Category: News

Let’s Talk about Sex (in Writing)

April is the first time this year I’ve had a moment to pause and breath. The world behind the scenes for this author have been busy and productive (more busy it seems.) I’m one of a trio putting together an anthology with the New England Speculative Writers and while it’s extremely rewarding, nobody warned us how much work it would take. Along with that I released the   of Suburban Zombie High and much to my surprise, it blew away my expectations. And now my attention has been firmly set on finishing books two and three of the Children of Nostradamus. But enough of the boring stuff, let’s get to the fun stuff.

Let’s talk about sex.

If you’ve read my books, you know I’m anything but a prude. My characters get into fights, wade through puddles of blood, and have no problem severing a head. However, in all my books, there has been a consistent lack of low-light turn up the Barry White sexy time. In Suburban Zombie, even the busty school nurse and her male play thing only do the nasty behind closed (extremely thick) doors. In the Children of Nostradamus, it’s been hard to give my characters down time have some “get down” time. Writing novels in a condensed time frame (each of my books takes place in two or three days) and you’re being chased by bad guys, typically survival is more important than doing the horizontal mambo. However, in Night Shadows, we get jiggy with it. The two characters decide surviving isn’t enough, they let off some steam of the naked variety.

Fade to black.

I make the joke that eventually I’ll write some sort of smut. But here’s my dirty secret, I have performance anxiety when my characters get bumping and grinding. In Night Legions it gets a bit more explicit. As the stakes are risen, tension is at its worst, I decided to have another go at it. The showers are steamy, the characters are naked, and it the mood is perfect. Fade to black? What the hell? Yet again, I wuss out.

I’ve read numerous novels in which there is sex, but most often I find it’s an indulgent fantasy completely unnecessary to the story. Even at times when the sex is essential to the plot, it gets clunky. The author has done a great job at creating these characters and being candid with their responses, and then sexy time language comes into play. Who, and I mean who in their entire life, has referred to “their manhood” or “nether regions?” And how sexy is it to refer to human anatomy by their actual names? That leaves a lot of slang which requires some porno music and a shag carpet.

My beta readers are pouring over the rough manuscript right now. They’ve been asked to gauge my character’s need for stress relief. We’ll see what makes it into the book and what drops to the cutting room floor. Death? No problem. Cannibalism? Sure! Soul theft? All the time. Sex? Whoa, slow down.

So how do you like sex handled in your novels? Turn up the steam or close the blinds?


2018: A Plan Executed in 365 Days

For the past three years, at the suggestion of fellow author C.L. Alden, I’ve picked a word to help guide my year. Unlike a resolution, it’s not about doing or not doing, but giving yourself some guidance when shit hits the fan and a pat on the back when it pans out. In 2016, I decided to ABDICATE by cleaning a list of tasks off my plate to make room for new adventures. For 2017, I focused on the word EMERGE, and with co-founding the New England Speculative Writers with C.L Alden, releasing five books and a short story, I definitely made a splash.But what will 2018 hold?

In 2018 I want to resolve a list of outstanding “chores” on my todo list. Most of these are bringing to fruition a years worth of planning, and it will let me complete projects. For the last year, I’ve taken some tiny steps (though they seemed like leaps at the time) to lay the groundwork for this year. It’s time to make it happen. Some of the items on the list:

  • Release the Suburban Zombie High Box Set
  • Complete Book Three in the Children of Nostradamus Series
  • Complete Book Four in the Children of Nostradamus Series
  • Translate Nighthawks into German
  • Continue to Connect with Readers
  • Complete Anthology with the New England Speculative Writers
  • Submit Short Story for an Anthology

Not all of this is time intensive, nor overly difficult. However, they are things sitting on the table that need to be finished so new projects can begin. With stand alone novel brewing and a cyberpunk series manifesting, it turns into a situation where there are more ideas than time. I’m excited to see where this goes and how the business behind the writing expands.

What are your goals for the new year?

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A Milestone Worth Mentioning

There are a many things worthy of slipping into the milestone category. The first books released, the first time doing audio, completing a series and first time doing a public speaking gig. Each of these have been moments when I’ve stopped and thought, “Wow, I can’t believe this happened.” I’m happy to say, with the release of Wicked Haunted, the latest anthology by the New England Horror Writers, I reached a new milestone. On Friday night, our anthology reached Best Seller status on Amazon in the Horror category.

I’m beside myself.

What’s most exciting about this, it means I have the ability to make the lists. Does the list really add up to anything? No, not really, but there are bragging rights and sales doors open once this happens. With another anthology on the horizon, there’s definitely excitement about reproducing these results.

The next big milestone? It’s a huge jump, but here’s hoping for the day when I hit the NYT or USA Today best sellers list. It could be a long way off, but at least it’s an option. So much excitement.

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Children of Nostradamus Book 3 Receives its Title

Last night I returned to the Children of Nostradamus. It’s like greeting old friends and commiserating over a beer. I’ve missed them and am excited to be knee-deep in a world gone mad. The story has been plotted and I know where the adventure goes. Nobody walks away the same. There’s a darkness on the horizon and difficult choices must be made. Not all of them will right. Be ready, Night Legions will show the worst of our heroes and best of our villains. In Night Legions, the darkness wears many faces. 2018.


A Decade Later the Trilogy Closes

For the last few weeks, I’ve spent hours each day sitting behind a screen, mashing away at keys. I’ve been racing against a deadline and wanted to build in a buffer in case the unthinkable happened (like my laptop dying again.) It may sound tedious, but it’s like partying with some seriously awesome people. We went on adventures, we killed some zombies, hell, we even blew up a chemistry lab together (no, not in real life you crazy folks.) But now it’s over.

I started writing Suburban Zombie High In 2006 while I was working at a very prestigious high school. It became quickly apparent that the school and I weren’t the best of fits. To cope with the demands of the job, I started writing. Many of the quotes in the book are directly taken from students in my class. Often crude, outlandish, and hysterical, this is what teens say. To up the drama, I decided to write about a zombie apocalypse taking place within the walls of the schools. The characters are based on real people from my own high school experience or from my teaching days. Of the many teachers I knew, my favorite had been the librarian I worked with. Only Renee V. kept her name, and believe me, I didn’t embellish her kick butt nature.

Of course, I’m releasing the final book of the trilogy now. They’ve been reworked, new covers, a whole overhaul. I should be dancing in my seat to publish the final tale, but as always, it comes with a bit of melancholy. This is the series that started me on my writing path. These are the characters who got me through a pretty rough period of my life. Now, both them and myself are onto bigger and better things. It’s like saying goodbye to a good friend you haven’t seen in ages.

I’m turning my eye forward again. There are three more books on the roster to be written. I plan on finishing the final two books of the Children of Nostradamus series and writing a stand alone spy/humor novel. Depending on the direction I decide to take, I have a notebook filled with ideas that will keep me writing until 2020. The first 11 books have been completed, now it’s time to get cracking on the next 11.


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