gwox: me2017 (me2017)

WritingLook, I didn’t mean to be gone for so long. I took a wrong turn on the expressway, and next thing I knew, I was in Tijuana, herding llamas and putting worms in those little bottles. You know how it is. I only just now got back.

Well, ok, maybe not. Maybe I just took an ill-advised two-and-a-half-year detour into buying, owning, and then ultimately selling a house someplace I shouldn’t have considered in the first place. Maybe I made a few starts at writing during that time, but couldn’t keep it going because of the constant distractions and pressure. Maybe there were llamas, but they were herding me.

Whatever the case, all those maybes are in the past. I’m in a new place, the lessons are learned, the pressures are lessened, the llamas are on their way to Hollywood, and I’ve carved out a regular block of time when I can just write (or edit, or blog, or whatever). I’m finally back to writing.

I’ve revamped the blog, and this site–added a new picture of my meaty mug, and cut down on the clutter of the sidebars. I also added a mobile theme for people viewing the site on their magic rectangles, figuring it was about time the site joined this decade.

As far as my books go… I regained the rights to my novel Brutal Light at the start of this year, and plan on self-publishing a new edition later this summer. I took down all my self-published short stories at the same time, and am planning on publishing my first collection in the spring of 2018.

Writing-wise, my top goal for the last seven months of this year is to finish my next novel, Redscale: Severance, though I’ll likely do a couple short stories in that time as well.

Finally, I do have a new short story, “The Path of Needles,” that will soon be published, in The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 in a couple days. I’ll ramble on about that in another entry.

It’s good to be back! Watch out for llamas!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fairly Wicked Tales and The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror and Science Fiction #1. His blog originates here.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

Brutal Light

I originally wrote this in December 2011 as part of my Brutal Light blog promo tour. As the blog it originally appeared on no longer exists, I’m reposting it here. Yay?

One of the things I’m frequently asked about are my influences. As someone who’s read a lot, in a lot of genres, that’s a topic I can go on about for quite a while–the list of authors range from Stephen King to Terry Pratchett to Michael Connelly to Clive Barker to… well, you get the idea. But even within this list, there are certain books I can pick out that exerted great influence on both my reading choices and my storytelling style. I can’t rightly say how much any particular one of these examples influenced me when it came to writing my debut dark fantasy novel Brutal Light, but collectively, I think it’s safe to say they left their mark. Here are seven books that made me, and my writing, weird(er):

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

This was not my first introduction to Lovecraft–that had been the wonderfully-titled Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, a collection of some of his short fiction–but it was the one that left the deepest impression on me. The deliberate, atmospheric pacing of this journey into the ruins of a lost civilization had me on edge the first time I read it, and it excited my mind around the details of what would later become the Mythos the way it had not quite been before.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

This one took a while to win me over–at first I didn’t know what to think of the careening strangeness of the narrative and the hyperbolic mix of what I assume is every conspiracy theory out there up to the point of the novel’s publication. Then at some point, maybe a hundred pages in, it started gelling, and from that point I was hooked. It’s lost a little of its lustre over the years–the conspiracy stuff is a bit dated, and some passages seem more juvenile than provocative–but overall it’s still a hell of a trip.

Valis by Philip K. Dick

Valis was my introduction to Philip K. Dick’s strange and addictive works. Probably it wasn’t the best one to start with; it came at a point late in his career and life where he was evidently not too concerned with being ‘accessible.’ It’s a bizarre story to begin with, with its main character, Horselover Fat, contacted directly by God via a mysterious pink laser. Then it gets stranger, as Horselover seeks to understand his experience, with esoteric theories and crackpot paranoia continually throwing the events of his life into newer and weirder lights. I just recently re-read this one, and its as baffling and entertaining as I remember.

Dead Boys, Dead Girls, Dead Things by Richard Calder

By the time I got to this book, I’d read my share of cyberpunk science fiction, and had my head spun around by the likes of Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson. I thought I was ready. But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the convoluted, paranoid, utterly perverse, high-voltage trip that is the Dead trilogy. The first book, Dead Boys, makes at least a passing attempt at a standardized story structure, but the next two sail off into rampaging, obsessive apocalyptic madness. This one left my head spinning for weeks. I really wish Calder’s publisher would get his books into e-format; I’d buy them all in a heartbeat.

God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Now, I’d taken the first three books in the Dune series in stride. They were fine, weird beasts in and of themselves, full of complex ideas and strange events. But this one trumped them all. It took me a long time to really come to terms with Leto’s merger with a sandworm and his transformation into a near-immortal, unstable tyrant, and to appreciate the paradoxical depths of the philosophical discussions within. It’s a flawed book, certainly, but unlike anything I had read to that point (the mid-eighties, when I was an impressionable lad). One of these days I’ll have to read it again, just to see if it stands up to my memories of it.

Zod Wallop by William Browning Spencer

While the idea of a book as a doorway into another world is hardly new, I was unprepared for how this book would affect me. The action takes place both in the ‘real’ world, where ex-children’s book author Harry Gainesborough has escaped the institution where he was being treated for depression following the death of his daughter, and the world of Zod Wallop, the fantasy world of the books he wrote with said daughter as the central character. The transitions between worlds are seamless, and the climax is as emotionally stunning as I’ve ever read. It’s a strange and amazing journey.

Imajica by Clive Barker

This was my introduction to Clive Barker. You might as well have dropped a bus on me. Barker’s framework of a hidden world behind the superficial façade of this one completely drew me in with the depth of its obsessive detailing, the complicated story threads, and the sheer power of its metaphysical invention. It’s a beautiful, perverse, and terrifying work–still my favorite of Barker’s, and one that undoubtedly left its mark on my writing since.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

WritingI don’t always write short blog entries, but when I do, it’s because I’ve been on a writing tear. And this month I have–about 19k words into a first draft of a new urban fantasy novel, Redscale. If I can sustain that pace, I expect to have the draft finished, or at least close to, by the end of the year.

Why it is that I always find myself of being in the position of either doing bloggy, tweety, updatey things or doing some actual writing, I don’t know. I mean, I’d always expected one or the other would take center stage at any given time, based on what was going on, but I didn’t expect right stage and left stage would be taken up as well! It’s a case of something’s gotta give, and better this give than the writing.

Among other things that can’t give: I’m working with my wife, Kristyn, on Onyx Fire, a short puppet movie based on a mid-grade fantasy book we co-wrote (but did not publish) a couple years back. It’s quite different than my adult horror and dark fantasy writing, and I really can’t imagine any sort of crossover audience, but I’m finding I’m enjoying the slow process of getting it ready for filming (with puppets and a greenscreen background)–doing the storyboards, working on the website, and so on. I probably won’t mention it (much) on this blog, at least not until the film’s done, but it’s going to take up some time for the next few months.

Finally, I’m reading. Not that this should come as a shock to anyone. But this reading is research–specifically, into Chicago circa 1893, the backdrop of a steampunk horror story I’ll be working on later this year. Not only will it be my first steampunk story, but also my first (alternate) historical fiction, which puts me under tremendous mental pressure to READ ALL THE HISTORY THINGS. Fortunately, many of these THINGS were already on my bookshelves, in the form of research I’d done more than a decade ago for a novel that got abandoned halfway through (one of the failed precursors to Brutal Light). And fortunately, 1890s Chicago is proving as fascinating to me now as it did then.

Oh, and I went to Cedar Point this month. Rode most of the coasters, and finished off with my favorite, the Top Thrill Dragster. And though I was kinda worn out by the end of the day, and a bit sunburned as well, it was a real good time.

Ok, I guess this blog entry wasn’t so short.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

Authors at Schulers

(Left to right: Sidney Ayers, DJ Desmyter, Gary W. Olson (i.e. me), Cindy Spencer Pape, Megan Parker, Roxanne Rhoads, and Nathan Squiers)

A couple weeks ago, I did a couple of signings back-to-back: one at Schulers Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, and one at the public library in Davison, Michigan. They were both multi-author events, as evidenced by the picture above. While they ended up being a bit sparsely attended, I had a great time nonetheless, talking with various readers and fellow authors. The library signing was especially cool for me, as it took place in my hometown’s library, which I observed had changed very little in the twenty-one years since I’d left, and it makes me happy to know that it now has copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous in its system (which means that so does the Genessee District Library system its part of).

The following week was a blur to me, for various personal and family reasons not to be gotten into here. Much of this week was lost to distraction, both due to the recent U.S. election (the results of which pleased me overall) and getting a replacement smartphone (and having to fuss with it to get everything set back up right). But I’m getting back into the swing of writing.

I’m nearly done with the first quarter of my Untitled Mad Science Novel (which I’m tentatively calling This Island Monstrous, until I think of something better). It’s taken me much longer than I anticipated just to get this far, but I’m pleased with how it’s going. Soon, I’ll be switching gears and going back to work on my SF biopunk novella The Morpheist, with a goal of getting it rewritten, edited, polished, and ready to send out somewheres by the end of the year. That’s pretty much it for my rest-of-the-year writing plans; anything I may have blathered on about before (such as rewriting my old Electricity in the Rain serial fiction) is back on the shelf.

As for next year… that remains to be seen. Anytime I plan, it seems, life gets on with the thwarting, so I’m just gonna play it by ear.

Books on Shelves

(Picture from the shelves at Schuler’s, including both Brutal Light and Fading Light.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. First photo: Someone in the audience at Schulers. Second photo: Gary W. Olson.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

Brutal LightJust a quick reminder for Michigan folks reading this blog, today (Wednesday, October 24th, 2012), at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction, then signing copies of my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous. Then tomorrow, I’ll be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which will also be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing. Addresses for both are on the other end of the links.

Also, congratulations to Jen Lavinski, the commenter who won the PDF copy of Karina Fabian’s Neeta Lyffe 2 that I was raffling off last week!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

Brutal LightOn Wednesday, October 24th, 2012, at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction. With me will be authors Sidney Ayers, D.J. Desmyter, Bruce Jenvey, Megan Parker, Cindy Spencer Pape, and Nathan Squiers. After that will be the selling and signing of books, including my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous.

After that, I wake up naked in a cornfield outside of Grand Rapids, wondering what happened.

Fading LightOn Thursday, October 25th, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., I’ll also be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which just happens to be my home town! Once again this will be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing, with fellow authors Cindy Spencer Pape, Bruce Jenvey, Roxanne Rhoads, Nathan Squiers, and Megan Parker also on hand.

I once blinded (for a few seconds) Olympic hockey champion Ken Morrow at this library. True story.

So if you’re in either vicinity at those times, save the dates, as I hope to see you there!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique. Fading Light cover art: Jessy Lucero.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

Something You Should KnowOk, I finally got around to making Something You Should Know (a Brutal Light short story) available for free on Amazon.com for Kindle users. Not sure why it took me so long, except that I’ve been busy and it’s my first time going through Kindle self-publishing and there are all kinds of shiny things on the Internet. You know how it is.

(Quick recap: Something You Should Know is a short story set a few months before the events of my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. While not a direct prequel, it does foreshadow events in that book.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

It has been a long week for me, for reasons I can’t really talk about. I was going to see if I could kludge together some book reviews, but… maybe next week on that. So, let’s see… what can I talk about?

There’s writing, of course. The Morpheist is at 26.5k, and I’m thinking I can get it to the end (about 32k or so) within the next two weeks. As first drafts go, it’s rough enough you could use it to shave a moose, but it’s workable enough to go on with. Once it’s done, I’m gonna put it away for a little bit (but not too long) and work on something else, but I’m not sure what just yet.

I’ve been kicking about an idea to record me reading the first chapter of Brutal Light. Either just as an audio freebie or something to go up on YouTube. Of course, if it goes up on YouTube, I’m gonna have to come up with some visual bits to add to it, so it’s not just my comical-lookin’ mug up there reading for 7-10 minutes. I want to attract people to the book, not drive them away…

I haven’t seen too many movies on the big screen this year, for some reason. There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to see, but they just seem to whoosh by. Last ones I went to were… let’s see if I can remember… The Hunger Games and The Avengers (both of which were as good as I’d hoped, and even a bit better). More and more, I don’t end up seeing the movies until they end up on DVD. And it doesn’t really bother me. (In other news, you kids get off my lawn.) I think I should be able to get some friends together to go see Prometheus this weekend, though…

Theme from ‘Super Skrull’ by Ookla the Mok. I have the CD that this is on, but I only re-listened to it recently. Super Skrull is possibly one of the silliest characters ever created by Marvel; this song does him justice.

Author Tim Marquitz has the first chapter of his new dark epic fantasy novel, Embers of an Age, posted for your reading pleasure. Also, the book that Embers is a sequel to, Dawn of War is now free on Kindle!

If Earth is invaded by aliens and you were going to place a bet on the outcome, here’s why you’d be foolish to bet against them. In case that was something you were going to do.

Gladiator Ariel and other crazy designs from a nonexistent fighting game. My wife would demand we get this game, if it existed. I would cheerfully comply.

Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types. I’d like to say I’m a Chaos Muppet, but in all honesty, I’m probably an Order Muppet. I will not comment on my eyebrow size.

Right… time to get on with Friday. Hope yours is a good one!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)
New on my blog: On The Speaking in The Public

In which I evaluate how I did in a live interview and on some convention panels and am relatively surprised with things.
gwox: (me2011)
I'm going to be on Jennifer Walker's show on Blog Talk Radio, A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book, tonight, talking about Brutal Light, writing in general, dark fantasy, where I get my ideas, and other such things. It'll run from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm EST, and will be streaming live during that time. If, for some implausible reason, you fail to gain the urge to rearrange your life so as to hang on my every erratic, meandering word, it will be archived there for you to listen to in your own good time.
gwox: (me2011)
New on my blog: Free Brutal Light Tie-In Short Story Now Available from Smashwords

Something You Should KnowThe story takes place a few months before the 'present day' action in Brutal Light, but it's more of a stand-alone story than an actual prequel. Click here to go directly to the Smashwords download page. If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!
gwox: (me2011)
I'm over on Kelly A. Harmon's blog today, being interviewed on Brutal Light and other writerly topics. To mark the end of this virtual book tour, I'm giving away a free e-book edition of Brutal Light to a random commenter (who can choose between .mobi, .pdf, and .epub versions)!
gwox: (me2011)
I'm over on Sean A. Lusher's blog today, talking about seven books that made me weird(er). What books have messed with your head in these ways? Come share!

Also, while I'm here, I should mention Brutal Light is on Shelfari now... and so am I. You know, in case you feel like rating and reviewing.
gwox: (me2011)
I'm over on Sally Franklin Christie's's blog today, being interviewed about Brutal Light and other writerly topics. Stop in and make various noises!

Also, Brutal Light is up on GoodReads now, in case you feel moved to rate and/or review it. Which would make me very happy, thus rendering me a puppet to your every wish. At least, that's how I think it works.
gwox: (me2011)
I'm over on Lincoln Crisler's blog today, talking about the one bit of writing advice that I took most to heart since hearing it. (And no, it's not "write high, edit low.")

Also, while I'm here, I can now announce that print editions of Brutal Light are now available, from Amazon (U.S.), Amazon (Canada) and BarnesAndNoble.com. Note that if you want a print edition but don't want to go through an online seller, you can go to any local bookstore that does special ordering and order it using this ISBN: 978-1-61572-539-7.

Kindle users in the U.K. can now get the Kindle version from Amazon (U.K.).

Finally, two other Amazon-related announcements: I now have an author page on Amazon.com, and I have a Kindlegraph account for those of you who want free mouse-drawn autographs from me over an image of the cover art.
gwox: (me2011)
I'm over on Lee Mathers's journal today, being interviewed regarding Brutal Light and other writerly topics. I'm covering some ground here not covered anywhere else, so be sure to check it out!
gwox: (me2011)
I'm over on Tim Marquitz's blog today, going on about "Brutal Light and my Path to Dark Fantasy. Essentially it's my longform answer to the question of what drew me to write dark fantasy fiction in the first place. Stop by and say hi!

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