Headshots (or just pics of me)


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FOR THE LOVE OF COULSON (or how Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. can not suck)


Alright. This is hard to admit.

HARD.

Cause The Avengers pretty much came out and rocked my ass, your ass, and your grandma’s ass off. Cause Joss Whedon is a badass who can chew up corporate crap and spit out magic rainbows of love. Cause Clark Gregg is a bonafied Terminator when it comes to playing Agent Coulson, stealing a multi-million dollar movie from some of Hollywood’s biggest players. Cause, dammit, this is the Marvel Universe and the sumbitchin Avengers part of it.

But the really real truth of the matter is that Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much blows.

Hey guys, pose like you're gonna kill a franchise.

Hey guys, pose like you’re gonna kill a franchise.

I’m not the first one to say it so put your hair back on. The show is flat and boring. Nobody is engaging. I just don’t give a shit what happens because I know when the show starts that NOTHING is going to happen. There are no consequences. Everybody is exactly who they were when the show started and I feel they will remain that when the show ends. The actors have zero chemistry and even the indomitable Clark Gregg comes off as flat and muted.

Hell, it’s making me kinda hate Agent Coulson.

Yep He's dead.

Yep He’s dead.

So what can be done? I’m glad you asked.

FIRST this show needs to remember that it is a part of the Marvel Universe. We were promised that it would tie in and we have seen almost NONE of that. Yes we got a 30 second appearance of Nick Fury at the end of an episode, but where are the small nods? The inside fanboy references? The freaking copy of the Daily Bugle with SPIDERMAN: HERO OR MENACE? plastered across the front of it. Why hasn’t this team started running into A.I.M. or Hydra or any of the other bad guy organizations out there? You have about 30,000 C and D list heroes and villains you can swing into this show for almost no money. Hell, Thor hits in two weeks, just give me a red and silver streak CGI’ed across the sky and have Coulson comment on it.

It's like I made that shit up.

It’s like I made that shit up.

SECONDLY this show REALLY needs some consequence. Like the episode called EYE SPY. Crap episode. Nothing really happened. Had a glimmer of promise that quickly died. HOWEVER, they could have pulled that episode out by

SPOILERS WARNING!

simply doing one thing at the end. When the girl who they removed the eye from laid down at the end of the show and her eye began to flutter as she fell asleep they should have simply had the one eye left pop open and then do that zzzzt bloodspurt thing that happened to her handler.

BAM! all of a sudden you establish a few things. 1) Coulson’s team (and by extension S.H.I.E.L.D.) can miss things, which creates a helluva lot of tension. 2) It indicates that the person in control of the eye devices has a bigger plan and won’t simply disappear after this one episode. These two things could turn the show in the right direction because these two things are missing.

Truthfully they should call me and I can fix this show.

Here’s what the dealio should be: We all know that Coulson died in The Avengers movie. This Coulson is something else. He may be a Life Model Decoy, he might be a prototype of Ultron or Kang or a Doombot or a brainwiped Skrull or some other thing FROM THE MARVEL UNIVERSE that could possibly become the Vision. Regardless, he isn’t human and S.H.I.E.L.D. is field testing him.

He thinks he’s in charge of this team of misfits but truthfully THEY are handling him because he’s dangerous.

There are two scientists because they are both studying him using their different schools of training. Agent Ward and Agent May are there so that if he doesn’t work out they are the two with the ability to take him down. And the Rising Tide girl is the wildcard and the ONLY one who doesn’t know Coulson’s secret besides him. Of course her gig is to investigate and to mistrust S.H.I.E.L.D. so when tidbits of info that things are not as they seem come out, she is our way of finding out about it. She is our intro character. Once she finds out the truth she drops the knowledge on Coulson and he and her go off the rails.

Then we find out that this whole time they haven’t been working for S.H.I.E.L.D. at all.

Aw yeah son.

Aw yeah son.

BAM!

Seriously Joss, give me a call.

TA HELL WITH A MASS MARKET (my opinion as a reader on why I love Trade Paperbacks)


I have a ton of books.

I don’t know how much they actually weigh, but me and the Missus have a book buying problem. Actually, the phraseology on that is wrong. We have NO problem buying books. Ignore the fact that my TBR pile numbers near 100. Ignore also the fact that there are easily 20 current releases I have NOT purchased simply because I know when I do I will immediately read them thus pushing my TBR pile even further int he background. (Yes, I’m looking at you COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher. Fuck you, don’t make me feel guilty for not bathing in your sweet sweet cotton-candy scented literature. I’ll get to you. I will. I PROMISE. It is inevitable.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, books.

Here is a pic of our new, grown folks books shelves and our library at the house.

ALL the books on the left two shelves are mine.

ALL the books on the left two shelves are mine.

 

So earlier I was thinking about books. The physical form of the book. I decided that I am totally over mass market paperbacks. I much prefer the size of a trade paperback.

Mass market paperbacks are now the cats of the publishing world in my opinion.

Now I’ll still buy a mass market, hell I bought one last night (SHARP by my good friend Alex Hughes). But if I can, I’m buying trades from now on.

Book four of the Deacon Chalk series will be trade paperback size.

My double anthology of sword and sorcery stories that I edited for Seventh Star press will be trade paperback size.

I’m actually going to push for any book released by me to be automatically in trade paperback size. I may not get it for everything, but it’s what I want.

They are easier to hold, easier to read, and easier to shelve. They are narrower, so you can fit more on a shelf, and with a mass market, you lose the 3-4 inch difference in dead space between the top of the book and the bottom of the shelf above it.

This post has no real merit. It was just a musing I thought I would indulge because, hey, fuck it, it’s my internet too.

So what’s your choice or opinion on this hot-button issue?

HOW FAR CAN I CARRY YOU? (or self-reliance)


There is a thing in this world that we are falling short of. It’s something that is vital to our health as a nation and as individuals.

It’s called SELF-RELIANCE.

The simple truth of life is that in this life you have to carry your own weight. It’s a complicated thing that you spend your childhood learning about and your teens figuring out how to do it. Once you become an adult you should have it worked out as to how you are going to take yourself through life.

Say you an me are going on a journey. The two of us are hitting the road and needing to go somewhere. We are walking. Now, I may not walk fast, but I can walk pretty far. The two of us could probably cover 10-20 miles before we had to stop. That’s a pretty fair piece.

I’m a big guy. 6’4 well over 300 lbs. I’m pretty strong. If you climb on my back I can probably carry you maybe a half mile before your weight would make me have to set you down.

Now pay attention to what happened in that example.

Both of us walking, carrying our own weight, we could go 20 miles.

Me carrying you, we could go 1/40th that distance. (and if I strapped up to your back we’d be lucky to make it 10 feet. (I am a heavy bastard)

Now this example carries over to your entire life. It applies to your work, to your marriage, to your friendships, to damn near everything you ever do. If we all carry our own weight we can go further. We can encourage each other on the road and inspire each other to reach destinations more distant than we would travel to on our own.

But we do it on our own two feet. Standing, walking, striding forward.

Walk beside. Don’t ride. You’ll get farther.

WHERE YOU AT, TUCK WHERE YOU AT? (or a general update)


So, it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged.

Sorry about that.

Here’s the happy haps so you can keep up.

First of all: BLOOD AND MAGICK drops like a lead elephant NEXT TUESDAY! (March 4th) so go buy it, review it, tell all your friends, show the love, and kick the ass.

Convention season is upon us, well, upon me anyways. I’ll be doing a boat ton of travelling, working conventions. I did OLDE CITY, NEW BLOOD at the beginning of the month and it was super awesome. Mark it down and make your plans for next year. That convention ROCKED. I got to hang out with a ton of great authors, bloggers, and reader. Met a ton of folks I know from online and some folks I didn’t know at all before then.

Then I came home and the following weekend my gall bladder tried to kill me.

Honest Injun, it was the worst thing I have ever been through. I was in so much pain all I could do was moan and hold my midsection. It felt like I was being pummeled by some big redneck boys whose sister/cousin I had insulted. I threw up more than I could have ever imagined my stomach holding, and overall thought I was going to cash it in.  I was too sick to write, hell I was too sick to watch TV. So that was 4 days gone to shit without anything to show for it except almost 20 pounds lost. I have declared though, that if that happens again I will have that gall bladder yanked out.

Hell, I might even do it myself.

After recovering i did ANACHROCON the next weekend. It’s a good convention, steampunk as hell and that’s just fine. It’s not my gig, but I like it. I like folks in costume, especially when they go to the extreme and do it with the class that most of the attendees at ANACHROCON do. Hung out mostly on the Classic Horror track, which was run by my good friend Derek Tatum, and talked a lot of Lovecraft and Cthulhu. I made the statement that Cthulhu is the Fonz of elder gods and I believe it more and more.

This weekend is Con Nooga and I’ll only be there Sat, but it is an action packed Sat. I think I’m on 8 panels. With a two hour drive up and a two hour drive back i should be a tired puppy at the end.

Selections have been made for my anthology, THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD, through Seventh Star Press. It’s now a two volume set and will be totally kick ass.

And I’m now posting monthly at MAGICAL WORDS, a really terrific writing website that is genre specific. I’ll be there Friday so stop on by!

Other than that everything is five by five and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

THE OBLIGATORY NEW YEAR’S POST (or rangin’ in 2013 a bit late)


Loyals and True Believers we made it another year.

2013 Hell yeah and Amen and pass the bourbon.

I’m like most of you, I try to make changes with each new year. Most of them have to do with writing but there are more so here’s some random resolutions that are bouncing around in my head.

1) 60% OF A MILLION

I did some figuring the other day. If I write 2,000 words a day, taking off one day a week and allowing for 13 sick days, at the end of 2013 I will have written 600,000 words. SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND! That’s astounding. I’m going to give it my best try, keeping track and seeing if it can be done. I’ve got about 240,000 words worth of projects laid out for the year which leaves 360,000 words to spend on new things. It’s exciting!

2) SPEAKING OF WRITING

I am making a conscious decision to quit screwing around with my wordsmithy. I am seeking out new words and new ways to use them, studying poets of the caliber of Yeats, Tennyson, and Donne. I’ll be pulling out the Ecclesiastes and the Psalms (in both King James and Douay-Rheim) and the early turn of the century (not the 21st) writers like the church fathers. Basically I want to get my Cormac McCarthy on and combine the lyrical sentence work with my pulp sensibility.

3) LOSE WEIGHT

Yep. We all say it but unlike you I stepped on a scale that informed me I was a super svelte 383 lbs. Let that sink in for a second. I am SEVENTEEN POUNDS FROM BEING 400. That is a bit ridiculous. I’ve always been a big guy. I like being a big guy but it is time to reel that shit in.

4) WORK THE TATTOO GIG LIKE A BUSINESS OWNER

I can be honest with you. This past year I really let the shop take care of itself while I chased my author dreams. I don’t regret anything and the shop did fine but I know that Family tradition needs my attention. If I just leave it be it will not thrive and I LOVE my shop, I want it to grow and be the best shop it can be. It’s a great place and even if words flow through my veins, tattooing is in my bones. It was there first and is still part of my DNA. So the ship is being tightened up, changes implemented and new things put in motion.

5) A NEW SCHEDULE

This all happens with a bit of structure on my part. Instead of willy nilly doing whatever the hell I want I have to apply this brain of mine to the situation and manufacture a workable schedule to do what I want. I am pretty sure I have it worked out and it is implemented and undergoing study to see where it needs be tweaked for efficiency.

 

Other than the big five it’s a bunch of little things. I plan to drink more bourbon, to meet new folks, to explore new forms of writing and new pieces of art. I’m 42 and I love my life and I plan to truly enjoy it all.

 

I GOT A NEW OFFICE (oh hell yeah)


Yep. The Daughter moved out and I have turned her room into my office. I miss her, but I do like having a place with a big monitor and no internet to write in. Her bed is still there because, thankfully, she does come home to visit and we need a place where guests could, theoretically, stay overnight.

Now we are having a writer’s group Halloween party soon, so I will will post up a full on video tour of the office then, but for now I want to show you my desk.


Yep. I got my Boondock Saints Poster, one of three Frank Frazetta prints, a bunch of books from Conan to Mack Bolan, Wally Wood’s PANELS THAT ALWAYS WORK print, a rosary, a framed hotrod magazine, a crapton of action figures, and my Conan comic screen saver on my big piss off monitor.

I love it.

Here’s a closer shot of how it looks when I look up from the monitor while writing and a list of the figures you see.

From the left:

Hellboy vinyl statue, some zombie viking figure that I am sure is a McFarlane toy, Svadun and Belit (Queen of the Black Coast) from the Conan action figure line from McFarlane with Viking Spawn looking down from above (I have had that figure for near twenty years!),  Conan himself with a big ass hammer, Cthulhu all gnarly looking, Ash with chainsaw and boomstick in the upper corner, and finally My Little Cthulhu with screaming victims.

This is where I go to send wordcount to Valhalla.

OH THE HORROR (I might be on a kick)


Those of you who know me, know that I am pretty kicky. I get on kicks. I become slightly obsessive about something and get really into it and make it my focus and then after a while I move on to something else.

Now, my kicks are all organic. They are things that I honestly like and enjoy and when I move off a kick I don’t stop liking or enjoying that thing it just isn’t my all-consuming focus any more. I tend to cycle through stuff too. Blues, guns, hotrods, etc…

Right now, I am on a horror kick.

Which is cool since I am writing a horror book. It has some urban fantasy elements, but it is pretty much a straight horror novel.

So, because of this horror kick, let me share some of my fave scary stuff with you.

1) The writing of Brian Keene.

Damn Brian Keene can write. His stuff is like Stephen King’s but scarier and way further out on the edge.  But he writes characters that are both believable and relatable that you get sucked into. Plus his horror concepts are tremendous. I was reading his terrific novel DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN.  Was. I made the mistake of leaving the book by the computer one night when I went to bed. My son gets up for school the next day and read like 3 chapters. We discussed how good it was that night. I left the book out the next night when I went to bed and BAM! that little SOB absconded with it. (I ain’t mad. I love for him to read)

Check out Brian’s website HERE and follow him on the twitter and stuff too. He’s a nice guy with a ton of stuff going on.

2) Deadite Press

Tying into the Brian Keene thing. You can go to Brian’s website and search DORCHESTER and see the back story( or CLICK HERE cause I did it for you, lazybones), but basically most of Brian Keene’s stuff was published by them for YEARS. They went tits up and left a lot of horror writers on the screwed end of publishing. Brian got his rights back and then chose Deadite Press to put out his back list as well as new releases. They do a quality job and they have a real publisher identity. Now they cover the extreme end of horror, the guts and the gore, and the deeply disturbing, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

DEADITE PRESS’S WEBSITE

3) Extreme Horror

This is a brand of horror that goes THERE. You know, the stuff that will literally make you sick to your stomach. It is NOT for everyone. This isn’t Stephen King, or THE SIXTH SENSE, this is bloody-bowels-emptied-on-the-floor-then-possesed-by-Satan-and-crawling-to-kill-you horror. It’s dark, disturbing, terrible stuff. I like it, but I am well-adjusted and secure in all that I believe is right and good in the universe. But this stuff isn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t let my son read it. It is 18 and over stuff. But that being said the stuff I love int his genre are in particular WRATH JAMES WHITE and EDWARD LEE. I read THE BIGHEAD by Edward Lee a long time ago. It is one of the most disturbing novels I have ever read. Seriously, I nearly had to put it down it was so disturbing, and you know that I am not squeamish at ALL.

4) MAY

May is one of my favorite horror movies ever. It is a terrific little flick about a disturbed chick who grows up play with and making dolls. She gets in the real world, discovers that people will use her for their own amusement instead of being decent and truly friendly so she snaps and begins to make a true friend out of the parts of folks she likes. The lead actress does a terrific job. This aired recently on cable so it is on my DVR just waiting for me to have a spare evening to watch it.

HEAD DOWN, MAKE WORDS (or how JA Konrath and Barry Eisler convinced me to write more)


Hello, hello.

This is not a blog about Amazon, Konrath, or self-publishing.  That blog is coming, but it is not todays.

Today I here to contemplate productivity.

Basically I have found myself, after book one of the Deacon Chalk series hit the bookstores, under the gun as far as deadline. Book 3 and e-novella 3 are due at the end of April.  I have been working diligently, making words, which is why we have had a few guests round these parts lately.  I have been plugging away.  I am now on track to finish in the allotted time which means that I will have written, and revised, roughly 100,000 words in about 2 months.

I have been able to accomplish this because I have a fairly clear idea where the story is going and coffee.

But this makes me realize that I need to be doing close to this level of production regularly. It’s not been a strain or a real struggle.

At close to that pace I could write 3+ novels a year.

Or have 5 novellas in 2 months.

I could build a nice sized catalog of stories in a short time.

Regardless of what I decide to do with pursuing publisher or indie publishing there is no question that the more material you have in the marketplace, the more money you make.

So I must write more because, by God I can. It’s not like I don’t have a list of story ideas as long as my gorilla style, freakishly long arm.

Maybe I will invest in Caf’e Bustello, the best damn coffee in the world….or at Walmart anyways.

GOOD TIMES AND GOOD PEEPS (or a Con Nooga 2012 wrap-up)


So last weekend was Con Nooga held in Chattanooga Tn at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It’s a nice, quiet convention. It’s not nearly as crazy as Dragoncon, (Big shout out to Derek Tatum for letting me crash at his place while I was there.) but was a ton of fun.

Now I stayed mostly in the Literary track, hanging with my own kind. lol. I met some really great folks over the weekend. Now Iam going to miss some folks and I will catch them on a follow up post, but I have been sick for almost 4 days so you will just have to forgive me.

These are in no certain order.

Dan Jolley- Dan is a helluva guy. Friendly, easy to talk to, and he has written some of my favorite comic book titles. I LOVE the JSA and he has written them. Now he spends most of his time  writing a little known game called Prototype 2. (That was total sarcasm. This game is supposed to be AWESOME!) He has stuff to read, go check it out.

WWW.DANJOLLEY.COM

Sean Taylor- This guy read some snippets from his SHOW ME A HERO anthology and made me extremely jealous. It was really, really, good. Another really nice guy and he has a great blog you should check out daily. Go click on his website and you will find the link.

WWW.TAYLORVERSE.COM

Stephen Zimmer- This man is a helluva professional. He has a ton of great looking books out and he really knows his stuff. Making books or making movies I suggest you go look at his stuff. Plus he is probably coming to a convention near you soon, he travels like a crazy person!

WWW.STEPHENZIMMER.COM

Andy Deane- Frontman for the band Bella Morte who I did not get to see perform in concert, but after listening to their stuff at home I wish I had. Andy was funny as hell, always bringing a laugh with him, even at 10AM.  He’s got flair, you gotta admit that and his books show the same. Buy a book, get a cd, wear the t-shirt and Andy will come to your house and make you coffee.

WWW.ANDYDEANE.NET

D. A. Adams- Alex was pretty soft-spoken but when he did pipe up it was always with some quality stuff. He does like to use the $15 dollar words. lol. He has a great series following the Brotherhood of the Dwarves. Highly recommended if you like dwarvish mayhem and hey, who doesn’t?

WWW.DAADAMS.COM

Venessa Giunta- No I did not misspell her name. This wonderful lady was so freaking helpful. She is a consummate professional and really knows her stuff. If you ever find yourself at a convention where she is teaching one of her classes then go take it. When she talks to you about your work, you should listen.  She makes with the words of the wisdom.

WWW.VENESSAGIUNTA.COM

Kerlak Publishing- Wow, this publisher had a ton of folks representing at Con Nooga and all of them were wonderful. Their product looked super nice and they were on time with their professionalism. I highly recommend you check them out. If you are a reader, pick up a book. If you are a writer I can only imagine they would treat you well.

WWW.KERLAKPUBLISHING.COM

And there you go. I met many more awesome folks, including some wonderful fans. Next year the convention moves to a larger, more consolidated location so it should be even better!