Finally got a good night’s sleep last night. It required forcing myself to stay awake until after midnight. I’m sure I dreamed, but I don’t remember many details.
It’s been a weird week. If you’ve been following this blog, you know my novel We Are the Accused was released on Tuesday. Release weeks always stress me out. Maybe it’s because I’m still fairly green, but damn, I found myself engaging in unhealthy obsessive behaviors. I refreshed the Amazon page for the book every hour or so. I constantly checked Twitter. I re-read the book and noted everything I would now do differently. I ate lots of candy, chocolates, and a massive piece of cheesecake. Last night, I finally managed to talk myself down from the ledge, hopefully averting a potentially extended manic episode.
It’s scary putting yourself out there. Once a book is published, it really is the point of no return, and We Are the Accused was such a personal book in which I took many risks and plumbed some really dark places, it frightened me knowing that it now lives in the wild and has to fend for itself. I imagine it’s something like sending a child off to college.
I wonder if this anxiety will decrease with each subsequent book release. Let’s hope so. My sixth was accepted by a publisher last Sunday (still can’t give details), and I now have a seventh and eighth lined up. At least this time I managed to call myself out and remind myself of what I can control. This list included writing a blog today (check), writing 1500 words on book 7 (getting there), finish cleaning the upstairs (this afternoon), and acquiring books for classes next week (also this afternoon).
We can only control so much. Reminding myself of this works wonders on my mental health.
Now I just need to kick this cedar fever. What’s cedar fever, you ask? Move to Texas and you’ll find out real quick. Just prepare to hate having sinuses.
In closing, I just wanted to let y’all know that my friend Josh Blakesley interviewed me over on his blog. We talked about writing as a spiritual practice, books that made me cry, and my newest releases. You can check it out here.
Today sees the release of a book that took so much out of me, I didn’t finish another for over two years.
WE ARE THE ACCUSED
A mad god lusts for power. Two demon lovers lust for death. An ancient man seeks to devour plagues natural and supernatural.
All converge on the small town of Blue Brook, Pennsylvania to wage war unlike any other, yet strangely familiar.
Bianca is an Afghanistan war veteran turned police detective whose ex-con high school sweetheart has just come home. Boone is a boy entrusted with immense power and living with a mother who’s struggling to hold their family together. Lafferty is a priest with many secrets.
All are caught in the middle of something beyond their understanding. The inner and outer darkness of each doomed soul must be faced.
Last night I got exciting news about my novel, Saint Sadist. I will share further details once the contract is signed. It will be my sixth published book.
In a week and one day, I start my final semester of college.
I couldn’t sleep much last night, but it wasn’t from nightmares or distress. I’m frankly just excited about a lot of things. Things are happening with this writing stuff, and not just works being published. Ideas I’ve had for YEARS are coming together, forging new, full-length projects. My brain is making connections that now seem so obvious, but eluded me for so long.
You’ve got to celebrate the victories. They are rare, wonderful things. For instance, this is my tenth post since starting this blog last month. It’s cool that I’m staying, more or less, pretty consistent. Granted, my posts aren’t particularly long, but really, anytime someone else’s post runs over a thousand words, I almost always find myself skimming, so perhaps brevity is best. I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
I’ve really missed blogging. I think it’s the best way to kickstart a day of writing.
So begins the third week of new year. Last week was difficult, but I’m forging ahead. 2019, you look tough, but I’m tough, too, and I’ve been reading Robert E. Howard’s boxing stories. You want a fight? You’ve got it.
I watched a 1988 movie called GROTESQUE last night. It had a lot wrong with it. Pacing issues. Bad effects. Lack of focus. A terribly silly ending. And yet. And yet I enjoyed myself. Been a while since I sat alone in the dark and watched a dumb horror movie. There’s something incredibly comforting about that for me. Weirdly enough, during my recent streak of nightmares, I was watching very little horror. It’s as if consuming horrific things satisfies the things that give me nightmares.
I finished writing a novella yesterday called Parasite Patch. It will be the first of a series of stories featuring the pulp hero Gerald Hawke. He and his partner Audrey travel the world investigating and often fighting all manner of supernatural menace. His books chronicling these exploits have given him a significant amount of success and he’s trained in various forms of martial arts. Trouble is, he is rather squeamish. The goal is to release four or five of these, one a month, and later collect them into an omnibus later this year. It sounds ambitious, but these stories are a lot of fun to write. Working on them feels more like play than work. I hope they’re just as entertaining to read.
Found this crazy thing at Half Price Books.
I considered picking it up, but holy crap! While the laserdisc itself was cheap, laserdisc players are anything but! I’m curious (and this question goes out to all the collectors out there). Are laserdiscs, like vinyl records, actually a superior medium, despite being deemed obsolete? Also, if anyone has a lead on a reasonably priced player, please (pretty please!) let me know.
There’s something primordially fascinating and rewarding about rediscovering treasures. There’s glory in garbage. Or splendor in crap, to paraphrase Michael Chabon (who loves BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES even more than I do). Sometimes it’s an iconic frame in an otherwise messy film. Sometimes it’s art made by a problematic person. Sometimes it’s an enlightening psychedelic trip during a period of wretched excess. Sometimes it’s falling in love at a funeral. Sometimes it’s the stories of Lester Dent, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.P. Lovecraft appearing in dime novels.
I meant to post this a LOT earlier, but the first ten days of the new year have been packed with work and family drama. Last year I read 37 books, most of it in the latter half of the year. A lot of these titles seem like they’re from an AP English reading list, and that’s intentional. I passed up a lot of these titles in my late teens/early twenties, because I don’t like being told what to do. It was cool getting around to these books after all these years. Plus, there’s some Richard Laymon, Carlton Mellick III, and books from some friends. Check it out below.
This is a Horror Book by Charles Austin Muir
Elevation by Stephen King
I Love You When I’m Drunk by Empar Moliner
Sex and Rage by Eve Babitz
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A Minor Storm by J David Osborne
Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry
Areopagitca by John Milton
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
The Short Stories, Vol. 1 by Ernest Hemingway
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir
After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Stacking Doll by Carlton Mellick III
Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Aeneid by Virgil
Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson
Louisiana Stories by Kate Chopin
Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix
Toy Cemetery by William W. Johnstone
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Nightmares in Ecstasy by Brendan Vidito
Spider Bunny by Carlton Mellick III
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Singularity by William Sleator
The Metamorphoses by Ovid
The Odyssey by Homer (Emily Wilson translation)
Ruined by Tracy Wolff
Forever… by Judy Blume
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
Dark Mountain by Richard Laymon
Island by Richard Laymon
It’s worth noting that this list doesn’t include books I didn’t finish, or the ridiculous amount of poetry and short stories I also read. So, yeah, I read a lot last year, and a lot of it, I liked. If I do anything different this year, I will try to read more current titles. We’ll see though.
I used to think that making myself not feel anything made me a badass. The truth, however, is that the opposite is true. Feeling feelings takes tremendous courage.
My brother lost his dog last night. Though I now live in a different state, I’ve always had a soft spot for that dog. Whenever he saw me, he’d get so excited, his whole body (not just his tail) would wag. He had hound in him, so his barks always had a mournful, howling quality to them. My brother found him almost eleven years ago as a tiny, starving puppy and had to bottle feed him in the beginning. This feels like the end of something big.
RIP Huey, 2008-2019. I hope you enjoyed your life.
One of our fish died last night. Found him in the filter. He was a black guppy that shone blue in some places when he was happy. His life didn’t live long, and he died because we’re new to the whole fish ownership thing. His name was Midnight.
Not the best way to start the morning, I’ve got to admit.
More nightmares last night. In the first, I was working on a building. My coworkers and I had too much material, but were forced to use all of it. Getting around was very hard. I ended up jumping into a nearby bay and swimming away. Massive construction cranes loomed on either side of me as I swam. When I woke up, I could still see their impressions, there in the darkness of my room until I fell asleep and back into another dream.
In the second nightmare, our fish tank kept getting larger and we kept adding more and more creatures. A giant hermit crab killed our snail. Alligators tried eating our fish. Water was everywhere. Our house became an aquatic habitat, dangerous to navigate.
In the third, I took a train somewhere I didn’t want to be and couldn’t find a train back. When I finally did, I fell asleep on the train and wound up back in the place I didn’t want to be. I woke up screaming.