Tag Archives: nelson w pyles

Writing: Because, Thank You

This isn’t going to be a long blog post (as some of mine can be), but it’s certainly a personal one.

Last weekend, the pretty awesome (okay, to be fair, he’s more than pretty awesome) Eric Beebe (owner of Post Mortem Press) held a writer’s retreat and I had the fortunate pleasure of attending. There were a dozen writers, some brought spouses, other brought spouses and kids, and some just brought themselves. All told, there were more than a few people milling about.

Now, people who know me (which is probably everyone reading this blog, actually) understand that I’m pretty much an introvert until I get to know you or until I get drunk, so the idea of attending a retreat was pretty fucking daunting. When it was first brought up, I said I’d like to go, but in the back of my head I was thinking, “If it happens, I’ll bow out and let someone else fill the spot.”

My wife told me I was an idiot. She was far more colorful than that, but idiot is what she meant.

I paid and I went.

It was a super great gathering of authors, a giant creative machine of like-minded people, and just fun. I don’t say that about too many social situations, but I can about this.

It’s my distinct pleasure to be a part of this Post Mortem Press family and I give a hearty thank you to Eric for having me and all the other authors. I’ve learned a lot from Eric and the rest of the PMPress people, came out of my shell a bit more, and I have better tools to continue writing and selling my work. A simple blog post thank you isn’t really enough, but it’s all I have. An extra thank you goes out to the special guests present: Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, and Tim Waggoner. My respect grows each time I’m lucky enough to meet and talk with them.

And who was there? Well, these people, and it was excellent to see some of them again and meet others for the first time. Check out their websites and work at the links below:

Special Guest: Gary A. Braunbeck

Special Guest: Lucy Snyder

Special Guest: Tim Waggoner

Nelson Pyles

Kenneth W. Cain

Jessica McHugh

KT Jayne

Paul Anderson

J. David Anderson

Georgina Morales

Brian Dobbins

Brady Allen

Elizabeth Jenike

Blog Hop! C. Bryan Brown Edition

The estimable Nelson W. Pyles tagged me to answer some questions about myself and my upcoming work for this thing called Blog Hop. It’s your standard interview type questions, but you know, I don’t mind talking about myself (most of the time), so I’m gonna answer them. Just for you.

Before I do, gotta give props to Nelson for being Nelson. And awesome. If you haven’t checked out his podcast, The Wicked Library, where he does readings of stories authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jessica McHugh, and yours truly, then you’re doing your ears a disservice. Not to mention your intellect and that part of you that likes to be scared, horrified, and, in some cases, disgusted.

At the end of this thing, I’ll tag a few more writers and you can hop on over there in a week or so and find out what they have to say.

Ready?

No?

Too bad.

Blog Hop: What are you working on right now?

Me: I have so many irons in the fire that it’s hard to pin down any single item, but I think it’s that way with every author. But, in an effort to make the rest of this sound interesting, I’m working on something of a vampire apocalypse novel, which is the first in a (planned) trilogy.

Blog Hop: How does it differ from other works in its genre?

Me: It differs for a few reasons. One, the vampires don’t sparkle, which pulls it out of the “urban fantasy” and “tween” genres/markets, which is where most of the vampire fiction is at the moment. But it also differs because it takes something that’s become a popular trope in those genres and asks the questions “How?” and “Why?” in regards to arriving at a certain point.

Blog Hop: What experiences have influenced you?

Me: When I was ten (or eleven, my memory that far back gets fuzzy) my mother pulled me out of bed to watch the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” because it scared the shit out of her. I watched Freddy drag Tina across the ceiling, blood flying across the room, all while her boyfriend watched helplessly. From that moment on, I was more or less hooked on horror. Plus, my parents never really censored what I read growing up, so I’d pick up the books they were done with, which were invariably horror.

Blog Hop: Why do you write what you do?

Me: Two very simple reasons. 1) Murder is illegal and 2) To explore and better understand my own feelings toward the world I live in. Sorry, readers, but I don’t write for you. I write for me. I attempt publication for you.

Blog Hop: How does your writing process work?

Me: I start with an idea, a theme, or an image of something and build around that. If it’s a short story, I’ll just write. Novels get outlined, character sketches, timelines. As far as the actual writing goes, there’s a 1st draft, then a 2nd draft. After that, the piece is read by “readers” and I do a 3rd draft based on feedback (if any). Then I have a few “writers” whom I trust and they get a final look. I’ll do a 4th edit (if necessary).

Blog Hop: What is the hardest part about writing?

Me: It used to be putting my ass in the chair every day to write. So I stopped trying. Now I devote several hours each day to writing, editing, or reading. It works better for me to focus on one of the three elements of writing instead of all three in a single day. Now my biggest issue is turning off my inner editor during 1st drafts.

Blog Hop: What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?

Me: Comic books. I’d love to write a comic book. But, as I can’t draw, I have to find someone who enjoys my work and that I can work with for an extended period of time.

Blog Hop: Who are the authors you most admire?

Me: I pretty much admire any author who writes and submits his or her work, who doesn’t quit after being rejected, and isn’t afraid to say, “Yeah, I can still learn from someone,” but then turn around and say, “Hey, I’ve been here before, let me help you out.” Too many authors nowadays get something published (book, short story, whatever) and all of a sudden they’re a gift to you and every person who aspires to write and publish.

I’m going to namedrop here, which I don’t normally do, but if you want to see a writer worth admiring, then you need to meet Jonathan Maberry. Listen to some of his interviews and how he elevates not only the craft, but everyone he works with and talks about.

Blog Hop: Who are new authors to watch out for?

Me: There’s so many. And I do mean, so many. Just a few that I’ve read their work are Alexis A. Hunter, Kenneth W. Cain, Joe Williams, Brad Carter, Craig Hallam, Brady Allen, Chris Larsen, Lydia Peever, Nelson W. Pyles. Some of these people are double and triple threats between the podcasting, doing graphic art, and other things.

Blog Hop: What scares you?

Me: My own death. But beyond that, failing my kids in any capacity. I’m also not a fan of any sort of public speaking.

And there you have it! That concludes my issue of Blog Hop Magazine! Time for me to tag three writers and so I’m going to give you over to one of those “new” authors I mentioned, Alexis A. Hunter. And in a twist, I’m going to also tag two of my “cabin” mates in this year’s Camp NaNo: Rochelle Bradley and Raven Hawk.

2012: The Edge of Glory

Yeah, I’m going to do the whole end of year blog thing, too. Why not jump on a moving bandwagon, right? I just didn’t see the point in doing it before 2012 was over. NYE is my wife’s birthday and it’s usually a wet night for me and this year was no exception. So I had to wait and see if anything worth reporting happened that night. It didn’t, and after a day of resting my aching oak barrel-aged body, I’m happy to report I can still drink coffee, bang the clam drum, and write.

Go me.

What I really don’t want to do with this post is give a list of my goals for 2013. What’s the point, right? They’re my goals, not yours, and do you really give a shit what they are? I’d be surprised if you said yes and probably call you a liar. Well, unless you’re one of a handful of people. So, with the 2013 goals sections now completed, let’s move on to the things I do want to touch on: my completed 2012 goals, my list of thanks, and then shout-outs.

I set three goals for 2012 and, ultimately, I met all three, though one was only semi-complete. I wanted to earn enough to join the HWA in some capacity. CHECK! I wanted to publish my first novel. CHECK! I wanted my writing to pay for itself. Uh, sort of CHECK! A half-check? Three-quarters maybe. I earned enough to pay for a good portion of my writing activities this year. I can live with that. As a matter of fact, I’m really happy with what I was able to pay for. Hopefully 2013 is as generous.

And while I take credit for the words on the paper, I still have to give a sincere thanks to certain people for their trust, encouragement, and boots to the head. My wife, Michelle, for starters. I couldn’t do anything without her, much less write a fucking story for people to read. She’s my glue. Love you, honey, here’s to 2013 being even better.

I also have to say thanks to Eric Beebe of Post Mortem Press for being kick ass while kicking ass in the small press world. Everything you do puts the small press on the map and I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of that. Along with Eric, his wife Stephanie, and the rest of the PMPress family: Paul Anderson, Joseph Williams, Brad Carter, Kenneth W. Cain, Jessica McHugh, Alan Zacher, Nelson W. Pyles. You guys are awesome. I know that’s not everyone, but I only have so much room and the beer, you know?

As always, props to my peeps in CMC: Inanna, Matt, Val, Randy, Bill. I wasn’t around much in 2012, but you were always there on the Twitters, the Facebook, or the emails. Having your constant support is invaluable. Here’s to a better 2013 and keeping each other in words once again.

As far as the shout-out section, I really have two parts to this. The first belongs to the writers whose work stands alongside mine in a few anthologies, or have been a constant voice in my ear, or just impressed the hell out of me for some reason: Alexis A. Hunter, Brady Allen, Christian Larsen, Lydia Peever, and artist Lydia Burris. If you haven’t been acquainted with these people, then you need to. They are fucking astounding. And a special mention to Jonathan Maberry. He gets a thank you for all his kind words and help at Confluence this year. He’s a super nice guy; I hope to talk with and share a panel or two with him again.

The last portion of shout-outs goes to two people that have impressed the living hell out of me for various reasons. This is one of the only times I’ll go way off topic and discuss issues that don’t pertain to writing, but are personal to me, on this blog. These next two have spoken out on several topics close to my heart: bisexuality, gay marriage, and depression. The amount of sexual discrimination in this country is outrageous; get the fuck over it, people. And depression… I’ve been diagnosed with depression, was on medication (though no longer), and still suffer from prolonged fits of either anger or solitude. In the wake of recent tragedies and the national dialogue on mental health and wellness, it’s important to start recognizing and talking about depression.

So, my first shout-out goes to a lovely woman named Jen Sylvia. She makes stuff. Like clothes, bags, and stuff, all of which you can peruse and purchase here or here. She blogs about lots of stuff (and Twitters about it too, btw), but the one I want to draw your attention to is Dahara’s Depression. It’s a no bullshit look at the disease and it’s one of the strongest, most heartfelt blogs I’ve read in a long while. For anyone who suffers from depression (mild, severe, or other), you should subscribe. Oh, and did I tell you also runs the Ohio Straight People for Gay Marriage Facebook page? Yeah. Check this woman out, throw her your support, even if it’s just to read.

The second person I want to mention here is a writing group crony, Valarie Clark, whose blog used to speak about the trials and tribulations of being bisexual. Her blog is no longer focused on bisexuality, but on her writing instead, and you can find that at the link above. But just her openness to discuss it and throw it out there in the first place earned my respect.

Both of these women tackle(d) “taboo” subjects and did so with style, grace, and humor. Now, don’t expect to agree with everything written by them (cuz I sure don’t) but it’s also been my experience that each of them is more than willing to have a conversation about any topic you have. A conversation without rancor, without hate, without judgment. And that, in my opinion, is almost as important as their subject matter. They’re strong women who should be heard. My proverbial hat goes off to them; I believe they’re a force for good here in central Ohio and hope they continue on continuing on. If these subjects are important to you, subscribe, like, read, listen, follow.

Join the conversation.

I titled this blog post “The Edge of Glory” because sitting here in my dining room, surrounded by NYE party mess, a sick dog, and a beer, that’s the dominating feeling I have concerning 2012. I feel like I’m right there at the edge, holding hands with all of you, waiting to go over.

Whether I jump into oblivion or something greater remains to be seen, but I’m flexing my toes even as I finish typing this.

2013.

Here we come.

Steampunk Cocktails? Hell yes!

Just a quick update as I get ready for another week of mundania. And by mundania I mean working my corporate job that pays all the bills and ekes life from my soul on a daily basis. I used to think my kids caused my gray hair; I know better now.

In other news, my wife attended UtopiaCon this weekend. Not only did she get to hang out and chat with the lovely and talented SJ Tucker, she brought me a gift.

Check this out…

She knows me well, my wife. That book is Steamdrunks by Chris-Rachael Oseland. 101 Steampunk cocktails and mixed drinks. How awesome can one wife be? I’m thinking it’ll be party time soon.

In case you missed it, Cruel and Unusual was read by Nelson W. Pyles on his podcast Story Time at the Wicked Library. Nelson did a fanfuckingtastic job with the story. Cruel and Unusual was originally published in the PMPress anthology “A Means to an End.” Check  out the podcast and then listen to all the back episodes, especially the ones with Jessica McHugh and Joe R. Lansdale! Epic, epic, epic shit.

I got an email today that my “For When the Veil Drops” contributor copy is on its way. That anthology, from the fine folk at West Pigeon Press, has my story Bless You in it (along with many fine others) and should be available in the next few weeks. I’ll post it up per my usual way when I know you can get it.

My last bit of news for today is that my story, What’s Left Behind, will be in the “Fear the Abyss” anthology from Post Mortem Press. It’s a sci-fi/horror short set in the same post-apocalyptic world as Dominance. If you’re a fan of Dominance, you’ll definitely want to read What’s Left Behind. This one has a tentative release date near the end of November.

That’s it from me.