The House We Never – a story

This is a new story as of 6.23.17.

A strange tale of northern Michigan and hidden secrets and deep woods. The story is inspired as much by a recent trip to the U.P, as we ‘troll’s call the northern part of our state, as it is the sparse, mysterious storytelling that always draws me to podcasts. I kinda dig this. I hope you will to. 

If you dig it and want to read more of my stuff check one of my books – www.meepsheep.com.

I was six when mom and dad bought the house up north. Up North was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, about six hours away from where we lived and this new place was to be a vacation home. Mom and dad bought it after grandma died and left them what remained of money she’d invested and sat on for decades. They never could vacation before they got that money and from what I remember they argued a lot about what to do with it. It was a lot of money for them but not a lot of money ‘to everyone else’ is dad would say. It was his mother that had died and he had the final say, according to mom, though she wanted him to put it away. About three months after grandma died dad came home all excited with an ad he had found in the paper for a small piece of land with a small cabin on it up north. Imagine, he told her, imagine having a place, finally having a place where we could go to get away. Our own place. Ours. And that was what sold mom on it. They didn’t even own the house we lived in. They were paying on it and would be for decades. This though, this place, this would be theirs. Ours. They’d leave it to me one day and then it’d be mine and that was that. They bought the property. I am not sure for how much, I didn’t really understand all of that, but it was a lot, but not all of the money they were left. The rest of the money they put away in case I ever wanted to go to college.

Continue reading “The House We Never – a story”

Pulling Down The Tents

Pulling Down The Tents

The thing you never think about when you do your little dreaming is – what happens if you get to live that dream? What then?

Good question.

Though first, let’s take a moment and appreciate the dreams when we can live them. It’s not all the time, unless you have very narrow focus and dream small, which is fine, but sometimes, SOMETIMES it’s the big dreams that really push you. Sometimes it’s the big dreams that make you stretch. If nothing else it’s the big dreams that keep our hope alive. Even if it’s a dim and distant hope. Hope’s what drives us through life, and without it things get awful bleak.

We recently decided to put an end to my baby, the Flint Horror Con. This was a decision made for many reasons but for now, and maybe for good, it seems that it’s an idea that has run its course.

I have had many dreams throughout my life but as an adult one of the ones I had was to see a horror convention in Downtown Flint. This is a story that anyone who knows me or has read my blog knows so I won’t go into it again. It was thanks to some amazing friends, the trust of some great folks, and a lot of hard work but we pulled it off and the Flint Horror Convention had four fantastic years. We had our bumps and bruises, we had our stress, but we did what very few manage to. We did it our way, and we did it following our rules.

For me, and for the group that did the show, we started things as fans and remained fans throughout. And as such, it was about the fans. Too many conventions focus on hanging out with the celebs or on everything but the fans. It’s the fans that are the reason to DO a show. It’s the fans that make horror so special. And in Flint, there are a lot of fans. The thing is, we were a one day show, with a limited budget, and we weren’t going to try to drain every last dime from those fans. I figured ten bucks was a good price to get in. It is low enough for casual attendees to try and leaves people money for celebrities and vendors. And the thing is that you can do as well as you want at the gate but if the celebs and vendors don’t do well you’re screwed and the show was a bust. It’s a hard line to walk. But if you don’t walk it you don’t do future shows. I am sure we could have charged more, but I am glad we didn’t. Same goes for vendor tables. I have vended shows for twenty years and the costs are outrageous. I get that most shows are huge these days and that you have to charge according to cost of the show and the size of the guest roster but for smaller folks like me there was just no way I could make the table cost back. I would love to say I could but two hundred and fifty to three hundred dollars for a small writer like me is a LOT of money. I still did the shows, so I am not complaining that loudly but I also was keen to that when we did our show. For many vendors this is their livelihood and they have to be able to make money. For us, by treating the vendors well we got a LOT of good will from them and in earning their trust and respect we earned a lot of allies. That’s worth much more than money. Each of the four years we had to turn vendors away, something you hate to do but which happens…if you are lucky.

We built a community, and I am happy about that.

Not everyone loved us. Not everyone was happy with us. But that’s the way of the world. We did things our way and we stuck to it.

We built a show that we hoped was family friendly and tried to stick to that because every monster kid has to get their inspiration from somewhere and from something and we hoped we’d be part of that inspiration for some kids.

I am really happy at the work we did in the community. From the start we wanted to partner with charities and people in need to help as much as we were able. I am not sure what kind of impact we made but for four years we did the best we were able to bring in some extra funds. We tried not to beat that drum too loudly because charity shouldn’t be about taking credit but about helping people in need. We tried our best.

Unfortunately in the kind of business like cons you have to beat the drum a little because you need the attention and the exposure. You need the help. We had a LOT of help from people. From fans, to celebrities, to vendors, to friends, and to some local sponsors we had a LOT of help. We were never able to bring in much sponsor money but that’s blame I’ll take because I am sure there’s more I could have done. What, I am not sure, but there had to be something. As it stands we had more support than I could ever have dreamed of having. This began as my dream and became a dream a lot of people began to share. That’s what’s so humbling to me – that so many people believed in what we were doing and supported it. We had never put anything on of that scale, I know I never had, and we did it. For four years.

For four years we put together shows large and small where were able to showcase artists, musicians, and movies many would never have seen. We had an outdoor movie night at a local park. We helped other events with their shows. More than anything we tried to create fun, inexpensive things for fans to do.

Doing the convention I learned a lot. We all did. Sometimes you can build it and ‘they’ don’t come. Just how it goes. Sometimes people don’t care, don’t have time, and don’t have the information they need to come out. Sometimes things don’t work. All you can do is learn, learn, learn and move forward.

I believe in conventions and more than that I believe in doing small shows like we did. Shows that can be intimate and affordable and fun and family friendly. I believe that you can do some amazing things with shows that size. I think the super shows have their place and have their importance but not everyone can make it to those, or afford them, and those fans still deserve to get the benefits of going to a show on a budget. Heck, small shows can build a love for conventions that makes them want to go to bigger shows. Sadly, I think the days of DIY shows like ours are coming to an end but if we can do it, anyone can do it. All it takes is a little money, a lot of heart, and a lot of trust.

I am honored that we got the opportunity to do our show for four years. I cannot believe we did it. It’s sad to let it go, but we’re not letting go completely.

We still plan to do locally produced shows focused on horror that will be smaller but just as fun and just as passionate. This will allow us to be more experimental and still remain active. We are no longer the Flint Horror Con but are the Flint Horror Collective and we aren’t done, not hardly.

If you supported our show, or me, or us, or even gave half of a damn about any of it we thank you. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks.

Chris Arrr

www.flinthorrorcon.com

www.meepsheep.com

The Last Sheep – a novel

Image

 

When I started writing I didn’t think I would one day produce nine books. Not ever. Even when my first book came out. It just…it wouldn’t have computed. It still doesn’t. I have put my ninth book out just before I turn 40.

So strange.

For me The Last Sheep is the end of a journey. A journey that began in the mid-2000s and which ends now. A journey which began with Bumble Kitties and lead to Meep Sheep as I would muse over these weird creatures with a friend at our vitamin store job. Those silly animals soon became a story that was inspired by a friend and which allowed me to change gears and to write something that wasn’t overtly dark and horrific. The story became a chapbook that I took to comic conventions with other chapbooks and my first book in the hopes of making some sales and getting my work out to the world. Once I discovered Create Space and started putting books out again it became clear that there was more to the world of the Meep Sheep that I wanted to tell.

The Meep Sheep was an experiment and three have been. The first was to see if I could tell a fairy tale and not to let the darkness overtake the story. It was also an experiment in layout and design. I had never designed a book before I started with Create Space but suddenly I had to consider the book as a whole – the writing, the layout, the cover design, the back cover text, the book size, paper type, and what I do with it once it’s done. The thing is though that all of that is fun. It’s MORE fun if you are not under the gun due to some weird pressure you put on yourself but, you know, life ain’t all lemondrops and candy canes.

The experiment continued with The Kreep Sheep, the follow up book. This book began as a Tumblr blog where I wanted to occasionally tell stories about the world of the Kingdom of Man and to fill in some of the history. What I found though was that in telling random stories of this world it made me fall in love with it all over again. I had never really built a world before. Not one that I wanted to keep going back to. Sure, when I write there’s a world beneath it all that is oft-times connected but this is different. This is a place that is molded completely by me and it’s intoxicating. You can see why people write fantasy – you craft everything and can make and remake the world as you see fit. It’s not a god-trip as much as a creator trip where you get to see what you can come up with. After a few stories I realized that this project was a book that I just hadn’t been ready to write but which served as a bridge to a bigger story. It told histories, side stories, and built the first part of a bridge into the next and final story.

That’s where The Last Sheep comes into the picture. As I sat and stewed on Kreep Sheep I started to wonder what came next? What happens when the Queen’s reign is over? What happens if the past came back to haunt her and the whole world? It began with another side story, a short that leads off Last Sheep that introduces us to the Son, a thing driven towards revenge and conquest that is the first spark of a coming war. That story was meant to be a standalone and little else but it became something fare greater as it served as its own spark that started me thinking about this last Meep book. One last story to wrap up the loose ends and to open the door to a million more stories.

I wrote The Last War – the title changed so it would blend more easily with the other two books so Last Sheep it became –  between February and March 2013 and writing it was like a fever dream. I kept pushing myself and every obstacle I just pushed past until it was done. The book wasn’t what I had first thought it would be, which is usually the case, but I love what it became because it surprised me. Its trajectory surprised me.

I am proud of this book, a book about war, a last war that would decide the fate of the world. It was a tale of the end of an age and the beginning of a new one. I got a chance to say goodbye to a lot of characters I love and love writing about. And I got to put a cap on the series and my publishing.

Last War indeed.

I think if there was one thing I was most dodgy about it was the cover. I wasn’t sure what I wanted outside of wanting to do the art myself. What ego I have I try to direct towards my art and writing and not towards the other aspects of my life…which isn’t always easy or possible but I do TRY. I am not a great artist but I started toying with ideas and came up with one I liked and began working on it. The coloring of the tree was the happiest of accidents. As I was coloring it digitally something got screwed up and there were little spots here and there that were separate sections so that you had to individually color them in and as I did I started to play with the colors because the tree it represents in the book is sick and rotting but is also full of life so the color changes fit that idea and it came out pretty neat.

I truly love this book and if it is the last book I ever produce I am content with that and happy to be able to cap this series, which deserved one last story before I turned out the light.

You can find the book on Amazon, Kindle, and in the e-store.
It is 380 pages and retails for $15

https://www.createspace.com/4748543

Thanks

 

For any of my books you can find links here – http://www.meepsheep.com

Nights Of Black Hearts – a journey into the void

Noches cover

After I had put a few books out I started to get a little mischievous. I loved putting books together with no notice, no fanfare, and no hints and to just release it and even if no one else cared it meant something to me because I loved the playfulness of it. the mystery. This is such a book. NOCHES DE CORAZONES NEGROS was meant to be my darkest book. A Valentine to the abyss which would showcase the darkest stories I had. Well, it is, and it isn’t. I found in putting it together that there were some stories I was still not willing to release to the world but there is much darkness here. Darkness because only by looking into the darkness can we start learn about what we are, who we are, and what we are capable of doing and becoming. These are stories cut from that darkness and put upon a human forge. Peer deeper if you dare.

https://www.createspace.com/3686595

My First Novel – A SHADOW OVER EVER

index

Once upon a time I was a young guy making ‘zines with my friends. We didn’t know what we wanted to do with our lives we just knew we loved movies and weird stuff and hanging out together. It was during this time that I wrote a weird little short story called Night’s Dancer about an angry man bent on having his mad revenge on the town that had mocked and judged him for so many years. What had begun as a strange little story became an infection in me that refused to go away and inch by inch the world of Pete Anders, pumpkin headed madman, grew into something much bigger than I ever could have imagined. The book took me ten years to finally get out to the world and I couldn’t be happier. I put it all out there, let the story go where it needed to go, and let Pete Anders, notorious bastard, grow into something far different than what he began as.

A SHADOW OVER EVER is the book I am proudest of because it was the one I never thought would make it out. It took so long, and was so weird that I wasn’t sure it would make it. I am glad it did. It’s the story of the beginning of everything and the beginning of the end of all things. It’s a book that begins in a small town with small town people and ends in a great war with the first children of Eden, angels, devils, and things far greater and far more dangerous. It’s a dark book but one with a sly grin that lives within that pumpkined head of Pete.

If you have wanted to read something weird, epic, freaky, funny, and starring an angry old killbilly well friend, look no further.

https://www.createspace.com/3942067

This Beautiful Darkness

this-beautiful-darkness-chris-ringler-paperback-cover-art

When I published my first book BACK FROM NOTHING I didn’t know whether or not there would BE a second book, let alone any other ones. After ten years of working on new stories and books and looking for a publisher I learned that self publishing had come a LONG way since people started talking about it seriously and I began to look into it and within a matter of months I had collected and edited the stories that would become my second book. THIS BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS. This book is a collection of dark, sometimes pitch black stories that never forget that even in the darkest shadows there can still be a light to lead you.

Check it out here – https://www.createspace.com/3386414

The Meep Sheep

The Meep Sheep

Several years ago I thought up something utterly silly and ridiculous. It was a small flying kitty with bumble bee wings. The bumblekitty lead to the thought of little flying sheep with wings. And slowly, slowly the world of THE MEEP SHEEP was born.
I have always loved fairy tales and particularly loved the darker ones where no one was safe but no one necessarily doomed.

This is a dark fairy tale that tells the story of a young woman daring enough to go her own way and find her own path.

https://www.createspace.com/3436738