Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Vacation in the Ozarks of Missouri

Vacation, vacation, vacation. What better place to be than the Ozarks of Missouri to have an inspiring moment of writing. I was visiting my son recently down in Missouri when I noticed this sign posted on a vacant house. No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again. I did a double take and started to laugh, HARD. It could have been a joke, most likely it was, but it made me think before entering his land. I had a boat and docked it on the end of a pier. After seeing the sign, I decided it wasn't a very good idea. I walked around his yard, making sure I never crossed the property line.

Stories like these can give me some really funny ideas for writing. The image stuck with me. I imagined a man hiding inside an old abandoned house with a shotgun in his hands, waiting for the first person to invade his territory. Property rights are one of the oldest and most valuable things to own. People can become very territorial when someone is caught trespassing on their land.

When I returned home and started writing again, I found the perfect place to add this sign to my story, Wyoming. I had been stuck writing it—writers block, probably. I knew exactly what I wanted to write but I didn't exactly know how to write what I wanted to—if that makes sense. The vacation was good for me but seeing that sign gave me ideas and invigorated me to write something funny in my story—and I must admit, a little creepy too.

The chapter deals with a very bad man named Red, driving through an empty part of Wyoming. He carelessly drives his Hummer utility vehicle into the side of a barn and crashes—yes, I agree that it would be very difficult to crash a Hummer but it happened. Red starts to inspect his situation when he discovers the sign and can't help but laugh to himself. Before he can catch his breath, he notices an addition to the sign in red handwriting that says, Any remains will be fed to my dog. Red can't help but laugh with joy. Finally, he had found someone with a similar sense of humor.

I'm guessing this is how most people begin writing a story. A simple sign or image appears and from there, everything just expands into a short story or maybe even an entire novel. That's how it works for me anyways. Sometimes these images are hard to keep up with and can be lost as easily as they were found. I try to keep a small journal of most of these images. Some of them have blossomed into entire novels. Some of them are just beginning to evolve, while others like this one have only become a small part of the story.

Wyoming continues on after a short hiatus. I have been spending most of my summer reading and writing some other wild and crazy adventures, but now it's time to continue on with my story about a young man who has lost faith in everything he's ever believed in. I have a really good feeling that he's about to discover that not everything is bad in this world we live in and somehow that wheel of fortune keeps spinning around for all of us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fiction, writing, Stephen King, and reviews

I was reading Stephen King's latest, Joyland, over the weekend at poolside. A perfect weekend to enjoy being under the brilliant sunlight reading one of my favorite authors. I was excited to get his latest, hoping not to be disappointed. So far, so good.

I took a peek at the back of the book titled, Author's Note. He usually gives a little synopsis about himself, maybe what inspired him or what the book meant to him. This time, he discussed "the Talk" which he discussed in his book. It's a made up language or maybe dialect as he saw fit for the book. What grabbed my attention was this, "Carny purists (I'm sure there are such) are even now preparing to write and inform me, with varying degrees of outrage, that much of what I called "the Talk" doesn't exist...Such purists would be correct, but they can save their letters and emails. Folks, that's why they call it fiction."

The reason I bring this up is because, as a writer, I can totally relate. I wanted to leap up and shout, "Yes! I get it! This is exactly how I feel!" I write fiction. The people, places and stories I write are completely fictional. I don't understand why people have a hard time understanding this. Too many people believe that because a writer takes a place, such as I did with the town of Crystal Lake, that it must be real. It's not, at least, not in my case. I made up a town, decided to call it Crystal Lake and created it. My next book, The Bartello, takes place in a town I grew up in, Mt. Prospect. It's nothing like the town of Mt. Prospect but that's because I made it up in my head. Sure, when I write there are things I have experienced that I want to explore or write about but just remember, I'm writing fiction, as mentioned by Stephen King.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Adventures in writing horror stories

Dark scary adventures with a light at the end of the tunnel. How's that for a genre?

I have been asked by many people, what kind of story do I write? Generally, I tell them horror and I get this look. You know the look, the raised eye and the dropped jaw. It's that look from people who don't like scary stories or maybe the people who just don't like random killings. I don't blame them because I'm not a fan of killing off hundreds of mindless zombies walking around either. Then I tell people I write thriller novels but that's not quite right. I write dark stories of adventure in places people are familiar with. So, I eventually break down and tell them I write dark stories of adventure. They laugh and say, so, you write horror?

I don't write zombie novels. I know, it's the newest craze for some odd reason but I don't think they have much substance other than a thousand heads rolling. I don't write vampires falling in love stories, though maybe I should because I hear it makes a lot of money. I don't believe the dead can love if they don't have a heart and soul.

I write horror novels. I write adventure novels. I write stories that bring me on a dark journey with a light at the end of the tunnel. My books have become adventures and because they are scary at times or deal with some pretty scary people, they have also become horror novels.

The one comment that keeps coming back to me is this. I don't like horror novels but I really liked your book. It isn't the typical horror story. This comment always makes me laugh because it's true. My stories aren't the typical slash and burn type of horror story. My novels are an adventure into the dark side of a story that I am trying to convey with a lesson learned. If I can keep you up all night scared to turn the light off, that's good but what I really want is to have you thinking about what I write. I want my writing to have an affect on the reader that keeps them up all night because they can't get that image out of their mind. A lesson learned or maybe just wanting to read the story again, just like I did with my favorite stories.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Adventures of Writing

It's time for a facelift.

Writing has taken me on several adventures. Each story has it's own unique characters and plots that have their own places in my heart.

The one thing I have struggled with during my writing has been the genre. I can still remember a long time ago when I once dreamed of writing, how I struggled with the type of genre my books would be. I was a fan of Stephen King at the time. I became a fanatic, buying his book as soon as it came out and I always looked forward to the next one. I loved the way he wrote and I still think he is one of the great ones. His writing has definitely affected my own but I asked myself, was I actually going to write horror novels? Some of my other favorite books were stories of adventure. Michael Crichton has some fabulous books, like Jurassic Park. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien is a classic and one of my favorite books of all time. I read Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain so many times and I still find it as one of my favorites.

So I started thinking things over about my writing. My style isn't going to change, I have that down pretty well. It's the description of what it is that needs a facelift. Several comments from people who have read my first book, mentioned that my story was different from most horror novels that they read or it wasn't what they were expecting from a horror novel, in a good way of course!

So what are my stories about? All you need to do is look back at the ones that have affected me the most.

I love a real good story about adventure. I love stories that take me to places that are exciting. Some of it may be fantasy and some of it may be real but all of these stories are adventures. That's the type of story I want to write. That's the type of story I have written and the type of story I am writing right now. Adventure is something that takes us on a journey discovering new places and new ideas but it also takes us to a place to learn things about ourselves and hopefully learn to be better people. That's what I want to do and that's where my stories are taking me.

So, in the next few days, weeks, or maybe even months, I am going to be making a change on this website as well as a general idea of my books. Will it stick? Who knows but it's always an adventure and I am hoping you'll  come along on the ride with me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Writing, keeping things together, and working hard

I've been busy lately putting an iron to the fire. Writing isn't easy when there are other things keeping me occupied. Between my work, family life and keeping up with odds and ends, it's been hectic trying to write my books as well. I feel like a juggler trying to balance five things at once. How do they do that?

The Bartello has been in the constant process of evolution. It's like just when I think it's perfect, another idea comes to mind. By the way, is anything ever perfect? I changed a few things about the way it was written, I believe you will like it.

As for juggling different things, how about writing three books at once? I feel real good about The Bartello. I mean seriously, I am ALMOST THERE! Since then, I started writing Wyoming and then this crazy idea came to mind. I started writing ANOTHER BOOK. Sure, laugh all you want but all three are really good. Don't all good things come in threes?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Déjà vu and bobcats

More scary cat stories. This really happened. A man was attacked in his garage in Massachusetts just the other day by a bobcat. Honest!

If you read my book, Nine Lives, you already know the rest of the story. In my book, Michael Morino is stalked by an evil presence which happens to take on the form of a cat. Each time, the cat becomes larger and deadlier. Without giving too much away—in case you didn't get a chance to read it (ha ha)—Michael is attacked by a bobcat. Just to take it a step further, in my story, another larger cat attacks his brother-in-law in his garage. Déjà vu?

Click on the link above to read the rest of the story.