I’ve been mostly quiet on the writing front these last couple of weeks. The cause is a familiar one: I find myself at a crossroads, faced with a number of different ways to approach a much larger plot problem with Book 3. So in the face of indecision, I decided to sit down in the middle of the road and think about things for a while. And like all the other times I’ve been stumped with a riddle related to a work in progress, I’ve turned to other projects to stretch my creative legs.

In a nutshell:

  • I sent out a query for the first time in . . . shit, I don’t know. Years? Almost a decade? The odds are against me with this, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I won’t say anything else about this unless I get good news–and if that happens, it won’t be until sometime next year.
  • NaNoWriMo began this month, and I got to thinking about a novel I started for NaNo 2012 that got shelved. I opened up the Word document and dusted it off to discover I’d written almost 13k words, and the plot actually made sense; furthermore, I figured out how to get around the problem I ran into, and . . . well, I’m seriously considering putting Monochrome 3 aside to work on it. Right now I feel too constrained with Monochrome 3, like I’ve boxed myself in and can’t see the forest through the trees, if that makes sense? Probably not. In any case, I think a palate-cleanser is exactly what I need.
  • Speaking of submissions, I intend to pull out one of the unfinished ULT stories from last year and complete it for the upcoming submission window for Crystal Lake’s third volume of the Tales From the Lake anthology series. I’m not sure which one yet, but when I figure that out, you’ll be the first to know.
  • I’m also in the process of wrapping up a project I’ve had in the works with Tony Rapino for over a year now. There’s just a tiny bit left to go, and then . . . well, I can’t tell you. Not yet, but soon. Next year’s going to be an exciting one.

That’s about it. The TL;DR version boils down to me needing to stretch my legs and work on something else for a little while until I can think my way out of a plot jam.

Also, Fallout 4.

More soon,


A worthy cause.

Extra Life

My friend Dave is raising money this weekend for Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, KY through Extra-Life. He’ll be live-streaming with some of his friends for 24-hours on Saturday via the VideoDestruct account on Twitch. They did this last year and it was a success. I’m not sure which games they’ll be playing, but if you’re into that sort of thing, consider tuning in.

And hey, even if you’re not, you can still support a worthy cause by pitching in a few bucks on their Extra-Life page. DO IT!


Jasper Bark’s BEYOND LOVECRAFT Campaign

I’ve seen this pop up a few times on social media and finally had a chance to check it out. Jasper Bark has partnered with artist Rob Moran to create “Beyond Lovecraft,” a graphic novel of entwined stories set during the aftermath of the dark god Cthulhu’s return. I’ll let Mr. Bark tell you about the details:

The Indiegogo campaign is 29% funded with a month and a half left to go, so there’s plenty of time to pledge a few bucks. If you dig Lovecraft and graphic novels, you should check this out.


[EVENT] Awkward Conversations with Geeky Writers: Costume Party 2.0!


Yes, that’s right, folks. The Geeky Writer Gang is getting together once more to celebrate the most wonderful day of the year: HALLOWEEN!

Join us as we go live on YouTube to talk about all things Halloween, from books to movies to games. Anything goes, really. Also up for discussion are our latest releases, works-in-progress, the various goings-on here at Geeky Writer Central, and any other inappropriate topics that always come up in conversation. These things are called “awkward conversations” for a reason, folks.

Keeping with the tradition of the season, we’re going to be in COSTUME. Yes, just like last year, we’re going to be dressed up in some form or fashion. Maybe we’ll even play a game of “Who’s not wearing pants?” (Spoiler: Probably Tony.)

As with past iterations, we’re going to broadcast live via Google Hangouts and stream to YouTube. You can tune into YouTube to catch our antics, and you’ll be able to participate in the chat right on the broadcast page (yes, I finally figured out how to do that). Questions on the Facebook event page are welcome as always. Audience participation is not only encouraged—it’s mandatory!

We hope you will consider joining us!


P.S. In case you missed last year’s Halloween broadcast . . .

The Marathon



My relative silence these last couple of weeks is corollary to my productivity. The writers out there know how important it is to establish a regular writing routine, and that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to accomplish.

It hasn’t been easy. Imagine you’re running a marathon, and you haven’t trained for weeks. Worse, you haven’t stretched your legs or done anything to warm up. That’s what it’s been like for me. These last couple of weeks have taught me an important lesson: all the planning in the world cannot substitute for actual writing.

Book 3 is in progress, but like with every other project I’ve ever started, it’s taking me a while to find my footing. Scenes that I thought were in order have revealed themselves not to be. I typically write chronologically, or try to, so these sudden revelations have thrown me out of my groove. If you recall, I had similar issues with TLM’s first draft, and that required substantial restructuring. I hope to avoid such delays this time around, but at the end of the day, I must go where the story takes me.

I’ve sought advice from several fellow authors in the last several weeks regarding Book 3’s plot. They know who they are, and know I am grateful. I won’t go into details for obvious, spoilery reasons, but let’s just say that I think I’ve found the right direction to take. I’m not 100% sold on it, but for now it’s the one that feels right, so I’m going to see where it leads. I suspect that once this is finished, there will be a lot of excess content cut out of the final draft. So it goes.

That’s about all for now. I am working on the book, albeit slowly–but then again, it always does. Thanks, as always, for your patience. I hope you’re all still here when it’s finally finished.


My Sunday Soundtrack: “Coil” by Opeth

Opeth Watershed

Been listening to this one repeatedly for the last few days because I’ve been struggling with the best way to approach a scene involving Donovan’s wife. This song is her song, in a lot of ways. When we last saw Donna Candle at the end of TLM, she was in a pretty fragile emotional state. She was upset, hurt, confused–there’s a lot of negative emotions running through her heart and mind at the end of that book. Amelia said something to me about Donna’s character during our final pass of TLM’s edits: “Don’t forget about this for book 3.”

I haven’t, and I won’t. Donovan and Donna’s relationship has been the foundation of the series, and I know that Don’s actions at the end of book two have damaged that foundation in some ways. I don’t yet know how severe. That’s for Donna to decide.

Drawing Donovan Candle


I decided to take another stab at sketching characters last night. Last weekend I managed to pull off Aleister Dullington. He turned out far better than I thought he would. This weekend, however, I wanted to attempt to draw Donovan Candle.


I began with a photo reference of David Byrne from his younger years. In my imagination, Donovan’s always looked a bit like the singer for the Talking Heads. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that publicly, but it’s one of the reasons why I chose the song “Psycho Killer” for the opening of TLM. Anyway, after many scrapped doodles (because I always have a difficult time getting the correct proportions), Donovan’s face started to come together. The hair didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but that’s something else I’ve always had trouble with.

When Amelia saw it, she immediately recognized it as Donovan, which is rather interesting because I’ve never really described him (for reasons discussed previously). She did clarify that this is “Book 1” Donovan, and I agree with her assessment. He’s younger and tired (I tried to emphasize the bags under his eyes). He hasn’t yet experienced the horrors of the Monochrome, and he’s much less defined here than he is at the end of TLM.

Before I close, I’ll share a song with you. I listened to this on repeat while I drew last night. It seemed fitting:

More soon.



The Horror Bookshelf reviews ULT!



The Horror Bookshelf reviewed ULT Volume One, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 rating. Here’s an excerpt:

What made me fall in love with this collection was the variety of the stories and the emotional impact a few of them had on me. While I enjoy a straightforward horror story, the ones that really leave a lasting impact for me are the ones that explore more complex emotions and situations. These stories can be terrifying in their own right, but they also stir up other emotions. Keisling utilizes that ability to the max with stories like “When Karen Met Her Mountain” and “Saving Granny From The Devil”. These are engaging stories full of horror thrills and yet they still explore the depths of human nature and add a complex element to his works.

You can read the full review here. ULT: Volume One is available now on Kindle.