On the Road

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!

ALSO…

Cover art reveal for my next book COMING TOMORROW!

HUGE NEWS!

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!

“If You Have Ghosts…”

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.

More news coming soon. Thank you all!

Books Actually

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.

Stay crazy, everyone.

Ghosts, Smiles, and Nine Inch Nails

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.

Also…

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!

The Journey to “Moving Through”

WOW it’s a blizzard here in Northern Ohio! Most schools are closed today, as well as local businesses. Fortunately, my day job is remote, so I don’t even have to leave my kitchen table to get a good workday in.

I spent last night editing Parasitic Host. This book’s vastly different than Moving Through, and while I’d consider both novels “dark comedy” in some regards, this one is DARK dark. It falls more into the “new adult” category, since it takes place on a college campus. More details later…I don’t want to put the cart before the horse and talk too much about a book that’s still in development.

I’ve also been binge-watching the James Gunn’s Peacemaker on HBO. This is easily one of the best shows I’ve seen in the past few years, and John Cena really impresses me as an actor. While the title character is the show’s main attraction, the character Vigilante really steals the show. Also, he has a pretty cool last name, but I guess I’m biased.

With just a little under two weeks left until the release of Moving Through, it seems appropriate to give a little background on the book. I promise I’ll try not to be too self-indulgent.

I wrote the first draft of Moving Through fourteen years ago while I was a Senior at Coshocton High School. I’d written a few other books by that point, and I was keeping a nightly writing schedule and sending short stories out to various magazines and contests. I never got any of these short stories published, but I won a few statewide contests and got plenty of support from the CHS faculty and a few friends around school. I knew writing was what I wanted to do with my life, one way or another, and I experimented with a lot of different genres and styles. But Moving Through became more than just a story for me; this project dominated my attention, and I even lost nights of sleep working on early drafts.

Then I went to college, and Moving Through got put aside for the most part. I worked on projects for classes, partied hard most nights, and found a passion for Theater. I’d go months at a time without thinking of Moving Through, but every now and then the story would invade my dreams, and I’d end up returning to it.

I’ve revised the book many, many times. I changed characters, deleted whole sections, added and subtracted subplots, and even tried re-writing the story as a screenplay. I didn’t know if the book would ever go anywhere, since no matter how many times I rewrote it or found renewed vigor for completing it, I always ended up unsatisfied with it. I did, however, end up scoring a girlfriend after submitting the first chapter to a writing workshop, so that was pretty cool.

A decade went by, and I worked for online magazines, local newspapers, film crews, slaughterhouses, and traveling sales jobs. Time was flying by, and post-college blues hit hard. I still worked on my own projects most nights, but nothing felt inspiring anymore. So…I tried something different.

I wrote under a pseudonym, allowing me to experiment with EXTREMELY dark stories for a very niche audience. I published one of these novellas, and enjoyed the process of taking it to horror conventions, promoting it on radio shows, and gaining a bit of notoriety from the story. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you want to find it, I’m sure you’ll find a way. I gave the last existent paperback copies to be auctioned off at Ariescope Pictures’ Yorkiethon 6 last year, which raised money for dogs, so at least some good came out of the experiment.

Writing gross-out horror for an extremely limited audience was fun, and I’m still keeping up with writing those books, but I kept going back to Moving Through. The book was becoming my white whale.

Then I lost my younger brother to cancer in 2019, and everything came crashing down. Emotions I’d never experienced before took over my life, and the vivid nightmares and late-night hallucinations took me to some dark places.

My brother left me a video recording before he died. In that recording, he told me how proud he is of my writing and that he wants me to keep doing it.

Writing something that was truly satisfying was no longer just an option or a lifelong dream: it was a promise. I knew I had to finish Moving Through, once and for all finding the definitive version of the story and ditching the hundreds of pages of rewrites and hackneyed subplots that might’ve made the book more “mainstream.”

Grief and insecurity had always been a big part of Moving Through, and when I wrote the first draft all those years ago, I only knew a part of how bad those feelings could get. The story’s 100% fiction, and not a single character is based on any one person, but there’s an intimacy and truth to this final version that was lacking in earlier drafts. It was an exorcism; all my demons and worries were pulled out of my soul and trapped on the page.

If that all seems trite to you…okay. I get it. But I can honestly say the final product is everything I ever wanted the story to be, and even if it doesn’t connect with everyone who reads it, it’s the story I set out to tell fourteen years ago. We face tough times. We move through. We face even tougher times. We move through those, too. Life’s rarely easy, but there’s humor and hope even in the ocean-floor-lows. While I hesitate to call the book “mainstream,” and I doubt it will ever reach the levels of John Green or J.K. Rowling, I hope it helps someone out there who’s fighting their own demons, whatever they might be going through.

Rise up and rebel against the dark times. Smile in the face of dejection. If you look inside yourself and see a billboard reading “Give Up Hope,” DEFACE IT with a giant spray-painted “Fuck You!” Move through. You’re more resilient than you think.