Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I've been neglecting this blog for quite some time. It is an easy thing to ignore. The blog just sits there waiting--without demands, without even life or liveliness. All the life of my writing goes to the novels I hammer away at day by day.

An Update: THE RED HIGHWAY is coming soon. The book is in final proofing and I am having a hard time combing through it without going cross eyed. Here is the cover art if you have not caught it on Twitter.

This amazing cover was created by my new friend, Erik Wilson. Look him up at http://www.erikwilsonart.com/ THE RED HGHWAY is about outsiders who have no choice but to fight the evil they are drawn to.

Here is the full art that will become the wrap around for the hard back book.

I can't help but be proud to have this art on my book. Thanks of course goes to the publisher that hooked me up with Mr. Wilson. If you love other horror and not just mine, take a look at the fine company I am keeping now at http://www.necropublications.com/

Here is the descriptive copy that will be on the back of the jacket-

In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless, drunk joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.

Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary's side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

More Things More Important Than Writing-Hurdles

This past month my family lost people important to us. That made me think as those things will do. When I thought I created a post about things that are more important than writing. The thing about writing and life is that writing can pause. You can stop to think, make changes. You can even go back and change what is not working. Life... Well we all know life has its own schedule to keep.

Writing is a poor imitation of life but it is the best one I have. It is what I always turn to--words can be rosary beads for a troubled mind. The sad thing is that writing to set aside the world is rarely good writing, at least for me. So I've been writing and rewriting and changing and wondering about so many things. Some questions are unanswerable by even the best stories.

I'm not a Why Me? person. Things happen. I deal. People that know me know about the infection that got into my brain and changed my life. There is always pain and sometimes worse things. We all have hurdles to get our asses over and that's the thing today. Sometimes, when getting ourselves over we lose sight of the other people and their hurdles.

I write because I have always done it, needed it in some way. More than that, for a long time I made a good living writing scripts for everything you could imagine. That was when I realized that what I was writing was important to some deeper part of me. I had to write MORE. Not quantity but something, more. I wanted to tell the stories that boiled in my brain late at night or that took up a long, silent car ride. MORE. I wanted to write so the people in my life would be proud. I want to write to touch in some way other people.

Writing is both one of my joys and one of my hurdles. I have to do it. It connects me to other people in a way that nothing else will for me. BUT. But I have to be careful that the very connection I seek does not become an insulator.

Things more important than writing--those are the people for whom I write. Family, friends, readers I may never meet. In the last few days I have become aware of a hole in things. A blind spot like the gap between your mirror's view and the turn of your head while driving. There are places through which we cannot write. Broken hurdles we may get over but leave a bit of blood for our passing. One of the people lost last month was a wonderful man but he had a long life full of the things long lives are full of. He is missed but his passing was more natural than tragic. Since then though, his granddaughter, my great niece, took her own life.

I had been close to her when she was a child then the blind spot crept in. She made her own life and choices. She tackled her own hurdles while I tackled mine. I was unaware that she was having troubles. Not completely unaware, more just unaware of the height of her hurdles. I don't flatter myself to imagine that I could have saved her from the darkness at the end of the race. Only that I could have worked harder to see into the blind spot. Maybe I could have lowered one hurdle for one person I care about. Maybe that is as much fantasy as some of the stories I write but it is a thought every bit as important to me as anything I might ever write.

So, while I haven't been writing as hard as I might like lately I console myself with the knowledge that my time right now is being spent trying to lower some hurdles for some other people. I will be back in town soon and back to my routine but I'll be a little more careful about blind spots.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Things More Important Than Writing

I haven't posted in a while. It is a failing of mine whenever I try to be a blogger. I just don't have that much to say outside of the novels I write. When I started to write this post I knew what I wanted to share and why. It should have been easy to just lay it out. It hasn't been mostly because of the title of the post, Things More Important Than Writing kept drawing me astray. That's one of the great problems of writing at my level. There are so many time sucks and distractions, competing needs and guilts that horn in on your time it is easy to think of them as more important. They aren't. Those things are the angry conservative at a political debate, demanding attention by volume rather than merit. When I started writing this post I wandered into distractions when I really wanted to talk about values.

For the most part I write daily. The timing varies and I don't sweat the days when I accomplish little because my system is one of averages. I set monthly and weekly goals that I track with daily word count. I can lose an entire day and keep up my 2000 word a day average for the week by small increases through the rest of the week or one good day of 4000 words. 2000 words is a low but sustainable goal that maintains my pace. I don't hold myself down to that, it's my minimum. By passing it consistently I have room to keep up the average and deal with the time sucks. So my process has shock absorbers built in to deal with the distractions that are not really more important than writing, just more demanding of attention.

Most of the writers I know will tell you that they would write even without pay or readers. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time doing just that. Writing is a part of our personal definition along with family and friends. Oddly enough, it is something we tend to sacrifice for love of those others. That brings me to what's more important than writing- People, Family- Life.

I haven't been writing for a couple of weeks now and it has been upsetting me. I have things to finish and new stories to begin. I actually have readers who have become fans and I love the feeling of connecting to them and I want to give them my writing. That's the dream. The reality is, two deaths in the family, my son-in-law off at boot camp and my daughter and grandson living with me, their car breaking down, all my daughters fighting with their mother, (that's a whole story on it's own) a sister looking at job loss and money, always money. As much as I want to hunker down and write people need me and I can't let that be just a distraction.

We scraped up the money for a plane ticket and I went to Oregon for just a couple of days to say farewell to the husband of my oldest sister. He was a wonderful person and I would not have missed it for the world. There were people there that I see only every several years and these days only for deaths. I met children, great nieces and nephews, second and third cousins. One nephew was married to a woman with a child last time I was there. This time the child was getting ready for high school, my nephew had since divorced, come out, and remarried to his same sex partner. The things you miss.

I took the opportunity to speak about family at the memorial service. I spent time with two of my three sisters. I met family I didn't know I had. Back home I bought groceries and paid bills to keep my grandson warm and fed and happy. There will be another memorial service. There will be more squabbles and hugs to make up. More life and family. These things are more important than the time I spend writing. It's good to be needed. But important or not, writing is my refuge from need. Fore me there is writing, the distractions, and the things more important, but I can't dwell happily in any of them entirely. I've decided the one thing more important than writing is the balance in life that gives me writing while I give time to family.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

No Damsels in Distress

100% Damsel in Distress Free


My novels and stories are 100% Damsel In Distress free. It wasn't a conscious choice, something to be avoided. I simply haven't encountered that many damsels in my life. Those I have annoyed me. I'm a big believer in being the solution to your own problems. I have daughters and I've tried to instill that idea in them just as I have always put it into my characters.

That is not to say that my female characters are not feminine or are male characters in dresses. What I hope I accomplish is avoiding those simple characterization boxes that make writing bland. Not all of my female characters are good at solving their own problems but they try. Sometimes they get in their own way. Sometimes they need to be saved. Sometimes they kick ass and take names. The point for me is to make them people first, female second, then the list goes on from there.

Not all of my females are born female. Gender is a huge issue in the lives of some pretty wonderful people and one that is hard to ignore when you are looking for complexity in the world of your novel. In the case of the transgendered people I have written I still go with people first, identified gender second...

When it comes to being saved I aspire to make it plot necessary, or dramatic, never character defining. Peril is a necessary thing in the kinds of books I write. I love mayhem and dangerous situations and seeing how characters react. But if you ever see me use a character as a peril device, someone who simply exists to be rescued by and show off the prowess of the male lead- call me on it.

You may be saying who cares, big deal, or I don't even read your books, why should it matter to me? My point is, writers, even a poor hack like me, along with filmmakers, musicians, even video game developers, create, bit by bit, our culture. It's a responsibility. I believe that culture is akin to the ocean in which we all live. It undulates and ripples, in places there are currents and zones of interaction and conflict. There is a burden to it as well. Every negative we rain into that sea is a weight someone has to carry.

There is a huge dialogue going on now about gender roles in video games. I don't know a lot about gaming. I won't say anything about it. Sticking to what I know- what I say and how I say it matters to certain people. And my characters can be weights on the backs of women or can be bubbles under them. I make my choices not because women, or anyone else, need me to save them. I choose what I believe is better writing and because we're all swimming in this ocean together holding hands.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I'm one of those people that are both always writing something and always reading something. The thing about good books- they inspire not just feelings or ideas for my own writing, but the desire in me to write. They simply make me want to on my butt and work. Part of that is connection with the author. I want to make those kinds of connection myself. Part is competitive. Not in the sense that I want to be better than them or sell like them, (although sales are always nice.) When someone writes something that really moves me I want to write that well. It makes me want to improve. And I do.

It doesn't do to imitate. I can't take their phrases or their stories. They simply wouldn't work for me. Writing style seems, to me, to be like a pair of boots you have been walking in for years. Sure you can put someone else's boots on but they won't feel right and your gait will be off. What I can take is the energy, the force of voice and the depth of character that they bring to their writing. When the hairs stand on the back of my neck, I ask how did the author get me here? When I understand that the journey is not really the one across the landscape but the path through the main character's heart or mind, I need to know how.

Lately I have been reading a lot of Joe Lansdale's books- characters with the energy of a thunderstorm. You know what? I don't like modern day monster stories. Vampires in the real world, urban fantasy. But the V Wars series by Jonathan Maberry sucked me in. There are so many more that have inspired and shaped my writing. I mention those two because of the wonders of technology. The internet, or more specifically, social media has allowed me to reach out to those men and say thanks for the great books over the years.

It is one of the things that I decided to do when I started this blog. It would be so easy to post things about my own writing and books. Promotion is essential. But better for me is to acknowledge those that light fires for me. I'll continue to do that as I go along on this trip.


The Deep by Nick Cutter.

The Deep

I'm at 50% and loving it. Scary good read. This isn't supposed to be a review. This book doesn't need my review it's a hit. This is just a reader saying this one works for me. It makes me want my books to work for someone this well. It makes me keep trying.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Helping Out

Recently on Twitter I was contacted by a young man in the UK about my book, BEHIND THE DARKNESS. He is a aspiring journalist with an interest in the unusual. He asked if he could present me with some questions about the alien abduction phenomenon. No problem, Glad to help.

I'm not sure exactly how much help I was to him but you can see the result here. ROBERT DUNN'S BOOK "BEHIND THE DARKNESS"

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Little Exposure

BEHIND THE DARKNESS got it's first little bit of exposure today. Check it out.

Beauty in Ruins

Bob Milne at Beauty in Ruins, a speculative fiction blog has agreed to read and review my latest book. It may not sound like a big deal to many people but small press books thrive on reviews. Big money publishers and books have budgets to get the word out. A book like mine only has the hard work and dedication of people that believe in books, writing and writers.

Someone asked me once if I wasn't concerned about getting bad reviews. Bad happens. No book appeals to everyone. The role of the critic is to express their opinion in a clear and reasoned way. When that's done even a negative review can be positive for some readers. Just like no book is loved by all, no opinion on that book is agreed with by all. Read a negative review and you may find that the very reason that writer disliked the book is one you would love it for. Too much action they might say and too little romance. You might say that sounds great.

In the days ahead I am hoping to get other people to read and review. In the case of Bob Milne and his blog, Beauty in Ruins, it is great just to recognized for the kind of book to attract his attention. Writing in a particular genre makes you a part of a community. The community of readers and writers of speculative/horror/fantasy fiction is the best around and I'm glad to have this chance to reach some of them.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


BEHIND THE DARKNESS: ALIEN ABDUCTION was been released as an e-book by Severed Press on Jan. 25. It will be coming soon as a paperback.

Take a look at the amazing cover.