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Ain’t it Dead Yet?

It’s been a while since I posted a formal update to this site. To be honest, there hasn’t been a lot to post about. I decided it was time I finally post about what’s been going on with my writing.

Right now, I have two pieces finished. I’m not sure what I want to do with the first. Necroshine is ridiculously over the top in every way imaginable. There’s graphic material in it that I just don’t want to release. It needs a major slash and burn edit job, but I haven’t had the desire to tackle that job. Maybe someday. But right now, the first draft will remain untouched.

The second piece is a different matter.

Save minor editorial changes and adjustments, I have a 25K word monster on the rampage novella ready to roll. It’s bloody, violent and dark. Lots of crazy gore, graphic sex and over the top moments. I really like it, so it’ll be released… but I’m not sure when.

It’s been so long since Extreme Haunt, I don’t think releasing a random novella into the wild will do me any good. I want to follow this thing up with another title in short order. I’ve started working on a promising candidate. It’ll be somewhere around 10K words, should I manage to see it through. Nice,  compact and easy to read. I hope to finish it before November.

I’ve decided I’ll take part in NaNoWriMo again, regardless of what happens with the novelette. In the past, I’ve completed four books as part of the challenge. Two have been released, two remain unreleased. That’s not a bad batting average. Presuming I complete the challenge, this one will be the tie-breaker.

My self-publishing journey isn’t over yet. I’d like to think I still have many more titles to release before I call it a day. It’s just taking a bit longer than I’d like. It ain’t dead, just merely sleeping… for now.

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Silent All This Year

This year hasn’t turned out the way I wanted. I started with the hope of publishing Psychopomp and a couple of novellas. Obviously this didn’t happen. I worked hard on Psychopomp, trying to get the novel into shape. But no matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t work. The same old problems kept popping up. It’s a huge mess of a story, with a ton of different elements. None of them ever came together in a satisfactory manner. I decided to scrap the novel back in May.

Over the past five months, I haven’t been able to sustain anything for more than a few pages. I inevitably lost focus and bounced to another story, or screenplay. Every month it seemed like I was working on something different. I’d add a few thousand words, only to move on to something else. Just total frustration. Complete failure as a writer.

Then I discovered Billy Rezneck.

Billy likes to play with dead things. Thinking about Billy, I started to get excited about his story. Since it was late in October, I decided to put off writing about him. NaNoWriMo was just around the corner. Maybe between the fresh unknown of Billy and the rigid schedule of the challenge, I could finish something.

November started, and I began work on Necroshine.necro_opening

That was 25,000 plus words ago.

I don’t know if this thing is publishable. It contains some of the most graphic stuff I’ve ever written. Explicit scenes of necrophilia, hardcore sex and ridiculous gore. But to be honest, I don’t care. I think the biggest problem I’ve had all year has been pressure. Worrying about publishing what I’m writing has made me second guess every decision, no matter how small. Necroshine is pure id. Every creative impulse I have just spilled out on the page. Will it ever see print? Who knows. I’m just happy that I might actually finish this thing. For now, that’s enough.

The Year of the Beast

Following completion of Extreme Haunt I drifted from project to project. I started a couple of novellas, but nothing really clicked. I always knew they weren’t the right next project. I wanted desperately to work on anything but the one project I knew had to be done. The day after Christmas I settled down and stopped messing around. I started work on Psychopomp again.

Intended as my follow-up novel to Live Undead, Psychopomp grew into an ugly mess of a book while I wrote it. Instead of cleaning it up, I locked it away and focused on other things. Some of those things came out, others withered and died. But still, Psychopomp lingered in the back of my mind. I knew I had to fix it. I wanted to finish it up last year, but Extreme Haunt took way longer than it should have.

Psychopomp will come out this year. I’ve hacked and slashed at the thing. I cut it down to the bone and then started to rebuild it. I might need another month or so to finish it right. I plan to be done around February. This means the Beast will rise in May or June.

Like Extreme Haunt, I’ll release a physical edition of Psychopomp. When I first started this self-publishing thing, I never intended to produce a paperback book. But my experiment with the physical format made me realize how much that option opened up my book promotion possibilities. While the physical edition of Extreme Haunt was rushed, I want two to three months to do Psychopomp right.

I’m looking forward to finally sharing this novel with you. Ethan Marks, the Disciple and The Beast Divine all deserve their chance to raise a little hell in public. I just wish I could have brought them to you sooner.

Opening the Doors

Extreme Haunt will be released September 1st. The Kindle edition is already available for pre-order. The physical edition should be available then as well. Here’s the official synopsis.

There is a house…

Ten years ago, a sole survivor escaped. Running screaming into the night, he would never be the same. The costume party he attended turned into a slaughter. Thirteen victims butchered by a psychotic guest. It was only the latest chapter in a nightmarish history steeped in blood. The Devil’s House laid dormant until now.

Hollywood special effects wizard Lee Masters made the Devil’s House the location for the fifth installment of his annual Halloween attraction. Extreme Haunt is the most intense haunted house event in America. Sick gore, crazy scares, great live actors and insane makeup effects; the attraction has everything this year, including real monsters.

Possessed by an evil entity, the haunted house performers are transformed into vicious blood-thirsty beasts. The cannibal butcher in the kitchen, the zombies in the basement and the Satanic sadist roaming the halls are hellbent on killing Extreme Haunt’s final guests. The doors are locked, and the gateway to hell has opened. This is a Halloween no one will ever forget.

The New Haunt

Halloween has always been my favorite time of year. Growing up, I loved getting into costume and going out trick-or-treating. I also loved going to haunted house attractions with my family. One of my favorite Halloween memories is being chased out of a haunted house by some guy in a cheap Leatherface knock-off costume and his very real chainsaw. Running back to the parking lot, I looked back and saw the actor head back inside to get ready for his next unsuspecting victim. It was such a visceral moment, it’s stayed with me all these years.

I haven’t visited a haunted house attraction in years, but I’m still fascinated by them. When I stumbled across an article about the new breed of haunted houses called Extreme Haunts, I couldn’t help but read it. In an Extreme Haunt, there are no barriers between audience and performer. Guests are abducted, tortured and put through the ringer all in the name of creating real and genuine scares. It’s a weird marriage of traditional haunted house scares and performance art. After reading the piece, I sought out more material about these places. Blackout Haunted House, Haunted Hoochie, McKamey Manor; they all specialize in pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a traditional haunted house.

Reading about these Extreme Haunts, I couldn’t help but wonder “what if?” What if one of these places went too far. What if the madmen and monsters they present crossed the line and became real? The question evolved into the basis for Extreme Haunt. Initially planned as a novella, it grew into a novel during NaNoWriMo. I spent the last few months cutting it back to novella length, only to realize it was better off as a full length. I’m currently in the home stretch on this novel. It seems like it’s been a long time, but it’s only been five months since conception. I can’t wait to open the doors on this haunt and introduce you to Hellion, Butcher and Brute. They’re eager to show you a night you’ll never forget.

Three Things

I wanted my first post this year to be the release date announcement for Extreme Haunt. Unfortunately, things got complicated. The slash and burn rewrite I planned turned out to be more extensive. I’m fleshing the novella out to novel length. Right now, I plan to release the book in late February or early March.

But what then?

Last year I hoped to release six or seven titles which included a mixture of novels, novellas and novelettes. Unfortunately only Nothing Zero materialized from my ambitious publication schedule. This year, I’m aiming to release three titles: Extreme Haunt, a slasher novella and Psychopomp, a book I abandoned last year.

While I would like to put all three out during the first half of the year, I’m not pushing myself. I want the slasher novella to be fun, and re-visiting Psychopomp is a chance to redeem a very bitter failure. I’m pretty certain I can complete work on all three before July, but after that I’m not sure. I have ideas, but nothing I’m ready to mention. I feel like looking past these three things would be unfair to them. I want to get them done, get them right and get them released before I move on to things four, five and six. It just would be nice if all these things happened in this calender year.

But I wont’ be disappointed if they don’t.