2013 Recap: A Year of Very Ugly Little Things.

December 31, 2013 in Blog

I originally wanted to record a video blog for today, but between the holidays and gearing up for the ULT release on Friday, I’m afraid time slipped through my fingers.

No worries. I’ll just post here instead. Here’s a recap of 2013, in which I did the following:

  • Experienced the joys of the following health-related issues: hiatal hernia, appendicitis, sleep apnea, depression, and oral surgery.
  • Turned 30.
  • Gained about 15 lbs.
  • Wrapped up the TLM promotional blitz with a two week-long blog tour.
  • Wrote approximately 60k words of new fiction.
  • Had two stories published in separate anthologies.
  • Pissed off a bunch of people who really, really love The Shining.
  • Started planning, then scrapped, then resumed planning of the final Monochrome book.
  • Obtained permission from Henry Rollins to reprint lyrics of one of his songs in the first ULT volume.
  • Realized that “free” isn’t the best business model.
  • Had a slight breakdown.
  • Delayed the release of ULT & changed course for the collection.
  • Learned the basics of Adobe InDesign.
  • Learned how to make a Kindle book.
  • Grew a beard.
  • Realized that dieting is bullshit and sucks and I hate it.
  • Made some new friends.

I think that covers 2013. It was a year of pain and frustration, and I am not sad to see it go. I need 2014 to be better, and dammit, I’m going to make it better.

So join me, friends, in raising a glass and collectively telling 2013 to fuck right off. Let’s make 2014 better.

Have a happy New Year, folks. Be safe and enjoy!

TK

P.S. One more thing: Be sure and tune in to the Twilight Zone Marathon!

UGLY LITTLE THINGS: A Primer.

December 1, 2013 in Blog

So, we’re a month away from a new year, and I’ve spent this weekend thinking about how 2013 has been rather rough for me. I’m usually not one for resolutions, but after the shitty year I’ve had, I think I’m allowed to make one resolution a month early. My resolution is to make 2014 a better year than 2013 in all ways: physically, mentally, emotionally, philosophically, and (hopefully) monetarily. So I’m going to kick off the next year with a new fiction series which, until October, was just going to be a collection of short stories.

Allow me to introduce my ugly little things . . .

ULT Announcement

To make this straightforward, here’s an FAQ I put together just for you.

What is the UGLY LITTLE THINGS series?

UGLY LITTLE THINGS (or ULT for simplicity) is a collective name for my short stories, intended to fill the gaps between my novels (which, as you know, tend to take a while). These stories are not what you’re used to seeing from me. They are more visceral, raw, experimental, and personal. In other words, they’re ugly.

In which genre can these stories be classified?

Speculative fiction. Horror. Suspense. In one specific case, a story is pseudo-memoir, or what the more civilized literary elite would call a roman à clef. If you read anything by Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, or Neil Gaiman, you’ll probably like these stories.

How are these stories being released?

These stories will be released digitally on the Amazon Kindle platform to start. Nook releases are not out of the question.

Cool. How much?

We’re pricing these based on story length. Prices will range between 99 cents to $2.99 USD.

What is the release schedule? 

Right now we’re aiming at the third of every month, starting in January. Here’s the full schedule:

RADIO FREE NOWHERE – 1/3/14

WHEN KAREN MET HER MOUNTAIN – 2/3/14

SAVING GRANNY FROM THE DEVIL – 3/3/14

UGLY LITTLE THINGS* – 4/3/14

*Title subject to change.

What happened to the limited hardcover edition you were planning to release next spring? 

That’s still happening, but the release has been pushed back due to this new approach with the individual stories. Look for details in May 2014. And no, it won’t just be a compilation of the stories mentioned above. I’ve got something special in store for you. Just wait and see.

So . . . what happened to the last Monochrome novel?

Ask me again in a year.

I think that’s about it for now. If there’s a question you have that isn’t covered here, hit me up in the comments.

Until then,

TK

Miseria’s Chorale

November 5, 2013 in Blog

A while back I mentioned one of the stories from the ULT collection, WHEN KAREN MET HER MOUNTAIN, had been accepted for publication in a new horror anthology published by Forgotten Tomb Press.

miserias-chorale

Miseria’s Chorale: Volume One

Well, I have some news: the anthology is currently in its editing phase and is due out later this month. It will be available digitally and in print (at a whopping 609 pages). I will post price points and links once the anthology is live. For now, here is the full roster:

Finalised Table of Contents:

In Green Remembered by Christopher Nadeau
Worm Garden by Patrick Lacey
Becoming The Beast by Christian A. Larsen
Sowing The Seeds by Bear Weiter
Hiding by Pete Aldin
Happy Thoughts by Nick Kimbro
When Karen Met Her Mountain by Todd Keisling
One by Cameron Suey
Asrai by Carmen Tudor
Ripped From Heaven by Patrick Tumblety
The Eye That Ate The Sky by Alexandre Mandarino
The Catacomb Enigma by Jon Michael Kelley
From Suicide Station by Adam Millard
The Cherry Tree by James S. Dorr
Because The Night Is Dark And Full Of Monsters by Sergio Palumbo
The Story by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
Choosing My Confession by Meghan Arcuri
Visit by Richard Godwin
Bedfordshire by Peter Crowther
The Face Of Death by Paul Kane
The Wind by Ryan Neil Falcone
Tomb Of The Initiate by Aaron J. French
Thrall by Richard Farren Barber
Evacuation by Jay Wilburn
The Gatehouse by Anna Taborska
Exit To Dove’s Tail by Ken Goldman
Motel Impression by Michael Thomas-Knight
Kicks by Carl Barker
Cracks by Jon Ingold
Give Me Convenience by Shaun Meeks
Red Harvest by K. Trap Jones
King Of A Distant Star by Tim Jeffreys
Trauma Children by Lucy Taylor
Cicada by Caren Gussoff
A Feeble Gleam Of Stars by R.W.W. Greene
Letters by Christina Murphy
The Watching Room by Glen Damien Campbell
Destruction: A Plague Story by Bruce Memblatt
What Lurks Below by Peter Baltensperger
The Shadow On The Hill by Peter Mark May
That Sinking Feeling by Lance Manion
Tug by Douglas J. Ogurek
The Banquet by Fred Skolnik
Formaldehyde Fairies by Alana I. Capria
Lily In The Ether by Christopher Hivner
The Girl Beneath by Dy Loveday
Extremity by B.T. Joy
Instantaneous by Christopher David Rosales

Stay tuned,

TK

[VIDEO] Methods of Escape

November 2, 2013 in Video Blogs

Dredging the Demons.

October 21, 2013 in Blog

So it begins . . .

I spent most of last week rethinking everything I’d plotted for the final Monochrome book, based on feedback from the unlikeliest of sources: my mother. I’d not seen the old lady in a year, and she drove up from KY to stay with us for a few days. The visit was nice, and we discussed TLM for a while. Soliciting feedback from Mom (who will no doubt read this—hi Mom) can be tricky, because she’d give everything I’ve written a ten-star review if she could, and it’s hard to be objective about anything when your child is involved.

She enjoyed TLM (I knew she would), but admitted that the first few chapters were slow (fair point—I wanted them to be) which is why she took almost a year to finish the book. She pointed out a couple of things which gave me pause, if only because I’d subconsciously avoided them. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

So what did she point out?

One thing which is fairly obvious: Sparrow needs to go. She didn’t like him at all (and you’re not supposed to), and he needs a fitting end. He’ll get one. Probably not the one you’d expect, but trust me, he’ll get his due.

She doesn’t see Dullington as a villain. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this about him. In fact, many readers tend to agree with his outlook on humanity (I do, too), and that moral ambiguity is why a lot of folks find him so appealing. Dullington serves a greater purpose. Her observation, however, blew a hole right through everything I’d planned for the third book, mainly because Dullington is the focus of that story. His origins, his ambitions, and his end game goals are laid bare in the final book. My mother’s insight, however, changed the nature of those finer details. Maybe he isn’t the villain. Maybe he isn’t the boss of the final level. Maybe there’s more to the Ungod than I’d realized. Obviously this means I need to go back to the drawing board. The good news is, I’m so early in the development process that this change won’t affect anything I’ve written (which, I’m sad to say, isn’t much).

The last comment she made has been the source of much thought and soul-searching over the last week. She didn’t like Donovan’s brother, Michael. Her reasoning: “He looks down his nose at his brother.” Although this isn’t a revelation, I was somewhat perplexed by the comment, mainly because no one’s ever pointed that out before. I mentioned it to Amelia, and even she commented that Donovan has a weird fixation on his brother. They’re both right, but I’d always approached Michael’s judgmental nature from a pragmatic perspective. He’s a driven individual who figures out how to get what he wants, and then he goes and after it. Donovan is the foil character, thinking things through, dwelling on possibility to the point of deluding himself that he’s gaining ground when he is, in fact, losing it. Michael frowns upon his brother because he knows Donovan is capable of so much more, yet chooses to do nothing. These qualities in Donovan’s character begin to change by the end of TLM. Donovan is the one who acts—a point which takes his brother by surprise.

I’ve always intended to follow through with the change in Donovan’s character for the final act of the trilogy. However, until last weekend, I wasn’t really sure how that would look from a thematic perspective. In fact, despite all the planning and plotting, I hadn’t really tackled that aspect of the story. The “theme” or “meaning” of the Monochrome stories always pop up in the middle of the writing process. TLM’s theme of defining oneself, action vs. inaction, etc. all crept up during the final months of the first draft.

Thinking about what my mom said in regards to Michael Candle led me to dig up some demons I’d buried a couple of years ago, an act which put me in a pretty dark place for the remainder of the week. Without getting too personal, I made a bad choice a couple of years ago, and lost a friend as result. That friend happened to be the basis for Michael’s character, and hearing that feedback from Mom and Amelia put some things in perspective for me that I hadn’t considered before.

So . . . after a lot of quiet “me” time, during which I listened to some Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam (an odd combination that makes sense to me for reasons I won’t get into right now), I discovered some parts of the plot for the final book which will make it a lot darker, a lot more somber, and will probably upset some of you. It isn’t going to be an easy book to write—then again, they never are.

In light of all of this, I’m scrapping what I’ve written of the book’s prologue (it isn’t much—maybe three paragraphs) and rethinking the story. The book will be done when it’s done; I’ve come too far to rush it now.

For now I’ll be turning my attention back to UGLY LITTLE THINGS. Amelia’s assured me that her edits will be done in time for the Thanksgiving deadline, which gives me all of December to finalize the manuscript.

I’ll write more when I can.

Until then,

TK

October Things.

October 4, 2013 in Blog

Apologies for the silence. Here’s what’s going on:

The Elephant in the Room

So TLM didn’t win. That’s how my week began. I’d be lying if I said I’m not even the slightest bit disappointed, but on the other hand, I’m grateful to have made it as far as I did. “2013 Indie Book Award Finalist” will look great in my bio.

Speaking of my Bio . . . 

I updated my Bio page to something that’s more . . . well, up to date. I also added a sub-page for my “curriculum vitae” outlining the last 10+ years of publications, articles, etc.

And speaking of publications . . . 

I received word today that my story, WHEN KAREN MET HER MOUNTAIN, from the forthcoming UGLY LITTLE THINGS collection, was accepted for publication in a horror anthology being put together by Forgotten Tombs press. The anthology is called MISERIA’S CHORALE: VOLUME ONE, and will be available digitally and in print. No word on a release date yet.

Edits, edits, edits.

Last week’s partial silence was due to working on edits of Karen’s story. A big shout-out goes to Amelia for helping me with this story. We had a 9/30 deadline for the anthology, and there’s no way the story would’ve been ready for submission without her insight. As for the other stories in the collection, she’s looking to get her edits and comments back to me by Thanksgiving, and then I’ll have all of December to address them. For now, everything is on track for an April release. We’re still trying to figure out logistics for a limited print run as well.

Reviews

Bloody Bookish had this to say about TLM:

The Liminal Man is a thrilling, suspense-fueled ride with good and evil in a showdown, and the fate of one man inadvertently putting the lives of others in jeopardy. Add to that some evil little creatures, a bone-chilling underworld and forces that will stop at nothing until they get what they want, The Liminal Man kept me turning pages well into the night (and a little wary of taking the subway anymore, to be honest).

And that’s about it for now. More soon.

TK

Methods, madness, and other things.

July 13, 2013 in Blog

Matt Molgaard’s team over at Horror Novel Reviews have gone crazy with top ten lists over the last couple of weeks, and after seeing list after list after list I decided I’d drop my hat into the ring and write one of my own. It went live yesterday. My list outlines ten books that were very influential to me and my writing style over the years, and although there will be some predictable titles on that list, I’m willing to bet most of them will surprise you.

In other news: work continues on the collection, although I’ve stumbled this week with my current story. I had a lengthy chat with Amelia yesterday about it, discussing why I think it isn’t working and possible remedies. I’m hesitant to set the story aside because it’s a strong one, but if it’s dragging me down I’ll be better off cutting it loose–if only for a little while. Being preoccupied with another, bigger story this week also didn’t help my focus:

So it begins . . .

Yeah, so that happened. I’m still a ways off from starting the novel, and even a longer way off from completion, but this is the first step.

I’ve seen sketches for the upcoming audio anthology’s cover art. It looks great, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. They’re still working on a title for the anthology, though, or else I would’ve told you already. Once I’ve heard back from them I’ll post about it here (and across the usual social channels).

That’s about it for now.

More soon,

TK

Semi-finals!

July 1, 2013 in Blog

TLM

This morning I learned that THE LIMINAL MAN is a semi-finalist for The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book award in Horror & Suspense! The Top 5 category finalists will be announced on September 1st. Keep your fingers crossed!

More soon.

TK

Ugly Little Things: Progress Report

June 14, 2013 in Blog

Good afternoon, folks.

I’m taking a short break from the fiction to give you a status update. As I’ve mentioned over the last few posts, I’m working on a group of stories for a collection tentatively titled UGLY LITTLE THINGS (including a lead story that shares the same name). Here’s where things stand:

  • UGLY LITTLE THINGS: I crossed the 11k word mark last night, and expect to finish it this weekend. Which is good, because if the story about an evil doll maker in West Virginia keeps growing, I’ll have to start calling it Ugly Bloated Things.
  • RADIO FREE NOWHERE: Completed at 2.5k words. There may be further revisions of this story in the future once Amelia gets her hands on the collection, but for now I’m considering it “finished,” if only because I had to submit it this week for a separate project that I can’t talk about just yet. Let me put it this way: if all goes well (and I think it will), you’ll be able to experience the story long before the collection is published.
  • SAVING GRANNY FROM THE DEVIL: Completed at 16k words. At first I wasn’t going to include this story because it hit a little too close to home, crossing into a deeply personal realm where I wasn’t prepared to go, but I changed my mind after listening to Amelia sing its praises. 
  • WHEN KAREN MET THE MOUNTAIN: I have about 1k of this written, but I may scrap what I wrote and start over. I have an outline in my head, and I hope this one will fit neatly into a 10k word space.
  • GIRLS FROM THE INTERNET: This is a story idea I’ve been kicking around since 2004, but I could never find the right way to start it. I think I’ve found a good place to start, though, but I won’t know until I actually begin. I do have a good idea for how to end it, so that’s something at least. When I do begin, I’ll be aiming for 6k words.
  • THE OTHER-LAWS: This idea is the result of a strange dream I had while visiting my in-laws. I haven’t decided if this will even happen, but you never know. I said the same thing about Radio Free Nowhere. 

And there you have it. I’ve got about 30k words down so far, with another 20k or so to go. I told Amelia that I planned to have a manuscript to her this fall, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. In fact, I should probably switch gears, wrap up this blog, and get my ass back to work. Onward!

TK

Numb, tired, and jaded.

March 4, 2013 in Blog

Has it been two weeks already? Ugh. To be honest with you folks, I’ve completely lost track of time these last several days, and for good reason. I’ve had some health issues over the last month (nothing serious—thanks for asking) that have kicked the shit out of me and left my motivation bleeding in a ditch.

I’m on the mend now, but I’m still somewhat exhausted. I know I said I’d have an update about new fiction soon, but when I wrote that, I honestly expected to be back in the swing of things. So, with little to show for it, here’s where things stand with that new fiction:

I’m about 2500 words into a new story called UGLY LITTLE THINGS, which will be the lead story for that collection I’m planning. I’d like to have that collection done by the end of the year, but that’s just a tentative deadline. To be honest, it’s been years since I’ve written self-contained, short fiction. Everything wants to be a novel—even this new story—and I’m fighting that every step of the way because the next book I work on will be the final chapter of the Monochrome trilogy.

Speaking of which, I’ve considered shelving the collection in favor of jumping into book #3. I’m thinking about that story constantly, working out new plot points and potential themes with which to wrap up Mr. Candle’s journey. I’ve heard from some of you about wanting more of his story sooner rather than later, and I’m entirely conscious of that fact. I don’t want to pull a George R.R. Martin or Stephen King on you and keep you waiting for years. Trust me: I want to be done with this story far more than you do, and for entirely different reasons.

For now, however, I’m in a bit of a funk, and I think that’s mostly got to do with needing some time off. I feel as though I’ve been at it non-stop since October, what with the book release, mini-tour, and online promotions, and I’m just tired. I’ll probably do some giveaways here and there (I still have a small stock of books and T-shirts), but for the most part, I need to step back and recharge. I hit this wall with ALT back in ’11, so I’m not entirely surprised. Promoting a book always kills the fun for me. Being unhealthy while doing the promoting doesn’t help things, either.

I’ll keep posting here from time to time, but for the most part, consider me “on break” for now. Try not to burn the place down while I’m away.

TK