Back in the saddle…

As promised, something more lengthy than my quick announcement this week.

First, in case you missed the post: Threshold will be out this year.

Hang on, let me say that again:

Threshold will be out this year.

After a number of struggles, I’ve succeeded in this endeavor. That success bleeds further than simply releasing a book. This has been an exercise in life and existence more than it ever was about the writing, and I was wholly foolish to think it was anything so small. In the time between starting the manuscript and now, I:

  • bought a house
  • got married
  • had a summer reception
  • turned 40

And those are milestones; I am still a human being who has a day job, helps around the house, and tries to have some downtime here and there. Between all these different facets of myself – really, different personas – I got burnt out trying to fit in time for them all.

I was doing too much with too little, and it started to corrode everything. This exacerbated personal struggles I already deal with regularly, which I’m sure you can imagine didn’t help things. In the end, all of it just became more weight when I saw the new deadline approach, knowing I was not going to meet it.

I’m not telling you all this to make excuses for why it’s taken so long to get the next book out. I’m telling you this because it’s important.

You are whole. You are you.

Even when you are struggling – especially when you are struggling. You don’t need to be all of these things for everyone if they are going to break you. You need to carve out the time for you to repair your soul, your confidence, and your energy. You need to understand that it is not only okay that you do that, but it is imperative that you do it.

The world is shifting, and those shifts are creating more stress and pressure than before. We are unfairly comparing ourselves to people we don’t know, in circumstances we don’t have, and beating ourselves up over unfair expectations.

Stop it.

You are you. No one else has to deal with what you do when you do. No one else is in your head. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. They aren’t you.

Instead, look to the world for inspiration, ideas, and assistance. How is everyone else handling their struggle? Can you find a tool in there to help you with yours? Great! Use it. But don’t compare yourself to other people’s talent, or how well people handle their stress. They aren’t you, and they have their own struggles.

I’m slogging through it all myself. I have so many ideas all the time that it’s honestly a weight all itself knowing that I will never be able to write them all. Some stories will die with me. That’s a horrifying notion, but I can’t think about that. I certainly can’t let it consume me. Am I willing to sacrifice my friends and family, events and adventures, so I can try to use every waking moment to empty my head? No. I’m at least realistic enough to know that is a devil’s errand. I have to accept my limitations.

I’m not done writing. I’m getting ready to release my fourth novel – an accomplishment some never get to see. I’m getting better at it, too. I can feel it; I can see it. But writing isn’t the only thing I want to do with my time on this earth. There are a ton of things I want to do, and only one me I can do them with.

So, I’m learning to accept my limitations, and I’m going to turn that understanding into a strength. I’m going to be better for having this knowledge.

I think we all need the grace to be kinder to ourselves; living is hard enough as it is.

 

Raise some Hell…

One week – actually less than – until Motor City Nightmares.

This is the first time I will be attending this show, so I am very excited and completely unprepared for the event. Ok, not completely. I will be preparing for this show in the same fashion I do other shows. I should be fine.

What I am not certain how to deal with is the fact that Clive Barker will be there.

Hellraiser. Lord of Illusions. Nightbreed/Cabal. Imajica.

Holy crap! I am going to be shilling my books while Clive Barker is doing his thing? Maybe this will be good practice for a couple weeks from now, when I will be up to my eyeballs with horror writers who are likely more experienced (and more talented) than me.

Can’t know till you try though, right?

So I am super excited and looking very forward to being surrounded by horror fans and aficionados. I love hanging out with readers in general, but horror fans? These are my people.

And not just because I write in the genre – this has always been my home. I grew up reading the greats – and some not so greats. Saturday afternoons I was glued to the television for the Monster Double-Feature. Elvira, The Ghoul, and Count Scary helped me sharpen my wit and my inappropriate sense of humor.

I’m interested to see who I meet and what their interests are. Horror as a genre is wide and varied. It is its own culture and has its own sub-groupings. I’m still trying to figure out wherein I belong as an author, but I know who I am as a fan. And I am happy to say that I would like me as a writer, even if I weren’t me. But I am hoping that some of the other folks at Motor City Nightmares are interested in what I have to offer as well.

Delays, Waylays, and ‘Bout-times…

We are officially one week from my first event of the year (Blood Bash!). I’m excited because this gets the ball rolling on something different. This year, I am trying a few new things: new events, new tricks, and new formulas. Every year is a new experiment in trying to get myself out there, but this year is going to be more focused. We’ll see if it works.

As always, keep an eye on the Events page; I’ll update it as new events are confirmed.

But the real reason this post exists is for me to own up on a promise I made. Sure, that promise was mostly to myself, but as I said it out loud at least a few times, I should probably brace anyone else who had their hopes up:

Threshold will not release on February 14. It is delayed and I hope to get it into readers’ hands before much longer, but currently, it is behind schedule.

Why has it been delayed? In short, life has its own schedule, whatever plans we have in mind. In long, there have been some drastic changes in work and life schedules around Lockwood Manor. Due to these changes, we are working through some difficulties regarding the work-life-work balance for Bailey and myself. So, as we seek equilibrium with these new adjustments, Threshold is delayed in receiving a thoroughly polished edit. Without one, it remains hidden from the light of day.

And while that is sad news for me, there is some good news. Life, in all of its strangeness, is a cornucopia of opportunity – a rainbow that signals the end of the ugly downpour we’ve been dealing with.

Bailey’s precariously balanced schedule is shifting, and after some long thinks and some deep breathing exercises, she has decided to push toward her dream of being a full-time editor. While there are definite nerves about such an endeavor, this is a truly exciting step for both of us.

So, if you or someone you know is looking for editing services, may I highly recommend Just Ducky Editing? She comes with excellent references and a wealth of knowledge regarding the written word, AND you’d be supporting a blossoming entrepreneur.

Got words that need polish? Reach out to Bailey via her website.

More news about Threshold soon… I can’t wait to reveal this cover.

Cleaning house for 2018…

It really is close enough to just call this year done, isn’t it?

This year isn’t quite done, and I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me, but I thought I would take a moment and be a little better at updating than I have been…

…since my last post was my wedding day. In February. Oops.

Just a reminder that you can also follow my shenanigans on the Facebook page.

But on with the wrapup for 2018:

November 3
Just a couple weeks away, you will find me in Albion at Stirling Books. There will be six authors in total and should be a good time for all. Horror, romance, fantasy, all ages, get your read on!

November 11
The Monroe County Library System is hosting Writers on the River 2018. I will be there with a literal horde of authors, and you should join us! Authors from all walks (including a couple of my favorites) will be representing their books. This may be one of the last chances for you to get something wonderful for your favorite reader before the holidays are upon us.

November 17
The lovely people at the Scriptorium in Clawson have given me the opportunity to take over their delightful store for the afternoon. I’ll have my books on hand, and who knows what else will be happening that day, but I will be there and you should join me. At 2pm, I will be turning my reign of the store over to the imagination and talent of Andrew Lark. It would only benefit you to stick around and get his book too.
THIS IS MY LAST APPEARANCE IN 2018.

And for those of you who have patiently waited for my next novel, I can tell you now: The wait is almost over.

Threshold, a story that has been worming its way around my brain for years (literal years) is finally out, working through the process of edits, and getting everything polished. Threshold will be available for pre-order soon and will release on February 14, 2019. (Yes, there’s a reason I picked that day. I may even explain why at some point.)

Between now and then, I will be looking for a handful of brave souls to be my advance readership to make sure the book is ready for the general public. If you are interested, reach out and let me know. I’m looking for a few dedicated readers, and you may be expected to respond to a survey after, but you will be rewarded as well. More on this in the future.

I will have a short preview of Threshold at all of my November events for you to take home and hold close. A hope to cling to through the winter, if you will.

Now also seems as good a time as any to shamelessly promote my wife’s constant and reality-defying ability to take my stray and problematic storytelling and turn it into something people can actually enjoy. She’s worked with a number of wonderful authors and is always interested in meeting more delightful authors to work with (more work means more reading, right?). You can find out more at Just Ducky Editing.

And with that, I can start throwing dust covers on 2018…

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…

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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.

TL; DW:
– 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.

Oh! The places we’ll go…

We are just over a week away from NerdCon in Portland, MI. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out NerdCon and all of it’s wonderful offerings, please do so.

In the meantime, I felt like now is a proper time to remind you of all the other wonderful events that I will take part in for the rest of the year. You can also find all of this information at any time on my Events page.

August 12, 2017  Portland, MI
NerdCon – Author Panel  11:00am – 11:45am
NerdCon – Table  12:00pm – 4:00pm

September 10, 2017  Ann Arbor, MI
Kerrytown Bookfest  10:00am – 5:00pm

October 22, 2017  Clawson, MI
Books & Authors  11:00am – 5:00pm

December TBD, 2017  Lake Orion, MI
Giving Season Author Fair  1:00pm – 4:00pm

I am also working on a potential three events that are not listed yet. They’ll likely popup sometime in the last quarter (October – December) and I’m very excited to tell you about them… but I’m not going to until they are official.

I know, the anticipation is overwhelming.