And it continues …

So, I feel stupid. The IG in IGWritersOct is for Instagram. I don’t use Instagram, just set up a meager little account. I’ll have to get more into it, but I digress.

8: BRAINstorming – another one I am not sure what they mean, but basically, my brainstorms generally come from dreams. I pull from my dreams for a great deal of my inspiration. My urban fantasy series began from three different such experiences. My other form of brainstorming is more deliberate, and it happens when I really focus on the story and maybe talk it out or plot it and see what I may be missing or what can be added. Completely unexpected ideas have come from this, and I value the technique.

9: Writing Adventures – Yes, I can do that. Ah, but maybe they mean adventures that happened to me because of writing. I had my first convention as a published author at this year’s Scares that Cares. That was very exciting. I got to meet my publisher face to face along with other authors and friends. It was a great weekend.

10: Mental Health & Writing – I would say that writing can be very therapeutic. The way I write, though, it can also be difficult. I really get into my writing, and sometimes it spawns unpleasant feelings. There are some scenes that once I wrote them, I had difficulty editing them. Once edited, I don’t read them again.

11: Handwriting Sample – I am going to pass on this one. I rarely use handwriting for anything at all in my life.

12: Pantser or Plotter – I do both. I generally plot out the major points, then I fill in the blanks and details with stream-of-consciousness writing. That seems pretty much by the seat of the pants.

13: Writing Rituals – I don’t really have one of these, though my writing usually does not get done without some coffee on hand. I sometimes choose very specific music to help, and then it is on low volume.

14: Dead Manuscripts – Oh, boy, do I have these. I have thousands of pages of unpublished poetry, short stories, even novels. Most of those are incomplete, but there are two that are complete and one that was about 95%. Looking back on them, very few seem worthy of resurrection.

And that’s another week! I hope you enjoyed, found something thoughtful, or in some way found value here. Thank you for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome, and if you are interested in my published works, please visit my Amazon Author Page.

Thanks!

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So, this month is IGWriters month. I wish I could tell you what the IG stands for or what brought this on, but here it is. Take a breath, and let’s dive in.

1: INTL Coffee Day – great! I love coffee. I generally drink a Vietnamese instant coffee during the week, so that is international, assuming INTL stands for international. If you want to learn about a quite exotic coffee, I suggest kopi luwak. It’s expensive and partially digested! Give it a try, and let me know how it is.

2: Your WIP – I am currently working on the third book in my dark urban fantasy series. It will be different from the first two, and it will probably be the end of the main story.  Here is an excerpt:

It is a large man, his suit jacket open, clothing showing disheveled, torn, bloodstained, and if the darkly-coated butcher knife in his fist were not sign enough, his eyes bleed out with a strange, red hue.  Those orbs see Lilja and the other three, and he roars out, eating a few precious seconds before he launches himself at his prey.

3: Writing Tools – I use a computer. I began with a typewriter. I have hand written a few things, but for the vast majority of my writing, I have used a keyboard of one type or another.

4: Writing w/ animals – I am not sure what to say on this one. I don’t use animals to write, and I don’t have a pet. No cute pics of a cat trying to get my attention as I tap away at the keys.

5: Author Bucket List – This was another one I was not entirely sure about. I suppose my author bucket list is to someday make a living as an author. I’d also like to visit the regions in Europe that I used as inspiration for the setting of my first two books.

6: What makes you smile – a lot does, actually. Spending time with my family usually leads to a great deal of laughter. I also love talking to my readers. That will often get a smile on my face.

7: Your favorite character – Another tough one. I suppose this is meant to mean a character of my own design. I am going to ignore the obvious and look to a minor character who still played a big role and choose Interpol Inspector Gaspare Duilio. He is a corrupt officer who ends up playing a part in all three books. Not only do I find him an interesting and many-layered person, but the experiences he has and how they shape him allow him to show further depth and have a larger impact on the overall tale.

And that is it for the first week. I hope you enjoyed. Feel free to leave any comments are ask any questions you may have. Please also visit my author page and read my books! Thank you.

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Broken Mirror
These stories are not just morbid. They take you down dark passageways of the human psyche. There is fear, violence, trauma. I found some of the tales impacted me to such a degree that I needed a breather before moving on to the next. Ms. Voiez is kind enough to even list trigger warnings before some of the stories, in case the subject matter may resonate too personally.

The very first tale sets its own interesting tone, as it begins feeling more like a gothic romance then quickly travels down much darker pathways. Though it is the longest of the set, I was caught by the ending and wish there would be more.

Victims aplenty are in this collection, but Ms. Voiez does not ignore the transgressors, delving into their minds. The various points of view are fascinating, disturbing, and even sympathetic in some very tragic situations.

I also enjoyed Ms. Voiez’s writing style. Her descriptions prove well done, feeling poised to not only stoke the underlying tension of many tales but also a near sense of helplessness. You don’t yawn; a yawn claims your throat.

All in all this is a wonderful collection. I recommend it, though do be careful reading it alone in the dark.

Broken Mirror and other Morbid Tales by Carmilla Voiez (Amazon Link)

Since I got into this independent author/publication thing, I have met a lot of others also involved, whether other writers or publishers, editors, promoters, etc., etc. A lot. It’s easier to get published now and to reach a potential audience with all the amazing tools we have available to us. I used social media to find my publisher, and I am grateful for it. It’s a small group of us, and we’re still learning and getting started, but it’s an amazing journey, and I like to think we’re all helping each other.

But it doesn’t stop there.

With the social media explosion, it is easier to find others, whether colleagues, agents, audience, or whatever the case may be. It also means a lot more out there. It can become white noise. I hate to say it is like separating the wheat from the chaff, because that sounds elitist. There may well be a suffering of quality, though, as these very vehicles are used to increase the quantity. This means a huge supply. There is certainly demand, but it becomes an issue of getting the potentially fleeting notice of that audience. Look here! This is me! Buy my book!

This could lead to a situation within the independent world of a lot of cut-throat competition. I will not take this approach. I feel like we are all in this together, and those of us making sincere efforts to share our creations and enrich the world with this art ought to cooperate, not compete. I share the works of other authors and try to help promote blogs, events, groups and other methods of just opening the lines of communication and awareness.

I feel very strongly that this is the way to go about it. There is so much wonderful work out there, we might as well bring as much as we can of the whole world to the buffet and let them pick what they want.

Help yourself. Help us. Help each other. Tell your friends about it. And read, read, read.


Please feel free to follow me on My Facebook Page or check out My Amazon Author Page for my published works.

Thank you.

Follow the Butterfly

Hurricane Harvey

Posted: August 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

I live in the Houston area, and Hurricane Harvey just passed through. A storm that was not so long ago said to possibly be reforming proved to be the strongest to hit the USA in many decades, coming ashore as a Category Four. It also decided to linger, saturating the region with nigh-unceasing rain for four days. Needless to say, this caused major flooding, and my heart goes out to those who suffered this. I was lucky.

I never lost power. The water ended up covering the street I live on, and it crept up over the sidewalk. That was it. I had plenty of supplies and only myself to directly take care of. As I mentioned, I was lucky.

This is not the first hurricane I have been through, having lived nearly my entire life in this area. It was certainly the strongest. We avoided a direct hit, but being on the dirty side of the storm, we took in a great deal of rain. I heard of friends who lost their cars; their houses took on water. It is undoubtedly a catastrophe.

It will take some time for things to get back to normal. Some rivers will not achieve normal levels for days if not weeks. I heard of a chemical plant that lost power, thus losing refrigeration for volatile product. They are experiencing multiple explosions, and an evacuation of the immediate area has been issued.

This may not have been my first big storm, but they are never easy. One toils with the decision of staying or evacuating. If you choose to stay, you deal with so many others as you all clamor to gather supplies. If you go, you may be stuck in traffic that could exhaust your fuel supply. Fill your tanks, the signs on the freeway suggest, and it is good advice.

I know the area has been hit hard. I have seen the pictures, heard the stories. I hope those of you still dealing with this get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible. My thoughts are with you.

I think sometimes people get an incorrect impression of my book merely from the name, Dance of the Butterfly.  Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?  It has ‘dance’ and ‘butterfly’ in it.  It must be a romance.  Well, it does have romantic elements.  There is a relationship that buds and blooms as a core plot point, but it is not just about that, and it is not all nice and flowery.  There is some splatter. Quite a bit of it, actually.  I am not one to often pull punches.  I got myself in a bit of hot water during a poetry contest many years upon years ago, because I don’t feel the need to overly censor.  I have since learned more of a balance between raw and refined.

In that vein, I have been posting snippets of the final climax of my book, and things do get bloody.  Allow me to share another …


One of the guests lies on the ground, in a growing pool of the red liquid, another guest atop him. The larger man above is savagely stabbing into the prone body of the other, holding a torn piece of metal, having been drafted as an improvised weapon. Each stab into the left side of the victim’s torso produces more spurts of fresh fluid, the attacker painted with it, giving him even more of a horrific, demented look than his own expressions and actions already convey.

“He’s killing my husband!” a nearby woman screams, her own shrieks part of those making up the cacophony, though if the lack of resistance on the part of her spouse indicates anything, he may already be dead.

The guards point their weapons, nearing the terrible happening.

“Get out of the way!” Duilio commands, and the other party-goers and workers do just that, clearing more area around the attack.

“Do something! Do something!” the woman, rushes over to Duilio, her heels clicking on the pavement.

The guards look to the inspector, and Duilio spares a short moment of assessment, then, “Stop him.”

Gunshots blast out, causing more screams and dispersal of the crowd. The attacker is quickly removed from atop his victim, crumbling away and to the ground, flopping to his back as the firing ceases, his breath coming out ragged and wet.


So, there you go.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it whet your appetite for more.  If so, please visit my Amazon Author Page to buy any of my publications.  Thank you.dotb-twitter

I had the pleasure of attending the Scares that Cares charity horror convention this past weekend.  It was my first time promoting myself as a writer or even attending such a gathering.  I can only imagine what all went into arranging, promoting, and conducting an event of this scale.  Kudos to those responsible.

I flew into Virginia (my first time there.  This entire very short and fun stint was peppered with ‘firsts’), and I took the brief drive from Newport News to Williamsburg.  It did not take long to settle in, freshen up, then get over to the con.  The parking lot of the hotel gave very unsubtle hints as to what to expect inside.  I was lucky to find a space quite a distance from the entrance, and I saw pockets of obvious con-goers before I even made it inside.  Most looked to be dressed in a sort of dark, spooky flair.  Right up my alley.

The con began with a large, open room full of various horror movie memorabilia slated to be auctioned off (or so I gathered; the entire thing was quite a whirlwind, so please forgive my errors.)  I needed to find the second floor, room thirteen.  Rather apropos, don’t you think?  As I walked down the end of the hall, I noticed a sign a bit further on than I needed to go – “The Trials of Dagon: Innsmouths’ Revenge”.  I felt a pull.  I wanted to go past room 13 and into that one.  I smelled a hinting scent of salt water, and was that a minuscule spasm at the sides of my neck, as of gills trying to form?  Surely not!  I somehow managed to avoid the pull.

I had found the Optimus Maximus table and in short order met Ricky Fleet, Maura, Marc, and of course, Christina.  The amount of work put into all of this by Christina is simply amazing.  Thank you.  I met many other wonderful people, too, and the sheer volume of sugar and alcohol consumed was no less than … but let’s not digress too much.

Over the course of the weekend, I saw a great many interesting offerings, costumes, and people.  It really was a buffet of dark produce, and I loved it.  I saw (but did not meet) Julian Sands and Jeffrey Combs.  I am not one to geek out over celebrities, but I did feel a bit of a thrill at the site of Jeffrey Combs.  I’d love to have coffee with the guy and just talk about his various experiences and that weird tentacle thing growing out of his pineal gland.

The days went by in a blur, though it did begin to feel a bit isolated in our remote corner of the second floor.  Most of the traffic seemed to stay below.  I did catch the end of a kaiju fight at one point.  Thankfully the collateral damage was contained.  I also saw Pyramid Head and the Creeper.  They must not have seen me.  You know, since I am still alive.  Whew!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and I am very glad I attended and met so many people.  I look forward to the next time, and I hope to see and meet more of you there!

 

I have been slowly making a series of posts that follow along the plot of my first novel, Dance of the Butterfly.  These are all to hopefully entice new readers through the vehicle of some contextual hints.  I hope it has been working, and I hope those of you who do decide to read my book enjoy it.  In that vein, let’s have another taste, shall we?


“Maybe we ought to just kill the girl,” speaks a voice, the tone one of calmly discussing the possible mowing of a lawn.

“No, no, that should not be done.”

Gnegon looks up from swirling his glass, the clear contents not interrupted by any ice or other flavorings, the expensive vodka not so delicate as to change its subtleties of taste from this mere motion. He also wears a very fine tuxedo, looking all the world like he is ready to head to an evening of celebration and entertainment, which he is.

He fixes his narrow eyes on the inspector, the Interpol man also dressed very nicely, more so than his usual daily flair, also holding a preparatory drink in advance of this evening’s festivities.

“Why not?” he asks, then after a short moment, “Do you like this girl, Gaspare?”

Duilio smirks, a subtle curl to one side of his lips, “Oh, no, she is exciting, to be sure, but she is not exactly … my taste. Perhaps if I were twenty years younger.”

The two share a short laugh at this.

“No,” Duilio repeats on the tail end of the shared chuckling, “The vigilante will come again.”

“How do you know?” the crime boss presses, any trace of levity gone from his features.

“A hunch,” Duilio finally answers.



Will this trap work?  Find out what happens in Dance of the Butterfly, the first book in my urban fantasy series. For 18+ readers.

“Overall, I think this book is an excellent read, and I couldn’t praise it enough.” – Uncaged Book Reviews

Please visit my Amazon Author page for all of my published works.

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When I graduated high school in the late eighties, the gothic-industrial wave was in full swing.  Not only were bands like The Cure and Depeche Mode experiencing huge swells in popularity, but the blooming nightclub scene featured regular hits from Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Sisters of Mercy, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and the list goes on.  This was all new back then, and it was amazing.  Each weekend was a promise of another night or two of dark adventure as we hit up various clubs in the city.

Having such close access to a metropolitan area the size of Houston was a boon.  I remember no less than a half dozen nightclubs all competing for attention, and they all played great music.  Still, always room for more, right?  Even if not in the expected area.

A long-time friend of mine and I were approached by a guy we somewhat knew from a nearby neighborhood.  He came from a quite well-off family, and he had some money to try a business venture.  We were all very young – late teens and early twenties.  This guy wanted to open a nightclub and try to get in on this surge of popularity and potential money.  One big wrinkle was his general ignorance of the nightclub scene and what worked in it.  He had heard that my friend and I were members of this subculture, and to top it off, my friend was an aspiring deejay with great skill and an amazing music collection.  Because of this, we were approached to work as “consultants” for this guy and help him to open a proper club.

Except one thing – he wanted to open it in Rosenberg.

Now, for those of you not familiar with the area, Houston is a nice sized city with a large surrounding metropolitan area.  Still, the major action happened more in the center of the city, and if not, then still in the city proper or close to it.  Rosenberg is a country city, and it’s not very big even today.  Obviously, the overhead to operate a nightclub there would be considerably less than in Houston, but who would go?  Not to mention the general populace in Rosenberg was somewhat conservative and rural, so even with their limited numbers, what people would choose to frequent such a place?

We weren’t the “money” of the operation, so even though we strongly suggested putting the club in Houston, that did not happen.  A place was found off one of Rosenberg’s main avenues, a place of generally small size but not too cramped.  We helped to decorate on the inside, showing up to add some avant-garde painting to the black furniture.  We used day-glow spray paint, because such bright tones were also hugely popular at the time.

Oh, and the owner had decided to call it Club Zoo.  I do not recall why he chose that, but I do recall not caring for it.  It was also going to be an all-ages club, because the theme he was going for held appeal to younger patrons.  What this meant, though, was no selling of alcohol.  My friend and I were baffled at how he planned to make any real money.

The place finally opened, and we would come down every weekend (we were attending college in Austin at the time) and work at the club.  My friend spun the records, and I handled the lights.  They did have a decent lighting system, and I had rigged up the various color cels to work on separate switches.  I could fill the dance floor with smoke, then just turn on the red lights, working them to the beat and melodies, creating a surreal, spooky ambiance.  This worked particularly well with the extended version of Skinny Puppy’s “Testure”.

The place did get some good crowds, though I don’t recall anything too huge.  The owner tried all sorts of gimmicks and giveaways to generate interest.  I guess he hoped the place would somehow manage to get popular and bring in people from the city.  That didn’t happen.  Still, we had some of the best music going at the time.  Not just the expected either, but we also Karen Finley, MC 900 Ft. Jesus, Meat Beat Manifesto, even N.W.A.  It was great.

It amuses me to think that for a brief period in the late eighties in Rosenberg, TX, a little known gothic-industrial, new wave nightclub called Club Zoo was playing some of the best music available at the time.  It’s a nice memory, and I’m glad I had some small part in it.


If you enjoy my writing, please check out my Amazon Author Page for my published works.  I very much appreciate it.

“So, in Finland, witches are not automatically treated as bad?”

“No.” She shakes her head once, more of a slowly shifting movement. “Witchcraft is a very big part of Finnish history, culture, and religion. Though we had good witches, and black magic was not allowed.”

“Where is Mount Kyöpeli?” asks another, not waiting to be called upon but pitching the question in the ensuing silence.

She turns her eyes in that direction, still meandering as she talks, the images on the large screen changing in a series of slow dissolves, giving backdrop to her words.

“You can only get there by flying and magic. It is said to be located in a secret place, close to the border of Tuonela, the Finnish land of dead.’

“It is also said that it is actually possible physically, or even mentally, to travel in Tuonela and go have a chat with your dead friends and relatives and other people,” she carries on, a curve to her lips. “There are tales that witches and sages have traveled there to learn long lost lore and spells. Only problem is that it’s very hard to get back from there. There are many guardians. Cats are but one example in our own world.”


I draw from many sources and lore in my book, Dance of the Butterfly.  It was important to me to show varying perspectives.  This is also part of why I chose to set it in a very cosmopolitan city.  There are many subtle (and not so subtle) references that weave into the overall puzzle of the story.

Please visit my Amazon Author Page for both books in the series.  Thank you.

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