See Me In Black

I have a mental illness you may know as clinical depression. There. I said it. To the world. Well, at least my small part of it. Now all tens of you know.

It’s not a pretty thing, oh no, my friends. When I’m in dark deep end of it, I’m a walking cliché of symptoms: deep sadness, death of motivation, repetitive thoughts, sleeplessness, sleepiness, severe introversion, irritability, fear, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, etc, etc, etc (holy crap, just writing those makes me feel ill!) I’m really not here writing this to list the symptoms, that’s what Google is for. Despite being in therapy off and on for the past fifteen years, I still Googled the symptoms and it was quite strange to tick off every one of them, I must say. What I am here for, is to simply get it off my chest. I am also reaching out to other similarly afflicted writers, because I think there are a lot of us out there, more than we know, and that, like me, keep it under wraps. I don’t know if this is going to do anyone any good, or even if it will do me any good. I’m going to put it out there, and go whew. Be prepared for rambling diversions.

A small bit of history: I first recognized something was wrong, and sought help, about a year before my first wife died. I wasn’t a surprise. It was coming. We both could see it getting nearer, though we didn’t talk about it. We fought her illness and complications barely keeping hope alive. I was her caretaker, but despite the love and support we gave each other, it was wearing my emotions and strength thin. I knew I had a problem, when one day, sitting in another waiting room of one of countless visits to an endless list of medical specialists, my vision closed down to a turning red tunnel as I became detached from the world. Ihad to use every fiber of mind and muscle to keep from running, screaming out the door, through the clinic, across the parking lot, running to Thor-knows-where, and never to return. I was on the verge of a full-blown massive panic attack. I knew at that moment that I needed help. I found a therapist and within ten minutes of our first visit, she said, “Okay. You need medication.” I’ve been on medication of different varieties ever since, going into therapy when things were at their worst. It’s been fifteen years when I was first diagnosed and I’m still living with this deep-sea, mental monster.

But let me sooth any fears you may have for me at this point. I’m doing better, really. I’ve got a good doctor and therapist and I’m learning new skills to deal with my dark ever-friend. It ain’t easy and some days, or weeks, are better than others. And this past nine months has been an emotional hole for me that now I’m only starting to crawl out of. My therapist says I’m doing well, and I’m taking her word for it.

(Ya know the movie, “As Good As It Gets”, where Jack Nicholson lays his face in his hands and says, “It’s exhausting talking like this.” That’s how I’m feeling right now as I type.)

Okay. That’s the confession part of it. I can say no more. Next comes what my depression has to do with writing, or more importantly, the non-writing, in–

See Me In Black: Block to Wall


The Next BIG Thing…

Image(Friend and fellow Fading Light author, Jake Elliot , graciously passed these interview questions on to me and asked to join him as one of the stops on a small tour of up and coming writers. Thanks Jake, you honor me.)

Somewhere just below the horizon of the publishing world, awaits the Next Big Thing. Kinda like an attention deprived Godzilla ready to rock your world, smashing the conventions of your mind. Or maybe Baby Godzilla huffing hair singeing smoke rings. But hey, size doesn’t matter (so I’ve been told), as long as it blows our socks off, right? But still, we know it’s coming, we want it bad, and we need to be ready for its arrival with hints, innuendo, excerpts, and teasers!

Well, myself and my ever creative writer friends always have something up our mind sleeves, shaking them out onto the keyboard,  working on new projects awaiting  the light of day, hoping that this one is OUR  Big Thing. Below are questions and answers detailing my current project, then links to some writer friends of mine pulling back the curtain for a peek at the stories they are working on at this moment! One of us could be producing the NEXT BIG THING!

Ten questions on my Next Big Thing(?)…

Hands of Hell
Wat Rong Khun Temple


What is your working title of your book?   

Right now, it’s The Hungry Ghosts.  In Buddhist mythology, hungry ghosts are hideous creatures in Hell that are filled with a terrible hunger, but having throats to thin to swallow anything, they can never quench it. Seemed right for a zombie story.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

An image in my head of a zombie meditating in full lotus position. (the picture below I  found only recently)

What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Sammo Hung comes to mind for the lead; that would be interesting.   But off hand I can’t come up with any Tibetan/Chinese actors.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

On a sacred mountain in Tibet, a peaceful village is suddenly ravaged by the undead,  and a hermit monk with a ten year-old boy struggle to survive in their escape to an abandoned  hermitage.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will be shopping it out to publishers that  have open submissions for novellas…for now.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ve been working on the first draft for a  month and a half now and about three-quarters done.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I seriously don’t know. It’ll have plenty of the requisite gore and zombie action, but the spiritual journey aspect I haven’t come across in a zombie story before.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

All the zombie movies and literature I have been exposed to happen in the America’s or Europe, and usually in an urban setting with like characters with modern points of view. Seeing that this is a world wide event, I began to wonder what more isolated peoples, with different world views and cultures, how they would react to it. What about eskimos? Aborigines? Muslims? Munchins?! So, being a student of Buddhism, I set my story in the mountains of Tibet. How would people steeped in the Bon and Buddhist religion, that view death and dying in a radically different way than the west, react and think? And the fictional fact that zombies can still retain some vestige of their previous life, could a zombie reach enlightenment? There’s just a million other stories from other parts of the world to tell in the zombie setting that wouldn’t deal with the usual cast of characters; that’s what got me thinking.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, there will be Kung Fu action at no extra cost!

OKAY OKAY, here’s a little excerpt from my in progress novella, The Hungry Ghosts...

Until the cold eye turned upon him, the boy had not moved.

The thing lurched toward him, making a gurgling growl. Chodren sucked air and began to turn over to run. He looked up and froze again; three feet above him from the tall ferns and grass, emerged the large head of a leopard. Its black fur shone in the sun, pulling out the circled spots hidden below. Its green eyes flicked across Chodren then narrowed on the approaching monster.

For Chodren this was not just a big cat; it was a spiritual being. In tales he had heard of them flying; of highly attained monks shape shifting into them; they were protectors and vengeful enemies. He had never seen one up close, and only heard the one of the mountain, in far-away echos in the night. And this moment, Chodren saw a god come to punish him for his wrong doing. The boys breath stopped again of his own accord, his body frozen in awaiting death, the undead thing momentarily forgotten. A close groan and the scent of rot pulled the boys eyes away. It was nearly on him, ignoring the cat.

The cat’s head lowered in a crouch as its paw inched over the ledge with extending curled claws. It opened its mouth, unveiling fangs, and hissed. A shadow briefly covered the sky above Chodren as the cat left its perch in a silent leap…

Am I there yet?

More Next Big Things…

Prolific and a Celtic Myth master, Brian N. Young will fill your need for the mythical and magical.

Author of the Demon Squad Series, the Blood War Trilogy, and the horrific, Prey,  Tim Marquitz knows how to spin an action filled horrific fantasy.

And Alex Katrin  for vivid madness.

Then the horror minded Dennis McDonald, author of Ebon Moon and 13 Nightmares.

And watch out for Eric A. Jackson, author of the wild thriller, Blind Eye to the Rearview.