Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Heart To Heart

So, it's November 30th, and before starting this blog post, I was staring blankly at The Rook manuscript that is still in need of an ending. I'm someone who likes to keep her private life, well...private, but because this isn't the first time I've missed a deadline, I feel like I need to explain myself.

For years I've struggled with anxiety and depression. Most of the time I can write through it. But other times, I shut down. The first few days of November I felt really gung-ho, ready to work on something new after Halloween Street wrapped, and in a good frame of mind. I don't know what happened exactly, but it all came crashing down...hard. Honestly, I don't know where November went. I feel like I was absent for it.

I loved writing and releasing Halloween Street, but I realize now I should've taken some time off after October. I didn't realize just how mentally exhausted I was from the work itself and the stress of publishing everyday (especially when Amazon's publishing service was having big delays towards the end).
Earlier in the week when I posted my last blog post, I felt ok...not great, but ok. I really felt like I would have no problems finishing up The Rook and releasing it this weekend. Then on Thanksgiving I got a migraine that lasted through yesterday. Today I feel better physically, but there's still a brain fog going on and I'm struggling to deal with depression again.

I'll readily admit, writing this blog post is not easy for me. I thrive to keep my personal and professional life separate. But deadlines have become my worst enemy, feed into my feelings of failure, and overall do little good for my mental state. That's why I'm abandoning them now. I may set personal deadlines, but I'm no longer announcing release dates until the book is 100% ready to go. I feel like this is something I need to do for my own sanity and well-being.

That being said, I'm not announcing any releases for December. Just typing that out scares me a little to be honest. I'm not good at letting myself off the hook, so to speak. But I feel like I need to time to figure things out, fight this depression, and look after my health. I have a lot of plans for 2015 that I'm hoping I can still follow through with, and I feel like if I don't take this time now, I'm not going to be able accomplish even a fraction of them. I need this time to regroup, something I should've allowed myself to do in November, and instead broke down.

This is going to sound odd as well, but I might as well throw it out there too while I'm in the sharing mood. I wrote the first draft to The Vampire's Castle years ago during a tough time in my life. When I went to revisit it, rewrite it, and polish it up for publication, I realized I wasn't mentally prepared to go back to that time again. A lot of memories came flooding back, literally while rewriting the first paragraph. It saddens me, because I love the story and I hate that it's associated with a difficult time. I thought breathing new life into it would help to take the sting out of it, but I'm not ready to go there yet. For this reason, I'm delaying the series indefinitely. I might just have to work on it in pieces at a time until it's finished. Fortunately, I don't have so many hang ups with the sequels, so once I get through the first book, it should be smoother sailing.

I know this blog post is probably a bit of a downer, and I'm sorry for that. I just felt like I couldn't keep going on in the same way, making and breaking deadlines, without giving the honest reason. It's a tough topic to talk about, and I know there's many out there who struggle with these issues as well, but I also know there's still a stigma surrounding depression and other mental disorders. That's why I've never talked about it in detail and how it relates to my ability to write/publish. I love writing and I hate when anything gets in the way of it, but forcing myself to write when I'm deeply depressed saps the joy out of it. I'm not willing to sacrifice that anymore.

I hope you all can understand, and I also hope to be back with a new release soon enough. No deadlines, no pressure...just hope. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November Book Release Update

I'm gonna keep this short, as I've been extremely busy, as well as dealing with some personal issues. The Rook should be out this weekend, if all goes according to plan. I was indeed overambitious in thinking that I would also be able to release The Vampire's Castle as well this month, but hopefully I can get it out next month. I always underestimate just how crazy and stressful the holiday season is, and it makes it very hard to get as much writing done as I'd like. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get The Vampire's Castle out in December anyway.

Just wanted to post this quick update. If I don't get a chance to post again before Thursday, have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Plans (Thrillers & Horrors)

So, after coming out of the 31 Days of Halloween project in one piece, I'm eager to get right back into writing. I was originally going to take the first week of November off (more or less) since October was so exhausting, but I let myself relax yesterday for Halloween and sleep extra long last night, so I'm ready to get back into the thick of things. So below are my November plans. I haven't sat down and planned it out meticulously. This is sort of off the top of my head so it might end up changing a bit. As always, I'll keep you all posted!

November Plans:

The Disk (my suspense thriller novel) will soon be available to borrow in Kindle Unlimited. In the interest of full disclosure, the title never really took off...at all. I'm hoping maybe if readers have the option to borrow it maybe it'll garner some interest. It's been out about eight months, I think, and it was time to breathe some new life into it. For those who might be interested, although it's part of a series, the first book stands alone well. It's a little open-ended, just to lead into a sequel, but it's in no way cliffhanger. It tells a complete story.

That being said, The Rook, the first sequel to The Disk, is coming out this month. I'll probably do some sort of promotion surrounding it, but I haven't quite ironed out the details yet, but I'll post again when I figure things out ;)

Also, and I might be being a wee bit ambitious, but I really want to release my first horror novel. I'm going to be focusing a lot of horror from now on. It's really where my passion lies, it's a broad genre, and I absolutely love it. And after the surprising success of my Halloween Street series, I feel it's a sign that that's what I'm supposed to be doing.

The title of it is The Vampire's Castle and it'll be book one in the Monster Entries trilogy. It's really near and dear to my heart because I actually wrote the rough draft years ago, and it was my first horror novel and I just love the characters so much. It combines a lot of classic monsters (vampires, werewolves, witches, goblins, etc) and a lot of horror elements. It's a bit of a catch-all, but it'll be a really fun read...at least IMHO :) I grew up on the classic monsters, and my favorite movies always involved a number of them getting together like in The Monster Squad, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, etc. So, this trilogy is really my homage to those old films, and I originally wrote the book because that genre was more or less dead at the time. But I'll talk more about it closer to release. I just wanted to give you a little taste of what it will be.

So, those are my November plans so far. Two novels: one thriller, one horror. I may release more shorts down the line, but right now I really want to focus on my novels.

And that's it! I hope everyone had a great Halloween, and I'll post again when I have more news.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

The 31 Days of Halloween project is now complete. It's a little hard to believe that it's over, but it went very well (despite the few delays in publishing this past week). Some of the Halloween Street stories even hit bestseller status in the Horror Short Stories category on Amazon. Wow! Only in my wildest dreams could I have imagined my work sharing a top 100 list with the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I am shocked and humbled! Thank you so much to everyone who read my stories. You guys rock! :)



Happy Halloween, everyone! :D

Halloween Street - Day 31 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween comes to a close with Halloween Street #31: Black Cat's Tale!


Short Blurb:
A black house cat, allowed out to roam just one night a year, encounters a creepy little creature and experiences his own strange adventure on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Halloween Street - Day 30 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #30: Nighty Night!


Short Blurb:
After a night of trick or treating, a young boy is terrified to go to sleep for fear his candy will attract monsters.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 30, 2014

And again...

I know Amazon has been having technical issues the last several days, so I just want to mention again that #30 in the Halloween Street series seems to be delayed in the publishing process. It's almost 8pm where I am (I think Amazon works on PST though), and the story may not be up til tomorrow, along with #31. I'm gonna send them a quick email as that seemed to help push things along the last time, but I'm not sure how much it'll speed things up.

I'll post again when the book is up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 29 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #29: Razor Blades!



Short Blurb:
After a child gets injured from a razor blade found in his candy, a nurse investigates who did it.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Halloween Street - Day 28 of 31 Days of Halloween (Finally!)

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #28: Lost!


Short Blurb:
Thirteen years after the disappearance of her sister, a young woman returns to Halloween Street to finally discover the truth of what happened to her.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just a Heads Up...

Oy, here we go again. Amazon's publishing services have been down all night, so I wasn't able to publish the next Halloween Street story yet. . It's now 7am here, and I've been up all night, so I'm gonna go get some shut-eye and try again later. Hopefully, it gets sorted out and there won't be any major delays. In the 2+ years I've been publishing, I've never seen this happen before, so I don't know what to expect.

We're down to the final four stories, so if I see any huge delays going on with the next story, I'll just publish the last three ASAP. I kind of hope it doesn't come to that, as I feel like it might spoil the whole 31 Days of Halloween idea, but I'm at the mercy of Amazon, and I definitely want the stories to be released in time for Halloween. Just gotta wait and see what happens.

UPDATE:  Well, it's 10pm right now where I am, and #28 in the Halloween Street series is still in the process of being published and hasn't gone "live" yet. I have a feeling it won't be up until tomorrow at the earliest :( So...this sort of messes up my 31 Days of Halloween project, but these things happen. I'm trying not to dwell on it. I just hope Amazon sorts this out fast enough so that the final four stories are up in time for Halloween.

UPDATE #2: Almost 5:30 am on October 29th, and #28 is still stuck in "publishing" status :( I went ahead and pulled the trigger on #29. Hoping they both go live later on today *fingers crossed*. I've been up again all night, dead tired, gonna get some sleep. I hope I wake up to two newly published books.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 27 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #27: The Cursed!


Short Blurb:

An elderly woman collects rare Halloween treasures, but her latest find brings her nothing but bad luck.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
The inspiration for this story came from an auction that was up on eBay years ago for a supposed haunted/possessed teddy bear. The story behind the bear was really interesting and creepy, but whether it was true or not is certainly up for debate. It was definitely a bizarre item to see on eBay at the time, and it really stuck with me. The original listing is long gone but a lot of it is preserved here, if you're curious.

Strangely enough, at Christmas that year or the one after, my sister gave me a large black teddy bear as a gift, and I was a little unsettled by it. I remember I finally admitted to her that the reason I never displayed it was because of the creepy eBay auction and it made me feel a little uneasy. To make matters even stranger (or funnier, depending on your point of view), she was trying to make me feel better about the bear by saying it's really cute and it "loves you", and she was acting a little silly and lightening the mood. I was sitting at my computer at the time, and my sister was saying all this from across the room while holding the bear, and she playfully ended up throwing it at me, and the bear stuck to my back. She of course thought it was hilarious and ran to get her camera to take a picture of it (which I wish I had at the time of writing this). I of course ended up hating the little bugger all the more. It just seemed so odd that she threw it with just the right amount of force that it didn't bounce right off. Writing about it now, it does seem really silly that I was so creeped out by the whole thing, but it led me to writing this story now eight years later, so I guess I can't be too hard on myself ;)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 26 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #26: Monster Movies!


Short Blurb:
An agoraphobic young woman alone on Halloween night gets a nasty surprise while watching a monster movie marathon.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 25 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #25: The Abandoned House!


Short Blurb:
A group of kids dare the new kid to spend Halloween night in a supposed haunted house...with dire consequences.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
The song featured in this story is called "The Ghost of John" (sometimes called "The Ghost of Tom") and is an old American folk song. The origins of it are a bit of a mystery, but it's a very creepy song that, for some reason, kids like me learned in elementary school. The original song consists of one verse, often sung in a round. I added a couple extra lyrics to suit my story.

Original Lyrics:
Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones and the rest all gone.
Ooo ooo ooo...OOOooo ooo oo.
Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 24 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #24: Trick or Treat!


Short Blurb:
A school teacher receives visits from a series of strange trick-or-treaters who seem to know her deepest, darkest secrets.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!
This is another story like "Something Different About Them" that was originally planned as a novel. Years ago in 2000, I started a book called "Lizzie The Great" that was basically about a middle-aged woman who was beloved in her community, until a dark secret from her past reared its ugly head and everyone turns on her. It was originally supposed to be written as a drama and as a commentary for how society judges certain issues and how anyone can become ostracized. The novel never really got off the ground however, and I no longer had an interest in writing it as it was originally planned. I retooled it as a short, psychological horror story, and again, I think it stands as a stronger story this way.

I think sometimes it's easier to deal with certain issues within the horror genre, as opposed to more "realistic" fiction genres, because there's an element of fantasy that distances it from the horrors of reality. In fact, I think part of the appeal of horror in general, is that it helps us face and reconcile frightening issues within our minds in a "safe" way. The horrors in fiction aren't real, even if they sometimes mirror or mimic the horrors of real life.

Unexpected Delay on Halloween Street #24

Well, things were just going too smoothly apparently. I published the next installment of my Halloween Street series last night around midnight, like I always do, and Amazon hasn't published it yet. Now, it typically takes under 12 hours for them to publish my stories, so I don't know what the problem is. It's now 17 hours and counting. I sent them an email and hopefully it'll get sorted out before the end of the day. Just wanted to keep everyone up to speed, especially those of you who are reading the entire series! Halloween Street #24 is coming! It's out of my hands at the moment though.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 23 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #23: Candy Skulls!


Short Blurb:
Four children are given mysterious Day of the Dead candy skulls that carry a terrible side effect. 

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 22 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #22: Caller!


Short Blurb:

A woman caring for her father begins receiving strange phone calls on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 21 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #21: Haunted Garage!


Short Blurb:
A young boy explores a neighbor's homemade haunted garage attraction, only to discover the horrors inside are real.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
One Halloween when my sister and I were out trick or treating, we were walking down the street to the next house when a cop car pulled up alongside us. We were good kids, but of course our first thought was that we were in trouble for something (probably for being too old to trick or treat :P). Of all the strange things, he stopped us to tell us about a neighbor who had a "haunted garage" attraction that we should check out. He also gave us some candy from a bag on his front passenger seat and then went on his merry way. Probably one of the oddest Halloween memories I have because it just seemed so random. My sister and I did end up checking out the "haunted garage" and it was very cool. Well worth the moment of panic of having a cop stop us on the street. This little memory served as the inspiration for this story.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 20 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #20: Boo!


Short Blurb:
A cruel nurse who neglects and abuses the elderly patients at a nursing home, gets her comeuppance on Halloween night.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 19 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #19: Doyle's Village!


Short Blurb:
A man obsessed with his model Halloween village soon finds himself living there.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
The idea for this story came from a memory I have of looking at my own ceramic model Halloween village and wishing I could live there. This moment happened years ago, when I was still pretty young and having an "anywhere but here" kind of yearning. As I thought back to this, I realized how strange a thought it was, even if it was fleeting, and decided to write this story based on it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 18 of 31 Days of Halloween

A quick shout out to my dad, whose birthday is today and loves Halloween almost as much as I do! Happy Birthday, Dad! :)

Now back to business!

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #18: Brain Eater!


Short Blurb:
Three brothers ring the doorbell of a recluse who’s rumored to be a murderer that consumes human brains.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 17 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #17: Stalked! 
 

Short Blurb:
A paranoid housewife spends Halloween night alone...or does she?


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 16 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #16: Something Different About Them!



Short Blurb:
A teen girl meets her new neighbors, a family who share a strange deformity.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
I came up with the idea for story when I was just sixteen years-old and started to write it as a novel in 1999. I only got a couple of pages in when I got stuck as to how to make entire novel out of the premise. When I started jotting down ideas for stories I wanted to include in my Halloween Street series, I remembered the early draft of Something Different About Them and decided it was time to revive the lost story. In the end, I think it works better as a short, rather than a full-length novel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 15 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #15: The Scarecrow!


Short Blurb:
After a night of mischief, a bully gets taught a lesson by a sinister scarecrow.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
Scarecrows have been an intrigue of mine since I was a kid. I always loved them, probably starting with the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz book and movie. He was always my favorite character. When I was about eight or nine, something changed. Scarecrows became a source of fear, after I read the short story "Harold" from Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark 3 by Alvin Schwartz. The story revolved around a scarecrow who was mistreated by the two farmers who made him and ultimately seeks revenge. This story has stuck with me my whole life, I think about it a lot, and it gave me a lifelong love/hate relationship with scarecrows. On one hand, I love them, I think they're charming. On the other hand, there is something creepy about a stuffed man hanging from a post. My story "The Scarecrow" basically represents my torn feelings about them, and is also a bit of an homage to "Harold". Is the scarecrow in my story evil? That's up to you, the reader, to decide :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 14 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #14: Treat Bag!



Short Blurb:
A little boy finds a magical treat bag on Halloween night that gives him whatever he wants...for a price.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 13 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #13: Pumpkin Carver!


Short Blurb:
A lonely man and master pumpkin carver holds an unsettling secret.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 12 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #12: Unchained!



Short Blurb:
Life imitates fiction when a horror writer's words begin to manifest and create the monster from his story.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 11 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #11: Retro TV!



Short Blurb:
A man takes a trip back in time to a past Halloween that has haunted him for fifty years.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 10 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #10: Bloody Mary!


Short Blurb:
A little girl's slumber party turns into a waking nightmare after a game of Bloody Mary.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
Bloody Mary is a well known urban legend, and a like a lot of kids, I used to play the game with my friends in my youth. The game is interesting to me because it actually kind of works. Okay, no, you don't really summon the spirit of Bloody Mary, but spinning around three times in the dark and then looking at your reflection does give you the illusion that someone else is looking back at you, even if just for a second or two. As a kid, that was usually enough to freak me out. Mirrors have always been unsettling to me, as they do seem like a gateway to a parallel world. I'm sure this stems from the multiple movies I saw and stories I read when I was young about just that, but the games of Bloody Mary probably didn't help either!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 9 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #9: Dollie Dreadful!


Short Blurb:
A toy store sells a limited edition doll that turns its collectors into savages.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
When I was young, it was very common for drug stores and even grocery stores to have Halloween promotions where they would sell inexpensive Halloween themed dolls and plush toys as a way of getting shoppers. It seemed to be popular during the whole Beanie Baby craze, and stores were basically trying to cash in on the "collector mentality". This has fallen along the wayside, at least where I live, but it was something I really bought into in my youth. Back before the internet and eBay, if you missed out on a "limited edition" item, there was a real feeling of loss, because the likelihood of coming across it again was pretty low. But on the other hand, when I did find and buy something rare or possibly collectible, there was a brief "high" and excitement, but it was never very long lasting. It's the thrill of the hunt, I suppose, whereas the capture isn't quite as fulfilling as one might assume it's going to be. So, when I sat down to write this story, I wanted to explore a sort of extreme collector mentality, mob mentality, and obsession.

And just as a side note, as I'm typing this I'm surrounded by many Halloween items I've collected over the years, items I deem precious, so the collector is still alive and well in me.

Be afraid. Be very afraid ;)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 8 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #8: Late Shift!



Short Blurb:
A security guard working the night shift soon discovers he may not be alone in the building. Are the mysterious sights and sounds just his imagination...or something else?

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 7 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #7: Night Moves!


Short Blurb:
A teen couple encounter a large, monstrous beast who eats anything and everything in its path.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Monday, October 6, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 6 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #6: Monster Mash!



Short Blurb:
A Halloween party turns frighteningly real as the party guests transform into monsters.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
This story was written as an homage to Bobby Pickett, who co-wrote and performed of the song "Monster Mash".  "Monster Mash" is a Halloween staple and has been one of my favorite songs to listen to at this time of year for as long as I can remember. When I decided to write this series, I knew I had to include a story that incorporated it in some way. It actually became a bigger part of the story than I even originally planned for, and I'm really happy I could pay tribute to a great man who kept Halloween alive and well for so many years.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 5 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #5: Dead Things!



Short Blurb:
A gravedigger finds a mysterious book that brings his wife back from the dead.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 4 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #4: Graveyard Air!




Short Blurb:
A group of kids spend Halloween night in a graveyard to try and raise the dead.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
When I was about twelve years-old, I would sometimes attempt to write songs. Unfortunately, I was never musically gifted, so the results were rather...bad. One of the earliest songs I wrote was entitled "Graveyard Air", and as lame as the song and lyrics were, I actually always really liked that title. So, I figured since I would never let that song see the light of day, I could at least recycle the title for something worthwhile.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 3 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #3: The Beast Inside!



Short Blurb:
An abusive husband gets a taste of his own medicine on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 2 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #2: Witches' Brew!



Short Blurb:
Three young sisters meet a trio of witches, who teach them that some monsters are real.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
When I sat down to write my Halloween Street series, I knew I wanted to draw from my own Halloween experiences and utilize pieces of my nostalgia in order to give the series a more personal touch. The title of this story is borrowed from the first Halloween song I ever remember learning, which was "Witches' Brew" by Hap Palmer. I was about five at the time, and I loved the song so much, I would sing it all the time (my sister can attest to that!). Sophie, the youngest sister in the story, is loosely inspired by my own child self (my favorite color is and always has been purple!).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 1 of 31 Days of Halloween!

Well, 31 days of Halloween has officially begun! The first story is Danse Macabre, #1 in the Halloween Street series.


Short Blurb:
An old woman receives a ghostly visitor on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
The original title of this story was "The Last Dance". As I was making the teaser video for the series, the classical piece by Camille Saint-Saens "Danse Macabre" had the best tone and pacing for background music, and I decided it would make a perfect title tie-in to launch the series! The music is also mentioned within the story itself.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halloween Street Series - 31 Days of Halloween Short Stories!

Well, I've been very hush-hush about this project, but I'm finally able to announce it! I have a series of short horror stories being published this October entitled "Halloween Street". This is a massive project, as I will be publishing a new short story every single day in October for a grand total of 31 stories! Short teaser is below:



So what is Halloween Street exactly? Halloween Street is a series of 31 short stories taking place during the same Halloween night in the town of Hollowell. Although the stories may be read individually and in any order, there are subtle ways the stories intertwine which you will notice if you read the series in order. A new short story will be released everyday in October 2014 as part of my 31 Days of Halloween promotion.

And how did this project come about? This was truly a labor of love. Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I was a kid, but my enjoyment and obsession really grew when I became a teenager and my love for the holiday has only grown over the years. When I decided I wanted to start writing in the horror genre, I initially had a novel in mind to release first, but when I got the idea to do 31 short stories taking place on Halloween and releasing them all throughout the month of October, I had to run with it! It's been a tremendous amount of work, but I'm really proud of how the series turned out. There were times I didn't think the series would be done on time, but I pushed through and worked long hours to bring this to life. That is how much I truly love Halloween and wanted to express it through my work.

Now a couple things I do want to mention.

The series will be exclusively on Amazon Kindle, and with the new Kindle Unlimited subscription program (now available in the UK as well as the US! Yay!), you will be able to borrow every single one of my stories as part of your membership. If you don't have a subscription, the price per story is only 99 cents. I know limiting it to Amazon may seem restrictive, but because of the time sensitive nature of the publishing schedule it really wouldn't have worked out to publish them on multiple outlets. One thing I will mention is that all of my books/stories are DRM free, so if you don't have a Kindle, you can still buy my work on Amazon and convert it to the file format of your choice using Calibre or a similar program. To be honest, I don't know a ton about this subject, but I'm sure there's lots of info if you just Google it.

And on the topic of the time sensitive nature of the project, I do have to say that Amazon is typically very quick during the publishing process (in my experience, a book gets published within 12 hours or less), BUT (and this is a big BUT) as far as making sure a story is published every single day, I am at the mercy of Amazon. I have heard of authors experiencing unusual delays from time to time, sometimes upwards of 48 hours, which I do realize could make the "new story every day" promo a bit null and void. Like I said, I've never experienced such a delay, my books have been published in as little as 4 hours and never more than 12, but basically once I hit the "Publish" button it's out of my control. To be honest, this did make me a little leery to do the 31 days of Halloween promo, but I'm a Taurus and stubborn by nature, so I really wanted to stick with my original plan ;)

So that's it! I hope you're looking forward to this series release as much as I am! :) More info will be coming soon!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nothing Special - a childhood memory turned life lesson

Yesterday, I had a random memory pop into my head out of nowhere. When I was about nine years-old, I remember that my dream was to become a cartoonist. The idea of being a writer wasn't even on my radar, despite having written several short stories at that time. No, I wanted to draw cartoons, and I remember sitting in class and spending a lot of time drawing random things, cartoon characters and superheroes and the like. I had several books on how to draw that I would work from when I was home, and I loved drawing so much that my favorite game as a child was Pictionary.

One day, I was sitting on the living room floor, doodling, and I drew what I thought was a great picture of Roger Klotz, the bully from the cartoon show Doug. I drew it hastily from memory, which was not something I often did. I usually drew from trying to copy some form of source material, very rarely just from my own head. Well, anyway, I was so proud of this drawing that I wanted to show it off to my dad. So, I did. And he gives me a slightly puzzled look and says "Who is this supposed to be?"

Of course, I thought, Dad's not familiar with that show, I need to show him the original character. I happened to have a pack of Doug trading cards and one of them was of Roger, so I ran to my room and got it and excitedly hurried back to show my dad. And I was like, "See? Doesn't it look just like him?"

He looked back and forth between the trading card and my drawing, and then with a sort of "meh" expression on his face, he says, "Eh, I guess it kind of looks like him." He then handed me back the card and my drawing, and that was it.

For him.

For me, I was crushed. It may seem silly now. After all, it was just a quick doodle from memory and years later I found it, and Dad was right. It wasn't very good. But at the time, being nine years-old and having spent so much time practicing drawing and having a dream of one day working on the Simpsons or Disney movies or even on a Nicktoon like Doug, that feedback had a huge impact on me and planted a rather large seed of doubt. Dad was oblivious, as he often was. I know he didn't intend to hurt my feelings or cause any irreparable damage. After all, I was the one who asked for his opinion. But I wasn't really asking for his opinion. I thought what I had done was brilliant and wanted it recognized. Instead my so-called brilliance was met with a "meh".

I continued to draw, but I never felt the same about it after that. No matter how hard I tried, I just never felt good enough. I really had no natural talent for drawing. I couldn't draw the same image twice flawlessly, which of course is very important in animation. By the age of ten, a mere year later, I had absolutely no desire to be a cartoonist at all anymore. In fact, when given an assignment to write what my future goals were, I wrote with absolute sincerity that I wanted to attend St. Petersburg Junior College and then become a waitress. In fact, for the next several years, I thought that's what I was going to do. And oddly enough, to this day, I still often write about twenty-something women who are waitresses (Beth in Moonridge Memories, for example), that's how much of an impact that transition had on me, that transition from having a huge, unobtainable dream to having a much more realistic and modest dream, and yet to some degree, glamorizing it.

When I was eleven, I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories. At twelve, I attempted my first novel and got stuck at around 30 pages or so. At thirteen, that novel suddenly clicked for me, by just adding extra characters to it and subplots, I was able to write the whole thing within a month or so. Writing after that came so easily to me that I never dreamed of being a professional author. It came so easily to me that I thought there was nothing special about me and that anyone could write stories or novels. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, I wrote the first drafts of fifteen novels. How many people write just one novel in their lifetime? I don't know. But somewhere between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, I went from writing as a hobby for my own personal enjoyment to really wanting to pursue it as a career.

At that time, I wouldn't let anyone read my books. Not one person. I was afraid of having a dream taken from me again. I wrote fifteen novels before the age of eighteen and gave myself so little credit for such an achievement, and even saying that now makes me uncomfortable--calling it an achievement. After all, it was nothing special. Everyone could do it, right?

Wrong.

Even in today's world, where you can be in touch with thousands of people over the internet who do what you do, my ability to write, finish, and publish a novel makes me feel more special today than it ever did when I was young, even when I knew no one else personally who wrote novels. So many people say "I'd write a novel, but I don't have time. Maybe someday." Someday usually doesn't come. Because writing a novel is not a whim for a writer. It's not an end goal for "someday". It's as necessary and as natural as breathing. That is why I never felt special, because one doesn't feel special for breathing. Everyone breathes. However, very few, comparatively speaking, write.

Drawing never came naturally for me. It required all of my energy and my effort and still came out "meh". When I browse a site like DeviantArt.com, I'm in awe of the talent that people have for such artistry. But then I'll read their descriptions and some of them will say things like "This didn't turn out how I wanted it to" or "This isn't very good, but..." and I'm thinking I couldn't draw something half this good if I had the rest of my life to work on it. I think it's time for people to start giving themselves more credit for what they can do, for what makes them special. It doesn't matter if there are people out there who are better or worse than you are. There is only one you. Your voice, your perspective, your mind, makes you special and stand out among your peers. No one can take that from you, unless you let them.

As I was writing this, I was reminded of a song by Belle Brigade whose lyrics are rather fitting for my sentiments above. So have a listen below, if you'd like. Try to feel good about the things you do, because there are too many people out there waiting to tear you down to build themselves up. When you have a strong foundation of confidence and appreciation for your own talent, no one can tear it down.




Friday, July 4, 2014

Moonridge Memories Collection Is Out Now!

I know it's been ages since my last update. A lot of work being done behind the scenes, without a lot to share. I am happy to announce that the Moonridge Memories Collection is out now, and contains all four novels from the series!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LHDTWLM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00LHDTWLM&link_code=as3&tag=theofficisi00-20&linkId=M7KU6QKZB5H6RKFA

Now, you may be wondering about the images used. Well, I actually decided to give the whole series a little facelift, so all four books have new covers:


I really like how they turned out. I think they set the tone and mood for the series better than my old covers.

I have a lot planned for the end of summer and autumn months, and I've been very busy preparing for that. Blogging always seems to fall along the wayside when I'm working, so forgive the lack of updates and posts.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Remembering Harold Ramis

I was shocked and saddened to find out that Harold Ramis passed away today. As someone who grew up in the 1980's, I remember Ghostbusters fondly. It was a huge movie franchise and a big part of my childhood. As a fan, I've been holding out hope that a third movie would be made with the original cast members. It just wouldn't be the same without Egon :(

Harold Ramis also directed a favorite movie of mine, Groundhog Day--not to mention National Lampoon's Vacation and Caddyshack. He will be sorely missed.

And remember, kids, don't cross the streams:




Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 Plans

Since I disappeared for such a long time, I thought I'd share some of things I have slated for 2014. I tend to be a tad overambitious, so these are pretty much tentative goals. I enjoy staying busy though, so I'm hoping to hit most of these goals without totally cracking under the pressure.

  • Moonridge Memories collection - been on my to-do list for ages! I want to combine all four books into an ebook collection at a discounted price. I know how cluttered ereaders can get, so a collection is a no-brainer. I'm hoping to have this done in time for summer.
  • Print editions - ugh! Another thing I've been wanting to do for quite some time. I'll be honest, the formatting just seems sooo daunting compared to ebooks. I'm slowly picking it up, working on making a template, etc, but there's still a lot of work involved. I don't have a timeline as to when I want to get my books into print, but I would like it to be this year before I fall too behind on it, and end up having to do a dozen books at once.
  • The Virginia Chronicles Books Two and Three - Number two in the series (The Rook) will definitely be out this summer. I was actually hoping for a late spring release, but I didn't want to stretch myself too thin. I'd also LOVE to get book three out by the end of the year. So how long will the series be? I don't know yet. I'm just a fountain of information, aren't I? ;) I could see it being an ongoing series that I can add to between projects since each book is mostly a stand-alone story (though following a chronological timeline). So it could run to 5 or 6 or even more books, but it really depends on if I feel inspired to continue the story and if there is more story to tell. I don't outline books ahead of time. I usually jot down the general idea and plot of a book and let the characters lead the way when I sit down to write it. That's why it's hard to know when a series will be over for good. I try to always stay open-minded to the possibility of sequels and spin-offs and such. Inspiration can strike at any time--it's funny like that.
  • A Horror Trilogy (Titles TBA) - I have a horror trilogy I've been wanting to release for some time now, but it still needs some work, rewrites, edits. I'm hoping for a fall release in time for Halloween. I'd like the whole trilogy to be out by December.
So, there ya go. Plans may change, but that should give you a general idea of what I'm working on and why I sometimes don't have the time/energy to blog. I'm terrible at keeping specific deadlines, because I never know when issues might creep in and spoil my plans. That's why I'm trying to keep my release schedule somewhat vague.

I love writing and doing what I do. I love self-publishing for allowing me the freedom to work at my own pace and for only having to answer to my own muse and to my wonderful readers. It's a good time to be a writer :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm Baaaack...With A New Book Release!

Hello to all who have stopped by this blog over the last six months or so. Forgive my absence. I don't like to delve into personal matters much, but suffice it to say a lot of the writing plans I had six months ago went kablooey when I fell into a pit of anxiety and depression. This is something I've struggled with since I was a child, and it comes and goes, but when it comes it tends to hit me hard. I was about halfway through a writing project I had intended to have released in time for Halloween, and as you well know, it didn't happen. I basically just went into hiding and avoided everything and everyone. This has always been my coping mechanism.

Although my planned project involved a horror trilogy, I have placed that on the back burner for now, in favor of a new thriller series! It's entitled The Disk, Book One of The Virginia White Chronicles.

Summary:
From within the walls of a criminal asylum, Virginia White tells her story of a childhood dream becoming a waking nightmare. At fourteen, she invents a powerful weapon and places the plans on a computer disk. Now they want it, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Virginia soon learns that in order to survive she must become as coldblooded as the men pursuing her. Virginia is forced to lay everything on the line to keep them from obtaining the disk.~~

I'm really excited to be releasing my first thriller book! It's a vigilante justice book (I had no idea this was a subgenre until I went to publish, but it fits so well in the genre, lol!). It is gory and violent, but it's also a story of survival, not only physically but mentally.

I know I said before I'd be venturing into horror--and I will be, honest!--but for now my plans are to focus on this series, and maybe release something horror later this year, maybe in the fall.

Anyway, I apologize again for my absence, and I hope it doesn't happen again, or at least not anytime soon. In the meantime, I hope you check out my new book. It's available (so far) at:

Amazon.com
Smashwords

It should be available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere within the next couple of weeks. Check back for further updates!