RoadKill – a novel

A million years ago, back when I was still a kid that had never even thought about writing more than occasionally and certainly never had thought about putting a book out, I wrote a story called Roadkill. In my mind it was a novella but in reality it was probably just a long short story. I was in my mid-teens and had handwritten the story in a spiral-bound notebook. I thought I had written a great story. It was about two friends who had a bad habit of running animals down with a car. Things escalated when things with the boys went awry and the end was a bit of comeuppance from Mother Nature.

Ah, but that book was never meant to be.

I still remember my foolish mistake when I, carrying the notebook around with me after the story had been completed, put it on top of my mom’s car and forgot about it.

Poof.

Gone.

I was heartbroken at the loss of that story and for about thirty years I have been wanting to revisit that story, to re-visit and re-write the story. I even planned a sequel and started working on it. As I started writing more regularly, and doing shows though, I never seriously sat down to write that story. It slowly evoloved over time and I started to think about it but never wanted to write it. I just didn’t have an interest in writing a novel, let alone THAT novel. It was sort of the same mentality I have with video games – if I get stuck I just sorta shrug and move on. I dunno if it’s me giving up or if its me deciding that the frustration isn’t worth it. The fact was though that I was heartbroken to have lost that book and hated the thought of re-writing it from scratch. Maybe that was silly but it was how I felt.

WHen I started putting books out I started working through the stories I had been sititing on as well as putting together new stories. Over the last few years I have been working to clear the books, as it were – trying to finish projects tha I had started but never completed. That lead to the completion of A SHADOW OVER EVER and CEMETERY EARTH, as well as the conclusion of the Meep Sheep trilogy. I just wanted to get these stories that had been sitting around for a while off my mind and conscience. Because it felt like something to do with conscience – that I HAD to get these stories written and out. As if it had been a pact I had taken on with myself.

That brings us to ROADKILL.

I am of two minds with my writing –

On one hand I don’t want tp keep putting books out that very few people are interested in or buying. It just seems silly. I love writing, I’ll always write, but I don’t want to become a joke.

Then there’s the part of me that wants to keep writing and producing stories, which means putting them out. I don’t want to chase markets and try to get published in a magazine or something like that because I did that before and it was nothing less than frustrating. Would I love to get published traditionally? OF COURSE! But I just don’t want to change my focus to that because as many markets as there are, there are still ten times more authors than that and man, I just wanna write stories. That’s all.

Over the last couple of years I have started wanting to get back to this story and to finally tackle it. I fully admit though that this was the story, the book, that has haunted me for a while because it’s lingered for so long that it started to freak me out. Do I try to re-do that exact story or write something new?

Slowly I started to take notes to try to get the story down in my mind. I knew it was still a story about two friends. I knew it was dark. Very dark. And I knew it happened in Munsonville, my made up Michigan town where SHADOW takes places as well as some of my other stories. Then it became a matter of – OK, I need to write this. Another slow process where I’d write a little here and there. I knew how it started. I knew how it ended. The rest? Yikes.

Over the course of 2018 I have worked on and off on the book with a need to get it done but no drive to do the work. When I lost my job in October suddenly a lot of time opened up and the excuses had run out – It was time to finish the book.

I wasn’t sure where it was going.

I wasn’t sure what it was about.

I wasn’t sure how to get where I needed to be.

So I did what I do – jumped in and just started writing, letting the story and characters make their own direction. The book changed, a lot, from what I had been thinking. The ending was close to what I had been thinking but what it meant and how I got there changed. I also discovered some answers to mysteries I hadn’t even known existed. As I wrote the story got clearer and clearer and finally I had found the heart of the book and drove right through it.

I finished the book a week ago today and it still feels weird.

It’s been the longest gestating of my books and I hope that is a good thing.

I hope it’s good.

Heck, I hope it’s great.

I just know it is what it is.

And what it is, is DONE!

Well, sorta.

There’s a lot of work to do, editing, revising, and fleshing out, but it’s written and honestly, the rest is the easier part and to some degrees the part that is more fun because it means I get to start making this thing work better. What I have after that, well, we’ll see. I don’t see it being something a lot of people will want to read because, as I said, it’s dark, and it’s just weird.

It’s all so new still so I am thinking of things to add, things to flesh out, and that will keep happening. My plan is to let the book sit for a month or two and then dive back into it and then we’ll see what we see.

For now though, it’s good to have it done, my strange story of two friends on a dark path.

I loved revisiting these people and this town, and it’ll be ineresting to see what comes next.

…c…

Bites From A Cemetery Earth

I don’t think they eat us out of hunger, I think they eat us out of hatred. I have been watching them for weeks now, for weeks upon weeks, and I don’t think they eat us out of hunger. They are withering, these things, these monsters, withering like unfed flowers, no matter how much they eat. I think we sustain them, that eating us holds off the rot and decay but that they are dying just the same. I have watched them tear at us, rip at us, and consume us but there is no satisfaction in their faces, no ease in the pain that is death, no, there is only something I know well and that is the animal instinct to kill, to destroy, and to devour prey. But just as they are dying so are we. I have watched families slaughtered, watched children plucked up and torn apart, and have seen soldiers and officers collapse before the horde.

Those things may be dying but I don’t know that we can outlast them. I don’t know if we can stop fighting ourselves long enough to survive. I don’t even know if we want to survive any longer. We have become more monstrous than they in our actions, in our deeds, but I hope, I hope that somehow, somehow we can find a way to stop them and maybe, god it’s so stupid, maybe we can change.

I was in jail when everything happened. The police in a podunk town catching me pissing next to someone’s house at four in the morning. I was drunk. Blind drunk. I wouldn’t even know what I did if they hadn’t told me. Things in the town went bad before they could find out who I am, or what I have done. If they had they never would have let me out.

Never.

Not even in this new Hell.

But they let me go and here I am, locked in the basement of a church and waiting, waiting to see who wins, us or them. Them or us.

I sit here waiting, waiting and wondering and wondering how long it will be until I finally let my own monsters free once more.

The dead have risen.

There is no hope.

There is is only survival.

This is…

CEMETERY EARTH

Available for Kindle and in Paperback.

https://www.createspace.com/4336448

CEMETERY EARTH Sample – Meaningless Signs

The  following is a sample from my new novel Cemetery Earth. This is a story that details the beginning of the end of society and the rise of the dead.

If you’d like to read the full book it is available as an e-book for $5 here.

 

Meaningless Signs

Maybe it started with rain. Like the beginning of the world. Like the beginning of Man. And like, perhaps, the end.

Maybe it all started with the rain.

In the end, they were meaningless signs. But then, so many signs had been ignored, for so long, that this should have been no surprise. No surprise at all.

It was morning but it had already been a long day. The world was changing quickly and it was hard to keep up with it, and harder to keep up with your own thoughts. The protesters march, despite the rain, despite the exhaustion, and despite the growing fear that lay in all of them. They march, their arms raised high, their mouths wide, and moving in a wide circle in front of a government building that had already been closed when the news of the invasion hit but still they were here, the message greater than the target. There were a hundred of them from young to old, and all of each of them were there for their own reasons. A day before there had been fifty people marching, and in a week there might be a thousand. There was a movement that had been building in America, a wave rising, and given time, it would drown the nation. A wave that had begun with the first shootings that had started to shake the nation and which was reaching its crescendo with word of the great shadow that was about to stretch across the world.

There would be no time for that wave to become more than a nuisance though.

There would be no time.

The protesters march around and around, chanting to the cars leaving the city, to the people abandoning their homes, to the families fleeing in terror, and the very point of the march was quickly lost in rhetoric and chant. Each person’s voice rising to drown the person beside them, the One Message lost to the messages of many. And as they march, around them form their opposition, their twisted mirror image. Those for the war.

War.

But this was not like any other war America had seen for more years than most could count. Since America had warred amongst its own it had taken its wars to its enemies but now, now the blood would wash on its shores. This time the war was on this soil, not some distant land with a name few could pronounce. No, this time the blood would wash upon American soil, this time it was America that had been issued the ultimatum, this time it was America that would be invaded. This time it was America itself that might be lost.

And in the end the words meant nothing. The government did nothing as the invaders landed and stepped foot on American shore. And in the end all the words and signs were so much dust to scatter to the winds.

As the Eastern Seaboard was soaked in the blood of a trench war the rest of the nation watched, helpless, hopeless, and scared. So some ran. Others fought. After an accident in Kansas the warheads were exploded and the Bible Belt was lost. The nation was in chaos and during it all some marched, for or against, it mattered little. Some just marched because it was all they could do.

More and more people gathered, some for the war, some against, but all of them having nowhere else to go, nothing else to do, and eventually there were enough that the traffic slowed, and then stopped. Suddenly the downtown of this small city was filled with hundreds of people gathered together and not quite certain why.

Time slowed.

Angers flared

There were too many people, too many voices, too much fear, too much rage, and a new war broke out in the streets. Everything becomes a blur of fists and bodies. Blood spatters the signs. Screams fill the air like heavy clouds. Someone has a knife, another a gun. The rain begins again, and harder this time, washing the blood away even as more of it spills.

The police join the fray but fall quickly beneath the mixed blows of both sides. A man drops his sign, grabs his daughter by the hand and spins around, looking for an exit but finds none. There was no escape.

Hands reach in and take the girl. A bat smashes down onto the man’s head and the world goes black as around him all went red in the city.

Then, a scream.

Not like the screams that had come before. This was different.

The first scream was followed by another, and another.

A woman feels a hand fall upon her shoulder and turns in time to see something inhuman push its face into her throat and pull her vocal chords free, her scream stretching and fading into arterial spray. The woman’s husband, seeing what was happening, pulls the thing away from his wife and, in pulling, tears its head from its shoulders before feeling more hands on him, pulling him in several directions at once and finally pulling him apart.

There was one, another, several of the things appearing in the crowd until they were part of it and then outnumbering the crowd.

The dead spread like a stain through the crowd and in a matter of moments everyone was on the same side, their petty dispute forgotten and fighting these monsters with anything they had as they try to escape. Two men who had had one another by the throats saw one of the creatures approaching them and pick up fallen protest signs and beat the thing with them but are surrounded by more of its kind before they could destroy it.

And so they fell, one by one, protester and foe alike.

All falling before enemies they couldn’t even imagine in nightmares.

Blood stains the streets and as the last of the people fall, the things move away, looking for more meat. The city a vast cemetery whose coffins were yawning wide as the dead crawled back into the light to take revenge for their Mother.

And in the end they were meaningless signs.

In then end it was just rain, like there was at the beginning, like there was in the trenches, and like there would be in the end.

And now?

It was the end of the world.

http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Earth-ebook/dp/B00DPK5Q2Y

Some Info On The Novel and The COVER!

Ok, so I fretted and fretted over the book yesterday. I knew it’d be big but didn’t realize it’d be THIS big. Part of it is the form factor I chose. It was put it in my head that it’d be neat to have all the books have the same form factor as the other books, well, most of the other books. I like that idea so I stuck with it. Well, it betrayed me on this book and fattened it up. Such is life.

A Shadow Over Ever is 666 pages and is $20.

So, the thought is that I will release A SHADOW OVER EVER as it stands, as one volume, for $20. I will get some for the show on the 10th to sell and beyond that leave it at that. Then in October, I think, I will release the novel in bite sized chunks so people can ease into the whole thing. It will be four volumes to make that whole since there are four parts. Maybe that will change but we will see. I need to take some time to think about it first. So there’s the plan. Such as it is. Hope to see some of you on Aug. 10th for the release, even if you aren’t interested in the new book or any of the rest.

https://www.facebook.com/events/233371616781885/

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http://www.meepsheep.com

THE MEEP SHEEP available for order NOW!

I am very proud to announce the release of my newest book – THE MEEP SHEEP, which is a novel told in short story form about the magic and wonder found in the Kingdom of Man. This has been a total labor of love that started over six years ago and which has lead to this.

I am lucky to all of the friends that inspired the book and its characters, the people who bought the chap book of Messy and the Meep Sheep, the friends, my family, and all my loved ones who helped keep me going through all of this and especially to my girlfriend Amanda, who laid the book out and believed in me and the book every step of the way.

THE MEEP SHEEP is available for $12 right now.

Novel Questions…

    OK, I am going to admit something that feels a little embarrassing but well, it is the truth – I don’t know if The Meep Sheep is a novel or not. You see, we all know what a novel is as far as length and all but, well, what if it’s a short story collection where the stories are all so inter-connected that it forms one narrative? That is what The Meep Sheep is, a novel or short stories, or short stories that are novel length.

Or something.

    I honestly cannot tell you which it is. I always looked at these as short stories and this as a collection because I put it all together story by story by story, not really thinking of it all as a larger work. As the day comes closer to when the book will be released though I am realizing that this may not just be a story collection but may be a novel comprised of short stories. I am not really sure.

It’s a quandary, to be sure.

In either case, you will get the chance to tell me what you think in May when the book is released ‘cause I sure don’t know.

c

A Novel Affair

So it’s funny, at least to me, that I have posted a sample from my novel because it is a novel I never intended to write. It isn’t that, you know, I never WANTED to write a novel but…

Shit, let’s be honest here, I NEVER wanted to write a novel.

Never.

Ever.

Never ever.

Nope, never had any interest in writing a novel. Part of that never is that I am just in love with short stories. I love the challenge of trying to create an emotional impact and tell an interesting and engaging story in a smaller space. And ok, I will be honest, the idea of writing a novel scares the hell out of me. I write short fiction, so I dunno that I could write a novel and keep it both interesting and on point. It’s just something I never had an interest in. Sure, I love to read the things but to write them, pfft, what are you crazy, here?

Ah, but then I met Pete Anders, or rather, he met me.

In the mid-nineties some friends and I did the ‘zine thing and in the course of that I wrote a story called Night’s Dancer about a crazy hillbilly who hates everyone in the world save for the one woman he lost to death. When he’s pushed by some locals in a Halloween prank he plops a pumpkin on his head, grabs a pitchfork, and goes out on a murder spree.

It was a simple story, a silly story but I liked it. More than that, I liked Pete. Pete who suddenly had a voice in my head. As ‘zine gave way to ‘zine Pete became a columnist and grew more and more personality and suddenly I knew I had to follow up his first tale with another. Pete just wasn’t willing to go down without a fight.

So I wrote a second story for Pete, a tale of his rise from the grave to take revenge on those that had killed the woman he loved adn who had betrayed him and set him up. During the course of it all though he changed and lost his taste for bloodshed and gladly welcomed death.

Ah, but Pete wasn’t done yet, and after a time, I felt he had one more adventure in him, and perhaps a chance at redemption, so I wrote a third story. This tale focused on Pete’s journey into and through Hell, and on a journey to the truth of why he is still roaming around on two legs. Unfortunately for Pete, at this point in the saga his head is all pumpkin, he is mostly rotten, and the axe his brother used to put him down again is stuck for good in his noggin’. It ain’t easy bein’ Pete.

I left the stories as a novella, and with a cliffhanger. Pete, perched at the beginning, or perhaps end, of a great war that would decide the fate of all existence. I liked it. I felt it was a fine place to end it.

Ah, but then I got to feeling guilty. Poor old Pete, just  hanging around, waiting for a war that’d never come closer. And there it was, slowly but surely I began the fourth and final, and decidedly longest chapter of the story. This last part is what made it a novel, and what made it something special for me. I was able to hone the story, to expand it, and to delve into some mythos ideas I had hinted at but never really did much with. With the fourth part there came a lot of revisions to the novel, the greatest being after I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and realizing that, well, it’s a book about a war, my book, so, uh, shouldn’t the war be, well, bigger? Indeed it should be. Characters got expanded, villains changed, and bit by bit it came together.

Voila, a novel by the guy that never wanted to write one.

And I love it.

With all my heart.

I am sure I could work on it and work on it and work on it, expanding and shaping it more and more but, for now, for me, it’s done. Until and unless I find a publisher, I won’t touch it. Should I have to, I will take a look at it for publication, but if that happens I will hopefully have someone leading my hand at what works and what doesnt. This version though, all two hundred plus pages of it, are my version of this story. Less than five people have read it, more like three, or two, I forget which, so it remains largely unread but, it exists, on this very laptop, truth be told, and it’s my hope you’ll get a chance to share it one of these days.

Let’s hope it’s sooner than later. Pete can use all the friends he can get.

…c…