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March 4th, 2005

The many genres of DNW

THE LAST LETTERED EDITION I’M LIKELY EVER TO SELL of “This Is My Blood,” published by Terminal Frights, is up for auction now. ALSO up for auction is a Deluxe, traycased copy of “Roll Them Bones,” number 12 in the Cemetery Dance books novella series. This is a PC copy – not one of the 26 lettered copies, but just like them…some say more rare. This is the ONLY one of these I will ever sell. I’m keeping the second one for my collection. It will sit on the shelf with the books that matter most – “This Is My Blood” letter “A” – “This Is My Blood” #1 – The First Edition of “Deep Blue” – when it arrives, the Extreme Limited of “Deep Blue,” and a shrinking pile of anthologies that I’ve been in that came out in beautiful editions. Soon “Ancient Eyes and “Sins of the Flash” will join that pile and …oh yeah…THE PIG BOOK – GO BUY IT!

The Lettered THIS IS MY BLOOD auction is here….
The Deluxe Tray-cased “Roll Them Bones” is here…
There are more copies of several of my books up under my private eBay id – bookwyrm55.


These auctions include a brand new shrink-wrapped copy of “Terminal Frights, the Anthology” which contains both my story “To Dream of Sheherzad,” about a vampire and a tattoo artist, and my first long collaborative piece with Brian A. Hopkins, “La Belle Dame, Sans Merci,” which came close on the Stoker award and launched a long series of successful collaborations. It also introduced Brian’s detective “Martin Zolotow”.

Today is the birthday of James Ellroy. Those of you who’ve read this journal from inception know that I’ve read a LOT of his books in the past couple of years, all in the audio format. While I enjoyed them, I eventually came to the conclusion that, although his characters span historical decades, they all speak with the same voice. They all use the same slang. Taken one by one, they work well, taken as a group it develops into a monotone that is difficult to shake. Few recent crime authors have the body of work that Ellroy has produced, or the following books like LA Confidential and The Black Dahlia have won. I’ll probably pick up more of his work, but not for a while. I need to let the voice settle to the back of my mind so it can be picked up again without ringing the “been there done that” bell again.

Of course, my current preoccupation is a crime novel. I’m going to finish chapter three today of “Hard Cross,” the book I hope will break me in at a new publisher and possibly give a new slant to some of my creative direction. I write a great number of different types of fiction. I don’t know that I have any particular talent to do this; it’s just how it’s worked out over the last few years. Deep Blue, I’m told, is sort of noir dark fantasy a la Charles De Lint. Sins of the Flash is dark, warped and filled with sexual tension of a very WRONG sort. The Mote In Andrea’s Eye is under consideration as women’s fiction with a strong romantic leaning and is suitable for young adult reading. Ancient Eyes is a novel of ancient evil and ritualistic religion…The Temptation of Blood, which I admittedly wrote quite a while ago under the title “This Is My Blood,” is a retelling of the Gospel through the eyes of a fallen angel/vampire named Mary Magdalene. Hard Cross is straight noir crime.

Over the past year I’ve covered humor, historical fiction, pulp style, extreme horror and just about every other type of short fiction in existence (including fantasy and science fiction).

The point of all of this? I’m not sure that there is one, other than that the one thing I seem to lack is direction – and at the same time I fear that if I took off slanted in any one direction, I’d lose the focus. That, of course, makes no sense at all, except that it does. If you could sit down with Trish, who knows me best, and ask questions about me you’d find that one thing I am is obsessive. Once I’m off on a particular “thing” I tend to get far too into it, sometimes to the exclusion of good sense. I’m fighting this tendency in myself, because I see that it is unfair to those around me, and that it can be destructive in a number of ways, but at the root of it, it will always be how I approach writing. When I dove into “The Mote In Andrea’s Eyes,” it was full-tilt. Outline and write a book in a month. Study hurricanes. E-mail people who have chased storms. Find crackpot methods of preventing hurricanes. Find LESS crackpot methods….study the history of the times…it goes on and on.

I leaped straight from that into the rewrite of SINS OF THE FLASH – which is a serial-photographer story (well, he kills too, but….) This book was originally written while at sea and not at the best time of my life (ex-wife was, at the time, writing only sporadically, I had barely seen my sons because of the US Navy gig, nothing was as it should be in my life). At sea I had nothing else to do BUT write. At 4:00 PM every day I took coffee and my CD cases up to the UHF transmitter room of the USS Bainbridge, logged onto my spare computer (the one I took on that cruise, an old 386 with a 40 meg hard drive and Word Perfect loaded) and I wrote until about midnight. I had a case of paper with me and the goal of writing half a million words before returning from the cruise. I succeeded, by the way, writing “This Is My Blood,” which I sold, “Sins of the Flash,” now sold, “Maelstrom,” not sold (as of yet) and rewriting “Just To Kill Again,” (also not sold to date, though segments sold as short stories).

Sins of the Flash suffered (in it’s original form) from two things. Repressed reality (stuck on board the ship too long) and a desire to prove to the world of horror (at the time hung up on Hannibal Lector and Splatterpunk) that I could write with no holds barred. The sexual content was dark and deep. The images the book leaves are not pleasant, in many cases. I have since toned it down JUST slightly, rewritten it to add some depth to a few places that were far too shallow, and still…well… one horror artist said it was too sordid to illustrate. Harry O. Morris actually came close to being upset at the thought of something happening to one of the female characters, he’d come to like her and worry for her – (lol). She comes out okay, thankfully for her AND for Harry, who will be sending me the cover art concepts soon.

But going back into the world of photographer Christian Greve, his too-perfect photos and his little hand-painted masks – RIGHT on the heels of completing a G to PG rated thriller about hurricanes and the Bermuda Triangle would seem like kind of a stretch. It didn’t feel that way at all, and a few days after I finished rewriting Sins of the Flash, I set to work on page 101 of Ancient Eyes, which I’d written to the 100 page proposal mark for an agent who doesn’t seem actually interested in what I DO write, but only in the possibility that one day I’ll write something exactly like she wants to represent. Her odds are better with me than with most, I guess, since no two books in a row seem to resemble one another much. I’m told this can kill my career, but I doubt it. First off, I’d have to HAVE one (lol). Second? I’m writing three to four books worth of fiction a year. If I develop a following in one particular direction, I won’t want to flood that area – one book every year or so should be about perfect if I sell commercially, the new hardback riding the wave of the old paperback…and I’ll still have plenty of words left for Christian Greve, and Detective Tommy Doyle, for chasing the Gods through dark fantasyland and taking Brandt and the band from Deep Blue new places and to new songs.

I’m enjoying writing Hard Cross, and I’m hoping the publisher – and then the readers – of mystery novels will find things to love in it as well. It may open doors. Heck, I have two WONDERFUL reviews to my credit in Publisher’s Weekly – both for dark fantasy with a religious twist – and am now somewhere up around ten novels available to the public, with more coming this year…none of that has busted the walls down, but I’m hopeful. Maybe if I stack enough books up against that wall it will crumble from entropy and the words will spill out to drown the world!


Maybe they’ll just prop up the walls in my attic. Who knows.

Anyway, the words are calling…