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
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.
Monday, November 23, 2020
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
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 Artpal.com. My store is Izzoartworks.
Friday, November 06, 2020
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
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
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
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Friday, July 03, 2020
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
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
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
Saturday, April 18, 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 be...
Putting the finishing touches on the first draft of Murderland. It's clocking in just over 30,000 words. Writing the end scenes now. Fro...
The next book is available for pre-order at www.amazon.com , where it's listed as Unforgiven (the original title). As I mentioned in a ...
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...