About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Publication of "The Escape"

I just got word last night that my short story "The Escape" is going to be published in the winter 2014 issue of Lost Coast Review. I'm excited! This is a story I really like. It's the one with the Brazilian magician named Raul in it. And at the end, it features a chair, but in what capacity? You'll have to read the story to find out.

The journal will be available in mid-January online and on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Horror, the Horror...

I want to write a post in appreciation of horror. I love horror. I have ever since I was a little kid. Of course, as a kid, I didn't watch horror movies, but I read kids' books dealing with all things supernatural. And now, as an adult, I read a lot of horror and watch all sorts of horror movies.

My favorite horror novels are Stephen King's The Stand, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I love reading short horror stories as well. I love Richard Matheson, and I just started reading Ramsey Campbell, whom I'm really enjoying. And of course I adore Edgar Allan Poe. I also enjoy reading nonfiction about the supernatural.

As far as movies go, it's hard to pick favorites because I'll watch just about anything horror, and even if a movie is bad, I'll often still like it. But among my favorites are the following (in alphabetical order): 

An American Werewolf in London (the ultimate in horror comedy)
The Bad Seed
Burnt Offerings (a made-for-TV movie that's excellent)
Carnival of Souls (a wonderful 1960s cult classic, surreal and very spooky)
Dawn of the Dead (2004 remake)
The Day After (not technically horror, but on my list because it scares the shit out of me so much that it hurts to watch it)
The Descent (the spelunking scenes alone would be terrifying enough, but then there are the horrifying mutant humans)
The Evil Dead  
The Exorcist
Halloween  
I Am Legend (most scary: not what you see, but what you hear at nightfall, and the idea of having to hide in silence so that they won't find you)
Insidious
Night of the Living Dead  
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Omen
The Others (not only very scary, but a gorgeous movie)
Poltergeist (still scares me every time, and I can practically recite it)
Psycho
The Ring (the best of the Japanese horror remakes in my opinion)
Rosemary's Baby
Shaun of the Dead (more comedy than horror, but still on my list)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick's version, another scary but also gorgeous movie)
The Silence of the Lambs
The Sixth Sense
The Stand (actually a made-for-TV miniseries that's excellent)

I'm sure I've probably forgotten some, but this is a pretty good list, I think. 

In addition to reading and watching horror, I also decorate with horror. There's a picture here of my horror shelf and a picture above of a plaque that I recently got. These are not Halloween decorations but things I keep around all year.

Do I write horror? Not in particular. I write some creepy stories, but they aren't exactly horror. Could I write horror? I think so. Perhaps I'll give it a go with one of my next stories. And if I do, I'll be sure to post in this blog about how it's going.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Five Men Named David?

I'm thinking that the story I just started that takes place in the 1980s should be called "Five Men Named David" and be about, you got it, five men named David. It might be flash fiction--I'm not sure yet. It's very short right now because I just started it, but so far I've only introduced two of the Davids, so it could get longer. It'll be an odd one, but that should be no surprise to anyone who's read my writing (the stranger stuff, that is).

I'm still working on "The Affair". I've already let it sit and stew once, and now that I've made changes, I'm not sure if I should let it sit and stew again, or submit it to my writers group for critique. I'm leaning towards getting it critiqued and getting some feedback. I highly recommend letting a work sit and stew for at least a couple of days, but it gets to the point at which you want others to see it so you can get a feel for how it's going.

I have submitted for critique to my writers group a memoir piece called "Manic Summer". As with all my memoir pieces, this one was difficult to write and I'm eager to know what my writers group thinks of it. The problem for me with writing about my bipolar disorder is that I want to convey things clearly that weren't very clear at the time. It's hard to do. It's also difficult to revisit certain periods in my life, but I do find it therapeutic and cathartic, and if this memoir goes somewhere someday, I will be happy if it helps even one person with a mental illness feel better about what he or she is going through.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Stories in the Works

I've been reworking a story I wrote a few months ago called "The Affair". It's kind of a dysfunctional suburbia sort of tale. I've changed it quite a bit from its original version, which I found to be a bit implausible. My main character needed stronger motivation for why he does what he does.

I've also started a new story that I think may be flash fiction (though maybe not) that doesn't have a title yet. It features a character named John-From-Staten-Island and takes place in the 1980s. I mention John-From-Staten-Island because he's the first character I've created in the story, and the story starts with him playing "White Lines" by Grand Master Flash. I think this one is going to be fun to write!

Emil Eckhardt and the Top of the Flagpole

I posted a little while back about my Great-Great-Uncle Emil. Now I have an Uncle Emil story to tell.

Uncle Emil was an atheist. On his property, he had a flagpole that flew the American flag. There was a ball at the top of the flagpole that was silver. He told my mother, who was a child at the time, and the rest of the family that when he died, if there turned out to be a God, he would come back and paint the ball at the top of the flagpole gold.

Uncle Emil died in 1957. His cottage on Honeoye Lake was sold. One day, my mother and her family got a notion to drive by and look at the cottage... and the top of the flagpole. Instead of the silver it used to be, the ball on the top was gold.

To this day, there is no explanation for this. Did Uncle Emil indeed come back to convey the existence of God? I don't know, but it certainly makes for a good story. It's become part of my family's lore.

And now the old flagpole and the ball on top of it has become part of my family. My Uncle Bob, who has a cottage on Honeoye Lake, recently went over to Uncle Emil's cottage. It looks very different today; obviously the owners over the years since 1957 have changed it, updated it, reconstructed it. But sure enough, the flagpole with the gold ball on top was still on the property. My uncle told the current owner the story about Uncle Emil. Upon hearing it, the man told my uncle that he could have the flagpole.

The flagpole is rusty and the gold ball is chipped, but the flagpole and that gold ball are back in my family. I saw the gold ball not too long ago and thought about Uncle Emil and his promise to come back if there was a God. Do I believe it? I don't know, but it gives me pause.

What I'm Currently Reading...

A few months have passed since I posted about my current reading material so I thought I'd share. I'm reading Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel, Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and Stephen King's On Writing. All are very good. I don't usually read two novels at a time, but I've made an exception for now. I'll read several nonfiction books at a time, however.

I just finished Michio Kaku's Physics of the Future and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's an excellent book by an excellent writer. I highly recommend it to anyone. It isn't really all about physics. It touches on all science. Kaku theorizes about the changes that will take place between now and the year 2100. It's all based on the direction science is going presently, so Kaku's ideas seem quite plausible. He ends with a chapter about a day in the life of 2100, which is fascinating as well as a lot of fun. It's January 1, 2100, and he goes through the day of a typical man. I very much enjoyed this chapter. I loved the entire book, and I believe any reader, and especially any lover of science, would, too.