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. 

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 fi...