Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Excerpt of the Week

Going to start posting an excerpt from one of my books each week. This week's is from Enter the Night. You can purchase it as an ebook here. It's also available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Book blurb below:

They came to the mountain to hunt ghosts. They ended up as prey.

The Iron Mountain Asylum once housed the criminally insane. The worst of the worst. Four men escaped the asylum and were never caught. The legends grew. Some said they lived on the mountain, killing anyone who crossed their path.

The contestants on a reality show called Enter the Night are about to find out if the legends are real. Six people. Non-stop filming. A week exploring the abandoned asylum and a military base near the mountain. The contestants will find out that there are things far more frightening on the mountain than ghosts. 

Truth be told, the mountain gives Bob Grey the creeps. 
He steers the cube truck up the winding road. Hits the wipers. Snow begins to pelt the windshield. There’s a blizzard coming down from the Canadian Rockies that will hit later next week. 
“Getting icy,” he says into the Bluetooth headset.  
“Take her easy,” Gary Meyers says. Gary is in the Dodge Ram behind Bob’s truck.  
“What’s the name of this show again?” Bob says. 
“Enter the Night,” Gary says. 
“How about we call it let’s get the fuck off this mountain? I’ll star in that show,” Bob says, and Gary meets this with braying laughter. 
He steers the truck around a switchback and continues up the mountain. Takes a swig of coffee from his travel mug. It’s now lukewarm and bitter, but it’s better than nothing. “Why would anyone want to film a reality show up here?” 
Gary says, “Couldn’t be Hawaii or South Beach, could it?” 
“Honeys in bikinis and drinking on the beach. That’d be more like it.” 
They’d passed the abandoned military base at the foot of the mountain, where rusted tanks and trucks sat abandoned behind a chain link fence. Bob is glad they don’t have to drive up to the abandoned hospital near the top of the mountain. He’s grateful to be stopping midway at the lodge. 
“Lodge should be coming up,” Gary says. 
Bob spots the rustic sign in his headlights. It reads: Iron Mountain Lodge. He brakes and turns onto the road that goes to the lodge. 
The road twists and turns. He wishes for a Red Bull and maybe some caffeine pills to keep him sharp. For now, he contends with shitty gas station coffee. Dozing off at the wheel up here would be deadly. 
The lodge comes into view: it’s four stories tall. Miles of roof. Hundreds of windows. He knows it was a playground for the rich in the last century. The Rockefellers stayed here on a regular basis. Howard Hughes used to rent an entire floor for himself. Now it looks like it wants to swallow people whole. At least in the dark. It’s probably fine, maybe even nice inside. 
He parks the truck near the front of the lodge. A massive covered porch runs the entire length of the building.  
Lights appear in his side mirror; Gary pulls up behind him in the Dodge. 
He spots the maintenance garage; that’s where they are to park the cube truck. It’s loaded with supplies for the week-long shoot.  
Bob has driven truck all over the country. The current gig with Blackmore Productions isn’t bad. The pay is decent. He’s home for good chunks of time. But right now, he’s shivering and wants to be back at the Holiday Inn, where he can order a Philly cheese steak from room service and watch a pay-per-view movie. 
He gets out of the truck and the wind screams. He holds onto his Blackmore Productions trucker’s cap to keep it from blowing away. He wishes he’d brought a winter hat. 
Gary fumbles with the keys before inserting the right one in the lock. He gives it a turn and cranks the door handle. 
“Don’t just stand there. Help me lift the bastard,” Gary says. 
They hoist the garage door open and Bob spots a pickup truck with a snowplow attached. There’s also a vehicle with tracks that looks like it belongs to the ski patrol.  
The boss wants them to leave the truck in the garage and the film crew will unpack it.  
He notices an odd smell: body odor. Like someone hasn’t showered in a month. Once, he’d gotten a whiff of a homeless guy who accosted him for a handout in Nashville. It reminds Bob of that. “Smell that? It’s really rank.” 
Gary says, “Probably a dead critter got stuck in here.” 
“Smells so bad I can almost taste it. I’ll get the truck,” Bob says. 
“I’ll guide you in,” Gary says. 
As Bob walks to the truck, Snow whips into his face. The wind moans again. His warm room back at the hotel comes to mind again. 
Bob picks up his pace and reaches the truck. He hops in the cab. As he’s about to start it up, he hears a high-pitched scream. Someone in terrible pain. 
He keeps a .44 Smith & Wesson in a case under the seat when he drives. Bob’s kept it there ever since being beaten and robbed on a run through East St. Louis. He gets out the revolver and loads it. There are brown bears on the mountain and he sincerely hopes he’s not about to run into one of those. 
Bob hops out, bracing himself against the wind. The snow picks up and the garage is now barely visible. It’s going to be a bitch driving down the mountain in this. 
He reaches the open garage door. “Gary, you okay?” he calls. 
The snow lets up long enough and Bob sees a man with Gary’s body draped over his shoulder. Blood drips down and stains the snow. The man looks back. He’s wearing a gas mask, an olive-drab coat, and camo pants. 
He turns and continues walking, carrying Gary like a sack of dry concrete. 
“Hey! What the hell?” 
Bob raises the Magnum, realizing Gary is in serious trouble, but he has no shot.  
The man disappears around the garage. 
Bob chases after him. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Blogging in the Pandemic Entry 4

This week, I finished up a 5,500-word short story that I'm planning on submitting to a magazine. I also continued work on Nightshade, my latest horror novel. The novel is around 34,000 words right now.

We got hit with a late blast of winter this week in the Buffalo area. My wife and I had been walking every night after dinner, but the miserable weather has put that on hold.

Watched Underwater this week. Despite having a cool premise (deep sea mining station besieged by mystery monsters), the movie failed to generate any real tension. Also learned little to nothing about the characters, so I really couldn't give a shit what happened to them. 

I'm reading I Am Legend. Trying to spend time each day on writing, drawing, music, and art. Also making time for workouts. I've also been buying a lot of e-books (curse you, Bookbub). Not a bad thing.

Governor Cuomo just extended NY Pause (COVID-19 lockdown) until May 15th. I'm working from home until at least May 31st. I suspect that might be extended, and when I do go back to the office, I'm guessing things are going to be a lot different.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Blogging in the Pandemic Entry 3

Since I haven't been keeping up with this every day, I'll call this Entry 3.

Couldn't sleep so I've been up since 4:30 this morning. Since I was up, I wrote 1,000 words on the WIP, crossing the 30,000-word mark.

It appears I'll be working from home through at least the end of the month, possibly longer.

I finished reading two books this week. Alma Katsu's The Hunger, and Steve Harvey's Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success. I'm trying to read/listen to something motivational each day. Stories of people who are successful, whether it be at running a business, fitness, or some other vocation. I think a lot of motivational quotes and sayings are bullshit. That is, unless you take action on them.  The motivational talks and books can help you keep a positive frame of mind. That positive mindset needs to be paired with action and actually doing the work. Something I'm working on doing.

Got in a workout last night. Dumbell presses, rows, farmer's carries, and curls. Also rode the stationary bike for a bit.

Watched a creepy little thriller on Netflix called He's Out There. Had my heart racing, which doesn't often happen with a horror movie. Once the movie gets rolling, the tension doesn't let up. It was almost unbearable (in a good way). Highly recommended.

Going to go log on for the day job in a bit. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Blogging the Pandemic Entry 2

Started yesterday with some writing before I had to log in for the day job. I got around 350 words on Nightshade. After that, I hit the workout room and did push-ups, chins, and kettlebell farmer's carries.

My usual shift for the day job is 7:30-4:00. After work, we decided to get take-out pizza and support our local businesses. We usually order from two pizza places. I get gluten-free from one place for my wife and son. From the other, we get traditional pizza. I have to say one of the places had an absolute shit show going on in terms of filling orders. They're allowing two people in the pick-up area (a good thing) due to social distancing. However, the line stretched out past the lot, as people were keeping their distance from each other (again, a good thing). Some customers had their food brought out to cars, while others waited in line. All in all, disorganized. I understand businesses are scrambling with these new restrictions, but they need a better system. Ideally something where food can be brought out to minimize contact.

After dinner, Jenn and I took a 45 minute walk. My son and I got in a game of NHL 20, then Jenn and I watched a few episodes of The Office.

Finished up the night by learning some new blues licks on the guitar.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Living in the Days of a Pandemic

At times it seems absurd to be working on a werewolf novel with everything going on in the world.  I guess if I finish it, the book might provide a welcome distraction for a reader.  I suppose the world still needs stories, so I'll keep plugging away at it.

My day job is allowing us all to work from home, for which I feel fortunate. My wife is a teacher and is also working from home, preparing lessons and reaching out to students. We're practicing social isolation/distancing, having groceries delivered, and staying put. Our biggest fear at this point is for our oldest son, who has Muscular Dystrophy. We've been through pneumonia and bronchitis with him before, and it can be terrifying.

I've been filling my time with Netflix (Train to Busan and a colorized WWII documentary recently), writing, sketching, and reading (Alma Katsu's The Hunger).

My wife and I have also ventured out for some walks. Eerie to see our town completely shuttered right now. Last night, we saw one other couple out walking. And yes, we kept a healthy distance as we passed them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Werewolf Horror

I set aside The Veil, at least for now. Not sure if I'll go back to it. There was nothing wrong with it, just not feeling the story. I'm not sure it's the book I wanted to be writing at this time. Normally, I'm not in favor of abandoning projects, but it just wasn't working for me. Every book reaches a point during the writing when you feel like your sailing through the doldrums. Normally, I push through, but for some reason, I couldn't keep going with this one.

Instead, I'm about 11,000 words into writing a werewolf novel and am enjoying it so far. Looking to have this one ready and for sale by late spring.

I'm currently reading Bird Box by Josh Malerman.

Watching the final season of The Ranch on Netflix.

I'm liking Lana Del Rey's Norman Fucking Rockwell. The new Tea Party record also has some good stuff on it.

I'll post a cover for the werewolf book once I get one worked up.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Library Presentation

I gave a talk last night at the Aurora Town Library about publishing and writing. I discussed my experiences with traditional publishing, agents, and my journey into indie publishing. We had around 15-20 people come out, and had some excellent questions.  Also had some good discussions about writing with the audience.

My son's former baseball coach was there, and I'd never realized he was a writer and an artist. He's working on a children's book he initially wrote for his grandson and is trying to decide where to go with it.

All in all a fun night with a good crowd.

Excerpt of the Week

Going to start posting an excerpt from one of my books each week. This week's is from Enter the Night. You can purchase it as an ebook h...