Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Things Writers Need To Stop Saying

If you're like me, these types of thoughts routinely run through your mind. I think it applies to most writers, and creative types in general. These types of thoughts will stop your writing and creative goals dead. So banish or execute them as needed.  They only serve to hold you up (and likely aren't true). 

I suck/this sucks (You don't. Everyone starts somewhere, and you can improve your craft through study and practice). 

No one will want to read this. (There are billions of people in the world. Do you honestly think no one at all will like it?)

No one will publish this. (Send it out anyway. We're not the best judges of our own work. If your work gets rejected, send it again. Repeat as needed.)

I'm a fraud. (Everyone feels this way. Keep going.)

No one will buy this. (See No one will want to read this.)

My parents/friends/partner told me I shouldn't do this. (If the people around you constantly crap on your goals/dreams,  you may want to re-evaluate the relationship.)

I'll never achieve success. (The most successful people in the world started from nothing.)

Everyone else is more successful than me. (Comparison is deadly. Put in the work. Keep going. Keep learning and improving.)


Monday, October 19, 2020

Blood Will Rain Down - An Excerpt From My Latest Novella

The draft of The Lacerated Sky is complete. It finished up at just over 26,000 words (a little over 100 pages). A good length for a novella, I think. 

Here's an excerpt. Planning on releasing this one before month's end.

The Lacerated Sky

Copyright 2020 Anthony Izzo

The sky was strange.  

Tim Greenbow looked up as he exited Wilson’s Hardware. The clouds had taken on a pinkish tinge. It was overcast, the sun blocked out for the moment. But dammit if the storm clouds overhead weren’t pink. 

Tim squinted. You could see veins of red running through them. He pulled his phone from his pocket and opened the weather app. The Weather Channel was showing the possibility of thunderstorms.  

A breeze kicked up and blew a Snickers wrapper across the sidewalk.  

He wondered about a tornado forming, but there’d been no warnings, and he was certain the sky got green or something with tornadoes. Still, it was damned weird. 

He’d been replacing the flush valve on the upstairs bathroom toilet. The tank bolts were shot, so he’d taken a ride into town. Wilson’s was one of the last independent hardware stores in the area. He sure as shit didn’t feel like driving two towns over to Lowe’s. 

Now, as he walked back to his pickup truck, Strider poked his head out the passenger window. He gave an enthusiastic bark, the Shepherd’s ears perking up.  

Along with the toilet tank bolts, Tim had gotten a jerky treat for Strider. Wilson’s had them in a plastic container on the counter. Strider knew it, because every time Tim went, he got the dog a treat.  

He got to the truck, scratched Strider between the ears, and offered the treat. Strider snapped it up, gobbled it down, and licked Tim’s hand.  

“That’s a good boy.” 

He heard a siren wail, and a moment later, a fire engine raced down the street, lights going. A ladder truck chased after it a moment later.  

Strider whined. He didn’t like sirens. 

Tim got in the truck and checked the time. It was just past noon. The dog watched him, as if to say, “We going?” Tim’s stomach rumbled. He had to go grocery shopping and had little to eat in the house. A can of beef vegetable soup didn’t seem appetizing. 

He decided to get a burger-to-go from The Stackhouse down the street.  

As he started up the truck, the classic rock station broke into some news. Seems there was a large fire at the Department of Energy lab over in Dell. That was about twenty miles from here. Fire and Hazmat crews were responding. Local officials were urging people to stay indoors.  

“Weird,” Tim said. “Wonder if that’s why the clouds look so funny?” 

Strider chuffed, as if putting in his opinion on the subject.  

Thunder rumbled overhead, and lightning flashed. It had a red tinge to it. The flash left an imprint on his eyeballs. 

He considered just heading home and settling for a can of soup. Strider was bound to get jumpy in the storm. He’d rescued the Shepherd as a pup, just after Ana passed away. 

Tim never expected to be a widower at forty-six. Hadn’t expected to find Ana dead on the living room floor from a brain aneurism, either. The doctor at the ER told him she hadn’t suffered, that she was likely gone when she hit the floor. That didn’t help. Dead was dead. His best friend and wife of eighteen years was gone. 

They’d never wanted kids. He was glad for Strider. The house had been too quiet after Ana died. The dog was good company, and had even taken to sleeping with Tim. He didn’t mind, as long as Strider kept to the other side of the bed. 

“I suppose I have time to grab a quick burger. Maybe if you’re good, I’ll share.” 

Strider woofed his approval. 

He looked up out the windshield. A pink mist had settled among the clouds. Lightning flashed in the mist. It was damned eerie. They were likely going to get one hell of a storm. 

He phoned in his order. They said to give it fifteen minutes. That would give Tim enough time to grab his burger and get going home. Hopefully, he’d beat the storm.  


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saturday Stuff

 Got some work done on The Lacerated Sky. Currently clocking in around 23,000 words. I expect it'll finish up around 28-30K. I have an ending in mind, but we'll see where the story goes.

We had a beautiful fall day here. Temperatures in the mid-sixties with a light breeze. Jenn and I went to the local farmer's market this morning. Got some zucchini and Italian sausage from "the sausage guy" at the market.  Got out on the tractor and sucked up all the leaves in the yard. 

Did some more writing after dinner. 

I just finished Jordan Harper's She Rides Shotgun. Highly recommended if you like crime novels. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

At Work on a New Horror Novella

I was going to write up an article on creativity/writing this weekend, but it got away from me. I painted my son's bathroom (a long overdue project) and took care of household stuff. The Bills managed to survive and pull out a win against the Rams. Never a bad Sunday when that happens.

I did work up some cover art for my latest horror novella, The Lacerated Sky.  

"The Sky Was Strange."

It'll be raining blood. October 2020. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

What's Your Excuse For Not Writing?

My oldest son has muscular dystrophy. He used to play in a wheelchair soccer league. When he had spinal surgery to insert a rod in his back, he had to give it up. 

The wheelchair soccer got pretty competitive. For anyone not familiar with wheelchair soccer, players use a sturdy plastic box that's mounted to the front of a chair. The box is used to strike the ball. The ball is oversized (about the size of a beach ball). Two orange cones serve as a net. 

One time, at a tournament in Rochester, I observed a player who used a special mouthpiece to maneuver their chair. The person didn't have the use of their arms. To me, that showed incredible determination. We all need to apply that same type of determination to achieving our writing goals. 

How often do we tell ourselves we're too tired to write, or say something idiotic like "I'm just not feeling it today." Sometimes, when I need a mental kick in the ass, I think back to that wheelchair soccer player.  Don't let lame excuses keep you from pursuing what you love to do. Go write. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Grinding It Out - Sticking Around The Writing Game

I recently recalled a term from when I used to golf, which was about a thousand years ago. When a player was "grinding," he was fighting from behind in a tournament. Taking things shot by shot, digging in, and not quitting. In hockey, a "grinder" is a third or fourth line player.  That player might not be the most skilled, but he works hard, going out and playing physical to help the team win.

I think in order to stick around for any length of time in the writing business (whether as an indie or traditional), you have to be a grinder.  

Writing is often thankless. It can feel like you're yelling into the void and no one is listening. That you might never get where you want to go. That's when you have to grind.

Grind by hitting a daily/weekly word count goal.

Grind by submitting to publishers and markets, even when rejections pile up.

Grind by indie publishing work, even if it feels like you don't have an audience yet.

Grind by getting better at your craft and learning to become a better storyteller.

Grind by promoting your work (without being obnoxious about it, of course) and making genuine connections with people.

It's that tenacity and consistency that leads to more finished work, and hopefully meeting your writing goals. And remember to have fun. Grinding and working hard on your writing goals doesn't mean being miserable. 


Friday, September 11, 2020

Some New Art - Black Panther

So with the recent death of Chadwick Boseman, I wanted to create some Black Panther Art. I hauled out the watercolors and did the piece below. I wasn't terribly crazy about it, but here it is. My relationship with my own artwork runs between "That's not half-bad" and "I can't believe I shared that publicly."

Either way, creative people are never the best judges of their own work, for good or bad. 


Things Writers Need To Stop Saying

If you're like me, these types of thoughts routinely run through your mind. I think it applies to most writers, and creative types in ge...