Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ten Ton Monster Gun - CH 1 (WIP)


Though it had hardly been a week since the nightmares and the visions had begun, Tess would swear she’d clawed her way through half an eternity in hell.

They always started the same, the visions, whether she was awake or dreaming. They began with the sound of the sky screaming as it was torn apart, shred open by talons that cleaved through the subtle membranes between dimensions. And then the world would turn red as the sky bled out upon it, and a hurricane arose as every voice cried out in terror while from the tattered, bleeding sky strode 
abominations - mountainous monsters, titans that sought only carnage and left oblivion in their wake.

And whether awake or dreaming, Tess would scream.

At least at home, as she was now, she had the mercy of being alone so there was no one to look and wonder and whisper. She screams until she realizes she’s screaming, until she realizes she’s all alone in her house, her room, in the dark and all alone.

“Damn it,” she rasps and collapses back onto her pillow.

The echoes of her scream long gone, the room is now heavy with a pregnant kind of silence. Tess scowls. Something must be done. About the visions and the fear and the screaming, about the way she felt she was being chipped away at, piece by piece, leaving her feeling fragile like she was made of glass and about to fall into a thousand jagged pieces at any moment.

Rolling on her small bed she reaches for her phone where it lays face down on the nightstand and flips it over, clicking the screen to life to check the time which elicits a miserable groan. Nearly three in the morning. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


To Adela Kurylenko the world could be broken down to one ugly swath of darkness where sometimes, all too rarely, a burst of light and joy would shine through only to be swallowed again by the dark.
For when she looked out at the world she saw not just the shapes and faces and colors of things, but the myriad and fathomless souls that permeated those things. And often what she saw was monstrous, as the truth must always be.
She was winding her way towards the safety of home after a trying day out in the world, cutting a path through the lonely and shadowed places of the city, skirting the raucous storm of life on the busier streets, and was so intent on her goal that she couldn't tell when she first knew something was wrong, and she could hear a puzzling, muted roar at the edge of her senses. As if for the first time in her life the world was a million miles away.
That vacuous instant of solitude terrified Adela, and she quickened her pace, hooded amber eyes searching the shadows of the alley, breath coming in sharp gasps and heart fluttering. The world had never felt so wide and empty.
In the yawning quiet stirred a faint sound, like a chorus of insect wings whining, a droning that rose steadily, drawing nearer. With every breath Adela felt a frigid, withered hand clutching around her heart and it beat in a strained lurch.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grey Days: Dread Reckoning - A Shocking Revelation!!

A bit of an extra special sneak preview of 'Grey Days: Dread Reckoning.' Including some art done by the ridiculously awesome and talented Tommaso Tagliabue. Obviously this isn't what the real, final version of the book is going to look like when it's all completed, but I am hoping to include this and more illustrations into the finished product. The future looks a bit bright, I believe.

Spread the weird, folks.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Killing the Magic: Rereads, Rewrites, and the Horror of Edits

(DISCLAIMER: All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and with that in mind subject to volatile and sometimes outright absurd levels of cynicism. Please take with anywhere from a grain to a ton of salt.)

I'm currently in the midst of a peculiar writing venture the likes I've which I've never been involved in before. Currently I find myself writing the first draft of one novel (the sequel to my first book) while simultaneously editing a collection of short stories that I've compiled over time. And in the last few days I've begun to notice something that struck me as interesting. That being the wildly different paces and procedures involved in the acts of writing one draft and reworking another one.

It's disturbingly disconnected.

I am without a doubt and to the absolute core of my being what the writing community typically refers to as a 'pantser,' the kind of writer who plants themselves down without a thought or care and begins pounding keys and churning out words and stories and nonsense. There is no real plotting, not framework or architecture laid down beforehand besides the most skeletal of structures, a general idea painted in the broadest strokes. When I write, I simply sit down and write. The story tells itself to me, I listen and transcribe it. And in my own way what eventually becomes that first draft essentially is my plot - one great, unwieldy, ponderous plot. I've heard it said before that some great and prolific writer once said something along the lines of, "The first draft is simply the story telling itself to you." And that's true, completely true. Everything after that is what becomes the book, the true and refined thing. But everything before that is raw, sharp, ugly, and unrefined. It happens quick, in bursts of inspiration and creativity that come in explosions of words and scenes and often leave me bewildered, wondering where it all came from to begin with.

In so many ways the act of writing by the seat of one's pants is the embodiment of creatio ex nihilo, creating something out of nothing, it's almost a magical experience that can sometimes take your breath away.

And in that particular regard it is utterly at odds with rewriting and editing. Those, truly, are whole other beasts. Vicious, brutal beasts.

The act of rereading forces the writer to stare, face-to-face, with the thing they have created. Created through joy and pain and ecstatic revelations. And often times to question what the loving hell they were thinking. "Why did I do that? Oh sweet little fishes that's horrible..." says the writer as they pore over their creation for the first time. You have to pick it apart, you have to unravel it. You have to put the thing you just brought - wholecloth, formed by magic and love and wild imagination - under a microscope and dissect it.

You must kill the magic.

You're not simply telling a story anymore. You're writing a book. You're making it the best book that it can be so that it can be turned out onto the unsuspecting world to be examined and analyzed and pored over in turn by faceless masses of readers. And make no mistake, they will be analyzing it. They will be examining it. One wrong turn of phrase, one awkward scene or disjointed dialogue, an unlikable, unrealistic character - they'll catch it. And should they leave a review, they'll let you know without a moment's hesitation. And so often it is the ones who disliked it - yet read the whole thing anyways - that will be the most vocal, and make sure to spread their opinion the furthest. Those criticisms are valid, though, and as artists and creators we writers need them in order to grow, to see our mistakes and failings face-to-face so that we might be better the next time.

So it is imperative, I've found, to remain wholly objective, detached, and above all merciless when rereading and rewriting that once beloved first draft if it is to be turned into something better.

Another strange bit of business I've noticed while simultaneously dealing with these two different endeavors is the pace. I'm a pretty fast writer, when given the time and the inspiration, able to knock out a couple thousand words in under an hour. But when I'm editing the whole process is slowed down to a crawl as I am forced to scrutinize every sentence, pare down each paragraph and wonder at every word chosen. And then turn around and ask myself, "What would make this better?"

All in all the whole thing has become a learning experience and I'm trying not to let one thing too much affect the other, mostly by not jumping directly back and forth but giving myself a buffer between the two. Don't go straight from writing one thing to editing, and vice versa - unless I want to bog myself down in the middle of writing what is supposed to be a crucial scene by wondering how much of it is even necessary to begin with.

I also think I'm beginning to believe that I utterly hate editing, and that from this point on anything beyond the initial reread will be pawned off on some poor, unsuspecting editor.

Which, really, is just a good idea to begin with.

Now, back to the word mines.