Category Archives: About Writing

Book Review: 31 Tales from Hellview Cemetery

61mczpcfmyl31 Tales from Hellview Cemetery is a fantastic collection of creepy stories, most of which are based on urban legends and ghost lore from around the Bay Area of Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. One might assume that a book of scary stories such as this would be specific for Halloween. While I can easily say that this book is in fact essential for one’s Halloween goodie bag, this is simply a great read for any time of the year. There is a vast assortment of unique and interesting characters, ghouls and ghosts, from the thing hiding under your bed, to the creepy old neighbor.

Meet Emily, the little girl with the red buckled shoes you keep seeing everywhere; doesn’t she seem familiar? Take a doomed walk through Boyd Hill at night; will you dare to face what lies beneath its dark and churning waters? Say ‘Hi’ to The Fangrrl, who takes her Fandoms deadly serious; will she become your new obsession, or will you become hers? Step under the Big Top of a Terror-filled circus; can you survive even a mere glimpse of its final performance? Go camping with Jack; can you begin to imagine the surprise he has for you? These are just a few of the folks you’ll meet throughout this horrifying journey in Hellview.

There is so much to love in this book. The twists are surprising, if not downright shocking. It is extremely well-written, but above all it is thoroughly entertaining. The stories are further accentuated with the accompaniment of the grimly-gorgeous photography of Susan Black.

Kudos to Mark Muncy, A.K.A The Caretaker, and his co-author Elizabeth Abbott! I can’t wait to see what’s next for these denizens of Hellview Cemetery. Highly, highly recommended!


Horror for a Cause: Book Sales to Support Bullying Prevention

imageYou may or may not be aware of this, but October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As the primary theme in my book “Feeding Lazarus” is a message of anti-bullying, during the entire month of October, 50% of the total profits from the book’s sale will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in support of this cause and to help bring awareness.

As a personal victim of bullying, abuse, and social exclusion, this is an issue I feel very strongly about. I’ve not only been a victim, but I’ve also been a witness. I’ve seen it happen numerous times. Some of those times, I’ve done something about it. Other times, I haven’t. The latter, well, those are times I’m not very proud of.

Let’s face it, the truth is, we’ve all been there. We’ve all seen it happen in some form or another.  Sometimes, we’ve done something, and sometimes we’ve chosen to look away. We can’t all be Superman, but we CAN choose to be a hero; we can do something about it. NOW. We can all stand up to bullies. We can choose to say something when we see it happening; we can tell them to stop. We have that power. We can also donate, fundraise, or just help spread the word. And please keep in mind, that bullying, abuse, and social exclusion are not just inherent to schoolyard pranks and high-school antics. It happens to adults, in the workplace, in our homes, even within our own families.

Bullying is an atrocity. Lives are lost. Suicides result. It needs to stop. We all need to stand up and say, “The End of Bullying Begins with Me.” Daniel, the main character in “Feeding Lazarus,” represents all the times I looked away; writing his story, that’s me doing something about it. That is me beginning.

I’d like to say thank you to my publisher, Jaded Books Publishing, for their wonderful support of this truly important cause with matching contributions.

Please do share and spread the word. Also, I highly encourage you to visit PACER’s website on Bullying Prevention. While there, consider leaving a small donation if you are able, and also discover many other ways you can help this cause to End Bullying. Thank you for your time.


Feeding Lazarus to be Published by Fat Lip Press!

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So here’s that awesome news I hinted about last week:

On September 2nd I will unleash Feeding Lazarus upon the world. The contract with Fat Lip Press is signed and the gears are in motion. I must say, for such a short book, this has been a long time in the making. What started out as two individual short story concepts that got fused together after I realized they were in fact different parts of the same story, and what then aspired to become a short novelette, but after countless rewrites and revisions over the last five years, has grown into a short novel/extended novella.

I believe one reason I’ve taken so long with this is simply due to the nature of this story. Have no doubt, this is a tale of visceral horror, and it deals with some extremely horrific real world issues, primarily that of bullying and abuse. Though Feeding Lazarus  is a work of pure fiction, I have both witnessed and experienced such atrocities in my own life, and that makes this a very personal story for me.

My hope is that the themes and underlying messages in Feeding Lazarus will resonate with others who have had similar experiences, and perhaps bring to light the severe impact these real life nightmares have on their victims. Perhaps it could also become a catalyst to inspire those who witness such things happening to stand up, stand strong, be the hero and take action to stop the bullying, the abuse, and the social exclusion that torments the lives of so many each and every day.

So mark your calendars, for on September 2nd I bring you Feeding Lazarus from Fat Lip Press! And stay tuned, I’ll post updates as we get closer to the release including excerpts from the book and the all important cover reveal. Oh, and happy Father’s Day!

Cheers!

 


Book Review: Sacrificial Nights

imageThe writing team of Boston-Manzetti is a poetic tour de force that cannot be denied. Sacrificial Nights is a testament to this, grabbing you from page one, dragging you into its dark and seedy world woven with twisted characters, horrific happenings, and powerful, memorable imagery. When these two masters, each themselves Bram Stoker Award Winners, blend their voices together, the result is utterly fantastic!

Sacrificial Nights is a great concept that is not only a collection of poems, but creates a poetic novella when read from start to finish as it is meant to be read. I absolutely love this concept and was more than pleased when reading Sacrificial Nights to discover that Boston-Manzetti realize this concept to an astonishing effect, creating not just a superb collection of collaborative poems, but a truly exquisite work of art.

If you are a fan of Bruce Boston or Alessandro Manzetti then you have likely already bought this or are going to. But if you are new to either of these great writers, buy this, read it, but don’t stop there. Go forth and explore the individual works of both of these fantastic, award-winning authors.

Cheers for Boston-Manzetti’s Sacrificial Nights!

Sacrificial Nights is available now in ebook and Paperback editions.


A Few Things, and a Tease

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So I know it’s been quiet on the blog here lately, the cobwebs are even getting stale, but fear not, I have been quite busy doing all the stuff I usually do, you know, lurking in the shadows, stalking about in people’s dreams, harvesting the Blood of the Dragon, oh and writing of course.

I currently have some sixty-plus new poems written that I’m starting to shop around to various markets. A few of those have hit publication recently or are forthcoming, like my poem From Corn to Sea in April’s Devolution Z Magazine, these poems just published at Tuck Magazine, oh and some reprinted work here on UFO Gigolo. There are a couple of other poetry projects I’m working on like this: In So Many Words: Interviews and Poetry from Today’s Poets, edited by Adam Levon Brown and Claudine Nash.

Now, the title of this post promised some teasing, and I’m nothing else if not a man of my word, so here we go. It appears that I have a pretty AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT to make, but I’m not going to tell you about it right now (hence the tease).

See, we writers tend to be a sadistic bunch, and I get far too much pleasure out of keeping people in suspense. Well that and I’d like to iron out more of the details first. Honestly, I received this news so recently that it still feels a bit surreal, and I’d like to marinate in it for a bit I suppose. But once a few more things come to light, I’ll make the announcement right here on the blog, so stay tuned (but please don’t hold your breath, there are enough corpses in my writing as it is). I will tell that it has to do with a certain fiction project  I’ve been working on, off and on, for about the last five years.

So until next time, stay thirsty my friends, or stay classy, or drunk, or something. Whatever.

Cheers!


Happy Halloween! Come Fly with Death: Free Days

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Hi folks! Happy soon-to-be Halloween!

As a special promotion for Halloween, the ebook edition of my dark poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski, is free for Amazon Kindle starting today, Thursday, October 29th, and lasting through Sunday, November 1st. That’s four days to grab a copy if you haven’t already done so, plus a little extra time to duct tape your friends to chairs and force them politely invite your friends to do the same.

Also, I highly encourage you to visit beksiński.pl to learn more about Zdzislaw Beksinski and immerse yourself in his fantastic, horrific, and truly beautiful works of art.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for all your support.

Cheers!


Be Legend Ragnarok: Print-and-Play Edition is Here!

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“All life has ceased to exist on Earth. Now, from the dead and broken pages of both history and fiction, it is time to decide Earth’s Greatest Legend. “

So this board game project I’ve been involved with is really starting to take shape. Our first edition print-and-play is now available for you guys to download. You can grab your copy here for free, minus your own personal printing costs, which we’ve worked hard to make as minimal as possible. The entire game should print out on fifteen legal sheets, and although color is recommended so that you can view artist Rafael Domingos’ gorgeous artwork in all its glory, it isn’t required.

Rather than bore you with my chatter, I’ll just leave you with a bit of info about the game and then let it speak for itself. So go ahead, download a copy, print it out, grab some friends and have some fun. And of course, stop back by here or our website and let us know what you think. Good or bad, we’re always looking for constructive criticism, and seeking new ways to make the game more enjoyable for all.

Cheers!

Be Legend is a deductive, programming combat system for 2-4 players. Players will use cunning and clever deductions (and perhaps just a hint of luck) as they choose cards to play during each round from a spell book customized for their chosen Legend. The actions will resolve in turn as players use direction and movement cards, as well as their Legend’s basic and unique abilities to engage in combat, vanquish their opponents, and become the ultimate victor!

Please visit our website and download your copy today:
http://belegendgame.com


New Review for Come Fly with Death

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

I honestly don’t know how I missed this, but there’s a new review for my poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinki. I maybe shouldn’t say “new” review, as it went live way back in January. Okay, so it’s not exactly new, but if I haven’t seen it, it’s still new to me. Well anyhow, nearly four months later, I am quite pleased to have discovered it so I can share it with all of you, brag about it a little bit, and of course, dance the happy jig.

This review comes from author and publisher, Christina Escamilla, and was posted to the Christina Escamilla Publishing website on January 15, 2015. I’d like to give a huge thanks to Christina Escamilla for taking time to read this little chapbook and for posting this wonderful and very insightful review!

Here’s the first part of the review, followed by a link to the full review:

“Come Fly With Death is a collection of poems based on the artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski.  The synopsis of the poetry collection gives more insight into Beksinski’s work by simply stating it is “surrealistic and graphic.”  That’s true, but beyond that Beksinski’s work also has an underpinning of death and life, beauty and ugliness.  If anything it is the ability to see that this duality is what makes life, well life.  To fully and truly appreciate life one must understand that life also comes with death, wrapped in the horror and ugliness and the realities of the world; whether its the knowledge of death itself or what humankind will do to one another.”

And the review also says this (yes, I’m bragging just a little):

“There is a darkness, a blackness in these poems, and to that end, they are not for everyone, but there’s no doubt – they are exceptionally well written and deeply memorable!”

Go on and Read the Full Review Here.

Find the book on Amazon, or grab a signed and personalized trade paperback from my website.

Cheers!


Be Legend – Ragnarok: An Introduction

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Be Legend – Ragnarok Base Set (Box Cover)

Today I’d like to introduce you to a project I’ve been collaborating on. This is something quite different than anything I’ve worked on previously, but it is a project that’s quite close to my heart because it is, in fact, a board game. Now, I love board games and tabletop gaming for many reasons that I won’t elaborate on here (perhaps in another post). Really, I’m just excited to show it off to you and I should probably stay on topic anyway. So without any further delay, let me present: Be Legend – Ragnarok.

Be Legend is a programming, deductive combat system created by First Legend‘s Lead Game Designer, Mark Laufer. It is based on legends, myths, historical figures, and other various works of fiction, and we’ve come up with an interesting story to tie all these together. Our base set, Ragnarok, is centered on the Norse mythology, and will include some known favorites such as Odin, Loki and of course, Thor. Other Legends in the base set include: Surt, The Fire Giant; Freya, The Enchantress; and Fenrir, The Great Wolf. In all, the Be Legend – Ragnarok Base Set will include a total of 8 customizable characters for you to pit against each other in this unique game of epic conflict and clever deductions.

One thing that really excites me about this game, aside from the intuitive, programming combat system, is how the game manages to capture the feel of each of these individual characters. Each Legend you have to choose from has two unique ability cards which boil down how it feels to be that character in combat. It sounds almost impossible to accomplish such a thing, but let me tell you, it really works and it’s this specific characteristic of the game that, in my opinion, really makes it something special.

In a future post I’ll go into detail about how the game actually plays, what encompasses a typical game round, and of course, how to decimate your opponents and snare ultimate victory, but for now I wanted to give you a quick introduction and show off some of the gorgeous, original artwork by Rafael Domingos. So, let’s have a look, shall we?

[All images made larger by clicking.]

Here’s our Game Board:

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Sample Player Boards (Works in Progress. Text shown is filler text only.):

odin_player_board_front Surt_player_board_front

A few Unique Ability Cards (Card Text not Finalized):

Disenchant LightningSpear World tree Judgement flaming sword

We’re steamrolling toward our Kickstarter Campaign, expected to launch in June, but if you’d like to give the project an early boost in the mean time, please visit us at gofundme. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. And if you aren’t in a position to donate financially, that’s cool, but you can still help by spreading the word. Heck, even telling just one other person would be awesome!

Also, visit the Be Legend Website for more information on the game itself, view more of Rafael’s gorgeous artwork, and sign up for the print and play beta! Also visit and like our Facebook Page for updates and of course, share, share, share!

Thanks for checking out Be Legend! I’ll be back soon with more information!

Cheers!


Another Light – Published in Bete Noire Issue #18

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Better late than never, as they say: Bete Noire Issue #18 is available now (since March 1st, actually) and includes my poem, Another Light. This is a revised version of the poem originally published in Phantom Kangaroo issue no. 9, July 2012.

And for those who aren’t familiar, Bete Noire is an engaging quarterly publication from Dark Opus Press with a tight focus on “…stories that are well written, character driven and have a dark bent to them.” So head on over to betenoiremagazine.com and grab a copy of the current issue, browse the back catalog, or even grab a subscription.

Cheers!


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