Thursday, November 29, 2012

Farther Than It Seems

I have worries to give to the sea.
We can walk dear, the pier is farther than it seems

Avett Brothers - At the Beach

It's almost 2:00 in the morning as I type this. Felt ready to collapse a couple hours ago and got a second wind. Been working through a Dante's Hell of revisions on a design project tonight (and last night and the night before, clients rapping, rapping at my chamber door).

Been feeling raw lately. Nerves on edge. Always feeling at the verge of something. Eyes getting glassy at song lyrics, movie trailers, blogs I read or the look of people's eyes on the sidewalks.

Not really sure why, either.

Been working my ass off lately. Had some life changes as far as work goes. I started working with an ex-business partner of mine and it was easy to see from the get-go that we've both grown and changed and are in a better place now (well, I guess I mean "me" more than "we") than we were years ago. Work is going well though we'd both like things to be busier. More insane. That tornado in a tea-cup that the advertising world is known for.

It'll happen. There was a bit of a social hiccup with business and the election outcome. That's not just an opinion of mine, it's backed up on the reaction of cold calls and other business owners, believe me.

Getting cold outside. Starting to hate even going out in the mornings to start the engine of my truck and let it warm up before I drive the kids to school or my own dragging ass to work.

Gonna get even colder soon.

I woke up this morning to find Brian Keene had taken an informal poll about whether or not people had the sensation that something big and/or bad is about to happen.

Knowing Brian, I had an idea he would do this. That feeling was something we had recently talked about on Thanksgiving.

I've had that feeling for about the last six years or so. It's a pressure about to give way. It's the hiss of a big wave cresting... the one you just know is going to drop a sledgehammer on the beach and shotgun spray the sand, the air, the night sky with saltwater diamonds a mile wide. It's a tidal wave waiting in the wings. It's an unnamed perfect storm brewing in the shadows of the warm islands.

It's the unknown.

I walk the city streets by my office, going to Central Market to grab a styrofoam cup of soup or a foil wrapped sandwich and the people I pass by have chips of granite in their eyes. They've all gone hard, and not city hard, much worse. I don't think many of them know the reason why. 

Just walking past them, you feel a cold breeze, even on days when the sun still shines warm upon your skin. There's a tension in the air, a collective holding-your-breath type of vibe I don't much like. It sets me on edge and makes me cautious wherever I go.

I've joked recently... quite often, actually... every time a minor event takes place. Earthquakes in Maine. New Jersey. Vancouver. Hurricane Sandy.

I've joked "well, the end is coming in about a month now, so we should be seeing a lot more of this." The end of the world should be coming up, according to those old Mayan transcribers. December 21. My brother's birthday. My former anniversary.

Oh, the irony.

I don't know. I don't subscribe to the theory it'll be the end of the world then. I think we're maybe ushering into an era of change and growth and perhaps the death of a certain type of thing we've come to know and be familiar and comfortable with.

I don't know. I suppose none of us really does.

But what I do know is I'm weary. I'm feeling a bit haggard and not in a good Merle sort of way.

I know the only constant is change. Damned to hell, I know that.

I know winter is on its way.

I know this year the winds smell funny.

I know the look in people's eyes isn't going to go away any time soon.

I know there are lots of worries of mine I'd like to give to the sea, but damned to hell, that pier seems so very long.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing: The Compound

So there's this blog idea that's making its way around called "The Next Big Thing" and apparently everyone on the planet has been tagged in it, including me.

Soooo here goes. 
1) What is the title of your next book?
The title of my next book is called The Compound

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, see, here's the thing. I generally get titles first from my muse and then have to figure out what the hell is attached to the title. It's both a gift and a curse. It's a gift because often I get some pretty kickass titles, if I do humbly say so. Fans still tell me their favorite is Bloodlegum and Lolliknives, but I digress.

Somewhere along the line I got the title in my head and then things started churning. I figured out what the Compound actually is: a very modern, high security prison. And then... then... well, in all honesty, it sort of stuck there like a chicken bone in my throat.

Eventually, as it always does, if an idea is worth its salt, things started meshing together. I'm the father of two amazing kids, one of each flavor. My daughter turned a teenager this year and I think — no, I know — there was more than a little fear of the future when I started writing the novel. Every writer I've ever met writes out their blood in metaphor and I'm no different. I've been through the utter emotional hell of a divorce. I've been up, I've been down. I've held my chips and folded winning hands, and to the sage advice of Kenny, I've never counted my money while I was sitting at the table. But being the father of a daughter on the verge of being a young woman is its very own thing. 

I had never, ever planned to write a zombie novel. The only zombie fiction I've ever done is a short story called "Pleasing Marlena" and I think that ended up on 

My stories are always very character driven. Whatever else is happening... well, that's that. The real story is how the characters deal with it. How it makes them change and adapt and overcome or fail.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
 Hmm. Good question. I skipped out of writing prose for a while and focused on screenplays, and after coming back to my senses, I noticed my prose had changed. I was writing much more visually, painting a more vivid picture for the reader, so I tend to think "movie rendition" in the back of my head as I'm writing now.

If we're talking Hollywood, I'm just going to go headfirst on into it then.

Jason Statham for my lead, Jake. 
Julie Bowen as Ashley.
Benjamin Bratt as Sombra.
Benicio Del Toro as Spider.
Sam Shepherd as Calvin.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Never underestimate the depths of a parents love and the hell they'll go through to save their child—even during the zombie apocalypse.

Now, if I was doing an elevator pitch to Hollywood, the pitch would be: "It's Taken, Dawn of the Dead, and American Me thrown into a blender."

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. A publisher is already lined up but I'll announce all of the details at a later date.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Between juggling my day job and life in general, about two years. 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Honestly, I'm not really sure. There are so many zombie novels out now. I blame Brian Keene (with love and affection).

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My daughter, most definitely. Other than that, nothing comes to mind, really. It all sort of gelled together over a period of time.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
People who live around the York, PA region will notice I've written pretty true to the area and it's always fun if you recognize landmarks where you live. The pace doesn't hold back at all and fans who have read Samson and Denial will know what I mean. In the past two years, I've tried to read several zombie novels and there was such a build up that the story became boring. When shit finally hit the fan it was sort of anti-climactic. 

There's none of that with The Compound. 

If a zombie apocalypse ever actually happens, society is going to be thrown head first right into the middle of it. There's not going to be any slow build or time to get prepared (if you're not already).