Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back to work

As I'd mentioned in a previous post, I kind of let the whole collection thing get in my way far too much. The professional thing would have been to move on and have a billion stories and novels ready while I waited those four years. But, I let things get to me. I was horrified that the people I told would think I was in some way not truthful.

Now, the collection has been out for almost two months. The reviews have been great, the sales have been strong, and I'm thrilled it's over. It'd be nice to get a little more reader feedback, but...

Thing is, it's been very anticlimactic. Basically, I just have another book in my house. I knew it wouldn't change my life, but I guess waiting for as long as I did, I thought I'd enjoy seeing it released more than I have.

So, I spent a couple of weeks in a bit of a free fall, and a couple more focused on deep introspection. I'm ready to get back and give this a strong push.

I'm twelve chapters into my novel. This will be a huge challenge for me. I might not have attended college for a psych degree, and I think the one that I purchased for $29.99 and three proof of purchase from gallon Thunderbird bottles isn't really valid. However, I'm pretty sure I have a touch of the OCD. I've never finished anything unless I finally sat down and erased all I had, then finished the story in one sitting. And yes, this goes for my 13,000 word chapbook that I just had accepted. Talk about a long fucking day.

So, I'm about twenty percent done with the novel. I see rough waters nearing. But, I'm going to try and have this finished by July 31. The first draft. My plan is to pop in here each Sunday and just spout off about how it's going.

To make matters even worse, I woke up yesterday and was closer to 250 pounds than I was to 200 for the first time ever. A buddy of mine decided he'd do the P90X thing with me. Yes, this isn't smart to try these both at the same time, but I feel I have to make up for the time I lost wallowing in self pity about the collection.

Anyways, if you want to feel better about yourself, check in now and again. For if I crash and burn, I promise it'll be spectacular.

Oh, and now for something completely different. Thanks to Lee Thompson, who asked me some questions. I answered them. My wife called me a smart ass.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The mailman has finally delivered!

After five years, and now on it's third publisher, the once mythical, now really truly here, POSTCARDS FROM PURGATORY has been released. Okay, it might not have been as bad as Guns and Roses Chinese Democracy, or John Skipp's Mondo Zombie, but it's been quite the journey.

I'm part elated, part vindicated, part just effin tired.

I'm really glad it's here. It's been like an albatross. Well, I let it become one, anyway. I'm very proud of it, but it's very much a time to move on for me as a writer.

Anyway, please buy it...PLEASE

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beaten to the punch

Damn, Erik Williams!!!!

Erik has been a friend of mine for a number of years now. He's a writer that I compete with. Not on an artistic level, or an output level (cuz he's killing me on output), but on a publication level.

I sold my collection (perhaps you've heard of it? POSTCARDS FROM PURGATORY - ring a bell?) years before Erik sold his novella, BLOOD SPRING. But, my publisher went belly up, so it's been a bit of a race to see who'd get the first book. I appear to have come in second.

Right now, his novella is available for preorder. Apparently it's shipping on April 9. So, he a lousy seventeen days.

So, instead of buying five copies of PFP, buy four and get a copy of BLOOD SPRING. Stoker Award winning author Gene O'Neill says: “Erik Williams. Underline that name, put it on the fridge. Erik Williams is the genuine article. If you liked DELIVERANCE, you will love BLOOD SPRING. The writing is crisp, the story compelling and just as terrifying as James Dickey’s masterpiece. Highly Recommended!”

Actually, why don't you still go with the five copies of PFP. Just dig a little deeper and buy Erik's book, too, okay?

Congratulations, Erik. It's a damn fine read.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Countdown is on

I received an email this morning from the Tom Moran at Sideshow Press confirming the trade paperback version of POSTCARDS FROM PURGATORY will be released a month from today. The collection features sixteen stories, several of which are originals, and an introduction by Thomas Tessier.

Yeah, that Thomas Tessier.

I've met enough of the writers I've admired over the years so that I don't have that "idol" thing going on anymore. Well, except for a select few, and Tessier is definitely in that few. I'm humbled by the talent of somebody who could write classics like PHANTOM, FOG HEART and RAPTURE (although I'm even more partial to his short stories - I REMEMBER ME is freaking brilliant). But the truth is, he's about the nicest man you could ever meet and an all-round class act.

And the awesome introduction he's provided doesn't hurt:


Thomas Tessier

Here is a box of very dark and disturbing treats for you, and if you're wise, you'll sample them slowly, savoring each one fully and then perhaps taking a short walk before settling in again to read the next. Because, you may well find it very tempting to gobble them all down in a rush – and believe me, that's not a good idea.

A good idea would be to have a fine sipping whisky at hand.

Sam W. Anderson is a writer who can perform powerfully rough surgery on the reader's psyche, casually obliterating expectations and defying anyone to doubt what he is saying. You won't.

There may be moments when you will think, He just can't do that, it isn't right. Oh yes he can, oh yes it is.

He is superb at recognizing the countless invisible twists of fate that shadow our daily lives, threatening to blindside us at any moment and throw our everyday reality into chaos. Chaos is a feeble word, though, for what some of the characters here experience when Sam delivers the twist.

Speaking of shadows, there's one in here that is more than just chilling. And a child playing harmlessly in a sandbox, it would seem. And some lizards who have been around the block a few times. And a doctor who makes a specialty of lice.

And my own favorite one here, the fever dream “Amongst the Wailing Winds,” in which the nightmare inside and the nightmare outside intersect perfectly. It is deeply felt, and remorseless.

These are horror stories, of course, front-loaded with dread, pain and terror. But as is so often the case with horror literature, merely saying that doesn't tell the half of it. Plenty of writers can produce the shocks and gore, and some of them even think that's all there is to it. Sam W. Anderson can do all of that, and better. He can pull us inside the skin and hearts and minds of his characters, and make us understand, instinctively, how they feel and why they do what they do. Thereby, gets inside our skin too. For some of us, this is what all good writing – and reading -- is about.

There is something deeply evocative about the characters and the western settings in these stories, remorseless in their exploration of the terminal underside of American life -- the vast, inhospitable geography, and the absurd, doomed activities of certain inhabitants -- that reminds me of the profoundly sad, disturbing plays and short stories of Sam Shepard. In this case, Sam W. Anderson uses a rather different literary lens, but he is pulling us into the very same dream -- and nightmare.

It's always a pleasure to celebrate the arrival of a gifted new writer on the scene, and I'm particularly happy to introduce you to these stories by Sam W. Anderson. Now, take a sip, turn the next page and – good luck.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's over

So, today, my son's basketball team lost in the first round of the playoffs. Maybe with our poor record, that should have been expected, but I honestly didn't think it would happen. Regular season we ended 2-5, but most of those losses were by four points or less, and in the last week, we figured it out. Oh, did I mention I was the assistant coach on the team? So, I'm not biased or anything. Our last win, yesterday, was by twelve points, and, honestly, my son, Nick, was the guy who changed the team's culture.

I'm not going to say my son is a perfect kid. He doesn't live in the same neighborhood as perfect, the same zip code, hell, maybe even the same planet. But I am in awe of my son.

Since kindergarten, we've been "encouraged" to have him tested for ADHD, and we resisted. Like we weren't good parents if he had it, I guess. But now, he's in the fourth grade, and he was miserable. Yes, he's ADHD. Yes, despite everything I wanted, we finally agreed to have him medicated. If you have thoughts on this, and haven't been through it, fuck you. If you've been through it, then you understand the trauma, the lack of self-esteem; you understand. If you got through it without meds, please, PLEASE let me know how.

Nick, who's in the highly and gifted class,- an actual genius IQ wise - and a brown belt, is going to make the honor roll this week for the first time. This week, he grasped if he plays hard, the team feeds off him. In a game, where we lost 14-13, he scored two points, had four rebounds, one foul and numerous - NUMEROUS - times where he caused a jump ball by tying up the opponent. He's not a gifted athlete at this point...he's big and hasn't grown into his body, but he's far ahead of anything I could've ever hoped to have been. (Although, we have the common trait of hitting free throws - Nick was 6 for 6 this year.)

I don't know what karma train I took to get this boy as my son, but it was the best ride ever. No matter what I do - be it writing, curing cancer or making more money than god - raising this boy to be the young man he's becoming is by far my greatest accomplishment. Thank you, Nick, for never giving up. Thank you for fighting every day. Thanks for doing as I say, not as I do. I love you, and have found you're by far the better influence on me, than I could ever be to you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hello darkness, my old friend

Anybody who follows this blog, God bless ya...cuz you're some patient mother fuggers.

Yes, I've been neglectful of my duties again. I suck. But I make these promises to myself and I kind of keep them. I wasn't going to post until I finished my chapbook. So, it's done. Took a lot longer than it should have, but honestly, I needed that time to do it right. I'm screwed in the head, and it's the way I work. But, the good news is, "The Unusual Events of a Saturday Afternoon at Big K's Truck Stop and Fine Dining Emporium - A Money Run Tale" is done and will be out later this year from Sideshow Press.

So, what else has happened for me? Well, I had my story "Son of...a Bitch" accepted by the Horror Writers Association anthology, BLOOD LITE II: OVERBITE.

And then the immensely talented Jeff Strand said some nice things about my upcoming collection POSTCARDS FROM PURGATORY. Anybody interested in checking out a really well-written, truly disturbing book, should seek out Mr. Strand's PRESSURE. Probably the most disturbing book I've read since THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. He's also got a bunch of new stuff out that I look forward to picking up.

As for Mr. Strand's review, I kinda thought "Tossing Butch, Saving Theodore" was a deep story about family relationships and finding a sense of belonging. However, there is a lot of laxitives and midget tossing going on.

More about PFP, dropping on or about April 26 - cover and some art by Tom Moran.