I write mostly to keep the voices in my head from yelling at me. At times, those voices have some great ideas and insist that I take notes.
Tell us about your current or most recent writing project, and what you wish to accomplish with it.
My current project is the UP FROM THE DEPTHS 6-book series. It's an apocalyptic/zombie/horror series with a heavy military theme. I’ve been told by a couple of beta readers that it's something Tom Clancy would have written if he worked in this genre.
I hope to accomplish a higher level of detail with this series than I’ve seen in other works within this genre. Not meaning that there isn’t already a level of detail, it's just that the level of detail in this series has had some people make comments that it's not like any other zombie novels they've ever read.
In your mind, what is your greatest accomplishment?
That would have to be finding a publisher who was willing to take a chance on a first time fiction author. That and having a really high score back in high school on Space Invaders.
In your mind, what is your biggest failure?
Not having a camera on me when I saw Jackie O, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster all together and having dinner at Spago’s.
Kind of leaning toward Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four. That dude is really flexible. On a personal note, my wife is really flexible as well and if I had Richards' ability... well, you can draw your own conclusions.
What is your ideal writing environment, and can/do you attain it, and if so, how?
My ideal writing environment is my office. It overlooks the hills behind our house, it’s very quiet and contains all my reference material.
What is your primary writing inspiration? It can be anything: people living or dead no matter their occupation, or places, concepts, groups, inanimate objects, etc.
That would be my 1/6 scale figures that I have in my office. No, these are not dolls. They are action figures garbed in contemporary military hardware. I use them to storyboard my work.
That would be me, myself, and I because I’m a pretty bad dude when it comes to survival in austere conditions.
Seriously, I’d say Cody Lundin and my wife and daughter. Cody because he’s an absolute badass survival instructor and would make sure the rest of us were housed and fed while I worked on my next project, “Tropical Island Terror”. My wife is important to include. She kind of needs to be there so I can keep an eye on her (wink, wink) and it might get cold at night. My daughter so we can impart our skills to her and she can return to Star City and take up the mantle of the Green Arrow when Oliver Queen retires.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? in 10?
In 5 years? Still above ground, alive, non-zombified, but maybe living in a decommissioned missile silo or communications bunker in an even more remote location. That way I can be even more prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse.
In 10? Same location only more amenities added.
You can speak briefly with any one dead person, and ask them one question. Who would that person be, and what would you ask them?
Albert Einstein. I’d want to know what he said to his nurse on his deathbed. He muttered something in German but the nurse didn’t speak or understand that language.
Share one weird dream you had with us, and what you learned, if anything, from it.
That would have to be the time I dreamed that there was someone on the master bathroom and I grabbed my handgun, rolled over my wife, ended up against the wall and pumped all 15 rounds into the bathroom.
Turns out it was only a nightmare.
But, I did end up patching up the wall later that day. Have to say one thing about that event: even half asleep, I still managed a good grouping.
What advice do you have to share with other aspiring writers?
First off, if you’re aspiring, shit or get off the pot. If you’re aspiring to do something, do it. Stop aspiring about it.
Its like you’re aspiring to go to the store. Either you do or you don’t.
In your mind, what is the most rewarding thing about writing?
The most rewarding thing is reading what people have to say about your work. I’ve had a couple of authors who did the forewords for some of my books say some really nice things about how I’m able to string more than three words together in a sentence and it makes sense. There were also some nice comments about the crayon art.
In your mind, what is the most frustrating thing about writing?
The most frustrating thing is writing a really badass, cool character then realizing that no matter how badass they are, you’re going to have to kill them off at some time.
And that most writers are total bat shit crazy.
I don’t. There is no way any author can write a book that will appease every single reader. There will be bad reviews from those who don’t like the work and it all comes down to that reader not paying attention to the synopsis or back cover which would clearly state what the content is about.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Not all of those opinions hold merit.
Both members of a married couple are close and well-loved friends of yours, and you discover beyond doubt that one is cheating on the other. What, if anything, do you do? Does sex (gender) enter into your decision, and why?
They’re close friends, but, I don’t live in their home so I don’t know what the issues are. If one or the other is going and getting some strange, that’s not my concern. Its all on them and I don’t interfere with someone’s personal life.
Sex (gender) would not enter into the decision because it's their personal choice to get their pipes cleaned or ashes hauled from someone who is not their spouse.
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what are your favorite flavors to listen to?
I do and don’t listen to music when I write.
Depends on what type of scene I’m writing. If its action, gore splatter, characters liberally spraying down the environment with raspberry meatloaf while ringing a cowbell, then I go with some 80’s rock and Weird Al Yankovic.
If its just a scene where minor events are being played out, then its classical instrumental.
We all know that a novel without cowbell is not a novel at all.
The primary distraction I have is the outside world. There’s always something that pops up that prevents me from writing. It could be that something needs to be done in the yard or around the house that requires me to attend or participate. Its not like I’m trying to get out of my responsibility around the house, but am I really required to open a peanut butter jar?
Does time and the world around you ever “disappear” when your muse is upon you and you’re “in the writing zone”? If so, describe the feeling.
Not really sure the world disappears per se. I’ve gotten into the "zone" a few times and not come out of the office until dinner. At first I thought it was an acid trip from Woodstock but then I realized I was too young to have been at Woodstock.
Its more of an immersion like that of your hand into a cup of warm water while sleeping only without the involuntary urination.
How often do you edit, and when, and how many rounds of edits?
I edit all the time. I live for editing.
Usually, I edit the previous chapter while I’m working on the next. Then I put the whole thing aside for a couple of days. Relax, try to get out of the writing mode, and then go back and read it slowly from the beginning, sounding out all the big words and syllables, and start editing all over again. I’d have to say that I do 4-5 rounds of editing per chapter/per book.
At this time I don’t have an agent. I’ve looked into literary agents and have had several recommended to me, but I haven’t taken the plunge and actually contacted any of them. In the meantime, I’m a real stickler for research and I look into each and every name and agency that gets recommended to me.
If you’ve been traditionally published, describe the feeling you had when you received and accepted your first contract/ offer.
It was excitement. I think I might have covered myself in lime Jello and ran around the house screaming Aunty Em. No, now that I think about it, that was another time. Sorry.
When my work was accepted for publication I think we went to celebrate at Taco Bell. Nothing beats a night of the back door trots to lock in a memorable event.
I’d be leaning towards the power that the film and book Jumper had. Think of the savings on travel.
Are you superstitious about your writing habits? If so, what is/are that/those superstition(s)?
I have no superstitions about writing. My computer is actually possessed and it forces me to open up the word processing program and type until my fingers bleed.
You have to commit a major crime to save the life of someone you love. Will you do it, and if so, how far will you go?
Yes, and I would go as far as it had to go to make sure that person was safe.
In your mind, what is the ultimate sin?
That would be a ghost white, borderline albino guy wearing Bermuda shorts with loafers, white socks, and flip sunshades attached to his glasses.
(The Reality Bender cannot find an image of this. How about another J.R. cover art concept instead?)
Who is your favorite literary character that you’ve ever written/ created, and why?
Read Up From the Depths. There’s a character in it who runs a salvage yard and custom truck business. He is about the best literary character I’ve ever created because of his background and depth of character.
You discover your best friend is lying to you about something important to you, and hurting you, themselves, others, or all of the above with that lie. What do you do about it?
That would require a real come to Jesus meeting. I’d invite them over then take them out back behind the barn and have a counseling session. If that didn’t work, then the old Chief of Doom would make an appearance and that salty, Naval persona has been known to make lower ranking enlisted and some junior officers wet themselves.
You’re faced with a horde of desperate, hungry, potentially violent people in a world where the trucks and trains no longer deliver the goods. What do you do?
I’m in a remote location and very well stocked and prepared to defend my perimeter. I have range cards by every door and window. Not a lot of people know where I live and those who do also know they do not want to arrive uninvited. For hordes of desperate, violent people intent on taking what I have, they will have to decide if the cost of the attempt is worth the reward.
Why should people read your work?
Entertainment. I consider my work entertaining. If just one person can laugh, chuckle, or become so immersed within the fictional world that they have a vested interest in the outcome of the story and characters, then my job is done.
Crossroads: The UP FROM THE DEPTHS Saga
Book Product Page Link:
UP FROM THE DEPTHS series (coming soon from Permuted Press)
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