Wilf Nelson: New Author To Watch For

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One of the reasons I like Google+ so much is being able to discover new authors, talk to them and have a level of interaction that I don’t get from Facebook or twitter (and endless self promo spamming doesn’t count as an interaction). Wilf Nelson is one such author. I was very impressed with his intelligence, and love for writing, and when I learned he had a book coming out, I wanted to take an opportunity to interview him. What follows was conducted via email over hte past couple of days,

 Tell us about yourself

I am a psychology student at the university of Birmingham My scientific, logical passion is psychology and researching the mind; my creative passion is writing novels, making stories people enjoy and figuring out new ways to tell stories or themes. I love films and video games as well as books because they offer a more visual and sometimes more interactive art for people. When it comes to books I love the old Victorian science fiction as well as Fitzgerald and Ian McEwan to name a few.
 What can you tell us about your novel, 3 days to Earth?
It is a bit of a satire of how paranoid science fiction and crime novels can be. The blurb is the best way to get a quick view of the book, not to mention the 10% freeavailable on the Kindle store.

“3 days on Earth looks at a world we all know, a post apocalyptic disaster with the world scarred, the population crippled and aliens making contact. But it is not the end, the aliens called the Helpers rebuild the world for us and let us live in a beautiful world of tomorrow capable of supporting the millions of those blind after the radiation bloom from Earth’s destruction.

The story follows Mark Trayler, a detective versed in burglaries and household arguments, now having to solve the first murder in twenty years. With the world watching him for the answers Mark becomes one of the most important figures in the world

What drew you to science fiction as opposed to other genres?

My stepfather when I was young was the only one up as early as me on the weekends. He would watch doctor who omnibus as well as old or cult science fiction films. Once i was a bit older i began to read H.G. Wells, H. Beam Piper, Harry Harrison, Edgar Rice Burroughs. These authors showed me the future and what we were heading towards, but also how to solve the problems and if it is humanity’s nature. So when i found myself wanting to write about people, the fear of aliens, the fear of the apocalypse it felt like a natural choice.

Who are some of your favourite writers?

I guess I’ve mostly answered this but H.G. Wells, Ian McEwan, Fitzgerald. These writers create very fun, very clever novels where you have to pick apart the narrator not just the plot. Also they write (spare Ian McEwan) very short novels most of the time that I can read on the weekends between finishing one book I’m writing and starting another.

What do you hope to readers will take away from 3 days on Earth?

That literature doesn’t have to be dark to be interesting, that the villain doesn’t have to enjoy or even want to do what they are doing and really just to enjoy the nice parts of the books as they make you smile while the dark parts only make you sad in the end.

 What are you currently working on?

My new book doesn’t have a name right now. It is about an ‘Oxfam’ like company in the future where instead of going to countries in distress they go to times of distress. It is set in the Black Death where they are handing out painkillers and muscle relaxants secretively to help. It is not done for profit nor did the company cause the Black Death as friends and family have guessed; just people trying to help others. There is more but for now that is all i want to say.

Is 3 Days On Earth a stand alone novel, or the beginning of a series? Will it be ebook only or are there plans foe a paperback copy?
3 days on earth is not a stand alone book. It’s sequel is the Clockwork Men that will be out this winter
As for the paperback both 3 days on earth and clockwork men will have a paperback version on amazon by the end of the year. If you cannot get the book on kindle it will be on other ebook formats within a fortnight.

 Where can readers pick up your book?

Right now it is available on a kindle or kindle ready devices such as iOS (apple products) and Android devices.

U.S. Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/3-Days-Earth-Ambassador-ebook/dp/B00FC6V498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380077983&sr=8-1&keywords=wilf+nelson

UK Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/3-Days-Earth-Ambassador-ebook/dp/B00FC6V498/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379794199&sr=1-1&keywords=3+days+on+earth

Branching Out

It’s not that I don’t love you all, because I do,  but I’ve been doing some posts on another blog.  In an effort to branch out a bit, I’m submitting posts over to talk backer.com. I’ll be posting about the site in a day or two, but in the meantime I have 3 articles you can check out over here.

http://talkbacker.com/author/scottcolbert

Heart of A Poet, Mind of Roadkill (with talent to match)

The first sale I ever made was a poem for the anthology DEATH IN COMMON.  While the antho is no longer in print, my poem is available in my sampler DETRITUS. It was probably the hardest I’d ever worked on anything in my life. There were probably 20 drafts and half as many versions.  The editor (and a friend) Rich Ristow was incredibly helpful and patient, making my contribution FORGOTTEN SON something I take much pride in.

Nikita also wrote a poem. While it’s not as bad as some other work I’ve reviewed…oh who am I kidding, it’s shit. The piss poor writing aside, it also details his feelings about 9/11. As the anniversary draws closer, I thought it appropriate to critique: THE SEASONS OF BLACK SEPTEMBER. A big thank you to Lewis for pointing this out to me.

Note: All misspellings and double commas (!) are from Nicky. 

Prologe: Reminders of Forever

no more
one more
emptiness
that I cannot ever tell,,
no more
one more

No more, yes! One more? Dammit. For someone who frequently uses expressions like I cannot ever tell, you never seem to stop babbling.

no more
one more
one more horror in the sleep
no more
one more

Patterns I am sensing. Talent, I am not.

years to come — cemetery graves,

As opposed to say,  the bakery graves.

I watch the towers fall
I watch the many die
no more, one more
one more mourning

I’m going to guess he had a rainman like obsession with one more.  Nothing wrong with repetition if it serves a point. If it’s the only words you know however…

I. Clay and Dust

I am one — yet no one, 

Can’t argue with that.

when angels cry their blood,,
only then we begin — crucified,,
impaled by our thoughts — slaved,
lead into salvations — enslaved,,

I’m not sure he knows the difference between crucifixion and impalement.  I’d settle for either rather than have him go on. And yet he does, trooper of turds that he is.

dying — this is my suffication,
horror — flames melting my flesh,,
decay — blackness of hell around me,,,

Not sure what suffication is, but it can’t be any worse than an eternity of having this read to me over and over.

melting flesh — flowing blood, clay and dust,,
full blood moon — raising brighter in black,,

Melting brain overflowing with illiterate scibblings.  full stomach about to raise and splatter.

II. Ashes and Blood Flow

when we allow all the blood flow,,
the question without the reason,, 

Blood flows, that’s what blood does (along with other amazing things but I won’t bore you with my lack of scientific tidbits), but what is with these double and triple commas? No doubt he’ll have some excuse though it still boils down to lack of knowledge of and talent.

death in the end is only the beginning,,
take the tour of hell my friend — here it is

Could have told me that in the beginning and saved me from reading this. Fucker.

III. Untold Omen

dying tomorrows, lost my sorrow,,
of what hope is sinking forever,, 

My hope of you making sense sank long ago. I know the feeling.

where our truth turned into the lie,,

Or in your case where the lie turned into a greater lie.

IV. Seasons of Rust

as it comes where I walk alone, 

I could say something really disgusting about this, but then I’d never sleep again. Suffice to say everything he does is alone.

fires — were we have no more control,,,
time — as it ticks slowly down into night,,,
horrors — as they cannot be defined,,,

Crap, we’re back to the undefined again. Though if a word could ever describe this work, undefined is as good as any.

V. Stygian Skies

do we see inside our own demise
gathering in the travels to stygian 

Umm, yeah, I got nothing for this bit of nonsense.

as it remains the memories of the day of Black September,,,

The best I can suggest is remember those who lost their lives, but forget this turgid, incomprehensible, waste of time. It does far more of a disservice than anything else in recent memory.

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Getting Submissions The Pacione Way

First, you start by posting a self pic giving the camera your stubby middle finger. Follow this up by making a face as if you just pooped your pants. Third, make sure it’s so low res that it appears blurry and blotchy (though in this case, it’s an improvement). Since he’ll scream if I use the picture here, go take a quick look. http://unclefossil.wordpress.com/ Note: I am not responsible for any ill effects you may succumb to by viewing said photo. Proceed at your own risk! 

Once that’s done, refer people to wikipedia because you’re too incompetent to say what you want. Assure potential submissions that it will take 5 editors to make it coherent, then confuse them by calling yourself an executive producer.

Also, make sure you let everyone know your crap will be the lead story, no matter how much better other stories may be (let’s face it, anything will be better than his).

Refer people to a social network to get ideas for characters. Since Nicky has no clue how to create a character, he thinks everyone is as ignorant as himself.

Finally, pimp your own work in a lame attempt to make sales.

Do all that, and you can be as successful as Lake Fossil Press!

The Cabbie Homicide – One Cab Ride You Want To Avoid

And not because of the homicide, but it was typed by our favorite fan fic writer. Nicky “two kitchens” Pacione!  You may be wondering how I coulddelve into another one of his scribblings so soon, and the answer is I dipped into my kitty’s stash of catnip.  It was either that or the banana peels.

Oct 13, 1993. I remember that day as the day a friend of mine took the life of a cab driver in Itasca, Illinois.

August 15th, 2013. I remember this day because it was when my nervous system and brain activity spun out of control, near irreversible damage done by just one sentence,

 I have a lot of questions of that night of what went through his mind — and wanting to know why he threw away his life at 17 years old.

I have a lot of questions too, like why would you think you could actually write? I’d suggest basket weaving or collecting toe nails.

here I am close to ten years later writing of this horrifying crime —

Because I haven’t had an original idea since thoughts of model bound up being bombarded by Richard Matheson novels.

As it was written in our school paper

Never mind local news, television or even a pennysaver, when you need info, you go to your high school newspaper.

and there was nothing I was able to say to warn them about it.

That’s due to the fact you dodn’t know about it until long after it happened, dipshit.

Then the next thing I knew was that there was a clipping from The Daily Herold. It was almost out of the pages of a bad nightmare that I was not able to awake from

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the thoughts that are still there are what would stay in the shadows wandering.

The bad writing is still there as well.

the questions as there were many when they sat in the courtroom and the horror drawn out from the drama of the jury.

What was the jury doing that was so dramatic? Shouldn’t they have been paying attention? Perhaps victims of your inability to string words together in a coherent fashion.

“You mean to tell me that you knew the murderer,” asked the Cab driver who was driving me from the sporting good store

Bwahahahahahahaha! We all know they greaseball would never go to a sporting goods store. well, unless he was picking out a new sleep sack.

 “I was supposed to do that call that night. The driver that died that night was a friend of mine,” he added.

Totally didn’t see that coming! Oh wait, yes I did.

“Holy shit,” the driver responded, “you are sure brave to write about this. I don’t think if my friend was a murderer — I would not of even tried to write about it. It would scare me so shitless that I could not even sleep at night.

Don’t worry Mr. Cabbie, Pacione is still afraid of his own shadow, and runs away screaming like a little girl.

With that I know it must be done — this narrative in the sense that I try to find the words to describe that he had done,

Well it isn’t, there’s still five more paragraphs of this crap. Don’t tease me!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/i_S7LOcgxa4]

I can’t. I just can’t.

Someone call me a cab.

The Important Friends

I originally posted this on facebook, and decided to do it here as well. I hope it moves someone to tell a friend how much they mean.

I want to thank everyone for all the wonderful birthday wishes. They are deeply and truly appreciated. However I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a few words and a happy birthday to one of my long time friends Joseph Adams.

Joe and I met back in the late ’80s, and became very good friends. We shared a lot of the same interests, including writing. He taught me the difference between a writer and a dilettante: that not everything needed to be turned up to 11. We read each others work, ate a lot of Chinese buffet and we wrote.
When Joe moved to California, he taught me how to say goodbye, and if we saw each other again it was icing on the cake. We did see each other again when I moved to the Bay area in 1990. We worked on and wrote plays, went to meetings, and he showed me the best burger joint in Berkeley. As things so often happen, I was not the nicest or most put together person, and I moved back to Phoenix on less than pleasant circumstances.

And yet, back in January when my publisher and I parted ways and I felt the weight of the world on me, I found Joe right here on FB. I won’t say it’s like nothing changed as that would be a lie. We’re both older, wiser, I hope anyway, and different.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write this from the bottom of my heart Joe, I’ve missed you all these years. You were a far greater influence on me than you’ll ever know. I wish you the happiest of birthdays, the best of health and lots of sales.

Writing Updates

I wanted to give a brief update on what I’m working on, and what you can expect to see from me in the future.

The new book I’ve been working on (less and less I might add), LONELY ARE THE DEAD, has caused me a lot of problems recently. I know the story, have a pretty good idea of where it’s going and how it will end, but having problems on exactly how to tell it. When I first started, it was written in 3rd person. After several thousand words, I found an emotional disconnect which would kill the themes I wanted to get across, so I switched to first person. This seemed much better until I started working in a subplot which follows the main story from a different perspective. First person wouldn’t work for this area. I’ve played around with the idea of alternating between two first person narratives, or first person and third person. Neither of which I’m particularly happy with, so it’s kind of sitting there tapping its toes impatiently, waiting on me to make a decision.

I finished an 1100 word short story THE DAY LLOYD CAMPBELL’S MAMA CAME TO TOWN, and doing some final edits on it, before I send it out here: http://cussedness.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/call-for-submissions/. If accepted this will be out in 2014.

On the heels of that I was asked by a long time friend (nearly 30 years now) to submit a story for an anthology he and his partner are putting out. It’s all local writers (aside from me) in the Portland OR area, with a Lovecraft theme. I already have somewhat of an idea of what it will be about, and a title A HINT OF LILAC. I’m very happy to have a chance to do this because 1) I’m not really a short story writer. I’ve written my fair share, but novella length works seem to be what I do best, what I enjoy most. 2) It will give me a chance to introduce a character I’ve had in my head for awhile now, Private Eye Napoleon Santerre.  Not only was he character in LATD, but I had plans for him for my book after, THE COMMITMENT OF ERYLE HARRIGAN.  Being able to introduce him in a short story is going to be a plus.

What’s THE COMMITMENT OF ERYLE HARRIGAN about you ask? Originally it was going to be my Lovecraft homage. Well, an homage in my own twisted way.  The one sentence summary is young poet goes crazy, is committed to an insane asylum and disappears 40 years later, only to reappear in 2013.  That’s really all I want to say.  This is going to be a bit of a historical novel, bit of Lovecraft, and some wibbly wobbly timey wimey things.  I think I may head right into that after I finish writing A HINT OF LILAC.

Despite the fairly simplistic plot of LONELY ARE THE DEAD, it may be a bit too much for me to write, at this point and maybe working on something else, will allow me to get the right tools to finish it off.

Look for THE COMMITMENT OF ERYLE HARRIGAN to be out by Christmas time if all goes well.

Ageism, Getting Older, and the new Doctor

In six days I turn 48. Not one of the milestones to be sure. Certainly not like turning 30, 40 or -gasp – 50! But for my own reasons it is. My Dad was 48 when he died, and while the chances of that happening are probably pretty slim, it still weighs on me. As I get older, I’ve noticed how much ageism exists in society. While it’s not to the extent of say, racism, class warfare, or homophobia, it does exist, and it has affected me.

I started thinking about this today because of the revelation of the new Doctor. 55 year old Peter Capaldi will be the new Doctor Who, replacing the 31 year old Matt Smith.

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When the announcement was made, the reaction was interesting. Many of us long time Doctor Who fans cheered as it was a return to the Doctors of yore. For others who haven’t seen anything prior to David Tennant, or maybe Chris Eccleston it was a huge let down. While there were younger Doctors (Peter Davison was 30 when he played the fifth incarnation), none had the rabid fanbase of Matt Smith or David Tennant.  Certainly none of them had the looks of either of them as well.

So it was with at first bemusement, then annoyance and now outright anger that I began sifting through all the reactions.

“Too old!”

“Too ugly!”

“The Doctor should be someone you want to snog, not whose diaper you’d need to change!”

As a society we’ve been led to believe that youth and beauty are the only important things. Who cares about education, wisdom, and experience when you don’t want to bed them? I expect this in certain areas. Advertising, movies, are geared almost exclusively around the young and pretty (talent not required).  We see the importance of this in the amount of plastic surgery, botox injections, hair transplants, tummy tucks, ass enlargement (not to mention penis enlargement) that is thrust at us in almost every way.

Yet I was still surprised by the reaction. People didn’t want a Doctor, they wanted masturbation material. They wanted someone who could fulfill their lacking lives by giving it imaginary meaning. This is becoming so ingrained in our psyches it affects everyday life in ways you don’t notice unless your of “a certain age”.

I’ve been unemployed for longer than I care to think about. I’ve sent out and filled  well over 1000 resumes and applications. Actually closer to 1500 at this point. when I go for an interview, there’s invariably a waiting area filled with other unemployed hopefuls, all of whom are at least 10-20 years my junior. They’re easier to train, demand less money-naive. Older workers know the ropes, have been around the block and have more experience which should be adequately compensated.  It’s depressing, it’s wrong but it’s also the world we live in.

I’m very happy for Mr. Capaldi, very excited to see what he brings to the table, but most of all happy that sometimes the old fart actually wins.

Now get off my lawn.

Managing Social Networks – The Ugly Truth

Whether you’re an indie writer, published by a small press, or have a publishing deal with mid tier and higher publishers, chances are a lot of the promotion will fall onto your shoulders. Unless you achieve the status of a Stephen King or Dan Brown (two people who actually don’t need a ton of advertising), your going to get your hands dirty. In the always connected world we now reside in, not only is an online presence suggested, it’s actually required.

As I’ve said in other posts, I’ve been online since the BBS days of the mid ’80s. I’ve hung out on usenet groups, chatted in AOL rooms, posted on Compuserve and Prodigy forums, and even had a GeoCities site.  Yesterday I got a notice that I had been on WordPress for Five years. I’ve been on Twitter since March of 2009, Facebook since about the same time and Google+ since June of 2011. I also had MySpace, and far too many accounts to far too many forums to ever be able to mention-let alone remember-them all.

All of that however doesn’t make me an expert. It does make me reevaluate the amount of time I’m online, but that’s a sad tale for another day.  What it has made me, is a scheduling expert.  Not for everyone else, just for me.  Everyone is different. We all have lives, family, friends, and obligations which take our time. Then of course there’s our writing, and there never seems to be enough time for that. So how do we juggle all that and maintain some kind of presence?

I schedule what social Networks I’ll be on for any given day. Twitter is a little bit different, as 98% of my posts are from my phone or tablet, and I can do that from anywhere.  Blogging takes the biggest chink of time at once. With G+ and FB, I can do that in little bites, but to blog means sitting down in my comfy chair, grabbing my laptop, a cup of coffee and grasping at straws for an idea. Due to this, I tend to blog the least. I try to keep them to about 500 words when possible.  Not too long to either write, or read, but enough to not feel it was simply filler.  On Sunday nights when I’m putting together a schedule, I’ll come up with three or four ideas for posts, and space them out throughout the week (and try to keep one for the weekend, as people like to have something new to read then). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If I get an idea throughout the week and I have time, I may write one on the fly. I’m working on being consistent after many months of a fallow field.

I alternate my days on FB and G+. Example, I’ll concentrate on FB Mon, Wed, and Fri while working on G+ Tues and Thurs. I don’t ignore them on their off days, but I don’t spend as much time on the pages and communities as I do when it’s their day. I try to be as engaged on the pages I subscribe to as possible.  On weekends, I mix it up, whatever I feel like hanging out on is where you’ll find me.  And twitter is throughout the day whenever I have the urge to say something, or a new post is up.

It’s very easy to get consumed in all of it, but remember it’s your time, you run them, they don’t run you.

5 Movies That Inspired Me

One of the great things about being a creative type is the ability to take inspiration from pretty much everything. From music to paintings to movies, all of it can be an inspiration. In the first of an ongoing series, here are my five horror movies that have inspired me. Just as a sidenote, these aren’t necessarily my favorite movies, but had the most impact.

1. Horrors of the Black Museum

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One of the first movies I remember seeing, what sticks out (no pun intended) was an early scene in which this poor woman picks up a pair of binoculars only to have her eyes pierced by spikes hidden within.  While tame by today’s standards, this 1959 release was shocking and visceral to me. I was very young when I saw this (less than 10) and more than 35 years later it still remains one of the most horrifying scenes in my memory. The problem is, it was so well done, I don’t remember anything else about the movie!

2. Jaws

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I was 10 years old the summer this came out and at my one and only times at Camp (Camp LaSalle – a military academy in Oakdale NY, though there was little of the military aspect, just your basic camp activities). I remember everyone talking about having seen it, and how scary it was. I don’t remember when I actually saw it for the first time (probably on cable) but it wasn’t that summer.  What I do remember is in the opening scenes the head of a corpse that seems to pop out of nowhere.  I think it was the eyes of the corpse, white and blind and loose in their sockets that got me. There are of course many other memorable scenes in Jaws, but that one image also has stuck with me-and started my lifelong hatred for jump scares.

3. Carrie 

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The above picture says it all. Nearly 40 (40! holy shit!) years later, this still scares me silly, and I’ve seen it more times than I can count. While it may not have aged well, it still packs a punch, and Sissy Spacek gave one of horror’s best performances ever recorded.  The killing of the pigs, the buckets of blood, the carnage and mayhem. Horror at its finest.

4.Hellraiser

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Hellraiser happens to be one of the crossovers of inspiring me and being one of my all time favorite movies (horror and others). The way Clive Barker was able to weave a tale of love, sex, obsession, death and rebirth is still nothing short of amazing. I remember seeing this with a friend who had no interest in horror at all (but being a good friend he still went with me) and the still above was the scene that made him walk out. I of course stayed, and made him wait until it was over and I still don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for that.

5. John Carpenter’s The Thing

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There’s not much I can say with this one. Perhaps the pinnacle of ’80s horror, The Thing was so intense and edge of your seat, pants shitting scary, I spilled all my popcorn and soda. Even 31 years later, the make up effects and puppets haven’t been surpassed. The scene where the petri dishes with blood samples are being tested is still so terrifying, I’m amazed I haven’t had a heart attack yet. Fantastic performances, monsters, and a great ambiguous ending makes The Thing stand the test of time.

If there’s one thing all these movies have in common is the idea that anything can happen at anytime and no one is safe.

No one.