Literary Listening

Lately I’ve been enthralled by the idea of creating a playlist for my projects.  I enjoy watching movies and I’m a sucker for a great soundtrack, so when I’m building scenes, conflicts, characters, or anything else, I like to let my mind wander to whatever I think the most fitting song for that moment is.  (Plus I like to fantasize about the idea of selling the rights to one of my books at some point and having an actual soundtrack for an actual film based on one of my stories, but that’s just a dream at this point.)

As I’ve been looking for motivation recently, I’ve found myself driving around in my car, letting my music shuffle, looking for literary themed songs to get the creative juices flowing.  I’ve come up with a handful that I really enjoy, so I decided to turn to Google to find some that I possibly hadn’t thought of.  With that, I’d like to provide the following definitive literary soundtrack.  Several of these are obvious and well known, but hopefully you’ll spot a few surprise sleepers on here that you hadn’t thought of before!  Check it out, see what you think, and let me know if you think I missed anything in the comments below! Continue reading


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Exploring the Writing Community: Zombie Pirate Publishing



Thankfully, with the assistance of the internet, writers have endless opportunities at the tips of their fingers. In the past, you had to mail query letters, purchase/subscribe to magazines and flip to the fine print in the back on how to submit articles, stories, or poems. Now, you just do a quick online search and get instant results to an entire community that you never knew existed before that moment. That’s what happened to me with Zombie Pirate Publishing. Unfortunately, I discovered them just as their call for a flash fiction anthology had ended, which is one of my favorite forms of short stories. On the bright side, they were just starting a call for a horror-themed short story anthology. I had a rough draft of a story sitting around that I thought could be a good fit, so I dusted it off, polished it up, and submitted it!  (Turns out it wasn’t a good fit.  Maybe next time!)


What I discovered is that Zombie Pirate Publishing is a small, up-and-coming company who is feverishly collecting submissions and putting out anthologies. Their focus from what I can tell is on quality collections, as well as acknowledging and giving credit to the writers themselves. They don’t currently pay for accepted submissions, but it seems like that’s a short-term goal that they are wanting to change as soon as they are in a position to. In the meantime, it’s always helpful for undiscovered writers to be featured in collections and gain more notoriety with wider ranges of readers, so there’s no question about the perk that comes with being selected for one of their anthologies.

They’ve built quite a community online, with co-founders Adam Bennett and Sam Phillips being both active and supportive on the groups’ Facebook page.  They keep their community engaged, and have built a nice base because of it.

I recently reached out to one of the founders, Sam Phillips, for more information, and this is what I found out:

The company started in February 2017 with a couple of old friends from northern NSW, Australia.  They appeared in anthologies together and wanted to take their careers further as well as help others along the way.  The next logical step for them was to apply what they had learned in order to provide high quality anthologies as well as other services and a home to up-and-coming authors.  The name Zombie Pirate Publishing came about from a card game which combines factions based on popular memes. They thought zombie pirates sounded cool, so adopted that as the face of their brand.

They threw themselves into the deep end and have produced regular anthologies since.  They are up to seven now that their latest was published earlier this month, with multiple others on the horizon.  In addition to the collections, they also produce various merchandise featuring their mascot, Pretty Pete the zombie pirate captain.  (Editor’s note: he’s not so pretty.  But he is pretty awesome, anyway.)

As already mentioned, through all of these efforts, they’ve created a vibrant community on social media for writers to network and submit to their anthologies with a goal of providing a friendly atmosphere for writers to grow and a place for them to get published.

You might think this would be more than enough to keep them busy, but they still find the time and energy to produce works of their own.  Sam is a prolific poet, in addition to working with stream of consciousness and some genre fiction.  Adam primarily writes short story fiction of all types and also has some novellas to his credit.  Their works have appeared in several dozen anthologies and magazines, but writing isn’t all they know.  It turns out they both know how to juggle, and Sam also plays drums in a death metal band.

Hmm, writers.  They’re an odd breed, amiright??

Hopefully I’ll be able to make this a recurring feature on my site and be able to discover more communities such as Zombie Pirate Publishing.  Have any tips on where else I could look?  Leave me a note in the comments below!

Thank you, that is all.


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Thank you, Marvel

Like pretty much every other person on the face of the Earth, I will be fortunate enough to see Avengers: Endgame this weekend.  And also just like everybody else on the planet, I’ll have thoughts.  Boy, will I have thoughts.  I obviously already do, which is why I’m here.  My plan is to keep this short and avoid spoiler territory (especially since I haven’t even seen the film yet).  It also just so happens to be National Superhero Day, so let’s get to it!

Now I’m not looking to type up another movie review that sums up the same material and talking points as every other post out there.  (Remember when I said I haven’t seen it yet?  Yeah, a review would be difficult then.)  No, I’m thinking more of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.  This is hardly a new observation, but with Endgame wrapping up this generation of superhero movies as we know them, I just want to look back at the enormity of what Marvel was able to pull off over the last eleven years. Continue reading

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Blogumentary: Books Vs Movies


We all know it. Movies based on books are rarely good, and are never as deep and rich as the source material. The author creates a story and characters that we love, and we can’t help ourselves but get excited to see them on the big screen. We know it hardly ever ends well, but we simply can’t manage our hopes and expectations.  That’s what makes a book worthy of being adapted in the first place.

But who do we blame for the disappointment?  Does the burden fall on the author, who’s responsible for creating the content, or the studio who writes the checks and has the final say?  Does the author have any obligation to be involved? What if they don’t know anything about the industry or the process? Story telling and screen writing are two completely different things. Or does their responsibility end once they cash the check?  That’s a whole lot of relevant, valid questions, and naturally, I certainly think there’s more than one answer.  Each scenario has its own quirks, perks, flaws, budgets, and people involved that all have an effect on the outcome, so let’s look at these questions a little more in-depth, shall we? Continue reading

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Blogumentary: Part-time writer with full-time aspirations

Being an author is a pretty cool thing. People are always intrigued when they learn that I write. There are usually a string of questions and comments that follow. Most of them are good, well-intentioned questions. Others could probably be worded differently and expressed more concisely. The second group typically revolve around the “I’ve thought about writing, but I have a real job,” type of back-handed comment.  I also have a “real job” that requires a lot of time and attention.  On the other hand, I also have an undeniable urge and desire to write, so I make time for that too.  Just like with everything else in life, it all boils down to prioritizing.  I value my need for creativity, so I account for that in my day-to-day routine. Continue reading

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The Kings of Chaos Motorcycle Club Series Book 3 Title and Cover Reveal

“Yeah, see, it all started when this dame walked into my office, see. Nope, just kidding. This isn’t that kind of detective story. I’m not classy or elegant enough for all that mess.”

The return of Will McGee! He’s toppled an outlaw motorcycle club, crippled a drug distribution ring, and dealt with crushing personal blows along the way. So what do you do when you reach the end of the road? You turn around and ride back where you came from.

When a new black and blue patch begins popping up around Rough River Falls, along with some all-too-familiar faces, Will is confronted by his past. Whether he’s ready for it or not. Throw on a rain suit, because the sunshine is over.

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Author Spotlight: Andrew Miller

The next writer to be featured in this series is Andrew Miller.  I have been a fan of his for years, so to have him agree to answer my questions was a big deal to me.  The fact that he took time out of his vacation in Mexico City to get these responses back to me just speaks to his dedication and commitment to the craft.  (Although, I’m sure he wrote much more meaningful things aside from this while he was there!)  He’s definitely the most academic writer I know, which I’ll let him talk about in a couple of minutes.  Seeing his journey as a writer has been a huge inspiration for me, and he has been an enormous encouragement to me and my writing as well.  He’s always been willing to help with my projects, and I’ve even been able to give some input for one of his too.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I guess I should probably mention that he’s my cousin!  Let’s get started with a brief bio before we jump into the questions.

Andrew Miller is a writer and photographer working from Columbus, Ohio. His writing has appeared in several literary journals including: Two Dollar Radio’s FrequenciesThe FanzineX-R-A-Y, and has work coming soon in NewFound. Publisher Civil Coping Mechanisms released Miller’s first book, If Only The Names Were Changed, in 2016 and he’s since gone on to co-author the book Turn The Lights On; a resource for recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury.
In his personal time Miller enjoys spending time making art with his daughter, Sophie, and exploring the world with his wife, Gail. They both believe he has a death wish for having taken up skateboarding (again) in his 40s.
Miller is an MFA graduate from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and you can find him online on Instagram @digitalocracy or his website,  (Editor’s note: See those letters?  I told you he was academic!)

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