I Wrote A Novel In 45 Days


I’ve always had reservations about NaNoWriMo.

There’s nothing wrong with it and I like the concept of getting your work down so you can fix it, but it was just never for me. Slow and steady, that’s how I would write. Until I didn’t.

I’ve written a few times about writer’s block, which is not exactly what happened to me. In my case, it wasn’t that I didn’t have ideas or that when I sat down to write those ideas wouldn’t come. It was that I got to a point where everything seemed more important and when I did write it was hard to grab a flow that carried me to the next day. As a result, I didn’t write a book last year, the first time in three years that didn’t happen.

Getting back into it was starting to bear fruit and I was plugging away at a sequel to one of my earlier books when I got an idea for another project. It wasn’t my strongest idea or my best idea ever but it seemed like something that could definitely play into my strengths as a writer, as it were. I also came up with a nice hook that got my brain really working.

I’m not sure when I decided to really tear into it, but I started a 1,500 word a day diet. Every day, no matter what else was going on, I was going to knock out 1,500 words a day on this thing. And I did it. On Thursday I finished the first draft of a new novel. I don’t want to go into what it is quite yet other than the elevator pitch, which is “The Shining in a Comedy Club,” but I do want to share some random thoughts I had while I wrote this book.

-My joke is I wanted to “finish the book before I convinced myself it was a bad idea” but I think there’s something to that. Giving the book a read now that I’m done I saw a few places where I could have gotten hung up for weeks had I not just plowed through and moved on.

-Parts of the book aren’t anywhere near as good as they need to be, but there’s excitement in going back and trying to fix them. Tearing through the book like I did I am still fresh on where those are what what I need to fix.

-As always, the wonderful Steph Romanski helped guide the story as it went. I know this doesn’t work for everyone but having a friend read the book as it’s being written is invaluable to my process and also keeps me going. To be clear, this isn’t an “edit” but rather a “the story is compelling, keep going” sort of thing and without it I wouldn’t have a book on my computer waiting to be edited.

-Finding time for 1,500 words is a bit of a challenge but I only fell behind twice – once because of circumstances and another time at the end where I ran out of gas a bit. When you have a goal in mind and you know how long it takes every day to get to that goal, that helps a little bit.

-Being a discovery writer REALLY helped because I wanted to know where the story would end up. Not knowing the end kept me interested.

-Some days suck, but not as many as I thought. In those rare days when the days really sucked I dove into other sections of the book that I knew were coming in order to meet the word count for the day and stitched them into the narrative later.

-Trying to plow through a book quickly left little time for research but I was able to do enough to where substantial changes weren’t going to have to happen. I think. I hope. I’m pretty sure.

-I can’t wait to get it edited and submitted but that wasn’t what gave me a kick in the ass to get the book done. At the end of the day, I think it was the story.

I let you know how it’s going and, worst case scenario, it might end up on this site at some point. Or in bookstores. Hard to tell, but the first draft is done and that’s worth a small celebration.



Pack Available for Pre-Order


I’ve been editing all week so my brain is so much mush right now but I wanted to stop for a second and talk a bit about my second book.

First off, the release date is now set for my second novel. On July 3, “Pack” will be released as a trade paperback and I couldn’t be more excited for it.

Click here to pre-order. 

My elevator pitch for the book isn’t terribly strong (it’s about a family that’s falling apart. And they happen to be from a long line of werewolves), so if you’re on the fence, here’s what was in my head while I was writing it. I wanted to write something with a lot of colorful characters. I wanted to write something that spoke to family and how hard it can be. I wanted to write something where werewolves ripped bad guys apart. I wanted write something fantastical grounded in my home state.

I think I got there. Like a lot of projects, when I was done with it I felt kind of blah about it but the more I go back and make changes (shoutout to my editor Alexandra Hess) the more I’m not just proud of it, I really like it. I think it’s a solid story that sneaks up on you and if you relate to the characters at all, this book is going to get you.

Of course I don’t want to write anything straight forward so I also peppered the book with a history of the fictional Nebraska town where the story is set. I’m told that’s kind of a neat. I hope so.

Last thing – pre-orders are weighted heavily when it comes to publishing, so if you are interested in this book, pre-ordering it is a big help. I appreciate each and every person who reads my work and thank you for the support. If you read it and like it (or don’t), let me know. I love talking about it.




The Atomic Weight of Cheese


Find The Atomic Weight of Cheese Here

“My friends and I started a podcast” might be the “Come listen to my band” of the mid 2010s because it’s a way to hang out with friends and produce something creative (that you then beg your friends and family to listen to). That being said, my friends and I started a podcast and I want to give you a quick pitch why you should listen.

“The Atomic Weight of Cheese,” features myself, Chad Plambeck and Steph Romanski talking about “cult cinema,” a catch-all term that covers B movies, genre flicks and the like. Every other week we pick a topic, usually thrown at us by real life, and tie it back into cult cinema because, as I say every time we record, “cult cinema is real life and real life is, frequently, cult cinema.

A quick word on my cohosts. Chad Plambeck, proprietor of microbrewedreveiws.com, has introduced me to a wide width and breath of cult cinema in our 15 or so years of friendship. He’s a great writer, a voracious film fan, a gifted storyteller and one of the nicest men on the planet. He’s the guy who’s got the knowledge and knows how to swing it. Steph Romanski, one of my favorite people, runs in slightly different cultural circles and brings to the conversation a ton of perspective on video games, fan culture, 80s culture and some of the weirder corners of the Internet. She’s also a tech person extraordinaire and is the only reason the show is working at all. You can find her at stephromanski.com. Then there’s me.

So far we’ve covered dental trauma, Star Wars (you know, the most popular thing on the planet), the death of the video store and we have big plans coming down the pipe. This week’s show is about B-Fest (pictured above), a 24-hour B-movie festival in Illinois that I’ve been going to for over a decade. It’s cult cinema expertise wrapped in best friend booberry, a bit of perspective with a whole lotta fart jokes and the breeziest, easiest 45 minutes to an hour in your podcast feed. I love doing the show and hope you enjoy it too.

You can follow The Atomic Weight of Cheese on iTunes and other podcatchers, on Twitter @awocpodcast, on Facebook at The Atomic Weight of Cheese, on Tumblr and a few other joints. We’d love reviews and all that but, in all honesty, we love doing the show and love sharing it. If you’re a podcast person, please let us know what you think.