Monday Musings 4/1

The fan on my laptop stopped working, so everything has been delayed. Couple that with the ventilation system in my house flooding, the twins getting Croup and both going to the emergency room, my ulcer, a mouse, and well, it has been a hard week.

  1. I’m not sure if you’ve checked-out the newly revised GD 1 – 100, but it is for sale on Kindle, paperback, and from me. Still waiting on the author copies from the publisher. They should be here soon. It was a ton of work, but I’m happy I went back to it. Now I’m in Days 101 – 140, which is cleaner than the first book, but still needs help. Really wish I had saved this story for traditional publication and not self-published it, but I’m not really a patient person. That is a quality I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older.
  2. Final Fantasy VII is out on Switch now. I did get it. Two years ago when I started writing fulltime as a “gig” I had no money for Christmas Presents, so I sold all my classic video games which included the Playstation version of FF7. I have regretted doing this not because I played it all the time, but because of the memories associated with it. Back in 1997 when it came out, I was in seventh grade at the time, which was horrible. I was bullied constantly. Anyways, I invested in a N64, despite being a diehard Squaresoft fan, so when FF7 came out on Playstation I didn’t have the right system for it. I ended up pooling my Christmas and birthday money, along with selling a few of my N64 games under the table to kids at school (shhh, my parents still don’t know I did that), so I could buy a Playstation and FF7. My grandfather took me to Best Buy the day after Christmas. He then took me to Funcoland (yup, it was still around) to buy it. The game encouraged me to be a storyteller. I don’t know what my narrative voice would be without it. I’m glad they released it on the Switch.
  3. In the midst of Greenland Diaries: Days 101 – 140. Editing is hard. I have to do it in small amounts or else I get bored and miss stuff. I’m pleased with the suspense I’ve built with the monsters. I just finished the entry where they fight the Red Unnamed on the street. It is a great battle scene. I’m still happy with it seven years after I wrote it. Hard to believe I’ve been writing for that long now. I’ve always been a writer, but I didn’t really classify myself as one, mostly because I had NOTHING published. In 2012 that started to change, along with the rest of my life. For the better thankfully.
  4. It does not look like the sequel to Beware the Ills will be happening this year, or anytime soon I’m sorry to say. I need time to work on the story, and between edits for the Greenland Diaries series, the film I’m working on, plus the daily complexity of life, well, I just don’t have time. I will be releasing a collection in the fall of all my favorite short stories, plus new tales never shared before. That’ll be coming out in Fall 2019 at Crypticon, Minnesota. I’ve wanted to put all my favorites together for a while now, plus add some new fiction I had squirreled away. I’ve always felt a little guilty about making people purchase so many short story collections. Now you’ll have a complete omnibus of awesomeness.
  5. I will be doing my first appearance of the spring. In April, I’ll be participating in Books and Beer again, and they’ll be at Sociable Cider Werks. It takes place on April 27th. Click HERE for more information. These are awesome events, mostly because of the delicious alcohol floating around. The people and the books are good too. I’ve been doing these for a few years now on and off. They’re always a good time.

Jottings:

  • The forums got the release date on Baki Season Two wrong. I thought you could believe everything you read on the internet? I’m so disappointed.
  • The new cover of Greenland Diaries: Days 101 – 140 is going to be great. Can’t wait to reveal it.
  • Watched Get Shorty the television series on Netflix. Loved it. Everyone enjoys movies, even organized crime.
  • I’ve also started watching The IT Crowd. I’m sort of late to the party, but that is hilarious as well.
  • Slowly making my way through Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. I love the book, and his voice, but I’ve read these myths so many times. Fimbul overload.
  • The twins are going to be four soon. School in the fall probably. Wow. Where has the time gone?
  • One of my stepsons is in a Lego Robotics Club. I’m super excited for his first event.
  • Sephiroth is still a great villain.
  • One Punch Man season premiere in just a few days.
  • Have a great and safe week everyone!
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The Ills

Because I’m working diligently on the long-delayed sequel to my first self-published novel Beware the Ills, I decided to do a little reflection on my experience with the book and how it sort of came to be. Without a doubt, beyond all the amazing monsters I have created in The Greenland Diaries and in my short story collections, Beware the Ills is my favorite story. It is my shining star for a few different reasons.

First, the narrative voice of the novel is dark, overpowering, and poetic. You’re locked in the perspective of this mystical killer who knows little about himself other than his extreme effectiveness at taking the lives of anyone who sets foot on his island. You learn about his origin as he does, which uncomfortably seatbelts you to every battle and duel he encounters on a speck of land constantly consumed by war.

Second, the “antagonist” Haukter, who is without a doubt the best “villain” I have ever created. At the end of the book, the final confrontation between the two characters is fantastic, a 15 page battle through the frozen woods. I can’t give away more details because of the spoilers. Ugh. I really want to. I can’t. But still. I can’t.

Third (there are more than three reasons for this being my favorite, but I don’t want to write some boring, ultra-long blog post about why I love something I made) is that I was finally able to put my education to use with writing. I was a classically trained creative writer. I studied writing and literature in college, worked my way up to the high-level courses, and spent my time refining my craft through workshops with my peers. Part of my voice was hammered together in this literary forge of analyzing Chekhov and Shakespeare. Another portion was bred in the 16 Bit light of Final Fantasy and Zelda, which gave me a deep love for the fantasy and horror genres. In Beware the Ills, under my own control, I finally brought the two worlds together in a story, fulfilling a promise to my own identity I had always been afraid to make.

I could go on forever about why I love it, but I’m typical Midwesterner and don’t like to do anything too audacious.

I have mentioned this in other blog posts, but when I did pull the trigger and self-publish Beware the Ills, I was in one of the darkest pitfalls of my life. I had just gotten out of a seven year relationship. I had gone into tremendous amounts of debt to try and buy happiness with material goods and food. I was living in my parent’s basement at age 28, working as a student worker security guard at community college I was attending. Life had not worked out the way I envisioned. I even contemplated committing suicide the winter before Beware the Ills was published. So in July of 2013, I was sitting downstairs reading about other author’s successes, and I spontaneously decided to self-publish a completed novel I had sitting around for years on my desktop.

That novel was Beware the Ills.

Beyond just finally getting something out there into the world, the experience was worth more than the writing. By no means is the book a success. It barely sells, I make no money from it, and I can’t survive off it whatsoever. However, self-publishing this book taught me how to complete a project, and that I had the ability to do anything as long as I was willing to learn and work. It opened a door into conventions for me to meet other writers. I learned what I liked and didn’t like about self-publishing. All in all, it changed my life.

Now, six year later I’m writing the sequel to it. I’m married, have four children, released nine books, and write fulltime for a very, very meager living. I’m not always happy. Things are not perfect. However, they’re still light-years better than the crap I was surviving before. This Living Cage will be my first trip to the cursed island of Beware the Ills in years. I’m about 40 pages in to writing it. So far, so good. It was like I wasn’t even gone. I’ll be posting more updates about the story and whatnot, but for this post I just wanted to talk about how different things are for me.

Thank god things changed.