Total Recharge

No, I’m not dead.  I’m still here…sort of.  As of right now I’m on a much needed vacation with my girlfriend, visiting with friends and family in Pennsylvania.  You have no idea how bad I need this break from my home life.  Work has been completely insane, the heat for the past two weeks has been over 105 degrees, and my general will to write has been nearly non-existent.  I love to write, but the fact that I haven’t been able to produce much of anything in some time has nearly driven me insane.  Which is the very reason I’m on this vacation.  A mental and spiritual recharge is just what the doctor ordered.  I realize that the rest of the year could be total shit lime the first half, but I plan to hit it with vengeance.  I also plan to begin blogging more starting next week.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m lazy as hell when it comes to blogging, but in order to keep interest in my writing, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to continue building a fan base and keep myself sane in the year of non-stop work.

But to tide you over, here are some pictures of my Indianapolis trip to the Days of the Dead con on the way to PA, where I finally got to meet Tom Savini, Traci Lords, and my guitar idol, Ace Frehley (unfortunately the website that uploaded my Ace picture is having trouble loading a full-sized shot, but I will post it as soon I can get it working).  Enjoy!
































Midwest Musings

Life is changing in Southwestern Indiana. That little guy to the left is only one of the eight–yes, eight–new members of my household, already joining myself and my frazzled cat.  My girlfriend, after only a few scant months for dating me, decided to take the plunge and move nearly three states over, away from her family, friends, and apparently the “world’s most delicious Maple doughnuts,” to start a new chapter in her life with me.

I’ve been away from the site for a few weeks now–hell, ok, a month–but I’ve had good reason.  February has been a long, strange, exciting month for me, and like most people finding themselves living with someone for the first time, it’s been an adjustment.  We’re still working on the “mine’s” and steadily molding them into “ours,” but we’re getting there.  All good things take time.  And, thankfully, the animals are getting along well enough (although my cat still panics when her dog gets anywhere near him).

I’m a different person than I was even a month ago.  I now get to wake up next to someone every morning.  I get to come home from work to a smiling face every day.  And I get to watch Quentin Tarantino movies every night snuggled up on my shitty leather couch with someone I love.  For a young guy like me, it’s more than I could ever ask for.


On the publishing front, I’ve sold two stories this year so far.  First, I’m proud to say that I have finally sold one of my earliest (and longest) written stories titled “Between Those Walls” to Cover of Darkness magazine, and it boasts one of my favorite characters, Warden Jerome Dempson.  I’m extremely happy to have this be my first magazine appearance, but only sad part is that it won’t be out until November.  It’ll be worth the wait, I promise.

And second, my story “A Promise Not Kept” found its way into Undead Press’s Cavalcade of Terror anthology (cover art below).  Although I don’t have a release date on this yet, I’ve been told Spring of 2012 or sooner.  I’m hoping for sooner myself.

If any of these projects sound appealing, please keep checking back to this site for up to date info on releases and new release giveaways, and as always you can check out the Biblio page for purchase links and synopsizes for all of my “sold” works of fiction.


 As far as appearances go for 2012, I’m still working on that.  Unfortunately I don’t get much vacation time at work, so my travel time is woefully limited.  Although I’d like to be involved with Horrorfind again this year, I’m still not sure what exactly is going on with the festivities.  Those who are usually involved with the scheduling are not taking part this year, so that trip still up in the air.  But there is a local signing I plan to be involved in sometime later in the year.  More info on that as it comes.


Oh, and I just thought I would throw this out there for the world: Please stop saying the world is going to end this year.  I’m so over people refering to the fucking Mayan calandar for every bullshit thing that has happened this year, including tornados, storms, and that pimple on your ass cheek that refuses to leave.  No, the world is not ending in December.  I for one plan on being around for The Hobbit and Django Unchained.  And if you’re one of those who truely believes, then go do yourself a favor and bury your head in the sand and wait for the end.  At least save the rest of us from your babble.  The rest of us have lives to live.


Until next time, you stay classy, Planet Earth.

2012 Writing Goals

I realize that I don’t blog enough, and I apologize for that, it’s just…well, let’s be honest with them, Wes: I really don’t know what to write about half the time.  I’m not going to say I’m boring or anything, but even though I have my own opinions like everyone else (you know, like everyone having an asshole), I don’t always feel the need to throw it out there until I feel it needs to be said.  I’m a twenty-four year old guy (soon to be twenty-five in a few weeks), I live alone with my cat (which will change in a month or so when Katie and her animals move out here with me), and I get up every morning, go to work, come home, fart, eat, scratch myself, write, watch Comedy Central, go to bed, and repeat.  I sometimes struggle to find something to blog about that might catch someone–anyone’s!–attention.  That’s why there’s not always a new blog.  But I hope to change that soon.  With Katie moving out here in a few short weeks, life is about to take a serious turn.  Things couldn’t be better for me, and with this new addition to my house I believe I will have more things to speak about–subjects that’ll let you in on little ol’ me.

But until then, here are my writing goals for the year.  I’m sure things will change as 2012 barrels forward, but as of January this is how things hope to pan out:

  1. Finish the five or six half-finished short stories that are sitting in my computer untouched.  I know they’re good ideas and all they require is sitting down and completing them.
  2. Finish the third draft edits of my novel, titled “The Betrayed.”  It currently sits at 92,251 words, but my ultimate goal is to slice it down to 87-88k.  At the advice of someone much wiser than I, I haven’t touched it or looked it over since this time last year, but my plan is driving through it head-first after those handful of short stories are done.  Four and a half years is long enough on this bad boy.
  3. After the novel is done, I want to spend the rest of the year working on two novellas.  One titled “One for the Road” is about a quarter done, and the other, which currently has no title, has yet to be started.

That’s it.  Not too unreasonable if you ask me.

And should something else come up, I’ll be ready.

An Open Letter to 2011

Dear 2011,

You’ve been one hell of a year, you know that right?  From start to finish you’ve brought on with full force an emotional roller coaster that hasn’t stopped.  Am I saying that you were bad?  That you somehow kicked my ass, spit on me, and threw me in the gutter to rot?

Fuck no.

I went into you, 2011, not sure what to expect.  You started off a bit unsure, placing me in a very short lived relationship with someone who basically used me as a Friday night date buddy and played me like a fiddle for everything my wallet had.  But after a few shitty past relationships, I had learned my lesson and moved on.  Enough said?  You’re right.

I’m not here to bitch at you, 2011.  Quite the opposite.  I’m here to thank you.  For everything–and I mean everything.

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am, buddy, that you’ve finally decided to bless me with the best year of my life.  You must understand, the last few years I’ve been doubting myself, wondering who I am, who I’m meant to be with, just what the ever-loving fuck am I supposed to be?  Don’t get me wrong, your older brother 2010 wasn’t a bad guy to be buds with, but it was you, 2011, who helped bring me out of my funk and showed me that there are better things out there to strive for.

First off, after 4 years of writing I can finally say with a proud smile that I am a published writer.  It’s the best feeling in the world to finally say that.  I’ve spent most of my life being a musician, but my achievements as a writer have far exceeded that.  My shelf (in the picture above) shows the anthologies that my stories are placed in.  Yes, I know, there should be two more anthos sitting up there, but we all know why they aren’t there.  I’ve moved past that, and trust me I’m better off because of it.  I also found myself as a guest author at this year’s Horrorfind Weekend in Gettysburg, PA, where I got to read one of my favorite stories “By The Throat” to a small crowd who really seemed to enjoy it.  It’s rush to read to people, to get their reaction to your words, especially if you’re reading with specific voices, getting louder or softer, yelling and moving around if need be.  It’s something I’ve come to really enjoy and hopefully will be able to do more of.

Second, I have the best friends a guy could ever ask for.  They took in an outsider and made me feel like one of the group–an equal (even though my PA friends constantly give me shit for being a Midwesterner).  And I’m extremely proud of each one 0f their own personal achievements.  My “PIC” Brent Abell went on to sell numerous stories this years.  My very good friends Michele Mixell and Nikki Graybeal sold their first couple of stories.  Matt Blazi and Dave Thomas wrote screenplays this year, as well, and Susan Scofield had several sucessful art showings.  Ron Dickie and Mandy DeGeit drank a lot, so that accounts for something right?  My big bro Bob Ford finally had his wonderful novella “Samson and Denial” published, and big sis Kelli Owen took Thunderstorm Books by, well, storm with her stellar debut novel “Six Days” as well as the following two novellas “Waiting Out Winter” and “The Neighborhood,” and as I’ve been told many more to come from both.  Every one of these people have impacted my life in some way, whether it was just a phone call, a laugh, a point in the right direction, an unwanted picture of a naked ass on my camera when I wasn’t looking, or a shoulder to cry on when things went momentarily sour.  I’m so gratefull to have each one of these people in my life.  They’ve helped change me into a better, happier person, and I hope they know that I would do anything for them, no matter what.

Which brings me to Katie.  For the last four months I’ve been in the best relationship I’ve ever had, with the best girl I’ve ever met.  For the longest time, I really didn’t think I’d ever find someone, but my weekend at Horrorfind proved me wrong.  I never thought I’d ever be in a long distance relationship–God know’s there have been enough stupid movies made on the subject, most completely over-the-top and unbelieveable–but this…this works.  And in a few short months we won’t have to spend hours on end talking on the phone or Skyping.  She’s taking the plunge and moving out here to start her new life with me, which makes me even happier than I could have ever imagined.  She’s truly one of a kind.  She makes me constantly laugh, smile, knows just the right things to pull me out of a bad mood.  Occationally, I’ll read to her selections from Jeff Strand’s story collection “Gleefully Macabre Tales”, or a poem or two for a good laugh.  She knows how to pull me out of my comfort zone and gets me to just let go… And believe it or not, we share the same birthday!

Back in November, we went on a trip out to Philadelphia.  I never got around to putting the photos on Facebook, 2011, but I’ll put them here for your enjoyment.

The Philly Zoo

Yes, this monkey has some huge boobs!

I even got a great looking author’s photo out of the trip:

Unfortunately I forgot to charge my camera, so it died not long after this was taken.

Thank you, 2011, for being the best year ever.  I know you’ve been hard on people, some of them being very close friends of mine, but I truely believe that your brother 2012 will be another great year, and will be bring the happiness to those who need it, as you did for me.

If not, tell him I know where he sleeps. ;)

Rest in peace, 2011.  Rest in peace…

Your bud, Wes.

Always Behind

I fight technology.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been very far behind the rest of Planet Earth when it comes to the latest technology.  For years, my family never had a home PC and were finally the last of everyone that I knew to get one, and even after getting a hand-me-down junker we were still the last to upgrade to broadband internet, still riding the crest of the wonderful dial-up days.  When cell phones came out, yet again we were the last to know.  In fact, now, I may be the only damn person on the planet that doesn’t own a Smart Phone (I’m actually surprised I have a camera on my P.O.S. cell).  When it came to music, though I had always–and will always–love CDs, I was slow to respond to MP3 players.  “What?  A device that allows you to carry every song you’ve ever heard or will ever hear that’s the size of a wallet?  Yeah…I’ll just stick with my CDs.”  I cringe now when I think about that.  Now, I wouldn’t be able to function without that stupid little Zune (yes, I’m a Zune owner; take pictures, I may be the only person you know that love theirs).  Yes, we were even the last to discover the wonders of DVDs.  But that’s just how I’ve always been: I fight technology.  I don’t want to change.  I want things to stay the same.

Last week my parents decided to buy me a new TV for my house.  A very large flat screen plasma, I might add.  But I fought it.  I didn’t want a new TV!  What was wrong with my little 25″ TV that moaned when you kept it on for too long?  The one with the static line that runs through the middle of the screen.  And WTF do I need HD cable for?  Regular would do me just fine, thank you very  much.  But then I plugged it in (and subsequently found the HD channels my cable provider had been telling me about) and was blown the hell away!  What was I fighting?  Awesomeness?  Watching TV and movies in high quality and superior sound?  I must have been out of my mind.

Now I want a Blu-Ray player…and yet again I’m a few years behind.

I’m done fighting technology.  You win.

Horrorfind Weekend 2011

 I realize I haven’t posted in some time, but I hope to change that from this point on.  As the last post suggests, I’ve been in a bit of a funk from what was supposed to be my first big publishing venture, which from what you’ve read turned out horribly.  But I’m ready to move past that and start fresh, and Horrorfind weekend was just what I needed to exorcise those shit demons.

Other than Mo*Con, I’ve never been to what’s considered a “big” convention.  The week prior to HF was spent worrying about how I was going to react around a massive crowd, being pushed around, shoulder to shoulder, no room to breathe.  I’ll be damned if I was wrong.  Horrorfind was not what I expected.  I’ve never felt more comfortable, being around so many like-mined people–never felt overwhelmed by the crowds or unable to move.  In fact, I was quite comfortable the entire weekend.  Everyone was there for a purpose: To have fun, get drunk, and make some memories.

And that’s what we did.

Another weekend in Pennsylvania, another reason to want to move to the east coast.

Over the course of the weekend, I got to meet one of my favorite actors, Ken Foree.

And the great Sid Haig.

Finally got to meet and hang out with one of my all time favorite writers, Tim Lebbon, and was lucky to meet the great Christopher Golden.

I was also very fortunate to hang out with and recieve some really great advice about the world of writing and publishing with the amazing James A. Moore.

And to top it off, my Sunday afternoon reading of “By The Throat”.

Also got to meet some great new writers, like Kevin Lucia, Jacob Haddon, Lesley Conner, and Charles Cloyott.  Overall, one of the best weekends ever.  And as for next year…

…You can bet your ass I’ll be there again!

P.S. I should have some publishing news coming within the next week or so, so keep your eyes open on this page for more details on my “real” first short story publication in an anthology.

If Only It Was Fiction…

Imagine this:

You’re a young writer and you dream big, just like any new writer does.  You stand around at work, day after day, letting your imagination be carried away by your muse, so that, night after night, you can go home and pound away at the little black laptop keys and tell the story that begs to be told.  You hope and you dream that someday, someone out there will read this story/book and be entertained, if even for ten minutes.  You hope that maybe…possibly they remember your name long enough to look you up on the internet, track down your other work, then buy and enjoy it.  You dream that some kid, maybe not far off from your age might be inspired to start up writing…all because of you.  Though you’d never say it out loud, you hope that maybe you’ll hit big, sell a few great novels and have that young writer approach you at a convention or a book store, nervous, shaking, just waiting to tell you that you were the reason they wanted to be a writer.

But until then, you keep writing.  You focus.  You learn.  You submit, submit, submit.  You sit, even when there’s something better on TV that you would rather be watching, and you prove to yourself why you deserve to be heard.  You spend four years, against popular standards, writing that novel idea that wouldn’t let you go.  Sure, you should have started out writing short stories, but, hey, everyone’s different.  By the time you finish that novel, you’re prompted to get back into writing shorts because you need to get your name out there.  And you do.  You spend most of the year working on short fiction, trying to figure out how to keep your ideas under 5,000 words–some ideas work, some don’t.

Then it happens.

An editor likes your story, boy howdy, and he/she wants to buy it.  You see that email and you can’t believe your eyes.  This is it!  You’re finally doing it!  Hell, you call your parents to celebrate and they take you out for a Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cone, but then you go home right after and keep writing.  And you sell another.  And another.  And another.

2011 is YOUR year!

Then you get the word that one of those books is coming out.  You order your copies.  And you wait.  Then you get home one day to find that box on your doorstep.  THE box.  Your breath catches in your throat.  You leap from the car, grab the box, rush inside, open it, take that first book out, smell it, feel it on your fingers.  This is what you’ve been waiting for!  You crack that fresh new copy open, find your by-line and your story on Page 32, then flip to find…

This is not your story.

This is what I’ve been dealing with for the last six days of my life, and you may or may not have noticed that I’ve completely erased not only two of my blog entries, but two stories from my Biblio page and two pictures from my Facebook page.  The reason is simple.

Earlier this summer, after my first two story sales and placing in the final eleven (out of 110 entries) in the Cemetery Dance Amateur Writing Competition, I sold not one but two of my stories to a gentleman, of who I will not name.  These were going to be placed into an anthology showcasing talent from a particular Mid Western state, one boasting horror stories, and the other science fiction.  I kept in regular touch with the editor, and from what I could tell was a fairly nice individual, who was extremely excited to edit what he believed would be an annual anthology based on these two genres.  I was excited as well.  I thought: Hell yes, here’s something I could be proud to be a part of on a yearly basis.

Last Wednesday, when my Amazon shipment hit my doorstep, I opened my book to discover that what was placed between pages 32-37 was not  what I had submitted, but what the editor had decided would be fitting to his needs.  Mr. Editor took what I believed was a mature, psychological story of a man with a debilitating phobia and what he does to conquer it into a poorly edited, incompetent sex romp, complete with phrases like “piece of limp-dick shit”, “your tiny little cock and skinny neck”, “you fucking, pathetic excuse for a man” (notice the awful comma placement), and completely made up words like “Strangulophobia”.  To say the very least, I was outraged.

For the next twenty-four hours I did some private eye investigating, and come to find out, I wasn’t the only one this happened to.  Again, I will not mention names, but from what I gather it seemed as though the few who had received their copies weren’t thrilled about what was done with their stories.  And from what I gather, mine was by far the worst.

Through word of mouth, the editor contacted me and asked me why I was so upset.  And I gave it to him.  He was completely in breach of contract for these two reasons: One, it is stated in the contract that he wrote, that any major altercations made to this story would need written consent from the author, which was not given.  And two, although briefly mentioned as an option, no e-rights were signed for this book, and yet there’s an e-book version sitting happily on Amazon.

The editor, who was extremely apologetic, gave me three options on how to rectify this situation, but I took it upon myself to give him my own option: You are to immediately remove my story (or, your version of my story) from the anthology, remove my name from the Amazon page, the Facebook page and webpage, and shred my contract for not only this book but the other I’ve been signed for.  And it was done with numerous “sorry’s” and “this was my first time doing this’s”.

It was completely shame it had to be this way, but the editor brought it upon himself.  After speaking with two of my very good friends, they gave me two options of their own: We can be loud and boisterous about this and let the world know of this bullshit, or we can quietly sweep this under the rug and try to forget about it.  I chose the latter.  Even though I wanted to spread the word about this nonsense, to scream and rage in frustration, after a few days I calmed down and leveled out, and decided to just forget the whole damn thing and move on, because there are bigger fish to fry.

I guess the point of this lengthy blog to make people aware that there is a dark side to publishing.  Like any entertainment business, whether it’s loud movie or a quiet book, there are other people out there who are willing to fuck it up for you, whether they know it or not.  Do I believe Mr. Editor did this on purpose to screw with my story in a way that it completely changed not only the language but the tone and point of the story?  No.  I believe he truly thought he was making better, doing what he thought would make it something he would read.  But like any writer, we know that’s not the way it’s done.  If he didn’t like the story or the way it was written, he could have either passed on the story, or, like stated in the contract that he so blatantly ignored, suggest how to make it better.

My point is: Get to know who you’re submitting to.  If you find a market that interests you, then study up.  Find authors who are featured in that magazine/antho and ask them about their experience, what they thought of the editor, and what sort of rights were they asking for.  And for God’s sake: READ YOUR STORY BEFORE IT HITS PRINT!!!  As newbies, we’re tempted to send out our work to anyone who’s willing to throw $5 our way just to see our stories in print.  We’re naive and we’ll trust anyone, even when they decide to stick it in and break it off.  We have to aim higher, and we have to beware.  There are good people out there who are more than willing to help you along the way–that I can guarantee–you just have to watch yourself and those you decide to associate with.  I wouldn’t wish what happened to me happen to anyone else.

You should be able open that first box of books with your name on it and cry–not tears of anger, but tears of joy.

What I Left Behind / What I Became

It’s been over four years since I left the great city of Atlanta, Georgia to move back home after college.  And, to tell you the truth, I think about it every day.

I began playing guitar at the age of thirteen, at a time when I desperately needed something to obsess over.  You see, even at a young age, I was always very into music.  My father, a product of the baby-boom generation, was introduced at a young age to the music that he, many years later, would pass on to me like a ceremonial torch.  Bands like Kiss, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and so on; bands that went to change the world, and change how a little boy from Southwestern Indiana saw it from then on.  Sure, my tastes have changed and progressed over the years, leaning toward the heavier side of rock music (and, yes, there was that awful 8th grade year of my life where I stood proudly as a *gulp*…Juggalo…although I’ve been fortunate to erase that from my past, thank you very much).

By thirteen, I’d had enough with jamming air guitar on the blowup guitar from Party City.  I neededthe real thing, Mom and Dad!  Ask and ye shall receive.  The several years following I spent studying and learning the functions and techniques of the instrument.  By my junior year in high school, I started my own metal trio called Cemetery Symphony, where I played guitar and swore up and down the wall that I was going to do lead vocals…eventually.  I wasn’t the best singer—although, I don’t think I’m all that bad now—but I was damn determined to get this group up and off the ground, and I would lead us to fame and infamy, and would be up to our elbows in groupies for the rest of our lives.

We had one show.  We sucked.

Oh well.  Life goes on.  And it did.  I took guitar lessons from a gentleman named David Brewster, who I still blame my entire writing endeavors on.  When not teaching, we would gush about horrorfilms, and argue over which was better: Fast Zombies verses Slow Zombies.  He knew that I was a big zombie movie fanatic (I can admit now that I’ve had my share of zombies, movies and/or fiction, to last a lifetime), so he told me about this new author whose first novel hadjust been released.  A modern classic, he said.  Couldn’t put it down, he said.  Sure, whatever, I said.  I’ll give it a whirl.

That book was Brian Keene’s The Rising.

That was the beginning.

Following high school, I ventured to the south to Atlanta, Georgia to further my studies of guitar and the rock and roll way at the Atlanta Institute of Music.  By that point in my life I knew what I was going to be, and I’d be damned if anyone told me otherwise.  My parents wanted me to go to a regular college.  My friends thought I was dumb.  My teachers looked at me funny (come to think of it, it was probably my long hair at the time).  Damn them—damn them all!  I was going to be a fucking rock star…

I should have listened.

The point of this blog entry isn’t to bash AIM—quite the opposite, actually.  For an eighteen year-old fresh out of high school, moving six hours away from home was one of the smartest things I could have done.  It made me independent.  It made me responsible.  It made me wash my own damn clothes, buy my own damn groceries (this was back in 2005-06, and it still blows my mind how I gave myself a weekly $30 limit on food and $15 on gas, and still managed to get around with a full tank and a full stomach) and clean my own damn toilet.  I did this all on my own.  For nearly two years, I busted ass at UPS while most of my fellow students were taking a free ride on the mommy- and daddy-bought college experience of sleeping late, staying wasted, and doing whatever the hell they pleased without so much as leaving their pre-paid apartments.  Sure, I was jealous, but I was damn proud to know that I was working hard for my stay in school.  I worked damn hard, even back at home, for my Alpine White Gibson Les Paul Studio and Peavey Triple XXX all tube Half-Stack.  But I’m not going to bash on those guys (and gals) either.  In fact, I made some of the best friends I’ll ever have down there, like the current members of The Maximum Wes Club, started by Zack, Blue, Jake, Daniel, and Steph (love you guys!).  And, of course, one of my best buddies ever Nathan Brown (if you happen to see this post, Nathan, call me, you
bastard!  We haven’t talked in forever!).

I graduated in February 2007, and had to make that terrible decision, the one ultimately this blog is based on: Do I stay, or do I go?  For the first year or so of living in Atlanta, I loved it.  I was living on my own, going to concerts almost every weekend, having fun with my new friends, and fighting with my then female roommate (and you’re reading this, Alice, I don’t hate you anymore…let’s bury the hatchet.  I would love to buy you some fresh tampons, considering you’ve been wearing the same one for the last four years.)  But after that initial hump, I was completely over it.  I wanted to come home.  Look, I’ve always been a city boy (despite what you PA fuckers think :)), but I was ready to get away from the insane traffic, and the fact I only got to see my family five or six times a year was killing me.

I made the phone call to my parents.  They were not happy.  For two years, I told them Atlanta was my new home base, and that’s just the way it was going to be.  I had a few job offers before I left, some sounded ok, while others sounded…well, honestly they sounded lame.  I didn’t go to school to teach ten year-olds how to play their G chords.  I left Atlanta unhappy.

I came home unhappy, too.  What was I going to do?  I now owned a $12,000 piece of paper that said “I can play guitar really well!”, but what the hell was I going to now?  I didn’t want to teach, and working at music store didn’t peak my interest either.  So factory work it shall be.

I was still unhappy.

But I’ll be damned if I didn’t become a reading fool.  Keene led to Lebbon.  Lebbon led to Gonzalez.  Gonzalez led to Braunbeck.  Which led me to Indianapolis, where a small convention was held every year called Mo*Con, where horror authors, artists and fans would gather and sign, panel, and shoot the shit…and I wasn’t going to leave until I shook Brian Keene’s hand and thank him for all of the great fiction that cheered me up a bit on days when life would kick me in the balls.

Something clicked that day…something strange that changed me.  I looked around and listened to all the people who came in from states I had never even been to, people that drove across states for hundreds—some even thousands—of miles just to get a hand shake and get a book signed.  I was floored.  And I was inspired.

Not long after coming back from Indy, I had long talk with my best friend Joseph about this idea I had.  I told him I want to write fiction, and I’ve got this great novel idea.  He wished me luck, and that was that.  And for the next three years—yes, that’s 3—I poured my blood sweat and (sometimes literally) tears into that novel, giving this story my all like I had never done with anything else in my life.  I worked day and night like a banshee, trying to pull this story out of my head and onto paper.

Then I met my ex.

I won’t tell you her name, so let’s just call her C, because there are so many four letter words we call her instead.  I met my then girlfriend, and promptly fell in love, but it took me away from my writing, which made me sad (although, I may be exaggerating…after all, she was keeping me…occupied…with other things).  After being with C for nearly two years of my life, I wanted so badly for her to be the one.  And for a little while I thought she was…

I won’t go into detail about our breakup, but I can tell you it wasn’t pretty, and there’s a reason why I haven’t spoken to her since July 2nd 2009.

I was not a happy person.  Sure, I finished my novel, and was enthused as all hell about that, but everything else in my life sucked.  I was depressed, I was lonely, and I took my frustrations from work home with me.  Friends, family, co-workers…no one wanted to be around me.  For a little while, I didn’t want to be around me.  I had completely stopped playing guitar.  The dream was dead.

Then I went to Mo*Con 2010…and met two people who changed my life forever.

For the last year and half, I’ve been happier than I have ever been in my entire life.  I’ve met some amazing, truly wonderful and accepting people who I can now call my friends, I’ve seen some awesome sights, and even befriended a Canadian (love ya, Ron!).  And after four years of hard work, I’ve finally starting to sell some fiction.

What I left behind was a dream.  What I became was a better, happier person.

I may not yet have found my place in the world, but damn it, I can finally see where I’m going.

Hello, World.  Meet Wes.

So, after this lengthy blog about my life experience, tell me…what terrifying choice have you made that’s ultimately changed your life for the better?

Horrible Saturday (or How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

I wanted to give a big shout-out to everyone who helped make it another great vacation in Pennsylvania last weekend.  I realize now that I should have written this a few days ago, but seeing as how I still haven’t even had time to wash my dirty clothes yet, this is coming out late.

I want to start off by saying that Southwest Air is the greatest airline ever.  It was a very pleasant flight…unlike the my last flight out to PA (cough *Continental* cough) which consisted of massive layovers, massive asshole in-flight neighbors, and losing my luggage.  But, hey, it made for a great story (titled “With Many Thanks to Newark,” which I sold, thank you very much).

Second, to the York Emporium for throwing a great little shindig called Horrible Saturday, which consisted of signings and panels with Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, J.F. Gonzalez, Kelli Owen and Bob Ford.

Third, to my PA/MD/FL  friends Matt, Nikki, Susan, Dave, Michele, Scott, and Greg for hanging out and never ceasing to make me laugh.  Thanks guys (and gals).

And last, but certainly not least, my good friends Kelli and Bob.  Thanks for everything: for the advice, the sandwiches, the margaritas, the creepy house in the woods, that other fruity drink that burned so good, the pool, the tiki torches, the laughs, the tears, and the spirit recharge that I needed very badly.

Favorite Quotes of the Weekend (either from me or other people): “Does Wal-Mart sell dinosuar rape kits?”  “So how many stories do I have to sell before I get a fucking Sam’s cola?”  ” I am in PA.  You are drunk.  I’m not going to Dairy Queen for you, mom.  Go to bed.”  “Harry Potter is not on the east coast, he’s in England, and he’s not real.  Go to bed!”  “Boo, motherfucker!”  “Embrace your inner uterus.”

Overall, another great weekend in PA.  See you guys at Horrorfind!