Hey, I FINALLY got to do a good ol’ fashioned TV binge in 2022!
Lately, after a long few months of traveling and dealing with professional obligations and mental health issues, I’ve finally had the chance to sit back and enjoy a good ol’ fashioned television binge! There are so many shows I’ve been meaning to catch up on, and here are my thoughts on a few of them.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)
Man, the Star Wars franchise must be every screenwriter’s wet dream! You don’t have to respect lore, you don’t have to regard canon (whatever that even means anymore, and you don’t even need to tell much of a story…as long as there are space lasers and melodramatic monologues from the lead characters. The Book of Boba Fett was the epitome of bad writing, in my opinion. But…
Obi-WanKenobi revived my hope for the Star Wars television expansion on Disney+. Some might even call it “A New Hope.” Everything about this show was well done, and I didn’t even mind how a few things clash with established canon or disturbed some of the meaningful events throughout the original trilogy. One scene in particular in the final episode, involving a young Luke Skywalker, bothered me a bit, but the show was otherwise a joy to watch from beginning to end. I especially enjoyed Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Darth Vader, which I never in a million years thought I’d say. The final episode was brutal in so many ways, and the pure rage in Darth Vader’s hunt for his former master was never boring or overwritten. I’d recommend this to anyone who cares to see a bridged gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope; this is what Star Wars should’ve been from the beginning of all this revival business in the Disney purchase
The Boys (Amazon Prime)
The Boys, since the very first episode, has only gotten better and better. This latest season, which introduces Jensen Ackles’ “Soldier Boy,” hits the nail on the head with both social commentary and pure satire of the American fascination over superhero franchises. I loved the Deadpool movies, but damn, this show has quickly surpassed both films in terms of balancing humor with drama (both leaning, admittedly, heavily toward the “humor” side).
The Walking Dead, Season 11 (AMC+)
I haven’t been a fan of The Walking Dead in a while. Unlike many others, I absolutely LOVED the Negan and Saviors story line, as it was also my favorite part of the graphic novels. The previous few seasons, however, have seemed to drag onward like a reanimated corpse begging to be put out of its misery with a merciful “series finale” head shot.
But Season 11 has been pretty stellar. I’m only a third of the way through it, and I’m actually paying attention to episodes again instead of constantly playing on my phone and rolling my eyes during every long-winded “this is who we are now” monologue. I find the character development between Maggie and Negan especially interesting, since he straight up brutally murdered her husband in front of her after his lengthy introductory monologue. The two characters are getting a spinoff together, so maybe that’s why they’re getting so much screen time together, and somehow it never feels forced
Dexter: New Blood (Showtime)
I hated this show. It had its good moments but, overall, it completely failed to justify its existence. I hesitate to share my full thoughts on this shows weak points, since conversation is a thing of the past and having a negative opinion on shows and movies that others love is like asking for hate mail. All I will say (and this is a hill I will gladly die on) is that the season finale SUCKED. I hated Dexter’s son throughout the show but, man, the season finale just threw away any good qualities the character might’ve had, all for the sake of manufactured drama and “tying up loose ends.” I certainly hope there’s no season two of this garbage. Just let it die.
It’s been a rather eventful last few weeks, and I’m happy to report everything’s starting to feel (knock on wood, please) balanced in my world. I still work two jobs; I work full-time from home and sporadically on the road, and I also work as a host/bartender at a local restaurant. When I’m not working, I’m almost always either reading a book I’ve agreed to review, prepping for upcoming episodes of The Family Fright Night Horror Podcast, or writing/editing. Fortunately, I have plenty of friends with similar situations, and therein lies the true value of attending horror conventions and other events where I get to meet other writers.
I attended The Living Dead Weekend in Monroeville, PA last weekend, which was a total blast. I hung out with my good friend Brent, met lots of horror celebrities, sold several copies of my books (unsurprisingly, my splatter novellaBirthday Girloutsold my YA coming-of-age novel Moving Through) and, more importantly, I got to network with a few great people as we held each others heads up throughout a grueling three days…which never looks difficult on paper but, man, smiling and being personable for several hours each day can be draining!
But someone asked me a question while I was there. They asked, “Why do you bother purchasing a table at cons if you don’t know for sure you’re even going to sell enough books to cover the cost? And then you have to factor in hotel stays…food…gasoline costs…”
Yeah, I know, it seems like sorta a mean question at first glance. But it’s also a fair questions. I’ve spoken with other authors about this very thing in the past, and they’ve openly admitted they ask themselves this question a lot, particularly during slow sales periods. What we’re doing is a job, and jobs are supposed to pay, so it stands to reason we’ll sometimes pause in our gratitude to take stock of whether or not we’re in the red financially.
If you’re an indie prose author like I am, and all these convention costs come out of your own pocket, you can start to feel like a bit of a whore when you’re pushing your product near the end of a show in hopes of selling enough to justify the cost of attending. I’ve done it; on the final day of conventions I typically knock 25% off the sticker price on my books in order to meet my sales goal. And we all ask each other, when the convention’s over, “Did you make back your table?” (i.e., ‘Did you sell enough books to cover what you spent to be here?’)
“Reality” can be a trigger word, I suppose. And this is the reality of being an indie author. Or, really, an indie anything.
As I told the person who asked the aforementioned question: I’m just starting out as an author. Pardon the cheap wordplay, but I really can’t afford to only worry about making money. I go to these conventions because, whether my table costs $100 or $500, it’s a way to get my book in front of people. I go to these conventions because, at the end of the day, indie authors need to stay visible any way they can, and handing out freebies like bookmarks or stickers is a valuable way of connecting with people who will hopefully give your work a chance someday, whether that day is tomorrow or twenty years from now. Most importantly, I go to these conventions because I get the type of education you really can’t put a price on: I get to meet people who have been doing this sort of thing for way longer than I’ve been doing it, and I get to learn from the experiences they share with me.
I’m a writer, but I’m also a learner. I often tell people that I love learning new things, and they seem to think I’m joking most of the time, but I’m being absolutely serious. If I’m at an airport waiting in line for my plane and someone starts talking to me about their work as a plumber, I love listening to them. Am I ever going to be a plumber? Probably not (never say never), but I get to learn some things from this sort of small talk that I may never have learned otherwise.
So, without belaboring the point any further, I’m only trying to say this: money is only part of the gig, and the learning experience is what you’re paying for when you’re just starting out.
If you’re lucky, someday your work will ignite an interest in a wider audience and all those times you didn’t “make back your table” will finally pay off. I’ve heard plenty of stories from indie authors who kept grinding for five years before they were able to cultivate a big enough audience to accurately project what they could expect to make at shows and signings.
Birthday Girl has been out since 2018 and it’s only just now starting to find its audience through conventions. Someone at a recent con actually came to my table and told me they bought that book at a show I did a few years ago called Dark X Fest, and that they’ve read it four times and can’t wait for the sequel.
THIS is all I really hope for when I book tables at cons. THIS is the real reward and the reason anyone who loves writing should put their work out there for the world to see. I’m a firm believer in the idea that monetary success from your passion is only begat from hard work and persistence.
So, fellow indies who may be reading this, here’s the part you can skip to and highlight: keep learning, keep fighting the good fight, and keep putting in those small efforts from day to day…efforts that–it may seem–no one but you notices or takes any interest in.
Hello! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d update everyone on upcoming projects, my book “tour,” and a few other things.
I’m still editing Parasitic Host, my comedy-horror follow up to Moving Through (which is currently available in ebook format for 99 cents!) In my last post (holy crap, was that really months ago??) I said I’d reveal the cover soon. So….here ya go!
This is still just a placeholder, since I tend to change things right up until the date of a book’s release. I kinda love this one, though. While the book is funny at times, it’s also incredibly dark. So much so, in fact, that I’m still debating whether or not a specific scene will make it to the final draft or if it needs to be toned down. I’m erring on the side of keeping the scene in the book, since the violence within it is not only justified but also necessary. I won’t say anything about the plot of Parasitic Host just yet other than this: I considered making it an Ash Crowlin book. Anyone who’s read Birthday Girl gets the gist of what I mean by that. This is probably the closest I’ll ever come to blending my own work with my pseudonym’s “niche horror” stuff…and I’m excited to share this one with my splatterpunk friends!
I’m also working on an untitled sequel to Moving Through. I doubt this project will see the light of day until at least late 2023, but it’s coming along smoothly. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I already wrote two sequels to Moving Through over the years but ended up perma-shelving them both, due to them being of lower quality than Moving Through. Quality control means a lot to me, and if this latest effort at a sequel is anything less than worthy, I may end up shelving it as well. But…I’m pretty pleased with the change of direction in this one, and I think you’ll enjoy it even more than Moving Through.
I’m putting “tour” in parenthesis here because the connotations that go with “book tour” don’t exactly fit here. I’m doing 12 readings, signings, and conventions throughout Summer 2022, but it’s not like I’m going to be a featured author or anything like that. These are just opportunities to meet new people and hopefully share my work with them, and the experience itself means more to me than stuff like sales numbers or other corporate-sounding bullshit.
If you’re interested attending one of these stops, my schedule’s available here.
Latest stops include Scares That Care VIII in Williamsburg, VA (July 29-31) and Living Dead Weekend in Monroeville, PA (June 10-12). I’m excited to have a table at these two events, but I’m even more excited to see the dozens of celebrity guests, including Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, R.A. Mihailoff, Ken Foree, Bill Mosely, and others! My inner fanboy is tingling…
NOTE: At each event, unless otherwise stated, I’ll be selling a limited edition work tailored specifically to that event. These special little side projects won’t be available for purchase elsewhere, and I don’t intend to ever reprint them for mass distribution.
For as busy as my schedule is, considering I work three day jobs and spend a hefty amount of time training for powerlifting competitions, I’m likely biting off more than I should with these side projects. However; I promise they won’t interfere with editing my “main” projects or cause any sort of delays. One way or another, Parasitic Host will be available sometime later this year.
Laura Womack, of the “Bloom Where You’re Planted Podcast,” recently posted her interview with me. It’s a little shy of 20 minutes, and you can listen to it here.
I’ll have a table at this week’s art walk in Port Clinton, OH. If you’re in the area, come find my table! No idea where it’ll be just yet, but I’ll be sure to make enough noise so you can locate me.
Several people have posted their reviews of Moving Through on Amazon. You can check these out here.
I’m going to try to post here more frequently, so keep checking back. If you want to support my work, please subscribe to these posts and tell your friends about Moving Through. No matter how much work goes into writing a book or promoting it via “tour” stops and promotions, spreading awareness is really up to the fans. I’m not counting on my books ever making it to mass market, since I tend to write outside of what’s considered mainstream appeal regardless of which name I slap onto the cover, but I sincerely give thanks to everyone who takes the time to talk about my books and recommend them to other readers–none of this means anything without people like you, and I’m grateful my work has connected with you at some level.
I’ve been gone for a bit, and my mind’s coming back in increments after a pleasantly exhausting month without much sleep, so I figure now’s a good time to check in with you.
I’ll have a table set up at the Scares That Care Authorcon this weekend, and I’m packing the car up to hit the road tomorrow morning with my friend Brent Winzek. Brent’s the creator of the Space Cadets radio drama and one of my best friends for over a decade.
I’ll be selling copies of my novels Moving Through and Birthday Girl, both of which have been getting great reviews lately. I’m excited to reach a new audience.
Copies of both books are available on Amazon as well as here on my website. If you prefer, there are also ebooks available.
Hope to see you this weekend!
Cover art reveal for my next book COMING TOMORROW!
This morning got off to a GREAT start! I’m officially a vendor at Scares That Care’s “Authorcon” April 1-3!
Scares That Care is a non-profit organization I’ve admired for a long time, and I’m absolutely thrilled by this opportunity. Other authors include Brian Keene, Jeff Strand, Grady Hendrix, and many others!
Check out the Scares That Care website for more details. I hope to see you there!
I got to see the band “Ghost” in concert last night! They’re a band I’ve been listening to for the past two years or so, and their live shows have always looked enjoyable to me. They have a “Gwar”-type setup, where they’re performing as characters with backstories and lore, and their music is a 70s/80s rock throwback.
The show was everything I hoped for! Tobias Forge, who plays every iteration of the lead singer (the character changes every album) was full of energy and wit, and he put on a great performance with his nameless ghouls.
My good friend DJ AudioFlesh went with me, and it was a great night of catching up, discussing ideas for our various projects, and enjoying a rocks how. If you’re not following AudioFlesh, you can find him HERE.
I posted a few videos to my Instagram account, so you should follow me there.
The official release date for Moving Through was Valentine’s Day, and support for the book has been overwhelmingly generous. Thank you all for helping promote the book and expressing your support. It means a lot to me, since writing is a lonely business.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to know another ambitious artist named Casee Allen, who’d go on to later become one of the best names in modern Country music. I’m very proud of all the success he’s found, and he deserves every bit of recognition he’s getting for his work. Casee’s a truly great dude, and he even took the time to mention my book on his Instagram story. I can’t say this enough: people from Coshocton, OH are there for you FOR LIFE, and they’re some of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet.
My friend Dubz made me a second book trailer for Moving Through that you can watch below. I’m very impressed by the work he did, and if you’re not following him on YouTube, you really should be–he’s going places.
The Coshocton Tribune also did a story on Moving Through. If you’d like to read the whole article, you can do so here.
I’ve got a few new things in the works that I’m excited to talk about soon…but I don’t want to say too much just yet. Better to wait and see if my ambition carries me through rather than promising more than I can deliver. If all goes according plan, however, you’ll be seeing a few new projects from me in 2022…and not all of them are books.
Hey all you lovely people! Valentine’s Day’s coming up, and I want you all to know how much I appreciate you and your overwhelming support. I was over-caffeinated last night, so I shot a video for you as an early gift. Heart-shaped chocolates are in the mail, I promise.
The live book launch for Moving Through is tomorrow, February 12th, at 7 p.m. on Zoom. You can register for the event here.
In other news, the Team VIAC Training Center I work at is assisting at an event to raise money for veteran mental health. Team VIAC is led by Trevor Tieche, who served in Special Forces in the military for several years and has a passion for preventing veteran suicide and helping others with PTSD. You can find more about Team VIAC and the event here.
Things have been rolling pretty smoothly lately. Other than a lack of uninterrupted sleep due to intense nightmares, I’ve been pretty happy for the most part.
I’ve been promoting the absolute hell out of Moving Through lately and booking events for this Summer, including signings and readings around Ohio and surrounding areas. Since most of the promotional videos and materials I’ve posted lately have been intentionally vague, I decided it would be a good idea to share a little bit of the book with you.
You can listen to an excerpt from Moving Through called “The Smile Game” here. Pardon my raspy voice; I was screaming along to Nine Inch Nails in the car earlier that day.
Speaking of music…I’m going to see Ghost play in Toledo next week! I’ve been a fan of theirs for a little over a year, and I especially like their music videos. Their new album sounds great so far, and I’m hoping they play some new stuff at the show.
I treated myself to some new music this past week. After several weeks of working 16-20 hours every day, whether it be at my various day jobs or on an upcoming project, I really need some rest. However, I really, really suck at resting. If I’m not working on something new, anxiety takes over, which is great for production but bad for my overall mental health. I bought the album “The Fragile” by Nine Inch Nails as well as “We Are Chaos” by Marilyn Manson, and although the former is incredibly depressing music, I’ve been enjoying both albums. “We Are Chaos” is Manson’s best album in over a decade, and regardless of what’s going on in his personal life, I really respect him as an artist.
As an added bonus to everyone who orders their copy of Moving Through directly from my website, I’m including exclusive details on my next book, Parasitic Host, including the full cover image. I’m excited about this one, because it’s incredibly different than anything else I’ve worked on, and although it’s a very funny book, it’s also got the tastiest horror scenes I’ve written.
I received an email from The Coshocton Tribune this morning letting me know they’ll be running a story on the book soon, so if you live in the 740 area, keep an eye out. I’m very grateful for all the media attention the book is getting. Less than a week left until the release date!