My Sunday Soundtrack: “The Sparrow” by Mastodon


I discovered this song while browsing Spotify last week, and it’s been on my mind ever since. First, some backstory: A few days ago I finished a particularly troublesome portion of Book 3 that I began almost two years ago. It’s the beginning of the book (I know, I know . . .), a prologue which I thought was going to be something else entirely, and in terms of the trilogy’s chronology, it predates ALT by about 800 years. It sets up the events of Book 3 (which is what a prologue should do), but more importantly, it dropkicks everything you know about Aleister Dullington out the window. I put a lot of pressure on myself to nail that prologue, mainly because I needed it to prove that the direction I’ve chosen for the final book is the right one.

1,200 words later, I can say with certainty that I made the right call. After I finished it, this song started playing on Spotify:

“Pursue happiness with diligence.”

That’s the song’s only lyric. I can’t tell you how it relates to our friend Mr. Dullington without spoiling everything, but hearing the song in that moment after finally crossing a barrier that’s stood in my way for two years was strangely satisfying and ethereal. So now I’m sharing it with you.

I hope you all had a great weekend.

More soon,


On Discomfort: An Exercise


I completely forgot to post about this! Sam van Zweden, editor for the writing forum Writers Bloc, contacted me back in January about contributing a writing prompt. So I did . . . and forgot to share it with you here. I know, I’m a horrible person, but I’m trying to make up for it today by sharing the link with you.

My prompt was all about discomfort and how you can use it to push your boundaries. In other words, what makes you uncomfortable? What makes you squirm? What frightens you? I’m sure a bunch of things come to mind. Take those things, collect them into a jar, and study them. Try to understand why they make you uncomfortable. Once you understand them, use them in your fiction.

So tell me, folks: What makes you uncomfortable?


My Sunday Soundtrack: “Technically, Missing” by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross


I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things with the final Monochrome novel, and nothing helps me more than the work of Mr. Reznor & Mr. Ross. I also got around to watching the film adaptation of Gone Girl this weekend, and . . . well, you can connect the dots. The score for this film is excellent, possibly the most refined of the duo’s three scores so far (although The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s score remains my favorite), and this track is one of the standouts.

You can purchase this score direct from the artist (and I recommend you do so–they deserve it).

More soon.


A Recent Decision


Hey, folks. Sorry it’s been a while. Most of my time these last few weeks has been dominated by looking for a house to purchase. I know, right? I feel so adult.  Anyway, all of this research into mortgages, first-time home buyer programs, foreclosures, short sales, PMI, M-I, and the like hasn’t left much time to work on much of anything. However, I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday (which now seems incredibly obvious) that I need to share with you.

Back in January, I shared with you my White Board of Woe, outlining my goals for the first quarter of 2015:

Whiteboard of Woe - Q12015

This is the Year of Getting Shit Done, after all. To date, I’ve accomplished (or made progress on) five of the eight goals listed on the board. The largest goal of them all is probably the most important one to me, and that’s writing 10k words of the final Monochrome novel by the end of March. To date, I’ve not even touched it yet–and that needs to change.

So yesterday I made a decision to put future releases of the ULT series on hold so I can focus entirely on my third novel. Like I said, it seems obvious, but until yesterday I thought I was a superhuman being who could bend and manipulate time to his will.

Let me clarify: The next two ULT releases are still happening. ULT #5 is edited and is ready for formatting. ULT #6 is still in the editing stages, but is on track for an early summer release. Erica’s going to start working on covers for both next week. All of the other stories I had in the works will remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future until I can make some serious progress with Monochrome #3.

Right now, my goal is to have the last book on sale by the end of 2016. Next year is a special year for the series. It’s the tenth anniversary of ALT’s inception, and I’ll also be as old as Mr. Candle is in the storyline. This is an aggressive timeline but I think it can be done. I have to try, anyway.

So that’s my plan. My updates may be sporadic, as I hope to be spending most of my free time working on the novel. Oh, and there’s the whole “buying a house” thing, too.

As always, thanks for your patience and readership.


Awkward Conversations with Geeky Writers: BLOODY VALENTINE EDITION!


Oh yes. The Geeky Writer Gang™ is kicking off their first broadcast of the year, and we want YOU to be there!

Join us on Friday, February 13th at 8 PM as we go live on YouTube. We’ll talk about our latest works-in-progress, upcoming releases, and other uncomfortable topics such as “Worst Valentine’s Day Ever” and “Who’s Tied Up in Eryk’s Basement?”

As with past iterations, links to the broadcast will be posted here on the Facebook event page a few minutes before we go live. You can tune into YouTube to catch our antics and ask any questions you might have right on the event page.

We hope you’ll consider joining us!

(Oh, and by the way–I’ll be giving away a couple of Kindle copies of ULT: VOLUME ONE during the broadcast, so if you want to win, you need to join the event and participate!)



My Sunday Soundtrack: Tool’s “Forty Six & 2.”


Okay, so I skipped a week. I’ll try to make these weekly, but you all know how life gets in the way sometimes. In any case, today’s pick is one of my favorite songs from Tool’s album “Ænima,” a little six-minute gem called “Forty-Six & 2.

I discovered Tool’s music in high school, a few years after this album was released and right around the same time I discovered Nine Inch Nails. Both were huge influences on me, and now, almost twenty years later, I still go back to one when I’m tired of the other. “Ænima” was my first Tool album. I’d heard a couple of the singles for “Stinkfist” and “Ænema,” but nothing else. This song was one of those first eye-openers that blew me away. I’ve been working on edits of ULT #5, a little story called THE OTHER LAND EXPRESS, and this song was one of two that I listened to heavily during its composition.

If you like what you hear, I strongly encourage you to purchase the album. You’ll thank me.



UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE hits Kindles today. Did you pre-order? If so, you’ll find this small collection of stories is already corrupting the other books in your library.

And if you didn’t pre-order, well, allow me to point you toward this lovely book cover below. Clicking on it will take you to the Amazon page where you can purchase the book for a mere $3.99. Sales are greatly appreciated–and so are reviews! Feel free to leave an Amazon review, or maybe even one on Goodreads–or both!

You’re going to have a bad time.


“Ugly Little Things: Volume One single-handedly restored my faith for horror.”


I have no words, so I’ll let this HNR Review for ULT: VOLUME ONE speak for itself:

Ugly little Things: Volume One single-handedly restored my faith for horror: not only as a genre, but as a literary vehicle of exploration. There is substance in each of these tales that clings to your skin in sticky clumps. It knows what disturbs you and compels you to press on anyway.

And despite its shortcomings, which are really too insubstantial to name, (and really more relative to each story’s plot anyway) Todd Keisling has crafted a gem I’d gladly place in the pantheon of masterpieces. This is no longer literature but heart-wrenching and impressionistic art.

Yeah. That’s pretty fucking great. Read the rest of the review here. ULT: VOLUME ONE goes on sale tomorrow. See you then.