The First Paragraph

This is the first paragraph of my latest. Have a look at Melody 8. Remember that this is unedited.

 

My mother used to sing to me when I was scared at night. When shadows, in corners turned into drooling creatures who wanted to eat me. When the wind wasn’t just benign air, but a drooling demon bent on eating my soul, and my body, bit by sweet bit. I’d lay my head on her chest to feel the vibration of her singing. The song would come out in low tones and hurried breaths, and just slightly off-key. I always thought my mother’s inability to hold a perfect tune made the song better. It was as if mom had put her own touch on the song she’d chosen to sing. Her voice made pleasing chills go down my spine, and make my skin turn to goose pimples. I’d burrow deeper into the blankets smiling into my pillow. Mama would end the song and ask if I wanted to hear another one. If I was asleep she would plant a kiss on my head. The moisture and the soft smack of my mother’s lips would wake me up just enough to see her walking out of my room. Most times I wasn’t asleep, and I’d answer with a muffled yes that came deep from my pillows and blankets. Mama would answer with the same response every time. “Okay smart one.” I never knew why she called me this, and it’s funny to look back now and realize, I’d never asked her why she called me smart one.

I loved the sound of my mother’s voice. All the way up to the day she was put to death because of it.

Get Melody 8

MELODY 8 (6)

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10 change your life books

This blog post is not a self-help post. When I say change your life books, I guess I mean change your perception books. And if you ask me, those sorts of books can be more transforming then some theory about how you’re doing it wrong, (Life that is). I believe reading is a fundamental skill that needs to be used daily. It is an immersive way to figure out new and enlightening things. Meaning, you have to actually think about the content, rather than watching something and cutting out an important part of the learning process. I’m not going to give too much of a description of these reads because, one, you can just look them up on Amazon, and two, I hope you read them and form your own opinion.

These are books that have changed my thought process, and my perception of the world. Or I guess you could say my reality.

#1 Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger 1: Final Secret of the Illuminati Robert antonA journey into an agnostics mind. When do too many coincidences make you a believer?

#2 Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the GodsFingerprintsCivilization is much older than we think it is. Graham Hancock offers up some new evidence that will change your perception of humanities origins.

#3 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World BraveAldous Huxley told the future. The World he constructed in his most famous work, mirrors today in a lot of ways.

#4 Neal Stephenson, Seveneves SevenevesThe Earth is about to become uninhabitable. Humans find a refuge in space. What will humanity even look like in 5000 years?

#5 Peter Clines, The FoldThe FoldTeleportation is impossible for a reason. But what some people say is impossible, is another’s possibility. A whole set of horrific possibilities.

#6 Stefan Bolz, The TravelerThe TravelerThe love of a father and daughter transcend all time and space.

#7 Ray Bradbury, Zen and the Art of writingZen writing there ever was a writer who could change your perception of the world, it would be Ray Bradbury. Part writing manual, and part autobiographical.

#8 Paulo Coelho, The AlchemistAlchemistSee the signs, and read the many messages along life’s path. A mystical masterpiece.

#9 Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of KnowledgeCosmic serpentA true tale of a rational man who finds that there is still a lot of mystery in the world. You just have to know what to ingest.

#10 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of TimeBrief historyTime stops for no man. Because it doesn’t exist in the first place.

cropped-blog-pic1.jpgErnie Howard is a husband, father, and author. You can find his books on Amazon

Win 70+ signed Paperbacks

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The Life of Ants

So this is what I am going to do. My story, The Life of Ants that is coming out May 19th, will be followed by “The Life of Ants, The Hybrid.” I will be releasing this series as episodes every couple of months or so. The story follows Gram, and Robin. Two people who have seen a mysterious orb their whole lives. They finally decide to follow the weird circle and end up changing human history, and evolution. Is it for the better? Well that is for you, The Reader, to figure out.

Here is a sample paragraph of The Life of Ants episode 1

THIS IS NOT A FULLY EDITED SAMPLE

“The hum started under his feet. Subtle at first, a tickle between the toes but quickly it built to a controlled vibration. The rusty walls shimmered with each shake. Gram rubbed his eyes, not sure if he was hallucinating again. The vibration intensified, making Gram’s head shake. His eyes bounced in their sockets and everything appeared fuzzy with rounded corners.

A light shined through the holes on the floor of the box car, making it a solid white color. The whiteness climbed up the walls like milk that had been recently spilled. The white light lit up the car. Gram squinted his eyes against the brilliance of the Train cars walls.

The sudden urge to bolt for the door welled up inside of him but when he looked to his right, the rusty door was no longer there. It was replaced with just more white light. Where there had once been an old latch door handle was now a smooth white surface that seemed to flow, and breath, as if the walls were alive. The size of the box cars interiors shifted from a confined space to a vast hall, and back again. The train cars walls rolled in and out like waves of the ocean, making Gram dizzy. Gram pushed the panic that was trying to force its way into his head out. He needed to be calm. After everything that had happened what did he expect by following a circle of light into the desert. He thought. There was no point in panicking, Gram figured he was here for the duration of whatever this display was. He was supposed to be here. He was supposed to see. He was chosen.”

Get The Life of Ants and The Life of Ants, The Hybrid 

The LifeofAnts       Get the first episode                                                                    The Hybrid        Get the second episode

Hey! Those X-Ray glasses were legit!

When I was a kid, I loved comic books. I loved the stories filled with action and accompanied by drawings that seemed to jump off the page into my wide excited eyes. As I got older, I read books without the pictures. Instead, the writing drew the pictures in my head. The stories were the same though. These stories called Pulp fiction. I read writers like Richard Matheson, and Phillip K. Dick. I read Sci-Fi Anthologies, and collections of stories by Stephen King. These writers wrote the stories I liked. They came complete with dark stairs that lead to the basement where you knew the monster lived, but still you read.

bidtimereturn

They were stories about regular people who got taught lessons in life by supernatural characters. Some of the stories were funny, and always entertaining, and some were dark and scary. These made you think about all of those weird noises you heard late at night. “What was that…” Just the wind I guess.

These “Pulp” stories were the ones that made me want to become a writer. I would read these and try to weave my own ending, trying to figure out the conclusion before I got to the end of the story. Most times I was wrong, but I got better as I got older and read more.

Pulp fiction gets the least amount of credit these days. People look at it as not serious writing. They call these stories “Twilight Zoners” A term I have never understood because the twilight zone always told the best and most entertaining stories! I don’t think you would have the smash hit Stranger Things, or the oldie but goodie Lost, if it wasn’t for the Twilight Zone.

twilight-zone

Why do people read if they don’t want to be entertained? If you are reading a book so you can give it a review, or tell your friends you read it. Just so you can sound smart in certain circles… You have missed the point of reading fiction! You will never get that time back. The time you spent reading that boring book that some critic called a tour de force!

You get older and almost feel you will be shunned by the “serious readers” if you say your favorite writer is Stephen King. Hey, I’ve read Infinite Jest. David Foster Wallace was a great writer, and I loved that book. But as far as storytelling goes, he couldn’t hold a candle to Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return. You may know it as a movie called Somewhere in Time, starring a young Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour. Yes, Matheson wrote that. And he wrote many Twilight Zone episodes.

So before I get long winded, let me tell you why I wrote this. I wrote this because I have seen reviews that seemed to have missed the point. Reviews that called stories I loved, or wrote for that matter, “Twilight Zoners.” To which I have to say Thank you! I’ll take your three star “Twilight Zoner” Review. But what I want to know is, were you entertained? Did the story help you leave your hassle filled life just for a moment? Did you get to escape? Because that is all that matters.

Don’t be the person who doesn’t want to know if that Submarine in the back of the comic book really worked. You remember, the one for $6.98 plus postage.

submarine-ad

Don’t be the person who is too smart to believe those X-Ray glasses were just worthless pieces of plastic.

Be a kid! You don’t have to grow up if you will simply let yourself enjoy the story you are reading without critiquing it as you go. Not everything has to be Shakespeare. Who was a great Pulp fiction writer I might add. Yes, feed your brain, but don’t forget to have fun.

I write Pulp Fiction in these Anthologies. With other “Twilight Zoner” writers, of “Twilight Zoner” stories. If you would like to read and be entertained, you can pick up the latest Tales from the Canyons of the Damned.

tales9

Maybe it will remind you what it was like to read under covers with a flashlight late at night. You remember. Your mom told you to go to bed. You dutifully laid down. She kissed you on the cheek and said good night. She closed the door, leaving just a crack, so some light would come through. You waited for her footsteps to get down the hall. Reaching under your pillow, (never under the bed), and grabbed your flash light and latest edition of Tales from the Crypt. You read for hours, getting to the part where the Mummies hand is pushing back the large stone of his dusty grave.

.tales-from-the-crypt-horror-comics1

You hear a noise in your silent house… “What was that…?” Probably just the wind… 

Get Tales from the Canyons of the Damned No. 9

tales9

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Banana Phone, not a podcast, un-boxing of The Pool

The Banana phone, not a podcast unboxing.

Got some paperbacks in the mail the other day of The Pool.

Excerpt from THE POOL

“Shawn walked up to the door of the bar. The familiar smell was comforting; stale beer and cigarette smoke that seemed to be embedded into these types of bars as if the wood soaked it up just like the patrons who sought refuge in their pint glasses.
It was fitting. If he was going to break his sobriety, he might as well break his prohibition on cigarettes. He hadn’t had a cigarette for longer than he’d had a drink.
He paused with his hand resting on the handle of the door. The last bit of better angels pleaded with Shawn to turn around and go back to the room. Back to sobriety and back to his family. He almost did, but the clinking of glasses rang in his ears like a siren’s song. Shawn opened the door and walked through. He wasn’t listening to those angels tonight, even if they were right.
The bar was so familiar. There were four people sitting at the bar, regulars who were more than likely permanently rooted in the stools they sat on. Shawn spied the bartender talking with one of the regulars. Her home dye job screamed white trash and her sunken eyes screamed something else. She had the look of being rooted in this place just like her patrons.”

Get it here>>>> http://amzn.to/1Uo9GgN

My 5 best Indie short stories picks of the past year, because tomorrows my birthday and I have been drinking!

My short story picks for 2015

Okay, I know I’m a little late to the table here but I’m feeling nostalgic as I sit in my writing room slash library… Actually it’s a walk in closet that my wife let me put a desk in, she’s a good lady. It works for me my friends, even when my old high school letter jacket is poking me in the ear! Go Eagles! JV Football undefeated!

Anywho… I’m a little late to the table to tell you my picks for the best short stories I read in 2015. Hey I was reading! Don’t bust my procrastinating balls!

I have been amazed, and my mind has been opened by these authors, and I feel like I need to share in all my fanboy glee! These writers are up and comers, and well established patch on the blazer word slingers.

You may be asking yourself right now, “So what Ernie! Why should we care what you think?” And my response to you would be, BECAUSE I READ! I have loved books since I was drinking Simalac and crapping my Huggies.

Soooo. Here are my story picks for 2015. These are not in any sort of favorite order, they are in Ernie’s been drinking a day before my birthday order. And not editing his blog post order. (By the way, if any of you have any last minute gift ideas for me… buy one of these books from these great authors, and tell them Ernie sent ya.

 

 

Magenta by Bob Williams

magentaBob Williams is a writer of many talents. His new novel, Music City Macbre is action packed and doesn’t give you a second to slow down. However! This is a blog about short stories, and short stories we shall have! Magenta is my choice.

The story is the picture of the perfect relationship. Loving wife, loving husband, dirty little secret that only the husband knows about. Yes folks, things aren’t always what they seem. This story reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode. It also reminded me of my own story, A World Without. Sorry for the shameless plug Bob, but you give me shit on Facebook all the time about not wanting to do the dishes.

Pick up Magenta Here>>> MAGENTA

Hugh Howey Lives by Daniel Smith

Hugh Howey LivesDaniel Smith is one of those well established types I was talking about earlier. He really doesn’t need my praise, but I am going to give it all the same.

Hugh Howey Lives is about a girl in a future where all of the books are written by Artificial Intelligence, except for one author. The amazing naked no clothes wearing, Hugh Howey.  I will say this book was written before Hugh took to the open sea wearing only his buccaneer boots and a smile. Which was tremendous precognition by Daniel. What I am trying to say here is, Daniel Smith is a psychic! I said it! He didn’t want his powers getting out, but I just couldn’t hold back! He knew Hugh would take to the sea, and be marooned on some weird island, drinking mixed drinks, hanging with beautiful women, and adopting every homeless animal he came across. Brilliant!

Pick up Hugh Howey Lives Here>>> Hugh Howey Lives

Zero Hour by Eamon Ambrose

Zero HourEamon is an awesome writer, and a great guy. Why do I say he’s a great guy? Well, Eamon read my book The Light Through the Water and dug it. Then he personally messaged me on Facebook and said Hey great story, but I found these problems. After I got over my fits of despair and embarrassment he pretty much edited my  19 page short story in the span of an hour. An hour…? Oh ya! Zero Hour! Eamon is going to be a household name some day. The Zero Hour series reads like a fast paced video game. You feel like your the main character! Every time he puts out a new installment of this series I read it in one sitting.

Get Zero Hour here>>> Zero Hour

Piece of Cake by Patrice Fitzgerald, from The A.I. Chronicles

aiWhat can I say about the lady from Siberia always Talking about Huge Howley. I think she is from Siberia, all of her pics look like she is in a place that is freezing. She is a woman of mystery. Personally I think she’s a spy for the KGB. Are they still around?

Patrice’s story A piece of Cake in Samuel’s A.I. Chronicles is one of the funniest, and darkest stories I have ever read. What would you do if you couldn’t have a piece of cake!?! I think the main character would be me in the future. Running around looking for all the bootleg snacks. Trying to get my chocolate fix while being chased by health crazy bum outs.

Get A Piece of Cake Here>>> A Piece of Cake

The Traveler by Stefan Bolz, From The Time Traveler Chronicles

Time travelStefan’s Traveler hit me right in the feels. Which is crazy, because I never thought a man that could Karate chop your face off! Could write something so tender.

Anyone who has lost a loved one has fantasized about building a time machine and talking to them one last time. This story is about a little girl who loses her father at a young age. When her father was alive they built things together in his shop. He passes away, and what does she build? A time machine of course. Awesome classic story. Awesome writer. Awesome guy. Also pick up The Three Feathers by Stefan. I am about half way through it and it is eye opening.

Get The Traveler Here>>> The Traveler

Honorable Mentions. (Or in Ernie speak. “I am too tired, and a little buzzed to write anymore. Brain fuzzy from beer…)

Will Swardstrom, Contact Window

Samuel Peralta, Every Single Chronicles, (A.I., Cyborg, Time Traveler, etc.)

Nick Cole, The End of the World as We Knew it

Hank Garner, Mulligan

Susan Kaye Quinn, Restore

Well there you have it folks. My picks for 2015. This blog post is brought to you by- Ernie was to tired to edit, and I don’t care.

On a serious note, I was blown away by all of these indie authors. Indie publishing is near and dear to my heart, because I am one. Thanks for reading.

Ernie Howard is the author of The Light Through the Water, and A World Without, And a few others