If I had my way…

My over blown Christmas list.

Advertisements

If I had my way, my holiday wish list would consist of books, and book related things. I would also have a huge dusty library complete with moving wall ladder, and leather club chairs. I don’t think old St. Nick is going to be able to fit that one in his sleigh. So… It’s back to fantasy for me. I have narrowed it down to my five top book related picks for Christmas. These happen to be mine so if you disagree that’s fine, diversity in taste is key for a more rounded human experience.

Number one: Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson

This is one that I can actually scratch off this list. I purchased this book the other day, and I am enjoying it so much I wanted to share it with you. Walter Isaacson is a master Biographer. In the years prior he’s written about Steve Jobs to Benjamin Franklin and many others.  Isaacson delivers a story in this one, not just a history lesson. I recommend it to people who want to be inspired.

Number two:

The entire catalog of Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, by Daniel Arthur Smith and Various Authors

These books contain some of the best stories written by some of the best indies today. If you are looking for quick bite-sized thrills and chills go no further than these books.

Number three:

The New Kindle oasis E-reader

I said at the start of this post that it would be book related things as well. This new Kindle looks amazing, and it’s waterproof. But I do have to say that when your kindle is six years old, any newer Kindle looks amazing.

Number Four:

A Glass doored bookshelf

Atlantic Glass Door Cab Espresso

This is the start of that library I talked about at the beginning of this post. I would have to say the biggest problem for any book lover is space, whether you’re talking electronically or wood space.

Number Five:

A comfortable reading chair

Abbyson Beverly Hand Rubbed Leather Armchair

One of the most overlooked reading items. A good chair can enhance your reading experience in monumental ways. And it looks nice and supports your bum.

There is my list. Hey! A boy can dream, right? Hope your reading Sonja, I mean Santa. Happy Holidays!

Find my books on Amazon 

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

//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?o=1&p=12&l=ur1&category=audible&banner=1KNMQ6Z91A8KDJ552HG2&f=ifr&lc=pf4&linkID=2799024073c907fe05342ad7bc6fb1ae&t=howard046-20&tracking_id=howard046-20

Prime Day Double Feature!

For Prime Day I give two of my books for the price of one!

I have always loved to write. From the time I could put two words together I’ve been writing stories. My first story ever was a play based on Star Wars. I made props out of paper grocery bags, and boxes much to my parents delight, when they would have to step over my cardboard X-Wing fighter just to get into the bathroom. My play would be great! I wrote the script on a spiral notebook complete with lines and exit stage lefts. It was quite an undertaking for a 6 year old. Alas, my play never saw the stage. Maybe I should have started with something a little less technical, like a Goonies play, or a Indiana Jones remake…
The cardboard X-Wing gathered dust in the basement, and the paper sack Storm Trooper helmets met their fate in a land fill in a Galaxy far far away. Over the years I had many fits and starts with stories, much like my Star Wars play. I would write 50 plus pages and either get discouraged, or something would happen in my life and I would forget about the pages that piled up on the kitchen table, destined to be put in a box and forgotten.
Fast forward to about two years ago. My life had gone through some major changes in the previous year. I ended one relationship, and moved back to Nevada, and started my last with my wife and her sons. My own son was on the way, snuggled nicely in my wife’s belly, (she looked beautiful by the way.) One night I was looking at my wife and step sons when I was overcome with gratefulness. I was so happy in that moment. Me being a writer though my good feelings were soon replaced by a sense of foreboding. What if I lost all of this. A World Without came flooding out of me and onto the paper. I barely had to try to write it. It focuses on a man who lost exactly what I myself love. My family. I wrote about my greatest fear, losing my wife and sons. I think most of my writing comes from a place of fear, and loss. I ask myself a What if question and then try to write about it with honesty. I published it through KDP on Amazon, and boom! I had put out my first published work!
The other story, Walter came from dark memories of remembering what it was like to be an outcast in Junior High School. I moved to Las Vegas when I was 11 years old. I was from a small Minnesota farming town with a population of 700 hundred people, and I was moving to sin city. To say I didn’t fit in was an understatement!
There was an explosion right before I moved close to the Junior High School I went to. A rocket fuel plant called Pepcon blew up leveling everything within a 2 mile radius, and damaging the junior high school I went to. In my 11 year old brain I thought my parents were crazy to move us to a place like that. I would think about the Pepcon explosion as I got kicked under lunch tables, and called names in the halls. I would fantasize about the whole damn school getting leveled and me coming out unscathed. My parents would eventually come to their senses and we would move back to Minnesota. I know this is dark, but again I try to write as honest as I can. My imagination got me through that awkward stage of my life. I think anyone who has gone to junior high school, not to mention a new school, in a new state will give me a pass. Things did get better for me.
So there you have it. The origins of these two stories. I did this Double Feature in honor of Amazon Prime day. Amazon over the years has been a big part of this reader, and writers life. It has given me the opportunity to realize a dream. To be a published writer. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Get them now here

prime day

Write Something! : You have been lied to. Writers Block doesn’t exist.

First chapter of my new book Write Something!

Why you should read this book

One of my first memories with writing, was of seeing my mother sitting at our kitchen table leaning over her typewriter. She wrote screenplays, and when she wasn’t working her butt off to put food on the table, she directed plays at a local children’s theater. I always got bit parts in Pinocchio, and The Legend of Sleepy Hallow. Alas, my career as an accomplished actor was never to be, I was horrible at it. I had no desire to be an actor, I enjoyed the backstage, I liked reading the script, more than I liked acting out the script. At a certain point in my young life, I realized that I wanted to write the scripts. I wanted to come up with my own stories, I wanted to get lost in my own worlds.

I used to sit and stare at my mom as she wrote for hours, churning out page after page. She was unstoppable, she connected words into sentences like a machine. One day the table would be devoid of paper, and by the next day there’d be a stack that seemed to reach for the ceiling. In a week or so, she would be looking at a first draft. My Mom was a writer! I wanted to be like my mom, I wanted to write. I mean what little kid sits and watches somebody write? My mom, in her infinite wisdom picked up on that and gave me one of her notebooks to write my masterpiece.

I was filled with a sense of pride as I sat at table with my mom and wrote my first story. It was about Star Wars, and it would be more awesome than the original. I was writing fan fiction before fanatical fiction was even a thing, I was pretty progressive if I do say so myself… My notebook filled with my small vocabulary, (hey I was seven years old.) I would adapt my story into a play, complete with props made of grocery bags, and moving boxes. My niche was found, I had a clear grasp on what I wanted to do with my life. Those were great days, writing was my escape when I didn’t have any friends. Sometimes it was my therapist on days when I had no one to talk with. As I got older, a way to unload my mind of all the dramas that had happened throughout the day. Writing became my identity.

I think I still have the notebook somewhere. Considering I can never throw away anything I have written down on a piece of paper, (I might need that notebook someday, don’t judge!) Boxes of my writing that will never see the light of day sit mouldering in my garage. Reading books and writing were always second nature, much like it is with you. I never had to work hard with writing, the words I could pluck out of thin air. I didn’t know where they came from, they would just pop into my head, and I would write them. I never had to sit down in front of a computer screen or a piece of paper and think until my brain turned to mush. Until one day about three years ago, my writing turned on me. My friend for years had left me cold and alone, in a state of shock. My computer had turned into Medusa. If I stared long enough it would freeze me in mid sentence. For the first time in my life I was experiencing what those “other writers” called Writers Block.

I woke up just like any other day, ate my breakfast and sat down to write, and nothing came out. After a few minutes of just sitting in frustration I got up from the computer, dismissing my lack of writing on being preoccupied about something. After about three months of this I became scared. Writing would come in fits and starts and that flow that I had experienced all my life had escaped me. I asked myself many scary questions over those three months. Would I ever be able to write again? What would I do other than writing? Did I have a damn brain tumor? After writing numerous words a day, and a blog post on any given day, I was down to a trickle of words. The anxiety of never being able to write again had me in its grip. Whether I liked this situation or not, writers block was here to stay. Unless I did something proactive to cast this curse away.

For months I rambled around the Internet trying to find any articles on Writers Block. Why does this happen? What were the causes? I needed answers! All I found were sympathetic blog posts, stupid memes of people pulling their hair out, and goofy ideas on how to get rid of this dreaded block. I came to realize that no one who writes wanted to talk about writers block, almost like football players never want to go see another injured teammate in the hospital. The writers I encountered, just wanted to give it a label and be done with it. Giving no advice to the person experiencing the Writers Block. Giving not being able to write, a label does nothing for the person experiencing Writers Block. Getting them to realize that Writers Block isn’t one thing all to it’s own helps a writer! Writers Block as one thing does not exist, it’s many things that stop you from writing. Once you can see these specific anxieties for what they are, you can do something about them, and get back to your writing.

Over the next month, I narrowed these causes down to 6 major factors that make up Writers Block, and created a system to deal with them, so I could get my words back on the page. It was slow at first, but going deep into my mind and figuring out why I wasn’t writing did more for me than the vague blog post ever did. The system I used I will share with you in the coming pages. I call what I did a system, but it’s just a group of no nonsense exercises that are very easy to use when Writers Block rears its ugly head, rendering you paralyzed. These exercises will open your mind, and dissolve the block so to speak.

As a writer like you, I can sympathize on how frustrating it can be to see the words are accumulating in your head, but they won’t go from your brain to the page. It’s a desperate feeling, almost like walking around a dark room without a flashlight. I teach you how to fashion a flashlight out of thin air, and show you that the flashlight has always been waiting for you in that dark room you call your mind. My writing came back because of these exercises, and now I always have a flashlight when I am in the dark with my writing. I am back to writing when ever I want, and how much I want. Which is a good thing. Because if you’re like me writing is a big part of your life. The road back from a trickle to a rhythm and flow took a little while, but it was worth it.

So, I am just like you. I question myself, I sometimes lack faith in my writing. I toil night and day over something I have written. The best advice will always come from someone who has experienced what you have experienced, and come out on the other end with a new passion for their skill. I have experienced all the things in this book to the fullest degree, and I am still writing, still creating. You are no different, but sometimes in life we need someone to tell us it’s going to fine, you will get through this.

This book is for you. From students racking their brains at night trying to write a term papers, to the aspiring fiction and nonfiction author who wants to finish that book that nags at them every time they see that pile of notes sitting on their desk. Your writing yells out at you to finish, but you just can’t seem to get around to it. This book is for the writer that lies awake at night dreaming of that story they know will be great if they could just get it down on paper.

Everything is writing. Anything that has seen the light of day on this Earth had to be drummed up in someones mind and written down on a piece of paper. You need to get back into the game… The words you write are important to our collective culture. If you have ever struggled with writing please read this book. I wrote it for you.

Want to read more? Write Something is available For purchase on Amazon. Click here