Commencements, Cinema, and Camping

I’m realizing there are a lot of firsts and strange anniversaries this year and in this stretch of time specifically. Next weekend my daughter graduates High School, the mind-blowingness of that only surpassed by the fact that she will be 20 in November, about two months after I turn 40. So very, very strange. I’m travelling back up to Ohio (twice in the same month) this coming Thursday to see her graduation and then watch her dance recital on Saturday. To say that I’m as proud as I am astonished at how lethargically yet quickly time moves would be an understatement.

I had been thinking about staying in Yellow Springs for the weekend but my usual crash-pad will not be available so I’m rethinking things a bit. There’s a part of me that wants to make a long, leisurely drive home from southeastern Ohio through Kentucky & the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina with no real plan and sleeping bag for the back of my car. We shall see. I’m at some kind of weird mid-life crisis stage of my life but we’ll see how weird we’re willing to push it.


I’m sure it will be no surprise that I saw and really, really enjoyed Shane Black’s “The Nice Guys.” I’m a sucker for oddball crime comedies and this one hits in all the right spots. Smart, funny, kind of touching and brilliantly acted by the entire cast (not just Crowe and Gosling, who are superb).

I’ve been throwing myself at movies a lot lately, which is fun but can be a bit pricey, be it at the theater or to buy stuff to watch at home. I tend to make plans to see stuff in the theater and then miss it anyway, which is strange, but we’re at that strange spot of the summer where there’s something new and interesting out every weekend. This weekend it’s The Nice Guys, next weekend it’s X-Men: Apocalypse which will probably hit a completely different sweet spot. Either fun-popcorn or so-bad-its-good. I finally exposed myself to the newest Fantastic Four movie which was such a crippling disappointment but still better than some of the other entries into the series. Per usual, when I see a bad movie about something I like I find myself spending a lot of mental energy trying to fix it. Sometimes that’s a waste of time, other times it leads me down some interesting trails and a new idea for something.

Like I need more of those, but still.

This summer has been pretty good to me so far, what with Captain America: Civil War and The Nice Guys being phenomenal and Batman v Superman being…a movie that I saw. No, I kid. I did enjoy it, despite its flaws. I wish it had been pitch perfect (maybe a capella mash-ups would have made it great, who knows?) but it still had some great moments and hopefully the franchise will now move in a slightly better direction due to its response. This summer still brings us Independence Day, Conjuring 2, The Purge: Election Year, Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, Lights Out, and Suicide Squad. I’m sure some others will pop up on my radar as well but that’s a pretty interesting summer. I mean new Ghostbusters, new Star Trek and a Harley Quinn movie? Um, yes please. While I was pretty disappointed in Into Darkness this new film, co-written by Simon Pegg looks really great thanks to the second trailer for it.

I was talking to a friend on Facebook today as well about the Purge series, which is strange and kind of disturbing (and also eye-rollingly bad in parts) but has always had an interesting premise. I think a Purge movie set in Vegas as a group of crooks tries to pull off a big heist during Purge night would be really interesting. Or a Purge story set in a small town, where everyone knows everyone and the implications of freely killing your neighbors are a lot more personal. Watching all those small town rivalries and such build to a climax would be interesting.


New Secret Project is chugging along, albeit a little slower than I’d like. On the cusp of showing off some stuff for an upcoming comic project, so that’s good. I may or may not be going to Indy Pop Con and Derby City Con next month, although the later is more likely than the former. Pretty soon I’m going to be an expert on driving from Nashville to Louisville, which seems to be turning into my gateway to the North.

Okay, so I guess I’ll leave you with a little something



05 2016

Highs and Lows, Plans and Schemes

Last weekend I drove back to Yellow Springs, my “midwestern hometown” (not to be confused with my “actual hometown” of Montclair or my “family’s hometown” of Sackets Harbor), for Free Comic Book Day at my old stomping grounds of Super-Fly Comics & Games. In the past I’ve just gone to hang out with my friends and see whatever musical act they had performing that night. This time around I went more with the purpose of selling copies of Monstrology & Book of Dragons, as well as do the usual spreading the word about stuff I’ve got going on. All in all it was a very successful trip and I made more sales that day than than the entirety of my time at C2E2 earlier in the year. It was also great to see my good friend Adam Hicks and finally meet one of my inspirations, Vito Delsante (and his delightfully charming family). Plus, musical guest Juice Lee was a great way to close out the day.

I’m quite happy how it all turned out, but it also showed me how poor my performance at C2E2 was rather than how great FCBD at Super-Fly was (although it was pretty great). That’s not a condemnation of C2E2 as a show, either. It’s more about my lack of planning and preparation for that show and not working to put myself in a better place for it. Something that I will, hopefully, rectify this year. There are a few other shows I’m looking at hitting up soon so fingers crossed that they work out as well.


At my day job this past Friday (yes, Friday the 13th) we had a rather significant shake-up that, while initially troubling settled relatively well. It’ll certainly make for an interesting summer there, for sure, but one of the things brought up was the opportunity to take June through August off (unpaid and uninsured, but with unemployment). While kind of crazy I had a moment of wishing it was something I could have taken advantage of. I come into some money every July from a cashed-in retirement plan but this year a lot of that is already spoken for paying off debts. If that wasn’t the case and with the ability to get unemployment during that time it may have been something I would have taken advantage of. The ability to try to focus up on writing and working on projects, as well as going to as many shows as possible to sell and promote myself, would have been a really interesting opportunity. We were only given the day to consider it and the lack of preparation would have made me a nervous wreck but certainly has captured my imagination these past 24 hours or so. It certainly makes me want to plan better (I mean, everything does) for the possibility of that happening next year.


Projects are proceeding apace. My Secret New Thing had its first production meeting this week and it’s made me very happy thus far. It’s something completely new and different for me and I have some really great partners working on it with me.

Prose fiction is still kind of stalled out a little bit as my mind has swung back towards thinking about comics this past month or so. I’ve cranked out some good ideas and finished the first draft of a new script and looked over an old (verrrrrry old, like seven or eight years old) script and wasn’t immediately repelled and disgusted by it. So that’s something and makes me want to get back into the world of that series that I had kind of put behind me for a bit. of course all of this comic making necessitates finding more artists (and finding ways to pay them) and that’s always kind of a humbling and challenging experience. I’ve been getting good work from two of the artists that I’ve been doing projects with recently so maybe there’s a little hope there.


Speaking of comics, it was announced today that comic artist/writer Darwyn Cooke passed away last night after a battle with cancer. It’ such a huge loss to the artistic and comic communities. I’ve found his style dynamic and original since seeing his run with Ed Brubaker on Catwoman. The New Frontier, his exploration of the entire DC universe set in the 50s and 60s, is one of the greatest versions of those characters and his comic adaptations of Richard Stark’s “Parker” novels (some of my favorite crime novels of all time) are some of the greatest works in the entire comic medium.

Truly, a giant talent has been lost. Thankfully, we will always have his work to remind us and help us celebrate him.


05 2016


So today is the first anniversary of my move to Tennessee, my “Tenneversary” if you will. It’s been an interesting ride to say the least, seeing some of the highest highs and the lowest of lows but things have begun to even out quite nicely. I’d never seriously considered the idea of living in the South and now that it is upon me I find myself rather enchanted by it. Sure, there are plenty of things that a quite liberal, fairly atheist, lifelong Yankee find a little…perplexing (So. Many. Trump. Signs) but on the whole I’ve found a decent job, good friends, and a nice place to live that once again reminds me that if I can’t live in The City (wherever that may be) then I’d much rather live in the country. Far more palatable and relaxing. The suburbs are always just…weird. No matter where you go.

After moving twice in the past year I’m also certainly not looking to do it again for quite a while. I did a fairly large purge of things when I moved from Chicago and now I find myself building them back up. I had a rather extensive sale of books and comics and things of that nature and I’ve found myself leaning heavily back into that. It’s a little strange to have a (little) disposable income again and a lot of that seems to be going towards furniture and toys and decorative things and maybe, one day, saving up for more tattoos. I’ve also found myself strangely interested in buying a lot of movies lately. Not just the fun new releases like The Force Awakens or Sisters but older classics that I’ve really enjoyed. Granted, some of them are hard to find and I’m very cheap but it would be really great to own copies of Clue or L.A. Story or The Jerk or the Cornetto Trilogy. I had a long stretch of time after the second time I moved where I didn’t have internet and it was very frustrating not having all manner of streaming media available to me at the push of a button. It’s weird accumulating more stuff after I’d spent my last several months in Chicago contemplating downsizing and tiny home living. Who knows, maybe I would be happy living in a Gulfstream trailer or “tiny house” or even a refurbished shipping container if it had the right stuff in it.

One of the biggest changes in the past year has been actually getting my drivers license and getting my own car. It’s been a nice change to be able to zip around wherever I like and I’ve found myself enjoying driving on country roads in random directions with the windows down and the music up as the winter fades away into the rear view. I’ve already made a pair of road trips to Chicago and back and it was nowhere near as stressful as I’d imagined it would be. I will say that I’m quite happy I’m no driving in the age of GPS as I can’t imagine struggling with directions on my own over long periods of time like I was some kind of caveman.

One of those Chicago trips was for my annual appearance at C2E2 which, while always a blast to see the circle of friends that come through there (especially the Super-Fly Comics gang) it wasn’t particularly successful on the selling things front. I managed to be in Artists Alley the last day of the show to see if it changed my luck (and it did, a little) but it was certainly an eye opening experience. I learned a lot and am looking forward to going to more shows over the course of the year not just as a “guy who is in a booth that sells comics but is selling his own things” but as “a guy in artists alley that has a variety of fresh and exciting things to sell and upcoming projects to talk about.” I’, hoping that by the end of the year I’ll be on an at least once-a-month plan of selling at conventions.

Speaking of projects things are coming along nicely. The print version of SHADOW OF THE PAST is imminent and the print version of the first Winston & Churchill collection SUMMER OF SINS will be right behind it. Or perhaps I’ll wait and release all 12 stories in a big honkin’ omnibus edition, but we’ll see how that goes. Two of the comic projects I’ve been working towards are inching closer to success and, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve got two other little things that have begun to percolate onto the page. Soon I’ll once again I’ll find myself the Special Hell comic writers often find themselves in: trying to find an artist (and in this case “artists,” plural, as I’m looking to do a bunch of 8 and 16 page short interconnected stories). As if that wasn’t enough I’ve also been working on a second novel and a SECRET PROJECT that only a couple of people know about right now. The only thing I’ve stopped working on has been the Super-Fly Podcast, as that came to a rather abrupt end of about six glorious years of weekly episodes. That’s a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I guess something had to give and I am a little sad it was that but after six years how much more can you say about nerd culture and retail? I do miss it some and who knows, maybe something else will spring up in it’s place. As I’ve learned this year the only constant is change and I’m looking forward to see what other changes come along as I begin the march towards my 40s.


04 2016

Send in the Editors

I’ve been spending a lot of time late working on the maintenance and nuts and bolts of writing and, like I tried to implore myself last I posted, less on coming up with new stuff. For the most part that’s worked out, although I did finish off a quick little 8-page script for my artist friend that will hopefully spin off into some other projects at some point in the future.

In the meantime I’ve been working on some of the previous projects of mine and making sure that they are all ship-shape and tightened up as I’d like to start having print editions done of them. There’s a lot involved in that that I’m going to have to wrestle with and much of it is still new and scary to me. The first step in that process though is making sure everything is edited up all perfect and pretty. I’m a smart enough man to know that I’m not the person to do that so I’ve brought in some outside help. I’ve had two friends of mine working on doing some freelance editing for me and the fruits of their labor is now available to you, the reading public.

My novel SHADOW OF THE PAST now has a new edition edited up all nice and smooth for its…geez, 4th anniversary? No, that can’t be right? (it’s totally right, as it was published April of 2011). Hopefully by this time next year there will be a print edition that you can read and I can sign and I can shop around at conventions and such. In the meantime you can pick up the new edition at Amazon or Smashwords for the modest sum of $2.99. Big thanks to my friend and freelance editor (and great writer in his own right, Costa Koutsoutis. Costa’s doing a lot of things (and actually doing them which I find enviable) so to list them here would leave something out so I’ll just direct you to his latest Station Identification post on tumblr (something I should do more of) so all of his writing, serialized fiction and comics and such.

Not only has that gotten some work done but the Winston & Church series is also slowly getting a facelift thanks to my friend and editor Jenn Sedik. She’s in the process of proofreading the whole series that’s been published so far and will be doing some more hands on editing for the upcoming stories (for those that don’t know the first drafts 8th, 9th, and 10th Winston & Churchill stories are done and are just waiting on me to make my own ham-fisted edits on them). As of right now she’s completed work on the first three stories (NEVER LET GO, A LOVE SUPREME, and HEART OF SUFFERING) and they’re all available to be purchased in their glorious new forms at Amazon and Smashwords as well. Shortly the fourth story, AN EQUAL SHARING OF MISERIES, will be done and we’ll have a new edition of the first Winston & Churchill collection, SUMMER OF SINS.

Once that happens I’ll probably begin what will hopefully be a campaign of marketing and advertising the like of which everyone has seen before just not from me. But don’t wait on my account! Get out there and pick these stories up if you haven’t already! Don’t you want to be all hipstery and tell people that you knew about these before everyone else did? Hell, you can even prove that by leaving a review on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads (yes I said “and.” You can just copy and paste the same review three times I won’t tell anyone) and then telling everyone all about these. It’ll be fun, trust me!

Speaking of telling people about things I’ll be at the Cincinnati Comic Con September 12th-13th with my longtime friends and conspirators Super-Fly Comics & Games selling copies of Monstrology and Book of Dragons, as well as maybe showing off some other stuff and promoting some of these projects I’ve got percolating on the horizon. I’m sure I’ll have more details about those things as we get closer.

Or at least I hope I do


08 2015

Stop Building

Between the move and the new job and the dog and kind-of sort-of being a home-owner (although I guess I’m more of a step-home owner. Home owner-in-law?) I’ve found myself bouncing around with a whole lot of schedule changes and adjusted goal new things popping up. It is great that there is now a much ore solid and sturdy foundation to my life over all but I’m still trying to maintain some of the basics of what I’m trying to do and who I am. I want to be able to go to bed every night and think “Yes, I did everything I could to achieve my goals.” It’s hard because for a lot of those things I’m not the sole arbiter or what is happening. I have a lot of comic projects that I’ve been focusing on lately and those are all collaborative. While it’s amazing to work with someone and see a thing that the two of you have created begin to take shape comics also take so…long…to…make. Especially if the people involved don’t already do them for a living. And if they do (and even if they don’t), open up the wallet and pay them what they’re worth.

All of that makes comic creation almost painfully slow for me which is why I bounce back and forth between that and prose because with prose I am more the master of my own fate, although lately a lot of that energy has been cleaning up and editing stuff so it is more presentable and suitable for print. You’d think that with all of that I’d be well ensconced with projects to keep me busy but no, my brain has to keep chugging away and make more “opportunities” for me to make stuff that I can do while I’m waiting on other stuff to fall into place.

Along those lines an artist friend of mine posited that we should work on something together, like a quick little five-page thing. So naturally I started turning my brain around and eventually settled on something. And, of course, once it hit on this thing I started turning more stuff over and I hit on something else and, being me, something bigger. So yeah, maybe that’ll be a thing that I start pursuing. Or maybe I’ll come to my senses and work on fixing and steadying the things I’ve already got going on and stop trying to constantly build something new.

That would almost make more sense.


08 2015

Busy busy busy

So this is one of those things where I try to summarize all the stuff that’s been going on in my life these past several months.

Let’s see: I moved to Tennessee, started a new day job, got a driver’s license and a car and a dog.

Okay, that didn’t take as long as I thought. Generally things are going well, although the daily #amwriting posts have slowed, thanks mainly in part to the daily writing slowing as well. I’m not super proud of it but there’s been a lot of that obnoxious rebuilding and adjusting and figuring my new life out. I’m slowly getting back on track, doing more editing and refining the stuff that’s already been written instead of just throwing myself into more and more new projects. I’ve got a handful of projects percolating as well, so there hasn’t been a lot of new stuff that I can put up on a board and go “Yes, this is a thing that I’ve accomplished.” That’s kind of a double-edged sword, wanting to have some kind of tangible proof that I’ve accomplished something but at the same time knowing that it’s all just little steps on a longer journey.

I’m trying to be a lot more strategic and specific in what I’m trying to accomplish and making better choice about the future. Most importantly I’m in a better place now where I can actually save money and make bigger and better plans for myself. It’s a little rough, being that impatient and a little capricious, but it’s good to know I finally have a solid foundation to build from.

So here we go, restarting again, making better choices and working harder.

So stay tuned for more…


07 2015

Hashtag Blessed

For those that follow me on social media (instagram posting to twitter and tumblr, that is) you’s probably noticed I’ve taken to posting about my writing output on a daily basis, using my big ‘ol white board as the means to colorfully display the results. It started out as a way to track my National Novel Writing Month progress. While that didn’t end up as a “Win” for me (you can see the results up there in November) it did kick off a habit of writing every day that’s been unbroken since November 1st, so that’s kind of awesome. I’ve definitely had my up days and down days (peaking at around 2,000 words one day in November and as low as 64 a day in December).

While it’s a little repetitive and I’m sure not the most thrilling thing for other people to see it’s definitely helped motivate me and keep me honest. I know everyone in the world is watching to see how much I do on a given day but there have been folks, friends old and new, that have been very positive with their comments and support which is really awesome.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now. A lot a lot, even. In the midst of all this chaos I have a lot of writing things on the cusp of happening, from once again planning a Kickstarter to sending out pitches to comic companies to hitting the home stretch in the first season of Winston & Churchill stories. That doesn’t even cover all the ups and downs my personal life has been going through (job hunting, apartment hunting, contemplating the nature of the universe) so needless to say I’ve been a little all over the place. In the next few months there may be some big changes but it’s nice to know that, through everything, I’m still keeping up with the core of what’s important to me: telling stories I want to tell. Thankfully now, more than ever before, I’m finding a way to do that regularly and effectively.


02 2015