Blooded and Bashed…

This past weekend, I participated in an event that was a number of firsts, even as I was starting to consider myself a “regular” as this event game…

  • This was my first convention as an author. I’ve been to other events where I wasn’t sure how books would be received, but never an actual convention. Fun fact: this won’t be my last convention this year, either. 😉
  • This was my first horror convention ever. Shocking as it might sound, I’ve never actually made it to a horror convention before.
  • This was the first convention I’ve attended on my own turf. Certainly not my first local event, but I’ll tell you: it’s nice to hear other people complain about the morning commute for once. Short drives could grow on me.

So what is Blood Bash? It’s an annual horror convention organized by the awesome people at MeggaXP that brings together fans, films, filmmakers, vendors, and a bunch of costumed (and plain-clothes) crazies for a day of celebrating the genre. In short: it’s a day of bloody good fun! (get it?)

The biggest difference between ALL of my previous shows and this one? Tone. Most of the time, people will walk by my table, take one look at my books and say, “That’s creepy.” They said it just as much at Blood Bash, but it was with more excitement than revulsion. It was a pleasant change.

Not that I’m opposed to bringing out such reactions in people. It’s amusing. It’s definitely what I signed up for when I decided I was going to write horror. But sometimes, it’s nice to be appreciated instead of just feared, you know? I definitely was not feared at Blood Bash.

There was a surprising number of authors roaming the convention – on both sides of the tables – including plenty of folks from the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.

But here’s the thing about a horror convention – or at least my take on this one:

I have honestly never been surrounded by such a great group of people in my life. Everyone was nice, friendly, courteous, and just having a great time. There were smiles and laughter aplenty. More than I’ve experienced at any other function, and easily matching any other convention I’ve been to.

Horror fans are the best fans, if I can be so bold (and I can).

Seriously. The people who put on Blood Bash have so much passion for this stuff. All of the folks were appreciative of each other, regardless of your function at the convention. Whether you were an attendee, or a vendor, or an artist, or a volunteer, the energy in the room was delightfully positive and, long a day as it was, it was a good time right up until the end.

You can definitely expect to see me at next year’s Blood Bash. You may see me at other horror conventions, but I hesitate… this experience set a pretty high bar. I might be a little disappointed trying to compare this experience to another.

Besides, it’s not every day you get to feed your bookmark to a shark wandering the aisles…


…and to All a Good Night.

I hope you give all the gifts you wanted to and receive all the gifts you deserve.

I hope you are warm, and well, and loved.

I hope you keep goodwill in your mind, and brotherly love in your heart.

And most of all, I hope you spend Christmas (or your chosen holiday) with those who make you happy and make you feel loved.

Christmas is a special time of year for me. It’s when I feel the gravity of the end of the year. It’s when the people seem to stress more and to care less, so I try to care more and stress less – and share that sentiment onward.

I thrive in the winter. I enjoy the cold, the dark, and especially the snow. It’s particularly easy for me to be cheery around Christmas, even easier when you throw all the holiday magic on top of my already delightful temperament.

But I know it’s not easy for everyone. And I know it can be a bear this time of year.

Not everyone has a family that makes them feel welcome and loved. Not everyone can handle the long, cold dark of winter. Not all appreciate the bustle of the holiday season.

To you most of all, I send my hope that you might end the year on a better note.

It’s not much, but I have a present for you. Plural, actually.

The first is a sentiment. Admittedly, it’s late in the season for it, but, as Bill Murray says, “It’s not too late.” Enjoy:

The second is amusement and cheer. A few friends and I exchange CD compilations periodically through the year. This time around, a Christmas compilation was in order. I have been enjoying it so much, that it didn’t feel right to limit the playlist to just the group. Without further ado:

Lastly, I share with you the secret of Christmas cheer:

If you still can’t find your Christmas spirit, hang in there. The new year is coming. In the meantime, please reach out for help. The holidays are not a time to be alone, especially if you are suffering or depressed.

Merry Christmas, from me to you.

Back to the Beginning of the End…

In case you missed it, I participated in my very first Facebook Live video earlier this week to announce the much-awaited collected At Calendar’s End: Omnibus. You’re very lucky you didn’t hear the squeal when I actually saw the book for myself.

– It’s available currently through Amazon and Kindle.
– It’s 700 pages worth of story, collecting the serial installments of At Calendar’s End
– Both versions still include all 12 covers by Brian Ritson from the original installments, PLUS the new art for the Omnibus itself
– The first opportunity to see these in person (and get them signed) is Leon & Lulu on October 22.

ALSO: A short story of mine has been included in an anthology edited and organized by Samie Sands. Black Mass is the story of a man who has a recurring nightmare he can’t escape from… and why it might be better to just remain in the dream. You can find it hidden among the other creepy tales in Night Mares, available now on Amazon and Kindle.

Summer is over…

The days are getting shorter. The dark is lasting longer. October is already upon us.

Before you know it, October will be over too… but not without a fight, I assure you.

October marks the part 10 in the At Calendar’s End storyline. Good will fight, but will they triumph? I can’t tell you that without spoiling anything. You’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Brian is hard at work on coloring the cover, but we’re presenting the black and white version while you wait. I promise it will be well worth it. Brian’s art always is.october_inks

Round 2… #flashfictionchallenge


On top of a glorious Farewell to Summer camping trip, this past weekend was also Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.

“But Andy,” You might say to yourself. “What about Round 1’s results?”

I’m glad you asked.

Round 1 went far better than anticipated. In my group of 35 writers, I managed to place 4th. The feedback was bolstering, and I hope to have as good (if not better) news from the judges after Round 2 concludes.

It’s a scary proposition: of 2100 writers, only 300 will move on to Round 3. I’m confident that I submitted my best 1000 words for the challenge, but really all I can do is hope my stories are good enough when compared to the competition.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, I have lots of typing to do before Round 3 starts.

Cover to cover…

I’m going to put out the pertinent information first, and then I’d like you to bear with me for some long-worded winding on a related topic.

First, August is here, as undeniable as the rise and set of the sun. And equally unstoppable is the arrival of August: part eight in the series.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the cover has been delayed slightly. I apologize for the delay, but the story itself is moving right along schedule and you can find it at the link below.

Fortunately for ebook reading, the cover will be easily updated as soon as it is in my hands and I will post its beautiful sights for all eyes.

But even more interesting is how my covers, my work, and my calendar have all culminated in a spectacular announcement:

Today celebrates the third anniversary of Empty Hallways’ haunting re-cover. You may or may not know that the first edition of the book had a very disappointing cover. I did it myself, in a rush of amateur publishing (which I am still finding I don’t know everything about. Surprise, surprise.) but the book was later refaced by my talented cover artist and wonderful friend Brian Ritson.

His cover made me feel like a real author, not just an amateur. And he has continued to provide covers that might actually oversell the content within.

And therein lies the amazing coincidence: today is not only the third anniversary of Brian’s Empty Hallways cover. August will be the tenth cover to proudly display Brian’s art.

Brian will continue to be my artist as long as he can entertain channeling my stories for his art.

So thank you Brian, and congrats!

To three years of work.

To ten covers.

To a lifelong friendship.

Cheers, my friend.

August, as well as Brian’s other covers (and my stories) can be found on Amazon.

A lot can happen in 48 hours…

Just ask Las Vegas.

Oh, nothing so drastic is happening in my life, I assure you. But I have managed to (almost blindly) stumble onto a writing competition, write a short story inside of 48 hours, and submit it for judgment.

The skinny: The NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2016 is a competition to create a 1000 word (or less, but certainly not more) story  in 48 hours – based on 3 thematic criteria submitted to contestants at the beginning of the competition. Contestants are divided into groups, each group having their own criteria. After two challenges, the top 5 in each group will move on. I’m hoping to be part of that Top 5, but I have no idea who I am competing against.

Well, that’s not completely true… I’m competing against a lot of people from around the world.

My group represents 20 different states and 5 countries… of which, I am one of 35. Stiff odds already, but then consider that my group is one of 60. My chances of success are diminishing the more I think about numbers, but what can I do?

I can stop thinking about the numbers.


The fact of the matter is this:

Someone handed me a list of requirements and said, “Hey. Write a story with this stuff in it. Oh, and it’s due in 48 hours.” And I did exactly that. I reached into my brain and pulled out what I think is a pretty good story – especially for the circumstances. I can control nothing else in the situation, so I’m not going to stress about it. I’m going to wait, and I’m going to see what my score is when it comes back.

The optimist in me says, “Hey, you wrote another story. You’ve already won!” I’m going to run with that.