Business and Displeasure

Every time I proclaim that I will keep up on writing this blog I tend to completely neglect it for months. So, I’m not going to “say” that I’m going to keep up on it while I actively try to keep up on it… Like a loophole? Does that make sense?


I just wanted to share a few updates on both the business and personal fronts. Let’s start with business…



Wednesday night I wrapped up the rough design/formatting of GRUESOME, sent it in to the hub, then Dustin sent the proof copies out to the contributors for the final look over. On Saturday night the team and I will collect the notes and combine them with our own as we scour the magazine and fix, alter, and correct any typos, duplicated/missing words, and punctuation in addition to funky formatting, graphic design tweaks, and whatever else needs addressing.

To say wrapping up the final page was a weight off my shoulders would be an understatement. Although we are not entirely done, this issue was a beast (as they all are, really) but the circumstances we all had to work under only made it that much more difficult. More on that later.

If there aren’t any speed bumps or unforeseen fuckery, expect the issue to be live on Amazon and other retailers by Monday the 15th.

Last Monday, the 8th, we decided to do a Free eBook Promotion via Kindle with our five non-magazine publications that would last until today, the 12th. I expected maybe a hundred or so downloads total. A nice little marketing push to garner a little buzz for the upcoming release of GRUESOME.

But holy shit, guys… As I am writing this, we have just over 900 downloads! APPALACHIAN HORROR sat atop at #1 of the U.S. Horror Fiction category for two days and a few of our titles were – and still are – in the top 10 of their respective categories.

The number of likes, shares, retweets, and consistent support we get from our followers is insane and I can not be more grateful. Really. You guys are fucking awesome. I wouldn’t be surprised if we reached over 1,000 downloads before it is all said and done.

If you are interested in downloading any of these titles, they are still available. Just click the title and it’ll zoom you over.





SIPHON (my extreme horror novella)

With that out of the way, I guess I can address some personal issues. If you want to hear some of my shit, keep reading.


Where to begin?

So… I’m in the process of packing. I just bought a house! The closing date is July 25th! Although there is an aura of excitement, there is also the feeling of dread. I’ll explain.

Right now I rent a house with my wife and best friend. The rent is cheap for the area and all our bills – power, water, cable/internet, et cetera – are split three ways. So, financially, it is an ideal living situation. But just financially.

I hate the house and, as much as I love my best friend, he is a slob. The extra bedroom we share as an office is always in disarray and it has really put a damper on my focus over the last year or so (even though we have been living together for five years, it just recently became so unbearable that I can’t seem to spend more than half an hour in there without wanting to rip my hair out).

There is also the notion of being a married couple in our thirties that still have a roommate. “Suffocation” is the best way to describe it. I’m excited to move into a place I own (it even has a fucking pool) with ONLY my wife and experience a new sense of “freedom” and “space” I feel like we’ve been lacking. That said, my bills are about to triple – so there is that stress. Plus, it’s 1000 degrees in Phoenix so even the simple act of breathing hurts.

With all of these stresses combined, I haven’t written a word (excluding emails and an occasional editorial thing here and there) in over a month. I haven’t even had the time or patience to leisure read – which is killing me. While I found the time and desire to do so the other night, I realized I packed all my fucking books already.


To bring it back to GRUESOME, it was extremely difficult to stay focused and knock out what needed to be done. Usually, when one of us (Dustin, Chris, or I) are trudging through the proverbial mud or something in our personal lives need more attention, the other two pick up the slack and try to keep the machine oiled and running. Due to Dustin’s unfortunate situation with his daughter (you can read about it here) coupled with my bullshit and Chris’ new work schedule – it has been a ROUGH couple months. However, my situation is utterly nothing compared to what Dustin has been dealing with, so please go send him and his family all the good vibes.

Once GRUESOME is released and everything has settled on that front, there might be a lull in activity from Aphotic Realm, Dustin, and myself for a few weeks while we all get our respective shit together.

Besides all that stuff, expect me to grind out the finish to a few WIPs this winter. For far too long has SIPHON and a few short stories floating around been my only contribution to the writing world. I’m beyond thrilled to have my OWN space to reclaim my focus and WRITE ALL THE THINGS!

Thanks for hearing me out, people. Also, thank you for tolerating my use of John C. Reilly GIFs.

I like to post a music video I enjoy at the end of these posts, so if you’re interested in some psychedelic shit – hit play.


The Promise of The Premise

I’m having some problems – writer problems. Instead of my usual procrastinating and not-in-the-mood to write problems that I eventually push through and get shit moving, I’ve hit a wall.

The real frustrating thing is knowing exactly what that wall is.

Let me explain…

You’ve probably heard of plotters, pantsers, and plansters. Plotters plot out their story before doing the dirty work, while pantsers write “by the seat of their pants” and on the go with little-to-no planning. Plansters are a hybrid of both.

I guess you can say I’m a Planster. I plot out my story using a bastardized amalgamation of various plotting and outlining techniques and formulas, but when I’m in the trenches, writing that draft, if something calls to me I will not hesitate to explore it – no matter how far away I drift from my outline. Usually, I’ll hit a hiccup or two, take a day of mental health where the whole time I feel guilty for being unproductive but have to constantly convince myself to chill the fuck out and give my brain a break to work out the kinks, and then get back to it and get over the hump.

Well… Not lately.

See, I’ve been working on this next novella for almost six months on and off that I didn’t plot out. I decided I’d try the full-on pantser method since I figured I got all of it planned out in my brain; I know how it starts, I know how it ends, and I have some pretty cool stuff I want to happen between those two. However, I reach this certain point, get stuck, lose my mind and, something I absolutely hate doing, start back from the beginning and start tweaking and rewriting the previous chapters in the hope that it’ll fix the logjam I created.

That logjam? It’s called The Promise of Premise.

It wasn’t until I decided to retroactively plot the thing out with my little notecards that the problem reared its ugly head.

A very important part of my little outline formula, regardless of whatever version of it I want to use, is The Promise of Premise. For those of you that don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you. It’s from The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet made famous by his book on screenwriting, Save The Cat!


Here is an excerpt from Tim Stout’s blog with a quick explanation of what The Promise of The Premise is, along with his other beats:

The Promise of the Premise – This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised.

Boom! Opening done! Boom! Theme and tone set! Boom! Inciting incident! Yaddayaddayadaa and then pooh. This is poop.

I don’t care how extraordinary every other element of the story is, the characters need to drive the plot, and thus, when plotting, bounce from beat-to-beat with ease. My main character’s motivation is complex but not compelling. That is not to say it has to be simple, but for whatever reason, when it comes to explore this new world my main character has encountered in Act 2 of my manuscript – she is not compelling enough for me to get to the next beat.

Sure, I can inject some life with some minor characters or utilize some trope and mask it the best I can with crafty writing, but I’m not compelled to write her anymore; at least not at this point in time.

So, what did I do? I decided to plot out another story I had brewing in my head for some time last night. And what happened? I was cruising along, excited for this fresh new thing until I got to The Promise of The Premise and froze.

Photo on 3-27-19 at 7.13 PM #2

Fuck me, amirite? I’m stuck in my head.

This whole blogpost is a feeble attempt to conquer my funk by writing about writing.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me gripe.

Here is my MANDATORY BLOGPOST MUSIC VIDEO that nobody watches 🙂





Sucked Dry: Hindered Souls Press Closes Its Doors…

Well… If you haven’t heard already, Hindered Souls Press, home to M. R. Tapia’s Sugar Skulls, Renee Miller’s Eat the Rich, Leo X. Robertson’s upcoming (well, it was upcoming) Jesus of Scumburg, and of course, my debut novella Siphon, has shut down.

It came as a surprise. I received an email from H.S.P. owner and editor, M. R. Tapia himself. To say the least, I was not quite sure how to take it.

So, what is going to happen to Siphon along with the other titles? I’ll get to that in a bit, first I’d like to say a few things about H.S.P. in general.


When I finished writing Siphon, I was both relieved and nervous. It was a story that had been stuck in my head for many years and I finally got it down on paper. Sure, I’ve written plenty of short stories and had them published, but a story so near and dear to me, a story that took a long time to write, I wasn’t sure if it was good enough for someone to pick up or if I was just going to hide it in the proverbial dusty drawer to look at sometime in the future. The last thing I wanted to do was self-publish it — I wanted affirmation from an outside source that it was good enough.

I grew some balls and sent it out to some indie publishers. Long story short, M. R. Tapia responded with excitement, insightful editing advice, and ultimately a contract. It made my whole year. My first book. Everyone remembers their first.

It was picked up in December of 2017 and published February 2, 2018, six days before my 30th birthday. Hell, my wife got me a Siphon cake to celebrate both occasions.

I can say a lot, but to sum it up: M. R. Tapia poured all his love and energy into Hindered Souls Press, and into the authors he signed. However, family and health is the ultimate priority. Unfortunate personal burdens led to financial strain and mental fatigue, and Tapia made the decision to allocate all his energy and finances to tackle those hurdles while focusing all his love on his family.

This, I understand and respect.

He didn’t drag us through the mud with shitty communication. He didn’t play games or pussyfoot. Tapia reached a point where he knew it would be impossible to juggle both and he, as Renee Miller put it, “pulled the trigger.”

[You can read Renee Miller’s thoughts on the matter HERE]

I respect it. I understand it. And, in no way, am I bitter about his decision. I, too, run a small indie publishing company. However, I have two awesome partners in the endeavor in Dustin and Chris. When I feel overwhelmed or burnt out — they pick up the slack. Visa-versa. Tapia went above and beyond for a one man show. He set up booths at cons, drove to distant markets and bookstores to promote the catalog, and spent countless hours pushing and praising Siphon. I am forever in his debt.

Godspeed, hombre!

So, what about Siphon?

Well, in a frantic haste of what-the-fuckness after receiving the shitty news, I sent inquiries to handful of publishers. It’s hard enough to get an unpublished novella picked up, let alone one that is a reprint (If anyone reading this knows of any publishers currently open for novella reprints, get at me).

Whatever happens, Siphon, along with the other H.S.P. titles will be unavailable December 1st (Saturday). Go grab a few copies. It’ll help both Tapia and the rest of us.

That said, I don’t want Siphon to be out of commission for too long. If I can’t find a new home or potential new home for Siphon by February of 2019, I’ll self-publish it myself or make a case and publish it via Aphotic Realm.

I’m not too sure what the future holds. All I can do is reach out and wait.

Make sure to support indie authors and publishers. It really is a labor of love. It doesn’t pay the bills — I know this first hand. It takes a lot of time and a shit ton of energy, but it’s not the money (that we don’t make) that makes it worth it, it’s the support from the community that keeps us going when the going gets fuckin’ unbearably exhausting at times.

Be good to each other.


It Was A Long Summer…

June 18th…. June 18th was the last time I wrote a blog post. It was a long summer — bear with me while I attempt to organize the cluttered clusterfuck I call my brain. I’ll do my best to compartmentalize it all.


Since the last time I posted, Dustin, Chris, and I (along with the other members of Aphotic Realm) have been extremely busy.

In July, we released Issue #4 of the magazine, DYSTOPIA. Again, many great authors and artists are in this one. I even have a story — an ode to my favorite childhood book, The Giver — in this one, “8-Bit Rebellion”.


In September, we released Grimdark Grimoires: Volume One. This one is packed with nine wonderfully dark fantasy tales.


And lastly, just a few days ago, we released our most jam-packed issue to date. Issue #5: ELDRITCH. This one took a lot out of me. Stories, comics, interviews, art, et cetera.


Our next issue’s theme is FANGS. Creature horror. Think Jaws and Cujo. Submissions are open and you can find out more at


SIPHON — A Novella

Siphon was my debut into the writing world. Although I have released a short story collection — ITCH — prior to the release of Siphon, I don’t consider that my debut. I finished Siphon about one year ago today, shopped it, and Hindered Souls Press picked it up and released it February 2nd, 2018.

Initially, I believe they wanted to release it after February, but I was adamant about having it out before my 30th birthday (February 8th).

That brings me to my next bittersweet topic: Reviews.

I have been more than thrilled to see the reactions — both good and bad — to Siphon. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous, but not delusional. Given the content, there was no way in hell it wasn’t going to get some stinkers — blood and sex and violence and creepy-stalker dudes isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.

But I like the range of star ratings I’ve received. If I received all 5 Star reviews/ratings, I feel like my message — the mood — I was trying to convey didn’t really land. If I got all 1 or 2 Star Reviews (haven’t got a 1 Star one yet, that I know of), then it would be apparent that my writing ability is lackluster.

I was trying to ride that fine line…

||gore/sex || psychology/emotion||

These are primal urges we all have, but for reasons — mostly to retain some type civility — we stifle the urges. We all, at one point or another, have been overwhelmed with thoughts of sex or violence. Siphon was just an exploration of what happens when a delusional man struggles to contain them, while trying to remain civil.

But I digress…

One aspect about my writing that I saw in most reviews (both good and not-so-good) was some type of praise about my pacing. Honestly, that made me feel good. I slaved over the beats of that story for a long time.

Double-edged sword.

Now, however, as I’m knee-deep into the next chapter of Claybrook City (where Siphon takes place, go buy the book) I’m second-guessing every damn thing.

“Am I ranting?”

“Is this scene going on too long?”

“I’m bored. Will the audience be bored? Of course I’m bored, I’ve read and rewrote this part six times! That doesn’t mean a reader will be bored… Does it?”

My elevator pitch for this book is The Goonies meets Eyes Wide Shut meets The Columbine Massacre.

“Is this too much?”

Ah, but in the end, the first draft must be completed. Hope to have that done by Christmas this year. Then, I’ll slaughter my proverbial baby and keep the tasty parts.

As for the recent winners of my Siphon giveaway, I didn’t make it to the post office on time Saturday, I’ll be shipping those out tomorrow (Monday).


I have a handful of short stories out and submitted. A few have made the shortlist, others I have not heard anything back yet. I’ll be sure to post any acceptances and where to find them if I’m lucky.

That said, I do have one acceptance. My story “A Night In Black Canyon” is a post-apocalyptic western that takes place in the world of Bo Chappell’s Year 47 novel. The anthology is called By Year’s End and should be out shortly.

BYE Ad.png


Let’s break this down in bullet points:

  • Got my first bass when I was 11.
  • Joined my first band when I was 13 (Shitty cover band called “GIZNAD” which was DANZIG backwards)
  • Been in punk/metal bands ever since. Toured. Released many albums.
  • In 2012 my father passed abruptly.
  • In an attempt to change my life and climb out of depression, I gave up music and went back to school.
  • Graduated with a BA in Creative Writing.
  • Started Aphotic Realm with Dustin and wrote short stories and eventually Siphon.
  • Now, I have the strongest fucking urge to get back to my first love.
  • I started taking some steps to make that happen while continuing to write.

It can seem egotistical to listen to your own band and like it. But, when it was six years ago and you’re so removed from it that it feels like your witnessing a whole other life, that nostalgia bug bites hard and deep. Here’s the song (I’m on bass and all vocals), I’ll post the lyrics underneath it — after all, it still counts as writing, right? It’s about time I pick up the battleaxe again.


In attempts to destroy my life, you’ve destroyed your own
Excuses & justifications, you’ve relinquished your own throne
Deep inside your mind, you’ve built a factory of lies
The epitome of scum, worthless defined
You believe you’re the victim, but you’re the one to blame
Truth is you’re the loser, of your own sick fucking game
Life is what you make it and you’ve made it your enemy
Demand sympathy for your wounds that you, yourself made bleed
Lines, thick and fucking thin
You, have, fucking crossed them all
You’re such a piece of shit
and your voice is equivalent to the god damn stench
I’ll gladly place the noose around your fucking neck
and present you with every reason to step off of life’s edge
I can still feel the knife pierced into my back
Look into my eyes, eyes consumed by hate
Your pathetic apologies come far too fucking late
Eye for a fucking eye..
Realize where you stand…alone, unforgiven, soul rotten
Descend into my darkness… You are, YOU’RE THE ONE I HATE
Let us discuss your existence, so we see eye to eye
Abandoned emotional resistance, I look forward to the day you die.
You know this is the end of the time when we used to call you friend.


Give me work or give me death!

When I’m not writing or editing or doing the interior designs for Aphotic Realm Magazine, I take on graphic design jobs on the side.

I’m cheap and easy.

Some of the book covers I’ve made lately:

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There are also a few that I can’t show (because they are not publicly announced yet!)

In addition to book covers, I’ve designed some board games as well…

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All that and more stuff for bands and small businesses that I don’t feel like uploading at the moment (I’ll eventually make a Graphic Design page/portfolio on here).

That said, my schedule frees up August 1st, and I’ll be open to any commissions for book covers, merch designs, whatever — you can inquire at or use the contact form on this site.

Until then, I have a few premade Kindle covers for sale.

15 USD each…

If you’re interested in any of these, just contact me with which one you’d like to purchase. I will then insert your title, author name, and any other blurbs you may see fit. I also have no problem altering font type or color scheme (as long as it isn’t a crazy amount of change).

Back to work I go!

Cheers! Stay groovy!


Returning To What I’ve Abandoned

Eight years ago… Eight god damn years ago… Look at that baby face.

Footage from 2010 Mortal Angst Tour — Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington

It’s almost halfway through 2018 and it has been over a year since I last picked up my bass. However, I’m going to try and change that later this year because quite honestly, I don’t feel like a whole person… and I haven’t since I put the thing down.

What prompted me to step away? Plenty of things.

Just like pursuing a writing career, it takes a lot of determination, perseverance, energy, patience, and grinding. But unlike the solitary nature of writing, you have to rely on band-mates to have the same drive, the same vision, and a cohesive schedule, because if not, the end result always ends up being lackluster.

When you and your three other band-mates are not on the same page, rehearsals, writing sessions, and live shows become more of a choir than a passion.

Other reasons?

When my father died in October of 2012 from cancer, it sent a shock wave through my world. He was young, he was a gym monkey unlike my scrawny ass; strong and tough… The immigrant kind.


Deep depression, lack of focus, and absolutely no patience were the elements I brought to the storm of other problems slowly eating away at my musical career. In 2014, Kama-Mara split ways.

I received my first bass at the age of twelve or thirteen (whatever age you’re in fifth grade) and every since then, music was LIFE. I’m thirty years old now… More than half my life has been dedicated to it. But, after mi padre bit the dust, I decided to reevaluate my life and take it into a new direction — part of me thinks I walked away because my father is the one who got me into music and it hurt to know he couldn’t listen or watch me play anymore.

That said, I liked writing. I liked comic books, movies, books, stories in general.

I was scared shitless to say the least, turning my back on the only thing I ever really knew, but I figured I’d give it a go.

Here I am now. I think I’m doing “okay” so far.

But, as I mentioned earlier, I think it may be time for me to dip my toes back into the groove pool.

My question for you other writers: what other creative passion did you neglect/give up, if any at all, to focus on writing? Why?

Feel free to comment here or on the Twitter thread.


This was the last album we released. We recorded it just a couple months after my father’s death. To this day, when I listen to it, I can hear the catharsis in my voice — I really let the fuckin’ world have it. Screaming like a banshee can be therapeutic.

Disgust in humanity, humanity in disgust

Yesterday was a strange day.

My father-in-law is a handy-man, odd-job guy – its how he makes a living. That said, if the wife and I ever need a little extra cash, he always knows someone willing to pay to get something done. We’re going to Laughlin later this month to celebrate my wife’s thirtieth birthday and her graduation from college. So, an extra couple hundred bucks to blow on slot machines and booze for a day’s labor isn’t such a bad gig.

Well, we thought it wasn’t at the time.

What we knew: This woman’s dad died, and they were going to sell his house. They piled up the shit they didn’t want into one room and needed it taken out to the curb and then the house swept and whatever. No biggie.

When we get there, the house is fuckin’ huge. We walk in and the first thing we see is piles and piles of dead horse flies all over the living room floor. The neighborhood had horses. No biggie still. Upon walking around the house, I started noticing piles of clothes and garbage EVERYWHERE, along with makeshift beds from random pillows and couch cushions (there was only one couch and at least 4 couches worth of cushions) that, upon further inspection, were pockmarked in blood, piss, and shit.


Did I mention the smell? That was the first impression. Yes, we turned on the A/C when we got there, but before that, this place was baking under the 110-degree sun for who knows how fucking long. Gag.

We opened the door to the room that had all the furniture and stuff they wanted moved and it was horrible. Imagine loading all the furniture, knick-knacks, clothing, etc. etc. of a three-bedroom apartment into one of the bedrooms.

Whatever. It was time to get to work.

But before we started, we looked through the cabinets of the kitchen and promptly found an aluminum pan with two used needles, a burnt spoon with some residue still on it, and your customary tinfoil.


Uh-oh. It was going to be that kind of house.

I proceeded to poke and prod each pile of clothes/junk/whatever with a broomstick before picking it up. Fifty percent of the time, there was either an uncapped needle or a god-damn scorpion residing in the filth.


Time goes by and we’ve acclimated to the job at hand. Needles, half-straws, tinfoil, spoons, and scorpions became commonplace and we had a method of disposing/killing them when we found them. Just like at my day job at the deli, the slabs of ham, turkey, and chicken are no longer animals, they are product to be sliced, diced, and served. No strings attached. At this point, I found myself cursing the junkie bastards under my breath every other minute. Faceless scum.

We cleaned up the mess in all the rooms but the main room – the room with all the furniture – we saved that for last.

We started in the corner closest to the door. Moved boxes of random crap and a bow flex machine. It’s when we got to the center of the room – where we realized was the living quarters for a couple, due to the two mattresses, tiny table, and dirty bowls and plates – that things became different. I was tired and instead of just picking up and throwing out, I started to peruse through the junk.

Kid’s toys.

Kid’s clothes.

A notebook of poetry, most illegible, but the few pieces I read centered around the love for the writer’s daughter, Abby, and the guilt and regret of the life she was providing her. Then I found photos, rough and wrinkled, of what I could only assume was the daughter, the mother, and others.

The situation became more sad than gross at that point. I found myself applying the relics of their stay to their backstory I was constructing in my head. There was one stuffed animal on the bed, the rest were in a crate. Was that stuffed animal the girl’s favorite stuffed animal? How horrible, I thought to myself as I chucked it on the apex of the garbage pile.

Turns out, the squatters had to leave in a rush. Parts of the house were frozen in time. Microwave burritos, one bite taken out of one, left on the counter. A bowl of half-finished, now-rotted cereal left on the tiny table. A pair of kid’s shoes.

I didn’t want to put faces to the shitstorm. It was depressing. This wasn’t my first bout with seedy areas and situations.

I’ve lost both friends and enemies to the drug. It’s not easy watching someone spiral out of control with addiction, actively witnessing the deterioration of who they once were, who you knew them to be, who you loved.

I entered the house disgusted with humanity, I left having unearthed some humanity in the disgust.

There was a lot of other strange things about that house that made me feel like I was a character in a Chuck Palahniuk novel; Over thirty copies of The Watchtower, strange collections of tarot cards, pagan things, and a voodoo-like clump of human hair in a ziplocked bag accompanied by a napkin with lipstick kisses on it.


I’ll save those for another time, maybe it’ll prompt a short story or two. However, I must get back to work on Aphotic Realm’s Grimdark Grimoires and Issue #4: Dystopia.


B-horror movies and metal go together like peanut butter and jelly, and GRUESOME makes a damn fine sandwich. Cheers!