The Next Leg

Let me just dust off the old blog machine…

There we go.

I figure it’s about time to go into space. I always wanted to end up a science fiction writer, and I’m going to start heading in that direction. My first “real” short story was sci-fi, because I knew that no matter which path my career took, I could always say it started out in space.

My next book, Mission One, starts on Earth. The story then takes to the stars. Symbolism. With my next few books, I’m going to leave Earth behind for a little while and explore the cosmos. I’ve already learned more about the universe over the past several weeks while researching this next book than I have in my entire life. The learning threatens to be more fun than the writing, and there’s still a lot more of it to do before the end of Mission One.

Some projects just feel more right than others, and this is one of them. I’m excited to share more details as the journey continues.

I Made A Student Film

Welcome back to Movie Monday Tuesday! This week’s installment is the second short film I ever made, while I was in film school (around 2004, I think). (Previous entries: Sci-Fi, Horror, Bonus! Book Trailer.)

It’s about 7 minutes long and was shot on 16mm (actual FILM!) with an Arri camera. We weren’t technically allowed to use the REAL film cameras in production school (because that makes sense), so I had to strike a deal with the guy in charge of equipment maintenance to sneak the camera out for a few hours. And also organize almost everyone in the class to help me out in those short few hours. Fun times.

The shack was built in my parents’ backyard and transported to my school, where the movie was shot. We built the shack in sections, so each of the four walls could be removed to allow the camera to move freely around the interior of the room.

I might be more proud of this for the music I wrote than for the actual movie. My friend Chris had a great studio setup with a digitized orchestra. I spent a day hammering out the soundtrack right before the project was due. Hooray for procrastination! I guess some things never change. Continue reading

I Made A Horror Movie

Putting the final touches on my scifi film after so long really got me in the mood for some more editing. I dusted off all of my old clips (including my student projects—yikes) and I’m ready to post another blast from the past.

This one has a bit of a horror bent to it, although it veers more toward Twilight Zone than anything else.

I worked with a great crew in New Jersey several winters ago. It…was…freezing. My hands were numb every day, even though I wore gloves and had some of those little heat packs. You can see the actors’ breath in some shots, and it’s not CGI.

At any rate, there was a small budget for this one, spent mostly on transportation, lodging, and food. We stayed in a cabin when we were shooting out in the woods. Overall it was extremely fun, and we managed to accomplish a lot in the few days we were on location. Continue reading

I Made A Science Fiction Movie

Once upon a time, I was going to be a movie director. I went to film school, I wrote a few scripts, and most of my days were spent dreaming of that certain future.

I love movies. I always have and always will, even if the ones that are produced these days keep degrading in quality as the years go on. I always had a desire to tell stories, and when I found out I could marry the written word to a moving image, I knew that I wanted to make my own films.

Then I spent two months on a real movie set, and realized it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted to pursue. There are many, many reasons for that decision, which I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say, I veered off and wrote some books instead. But I did manage to film some of my stories before I changed careers. Continue reading

The Great Serial Experiment

I have a little side project I’m going to be experimenting with while I work on other things. I’ve wanted to do a virus story for a long time, and I have been jotting down infrequent notes off and on for about a year. I’ve finally landed on an underlying premise for my story that I think is (hopefully) mostly unique.

With Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program, which allows readers to binge on unlimited Amazon-exclusive books for $8.99 a month (think Netflix for books), and with my propensity for writing roughly 20,000 word chunks before needing a refueling break, I finally hit on an idea that might work given enough motivation and planning:

A serial novel with steady, frequent releases, chock full ‘o cliffhangers like a television show, exclusive to Amazon (at least in the beginning).

Introducing Genesis Plague. Continue reading

Discovery Through Story Research

They say to write what you know, but if I wrote what I knew, I would never have learned about two awesome little creatures called the tardigrade and the Pompeii worm (Wikipedia links).

(Photo credit: Wired.com)

Tardigrade (Photo credit: Wired.com)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pompeii Worm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These two little guys are extremophiles, which means they have unusually high tolerances for temperature. In the case of the tardigrade, it can survive just about anything you throw at it, including a decade of dehydration, freezing to one degree above absolute zero, and the vacuum of space. Oh, and they can also survive direct, unfiltered radiation from the sun, a radiation that would cook a human alive. So, they’re kind of tough, you know? Continue reading

Not Missing After All

I’m back from a long summer vacation to say that seeing a humpback whale jump out of the water in real life is not the same as seeing it on television. These things are so terrifyingly huge. I mean it. If it pops up out of the water and happens to look in your general direction, it seems like some crazy alien cannon is being swiveled in your direction. Continue reading

New SciFi Crime Noir Novella

Book two of the Capital City crime series is available. I finished this novella sometime last year after I wrote the first installment in the series. After completely re-editing the first book to make it scifi and switching it from third person to first, there was no way of getting around doing the same thing for Dream Street. Since I’ll be on the road for the better part of three months, I thought it best to get all of my loose ends tied up and published, and that included the two books in this series, which were already written and just needed polishing. I hope to be able to write while I’m traveling, but I expect my creative expenditures will be limited to plotting. If that’s the case, at least I’ll be able to hit the ground running when I get back. I hope everyone has a lovely summer. Continue reading

New Cover For Ashes

It’s a bit of a tricky cover to figure out since the book is a jumble of several different genres, and I doubt this will be the last attempt. It was my first book, after all, so I hadn’t yet learned to root the story firmly in one genre and only allow minor elements of other genres to creep in at the edges. It kind of reminds me of a graphic novel, and I figured since I’ve had more than one person tell me my prose is very visual, I thought it was a good fit. Continue reading