Bio

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

The REAL Meaning of TOP GUN

Look, we all love TOP GUN.  And if you don't, get lost.

But what's more important is the misunderstanding of what the movie is actually about.  The majority of people think it's about Maverick overcoming his immaturity to become the adult and hero he was born to be.  To become the best of the best while blazing a trail for others to follow his example.

Nope.

It's about what happens when genious and ability is fenced in by nuance, rules, and "the way things should be".

Here's some examples:

Maverick defeats the Russians at the beginning of the film by being a cocky wingman that does things his own way and then saves a mentally destroyed Cougar (who insisted on following the rules) by guiding him home (and by which broke the direct orders of his CO to land his plane because the tax payers own that plane, not him).  He wins, but loses fore not following the rules.  Yet he is rewarded by being sent to TOP GUN (because Cougar lost his shit for following the rules).

Move on to TOP GUN.  Maverick demonstrates that his audacity wins air-to-air battles.  Yet, he's punished for not following the rule book.  He's chief competitor, Iceman, follows the book to a T and is consistently praised.  Maverick realizes he can't beat Iceman at his own game but also conforms because of the Albatross that is Goose, his NFO.

Let's talk a moment about Goose.  He's a pilot, NFO, and Maverick's mentor.  He's also a family man in a world of testosterone and maleness.  He wants to be one of the boys but is also concerned about his family's welfare.

Basically, he's holding Maverick back because Maverick cares about him and wants him to succeed, too, without screwing up his career with his own hot dog stunts.  That's loyalty.

In essence, the only thing that can free Maverick and unloose his full potential and save the world is Goose dying.  So Goose dies.

It takes Mav a bit to recover but he does.  Iceman wins TOP GUN because he followed the rules better.  Yet Mav earns a lot of respect for bouncing back from losing his anchor.

Then shit hits the fan.  Gotta send these hot shot aces out to the fleet to save the world from Soviet Migs.  Nobody trusts Maverick so he's kept in ready alert status while all the rule followers go out to save the day.

Only they don't. 

They get their asses shot down or in serious trouble and Mav has to go save the day.

By not following the rules.

He does everything he wanted to do without restriction (other than not leaving his wingman).  His final kill is actually what got his ass in trouble at TOP GUN (hit the breaks and he'll fly right by). 

Essentially, the story boils down to: if Maverick ever wanted to reach his full potential, he had to blaze his own path, his partner had to die, his rival needed his help, and he needed to be himself and trust his guts.

Just like his old man should have done before dying in Vietnam.

With a new NFO in place of Goose named Merlin.  Which means he's pure fucking magic.

You're welcome.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Father & Daughter


My noir novella Father & Daughter is now available in e-book format.  It's about drugs, crime, murder, all that good stuff.  Oh, and a daughter's relationship with her father.  It's damn dark but I think it's good.  It was originally published under the title Stamped with Blood and under the pseudonym Lou McBride.  Now, it's under my name with a better title I think.  Anyway...

From the book:

From the novella:

"It started like any other night. I was high and drinking PBR. Dad was high and plotting hate and discontent.

We sat in his garage. I sandblasted engine parts while keeping an eye on the Monday night game out of the corner of my eye. Chargers-Raiders. I was a Raiders fan. Because Dad was a Raiders fan.

Dad fumed. Dad popped reds and gnawed on chicken wings. Dad spouted about Petey Clemons owing him twenty large.

This was my life. Drugs, whores, and Dad. This was me being a supporting daughter. At least complicit. Even enabling.

Sooner or later that had to change. And sooner was coming faster and faster and I had choices to make. Him or me."


KINDLE

NOOK

KOBO

Sunday, July 9, 2017

My Novel Faceless Now Available


Faceless, the novel-sized sequel to my novella Blood Spring, is now available in e-book format.  A print edition is planned for a later release.  The write-up:

Over a year has passed since the events in Blackwater Forest. Events that exposed the darkness hiding in Cainswell and Edom County as a whole. Sheriff Nate Lewis hoped the tragedy was behind him. Chalk it up to a bunch of crazy killers living in the woods and move on.

But things happen for a reason, and soon Nate finds himself dealing once again with the Faceless God. Only this time, it's not a statue or lunatic worshipers. It might be the read deal itself, hiding in the body of a college kid. A body it may be slowly taking over. But Nate has no proof. Only his gut instincts. 

How long can he wait to pull the trigger? And what can he fight a demon with if bullets won't kill it?


KINDLE

NOOK

KOBO

Friday, June 30, 2017

Blood Spring back in Print


My first novella, and first published paperback, is back in print in e-book.  Future paperbacks to follow.

Here's the details:

A husband and wife lost in the woods...
A feral family that worships an ancient god...
Who will make it out alive?

BLOOD SPRING: A Novella by Erik Williams

Book Description:

Henry just wants his garage back. Well, he wants his wife back, too. He lost both six months ago when Claire helped an injured deer on the side of the road. In went the deer and out went the BMW. Their marriage went on hold to save what some would consider a damn good meal.

But the day has come to return everything back to normal. The deer is healthy and Henry and Claire spend a quiet spring morning releasing it in the woods. Serenity soon turns to terror as they realize they are lost in the labyrinth of the forest with no food and hardly any water.

Food and water are the least of their worries. In these woods a long forgotten god is worshiped. Its followers believe in sacrifice, and Henry and Claire have stumbled into their dark world. 


"Some books are like grenades with the pin pulled. ... That's how I feel when I crack covers on an Erik Williams book. Handle this one with care... and watch out for flying shrapnel." - Norman Partridge

“Erik Williams. Underline that name, put it on the fridge. Erik Williams is the genuine article.” - Gene O'Neill

AMAZON

NOOK

KOBO

Friday, June 16, 2017

Drive-By Updates

Been a while.  Been busy.  Got this thing called a baby boy now to go with the three girls.  Oldest girl is now eight.  Twin girls are five going on six.  Boy is three months and shitting and puking with the best of them.

Work is always busy.  And it's hot and humid.  And it's times like this I miss that Mediterranean climate of San Dog.  But the price of living here makes it worth suffering.

Oh, my cat died, too.  I'll spare you the details other than I officially became a man that day.  So there's that.

Ok, on to the writing updates:



1.  My novel THE LONG FALL INTO SCARLET should be coming out soon from ROTHCO PRESS.  It's a reprint of my novel PROGENY, only with a better cover and ending that tilts more toward supernatural noir than horror.  Will let you know when it's up for pre-order and/or sale.


2.  My short story THE UNDEAD DEAD, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT is once again available on Kindle and Nook and should be available on Kobo and other e-book sites soon.  If you're not familiar, it's a funny short story about the zombie apocalypse told from the POV of two idiots.  Think WAITING FOR GODOT meets ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, only short and with zombies.  Plus it has a spiffy new covers.  Click the links above to find it.


3.  My novella FATHER & DAUGHTER is now available on Kindle and should be available soon on other e-book sites.  This was originally written a few years ago under the title STAMPED WITH BLOOD and under the pseudonym Lou McBride.  It was my attempt to go pure noir crime fiction and separate my work from horror.  It didn't work.  But I think the story still holds up and it's dark as hell.  At over 10,000 words, I think it's perfect for e-book readers.  Check it out here.


4.  As many of you know, HarperCollins passed on the third Mike Caldwell Demon series book.  Why?  Book sales suck and if you're not a name and can't get established through two books, good luck, fuck-o.  Also, they didn't lift a broken finger to promote either of the first two other than rely on me to do a bunch of guest blogs.  Yes, newbies, if you're going to publish through a big house and you're a nobody name wise, be ready to do all the work, not just the writing.  And yes, that also means driving people to buy paperback versions electronically because, again, you won't get shelf space in toy stores that once use to be book stores.  But hey, you might get a decent review from a well-know blog here or there.  Because people still read those like they used to.

Anyway, long story short, I decided to publish the third book myself.  WATCHER is now available in e-book and should be available soon in trade paperback.  I don't want it to be the last book in the series but if it is, I can at least say it does in a big BANG!

Enticed?  Thought so.

That's about it for now.  Stay tuned for more.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Did You Like...

Did you like my novel DEMON?  Did you like my novel (and awesome sequel to DEMON) titled GUARDIAN?  Well, if you did, I've got something for you...

The ALL NEW!

The ALL AWESOME!

The ALL SEQUEL TO...!

DEMON!

And GUARDIAN!

I give YOU!

In e-book FORMAT!

The INCREDIBLE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF MIKE CALDWELL!

And SOME OTHER PEOPLE!

IN!

WATCHER!

BUY IT NOW!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Random Post: Something You May Not Known About Me

In a meager attempt to get back into blogging, I give you a random post.

First off, I have a ton of excuses not to blog.  Let's see, in the last year I've changed jobs, changed coasts, moved a family of four (not including me), added another child to that family, saw sales for fiction fall into a pit of despair (at least mine), and got ditched by HarperCollins.  Oh, and I hate Google's ever fucking growing need to make you jump through more and more hoops just to log in to your own damn website.

While I'm at it, Fuck You! Yahoo!  Only a business as shitty as yours can make e-mail access more and more terrible.

And what's up with every website having more and more pop-ups that don't pop-up until you're, say, half way through an article.  Double middle fingers to you ass bags.

Anyway, I promised a random fact you may not know about me.  Ready?  Here it goes.

I have a degree in psychology.

I don't use it professionally.

I use it to fuck with people.

Like really get in their head and needle away.

All for my entertainment, and often those around who get to witness it.

If you've never seen me in action, I recommend attending a convention I'm also at (none in the hopper for the future, as of now).

So, that's that for now.

Go buy some of my books.  And feed a homeless guy or something.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

WHY I’M SUCH A FAN OF THE DAN LEBATARD SHOW w/ STUGOTZ

A lot of people out there who love sports talk radio hate The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz (from now on referred to as the DLS).  I hate most sports talk radio.  Not that I hate sports.  Just the opposite.  Because I love sports.  Capital letter S Sports is fun.  Sports talk radio is high-brow nonsense that does way too much navel gazing, takes itself way too seriously, and can’t admit most of the shit they talk about doesn’t mean a damn thing.  Most of all, the vast majority isn’t any fun.

The DLS, on the other hand, is just pure nonsensical fun that isn’t afraid to wallow in its own muck.  It embraces the oddities of not just the sports world but culture in general.  In a way, it’s a variety show that tilts toward sports.  It’s bizarre, absurd, but most of all, fucking fun.  It isn’t afraid to hug and kiss the random.  And usually when it does, there’s nothing greater in the world.  I like to think of them as the happy accidents that make the best stories one tells others.

Perfect example: on one episode the boys somehow descended into talking about how Sean Connery said he’d slap a woman if hysterical, mouthing off after being warned to stop, or just plain being a bitch (they didn’t agree with any of his reasoning, BTW).  From there, Connery impressions started up.  Then the perfect idea; invite callers to call in with their own Connery impressions.  From there, Dan started interviewing celebrity ‘90s singer Sebastian Bach.  Bach conducted the interview mostly doing a Connery impression unsolicited.  Meanwhile, Dan would cut Bach off every few minutes to have another caller do a Connery impression.  And the vast majority of all the impressions were terrible.  But all of it was damn funny.

None of the above is made up.  I’m pretty sure all of it took up an hour of a four hour show.

AWKWARD TRANSITION

A little of my backstory: I discovered the DLS a few years ago when driving home from work.  This was back when it was on in the afternoon drive-time on the West Coast.  I had a few options to listen to that included music, politics, or local Chargers talk.  I liked music but not on the drive home unless I wanted to just unplug from the world.  I didn’t mind politics but couldn’t stand the options.  Lastly, I fucking hated Chargers talk.  Usually, I’d just plug in the old iPhone and listen to a podcast.  But one day I stumbled upon the DLS.  After a few minutes, I was thinking, “What the fuck is this?”

It was equal parts THE GONG SHOW, MONTY PYTHON, SPORTSCENTER, ESPN 30 for 30, and NPR.

I was sold.

So, why am I talking about this?  Well, a few reasons.

One: damn it, I want a show T-shirt, Billy (XL if you decide yes).

Two: Pure joy.  Look, life is serious.  The world seems to be going nuts in the most random of areas.  I’m a father with three girls and a newborn son.  Responsibilities and fears way heavily on me.  The four hours I get from the DLS five days a week provide a kind of opiate/stimulant that allows me to divorce myself from the worries of the world.  In a way, it’s a meditation, a drug, a comforter, and most of all, a joy.  Within those four hours, I experience joy.

Let me give you some examples.

In late 2015, I was laid off from my job of six years.  Not a long time but I was an expert and coveted.  I knew my shit.  However, I battled personalities that didn’t mesh with mine and was downsized.  At the time, being the husband of a great woman and father of three young daughters, I felt not only like a failure, I felt despair.  Living in California at the time, it wasn’t like I could just sit on my ass and wait for a job to come to me.  Besides a mortgage, there was health insurance, car payments, and the ever shrinking royalties from my fictional writing career.  I was also the sole bread winner.  I worked hard so my wife could be a full time mom.  In an instant, that was gone.  We were smart enough to save money to cover such an episode.  However, the fear was still there.  And if you rely on a salary to cover your needs, you know how bad you feel when that salary suddenly dries up.

Failure led to despair.  Despair led to mild depression.  I was able to get several offers for new work within a few weeks and eventually landed a firm job.  However, over those few weeks, I can’t even describe how much I worried.  I’ve always had a job.  Even if I left one, it was for another.  And if I didn’t, it wasn’t when I had kids.  At that time, I often wanted to just sit in the corner, hug my knees, and sip scotch.

But I had the comfort and joy of the DLS.  As I updated resumes and applied for jobs and paced back and forth waiting for phone calls or e-mails to come in, I had the DLS always there to remind me life is fun.  The world is fun.  Spontaneity is fun.

The DLS taught me to embrace disgrace.  And smile while you do it.

I remember one morning, sitting there, wringing my hands, when it hit me, it can be bad but that can be good.

Then I sat down and downloaded the latest podcast of the DLS and listened to Dan and Stu ask Big Boi for football picks.  While I did, I put together a set of Lego’s.  And everything felt great again.

A few weeks later, I got a job and moved cross country.  Along the way, as I drove, I listened over and over again to the DLS.  I’ve driven cross country more than a dozen times.  It’s terrible.  Especially through West Texas.  But this last time, not so painful.  It was like traveling with friends.  Oh, and Adam Carolla, although I wouldn’t dare call him a friend.  He’s more of a common spirit.

It was during this drive cross country when Dan opened up on how he felt about the President and the MLB going to Cuba.  A lot of people didn’t like Dan’s stance.  I did.  I found it touching and profound.  I find it interesting that Dan was not born in Cuba but is profoundly Cuban.  I’m a white boy born in Cuba that only was there a few months yet longs to one day visit the place of his birth.  Listening to Dan and the story of his family convinced me of one thing: not until there is change, however, don’t be afraid to admit it is a special place and people that deserves so much better.

Three: the DLS is a fun drug that finds a way to make you think.  I don’t usually delve into the world of race and police and political injustice.  However, my world view has sharply changed since 2014 (personal, don’t ask) and some of the topics Dan broaches have hit certain strings on my heart that relate to what I’ve experienced.  And that’s speaking as a privileged white man.  If something can make you think while making you laugh, buddy, that’s special.

Four:  my kids love watching me laugh while listening to the DLS.  My youngest has an odd love for Stugotz (she’s five, so, that says something).  My wife knows my two man-crushes are for Dan and the Gos (she just smirks).  It’s almost become a family tradition.  They observe while daddy laughs but hey, daddy’s happy.

Five: it heals what ails you.   I dare you, when you’re at your deepest darkest sadness, to listen to the episode after the 2015 Steelers-Bengals wild card game, and not crack a smile.  I can listen to that on an endless loop and never tire of it.

Anyway, no one asked me to write this or even questioned why I love the DLS so much.  But as I said earlier, I have a newborn son and am looking forward to introducing him, one day, to the DLS.  Maybe not when Dan’s making subtle dick jokes or referring to nether regions, but eventually.  Yet also I wanted to express my gratitude to Dan, Stu, Mike, Billy, Roy, Fat Chris, Greg, and all the people behind the scenes, along with guest hosts Bomani, Dominique, Sarah, and Pablo (even though Pablo is a guy I’d certainly punch in the forehead if I was still in high school).

All of you have put together a show that means a helluva lot to me.  Being the selfish bastard I am, that’s all that matters.

Thank you.


Stu, sorry I didn't talk about you more.

And Billy, seriously, XL for the shirt.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Tonight's Title Game

I live in Alabama now.  My days of SoCal are behind me (except for work related trips).  My cost of living and quality of life have vastly improved (not that it was terrible before, the latter that is).  So has the seafood.  I'm closer to family, which is a huge help now that I have a fourth kid on the way (it's a boy).  Outside of that, I'm a pilgrim in an unholy land.

That may a bit harsh.  Let me explain.

I'm a Pac-12 guy.  If you don't believe me, see my last post about how the Rose Bowl almost caused me to completely lose all grips on reality.  Now my best friend will quickly jump in here and remind me that my allegiances to various sports teams has alternated over time.  That's true.

Look, I grew up bouncing from place to place.  I never lived in a sports town until I got to San Diego.  When I live in Virginia, you had the Redskins with Joe Gibbs (both of which I hate with a passion).  In Maine, you had the Patriots (who I've never hated.  They just sucked back then and now I'm just exhausted with them).  So for football, I embraced the Vikings, because they're vikings.  Oh, and I looked like one.

But they never won.  At the same time Bill Cowher (who I liked when he was an DC in KC) went to Pittsburgh.  So...I started gravitating to them.  For a year or so, I also flirted with the Cowboys.

Finally, sometime in early High School, I went with my family's home team, the Bucs.  It also helped to make a final decision because I was, and still am, sick of my said friend reminding me I wasn't a "true fan".  He, of course, loves the fucking Cowboys and Michigan.  He neither lives in Texas or anywhere close to Michigan.

Anyway, I've been with the Bucs a solid 20+ years.  Back off, bro.

As far as hockey goes, I started watching it in Maine and quickly embraced the Rangers and this cat named Messier and a philosophy of 60 minutes of hell.

Basketball: fuck who knows.  I love watching playoff basketball but outside of that, and the NCAA tournament, they tend to be pick-em seasons.  I loved the Jazz Stockton and Malone teams.  Outside of that, I've come to appreciate greatness.  So, I'm hoping for another Cavs-Warrior final.

Baseball bores me except for Game 7 of the World Series.  I've always tended to be a Yankees fan, although I hold a soft place in my heart for the loveable cheapskate Rays.  I came to baseball through the Braves because they were always on TBS.  However, never cared about them except for Fred McGriff (anyone nicknamed the Crime Dog is cool) and their starting rotation.

Wait, this was supposed to be an explanation.  Let's get back on track.

I hate the SEC.  I hate how insane SEC fans are.  I hate when I say thank you to some one around here, they either reply "Roll Tide" or "War Eagle".  I love football junkies.  I hate football arogance.

Tonight, I'm pulling for Clemson, even though I hate Dabo and his jerkoff face, a face that belongs more in Mayberry than on the sidelines.  However, Saban and Alabama are the Patriots of college football.  It was nice to see them matter again a few years ago.  Now, they're exhausting.

And I would love to see them play USC again.  Yeah, they destroyed us at the beginning of the year but I guarantee you, they have no desire to play us now with our offense and savant QB.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Last night, I sorta lost my mind...

...watching the Rose Bowl.  USC cause me to love them, hate them, detest them, and come full circle into the loving them again phase.  When I watch football, I am one of patience (if it's not my team).  I understand the game isn't over until it's over and there's always a chance.  But when I watch USC or the Buccaneers, a sumarily bench, fire, and poop on anyone who isn't doing what I expect from them.

Sorry for that.  I'm passionate.

However, regardless of that glorious outcome last night, I learned something truly wonderful.  Sam Darnold, the USC freshman quarterback, has the most poise, the most pocket awareness, the quickest release, and the best mastery of the game at his position since Dan Marino, John Elway, or Peyton Manning.  If he keeps his head straight, he will be an NFL hall of famer.  There's only been a few times I've watched college players and said, "will be great at every level."

Peyton Manning

Patrick Willis

Warren Sapp (on the field)

Calvin Johnson

Junior Seau

Adrian Peterson

Troy Palamalu

Now, yes, I've been wrong in the past.  I'm looking at you Chris Claiborne and Andy Katzenmoyer.  But, for the most part, once you watch enough football, you get a feel for who's going to be great.  I never thought Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Lendale White, Vince Young, or most from that same draft class were going to be great.  They were great college players.  Big difference.

However, those listed above had it.  So does USC's freshman QB.  Hopefully, he stays on the straight narrow and doesn't become the next Todd Marinovich.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Writer Quick Tip - Rights

In the previous post, I mentioned I'd gotten my rights back to Progeny and was republishing it as The Long Fall into Scarlet through Rothco Press.  So why bring it up again?

Because, if you're a writer, I highly recommend you always get your rights back, especially if the work was originally published through a small press.

So, how do you do it?

Simple. Ask.

Trust me, it's that easy.  Look, must small presses don't have much stake in your work other than inventory.  So, you could offer to buy out their supply so you basically put your work out of print (yet you have stock for conventions).  Or, you could simply offer to pay back an advance.  Or something else.  Either way, they're always open to negotiation because, frankly, unless you're the next Stephen King, you're just another headache they want to dull the pain of worrying about.

Plus, once you have those rights back, you're free to do whatever you want.  Like find another publisher.  Self-publish.  Throw it in the trash and pretend it never happened.  Point is, if you have your rights you're in control.

Unlike me with Demon and Guardian.  But that's a story for another occasion.




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Coming Soon from Rothco Press - The Long Fall into Scarlet

So, I have a new novel coming out soon from Rothco Press titled The Long Fall into Scarlet.  And by new I mean not-so-much new.  How's that work out?  Because this is a retitled reprint of my novel Progeny.

But hey, I've already published Progeny.  What's the deal?

Well, when it first came out, it was published by a small press horror imprint that was looking to do pulpy paperbacks and e-books.  I know the owner/editor (having done some cool projects with him before) and thought a pulpy supernatural noir novel would be perfect for his new line.  Unfortunately, it went to press against a lot of similar competition while, at the same time, the e-book market got flooded with a lot of self-published shit.  Not to mention the cover kind of spoiled the book and didn't really sell the actual mystery of the novel.  Needless to say, sales sucked.

Yet, I got a lot of great reviews, especially from fellow authors.  To this day, I believe it's my strongest work both in construction and voice.  At the very least, it's my most confident.

All that said, I thought it should get a second shot with a better, more noirish title and some revisions, including a different ending that will lend it to be the first in a series vice a standalone novel.  I got my rights back and shopped it around.  Rothco Press dug it and agreed, it deserved a second chance.

So here we are.  Soon, you'll get a chance to reread and new and better version of Progeny, now titled The Long Fall into Scarlet.


For man-for-hire, Frank Baldwin, it seems like the perfect job. Enter Mexico, locate missing pop princess, Melony Van Kyle, and return her to her father to collect $100,000. Easy. With his intricate knowledge of Tijuana’s seedy and dangerous underworld, Frank should have no problem locating his high-profile target. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right about his latest gig. When it becomes apparent that the missing girl may be connected to the death-worshiping Santa Muerte cult, Frank knows he should quit the job. His dreams haunted by visions of a burning Tijuana and a hideous death god, he pushes deeper into the mystery. When Frank is visited by the dead, he realizes that he is in too deep. There are forces at work in TJ … supernatural forces that proffer only death and damnation. And these forces have big plans for Frank … From the author of DEMON  and BLOOD SPRING.