Friday, December 13, 2013

Moved blog to WordPress

You can now find this blog on WordPress at All older blog posts and comments were moved there too.

This is now a dormant site sitting here for posterity, mainly because I haven't figured out how to shut it off.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Sunrise over East River, NYC
It's been over four months since I last posted on here. A lot has happened since April. Most significantly, my daughter had corrective brain/spinal surgery from which she has fully recovered, thankfully. We've persevered during these difficult months and good things are finally beginning to happen. 

My focus has returned to honing writing style and voice while exploring topics for my MFA thesis including creativity, fear, and motivation. And of course, writing dark fiction occupies my free time.  

So why am I sharing these thoughts with the world?

I just finished reading a great book on motivation – Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink – which resonates quite well with my professional experiences. I've always found it hard to dedicate my time to a job I didn't care about, even more so if I felt there was no greater purpose than collecting a meager paycheck at the end of the week. This got me thinking about my writing: what motivates me to write about certain subjects, what breaks me out of self-imposed episodes of writer's block, where my ideas come from, and so on. Furthermore, why I am so focused on writing about the creativity vs. fear thing, the topic of my thesis. Sure, both are fascinating subjects on their own, but there is a much deeper rooted thing here, which I am beginning to investigate.

Over the next few months I will explore these items and more on this blog. And I invite any readers to share your thoughts and experiences on these topics as they relate to fiction and nonfiction. Topics include but are not limited to: creativity, innovation, fear, motivation, work culture, and writing/working environment. If you're willing, I may include some of your stories in my thesis/book. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Overcoming A Negative Outlook

I’ve been in a rut lately. Creative writing has not been easy. Blog, fiction, my non-fiction book; the word challenge is an understatement. You might call it writer’s block. I call it work-related stress, grief over losing my beloved grandmother recently, and overall chaos that has pervaded my life lately. Staring at TV shows and zoning out to mindless puzzle games at night has never appealed so much, until it bothered me that time was wasting away on frivolity. Then something happened this week.

A co-worker read my blog entry “The Antithesis of Creativity.” She was floored, in her words; she said she had read it at exactly the right time. She printed it out so her husband could read it that night, I understand he’s going through some tough times too when it comes to employment, as several of my friends are in the same situation. She wanted him to read it to help change his outlook.

This knowledge, that I had this affect on someone with words and thoughts I wrote a few months ago, changed my outlook. Inspiration has returned just in time. My friend and coworker’s words came to me at exactly the right time. I have a busy year of writing ahead of me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Announcing the Publication of The Demonologia Biblica

Hey everyone,

I haven't been too active on this blog lately – hard at work on preparing stories for publication and dealing with some heavy curveballs life threw my way recently. However, I have some exciting news....

My short story "F is for Furcas: Lies Under Skin" is part of the brand new anthology from Western Legends Publishing, The Demonologia Biblica, the first of the Tres Liborum Prohibitorum series, edited and compiled by Dean M. Drinkel.

This book features twenty-six demonic stories from twenty-six emerging, established and award-winning authors. Now available on Amazon.

Please support this book – you won't regret it!

Amazon US
» Paperback
» Kindle eBook

Amazon UK
» Paperback
» Kindle eBook

Thursday, January 10, 2013

About to launch: The Demonologia Biblica

So I've been involved in this really cool project for the past four or so motion-blurred months: The Demonologia Biblica. A horror anthology from Western Legends Publishing featuring twenty-six stories by twenty-six authors about demons of all kinds doing all sorts of crazy evil things that only demons could do.

I was tasked to write a story featuring a demon with a name beginning with the letter F. After more research I care to admit to on some really geeky strange sites, I found my options were small. Like five options small, three of which were different spellings of the same guy. So I picked Furcas, a knight of hell who is known for teaching and wisdom and whatever else the old books purportedly claim according to those people who study this stuff. His simple folkloric appearance suggests that he is a harbinger of death, but he is also a calm rationale sort of guy. Who knew demons could be pleasant or nice?

My story, "Lies Under Skin," tells the tale of a seemingly good guy's encounter with Furcas on the road. Set in the autumnal wooded Hudson River Valley just north of New York City, it gives a subtle nod to one of the area's most well-known historic writers, Washington Irving. His work was one of my early influences that shaped my taste for fiction.

If any of you are wondering, I might have had something to do with the cover design, that seems to happen a lot. The incredible illustration credit, however, goes to the talented artist James R. Powell.

I will post more here when the book becomes available for purchase, should be by start of February.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Writing Craft: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

I found myself reading a kindred spirit in the writing style of Wells Tower. Tower takes a comprehensive approach to character development and story complexity, with the attitude of a fellow Gen Xer. Well-written subject matter carried a dark subtext, but not usually of some harrowing violence or a macabre scene – though the unusual title story “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” certainly filled that role, following a violent story of Viking invaders with hints of fantasy and speaking in current day vulgarity. These were stories about every day real people living real lives in the face of adversity and challenging interpersonal relationships.

The stories all fit the slice of life style I studied in college twenty-plus years ago, though much more developed and filled out. The darkest element was what was not written; the ambiguity. The stories ended with little-to-no closure after setting up tense scenes, elaborate intertwining storylines, and characters the reader can easily become vested in. For example, in the story “On the Show” we are left wondering if the perpetrator of an awful child-molestation act at a carnival is caught during the on-going police investigation. While the story follows the momentary lives of several characters at the carnival, his identity is casually revealed near the end as he thinks about his wife and daughter following a cattle competition he had just hosted:
But he doesn’t care for the pointless velocity of the carnival amusements. Looking out at the whirling skyline of the fair, he can’t help thinking about all the earth you could move, all the beef you could haul with so much fuel and good steal. He thinks, too, of last night, of the boy in the Honeypot, and feels a pleasant ache, like being rasped on the back of the sternum with a jeweler’s file. There’s a want in him to take a stroll around, but he pushes it down. (Nook Ed., p. 148)
With exception to the title story, I found myself struggling to accept the stories’ endings; I wasn’t ready to finish when they did. The lush prose and witty language made for compelling page turning, but the endings left too much unresolved.

I did something I don’t normally do when I write a book response or review: I read some online reviews by other readers to see how they responded as I work my way through my own takeaways. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned was loved by many readers though a handful disliked the lack of closure displaying the same feelings I had when I finally put the book down. Going back to my original point, it’s what wasn’t written that caught my attention. It was intentional to create discomfort, depicting the uncertainty of the real world. Not everything has a clean ending, or an ending at all, as we move through time and space interacting with each other.

As far as writing craft goes, it’s difficult for me to find specific focus on what I may have gained from Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned as I did from other recent books this year. His writing style shares many craft elements to my own. I will say this, though, it gave me a new respect for taking chances, particularly leaving stories intentionally open-ended. And it has spurred a new thought-process worth considering in forcing the reader to make connections and draw conclusions. I’m sure a few readers were put off for this reason, but I embraced it the trust and confidence Tower put on me.

Contemplating Newtown

Heavy sorry looms over the only state I have ever known as home. Twenty-four hours ago, an incomprehensible act of senseless violence took place in the nearby town of Newtown, Connecticut, a town I have always been fond of. We spent a lot of time there while living in neighboring Southbury. Some of our favorite restaurants, a barbershop I frequented, our bank, even our favorite dairy farm ice cream stand call Newtown home. It’s a town where some friends of past and present now reside as well as some of my cousins, and a community my wife and I have considered living in over the years.

Now when I turn on the news reporting on the tragedy, I recognize in the background little spots of normalcy, places we’ve enjoyed or just know in passing, corrupted my bright news camera lights setting the stage for the latest horrific details to be revealed. I know a few people whose loved-ones bore witness to this tragedy, including a teacher and a few students – all safe and unharmed – forever touched by this event. Another friend’s professional mentor and friend was not so fortunate, sadly.

Last night on my drive home from work as I approached Newtown along I-84, helicopter lights became apparent in the distance; more numerous as I passed by the Sandy Hook area. The exit ramp for Sandy Hook was barricaded confusing the drivers ahead of me as I listened to the governor’s emotional speech from the Sandy Hook firehouse. A surreal moment and harsh reminder of a complicated and difficult day to comprehend.

Like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora, Newtown, or more specifically the beautiful small community of Sandy Hook, will carry a tragic and unfortunate mark in the American conscience. Let’s not remember it only by name, thought, let us remember each of the victims, including everyone who lived through it, and their families, and help them move forward with their lives.

No political arguments on gun control or religion in school will bring back the innocent lives lost; nor will they prevent further tragedies of this nature. All Americans need to come to an agreement that these violent acts cannot continue and look at the root causes. Untreated mental illness, easy access to legal and illegal firearms – we as a society need to change what we are doing in these areas, because our current actions are not working.