here we go!

Hey there Internet,

Welcome to my new blog!

Wow. That’s…that’s literally all I’ve got. “Welcome to my new blog.” Phh, some writer I’m turning out to be.

Okay, wait, don’t leave yet. I can do this. First step: figure out what to blog about. Well, to start, here are some things I know with 100% certainty I won’t be blogging about:

  1. Cats.
  2. Darning things. What even is that? I think it’s a thing that you do with yarn. I THINK yarn is the thing that you darn. Is that right? You darn yarn? This is what I mean, I don’t know anything about darning, and I’m forty, and I think that at a certain point in life, if you don’t already know what darning is, it’s just not gonna happen. So, sorry, yarn-heads! For an excellent blog about darning, may I suggest you Google “excellent yarn-darning blog.”
  3. Huh, I guess mainly just those two things. Those are the two things I know, with 100% certainty, I will never, ever blog about. Everything else is on the table. I’m looking at you, Folgers Incest Commercial Slash Fic!

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Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here are some things I know with a high degree of certainty I will be blogging about:

  1. My dang ol’ book. Surprise! I have a book. It’s called BACK ROADS KINGDOM and you can learn all about it here and, soon and very soon, purchase it on the interwebs. This book is, in fact (all cards on the table, and yes I am referring to the table where those dogs are playing poker), the real reason I’m starting a blog. Shall I tease you with some copy? Yes, the answer is yes.

Just ahead on the highway, there’s an exit ramp no one’s ever noticed before.
At the edge of the woods, a trail you can only see if you know just where to look.
Hidden in your own basement, a door you’ve walked past a thousand times without noticing.

Congratulations. You’ve found the Back Roads. Good luck finding your way back home.

cropped-backroadskingdombookcoversmaller.jpg

Holy CRAP. That’s intriguing, right? Thank you, I thought so as well.

(I should also mention that the cover illustration is courtesy of Jason Nguyen, a fantastic artist who can be found at http://jasonarts.tumblr.com/).

Okay, onto the rest of the list:

  1. Your mom.
  2. Just kidding, Internet. I’m above that and we both know it.
  3. Other things.
  4. But specifically, other things that both interest me and relate in some way to my novel. Like, look, I’m not, as of yet, one of those authors who has an endless cavalcade of novel covers marching across their website. I’ve done a bunch of other things, but so far, writing-wise, just the one book (and its sequel, which is finished but undergoing intensive physical therapy right now). So, to be more specific:
  5. Reflections and, maybe, reviews of material that has influenced this storytelling adventure. THE TALISMAN. THE DARK TOWER series. THE STAND. Heck, maybe even something that Stephen King didn’t write. Right now, as it happens, I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS, because one of the (many) agents who kicked me to the curb said that my book made her think of it. Despite the aforementioned curb-kicking, it was a favorable comparison. I’m halfway through now, and I can certainly see the parallels: they both take place in America, and they both have thunderbirds in them. But the differences between the two are much more interesting. More on that soon.
  6. Reflections on the whole long tradition of American fantasy in all its various manifestations, good and bad, from THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW to THE WIZARD OF OZ to, um, well SLEEPY HOLLOW.sleepy hollowWe’re going there.
  7. Coalpunk. What is coal punk, you might ask? It is: a) a word I made up, and b) like steampunk, but much more Americaner. Apparently this topic opens a little bit of a can of worms for me, because in trying to further define this, I wound up writing a rather lengthy word salad about everything I’m ultimately trying to do with the BACK ROADS CYCLE. The short version of said word salad (which will certainly become a future post) is this: in writing this story, I’m attempting to figure out if there ever could be, or should be, or maybe already is, a cohesive, homegrown American mythology. I set out to write a fantasy series, but found, as many others have, that the well of western European sword and sorcery is a bit tapped out for me, and so I started looking in other places…and I settled on my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, it was never really lost to begin with, or something. Listen, I’m sure there are plenty of undiscovered ways to tell stories about knights and princesses and dragons and fairies. And I’m sure someone will tell those stories wonderfully, and I’m sure that someone won’t be me.
  8. Foxsploitation. This is a) another word I made up, and b) just what it sounds like. I promised I wouldn’t blog about cats. I said nothing about foxes.
    IMG_0311 He’s watching me…He’s always watching me.
  9. Every other relevant topic my novel touches upon: ghost stories, lycanthropy, urban legends, Appalachian folklore, all other American folklore, Americana, folk music, people made of motorcycle parts, snake-handlers, snake-worshippers, shape notes, Mothman, Native American bird monsters, Mormonism, hair metal, phantom hitchhikers, evil dolls, Conjure Men, Death Buzzards, superpowers, and all things occulty, paranormal and just plain weird.
  10. There will be field trips. My part of the world – in and about New York City – abounds with weird history and paranormal hotspots. I will be taking pictures, and probably sometimes bringing a picnic lunch with me. I may, perhaps, capture evidence of something supernatural while on one of these expeditions; I will, certainly, capture evidence of some amazing lunches. I think what I’m trying to say is, I like picnics, and there is the chance that sometimes, the picnic will be the most interesting part of these field trips. Also, basically, I’m Mulder now.
  11. In that vein, I will maybe, possibly, almost definitely, be sometimes doing recaps of every X-Files episode, and probably Millennium too.

Long story short: I have no idea what this blog is going to be about, or, to be honest, what a blog is. But I can absolutely promise that I will update this every single week, without fail, except when something really dire comes up, which will probably happen pretty frequently, because TV.

Until we meet again, Internet. Now, I have to try to polish that word salad into a readable treatise on the (maybe bogus, maybe awesome) concept of creating a homegrown American fantasy mythos. In the meantime, because you’ve read this far…you’ve earned it:cat drying himself

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