Tag Archives: Music

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.

APHOTIC REALM

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”.

Dystopia

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

GrimdarkCover

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.

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

SIPHON AND THE STRUGGLES OF A SOPHOMORE RELEASE

Siphon_Cover
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).

OTHER STORIES, OTHER THINGS

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.

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MUSIC WAS MY FIRST LOVE, IT’S ALMOST TIME TO PAY HER A VISIT

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.

Cheers!

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
Lies
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
I
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
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.
JUST DIE.

 

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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.

dad

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.

BONUS VIDEO

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.