A much-dreaded holiday rant

I’m about to get a little soap-boxy, people, but I think the title said all that and more. All the same: brace yourselves. It may get a little preachy up in this here blog post.

Christmas season is in full swing. Yards, houses, street signs, and every imaginable surface is bedecked with bright and brilliant lights, holly and garland, and will soon be a January-long reminder that maybe a little less could be considered more for Christmas next year. If nothing else, it has definitely reached that point where everyone seems to be getting progressively more frazzled. Listen closely, and beneath the jingling bells and choirs of angels you, too, may hear the sound of fraying nerves ready to snap at any moment. I can relate. There are a lot of gifts to remember to purchase at the last minute, wrap, rewrap, get drunk while wrapping for a third time, and so on. That’s probably not the most common experience so much as a crippling reminder that I am utterly incompetent at preparing gifts, actually. Continue reading

Today’s big book-related news

Better known as the post I have deliberately been shuffling my feet towards writing because I wanted to make a few key people wait. Probably not the nicest thing I’ve ever done. Moving on.

For anyone who missed it, Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King is now available for purchase on Amazon. That’s a tidbit of information that still makes me want to weep in a mix of joy and terror; joy because ohcrapohcrap I’m a published author (though that point was made true earlier this year, but not in terms of being a published author who has a book available), and terror because I’m already stockpiling comfort food for my first one-star review. Ben & Jerry will be my two closest friends, and I will run the risk of becoming the hippopotamus requested for Christmas in what I still consider to be one of the worst holiday jingles ever written.

Winning this publishing contract has been a great thing for me. It’s a step towards my dream of being able to say I’m a writer for a living, or at least for part of my living, and I’m still sort of in that weird state of disbelief. Continue reading

Become your own hero

And other one-sentence platitudes straight from the School of Shallow-Thinking Drivel-Poop.

I jest.

A very big influence in my writing, which is the same very big thing that can be applied to most any artist and their works, is the works of authors I hold in very high regard. Pratchett, Gaiman, Moore, and so on. People who have written works (books, short stories, and anything else) that have left me wanting to create something just as amazing as what I’d just read. Writing with words blended in such a masterful way that I just had to sit down and get to my own creative processes. This is both a wonderful and treacherous thing as it makes creating a balancing act.

On one hand it would be very easy to follow in the footsteps of one or more of the previously mentioned writers, borrowing bits and pieces of their styles and voices as it suited me. I imagine, with the right level of effort and patience, such writing could yield a very strong end result that would read almost entirely (but not quite) like a work of my own hard labors. Continue reading

Once upon a time, I got a book published

Well, more specifically I should say that once upon a time I won a book publishing contract that resulted in getting a book published. As a quick, highly-related aside: my backspace key seems to be sticking, so correcting errors is a real treat. Already prepared to say screw it and have typos from here on out. We all know that isn’t going to happen.

Right.

“But Phil,” you might say, “why are you saying published in the past tense?”

What an excellent question, convenient question-asking post-device persona. That’s because, and I’m both very excited and slightly anxious (for no good, real reason) to announce, my first novel, Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King, is now available for purchase here.

Needless to say, this is really crazy exciting stuff for me, even if I haven’t fully processed it because I’m still partially lost to my Thanksgiving feasting-induced food coma.

Check it out and please consider picking up a copy (or two or ten; it would definitely be a great non-denominational holiday gift). There will be a Kindle version available down the road, and I’ll be more than happy to link to that as well.

Post-Thanksgiving, post-hiatus…er, post

It certainly feels like it’s been ages since my last post, which makes sense since I dropped off of the planet (from a blogging and social media standpoint, at least) after the hundred days of blogging finished up. Thanksgiving reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for, and Black Friday reminded me that people are absolutely, completely, and irredeemably insane at times (but not all of them, so at least there’s that). I somehow, to the surprise of quite a few people, lived through another trip around the sun. I’m now a year closer to thirty, which feels a bit odd to say because my childhood goal-mapping said by this point I would either be a sagely old man dispensing wisdom or an all-powerful overlord of all creation, but I appear to be neither. Maybe that’s for later in the year. Continue reading

The hundredth day

I’m actually fairly sure this is probably day hundred and ten or something, but because I wasn’t particularly detail-oriented with all of my mobile posts they weren’t all properly filed. And so this marched along, a proud little soldier, until the very bitter end. My god this has been a long time. It was, if nothing else, a very impressive learning experience in what I’m capable of (and not capable of) as a blogger.

This was certainly a study in self-torment, make no mistake there, but it was really more of a study of myself overall. How I could, and would, handle daily posting despite work, a move, several major life events (I’m looking at you, journey to Chicagoland), and so on. It involved lots of pictures, a good few thoughtful posts, and a good few lazy posts to just meet the quota. And a fair bit of cheating by fudging the time-and-post-based rules. That last bit let me pretend to be something of a time-traveler, which I won’t let anyone take away from me (save for, perhaps, an actual time-traveler, but only on the condition I get to see all of time and space; ahem).

Coming up with consistently high-quality content is not my forte. Doing so on a daily basis proved quite impossible for me, especially given the number of other events life threw my way. Like the only semi-expected move that turned into an absolute shit-show for a number of reasons, the least of which being my rather sudden ankle sprain. Ultimately, the whole thing taught me I can’t force these posts to happen without some sort of eventual detriment to the overall quality of what I’m creating. Surprise.

This paragraph is starting with another word than however, because when it lined up the way it was with the WordPress post builder it spelled out BITCH and that seemed both hilarious and inappropriate.

Eventually, perhaps if only because of this intense and crazy hundred days, I will be taking a short hiatus from regular posting to recharge.

And partially because I am now embarking on the adventure of exploring the possibility of grad school. But that is a post for another day, I think.

Go out there, folks, set your goals and slay them like dragons.

Wibbily wobbily, spoilery-woilery post ahead

That was physically painful to type, by the way. Before I get into the actual post, given my neglect this weekend, I would like to half-apologize for the last couple blog posts. It’s a half-apology because I was having a wonderful time quite some distance away from all of my troubles. It was spent in the company of two of the most fantastic people I know and it gave me a chance to finally meet a couple really terrific people as well. Drinks were had, tabletop games were played, and I had some of the best times I’ve had in a while all crammed into a weekend. I’d also like to point out that the Hyatt House in Dulles, VA, was the best hotel experience I’ve ever had in all of my travels. Great price, great customer service, and the rooms are like tiny homes-away-from-home without that weird feel of actually being in another person’s house using all of their appliances, their bed, and their shower. That’s a universal feeling most people, I imagine, have while staying at a hotel. Continue reading