The Flocksdale Fireball – Carissa Ann Lynch!

Boom!

Today at the Guild we’ve got another awesome creative interview lined up. Our guest is Carissa Ann Lynch, author of the Flocksdale Files series. Her latest release, House of the Lost Girls, is out now!

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Let’s get to know Carissa…

Hi Carissa! Welcome to Tessera Guild’s latest creative interview. We want to know all about you: DOB, home address, social security #… But seriously, give us the goods on yourself:

Haha! Thank you so much for interviewing me! It’s an honor to be featured on Tessera Guild. So, about me…my birthday is July 18th. I’m (approximately) 30 years old. I live in a tiny town called Floyds Knobs in Indiana with my husband and kiddos. I have a degree in psychology and most of my career background has been in mental health and corrections. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started writing seriously. I’ve always been obsessed with collecting books and reading, and I enjoyed journaling and writing short stories, but never considered myself a “writer”. One night I couldn’t find a book to read, so I got it stuck in my head that I would just write my own book. From there, it became an obsession and I’ve never stopped!

Carissa

The Sharpie, an essential tool in Carissa’s arsenal.

 

So…we hear you’ve got a new book, House of the Lost Girls, storming the world TODAY. It’s the second book in the Flocksdale Files series. What’s the series about? Where will House of the Lost Girls take readers?

The Flocksdale Files is about the most f&#cked up town in America, Flocksdale. In book one, Have You Seen This Girl?, readers were introduced to Wendi Wise, a struggling heroin addict hell bent on seeking revenge. At the age of thirteen, she was lured away from a local skating rink and held captive in a place she called the “House of Horrors”. Dumped off on the side of a dirt road, she found herself addicted to the drugs they fed and in fear for her life. So, she runs away from her hometown of Flocksdale, leaving her friends and family behind. After a tumultuous eight years of addiction, rehab, and foster care, she decided it was time for a homecoming party—so she makes a plan to hunt down the monsters of her youth. The monsters she remembers all too well from a tiny, little town called Flocksdale…

In book two, House of the Lost Girls, readers will again find themselves stuck in the horrific, demented town of Flocksdale. Only this time, they’ll get to meet seventeen year old Marianna Bertagnoli. (Although Wendi will make some appearances in Book Two). Marianna is miserable. Not only did her father abandon her five years ago, but she’s being uprooted and forced to move with her mom and stepdad to a creepy old house in a lame town called Flocksdale. It doesn’t take long for her figure out that her new house is none other than the infamous “House of Horrors”—the very house where a demented family kidnapped and murdered young girls several years before. History has a way of repeating itself, and within a week of moving in, one of her small group of new friends is found murdered, her mom disappears, and she’s attacked by a man wearing a hideous clown mask. Targeted by a new generation of evil, Marianna needs Wendi’s help to unravel the bizarre history of Flocksdale.

When did you know you wanted to write this series? What inspired you?

I never intended for Have You Seen This Girl? to be a series, but after I signed my contract with Limitless and sat down to start something new, I couldn’t stop writing about Flocksdale. I started writing it two years ago. It was originally titled “The End”, after the song “The End” by The Doors. That song plays a significant role in the story itself and it also served as inspiration for this book. There are so many things that inspired me to write this book. First of all, Indiana has recently received nationwide attention for our heroin and HIV epidemic. Addiction is an issue that is important to me, personally and professionally. I’m also interested in women’s issues that I address in the book—sex trafficking, sexual violence, post-traumatic stress, addiction, self-esteem, etc. I felt very connected to Wendi and she took the reins on this story. Although the first story has a clear, distinct ending, I felt like there was so much more to say and do…and that’s when Marianna came along. By the way, there is also going to be a third book. It’s called Carnival of Dead Girls.

F1

Your cover art is amazing. As in; everyone wants to date the Flocksdale Files girls. Tell us about your cover artist:

Oh, I know. You’ve been stalking my girls on Twitter for a while now hahaha! I have a girl-crush on them myself. I would LOVE to tell you about my cover artist! Her name is Ashley Byland and she’s a designer for Redbird Designs. She does a lot of the cover art at Limitless Publishing, and she is just amazing! I’m so grateful to her for making me such gorgeous covers and bringing my characters to life. Here is her website: www.redbird-designs.net. I recently tracked her down on Facebook and asked her to make me some bookmarks, promo pics, and an author logo. She’s nice as can be, and she can do it all!

It’s a tough world for writers these days. The competition is pretty much everyone in the world. What do you find most challenging? And what are some things that inspire you to continue to write and market your work?

For me, the hard part isn’t writing. The hard part is what comes after—trying to match my work to a certain genre or meet word count expectations, etc. And then of course there’s the marketing side of things. I’m incredibly shy in real life and gloating about my own books makes me extremely uncomfortable. Luckily, I’ve made so many awesome friends this past year—other writers who know what it’s like—and seeing them do it helps me feel a little bit more comfortable. As far as staying motivated…as long as I get to hold that book in my hand when I’m finished, and there are a couple people who want to read it, I’ll keep writing. I just want people to read it, so if I market all day long and only gain one reader, I see that as a success.

Let’s say someone wanted to immediately jump into reading the Flocksdale Files series. Where should they go?

Both books, Have You Seen This Girl? and House of the Lost Girls, are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and select stores.

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

 

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Carissa is all over the web! Find out more about her and get links to her books at:

Amazon

Facebook

Carissa’s Blog

Goodreads

Limitless Publishing

Twitter

* * *

Special thanks to Carissa (and all our other guests) for being a part of the Tessera Guild Creative Interview series. Look for more interviews to come!

Tessera Guild 2015

40 Things I’ll Never Do (…again)

The saying goes, ‘Never say never.’

What a load of bull$#!t.  🙂

I’ll let you decide which of these are sarcastic…

…and which are deadly serious.

* * *

I will never willingly let Halloween pass without carving a jack-o-lantern.

Not gonna ever drink Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Definitely won’t ever put a politician’s sticker on my car. (or some stupid, ignorant slogan.)

I’ll never write a vampire romance novel. Or a vampire novel. Or a romance novel.

Nope. I’ll never enjoy using my cell phone. For anything. Ever.

I’ll never knowingly drink diet soda. Or eat sugar-free desserts. Or eat a ‘lean’ cut of beef.

Can’t ever see myself saying I ‘believe’ in something. I’ll either know the answer…or more likely I won’t.

I’ll never be racist.

Or elitist.

Or an optimist.

Or probably anything ending in -ist. (except for maybe a starving artist.)

I will never, ever be able to dunk a basketball.

Dos Equis

 Can’t imagine I’d ever purposely let anyone else win. At anything. Even my son.

Definitely never plan on owning a self-propelled lawn mower. (Push or die!)

Not ever gonna be a fan of country music. Or K pop. Or love songs.

Won’t ever, ever root for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Packers, or the Pistons. No matter what.

I’ll never join Instagram.

Or Pinterest.

Or post a bathroom selfie. (Unless she asks for one.)

Never gonna stop hitting on cute waitresses. (Or at least asking them if they read and want to buy my books.)

Won’t ever own a pit bull. Or a ‘rottie’. Or any dog big enough to eat me.

Won’t ever take a definable position on a political hot topic. Especially immigration. And gun control.

I’ll never Tivo anything.

untitled

 I’ll never chill red wine.

Or put water in my scotch.

I’ll never successfully date a woman who doesn’t like death metal. Or at least who can’t name one Slayer song.

No tattoos of names. Or any words, for that matter.

Won’t ever be able to sleep without a fan blowing.

Never gonna leave a restaurant without tipping my server. Even if they sucked.

Not ever going vegan. But won’t ever make fun of people who do.

I’ll never brag. Or gloat.

Won’t ever kill a bee. Or an ant. Or even a wasp if it’s outdoors. (But houseflies and black widow spiders, you guys are fucked.)

Probably not gonna reach my goal of being 6′ 4″.

Never going to meet a margarita I won’t like.

I just can’t see myself forgiving George Lucas.

I’ll never trust a rich man.

Or underestimate a poor one.

Won’t ever play fantasy football again.

I won’t ever enjoy a compliment. Nor be affected by a cutdown.

But more than anything else, I’ll never quit making art. Or writing books. Or putting stuff on the internet to make people say, ‘Hmmmmmm…’

* * *

A while back I wrote about my likeness to Jon Snow (i.e.; not knowing anything.) Check it out here.

Otherwise, creep yourself out with this.

Until next time,

J Edward

All Hallows Book Sale Part 2

Autumn

All Hallows Eve

Jack o’ Lanterns, Skeletons Swaying in the Wind, and Bucketloads of Candy

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Because I’m still crazy, I’ve decided to discount several of my books. From today until Halloween at midnight, my darkest, spookiest, creepiest titles are on sale…

oldmantesseracover1sm

Old Man of Tessera, a creepy short story. It’s the prequel to the even creepier Let the Bodies, and it’s FREE for Kindles until Halloween at midnight!

101 Questions for Midnight Front Cover

101 Questions for Midnight. No All Hallows party will be complete without it. Gather your friends close, light some candles, and get deep. FREE until midnight on Halloween.

 

41hy4gWTX1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Down the Dark Path – Part I. A deep, dark fantasy novella unlike anything you’ve ever read. Kindle version only $0.99. Sexy matte black softcover only $5.99. …until All Hallows dies.

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So be like a zombie and crawl out of your grave. Be a vampire and rip your coffin lid to pieces. Or be like a human…and read a book until the world ends.

All I ask…if you dip your paws into this candy…is that you leave an Amazon review 🙂.

Trick or Treat…

J Edward Neill

Check my entire book catalog here.

 

How to write an Amazon review

Ever tipped your server before?

Ever gotten a new tattoo? And when it was time to pay up, you added a little cash for the artist?

Ever gone to a bar, heard a local band rock out, and tossed a few bucks in their hat?

Of course you have. You’re cool like that. You’re a decent person. You recognize quality when you see it.

So why not do something even easier (and cheaper) when you buy a piece of art, a book, or really any creatively-made material from Amazon?

After deep research across a vast consumer base (aka: asking a few people who read my books) I think I’ve arrived at the reason.

You don’t know how.

It’s understandable. You’ve just hung an awesome new slab of art on your wall. You’ve just read a kickass story. You’ve just picked up a fantastic new handmade-from-real-human-bones necklace. You think to yourself, ‘Damn. I love this thing,’ and you go about your life. After all, you’ve already paid for it. Your role is finished, right?

What if I told you, in about 60 seconds, you could make a much larger difference in the artist’s life than the 7% profit they might have made from selling you that awesome shit? What if I told you that an Amazon review is about 1,000% times more important than the $0.35 cents they made on the sale? It’s true. Because really, 60 seconds is about all the time it takes to write up an honest Amazon review.

I’m dead serious.

“How do I do it?” you ask.

Fair question. Here’s how:

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 First, go to the Amazon page where you bought the kickass piece of art in the first place. Scroll down until you see this:

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most-helpful-reviews

Because EVERYONE needs an Inflatable Unicorn Horn for their cat.

See that juicy lil’ button that says ‘Write a Review’?  Good. Click it.

*

Next up, you’ll arrive at a Sign-In screen.  Take 4 seconds to log in and click the ‘Sign in using our secure server’ button. Boom.

Sign in as

Whew. 10 seconds in and I’m exhausted.

*

You’ll immediately be sent to the screen below. It’s really, really easy from here on out. You click the stars to tell Amazon how awesome/not awesome your new purchase is. And then you type in your review. Amazon recommends 75-500 words. Don’t feel like typing that much? Cool. Just offer two little tiny sentences about how this art, book, skull-necklace, or cat unicorn horn made you feel.

REview me baby

“This book fucking rocked. I made sweet love to my husband while reading it in front of a roaring bonfire. I hope the author comes to my house and tattoos his next masterpiece on my buttocks.”

*

And just like that, you’re done. It was that easy. Now just hit ‘Submit.’  Research proves you’ll die 700% happier for knowing you helped an artist, author, or cat unicorn horn manufacturer.

But seriously, here’s some helpful hints:

  • Don’t ever mention knowing the artist or author personally, even if you do. Big turnoff.
  • Be honest. Seriously.
  • Review the product. Not the maker of the product.
  • Even 3 and 4-star reviews are awesome!
  • If you’re feeling extra nice, mention something you really liked about your purchase. Such as, “My favorite part of the book was when the evil minions of darkness pillaged the farmer’s daughters,” or maybe, “My cat Fluffy crapped all over the floor when we put the unicorn horn on her. Which means she loves it!”

To test my theory that reviews typically take no longer than 60 seconds, I just reviewed two books on Amazon. For real. One took 48 seconds. The other took 58 seconds. Which means, in less than two minutes, I helped two artists out, gave them more exposure (more reviews earn WAY MORE Amazon page views) and slapped a virtual ‘tip’ on the artists’ tables worth its weight in gold for their future.

60 seconds or less.

Easy as pie.

Just for hanging in there, I offer you Fluffy, pissiest cat on the planet:

UniCat

“Put this thing on me one more time, and you gon need medikal atenshun.”

Read my latest short story here.

Or get this and be the hero of your next get-together with friends.

J Edward Neill

The #NothingMatters Movement

It’s funny the things we decide to care about.

It’s curious the flow of socio-political liquid through the masses.

Do you ever wonder if, a thousand years ago, the hashtag causes would’ve been #SanitationMatters, #PeasantsMatter, or #ArrowsDon’tKill but #ArchersDo?

ArcheryDuring World War II, if Twitter had existed, the Allies’ causes would’ve been obvious (Sadly the Axis’s would’ve been, too.) But what about during the American Revolution? Would it have been #IndependenceMatters, #RedcoatLivesMatterToo, or simply #FuckKingGeorge?

Well?

Nearly every day of our lives, we see someone or some group expelling causes across the internet. Seems everyone has an interest in telling everyone else what should be important. ‘You should care about this,’ they shout. ‘This is important, #TheseLivesMatter,’ but, ‘That shit over there doesn’t matter.’ These days anyone with fingers and a computer has a soapbox. Some folks choose not to stand on it. But a crap-ton of other people are happy to jump on and start talking/typing.

But talking ain’t the same as doing.

And while a hundred-thousand people might appear to agree with a common cause on their Facebook pages, ultimately they’re all just individuals. With their own lives and problems. Most of whom don’t actually give two shits about the cause beyond clicking ‘Like.’

Boromir

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, did it make a sound?

Yes.

If shit goes down and no one’s there to care, did that shit matter?

Hmmmm…

Every day globally, thousands of humans die. Some from sickness, others by accident, still others by war, suicide, and foul play. Every hour, people are wronged. People are robbed, kidnapped, assaulted, maimed, and abused. Now imagine all these terrible things if no one reported them. No news. No weather channel. No 60 Minutes specials. No hashtags made up to gather attention. Without media coverage, the only ones who’d know about localized suffering would be the survivors, the perpetrators, and a handful of observers.

Compared to the way things are now, the world would be quiet. It might even seem peaceful, even though it wouldn’t be.

Because…without the media storm surrounding the modern world, we’d never know about all these terrible things. Not even the good things. We’d never care. #NothingWouldMatter because we’d never hear about stuff. We’d be the same as most people were a few hundred years ago. The only things that would matter to us would be those affecting our village, our clique, our small sphere of stuff we could actually see, hear, and touch.

Now, I’m not going all nihilistic on you. To say #nothing has any value at all would be a tough sell to most people, especially those with children, lovers, amazing friends, close family, or even pets. However…if we peek just outside our bubble of people and things that matter, what’s out there? What’s really out there? Good stuff. Bad stuff. But mostly just stuff. Stuff that doesn’t affect you. Or me. Or anyone other than the people directly involved in it.

Now let’s take a #DoesItReallyMatter quiz:

Pretend you and everyone you knew got really pissed off at how refugees in a faraway war were being treated, but none of you actually went out to fight the bad guys oppressing these refugees. So. Did the refugees matter to you? As in really?

Let’s say you actually did get up and fight the bad guys, but that one generation later, the refugees formed a country who started doing the same terrible things that had been done to them. Did your involvement matter?

If a city a hundred miles away vanished overnight and all its people were lost, but no one you knew had ever lived there, would it matter to you? Honestly?

If a nation (population 1 billion) you’d never paid attention to were invaded and destroyed tomorrow, would such a catastrophic loss matter to you? Other than maybe make you afraid for your own nation? Other than maybe make you crap your pants? Is it even possible for one person to care about a billion other individuals?

What I’m saying is; for all the things a person really, really cares about in their life, they’ll fight like lions to defend. They’ll make huge sacrifices, they’ll go to war, they’ll spend all their money, they’ll invest their heart and soul. They’ll die to see it done. It’s that important. #ItMatters.

But for everything else, they’ll just go online and ‘Like’ it.

…or talk about it at the water cooler.

…or catch in on the news right before watching their favorite tv show.

Because, just maybe, #ItDoesn’tReallyMatter

No matter how much we like to tell ourselves we care about all the crazy stuff going on the world…

…most of the time, we don’t.

We can only really care about the things closest to us.

And that’s just the way it should be.

#NothingMatters

#Well…AlmostNothing

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Want to start a few hot debates with all the guys and gals in your life? Click here and here.

Want to sit in the shadows and read about people who have it way tougher? Right. Here.

Love,

J Edward Neill

I’m Really Sorry you Hate Sports

Here we are.

In the heart of football season.

Ascending to the World Series.

Ready to pop the cork on the NBA and NHL.

Pretty much the best time of a sports-lover’s year.

And all you wanna do is hate.

It’s that time of year when the hate feels especially strong. The stupid memes start popping up. People who previously seemed cool, nice, and maybe even enlightened decide to publicize their disgust with other people’s love of athletic competition. Pictures of cats, dogs, and kids on Facebook are replaced with comments about ‘Sportsball’ and intentional ignorance regarding ‘Putting balls into holes.’

Here are just a few of the dumb images I’ve seen during the last two weeks:

Both Teams Lose

Cute cat, but I only feel this way when the Packers play the Vikings.

Hate sports because

Yep. It’s the first one.

What Color Rooting

I’m pretty sure I beat this guy up in high school.

Look. I get it. A lot of people don’t like sports. I’m fine with it. Everything‘s not for everyone. Some people hate football, baseball, and all the rest. Others don’t like art. Or books. Or kids. Or shopping for shoes. Or cosplay. Or whatever. All of this is ok. As for me…I like almost everything. And the shit I don’t like is typically stuff like terrorism, politicians, or whatever the fuck this is. You’re allowed to like your stuff. And I’m allowed to like mine.

But here’s the thing: When you cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war against fun, you look stupid.

And when you hate on other people’s likes and lifestyles, you open yourself up to getting your ass kicked in the parking lot getting the hate hurled right back at you.

Consider these:

Video Games

Because playing video games makes you a total fucking loser. Just like watching sports. NOT.

Fat Nerd

What everyone automatically assumes a sports-hater looks like.

Nerds

Nerds: the ‘other’ N word. It’s cool to call yourself one. But when Ogre does it, you’d better cry ‘Bully!’

Remember back in the 80’s – 90’s when nerds, geeks, dorks, and DragonCon attendees pretty much lived on the bottom of the social rung? When being smart wasn’t nearly as cool as being popular, well-dressed, or athletic? I do. I remember it. Kids at every school I went to were picked on if they came across as nerdy or shy. Hell, watching some of these unlucky kids get beaten up, shaken down, and tormented on a daily basis probably had a lot to do with my sudden love of hitting the gym, getting tougher, and learning to love the beautiful, brotherhood-inducing thing called sports. And now that we’ve evolved past the nerd-hate, everything should be cool, right? Sports fans living beside LARP’ers. Athletes dating librarians. Dogs and cats…living together.

And yet, here’s some recent shit I’ve seen online from otherwise decent people:

A lady who LOVES cosplay (dressing up as her favorite superhero) ranting about how “stupid” football fans looked when they wear costumes and paint their faces for the game.  Hypocrite much?

A proud declaration that “Most athletes get paid WAY too much! And that’s why I hate ALL sports!”  The vast majority of pro athletes don’t get paid as much as you’d think. Consider minor leaguers, practice squad members, assistant coaches, trainers, rookies, etc. Only the very best get the big bucks, just like in, oh…I don’t know…every other profession.

A lady who bluntly stated that “Everyone in the NBA and NFL is a thug.”  – Wow. Racist much?

And the single stupidest post I’ve seen in a long while: “Sportsball. Ugh.”

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I don’t think most people feel this way. I mean…sure…a lot of folks don’t care about ‘Sportsball,’ but nor do they feel the need to attempt some BS, double-reverse bullying attempt on social media. I think most people realize that a love of sports is the same as a love of anything else. Like books. Or tv shows. Or movies. Or zombie Pokémon porn. Or whatever. I guess what I can’t reconcile in my brain is why some people feel the need to shout their hate out. As if it’s somehow idiotic for me to admire the supreme physical skills of other humans. Or foolish to enjoy watching two evenly-matched teams fight for victory. I mean…shit…it’s not like we’re watching Nascar. Relax. I’m joking. I’m sure Nascar is awesome. It’s just not for me.

So how about you sport-haters and I strike a truce? You don’t make fun of me watching the fastest, strongest humans on the planet beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, and I won’t make fun of you for liking World of Warcraft, thinking comic book movies are cool, or not being able to pound out more than three push-ups. You promise to never utter the word ‘Sportsball’ again, and I swear to overlook the next thirty-four times you roll your eyes when I mention I’m gonna go, ‘Watch the Bears lose again.’

Deal?

Deal.

This PSA brought to you by a barbaric, Neanderthalish, MMA-loving, baseball-crushing, football-slingin’ sports nut…who despite being a mouth-breathing Sportsball fanatic found time to write more and paint more in 2015 than almost everyone else on the planet.

I’m just playin’.

Enjoy the game.

J Edward Neill

New Cover Art for the Coffee Table Philosophy series!

Boom!

Three new books in the Coffee Table Philosophy series.

…with ALL NEW COVER ART.

101 Questions for Women

101 Questions for Women Cover

Chock full of questions about sex and relationships. But also contains questions about life, love, and humanity. Geared for women, but accessible to everyone.

 

101 Questions for Midnight

101 Questions for Midnight Front Cover

For those who favor their questions cold, hard, and serious. Each page contains one question about Life vs Death, Good vs Evil, Morality, Sex, etc… Turn down the lights, pour yourself a drink, and settle down into a darker brand of entertainment.

 

101 Sex Questions

101 xxxy Questions Front Cover

Like a quiz book…but for your libido. Meant for hot nights with your partner, candid conversations with a lover, and parties during which (almost) everything goes. Includes questions on relationships, love, and of course, TONS of smoldering sex.

 

 I’ve still got softcover versions with the original cover art available. I’ll sign ‘em and ship ‘em free in exchange for Amazon reviews. Though after the originals are gone, they’ll never be available again.

 The rest of the Coffee Table Philosophy series is available here.

J Edward Neill

Painting with Darkness – Part V

As summer’s warmth fades and the days die earlier than before, I find myself in the studio for long stretches of time.

Some might say locking myself indoors with brooding soundtracks playing in the background and a crispy cold glass of scotch on the table is a swift road to being utterly alone.

My point exactly…

My latest painting: All Hallows

Hallows 1

I started at the bottom with water-diluted oranges and worked my way up. With every inch gained toward the top, I added drops of red and black. Watercolors became solids. Lights became darks. The striking colors satisfied me. And the hard blacks on the bottom were fun to paint (and easy!)

Hallows 2

Now came the time-consuming part. At first, I worked on the trees with a 1/4″ wedge brush. Then, as the branches thinned, I used the sharpest-point brush in my arsenal. The tops of the trees began to look like claws. It was exactly the eerie look I wanted.

 

Hallows 3

Completing the trees was a full-day task. I used my daggerlike brush to add sharpness and realism to every branch. As is always my theme, I made the trees curl toward the center of the painting…as if reaching for something unseen. I considering adding more to make this a full-blown Halloween-ish work, but decided to keep it simple. Blacks on color. Nothing cheesy. Stick to the plan of painting with darkness.

All in all, this canvas was fun and simple. In other words, my favorite kind.

The same night I finished All Hallows, I began work prep work on a huge 36″ x 48″ canvas, my hugest ever:

Ocean of Knives

This’ll be called ‘Ocean of Knives’. The canvas is 3′ x 4′. It’ll take weeks to finish, for sure. Gonna need a lot of wine…

Recently, I used one of my grimmest works for the cover of Let the Bodies, my latest short story:

LettheBodies_BlogLg

Painting your own cover art…fun!

 And previously in the ‘Painting with Darkness’ series:

The Emperor’s Vision

The Underhollows

Brothers

The Last Tower, Pale Swamp, Four Swords, Grave Rain

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See you next time. Painting with Darkness, Part VI will feature the finished version of ‘Ocean of Knives.’

J Edward Neill

Tyrant of the Dead

10 Things to Ask Yourself Tonight

The following 10 questions are straight from my philosophy/ice-breaker book, 101 Questions for Midnight.

I hope you enjoy them.

If so, considering answering a few in the comments section below, via Facebook, or on Twitter.

* * *

Absolute Freedom

 Imagine a society in which there are no laws.

You can do anything without fear of legal retribution.

Consider, of course, so can everyone else.

What things would you do that are currently illegal?

  Realistically speaking, is such a society even possible?

Invulnerability

If you could choose to become utterly and forever immune to being offended, would you?

Algebra of the Heart

Complete the following equation:

 ________________ + ________________

 = Love

Play the Percentages

 Define exactly what percentage of each day you’d like to spend doing the following things:

Sleeping

Being alone

Having sex

Spending time with friends and family

Working

The Small of a Woman’s Back

 Define what it means to be sexy.

Assumptions 

Most humans make swift judgments about people they’ve newly encountered, even if subconsciously.

With that in mind, what judgments would you make after seeing:

A woman in a slinky dress    

A man listening to obnoxiously loud music in their car

A woman covered neck to ankle in tattoos

A man yelling at his child in public

Arbeit Macht Frei 

An ancient Japanese samurai once claimed, “Everyone should personally know exertion as it is known in the lower classes.”

His point is that for humility’s sake, every human should perform hard labor to some extent during their lives.

Do you feel this is true?

Can hard work free the mind of some of its troubles?

Spartans 

By and large, human society no longer embraces the theory of Survival of the Fittest.

Weakness, disease, and genetic flaws are no longer the death sentence they once were.  Strong, fit, and healthy individuals coexist with those less fortunate.

In terms of humanity’s long-term survival, do you believe this is ideal?

 

Marriage

Is it doomed?

In other words; in 100 years, will the concept of two people spending their entire lives together cease to exist?

If not, what do you believe will reverse the current trend of most marriages ending poorly?

Does all passion die in the end?

  

Shakespearian 

Many of the most famous and popular books and stories have endings that could be described as tragic.

In your opinion, why are these tales of human suffering so beloved?

* * *

Intrigued? Curious? Entertained?

Dive into all 101 questions by clicking the image below:

101 Questions for Midnight Front Cover

And here’s the rest of the Coffee Table Philosophy series:

 101-Questions-for-Humanity-333x500 101 Questions for Men Cover 101 Questions for Women Cover 101 xxxy Questions Front Cover

***

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Down the Dark Path

All your heroes are dead

The other night, whilst sitting among friends in a crowded restaurant, I accidentally eavesdropped on my neighbors’ conversation. Ok…it wasn’t accidental. The lull in my friends’ talking gave me an easy window to listen in on the fascinating exchange between a guy and a girl. I couldn’t resist.

It started well enough.

When the pretty girl (30-something, short brown hair) sat down with the guy (early 40’s, funky comb-over,) everything seemed ok. He kissed her, told her how beautiful she was, and ordered her a drink right away. She told him all about her work problems, including how she’d lost a chance at a big promotion. He sympathized with her, reassured her, and seemed genuinely concerned about her travails. But…and there’s always a but…the conversation soon took a turn for the intriguing. After ignoring several rings of her cell phone, the girl starts getting nervous. She admits to the guy that her husband is looking for her, and that hubs suspects her of having an affair, which she clearly is.

Wait. It gets better.

Our cool, comb-over guy seemed unbothered by this news. He says something to the effect of, “It’s ok. I understand. I love you. I’ll wait for you for as long as it takes.” As far as adulterers go, he made a good show of it, appearing genuinely in love with the wandering wife. But…and there’s always a but…after a while of talking, touching, and kissing, the girl gets up and goes outside to text her hubby that she’s, “Still at work.” And that, “…boss has me working OT.” Classic stuff there. I have a feeling she didn’t fool anyone.

 And while the lovely lass is busy lying, Captain Comb-over gets to the good part.

No sooner does the girl go outside than this dude picks up his cell phone and dials. Obviously he was drunk, else it would’ve been pretty obvious that I was listening in. I mean…c’mon. I’ve got good peripherals and all, but I was practically leaning over his bourbon. So our hero dials, and it’s clear another woman picks up on the other end. He starts talking to her, all the while looking over his shoulder and chugging his drink. And then he says, “Don’t worry. She’s outside. She can’t even see me.” The woman on the phone says something I can’t hear, and then…after hitting up the bartender for another drink…our hero says, “She has no idea. I’ll see you tonight. I love you.”

And he’s right. Girl 1 had no idea.

At this point, you’re thinking I’m judging these two. No. I’m really not. Where other people sling their lies and plunge their loins isn’t my concern. But it was while eavesdropping I wandered into a dark place at the back of my mind. I touched upon a belief I’ve always possessed. I remembered that the world has almost no heroes, and that for every good thing we want to believe about someone else, skeletons in the closet remain.

Let’s talk this over. Because I know where you’re gonna hit back. You’re going to point out the good people in your life: the dads, moms, grandmas, soldiers, teachers, BFF’s. And you’re going to assert how these people, with their grace and humility, are the true heroes. The unsung. The real deal. I’m fine with that. I get what you’re saying. Small deeds and simple acts of kindness can be heroic. Everyday people doing everyday good things are awesome.

But remember:

One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

A hero to one group of people can be a villain to another.

And for every one thing you know about your personal hero, there are ten things you don’t know.

Frodo

To start trimming the list of people we consider heroic, the easiest place to start is with celebrities and political figures. This year alone, the bones tumbled out of the proverbial closet at an astonishing rate. Consider Bill Cosby, among my generation’s most beloved men, now hot on the skillet for his roofie-administering ways. Consider Jared Fogle, long a television mainstay, busted for banging teenagers. Consider the Duggars, the Ashley Madison scandal, and the impossibly long list of NFL ‘badasses’ beating the crap out of their wives and girlfriends. Now I’m not suggesting any of these people should’ve ever been considered heroic, but nevertheless…celebrity-worship is a huge thing, especially in the US. And now we get to watch the previously-beloved fall, and fall, and fall. My guess is that at some point in the past, certain people viewed these famous folks as good, solid, and loveable. So now what? The onion is peeled back. Have they learned their lesson? Or will they simply find another celeb to hold up high?

Now let’s get dark.

Think about these questions:

Is every soldier a hero? Are most of them heroes? If so, are they heroic just because they fight on your side? What do you think the widows of their enemies would say?

Can someone who does great good in the world still be called heroic if, when no one’s looking, they lie, cheat, steal, or abuse?

Is doing hard work to support your family heroic? If so, doesn’t that make almost everyone who lived in pre-modern times a hero? (Back in the day most everyone had to bust their asses just to survive.)

If a firefighter regularly saves whole housefuls of kids and cute puppies, but is a shitty father and a negligent husband, is he a hero?

If a single mother works two jobs to support her kids, but smokes like a fiend (thereby shortening her life…which her kids need) is she heroic?

If someone gives millions to well-meaning charities, but pilfers a little for himself, is he…

…I think you get the point.

Potter

People do heroic things all the time. They save lives, teach wisdom, and sacrifice themselves for the greater good. People can be beacons of light in dark times, pull others together to make huge differences, and enact changes for the betterment of everyone. For brief, shining moments, people can do wonderful things.

But at some point, people go back to being people.

And no matter how high you hold them up, they will tumble. They will do things when they think no one’s looking. They’ll be human.

So be careful whom you look up to. 

And be careful why you look up to them.

* * *

Want more challenging questions about humanity and the crazy shit we do?

Look no further than here.

J Edward Neill

The Stiletto

The Stiletto

* * *

I knew it’d be a mistake the moment it was over.

But I did it anyway.

He was a ghoulish old king. He’d extorted, terrorized, and murdered to fill his coffers. His brothers were thieves. His wives…both of them…were daggers in every man’s back.

His subjects hated him. His enemies feared him. The ground he walked turned black beneath his boots. His bathwater reeked of death.

Every family who’d even a chance at sniffing the throne, he’d exiled, poisoned, or butchered. When his cousin’s coup d’état failed, the ghoul burned the usurpers’ children alive, drowned his cousin’s mother, and hung the collaborators’ bodies from gibbets so high even the crows dared not a single sniff.

It was time for the King to go. Everyone knew it. Everyone wanted it. His black towers had too long stood like knives on the kingdom’s throat.

When the three exiles came to me on autumn’s second eve, I knew what they wanted. One carried a chest of silvers. The other dropped a satchel of ingots on my table. The third stood in my doorway, the moonlight shining on his back. He was a weathered, ancient thing. Twenty years in the sand had done him poorly. I smirked, my dagger folded against my wrist in case he did something stupid.

“Lady Lusia, will you?” he asked.

“Will I what?” I pretended not to know what he meant.

“The Ghoul…the King…the hundred-year old nightmare haunting the eaves of every house in Lyrlech. Will you?”

“No.” I glanced out my window. I couldn’t see the black towers, but I knew they were there.

“Why?” asked the weathered man.

“He’s only a few more years left in him,” I scoffed. “Not worth it. I’m too pretty for the gibbets.”

“You don’t understand, Lusia,” he sighed. “If he dies, his brother becomes king. It’ll only get worse.”

I considered it for a moment, then countered, “Exactly. If I kill the Ghoul, it does nothing. The noose around our necks just gets tighter.”

“But Lusia, his family will be there. His brothers. His sons. His grandchildren. All under one roof for the first time in years.”

“So?” I smiled.

“You can save us,” he pleaded. “You’re the best. Everyone knows it. The Stiletto, they call you. You’re the only one who can deliver us from darkness.”

“You’re right,” I smiled. “I can. But I won’t.”

I got tired of waiting. I flicked my knife and split the three men neck to belly. They died quietly. Their blood drained onto the floor, but the night moved none at all.

I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.

…but the Ghoul had paid me well.

 

* * *

The Stiletto, along with a volcano of other dark, eerie, and fantastical tales, appears in:

Machina Front Cover

Machina Obscurum features a host of writers doing their best to darken your world with short, deadly stories and quick-as-knives fiction.

It’s available right now.

J Edward Neill

Bury Yourself in Books!

Readers! Philosophers! Hard Partiers!

I want your reviews!

Stars

I’ve got two softcover copies each of every book in the Coffee Table Philosophy series.

And I’m giving them away for FREE!

All you have to do is agree to complete an honest Amazon review within two weeks of receiving your book.

Interested?

If so, choose any of the following (multiples allowed) and I’ll ship FREE same-day to you:

101 Questions for Humanity

101 Questions for Midnight

101 Questions for Men

101 Questions for Women

101 Sex Questions

To get your copy shipped, reach me in the comments section below, via email, via Facebook, or via Twitter.

To get a feel for what’s inside each book, click the images below.

101 Questions for Midnight 101-Questions-for-Humanity-333x500 101 Questions for Men Cover 101 Questions for Women Cover 101 Sex Questions

Review me, baby.

I need your lovin’.

J Edward Neill

My Top 7 Words of 2015

Bone Letters

 

Welcome to the third annual edition of Top 7 Words. For the next hundred or so years, it’s a safe bet to expect one of these to spring up in your face annually. I briefly considered making this year’s theme about the Worst Words of 2015, but I figure everyone already hates bae, yolo, and thot enough to pretty much cover it.

 

And so…

Deflategate

1. Deflate – to release the air or gas from something inflated

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last seven months, you know that my son and I deflated the footballs used by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. But seriously, as a football nut and a regular user of NFL footballs, I laugh to myself every time I hear about a pro QB taking the air out of his balls. Why? Because unlike many of them, I like my balls (no pun intended) inflated to the point of bursting. Just ask the KGFL. They all hate me for it.

2. Bachelorhoodthe state of being a bachelor

Because honestly, who’d want to live any other way? I’m mostly kidding. I know marriage has its good points. Married guys live longer, get more action, have more money, and enjoy a host of other benefits. And yet here I am, the only unmarried guy on my entire block. Seriously. Thirty + houses…and I’m the sole bachelor. It feels somehow liberating, somehow kingly. When my neighbors sigh and tell me Friday night will be spent watching Netflix (again) with their never-put-down-the-cell-phone wives, I feel freer than ever in my life.

3. Proliferateto increase in number or spread rapidly

In 2015, my writing career took leaps and bounds above previous years. I published nine books, more than fifty web articles, and sold hundreds of stories here in the US and abroad. I feel like a virus, infecting my host (Earth) with reckless abandon. Aside from all that, I love the word proliferate. It implies something is unstoppable, maybe even invincible. Yeah. That.

4. Winethe fermented juice of grapes, made in many varieties, such as red, white, sweet, dry, still, and sparkling

Every time I open my Facebook or Twitter profiles, I see the word wine. I’ve begun to think my kid is the only one who doesn’t drink the stuff. For dinner. At midnight. For breakfast. Whatever. I love the stuff, but that’s not why I love the word. I’m amused by housewives whose every other meme is wine-related. I smirk every time I see a woman’s dating profile with a ‘I love wine’ mention (because almost all of them do.) Apparently the world is always drunk…or at least trying to be.

Pale-Swamp

5. Undertonesan underlying quality or element; undercurrent

About a year ago, I started painting. A lot. I try (and often fail) to imbue my canvasses with specific undertones. I want viewers to feel the rain, sense the cold, and shiver as though whatever they see is haunting.

 

6. Feministadvocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men

Before I start, let me say I’m not anti-feminist. Equality is awesome. Fairness is a something usually worth striving for. That said, I like the word feminist because when someone else uses it, I can predict without fail where the conversation is going. Admit it; so can you. Either people will leap to profess their feminist support, crush someone else for not being feminist enough, or (if they’re brave) start an argument about how the world was better during the Mad Men era. Me? I’m not political enough to even touch the whole feminism discussion. The rest of the world has it covered.

Fireball

 

7. Swipeto move a finger or fingers, or a stylus, across an area on (a touchscreen) in order to execute a command

During my brief tenure on Tinder (and other similar dating apps) I’ve learned this much: Swiping left is shallow…but fun. I’ve pretty much swiped left for the entire Atlanta metropolitan area. Hell, I don’t even log on with the hope of meeting anyone. Never really have. I just swipe left a few thousand times and continue yucking it up with my friends. Pointless. Stupid. Entertainment.

* * *

Enjoy this? Check out My Top 7 Words of 2014 and 2013. Previous editions were darker in tone than this year. Whatever…

Check out my chilling short stories Old Man of Tessera and Let the Bodies. In which I use real words.

J Edward Neill

Just Another Day in Purgatory

The following is a guest spot from Tessera Guild favorite, River Fairchild. She’s got an awesome new release, Just Another Day in Purgatory, and it’s available. Right. Now.

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JustAnotherDayInPurgatory Blog

Hi. Death here. I’d introduce you to Chronos as well, but he’s stuck in the ‘80s and doesn’t understand social media.

I’m pleased to announce the release of our new novella, Just Another Day in Purgatory.

What’s it about, beyond the wacky fun and crazy misadventures of myself and my best bud, Chronos, as we keep the universe from imploding? It’s about friendship in the midst of insanity. Trying to find order in the middle of chaos. Living life on the edge and having fun while doing so. It’s about having someone’s back, no matter what.

Come have fun with us as we sort through the mayhem, one crisis at a time. Maybe I’ll even give you a ride on my Harley.

In Just Another Day in Purgatory:

Hell freezes over. Heaven heats up. A resort springs to life on the banks of the River Styx and souls don’t want to move on. 

Nothing scares our intrepid immortals—except a run-in with a scissor-wielding Fate after messing up the Great Tapestry. She’s the only one capable of cutting their Life Threads. 

It’s just another day in Purgatory for Death and Chronos as they sort through the mayhem and keep the universe from spinning out of control. Be sure to bring along your helmet. You never know when Death might offer you a ride on his Harley. 

Step into their world. The afterlife will never be the same.

Amazon / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Other Links

 River Fairchild is somewhat odd, brandishes a dry sense of humor, owned by several cats. Lives in a fantasy world. A fabricator of magic. Makes stuff up and spins tales about it. Believes in Faerie crossings and never staying in one place for very long. Speculative Fiction wordsmith. The secret to her stories? Spread lies, blend in truths, add a pinch of snark and a dash of tears. Escape into her world. She left the porch light on so you can find your way down the rabbit hole.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+ / Amazon /

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2015 Tessera Guild

Living in a Baseball Paradise

 

The Rizz

Anthony Rizzo, definitive NL MVP candidate.

 

I know how this story ends.

Me. An empty glass on the table. A giant foam finger wilting on the floor.

And another season referred to as ‘lost‘ by sports reporters worldwide.

In case you didn’t know, I’m the world’s biggest Chicago Cubs fan. I bleed Cubbie blue. I live and die with every pitch. I allow my hopes, however small, to flourish in April and rot off the vine always usually by mid-July.

And yet here we are. September. The Cubs are ahead of their rebuilding schedule, or so say most of the pundits. A few weeks ago, they crushed the hometown (I live in Atlanta) Braves in a four-game sweep, outscoring the hapless Bravos 30-14 over the series. They swept the New York Mets 7-0 this year. They’ve improved from mediocre in April/May/June to downright threatening in the NL Central. They have two legitimate NL Rookie of the year candidates (Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber) a serious CY Young threat (Jake Arrieta) and a potential NL MVP winner (Anthony Rizzo.)

It’s been fun.

Arrieta

Jake Arrieta, first to 15 Wins in the NL this year.

Bryant

Kris Bryant, a bigger success than the Cubs even hoped for.

With the Cubs’ young hitters raking, the starters dealing (mostly) and the bullpen steady-ish, the team feels like an honest challenger to the St. Louis Cardinals…aka: Satan’s Lackeys.

But I’m not gonna hold ’em to it.

Because, like I said, I know how this story ends.

Look. Let’s be honest. Football season is here. Yeah…ok…the Bears suck. And yeah…ok…I should still be riding high after the Chicago Blackhawks 3rd Stanley Cup win in the last decade. Plus I live in the south, where every bar streams football at every hour. So if I wanted to, I could close my eyes to the Cubs and direct my attention to thousands of other sports-related distractions. It’d be easy. I could just tell myself, ‘They’ve got no real shot,’ or ‘They’re gonna get stuck in a one-game Wild-Card playoff and lose 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.’

I could do those things. Nobody could blame me. The guys at ESPN will tally another season of broken dreams (never mind the other 28 teams that’ll fail this year.) Fans will get over it by muttering, ‘Next year they’ll be even better.’ Because that’s the mantra Cubs’ fans use. ‘Next year. Next year. Next year,’ even though no such thing is promised. I mean, just look at the Nationals. Everyone thought this would be the year. Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and crew were supposed to blow everyone away.  And let’s not even talk about the Dodgers, armed with $400-billion dollars and multiple superstars, still losing out to the humble SF Giants, who’ve won 3 of the last 5 World Series’, by the way.

But you know what? I’m not gonna bail. F it. I’m all in.

If the Cubs fall short this year, and they probably will, I’m not gonna worry about next year. I’m gonna trumpet how fun this year has been. I’m gonna fly a Cubs’ banner from my front porch through Thanksgiving. I’m gonna drink my Friday-night bourbon from a crystalline Cubs’ glass. Because let’s face it, every year in every sport, most fans die hard. And by die hard, I’m emphasizing the die. Only 1 of 30 baseball teams tastes glory. Only 1 of 32 in football. And let’s not even talk about basketball, whose champion is decided about 17 years after the playoffs begin, meaning if your team sucks, you get to watch everyone else play forever before the next season begins.

 It’s been a tough year to be a Cubs’ devotee. And for a change it’s not because of their record. No, the hard part is that I have no television on which to watch them. No cable, no satellite, no my-kid-accidentally-ordered-the-MLB-package-so-now-I’m-paying-$250-to-watch-every-fucking-game-on-my-iPad. Last year and every year before it, I consumed every game possible.  I used to race home to catch the 9th inning or stay in on weekends to watch my team lose (again.) But this year, with the Cubs smashing, I’ve watched maybe a dozen games. And naturally, the one game I saw live (Cubs at Braves) turned out to be the only game Chicago lost against Atlanta this year. (They went 6-1 vs the Braves in 2015.)

So it’s true. I haven’t even caught most of the season. Thank gawd for the internet.

So. Yeah. I know how this story ends. I’m sure of it. I’m 100% positive. There’s no doubt. This isn’t the year.

We’ll lose the one-game playoff against Pittsburg.

Or crash and burn against hated St. Louis.

Or find a way to F up against teams we already smashed this year (New York, San Francisco, L.A.)

But it’s ok. At least for this Cubs’ fan. At least for this year. Because knowing the math and the odds are against my team, I’m going to measure success in a new way: If my hometown heroes win more than they lose, I’m gonna pretend this year was a total success. Why not? I mean…seriously. And you’d better believe, after all the years we spent as the Atlanta Braves’ little bitch, I’m gonna soak up beating the crap out of them in 2015. Until April 1st next year, there will be shit-talking. And lots of it.

Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Cubs are gonna WIN today!

And as a side-note, I’m trying to get my kid into Little League this year. Apparently he wants to play for the Atlanta Batmen. Whatever. At least he’s got his daddy’s arm. And at least he finally declared, Daddy, the Cubs are the GOOD guys!

GVP

Sigh. If only he were a lefty.

Ok. I promise; no more sports articles this year.

Unless the Bears are good, which they won’t be.

See ya,

J Edward Neill

Coffee Table Philosopher

Free $@#%*! for your Kindle

From now through Saturday, August 29th, you can get 101 things for FREE.

By things I mean fun, party-ready, goes-perfect-with-wine philosophy.

And by FREE I mean $0.00000000000.

101 Questions for Humanity, the hit 1st entry in the Coffee Table Philosophy series:

101-Questions-for-Humanity-333x500

Click me. Touch me. Read me. After all, I’m FREE.

To get a feel for what you’ll find inside, go here.

But if you need paper between your fingers, the softcover edition is only $5.99.

101 Questions for Humanity is part of a popular series. There’s also 101 Questions for Men, Women, Midnight, and Sex.

101 Questions for Midnight  101 Questions for Men Cover 101 Questions for Women Cover 101 Sex Questions

So warm up your e-readers and pour some wine.

You’re in for a fun night…

J Edward Neill

50 Things You Should Probably Think About

50

I’m not sayin’.

I’m just sayin’.

* * *

50 Things You Should Probably Think About

If you’re not willing to do it today, you probably won’t do it tomorrow either.

 You’re probably not going to meet the love of your life on Tinder.

Everything is ok when consumed in moderation. Except Red Bull and Pabst Blue Ribbon. And Meth.

Anger solves nothing. Ever.

Disappointment is for children. Not adults. (Kinda like Trix cereal)

 If you can’t be happy while you’re alone, you can’t be happy.

At least once in a while, live like you’re in a Budweiser commercial. Be up for anything.

You’re not finished being a parent until you’re dead.

 If you really, really hate doing something, find something else.

Jealousy isn’t a good look. For anyone.

Being involved in politics takes more than ‘liking‘ something on Facebook.

You can decide whether or not to be offended.

If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you’re still voting for something evil.

Never vomit into a running fan. (Seriously, I saw what you did to my A/C unit)

Wisdom isn’t gained automatically with age.

A good mate should also be a good roommate.

Intelligence is rarely earned in classrooms.

The only one who cares about your complaints is you.

When interviewing a prospective employee, focus on their personality, not their resume.

It’s ok to do the opposite of what the internet says.

Teach your kids how to lose and they’ll figure out for themselves how to win.

Never argue with someone you don’t care about.

Don’t be the one who says, “I never saw that coming.”

It’s ok to be stupid sometimes. We’re all stupid now and then. But it’s never ok to be willfully ignorant.

If everything were fair, life would be boring.

If you see something beautiful on the internet, distrust it.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Boasting is for jackholes. But shit-talking is perfectly acceptable.

Teach your children how to think. Not what to think.

Cornhole shouldn’t be played on hills.

Being passionate isn’t the same as being a loud-mouthed douchebag.

Those who trumpet their sufferings are usually the most deserving.

Follow the Two-Text Rule: If you send two texts to last night’s date and they don’t answer, don’t send another until they reply. In other words, don’t be a stalker.

The cost of convenience: experience

Wedding rings will tarnish. Dresses will fade. Cars will break down. But fake boobs last forever.

Taking things personally gives other people power over you.

Pick just three things in your life to say never to. And never say never regarding anything else.

Nudity is natural. But graphic sensationalist violence is more fun.

When eating noodles, the point is to make as much noise as possible.

The sooner you apologize, the better.

In order to be granted city status, a township must have at least three Mexican restaurants.

No one deserves immediate respect. Everyone has to earn it.

The deepest evil one can do is to manipulate someone else to do evil things.

Try not to play Beer Pong with crappy beer. Use a good craft beer or cider. Or better yet, play Wine Pong.

It’s healthier not to have an opinion.

Three Cokes per day will kill you as surely as one pack of cigarettes per day.

If you’re not the first one to offer help to someone in need, you might as well be the last.

Never refuse an honest gift.

The correct spelling is f-o-o-t-b-a-l-l.

Sometimes the best answer you can give is, “I don’t know.”

* * *

If you’re pissed off now and want to start some arguments, read this.

If you’re into sharp, but friendlier philosophy, check this out.

Oh, and here are 50 MORE things you should probably think about. 🙂

J Edward Neill

Preview – A Door Never Dreamed Of

I’ve begun work on something new.

It’s called A Door Never Dreamed Of.

For the moment, I’ve expelled just about all the dark fiction I can handle.

This new project will be completely different than everything I’ve done before.

  • It’s not an epic novel. Or a short story. Or a philosophy book
  • It’s not part of a series. Just one novella. No spin-offs
  • It’s the book I’ve always wanted to write

Disclaimer: In a serious race against time, I’m trying to finish the first draft of A Door Never Dreamed Of before the NFL football season hits. Once touchdowns start happening and the Chicago Bears start sucking, I’ll be helpless. The local pub with the massive TV will replace my crusty old writing chair. I won’t be able to help myself.

But honestly, I’m cool with the deadline. Because I’m dying to get this story out.

And this is where we fall off the reservation.

If A Door Never Dreamed Of showed up in your local bookstore, you’d probably find it in the Science Fiction section. It’d sit next to books about spaceships, galactic wars, and aliens. You’d look at the awesome Amanda Makepeace cover art and think, ‘Ooooo…spiky space station. Fun!’

JupiterEventTeaser1

A small sliver of the cover art – ‘The Jupiter Event’ by Amanda Makepeace

But genres are limiting. Art is static. And first impressions are usually wrong.

And A Door Never Dreamed Of won’t have space battles, flying spaghetti monsters, or intergalactic alien sex.

So what’s it about?

Two boys who’ve never met

Each given the power to destroy one another

Facing off with all of humanity at stake

With only one little door between them

I truly believe once you read A Door Never Dreamed Of, you’ll come to see things my way. You’ll forget all about genres. You won’t care that it’s a denomination of book you usually wouldn’t read. And what I really hope is that maybe, just maybe, you’ll see a deeper theme at work. You’ll understand where all our modern technology is leading us. You’ll see the scary places we might go if we continue hurtling toward the apex of human advancement. And you’ll shudder for what the future generations of humanity might one day become.

And so…

 Coming in Autumn 2015

A Door Never Dreamed Of

A new novel by J Edward Neill

And seriously, check out Lady Makepeace’s awesome art site. Click around. Buy something.

And when you’re done, check out my terrifying short stories Let the Bodies and The Sleepers.

Mortal, I am

The following piece is from Tessera guest blogger, Troy Jackson. Troy’s novel, The Elementals, is available now on Amazon!

 

* * *

Mortal, I am

It’s a topic that few like to publically or privately discuss – our own mortality. However, it is used as a writing tool in many novels and comic books by both fledgling authors such as myself and well-known uber-popular authors like J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown. Imagine Harry Potter without facing Lord Voldemort and certain death. Or Robert Langdon not running for dear life in The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, or Inferno? They would be rather dull pieces without fear of death. Would you not agree?

The older I get the less I enjoy watching the news. All that seems to be shown are murders, child abductions, or apartment fires. And if the news stations have it their way, it’s any combination of the three! No news is bad news, right? I can’t say I blame these news stations, as bad news is what sells and they are in the business for ratings. It’s a rather sad truth about society today. But alas, I digress. This article isn’t about the news or how pathetic our lust for negativity is.

Ironically and possibly hypocritically, it is because of the negativity in society that I write. As much as I loathe the baleful effects of television and the internet, I use it as much as the next person. My tales always include a degree of mortality, as it is what ultimately interests many readers.

I will freely admit – I do not look forward to the day when I leave this world. My own mortality is something I’ve been keenly aware and frightened of since I was about eight years old when I wrote a poem entitled, “I am afraid of death.” Over the years, said poem disappeared into the annals of history, lost in some nauseating dumpster. But it is the first thing I can ever remember really writing for myself and not for school. I look to it as a catalyst, possibly the catalyst, in eventually becoming a novice writer. So in a weird sort of way, it is because of our mortality as a species that I push forward with writing, and writing whenever I can. I have many stories to tell and not enough time to tell them! So I leave you with this:

Time is immortal.

But mortal, I am.

Life is fleeting, so live it to its finest,

and then write about it.

* * *

About the author:

Troy Jackson (found at http://www.tempestworks.com) Born in 1974 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Troy Jackson moved to the great state of Georgia with his family at the age of three where he has lived ever since. Currently he resides outside the city of Atlanta with his lovely wife and daughter. His passion for history, fantasy, and science fiction began at an early age with a little nudge from his older brother. Attending Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Teaching. In his spare time he enjoys being with his family, watching and partaking in sports. Although new to the profession he intends on writing about subjects that have always fascinated him, including fantasy, adventure, science fiction, and history.

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Look for Troy to pop up in future Tessera Guild articles!

 

Poverty & Pestilence – Hollow Empire – Night of Knives

Hollow Empire Slice

Long ago, the empire of Vhur was the world’s most powerful.

But that was before the Lichy plague. Now, twenty years and millions of dead later, only a few cities remain. The survivors walk a fine line between staying alive and crumbling into the grave.

Come the Night of Knives, even these last few might perish…

Hollow Empire – Night of Knives

A six-part series now available for Kindles graveyard-wide. Episode 1 is FREE!

Hollow Empire Front Cover

The Kindle Version (Episode 1 is FREE!!!)

Also available as a beautiful softcover with artwork by Amanda Makepeace.

Hollow Empire Front Cover

The haunting softcover edition…

When everything else rots around you, you’ve only got one choice…

…survive.

* * *

Co-Authored by J Edward Neill and John McGuire

The War against Clickbait

MouseHelmet

 

“When you see what happens next, your jaw will drop!”

“You won’t believe what she’s wearing! Or what happens next!”

“Refi your mortgage and get a FREE Miley Cyrus blowup sex doll!”

You’ve seen these before. You know what I’m talking about. You’re surfing to Amazon to buy my latest book, but there are just too many distractions. Ten thousand mousetraps filled with Kim Kardashian-shaped cheese lie between you and your objective. Fall into any of these click-holes (Not Clickhole, the awesome parody site) and you’ve pretty much fucked over the internet for the day.

You just had to see Miley’s boobs, didn’t you?

You needed to find out how to lose thirty pounds in twelve seconds.

The list of top ten ways to kill your husband was irresistible.

Truth is; every time you follow one of these links, you give an asshole money. Spend 30 clicks in an ad-riddled article, and a dickwad spammer gets richer. Follow some stupid link on Upworthy you only sorta kinda cared about in the first place, and the douches win. And when you’re feeling particularly sadistic and you share clickbait on Facebook or Twitter…congratulations…you just spread feces all over your friends.

A few hints:

If you see a picture of someone famous with a quote attributed to them, that person probably didn’t say that thing. It’s made up, and the site the pic links to is usually bullshit. It’s clickbait.

When you see a link claiming your jaw will drop, your panties will fall off, or you won’t believe what happens next, it’s crap. Click the link, and the only thing that’ll drop will be your IQ. Clickbait.

See all those little links at the bottom of the boring article you just read on CNN? All of them, clickbait.

Buzzfeed…Upworthy…90% of all internet articles related to celebrity worship…you guessed it…clickbait.

Every time you share a meme about being a drunken housewife or take a quiz that tells the world how much you know about Star Wars, you’re being a clickbait slave. The assholes just got richer.

And if the grammar is shitty, it’s clickbait. The article was probably written in a spam-farm in Kazakhstan. (Though if it’s only slightly crappily-spelled, there’s also a chance you’re just on CNN, Fox, or Huffpost…) 

* * *

The thing is; the people who create this crap content are getting better at it. They’ve figured out what headers you’ll ignore. They’re stepping up their game. If you’re gonna avoid clickbait, you need to get better. And you need to do it quickly.

So let’s take a test. In the list below, three of the headers are from clickbait sites, and three are either legitimate articles or parodies. Answers are all the way at the bottom. If you get even one wrong, you’re obviously a terrible person and you probably flood your social media feeds with misspelled memes about being a likeable but mentally-deranged alcoholic. But seriously. Take the test.

Which three are clickbait? And which three are either legit or parodies?

1. Going The Extra Mile: This Heroic Ambulance Driver Drove For An Extra 2 Hours To Find A Hospital With 4.5 Stars On Yelp

2. When these Nigerians are asked what their country is like, their answers come easily.

3. Fifteen Little Things that are Oddly Addictive

4. Baby Sheep walks on the back of Adult

5.  This Teen Died After A 911 Dispatcher Hung Up On A Caller Who Swore At Him      

6. Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture 

* * *

– Scroll to the end to get the answers – 

Look, we all probably realize that by clicking and sharing a few bullshit articles with weak content, we’re not exactly committing mass murder. If a few shady people rack up a few pennies for our foolishness, it’s not the end of the world. But life is short, and if we’re gonna make genuine use of our leisure time, maybe we’d all get more out of it by avoiding the internet altogether not falling down the rabbit-holes the web has laid for us. Maybe we should visit sites populated with real content, shit that’ll make us laugh, or at least elicit something other than a profound roll of our eyes.

I mean, there’s tons of cool stuff out there. Like here and here. And if you love really dark stuff, here.

Fight the good fight. Don’t follow garbage. Stop trailing celebrities. Don’t click on lists unless they’re like this one:  FlamingF2 Join us in the war against clickbait.

* * *

Ok. Your test answers:

First off…I lied.

Only 2 of the 6 headers are non-clickbait. I checked out the other 4 and found them to have pathetic, meek, and/or bullshit content.

The other 2 are parodies.

None of the headers are for legitimate articles.

 If you figured out my trick and guessed the 4 clickbait articles, congrats; your training is complete.

But otherwise you’re fucked.

Headers 1 and 6 are parody articles. Both are pretty funny, and both are designed to mock clickbait content.

Headers 2, 3, 4, and 5 are complete clickbait. Complete with shallow content, specious factoids, and tons of links to more trash.

* * * 

Catch you later.

J Edward Neill

Author of tons of @#($%&

Twitter Tyrannosaurus – Creative Interview with Author JL Clayton!

Boom!

That’s the sound of Twitter detonating.

If it’s way loud, it’s because this week’s creative interview is with The Chosen Saga author, JL Clayton. She’s fun, she’s funny, and she’s all over the Twittersphere like white on rice.ChosenSaga

Let’s do this:

Hi JL! Welcome to Tessera’s latest creative interview. Start us off by telling us a bit about yourself:

Hello Tessera. A little about me: I consider myself to be a laid back, friendly person who has her shy moments. I’m silly most of the time and I love to see people smile, plus I’m a big hugger. Last year I had my first book signing at That Book Store. The same store that John Grisham had his first signing. That day everyone who got a book from me also received a hug. I’m sure some people thought I was crazy. I loved it. I also try and help everyone out if it’s within my ability. I’m a 33 year old author who loves her family, friends and life. I have been writing for almost two years. I feel it’s a big accomplishment to have published two books within a year and being a mother to such a smart beautiful girl like Shyla. That’s just the tip of the iceberg with me, but if I don’t stop now I’m sure I’ll be writing you my life story.

Let’s talk about the Chosen Saga. It’s all over Twitter and social media. Give us the goods on what it’s about and why you decided to write it:

The Chosen Saga is about a teenager named Charlize, aka Charlie.  She learns she isn’t quite human. She is spunky, sarcastic and she doesn’t take no for an answer. In the first book of The Chosen Saga; A Spark of Magic, you get the feel of what’s going on. Charlie moves from city to city, never understanding why her family has to move so much. Now she and her family it seems are settling down and she is thrilled about this prospect. Plus, the fact that she is turning sixteen, making friends and crushing on some seriously hot guys who seem to like her; doesn’t hurt either. Charlie learns a lot about herself and the truth of why she is always uprooted. She finds out who keeps invading her dreams and why she feels so drawn to him. There is a mixture of a normal life and a supernatural one. In book two, A Blaze of Magic, I pick up from the cliffhanger. You meet more characters like sexy Vampires, beautiful Dragon Shifters, and many other supernaturals including the wicked Crispin. Charlie is finally using her magic and becoming the person she was meant to be. Of course there is a cliffhanger in this book to set the tone for A Ghost of Magic – Book 3.

Why I decided to write the Chosen Saga: I watched the movie Twilight and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I was telling my friend that I wished I knew what was going to happen. She was like, “Jen, you do know the movie is based off a book, right?” I told her that I didn’t. She said I needed to give it a try. Well, because I had to know what happened next; I read the books. I became an instant book lover. I have to give my friend Nikki the credit for encouraging me to read it; if not for her I might never have thought about writing. So I just got off topic…sorry…back to what I was saying. After reading a lot of books, I had a dream about Charlie. And yes I know that is cliché… But it’s the truth.

Tell us about your creative process. Got a strict method? Or maybe you’re a freestyler?

I’m more of a freestyle writer, but sometimes I will crack my knuckles before I start. Or I will do something silly, like dance with my daughter. But I would say mostly freestyle.

What kind of stories inspire you?

I am not picky. I love all kinds of books and if the book is good, it can inspire me. Every time I read a book I love, I seem to be set on that author. As in I have to read all they have written. So at any given moment, I’m inspired by the author I’m currently reading.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer?

Dividing my time between work, my life and promoting. I’m not too good at the whole prioritizing thing.

Aside from Twitter, at which you’re legendary, how can people reach you?

Haha. Yeah, I don’t think I’m legendary, maybe by my emoticons.

Here’s where you can reach me.

Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Chosen Saga Website

Where can people get their grubs on the Chosen Saga?

The Chosen Saga is available in paperback and eBook format.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/series/B00XLX31J0?ref=series_aw_dp_link

Barnes & Noble: http://t.co/icRO7SlpH3

JLClayton
J.L. Clayton – Author and Twitter pro

 

 

You can also get my book from me; I send out signed copies. My books are available on Smashwords, iBooks, iTunes, and many more. Send me a email through my website, and I’ll get it to you!

*

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That’s it for this week’s interview. Check out JL’s books and link up with her at Twitter.

And stay frosty. Next Monday we’re gettin’ deeeeeeeeeeeeep.

J Edward Neill

The Dead of Summer Book Sale

It’s hot outside.

Really. F’ing. Hot.

It’s so hot, I’m putting Dirty Black Summer on permanent repeat.

It’s so stifling, spiders are invading my house to escape the beating sun.  Big spiders. Poisonous spiders.

It’s so murderously muggy, birds are falling to their deaths in my yard.

And I’m deadly serious about those last two.

In this summer of dying animals, roasting insects, and melted Kindles, you’ve got two choices for how to spend your leisure time:

1. Head outside and bake with everyone else

2. Grab an e-book and put your heart on ice

I’m here for you.

Introducing the Down the Dark Path Kindle series. Four e-books. The first in the series is $0.99. The other three are only $1.99 each.

DDP mini 1

Book I. Introduction to the darkest fiction epic you’ll ever read. Your price: $0.99.

 DDP mini 2 DDP mini 3 DDP Mini 4

What’s it all about?

In Malog, the sun never shines and the rain never ceases.

Sorcerers from the ancient world gather to plot the end of all things. A civilization better left in its grave crawls to the edge of resurrection. As Andelusia, the beautiful but unwilling sorceress, turns against herself, Graehelm’s last warriors stand on fields of bones to face the Furyon hordes.

If the Grae fail, annihilation awaits.

If Andelusia sips once more from the darkness, she will reign as queen to watch the world die.

Each book is also available as a sexy black softcover.

It’s never been easier to start your journey Down the Dark Path.

J Edward Neill

(Art by Amanda Makepeace and Eileen Herron)

20 Crazy Things my 4-Year Old Said

For the last year, I’ve kept an impromptu record of all the nutty stuff my kid, the G Man, has dropped on me. Whenever he asks a deep question, makes an innocent faux pas, accidentally crushes someone’s ego, or just plain blurts out something hilarious, I take a mental snapshot and write it down.

These are the funniest of his quotes. They’re verbatim.

Enjoy.

* * *

Dad, when I turn your age, I want to be fat. Like you.”

If that kid on the slide slaps me again, I’m going to punch him in the nose. But if the big kid…see him, Daddy?…if he slaps me, you have to fight him.”

Can we play Legos? I want us to build a huuuuuge tower together. And a dragon. And a green Creeper from Minecraft. I’ll build it all. You have to sit still and watch me.” – Oooo boy. Can’t wait!

For $106 dollars, you’re allowed to have another beer.” – He held out his hand, expecting immediate cash.

Cutler 1

Hi. I’m ‘G’ Cutler, QB for the Bears. I’ve cornered the market on disdain. And I didn’t even have to throw 25 interceptions.

Can we look down into the sewers, Daddy? That’s where the monsters pee!”

Can you make the pancake look like a Metroid? No, Daddy. They have three teeth. Like this!” – Rips his pancake to tatters.

No, Daddy. I’m not Superman. I’m not a good guy. I’m Zod. I just blasted you with my laser eyes. And now you’re cooked.”

See that little girl across the street? Yes, her. That’s my girlfriend. I’m going swimming with her.”

If you die, everything melts except your skeleton. Your skeleton lasts forever. And if you’re a magic skeleton, you can still move around.”

I had a dream, Daddy. The moon was right there. (points out the window to the front yard) It had a lot of gravity. And then it went Boom!”

I can’t eat this chicken. It has spikes in it. Only dogs can eat spikes.”

Cutler 2

I told you, Dad. I’m the King. My shirt even says it.

 “The frogs make all that noise at night because they’re having a birthday party. When they ribbit, they’re singing Happy Birthday to the baby frogs.”

I wish Mellow Mushroom brought pizza to our house just like Papa Johns.” – We all wish that, G Man. Every last one of us.

Our spider friend is gone, dad. I think a bird ate him. Actually, no. He just moved to a new apartment.”

Sticky (the cat) went blind because you yelled at her. And then she ran into the wall. Now she can only see shadows.” – Apparently he’s into dark fiction…just like me.

Lobster 1

Yeah, the lobster suit is funny. But the truth here lies in what the shirt says…

 “Daddy, I’m trying to tell you something. Look at me when I’m talking to you.” – Wait…I thought it worked the other way around.

Remember that one time when I barfed on your face? That was funny.”

Ugh. I’m tired, Daddy. I’m out of gas. Can I have some ice cream? Ice cream will fill up my tank.” – Not sure that’s how it works, but ok.

I’ll hit more home runs if I tell my feet to keep quiet.” – In response to me correcting his baseball footwork.

Daddy, put your shirt back on please. No one wants to see that.”

Lobster 2

Ok. Close it down. We’re done.

* * *

Four years old…the best age ever.

Like epic, not-at-all-for-kids stories? Click here.

Want something to make your coffee table look awesome? Go here.

J Edward Neill

The Lord of Infinity – A Creative Interview with Dylan Kinnett

This week’s interview is with Dylan Kinnett. He’s a Baltimore denizen and creative writer extraordinaire, and his visit is special for the Tessera Guild. The reason: Dylan is the taller, younger, and better looking brother to J Edward Neill (yep, that’s me.) I was first introduced to Dylan’s fascinating style of writing in his original release of Infinity’s Kitchen. And now that he’s gone global, he’s up next in our ongoing Creative Interview series.

So let’s get started!

* * *

Hey there, latest Tessera victim. Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and what you love:

Hi, my name is Dylan Kinnett. I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. I’m not originally from Baltimore, but I wonder: after spending 10 years in a place, do you become “from” that place? What does it really mean to be “from” a place, anyway? Does it just mean that you live there, that you’re proud to live there? In any case, the place where you live is part of who you are. Despite whatever repetitive loop you may have seen on cable TV lately, Baltimore is a charming place to be, and I love it here.

In layman’s terms, describe your unique style of writing:

That’s a difficult question because the layman’s terms aren’t particularly accurate for what I’ve been writing lately. If you ask a layman what “poetry” means, they’ll probably describe rhyme, meter, rhythm, and they may go on to say that it’s supposed to be about romantic themes and imagery. I’m trying to avoid all that, and to write something else, something new. I’ve discovered that the laymen are actually quite open to these new things, so long as I don’t use too many confusing old words for those things. Is it poetry? Sure, but I don’t go out of my way to call it that. In general, I’m just trying to do new things. I also like to write short plays, stories, and I dabble in performance art.

Please describe for us your fascinating new release, Litanies and Reiterations:

Litanies and Reiterations is a chapbook, which is a small book of writings. The works within the chapbook got their start as a collection of commonplace phrases. I’d find the phrases in everyday conversation, in song lyrics, blog comments, and catalogs: all over the place, really. Then, I worked the phrases into some writings that are repetitive, reiterative, or chant-like, and that’s what the title is about. One of the pieces, for example, is about how often politicians talk about the world and their work in four-year increments, and about how arbitrary and absurd it is to think about the world that way. Another one makes fun of how many love songs are on the air. It’s a playfully sarcastic little book.

Talk about Infinity’s Kitchen and the interesting things readers might find therein:

Infinity’s Kitchen is a literary journal that I started a few years ago that has grown into a quarterly reading series as well. As the editor, I’m looking to feature works that are somehow the product of an interesting new recipe. In order to contribute to the publication, its website or reading series, authors and artists are asked to answer a question: what is experimental about your creative work or process? The word “experimental” is a difficult one; some examples might help. Some of the interesting things we’ve published include a film and pirate radio project, poems made with Jello letters, and a reading from gigantic broadsheet printings revived from the 18th century.

th

Do you have an ultimate artistic goal you’re pursuing?

Yes, but I don’t know what it is yet. I’ll create something, it doesn’t reach the goal, so I keep creating.

Creatively speaking, what’s next for you?

I’m on vacation this week, but I do hope to finish writing a ten-minute play that I’m working on. The play is a follow-up to a morbid parody about astronauts that was performed a few years ago, but I’m finding that to be a tough act to follow.

* * *

It’s a real treat to have a talent like Dylan stop by, and it’s especially neat to encounter his awesome style of artistic expression. Here’s a few more Dylan-related tidbits and links for you to devour:

Artistic statement: http://seks-ua.blogspot.com/2013/08/dylan-kinnett-artist-statement.html

His latest release, Litanies and Reiterationsavailable in paperback and in e-book formats from Apple and Amazon.

Infinity’s Kitchen

* * *

Thanks again to Dylan for stopping by!

Everyone stay tuned for the next Creative Interview!

J Edward Neill

Author of the brain-tingling Coffee Table Philosophy series.

Painting with Darkness, Part IV

A few weeks ago, I received an encouraging reception for my latest painting, ‘The Emperor’s Vision.

Which made me want to share how this dark canvas came to life.

When I started working on this one at summer’s beginning, I knew I wanted to paint another companion piece to my fantasy series, Down the Dark Path. I wanted something stark, something to fit my mood. And with it being summer, I felt I wanted to paint something anti-seasonal…meaning a canvas I’d usually wait til winter to finish because of its cold, almost bitter tone.

Moreover, this canvas was the last of a big pile given to me by my patron, whose name I dare not utter here. So I figured I’d do something special…something they’d appreciate.

Thus I began:

Darkness 0

In the beginning, indecisiveness claimed me. The 20″ x 30″ canvas sat for three weeks looking like this. See that pale line left of center, it’s from an accidental varnish spill. No big deal, I figured.

Darkness 1

Finally, I started adding shapes. At this stage, I wasn’t sure whether or not to go completely abstract. These weird little darknesses gave me all sorts of ideas. Never mind the sepia tone. That’s just from my shitty camera.

Darkness 2

About one week from finish, I decided to go mega-gloomy. No color. No signs of life. Just a pale river leading to the sea and an ocean of daggerlike towers. Readers of my fantasy series might recognize this place as Morellellus, gathering place for the Emperor’s grand army.

The Emperors Vision

The finished product. My camera is crap, but the colors here are sorta kinda close to the real thing. The pale lights are windows. The shadows are long and lean. It’s no place I’d want to live…what about you?

 I hope you enjoy ‘The Emperor’s Vision.’ For more of my canvas work, nose around over here.

To get into something even darker, check this out:

J Edward Neill

There’s no such thing as ‘indie’

The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton
Be like this guy…and afterward stand up and take the damn sword.
 The Accolade –
Neo-Gothic – Edmund Blair Leighton

 

Disclaimer: This article was written with artists, authors, and musicians in mind, but I think it applies to everyone

….

Humility – A modest or low view of one’s importance; diffidence

Confidence – The feeling or belief that one can rely on something; especially one’s self

….

There’s a famous saying. It goes something like: “Confidence without humility is better known as arrogance. Yet humility without confidence will ever be viewed as cowardice.”

Ok. That’s not a real famous saying. I just made it up.

But it feels true.

Anymore, seems there are two sorts of people trolling the earth. On one hand you’ve got your Narcissists. Yeah. You know ’em. I’m convinced these folks don’t even know about their self-centeredness. Maybe when they were three years old, mommy and daddy didn’t teach them how to think; they taught the poor kid what to think. And now they’ve got it all figured out. They talk in absolutes, oblivious to the idea that their point-of-view is but one of billions. Narcissists are everywhere. We’ve seen them, heard them, bumped into them, and probably at one point or several during our lives, we’ve been them. It’s ok. No big deal. Kinda the world we live in now.

On the other hand, you’ve got your Humblists (Yeah, made that up, too.) This is the group we should care about. These are well-meaning people. They don’t assume they know everything. In fact, they’re fine with not knowing everything. Odds are, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably a Humblist. You think stuff. You know stuff. You do stuff. And yet somehow you’re pretty positive the world doesn’t revolve around you.

But perhaps, Lord and Lady Humblist, it should.

…once in a while.

And so…

I give you:

The Little List of Artists’ ‘Humble‘ Habits I Want to Stop Seeing Forever:

All uses of the word aspiring. If you’ve written something, you’re not an aspiring writer; you’re a writer. If you’ve painted something, you’re not an aspiring artist; you’re an artist. To call yourself aspiring implies that even though you’ve started to do something, you’re somehow unworthy. That’s nonsense.

Procrastination due to self-doubt. If you’re going to not do something, find a better reason than self-doubt. It’s miniature suicide. Every time you convince yourself you can’t do something, you kill 367 of your own brain cells…and 30 of everyone else’s, too.

Tweeting or Facebooking motivational memes (aka: cat posters.) Let’s face it; no one who’s really gonna create kickass art, write novels, or make beautiful music needs that kind of motivation. Words compel nothing. Passionate, self-lit fires in people’s souls compel everything.

Undervaluing your artistic work. First, I understand if artists want to pitch a one-time sale or freebie offer. That’s part of the bizniz. And I also understand artists who want to do it all for the love and never make a dime. That’s cool, too. But I’m talking about you, starving artist. Yeah…you. If you’re going to sell your stuff, sell it. Charge more than $0.99 for your f’ing awesome fantasy novel. Earn more than $50 on that amazing painting that took you three weeks to finish. If you’re in it to win it, tell discounting to suck your ____.  Charge what it’s worth, and not a penny less.

Posting crap tons of other authors’ quotes. Make up your own quotes. They’ll mean more to you…I promise.

The phrase self-published. Lose it. If you’re published in any form, you’re legit. Whether you blurted out a tiny lil’ book of poems via Amazon or you’re J.K. Rowling blasting our faces with more Harry Potter-ness, you’re the real deal. The words self-published sag beneath the suggestion that if you did it yourself, you’re somehow not legitimate. BS.

And finally…any reference to the word indie. Indie authors, musicians, painters, f’ing flag-football players. You’re not indie. You’re the real deal. If you’ve done anything in life, anything at all, you didn’t do it indie. You didn’t indie mow your lawn, did you? You didn’t indie cook dinner. Your work is just as valid as those getting paid to do it professionally. It might lack the polish or talent of well-marketed artists, but then again, it might be way fucking better.

I don’t know what else to say. I guess I’m done.

* * *

Like treacherous, not-at-all-for-kids fantasy? Check this.

Like fun, quizzy, party books you can leave on your coffee table forever? Check this.

Love,

J Edward Neill

Now available – 101 Sex Questions!

101 Sex Questions

A sexy departure from the Coffee Table Philosophy series

It’s quick. It’s dirty. It’s fun. It’s a deeper, sweatier take on philosophy. Meant for hot nights alone with your partner, candid conversations between lovers, and parties during which (almost) everything goes.

Includes quizzes about sex, games, and sexy distractions to keep you occupied for hours. Read just one Question…and you’ll want to drown in them all.

101 xxxy Questions Front Cover

For a sample of what you’re in for, check here.

And if you like your philosophy cleaner (and darker) check these out:

101 Questions for Midnight 101-Questions-for-Humanity-333x500 101 Questions for Men Cover 101 Questions for Women Cover untitled-200x300

J Edward Neill