Monday, October 30, 2017

Accidental Politics

Earlier this month, the IWSG topic was about how many writers often inject some of their real life into their writing. Up until my latest WIP, I believed that I, in no way, included any real-life details about myself in any of my writing.

But then I was editing Death Returns (dropping on November 6th), and I recognized how my personal politics is not only subconsciously infused into this novel, but it's also apparent in the first book in the series, Death Knocks.

Allow me to get political on here for the first time in, oh, 12 years. I'm like many Americans. I consider myself Independent. I have many beliefs that are Conservative, and I have many beliefs that are Liberal. And my beliefs do change. For fun, I've taken a few political quizzes, and it seems that I do have a Libertarian streak in me too.

I've been called a "conspiracy theorist," and I suppose I've earned that moniker. History has made me suspicious of my own government. I believe it's wrong to be enamored with ANY politician. They should all be held on short leashes. Here in St. Louis, we've had two HUGE government conspiracies come to light:

1) From the 1950s-60s, our government tested the effects of zinc cadmium sulfide on its own citizens. They sprayed this radioactive material from the tops of buildings here in St. Louis, allowing men, women, and children to inhale this radioactive material. 

2) St. Louis is home to Mallinckrodt Chemical, the first uranium producer/purifier in all the world.
The company supplied all the uranium for the Manhattan Project, and the waste was stored at a facility near the airport. Several areas all around the St. Louis Area is still contaminated, including Cold Water Creek where there's been a crazy amount of rare cancers diagnosed. And the biggest heap of radioactive waste is at West Lake Landfill where there's an underground fire raging, and it's inching closer and closer to the deadly stuff. Yet, the EPA keeps telling us that all is just fine.

If you've been watching Stranger Things 1 & 2, the writers have pulled directly from all kinds of Black Projects including MK Ultra, the Philadelphia Experiment, and the Montauk Project. Many of these secret projects including trying to perfect mind control and utilize "remote viewing" to create a small army of gifted people to use their ESP to spy on our enemies. Now if you stop to think about it, is that really so farfetched when you look at all the crap our own government has done?

Earlier this year, the CIA did release almost 1 million pages of declassified reports on UFOs going back to the 1940s. But this barely made the news. Why? Because only crazy people care about this stuff, right?

Well, call me crazy.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Big Finish Before I Begin

Release date: November 6
With NaNoWriMo just a few days away, my huge goal of finishing Death Returns loomed ahead of me. My writing partner and I worked tirelessly every day, especially last weekend, to get it done. We had a hard deadline, and in order for our timeline to stay intact, our editor had to get our manuscript on Sunday.

It was a flourish of writing, but we got it done! Death Returns, our long-awaited sequel to Death Knocks will be available on November 6th.

So with that out of the way, I've been working on outlining and plotting for my big WriMo project.

I've been so crazy busy lately, I didn't stop to really look at the calendar and realize, wow. November is really just around the corner. This time of year is always exciting and fun, yet a little nuts.

Yes, I have a one-handed backhad
Once Halloween comes and goes, it seems the rest of the year just goes into hyperdrive, and then we're into the holiday season. After that, we'll be counting down the year and looking forward to 2018.

Even my oldest son has noticed that time seems to accelerate much faster now.

With many of us standing on the precipice of all this craziness, I think it's always good to try to carve out a little time to ourselves and slow things down a bit. I can't remember the last time I just sat down to read or even watch a movie on Netflix.

Many of us deal with stress, depression, and all kinds of end of the year challenges that threatens to keep us from stopping to simply breathe and just BE. I have to pledge to make the time to just chill out. I'm also a tennis player, so going out and hitting the courts is a great stress reliever.

How do you deal with stress this time of year? Any strategies you could share with me?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Return to Productivity

These last two months have felt like a nice comeback for me. Blogging is like anything else you do on a regular basis. Once you stop, it's difficult to come back to making it a part of your routine. Same goes for writing in general.

Here's a quick list of stuff I've done in the last few weeks that I'm very proud of:

1) My writing partner Miranda Hardy and I have been working hard on our sequel to Death Knocks. We did six chapters alone just this weekend. Death Returns will be out before the end of the year, and I look forward to sharing more about this project with you.

2) I gathered all my notes and free-writing for The Gateway Mothman, a manuscript I started before my writing drought started. It's three years in the making, and I look forward to cranking it out very
soon. Which leads me to...

3) Lord of lords, I have committed to NaNoWriMo this year. I last participated in 2013, so I'm pretty nervous about it. It's the perfect kick in the ass I think will help solidify my writing comeback and immerse myself back into the writing world. If you're doing NaNo, look me up and let's be buddies. I'm "Jay Noel" on there.

4) Joining the Blogosphere. I've really missed being here and visiting all of your blogs. I'm sad about one thing, though, and my blogroll has been annihilated. So many bloggers also disappeared since I've been gone. I hope some of them will return, but it looks like many probably won't. If there's any blogs you recommend I add, please let me know in the comments.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Spooky Stories: The Mothman Revisited.

Going back to 2005 (phew), I always dedicated the month of October to telling "Spooky Stories." I've had so much fun with these, and despite not having blogged steadily for two years, I still get tons of hits every day on these scary posts.

I've posted about the Mothman four times in the last 12 years, so I decided to reboot the urban legend on my blog to include new information. For those of you who don't know much (or anything) about the Mothman, let me give you a quick summary:

Starting on November 16, 1966 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, locals started reporting sightings of a giant winged creature. They said it was very tall, with large wings, and it flew all over the area, particularly near an abandoned TNT plant. Despite all the differences between eye witnesses' descriptions, one thing remained consistent: the creature had bright red eyes.

Witnesses weren't town drunks or people looking for attention. What was strange about these incidents was that most of the reports came from normal people who were reluctant to even come forward in the first place. Sightings of the Mothman was the least of the locals' problems. They also reported having weird and vivid dreams of death and destruction.

The craziness went on for more than a year. Finally, on December 15th, the Silver Bridge that linked West Virginia to Ohio collapsed, killing 46 people. The Mothman sightings completely and suddenly stopped.

Here's why the Mothman phenomenon was so...weird:

1) Media attention: local newspapers and out of town reporters ran stories about the Mothman sightings

2) The very first sightings of the infamous Men in Black were reported during the sightings

3) A flurry of UFO sightings also coincided with Mothman stories

Chicago traffic sucks! I think I'll just FLY!
Today, the Mothman remains a mystery. Many believe the creature is somehow connected to terrible tragedies that are about to occur. There's photos of a reported Mothman taken just before 9-11, for example. Most recently, there's been sightings in Chicago (North Lake Shore Drive Area) on August 7th of this year:

"Then suddenly, the large winged being slowing descended in front of them, no more than 25 feet away. It hovered about 5 feet above the sidewalk, with it's wing spread open, as it peered at the couple with large bright red eyes that slowly altered back and forth in intensity. Several people on the other side of the street, including a delivery van driver, reacted with screams and frightened yelps. The winged being hovered for 10 seconds, then quickly pulled the wings into its body and shot up quickly into the night sky."

With all the research I've done on this subject, you can bet I'm working on a book about my own spin on the Mothman. I started the manuscript three years ago, and I've recently come back to it. I hope to share more about it in the coming months. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG for October

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It's a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Ok, it's been over TWO YEARS since I've done an Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Can you believe it? My last IWSG post was published on November of 2015. 

That was a rough time. I was on the verge of going on short term disability to figure out what was wrong with me. My writing was non-existent. And I was in a bad place. 

October 4 question - Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose? 

That's an easy one. NO! I work hard to keep my personal life separate from my writing life, so I haven't slipped any personal info. into my books. HOWEVER, one of my favorite all time YA authors, Robert Cormier, did put his actual phone number in I am the Cheese. Before his death in 2000, young readers would often call his number and he'd answer his home phone while being "in character" and play along.

So, in other news, I'm creatively back on track. I'm not only writing one manuscript, but I'm working on TWO at the same time. I've never done that. I guess I had more than two years of creative energy that was dormant for too long.

I will have one book out by the end of this year, and I hope to have another one done by next Spring. As always, I look forward to catching up with all of you.