As you all know (or at this point should be aware) that I’m no longer hosting The Wicked Library. I’m still very much involved: I’m always involved, but updates here seem to be kinda pointless as TWL has a very kick ass website right HERE. It really is a great looking website and nearly all of the episodes are up there. Dan has done an exceptional job with the site and the show for that matter.
Don’t worry-I haven’t fallen off of the podcasting tree-you can catch the new show, CLAN OF THE CAVE HORSE which is hosted by Dr Jon Towers, comedian Melanie Friedrich and myself. The second Tuesday of every month on the Caveman Mafia!
With that being said, I WILL be back to host every Halloween! (Listen to the last Halloween Special. )
Being high all the time while recovering from a rotten leg issue taught me a lot of things. For one thing, it taught me that daytime cable is so much more amusing when you’re laughing your ass off. (Destination America by the way, is the best channel ever for this. I became addicted to it in the hospital, although it’s better on morphine…in spite of this, I’m glad I don’t take that anymore because I was becoming more optimistic, and who wants that?)
The other thing I discovered was that I cannot write impaired at all. I couldn’t even write a shopping list of shit I needed and I had all day to write it. I’d write “Mac and Cheese” and then watch a bad, hilarious house haunting reenactment.
I tried so hard too, but it would all come out as incoherent babble. (You can find them on the FB Author page. They are very easy to spot.)
As the weeks dragged by, I relied on the oxycodone less and less and my leg got better and better. It took forever. I missed most of my youngest daughter’s softball season and loads of other things while I recovered.
Things were looking up!
Then, my father died.
Now, for a lot of you, this would be a devastating life event; something that would bring upon you profound sadness and grief. A sadness that would cause you to reflect your time with your father. Relive the moments of tossing the football around, or going fishing or pretty much everything you remember about your dear old dad.
I envy that, in all sincerity.
I won’t launch into a tirade that seems to always hit that side of the family hard and causes them to do things like open their pie holes…safe to say though, that the old man wasn’t really a very good human being to his kids, or his wife. I’m sure that there are people who thought he was awesome and to those I say “Good for you.” I wish I’d known that guy.
Anyway, the shitstorm that followed (some of which I’m still contending with to this very day) was an emotional roller-coaster that went from me being sullen and angry, to sullen and furious.
But, in the middle of all this, I went to my favorite place on earth with my wife and daughters.
The New Jersey Shore.
Something very spectacular happened that I couldn’t have predicted even on my very best day.
I have PTSD which means, I get flashbacks here and there. (Which is sort of like being kicked in the balls…one never expects those either.) While I was down the shore, I began to have flashbacks.
Now, I need to explain a thing or two right here.
The flashbacks I’m used to having are usually horrible incidents of my childhood. These happen a lot less these days, but twenty years ago, it would happen during the least popular times. (My favorite one occurred during a date. There was no second date.)
The most recent one happened while watching “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” which is in fact, a really good movie.
Except, of course if you have flashbacks about your own abusive childhood. On the up side, it became easier to explain to people who have seen the movie how they occur-at least for me. The downside, of course, is I had them all throughout the fucking movie.
The flashbacks I had in New Jersey weren’t even a little bit bad.
They were awesome as hell.
I remembered being at the shore as a kid, swimming in the ocean, getting salt water slammed up my nose when I wasn’t paying attention and a wave would hit me in the face. Believe it or not, that was a happy thing to remember. I remembered the best parts of my my childhood that I hadn’t remembered since forever.
In a summer that was filled with awful, this seemed to be the thing I needed.
Which brings me here. In a better place all around. Motivated, working hard, writing, being alive instead of doped up and trying to watch enough TV to justify being awake.
I know it sounded like one shitty ass summer, but I discovered a lot of good things through the badness.
Sometimes, that’s enough.
Sometimes, that’s all you get, but sometimes, that’s all you need.
Now that we’re into October, I’d like to tell you how I spent my summer vacation!
Or rather, what I wanted to do during my summer vacation…what I did was nowhere near what I had intended.
The big plan was to kick out the sequel to DEMONS DOLLS AND MILKSHAKES by August, start work on the next book and finish up the collection of short work (now available) called EVERYTHING HERE IS A NIGHTMARE. In addition to that, the huge audio project I had been working on for Bret Bouriseau’s THE PRINCE OF KNCOKNAFAY needed some patch work and voice changes. In fact, the day I was talking to Bret was the last day of the summer I truly had.
The little cut on my foot that had seemingly stuck around since the World Horror Convention back in May had finally it seemed to heal. My friend Dave had flown back to the UK after a cool two-week visit, and I was ready to start work that had been delayed. I talked to Bret on the phone, took some editing notes and two hours later, I was in my room, hallucinating like a madman with a very high fever.
I couldn’t get up. My leg was in agony and I was delirious. Finally, I went to the emergency room. During the languishing period, I was given a room and hooked up to everything you can think of-literally.
It would be two days before they told me what I had and how close I’d actually come to goddamn dying.
“Well, you have cellulitis,” the rather calm doctor from another country with a familiar voice said. “That cut on your foot caused an infection under your skin. This is why your leg is swollen and inflamed.” (“Inflamed” is a nice word. The words I used more than once were “fucking excruciating” and I have a pretty decent vocabulary.)
“You’re lucky you came in when you did. We caught this nearly in time…”
Um…Nearly in time?
“To start the antibiotics.”
“Oh, the ones that made me feel worse?” Seriously. The antibiotics made me even more miserable that when I had been admitted.
“Well, you very nearly died, Mr. Pyles.”
This guy started to sound a whole lot like Tom Hardy in “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“You were about to succumb to the infection. Your heart rate was very elevated. Part of why you’re in such severe pain…and will be for some time.”
What the actual fuck!?!
Pain for some time??
But then, I thought about it. They would give me pain meds. They’d have to at this point. By day two, I was on morphine every two hours for pain (which barely touched it, but was kind of enjoyable…more on that in a few)
I was in the hospital for five days and was told that the key to my recovery was staying off of my leg. Period.
Almost instantly, I saw this as THE opportunity to write like a maniac. It was “Misery” without Annie Wilkes! It was oxycodone, a laptop and endless days of writing!! Huzzah!
After the first week, I realized the problem with this genius plan.
I don’t do well being high.
I can’t work at all on pain meds. Like, at all! Nothing.
I sat with my laptop open to a blank word screen for five days before I figured this out and I goddamn tried! Everything just goes away. It’s not writer’s block-I don’t believe in that at all. But, for all the people I know who get fired up and high/drunk or whatever, that doesn’t work for me.
Personally, I was looking forward to it a little bit as it would be a nice distraction from the constant pain I was in all the time. I wanted to see what kind of crazy shit I’d come up with in this state. I don’t get high, so this was an opportunity to try something new in a controlled environment.
Novus is a band comprised of composer/podcaster Tony Rowsick, Joe “Tobiah” Hale and myself. Frankly, I have myself listed as ‘stunt vocalist’ and I do write most of the words, but the real nuts and bolts of the band is Tony as the main composer.
All of the music on this CD was composed by Tony. 90% of the lyrics and vocals are mine (Tony and his son Paul take awesome turns on Devil Bird and Gutter Man.)
Into the Future is the first recorded work from us and you can download this bad boy from right here! It’s totally on the cheap and you can even pick and choose individual tracks. Kinda cool huh?
Currently, Tony is sending me music and I’m working on lyrics. It’s a good job! The follow up will be forthcoming and I hope you dig it. For now, please check this work out. Let me know what you think.
A project I am extremely proud of is the audio version of Bret Bouriseau’s novel THE PRINCE OF KNOCKNAFAY! It’s a swashbuckling raucous adventure like you’ve never read before and probably the most fun I’ve had narrating! Get on board and order the BOOK IN A BOTTLE…now, get a load of this…
The BIAB is the entire e-book and the full audio version embedded in a wine cork USB drive! Author Bret cooked this little thing of genius up and pulled it off!! You can order your copy right here!
It’s a lot of fun and a severely unique thing to have-honest!!
Been trying to make this joint a little more presentable these days…one might be tempted to believe that as I no longer regularly host The Wicked Library, I have just oodles of time!
But, I’ve been busy! And, I’m really going to make an effort to update this site on a more regular basis…like, weekly if I can pull it off…which I’m really going to try to do.
But first, what I’ve been up to lately…
I’ve got a new book out called EVERYTHING HERE IS A NIGHTMARE! The fine folks at Burning Bulb Publishing have made this book look gorgeous!! It’s a collection of 15 short works-14 stories and an unproduced teleplay that will eventually become a novel. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle! There’s some really good stuff in here (if I do say so myself) so go git yer copy kiddies!
I mentioned The Wicked Library…the new host Dan Foytik is doing a tremendous job thus far and really has elevated the show to new heights. However, the one part of the show I did not hand over was the Halloween Episode!
For one day a year, I will crawl out of my hole and host the Halloween Special and boy, is this year’s special going to be…well, special!
It will be recorded LIVE on October 17th at the awesome Rickert and Beagle Books store in Pittsburgh PA! All attendees will be asked to bring a blanket to donate for the homeless. The show will feature stories read to the victims audience including a dramatic read from Dan (because what a dick move to wrench the show away from him on Halloween…I didn’t want to hog the fun!)
I’ll announce the authors AT THE SHOW and the recoding will be available on…when else, HALLOWEEN!!
The aforementioned Dan Foytik has a lot of things cooking on his end, including a pod series called “The Lift” featuring his creepy little girl character Victoria. I’ve written a very dark episode that will be forthcoming, but get caught up at the main site here. Lots of great writers have contributed stories for this upcoming season incliding Kerry Lipp and the every kick ass C. Bryan Brown.
I’m working on the long awaited sequel to DEMONS DOLLS AND MILKSHAKES as we speak as well as a very dark novel set in the mid nineteen seventies. No titles for either, but that usually comes later for me…and subsequently for you!
The audio version of Bret Bouriseau’s THE PRINCE OF KNOCKNAFAY is finally available! The infamous “Book in a Bottle” can be ordered online at www.knocknafay.com or from Bret his own self. So much more to come on this fun thingity thing!!
I thank all of you for your support! Please stick around! I’ll be adding all kinds of stuff very very soon!
In case you didn’t already hear, I have stepped down as the regular host of my podcast, The Wicked Library. The new host is Dan Foytik, the host of another podcast called the 9th Story. He’s a good storyteller and an excellent voice for the show moving forward and continuing past the previous dinosaur (namely, me.) I adored my time in the story teller seat, and I think Dan is the only guy for the job. It’s gonna rock and I can’t wait to hear what he does.
As to the why I left, it’s really very simple.
I didn’t want to hate doing it and I never got there, but I was really close. Sometimes you need to listen to your inner voice and take heed. It feels right to do it now.
My partner and sister in crime Maddie Von Stark is moving on up to much bigger and better as well, although we both will still have a slight hand in the show. I’ll still be the voice of “The Librarian” and Mads will give some art to the show here and there. I’m so very proud of Stark; her novel THE WIDOW’S GAME comes out in June finally and I’m really excited for her. It’s been a long road for her and I couldn’t be happier for her. You should get it and read it-it’s fantastic!
I also needed to leave because at the end of the day, of all of the authors that need to be promoted, I’m one of them too. I have a lot of stuff that needs attention like two books that have been speaking to me furiously for a long time now and the show severely got in the way of making that happen.
I also have been picking up narration work. My very first job was narrating the great Kenneth W Cain‘s collection of short stories FRESH CUT TALES. The latest work is the upcoming audio version of author/artist Bret Bouriseau’s fun adventure novel TRAVERS MCCRAKEN: THE PRINCE OF KNOCKNAFAY which will be coming soon, but you should really get the book as well…it’s awesome!
I do want to say that working on The Wicked Library was a really grand experiment that not only worked, but WORKS and still does. It remains an honor to have created something much bigger than myself and something that is not only fun, but useful. It’s an ongoing gift to the community of horror and suspense writers that inspired it in the first place. I hope it goes ever on from here and becomes even better.
The show, by the way has been nominated for a Parsec Award in the Story category and it’s up against Welcome to Night Vale…so, it’s nice to have been nominated…but you never know!
That’s all I have right now. I’ll be here with more frequency…no, really. Honest this time…much different than all those other times I lied and just split.
We all fail. Every single one of us fails at something. Maybe, it feels like we fail all the time. It’s depressing to be sure.
I know. Sometimes, I feel like a total abject failure in spite of the successes I’ve made. Looking outside, we wouldn’t assume some people feel that way. I get that a lot. “Oh, you’re a published author! You’ve got a novel out there! That’s so exciting! You’ve made it!!”
They’re right and oh, so wrong. It’s really exciting. But, I’m hardly a best seller at this point and I still have to work for a living. I know plenty of authors who have published multiple novels and still work regular jobs. There are a lot more of those kind of writers than you think.
I am one of them.
Yes, it’s depressing, but it doesn’t make me a failure, right?
Failing at something is as simple as not getting what you were going for, or something that just didn’t happen. Failure, I have learned is an excellent, if not harsh teacher. You can learn a lot about yourself when you fail at something, but to be clear about what it takes to fail means you have to actually TRY to do something in order to fail.
If you spend more time staring at a blank page and hitting up your FB page about how you almost wrote something doesn’t make you a writer. It doesn’t even make you a failed writer.
It makes you lazy first and foremost.
That’s not failure-you’re a very successful lazy bastard!
So, how do people fail you? Failing yourself is easy. So, how can someone fail you?
They can’t, really.
Maybe they fail to meet your expectations, which again falls right on us doesn’t it? It is your expectation, isn’t it?
Which is why you really can’t count on a whole lot of people I’m very sad to say. But, here and there, you’ll find some folks who will totally back you all the way and they’ll help you as much as possible.
There’s more that won’t though, sorry to say. And they won’t even mean to do it. Does it mean they’re bad folks? Not really. People are people. They think they’re helping you all the time, even when they are very much decidedly NOT doing anything remotely close to helping you.
You really have only yourself to rely on I’m afraid. For the most part, anyway…rare exceptions excluded. You may have an awesome support group and you then are lucky as hell. You need to be aware of that and be grateful as anything.
Now, why am I writing about this?
No reason at all, really.
Just trying not to fail anymore and trying not to blame anyone else for it. That’s easy to do… well, for me anyway. People are infuriating at times, what with them, insisting on doing their own thing and all. I try not to blame other people for letting me down, because the expectations I put on myself are bad enough, let alone expecting other people to be on board.
Does this make sense?
Probably failing at that right now…oi!
Being afraid to fail is different than not wanting to fail. I’m not afraid of failure as much as I am tired of failing.
So who needs to help me stop failing?
I’m the only one. I have a small group of folks that are amazing and help me, but it’s really up to me.
So, I’ll keep swinging because the article I want to write about success is gonna be awesome.