An Interview With This Guy

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I recently did a pretty neat interview with the folks from the Creative Alliance here in Flint. The audio is a bit echoey due to some limitations in where they had to film but it turned out a lot better than I had thought. AND there’s a nice interview with a local performer as well.
So, if you wanted to hear me ramble about my writing and the newer books and such give it a look. I am the first interview, about ten minutes in.

What The Living Forget…The Dead Will Remember

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The things crawl and caper and drag themselves from their Mother and emerge into the world and thus begins the Dead Age. The world sleeps as they rise but as dawn breaks screams chase the sun into the clouds as blood paints the streets. A man falls into wakefulness at the sound of something scratching at one of the doors. He rises from dark dreams and glances to the place his wife should be and his shoulders slump. Day one hundred and forty three. One more day in Hell. The scratching comes again and he turns his attention to the noise and heads towards the kitchen and the back door. As he passes through the kitchen he glances towards the wall clock and sees it is only six in the morning. He had been out of work for a while now and the last thing he wanted was to be waken up by some idiot with the wrong house. Paper boy. It had to be the paper boy. The man reaches the door and looks down at himself and sees that he is hanging free of his boxers so he tucks himself back in, straightens his undershirt, and unlocks and opens the door.

It’s Greg.

Jesus Christ it’s Greg.

His face is sunken, his eyes gone, and he is covered in dirt but it’s him. Oh god in Heaven it’s his little boy.

The man stumbles forward, tears streaming down his eyes. First it was the job, then Maggie left, and then his boy, his boy, his beautiful little boy had died. The man shook his head, he blinked his eyes but there, there was his boy. His boy was back. He’d come back to him. The man started to bawl and reached his arms out to Greg.

The boy wavered a moment, took one tentative step forward, then another, then third and he opened his mouth to speak and put out his own arms. The man smiles down at his son. The thing that had once been Greg pulled its arms back and then plunged its skeletal fingers deep into the man that had been and the man screamed as blood and gore spilled out across the thin arms of his boy. The man tried to pull away but was losing too much blood and he fell onto his knees and looked into his boy’s eyes and saw nothing. The man tried to scream but the thing’s teeth sank deep into his throat and blood washed across the boy and in another moment the man was gone and all that was left of him was meat for the thing and its friends as they made their way to the feast. 

CEMETERY EARTH

A Book Of The Living Dead

Red Re-Do 2 Red Re-Do 8 Red Re-Do 13 Red Re-Do 14

What You Bury

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IMG_2163

What You Bury Will Return

In front of him was row after row of benches that lead all the way to the front of the barn and on the benches were people huddled together and bent forward as if in prayer. How they could see, let alone stand the stench, Hunter hadn’t a clue but they were all silent and all focused on what they were doing and had yet to notice him. At the head of the rows there was a podium and behind it yet another cross, this one at least ten feet tall and beside it painted sheets with the same insignia of the lion with the lamb in its mouth and beside the podium was a chair and in it was someone slumped forward. Hunter took the spear in both hands and held it as tight as he could and made his way to the far left side of the rows and began walking forward slowly, his eyes on the parishioners as he moved. Now that he’d been inside a few minutes he was finally able to see more clearly and saw that there was blood everywhere and in the pews humans sat side by side with the things, their hands clasped and all of them roped in place so they’d stay and be still. And there would be no problem with being good little children in church because the tell tale holes were all there in every body he saw and he had been right, this was a dead place, but what it had been, and what had been going on he did his best not to imagine. – excerpted from Cemetery Earth

CEMETERY EARTH

https://www.createspace.com/4336448

CEMETERY EARTH–Out Now!

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  Cemetery Earth cover2-revised After what seems like ages, and sorta was, my newest novel is officially out! CEMETERY EARTH is a book about the end of the world and the dawn of the Dead Age when the living dead walk the earth. I love this book and think you will too.

It is available for $15 on Amazon and through CreateSpace

https://www.createspace.com/4336448

It is available for Kindle for $5

http://www.amazon.com/kindle-store/dp/B00DPK5Q2Y

And is available for Nook for $5

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cemetery-earth-chris-ringler/1115920642?ean=2940016541785

Cemetery Earth – a novel

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   The new book is done.

Just waiting for it to be approved for printing and then I can push forward with it.

Huzzah!

The book is called Cemetery Earth and is a novel about the undead. It’s a novel of short stories with two characters that emerge from the wreckage of the world to serve as main characters on this journey. I started the first story in the book in the early 2000s and hadn’t really known I was writing what would become a novel until I discovered Hunter, the boy who drives the book and who really centers the book. When I found him I realized that this was more than a few stories, this was a book.

The funny thing for me is that SO MUCH has changed since I first had visions of the book. What it became is so different and I am glad. This is the book it was meant to be. There’s some fun stuff in it that I have never seen in zombie literature or movies so hopefully people like that.

We shall see.

I think that another one of the things that changed for the better was the cover. I had a drawn cover I had always imagined using but at the last second realized that I may not do the book justice so I did a photo shoot with the lady and from that the cover was born. My friend Loren did some illustration work on the photo and gave it the look that I wanted and I am really pleased with it.

Cemetery Earth is 486 pages long and will sell for $15 in paperback and $5 on Kindle.

This is the back copy –

Cemetery Earth

The Age of Man is coming to an end. After a long and steady decline into shadows the world has fallen into darkness and the twilight of Man has come. It is the Dead Age. Driven by an unseen master and a burning rage the dead rise from their earthen graves to feast upon the living and send them into extinction. But as the twilight of Man begins there rises a resistance and the dimmest glimmer of hope.

Hope.

Fight.

Live.

Die.

In the end there is only darkness.

This is the Dead Age

This is Cemetery Earth.

Here are a couple sample cover images.

These were a couple of the germs that inspired what the cover became.

 possible cover idea

Cover Idea 04

The book will be out VERY soon.

I can’t wait.

www.meepsheep.com

Life’s Full Of Disappointments And I Am Full OF Bees

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It’s a horrible feeling to look yourself in the mirror and admit that you can’t do everything. To admit to yourself that sometimes plans, as well intentioned as they may be, are sometimes just plans. Goals are just goals. And sometimes we can’t always do what we had wanted.

It’s a rotten thing to admit to.

It’s a rotten thing to see.

BUT…it’s better to admit to it and to see it than to blind yourself into running into a wall.

Because the thing is this – it’s a lot easier to pick yourself up and dust yourself off if you are willing to accept that you do have limitations, in life and as person, rather than naively ram yourself into walls trying to knock them all down if they try to stand in your way. It’s a good ideal to have, that notion that you won’t give up and won’t let up no matter what but the fact of the matter is that life isn’t about blunt force, it’s about forward movement, and sure, that movement doesn’t always seem to be going at the pace you want but if it’s even inching forward it’s still progress.

Life is about progress.

Even in our setbacks.

But, about my setback – I had decided a few months ago that it’s time to pull the tents down, for the clowns to clean the greasepaint off, and for the circus to close up shop. I am a writer, and always will be but for now, for a very long now, it’s time to stop putting books out. Not because I ran out of material or things to say but because it feels as if I am nearing self-parody. I have seven books out and two last ones on the way and there’s a point where you have to look yourself in the mirror and say – enough is enough. I have put out collections, two fairy tale books, and a novel. With these last two projects my slate is pretty clear. There’s a long lost book I had written ages ago and lost and was going to re-write but it isn’t pressing or necessary. These other books were. I proved to myself that I could do it – I could write, edit, put together, do the art, and release and support my own books (with aid from CreateSpace’s services). I was able to also do it with a LOT of help from friends. I was able to prove to myself that I could do it and I have loved it. I love the process of writing, of editing, of putting the thing together, of doing the art, and of supporting it. I love it and hate it both. Hate it because it isn’t the most fun, and it is stressful to walk the line of ‘artist’ that just wants to create and ‘business person’ that feels the need to sell. But there’s a point where you have to say – enough is enough.

I am at that point.

Which is not to say I won’t support the books I have but that it’s time to focus on other projects in my life. I don’t want to reach a point where it feels as if I am making a fool of myself. And I am being harsh, but I am harsh because I need to be to understand where I am. I don’t want to be someone who publishes out of vanity. And I feel like, with the limited interest in my work that I see, it’s time to re-assess things. Not because I don’t think the works are invalid but because I need to find better ways to get the books out to people. I need to support books I have put out and the two nearing completion, and I need to work on other projects.

None of this is awesome, but it’s necessary.

It’s far more fun, for me, to go through the process of creating a book than it is to support books that are already done.

As for the two books for this year, the ‘last two’. They’re done. I wrote them in two months. One is a book of zombie stories that comprise a novel. I started it in 2000 and slowly added to it and finally realized it was time to finish it. I had sat on it because I didn’t want to be the person that put a zombie book out after the ‘fad’ wore off. Well, that was several years ago and the ‘fad’ is still going so I figured I needed to finish it and get it out. I am currently in the edit of that book. The other book is the third and last of the Meep Sheep books and is a darker story about the passing of the torch from the Queen to her daughters. I wrote that in February and have let it sit a bit before I go back to edit it. I have a lot of work to do on it, to flesh it out, but I like what it is. I was really worried because I knew what I wanted out of it but wasn’t sure how to get there. In getting there the book changed, the story changed, and the ending change…and it’s a better book because of all of those things if you ask me.

The hope and plan for the year had been to get these two books written, edited, and released in Spring in time for two conventions I wanted to do in my area. Alas, the real work is a cruel mistress and I couldn’t afford to do the two shows so I decided to slow myself down and to stop driving myself so hard. I really want to get these books done, out of sheer AHHHHH excitement but also out of the need to move forward to other projects. Art, for one. So this is a setback. A big one. A heartrending one because it means that I have to figure what to do but in the long run it’s necessary and it’s good. I want to make sure these books are ready to go.

And life’s all about setbacks and disappointments and it’s figuring out how to deal with them that begins to define you. You keep moving forward, inch at a time, or you smash your head into things and try to force the world to conform to you instead of learning to move within the world as it is and to slip between the cracks. It is a VERY fuzzy future for me on the artistic front, the writing front, but it’s exciting because whatever happens is going to be a huge surprise.

C

www.meepsheep.com

Catching You Up

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As I sit here and edit the first of two books I will have out this Spring I ponder that there are scads of people that are not really sure who I am or what I do.

KNAVES!

Now is a perfect time to catch up before the zombie novel and the last of the Meep Sheep books hit the scene. And daggumit you can catch up or only a dollar an e-book. Or you can chip away with the physical copies, none of which are terribly taxing on that old pocketbook of yours.

Don’t you want to be in on what all them hep cats at the soad-shop have been talking about? Don’t you want in on the ground floor before I sell out and write my magic-vampire-teen version of 50 Shades of Stuff? Sure ya do. Everyone wants to be first, and if not first then best, and if not best then loudest.

Now’s your chance.

So get on it, chump, I mean, pal of mine.

Links to the RIGHT or you can hit up www.meepsheep.com.

KAPOW! Get some of that awesome right in the KISSER!

(proper blogs will re-appear once I get these darn books edited)

The End Of The Third Age

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  Just after midnight last night I finished work on the third Meep Sheep book. It took a little longer than the month I had planned on but I hadn’t anticipated the walls I would hit at the end. I can say that I wrote a novella now. One single story that is 83 single spaced pages. Something I never intended to do or thought I could do. As I had gotten to the end I realized I needed to make some big decisions on things that I hadn’t thought about when the fancy notion of a last book popped into my head.

Oops.

  Well, it’s done. And…it’s not what I thought it’d be. Not that this is a bad thing at all but when I first was sketching the book out in my mind it definitely was different. Even ended in a different place geographically in that world but the logic of the story forced me to change how I was putting it together and writing it.

  And am I happy?

Yes. Though I am much too close to really have a feel for how well the book works. I need to give it a month and go back and edit it and look at it then. Then I will know. But I like a lot of moments in the book and am happy how it comes together. 

And I am sad because this is the end of a journey. These three books were different than anything I wrote and even as the series got darker it was still a fantasy series with characters I am very fond of but I am glad it’s done. I wanted to get the projects off of my plate that had been started but never finished and I have done that. There’s editing to be done but in the end I got done what I need to do. 

The book/s are done. 

Wow. 

I have been talking about this book for a while now and it’s crazy to believe it’s over. But it is. As is a piece of who I was for the past several years. There’s still edits to do, still promotion to do, but really, the course of the ship began to change last night and where it leads, well, even I don’t know that. 

http://www.meepsheep.com

 

Tone

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   The notion of tone has been weighing heavily on my mind of late as I work to finish the last book in the Meep Sheep series. A touchstone for those books, for me, has been that they were not dumbed down but were accessible to most ages. I strove to write and release something that wasn’t like the rest of my work but was something that hearkened to a time where stories could be dark and a little dangerous but were not offensive. 

That was my hope. 

   Now, was that why I started writing the first story? Not at all. I started because I had an idea and I had what I hoped was a fun story to tell. To me, that’s the perfect way to start with writing. I know I want the story to be what it needs to be and then worry about the rest later. I mean, I definitely worry over things and context and all that overall I try to let the story do its thing. 

That hasn’t been as easy this time around. 

   With this last book in the series I am tying up loose ends and sending things off into the setting sun. It’s a much darker, much more ‘mature’ book in that it’s about the fact that you can’t always wish away your troubles and that some things need to be faced and dealt. It’s a book about finding your place, about letting go of your past. And its a book about finding the magic in a place where it never seemed to exist before – like yourself. 

I am too close to the book to know how I feel about it completely but the tone is definitely a concern. This is a book about a change, a cataclysmic change and a war. As such It needs to be dark, and the reader needs to feel that darkness. If there’s no danger for the characters then there’s no depth to the story. I just need to make sure I am walking the line and not turning what had been fantasy tales into horror stories. I think I am on that edge. It’s dark, darker than the other two books, but it’s not cruel, and that’s a big part of it to me. I am not trying to make the reader upset or trying to punish characters. I am just trying to serve the story. 

My hope is that my choices work for the best. 

I will round out a lot of the hard edges in the edit. I just want to make sure I don’t alienate people who have been with me for two books. That’s an investment of time and interest and the last thing I want is to betray their trust. 

Heavy is the head fat with stories. 

Sheesh. 

I really need to finish this thing. 

- c

www.meepsheep.com

Crap, I Did It Again…

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  For a guy that never intended or wanted to write a novel I don’t really listen to myself very well. I just finished writing the last story for another long in the works book. 

The zombie novel began a lot of years ago as a short story called The Delicate Sound of Rain. I wrote it and really became attached to the story and the idea of that world. I started to tinker with the idea of a book about zombies but, well, I never wanted to write a novel. Never. Never-ever. So I thought, well, I can cheat it, I can write a novel of short stories. Ha-HA! Genius! I slowly began writing stories for this world and started mapping it out in my mind. I had a protagonist that I immediately connected to and was excited to work on it. 

Then I hit a wall. 

The zombie boom began about then and I realized that there was no way I was going to finish this thing before the boom was over and this was still a time when self publishing was the worst thing in the literary world to ever do. I loved the concept just the same but I needed to let it go. At least for a while. I figured some day, when the boom is long over and I am ready I can get back to work on the book and see what I see. I put together the stories I had as a chapbook and sold those with some other chapbooks to serve as a stopgap between my first book, BACK FROM NOTHING, and any future book. 

I was an optimist, even if I didn’t want to admit it. 

The chapbook was fun but had horribly small print and while it intrigued people it never really wowed them. For some reason I’d tell people at comic shows that I wrote books and they’d be surprised to not see pictures in the books. Weird. 

So 2012 comes and I realize that it’s time to start putting some projects to bed. I had let a couple long standing projects sit and wait for a time when the world cried out for these works and well, that day never came. But they deserved to be finished and released. 

The big one was the novel, A SHADOW OVER EVER, which I had begun work on in 1994. I had written, edited, changed, edited, changed, and worked on and submitted it to publishers for years. Now that I could get things published on my own it was the right time to do it so I set about the task of getting the thing edited then fixing those edits and working to get it put together and out. It was a huge project and a huge book. And I love it. 

I am not sure how well anyone else loves it but I love it. It represents a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of friends that have come and gone in my life during those many years. 

With the novel done it was time to move my gaze to two other projects, one being the zombie novel. That book had sat around for years and years as I waited for the bubble to burst and it never did. Which isn’t to say people are not darn sick of the undead but, well, I don’t care. 

So I got back to work on crafting a world of the living dead. 

The ideas have changed, the world has changed, my main character has changed some, but at its heart I love what it is. I won’t say it’s groundbreaking or any nonsense like that but it’s different. It’s very different. And I like it. 

I have a LOT of work to do. There’s still editing to work on and layout and story order and all that fun but man does it feel good to be done. To have it done. 

The journey, so far as that story, is complete.

Will people like it? Like what it says and where it goes?

Not sure. 

But I like it. 

I like it a lot. 

And that’s a heck of a start. 

…c…

http://www.meepsheep.com