March 18th, 2017 - YES!!! As of 3:19am this morning, I am finally finished with the first draft of OLD COLD CANNIBAL!! It's coming in just short of 96,000 words --that's roughly 285 pages for you plebs out there-- and now all I need is a team of dedicated volunteer beta readers to tell me how much I suck!
February 23rd, 2017 - It's been a good month fer writin' good. As of 1 AM this morning, I've got 83,000 words and 16 chapters in the bag for OLD COLD CANNIBAL. And it's not just the same word typed over and over!!! Once the first draft nears completion, I'll of course have to edit, re-write, edit, re-edit, delete the entire thing, and then start over by making everybody into teen vampires into good clean Christian BSDM. OCC is a pretty fine book, in my esteemed opinion... easily the best creative work I've ever done in my entire life... arguably even better than the time I wrote The Brothers Karamazov.
January 17, 2017 - Sorry for not posting any updates since the Hayes administration, but all these Nazi asses aren't going to kick themselves. The only new news to report: OLD COLD CANNIBAL is now up to 54,000 words, 53,999 of which utterly fucking rock!!
October 8, 2016 - The TOMB... is..... ALIVE!!!
September 22, 2016 - 31,000 words into OLD COLD CANNIBAL, and still waitin' on Choice of Games to put up TOMB (it's next in their Hosted Games queue!), not to mention finished my first short story in over five years, NYE-186f ... it's been a busy last few weeks, to say the least! I was also looking over the website here, and realized that there are, uhh, a few pages that *may* need some, err.... updating. I'll get right on that, especially since once TOMB goes live, I'll have to rearrange the entire site anyways. I remember--sniff--back in the good old days, when this entire site was dedicated to *just* my first book! Oh, the times we had...
July 14th, 2016 - Still waiting on word back from Choice of Games and my little army of beta testers... in the meantime, I WAS going to start on a new project, a hockey-based humor book in the vein of The Onion's Our Dumb World, but have decided to shelve that one for now (again), and start on my next novel, OLD COLD CANNIBAL, the story of two con men in 1840s Colorado Territory who are trying to find and kill a dragon. I've been reading up on the competition (i.e., any "fantasy western" stuff I can find), and it's all pretty underwhelming, so this should be good.
May 30th, 2016 - YESSSSsssssss!!! My text-based choose-you-rown-adventure game, IN THE TOMB OF THE KHAN, it finally finished!! And by "finished," of course I mean that it still needs editing, getting set up on a server, acceptance from Choice of Games, and, naturally, a catchy cover. But the branching narratives are all done, the two dozen gruesome deaths plenty stomach-churning, and the humor sprinkled with a dark edge that should make it a good one. Now, to catch up on my Netflix queue and sleep...
February 22nd, 2016 - Quick update here. It's taking far, far, FAR longer than I'd ever expected (chalk it up to over 200+ hours of OT last year), but TOMB OF THE KHAN is actually.... nearing completion? It's up to about 42,000 words now, and I've still got a few loose ends to tie up --the fun part of a branching narrative is coming up with two dozen excruciatingly gruesome ways to die-- so it should be ready just before the heat death of the universe!! Fantastic news!!
November 29th, 2015 - Two updates in all of 2015? Clearly I'm the greatest self-promoter in human history. There's a fair amount to report, concerning my upcoming CYOA text-based game, IN THE TOMB OF THE KHAN. I know I've been 2/3rds done with it since this time last year or so, but REALLY, this time, I am actually 2/3rds done! 2/3rds done this time around just means an additional 15,000 words or so in the can! So what I expected would be a little 25,000-word game that took my three months to write has turned out to be a little more epic in scale than I'd thought. Damn my eyes! More updates to come in a bit!
May 10th, 2015 - Quick (and criminally overdue) update on the TOMB OF THE KHAN: it's 2/3rds finished!! Well, that's the good news, anyways. The bad news is that it was 2/3rds finished about a month and a half ago, and since then I've been working a shit-ton of overtime and helping a friend edit and format his first-ever book. KHAN is going to be a little different than EXMORTUS; more dark humor, less gore and sex, and zero swearing (tho, if you're into that sort of thing, I DO plan on writing a small collection of short stories revolving around certain EXMORTUS characters sometime in the near future). And once this game is done... I'll start on a standalone novel entitled THE GREAT HUNT, about a frontier-wide call for the head of a dragon in the Old West circa 1848. So stay tuned!!
November 2nd, 2014 - Welp, time to get this out in public: my next project is NOT a novel or short story, but rather, a GAME!! An 'interactive novel,' to be precise. I'm writing something very much like those old Choose Your Adventure books we read as kids, except in this one, you're an archaeologist in Central Asia searching for the long-lost tomb of Genghis Khan... only to discover the Lovecraftian horrors within. It's slow-going compared to a regular novel/story, since I'm also programming in code for the first time in my life, but I'm already 1/3rd done or thereabouts, so I hope to have it finished and on the Choice of Games gaming site relatively soon! Ka-ching!
November 2nd, 2014 - As promised, here is an interview with a fellow writer and friend of mine, Eric Swett, with a link to his new book, Apocalypse in the Balance, at the end. If you like apocalyptic fantasy --and you do, otherwise you'd be reading alternateen Twilight fan-fic forums right now-- I strongly recommend that you go and buy his books!
Why write fantasy?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved fantasy and science-fiction. The first movie I remember seeing in the movie theatre was Star Wars Episode IV, and it was a perfect blend of both. When I first tried my hand at writing fiction it was for extra credit in eighth grade English. I wrote a short story about a barbarian warrior fighting a dragon. I think I still have it somewhere and if I ever find it I might have to rewrite it just for fun. My first attempt at a novel was a fantasy as well, but it has been sitting unfinished for years. Someday I’ll take another stab at finishing that one.
Fantasy has always interested me. Magic, monsters, dragons and knights all have a place in my heart. When I was in third grade I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons, and that game really kicked my love for the fantastic into overdrive and it has never really slowed down. Once I am finished with the Armageddon Angels series I was planning on finishing up a couple of unedited novels I have sitting in the wings, but I may just have to give fantasy another try.
I guess I reached a level of self-confidence to understand that I did not need the approval of other writers. I used to let other writers tell me what they thought was wrong with my writing and it broke my confidence. I would abandon works because of criticism and unfair comparisons. The fantasy novel I mentioned above was all but abandoned because someone pointed out how my opening was not as good as George R. R. Martin’s in A Game of Thrones. While I’m sure his intentions were to advise, it felt like a personal assault at the time, as if I were not nearly good enough to be a writer. I suppose in a way he was right and that it took quite a bit more time for me to get better. I’m not saying I’m as good as Mr. Martin, but I know I’m good enough to share my writing with the public.
What's your greatest strength as a writer? Your biggest weakness?
My greatest strengths as a writer lie in my dialogue, or at least I have always believed that was the case. I’m a big believer in telling a story through the conversation of characters, and I want that conversation to seem as natural as possible. There is nothing worse than reading dialogue and thinking no one would talk like that.
For my weakness I would say it is character description. I have found that I have to consciously go back and write details about a character’s appearance. Usually I don’t realize I have glossed over a character’s appearance until later in the book and I’m trying to describe some simple aspect of their appearance and I realize I’m not entirely sure what the character looks like. I’ve gotten better about doing it, but it is something I really struggle with.
What are your future projects?
Currently I am working on a novella that takes place between Apocalypse Rising and Apocalypse in the Balance. Once that is done I will work on book three of Armageddon Angels. Like I said above, I have some other projects that are sitting, waiting to be edited or re-written, but I think they need to wait until I have finished this series. I am still working on the serialized piece I post on my blog, but I have been taking a break while finishing up Apocalypse in the Balance and getting it out there. I’ll start working on it again as soon as I catch up on the editing of what I have already written. Now that I have gotten my groove back, there will a lot more writing coming from me in the future.
Go get Eric's books at his website here, or on Amazon here.
Coming up tomorrow night: a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT on my current project!! Better bring an extra pair of pants for this one! And not those assless chaps your auntie got you last Christmas!
October 24th, 2014 - Welp, it's been almost three months since the completion of my EXMORTUS trilogy, and so far all three of you who bought it have said it ROCKED!! So that's the good news. The even better news? I've been completely ignoring any sort of marketing or self-promotion efforts and instead spent the last 2.5 months on my New Project! It's not 'exactly' a book... but I think it will be quite a bit of fun. Good, clean fun. As a final note, next week I'll be hosting an interview with another fantasy author, Eric Swett, who writes apocalyptic fantasy. I'll just go ahead and make an announcement about my FUGGIN AWESOME new project then!
In the meantime, buy my book, go on Amazon and give it five stars! Karma will thank you!
August 2nd, 2014 - It took four years of my life and trillions of gallons of blood, sweat, and tears, but the EXMORTUS trilogy is finally finished!! Book 3: TOMBS IN CHORUS is officially done, available whever ebooks are sold, and the print version will be available within the next two weeks! YESsssss!!! I went in a little different direction with the cover this time around --much more surreal, much less structural-- and may do the same for the first two books if I get around to it. Right now, tho, I'm taking a week off from the creative process, catching up on my Netflix queue, and plotting out my next big project (I'll reveal it in due time).
July 4th, 2014 - Hola amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya... well, the good news first, followed by the gooder news. I've been working as a tech writer for TI --a fantastic employer that's just a short 31-minute walk from my house-- allowing me to be a Productive Citizen of America. It's actually a great place to work, and represents a HUGE raise over what I was making after eight years at the DMN. So, yay! Secondly, I've been working like a hyperflagulating squirrel on meth to get the editing done, and.... it's not done yet. But it will be! Soon! I'm gunning for a release date of August 1st for EXMORTUS 3: TOMBS IN CHORUS. And let me tell you... this one is BY FAR the BEST of the series. I've learned a lot about my craft since I started putting pen to paper back in Whenever It Was, and the results are starting to show. Even my wife nearly cried at the very end (which was my nefarious goal.. go ahead, try and stop me! Muhahahah!!) Seriously, tho, check back here in a few weeks to see if Future Me is able to pull this off. If not Aug 1st, then Sept 1st, at the latest, barring any Yellowstone eruption or surprise invasion from Cuba.
April 7, 2014 - As some of you already know, I lost my j-o-b back in Feb. While you'd THINK this would mean more time to write, the opposite has actually proven true, as I now spend the majority of my 'productive' time late at night trying to look for gainful employment. I may be closing in on some soon, but I've got nothing concrete just yet. Beyond that, however: good news! I'm nearly finished revising the second half of the book, which I will then ship off to my long-suffering beta readers for criticism and undserved praise. While that's going on, I've got a lot of changes I need/desperately crave to make to the first half, and then the process starts over again. It's tedious, but well worth it. This third book, with a working title now of TOMBS IN CHORUS, will make the other two look like the Chinese food leaflets you get rubberbanded to your front door. Seriously!
January 28th, 2014 - And as of 4:26 AM on a frosty late night/early morning, the original manuscript to EXMORTUS 3: TOMBS REBIRTHED is DONESKI!! DONITO! DONEALANGALANGADINGDONG!! The epilogue turned out to be twice as long and, I hope, 4.3 times as powerful as I'd originally intended -so much that I actually kinda felt reluctant to finish the book. I feel kinda sad about it, to tell you the truth. Now on to a month or two of heavy editing and revision, and the EXMORTUS trilogy will be COMPLETE!! YEssssssS!
January 24th, 2014 - It's 4:30 AM on a frigid cold Friday morning in my unheated little office, but I am DONE-ITO with the final chapter of EXMORTUS 3: TOMBS!!! I've still got a tiny little epilogue to write, just a few paragraphs, but the primary work is done, the manuscript is saved in four different places, and I'm ready to re-enter normal society! Just kidding... my kids will never let that happen.
January 11th, 2014 - Just.... one.... more.... chapter.... gaaahh!
December 13th, 2013 - Just put the finishing touches on Chapter 28, meaning that there are JUST THREE CHAPTERS LEFT!! Well, three chapters and a really short and sweet epilogue. The final chapter will be a doozy, of course: an epic battle in which loose ends get tied up and a satisfying, highly emotional and utterly METAL climax is reached! Yessir, it's that close!
November 15th, 2013 - With 23 chapters and a prologue (so, 24 out of 33) I'm now about 3/4ths done with EXMORTUS 3: TOMBS!! Still haven't landed on an adequate title, since most of the ones I've thought of are quite lame, but it'll get there. It's going to have to be something original, something that won't come up AT ALL in a Google search. Until then, I've been laser-focused on making Ex3 the best goddamn fantasy book ever written. I'll probably have the manuscript done by the end of the year, and a month or two of revisions, new maps, etc etc... maybe just in time for Valentine's Day?
September 25th, 2013 - It's 3:28am and I'm finally done with Part One of Book 3 of EXMORTUS: TOMBS!! I've written 7000 words in the last two days, and these are undeniably the most epic 7000 words I've ever written. Basically Ash must face both his worst nightmare in the flesh, then survive --unarmed-- in the most epic fantasy battle ever. 12 more chapters --and one more, even epic-er battle-- and the book is finished! Yessssss!
August 28th, 2013 - Happy 38th birthday to me! I'm now closer to 50 than I am to the second and final time I dropped out of college. Uplifting nugget there. Anyways, just got Chapter 15 of EXMORTUS 3: TOMBS down in wordpad, so between that and the prologue Book 3 is ALMOST 50% DONE!! Yeehaw!!!1 I've plotted out 33 total chapters, just like Book 2, so I'm not *quite* halfway, but the final chapter is so short and sweet that it's basically the same thing. Things will be very different in this one... far more metal, but with some other new elements thrown in for good measure. If I can pound out 2-3 chapters a week, I should have it out by, say, Christmas or something. Wouldn't that be niftacular?
June 11th, 2013 - Well, I'm back in the saddle on Book 3! Just re-wrote parts of the first three chapters to make things (literally) EXPLODE. Yes, this last one is going to be my Michael Bay Special. I'll be writing more new stuff over the next few weeks until my next freelance project materializes (got fired from the last one for "self plagarism," i.e., using a somewhat-similiar sentence in one article about pilates and another completely unrelated article written months earlier about ellipticals. Pro Tip: there is no such thing as self-plagarism and Demand Media is run by fuckheads. Fortunately, that was purely a mercenary assignment and I'm glad to be finally done with them forever. Until then I'll be working diligently on trying to complete as many chapters of Book 3 as humanly possible, hopefully getting it out before the end of the year but I'm not holding my breath so neither should you (seriously, that's a bad idea).
March 14th, 2013 - For the two hobos in the library who read this regularly hoping for updates, I've got lukewarm news: there really isn't any! I've got five chapters and a prologue to EXMORTUS 3, but despite a HUGE increase in sales after making my first book free, this writing stuff still doesn't pay the bills. Well, maybe one bill every three months. So since December, I've had to take on a crapload of freelance writing-for-pay projects to get myself out of debt. After three months, I'm ..uhh... 5% there? Damn, that sounds absolutely lousy when I do the math. But things are slowly, surely looking up: after all, my day job did give me a 1% raise! First since the Bush administration! Woo-hoo!
That said, I can guaruntee that the extra wait will be worth the while. I know authors like to talk a lot of shit about their own books, but this finale to the EXMORTUS series will be panty-melting, face-moistening GREAT! I've learned a few things about the craft of storytelling by studying some of the masters these last few months (i.e., reading on the toilet while my kids go apocalypto in the living room). This third book will have two unheard-of colossally epic battle scenes (with NO CAVALRY COMING AT THE LAST SECOND), major character deaths, a great deal of bad-ass metaphysics, one of the most unconventional love stories in all of fantasy literature, and, most proudly, Ash will go face-to-face with the God he forsook. I'm 99% as thrilled to write it as you are to read it! Maybe even 98% No more than that, tho. Anyways, enough lollygagging, and back to the grind.
November 10th, 2012 - Again, my updating prowess leaves something to be desired. In all fairness, I had a baby boy born exactly two months ago to-day, and am a little short on sleep. That said, I just finished Chapter 3 of EXMORTUS 2 two nights ago, and it's pretty bad-ass, if I may say so myself. A lot of questions raised in the first two books are conclusively answered in this final installment... just not in the pretty bow-tie you might expect from other, more "wealthy" and/or "successful" writers. Another note: a week ago, as a Web 2.0 experiment, I made EXMORTUS 1 free on Amazon Kindle. The results have been astounding: 996 downloads in 8 days, along with six sales of the second book from people who (presumably) finished and enjoyed the first one. Not too shabby! I may keep it free for quite a bit longer, just to see what transpires.
August 22nd, 2012 - Sorry for the lack of updates, but it's been a little hectic in La Casa Maternowski. First, my company got bought by the Dallas Morning News, my dream job when I was 17. Then I took a 6-week break from writing, primarily to play a 19-year old SNES game (Romance of the Three Kingdoms 3) that I have beaten hundreds of times. Finally, my wife is due with our baby boy any minute now. Amidst all that, I actually DID start the third installment of the EXMORTUS series, tentatively called either TOMBS OF HALF-GODS or TOMBS OF CONTEMPT. The prologue, told from the POV of a disgraced god imprisoned for trying to help creatures from another world try to genocide all of humanity, is one of the single weirdest things I've ever written, and that's saying something. I'm halfway through chapter 2, and already the third book is kicking serious ass. More to come later!
July 1st, 2012 - IT'S..... ALIVE!!!
June 30th, 2012 - Welp, everything is ready to go, the final version is chiseled into the living rock, both maps are 98% to my satisfaction and everything is set!
June 5th, 2012 - Thanks to a trojan that wiped out by HD, I had to come up with a new cover for Exmortus 2 (before I realized that, yes, I HAD saved it someplace unexpected). I was going to put a scary face of some sort in the gaping abyss in the middle, but my wife says it looks bad ass just the way it is. I still need to make the title a little more "chiseled into the living rock" than it is now, tho.
May 23rd, 2012 - Finished up a much-needed re-do on the cover design, what do yawl think? I basically took an old Corinthian helmet, shaded it up and threw in some lens flares as ghost eyeballs. I think it gives it the feel of "old baddies coming back to life in a creepy way."
April 8, 2012 - Finished the original draft of Book 2 a few weeks ago, now I'm going through the pain-staking bloodletting known as "the revision process." I've got two of the best beta-readers in recorded human history ready to tear the manuscript to pieces, grind it into fine powder then bury the powder in an inaccessible mine shaft that it may never see the light of day. So... good stuff!
February 23, 2012 - Just finished Ch. 28, another "sex scene" chapter, and am now four chapters away from finishing the original draft of Book 2. I've renamed it Temples Diabolic, because I was never really happy with Temples of Men. I've included a small graphic of the current working cover to the right... bad ass? Yes? No? That demonic face... ten points to whoever knows where I got that from. It's not what you might expect, which may make it even creepier than a typical demonic visage.
January 22, 2012 - Now have 23 of 32 chapters in the can, and the rest on the way once I get some major projects at work out of the way. Honestly, this second book is the most powerful artistic thing I've ever done. The storytelling is tighter, the dialog is crisper, the themes are more developed... and most importantly, the villain is nastier, creepier, and more lovely. Also, it looks to be coming out at roughly 250 pages or so, instead of 300 like Book One. Good news for all you lazy good-fer-nuthin's out there.
October 29, 2011 - Now up to 15 chapters in book 2! I've got more writing to do over this next week, so I probably won't update this again for another decade or so.
September 5, 2011 - Despite the long period between updates, I have not been lazily slouching on the couch watching daytime TV while schluffing Cheetos in my mouth-hole. I've written the first draft of the first nine chapters of EXMORTUS 2: TEMPLES OF MEN, as well as started a new project on Twitter of trying to follow/befollowedby every fantasy writer/fan/nerd/fanatic/zealot out there. After a week, I've got 136 or so... just a few million to go!
August 7, 2011 - Finally got EXMORTUS up on Amazon Kindle! You can purchase it for the low-low cost of 99 cents, just check out the links page under "Wasting Time." Now I need to get the word out, and get to work on EXMORTUS: TEMPLES. I've also got a weird occult/military/antiterrorist short story on the way, a sci-fi novel about a philanthropist who goes back through time and becomes a master criminal, and a non-fiction comedy book about hockey in the style of the Onion's "Our Dumb World" and "Our Dumb Century."
July 31, 2011 - Nearly finished with the first real draft of the map, which should be both educational and amusing --or as I like to call it, "amusmentacional"-- and then this bad boy is ready to rip! I uploaded the novel to Smashwords late late last night, and bless your troubled heart, Person Who Bought It Before I Was Even Ready. May all your most chaotic neutral dreams come true!
July 28, 2011 - Please forgive the distinct lack of flash and trash on the site, I'm putting this all together by myself and learning how to do it on the fly. That includes absolutely everything, from the graphics to the webpage design to these text blurbs that only the most bored of you will ever read. My wife is drawing the map of Loross as we speak, and once she's done this site will go live! Sweet!