Demon House

A change in my schedule has landed me temporarily on the night shift and allowed me a relatively large amount of free time during the hours when most people are dead to the world. I’m trying to use that time to get back on the proverbial horse in regard to my writing (of which I’ve done woefully little this year), and started with this relatively simple story. Anyone who knows what I’ve been dealing with the past few months—and the last week in particular—should have no trouble spotting the metaphor.

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The foundation had cracks. The floorboards were warped and swollen from moisture. Shingles were missing from the roof and there was a hole over the kitchen where a hailstone the size of a baseball had broken through during  a storm the previous spring.

None of that phased Doug. Nor did the termite damage, the poor insulation, or the rusted old pipes that jetted brown water out of the faucets before clearing up. The first time he looked at the house, the realtor’s apologetic tone fell on deaf ears as Doug gazed at the small patch of blue sky visible through the hail-born skylight.

“It’s perfect, he said. “I’ll take it.”

The realtor’s jaw hung open momentarily. He blinked. “You’ll take it? You want to make an offer?”

“I want the house.” Doug found it difficult to put what he was feeling into words. He looked at the scuffed up wall where an old refrigerator had presumably stood for decades, crying for a fresh coat of paint and gestured around the room. “It’s got character. This is the house for me.”

The realtor was smart enough to keep his mouth shut and get Doug back to the office to start the paperwork before he changed his mind. Fourteen days later, Doug had the keys.

It went smoothly enough, to start. Doug patched up the hole over the kitchen and replaced the missing shingles on the roof, then began slowly replacing floorboards and installing new plumbing. He adored the house in spite of its imperfections. Possibly even because of them. It was about a month after he moved in that the real problems started.

At first it was little things—a faint puff of air that sounded like a whisper but was probably just the wind, things falling off of shelves that he must’ve left too close to the edge—Doug didn’t think much of it. Soon doors started slamming behind him and the faint whispers became moans and groans. Doug got less and less sleep, spending much of the night picking up broken knickknacks, the rest of the time forcing himself to keep his eyes shut while he lay in bed and ignore what was happening around him.

He soldiered on, fixing what he could and picking up the pieces as more broke, never asking himself what he should do about it. Things were just the way they were. He dealt with the issues as they arose and carried on, slowly realizing he was absolutely exhausted. Months went by until one day he mentioned his woes to a coworker who asked him a question profound in its simplicity.

“Why do you still live there?”

Doug frowned. “What do you mean? It’s my house.”

“There are houses everywhere. Literally, everywhere. You can find another. It sounds to me like the one you’re living in has some ghosts—demons.”

The notion hung in Doug’s mind. Was that really all there was to it? Could it be a matter of just finding another place? Something about it seemed to him like cheating, like he was taking the easy way out. Was it really that simple?

Over the next few weeks Doug began to seriously consider moving—usually when he was somewhere else, lest the  house know what he was thinking—and the idea started taking hold, putting down roots in his brain. His co-worker was right, his house was haunted, and he’d gotten so used to dealing with the moans and groans, the slamming doors and breaking knickknacks, that it had become commonplace. The thought of living in a house where those things didn’t happen seemed almost too good to be true.

Doug began mentally taking stock of what he would pack up first and and browsing through the real estate section of the newspaper. Excitement and anticipation grew in his belly as moving out of the ghost-riddled pit that had been his home became closer to being reality.

As if it knew, things began to escalate at the house. One night as Doug was padding into the kitchen for a glass of water, the cabinet door opened and slammed shut hard enough to rattle the windows and the chef’s knife that had been siting on the counter teetered and fell point down, stabbing the top of his foot. Doug shouted a wave of profanities, knowing it was no accident. It wasn’t a coincidence. The house was actively trying to hurt him.

After his second time tripping over and stepping on things in the night that hadn’t been there when he went to bed, Doug slept with all the lights on. He started parking in the driveway after waking one morning to find his car running in the garage and the house filling with exhaust. The house wanted to keep him there, all to itself.

With a lot of searching and a little luck, Doug found a new place. It wasn’t as big or nice as the house he’d be moving out of, but he could feel the different energy in the new place. No ghosts. No demons. Nothing but walls and a roof and a floor.

On each subsequent trip back to the house to pick up the last of his things it got a little harder for Doug to leave. Not necessarily for sentimental reasons but because the house made it physically difficult for him to get out. A bookshelf falling over, blocking the door; his car battery somehow going dead despite being brand new; the couch sliding in front of him when he had his arms full in an attempt to trip him.

The last time Doug was in the house, he was having a look around seeing what was left to be taken out. There were still some things he wanted to grab, but most of the essentials had already been taken to the new place. As he was walking down the hall, Doug noticed a chunk of drywall that had fallen away at some point since he’d been there last, exposing a stud full of rot and mold. Frayed electrical wiring hung haphazardly along the the board. Doug stared wide-eyed at the potential disaster, wondering how he’d lived there as long as he had relatively unscathed.

He reached up instinctively with a pointed index finger to touch the frayed wire then hesitated and took a step back, something telling him to use caution. As if on cue, the wire sparked and Doug recoiled. A second spark shot out and the wire began to smolder upwards. A chunk of the stud crumbled away and a puff of dust floated down from the ceiling, surrounding Doug’s head, and the ominous feeling grew inside him. Something bad was about to happen. Something worse than bad. Another piece of the beam crumbled and the ceiling above him buckled. Doug took a step back and a piece of tile crashed down, landing where he’d been standing five seconds earlier. A faint rumble carried through the house and the rotted, exposed stud gave way. The ceiling fell in a domino effect through the room and Doug took off in a sprint. The house collapsed behind him as he ran. At first he thought it was chasing him out, then he realized he was wrong—he was outrunning it as it tried to trap him inside.

Doug burst through the front door to the driveway, the house quaking on its foundation. He made it to his car before turning back to look, just in time to see the place he had called home collapsing in on itself like it were being consumed by a black hole. A small mushroom cloud of dust plumed up from the rubble, and for a moment Doug considered trying to go back and sift through the debris for anything left that could be salvaged, before wisps of smoke wafted up from the heap. The stuff went up like tinder; flames licked at the dry, brittle wood that had made up its frame, engulfing it all in under a minute. Doug leaned against his car and watched it burn as he called the fire department. He could hear the sirens but there would be nothing they could do. It would be little more than ash by the time they got there.

When he thought back, he had mixed feelings about the time he spent in the house. Although it ended in a flaming pile of rubble he would still always have fond memories of those early days—gazing through the hole in the roof over the kitchen, thinking about all the potential, how much could be done to turn it into the house of his dreams. It didn’t turn out that way, of course. As far from it as you could get, actually. But in the end one thing went through his mind like a gunshot in an echo chamber:

At least he got the fuck out of that godforsaken house before it collapsed and trapped him inside forever.

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Wonderbook: Worth its Weight in Gold

We all had the “cool” teacher in school—do you remember yours? Mine was Coach Mahr (I think that’s how he spelled it). He taught anatomy and physiology, and was also the track/cross country coach at our high school. He was younger than a lot of the other teachers (probably mid-thirties), and could often be seen out on the track, running alongside his team. In the classroom, he was funny and engaging, and his class was a lot of fun. In contrast, my 12th grade English teacher was Mrs. Simons, was an uptight Irish woman who ran a tight ship and made her class dreadfully boring to attend.

In books about writing, we have Strunk and White on one end of the spectrum (indispensable as it is, The Elements of Style is a bore—stuffy, and a chore to actually try and read), and on the other end, the “cool” one, is Jeff VanderMeer and his awesome writing tutorial Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction.

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Have you ever had the experience of intrinsically knowing something, and the first time you hear or see that something explained a flash bulb goes off in your brain? That’s kind of what reading Wonderbook has been like for me.

See, one of the most common pieces of advice for writers is, ‘you have to read a lot.’ And that’s good advice, because it’s really the only way to see what you do and don’t like, what you think works and what doesn’t, etc. But in the end you pick a lot of those things up almost subconsciously, to the point that you may know what to do but you may not be sure just why (or sometimes, how). Then along comes the amazing, all-knowing wizard Jeff VanderMeer to break it all down for you.

This book explains things I’ve never seen anyone even attempt to explain before (and believe me, I’ve done my share of research and studying). Most writing books lean more to the Strunk and White side of things—a focus on grammar rather than constructing a story. VanderMeer talks about all aspects of creating: from story structure and pacing to character development, and even the act of creating itself, and recognizing and nurturing your own imagination to be your most productive. What’s more, there are a multitude of essays from renowned authors such as Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin, to name but a few.

Wonderbook is also chock full of illustrations, some to help drive certain points home, but also just to keep your brain engaged and make the book entertaining. I’m sure I’m probably violating some kind of copyright laws by putting this on my blog, but somehow I think Mr. VanderMeer would be okay with it. It’s one of my favorites:

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The book is chock full of similar illustrations, getting even more bizarre and surreal. The book is so densely packed with useful information that within the first few pages I was asking where this marvelous thing had been all my life. It’s also worth noting that I haven’t even finished the book yet. I was going to wait until I was done to write up this piece, but I soon realized I’ll never really “finish” it, because aside from the text, there are also writing exercises and supplemental online content to further the Wonderbook experience. Not to mention the fact that Wonderbook will also serve as a sort of reference manual for me for years to come.

Add to all this the fact that Jeff VanderMeer isn’t just some guy telling other people how to do what he hasn’t had success doing. If you’re not familiar with the name, you may recognize his acclaimed Southern Reach Trilogy—Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance—which came out to rave reviews last year and are now on track to become a series of movies as well. It gives the advice in Wonderbook a little more weight, somehow.

If you’re a writer or know someone who is (or is thinking about becoming one), they need this book, even if they don’t know it. It’s slightly geared toward fantasy and sci-fi writers, but they’re hardly the only people who will benefit from reading it. I can’t think of a single more useful tool to writers at all levels of competency, and in all genres.

Check it out at amazon here.

Get to the point already!

Taking a break from rewrites today for two reasons: 1) the synapses just aren’t all firing—chalk it up to exhaustion following a busy work week (I’m writing this on my Saturday, which is Sunday for you M-F’ers, even though you’ll be reading it on your Monday, which is my Sunday, got it?), and 2) I don’t want to neglect the blog, so when I got an idea for a post I decided to hurry and write it up.

I haven’t written anything new for quite a while. I’m still trying to get the same batch of 4 short stories published (the oldest of which has been bouncing around for almost a year now), considering final tweaks on novel #1 before finally calling it officially done (I recently had a light bulb moment regarding the final act and may have to rewrite some of the book’s climax), and rewriting novel #2 (#1=Snakebit and #2=Liberating Oz, for those of you keeping score at home). What this means is that I’ve been in an editing frame of mind for quite a while, and will be for at least a couple more months.

On top of that, I just finished Stephen King’s latest novel, Revival, and had a brief discussion on Facebook with my friend and fellow writer (as well as my go-to movie and music expert) Jeff, in which we agreed that Mr. King has an issue with being excessively wordy and needs to keep someone around to tell him when it’s time to cut the crap and get to the point.

How cool is that? Also, if anyone cares, this is an alternate cover, of which there were several, all of them cooler than the official US cover, in my opinion.

How cool is this? This is an animated GIF of an alternate cover, of which there were several, all of them cooler than the official US cover, in my opinion.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of Revival, but it’s by no means a bad book. The first third or so had me riveted as I waited patiently to see how all the backstory would pay off. And the ending was quite good, if you like things dark and twisted like I do. Especially coming from King, it was a satisfying (which in this case means unsettling) ending, and yet I was still a little frustrated when I finished it. Because the rest of it—from about 1/3 of the way through until the last 30 pages or so? Ugh. It was still interesting, at least to me as a musician, but it started to drag on, and on, AND ON, until I started thinking, ‘Good God, when is something going to finally happen?’

A brief word about my job (it ties in, trust me): I’ve completed training and am now a full-fledged Fire and EMS dispatcher, so when calls come in for medical and/or fire-related emergencies, I’m one of the people going out on the radio and telling the units where to go and what’s going on there. It can be stressful (and is, fairly regularly), but it’s actually also a boatload of fun, if you can believe that. But the thing is, among all that chaos I still have to take 911 calls as well and juggle all of it simultaneously. What this has meant is that when I’m on the phone with a caller I have a newfound sense of urgency—I need to get the pertinent information and get off the phone as quick as I can so I’m available on the radio if units need to tell me or ask me something. I feel like a lot of writers could benefit from having a similar sense of urgency in telling their stories.

Elmore Leonard had the advice that aspiring writers have probably read a thousand times, “Try and leave out the parts that readers skip.” I wish more writers would take that advice. Now, I’m not opposed to taking some time to give some backstory, or maybe a lot of attention to detail in certain scenes if it’s called for, but for the most part I like stories that cut to the chase and keep the ball rolling, like that big boulder at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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Liberating Oz is written in the first person, and it’s the first extended piece (meaning longer than a short story) I’ve written from that POV. The fist third-to-half of the book is setting up events that unfold in the second half, and for some reason it feels at times like I’m rambling and not staying on task when telling the story. Deep down, I don’t really think I am (I won’t know for sure until I sit down with my reading cap on versus my writing/editing cap), after all the thing’s barely novel-length as it is, but still, I wonder. In my conversation with Jeff about Revival, I said to him, “It would’ve made a killer novella.” I don’t want the same thing said about my own work. I’d rather write a killer novella than a too-long novel that bores people.

Writers out there: do you ever have any issues with feeling like you’re taking too long to get to where you’re going, be it first or third person? How do you keep yourself on the straight and narrow?

Readers out there: what books can you think of that lost you along the way because they just took too long to get to the point? Or, conversely, what books got right to it like a gunshot and had you riveted from start to finish?

Until next time, I’m off to do a little reading, once I decide which of the remaining books I got for Christmas is next. What a nice problem to have.

“It’s about 250 pages.”

As I look ahead to having an actual completed novel—which isn’t a case of counting my chickens before they’re hatched, I don’t think, but rather anticipating what’s to come—there are a few things I have to do that are deceptively difficult. For the most part, they all revolve around one basic question:

“What’s your book about?”

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That’s a fair enough question, and one any writer worth their salt should be able to answer (and answer well) in a sentence or two. Believe it or not, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Take my near-completed novel (which, by the way, has the tentative title Snakebit):

It’s about Jimmy Ray Day, a repo man/enforcer-type guy who works for a crooked car dealer, who’s given a hit to carry out, but he botches the hit in the worst possible way and finds himself on the run from his boss, headed to Mexico with a duffel bag full of cash and cocaine, where he meets a gorgeous (and possibly mentally unstable) young woman who he falls for hard and fast.

Technically that is just one sentence, but it’s a humdinger of a run-on, and that’s just the first half of the book, neglecting to mention anything that happens from that point forward. After spending months (on the conservative side) writing 60,000 + words, trying to summarize it in a few paragraphs or a couple of sentences is pretty hard to do.

But I have to figure it out, because like I said at the beginning, that’s what’s coming up. You have to be able to hook people, make them want to read the book, in a sentence or two—that’s called the “elevator pitch.”

You get it, right? Like, you step onto an elevator and someone else steps on with you (let’s say a forty-something woman in crisp business attire). You exchange pleasantries and you mention you’re a writer (since all writers are so naturally outgoing), and she says, “Is that right? I’m an editor at XXX books.” The elevator starts going up and you realize you have until she gets off the elevator to sell her on your book.

You need to have something ready, something you can say without going, “Okay well…so, there’s this guy, right? He’s like, a criminal, but not really a bad guy, you know? So anyway, this thing comes up, and he doesn’t want to do it but he knows he has to…but he messes it up, and…”

No. You need to spout out a couple sentences that explain who the main character is, what the conflict in the story is, and why it’s compelling.

Then, along with the elevator pitch is the dreaded query letter. A query letter is a one page letter that you send either to publishers, editors, or agents to convince them that your book is awesome and you are awesome and everything you do is awesome (in other words, a completely factual document).

Part of the query letter is listing any publishing credentials, which, luckily, I have a few (although I could stand a few more, ya hear me editors who currently have my submissions?). But the most critical part is the synopsis, where (you guessed it) you spend anywhere from one to three paragraphs explaining what your book’s about and making the person reading the query letter want to read (and therefore, publish or try to publish) your book.

Luckily, there are more articles about and examples of query letters than you can shake a stick at. Also, my second novel (tentatively titled Liberating Oz, BTW), whenever it’s finished (I’m trying to stay realistic and just stick with an end of the year goal), has a much simpler plot and a much clearer hook, so I don’t think that one will present the same challenges.

And so, while I try to rectify a short story that’s a great idea at its core but just isn’t working for some reason, prepare to start a second draft of Oz that’s basically a rewrite, and wait for feedback from Snakebit’s beta readers, I’ll also be looking at query letters, maybe hammering out a draft or two of them, and looking for publishers to send them to.

You writers out there—do you have any trouble summarizing your work into a quick hook? What’s been your experience with query letters?

The State of the Jobe Address

Way back in the day, when I was a young, spry booksofjobe.com and my wife and I first started sending out Christmas cards, I used to try and write little personal messages in them. Nothing major, just a couple of paragraphs on how my wife and I were, and some questions about the recipients—how they were doing, what was new in their life, etc. My efforts were sporadic at best, but the intention was good.

As time went on, however, the messages became less and less frequent, until they pretty much just petered out completely. This year a crazy idea occurred to me: what if I had the ability to write a sort of a general Christmas letter, updating family and friends on the goings on of me and my family, and post it in some central location where everyone could read it at their leisure (the fact that it’s after Christmas notwithstanding)…hey, wait a minute…

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It’s been a pretty eventful year around BoJ HQ, for better or for worse. New job, hospital stays, published stories, writing a freakin’ novel, holy smokes! Okay, let’s break it down:

New Job: I ended the relationship with my previous employer and started working for my county’s Emergency Communications department—i.e., 911. I never would’ve guessed I’d end up doing anything like this, but man, is it ever a blast. It’s not for everyone, and not for the squeamish, but I absolutely love it. I work with a—mostly—crass band of sarcastic misfits (who know that’s a compliment), and I actually look forward going to work every day (well, okay, most days, who am I kidding?). I start training next week for Fire/EMS dispatching, with Law Enforcement dispatch down the line. It’s a little stressful, a lot rewarding, and to the coming year all I can say is: bring it on.

This is me staring at 2015

This is me staring at 2015

Hospital stays: For my wife, it’s been a year of doctor’s appointments, procedures, prescriptions, pokes, prods, and of course, one nerve-racking hospital stay. I’m not going to rehash it all right now—you can read a little more about it here if you don’t know what I’m referring to—but we end the year on a more hopeful note than we imagined we would a few months ago. The news we got, while not exactly good, wasn’t as dire as we were led to expect. She will still need surgery someday, but ‘someday’ means (with proper diet, exercise, seemingly constant doctor visits and a plethora of medications) a decade or two, not the near future. So, it goes without saying that was a bit of a relief to hear. That’s not to say every day is full of unicorns eating glitter and pooping rainbows, but it’s a hell of a lot better outlook than we had over the summer. All in all, things could be a lot worse.

Writing: Last but not least, there’s the writing, which, lest we forget, is what got this whole ball o’ wax I call a blog started. I ended 2013 resolving to, among other things, get a story published in the coming year, and I managed knock that one out of the park by getting 5 stories published this year (along with 26 rejections, but that’s beside the point). The feeling you get when someone tells you they want to publish something you’ve written is kind of hard to describe—rewarding, validating, and a relief are words that come to mind—but what’s strange is how quickly you move on to the next thing. A story got published? Awesome, on to the next one, it needs a home, too.

I’ve started submitting my new stories to markets that are harder to get into, so the rejections are really going to pile up, but that’s okay, because possibly the most important thing that happened with my writing this year is that I gained a small semblance of confidence. I still wonder if all the thousands upon thousands of words I write amount to little more than a steaming pile of poo, but I keep writing anyway. You know that saying, ‘dance like no one’s watching’? It’s kind of like that—write like no one’s reading. It’s been put more eloquently by others, ‘write for yourself,’ ‘write the kind of stuff you’d like to read,’ etc., but the gist is the same.

And that’s probably a good attitude to have, because have I mentioned I finished the rough draft to a goddamned novel? I’m super proud of it, which is good, because lord knows if anyone will ever read it (in an officially published form, anyway). I’m also *this close* to finishing a second one, so next year I hope to have not one but two completed novels to send out into the big scary world to try and get published. Wish me luck!

One strange thing about having a blog: I literally have no idea who’s reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I know a few things: I know roughly how many people look at it, and in what country they reside, and I do know who a few of you are, but that’s about it. So if you took the time to read this blog, now or ever, thanks.

Feel free to hit me up, here or on Facebook, and catch me up on what I may be missing that’s new and important in your lives. And may your new year be filled with whatever it is that makes you happy. Unless what makes you happy is something really weird or illegal, in which case, c’mon, get your shit together.

Sleep, who needs it?

Subway is a nefarious band of lowly olive hoarders. This really doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I have to get it off my chest. With all the meats and cheeses they have that you would think cost them so much more, how has the simple black olive come to be the most valuable ingredient under their roof?

Black gold.

Subway’s black gold.

They put, like, six little rings on a footlong, and only a few more if you ask for extra. Maybe they’re regulated by the fearsome Black Olive Mafia (BOM, for short), and are only allowed one olive ring per two inches of sandwich, or risk severe fines and penalties. And you don’t want to piss off the BOM.

Anyway, moving on…

I did have one piece of writing-related news I forgot to mention in my last post: my short story Of the Beholder is being published in the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep: Stories to Stay Up For, Volume II, which is out in e-book format TODAY! (and coming soon in paperback) RoSV2 features 19 authors and is edited by Troy Blackford. I’m thrilled to be a part of it, and I really like the story included for a couple of reasons:

1) It was the product of a writing prompt, which I had never thought of as a way to produce a good, viable story. I saw prompts just as a way for people to get over writer’s block and nothing more. I know now I was wrong.

2) I rewrote, edited, revised, and ultimately finished the story while I had a lot going on in my life, both personally and professionally. I had become incredibly unhappy at my job and was deliberating the pros and cons of looking for work elsewhere, and this was around the time my wife spent 3 nights in the ICU. Working on the story provided me with both a distraction from my problems and a release of frustration.

During the writing of this story I realized that writing was more than just something I did in my spare time. It had become a part of me and who I was—I realized I need to be writing to be happy (although for a few years writing was replaced by making music, so maybe I just need a creative outlet), and that’s around the time I really tried to kick myself into high gear in regard to my productivity, with mostly positive results.

I say all that so to say this: check out my story, Of the Beholder, in Robbed of Sleep: Stories to Stay Up For, Volume II. It’s an awesome assortment of scary stories told by some really talented writers. Besides, sleep is highly overrated anyway, don’t you think?

Don’t call it a comeback! No, seriously—don’t.

Ah, December. The temperature plummets, people stop complaining about Christmas decorations being out too early and start complaining about Christmas music being played too often. It’s a special time, and it feels like the time is right to return to my friends here in the blogosphere (Blogtopia? Blogopolis?). Yeah baby, I’m back!

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So, what can I tell you about my vacation from blogging? Well, I stayed true to my word and wrote like a freakin’ bandit. I mentioned before I went away about the opening of the vomit hatch; said hatch has stayed open and the vomit speweth forth like a geyser (you’re welcome for the visual).

I can’t call the (sorry to say) as-yet-untitled novel I was working on completely finished yet, but it’s close—I’d say 85-90%. Mostly just some minor tweaks here and there, quintuple checking for typos and punctuation errors, and then I think we’re cooking with gas. I put it aside while I figure out a solution to my printing dilemma—i.e., I can’t print right now—and to get some much needed feedback from eyes other than the ones in my head, and then I think I’m popping the cork on some champagne and celebrating the completion of my first novel. With any luck, it will be finished (and titled!) by spring.

In the meantime, as I said the vomit hatch couldn’t be closed if I tried, so I let it flow. I had started a novel that I had to stop to do some research (a wiser man may have done the research before starting the novel, but I digress), and decided to dig back in. Instead of picking up where I left off, I decided to start over with a complete rewrite and currently stand at 21k words. I’m anxious to tell you about how I’ve kept up my incredible (for me) word count, but not now. Next time.

I’m still having a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to what to do with the blog. Between how much I’m writing and my work schedule I’m not watching as much TV (enjoying Gotham, on the fence about this season of American Horror Story), and movies only here and there (finally saw World War Z—liked it but it seemed a tad anti-climactic).

I’m still reading steadily, but I don’t really have much interest in littering the blog with book reviews of every single book I read. I may still post the occasional review for any book that really rocks my world, but otherwise I’m thinking of posting little micro-reviews on Goodreads, so if you utilize that particular facet of social media and haven’t done so already, friend me on the double, buster!

(On a side note, no review, but I just finished 11/22/63 and thought it was pretty superb. I would point to this book for people who don’t like Stephen King and suggest they maybe give it a shot; it’s something special.)

And what else is new? The website, for starters. I don’t know how apparent it is on mobile devices, but I gave the site a much-needed facelift and reorganized the menus. Also, most exciting of all, I added a few of my stories! I became increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that I’m a fiction writer and had none of my fiction available to read, so I did something about that. There’s now a drop down menu with some of my flash fiction for you to peruse at your leisure, so if you haven’t read ’em before (two were on the blog previously, the others are the ones I got published this year—the rights reverted from the magazines back to me, so I put them on here), give ’em a look.

That’s about it for now—just sort of an awkward wave hello (after all, awkward is what I do best) to let you guys know I’m back in the saddle. It’s really good to be back. So, how have you all been?