Night Gallery by Rod Serling My rating: 4 of 5 stars Rod Serling was one of the most prolific spec. fiction writers of his time. He wrote continuously. When he couldn’t sit at a typewriter, he recorded stories while commuting, waiting for appointments, and at any other free moment. His head was full of stories. […]
Misery by Stephen King My rating: 5 of 5 stars Of all of King’s work, Misery just climbed to the top of the pile. It takes is place along side of Salem’s Lot, The Gunslinger, and The Stand. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of seeing the movie when it came out back in the 90’s. […]
Dimensional characters in writing come from studying the gray rather than the black and white. When crafting a “bad guy” one must resist the temptation to hang every terrible attribute of humanity onto a single person.
Allied Zombies for Peace is about an undead civil rights group who marches for the 4th year in a row behind the KKK. Zombies of the AZP find this disconcerting because they have been fighting for enfranchisement for years. When they march behind the Klan, their goal of awareness for zombies who are committed to peace is foiled. The Klan marchers rile up the crowd and at least some of that resentment spills over onto the zombies. The whole situation blows up into an out-and-out brawl. And this brawl only takes 42 minutes to run its course.
It’s time to cleanse the palate. I do this by composing and recording songs. I have, for about two decades, worked with a set of great musicians and friends on such projects as Funk Toast, Big Sky Country Boys, Wasasquatch, New Wave Dave, and Rustmonster. I have recorded plenty of material on my own. But now I want to collaborate with two of my best friends on a new project. I introduce you to “Mighty,” an album by Nybo, Nef, and Moon.
Only active characters impress readers. It is often said: do it; don’t say it. This goes for character development in your prose. In my mind, it is a sin to disclose a character’s state of mind with anything other than an act. When we are sad, we cry. We sit quietly with our hands in our laps. We look at our shoes instead of people in the eye. We become less effective at work. People around us ask what is wrong. If we are sad for too long, we get on people’s nerves.
During the 90′s I had the good fortune of playing with some of the coolest musicians in Utah. We formed a band called Funk Toast. During our run, we wrote tons of original songs. We played many gigs. We had the time of our lives. I was sad when Funk Toast disbanded. Here is our original video demo. We used to send this out as part of demo packs we called “toasters” to clubs to solicit gigs. The packet contained a VHS video of this demo, a Funk Toast T-shirt, a demo CD and a brochure with bios of the band and show credits.
Back in the 90’s I played in a band called Funk Toast. We played shows all over Utah and up into Idaho and Montana before disbanding. We wrote many original songs. Sadly, most of them are lost. Here is one that we saved. It’s a joint called Gary Coleman. With most of the band growing up in the 80’s, it’s no surprise that Gary was a big part of our lives. This song was written long before Gary’s passing. Here’s a little tribute we put together for the little man himself.
I used to play in a band called Funk Toast. In many ways the songs we wrote and performed during the 90’s stacked up to become my most musically fulfilling life moments. In 2012, we got together for a reunion. During this adventure, we played 2 shows. As part of the larger of the two shows, we arranged and performed our own interpretation of Also Sprach Zarathustra, a classic by Strauss, made popular by its presence in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here is the only existing recording and/or performance of Sprach, Pan-Galactic Prom Show Style. Here’s the thing: if someone were to approach us to play another show and they had an enthusiastic audience, I am sure Funk Toast would fly again.
Against popular opinion, I do not write monster stories. However, when one considers that my first novel is entitled, Allied Zombies for peace and my second is entitled, Small Town Monsters, it becomes difficult to understand my rationale. Allow me to explain.
My novel, Allied Zombies for Peace, is the story of a riot that happens during the 1968 Columbus, Ohio, Veterans Day Parade. The bulk of the story follows street brawling between an undead civil rights group called The Allied Zombies for Peace, and the Ku Klux Klan. The entire story takes place in 42 minutes.
I sat in a panel at SLC Comic Con a few weeks ago with several extremely talented authors. During the panel, I posed this question to the rest of the writers: “What makes it alright for us to write about violence and horror?” I don’t know why I asked the question. I suppose I was interested in hearing the other authors’ perspectives.
I intermingle with filmmakers and musicians as well as authors. I find ego to be a problem among both filmmakers and musicians. That might be because music is comparatively easy when compared to writing a novel. As far as filmmakers, the process is collaborative, which creates an environment for chest pounding and spear shaking.
Theocracide by James Wymore My rating: 5 of 5 stars This thought provoking novel argues on the dystopian side of Aldous Huxley rather than George Orwell. Wymore creates a world in which people are held in a state of apathy by the powers that be using computer-stimulated addiction. One character rises above the minutia of […]
Landon Green, husband and father, lives an ordinary life. He keeps to himself and tries to behave respectfully toward others. But something lies deep in Landon, a memory in a cage, so to speak. When that cage opens up on the schoolyard of his elementary alma mater, a beast inside him threatens to take control. Could a single memory in the back of Landon’s mind cause him to become something visceral and violent? What other memories sit waiting to change Landon’s behavior? Could they be dormant suggestions? Or are they just Terrifying Lies?
To the frontiersmen of the late 19th century West, electricity seemed like magic. But in the east, the brightest minds of the century worked to conduct the world into a new era of light, sound, and sensation. In the small town of Breakwater, Montana, when authorities finally close the case on a series of brutal slayings by arresting a local boy, it falls to the community to decide what to do with their prisoner. Should they deal with him themselves or call in an expert from the east? As for the question of culpability, the people of Breakwater seek absolution in their decision. But could any efforts to gain absolution be nothing more than Terrifying Lies?
I enjoyed Turn Coat immensely. Butcher knows how to leave scars on his characters. Nothing comes easy for the protagonist, Harry Dresden, wizard/private detective. I’ve always believed that if the outcome of a novel doesn’t permanently alter its main character’s life in some dramatic way, the novel isn’t worth reading. Turn Coat follows this philosophy. Harry Dresden is part Indiana Jones, Part Merlin. Even with his tremendous powers, he faces a stack of odds that threaten to shut him down and put pennies on his eyes once and for all. And in the end, one has to wonder, was it all worth the price paid by Dresden and his friends?
As Mildred Becket sits on the wraparound porch of her quaint rambler, tucked in the heart of a well-kept seniors community, she sips her lemonade and thinks about better days. Days when zombies didn’t walk the Earth. Nearly out of supplies, Mildred must make a dangerous trip to find food. As she prepares for her journey, she feels that she is the last person on Earth. Could she be alone? Was everything around her nothing more than Terrifying Lies?
Gabriella Dundst exudes all the feral charms of the perfect college coed. She’s pretty, has an alluring smile, and an inspiring figure. But Gabriella prides herself on something more concrete than her looks: her mind. She studies psychology at university and is well on her way to becoming a psychiatrist. One day as she visits a local college haunt called Eddy’s for drinks and fun, she finds herself in a precarious position. As an aspiring psychologist, she becomes disturbed as she forms her own diagnosis of one of the bar’s patrons. Could her diagnosis be accurate? Or could everything around her be Terrifying Lies.
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** Publicity Coordinator: Craig Nybo Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: (801)309-3353 International Vaudevillian Styled Comedy Film Fest Declares Esquivel as their 2014 Theme Kaysville, UT, March 19, 2014 – The Gangrene Film Festival breaks the mold when it comes to traditional film fests. Over its 15-year life, the event has expanded to become a celebration […]
Gus, a plumber, takes a job for a client and an old family friend. Gus lives a simple life. He’s good with his hands. He’s found true love in his girlfriend, Polly. But while out on the job, working on a leaky sink, he discovers something unearthly that threatens to change his very grounding in reality. Could it be one of the less known of the Cthulhu Mythos creatures? Is Gus’s life as simple as it may appear? Or is he surrounded in Terrifying Lies?
As an author, I have been drawn to the frightening, the gruesome, and the diabolical. Ever since I was a kid, I found a kind of masochistic joy in exposing myself to the scariest movies, books, and stories I could get my hands on. At the time, television shows like Kolchak: The Nightstalker and the television adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot fit the bill.
Apparition by Michaelbrent Collings My rating: 5 of 5 stars Horror that hits right at the beating heart of fear What do you fear most? This seems to be the question MichaelBrent Collings asks every time he sits down to write a novel. His terror masterpiece, Apparition, is no exception. In this book, Collings strikes […]
I am a die-hard Rod Serling fan. I have watched every episode of Twilight Zone. I like Night Gallery even more. Serling was so driven to write that he spent every waking moment putting down ideas. When he couldn’t get to his typewriter, he would record his narrative onto a portable tape recorder and send it out for transcription. He wrote hundreds of radio plays, television episodes, short stories, and movie scripts.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett My rating: 5 of 5 stars If you haven’t read Good Omens, it’s time to repent. Neil Gaiman, one of the most brilliant fiction authors in the now, and Terry Pratchett, also absolutely dazzling as a writer, team up to narrate […]
There are not many jokes that begin like this: A man decides to off himself. But the sad reality is, I am a horror/comedy writer. As a horror writer, I am destined to spend a lot of time in the mires of humanity, exploring the evils that men do. I am expected to dredge up the most ghastly images possible, plop them on a plate and offer them up to readers.
When it comes to entertainment, particularly of the spooky kind, there are many options. You can Netflix a great series like Supernatural or Fringe and spend hours in front of your television. Or you can opt for something better. Why not stimulate your mind by reading a short story? Without committing the time required to read a full novel, you can dance with the devil, battle monsters, vanquish vamps, and go any other place you desire. Your imagination is limitless. You can easily fit a short story in during your lunch break, while you are sitting on the crapper, or just before drifting off into those tantalizing nightmares.
Juan Garcia Esquivel was a 50’s and 60’s era composer who used edgy technology in his arrangements. He has since been lumped into a genre known as space aged bachelor pad music. I learned about Esquivel when I was a little boy. My mom brought home a box of LP records for my little brothers and me. As we flipped through them and threw them onto an old phonograph, we discovered a few gems. But the crown jewel was Esquivel.
I believe that self-published authors share a responsibility to ensure that their work is top notch in quality. I’ve always told self-published authors to follow two rules: 1) make sure your work is as good as anything published by large publishers, and 2) don’t give your long-form work away for free. Self-published authors who do not follow these rules make it difficult for serious indie authors who want to make money.
February 17, 2014 – Last week I had the honor of participating as a panelist at Life, the Universe, and Everything, the premiere writers symposium of Northern Utah. This conference always recharges my batteries as an author. As I had the privilege of learning from some of the industries best authors, I found myself rolling up my sleeves mentally and readying myself to get down to another year of aggressive writing.
Kaysville, UT, Feb. 12, 2014 – Modern monsters in current books and cinema seem to have evolved into something new. With the proliferation of romance novels that feature gothic and fantasy creatures such as vampires, werewolves, and even orcs as viable love interests for humans, one has to ask: have modern monsters lost their teeth? Not according to Craig Nybo, horror novelist. In his new novel, Small Town Monsters, Craig strives to put monsters back where they belong, under our beds, in our closets, and in our nightmares.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon My rating: 4 of 5 stars Haddon proves himself as a smart writer in this novel. The story is about a teenage boy who suffers from advanced autism. Christopher Boone, the protagonist, feels no sympathy for those around him. He relies on logic […]
City of the Saints by D.J. Butler My rating: 5 of 5 stars I am a long-time D.J. Butler fan. When I first saw that he had written a book called City of the Saints, I thought it was a historical fiction piece about the early settlement of the Mormons in the Salt Lake Valley […]
Sometimes I have to step back from all the stresses of life, the deadlines and difficult projects, the politics and headaches, and realize that I am blessed to live a life full of fun and adventure. I think this is the same for you if you strip all the noise away and take a close look at what you do; not what you have to do, but what you do.
I have set an immutable barrier between these two modes of creativity. I express myself wholly different when playing in either spectrum. When it comes to my personal writing and composing, I answer to nobody. My creative law stands. Interlopers can say what they want. They can throw spears and stones. They can express their criticism. They can find every reason why what I do exists somewhere in an inferior place to what they do. Or they might just sit in an armchair and say, “That Craig doesn’t do anything I couldn’t do.” My reaction to this type of noise—and believe it or not, I hear plenty of it—remains constant; I don’t care what you think. I’m going to do what I do, like it or not.
I have rolled up my sleeves and am heads down pounding out my next novel. The story is called Funk Toast and the Pan-galactic Prom Show. For those of you who have followed my story podcasts, you might have listened to my novella that shares this title. I have decided to expand this story into something more.
Just for fun I am posting ten short story prompts. Feel free to one, or more, and run with it. If you end up writing a story based on any of these prompts, send it to me; I’d like to publish it on this site.
Dracula by Bram Stoker My rating: 5 of 5 stars In the last few decades, authors have romanticized vampires to the point where they are no longer monsters. It seems we are more interested in dating them than running away from them. I’m not blaming a certain trilogy of books that feature glowing vampires as […]
As a musician, there are very few things that bring more satisfaction than, after months of work on a project, holding the final product in my hand. When the pressed copies of Zombie Sing-a-long 3 came in, I felt almost giddy with anticipation as I popped open the packaging and drew one of the CDs from the shipping carton.
As a YA fiction author, what should you write about to strike while the iron is hot and cash in on the top selling trends? Let’s answer the question by looking at the plot summaries of the top selling books at the moment.
Kaysville, UT – November 22, 2013 – With so much noise in the media, making money as an independent musician seems like a nearly impossible task. And yet, Utah artists like Craig Nybo continue to compose, record, and release their music in spite of dwindling promises of fame or fortune.
As an author, I try to paint pictures in reader’s minds. I attempt to express stories, scenes, and characters in such a manner that readers can relate to them. Good writing takes readers on vacation from life.
After nearly a 15-year hiatus, in 2012, The Funk Toast Band reassembles and plays a couple of shows for old times sake. The bigger of the two shows was at The GANGRENE Film Festival: Apollo 13. They donned outer space flight suits and brought a few other astronauts up on stage for an interstellar show.
On October 21st, 2013, I played a double-header rock show with two iterations of the same band: The RUSTMONSTER Pirate Band, and The Wasasquatch Bigfoot Rock and Roll Music Experience. The show played in a small venue, only 250 seats.
Collaboration for me—especially when it comes to creating a project just for fun, knowing that it will most likely be a market-place failure—feels like the good old days when I, a couple of brothers, and a few neighborhood friends would get together for some good old fashioned backyard games. We’d play in the sand pile. We’d play cowboys and Indians. We’d play war. We’d go down into a hollow nearby and sled or make a tree house. We would do whatever we wanted. My desire to play with friends has never ebbed.
Come see two creature bands, the Rustmonster pirate band and the Wasasquatch Bigfoot Band, battle it out in a family friendly halloween concert. Bring your whole family for the creature concert of the century. Come in costume for a chance to win great prizes.
As I approach the landing strip of the third and final installation of the Zombie Sing-a-long trilogy, I feel both proud and relieved. I feel that each of the zombie sing-a-long records is better than the former. The final album features 10 new songs, all about zombies. I have to say, I am pleased with the results. Zombie Sing-a-long 3 rocks more than the other two albums.