Friday, June 6, 2014

Giving up words to live your life?

Writers gotta write....right? I think that's true. I've known quite a few writers and many of them are very gifted. The thing that seems to bind us all together is need. We all have a drive to create stories, to put words on a page for someone to read, to make that reader think, laugh, cry, get mad. We pull all the feelings we can from him or her with just a jumble of letters strung together in thought.

 At least, that's my assumption.

 I almost gave up writing. I was miserable. Words didn't make sense to me. Writing was hard. I filled my life with wonderful things, parties and gardening, cooking and canning, crafting and sewing. All of these things made me happy but the sum of these things didn't add up to the one thing I needed.


 Becoming a writer again wasn't simple. After four years back at it, I still don't feel like a writer most days. But I keep at it. I've reworked my whole life to focus on writing. I've given up the parties, the gardening, the canning, the sewing--well, not completely. But I've scaled them all back. Writing comes first.

It's taken a lot of discipline to get here. I have a long way to go still. I've given things up that maybe I shouldn't have. But I know what I want and where I want to go. I can see a rough hewn path showing me how to get there. I forget that this path isn't for everyone.

I had a friend. He was a particularly talented writer. He was on that path of achieving. We haven't spoken in a couple of years now but I still wonder about the stories in his head and whether anyone will ever get to read them. Various life events he just stopped stringing letters together into beautifully crafted sentences. I understand. Life has a way of taking your writing time. Spending your time day-dreaming and imagining is somehow less valuable than doing the dishes or laundry.  Everyday life has taken his words away and that makes me sad. Not for him as much as his potential readers.

I have another friend who frequently threatens to quit.  I know he's at the bottom of a deep sink hole struggling to climb out. Writing is hard. Those are sad days for both of us--but for me, it's because they remind me that I stopped writing for seven long years. Even though I filled my time and put my creativity into wonderful things, they never made me as happy as I am not that I have my voice back.

Words make me happy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cover reveal: Albert Wendland's The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes

What could draw poet, explorer, loner and paranoid Mykol Ranglen away from the relative peace of his own ring-in-space habitat? He has no choice in the matter as one by one acquaintances are murdered or disappear altogether. Propelled by ever changing and deepening mysteries Mykol embarks to uncover secrets which could make people rich beyond their wildest dreams…or tear apart human civilization. The escalating quest takes him through worlds of many dangerous extremes, leading him to confront the deadly alien Fist of Thorns, extinct species refusing to give up their power over the future, and those racing against him to uncover the secret first. But in the course of his pursuit, he must also face his own secrets. And some of these are even more dangerous. The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes by Albert Wendland Cover Art by Bradley Sharp Foreword by William H. Keith Space Opera Paperback coming from Dog Star Books in June 2014 ~~~ What They’re Saying About The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes
"Mystery, heart-pounding adventure, and the dazzling wonders of far-flung space play significant roles in Wendland's breakout novel, all while gifting us with a mesmerizing tour of alien landscapes destined to get under your skin and remind you of the very reason science fiction exists: Not to escape to other worlds, but to find ourselves within them." --Diana Dru Botsford, author of THE DRIFT and FOUR DRAGONS Inside are alien worlds and titanic space habitats and a brilliant and paranoid hero, all skillfully blended together with long-vanished galactic secrets. Science fiction… good science fiction, by a college professor of literature who loves good SF." --From the foreword by William H. Keith, New York Times Bestselling Science Fiction Author

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Only Human by Mike Mehalek

“Dragons do not cry. They control their emotions. That is what all dragons were taught, but I am now the only one alive to remember this lesson.” 
Cover Art by Allie Raines Now for sale at Amazon
What does it mean to be a human?  Meet Vincent, a most unusual dragon who has been trying to avoid answering that particular question for thousands of years, ever since his kind banished him and forced him to spend the rest of his life as a human. When a new love arrives unexpectedly, Vincent discovers that the only way to find happiness is to revisit his violent past and to confront his uncertain future. Haunting, heart-felt, and sometimes funny, Vincent discovers that even through tragedy, the things we most often try to avoid are those that make us whole.
What others have said ONLY HUMAN takes you on a journey through Vincent's past lives and loves as he navigates his present incarnation and the darkness that follows him throughout the ages.
-Heidi Ruby Miller, author of Greenshift
There's lots to love about ONLY HUMAN: action, mystery, secrets revealed and redemption. Add to that dragons (who doesn't love dragons?), wicked bad guys and an all-too-human narrator who will win your heart...the strongest element of this book is the love story...This is an epic, timeless story and a small intimate one at the same time. Dip your toe in, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
-Jennifer Barnes, editor at Raw Dog Screaming Press
Purchased and enjoying!!...AND I had a dream I was a flying dragon last night! It was awesome!
-Amazon Reader
Watch the trailer below
For fun
Who would play the characters in the movie version?
About Me
Mike Mehalek writes fast-paced lyrical books that can be enjoyed with one reading but have enough substance for re-reading. He brings stories to life that demand to be told, regardless of the hopes/dreams/fears/desires of his characters-the Story first-always the Story. 
He'd love for you to visit him at his blog, Writing is Tricky
or on Twitter @mikemehalek
If you'd like to join his email list, please email
with like to join in the subject line.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dropping the ball

As we get closer to wrapping 2013, I can't help spending a little time thinking about how the year started, where it went wrong and how I came back from it.

It started with promise. Not like New Year's Eve promise but rather it started with a whole lot of commitments. PROMISES.

I said I was going to do lots of things, to myself and to other people. I was going to be editing, finishing a book, writing columns, planning a writers workshop, making things.... I had a WORLD of promise(s) in front of me.

And I kept very few of them, I'm afraid.

It happens when you say yes knowing you should really say no but don't want to say no. Birthdays were forgotten, plans set aside, books went unwritten and commitment were shifted. I spent a good six months feeling like I couldn't accomplish anything.

I felt like a flake. In many instances, I was one.

Did I accomplish some things? Yes, of course I did. But at the end of that six months I realized more often than not I would say, "Well, that's not getting done." Or "I guess that's not happening." Instead of "I did it!"

I didn't like myself very much. I am NOT a flake. I am reliable. But 2013 proved me otherwise. Every ball I threw in the air fell to the Earth with a resounding splat.

I was covered in splat juice.

So here we are in November. I have gotten back to micromanaging my calendar--I have due dates and lists and I feel like I have my commitments under control. It may be a false sense if security but I'm meeting deadlines, I'm following through and I'm getting things done.

Am I happier for it? Sort of. I mean yes, I am. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing and being busy makes me feel good, necessary, alive even. I haven't had a weekend off since early August, but I am back to my core self. What is that exactly? It's someone who has 3 things going on any given day. It means giving myself permission to do none of it and allow myself to watch Dr Who all Sunday knowing Monday means I have to pick up one or two extra things to make up for it. It means my weekdays are filled with coffee shops or bars (a.k.a. my other office) where I spend my free time writing and editing and sometimes on social media. My weekends are almost the same but in even longer stretches. If I'm not at a con.

Will I have flaky relapses? Likely. Even now, I have moments where I think, "I just don't have the capacity to do this." And I don't. And when I get through whatever is crowding my plate that day or week I apologize to whoever I disappointed.

Will I beat myself up over it? More than likely.

Will I learn to say no and only do as much as I really have time for? Well....probably not. At least not anytime soon.

The point is that no one can do all the things I try to do and not have a few reliability lapses. I have had several people remind me that I am allowed to be unreliable from time to time. That I do lots of things for people and that others are far worse than I have been this last year. And maybe that's true. I am not about to judge anyone and certainly never by the standard I set for myself.

Two months left. Less than than that, really. I can tell you that I'm already failing at 2 tasks I have set for myself for this month and that I am about a week behind on turning in 2 columns.

What is my excuse? I have none. Or maybe one.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cover Reveal: Wasteland Blues

Of Mice and Men Meets The Odyssey in a Post-Apocalyptic Future
Having only ever known the uncivilized wake of nuclear and biological apocalypse, three friends and their wheelchair-bound hostage set out on a perilous fool’s mission--to cross from one side of the devastated United States to the other, in the desperate, half-believed hope of finding a rumored haven. 
Spurred by a dark vision and the murder of their father, rageaholic Derek Cane and his over-sized, simple-minded brother, Teddy, flee the only home they've ever known, a struggling shantytown on the edge of the vast Wasteland. Heading ever eastward, they are accompanied by their friend, John, an orphan brought up by a fanatical religious order, and Leggy, a crippled old drunk who brags that, in his youth, he once traversed the Wasteland as a scavenger.
Cover Art by Bradley Sharp Post-Apocalyptic novel  coming from Dog Star Books in March 2014

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Corpus Chrome, Inc. by S. Craig Zahler

Who should be given a second chance at life? 
Decades in the future Corpus Chrome, Inc. develops a robotic body, dubbed a “mannequin,” that can revive, sustain and interface with a cryonically-preserved human brain. Like all new technology, it is copyrighted.
Hidden behind lawyers and a chrome facade, the inscrutable organization resurrects a variety of notable minds, pulling the deceased back from oblivion into a world of animated sculpture, foam rubber cars, dissolving waste and strange terrorism. Nobody knows how Corpus Chrome, Inc. determines which individuals should be given a second life, yet myriad people are affected. Among them are Lisanne Breutschen, the composer who invented sequentialism with her twin sister, and Champ Sappline, a garbage man who is entangled in a war between the third, fourth and fifth floors of a New York City apartment building.
In the Spring of 2058, Corpus Chrome, Inc. announces that they will revive Derek W.R. Dulande—a serial rapist and murderer who was executed thirty years ago for his crimes. The public is horrified by the decision, and before long, the company’s right to control the lone revolving door between life and death will be violently challenged….
Cover Art by Bradley Sharp
Cyberpunk/Transhumanism novel  coming from Dog Star Books in January 2014
What They’re Saying About S. Craig Zahler
“Zahler’s a fabulous story teller whose style catapults his reader into the turn of the century West with a ferocious sense of authenticity.” —Kurt Russell, star of Tombstone, Escape from New York, Dark Blue, and Death Proof

“If you’re looking for something similar to what you’ve read before, this ain’t it. If you want something comforting and predictable, this damn sure ain’t it.  But if you want something with storytelling guts and a weird point of view, an unforgettable voice, then you want what I want, and that is this.” —Joe R. Lansdale author of Edge of Dark Water

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Semi-colon drama drama drama

Here's another snippet from Adventures in Punctuation....

"No one understands me." Comma's wailing voice, shrill yet hoarse from unshed tears, cut into the last nerve of Semicolon.

"You're misunderstood? You don't even know what that means, Comma." Semicolon tossed Comma a tissue and as he walked away and said in a parting blow, “At least when people use you, they get it mostly right.”