Thursday, December 31, 2020

Getting Ready for New Years

 Started the day with working on a short story for submission to an anthology. It stands at around 1,800 words. I believe the minimum is 2,500 words, so I should be finishing it up soon. 

 Also continuing work on The Foundation, which stands at about 50 percent complete. 

For New Years Eve, it'll just be the five people in our house. This is how we normally spend New Years, even in a non-Covid world. I'm at the point in my life where going out to a bar or partying isn't desirable, anyway. We'll have snacks and hang out. Might have an extra beer or two for the holiday.

I didn't set any New Years' Resolutions. Instead, I'm going to continue to work on the personal goals I've set for myself. I continue to refine these as I go:

Developing my writing Business Plan, with a focus on increasing inventory (titles available). I'm shooting for six new titles next year (between novels and novellas).

Submitting more short stories to pro markets, and indie publishing others.

Continuing on a quest to work out 4-5 times a week. 

Spending less time on social media, and reading more books. My reading has fallen way off over  the past year, and I find myself mindlessly scrolling through social media at times. I used to do the Goodreads' challenge, but found that was just bumming me out and sucking the joy out of reading. 

Making time for some art and guitar playing in the coming year, even if it's only 15-20 minutes a day. 

That's it for me. I hope you all have a good New Year, and that 2021 brings good things. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Post Christmas

 I'm back to work this week after having last week off. Continuing to work on The Foundation. 

One of my areas of focus is to increase the number of titles I have out in 2021. Ideally, I'd like to do six (some combination of novels and novellas), not counting short stories. I believe that's doable with an average word count of 1,000 per day. 

I got some art supplies and graphic novels for Christmas. Also got some gift cards, which I'll spend on books. My son Matt also got me a cool Mandalorian beer mug.  My lovely wife also made stellar dinners and desserts for the family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Good Writing Day

I have the week off from my day job, so I'm trying to get more writing and writing-related tasks done. I got 1,200 words this morning on The Foundation.  I crossed the 25,000-word mark, which isn't quite halfway done. I expect this one to weigh in around 60,000 words when finished.

I started watching Blood Quantum on Shudder and got about an hour in. Interesting zombie flick. I'll try and watch the rest of it this evening.

I have to head out to get some stocking stuffers. I'm going to go to our local CVS, which isn't typically busy. Going to mask up, get in, and get out.  I'll probably wrap some presents later in preparation for the big day. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Short Story Completed

 I finished up a short story this morning for submission to an anthology this morning. Our dogs were up at 5:15 a.m. More specifically, our fourteen-year-old dog decided she no longer wanted to be in the crate. That caused a chain reaction, and our two puppies were up shortly after.

I decided to take advantage of being up early with a relatively quiet house. Got the aforementioned short story finished and got some more words on the novel-in-progress.

Last night's Mandalorian finale was excellent. I won't spoil it, but my Star Wars fanboy heart skipped a beat. The bounced back nicely from the previous week's episode, which I thought was weak. Bill Burr doesn't really fit in to the Star Wars universe, and I found his character grating. 

We're going to bake some Christmas cookies today and put up our tree tomorrow. Trying to make things feel a little more like Christmas and stagger to the end of this crazy year. 

Monday, December 07, 2020

A Writing Update

 I just crossed the 20K word mark on the latest novel, entitled The Foundation. I have a cover design worked up. I'm looking to release this sometime early in 2021, possibly February. 

The Foundation is a dark thriller with no supernatural elements. However, that doesn't mean it's lacking in the horror department. This one's got some nasty scenes. 

I have two short story ideas I'm getting ready to write. Part of my business plan for 2021 is to write more short stories with the intention of indie publishing or submitting to markets. I'm also going to throw some novellas into the mix, as well.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Some New Horror-Themed Artwork

I was joking with my wife that I created some new, cheerful artwork just for the holidays. You can have a look at my two latest creations below. I think they're quite festive. Okay, maybe not. But I'm not about to start drawing reindeer and mistletoe.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

On Not Letting People Crap on Your Dreams

Last night, on Twitter, I saw a post where a writer was dismayed about a friend's opinion on some stories the writer had sent the friend. The friend basically told the writer that the stories were crap and that the writer should give up on writing. 

I'll be frank. The friend's comments pissed me off. I responded to the tweet, encouraging the writer to keep at it (as did many others in the writing community). 

If you've shared the dream of becoming a writer with others, I'd bet bet more than a few bucks you've heard at least one of the following:

There's no money in it.

When are you going to get serious about things?

Are you still writing that stuff? (This is usually directed at genre writers)

Very few people make it as writers.

You need to focus on something different.

You can't write until you have more life experience (I heard this one as a young writer).

You need to pick a more stable career.

Often, these comments come from "well-meaning" friends and family who "are just being real." In reality, these comments often cut, chipping away at a writer's confidence and making them question themselves.

I firmly believe you should surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging of your goals. This doesn't mean having people around to pump up your ego or shower you with nothing but effusive praise. Rather, people who will cheer you on and celebrate your achievements. People who will recognize that a dream or goal is important to you. 

Not people who will take a dump on your dreams. 

I would have simple advice for dealing anyone who admonishes or belittles your dreams.  If someone makes negative comments about your writing goals, tell them how important it is to you. If they persist, I suggest evaluating if you want to have a relationship with that person. Or at the very least, if you want to share your aspirations with them. A well placed "fuck off" can work wonders, as well. Use at your own discretion.

You don't need anyone's permission to write. It's your life. Your dreams. Not theirs. 

Keep writing. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

The World Needs Stories

I've been struggling with how much to mention writing or promote books this year. With the pandemic still raging and the country in political turmoil, talking about a new book release can seem trivial. Or worse, insensitive.

However, this year,  since March, I've purchased a ton of books. Reading and stories have been a welcome distraction to world events. And honestly, I'm happy to learn when my favorite writers are releasing new books. 

I think we need more stories. New books. New movies.  New music. These things help us cope with the horrors of the world. So maybe, as writers (and creatives), we shouldn't hold back sharing our work, or that bit of good news about sales or new releases on the horizon. Share your work proudly, and that of your favorite artists or writers. That ideal reader might be out there waiting for your book. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Writing Update and Some Artwork

 I crossed the 10K word mark on my latest project, a dark thriller entitled The Foundation. It's moving along nicely. I'm hoping to have this ready for a January, 2021 release.

Here's my latest sketch, a horror-themed drawing of someone you wouldn't want to meet in the woods. Prints available at My store is Izzoartworks. 

Friday, November 06, 2020

A Tour With Monsters - Excerpt from The Island

For today's post, I thought I'd put up an excerpt from my novella, The Island. The Island loosely ties into Nightshade, my most recent werewolf novel. In the excerpt below, Rick and his wife Julie get a glimpse of some of the creatures that inhabit the island. You can get The Island Here (e-book and paperback). Also available on other e-book platforms.

It's the horror fan's ultimate dream. A tour of an island where legendary monsters are real. Escorted by armed guards, lifelong friends Rick and Nate travel to the island as a birthday surprise for Rick. They soon find out that the island's inhabitants are hungry, and the tour turns into a fight for survival. 

A an action-packed horror novella loaded with monsters and gore from the author of The Dead Land Trilogy.

Back in the room, Rick jumped a little as the air raid siren Sutherland had mentioned began its mournful howl. It reminded Rick of old war movies. And Sutherland hadn’t been kidding. It was definitely an old-time air raid siren.  

Rick was standing at the window overlooking the high concrete wall and the lush view beyond. Julie came up beside him, gripped his hand.  

“What are you thinking about?” she asked. 

“Wondering what Nate’s gotten us into,” he said. 

“It’s not dull, that’s for sure. I feel bad for him sometimes.” 

Rick said, “Why’s that?” 

“Because Eve’s got a stick in her twat half the time about something or other.” 

Rick laughed. The wine had definitely loosened her tongue. “Sounds like that’s all that’s been in her twat lately, according to her.” 

She laughed. It was a big laugh with no hint of self-consciousness. He’d always loved her laugh. Didn’t matter where they were. She’d break out a belly laugh anywhere, fuck who was listening to them. He turned, slipped his arms around her waist. She slipped hers around the back of his neck, stroked his hair. 

He kissed her hard and she pressed against him, backed him up against the window. 

As he kissed her harder, she pulled away and gasped. 

“Jesus Christ!” she said. 


“Something huge just swooped across the sky.” 

She broke away from him and looked out the window.  

He turned and looked, palm on the glass. He tapped it. “This is some thick glass.” 

It was a few inches thick, perhaps designed to stop a bullet. Or something else. “Okay, so you saw a big bird. There could be big birds up here. Eagles, I suppose.” 

“It wasn’t just a bird, Rick.” 

The air raid siren was still going in the background.  

On the wall outside, he saw two men come running, one with a high-powered rifle, and the other with what looked like a pair of night-vision goggles.  The man with the goggles pointed to the sky.  

He saw what Eve was talking about. Something roughly the size and shape of a man swooped across the sky. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? It had leathery wings and a misshapen skull. It rose high in the air and then dove down, heading for the men on the wall. 

The crack of the gun startled them both. They flinched.  

The flying creature turned away, spun out of control, and dipped beneath the wall. He watched the man with the rifle lean over  and fire two more shots. He then turned and signaled to someone out of sight. 

“What the fuck was that?” Rick asked. 

“I don’t know. But let’s get away from the window, huh?” Julie said. 



Monday, November 02, 2020

Jimi Hendrix and the Art of Doing Things Scared

I was perusing You Tube the other day and came across a video of Jimi Hendrix playing an acoustic version of "Hear My Train A Comin'." What struck me was that around the 50 second mark, Hendrix stops playing and asks if he can start over. He also tells the camera operator that he was scared to death. 

To see Hendrix in interviews, he came off as a shy, introspective person. But when he strapped on a guitar, he breathed fire on stage. When he picked up the Strat, the quiet, thoughtful guy disappeared, and the guitar god took over.

I think there's something to be learned from the video. When the guy who's generally regarded as one of the best, most innovative guitar players in history is nervous about performing, there's hope for the rest of us mortals.

Fear often stops creatives in their tracks. Stops people from indie publishing work, submitting to a short story market, sharing their guitar playing in public, or displaying art. 

I think we're all nervous about sending our creative efforts out into the world. You have to put the fear aside and do it anyway. Put the fear away and send your stuff out into the world. Become that fire-breathing monster. And remember that someone as great as Jimi was just as nervous as the rest of us. 

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Anthony Izzo Interviewed in Local Paper

 I was interviewed a few weeks back for our local paper. If you'd like, you can read the interview here. I also donated some of my books as prizes for the paper's pumpkin carving contest.  One note, "A Rough Night at the Redeye Mine" is actually a short story I wrote, not a novel or novella. The paper did a nice job, and I made the front page. I appreciate The Advertiser thinking of me for a piece. Nice shot of the cover for "The Lacerated Sky" as well.

I'm trying to get in at least fifteen minutes of drawing per day, and hoping to play guitar for 15 minutes a day, as well. In the coming year, I want to build up my writing business, and this will be my main focus. But I also think it's good to have varied interests, and want to make a little time each day for hobbies, as well.

Here's a Venom ink and marker drawing I did yesterday. Just because he's always a fun character to sketch. Prints are available at Artpal

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Fire Demon Painting - Some Artwork

I purchased a new set of Liquitex acrylic paints this weekend. Got some work done on the new novel, then painted this after dinner.  If you like it, you can buy a print at

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Some Recent Horror Art

 Not many updates to post tonight, but thought I'd share a few of my recent works. The first is a "zombified" Wolverine, and the second is an acrylic painting of the masked man himself. I have prints for sale up at

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. 


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Time Doesn't Stop and Kids Grow Up

My youngest son started his college classes online yesterday. He was initially supposed to go in once a week for an in-person class, but it's been changed to all online. Have to say I'm relieved (and I think he is too), given that COVID cases are popping up on college campuses. 

This time of year is always a bit melancholy. My wife has returned to the classroom (she's a special education teacher) after six months at home due to COVID forcing schools to close. My youngest son started college. Fall is in the air. The nights and mornings are cooler. Darkness sets in earlier. The summer is waning. 

My youngest son's friends spent the majority of the summer hanging out at our house. We always enjoyed having them around. Typically, seven or eight of them gathered here for swimming, video games, movie nights, and campfires. It's down to four of them now, as the others have gone off to college. I've watched all of them grow up together, hang out at our house over the years, and coached many of them in soccer.  Some of them even jokingly call my wife and I "Mom and Dad." 

We're starting the next phase of our lives. The kids are grown. I only have one lunch to pack now (my wife's), as I'm working at home for the foreseeable future. I've been the chief lunch packer since the kids were in first grade. I suppose it's a small way to mark the passage of time. 

Someone asked if my wife and I are empty nesters. I laughed at that. The nest is still quite full. Both of our boys are at home. My brother-in-law, who is also disabled, lives with us. As crazy as it gets around here sometimes, I'm glad to have everyone around. As we move on to the next phase of our lives, that song about handling the seasons of life comes to mind. I guess we're currently in autumn, if we're going by the song. But autumn is good. There are still plenty of golden leaves and crisp, fall days to relish. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Raining Blood - Horror Novella in the Works

I just crossed the 10K word mark on my latest novella. It deals with the effects of a toxic rain that falls on unsuspecting townspeople. I'm aiming to have this fall in the 30,000-word range, but who knows? It could take off into a novel or wind up a long short story. 

In the excerpt below, two of the main characters, Tim and Sara, are in a restaurant when the storm begins.

The Lacerated Sky

Copyright 2020 Anthony Izzo

At that moment, the sky opened up, and rain splattered the Stackhouse’s front door, which was all glass. Only it wasn’t rain. Fat, red droplets battered the glass and streaked the door.  

Within moments, it looked as if someone had smeared red jelly all over the door. 

“What the hell?” Tim said. 

“That’s crazy,” Sara said.  

The red droplets continued to pound the glass. In the dining room, most of the customers had moved to the windows to watch the strange storm. 

A moment later, Sara heard the first scream. A woman in a skirt and white jacket stumbled along. She beat at her head. Her hair sizzled and had fallen out in clumps. As the woman faced the door, Sara recoiled. 

Her cheeks were scorched, the skin peeling away. Drops hit her and hissed, causing her flesh to bubble and smoke.  

“Jesus, it’s like acid,” Sara said. 

“Strider. Shit. I have to get to him,” Tim said.  "He's out in the truck."

“You can’t go out in that.” 

A middle-aged guy in a suit staggered along. He had holes burned in the suit. A drop of the red rain it him in the eye, and steam rose from the eye socket. He wailed in agony as the rain bit into him.  

The woman in the skirt was still flailing around. She spotted the guy in the suit, and then an even crazier thing happened. A gurgling scream came from her, and she pounced on the guy in the suit.  

Sara shuddered as the woman sank her teeth into the guy’s neck. Blood erupted from an artery in his neck, painting the two of them with it. The guy fell to the ground as the woman clamped onto him, ripping at his neck. 

The guy’s legs flailed and kicked. After a few moments, he no longer moved. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Wanna See a Horror Sketch?

 I got my writing done yesterday morning before logging on to my day job. Last night, I did this Leatherface sketch. I used a .05 Micron Pen, Pitt Marker (for the black), and Touch markers (for the grays). I've drawn Leatherface a bunch of times, just because the lovable maniac is so fun to sketch.

If you like, it you can purchase a print here.

My favorite of all the slashers is probably Jason. Who is your favorite movie slasher/killer? 

Monday, August 17, 2020

New Promotional Graphic

I signed up for Canva, something I'd been considering doing for a while. It allows users to create graphics for social media posts, banners, etc. I think you can also make a book cover in there, as well. I'm going to experiment with some graphic/tag line combos to get the word out about my books.

Here's one for Nightshade that I did. 

This could be fun, coming up with tag lines and/or pulling quotes from the books. Hoping it sparks some interest. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Yellow Jackets and Stuff

On Friday, I got stung by a yellow jacket for the second time in three weeks. The first sting resulted in cellulitis in my ankle. Got some antibiotics and that cleared up just in time for the second sting. This sting caused my calf to blow up and nasty blisters to form. On antibiotics again. I managed to locate a yellow jacket nest in our garage wall, and an exterminator took care of it.

I spent the better part of the weekend keeping my leg elevated. My wonderful wife took care of things (and me) while I tried to let the leg heal.

Got some writing done on a new novella and watched a few Bigfoot movies (Willow Creek and Boggy Creek). 

Recently finished reading An Occurrence In Crazy Bear Valley by Brian Keene, which I highly recommend. 

Friday, August 07, 2020

Get Some Werewolf Horror

 Nightshade, my werewolf novel, is now available for all major e-book platforms. It's the first in a series dealing with the Nightshade corporation and their collection of monstrous specimens. Nightshade also loosely ties into my novella, The Island.   

A paperback version will be available in the next few weeks.

People in Arlen have whispered about the windowless building outside of town for years. It's owned by the Nightshade Corporation, who specialize in capturing unusual creatures. When a delivery scheduled for Nightshade goes wrong, a terror is unleashed. Seven feet of fur and fangs. A genuine werewolf. 

Police chief Hannah Sorens is called to the scene of a brutal murder. The victim has been torn to pieces. As she learns the true nature of the killer, Hannah realizes she must track down a werewolf. As the body count rises, and the wolves grow in numbers, Hannah must protect an entire town from a coming onslaught. An annual festival is scheduled to take place in a few days, bringing thousands of people to town. Thousands of potential victims for werewolves on the hunt.

Hannah must form an uneasy alliance with Nightshade if she hopes to save her town from a nightmare come to life.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

This Week's Excerpt - The Gray Men Trilogy

I wrote The Gray Men trilogy in 2015. It's an action-filled thriller with supernatural elements. Today's excerpt is from the first book, Storm Rising. The entire trilogy can be purchased here in one volume. The individual books are also for sale.

Also available at Amazon




The Gray Men have lived among us for centuries. They exist to cause suffering. Now they’ve gathered to strike again, controlling the minds of ordinary citizens and turning them into vicious killers.

For years, The Guild has resisted the Gray Men. Their agents have been waiting for the Gray Men to appear once again. John Marshall is one of these agents. Armed and trained by the Guild, he discovers the Gray Men are gathering followers and preparing to wipe out anyone not on their side.

An explosion set off by followers of the Gray Men begins a chain of violent attacks in John's hometown. John realizes that nowhere is safe as the Gray Men and their followers spread panic and death like a contagious disease. 

John takes his family and goes on the run. As society begins to break down, John must keep his family safe while carrying out his mission to fight the Gray Men.

Storm Rising

Copyright 2015 Anthony Izzo

They had come to kill her. Trina was sure of that. She stole glances in the rearview mirror. The drive-in speaker blared fuzz in her ear. On screen, Liam Neeson chopped a terrorist in the side of the neck. The last night of the season at one of the last remaining drive-ins in the state. A little relaxation is what she'd hoped for. Now she had to deal with the killers. 

Not that she wasn't ready for them; she had a Sig Sauer P220 in the glove box and a pistol grip shotgun under a blanket in the back seat. Not to mention two K-Bar knives strapped on her person. She reached over, popped the glove box, and took out the Sig. She set it on her lap. On screen, Neeson was blasting two guys to hell; she liked his style. 

They'd trailed her here in a black Ram pick-up. Hadn't done a great job of it, as she'd spotted them a quarter mile back, matching her moves. Now they were parked two cars behind her, at least two of them that she could see sitting in the cab of the Ram. They were Larsen's men, of that she was sure. What she didn't know was how they'd caught her scent; it didn't matter now. She'd have to deal with them.

The bad thing about these fucks was that they didn't care. A public place meant nothing to them. They'd shoot you up in a day care center. It didn't matter as long as they found the target. Larsen wanted her dead. She'd almost caught up to him near Albany, but he'd slipped away. Now he'd set his dogs on her. 
She peeked in the rearview mirror. On the second screen behind her, they were showing some animated flick. There would be a lot of kids. Trina basically thought kids were booger and fart machines, but she didn't want to see any of them dead. When the men came for her, she'd have to draw them away somehow. 

She glanced at the Subaru parked next to her. The young couple inside were locked up in a make-out session. The guy had a hand under his girl's tank top. At least someone was enjoying the drive-in right now. 

She looked in the rearview. They were still watching the movie, both of them wearing sunglasses.
Subtle, fellas. Why not just throw on some black trench coats, too?

It was about to go down. Time to move. 

Trina stepped out of the Acura. She shut the door. Her Sig Sauer was in a shoulder rig under her jacket.

It was warm for early October. Seventy degrees at this time of night. A lukewarm breeze blew across her face. She started down the first row of cars. The snack stand, with its giant neon hamburger sign, stood a few hundred feet from the screens. Beyond that was a white stucco building that housed the restrooms. 

That would be the place to go. 
She glanced sidelong at the truck and saw them step out. There were three in all. A big bald guy with the sleeves cut off his flannel, a lanky guy with motor-oil slick hair and aviator shades, and a woman shaped roughly like a tennis ball on toothpicks. 

She crossed the road that bisected the drive-in and passed the snack stand. The greasy smell of movie popcorn drifted from the stand. It made her stomach rumble. 

They would be about fifty feet behind her. She risked another glance, concerned about giving herself away. The trio walked side-by-side. 

The bathroom was lit by sodium vapor lights. Even in early fall, moths fluttered in the lights.  The crowd had gathered around the snack stand, leaving the bathroom empty. 

Trina went into the ladies room, took out the Sig. She ducked and checked the stalls for feet. It was unoccupied, so she took the first stall and climbed onto the seat, balancing her boots on the seat in a squat.

She waited.


Friday, July 03, 2020

The Damage Factory: Excerpt of the Week

This week's excerpt is from The Damage Factory. It's one of my favorite titles I've come up with. If a shadowy criminal organization being hired to ruin people's lives sounds good, then you'll like The Damage Factory. 

It's available on these e-book platforms. Paperback and e-book are also available through Amazon. 

"Don’t write anything down. Don’t tell anyone you talked to me. And for God’s sake, make sure no one follows you." What would you do if a secret criminal organization was hired to destroy your life? Three unsuspecting people tied together by a tragic event are about to find out. John Georges is out for revenge. He meets with a member of The Damage Factory and hires them to seek vengeance.Their goal is to dismantle lives. As John's victims find out, once The Damage Factory is in motion, there is no turning back. The Damage Factory. Business is good.

The Damage Factory

Copyright 2017 Anthony Izzo

Don’t write anything down. Don’t tell anyone you talked to me. And for God’s sake, make sure no one follows you.  

That’s what the rough-sounding voice on the phone had told him. 

John George pulled up to the hulking warehouse, wondering if he should turn back, the man’s words echoing in his mind. He didn’t. Instead, he got out of the car and immediately smelled the dead fish odor coming off the lake.  

He went to the passenger’s side, opened the door, and took out a bulky manila envelope.  

As he approached a steel door, he noticed a security camera mounted overhead. There was a doorbell mounted on the wall. He pressed it and heard a loud bell echo from somewhere in the warehouse. It reminded him of the old fire alarm in his elementary school. 

He waited, used to being patient. Used to being alone these days. In the evening he would heat himself up a frozen entrée, the French bread pizzas being his favorite. His expanding belly was proof of his love of frozen foods. 

There was no need for large meals or extensive grocery lists.  

Occasionally, he would eat Italian at Marcos, sticking with Chicken Parm and a glass of house red. It always felt to John that the waitresses were taking pity on him, calling him sweetie. He must’ve seemed like a sad case.  

After dinner, he would return home and sift through photos on the computer, looking at their trips to Bar Harbor and the Outer Banks. More often than not, the night ended with him in tears. 

The door swung open and a guy in a flannel, work boots, and paint-spattered jeans answered. He was half a head shorter than John but his neck was like a tree trunk. “You John?” 

“That’s me.” 

“Follow me,” the guy said. 

John followed the man to small room at the rear of the warehouse. Inside was a table surrounded by wooden folding chairs.  

“Take a seat,” the man said. 

John pulled out a chair and sat down. The guy took a seat on the other side.  

“Are you sure about this?” the man said. 

“Did I talk you on the phone?” 

“Don’t worry who you talked to. Once we start things in motion, there’s no going back.” 

“I’m sure.” 

“Where’s the money?” 

John slid the envelope across the table. As the man reached for it, his shirt hiked up and John saw a chrome .45 in a holster.  

“You can call me Rex,” the guy said, and dumped the bundles of cash on the table. John had emptied out his 401K for the cash. 

Rex did a quick count of the money. “All here. Good boy.” 

“I’m not a dog,” John said. 

“We’ll go over this again. Like on the phone. No cops. No news. We’ll contact you with updates. You turn on us? We turn on you. Here’s what happened to the last guy that tried it.” 

He took two photos from his breast pocket and slid them across the table. John took a look, saw a headshot of a man lying on some sort of table. Most of the skin was removed from his face. 

“That was done while he was alive,” Rex said. 

“I won’t cross you. I want these people to suffer,” John said. 

“They will. Believe me. It’s what we do.” 

“How will I know when it starts?” 

“We’ll contact you.” 

John said, “I’ll need proof.” 

“Let us worry about that. Someone will be in touch, like I said. However, if you have an emergency. If someone’s on to you, take this,” Rex said, and pulled a crème-colored business card from his pocket. He slid it across the table.  

The Damage Factory was printed on it in small, black letters. Below that was a phone number, most likely a burner phone. 

John put it in his wallet as if it were a sensitive explosive. 

“Don’t fucking lose it. We’ll be in touch. And don’t worry, you came to the right place.” 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Excerpt of the Week - The Island

When two couples venture to an island where monsters of legend are real, what could possibly go wrong? 

The Island is available here. 

It's the horror fan's ultimate dream. A tour of an island where legendary monsters are real. Escorted by armed guards, lifelong friends Rick and Nate travel to the island as a birthday surprise for Rick. They soon find out that the island's inhabitants are hungry, and the tour turns into a fight for survival. 

A an action-packed horror novella loaded with monsters and gore from the author of The Dead Land Trilogy.

“Wait until you see what I've got planned,” Nate said, standing on the dock in his leather jacket and khakis. He was sporting a goatee, meant to compensate for the thinning hair and double chin that had crept up since he'd hit forty. 

“I think I'm a little scared,” Rick Solomon said. 

Julie, Rick's wife, said: “So where's the mystery man taking us?” 

Eve, smoking a cigarette and watching the sunset, said: “My husband's an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I don't even know what he’s planning.” 

“What's the bag for?” Rick said, alluding to the small suitcase Nate had at his side. 
“You'll see, my friend.” 

Rick supposed there were worse ways to spend your fortieth birthday. Nate had been promising a surprise for weeks, and the day was here. All Nate would tell him was to pack enough clothes for a few days. 
It was mid-November, and Rick shivered inside his pea coat. A few more minutes and he was going to head into the shack that served as the dockmaster's office. He didn't have to go inside, because a seaplane buzzed and banked over the lake. Came in for a landing and they all backed up.  

It came up parallel to the dock and after a moment its propeller cut out. 

Julie came up beside him and took his arm. He smiled at her. They'd spent an amazing weekend up at a spa in the Poconos to celebrate his fortieth, five-star meals and massages included.  
Now it was Nate's turn to give his best friend a gift.  

A door on the side of the plane opened, some stairs folded onto the dock, and a squat man with a crooked nose stepped off. He was dressed in black and bore the look of someone familiar with the ring. Rick noticed his knuckles were huge and scarred. He eyed up Rick and the others if they were his next opponent. 

“Which one of you is Nate?” the man said. 

“That'd be me,” Nate said. 

“Got the fee?” 

“In the suitcase.” 

“Hand it over,” the man said.  

Nate handed him the suitcase and he placed it on the plane.  

“My name is Sutherland. I'm going to frisk each one of you now. No cell phones. No cameras. And no guns.” 

Eve tossed her cigarette on the dock and stamped it out. “You're not frisking me.” 

“It's policy,” Sutherland said, his gaze flat. 

“No frisk,” Eve said. 

“Lady, either I frisk you, or you don't get on the fuckin' plane,” Sutherland said. 

Nate said, “Eve, just go along. It's Rick's birthday.” 

“Fine. But watch your hands.” 

Sutherland frisked Nate, Julie, and Eve in short order, taking their cell phones. Rick handed his over before Sutherland frisked him, and the man with the crooked nose put them in his pockets. The frisking wouldn't win him any awards for being gentle. 

“You'll get them back after the trip. Anyone have to use the john? No bathroom stops.” 

“We're good,” Rick said. 

“Get in the plane. We'll be in the air about two hours.” 

As they were boarding the plane, Sutherland put a hand on Nate's chest, stopping him. 

“It's all there, right? Two hundred thousand.” 

“You can count it if you want,” Nate said. 

Their wives climbed on board and Rick took Nate aside for a moment. 

“What are you fucking nuts? Two hundred thousand dollars?” Rick asked. 

“You know I'm good for it.” 

“The restaurant business must be good,” Rick said. 

“I've sold a lot of ribs and chicken this year,” Nate said, clapping Rick on the shoulder. 

“I can’t let you spend that kind of money.” 

“It's as good as gone. And trust me, from what I hear, this is going to be worth it,” Nate said. 

Sutherland said, “If you two ladies are done discussing beauty tips, I have a fucking plane to fly, okay?” 

As they boarded the plane, Rick said: “Wonder what charm school he graduated from?” 
The ladies took the two seats in the rear of the plane. Rick and Nate sat in the two behind the pilot. 
 There were some bottles of a nice Chilean pinot noir and cheese with crackers in a cooler. Rick was presently on his second glass. Feeling nice and warm. Normally he was a beer guy, favoring stouts and IPAs, but the wine was going down good. 

“So where are we going?” he asked Nate. 

“I haven't had that much to drink,” Nate said. “Not letting the feline out of the proverbial sack.” 

“What the hell kind of trip costs two hundred grand?” Rick said. 

“If you keep asking me, I'm going to have Sutherland throw you out of the plane. Just relax and enjoy.” 

“Can you at least tell me our destination? A town? City?” Rick asked. 

“We're headed north of the border. The wild wilderness of Canada.” 

“I don't have a passport. Neither does Julie.” 

Nate took a sip of wine, waved him off. “The people I'm dealing with don't have those concerns. It's been taken care of.” 

That made him a little nervous, as did the amount of money involved in this little outing. He suspected his best friend had some shady dealings from time-to-time. He owned the aptly titled Big Nate's Barbeque, a chain of twenty-three restaurants spread across Western New York and Pennsylvania. Although he was sure his buddy did well, the four houses and six luxury cars were maybe a little too much for the owner of a chain restaurant.  Plus, the amount of money he’d just handed over to Sutherland was a little concerning. 

After they'd been in the air for about two hours, the plane banked sharply and Rick looked down on a small, densely wooded island. At one end was a large log structure, perhaps a lodge or hotel. It was surrounded by high, concrete walls. Odd. 

 Maybe this is where they'd be staying.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Excerpt of the Week - The Last Ride

Last year, I wrote a novel about a group of people living in a pandemic. A flu is sweeping the world, and some lucky lottery winners get to take an armored bus to safe haven. I got the idea for the Last Ride while reading about a bus that makes a run in Mexico. In one of the areas controlled by the cartel, people ride the bus from one town to another. The bus goes 80-90 mph the whole time. It's so dangerous that it stops for nothing. 

That got me thinking about potential story ideas. Swap out Mexico and cartels for the apocalypse, and there was a story. The Last Ride was born.

You can purchase the last ride as an e-book or in paperback. 

A killer flu has swept the world. Survival is key. In a city soon to be deserted by the military, a group of lottery winners get to take the last bus out. The armored vehicle will take them to a government shelter. The trip won't be easy. Along the way they will have to face roving gangs and warlords. 

Among the passengers on the bus is a young woman carrying the fate of the world in her hands. People will kill to get their hands on what she's carrying. The passengers will have to band together if they're going to survive the last ride to safety.

They’d kill me if they could, Tony Wells thinks. 

He moves along the street, his large hand enfolding ten-year-old Sam’s. The boy is a little too big to have his hand held, but it’s for safety reasons.  

In the past few months, three kids have been snatched off the street. Sold to slavers and sex traffickers for food. Now that money is worthless, human cargo is the new currency.  Plus, they’re marked for winning the lottery. 

He sees people peering out of broken windows. Five and six story apartment buildings line the street. A group of men warm their hands over a barrel fire out in the street. They look like they want to gut him alive.  

“Keep moving,” Tony says. 

“They hate us, don’t they?” Sam says. 

“Pretty much.” 

“Because we get to leave?” 

“That’s about right,” Tony says. 

Jake says, “They had just as much chance as us to win.” 

“People are bitter sometimes.” 

He supposes he would be, too. Those left behind in the old city are likely going to die. There are rumors that the army division guarding the city is pulling out. Their supplies are running thin, and winter is coming. That will leave a ragtag militia to protect a small city. The odds aren’t good for those left behind.  
Tony and Sam reach the end of the street, leaving behind the small apartment where they rode out the outbreak.  Tony remembers watching bodies in bags being tossed onto flatbed trucks. Flu vaccines ran out after the first six months of the epidemic.  The government was decimated. Air Force One crashed over Virginia with the president and cabinet aboard. Civil war broke out between numerous armed militias. 

Tony has a .45 semiautomatic in a holster on his hip. He traded three bags worth of groceries for the gun and two magazines in the early days of the outbreak. He hopes he doesn’t need the gun. 

They reach the end of their street. He takes a final glance at their apartment building. There’s part of him that wants to turn back, hole up, and stay safe in the confines of 7B, but he knows it’s a death sentence to stay here. They’re the lucky ones.  

The two of them pass a group of men seated on the steps of an apartment building. They have on winter coats smudged with grease and dirt. Tattered jeans. Their cheeks are hollow, as if someone has scooped out the muscle and fat underneath. He feels like a gazelle walking in front of a pack of hyenas. 
Sam is staring at them. 

“Don’t linger,” he says to Sam, nudging him along. 

The compound is up ahead. Concrete walls with sandbags stacked on top. Men walk on a parapet behind the sandbags. He can see their heads and shoulders. They all have rifles slung over their shoulders. 
Outside the gates sits a tank. It’s painted in camo. The tank has long since run out of gas, but the main gun still works, as does the .50 caliber machine gun mounted on the turret. It is enough to dissuade anyone dumb enough to risk a frontal assault on the compound. 

“I’ll bet it’s cool riding in a tank,” Sam says. 

“I’ll bet it is. Also hot, dirty, and loud.” 

“Think they’ll let me fire the gun?” Sam says. 

“Keep dreaming,” Tony says. 

As they approach the tank, a guy wearing a big fur hat pops his head from the hatch. Leans on the .50 caliber. “ID numbers for both of you.” 

Tony reads off the ID numbers everyone in town was assigned after the outbreak.  

The man in the fur hat reaches down in the tank and brings up a clipboard. From his front pocket he takes a pair of reading glasses and puts them on. He thumbs through some sheets and says: “Wells, Anthony. Wells, Samuel, ages thirty-eight and twelve. Photo matches up. Looks about right. Lucky winners. All right. Head to the gate.” 

The man raises his hand and makes a twirling motion. The gate cranks open. When it’s fully ajar, Tony sees a machine gun nest fortified with sandbags just inside. Three more men are hunkered around. A guy with brown stumps for teeth sees them and says, “Pass us. Depot is the third building on the right. Get going so we can close the fucking gate.” 

“Can I say the F word?” Sam says. 


“Not like I haven’t heard it,” Sam says. 

“Still a negative,” Tony says. 

As they head inside the gate, Tony hears a barely audible “Fuck it” escape Sam’s lips. He smiles and decides to let it go. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Werewolf Novel Nears Completion

Nightshade, my werewolf novel in progress, crossed the 60K word mark this week. I'm guessing it'll clock in around 70,000 words total, which means about 10-12 more days of writing. From there, it's off to the proofreader before getting it uploaded.

I recently finished reading The Magpie Coffin by Wile Young. It's a fast, brutal, read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I released a horror western earlier this year entitled Vanished. I'm considering diving back into that territory soon. I've also been enjoying some of Jeff Strand's recent work.

I have a short story I'll be posting here soon. It's entitled "A Rough Night at the Redeye Mine." If you like undead things creeping out in the night, this one's for you. I'll also be putting it up for sale on the e-book platforms.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Murderland: Excerpt of the Week

This week, I'm sharing an excerpt from my horror novella, Murderland. It centers around an amusement park with a bad history and a murderous creature escaped from a freak show.

Something has escaped the Tarp Brothers' Carnival Sideshow. A bloodthirsty creature bent on killing. It's made its way to the abandoned White Sands Amusement Park, known to many as Murderland.

As the creature terrifies the local population near White Sands, a police detecive and a group of college kids will come face-to-face with the terror in the woods. When the Tarp Brothers set out to capture the beast, all three groups will collide.

You can purchase Murderland on all e-book platforms. Also available in paperback.

Murderland Copyright 2019 Anthony Izzo


“This is going to be amazing,” Jerry Stanton said as he stared at the towering Ferris wheel that dominated the sky above the amusement park.  White Sands Amusement Park had closed two months ago, but the place was still largely intact. A six-foot fence surrounded the property, no doubt designed to keep people like him out.
Marissa nodded. “I can’t wait to see the funhouse.”
She took out a Nikon digital camera. The photos would go up on their website. Two urban explorers about to set out on their next adventure.
They were at the rear end of the property. The waves from the  beach crashed in the distance. When this place was operational, people had flocked to the cottages and spent their days on the beach or at the park.
“Someone probably cut this fence,” Jerry said. “Can’t imagine we’re the first ones to explore the park.”
Marissa tied her hair back with a scrunchie-thing. At least that’s what he called it.  “God, you’re beautiful.”
“You’re laying it on thick. What do you want?”
“Oh, nothing,” Jerry said.
Jerry slung his backpack over his shoulder. He had some protein bars and Gatorades in there, along with his camera and a Moleskin notebook. He liked to make observations about the places they explored.
“Did you bring a weapon?” Marissa asked.
“Do I ever?”
“Dangerous place,” Marissa said. “Eight people dead in the park’s history. That one girl fell off the lookout. Or was pushed.”
“Accidents. It happens at amusement parks, unfortunately,” Jerry said. “I suppose a few of them were suspicious, though.”
“Murderland,” she said.
“Let’s find the hole in the fence.”
They made their way along the fence until Jerry eyed a spot where the fence had been cut. On the other side of the fence was a concession stand called the “Dog Hut.” It was a long building covered in cedar shakes. Surrounding it were picnic tables and benches. It somehow made him sad to see the place empty like this.
The two of them ducked through the hole in the fence. Security was spotty at the park. There may or may not be a guard patrolling the grounds. Although in mid-October it was getting chilly and a guard might not want to be bothered freezing his ass off walking out here.
Marissa stopped to snap a few pictures.
“That Ferris wheel shot is going to look good on the website,” she said. “Dramatic against the sky.”
“Big bastard, isn’t it?”
“It was from the World’s Fair, I heard,” she said.
“Where do you want to go first?”
“Funhouse. Definitely,” she said.
They made their way through the area of the park dedicated to concessions. Pizza shacks, stands advertising cotton candy, soft pretzels, and candy apples. Jerry imagined he could still smell the food. He was here once, for his twelfth birthday. He’d cut his belly on an inner tube valve stem at the water park. His mother had yelled at him for being careless. Some damn fun this place was.
They turned left, passing the shuttered game stands. The Whack-a-Mole, the ring toss, and the dart throw among them. After another turn, they came to the funhouse.
The structure was all angles and turns, painted black and deep purple on the exterior. One side had a giant skeleton painted on it.  In the corner of the wall was painted a cartoon witch with a crescent moon in the background. Typical carnival cheesiness.
A ramp led up to a boarded-up door. Over the door was painted the words Enter if You Dare.
Between the two of them, Jerry and Marissa pried the plywood from the entrance with enough room to slip inside. They took out flashlights and turned on the beams.
They moved down a corridor, Jerry noticing holes in the floor. “What are those for?”
“Air holes. They would blow air up to scare the customers,” she said.
They came to a room and entered. Jerry lost his balance and slammed into a wall before realizing the floor was tilted at a crazy angle. Marissa giggled. “They used to tilt the floor mechanically. Weren’t you ever in here?”
“I didn’t come to the funhouse,” he said.
Marissa snapped a few pics, her flash illuminating the room.
From the tilted room, they proceeded to a room of mirrors. Jerry spotted a door at the rear of the room and got curious. He gave it a push and it opened, cool air wafting into the room of mirrors. A dank, damp stink emanated from the other side of the door.
He poked the beam through and realized it was some sort of maintenance corridor. He turned the beam on a ladder which descended into an opening. “This might be interesting.”
He slipped through the door and heard Marissa say, “Wait for me.”
The corridor ran the length of the building and turned at the end. He guessed workers could reach any of the rooms in the funhouse through this hallway. But the ladder intrigued him. What was down there?
Marissa slipped through the door.
“We should check that out,” Jerry said
“I don’t know. Could be flooded or something down there.”
“I just want to have a quick look,” he said.
He threw a leg over the ladder and descended. At the bottom, he was surprised to find a long tunnel. He shined his beam into the darkness.
The tunnel had smooth concrete walls tagged by bright graffiti. It appeared to take a left turn up ahead.
“How is it down there?”
“There’s a tunnel. I wonder if these go under the entire park?” Jerry said.
“I’m coming down.”
Marissa joined him at the bottom of the ladder.  “Whoa.”
“We should see how far it goes,” she said.
“Okay. This is really cool.”
They proceeded to the turn and followed it. There was a mechanical zombie with rotting skin leaning against the wall, a castoff from the funhouse. Next to that was a golf cart. The tunnel was quite wide. Jerry guessed you could fit two golf carts side-by-side in here.
They made a few more turns.
“We probably shouldn’t go too far,” Jerry said.
“Just a little farther,” Marissa said.
They ventured a little further, past an abandoned popcorn popping cart.
“Did you hear that?” Marissa said.
“Behind us. Something scraping in the tunnel?”
Jerry strained to listen. He did hear something. It was a scraping noise, followed by tapping. Tap. Tap. Tap.  
There was definitely someone in the tunnel behind them. Probably just kids coming down to explore, maybe making noises just to freak them out.
Tap. Tap. Scratch.
A stench wafted down the tunnel, something like ripe garbage mixed with rotting flowers.
“That stinks,” Marissa whispered.
“Homeless person maybe?” Jerry said.
“Lower your voice,” Marissa said.
“They already know were here.”
“Turn off your light, Jerry. Do it.”
She clicked off her flashlight, and a moment later, he did the same. They stood in the darkness, the sound of their breathing filling the air.
The smell grew stronger. More clicking noises.
“We should go,” Jerry said. “I don’t know what the hell that is.”
“C’mon,” Marissa said, turning her light back on.
They continued down the tunnel, heading farther from the funhouse. Now footsteps sped up behind them, someone coming out of the darkness.
The two of them broke into a run. Something hissed. It sounded angry. Or maybe hungry. What the fuck was it?
As they reached another junction, Jerry turned to see something tall coming at them. It had to hunker down to avoid hitting its head. Something with impossibly long limbs. Crooked fingers ending in claws.
Jerry tried to turn the corner. The tunnel thing was on him. Something swiped at his face, slicing open his cheek. He screamed and fell to the ground, landing on his belly.
Marissa turned and screamed.
“Go!” he said, and something like a heated knife dug into his neck and ripped him open to his tailbone.

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.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Vanished is Now Available

Starting off 2020 with a new release, a horror-western novella entitled Vanished. I uploaded it to the major e-book platforms a few days ago. The print version should be available shortly.

I'm continuing work on The Veil. I had taken a break from writing The Veil to complete Vanished. As it is right now, I'm at 45,000 words on The Veil, about 2/3 of the way finished.

Just finished reading Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias, which was very good.

Currently reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Here's the cover and sales copy for Vanished. You can purchase it on the fine e-book platforms.

Sheriff Will Barnaby is summoned when a member of the missing Hanson party stumbles into the mining town of Wilton, Colorado. Tommy Hanson is dazed and muttering about terrors in the valley near Wilton. The Hanson family disappeared six months prior while setting out in wagons for a new life. Will realizes he'll have to round up a posse and investigate the Hanson boy's story. With the help of his deputy and two hired guns, Will sets out to discover what lurks out in the valley near Wilton.

He will find death and terror waiting for him outside Wilton. And an investigation into missing persons turns into a fight for survival.

An action-filled novella from the author of Murderland and The Last Ride.

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...