Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Venus is sitting pretty beneath the moon tonight, and it paints a nice picture to usher in the New Year. 2009 is finally here. 2008 continued to bring me grief even today, so I'm looking forward to turning the page. It's cold and extremely windy tonight and the Harbor's party is cancelled, and rescheduled for tomorrow. Maybe I'll be in a more partying mood then. I know I didn't get much done today like I wanted to.

I was summoned to court for a charged-off credit card (I've been hurt several times and couldn't work, so this is nothing new) first thing this morning. Oh, bring on the new year... It's only gonna get better. Wish me and UNIQUE luck for '09!

Happy New Year everybody! Stay safe out there...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Make Room For My Ego!

Okay, now I'd say it's about time to revel in a lil egotism here. While searching online at Barnes and Noble for vampire books to lighten the balance of my gift card, I came across several books that just made me say, "Wow."

I often self-deprecate on this blog, but after browsing some of the vampire books that have been published, I was left thinking that I may have what it takes to potentially become America's next great white hope! Seriously, there's shit out there, my friends. This is just the kind of kick in the ass I was looking for. In all seriousness, I'm far from a great writer. But I believe that I'm a good writer. And while UNIQUE isn't the Great American Novel, I believe that it is a fun book to read, within an interesting series.

Perhaps all this "shit" that is published annually is marketed correctly, and that's why certain writing ass-clowns have a job today. And this "shit" helps good stuff become great. (This, and probably a better work ethic than my own...)

I'm well aware that there are also what is comparable to a shit-ton of stuff printed that is written quite well. While Stephenie Meyers is hugely popular, her stuff gets trounced pretty bad, too. I think her Twilight books are beautiful, if not long-winded. Charlaine Harris writes wonderfully well, save for the fact that some sentences are borderline irrelevant. I could go on, but you don't care.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Warm Winter Days

What a Sunday! It's lovingly warm outside, and the Baltimore Winter sky is beginning to look a lot like the Pacific Northwest. It's cloudy 'round here damn near daily. And the Ravens are in the playoffs! What a day...

I'm two days out from a nice 5-day vacation and I've got a couple six packs of Bud American Ale, my new favorite beer behind Guinness.

I've come up with a few new things to implement into UNIQUE, and I'm looking forward to this evening so that I will be able to sit down in quiet.

I'm going to sleep tight, tonight. Goodnight, Baltimore!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thank You, 2008

One thing I noticed about the holidays is that simply put, they suck. My holiday cheer went out with the Christmas tree and is lying in the gutter with a dead mouse.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but this year wasn't the delightful treat I've grown accustomed to. No, oh no! This one was full of naughty little nephews running around and generally being bad. I even caught a foot in the crotch. On Theresa's side - well, it started off nice enough, but on Christmas day it didn't end so wonderfully.

But 2008 wasn't so awful. I had another great time in Chicago. The Raven's actually won 9 more games than I thought they could. And I'm still alive, kicking and pouting my way into publishing.

Now we're heading to New Years and the only thing I have goin' for me is five days off. Now this is a wonderful Christmas present. Let's see, what am I going to do with all this time off? Well, I'm sure I won't leave the couch and the remote will be glued to my hands via coagulated Doritos cheese. The lights will stay off and I will become vaguely vampiric, perhaps only to venture above ground late at night for a midnight bite.

I can actually feel my arteries clogging and my joints getting stiffer. Here's to the New Year, and may it bring much better luck and love to all of you. And to my heart...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Excerpt from UNIQUE Chapter 1

Walking into the makeshift den, which was now simply a playroom and recording studio (okay, it’s not much more than a closet), Shao Kahn shouted “Finish Him!” from the Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet. I kept the thing as a relic from my glory days. I found it in a flee market in Dundalk, and it was actually more expensive than it was worth, but that game had kept me out of quite a bit of trouble during my stay at Patapsco High.

I headed to the workbench and turned on the power strip. I turned on both of the turntables, the synthesizer and mixer, and just in case things were to go well, the recorder. Flipping through some records in a box next to the stand, I pulled out Method Man’s Tical and popped it onto the left TT-1. I was working on a mix of “Mr. Sandman” for a Mid-skool tape. This was a collection of hip hop from the 90s, the stuff that we grew into men with.

My wheels of steel were new Numark TT-1 turntables, and they weren’t nearly as good for scratching records like my old Technics, but I found them on sale at a discount that I just couldn’t pass up. Technics were usually known for reliability—apparently Numark was not. The belt drive on one of them snapped earlier in the week. For some reason, I’ve never had much luck with machines and reliability. . . .

Behind me Raiden let loose a banshee-wail of a war cry that startled me, and finally I had had enough. I pulled the plug on the Thunder God. Seemingly dismissing my attempt to shut him up, a sizzling crack of thunder echoed through the house. “Huh,” I grumbled, as I stared out the window. “That was close.”

Beneath the workbench, I fished out another album. Placing it on the other ‘table, I picked a beat off the drum machine and placed a pair of headphones over my head—then quickly removed them as I heard some more loud rumbling outside. I looked to the window, and a flash of lightning lit up the street like a heavenly strobe light. I looked to Seth and Sam lying on either arm of the sofa like little furry gargoyles, and said, “Looks like God’s ready to do this.”

They were fast asleep—I doubted they cared.

Placing the headset back on, I rubbed the record, finding the right spot to scratch with the beat that was playing. Turntablism wasn’t new by any means, but it was fairly new to me. I was, at this time, familiar with mixing records and creating new sounds, but cuttin’ and scratchin’ was a new park altogether for me in which to explore the beat-juggling sounds of hip-hop’s sacred breaks. It just so happened that even I could tell I had something of a talent for it.

Something came over me, for a moment, which was sort of like a cold sweat and dizziness. The hot flash made me feel uncomfortable and agitated. I tried to concentrate on the beat, but I was getting nowhere.

After several mistakes that made me blush there was another boom of thunder, and the lights flickered momentarily. I decided that I had had enough scratchin for one night, and flicked the power off all the equipment, save for the turntable—I wasn’t trying to get fried. I pulled Bill Wither’s Ain’t No Sunshine and let it play.

Something caught my eye on the table, a letter from my bank. In short, it read that I was so far behind on rent that they were going to foreclose on my shop if I didn’t ante-up. And it got better. Beneath that letter was another one; this one, however, from the woman I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. Not only was my home and business being taken from me, but so was my heart:

‘Evander,
I never meant to do this with pen and paper, but you’ve left me no choice. Obviously your motorcycles and records and drinking mean more to you than I do. You and I both know it’s not meant to be. Right? We’re both too young to make any life-altering decisions. Don’t you agree? For Christ’s sake, I have to force you just to have a conversation with me. I’ll always love you, but I’m sorry—we’re going to have to stop seeing each other.
With love,
Alison’

At least my home would be left intact—albeit over someone else’s head, I figured. I crumpled Ali’s letter in my hand and tossed it across the room. It’d had been months now, but I couldn’t get over her.

There was a third letter beneath this pile of goodwill and happiness, but I didn’t dare read that one again. Not now. That one was the hardest to swallow, believe it or not. Life changed in a completely different way with that piece of paper, and there was no going back.

Would Ali have left if I had told her about it?

I felt like I was about to vomit, so I grabbed the papers and shoved them into a desk drawer. The sickening feeling in my gut told me that I needed to be somewhere else; somewhere far away. There was only way to get there, and it wasn’t on a plane, bus or train. I looked to the syringe atop a Motocourse book on the coffee table . . .

. . . I fell backwards, my head hitting the edge of the sofa. I took several deep breaths. I was shaking. It felt as if my soul was being pulled from me—directly from my chest.
Dropping the needle, I was ready to leave it all behind. . . .

My palms were sweaty, and sweat trickled down my forehead, too.

There was a buzzing sound.

—And in the corner, there was something. Almost a shadow against the wall, except there was nothing there to block the light of the lamp—or was there? Perhaps it looked more like a blur, a fuzzy image of a man-shaped figure or something.

I was quick to ignore the blur, however, as the feeling of separating from my consciousness ensued. I felt like two persons: one was me, my body; and the second was my mind. We were in a battle to control each other. But the buzzing!

“Stop the buzzing,” I shouted.

Though it continued, and it grew louder, and more decipherable it became.

“It’s not buzzing,” a voice said. “It’s the sound of voices—billions of them.”

I looked to the blur against the wall; I figured it was the voice. “I know,” I said. “What are they saying?”

“Everything. And in every language and every emotion. They are conversations from this reality, the world over, and they are conversations from the reality where you are going. Don’t be afraid, Evander. It’s a place that is very similar—eerily similar, in fact—to this one.”

I stared at the figure, for a moment, with my eyes wide in deliberation. With a deep breath, I said, “That’s intense.” I wiped my face, and picked up the needle. “Maybe I should stop using this stuff.”

“For this task,” the blur continued, “you’ll need to be pure of heart. Are you pure of heart, Evander?”

I tossed the empty syringe to the figure’s shadow. “Does it look like I’m pure of heart?”

“Everyone deals with loneliness differently. You’ll overcome this, eventually. You and I both know this; we both know that you are not addicted, save for the pain it brings you—which is stronger than that of the loneliness.”

“You think you have me all figured out, don’t you?” I stood up, a little wobbly, and kicked a crate of records over in my stumbles. My breathing seemed to be normal—which is to say no longer shallow and erratic, and the cold sweat was gone. Outside, the storm was present again, and the thunder had eradicated the buzzing. It seemed to be gaining on intensity to match my growing irritability. I was so confused. I wanted answers. As I stared outside, I asked the figure, “Who the hell are you? And could you not be so ambiguous this time?”

I turned around, and the shadow, or blur of the figure, was gone. I looked around, but I saw nothing. I jumped on the couch. I was fatigued, and the night hadn’t even started yet. “I need to get out of here for a while.”

It wasn’t always like this for me. I wasn’t always this bad off. My world evolved into one of chaos before I truly knew the definition of the word. I pushed myself to the brink of death habitually out of necessity and curiosity. I used to be much more innocent. From the beginning:

I was born Evander Cambio to Alan and Marie in sunny Florida, at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, on December 6, 1977. I wasn’t long in America before I was flown overseas with my mother. My father was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa just weeks after my birth. It would be four years before I would come back to the States. During the short years I lived in Japan, a lot of its culture was instilled in me; more than any three-year old should probably assimilate. Gojira, Denjiman, Kaman Rider, and Ultraman—these pieces of Japanese pop culture were a part of me long before King Kong, X-MEN, Knight Rider and Superman. My most memorable fixation about Japan was the sense of loyalty and honor. It was everywhere, almost palpable, but on the television, mostly, which is where I picked up on it first. I couldn’t understand the language, but I had an idea of what was going on. The samurai—relegated to the history and fiction books and Kurosawa films, which I collected in earnest—was still a figure of great prominence. And though I surely didn’t recognize it as a youth, the religion of life in Nippon stayed with me as I grew into an adult, and I began to realize what I was emulating.

I remember looking up to the pale blue sky one day and seeing fighter jets practice air-to-air intercept maneuvers, my fathered had called them. The F-15s—called Eagles—took off daily from the base as the new defender of American interests in the Pacific. I remember the first time I heard one streak past at low altitude; I jumped an inch off the ground I’m sure with the boom that rattled windows and sent dogs barking.

Another thing I remember falling in love with in Japan was the motorcycle. Behind our house was a motocross track. My mother would walk me to the fence, and through the links I’d watch—with my mouth open wide and eyebrows atop my head—the bikes jump as high as the Eagles soared, or so it seemed to me then. Amalgamated with American might and style, Japan—even in the early ‘70s—was a technical wonderland.

My mother would often prop me on my rocking horse, and there I’d stay for hours, listening to probably unhealthy doses of The Village People and Pink Floyd. Was it your intent to get me into drugs, mother? While I’m sure that wasn’t the case, music was etched into my soul at an early age. Rhythm and beats became the backbone of my life, and luckily, my parents came home with a pair of turntables.

Before I could say konichiwa we headed back home to the States—to Baltimore, Maryland. This time we weren’t joined with my father. He left my mother for some low-life. I was too young to feel my mother’s pain, but she was strong. She concealed it well. She was also pregnant. In March, my little sister popped out. With the help of my grandmother Mom Mom, my mom raised us as best she could while working multiple full-time jobs. I don’t remember that much of my Mom Mom while I was a toddler, but I do remember faking sick so that I could miss school and stay home and watch the news and talk-shows with her. When her talk shows were over she’d let me watch cartoons like Voltron and He-Man while she cooked scrapple and eggs for breakfast, and then take me to the corner 7/11 for my monthly doses of Spider-Man and Batman comic books and Cycle World magazines—what more could a kid ask for? I was a Hulkamaniac. I idolized Tony Hawk and Bo Jackson and Jeremy McGrath, and vowed to rule the world like Darth Vader ruled the galaxy. I shared my Sega with the neighborhood and my only worry as a kid growing up was if I’d scuff my Nike Air Jordans. I simply cannot complain about my youth. It was as an adult that I would experience challenges that were overwhelming in scale.

For instance . . .



The barmaid smiled as I walked in. She propped a bottle of Budweiser in front of me as I took a seat at the bar. Night Shift was about as comforting as a strip club could be: it was cold, dark and clinical. A machine hissed and spewed milky white fog across the ceiling, turning blue under the black lights. Crystal Method’s She’s My Pusher was the soundtrack of the moment as the next woman to catch my eye was Jen. She was drop dead gorgeous but quite empty of anything I’d ever consider worth fighting for.

Her face lit up and she began crawling along the bar towards me, her long blond hair draped down around her shoulders. The barmaid smiled at me with arched brows as if to say ‘lucky you’. Man she’s already naked. . . .

“Hi there, hon,” she said. And then she whispered seductively close to my ear, touching my chest, “You back to blow more coke off my stomach?”

See what I mean?

“Maybe later,” I said, sliding a couple bucks into her g-string. “I just need a drink right now to loosen up.”

“Who’s your pusher, baby?” she said, nibbling my ear lobe.

I only nodded. She winked and crawled to the next lucky victim. I watched her crawl away— why am I leaving again?—and walked back out the door after her song was over. I tapped the pocket above my breast. She didn’t let me down.

Leaving Night Shift I headed to Hellfire Club in the lightning-wrought atmosphere. There, all my worries usually went away. They were forced away. Drowned in so many chemicals and poisons that nothing could exist in my mind save for the woozy absolution of numbness.

I cruised along the harbor, alone, and enjoyed the scent of the water in my last few minutes of sobriety for the night. The rain seemed to be gone, for now. The thumping beat of the Ducati 916’s twin Termignoni exhaust hummed away at low RPMs beneath me. The street lamps, reflecting through my helmet visor, churned up a feeling of dizziness, and thunder echoed the growling in my stomach.

Rolling down Boston Street the bike shut off; I pulled the clutch lever in and drifted to a stop. I turned the ignition off, and then back on, and pushed the starter button.

Nothing.

I flicked up my visor and looked to the sky in emotional fatigue.

A shooting star flew through the sky. But then it suddenly changed directions, as if deflected from its original trajectory, or realized it was heading in the wrong direction. And then the star stopped. It sat there, bright and twinkling, perhaps realizing that it had been spotted doing something it shouldn’t have done.

Back to the bike, I pulled off the right fairing. There along that trellis frame sat the rectifier. I neglected to replace it for years now. I tapped on it a few times, and tried the starter button again; this time she jumped to life.

Thunder rolled across the city with each fierce flash of lightning. On several occasions it was so close that I heard the static electricity discharge and I nearly felt the heat; the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up, as if trying to embrace the electricity. And with another boom of thunder, my heart jumped in my chest. It was getting nasty, and I actually thought about heading home. The harbor to my left was like a mirror that echoed the sheets of lightning that flickered and danced all over. The drugs were making me quite emotional. As I bolted the fairing back on, I found some time to think . . .

Why did you have to utterly shred my heart, Alison? All that I wanted was to share everything with you, to come home at night to you, to sleep next to you. Did you lie about your happiness? The time we spent together seems only like a dream. . . .

Ali was only memories to me at this time, but the pain—I did a good job of suppressing it, usually—was there, hidden under layers of thick self-loathing and insecurity. She had led me to believe that I was in love—that she was in love with me too—but that was lust playing tricks on my mind. She forgot about me in what seemed like only a moment, so I had made myself do the same. I let her fade away.

I felt guilt on top of the depression. Here I was, discontented; when in another part of the world countless men, women and children were dead and dying. And my sister Rose—stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska—was possibly heading to hostile Iraq; my uncle was already there, and there was a chance that my dad was going to be re-enlisted and shipped out, as well, if the war made a turn for the worse. But currently, the war was going as well as the Pentagon expected, though hundreds of thousands of Americans were still being deployed continuously to the war effort.

Sitting there in the silence between rumbles of thunder I began to feel queasy. There was this knot in my stomach forming, and then I saw something disturbing. The city all around me was in flames, and the buildings were blown away around me, and a mushroom cloud erupted in the center of the city.—Vivid doesn’t even come close to describing the hallucination. Or daydream. Or whatever the hell it was.

I looked down the street and there was this guy standing there staring at me. I thought he looked peculiar because he was wearing sunglasses. But he turned and started down the opposite end of the sidewalk. And here I was ready to kick some ass. . . . Meanwhile the bike stalled out again, though this time undoubtedly due to lack of fuel in the tank.

I thumbed the starter once more, and the engine fired to life in a throaty roar in lethargic double beats. I kicked down into first gear and slowly headed back onto the empty street.

Anytime I was riding on a fairly straight road I naturally felt the need to pull a wheelie—it’s quite obligatory to most sportbike riders, especially in front of people—so while shifting into second I dumped the clutch and opened the throttle; I began what was probably the ugliest wheelie in history. I felt the rear wheel slide over the wet pavement and I had to dab the rear brake because I had used too much throttle. I went completely backwards once, landing hard on my back and head and obliterating the bike—and I wasn’t going to go there again.

A flash of lightning startled my inebriated senses, so I brought the bike’s front-end down abruptly. A tree was blasted by a bolt of white lightning that slithered blindingly through it instantly, stopping at the moist earth mound of roots at its base. Organic shrapnel hit me in the visor and chest as the tree came toppling down, landing in my path. I narrowly avoided a massive chunk of the trunk, pushing the bike to lean and swerving around it in a quick right-left juke maneuver. I remember the tires losing traction on the slippery pavement, but I don’t remember losing control of the bike, and I shut my eyes tight . . .

. . . I opened my eyes, and there was a bright light. I blinked several times while trying to regain some semblance of what had just happened. I leaned forward and looked over at where the light was coming from—it was the Ducati’s headlamp. The bike was lying just under a truck, the front tire still spinning slowly.

I remembered avoiding the tree. My helmet was lying beside me, rolling back and forth. I must’ve hit my head, because I simply didn’t remember falling off or hitting anything. I did remember, however—which could probably be attributed to hitting my head—blacking out, sort of, and seeing stars, thousands of them, which seemed to rush at me at all angles; and seeing total darkness and infinite color at the same time.

I made to get up, but felt back down again, feeling like the wind was knocked out of me. Trying to get up once more, a hand was outstretched in front of me, and I looked up to the one offering. The first thing I noticed about him was that he was wearing sunglasses—this was the guy from earlier, down the road. Light blue lenses hid his eyes from meeting mine directly, but I took his hand anyway out of appreciation. “Welcome back,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, with his hand still holding on to my arm in case I would fall over again. “You were out for about fifteen seconds or so—the time it took me to run over here from down the street. You just lay in the street, not moving a muscle. I saw the lightning strike close by, and then heard your bike hit the ground. I thought you were dead.”

Still feeling woozy from the fall, I clumsily picked the bike up—lord was it heavy—and noticed that it was all banged up on the right side. The mirror had snapped off, and the foot peg was shaved down a bit, and the fairing was sanded down past the paint.

“Ambulance should be here in a moment,” he said.

I looked at him, and then quickly hopped on the seat. I wasn’t trying to hang around for a free DWI ticket.

“You’re planning on riding again? You really should wait for the paramedics. You may have seriously hurt yourself. Even though you don’t feel too bad now—”

“I’m fine,” I said, while simultaneously thumbing the starter button. Over the exhaust I yelled, “Thanks for your help, though. ‘Preciate it.”

A block later and the damned thing died again. I pushed it a block to Hellfire.

In the parking lot, I jumped back on the seat again to catch my breath. I pulled out the small baggie of cocaine Jen had slipped me and cut-up a line on the fuel tank with my license. “White Lines,” I sang, “blowing through my mind.” Inhaling, I was hit with a burst of euphoric serenity that transcended the accident, taking me above it, where only this feeling could have given me the carelessness to do such a foolish thing in public, I realized as a few guys walked by, staring in amazement. “White Lines . . . blow away.”

My throat tightened, making it barely able for me to swallow. My teeth felt as if I could pull each of them out of my mouth without any sort of pain; it was as if they were asking for me to remove them because my jaw, which wouldn’t stop moving, wanted them gone. I rubbed my tongue along my gums and the roof of my mouth like it was a woman’s breast.

After pouring a few drops on the ground, I sipped the whiskey in my flask to wash the poison down. With the flask in my hand and the white powder on the tank, I said in a moment of realization and with a bit of laughter in my voice, “Jesus Christ, man—you’re turning into a fuckin’ junkie.” I put the flask back in my pocket, and continued: “You better straighten yourself out—and real quick. You’re stronger than this.”

I looked up at the small orange Hellfire sticker, and felt that out-of-place feeling; the strange one where it feels like something isn’t quite right at all, and it wiggles uncomfortably around your insides. Something isn’t right . . . I don’t belong here came the feeling again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS


Disclaimer: No, this is not Santa fuckin up a random black dude. This is Santa doin his best for the Vampire Nation by chokin' out Blade! Merry Christmas everybody!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend to Remember

What a great weekend! My little brother arrived in Baltimore and the Ravens win on Saturday blended right into Christmas with Theresa's family all day Sunday and our friend's at night. I wanted to post here over the weekend, but for the first time in a while I did not have a chance. But that's a good thing. I kept busy and stayed optimisitic throughout the weekend. Now we're gearing up for Christmas with my family and I'm finally in the spirit. I'm spending every dollar I have on everyone I can think of. And...I'm enjoying it. Weird.

Now, if the Raven's win on Sunday and I get some editting done, I'll be ringing in the New Year like a madman! Also, while reading a new vampire book collection I was given yesterday, I began to see things about descriptive narrative differently. So that is something I'm looking for while doing revisions tonight and this week. There are certain times when I use words like Victorian in place of describing the characteristics of a certain room that is just a No No in my opinion.

So with Stabbing Westward's "Why" in my ear, I'm going to open up UNIQUE and shake this book down! See ya soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Summer Night Forgotten

It's warm. Damp with large drops of rain pelting the windshield every now and then. The Crystal Method's The Winner fades into Over the Line, and I roll the windshield down. In my pocket are two white pills. I fish them out, and pop them in my mouth, downing them with a Diet Pepsi. To my left is the Patapsco River, capped by downtown Baltimore a little further to my north. Yellow street lamps guide my way on either side, and I close my eyes to inhale the watery breeze.

I stop in front of an old basketball court. Just past the court is a small field that ends at the water, a stubby pier jutting out in broken planks. I remember the place from my earlier drinking days. Friends and I would come here before we were old enough to hit the bars and drink. We would drink cans of Bud and bottles of Zima and we would make out.

I slip my hands in my pocket and lean back on the hood of the Mustang. Crystal Method's High and Low is on now. It's perfect and I smile. I'm happy in my reverie. So far, I've had a good life. Optimism engulfs me as the rain comes down in a deluge.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's So Special About You?

A funny thing about humans - we think we're special. We gave ourselves a soul, so that we would never really die. We gave ourselves gods so that we'd truly never be alone. And for thousands of years our literary characters have benefited from this as well, and we made them worship us, too.

And the reasons are easy enough to spot.

Apparently Earth's the only planet with life, and dogs can't talk and fish can't walk. We inherited the universe for lack of any other intelligent life. And it shows in our fiction, especially literature. The vampire is no different. As amazing as their physiology would be - to sustain life even after death - they hold us high on a pedestal. Dracula did in his novel, and this worship of humanity continues to this day.

Evander Cambio, the protagonist of UNIQUE, wants to hold onto his humanity, too. Hell, I even had to develop different species of vampires so that this was a possibility. He's a Clean Blood, a vampire from the original source - the Sacred Ancestor. While the undead all around him - that are the majority - relish in their evil, more violent ways. Instead, Evander tends to protect humans; he still feels human, considering his physiology is closer to theirs.

This is just one example of how even I cannot bring humanity down a bit. Try as I might, even I can't bring myself from holding humans upon high. But every once in a while, we need to poke fun at ourselves.

But wait! Maybe we are special. Altruism exists, and not by mere chance. People help each other, and I'd be willing to bet not just for the sake of gaining something from it. We worship family and a higher power, and teach ourselves to be more selfless every day. And right now, that's exactly what we all need.

This post was supposed to be anything but a rant, but I'm feeling very special lately. Or maybe I'm high, I don't know. Or maybe I'm just all wrapped up in Christmas spirit...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't Tap Out!

When inspiration and creativity is absent for so long, can you deduce that the story is no longer worth writing? Is there a point when an idea is simply dead? And have I stumbled into a brain-snapping grapple that I should just succumb to the pain and tap out already?!

Well the short, perhaps ephemeral answer is no, not just yet. There are plenty of stories out there that exist - and popularly - in the world of novels, comic books and graphic novels that give me hope that one day my story will see the dimly fluorescent-lit shelves of bookstores, eventually. And while I do sometimes have a tinge of doubt that pinches me at the temple, usually the confidence that has kept this first book alive takes large Pacman-like bites out of that doubt. Chomp, Chomp, Chomp.

Sometimes I find it curious that I spend more time and effort on posting on this blog than I do actually trying to sit down and write. I've listed in other posts the numerous distractions I have - that most of us share - but in this case, the first story is done. Queries are mailed, and some already rejected. But for the series of AFTER MAN as a whole, I know that there is a market for these stories. Having the patience as well as the confidence to one day see these stories in print is worth too much to simply tap out now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yo, This Book MIGHT Suck!

You know, I don't get much feedback at all on my writing. Besides my significant other, I don't think anyone has ever read my novel. That's a shame. But I'm starting to wonder how I would take the criticism. I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still this past weekend and sat in awe. I love films where humanity just doesn't have a clue how to stop something so unimaginable from happening. I was much more enamored with the special effects and the cinematography, but the story wasn't so bad either. Nor was the general message, which was faithful to the original and still remains true to this day. Go figure.

But while the credits were rolling, it was the first flick I've been to in a while where the people were obviously left unsatisfied. "Yo, that movie sucked," I heard above the others. I held back the "You suck" reply, figuring that this was not my film and I shouldn't take it personally. But I enjoyed it, so I did. But only for a moment. And then I realized that I've never even got so much as a "Yo, this book sucked."

How the hell do I think I'll ever get published when I can't even get my book read by my peers let alone a publisher or literary agent? And how well will I actually take their criticism once they have read it?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Countdown to 2009

I have no idea what's in store for 2009, but I'm optimistic. I'm hopeful. I read today that, even though the the auto bailout fell flat on its face in Congress yesterday, the Treasury department will not let the Big 3 fail. And I have a few friends that have lost their jobs. But on January 1st, you have to believe in something magical, and I think they will get back on their feet. It's a new, fresh start. And with a bit of faith, and some confidence, you have to believe everything's just going to work out.

American Exceptionalism may be fizzing away, but with Barack Obama soon to lead this country, I'm excited that this country may be heading in a new direction. I hope that foreign policy will be reinvented for this new globalized world and that energy technology leads our economy back to preeminence.

Hopefully something inside my head will click and regardless of where I write, I will write. And maybe I'll get married. And make a son. And win the lottery. Who know's what's going to happen, but I'm optimistic.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

Or not, I don't care. I'm taking my last final exam. My nose is leaking like a bastard. I'm out of pills and next I have to go to work. At least I get paid tomorrow.

So I was reading an issue of Wizard magazine. Nothing really gets me back into writing quite like Wizard, for some reason. I don't know if it's because there are a lot of scribe interviews in the mag, or if it's the plethora of new writers they embrace. But it's refreshing to see that some people have luck making it in the biz.

I'm hoping that January will provide me the quiet lull in activity that abounds me at the moment, and I can write. Maybe something new, I don't know.

Back to this final now. Ta!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Rapping

When I left for work it was nearly 65 degrees already and raining. Thunder was rattling the windows and set off the car alarm behind me, leaving me looking suspicious as I pulled away for work. Laughing, I rolled down the window and enjoyed the warm air and cool rain.

It's amazing what a walk will do for you. Hitting the treadmill for an hour yesterday did wonders for my cold-riddled body. It got me out of the cave I call residence for now and I eventually began a Christmas list.

I have an iPhone, so now I can finally enjoy buying for others. This little gadget is taking up way too much of my time. But seeing as how I'm mostly just doing nothing, it can't hurt that much, can it? Okay, I don't have any rapping skills, but things are at least looking up today. (And I'm working over 10 hours, weird...)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Grades, the Publishing Industry, and the Earth and the Moon

It's been a while since I've had anything to blog about, apparently. Christmas shopping, final exams this week and a blown final project, and I'm a year older. I haven't mustered much writing today, and I'm stuck in my hole watching The Wire.

I've been doing way too much thinking lately, that's for sure. Wondering what America would be like without an auto industry. The fact that I'm still years away from graduation. And how is it that I'm just so F-ing lazy? And maybe depression really is as simple as a chemical reaction in the brain...

But I wonder mostly about the State of the Publishing industry, and how much room there are for new writers. Obviously the economy is hurting everybody. And it seems time to back off with the query letters, and concentrate solely on finishing revisions of this first book. Perhaps I'll have a fighting chance when this country is climbing out of this hole that's larger than the one in my futon. Here we go again.

Much like the Earth absorbing the moon's orbit around our sun I am forced back into this perpetual cycle of static inertia. (See Capture Theory.) Now I don't know what I just said, but it feels about right. Back to the Wire...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

TWILIGHT


What a fantastic movie. I was only halfway through the book when we saw it last night, but I was very pleased. The soundtrack was reminiscent of a 90s horror movie and the cinematography was different.

Blah blah all of that though. It was just a good film. BUT. Of course, I have absolute qualms with certain things about Mrs. Meyer's vampires. No fangs? What?! Sparkling sunlight? Get out... And her vampires never sleep. Never. Ever.

See, that's just sad. Give 'em coffins or something, because what is worth living if you can't reset? You'd go mad! And this is sad, because I never connected with Edward Cullen after this. He was above even vampire at this point, and he lost all human qualities - which he had a few up til this point. So I shuddered a little cringe when Bella expels the word "Vampire!"

Yet I do want to see it again. I was suprised that it was honestly fairly accurate. And for sure I'm finishing the book. I'm looking forward to the Twilight box set that's headed my way. Good film. And a great soundtrack.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Query

I wanted to list my query here, and see what you think. I have a few versions of the letter depending on the requirements of the agent. Here is one such letter:

Thank you for taking time to consider me for representation. I've read your guest-blog post today, and after reading your information and client list at Publisher's Marketplace, I wanted to contact you regarding my first novel THE UNIQUE DESTRUCTION OF AN ORDINARY SOUL (contemporary fantasy; approximately 130,000 words). If I may, a brief synopsis:

Evander is an average young man looking for love and adventure in Baltimore. One lightning-wrought night he finds adventure and so much more when he meets the woman of his dreams, and quickly becomes an honest-to-god, blood-sucking vampire, as our protagonist puts it. And when a master vampire goes too far in persuading the new vampire to live under his House, Evander quickly begins to lose loved ones in a battle that eventually consumes the entire city, while the world heads on a course for nuclear destruction.

I'm currently an undergraduate student working towards a degree in English. Again, thank you for your time [mr. agent]. I hope to hear from you soon.

Respectfully

It's certainly not perfect, but I figured this is short and sweet, and hopefully will get them to read the synopsis or partial.

What The Hell Just Hit Me?!

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come, especially with the holliday season upon us, but I haven't written AT ALL lately. Granted, I'm at the end of the semester too, but things have been just a bit ragged. The workspace I was planning has hit a snag and I'm stuck with only materials and no room to re-energize. And with the rejection letters coming in I am really not in the creative mood. That's really unfortunate. Like the recession, I seemed to have just slipped into a depression without even realizing it. I sit in front of the tube and flip, flip, flip away. I've become a freakin ZOMBIE!! Hell, I've forgotten what my gym looks like.

This just emphasizes for me that I can not afford to have a television in my writing space when it's all said and done. The damn thing is pure distraction that I don't want to tolerate any more. And maybe I should give myself some space. From writing, that is. Perhaps it will be good for me. Or maybe this is just the funk talking...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rejection

So I got a letter from JABberwocky today - it's my SASE envelope - and see that it's, of course, a rejection letter.

I'll just add that to the Pile. Thanks for the opportunity, JAB! So now I'm scratching my head and thinking there can't be that many more agents out there left... Self-publishing is starting to sound mighty possible.

Back to the query letter, I guess. I let this RL bother me for about 15 minutes. That's it, now I'm good again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ginger Clark @ Curtis Brown

Another query emailed, this time to Ginger Clark at the prestigious Curtis Brown literary agency. Upon reading Ginger's page at Publisher's Marketplace, I figured she could empathize with my novel, considering her client list being profoundly Science Fiction/fantasy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marketing

Is it ever too early to market your book? This question is retroactive to pre-publishing, too. I know very little about marketing. In fact, I guess I know nothing at all. My plan has always been, from the beginning, to get my story out there. To have people read it - that's the point to all of this. That's why this blog exists.

And yet now I find myself searching for new, constructive ways to market this book. So far, I've been searching for an artist for the cover. I have it completely planned out, but I could screw up a stick figure, so I'll leave this to the pros. I'm wondering if it's too soon to design a website. Would a website even work for an unpublished work? I don't know. These are things I am looking into to help market my first novel.

I've never had much use for an ego, but is self-promotion really egotistical? Or will it only hasten my prospect for publishing? Hmm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Chapter At A Time

I'm taking fellow blogger Annie Wicking's advice, and going through UNIQUE chapter by chapter. The more I think about it, the more I want to clean up the story. I want to make sure the plot is not stale, and the characters are not just fodder. My goal tonight is to shave ten thousand words, and bring the count down to about 130,000.

Originally, I was shooting for 180,000 words. Wow was I way off. That would have just been too drawn out.

So now the outline begins, where I will highlight the main issues in each chapter, and recycle the unnecessary paragraphs. One thing I have to mention is that reading - especially in your genre - is so very important. There have been quite a few revelations with certain books I have been reading lately, and I am beginning (after six years) to see what a good story is all about.

So thanks for the advice, Annie. I have some direction now while I wait for the mail.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Writers House

It's another beautifully gloomy Autumn morning, but for all I know, the birds are singing and my feet are dancing! I've just put together a proposal package for the Writers House literary agency, care of Jodi Reamer, Esq. They are a prestigious house with - in my opinion - (Mrs. Reamer's own) Stephenie Meyers topping their client list, and Laurell K. Hamilton, who I am also a big fan of.

They even reside in a wonderful historic building in New York that just makes you cross your fingers even harder. From the website alone you get the feeling that something special goes on in inside this building. And I want to be apart of that.

Pretty cool, right? Even without the sun today, it just feels all bright and warm. My own personal sunshine. Good lord, I have to get over myself...

Monday, November 10, 2008

What The Hell's A JABberwocky?!

I have just put together a hearty query for the JABberwocky Literary Agency, c/o Eddie Schneider. His profile listed some things that just struck a cord with me.

This is the same agency that has brought us Tanya Huff and Charlaine Harris!

Again, I have that warm, confident feeling in my belly that's just growlin'! So now I'm on my way to FedEX Office where I'm going to put this thing in a business envelope and send it on its way with love.

On The Chopping Block

For some reason, I've opened my eyes to re-editing UNIQUE again. While reading the third book in the Sookie Stackhouse series and the 30 Days of Night novel (not simultaneously), I began to mentally dissect my own story, and came to the conclusion that there are quite a few paragraphs throughout that could completely be cut from the story. Whole scenes, as well.

I look forward to tightening up the story. It will make it a lot more fresh to read, and help the plot stay focused. At approximately 240 pages single-spaced, I'm going to print out the manuscript, and go through it with a highlighter. This may help with dealing with the strain on my eyes that this PC is ever giving me...

I'll be back soon and we'll see how many pages I was able to chop.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back To The Query

Okay. Now that I'm out of my election high, I thought I'd take a moment and write a proper blog. I have yet to hear from any of the six agents that I queried about two weeks ago. So. I'm about to send out another six queries, and I'm also in the middle of a submission for another publisher.

I brought this up the other day, regarding writing genres. The vampire story usually has elements of three genres; i.e. fantasy, horror and science fiction. Now, for the most part, you can combine all of these elements, and label the genre dark fantasy. There is also a somewhat a huge dollop of sex, but it wouldn't fall under Romance. I've been having trouble finding agents that represent such a genre.

So what to do? Well I plan on hitting every literary agent that lists any of these genres. Agent Query has been really helpful with searching for such agents.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tor Submission

Whew, thankfully it's over. Almost, anyway. We're hours away from real change in this country, and I couldn't be happier. Well, unless grampy wins...

In all seriousness, I've put together a real nice proposal for Tor last night, and I will mail it out tomorrow. I'm really happy with the cover letter and a re-vamped synopsis. Tor does a lot for the fantasy/SciFi/horror literary crowd, and I'm quite a fan. They are one of very few publishing houses around today that accept unsolicited submissions. That's really refreshing, considering I'm having zero luck with literary agents. I have yet to find one agent that supports my genre, i.e. dark fantasy (which in my opinion combines all of the aforementioned genres).

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Okay, I usually try not to post more than once a day on this here blog, but since we're just days away from Halloween (woohoo!) I thought I'd take a minute and list my three favorite Halloween vampire movies. Sure, I have a cornucopia of other films I love to watch during this spooky time of year, but hell, I write vampire stories for devil's sake. I'm gonna keep it real! Until the Vampire Hunter D is captured in celluloid, this list will do. And I have to give a shout-out to INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. Without this film, I never get into Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and perhaps never begin writing about vampires in the first place. But this is a top 3, not a top 4. This will be boringly obvious, I'm sure. Right then, I'll begin.


3. John Carpenter's VAMPIRES
Easily my favorite Western of all time. The vampires are hardcore things of legend and the gore is copious. James Woods is the man (Fuck James Woods I hear in the background somewhere...). But he rips in this film. And Valek, the main baddie vamp is badass. When he rips a hunter in half with his bare hand, you can only say, "Duuude." The book by John Steakley is better, but what's new. The movie rules in its own way. But get the novel to compliment it.




2. BLADE
This movie re-invigorated my love for vampires when it was released in 1998. I still remember the goosebumps after seeing the trailer for the first time with "Confusion" pumping in the noise for the kids. Style, style and more style is what Stephen Norrington does to movies. And this one is fast, violent and edgy. The ending still leaves something to be desired, but it's far better than the alternate ending on the DVD. That was just painful to watch... But the way the vampires disintegrate when felled is classic, sort of like Mr. Whedon did with the "Dusting" of vampires in the Buffyverse.




1. THE LOST BOYS
My all-time fav. This movie takes me way back, all the way to 1987. And it still is copied to this day. I will not mention the sequel here. No point. Looks like crap. But this film was special. The soundtrack, the characters, the story. I overuse the word Cool quite a bit, but what else will do it justice? I watch it at least once a year, and especially right before Halloween. I give Near Dark an honorable mention here, because it came out the same year. It was far more violent and dark than The Lost Boys, but again, it's overshadowed because David and his boys no how to have a good time. For a long time this movie has left an impression with me, and I owe it to Michael Schumacher and co. for giving me my first taste of inspiration.

So tomorrow, after class, I know what I'll be doing. No, not homework. I'm going to be glued to the set with a big, fatty bag of potato chips, some Diet Pepsi and I'm gonna lounge in the dark.

Happy Halloween!

True Blood




So I'm listening to the Deftones' "Change" and thinking about HBO's True Blood. Obviously I'm enthralled with the show. Of course--it is about vampires. But what I'm so enamored with is the striking relation between the book and the series. While a lot of liberty is taken, obviously, for the TV story, that's to be expected. It's all part of the medium.

I could rant about the show all morning long. But I won't waste your time. I'll just tell you that the show totally has me hooked. I'm sure Charlaine Harris is proud. I think Alan Ball did an excellent job of capturing what the book is all about. And with episode 8 just airing, I hope it's cemented a place in HBO's library like the Sopranos did, or Deadwood. It's completely unique to anything else on TV, and the only other show I watch is The Shield.

This is one of those shows that makes me realize why I love the Vampire lore so much. It's just spooky, supernatural, and cool. There is just something so distant and sad also that makes the allusion of immortality so interesting. Can you imagine going through life, watching society and civilization develop all around you? Wow it must be ineffable! In fact, it is. So I'll leave the blog with this.

I am not a believer in vampires (or ghosts, Big Foot or Nessy) in any way, shape or form. But there's also little proof that they don't exist. The only proof being, of course, is that there has never been proof that they do in fact exist. Good enough for me. And so that's why writing about vampires is so pleasurable for me. And I'm taking Evander into a post-Apocalyptic world where all of those creatures of lore exist. Through Evander I get to experience those things for myself. Cool.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Too Much Time On My Hands

What do I want to write today, dear blog? How about the fact that I may soon be back on my butt and out of school because the economy sucks and I probably won't get another school loan again? No, that's not what this blog is for.

So what about the fact that neither Presidential candidate seems worth our next four years of future history? Nope, that will just give me a headache.

Well then, that leaves me with talking about the fact that I've hit a creative rut the past week or so. Sure it's all been documented here, but I haven't even opened one of my stories in nearly two weeks! Jeez.

Perhaps exercising will open up my blood and get the oxygen flowing back into my head. Guess I'll go for a mile or two walk tonight. With my iPod, because I'm kinda tired of thinking. I'm kinda tired of baseball, and football at the moment. I may actually be failing a class now, because I forgot the past three homework assingments. And I'm definitely tired of pushing myself. It'd be nice to clear my head and just go with the flow tonight.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Office Project


So today I've officially begun a project renovating the small room into an office. I'm searching for some (more livable) paint; maybe a dark beige. The blue walls and carpet just frighten me for some reason. It feels sort of like you're drowning.

I've found my desk. Finally. And some dark brown book shelves. A friend is bringing by a futon for me. And tonight, I'm going to empty the room. Everything must go so I can get new carpet. Above is a picture of an office I've used as inspiration. It's uber-cozy and sleek and just plain enough. While I can't afford the badass Apple, I have found the lamp (from Target, no less). Wow, am I ever milking this thing for all it's worth. It's gloomy out, so this is the perfect project right now. I'll be back soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What a Week

It's amazing how many distractions I have at the moment. Regardless of my complete lack in finding a suitable writing desk (wow, am I really this high maintenance?) one thing after another blocks me from getting a good day of writing in. The World Series is so far sub-par. School is bordering on monotony. And Direct TV put up a hell of a fight in fixing their mistakes that consumed an entire week of inspiration. (Let me just say that it feels great to have Comcast back.) And where the hell did Autumn go?! It went from sunny and 60s to frigid goddamn-cold overnight! At least I'm getting some quality time in with my girlfriend (definitely under the covers).

Blah, blah - I'll be writing tonight.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October, The Writing Season

Today is chilly, easily the first jacket-wearing day of the season. It's okay, because I'm still searching for a desk, and once this is done (hopefully tonight) I can place it in a dark corner of the "studio" and get back to the series.

With classes in Mid-term, I've put the series on the side. But now that we're heading back into a lull, and with the weather turning, I can start cranking out queries. There really isn't a single book that I'm fascinated with at the moment, too. This is perfect writing time.

Speaking of queries, the other day I must've mailed at least four queries via Yahoo! Yet to get a "We're sorry" from a single one yet means that the weekend looks good...

Ikea, here I come!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Music and the World

Do you ever listen to a song and just get high? Yeah, music plays a pretty big role in my life, and my iPod s always in my pocket. It's absolutely in everything I write. Sometimes it feels like I'm even writing scenarios around a particular song. Or maybe my entire first story is about music. The protagonist is a turntablist, at least, who never quite got the hang of the guitar.

I'm beginning to understand why I'm holding on so dearly to this first story. After this one, the world is different. There is no more music to be made. Or I'm sure nobody wants to create any. After this first story, the world is dark and it's a polar opposite from the amazing and vibrant world we know today, which, I'm not necessarily sure we appreciate. It would be so easy for the world to be wiped away.

Today is sunny, warm and I have "Let it Die" by the Foo Fighters beaming in my ear. It's a good day for writing. It's a good day...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm a Writer. Right?

Do you ever get the feeling that you're not cut-out to be a writer. I get the feeling more and more often. And not for lack of publication, either. No, sometimes I sit down to write all of the cool scenarios that I came up with, only to stare at a blank page, while the cursor blink, blink, blinks away.

And the distractions, oh the distractions! If it isn't football, it's well the MLB playoffs start today; or look, here's a new book to read; or, I'm hungry. Maybe I should eat another lunch. At another restaurant. Or let's see what's new on Wikipedia!

In five years I've completed one novel. While in the past year I've developed plots and opening chapters for at least 7 additional stories. Will I ever complete these? And, while Unique is "complete" it doesn't feel finished. Well it's not perfect! No, only my use of the Italic button is perfect.

I suppose even this is normal. It all goes back to my needing a dedicated space for writing. Or this is just another excuse. Wow, I'm running around in circles, beginning to sweat even.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Feng Shui(ing) My Writing Space

So is there anything to this feng shui stuff? At least regarding a special area set aside for performing work. Sometimes I find it difficult to write, and I wonder if this has anything to do with how I write. Currently I use a laptop that sits on a box I never unpacked from my untimely move to Chicago. And I sit in a whole that used to be my futon. (I kicked said whole after the Ravens' loss to the Pats last season.)

To say I'm comfortable would be an utter lie.

I'm miserable, in fact. And often I'll step away from the computer, or rather push the box away from me, and sit somewhere else and watch TV. I need a dedicated writing desk and accompanying chair. Preferably not facing the television. I really need to create a comfortable writing space that I can sit inside and concentrate and treat writing like a job. And I'd even get some homework done once in a while...

I never imagined I'd become so high maintenance. But here I am, possibly coming up with another excuse. But for what, I wonder? Regardless, I'll hold off writing tonight until I get back from Ikea!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Inspiration

So I'm in a lull between classes because my Anthropology teacher doesn't want to teach today...again. And all I can do is think about writing. I want to rush home, turn on the laptop, and pull up one of my stories--hell, I don't even know which one--and write. Create. Add to the universe which is constantly unfolding nearly every single day I open the clamshell.

I was watching the news earlier and the milk crisis in China was being discussed, and it gave me ideas to add to my story. I'm finding inspiration in every nook and cranny. And I don't even need synthetic "optimism" to barrel through it, either. This is great!

Now, if you don't mind, I'm gonna sleep through this next class (computer info...blah blah if you ask me!) to keep the creative juices churning in my soggy, gray brain!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nathan Bransford

I've been reading a blog by literary agent Nathan Bransford for a couple of weeks now. He may be my best hope of finding an agent, as he seems ready to take on anything (If well written, of course).

And while I've been busy writing future volumes for the series, I've also been letting The Unique Destruction of an Ordinary Soul marinate. This Sunday I'm going to shun the television (thank god the Ravens are on Monday night) and refresh the story as best I can. I'm sure there are plenty of patches I can sew on, and there are some remissions I've been meaning to execute.

Regardless, I began a new query letter that I will send in a week or so.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

In Class

So class is in full swing. In Anthropology, I began to see things in the same light as my characters. We're learning about the Masai people of Kenya, a tribe of herdsman and their many wives. They are primitive. They live by their traditions, even as the high-tech society around them collapses in on their world. And for vampires, I begin to feel like they would view us in the same light. As advanced as we may be today, for the sake of my fiction, the vampires inherit the throne of top billing on Earth, as their technology takes them to the stars and beyond in a post-apacolyptic world where mankind has fully relinquished their control of their society.

And what's bittersweet is that I'm taking Spanish...and enjoying myself. I should've taken this stuff in high school, but I've always been an underacheiver. I long to take Japanese, however. But wow I don't have the determination for that just yet.

I'm a year away from graduating with my first degree, and I already can't stop thinking about obtaining my second. Hopefully there I'll be satiated...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Other Stories

So I haven't exactly stayed on course with writing Book 2. Actually, I've been simultaneously writing books 3, and 4, and even 5. My only shame so far has been my incessant copying of Kevin Leahy's translation of Hideyuki Kikuchi's style. And I'm not outright plagiarizing his work--far from it, actually. But I pretend sometimes that I'm writing the next Vampire Hunter D, using the poetic and sometimes even silly dialogue as my muse.

Regardless of my seemingly lack of creativity, I'm simply writing what comes to me. Much like I explained in a letter to Mr. Kikuchi-san. One thing that I may have to come to grips with is that eventually, while I'm writing these volumes, I will have to put down the books (like my Hollywood post) and use whatever imagination I have of my own to develop the next series of books.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book 2

Today I realized that it's the one-year anniversary of beginning the second book in the After Man series. I also realized that it should have been completely written in that past year, and yet for all of my intentions, I have only nearly 30 pages.

So while I am in the midst of query-dropping, book 2 (WE INHERITED AND UNIMAGINABLE WORLD) will become my new priority. I may be absent here for a couple of weeks. It's time to buckle down and do this. I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

HOLLYWOOD

It looks like it's been a while since I've last blogged. I guess I have nothing special to say. Sort of in a lull, if you will--regarding writing and creativity. Maybe it's from movie overload. This past week I've seen Hancock and The Dark Knight, which just gave me cold chills. I thought I was above the hype, but I was absorbed in it. It surpassed the hype. Mr. Nolan knows how to make a movie. And Hancock was great, just fun. It was a comic book superhero movie done right. And before this there was a trailer for Watchmen, the cult-favorite graphic novel. I read it years ago, and while I thought it was pretty good, I'm not so sure about its creator, Alan Moore. Personally, I don't get the guy and his anti-American comic industry sentiment. But then, I've never been employed at Marvel or DC, so what do I know. Anyway, the film actually looks interesting.

I bring these movies up for one reason. While watching them I actually feel grateful for good writing. I can appreciate what it takes, having written average work up to this point in my life. So I take a little bit of inspiration from these films, like anything we enjoy; but I'm trying to find the line where inspiration can be paused . . . and I just write my own thing. That's a very hard concept for me to understand sometimes. But I had this epiphany while the Joker was strutting around blowing stuff up, marveling at Mr. Ledger's last hurrah. As much as I was completely immersed in this Batman film, it was and never would be mine. I would have to step up my writing, leave inspiration behind, and write what's going on inside my head.

So Hollywood is good for at least one thing. Her films always open my eyes. It's simply up to me to know when to shut them.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Down and Out Back Home in Baltimore

Well we had a blast in Chicago. In fact, it turned out way better than expected. Sunburns, bloated bellies and lots of great memories are mine for the keeping.

However, my smile was soon turned upside-down. At least for a few minutes. In fact, when I saw the self-addressed envelope, I barely even winced. You see, as soon as we returned from Chicago, I received the rejection letter from Mr. Bialer.

I'd be lying if I told you I didn't believe that I would receive a phone call from him while in Chicago.

I have a plan. I won't let it bother me...too much, and I'll continue sending queries nearly daily. Maybe I'll flood the editorial offices over at Dark Horse with submissions. Or perhaps I'll go straight to TOR. I believe it will be easier to find a publisher than perhaps it would be to get a literary agent. Or maybe not, we'll see.

But for right now, I'm going to get back into writing book 2. I'm having fun...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sweet Home Chicago!

No, I'm not from Chicago, but it has become a second home in the past few years. My girlfriend and I - along with her friends - are flying into O'hare tomorrow evening for a few days of baseball, Chicago dogs and pizza, and the obvious tourists things, like the Hancock building and Sears Tower, Lincoln Park Zoo and Grant Park, along with plenty of alcohol with some Blues music. And probably rain...

What do I have to do to get a sunny day in Chicago? I have never been to a prettier city with such crappy weather that seems to change its mind with every other breeze. Regardless, I'm sure it's going to be a great time. Now I just have to find the time to write.

This is the new progression as of late that I am going through. I'm beginning to take writing seriously. More seriously, I should say.

George Carlin just passed away (rest in peace, old man), and I watched quite a few things on him yesterday. All of a sudden I became a little more interested in characters. Listening to Carlin speak on a number of shows, I started to understand what it takes to make a character believable. You have to believe in the character you're creating (or in his case, inheriting). I know this sounds really obvious and simple, but for some reason, hearing him talk about it like that, I began to understand.

So with my query on its way to New York, I have begun to give the second book more attention. I hope this one will have a slant towards the characters. It's funny how inspiration and direction comes from the most obscure of places. And as always, I'm sure I will come home from Chicago with plenty more inspiration. There is just something about that city in particular that just inspires me to write.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Via Air to NYC

My girlfriend and I were driving around in a new Mini Cooper today. I was really excited for her as she finally got to test drive the car she's wanted for a long time now. I laughed as she fumbled her way around the car's controls, flipping the wipers on, front and back and leaving them on while simultaneously messing with the heated seats while turning down the AC to nipple-arousing temps; and generally forgetting why she was driving the car in the first place. And while this made me very happy, there was something else on my mind: an envelope on the kitchen table at home.

My query is in the mail tonight, on its way to Mr. Matt Bialer in the Big Apple. I have had this literary agent in mind for some time now (his list of clients is quite respectable). Afterwards, I was reading some things from a couple of writers, and I feel like I made a great decision. There was not one indecent quip mentioned in regards to Matt on the internet.

All in all, I feel really happy with my submission. I really polished it up on the last day. Pride is difficult to have while I've yet to discover success, but I feel confident. I'm excited! I'm okay with that.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Back to School

For the past few years, since departing sometime in late '04, I have planned a return back to school to obtain an ever-elusive degree in English or Literature or Journalism. The fact is I will never be satisfied with whatever success I may inherit due to writing without earning an education like most Americans. And for that matter, the aforementioned success may turn out to be very minimal without this education. It is turning out that these two things are hand-in-hand.

I have always been very distractable. It would make sense for me to turn the Orioles game off, tell my lady love I'll call her soon and set my phone to vibrate, and keep my head in my laptop where I can concentrate ever more with getting this first novel and my query letter perfect. My perfect. I'll know when they are perfect, and as of this moment, they are not perfect. Far from it.

But I never do that. And this upon the heaping pile of school work I will soon be knee deep in worries me that I am still not completely commited to my education. But this Fall I will once again try to prove to myself--as well as my friends, family, you--that I am worth more than what I currently have produced. Which is to say crap little.

I have aspirations that are well beyond my capability as of today. Working retail is not my idea of a career, but writing for the magazine and publisher of my dreams is just out of reach for someone with simply a high school diploma.

And as always, I'll post my triumphs and bumpy roads here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Dead Travel Fast


As stated previously, I am a vampire fanatic. If it is vampire-related, I will usually purchase it, watch it, collect it, enjoy it, and once in a while loathe it. But never once in my life have I ever believed that vampires exist. At least not certainly in the fictional, undead vampire. And don't even get me started on those fake-ass Psi vampires...

But Eric Nuzum took a quest to find real, undead vampires. Right now I'm reading about this journey in his book The Dead Travel Fast--Stalking Vampires From Nosferatu to Count Chocula. While reading this book, I'm starting to reconsider my self-proclaimed vampire fanatic title. While I have not yet finished the book (hey, I'm reading three novels, too) I cannot ruin it for you, but I'll tell you this: I will never be fanatical enough to drink my own blood!
This book is wonderfully written and researched extremely well. Honestly, I have probably learned more about the vampire with this book than I have with the cadre of books I own or my perpetual readings on Wikipedia.

While I doubt that Eric is as in love with the fictional vampire as I am, this is a comforting book, and one of the reasons I am apprehensive to finish it is simply because I don't want it to end.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Marvel

Since leaving Diamond I have had this rekindling of love for comic books, more notably Marvel books. A long time ago I started a fan-fiction story based on Blade. Obviously, right? Well, I recently dusted off the file, and I have begun a query letter for submission.

I read this article in a recent issue of Wizard mag, and it just got me all warm and fuzzy and excited to do it. The worst thing that is going to happen is that I get a rejection letter from the big M. Quite a few years ago I was lambasted by Mr. Valentino of Image for my desire to write about vampires in comic books. According to him the genre was over-saturated. Well, not in the Marvel Universe, I hope.

On top of this, I am beginning to send agent queries en mass this week. Fun stuff.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So I'm Blogging Now...

Well, hello. This is my first blog. Not sure how I even started this thing, but we'll see what happens anyway. I suppose I started this blog to find a literary agent. My first novel, The Unique Destruction of an Ordinary Soul has been finished for some time now, though I am constantly revising it. Just for the record, I have received at least four rejection letters. So I'm on my way.

It would be my pleasure to share with you online some of that first story. This upcoming week I plan on mailing queries to at least two agents I believe could fit the bill nicely.

Just to tell you a little bit about me, I am a pretty big vampire fan. I suppose I've been so since I first watched The Lost Boys. Or perhaps it was my mother's affinity for Dark Shadows, who knows. And since high school I've been writing vampire things in one way or another. Whether or not I could ever sustain a living on writing alone is absolutely trivial. I just want to create a universe for these vampires to exist, to love and to hate, to kill and to save. My ultimate heroes are Bram Stoker, Hideyuki Kikuchi, and Anne Rice.

One thing I hope to gain from this blog is to meet other young vampire writers. I would love to meet someone as passionate about the undead to wax vampiric with. Or just newbie writers, in general! So, if you're out there, my literary twin - hit me up.

Okay, one blog down, many more to come. Cool...