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Five Days Until The End in All Beginnings. Let’s discuss a novella a day!

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So, just five days until the big release day (Tuesday, Sept. 23) for my latest, The End in All Beginnings.  It’s a cool little collection of five novellas, each dealing with love, loss and pain.  Hey, it’s what got me to be known around the hallowed halls of Grey Matter Press as the “King of Pain.”  I shit you not.

Anyway, I thought, hmmm, five days.  Five novellas.  What better way to push the book than to spend the next five days here at this little blog discussing one of the novellas each day.  How’s that sound for fun?  Well, anyway, the six or so of you who read this (Hi, Mom!…OK, that’s a lie, my mother barely knows how to get email to function) can be enthralled as I talk about the stories, how they came to be and other little nuggets of trivia about them.  How’s that for fun?  Well, screw you, it’s all I got.

OK, then, let’s get started.  We’ll just take the stories in the order they’re presented in the book. That means we start with “What Becomes God.”

I grew up, mostly anyway, in the 1970s.  My memories of that childhood are mostly good, mostly Polaroid-sepia toned pictures of me with ridiculous haircuts (I did, at one time, have a luxurious mane of hair, I promise), wearing ridiculous 70s clothing, listening to ridiculous 70s music, watching ludicrous 70s television and reading.  Reading is what I remember mostly.  I got hooked very young.  My mother and father were and are big readers, and they instilled this in me and my siblings.  I’ve often recounted how my mother took us to the library every week to check out books.  My dad was a cop for the city in those days, and money was fairly tight, as you might imagine.  Still, I don’t really remember wanting for anything. So, yeah, I read, and at first it was science fiction–Heinlein, Anderson, Clarke, Asimov, Niven, Pournelle, Foster, Bradbury.  The Star Trek paperbacks.  All sorts of that stuff.  Then it was on to fantasy–Tolkein, Donaldson, Zelazny, Vance, May, Silverberg.  Then, it was on to horror–King, Straub, Rice, Barker.

But through it all was comic books.  My childhood (and some of my college years…and some of my adult years) was filled with comic books.  And for me there was only one company–MARVEL.  Marvel had the chutzpah I loved in comics, and the characters that resonated with me.  Spider-Man was my favorite, in the years of the origin of the Gwen Stacy clone.  But I equally loved The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Dr. Strange, the Son of Satan (a 70s character that drove my Catholic mother to apoplexy), the X-Men, the Defenders, and straight outta the 70s titles like Iron Fist and Power Man.  I loved them.  LOVED THEM. While my brother and sister were spending their quarter a week allowances on candy at the QuikShop, I was buying comics, starting when they were just 20 cents.

The other big component of my childhood was the woods.  I grew up in your basic suburban tract housing development.  But this one was carved out of a nook in a great forest that spread for miles and miles back to the Missouri River. My dad worked a lot, both as a cop and at a variety of secondary jobs to make ends meet.  He was the hardest working motherfucker I ever knew.  Ever.  Don’t get me started about police officers.  You might not like my perspective.  Anyway, dad was usually either working or sleeping.  And mom didn’t really want three kids inside the house with her all day.  So, usually we were fed breakfast and encouraged to make a lunch and get lost for the day.  Yes, the doors would be locked.

So we spent a lot of time in the woods.  Hiking.  Exploring. Visiting the various ponds and streams that dotted and criss-crossed its mysterious innards.  We saw a lot of wildlife, explored the ruins of house and old grain mills, learned about the surprises of black snakes and electric fences and poison ivy.  It was great, fantastic, and it’s gone…all gone.  We moved from the area back in 79, out to the real country, and over the decades since, the woods has literally disappeared.  It was felled to make way for more subdivisions, more strip malls, more gas stations, and fast food outlets and Starbucks and banks with drive-thru ATMs.  And I’m just old enough to begin feeling enraged by that change.  I don’t think it’s been for the better.

I set out to write a story that would encapsulate, in some way, these childhood memories.  Not so much to get onto the page something serious or LITERATE–like loss of innocence or the times they are a’changing or anything like that.  At first, it was just to explore those memories.  And then it became something else.  It turned into “What Becomes God.”

For me, “What Becomes God” became a meditation on loss and sacrifice; losing some things against your will, giving others up willfully. And religion, with which I have a somewhat star-crossed relationship with.  How religion often demands sacrifice for belief.  And what a generally lousy trade that often is.

And that’s where the story stalled for a while.  I wanted to take my shot as the Great American Writer, and a collection of literary short stories was going to be my vehicle for this.  When I recovered my senses (0r as Debbie likes to think, lost them completely), I realized that horror was where I needed to go.  So the story veered off in another direction, not too different at its core, but one with drastically different consequences.

This story, perhaps, is my favorite in the collection because it is such an evocative distillation of my childhood.  I can’t help but be transported back there when I read passages from it.  Maybe some of you, some of you of a certain age, will feel the same way.  I think this background firmly grounds the story and makes the more horrific elements that come later that much more vivid because you’ve invested so much in recreating the period.  At least that’s my hope.  At least that’s what it does for me.

That’s it for today’s lesson.  Tomorrow:  “Object Permanence.”


On The Occasion of Grey Matter Press’ 1st Anniversary…

So, one of the two phenomenal publishers I work with is having its first anniversary.  Grey Matter Press is celebrating the fact that it’s been one year since it put out its first book, Dark Visions Vol. 1.  And what a year it’s been.  In that year, they managed to put out four more books–Dark Visions Vol. 2, Splatterlands, Ominous Realities and Equilibrium Overturned--put out a call for submissions for two more anthos–Death’s Realm and Savage Beasts–and also take on a novella collection by your truly, The End in All Beginnings.  Oh, and they were also nominated for a HWA Stoker Award for THE VERY FIRST BOOK THEY PUBLISHED, Dark Visions Vol. 1. (which, incidentally, featured a story by me.)  I’ve been lucky enough to land in three of GMP’s books so far, and I have the feeling I’ll have a long, happy and productive relationship with them because they do things right.

Tony, well, Anthony Rivera to you, is the publisher of GMP, and he posted a very nice thank you on GMP’s Facebook page.  Go here and give it a read.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There are a lot of publishing companies out there these days, and a lot of ways I could have gone to bring my books to market.  But I am immensely proud that GMP is my publisher.  If you haven’t read any of its books, what the hell are you waiting for?

Congrats to Tony, Sharon and everyone at GMP on a first year other companies would be glad to have as a fifth or a tenth year.  Imagine what they’re gonna do this year.  And next.


Wanna Get The End in All Beginnings AND Save 40%? You’re in Luck!

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Not only can you pre-order my new novella collection, The End in All Beginnings, now, but you can also save 40%.  From today until September 22, order the Kindle version of the book at Amazon, and save 40%–get it for just $3.99.  On September 23, the general release date, the price goes up to a still very reasonable $6.99.

Act quick.  The End is coming!


Here’s a Cool Banner…

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It Ain’t Out for Another 2 Weeks, But You Can Advance Order The End in All Beginnings Now.

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So, my new novella collection, The End in All Beginnings, doesn’t actually come out until September 23.  But the kind folks at Amazon began taking advance orders for the Kindle edition today.  Today.

Like the swanky new cover?  Like the amazeballs blurbs from Kealan Patrick Burke and Jack Fucking Ketchum?  Like the fact that Grey Matter Press refers to me as the “King of Pain?”  I sure do.

With two weeks still to go, you can order the book and rest easy that it will show up on your Kindle without doing anything else.  Isn’t technology great?

So, go here and get The End in All Beginnings ordered and relax…until it shows up, that is.  Then ya gotta read it.  And it’s loaded with feels.

Oh, and BTW, there’ll be another surprise announcement sometime in the next couple of weeks, so watch for it.

And I’ve got another book warming up on deck.  It’s called Infestation, and it should be out from Books of the Dead soon….soon.


So, Joe Schwartz Finally Gets a Website. Go There.

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My friend and fellow author Joe Schwartz has finally got a website up.  Joe writes what could be labelled transgressive fiction–lots of bad stuff happening to and/or because of semi-bad (but interesting!) people.  What Joe really writes is men.  Man stuff.  Stuff that resonates with most American males, good and bad. Well, let’s face it, mostly bad.  And much of Joe’s writing is set rightchere in St. Louis.

Joe’s website is here.

Joe’s an awesome guy and a really, really fine writer.  We’ve formed a little writer’s group of two…and only two…and it’s always a pleasure to read Joe’s work.  We’re also working on a novella collection entitled I Can Taste the Blood, along with J. Daniel Stone and Erik T. Johnson, also extraordinary writers.  And Joe’s the only one who’s got his story done, so there’s that.  More on that collection soon!

Joe’s got three collections and a novel out now:

The Games Men Play

The Veiled Prophet of St. Louis

Joe’s Black T-Shirt

A Season Without Rain

Take a look.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Joe’s got a way with words, and that’s something that I’m pretty consistent with in authors I enjoy!

P.S.  In the picture above, as with all pictures of me with my friends, Joe is the one with a lush head of hair.  I’m the other guy.


The End in All Beginnings from Grey Matter Press: September 23

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So, Grey Matter Press made the big announcement today.  The general release version of my novella collection, The End in All Beginnings, will be published Sept. 23 in paperback and digital editions.  This book was produced with the help of Stoker-nominated industry editor R.J. Cavender and the Stoker-nominated editorial team of Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson at Grey Matter.

Go here to read Grey Matter’s full release.  They say a lot of very nice things about me.  

If you were lucky enough to get a signed advance copy of the book, hang on to it.  It might be worth something someday.  If not, this is your chance to get your hands on a book I’m very, very proud of.  And it’s got some great blurbs from the likes of Kealan Patrick Burke, Jonathan Maberry and Jack Ketchum.

There are more surprises to come, but mark your calendars for Sept. 23.

 


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