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.
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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...