Friday, March 9, 2012

Just Have to Brag...

...And not about myself, for once!  I know, right?

It's no secret, I teach in a low-residency MFA program at Seton Hill University.  In addition to teaching "modules" (that's classes to most folk), we faculty are assigned a few students each semester to "Mentor" through their thesis, which, in theory, becomes a market-worthy manuscript.  Typically, I have between five and seven "mentees."  What does this have to do with anything?  Because two of my former mentees, Kristin Dearborn and David Day, have sold their manuscripts!

David's book, Tearstone, is a fantastic horror yarn that got picked up by Balefire Press.  You want messed up?  David's got you covered.  It's a story about an ancient artifact which, when unearthed, causes a sleepy little town to go completely mad.  Think "Our Town" on meth.  That oughta bring up some interesting images.  Brutal murder, rape, devils, monsters... It's a cornucopia of horror!

Kristin's book, Trinity, will be coming from Dark Fuse Press.  It's a fantastic story that includes aliens, government conspiracies, death, mayhem, and...  Wait for it...  A space puma.  Actually, I don't know if the Space Puma made it in to the final draft, but it was there when I read it.  What I can tell you about this story is that the imagery is remarkable, the characters are strong, and it has a wonderful grungy feel to it that will make any sci-fi fan sit up and take notice.

So why am I throwing this out there?  Because I'm proud.  And let me be perfectly clear, I take no credit for anything having to do with their success or their work.  All the work they did, they did on their own and they are succeeding because they're both brilliant writers.  No, I'm bragging because I'm proud to have worked with them.  I consider both of them no longer "mentees," or even students.  If I had to categorize them as anything it would be, at worst, colleagues, at best, friends.  I love both of these folks dearly, and I can't wait to see the hard copies.  I remember when my first novel got published, how proud I was.  It's a feeling that never gets old.  May these two writers have many more moments of success through their careers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


As I've said in the past, I have no shame.  I started writing in 2001, and that same year I got my first pro publication.  It was a short story called MIMES, and it was published in The Rectangle, which is the literary journal of the International English Honor Society.  The funny thing?  It was only the second time I'd ever even attempted to write a story.  I'll explain.

I needed a college credit, and the only class I could find that sounded remotely interesting, and that fit my schedule, was a writing workshop class.  I didn't want to be a writer at that point, I just wanted the college credit.  So I enrolled, did my best, and the first story I wrote was about a guy who woke up in the middle of the night to find out his family had been butchered.  I turned my story in, confident that it was crap.  The next class period, no one wanted to sit next to me.  I wish I were joking. I liked the reaction, so I wrote a second story, which became MIMES.  My classmates compared me to Rod Sterling, which made my little nerdy heart tingle.  I submitted it to the journal as a goof, thinking there was no way my off-the-wall mime story would ever get picked.  But it did.  And I've been writing ever since.

Why do I bring it up?  Because, while going through my backup files, I found a copy of it, and I thought I'd share.  It's imperfect, and I've grown a lot as a writer since I wrote it, but I stand by it.  I'm proud of it, and figured I'd throw it out there for the world to read, again or for the first time.   So here it is, in the "downloads" section of my website, in PDF format.  Enjoy.

As an added bonus, and I can't believe I'm doing this, here's another little treat.  After it was published, the film club at my college adapted it to a short movie, which won the "Golden Crackpipe Award" (I wish I could make that up) at the Flea Market Film Festival.  Below, embedded, is that short movie.  Enjoy the bad acting and weirdness.