A New Direction

     I always assumed I’d be writing horror. When I became a writer it was a no brainer. It was a place I felt the most comfortable, and welcomed. When my first book was published I was excited to be included in the splatterpunk genre because that’s where I called home. As I began writing though, something interesting happened. I began to drift further and further from splatterpunk. The Darkness of the Soul was an attempt to challenge myself a little, and it sort of worked. I’m proud of the book and how it turned out, but that was the beginning of the shift away from horror. Legacy 2 is my last full fledged horror novel. Balls out splatterpunk, but it’s deceiving in a way because of how it was released. It was written before Darkness so it feels as if I’m returning back to my horror roots. As a writer I’m constantly exploring, and evolving. All writers do that, at least I think they do. 

     The problem was that I was no longer having fun writing horror. I wanted to challenge myself and see what I was capable of. Horror was fun for awhile, but it was to constricting. When I began writing Out With A Whimper I was able to write a novel with some elements of horror but there’s a great deal of dark humor to it as well. I set out to create an anti-zombie novel and I did. I threw out all the rules of the genre to create something unique. I was having a lot of fun writing and I wanted to go further. You can say I sold out, but I see it another way. With the new direction I found that I could inject a lot of my own personality into my work, and keep most of the elements people enjoy. The same dark overtones, the same black humor, but most importantly I’m having a great deal of fun. Aware was the moment I realized that the game had changed for me. Would people accept it? Jesus, did I really sell out?

     This was just a natural progression for me. I’ve been reading a lot of books outside of the horror genre and that’s crept into my writing. Ideas that I could never explore as a horror author can now be explored and it’s fun. Will people accept the new style? If not there’s a lot of other readers that aren’t horror fans that will embrace the new stuff because it’s so different. I was worried about what fans would say when they heard about the new direction my writing was taking, but in the end, I had to do what I felt was best for me. We all grow and evolve. No one stays in the same place forever. The hard part is expaining why you’re doing the things you do. Some get it, some don’t, but it’s expected. 

     The one thing I can assure you is there won’t be any attempts to go mainstream. Aware is too weird for that, and as I work on the follow up to it, I can say with some assurance there’s no chance in hell I’ll ever be beach reading material. If anything, I want to challenge people to think a little. To explore subject matter with a weird little twist at the end. It’s still dark, it’s still messed up which is a trademark of mine. I don’t even know what genre the new stuff is called, or could even be marketed as. That’s up to the publishers, not me. That’s why they make the big bucks isn’t it? As a writer I’m just following my gut, and that’s really all I can do. Maybe some day I’ll make a dramatic return to horror or it’s possible I won’t. Who knows. I just hope people continue to read my stuff and enjoy it. To the fans who follow me on this new journey you better strap in. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride. 

The Stand Vs Swan Song

It’s a question that has plagued horror fans for years. Which book is better? In one corner you have the classic Robert R. McCammon novel Swan Song

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In the other you have Stephen King’s beast The Stand.

 

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Both novels have the same themes, and for King marks the answer is simple. The Stand. It was more popular and it had a comic book and a mini-series based on it. Does that really make The Stand better? It’s been years since I’ve read Swan Song and as I looked at them both sitting there on my shelf I thought; Why not read them back to back? I then put them back on my shelf because these books are huge! Over a thousand pages each. I would be crazy to take on something like this. I’m an old school King fan, and it’s because of him that I’m a writer so length isn’t really the problem. I was worried about depression. These are some serious books. You would need alcohol for a challenge like this.

Then I threw the idea out on Facebook and people were actually interested in reading a blog based on both books. Which one is in fact better? As I write this I know that I have my work cut out for me. This can’t be done half ass like. There needs to be notes, and a clear winner. I can’t pussy out and say; “They’re both really good in their own way, so there really isn’t a winner.” There has to be a clear cut winner. This is where you come in. I want your opinions. Once I pick a winner I want your feedback. Share this blog and spread the word. Horror fans are loyal people so I want to hear what you have to say.

The rules here are simple. Read both books, take notes and pick a winner. Why is the other book better? Is it plot, characters? The way it makes me feel when I dance naked rubbing the book against my chest? Writing style here is also essential. If one book bores me I may have to tap out. If I’m bored at any time reading either book we are really fucked. What kind of bullshit would that be? To be completely fair to my childhood I am reading the ’78 version of The Stand. This is the one that I grew up with and originally it was all I had to pit against Swan Song. No comics or mini-series either. I didn’t have that shit as a kid so it doesn’t count.

That’s it. I am delving into these books over the next few weeks and we will have a clear cut winner or further debate on which book is actually better. Is Swan Song a rip-off of The Stand? Tune in and find out.

 

 

Did Ya Miss Me??

It’s been three months since my last blog and I guess there’s a multitude of reasons why I haven’t written anything. Mostly it’s because I’ve been busy. As a published author with a full time job there’s not much time to blog anymore. Aside from that, I just don’t feel the same way I did. There’s been a lot of growth and a lot of the anger, or confusion has been poured into my stories. I still have the same fucked up sense of humor and that’s never going to change.  What has changed is that I’m always happy. There’s never a moment where I think that my life sucks because the last couple of years have been amazeballs! That’s a word I swear.

 

Why the new blog? I have a new book coming out in 7 days. Am I excited? Am I nervous? I’m both because this is a lot bigger than my first release and on top of that it’s the debut novel from a new publisher called Fat Lip Press. In my short career I have been fortunate to have worked with some really great publishers. JEA Dark Chapter Press, and of course Morbid. Without Morbid none of this would even be possible. I know that I’ve been extremely lucky and I still refuse to lose my sense of humor. It appears as if I’m taking the piss when I’m invited to take part in book releases but it’s just how I approach them. You have so many writers taking part and throwing out their books but what I enjoy is bypassing that by having as much fun as possible. That is more important than selling a few books. I’m there to support the author anyway so I try not to hawk my own shit. It’s overwhelming to those that are attending. Plus I don’t have anything to give away so I just hang out and try and make people laugh.

 

Check this cover art out. I swear I saw that and I shit my pants!! On May 1st I am going to be a nervous wreck!

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The cool thing is that Mindy is supportive of my writing career. A lot of women would bitch and moan that I’m spending so much time writing but I do take days off just so I can spend time with her. She believes in me though and that means more to me than anything. When I decided to start writing again I never thought that I would actually get published. Am I making money? No, but as I write this I have a book launch in 7 days and there are so many people behind the scenes running promos just so people notice that I have a book coming out.

 

I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of years. I’ve done a couple podcasts, some interviews, and now I feel as if people are actually going to notice my book. I didn’t feel that way with Legacy but I do with this one. I’ve learned a great deal from everyone I’ve published with and I think that’s the best advice I can give any writer. Absorb everything. Listen to what people are saying and apply it to your craft. Learn as much as you can about promotion, editing, and even how to do interviews. Writing is essential but that’s just the first part of it. Everyday I learn something and I store it just so I know what to do next time. Always remember that while you’re having fun this is still a business. Sometimes I actually forget that part. It’s easy to do because I’m able to do what I love and it’s surreal that people are buying anthologies that feature a story that I wrote. In 7 days people are going to buy a book that I wrote! I was able to get a second book published!

 

What am I most nervous about? Book signings. That to me just blows my mind because I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that people actually want a book with my signature written in it. How do you get used to that? When people I work with found out that I had a 2nd book coming out they all requested signed copies and I have no idea why. I’m still the guy from Barberton that works a day job and tries to squeeze as much time on the laptop before he has to crash in order to do the same thing over again the next day. I’m not special. The fact that people think I am is awesome but I still can’t get used to it. I’m just a guy who writes books in Barberton Ohio. I think I’ve bored you all enough thanks for reading. Check me out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michaelnoeslegacy/

Google Is Your Friend

Hi, I know that there are a lot of writers out there looking for inside tips and how to make your story the best that it can be. I can tell you that Google is your best friend. The problem is that if you’re a horror writer it’s important to clean your history. If you thought that someone finding porn in your history is bad wait until they bring up shit like how to dispose of a body, or at what temperature does human flesh begin to melt? It’s shit like that that get people looking at you funny. You can’t giggle and say research because they’ve already labeled you as a serial killer. When I tell people that I write horror they have that look that everyone gets when you smell a fart.

Being a horror writer is hard work. I spent at least twenty minutes this evening looking up stab wounds. I wanted to make sure my shit was authentic, but Google thought that I wasn’t actually looking for butcher knife stab wounds in the back and just gave me random photos of black people. I’m not being racist. I was just annoyed that Google got my request wrong. Google is a writer’s best friend. It will add a ton more detail to your story. There’s a lot of stuff that I always kind of winged. I am extremely lazy, but I wanted to be as authentic as possible. Just because I write horror doesn’t mean I have to be lazy. I could but eventually the reviewers and even the readers are going to notice.

The best piece of advice that I received was using floor plans for whatever scene you’re working on. You can add so much detail to a story by incorporating an existing structure. You can use that space and fill it the way you want it, but you have something to work with. You have the exact specifications and readers are going to notice that. I also learned that by using Google street view you can look at different streets and neighborhoods to place in your work. Instead of trying to figure out what these places look like you have a visual. You just need to make your audience see it. It’s not cheating. It helps you create a realistic scene with a lot of detail. You can look at an alley and see that there are gray metal trash cans lined up next to a rusty blue dumpster. Right there you can go into the smells, and even what the road looked liked. You don’t have to use everything. Use your imagination to fill in even more detail.

By using Google I have found that research can be a lot of fun. I have watched a multitude of medical procedures and even watched an autopsy just to see if a character could  pull it off in his basement. I even have a random name generator bookmarked so I don’t have to figure out who my characters are. I have a list of first and last names that I can choose from. It makes my job a lot easier. There are a ton of resources for writers but you have to find them. In most cases you’ll spend maybe five or ten minutes looking for what you need and the best part is there’s pictures! Pictures are great because it gives you exactly what you need without reading unless you need a detailed description.

Another great piece of advice that I got is when you edit your own work kick your font up to about 16 so it tricks your brain into believing it’s seeing something new. All those things you missed will pop right out. The most important piece of advice though is to challenge yourself. You’ll never grow as a writer if you stay in one genre. Step out of your comfort zone once in awhile just to shake things up. I have written pieces that have gone outside of horror and they were challenging, but at the same time it was a lot fun because I had no idea what I was doing.

If it helps you do outlines, and keep chapter notes. I’m one of those people that tried and failed at notes and even outlines. Everyone’s brain works differently so there’s really no right or wrong way to write a story. Just do what comes naturally to you. You also have to write when it works for you. Writers are a strange bunch that all have their own rituals and goals If you follow someone else’s goals the odds of sticking with it are slim. You have to write when you’re comfortable and you may not even be able to write at the same time everyday. Life happens and you have to find a schedule that works for you.

Aside from that there’s no magic formula to creating a good story. You just have to find your own voice and rhythm. Once you find your style it’s yours. People are going to recognize it, and no matter what you do, you won’t be able to change it. Every writer has their own style. It’s just how things work. You are essentially working from what influences you and that will often creep into your work. We all have influences. That’s why we write. We’re influenced by someone or something. You just need to find your muse. If you write horror read horror. There are a ton of great writers that are keeping the genre alive. You should thank them too.

I also read outside of my usual horror genre. I read popular fiction and sometimes I use that to add balance to whatever I’m working on. My influences are so scattered I find that even when I’m doing a horror piece I’ll take a Lifetime movie approach to it just add a bit of depth. I love Lifetime movies because they’re so bad they’re good. I love a good stalker story and sometimes that shit is creepier than anything I’ve written. I remember this one movie in which a woman finds herself divorced and ends up stalking her ex-husband. She even drove her car into the poor guy’s house.

As a writer I have always wanted to help other writers. There is so much good advice out there that I felt as if I should write something too. We all are looking for something to help us improve. Google is your best friend as long as you remember to clean out your history. If you have any questions or advice you want to add feel free to leave a comment.

 

 

A Word Of Advice

People amaze me. They do. I have no faith in humanity at all and there’s a reason for that. When someone who has been labeled a cancer and a pariah keeps getting sympathy for pulling the same shit over and over again you have to begin to realize that maybe, just maybe the person you’re defending is slime. I am one of those people that won’t take sides. As an author I try and stay as neutral as possible because if I act like a dick, people will remember that. You don’t want other publishers to think you’re an asshole. Makes it really really hard to get published.

I like writing, and I like the majority of the authors that I’m in contact with. The horror genre is like a brotherhood. They will go out of their way to help you out. I make myself available and if anyone has questions or needs help I hope they know that they can ask for help and I will. I know what’s it like to break into this business. Make no mistake, this is a business, and one that I happen to love. As a published author I have a reputation to uphold so normally you won’t hear me bitch and moan about anyone because it’s just unprofessional. No one wants to see that shit on Facebook. Why would they? You have a problem you contact the person in question and get shit settled.

I have ignored a lot of shit but I also have a lot of respect for my publisher. J Ellington Ashton Press has been a phenomenal company to publish with. They are exactly what you expect from a publisher, but based on the claims and bullshit one person has spewed you wouldn’t know that. You see there’s a guy who still lives in his parents basement and tries like hell to make himself a victim. Problem is that people actually believe him. He has these cheerleaders and puppets that all support him, and fail to see that he is a cancer. This man claims that he never does anything wrong, and that he is constantly targeted for some reason. If you look at this pattern you will see that he is the problem. Not the various publishers he has tried to dismantle.  The problem is that the pattern will once again repeat and then what? Will you begin to see that he is the problem not them.

Now I have to defend myself against this man’s efforts to claim something he didn’t write as his own. When you file a claim that says a book is your intellectual property you aren’t just making the publisher look bad You’re also affecting the other authors. The thing is that his puppets and cheerleaders are all urging him on. They say take back what’s yours. I have a contract that says otherwise. You don’t own shit, and you aren’t shit. As a writer I will not allow some ass hat to claim my work as his own and therefore making it hard for me to work with JEA and other any publishers. The words “intellectual property” are like a red flag for legal departments; another publisher sees that, and its all over for those of us involved with Splat.

Splat is a JEA title. The authors all have contracts saying that we own our stories. You can claim to own the intellectual property but the fact is you don’t and you know it. I will fight as much as I have to to keep my story where it is, and I will also defend my publisher because unlike you they have a solid reputation. This is a company that has proven themselves to be trustworthy. You have not and will continue to be a cancer that at some point needs to be dealt with. The problem is you. Always has been and this time I’m not going to sit on the fence. I am going to make sure you’re finally dealt with and I hope this time no other publisher will deal with you. In other words; Fuck you.

Free Speech For The Dumb

This is banned book week. I like this idea because it opens a dialogue about not just books but censorship in general. Any censorship is bad but there are of course exceptions.  The nice thing about discussions like this is that you get to weed out the stupid people. You know the ones who pander to the moral majority, or God forbid chant empty slogans that make no fucking sense whatsoever. I get the idea behind censorship. I do. If you look at the big picture you can see it too. People want to protect us from the big bad world. I appreciate their concern, but I think I know what’s right for me. I also know what’s right for my kids. They are my kids after all.

I was fortunate enough to not have to deal with the banned book issue because I was reading way beyond my grade level and most of my teachers left me alone. I would get the occasional asshole who would ask if I understood what I was reading and I would roll my eyes and explain it to them. That sucked because I was at a different level than my peers. They treated me differently because I was in the 4th grade reading at a 12th grade level. Sounds fun doesn’t it? It wasn’t.

The point is that when people ban anything all their really saying is that you’re too stupid to think for yourself. By banning anything that they deem harmful they are taking away your decision to choose what is right for you. If you look at the list of banned books you will see some of the greatest novels ever written. The problem was that they offended the Christian right and they saw that as a threat. We all know what happens when you threaten God. You are public enemy number one. They will end you with a righteous anger that never really comes from God.

Also banned books threaten how we look at the world around us. Most of my distrust of the government stemmed from my reading 1984. I began to watch our so called leaders and noticed that they were all liars. All of them. I really began to watch the news and saw that in order to get the truth I really needed to read more than one newspaper. Each article told more of the story. I trust no one and I have Mr. Orwell to thank for that. People in general just follow whatever their peers tell them and that’s okay but what happens when 2+2 no longer equals four?

This is an important week for literature but I think we need to keep reading banned books and we need to keep fighting censorship on all levels. This week is a chance for you to think for yourself. Stop allowing Fox News to fill your head with bullshit. Stop allowing yourself to be trampled by the Christian Right. They have no idea what God wants anyway. As a writer and a reader I am all about freedom of speech even for those that open their mouths and stupid just falls out.

When you read this blog you’ll see that I am all for this insane idea that you are perfectly capable of thinking for yourself. If you choose unwisely and it doesn’t hurt anyone so what? I shall pat you on the head and applaud your choice anyway. That’s the beauty of thought. There are of course wrong ones but we as intelligent people know that. If you have a firm grasp on reality and know that there are lines that separate fantasy and reality, then have fun. Watch whatever the fuck you want and be whoever you want. Just don’t expect me to climb into your box. I refuse.

Getting back on track some of my favorite banned books.

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This affected for a number of reasons. It showed me a side of war that no one talked about. People loved to throw out the idea that it was noble and honorable to die for your country, but why? You didn’t want to go to war and you sure as hell never imagined that you would have to die a country that you always thought was flawed. War is nothing but a giant prick fight and Trumbo didn’t shy away from the realities of war.

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Very powerful but short novella. This is one that I occasionally pull out because it’s just so damn good. Is it as bad as they say? You should read it and find out.

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This is one of those books you have to experience on your own. Amazing stuff and one that you should read right away.

Read those and seek out more novels that people have tried to keep away from you. I should also throw in American Psycho because it’s just violent and a great parody of eighties culture. Have fun and read a book.

The Influence Of Horror

I have to admit that when I said that I liked Happy and Shake It Off I knew that it would make me look weak. I write horror for God’s sake! What kind of horror writer am I if I’m listening to bouncy, sugar fluff? No one is going to take me seriously so I have to step it up a little. As a writer influences come from everywhere and I sometimes draw characters from people I see on a daily basis. If I see someone that looks a little fucked up or drunk I may actually use that. I saw an old lady walking one day and she had a hunch back. Normal people won’t use that for anything but if you’ve seen my Facebook or Goodreads page you’ll know that my reading habits and posts are sometimes full of sarcasm and irony. https://www.facebook.com/splatterpunkmonkey, and the books I’ve read really fuel the question of what is wrong with you? https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8289470.Michael_Noe

Back to the humback lady and how normal people would just walk on by. Me, I have this vision of this lady walking around looking for people to suck the life from. The more people she kills the younger she gets. Her eyes may look bank and expressionless but her soul is alive and vibrant. I think the reason that I have such a warped and twisted imagination is due to the era that I grew up in. In the eighties we weren’t all politically correct. We had this huge fear of the devil but no one really tried to tell you that what you thought or believed in was harmful to others. We grew up listening to heavy metal and watching Jason and even Freddy carve the fuck out of people.. People may have said that what we were watching was harmful but it was fun to watch.

If I trace my twisted imagination i guess it fed off of the vintage Stephen King and album covers from bands like Iron Maiden and Slayer. Heavy metal still plays a huge part of my writing. As I write this I’m listening to Cradle Of Filth.

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I love this record and it shows that as a horror writer heavy metal just fits right into what I write about. You can listen to the most insane, satanic, blackened symphonic death metal and be inspired to write something that people will be repulsed by, The stuff I write would fit right in with stuff like Cannibal Corpse and even Morbid Angel. There truly is beauty in the dark. As a horror writer you need to embrace the dark a little and while other horror writers may not listen to this kind of stuff I do. It’s all a part of me and why I write the way I do. I am a horror junkie that truly loves the dark side of music. it just fits.

There are all sorts of sides to me that all make me who I am an even what kind of writer I’m evolving into. People may just see the dark, sarcastic side and assume that that’s who I am all the time. or that because I like to write stuff that is extremely dark and twisted I must be some kind of weirdo. Not true at all, but highly amusing.

We are all influenced by something. I think as a horror writer my influences are just a bit more scattered. It’s harder to hit a moving target isn’t it? You have to keep growing or else you begin to grow stale and boring.