Wednesday, January 19, 2011


1906 - Something is discovered by workers digging the Panama Canal. Something dormant. Sinister. Very much alive.

2009 - Project Samhain. A secret underground government installation begun 103 years ago in New Mexico. The best minds in the world have been recruited to study the most amazing discovery in the history of mankind. But the century of peaceful research is about to end.


When linguist Andrew Dennison is yanked from his bed by the Secret Service and taken to a top secret facility in the desert , he has no idea he's been brought there to translate the words of an ancient demon.

He joins pretty but cold veterinarian Sun Jones, eccentric molecular biologist Dr. Frank Belgium, and a hodge-podge of religious, military, and science personnel to try and figure out if the creature is, indeed, Satan.

But things quickly go bad, and very soon Andy isn't just fighting for his life, but the lives of everyone on earth...

I just finished reading this title a while back and just had to give it my two cents. My hat goes off to J.A. Konrath, a Chicagoan, and a prolific writer.

I once attempted a story similar to this but there were some differences. One, it took place in the Nevada dessert when two rogue scientists try to dig to hell. Through their digging they find a demon encased in hardened magma. The demon's name is Rage and he is accidentally freed to wreak havoc on Vegas. Trouble is this idea was formed when I was a freshman in high school and, unlike some of my other ideas, this one easily slipped through the cracks. I wrote the summary on a slip of paper, tucked it away and hoped for the best. Now, since this Konrath has beat me to the punch, I'm happy to toss the idea away. Another book I don't have to work on.

Now on to the Review:

You could tell right away that Konrath did research in terms of religious theories and underground military bases. It shows. Although, I did have trouble picturing the facility when everything was laid out in arms. It kind of reminded me of LOST. The characters were believable, likable, and flawed in their own ways but there was one character I could have done without. The Doctor Belgium character had this annoying habit of saying a word three times at the end of a sentence. It was just overdone and added nothing to the story except for a higher word count. The twists and turns with Bub's plotting his escape was a constant tension maker throughout. It definitely had a feel worthy to Crichton's Jurassic Park but the ending, I feel, was a bit lacking. When hoping for a more powerful line, all I was left with was a short line that left me with a huh? At one point I looked at the back of my kindle. An old habit I have. When a book ends unexpectedly I have to look at the back, see if there are any more pages. But, hey, it kept me reading right up until the end so it did the job well. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The First Rejection

When asked why I didn't just send my stories or novels out to magazines and publishers, I've told people I've thought about it. The truth was I was too tired, too scared, and too shy. But all that changed when I gathered up enough guts to send out 31 book proposals to 31 New York Literary Agents. Soon, I'll send eight of my short stories off to magazines.

The post office said that the envelopes would arrive no later than Tuesday. Well, it's Tuesday and I've recently received my first rejection letter by email. I don't know why but I'm so excited about this. In the same way that a man hasn't worked hard until he's gotten his hands dirty, I have now become a writer who has at least gotten rejected once. Oh well. 30 agents left. We'll see who bites. I feel like framing the letter. Is that weird?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In High Gear

Today, with a fire under my ass, I drove to my nearest post office and put the stamps on 31 envelopes filled with book proposals which I wanted to sent off to various New York Literary Agents. According to the worker who took the huge stack off my hands, the envelopes would arrive to the selected agents no later than Tuesday. I figure, at this point in my writing career, I have to kick it up into high gear.

Here are some things I've done so far:
I've already started podcasting my short stories on as well as I miss reading into a microphone.

Recorded promos have been sent to three authors I know. Hopefully this will help with exposure.

As for writing, I've been working on a few good short stories. So far classical music while writing at the coffee shop seems to be working.

A funny thing happened while I was rooting through my writing desk. People, sometimes it pays to be messy. Over the years, any idea or scrap of paper goes into a file. While searching through them, I found two partial short stories that were already written. They were just never typed on the computer. How do you like that? Some of my work is already done years before I decided to come back to it again. Also, while searching on my flash drive I found a doozy. Currently there are five or six drafts of For What It's Worth. On one of the drafts, I found a short story about a father and son team that go camping with disastrous results. I remember writing the story and being plagued with doubts on whether it would stand on its own or not. Eventually I decided to hang it up for now. But, looking back on the three page opening scene, I fell back in love with the characters. Something tells me this story just made a miraculous recovery and might appear in the second collection. Very excited about that.

To close, I'll leave you with this - When you are blocked, talk to someone. Just a few hours ago I told my wife how all these ideas are just to much and that I'm starting to let my reading habit, reading seven books at once, leak into my writing habits, which, of course, is working on seven books at once. She asked why I work on so many. "Well," I say, "Some ideas are challenging while others are easy and I just don't know where to start." It is at this time that she lays on me a beautiful yet simple zen-like, sage piece of advice: "Why don't you start with the easy ones first? Work your way up."

Priceless. It was just what I needed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Further Adventures of Stephen Markley

As you may remember, from a previous book, Stephen Markley is, what I think, the modern day author should be. He's honest, up front, and has such a sharp wit, it cuts like butta. Here he does a reading in New York. Help his sales out and buy his book. It's re-readable and highly entertaining.

Click HERE to buy his book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Updates On Progress

Happy to say that this is a post filled with updates on how the writing is coming. Thanks to my brand new writing spot, and a choice selection of psych-up music, I've been writing regularly. Mainly short stories but even that, in my book, is progress. As is with every writer, the longer you stray from the actual work, the more the writing rots or grows stale. But now, back in the rhythm, kicking ass and taking names, I feel re-energized. Here are the updates.

  1. What I'm working on right now: So far, the two short story collections are chugging along. I'm 187 pages into the second collection with about 20 short stories. The third collection isn't too far behind with a whopping 135 pages. But the third one will be significantly heavier, considering there are 25 short stories in that collection. We'll see. Maybe by the end of the month I will be able to finish one of them.
  2. The Next Novel: As for my follow-up novel, I have not written another word of it. It's currently stuck at 40 pages. The problem with this project is that a lot of the research is grounded with the setting. In order to contain the plot-elements, it has to be set in New York. Right now I have to set aside some time when I can go to the library and check out several books on the city. Maybe after I finish one of the collections, I'll come back to it. But something tells me it's going to be a while. So, hold on, readers. It'll get there someday.
  3. The new Podcast: I'm sure you've probably noticed the player to the right of this blog. I'm always trying to find new readers so I've decided to podcast a good chunk of my short stories. Hopefully, this plan will work seeing how we're an iPod, iPad, iEverything nation.
  4. Prison Idea: Lately, I've been getting the itch to write a prison novel. Something with one main character, following his life until the end of his sentence. Now, I've read stories that establish this genre perfectly like Shawshank Redemption. I've also read about half of American Gods, where the main character did a stretch in jail, only to learn that his wife died while he was serving. But something in me wants to write a long, literary novel which encompasses the games, currency and language of prison life from start to finish. I guess I get really curious when I view a common man imprisoned, able to read anything under the sun because that's all you have to pass the time. Plus, considering some of the movies I've seen and books I've read, there's always an argument that prison life doesn't make a criminal just makes them that much smarter. This idea needs more structure but, who knows, I may not even follow an outline.
  5. The Kindle: I've been reading a lot on my kindle lately. It's just so damn addictive. I'm so thrilled that there are thousands of classics for free. We'll see how many I get through by the time the year is up.

That's all for now, readers. Check back often, hope to entertain you soon.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Format Problem Fixed

Hey everybody. All three of my titles have been on kindle for quite some time now and I've never been able to figure out the formating until now. Before, I uploaded Mr. Dead Eyes, Wearing Donnie Torr and For What It's Worth in PDF or as a Word Document. This, I've found, throws off any form of justification and tabs you document may have. So, on your kindle, it looks like a bunch of words mashed together, no spaces or breaks which can get pretty annoying and, frankly, hasn't worked well for an author unless you're the next James Frey.

The best perfect format is (.MOBI)

It's the only format I've found that helped me out of this jam.

I just recently uploaded Wearing on the new file format, tested it on my kindle and am happy to say it looks more professional. In the next day or two I will upload the latest formats to the other two. Thanks for being so patient.

Pleasant dreams.