Saturday, October 19, 2019

Full Throttle

The title of this post has more than one meaning today. First, I want to say that I have been writing my ass off lately and it feels amazing! I've been in a slump for so long, bogged down by all the things that go along with writing (marketing is the big one that kills me-I'm learning, though, and not going to let it stop my momentum again) until I lost the will to do thing that I love so much.

I couldn't see the forest for the trees, so I stopped looking. That was the wrong decision. I feel like I've missed so many opportunities over the last few years because I let the passion I have for the work fall away. Not any more. I'm back at it, murdering the empty page one line at a time. Full throttle.

I'll talk about the stuff I'm working on when I get closer to having finished products. There will be several more Gavin English Thrillers rolling out over the next year, as well as some secret, fun stuff I can't wait to share with everyone.

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And now let's get to the second meaning.  Joe Hill, one of my top five authors of all-time, dropped his second collection of short stories a week or so back, titled: Full Throttle. His first collection, 20th Century Ghosts, re-ignited my love of short stories almost ten years ago, and I've been waiting for a follow up since then. I listened to both books in audio book format, although 20th Century Ghosts was a bunch of CDs I borrowed from the library, and I got Full Throttle as a download from Audible. Here's the blurb:

In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in 13 relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including "In The Tall Grass", one of two stories cowritten with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.
A little door that opens to a world of fairy-tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in "Faun". A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in "Late Returns". In "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain", two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the water's edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality...and other horrors that lurk in the water's shivery depths. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in "Throttle", cowritten with Stephen King.
Featuring two previously unpublished stories and a brace of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.
If you follow any of my social media accounts, then you'll already know that I absolutely loved this collection. Joe Hill's writing is heart-breaking and vivid and terribly honest. The stories range from tragic to terrifying. Parts of Late Returns are so sad, I almost wanted to stop listening, but other parts are filled with hope and love, so I never did. Faun brought me right back to my childhood, when I read the Narnia books religiously, and then reminded me that being an adult sometimes means ruining beautiful things for selfish reasons. My favorite story in the collection may have been Mums. It's filled with troubling imagery and even more troubling characters.

I can't say enough about Full Throttle. Go read it, you can thank me later. I also won't hesitate to say that if you like audio books, the voiceover cast is amazing. Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, Zachary Quinto, and even Joe Hill himself tell these stories passionately and carry you through the good and bad without a hitch. Also, if you like audio books and have never tried Audible, you can get two free books if you start your free trial right now.

And if you haven't read 20th Century Ghosts, or really anything from Joe Hill, I recommend you change that right away. I got his book, Heart-Shaped Box, from a blogger giveaway years ago, and have been in love with his writing ever since.

Okay, I need to get back to work. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Back on the Wagon

This has been a fantastic week for me. I'm choosing to ignore the snow that showed up before Halloween and, of course, all the insanity that is happening in the world right now. Personally, the week has been awesome.

I've been meeting my word count goals all week, I believe for the first time since 2016. It feels so good to be writing again. My books also have steady sales and KU page reads rolling in (which means rather than buying a cup of coffee with my book money, I'm now able to buy a couple books, or even go grocery shopping with it!) which at some points over the last decade I kind of thought might never happen.

I've also been reading some good books lately, which is always a mood saver for me.

I listened to Stephen King's The Institute in audiobook format on my commute to and from work over the last couple of weeks. It's no surprise that I loved this book. King has been one of my absolute favorites since I was rolling my awkward ass through puberty, and he still knows how to tell a story that wrings emotions out of you.  Anger, fear, sadness, joy... The Institute hits all the buttons.  Here's the blurb:

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis' parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there's no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents - telekinesis and telepathy - who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and 10-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, "like the roach motel," Kalisha says. "You check in, but you don't check out."
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don't, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from The Institute.
As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of ItThe Institute is Stephen King's gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don't always win.

If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to give it a shot. If you have read it, please let me know what you thought!

Right now, I'm reading through Shot Girl, by J.A. Konrath, and listening to Joe Hill's new collection of short stories, Full Throttle. I'll let you know my thoughts on those next week.

And don't forget about the giveaway!

Ok, well I have hot coffee to get me through this cold, cold Autumn morning, and lots of writing to do. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Re-Launch, Free Book, and a Monthly Giveaway

Hey all! This morning I am happy to say that I am finally re-launching the blog and the newsletter, as well as re-branding the Gavin English Thriller series with all new covers by Carl Graves at Extended Imagery.  Although I won't be changing the covers on Amazon until book three, For the Just, is released at the end of November, I wanted to share the new cover for To the Bone with my blog and newsletter subscribers.  Please let me know what you think!

I am also running $0.99 Amazon promotions on books one and two, To the Bone and On the Edge, this week, as well as giving away the short story I co-wrote with J.A. Konrath, Babysitting Money, for free. If you haven't read any of the series, right now is the perfect time to give it a shot! And if you have, I hope you'll take this opportunity to get the books you're missing. If you do read, or have read, any of my books, I'd love it if you'd leave an honest review on Amazon. Reviews help more readers find my books, and that is a huge help for indie authors like myself.

In addition to re-launching the newsletter and blog, I've also re-launched the website. I think it's sleek and easy to use, please check it out at and let me know what you think.

As I prepare to launch book three, I am also offering a $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway to my blog and newsletter subscribers. Please join for you chance to win, and share if you feel like being extra nice.

Thank you so much for reading!