Monday, May 31, 2021

Saw A Quiet Place II This Weekend

Jenn and I went for lunch yesterday, then saw A Quiet Place II at the Aurora Theater. The Aurora is a great little theater. One screen, and it's about a quarter mile from our house, right in the heart of the village. This was my first trip to a theater since March of 2020, when Jenn and I saw Birds of Prey. Seeing as we're both fully vaccinated, we felt comfortable going to the movies. 

I enjoyed the movie overall. At just over an-hour-and-a-half, it moves briskly and generates some good tension (and quite a few jump scares). It could've benefited from another twenty minutes of run time. We get to witness the initial arrival of the creatures and the mass panic it causes. The film generates a genuine sensation of dread as a black, comet-like object streaks across the sky, heralding the arrival of the creatures. Soon after, chaos erupts. I would've liked to seen the film spend a little more time on this, however, the sequence was well done. After the initial attack, the movie jumps ahead to where the first film left off. 

There are a few creepy set pieces where we only get a brief glimpse of things. Again, it would've been cool to see the film explore these a bit more. I'm thinking of the ruined train complete with dried-out corpses. The ending was abrupt and left questions answered, setting up a likely sequel.  Among other things, I wanted to know how many of the creatures were there? Thousands? Tens of thousands? And how were they able to apparently wipe out vast swaths of the population? Maybe these questions will be answered in future sequels.

I'm going to see it again tonight with my son Matt, who didn't get a chance to see the movie over the weekend. Looking forward to that, as going to the movies has been a tradition I have with Matt.  He's moving on campus in August, and I'm glad to have at least one more trip to the movies with him before he moves out. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Some New Artwork and a Short Story Collection

 I just sent a short story collection I put together off to my first reader/proofreader. I should be putting this up for sale in a week or so. Here's a look at the cover for Strange Ways.

The weather has been beautiful the past few days, with more to come. We opened our pool last Friday, and my wife took the inaugural dip of the season yesterday afternoon. 

I don't watch a ton of movies these days, but I would like to check out the apocalyptic thriller Greenland, as well as Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead. Both look promising. 

I did a few pen and ink drawings recently. I was fairly happy with both of them. I've always liked imagery of crows and ravens, so I decided to draw one. Have a tattoo appointment scheduled in October to get a raven done on my forearm.

As always, I have prints available of my artwork here. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Preliminary Cover Art for Season of Crows

 Season of Crows is nearing the 30K word mark. Worked on it a bit this morning. I also got in a quick workout. When Jenn gets up, I'm going to pick her up her favorite smoothie for Mother's Day. Have a seafood dinner planned for her later.

I thought I'd reveal the preliminary cover for Season of Crows, also. 

Planning on spending the day with Jenn and our boys to celebrate Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Progress on Season of Crows Continues

Season of Crows is currently around 22,000 words. I spent most of this morning's writing session looping back and tying things together. By that I mean making sure details are consistent in terms of backstory, character names, etc. 

I like to loop back and make small revisions rather than spill the whole first draft on the page and fix everything later. I end up with a fairly clean first draft which usually only needs some smoothing out and fixing of typos, etc.

I'm reading Richard Laymon's One Rainy Night. Hoping to catch Nobody with Bob Odenkirk later. Heard from a few people this was a good one.

My wife and I are heading out later to grab some lunch on the go. It's dreary today, so might be a good day to read and hang out inside. The weather yesterday was beautiful. Jenn and I got in a walk, and I cut the grass for the first time this season. 


Friday, April 09, 2021

Painting Pennywise and Progress on Season of Crows

I'm working on the first draft of Season of Crows and nearing the 20,000-word mark. For some reason, this one was stressing me out at first, figuring out various plot and timelines. Have to remember to relax, have fun, and trust the story. As far as finishing books and stories goes, that approach hasn't steered me wrong yet. I don't outline anymore beyond making a few cursory notes, if necessary. I'm not sure I could write a book based on an outline anymore.

I like to get the main premise/situation set (in this case, a small town haunted by unusual disappearances), put a few sets of characters together, and let the story roll. Not saying that's necessarily the best way, but it works for me. Every writer is different. 

Still working on teaching myself acrylic paints. Here's a Pennywise painting in progress. Still quite a bit to do on this one, but I'm happy with it so far. 

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Writing the Foundation and a Reason for Evil Deeds

The Foundation, my latest horror novel, is going on sale this week. It's available on Amazon and Kobo, thus far. The Foundation is my 25th book since 2004, and I had a blast writing it.

I wanted to write a story where the characters were looped into playing a deadly game run by shadowy people. I'd explored this theme somewhat in The Damage Factory, and wanted to revisit it. I figured people would need strong motivation to initially participate in such a game.

What would be an evil reason to loop people into such a game? I came up with preying on those with medical debt. A character with crushing debt might be tempted to respond to a strange foundation offering money for their bills. Meeting with the foundation would seem a little odd at first, and things would really get nasty in short order. 

The Foundation is a short novel, just under 50,000 words. I find myself writing shorter books these days, as well as reading slimmer novels. I'm comfortable writing longer works (my longest novel was Evil Harvest, at 165,000 words), but these days, I'm inclined to stick to shorter novels. Looking back at some of my longer stuff, I'd probably cut a great deal of words. Reading shorter novels also fits a little better into my schedule, as I don't have as much time to read as I used to.

So here's the cover blurb for The Foundation. It's a fast-moving, nasty little novel that I hope horror readers will enjoy.

Dylan O'Connor's life is about to be turned upside down. Saddled with medical debt from his daughter's cancer treatments, he receives a letter from a mysterious Foundation offering financial assistance. All he has to do is complete some seemingly routine tasks and the Foundation will help with his bills. Dylan soon finds out the required tasks are dangerous and illegal.  The Foundation begins playing a twisted game with him. A game that could cost him and his family their lives.

The only way out for Dylan is to play the game to its gruesome end.

A thrilling novel of dark suspense from the author of Nightshade and The Lacerated Sky.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

What Are You Willing to Give Up for Writing?

I finished the draft of my 25th book yesterday. I've been writing since I was a teenager, and writing professionally since 2004. While writing professionally, I've held a full-time job and helped raise a family. The one thing that's helped me produce 25 books is consistency.

In order to be consistent and prolific, this requires giving things up. People often tell me they'd write if they had time. I usually smile and listen to them, thinking to myself that they probably do have time. If you want to write, you can carve out some small of time amount during your day. The question is, what are you willing to give up?

If you'd like to write, but can't find time, I've listed some suggestions below. Some of them involve giving things up, while others are just general ideas.

Cut back or eliminate binge watching shows

Eliminate/cut back on a hobby in order to write more

Used timed writing sessions to focus. Set a timer and go. No stopping. No checking social media. You'll be surprised how many words you can get using this method.

Put away your smart phone for an hour and write.

Get up earlier

Stay up later

Give up that happy hour (probably not occurring as much with the pandemic)

Write on your lunch break

Write in waiting rooms

If you use public transportation, write on the bus/subway/train.

Use writing sprints (15 to 30 min) during the day. Waiting for that load of laundry to finish? Hammer out some words. It all adds up after a while. 

Treat writing like it's a job. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm sorry, but I'm writing right now, can it wait?" 

Make appointments to write during the day (20 min before work, 30 min before bed, etc) and put them on a calendar/planner/planning app. Look at your schedule and find pockets of time when you could be writing.

I like to refer to one of Brian Keene's sayings: "Ass in chair, fingers on keyboard." Carve out that time. Set your ass in the chair. And get writing. 

Thank you, as always, for reading.

You can follow me on social media here:

Twitter: @Aizzo
Facebook: Anthony Izzo (author)
Instagram: AIzzo73

Saw A Quiet Place II This Weekend

Jenn and I went for lunch yesterday, then saw A Quiet Place II at the Aurora Theater. The Aurora is a great little theater. One screen, and...