Saturday, March 28, 2015


On a Writer's Forum I visit someone asked if it is perseverance and discipline that makes a good writer. I, being the arrogant writer penned this response.

When I was 17, I wrote the first (synopsis I suppose you would call it) for what I thought was going to be my breakout book. It was autobiographical in nature, based on my use of psychedelic drugs. 

Back then, I was into everything. Lsd, shrooms MDA, pot, hash and of course booze. I was a teenager and I was experimenting, freeing my mind.
Anyway, one night in the summer of 82, I, along with another guy, took 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons of powdered magic mushrooms and washed it down with a glass of vodka and orange juice. We then went to a party and proceeded to drink copious bottles of beer and smoke hash oil.

Within an hour of arriving at the house reality went out the door and I fell into a horrific hallucinatory state of paranoia. It was terrifying and the bad trip lasted all evening. My friends put me in a room to ride it out, because they were too afraid to call an ambulance. I slipped in and out of states of consciousness and honestly could not differentiate reality from fantasy.

Many hours later, after my body had processed enough of the drug so that I was able to regain consciousness, I left the house and walked five miles home. When I got there, I woke my mother and told her that I had just escaped a Satanic Cult. My mother, a strong Catholic, was convinced that my story was true. I was that convincing. After this confession I slept with my mother and passed out.

When I awoke the next day my mind was blank.

Over the next three months, I detoxed. I gave up everything, even pot. I went through horrible flashbacks of that night. I experienced terrible panic attacks and the only good thing to come from that night was that it scared me straight and changed my attitude. Up to that point, I had low self esteem, I lied like the sidewalk, I stole, and I had no loyalty. Throughout the flashbacks, I grappled with my sanity, I approached both the church, thinking there were demons in my midst and the mental health community thinking I was going insane. The Catholic padre who met with me was kind enough to take a psychologists stance and blamed the drug use. The therapist I saw, accused me of pandering for anti-depressants (which I was on until that moment).

I left his office, turfed the prescription into the garbage and came to the realization that i was on my own. The next few months would cost me a job and for the next year I slept with my light on. After that, I went back to school and I would eventually meet my wife at the local college. She is sleeping in the other room as I write this. 

That year, I penned a rough manuscript, titled: THE NIGHT IT ALL CAME DOWN. I never published it. It slipped into oblivion along with a bunch of other stuff I wrote and that was 33 years ago.

Well, maybe that book was never meant to be written. Maybe that thumbnail sketch of my life was what got me here today and the memory is enough. I have written two full length novels, the first a straight up horror, and the second a thriller sci-fi horror. Both of these novels came from within, every character and event had something to do with what has happened over the course of my life. I believe, that to be a good writer you must be able to observe what is around you and process it.

So, is it a matter of perseverance? Absolutely, but time and experience are the best weapons in a storytellers arsenal.

A little luck doesn't hurt either.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Alright, first let me preface this blog post by telling you that I am not going to spend the next 1,500 or so words whining about how tough it is to be an indie writer. 
     Still here? Awesome, then let's get this started.
      In 2010, I finished a manuscript and was trying to decide what I was going to do with it. I had agonized over this book, it was, after all, my first kick at the cat and I started writing queries and tried to secure an agent. I got my share of polite rejections and I took them in stride. It (the book) will find a readership, I assured myself. 
     At that time I was 46 years old and the manuscript, which was started originally around 1989 and was shelved, was now 21 years old. Actually it was only a year and a half old, because in 89 only
Standard Rejection Slip.
about 112 pages had been written, but the story itself was 22 years old. In my search for a publisher, I did a bit of research, bought copies of the Literary Agents and Writers Market and after being warned I visited a site called: Predators and Editors. There I learned about the true underbelly of publishing.  I was blown away by some of the things I read. Publishers who basically stole your story, hit up writers for editing and as a contractual obligation you had to purchase books into the thousands. So, the deal with self-publishing hadn't changed much had it? The writer, who desperately wants to be published signs a deal with the devil and is no closer to being read than he/she was when they finished that first manuscript.
     So, I continued. Query out! Rejection in. I didn't let this frustrate me. I had been down this road before, some 20 odd years before I was writing movie reviews for a local town paper while trying to get shorts published in everything from Redbook to Readers Digest, and even Playboy. Rejection slips are part of the deal. The only issue that was nagging me was time.  I kept thinking, In four years I'll be 50 and if I don't get this book to press, what then?
    Then I heard about (Print on Demand) POD, which eliminated the financial burden of spending thousands on printing books that could very well end up in your basement, only to be given away to people who would rather grab a free book from a friend than pay for it and support their art. I asked around, did a bit of research and for the most part got positive feedback. There were still some drawbacks of course.  Editing being the first. When it comes to editing, you are on your own and it can be an extremely expensive endeavor. Trust me when I say this. You get what you pay for, but that's for another time and blog. The second issue is exposure, and this is where I realized the true difficulty of being an Indie Author.
Lugosi of Dracula fame starred in Woods: Plan 9 from Outer Space
You are literally adrift in a sea of mediocrity. Mediocrity being a nice word. Oh, and here's another sad fact. You could be one of the millions who think they are poised on the cusp of literary greatness, but the truth is: You're just another knock off or worse, the "Ed Wood" of the writing world. If you don't know who Ed Wood is, I'll save you a Google search. Ed Wood was celebrated as one of the worst B movie directors in history. His most famous being Plan 9 from Outer Space which starred horror icon Bela Lugosi (Dracula) who would die during production, it would be toted as one of the worst films ever made.
     Negativity aside, there are success stories to come out of the Indie World. Scott Sigler, E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer all found success by going indie. So all is not lost my fellow indie authors. That is not to say that there aren't prejudices and dare I say snobbery. Horror great Stephen King has criticized James and Meyers and while he is entitled to opinion I think there are millions of readers who will disagree. When King criticized Twilight I hardly gave it a glance, romance vampire novels are not my thing, but after he criticized E.L. James I decided to sit down and give her book a read. Note to King: James can write and if you didn't care for the content I get it, but the lady knows how to write. By the way, I only read the first one. Bondage isn't my cup of tea and neither is getting ribbed by my male friends.
     And therein lies the issue with being indie. There is a prejudice not only among the mainstream (not all I might add) and among readers themselves. In a second hand conversation I was talking to a friend who made mention of me and my latest book ACADIA EVENT, (You had to know I was going to slip that in here somewhere), to some friends of his who were avid readers. During that conversation my friend was asked a very pointed question and this is not verbatim. The individuals asked if indie writing was just a bunch people who didn't have the talent or time to put in so they self-published. My friend, a traditionally published author said, "No, there is a pool of talent in this group that should not be overlooked." 
And of course he is right. Without all forms of Indie we would not have the likes of Kevin Smith, Scott Sigler, or possibly Quentin Tarantino. There was a time that traditional film looked down their nose at the indie filmmakers and now there are mainstream filmmakers who are passing their stuff off as indie. I wonder how many crappy independent films were made before Clerks became a huge success. Without indie, what would have become of Tobe Hooper?
     I guess the lesson in all this is that you have to decide if you’re
in this for the right reasons. Are you simply trying to duplicate Twilight and ride the coat tails of Stephenie Meyer, be a knock off of Jonathan Mayberry?  Because if you are, well, you're in this for the wrong reason. On the other hand, if you're writing original work (if that is completely possible) and you are doing it because you love to do that, then you are on the right path. Keep on, keeping on, as the saying goes. 
    But then again, what the hell do I know? I could be the literary incarnation of Ed Wood. Seriously? 
     Nah, I'd look horrible in drag.

Now, if I haven't scared you off, be sure to check out my latest book ACADIA EVENT. 
And if you want to learn more check it out at:

Available in Print and on Kindle click here to find out more!