Am I Finally Doing This Right??

I’m gonna let you all in on a little secret of mine. All my life, I’ve heard from writers from all across the industry from widely successful authors to independent publishing writers that the first draft is supposed to be trash. It’s only after the first draft that you pick apart what you’ve written and basically rewrite everything into a better, more cohesive story.

That’s not how I’ve written – ever.

All my published works are mostly first drafts. Instead of speed writing my way through a first draft and then fixing mistakes and changes in additional drafts, I spend a tremendous time on that first draft. I’ll spend 30 minutes trying to figure out how to word a single sentence. I’ve had such an aversion to rewriting in my life, I avoid it as much as possible. I want to get it right the first time.

I’d wager that this type of writing is what leads me to be prone to writer’s block. If I can’t get it exactly how I want it the first time, I usually just avoid writing at that point. However, I’m working on a new book now and it’s throwing me for a loop.

I’m writing my first fantasy/sci-fi story ever, and let me tell you: it’s a wild ride. It’s crazy for me because I have read very little fantasy in my life. My experience with fantasy literature is John Flanagan’s The Ranger’s Apprentice series when I was a teenager, and my all time favorite book(s), The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I believe that my lack of time spent in fantasy worlds will lead my story to unique and strange places because I simply don’t know the common tropes of fantasy. However, at the same time, I also understand that this absence of experience will also lead to some mistakes that I otherwise wouldn’t have made if I had read The Wheel of Time, Dune, The Lies of Locke Lamora and etc.

One of the biggest effects of writing in such an unfamiliar genre, is that it’s causing me to write through mistakes. I know there is going to be a ton of stuff I need to rewrite, delete – what have you – to the story. Rather than stop writing and try to figure out the solution to every issue, I’m just writing anyway. It seems that after 6 self published books, I am finally using the same writing process as the rest of the world.

I don’t know if any of this is useful or interesting to anyone else, but I saw an excuse to update my barely active website haha. I’ll try to post here more in the future, even if it’s to get my thoughts out for my own benefit.

Come see me at Horror On Main in Hunt Valley, MD on May 26 and 27th!

Street Fairs!

Today was the Red Lion Street Fair and I had a blast! I got to meet a ton of people and had great conversations about books and movies. I even managed to sell out of every book!

With me was Andy Craven who writes incredible fantasy and sci-fi novels. Check out his stuff here.

I should be having another book signing in September. Thanks for everyone coming out!

What If There’s Nothing Is Out!

Photo by @asbegansbooks (Insta)

The day is finally here! My newest novel, What If There’s Nothing? is now available on Amazon Kindle and paperback! Check it out here!

Sam has never recovered from a childhood tragedy for which, he blames both himself and his family. His life is going nowhere until Reilly, an old friend, resurfaces and pulls him into chaos as her own path descends into violence.

What If There’s Nothing Mixtape/Playlist!

–>Apple Music Link! <–

–>Spotify Link!<–

What is the playlist?

Instead of traditional chapters and chapter titles in the book What If There’s Nothing?, the book is separated into tracks. For example, Track One is Smile Like You Mean It, The Killers. The chapters create a mixtape that the main character, Sam, once made when he was growing up. Each song is meant to match what is happening in the chapter both in sound and lyrics.

The Mixtape:

  • 1. Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers
  • 2. Spiral Gaze – Off Road Minivan
  • 3. Black Gives Way To Blue – Alice In Chains
  • 4. Skin To Skin – Movements
  • 5. Fear Yourself/Jesus Wept – Emery
  • 6. Timothy – As Cities Burn
  • 7. Living Apology – Movements
  • 8. Sad & Guilty Ways – Kids In The Way
  • 9. Blur – Anchor & Braille
  • 10. Wolves – Us In Motion
  • 11. Vanish – Thousand Below
  • 12. On My Teeth – Underoath
  • 13. Wisher – Terminal

Writing Through Depression

I wrote the title for this post back in July and then didn’t write a damn word until today. This is ironically exactly what I wanted to write about. I have to tell you all, or you few haha, I’m not doing a good job at writing anymore. In the last 5 years, I’ve written one novel to completion and lost interest in the editing process, I’ve written half or more of 3 more novels that seem as lost as the time before I wrote a single word. Hell, the books themselves seemed more alive than when I wrote them down.

I used to thrive on writing while depressed. There was a time when I actually relied on it. There was a time that I wondered if I would be able to write without it.

Hell, the books themselves seemed more alive than when I wrote them down.

This website is the biggest sign that I’m having a hard time writing. I used to write all kinds of stuff on here, and I loved doing it too. Maybe it’s not just depression but maybe my heart’s shifted and writing isn’t my passion anymore. But since nothing has taken the place of it, there’s a vacancy in me.

It’s difficult for me to shed the identity of being a writer if I really am done with writing. Anytime anyone asked what I am or what I do, I say I’m a writer and a musician.

Needless to say, mental health is a bitch and I hope I make it through the never-ending grey.

Pushing the Reset Button on the Philadelphia Flyers

The argument for blowing up the roster is one that’s often said out of anger, and also of inaccurate opinions about actually good players. But let’s explore the validity of pressing reset on the roster.
Many of can agree that there is ‘something’ wrong with this team. The defensive problems aren’t just home to the defencemen, it’s the forwards’ defensive play too. And what we’re seeing on the ice is a whole lot more than the absence of Niskanen; even though we do miss him dearly.
Some of the players I bring up are highly unlikely if not impossible to trade for one reason or another but we’re going to entertain the thought of blowing the team up, if we actually could.
Claude Giroux is a great player. And it’s an undeniable fact that the Flyers organization wasted his best years. He is one of the very few reasons that the team has been competitive and remotely watchable through this last decade. I will not question his ability, his leadership, or his passion for the game. But the thought of truly changing the culture and look of this team of somehow trading him is an appealing one. And if he ran with another team to the cup, I’d be rooting for him no matter what team he played for.
Jake Voracek is a great player. Similarly to Giroux, he is also one of the few reasons the Flyers have been watchable at all through this last decade. He has his haters, a lot of them in fact. But it’s pretty hot bullshit to think that he hasn’t been an effective player, and a driving force for our offence. But he is a big part of the culture and feel of this team, and switching that up through a trade or expansion draft is again, appealing.
Couturier, I would not advocate for getting rid of for any reason. He is in his prime, and he’s a true 1C. We wouldn’t get remotely even value for him. So let’s keep him.
Sanheim and Myers. This is where I might come in as a hot head. They have been at least disappointing this season, and at most, absolutely disasterous this season. When exactly are they going to play to their ability? When are they going to at minimum: okay. Trade them for someone who can play each night.
I have nothing but faith in Hart. He’s young and he’s going to figure it out. He’s not some magician who played like the best goalie in the world in juniors, played 1 & 1/2 seasons as an impressive NHL goalie to somehow over night turn to an awful goalie. He’s just going through a rough patch, and our defence isn’t doing him any favors.
JVR is a tough one. He’s having an incredible season so it’s hard to imagine wanting to trade him and get someone close to the production he is offering right now.
Keep Laughton, TK, Lindblom, Provorov, Hart, Farabee. And pretend the Gustafson contract never happened.
I think the effects of trading any combination of the players I mentioned above, would be downright exciting to see a truly new team. I think there is merit to the thought of somehow resetting this team, even if it is unlikely. It’s just that the people who want this to happen are the same assholes who say Giroux isn’t a captain and is an actual bad player, which is so asinine it’s not even funny.
I’m in support of some kind land mine in the locker room and really change things up. But it’s not because I don’t like any of these players, they are all good-great players who deserve better than what this team can apparently deliver. And as we have said and agree with, there is ‘something’ wrong with this team. Let’s blow it up.

Feather – A Beautiful Journey

If there is any positive to take out of this year, it’s that there is a growing awareness on mental health. I’ve seen people who never took mental health seriously before in their lives finally acknowledge it for the first time. Often times this is because their own health has been on a serious decline through this, the undeniably worst year in a long, long time.

So in these rough times, people are looking for anything no matter how small to give them a little joy, hope, or just a reprieve from the sadness around us. Speaking personally, the summer months saw my worst state of mind in my life, and while I have been okay lately, depression rarely stays away. Enter: Feather the video game.

I pre-ordered Feather just days before its October Release. I bought it because it looked like a peaceful game that I can relax to. For one reason or another, I hadn’t played it until 2 nights ago and it has impacted my life in a way I never thought a video game could.

I immediately found myself soaring through the skies of this tranquil island. No enemies to be found, no objectives, nothing you were supposed to be doing. I was just flying around as a pretty bird, chirping when I saw another bird. But I didn’t realize that the other birds flying around were also other people.

So here I was at 3am on a Monday night, listening to the game’s incredibly calming soundtrack flying around. And I was perfectly content to just do that. At times I would perch up on the edge of a tower, sitting for moments and looking for another bird. Soon, a bird landed next to me and spoke in bird language. I didn’t know this person, I didn’t know their story and they didn’t know mine. And although we had no real means of communicating, I imagined them saying “Hello, I hope you’re doing okay in these hard times.” And with my bird sounds back, I wanted to say the same. We sat there for maybe 30 seconds or a minute, before one of us flew off, and explored more.

Today I found a bird that seemed extremely excited to see me. They kept circling back, talking to me and then flying off. I decided they were telling me to follow them. Moments later we were soaring deep underground in this elaborate cave system. Soon enough, I saw what they were doing. They did want me to follow them. They had led me to a portal underground that would take us to a new island, one that I didn’t know existed. (Video of the journey with this friendly stranger)

We lost each other quickly after going to the new island, but I was overwhelmed with the peace and beauty that this game had to offer. Suddenly, other people didn’t give me anxiety. We didn’t argue about politics or masks, or about petty things that people are jaded about. We were birds flying around, enjoying the beauty around us.

When To Give Up On Your Forever Work-In-Progress Novel

For many obvious reasons, this year has been garbage, but let’s talk specifically writing. Story time:

I have had this book I’ve been working on for around 5 years. I’ve never spent more than 15 months on a novel, so the work I called While The Tide Rolled In was something special to me; frustratingly special. I wrote it in completion in the first year or so and then intensive editing began. As I went through it looking for grammatical errors and areas that needed more description, I realized much bigger problems with it. There were major flaws within the storyline. There were characters that entered the story and then never appeared again. There were characters I no longer liked. There were scenes I hated. I began to understand the work that lay in front of me, it was no longer the usual hill of revisions, it was a mountain I wasn’t prepared for.

“It was no longer the usual hill of revisions, it was a mountain I wasn’t prepared for.”

So I printed a test copy in order to read it like a book. It helped me critique my own work as if it were someone else’s novel. And boy did I hate so much of it. But not all of it. I was able to see the beauty of what I set out to achieve. The honeymoon phase of our relationship was over and what was left was a relationship in shambles that needed so much work.

Sooner rather than later, I began to put off any work on the novel. When I would think about working on it, I’d get a rush of frustration and anxiety. It didn’t help that I had planned on this work to get me out of the self publishing game and maybe actually make a name for myself. That pressure buried me into a state of contempt for the book I used to love.

I had some options in front of me. Rewrite the entire book, that was undeniably the best option in terms of putting out the best possible product. I could continue to nitpick so many parts and have the novel be parts older draft, parts newer. I did the latter for a while because it seemed like a less daunting task. However I soon realized the specific voice I wrote in then, was not the one I wrote during the original draft.

So I tried to restart. I hit CTRL-N on Microsoft Word and began with a fresh blank document. Spoiler: It didn’t work.

So much time had gone by that I found myself out of love with the story and its characters. It was horrible when I realized this. The actual thought of giving the story up was one I wasn’t familiar with and I hated it. Especially after so much time, so much work and effort; how could I give up? Writers were never supposed to give up were they?

I fought with this feeling for months. I didn’t touch the forever work in progress that my novel was. I spoke with other writers about it. Some of them had experience with this, others hadn’t. But the most appealing advice I was given was to let it go.

“Tell yourself it’s over. Close the document and tell yourself the book isn’t meant to be finished,” a friend said.

And I did. I told myself ‘this book will never be published. It will never be read by anyone but myself. It will never truly complete. When I did this, I was surprised to find myself feeling very okay. It was freeing to not be burdened by the thought of finishing it. Because even still there were two things that could happen: First, this renewed feeling could give me new life and vigor to maybe try again with it, or lastly, be actually done with it. It would just take believing that I would never open that document again.

Nearly a year later, I have never opened the document again and I’m okay with it. I’ve flirted with other stories, but I’m taking my time. Even though While The Tide Rolled In will never be read by anyone – and that does suck to think about sometimes, I still grew as a writer.

Your work doesn’t need to be finished or published in order for you to progress into the next place you’re supposed to be.

I’m not telling you to give up. But if you find yourself at constant war with a piece of work and that mountain isn’t giving way, maybe allow yourself the ability to not only take a break, but to walk away and not come back and write something even better.

Love Songs For the Lonely

I’m not really sure how to go about this post because part of it is simple shameless self promotion, yet another part is trying to work out what’s going on in my head. And why anyone would want to read either is a mystery to me, but if you are, thank you dearly.

While I set my book writing to the side, I’ve focused on writing music. I put out an album in November 2016, however half those songs were songs I wrote over 10 years of my life. The music I write now is a bit different. They still are love songs, but I’m writing from the outside. Before it felt like I was on the inside of love, closely seeking it. But at this stage in my life, love is beginning to seem like an idea, a concept, something I’m far from. I’m within distance to see it, but without possession of it. Minor Gatsby reference there, never a bad idea to refer to writers infinitely better than you..

So I’m not sure where I’m going with this, part of me says not to even post this. I will however, because I’ve neglected this site for so long. So shameless promotion, I have a new song out in preparation for the new album that’s coming soon.