see Banshee in something other than the cartoons.

So now that I've seen these two plus Thor (did I talk about Thor yet? Also loved it. Damn, I seem easy to please. Oh well. Better that than my normal grumpy self) that still leaves Captain America and Cowboys & Aliens to scratch my comic book movie itch. Haven't been to theaters this many times for quite a while! Looks like I'll have popcorn stuck in my teeth all summer long.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Let me preface this by saying I DO pay attention when I'm editing my books. Skinners, especially, are a labor of love. Make no mistake, however, they ARE a labor. I created the series as a way to fashion a world full of cool monsters that I've always wanted to see. I wanted events to go from one book to another like a camera panning out farther and farther to show more and more of this world. By the time I got to #s 5 and 6, I realized how smart other series' authors are for keeping their urban fantasy squarely within the context of secret societies that only occasionally fracture the real world or having society being more or less ok with monsters among them. I didn't. I wanted Skinners to evolve into something bigger. Tough job and sometimes people pay the price.

Or...they pay the price, rise from the dead and pay it again.

A reader on the B & N discussion board (found here if you haven't already checked it out) found a glitch in The Breaking where someone was killed and was still feeling good enough to fire a shot on the following page. I must explain. In my epic, evolving world of Skinners, my characters are beyond such restraints as "going limp" or "losing command of their bodily functions" or "staying down" when they're killed. They're tougher than that. Cooler. Or...I screwed up in editing.

Someone else has emailed me about it and all I can say is... ooopsy. Editing those action scenes is rough and a lot of times, chunks get moved around. When that happens, it's like fixing a car. Pieces are taken out and when some are put into another spot, they must be welded so as to work seamlessly within the whole. Sometimes there's a rattle. Unfortunately, this car is off the production lines and on store shelves, never to be repaired again.

Too funny. I just gotta shrug. So does my main editor at EOS, my copyeditor and the other editor who went through the manuscript before it was sent to the presses. Where were you guys?? I thought you had my back!! Oh well. Happens to the best of us. In a fashion similar to how Lucas references his stormtrooper that clunks his head on that doorway in Episode IV, I can also reference my temporarily undead dude in future volumes. And speaking of Star Wars come Jango Fett's head doesn't fall out of his helmet when Boba picks it up for that disturbing / touching moment in Episode II? Not trying to put my books in the Star Wars category. I was just wondering about that.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The wrong O word

Well, once again, South Park has knocked it out of the park. Ha. PARK. Didn't even mean to do that one. Their recent episode was about how everything starts sounding like / resembling shit after you hit a certain age. This is something that happened a while ago for me, but I've tried to ignore it. Sometimes I get cranky (ok..cranky-ER) but most of the times I go into newer stuff wanting to like it. Movies, TV shows, whatever. If I'm not trying to like something, I should just curl up into a ball and gripe. More often than I care to admit, this burns me.

It starts with music (as it did in South Park). Then comes everything else. My first encounter with this was MTV. I was a kid when it first hit cable and can clearly recall all the music videos as well as quality programming like Remote Control, The Young Ones, and the first few seasons of The Real World. I was going to college during the Beavis & Butthead years. In fact, I still suspect there was a camera hidden in the apartment I shared with my college roommate for Mike Judge to get inspiration for that show. FYI, my roommate and I switched off on who was Beavis and who was Butt-Head. Then came the decline (as illustrated by the rest of The Real World. That show is STILL on?? How much of the same angst can we watch??)

So, fine. MTV is for young audiences and I'm not young. I get it. I'm still kind of cool right? I did win a radio contest for a trip to attend the 1998 MTV VMAs. That's pretty cool! I was in the same building as Madonna and Marilyn Manson, for crap's sake! Personally, the Movie Awards were always my favorite. The last few years, they've devolved into the MTV Twilight Awards. So that's what the kids are watching. Great. Let 'em have it. I heard there was going to be a remake of Teen Wolf and my mind drifted back to the awesome movies. "GIVE ME...a keg...of BEER." Juvenile justice at the hands of gypsy curses. SWEET! I watched about five minutes of the new version and it was more angsty teens trying to be sexy and witty. And really, what the hell was I expecting?? The second half of this clip from The Soup pretty much sums it up. The first half is funny as well. I love this show (The Soup...not Teen Wolf)


So I'm old. This is yet another reminder. Whatever. Sometimes curling up in that ball is fun. Griping is fun too. I think I'll even start that as a new label for blog posts. Now, in order to pay my rent, I need to try and come up with a poignant, "edgy" yet sexy, socially conscious young character as well as a bunch of cute supernatural circumstances that amount to other characters looking even sexier and becoming even more sharp-witted. Let the zaniness ensue. Oh, and I can't forget the sweetie-pie nicknames for those supposedly horrific creatures. I'll jam those in with the 587,649th way to reference "that time of the month" when talking about a werewolf's transformation during the full moon. And you guys wonder why I take such pleasure in setting the Full Bloods loose in Book 5? Heh. Sweet catharsis.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Did that title sound like the old Cajun Guy from SNL? Anyway, I meant Discussion. Get it? Ok, too far for a little joke. Anyway...The Breaking is one of June's Featured books over at the Barnes & Noble Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Book Club board. Click here to head on over and join the discussion. I try to check in frequently so don't leave me hangin'!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Get Broken!!

For some reason, I was convinced that Skinners 5 was going to be released at the end of LAST month. I was even telling people, "Check it out at the end of April!" like some kind of moron. Once I realized that was wrong, I forgot about it almost completely. Every now and then I'd mention something on Facebook, but then I'd go back to having to check the back of a promo cover for the actual release date. Well, no more of that because THE BREAKING is finally on store shelves!!


This is one of the longest books I've ever written. Not such a landmark in itself, but there you go. There's a lot going on in this one and I think it's all pretty damn cool. I introduce some new creatures, some new Full Bloods, some new chaos into the world we all thought we knew, and you get to witness me unleashing my whole "what-if" wish fulfillment where monsters are concerned. It gets ugly, folks, but in a great way.

The UPS guy just showed up at my door with a box of new Skinners. This is the first time I've seen the actual finished book. Funny because some of you guys got to see it before me! I'll be digging in to my promotional attempts, but I wish I was better at that part. If I could just write new stuff and get it out there without worrying about PR, I'd be happy. I love this sort of thing as well as talking / emailing with readers, but the more official stuff isn't my thang. It's all part of the job, so I soldier on. Honestly, I feel bad sometimes for just talking about my books and harping on the titles, availability and all of that stuff. Stupid, but it's true. Most of that might come from an intrinsic belief that people don't care about what I say. The stories are one thing, but the rest.... Whether that's true or not, it makes it seem odd for me to get out there and promote as if anyone's listening. Welcome to my brain. Population: 87 (1 "eccentric" introvert and 86 other radically different voices that won't stop chattering about nonsense and evil plans).

In other release news, I hope you all have been checking out the Dead Man series of ebooks. The new one (The Dead Woman) is released today and you can get it on Kindle here or Nook here. The basics...
THE DEAD WOMAN is BOOK #4 in THE DEAD MAN saga, the action/horror series that readers and book critics alike are hailing as "an epic tale" that compares to the best of Stephen King and Dean Koontz...Matt Cahill thought he was alone with his torment, that he was the only one who could see the evil in people’s souls as rotting flesh. But in a small town in Tennessee, terrorized by a vicious serial killer, Matt meets a woman who may see what he does…and together they must confront a horrific and immortal terror that thrives on death. Amazing action in bite sized chunks and you all know I'm an expert in bite sized chunks. Heh. I'll let you know when my Dead Man book will be coming out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The End of Everything on a Saturday? Naturally.

I'm always fascinated by predictions for the end of the world. Not that I buy into all of them, but I think it's funny how so many people are not only trying so hard to figure out the exact day we erupt into fire or ash or whatever, but that they really seem to be looking forward to it. I mean, they make signs, they march, they throw parties, they knock on doors. Wouldn't it be better to just schlep along and be pleasantly surprised by all the awesome demons popping out everywhere? Or if it's not so cool (like maybe another flood or something) wouldn't you still rather be surprised? Either way, it's not like we can prepare. What are those canned peanuts and bottles of water doing over there? End of the world survival kit? Smart!

I just heard about May 21st being the possible Rapture. Whenever I hear the word Rapture, it's usually in a pretty good context associated with heaving bosoms and such. Apparently, the real one isn't so great. Or is it? No more Kardashians. No more American Idol. No more Glee. I know, some of you like that stuff, but it all evens out. No more Fringe or Twinkies either. We all suffer. Happy now?

So what's your poison? Zombies? That apocalypse is poised to happen at any moment. First person shooters have made me into a head-shootin' killing machine. Bring it!! Nostradamus's Big Kablooey? That already came and went and some people STILL say he knew his crap. Skynet's Judgment Day? That passed back in 1997. I was working as a telemarketer back then, so that's pretty close to languishing in hell being watched by robot overlords. The Mayan's 2012 Bash? Yet to be seen. But, they couldn't even see the Spaniards coming, so I'll take that with a grain of salt. KABLOW!!! Any Mayans in the audience? All in good fun. You know I love ya!

You gotta hand it to anyone who seriously commits to an end of the world date within their lifetime. They're putting all of their credibility eggs into one basket. The sad part is when that day comes and goes and they come up with some lame excuses to save face. Oh, Nostradamus was looking at a comet instead of a star. He was CLOSE on some stuff. Close don't count in Doomsday!! I'll give these people a break. At least they get behind something. We'll see what happens tomorrow. If it does turn out to be the Rapture, that should be interesting and I don't have to mow my lawn. If not, at least it's the weekend. Bulls vs Heat.

If the end does come tomorrow, here's one more pro and con. Well, three cons if you count the demons and judgment. Bad news first) People like me will have to deal with a whole lot of smug doomsayers. Pro) With the dead rising from the grave, we could kill Osama AGAIN. USA!!!!!

[Editorial note - The spell checker isn't working. Must be a sign.]

Monday, May 16, 2011

World Horror '11

It's been a little while since World Horror came and went, but that's no reason to forget about it right? Ok, so I've been slacking as far as updates, but here goes. This was my first WHC and it was great! It was held in Austin, TX which was also great! I was on the Vampire Mega Panel (which was SO much better than the Vampire Mini Panel) with none other than Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night fame. Freaking awesome! There was a moment when the moderator asked the panelists what their favorite vampire movie / book was and I contemplated lying. Whenever I'm asked that question, I say 30 Days of Night and Necroscope. Is it bad etiquette to mention another panelist's work like that? Does it make me look like a suck-up? Eh, who gives a crap. I told the truth with the preface, "Not that I'm kissing ass or anything, but..." Seemed to go just fine. Afterward, I got a chance to talk to Steve. Funny, but we seemed to see eye to eye on a lot of vampire type stuff. Here's a pic of me and him. Hopefully I'm maintaining some semblance of cool here.

The signing was fun. Met some great people. Thanks to all of you who stopped by to say hello! I even got to sign someone's Necronomicon-esque autograph book. THAT was cool! On my off time, I had a burger at Casino el Camino. If you're ever in Austin, GO THERE!! Amazing burgers and awesome chili fries. Not so amazing parking on 6th Street, but worth it.

All in all, it was a great time. Hopefully I'll be able to hit WHC next year. Now, back to the grind.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You can't have just one

So yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. And...I didn't even look in my local comic book store's direction. I know, I know. I'm terrible. I'm also not a rich man and am very weak when it comes to buying comics. Here's how the pattern goes:

Phase 1) I love comics. Always have. Always will. I want to keep up with the story lines and just plain enjoy having the books in my hands. I would like to purchase comics every week.

Phase 2) I'll make the trip to the store every Wednesday. You know...just to get away from my desk and indulge in the geeky wonder that is the comic book store. I'll set a budget in stone, something I can afford, and STICK TO IT. Don't worry about back issues. I just need to accept the gaping holes in my collection.

Phase 3) Wow! This is going really well! I'm so happy. I look forward to New Comics Day almost as much as New Video Game / DVD Day. My budget idea rocks. After all, it's one of my few entertainment expenses since I don't get out to bars or fine dining very often. YAY!!

Phase 4) This is a slow New Comics Day. Only 1 issue came out that I want. Why let my budget go to waste? Maybe I'll take a gander at some series I've never read. Ooooo! What's this one? Pretty colors!!!

Phase 5) So now I'm into my original series as well as 57 new ones. I'm invested in the story lines and want to know what happens in every one. Plus, I LOVE the weight of that stack of new comics in my hands every week. The pile is just so mind-numbingly heavy and smells so good! New comics smell differently than new books. Like different perfumes for two different, yet equally enticing, ladies. God, I love Wednesdays!'s still cheaper than going to bars and paying $8 for a Bud draft.

Phase 6) Ok, so this isn't cheaper than going to a bar. Still...I gotta have my comics. I work hard! I DESERVE THEM!!! It's not a problem! I can stop any time I want!! Stop looking at me like that!!! They smell so good. I love them. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!!!

Phase 7) Intervention. Somehow I stop buying comics altogether and take time to read through the stacks and stacks of issues I never had time to read during phases 3-6. I can pay my water bill again now. I guess that's nice.

I went to Free Comic Book Day last year, stuck to my guns and only picked up the freebies. It was fun, but I felt like a meth addict being led on a short tour through Lindsay Lohan's house that ended with me only being able to lick the bottom of her purse. Just too much of a tease! So I passed on Free Comic Book Day this year. Not because I wanted to but because, in the words of the great Wilford Brimley, it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WHC News

I couldn't be more excited about going to the World Horror Convention at the end of the month! I've been writing horror for years and loving horror my entire life, but have never been to a WHC. I intended on going to the one in the UK last year, but that fell through. This year it's ON! Everyone connected to the con has been great. Earlier, I got an email asking for panel ideas because they wanted to do something other than the normal vampire and zombie stuff. I drew a blank at the time and apparently I wasn't the only one because I'm going to be on the Vampire MEGA-Panel!! There's also going to be a Zombie Mega-Panel. I thought that was funny, but hey. It's a horror con. Vampires and zombies are all over the place. Might as well talk about 'em. There's going to be a ton of other stuff and the programming looks fantastic. My only problem is that my panel is at 1o:00 Saturday MORNING. UGH!!!! Rest assured, I will be there, chock full 'o caffeine and ready to panel it up.

Just getting to Austin will be fun because I'm road tripping there. Normally, that would be cheaper than flying but with gas prices what they are I'm not so sure. Then again, you can't put a price on crowded airports, intrusive searches, cramped quarters, aching eardrums, parking problems....ok. The price is too much and I'm happy to drive instead.

My new dog Mallory will not be driving with me. That kind of stinks, but she'll be in good hands. Speaking of my Schnoolde Sidekick, today she's going to the vet to get her stitches out from her spaying which also means the Cone of Shame will be removed! Yay. Look at her up there. So droopy. So demoralized. But things weren't always so bad. Her cone also acted as a crude parabolic dish to enhance the sound while watching amazing 80's movies! Check out the third picture for a look at how she made a valiant escape attempt while also wreaking glorious revenge on my blinds. Oy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dead Man Cometh

Remember all those times I've been talking about doing ebooks? Well it turns out I'm not the first one to come up with this idea! Heh. Obviously there are plenty of ebooks out there, just like there are plenty of real books on the shelves. The trick is to find the ones that are any good. A friend of mine (Matthew Mayo who was also in that D&D related interview I was in) told me about a new series called The Dead Man. Right away, the title caught my interest. I like dead things. Also...skull on the cover. Ok, I'm easy.

Seriously, though, I appreciated the story behind the story. Turns out that the creators, Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, had a great idea for a kick-ass supernatural TV series but couldn't get any of the network suits to give it a go. I can definitely relate. After so many years, they decided to just do the stories themselves as short, kick-ass ebooks. I checked out the first one soon after I got my Kindle and fell in love with the concept of a hero brought back from the dead and pursued by a demonic nemesis as well as the format of shorter action-packed stories along the lines of a monthly adventure series. Here's a link so you can see it for yourselves.

The reason I bring this up is twofold. First of all, I believe ebooks can help writers get stuff out there that wouldn't normally get a chance. The only drawback is that a lot of crap will surface as well so you need to know where to spend your dough. For what it's worth to any of you, I recommend The Dead Man. It's cool, full of violent goodness and (most importantly) FUN. Also, the first book in the series, Face of Evil, is currently only 99 cents on The second reason I'm bringing it up is because I got in touch with Lee and will be writing one of the upcoming Dead Man books! My friend Matt Mayo will as well, so keep your eyes on the series in the months to come. The second book, Ring of Knives by James Daniels, just came out. I'll be working on mine this summer and it will be released soon after. Ok....commercial over.

In the last several months, ebooks have reminded me why it's fun to be a reader. They hearken back to the pulp days where stories were out there because they were entertaining, new and fresh. There's a place for the big publishers, but there should also be a place for the fun stuff. Pulp has its place. Without it, there'd be no Conan, Tarzan, hard boiled PIs, or treasure hunting adventurers. You know....the candy aisle of the bookstores. It doesn't all have to be drama or romance. Readers have always known this. Unfortunately, publishers are always looking for a sure thing before they commit to any project. There is no sure thing. This is something writers have always known. By its nature, our job is a gamble and putting out our own projects in a forum as widespread and accessible as ebooks allows us to place a few bets.

As I scroll through the ebook store on my Kindle, I'm finding stuff that I can't find on the shelves. It's the kind of material I wanted to write when I'd scribbled my first story. Even though Skinners is definitely something I've always wanted to write, there are SO many other projects that haven't seen the light of day because they weren't close enough to some other trend or just didn't hit the right editor on the right day. The idea of being able to get those other projects out there to be read really gets my blood racing. Are ebooks the way it's all headed? Are they just a prolonged novelty? I don't know. Right now they've hit a powerful stride and if good writers keep putting out good stuff, I'm all for it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quick on the trigger

I was going through my emails the other day and accidentally hit the "Clear All" button. Don't ask how. I screwed up. Leave it at that. The only reason I bring this up is that I saw there were some requests for signed covers in there and now they're deleted. So if you sent me a request for a signed cover within the last week or so, please send it again. I promise I won't wipe it out this time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Damn My Eyes!!!

Last time I went to Best Buy, I got a chance to try out the new Nintendo 3DS. Very cool, but it was bolted down to a stand, locked up with chains and guarded by three drooling hellbeasts so I couldn't hold it the way I normally would. That resulted in me hunkering down to play some dopey little flying game on a bright pink toy. Not very manly. The 3D effects were cool, but my eyes started to hurt pretty quickly. Was that because of the angle, the 3D technology or the fact that my eyes are worse than someone who's gotten theirs yanked out and scrubbed with a brillo pad after staring at the sun? Who knows? I'm still excited about the 3DS, but that's after a downgrade from "really pumped".

Also, I'm set to watch Skyline. This is one of those movies that looked awesome on the previews, but I never got around to seeing it. So far, the reviews and word of mouth pretty much hover in the vicinity of "awesome effects / horrible plot". Since I like to riff on movies MST3K style anyway, this sounds like a fun time.

I put together a proposal and a few chapters for one of those steampunk projects I mentioned earlier. I'm VERY happy with the whole thing so now it's up to the publishers. Another one of my babies out making the rounds in the big bad world. This part sucks. Of course, as I've also mentioned earlier, I'm excited about the whole ebook thing. That means if New York doesn't want to play my reindeer games, I'll write it anyway and take my chances. Exciting times!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A New (old) Addiction

Still loving my Kindle. In fact, I'm buying stuff left and right and reading more. The reading part is mainly due to the fact that I have a little free time lately and haven't been busting my hump quite as much as normal. I've also been reading from my ever-present pile of regular books so all is good. Two generations of literacy living in harmony. Contented sigh......

As for buying ebooks, it sure beats the hell out of going to this one Borders by my house that always plays depressing love songs through the loudspeakers. This way, I can shop around for new stuff, not pay sales tax and do so without pants and while listening to whatever music I want. Borders tends to frown on me wandering in there in that particular state of relaxation. Heh.

Speaking of taxes, I took that hit earlier this week. Didn't turn out as bad as I was fearing. There's one advantage to not being rich! It wasn't a pleasant experience, but it was followed by the same sort of relief you get when you finally get that punch to the stomach after tensing your muscles in expectation for way too long. Thank you, Uncle Sam, may I please have another!!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Next...Books in 3D!!!!

So I finally broke down and bought a Kindle. As I mentioned on one of my recent posts, I've been very resistant to this whole ebook thing. Well, now that it's obvious it's more than a passing fancy (and that there are some VERY intriguing opportunities for writers to put their own stuff out there without all the Big Publisher bullshit) I'm interested.

It started off on a good foot. I ordered it through Amazon (the black one with 3G) and it arrived ahead of schedule. I turned it on and had glorious fun throughout the initial "WOW! New gadget" phase. Once that wore off, I realized I loved reading on the thing. First thing I did was look for a book that I haven't been able to find on shelves. BANG! There it was...and cheaper! I bought a few more things plus downloaded a bunch of free classics, but the true test was when I tried to import a text file from my computer. Another writer contacted me about reading a copy of his upcoming book so I could provide a blurb. He sent a computer file, but I really don't like reading comp files. Still, I didn't want to force him to print me a copy, so there you go. The Kindle didn't recognize the file's format and I had to email it to a Kindle address so they could convert it. A few minutes later, there it was! SWEET!!!

Now, I realize I'm behind the times with this but I'm blown away. Keep in mind, I'm still blown away by DVRs, Netflix and sensors on microwaves that know EXACTLY how long to nuke popcorn. Will I give up regular books? Hell no! Still love them, but this is a great companion. Will I write ebook exclusives in the future! Hell yes, but Big Publishers are still a necessary part of the biz. As with most everything, it's all about moderation. Some of one and a dash of the other. Also, it's about recognizing the writing on the wall. I know plenty of authors who still resist ebooks vehemently. This is turning our noses up at a potentially great creative outlet. I love my Kindle as well as anything that gets folks reading and makes things a little easier for writers. I knew I was in good hands when I logged on to the Kindle store and found Vampire Uprising first in line on my "Recommended for You" bar. Awww, Kindle. You rock.

One funny note...there has always been a little problem with the original font used for the title on the Skinners books. It makes the "k" look like an "h". I always point it out and they always change it. Sometimes it slips through on the title page inside the books so it looks like "SHINNERS". Funny. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so because the title page for the ebook version proves me right. Heh. Oh well. The Robot Overlords don't know EVERYthing!

Friday, February 25, 2011

+3 on Research Checks

It's been a long time since I've been able to play much as far as pen and paper RPGs are concerned. Still, I love D&D as well as the World of Darkness games! How much do I love them? Read this interview on the D&D website to find out!

I completed this a while ago and forgot about it with all the other stuff going on. Also, I wasn't sure exactly when it would show up. But here it is and I am STOKED to be in any way connected to the granddaddy of all RPGs. Also, I have worked with Russell Davis and am friends with Matt Mayo. One additional layer of goodness....out three names together sounds like a cool sandwich. Maybe something with bacon and feta cheese.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

But the files don't smell all musty

I've been reorganizing my books, trying to find some more to sell off and it makes me wonder if I should jump on board with this whole ebook thing. I've been resistant for a while simply because I like books. I like feeling them in my hands, turning actual pages, seeing the covers, and yes...smelling them. There's just nothing better than smelling actual books. Maybe that's a weird writer thing. I do the same with comics. Take one from the bag, study the covers, flip through quickly and take a long, lingering sniff before diving in to read in earnest. Not as creepy as it sounds. It's actually very comforting. Plus, I'm a slow reader, so carrying around one book at a time will more than do me when I'm out and about.

It seems that the ebooks have long since moved away from the "fad" phase. If they're good enough to put Borders out of business, there's something there, right? Sticking to the old ways now means I'm just stubborn and like them. Plus I have a lot of books that I need to read. Now that I've been looking into publishing some stuff straight to ebook format, I guess I should know how they work. Also, they have the cool tech factor. I've tried a Kindle and even an IPad. Believe me, if I had that much spare cash laying around, I would have an IPad. A friend of mine showed me how cool downloadable comics looked on there, but I would NEVER make that leap. least not for a long time. Ok...maybe I'd get comics that I don't want to keep. Even so, I'd still want the books. But ebooks....I think I'm ready.

As a writer, it's all the same. In fact, I'm really happy that ebooks are so popular because that means people are still reading! As long as that's the case, writers will be needed. One thing I love about ebooks is the possibility of cutting out all the BS and middlemen that are in the publishing biz who say they want something new as long as it's a lot like something else. UGH!!!

So I'll be looking around for a new device. On the other hand, the Nintendo 3DS is on its way. Mmmmmm....shiny!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Round 2...FIGHT!!

Ok, so the Valentine's griping is out of the way for another year. Sorry about that everyone. Today I was greeted with the news of Borders declaring bankruptcy and closing about 200 stores nationwide. At first, that seems like a really bad thing. If you're Borders, it is. Then again, a lot of people (including plenty of folks in the publishing / writing biz as well as Borders themselves) saw this one coming from a long ways out. Being in tough financial situations is nothing new to writers. Unlike the publishing houses and big booksellers, we're not used to seeing huge, juicy profits for everything out there. You need to be one of those few big-name authors, a cable semi-celebrity or a Kardashian to get the big literary bucks. Bazinga!!!

Anyway, in true Rocky fashion, these hard times have charged me up. I'm already working on proposals, so I've got renewed steam for that. More importantly, I'm taking steps in some new directions to get other projects going. More details later, but I'm really excited about it and that's a much-needed boost. Whew.

In other news, I picked up Marvel vs. Capcom 3. (Traded in some games and bought at a colossal discount. Hard times, remember?) I love fighting games, but am not very good at them. I used to kick some major league ass at Mortal Kombat 1 and 2. Even won a local tournament back in the day. Now I can't believe I memorized all those moves and multiple fatalities. The new MK is coming out soon which will be awesome, but MvC3 is pretty sweet as well. Amazing graphics. Very cool fighting. Pretty flashing lights (which they warn you about in the opening) and all around nerd-vana. I mean...being able to pit Doctor Doom against Dante from Devil May Cry?? YEAH!!! I tried going online, but was having trouble with the hosts. Probably got it all squared away by now. Most importantly, there are easy difficulty settings on Arcade mode to provide me hours of fun. Hopefully Webmaster Steve picks up a copy and we can throw down. We're at about the same skill level. Ok, he's better than me, but doesn't rub it in too badly when he wins.

So, energized and full of flashing light-induced brain trauma, I soldier on. What's my prediction for this fight? PAIN!!

Monday, February 14, 2011


When did holidays stop being fun? Obviously the first answer is when we grow into adults. That's when the cool parties at school stop and the true, tedious nature of things is revealed. It seems most second-tier holidays are either excuses to drink or get a day off of work. I've got no problem with drinking, but if you want to drink...just do it. Why wait for Hallmark to slap a color scheme on it and print a greeting card for you? If you're such a wild and crazy party animal, go do your thing. As for days off, well that's just what it is. Spare me the talk about the origins of a holiday or what it means to you. Just take your day off, sleep in and get on with life.

Of course, there are the top shelf holidays like Christmas and....birthdays? Do birthdays count here? Sure. Stuff like those, Hanukkah, Easter and even New Year...the big ones that actually mean something. I get what those are and why they're celebrated. Fine.

Today is Valentine's Day. I hate this one. I don't hate love. I don't mind telling someone special how I feel about her. I don't need pressure from every corporation out there to do so. Also, I don't like being required to express myself on ONE particular day. I know I'm contrary by nature. Maybe that's all there is to it. I don't mind buying flowers to make someone feel special. When it's required by law to be romantic NOW...or to open my heart and be sweet THIS INSTANT....I tend to get resentful. I'm pretty good the rest of the year, but the shit starts to fly if I don't perform up to snuff on one particular day? That's real love.

And then there's the professional side of my brain. I've been trying to get work done lately and it's been impossible for a few months. They can't return my call. It's Thanksgiving. Try back in ten days. TEN DAYS!! Then it's Christmas. That one shuts everything down for about a month. After that, there's the week-long New Year's thing. Now I can't get anything on Valentine's Day?? Guess who's had to work this whole damn time? ME!!

Thanks Hallmark. No wait...I mean GET BENT!!! Ha. Because greeting cards are bent. Funny.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New covers 'n stuff

As always, I got a bunch of promo covers for the next Skinners. My offer still stands to send out autographed covers to anyone who would like one. This year looks to be especially lean on the convention front, although I will be attending at least one big one. World Horror is coming up in April, so I hope to see some of you there. Still don't know what I'll be scheduled for, but I'm sure it'll be cool. Anyway, I won't be out there doing many signings for a while so here you go.

Other than that, it's been a whole lot of trying to stay warm. The other day, I felt cold air blowing in through an electrical outlet. Yowza! Good thing my grandma still knits me these awesome slippers that magically fit my wide flipper feet just perfectly. Although some of you (including my grandma) might call these slippers "booties", I like to call them Yarn Shoes. Sounds more manly, plus I think of a whole different thing when I hear the word "booty".

Been working on some ghostwriting projects to keep me busy until the next round of edits comes in for Skinners 6. One of them is a Ralph Compton western written under my cowboy name, Marcus Galloway. If you're into westerns (I'm more of a Clint Eastwood as opposed to John Wayne guy, just so you know), look 'em up. I did two of my own series that I think turned out rather well.

Other than that, I've been leveling up in Call of Duty: Black Ops as well as Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. Also found a good price for the entire series of Wild Wild West on DVD. Talk about cheesy awesomeness!! Watching these shows brings me back around to why I want to write Steampunk so badly. If there's anyone who can write the hell out of cheesy awesomeness, it's ME!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jibber Jabbah!

Not a lot going on here lately. For all intents and purposes, Skinner #5 is done. I'm waiting for the first round of official edits for Skinners 6 to come back to me. In the meantime, I'm ghost writing a few westerns and working on some new proposals for other series. Of course that doesn't mean I'm moving away from Skinners. It's just that, unless you're one of the 0.8% of writers who get to do one thing and sit back to rake it in, you gotta hustle. I'm pretty sure only about 5% of professional writers JUST write for a living, and most of them ain't rich.

I was talking earlier about how much I love Steampunk, so I'm putting together some stuff for that. Shaping up to be VERY cool. Also have lines in the water in the science fiction and mystery genres. Yes, mystery! I know! I wouldn't imagine me doing this either, but I came up with an idea that I would LOVE to do so I'm giving it a shot. Maybe I have some sort of attention....something where my attention doesn't focus. Focus? It's something where I....I don't know. What was I talking about? Anyway, my mind comes up with a lot of stuff and I want to write it all. Hopefully some of it sells.

Been catching up on my DVR backlog of Fringe and Stargate Universe episodes. Yes, SG-U isn't the best, but it's grown on me. Someone out there said the ship has a stargate on it because it can't LAND. Huh. Just sounds silly when you put it that way. Oh well. Also catching up on some gaming and movies. Finally got around to seeing The Other Guys with Will Ferrell. "Gator needs his gat!!" Awesome.

Back to work for me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking a quick peek at the rest of the world

Funny thing about DVRs. Although it's great to have shows to watch whenever you want with the ability to skip commercials, I find myself both in sync and behind everyone else. I hear about a new show like Bob's Burgers and can find it, tape it and watch it right away. Wow! Then there are shows that slip through the cracks for a while and I watch months later to be thrown off by stale ads. Wait a second! New Hell's Kitchen ALREADY?? SWEET!!! Oh, that's an ad from last season. Doh.

I swore I wouldn't watch American Idol after...I don't know...sometime a few years ago. To be honest, I can't even tell you who won the last few seasons I did watch. That useless knowledge gets instantly purged after it passes my eyes. You the emergency number to the police or what my allergies are. Idol has a new season and new judges. Mainly I wanted to see how Steven Tyler would do. Personally, I was a big fan of Simon and loved watching him rip apart people who couldn't sing and have "always been dreaming about this moment". Seriously? ALWAYS? When you were a child, you stayed awake at night daring to dream about standing in line at a hotel and screeching in front of celebrities? Diff'rent strokes. My fear with the new judge lineup was that (since they are performers) they would be extra lenient in letting people get through. From what little I saw (meaning the first episode) I may be right. They really do fall for the sob stories. I'll tell ya, those don't usually work. I've been rejected plenty of times by editors who didn't give a rat's ass about my history. I'm just waiting for the intro to Hollywood Week when Ryan Seacrest says, "Of the 13,000 people who tried out, only 11,437 remain. WHO will be the NEXT American Idol?"

Eh, whatever. I recommend Bob's Burgers and Archer for you animation fans. I still love Fringe with all of my heart. Hawaii Five-O is cool. And then there's The Cape....sigh. Don't get me started on The Cape.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Give Scrooge a break

I know Christmas is over and it'll be at least three or four weeks before we start seeing decorations on store shelves again, but I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine about ghosts. Specifically, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and (my personal favorite) Future from A Christmas Carol. Basically, I asked the question as to whether these supernatural entities are ghosts or something closer to demons.

Now I guess you could define "demon" as intrinsically evil, but I think a ghost is the essence of a human who is either stuck in our world / plane of existence or lingering there for their own reasons. If those reasons happen to be mean-spirited or "evil", does that make them a demon? No. When I think of a demon, I think more along the lines of an entity that has unearthly power (something cooler than floating or glowing) and is not of our world. There's more to it than that, but that's the Cliff Notes version. You see a shadow figure or hear disembodied voices? Could be a ghost. Is your dog possessed or are you being thrown onto the ceiling when you're trying to sleep? Sounds like a demon. Is that stuff evil? Depends on if you or the dog had it comin'.

Which brings me around to Scrooge. Sure, this old man was a crotchety jerk. Maybe he worked too hard and expected his employees to also give 110% when they're behind their desk. Hey, back then coal really WAS kind of expensive! But these things that visit him aren't just ghosts! They're time travellers. They create hallucinogenic food. (Ok you tell me how GoCPresent pulled that off!). But they weren't evil. Or...were they? Take GoCFuture. Ok, you teleport Scrooge into the days to come and show him (spoiler alert!!) he dies sad and alone. Point made. You reduced an old man to tears. Happy? He gets it. How about shoving his nose against his own tombstone. He'll buy the damn goose, all right!! Jeez!! Well, he was being difficult and needed some tough love. How about shoving the old guy into his OWN OPEN GRAVE!!! Yowza!! Even I think that's kind of harsh and I'm a horror writer!!

So, you decide. Possessed dog and getting knocked around into some walls or taken into the future to see your own horrific demise and then booted into hell via the ground where your own worm-infested corpse is laying. Makes that thing in Paranormal Activity seem kind of tame, doesn't it?

This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.

BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.