OFFICIAL RELEASE – In Shadows Of The Wicked

FOURTEEN YEARS IN THE MAKING!!

In Shadows Of The Wicked is officially out. Released to the world, this ghost story is a tale of terror unlike any other. Of all my releases, this one seems to mean more than the rest. I started this story in 2004 and I’ve lived so many lives since then. I’ve hit rock bottom, I’ve risen to the top, and now here I am with the one thing that stayed an inexplicable constant.

I do have high hopes for In Shadows Of The Wicked, only because I feel its my best writing and its an amazing story. In places the metaphors are very personal, though I hadn’t intended it at the time. Each of The Family, as well as their ‘Other Place’, and the Darkness are allusions to parts of myself. Most specifically in regards to depression and those dark parts of myself that I have battled over the years. But over all I think its a fun and scary ride that I know readers will enjoy.

Available in ebook and paperback! The Family is waiting.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/198100114X

Excitedly Yours,
Your Weird Uncle Mick

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Book Trailer – In Shadows Of The Wicked

Here you go kids, the book trailer for In Shadows Of The Wicked. If you wanna know what it’s about, then this should give you an idea. Watch at your own risk. The Family is waiting.

Spookily Yours,
Your Weird Uncle Mick

 

Pale Winter Sun Redeux (excerpt)

As of this month, I’ve been trying to get Pale Winter Sun published for a year.  A year goes fast and slow at the same time and 2015 made a good example of that.  I realize that lady luck slapped me up side the head with Night Shall Overtake; it was picked up by the first publisher I sent it to.  Much love to Nick and BBS for that.  I suppose this is the karmatic balance of it; needing to work harder to get PWS published after such an easy time with NSO.  That being said, after this round of publishers if it still doesn’t find a home, I will seriously consider self-publishing.  I’ve been kicking the idea around for side projects (that I still haven’t gotten off the ground yet, surprise surprise) and maybe it will be a good option for PWS.  The beauty of all this, despite the nice collection of rejection notices, is that I do have options and it’s only a matter of my choices the dictate the direction I go.  So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

I submit for your approval, the first chapter of Pale Winter Sun.  Enjoy!

I.

            On Tuesday Hannah Robinson was caught in a heavy make-out session with her best friend Lindsey Smith. Hannah’s brother, Mitchell, took credit with the discovery by walking into her room without knocking. His sibling disregard for her personal space yet again disrupted her plans. On Wednesday she was not allowed to leave her house. On Thursday, her best friend Lindsey had been taken out of school. On Saturday night Mark Jensen sat in an abandoned house, lit by a full September moon shining through a naked window. Across from him floated a pinprick of orange light in the dark.

            “I guess Lindsey is on suicide watch,” Mark said. “They won’t let her get near Hannah. She may be a cutter, but I doubt this is enough to kill herself over.”

            “Mitchell told me that Hannah finally admitted to her parents that she is a lesbian.” A voice said behind the lit cigarette. Trevor Buell leaned forward into the light. His face a mass of smoke and shadows.   “When she told them that Lindsey was her girlfriend they flipped out. Bishop Johns has spent the entire week going between Lindsey’s house and Hannah’s house.”

            “Why did they have to get caught?” Mark anguished. “Church tomorrow is going to suck.  It’s going to be all about ‘coming together’ and ‘call upon each other to help them in their time of need’.”

            “I’m sure coming together is something those two don’t need help with.” Trevor said then offered his cigarette.  Mark waved it away.

            “My mom will give me crap for smelling like smoke as it is, I don’t need it on my breath.”  He put his head back, the sound of it hitting the wall echoed in the empty house.  “You know what this means?”

            “Witch hunt.” Trevor answered.  “It’ll be like when they found Jeordie Ward’s older sister smoking weed behind the seminary.   They’ll shake us all down, ask us a million questions, but this time check our phones for pictures of dicks instead of our pockets for drugs.”  Mark heard the chains of Trevor’s biker jacket jingle.  No one was more amused at Trevor’s little jokes than Trevor.

            “Speaking of Jeordie,” Trevor continued, “you two better watch out.  They’ll be checking your breath for penis.”

            “We haven’t gone that far,” Mark said, glad the night hid the reddening of his cheeks.  “Besides, it’s not like we’re dating; we’re just…hanging out.” He stood up; he didn’t like talking to Trevor about his non-relationship with Jeordie. He always had something mean to say about it.  “Let’s go.  If my mom catches us in one of her empty houses again, she’ll kill me.  And don’t put that out in here.” Trevor grunted and followed him out. Mark often took advantage of his mother’s job in real estate, but rarely did anything more than sit and watch Trevor smoke.

As soon as they stepped outside he flicked the butt into the overgrown back yard. An unseasonable cold front settled on southern Idaho and northern Utah. The crisp fall leaves were crisper than usual as they crunched underneath the teenage boys’ feet. Their jackets were open though, despite the chill that nipped at their nose and face. The two fifteen year olds walked casually with one another, though they were an exercise in differences. Both of them had dark hair that danced in the breeze but the similarities ended there. The taller of the two wore a black and white Adidas track suit with an army-style jacket over it. His deep eyes occasionally darting around, as if searching for something to search for. The other boy wore a scuffed and worn leather biker jacket. His shaggy hair hung down hiding his piercingly blue eyes but not the permanent grin that always seem to inhabit the corners of his mouth.

            “I don’t know what you see in him.  He’s about as smart as a box of rocks and not that cute.” Trevor complained.

            “He’s nice.  And he’s good looking; in a…I don’t know…”

            “We’re stuck in Idaho sort of way.” Trevor finished for him.  Mark gave him a shove as they emerged onto the street.  As the teenagers walked towards their respective homes, the air chilled and they hugged their jackets around them tighter, unprepared for the coming winter.

             When Mark entered the warmth of his house he was immediately greeted by his father sitting in front of the news and his mother finishing up dinner. The house was a cozy three bedroom that his parents bought right after his older brother Isaac was born. Four years later Mark came along and they talked about getting something bigger for their growing family. They continued to talk about it until it became apparent that their family might not be growing anymore. For his parent’s deep Mormon beliefs, this caused years of prayers and consternation. Up until six months ago, that is, when his mom came home from the doctor’s office, completely beside herself with happiness. She was finally pregnant again. Since his brother Isaac left for college, the house felt empty. Tonight it felt stifling.

            “You just missed Isaac’s call.  He wanted to talk to you.” His mother wiped a crumb off of the counter and leaned against it, her pregnant belly weighing on her.

            “I’ll talk to him next time.” He said quietly and tried to slip past her.  Her sense of smell had become stronger in the last couple months and he wanted to get Trevor’s smoke smell off before she picked up on it.

            “You haven’t talked to him once since he left to Brigham Young University.  I know he has called your cell phone.” Mark just shrugged his shoulders in reply and continued inching down the hallway to his room.  Even with Isaac off to school, he felt under his shadow. “Where were you, by the way?”

            “Just out with Trevor,” he said then regretted it, knowing where the conversation heading.

            “I’m not sure I want you hanging out with him so much.  Sandy, his mother, says he comes home smelling like smoke and…well…with what happen to Lindsey…” she struggled for the words as he took another step backwards.

            “Sometimes when he talks, he sounds a little light in the loafers,” his father finished for her.

            “LaVell!” she chided him

            “It’s the truth.  I’m not saying he is, but I haven’t seen him with any girls either,” he continued, not even looking away from the television.  Mark could see the top of his head, thinning hair desperately doing its best to hang on.    

            “I don’t have a girlfriend, does that make me ‘light in the loafers’?  Would you rather I knock some girl up now, at fifteen?” Anger was rising in Mark and he was doing a poor job at containing it.  He had been unduly tense lately. Since Lindsey and Hannah had been caught, he felt smothered in his own skin. He hated having to hide who he was to his own family, but he couldn’t see any scenario where coming out could possibly go well for him.

            “Of course not,” she said quickly.  “I just worry, that’s all.  There are a lot of negative influences out there.  This life is full of trials and sometimes it can be hard to make the right decisions.”  Mark grit his teeth, sensing another one of his mother’s dining table sermons.

            “Mark clean up and then set the table for dinner,” LaVell said standing from his chair and shutting off the television.  Grateful for the respite, Mark quickly did as he was told.

            After dinner, Mark lounged in his room, reading. His room was a typical teenager’s room; some clothes that hadn’t made it to the hamper yet, books and video game covers scattered about, and posters on the wall.   He had adorned the walls with a number of pictures of gorgeous super novae and space shuttles. His prized possession was a vintage Star Trek poster from the original motion picture. He turned the page on the book he was reading: Dahlgren by Samuel Delany.

It wasn’t a difficult book to read, but it was slow going. The story of a post-apocalyptic city in a non-post-apocalyptic world wasn’t the problem. An immense world of freedom resided in the pages, a freedom he yearned for, with little accountability for its main character. But there was also a sense of madness, of danger that lurked in the chaos that Mark wasn’t so sure about. He wanted freedom, he wanted a little chaos but he was afraid of the danger, and of the price. Grason, Idaho seemed too small for him, but it wasn’t the town, it was the people. Some days it felt like the entire population of fifty thousand suffocated him as he hid. He wasn’t just hiding behind a bedroom door, or behind a book; he was hiding inside his own skin. Every day and in front of almost everybody he pretended not to be gay and pretended that he wasn’t going against the church’s teachings. His family wouldn’t understand, they were Latter Day Saint and Idaho bred. Grason wasn’t some tiny hick town, but it wasn’t far off and bigger ideas sometimes took awhile to settle in.

            Few people knew his secret. Trevor and Jeordie obviously knew, as well as a couple of his classmates. None of his family knew, but he often wondered if his brother Isaac suspected. He never said anything outright, but Mark always got the feeling he knew something. It didn’t matter much as far as Mark was concerned. Isaac held rank as the Golden Boy in Mark’s mind.   He was the football and basketball player, got fantastic grades, and everybody loved him. But he wasn’t here anymore, he had gone off to college. Despite it all, Mark carried a sense of abandonment since his brother left to college. This abandonment was slowly turning to resentment, but it wasn’t personal, it was feeding a bigger discontentment. It felt as if he was crawling around in his own skin, suffocating and struggling while he died incrementally every day.

            Attempting to read to escape this scatter-shot mix of uncertainty didn’t help as much as he hoped. The main character of the story lived between lapses of time and in those lapses he found himself between beds of both a man and a woman. Something deep within Mark shifted and tried to come to the surface. With more practice, it became easier to swallow it down, but it was getting harder each time. The ease in which the transitions between loving man and woman occurred left him uncomfortable as he read on. If gay is a one-way street, he wondered, why am I always wanting to look both ways?

Remember kids: stay school, don’t drink and drive, and Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care.

 

Review – Coffee At Midnight by Brandon Ford

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  The clock strikes 12:00. A full moon hangs beyond the windowpane as the fireplace flickers and pops. Time to curl up in your favorite easy chair with a steaming mug and a cozy blanket. It’s going to be a long night.
  Follow a bevy of buxom ex-call girls as they embark on a cross-country road trip and happen upon a crashed UFO. Join a trio of friends as they assemble for a rooftop barbecue and share their darkest secrets. Watch as an intoxicated bridesmaid stumbles her way through a crowded wedding reception to give an impromptu toast, but instead bears her soul. Listen in on a heated telephone conversation between a jealous boyfriend and his coed girlfriend as she shares a strange story concerning a bizarre favor.
  Between the covers of this unusual collection, you’ll find these stories and many more, all guaranteed to tempt, tantalize, titillate the senses. In Brandon Ford’s COFFEE AT MIDNIGHT, you’ll experience a grab bag of ooddball situations and meet an array of quirky characters. So make sure the coffee’s strong, the fire’s warm, and the blanket’s soft. This’ll be a night you won’t soon forget.

When you start out with three hillbilly hookers running from aliens, you know that a story collection is going to take you places. Coffee At Midnight did just that. Stories that were at times slices of poignancy and other bordering on disturbing, they were all entertaining. Each story seemed to be an intimate look at people. From the hidden truths of Confessions On A Tar Beach to the desperation and madness of Elise. Ford also made sure to heap on the dark humor, such as The Claw End. This was a fine collection of stories that kept me going one right after the other.
I appreciated the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) turns the stories would take. By the end I just figured I would just go along for the ride and see where it took me. You might look HERE to see a previous review of another of Brandon Ford’s books that I did; Open Wounds.  Once again he has proven to not only entertain me, but engage me as well.

Click here for buying ==> Amazon

Click here for his websites ==> Brandon Ford’s Sleepless Nights, B-Movie Bonanza

Reviews and Interviews – Nicholas White

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Not Quite Your Regular Interview With Nick White

The Sly Lake Gang is the story of four estranged friends brought together through circumstance to face down a merciless killer -a monster connected to a strange incident from their childhood. Apathetic insurance professional Donald Borland reaches out for his adoptive brother Darren Lemay after a horrific accident. Darren, ever the leader, marshals the forces of their childhood friends Monica King and Dr. Patrick Williams. After a miraculous recovery, Donald and his friends return to their childhood stomping grounds: Clarkson, a sleepy retirement community nestled in Northern Ontario that harbors a powerful and unnatural force. Meanwhile Patrick’s old friend Jason Brower, a small town hero and police constable, is trying to save Clarkson from a bizarre and seemingly inhuman murderer. He reaches out to his friend and learns the dark secret that Patrick and his cohorts have kept quiet for nearly twenty years, kept by the pseudo superheroes who call themselves The Sly Lake Gang.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for character driven stories.  It’s always a bonus when those characters are thrown into a good plot.  The Sly Lake Gang by Nick White was a great example of this.  Starting out with an email exchange between two of the Gang, you get quick access to the characters.  As the story unfolds you learn more and more about the gifts that make these now estranged friends ultimately inseparable.  The villain of the story was unique because we got to ride around in his head.  It was creepy and thrilling to get such an intimate understanding of the process he was going through from both the in and outside.

This was a highly entertaining book that kept you going until the end. Here’s hoping for a sequel.

Tell us a little bit about yourself without once using the letter ‘e’.  NFL fan. Whiskey fan. Comic book fan. Lazy Shut in. Odd duck. Witty if drinking.

Sly Lake Gang centers around a group of people instead of just one main character. Did you find it more challenging than just focusing on one main P.O.V?   I found it somewhat difficult to be doing a third person narrative – bouncing between one character and another, but it became sort of a fun exercise. It breaks up the long swathes of writing you don’t want to do. I had always been a fan of the idea that the ‘narrator’ is lying to you. It is a challenge but eventually you can show the way character ‘x’ looks at a situation vs character ‘y’.

How much of yourself do you put into your characters? Would you consider a character in Sly Lake to be more you than the rest?  They all are to some degree. I mostly take a trait I certainly know I have (or people say I have), and shuffle things around. I take something I know I do and exaggerate it, or elaborate on it. That goes for any villain I write too. I take some bad behaviour, which we all might have practiced at one point in our lives, and push it to the limit. Gun to my head; Donald Borland.

What upcoming projects are on the horizon for you?   Well I think my next book is cool. I suspect my mother will agree. I am working on a sequel to Sly Lake Gang – but in the interim I tried to write a thriller that didn’t have any sci-fi or supernatural elements. I’m just about done that one and I am excited about it.

What do you judge to be the best Canadian beer?   This is deep. I’ll preface that as I drunk I love all beers in the spectrum. An everyday beer; I’d go “Amsterdam: Natural Blonde”. It’s local, but I am sorry it doesn’t have a cliché Canadian name.

Who are some of your influences? Bonus points for naming the influences to your influences.  Stephen King, (feel like no {one} needs to write that anymore), and his influence, Richard Matheson. Those two in particular because they teach you how to create a great psychic space in your book – without alienating your audience with ’’50 buck words’ so to speak. It’s vivid but it is never syrupy. I also love Cormac McCarthy. The style is wonderful and I dig him for the same reasons as Matheson. And the other end of the spectrum, where it is syrupy, Lovecraft. The idea of the antagonist not being evil; just indifferent to you living or dying.

Ask yourself (and answer) a question.  What do you look to do when you write a villain in terms of believability? I enjoy writing two types. A grey man, who walks between one choice and another, and opts for the bad guy choice. The other is the man being dragged into being the bad guy through no fault of his own; Frankenstein’s Monster, Brundlefly…

Ask me a question.  Night Shall Overtake is optioned for a movie deal. Gimmie a couple directors who could handle it. —Guillermo Del Toro, David Lynch, or Ridley Scott.  Though, for shits and giggles, I’d like to see what Mel Brooks did with it.

True or False: Agatha Christie was just Alfred Hitchcock in drag. Please explain your answer.  Excellent question. False. I feel if Hitchcock was in drag – he would own it. Maybe even kill it.

The Sly Lake Gang is available for your consumption at all the fine retailers you expect good books to be.  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at the Black Bed Sheet bookstore.

Don’t forget to stop by and say ‘Hi’ at his website.

There gonna be some changes around here…

Jesus, it’s been busy lately.  Between work, writing, the radio show, promoting my book, and all the stuff in between, I’ve been a busy boy.  I am not complaining though.  It’s either that or I sit around watching TV.  Or play Doom. Or with myself.

I’ve been slowly making some changes to this site but I’ve also been making changes in the way I’m approaching this whole thing as well.  I spent way too much time just dreaming about making things happen and now that I’m actually doing it, I am realize just how much work it takes.  Books don’t sell themselves.  Essentially I have to plan certain activities around certain days.  Writing is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday thing with extra time on the weekend.  Of course if the muse strikes (or slaps me upside the head) then it’s write when the iron is hot. (I’ve mixed my metaphors, pray I don’t mix them again).  The radio show is usually planned on Thursdays and finished up Saturday.  Tuesday has now become the official day of book whoring.  That’s where I beg and plead for book reviews and interviews, getting it on shelves, etc.

It’s officially time to get serious with not only the book, but the Headphone Bleed too.  Honestly, I started it to fuel my long standing fantasy to be a radio DJ.  I figured once I tired of it or it got in the way, I could just drop it and move on.  The problem is, I enjoy it way too much to give up on it now.  I want it to strive and succeed.  The only way to do that is to bring in more listeners and the only way to do that is to put some real work into it.  Maybe move out of my own comfort zone a little. This will mean more time and energy on my part spent on it, but I’m up for it.

So that means a few changes, not only to the existing structures I have, but with myself.  I’m adding a new page to the blog specifically for The Headphone Bleed and one for reviews and interviews.  I’m also looking at for a better place to post previous episodes of the show because it takes forever to load more on portable devices. (I’m up for suggestions if you got ’em.)  Also flirting with Facebook page for it, but we’ll see.

And as usual I will promote whatever the hell I feel like, but I promise to actually tell the people I’m promoting this time.  I swear.  Or you all can beat me to the punch and submit your work for promotion.  Whichever.

Time to shit or get off the pot.

Yes.
Yes.

Remember kids: stay in school, don’t drink and drive, and my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.