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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Salt Lake Comic Con approached me to participate as a panelist and presenter, the first thing I said was, heck yea, what an honor. When the program director asked if I had any suggestions for panels, I said, “It would be cool if I could be on a panel with Paul Genesse and Dave Butler. I don’t care what it is about.”
I and a friend and illustrator, Brady Canfield, conducted a panel at Salt Lake City Comic Con: 2013. The Live Comic Book Panel was a lot of fun. As I sourced an instant story from attendees, Brady Canfield illustrated the book on the fly. As part of the panel, I invited any attendees to either write the story or illustrate the story using their own artistic vision. I was happy to receive a version of “The Satchel of Blood” from Heather Nelson. Below, I present her story, unedited and in her words. Thanks, Heather.
14 years ago, my brother came up with a great idea. He said, “Why don’t we have a film strip festival party.” Like so many ideas, we went for it. We stretched a bed sheet between a couple of volleyball poles. We borrowed a projector and invited a few friends to the back yard. About 30 people turned up for the show. Since we had entitled our production company Gangrene Productions, we decided to call the event the Gangrene Film Strip Festival.
Recently I had a conversation with my younger brother. We talked about music and the difference between art and genre pop. We concluded at the end of the conversation that in order to be an artist, one must remain true to his or her expression whether it be music, writing, painting or otherwise. And one must not be concerned about financial compensation. This is because in the face of so much pop media, audiences rarely recognize true artists.
Fifteen years ago, I and a small group of friends scraped together a back yard film festival party. I think maybe 30 people showed up, some of them bringing short comedy films they had shot. We projected the films on a bed-sheet stretched between two volleyball poles. It was so much fun we decided to do it again the next year. So many people came that we decided to move it to a rented high school auditorium for the third year. Now about a thousand people show up every year for this event.
If you feel creatively blocked, like you have run out of good story ideas, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. I believe that if you can come up with one great story idea, then you have an unlimited supply of other ideas in that creative head of yours ready to break free and flow out onto paper.
It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of calculating and recalculating your story length in pages and word counts while trying to put down your novel. Especially for new writers, hefty word counts feel good. Long stories seem to indicate writing stamina. In my opinion, hefty word counts mean nothing more than typing stamina.
Novelists like me who try for Amazon self publishing and other DIY channels stand at the head of a long alleyway. If success rests on the other end of that alley, then the dark walk through that ally is full of obstacles, vicious stray animals, muggers ready to steal money, missing manhole covers, swinging pianos, […]
Truly a great adventure from Paul Genesse a great author Paul Genesse offers the third installment in his Iron Dragon series, a novel entitled The Secret Empire, and he doesn’t do so lightly. This book stands as the most fulfilling of the entire series thus far. Although the other two books are worth your time. […]
A while ago, I became intrigued with the idea of writing a few songs about zombies. This mild interest turned into 2 studio albums, Zombie Sing-a-long and Zombie Sing-a-long: Whistler and the Children (Part 1)–with part 2 coming soon. As part of releasing the first zombie record, I performed a few of the songs live and posted them on the internet. I offer you a zombie love song entitled “So Tender” with music by yours truly and zombie love song lyrics by my good friend Mark Steiner.
Improve your writing by watching for -ing words and weak verbs Strong prose projects lucid imagery from the page into readers’ minds. To accomplish this, good authors craft sentences that possess clear objects and 3-dimensional verbs. Strong verbs invigorate prose; they engage readers; they bring description and motion to writing. Therefore, good authors do everything […]
Along with advanced weaponry and raw grit, humans have faced evil in many forms. Such trials have led to the buildup of strongholds and caches of food, water and energy. It is arguable that such strongholds can’t support the numbers required to save humanity, that a selection process or a draft might become necessary to determine who lives and who dies. Although such a draft might become the norm in the face of a zombie apocalypse, I posture that humans will still stand. They will gather where they must, in private compounds, armed with private weapons, undoubtedly unregistered. They will organize into ranks and files, creating their own martial protocol. For most of the scattered tribes of humanity, there might be no recognition for government, but humanity will survive. If for no other reason than that humanity must survive.
For whatever reason, people love those gory, flesh chewing monsters: zombies. I attended lunch with a publisher who had recently broken away from Wizards of the Coast. She outlined her pics on hot, upcoming fiction. At the time, she told us to poise ourselves for the year of the zombie. I felt good about that, because I had just finished the first draft of my novel, Allied Zombies for Peace. That was nearly 4-years ago. More recently, I worked with a talented comic book artist on an exhibition of performance art at a comic book convention. We talked about zombies. He said, “I thought it was just a fad.” A fad it may be, but zombies are a fad that can’t be killed with a pick axe, chainsaw, or any other instrument.
A few weeks ago, I began an ongoing review of the Scrivener Software tools for writers. I began with an initial look at the software by watching a few of their tutorial videos then diving into draft mode. I decided it would be helpful to write an entire project, novella length at least, in Scrivener and post my notes about Scrivener along the way.
I thought it might be fun to release some of the background material I write in the process of putting together my novels. Currently, while pre-readers are working their way through my second novel, SMALL TOWN MONSTERS, I’m working on the second of 4 interleaving stories that will make up my upcoming third novel, FUNK TOAST AND THE PAN-GALACTIC PROM SHOW. This story outlines the journey of The Poison Nickels, the opening band for Funk Toast at the Collundrome’s premier event in the novel.
I enjoy playing in a band with a group of lifelong friends. We play under the band names: Wasasquatch, Rustmonster, and Funk Toast, depending on our mood. Getting ready for an upcoming Wasasquatch show, we interpreted and recorded Rebecca Black’s Friday Friday. We had such fun with it that we decided to shoot a rock video. Here it is.
KAYSVILLE, UT – Zombies seek equal rights in Craig Nybo’s new book, Allied Zombies for Peace. Nybo’s novel pits an undead civil rights group against the KKK during a 1968 Veteran’s day parade. Throw in a tough as nails faction of Vietnam War veterans, a group of peace loving hippies, a smattering of World War 1 veterans and the Columbus, Ohio Police Department and an otherwise patriotic parade turns into an unfettered slugfest.
I have adopted the practice of reading a how-to book to improve my writing between every novel draft. In doing so, I have read some of the best books about writing fiction. I enjoy teaching writing classes. I spend a great deal of time visiting libraries, schools, and even small writing groups to share the […]
Often, specialized novel writing programs, such as Scrivener, Storybook, or Newnovelist offer unnecessary crutches. It is important to remember, as a writer, that the most important component to writing is… drumroll please… writing. Although writing a novel with Scrivener seems like an attractive draw, it is better to balance what it takes to learn a new, complicated piece of software with just getting the copy down. It’s better to spend your precious writing time putting your ideas on paper than marching up a new software learning curve.