What do you think?

Looking ahead at “Great Kills Believers,” I’ve come to a crossroads in dealing with the “boss monster.” On one hand, I’m considering strict satanic cult. On the other hand, I’m eyeballing something more along the lines of an ancient evil from the dawn of creation. I don’t want to step on Lovecraft, if I can avoid it, so the cosmology will be new.

Could I ask YOUR opinion on this? The last time I crowd sourced an idea, I ended up with “Manleigh Cheese.” I’d call that a success.

Speaking of “Manleigh Cheese,” I’m around 32K words into the sequel. That’s behind my goals, but I wasn’t expecting an evil encounter with writer’s block. The important thing is that I’m writing it in the first place. Right?

Now, completely unrelated to anything else…here is an example of Uchigumori. It is a stone used in the final polishing of Samurai swords. Have I mentioned that I have a wide range of unusual hobbies?

Uchigumori koppa

Great Kills

I hate that this story concept has obsessed me this much. I really want to work on the sequel to Manleigh Cheese, but it is getting pushed slightly to the side. The urge to pin down the darkness of GK, even if I’ve got notes, is incredibly strong.

Here’s what I’ve come up with, knowing it might not make it into the cover art design.

Great Kills BelieversI’m proposing that as the manuscript’s title.

The story concept involves punching mega churches right in the face. Not that I don’t respect everyone’s right to worship as they choose…I’ve read the Qu’ran, some of the Vedic texts, and other things…but the phenomenon of giant (very rich) congregations seems ripe for creative license. Please don’t take too much offense if you’re an individual that chooses large groups of believers!

Art and writing

I did a great interview with this crazy man, Jeff Brown, and he got me thinking about the place where writing and fine art dovetail. You’ve seen me do it on occasion, when I’ve posted little paintings and sketches of things or characters, but I’ve barely considered WHY until now.

Sometimes, I need to have an image, or words, or a picture in my head to understand how I feel about something. Sketching a character tells me something about who I’m hoping he’ll be. Doodling a villain does pretty much the same thing.

I wanted to show you a great example of this in action as I develop a new idea.

The working title of this project used to be “Fluid Exchange,” but I was having real trouble trying to find a geographic setting that would meet my needs. Thanks to a friend in NYC, the location was settled. There’s an area of Staten Island called “Great Kills,” and that is so perfect for the book, I have to use it…but, how do I feel about it? What does that name add to the plot and tone?

I had to draw those words and see…a little obsessively. There are other sheets of paper laying around, trust me.

Great Kills sketches
Great Kills sketches

If you’re a movie buff, artist, or graphic designer, you might know where the style I’m trying to mimic comes from. If you’re a beer drinker, take a look at Flying Dog’s branding and labels. Familiar, isn’t it?

This is as close as I can get to the lettering of Ralph Steadman. I idolize him a little.

The words (in this style) are brutal, raw, and precisely what I need to help me sense the atmosphere I want to create. I can SEE this. More than that, I felt it while I used the brush to draw the letters. The action felt violent and dirty. Perfect!

Of course, there’s an added benefit to doing something like this: it might help a designer (whether it is me or someone else) create cover art that accurately reflects the manuscript.


Now, go out there and buy a copy of “Manleigh Cheese!”