Old Shoes and Rejection Blues


Very few people know this about me, but I’m a runner.

Not the “post about the half marathon on my Instagram” “stickers on my car” “attractively fit” “know how long it takes me to run a 5K” kind of a runner. I respect people who do that while being simultaneously irritated by them. I’m a specific sort. I have a treadmill, I put in my time (usually watching a TV show or listening to music) and I keep to myself about it. It’s a solitary activity and I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years.

Check out these shoes if you don’t believe me. They are beat to shit.

Running has also not yielded any sort of desired result. I’m still a tubby guy with high blood pressure. I don’t have that fit, runners physique. The one and only time anyone has ever said “you must be a runner” was a nurse who told me I had a slow pulse. Other than that, I’ve been gaining and losing the same 20 pounds for a long, long time.

But, lack of “results” aside, nearly every single day I strap on my shoes and put in the time (45 minutes, 6.9 MPH, 5.175 miles). That’s the sort of person I am in exercise, and, as it turns out, in writing. Results aren’t that important. It’s not about that. It’s about me.

I’ll be the first to admit when my first novel came out, the moment was nothing short of amazing for me. Then the great reviews came in (and keep coming in!). Feedback was almost universally positive. My next novel, things were muted a bit. The reviews weren’t as good (but sales are going well) but I still felt a pretty inflated sense of pride.

Then, in the past few months my third novel was left homeless due to a number of circumstances, two ideas I was pretty high on got shot down in the development stage and I’m still having a lot of trouble cracking my next project. Creatively, things are frustrating. Success wise, things are in a holding pattern. The “results” aren’t there right now. Last week I deleted 3,000 words because they were headed in the wrong direction. It’s that sort of stretch – long, bumpy and hard.

But, last week I wrote much more than I deleted. This weekend I’ve sort of been on a tear. Today, on the treadmill, I cracked part of a story I wasn’t even sure I was working on. In other words I’m deep in the grind and it made me realize something.

FantasticLand might be a filmed property someday soon. Pack might sell a few thousand more copies. My third novel (which I really like) might find a home tomorrow. Or none of that may happen and regardless of the results, this is part of who I am now. My goal was always to put books on my bookshelf with my name on them and I’m not done with that yet.

It’s not about results. I am immensely, insanely grateful to everyone who reads my work, but you’re all gravy. I’m writing for the same reason I’m running and it ain’t results.

It’s because I want to. It’s because I love it. It’s because it makes me feel accomplished and satisfied and happy. It’s because it’s part of who I’ve become and it’s on the way to the person I want to be.

I’ll let you all know if any results are forthcoming. Thanks for the well wishes and the reviews.


Bad Ass Fan Art


I’m one lucky dude.

In the past month I’ve received two absolutely awesome pieces of fan art for my first novel, Fantasticland. The image above of the Warthogs is from artist John X Bergin who you can find on Instagram @johnxbergin and on Twitter @jbxx. I am currently in the process of getting this framed and put up in my office.

Second up from a few days ago is this amazing skateboard designe by Chris Doebler. I love the stanchion as the main art element. Plus the kind word on the book are nice.

I can’t tell you how cool it is to have my art inspire folks who are far more talented than I am. I count myself as lucky to see this stuff, much less inspire it.

I may have some news on a third novel coming shortly so keep in touch. I apprecite it.


Updates and Inspiration


First off, I want to thank all the new folks who are reading. Since the paperback release of FantasticLand, I’ve received a really good number of tweets and messages talking about the book and I want to really thank everyone who has reached out. It’s not an exaggeration to say I think about these messages every day and take motivation from them.

For the new folks who have been asking, here’s what’s going on with a possible filmed version of FantasticLand: A producer named Andrew Dabb who works on the CW show “Supernatural” (happy 300 episodes!) currently has the rights and is going to be taking a shot at turning the book into a movie sometime this spring. It’s the sort of thing that is still very much hypothetical but I believe he gets what makes the book cool, from my point of view, and I live in hope. If anything happens you’ll probably hear my sonic yelps of joy from whatever part of the world you live in. Plus I’ll post it here.

There’s also a producer working on turning my second novel into a television show. Again, any updates will be posted immediately after I’m done freaking out and hugging strangers on the street. 

My third novel is currently under consideration from my publisher and I should have news in the next little bit. Obviously I don’t want to talk too much about it before the contracts are signed but it’s a nasty little bit of stand alone horror that I really enjoyed writing and can’t wait to have out there. I had some really tough, fair and extraordinarily helpful beta readers and the book is in a pretty solid place, from my perspective. Expect more than one knife murder and a fairly inventive way to do something terrible to someone with the leg of a chair. 

Finally, I want to share an odd situation I found myself in that you might find helpful in your creative endeavors.

A few weeks back I was asked to be an “interesting person” at an event put on by a local museum. The gist of the evening is you grab a cocktail, sit at a table with one of 20 or so “interesting people”, have a 10 minute conversation and move on to the next one. That’s a lot of pressure to be interesting and not a lot of time to do it so I landed on starting the “conversation” this way: According to the Gallup organization, six in ten people say they want to write a book at some point in their lives. I then had those who felt like they were in that 60 percent raise their hands. 

Not a lot of people would admit to it, which I found odd, but often times people who didn’t raise their hands were the ones with the most questions. How do you find an agent? Where do you start coming up with ideas? How often much do you write a day? What’s it like working with an editor? They obviously had given this some thought but…then what? Did they give up? Are they ashamed to admit it? Are they working behind the scenes and don’t want to name their efforts until they have something to show for it?

I don’t want to say that the power of “naming it” is some profound, magical incantation that will motivate you and move your ideas forward to the next level. Far from it. I still suffer from imposter syndrome fairly hard core and calling myself a “writer” still feels weird.  But I will say that being on Goodreads and engaging with folks who reach out and going to book clubs and sitting down with strangers to talk about your novels where young people murder each other with sticks and arrows has taught me that no one is going to laugh at you. If you tell people you’re writing a book, or that your goal is to be published more often than not you’re going to get a positive response. Besides, if you fear negative feedback, writing is something you might want to reconsider.

So I take it back. Maybe there is some power in naming it.

Take from that what you will. If you are in the market for encouragement, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. I love hearing from writers and any “advice” I can provide is worth exactly what you pay for it.