On Women’s Day–Thoughts on Identity, Equality, and Discrimination

On Women’s Day in the U.S., here’s what I’m thinking about regarding identity and discrimination:

I occasionally encounter the sentiment that, for example, “I am an American woman, and I’ve never felt discriminated against; therefore, I don’t believe women in America are discriminated against.”

Fair enough. I’m a white, heterosexual, cisgender male, and I’ve never felt like I’ve explicitly or specifically benefited from that in terms of merit-based achievement.

But there’s a problem with extrapolating my personal and anecdotal experience to an entire culture and society; namely, I am not every American man. Not to mention, whether I have, in fact, benefited from my gender, race, or sexual orientation isn’t wholly relevant to what’s commonly referred to as “privilege.” Continue reading

Short Story Accepted to Tales From the Lake, Vol. 4

Time for some good news. My story, “The Story of Jessie and Me,” has been accepted for Crystal Lake Publishing‘s anthology Tales From the Lake, Vol. 4.

I’m thrilled! Crystal Lake is doing great things, and it’s a family I’ve wanted to be a part of for a while.

I’m passionate about this story and this anthology. Go check out the previous volumes if you haven’t, and check this one out later this year. They also have a fantastic library of horror novels to choose from.

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The Walking Dead Season 7 Mid-Season Premiere

The Walking Dead’s mid-season premiere just aired, and I’m seeing a lot of criticism of the show’s first half of season seven. I endured this criticism through November, but now I feel like it’s getting a bit tired. While I acknowledge the purpose of television is to entertain, I think these critics miss the point of what The Walking Dead is doing and, therefore, can’t appreciate it.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course. I think the show is still great, and if you’re interested in why I think that, please read on.

(This is fairly spoiler free, but if you’ve been under a rock and don’t have any idea what happens at the end of season six/beginning of season seven, you might want to turn away.)

Isn’t that redundant? Can one rise down? Whatever. Looks awesome. Carry on.

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On American Leadership and Values, or the Loss of Them

For many people who dislike Trump, I think this is a good expression of why. For those of you who consider his policies and business acumen his saving grace, I think this is important to consider, too.

Many of us believe the presidency (not just the person who occupies the Oval Office, but the institution) should represent the highest qualities, values, and ideals that make Americans great. The common sentiment used to be that the president should be someone for our children to look up to, and while I’ve heard the argument that we’re beyond that and would wholeheartedly disagree with it, the presidency has become a much more important global figure in these last few decades than our founding fathers could have ever imagined or even hoped. Not only is the president our spokesperson in an increasingly global society, but the president is a political leader for the whole world specifically because of America’s influence, and it benefits American citizens in myriad ways.

While it’s unfair to compare anyone who holds that office to the historic presidents who came before, and while it’s unfair to expect every U.S. president to be an ideal representative for the American people, there is a certain standard we must hold the president to, and in this regard (again, policy aside), Trump fails.

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Film Review: Arrival

arrival-movie-poster-77013I don’t review movies here all that much, and the honest reason is it isn’t often that I see a relevant movie when it’s relevant. Movie theaters are too expensive, and by the time a movie gets to Netflix, it’s old news and has to contend with my desire to catch up on Supernatural.

But so many people close to me told me to go see Arrival that it got me out of my apartment on a Friday night with my wife for a romantic evening of food court dining and aliens. And it turned out to be special.

Arrival is a film that works on a simple premise: aliens arrive and park their space ships over 12 seemingly random locations on Earth, and then they just sit there. The tagline poses the question, “why are they here?”

Beyond that, Arrival is a film that works on extremely complex premises. It’s clear that this film was lovingly crafted and resided in the minds of brilliant story-tellers for such a time for them to get it all right. It is thoughtful and thought provoking. It feels authentic. It is, by many metrics, a perfect film, nailing the basics and knocking the most high-level concepts out of the park.

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Announcing the #CarryingCarrier Giveaway

carrier-bookAt long last, the novel that found a home on cold, metal e-retail warehouse racks in 2014 has moved onto the cozy, wooden shelves of your local book store. Yes, it’s exciting, gratifying, satisfying, terrifying, but the one thing that’s undeniable is my little book is all grown up.

So, let’s party.

Over the next week, I’m going to hold a giveaway contest on Facebook and Twitter. Like, share/retweet, and use the hashtag #CarryingCarrier for an opportunity to win signed print copies of the new edition, a $20 Amazon gift card, and an Amazon Kindle Fire. Continue reading

One Week Away From Carrier Hitting Stores

carrier-cover-with-blurbI just wanted to drop by here for a few moments to observe the fact that Carrier will be in brick-and-mortar stores in a week. I could tell you about the new interior design and the higher printing quality. I could tell you how being in stores will hopefully expose the novel to a whole new audience. Instead, I think I’d rather reflect on the book itself.

I know. Blogs can be self-indulgent, and I’ve striven to not have one of those. But hey, it’s an occasion to observe, and you’re in my house right now. Pop a squat, or get out.

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Spotted at Intervention 7

This weekend, I got out of my cave for a bit and headed to a local sci-fi and fantasy convention. The digs were modest, the sights and sounds tamer than, say, a ComiCon. Someone described the particular day I attended as “Relaxicon.” At 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, yeah, it was totally that.

I’m not really awake. Someone pried my eyes open and quickly snapped a picture.

But it was seriously fun, and I met some interesting people. I had the privilege of sitting on two panels with some heavy-hitting authors who have achieved success beyond anything I can even hope for. I made some new friends. And I made some new contacts at a local annual event, so I hope they’ll allow me back next year.

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Short Story to Gamut

gBlockLogoA couple weeks ago, in my summer update, I wrote about how 2016 hadn’t really panned out the way I’d hoped. It hasn’t been a bad year at all. In fact, production-wise, I feel like I’ve written some of the best fiction of my life. And while I haven’t had much to announce this year, some of that production is paying off.

I’m thrilled to announce Gamut, a new literary magazine, has accepted a short story of mine. I can’t stress the previous sentence’s verb enough.

An acceptance from any market is a great thing. It’s acknowledgement for hard work and dedication, not to mention passion for a piece. It says you did something right, but more than that, it says someone else believes in the story as much as you do. And now the story has an avenue to reach other readers.

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