Where New Pulp Lives! And from Time to Time...Dies!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Am I the only one who gets the feeling USC is handling this Sark decision totally wrong? Did he have to go? Yes. Should he have been counseled more seriously after the booster party controversy? Yep. Who handled all that? Pat Haden. The fact that Haden is getting a free pass on this is despicable. He is not a good AD. He should go back to broadcasting or lawyering or whatever. The fact the USC pres is doubling-down on him is out of fear of losing more recruits and/or active players to transfers. Fuck that. This football program is so fucked up I wouldn't play there and I'm an alumni. The perfect examples are: he kept Kiffin longer than he should have; he shit on Ed Orgeron on the way out even though he EARNED a second season; he hired Sark even though he was an OKAY coach at Washington but not exactly setting the world on fire. The Sark hire was the equivalent of a Norv Turner NFL coach hire. The program needs discipline. It needs toughness. It needs someone in the AD position that is an administrator, not a country club businessman. I hope parents of these players start suing for child endangerment. I hope USC has the balls to actually keep in contact with Sark and make sure he's getting what he needs vice kicking him in the gutter. And I hope Pat Haden fucking acts like a man and admits he fucked up rather than acting like he had no part in any of this. He ran down on the field during a game to argue a play but he can't find his coach. Fuck him. Fuck SC until they stop acting like The U. And for any recruits out there, seriously, go somewhere else until this ass-hat program gets its shit together.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Russian Traffic

I seem to get a lot of traffic on this blog from Russia.  If you're a publisher in Russia, or know of one, and are interested in publishing some of my work over there, feel free to contact me.  I hold rights to many of my books so I can negotiate directly.

And it doesn't just have to be Russia.  If you're a foreign publisher of all things dark, let me know.  The only books I have in a foreign language are BIGFOOT CRANK STOMP and PROGENY in Germany.

As an aside, I only speak English with a bit of German (very rusty).  So, all queries should, you know, make sense to me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Returning to the World

A lot of none of you have probably been wondering one of the following:

1.  Where's Erik?

2.  Didn't Erik swear a couple of months ago to blog/Tweet/engage more?

3.  Didn't Erik swear a couple of months ago to promote more, even though he didn't want to?

4.  Is Erik even alive?

Well, I am alive and yeah, I totally haven't done all the things I said I would do.  You see, I finished the manuscript for WATCHER and turned it in to the publisher.  I also finished my part on the next MONDO BLOOD book.  The latter was easy but the former wiped me out.  So, I decided to take August off.  No writing.  No serious blogging or pimping.  There were the few oddball tweets and Facebook posts.  Other than that, I shut down.

Yeah, that's not completely true.  I did some research, tossed around ideas for what I'm going to write next, played with some screenplay ideas, and put together a pitch.  Outside of that, nothing new.

And that was a good thing.  Because walking away for a while aloud that writing itch to start to come out of its numb/let me die state.  It wasn't a full blown intolerable itch yet, but it was at the annoying stage.

But then I got waylaid with a nasty cold last Monday which included a throat on fire, a voice lost but then found, a plugged ear that gushed for a few seconds after some nice pain, and a bit of a cough and congestion.  That ran it's course into Thursday.  Friday, the sinus infection decided to steel-toe boot kick my forehead.  You can imagine what came with that.  If not, rewatch Bill Murray getting slimed.  Along with that, a nasty chunky cough, more ear problems, and the inability to sleep without damn near choking more than an hour at a time.

Anyway, I'm feeling better ~knock on wood~ and am on the mend.  However, that itch has gone a little numb again.  So, I'm going to recoup, slowly get back into this kind of stuff along with Twitter and Facebook, and see if I can get that writing itch irritated again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Drive-By Updates

Been a while but for good reason.  Here's why:

1. WATCHER is finished!  Revised!  Sent to my editor!  Hopefully, she takes a while with it because I in no way want to look at that thing again for at least a month.  By far the hardest thing I've ever written, mainly because of the amount of characters and complexity of the plot.  Where as DEMON was a ticking-clock book and GUARDIAN was essentially a chase book, this one is much more in the vein of a multinational political thriller.  Oh, with angels and demons and such in there, too.  And the ending....let's just say everything everything get's totally messed up.  Where DEMON started small, this one goes big.  Now let's just hope HarperCollins buys it so you can read it one day.

2.  But while you're waiting for that, and if you have read DEMON or GUARDIAN, hit the link in the banner to find all the wonderful ways you can purchase and re-purchase both.

3.  I went to San Diego Comic Con.  It was fun.  I did a book...cover signing at the HarperCollins booth.  Did a Author Breakfast.  Watched Williams Shatner read from the Autobiography of James T. Kirk.  Met new people.  Ran from old people.  It was fun!

4.  I'm mapping out what's next.

5.  Mainly, I've just been trying to finish WATCHER.  Now it's time for fresh air and reflection.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Ask Me Anything - Favorite Movie Scene

Hard to narrow down.  And one I know won't be popular, yet, I know will be original.  One of my favorite movie scenes is in Heat.  Several, actually.  But when Al Pacino lands in a helicopter on an L.A. freeway, takes a car from a waiting cop, and pursues Robert DeNiro while Moby's "New Dawn Fades" blasts...pure excellence.

The Life of a Writer

Sometimes people ask me what it's like to be a writer.  What I've come to discover is this verse from The Dead Kennedy's "Holiday in Cambodia" best describes a writer's life.  At least, one who is still earning, rather than bathing in royalties.

You're a star-belly sneech
You suck like a leach
You want everyone to act like you
Kiss ass while you bitch
So you can get rich
But your boss gets richer off you 

Well you'll work harder
With a gun in your back
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers
Till you starve

Then your head is skewered on a stake

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Initial Theories on True Detective Season 2

Beware!  Here be SPOILERS!

Oh, and if you're still reading, I'm going to assume you've seen the first episode so I'm not going to provide a synopsis, provide character details, or recount in detail events that occurred in the show.  I'm just going to go bullet-by-bullet on my thoughts.

Here we go:

1.  There's no doubt there's a framing going on that references Greek tragedy.  We have all the Greek names (Antigone, Athena, the name of the stand-in Esalen Institue (where we last saw Don Draper)).  Oh, and we have a murder victim with his eyes burned out (hello, Oedipus Rex).

2.  Hmm...if the City Manager turned murder victim is a symbol of Oedipus Rex (Rex is Greek for King), then we can consider him, named Caspere, a small king of the city of Vinci (which is Latin for conquer).  He pulled all the strings and wrote all the checks.  So, this could be considered a king slaying.

3.  The person who killed him also cut his dick off and let him bleed out.  That strikes me as a personal act.  Couple that with all the sexual insanity found in old Caspere's mansion and you could easily jump to the conclusion that this was some kind of revenge killing.  I'm not buying it yet.

4.  Why?  Well, the mansion was thoroughly tossed.  Like someone was looking for something.  Probably money.  Which would indicate a bit of a robbery.   Someone with inside knowledge of the corruption behind the scenes.  That means the eyes and the castration could have been simple torture.

5.  But there's no indication of the murder taking place at Caspere's house.  They say all signs point to a kidnapping.  And they even say in the show he was bled out somewhere else.  In another scene, someone remarks Caspere hasn't been to work for a couple days.  My guess, he was kidnapped, taken somewhere else, tortured, revealed the desired info, kept alive long enough to confirm the location of the money, then finished off.

6.  Yet the money also feels like a red herring.  This, to me so far, boils down to that mysterious raven mask sitting on the front passenger seat.  It all at once screams CULT!  Remember in the last season when the trani hooker was describing being abused as a kid?  "They were all wearing animal masks."

7.  So maybe the actual goals was to claim the mask.  Why the mask?  To gain access to the cult, ala EYES WIDE SHUT?  Or maybe the mask is a symbol of being the leader of the cult.  A king of the city slain and king of the cult slain.  Let us not forget, Caspere had a crowned Santa Muerte in his office.  His queen?

8.  Where am I going with all this?  Shit, I don't know.

9.  However, I will say this:  if we dig into Frazier's GOLDEN BOUGH, we'll recall the idea that old religions were, in essence, fertility cults.  So far in this show, the men aren't getting it done on the kid producing side.  We've got one who has basically neutered himself because his ex-wife is a rape victim, we have another who is getting ready to start IVF with his wife, and then we got the poor bastard with the hot Latina but can't get it up.  Meanwhile, all the women sure seem to be randy.  Would it be shocking to discover some odd fertility cult acting behind the scenes?  And maybe, just maybe, the men that participate are powerful and influential (business as sex hoping for a mighty bounty)?  And the women who participate are willing because they've bought into some form of goddess worship?  Let us not forget this is set in California, home of hippies, New Age, Manson, communes, and all kinds of crazy shit.  Oh, and Scientology and the OTO.  And Jack Parsons.  And OJ.  Anything's possible.

10.  To bring this full circle:  I believe the hippy dad, Elliot, is behind the killing.  I think he's trying to gain control of the cult.  Or maybe it's revenge.  Something to do with his deceased actress wife who seems to have willingly drowned in a river (rivers sure do get mentioned a lot in this show so far - Styx!).  He's got an affinity for Greek mythology and tragedies, so the Oedipus reference makes sense.  As does the idea of a fertility cult.  It would be interesting if we discover the wife tried to cross that river as a form of tribute or self-sacrifice to the cult.

11.  And if this cult grew out of an old hippy commune, it would insinuate that his daughters might not be his own, or, at least one of them.  If Caspere was the father of one, and say Caspere later had sex with one through some form of prostitution (Athena sure seems to have a bad past), we might discover that Oedipus reference may be more on the nose than originally thought.

12.  But let's bring this back around to the raven mask.  You could say it "pecked" Caspere's eyes out.  You could also say it's a reference to Poe's "The Raven".  Remember, that's about a scholar dealing with loss, possibly dabbling in the occult, who is confronted by the haunting visage of a raven how crouches on a pallas bust upon his chamber door (perhaps one of Athena, goddess of knowledge), and constantly says "Nevermore."  The song that starts the show is called "Never mind." Do with that, what you will.

13.  Many will say, "But hey, the guy driving the car with the dead body was still driving around town while Elliot was up at the commune doing his lecture.  Yes, but a couple things.  One, we see the body loaded in the car and headed out in what seems like the morning.  They're heading from L.A., northwest on the 101, past Mulholland.  Yet we know they don't stop until well after night fall.  Elliot later says he doesn't go to the commune much other than a couple times a year.  So let's say it was him and he drove all the way to the commune with a body in the backseat.  Why?  Well, if you'll notice, when the body of Caspere is finally removed from the car for his final staging, he's being dragged. Yet his legs are perfectly perpendicular.  Knees remain bent, as if he's still sitting in the car.

14.  My guess, Elliot was driving around waiting for rigor mortis and sunset to set in.  He drove to the commune, did his little speech, hung out for a while, headed back south (Ventura county is northwest of L.A., which is Ani's territory), and once it was dark and once Caspere was all rigored up, he pulled over and set him on that picnic table, knowing his wasn't going to move until discovered.

Of course, I'm probably wrong about all of this.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My San Diego Comic Con Schedule

Looks like my Comic Con schedule is starting to firm up.  I'll be doing a book signing at the HarperCollins booth on the sales floor Thursday afternoon on July 9th.  I'll also be attending a HarperCollins breakfast with author event Saturday morning.  Specific times to follow soon.

No word yet on panels but I do expect to be on at least one.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

I'm not one for sentimentality, but today, I'm feeling a bit sentimental.  Maybe it's because my kids made me a Happy Father's Day card.  Maybe it's because my wife made me breakfast.  Maybe it's because I made it to mass ten minutes after waking up...

Point is, I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way.  But it's been a great weekend. I feel good.  Everyone is happy.  Why not share a great moment I spent with good old dad?

Time: circa 1999.

Place: Pensacola, Florida

Reason: We had just completed the eastern leg of a twosome cross country trip to go to amusement parks and visit family, especially my elderly great-grandma, in Florida.

On the return trip to San Diego, we stopped for food in Pensacola.  The location, an Arby's.  We went inside.  We stood in line for many a minute.  By the time we reached the counter, we we're starving.  Just hoping for some customer courtesy, we intended to put in our order.  But then, the guy behind the register echoed these, to me, immortal words:

"What you want?"

Exactly like that.  No courtesy. No respect.  Just a sort of demand.

To which, my dad, diverting from his normally infinite patience, decided to descend to the level of what any of us would do, said,

"What the fuck do you think I want?  I want some fucking service?"

Thank you for that moment, Dad.  Thank you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What I'm Looking Forward To This Weekend

Going to be a busy weekend as far as getting things done around the house.  I seem to have books and other various things piling up all over my desk and bookshelves.  In addition, my fig tree is going crazy.  Have already done two batches of preserves (yes, I can get down on the preserve train) and the tree is just getting started.

But what I'm looking forward to most is the premiere of True Detective Season 2.  Will it be anything like season 1?  Nope.  Will it be as good?  Probably not.  Will it be noir?  Yep, and that's all I need.  Plus, I want to see me some Vince Vaughn chew some scenery without being a the lunatic comedic actor he's been the last decade or so.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Social Media Goals

So, I've decided to commit to marketing on social media BUT do it from a truly real point of view rather than asking you to keep buying my shit.  Part of marketing is maintaining a presence.  My initial goals are:

1. Update this blog daily.  May involve pimping but no begging.

2. Tweet daily but only stuff I dig or want to say.  Zero pandering other than maybe pointing you toward something worth checking out.  Again, not begging.

3. Did I mention pimping?  Yes, at least one book pimp a day.  But it'll be matter of fact.  No fluff or words like, "This will change your fucking life!"  Although that statement is totally true in regards to BIGFOOT CRANK STOMP.

That's it.  Just three simple things to keep me plugged into the ever expanding mass of "hear me now" voices.

And yes, this counts as today's blog post.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Sales Flat Out Suck

Honesty time.  Ready?

Book sales suck.  At least mine do.  But I'm noticing a trend, too, among other mid-list to low-list authors.  Theirs suck, too, for the most part.  

Now, don't get me wrong.  I do sell books.  I have been able to pay a bill here and there, maybe even a chicken dinner with what I make.  However, I've noticed a downward trend over the last few years that doesn't seem to be changing, even though my output has remained steady, my online presence pretty constant in some form, and reviews of my works, on the whole, have been rather good, if not fair, and rarely have I gotten my teeth kicked in.

So what gives?  Here are my thoughts:

1.  I got in this game right around the time e-books took off in 2009.  I'd been writing short stories and novellas since 2005.  I sold my first book in early 2009 to a small press publisher.  I had yet to really build a brand or develop a readership other than those kind people are met online or at conventions.  So, I was starting a ground zero.

2.  2009 is also the year the economy really went to shit.  Yes, it start in 2008 but 2009 really went south.  That same year, a lot of small presses shifted to a different model out of need.  There was a lot of competition and fewer and fewer buyers of $50 hardcovers and $15 trade paperbacks.  E-books allowed for a cheaper avenue in hard times.

3.  I got lucky that my first book came out in early 2010.  I caught the last bit of small press buyers who were still willing to plop down $15 on a newbie.  I say lucky because that book got me a decent readership.  I had started to build the loyalty base.

4.  In 2010, I also took a risk and started self-publishing my own e-books.  Mostly short stories and novellas.  Stuff I had retained e-rights for.  There wasn't as much competition then.  You could put an e-book out and people would buy it because they were cheap, times were tough, and people were excited about this new way of book delivery.  Again, I got lucky, sold some books, and added to the loyalty base.

5.  Along comes 2011.  This is when I noticed the big shift.  In early 2011, I self-published a novel as an e-book.  And it went bananas.  I was making great money.  Not quit your job money but damn good.  Sales were strong through the summer and into the fall.  I was building great loyalty.  But then the flood gates opened.  Everyone started self-publishing.  More and more small presses were getting into the mix.  People started their own companies to help authors self-publish.  In the fall of 2011, I had another novel come out from a small press in hardcover and trade paperback.  Sales sucked across the board.  I kept the e-rights and self-published.  I figured, hey the first novel did great, so should this one.  It did okay but nowhere near the sales of the first.

6.  2012 - 2013.  Couple more small press books in paperback and hardcover.  Sales sucked except for the hardcover and paperback release of BIGFOOT CRANK STOMP  because who isn't going to read that book?  However, I did notice that my e-book sales continued to fall.  More and more.  Every month.  I wasn't gaining many new readers.  The loyal ones already bought the books.  And competition was growing and growing.  I realized then, I was a low-list author stranded on my small island of loyal readers and fighting tooth and nail just to get noticed by some passing airplane or ship to rescue me.

7.  2014 to the present.  More books.  Same trends.  Falling sales, even with bigger houses publishing my stuff.  More and more competition.  Everyone's marketing.  Everyone is yelling to be heard.  Everyone wants your attention even though people seem to have shorter and shorter attention spans.  The economy still sucks.  People would rather spend money on games and apps than read.

So what do you do?  What do you do as a mid to low-list author?  Quit?  Trust me, I've considered it. I can't, because I love writing too much.  But when you look at the work-to-reward ration, it's depressing as hell.

No, you just keep grinding and hope you get lucky.  Hope something just clicks.  Hope to add a few more loyal readers to your slowly expanding island.

Most of all, you stop worrying about sales.  Because if you're doing that, you're probably not writing.  Which has been part of my problem lately.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Holy Cow...

...I haven't been here in a while.  Which means one of two things:

1.  I've decided to quit blogging.  Or have quickly lost interest in it.


2.  I've been busy.

Yeah, it's 2.

Had jury duty last week.  Been dealing with deadlines.  Still grinding away at the third book in the Mike Caldwell series (10k words to go).  Swam down the rabbit hole on true crime books (part research/part genuine fascination).  Oh, and revised a short film script (which will receive another revision soon once I get notes).  And sold a short story to a big anthology.

Nothing else really to report.  Go buy DEMON.  Go buy GUARDIAN.  Go buy something else I wrote.

Trust me, I'm still working.  Just not very vocally lately.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD and Commentary on Things


So, there's been a ton of debate on MAD MAX: FURY ROAD in regards to feminism, war, the male need to dominate and destroy, etc.  It's a healthy debate, one with deserving observation, if not deep reading.  A couple of quick thoughts on my part:

1. Is it feminist: yes, in that women play a strong role, they fight for their right not to be treated like property, to resist a culture of de-humanization and subjugation, oh, and have a badass warrior in Furiosa. I prefer to look at the movies as more pro-human than an other -ism.

2. Is it anti-male: absolutely not. A better way to describe this film is anti-inhumanity.  Look no further than the War Boys.  If the women are treated as Breeders, the men are treated as Destroyers.  They are brainwashed from birth to die at Immortan Joe's bidding to reach Valhalla. I would say they are just as much a victim of this world Joe has created as the women.  So to get the world they need, it takes one War Boy and a few women to team up and upset the order of things.

3. Is it cynical: maybe but I see a lot of hope and redemption in it (hell, they talk about it enough). Is Furiosa awesome, yes.  But she also has an incredible amount of guilt she's carrying.  She was Immortan Joe's right hand for a long time.  That's a lot of lives on her conscience.  But now she wants to redeem herself.  As does Max.  In the end, they win but only Max is the one left feeling he still has work to do in his leaving.

4. Is it anti-war: yes, but again, I'd say it's more pro-humanity.  Immortan Joe has obviously conquered his bit of real estate, as has his fellow chieftains.  And those three chieftains have obviously signed treaties of a kind to trade in gas, bullets, water, and mother's milk.  But I would hesitate to say Joe is pro-war.  He seems, at this stage, to just be pro-family (the survival and propagation of his line by whatever means necessary) and status quo (breed, keep the minions in check, and parade in public every once and a while). And it's very much pro the overthrow of these terrible chieftains by force.  A just war, if you will.

Lastly, I would say it's very pro-heroism.  Saving people, dying for one another, sacrifice, fighting for freedom....I could go on and on.  What it all boils down to is that Max, Furiosa, and Nux all eventually do the right thing.  And they do it as a team to save a bunch of people.

Maybe why that why this flick resonates so much.  Because it's not just about explosions or cool effects.  It actually has great depth of character and story.

Oh, and it's totally batshit insane.

Friday, May 29, 2015

DEMON, GUARDIAN, and the Next Book

Just a reminder that both my latest books, DEMON and its sequel GUARDIAN, are now available in both e-book and mass market paperback.  I'm finishing the third book now.  Although the publisher has first right of refusal, there is that tricky word refusal.  In that, they don't have to publish it, only consider it.  Which means sales need to be pretty good on the first two books.  Which means if you want to see a third book, encourage others to pick up a copy of the first two (because I already know, you loyal readers, have already picked up copies for yourselves).

Come on now, let's get pimping!