collectiveinkwell.com http://collectiveinkwell.com The home of dark fiction writers Sean Platt and David Wright Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:32:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Crash Is Here! http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/06/30/crash-is-here/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/06/30/crash-is-here/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:52:58 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3695 crash-cover-new-2Crash is out on Amazon today!

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LBNI0B6

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LBNI0B6

And as a special thank you for your patience in waiting for Sean and I to finish this book (and for helping us pick the cover design), we’re releasing Crash at a special introductory price of only .99!

That’s this week only, though. After this week, it will go back to its full price of $3.99. (Priced lower than our usual stories as it’s not as long as a typical season.)

If you’ve been reading these emails or following the blog for any amount of time, you know this is a story I’ve been working on for a long time — since the late 80s!

Crash is a story very close to my heart. I talk a bit about its origins in the Author’s Note at the end of the book, though you should read the story first as the note spoils some things that happen!

Here’s the back-of-the-book teaser:

CRASH

Sometimes the ghosts that haunt us most aren’t the dead.

It has been nearly a year since writer Thomas Witt lost his daughter in a horrible car accident which nearly killed him. He and his wife are attempting to have another child and put their lives back together.

However, he can’t move on.

In addition to his daughter, there’s something else missing — specifically his memories for six months prior to the accident.

He finds himself obsessively drawn to accident scenes where he photographs the carnage in attempts to reclaim his memories.

But what he finds in the photographs may just destroy him.

Crash is the first non-series book from The Kings of the Serial and bestselling authors, Sean Platt and David Wright.

Crash is approximately 41,000 words and contains a sneak peek at the opening chapters of Threshold, coming Sept. 2, for a total of more than 48,000 words.

EARLY WORD ON CRASH

Here’s some early reviews:

“Absolutely. Brilliant.”

“a gutting, wrenching and disturbing tale”

“Profoundly captivating!”

“When you reach the conclusion of this story, you cannot help but to feel that the time you have invested in reading this was well spent. Gut wrenching.”

“Deeply Depressing”

If that sounds like your kind of book, head on over to Amazon today and pick it up while it’s just .99!

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LBNI0B6

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LBNI0B6

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Crash Covers and Date http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/06/13/crash-covers-and-date/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/06/13/crash-covers-and-date/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:29:25 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3687 Thanks to everybody who weighed in on the Crash covers in our last post.

I’ve come back with variations of the white cover, including a few with darker textures.

Also, we’ve got a launch date for Crash.

Look for it on June 30!

Here’s the synopsis again:

CRASH

It has been nearly a year since writer Thomas Witt lost his daughter in a horrible car accident which nearly killed him. He and his wife are attempting to have another child and put their lives back together.

However, he can’t move on.

In addition to his daughter, there’s something missing — specifically his memories for 6 months prior to the accident.

He finds himself obsessively drawn to accident scenes where he photographs the carnage in attempts to reclaim his memories.

But what he finds in the photographs may just destroy him.

COVER 1 WHITE

crash-cover-new-4

COVER 2 WHITE WITH RED

crash-cover-new-5

COVER 3 MEDIUM

crash-cover-new-3

COVER 4 DARK

crash-cover-new-2

Which one do you like most?

Weigh in below!

Thank you for reading,

Dave & Sean

 

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Crash Covers: Which One Do You Like? http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/05/16/crash-covers-which-one-do-you-like/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/05/16/crash-covers-which-one-do-you-like/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 09:35:52 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3673 Hey there, Goners. Crash is coming out soon and I’m working on a few different cover ideas. I’d love to know which one(s) you like best.

Here’s the synopsis for the story:

CRASH

It has been nearly a year since writer Thomas Witt lost his daughter in a horrible car accident which nearly killed him. He and his wife are attempting to have another child and put their lives back together.

However, he can’t move on.

In addition to his daughter, there’s something missing — specifically his memories for 6 months prior to the accident.

He finds himself obsessively drawn to accident scenes where he photographs the carnage in attempts to reclaim his memories.

But what he finds in the photographs may just destroy him.

Here’s the cover choices so far. Please leave a comment below.

A – GIRL ON WHITE – BLACK TITLE

crash-cover-snow-girl-3

B – GIRL ON WHITE – FIRE TITLE

crash-cover-5

 

C – ROAD WITH DOLL

crash-cover-6

D – ROAD WITH CRACKED GLASS BLUE

crash-cover-7

E – CRACKED GLASS TITLE

crash-cover-8

Leave your choice below, or email me and let me know what you think. Alternatively, if none of them do anything for you, let me know that, too.

As always, thank you for reading,

dave

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Z 2136 is Here! http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/04/15/z-2136-is-here/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/04/15/z-2136-is-here/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:27:24 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3668 Z 2136 is hereDo you know the one thing we’ve never done at Collective Inkwell?

Through nearly three years, six series, 13 seasons, and 78 episodes, we’ve yet to end a story — until now.

Well, that’s not completely true. We did write 19 short Dark Crossings stories, all which had proper endings, but among our full-length works, we’ve yet to end something, until now.

That ending starts this week with the release of the first episode (of six) of Z 2136 on Kindle Serials.

Z 2136 is the end of the Z trilogy which began with Z 2134.

Writing serials with cliffhanger endings has meant that we’ve never had to give a proper ending to a book.

I love mystery. I love that wondering of what’s next? But when a series ends you have to give resolution and find the right balance of being true to both the story and the characters, and giving readers what they want. All while still keeping the mystery alive until the end.

A tricky thing to pull off well, but I think Sean and I did it.

Judging from email, though, readers don’t seem as concerned whether we’ll pull off the ending as they are with who will live and who will die.

Given our penchant for sometimes killing main characters, one of the questions we’re getting a lot is:

“Who will die in Z 2136? You better not kill (insert name here.)” 

I won’t say.

The other question we’re getting is:

“Will there be a happy ending?”

Again, I won’t say.

I’ll simply say that this is the ending that the series deserves, and Sean and I spent a lot of time crafting this roller coaster of a season to build to a memorable ending that you’ll enjoy.

But before the end, we’ve got five thrilling episodes, with awesome cliffhangers, horrifying revelations, plot twists galore, and the roller coaster starts right now.

And just to keep things interesting, there’s a new twist to The Darwin Games this time around, just in time for Adam’s arrival. I won’t say what it is, other than it involves a bracelet.

(Insert evil laugh here)

Strap in and get ready, because this is one helluva ride!

Get Z 2136 at Amazon US (on sale for just $1.99! :

Cover of Z 2136Several months after the events of Z 2135, Adam Lovecraft is once again following in his father’s footsteps, this time as a contestant in the infamous Darwin Games. In The State’s latest iteration of The Games, the odds of survival are slimmer than ever before, and Adam soon finds himself pairing up with an old friend of Jonah’s.

Meanwhile Ana, Liam, and Katrina’s escape from Hydrangea has not gone unnoticed, adding to their struggles to not only survive, but find Adam before it’s too late. But when they pick up some unexpected new allies during a thwarted rescue attempt, they get more than they bargained for. Now that Ana knows she could be the key to stopping the zombie plague that has brought humanity to its knees, can she trust anyone?

Questions will be answered and fates will be determined in the thrilling final installment of Sean Platt and David Wright’s series that began with Z 2134.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J2E2R9C/

Z FAQ

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Is this the final book in the Z series?

Yes. We planned Z as a trilogy, and this is the first series ending we’ve written. We’re excited to show that we can end a story as well as we end seasons.

Are you going to leave me with a bunch of unanswered questions and a WTF ending?

No. This will be a proper ending, and most, if not all, questions are answered. I swear. We want to be like Snickers, and leave you satisfied.

How many episodes will this season be?

This season is six weeks. I think it is also our longest season in word count yet with the final episode being double sized.

Do you kill off characters?

Of course we do!

Really?

Maybe. You don’t REALLY want me to spoil it, do you?

No, I guess not. Do you continue to rip off The Hunger Games1984, and The Walking Dead?

No, this time around, we’re ripping off The Sound of Music.

Really?

No. While Z started out as a mash-up inspired by those titles, as you saw in the second book, we’ve built a completely realized world completely its own. We planted seeds in each of the books which bloom wonderfully in the finale. You’ll get to delve even deeper into the characters’ lives and learn more about the conspiracy.

Why isn’t the book available yet outside the US? Do you hate foreign readers?

No, we love all our readers. Kindle Serials are a US thing at the moment. However, the book will be available worldwide once the serial is completed in the US after a six week run.

Is this book available in other stores?

No. This series is published by 47North and is exclusive to Amazon. You can, however, download the Kindle app for free to your computer and many other phones and tablets. Learn more here. Also, there will be a print and audio version available at some point if you don’t want to use the Kindle app.

 

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Z 2136 and FAQs http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/04/08/z-2136-and-faqs/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/04/08/z-2136-and-faqs/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:40:27 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3657 We can finally reveal the cover for the Kindle Serial, Z 2136, along with the synopsis.

We were given a few covers ideas to choose from. The first ones didn’t work for us. So I had an idea — what if we go black? Using colors as the themes of the overall series, it breaks down like so:

Z 2134: the first book is yellow and black, with just a bit of red on the spine. Bright, with a bit of mystery.

Z 2135: the second book is mostly red (it has spread from the spine to the cover) with some black and yellow. All hell is breaking loose. Things are not good.

Z 2136: the last book in the trilogy is all black, with some red. The darkness has taken over. All hope is lost. This is the end.

That’s how I see it, anyway. And I think it will look awesome in print!

Warning: if you’ve not read Z 2134 or Z 2135, you probably shouldn’t read the stuff below as it gives away details from those two books.

The Games may be ending, but now the real battle begins.

Cover of Z 2136In the stunning finale of the Z 2134 series, lingering questions will be answered, vengeance will be sought, and lives will be lost in a dystopian world where the boundaries of humanity are tested.

Several months after events of Z 2135, Adam Lovecraft is once again following in his father’s footsteps, this time as a contestant in the infamous Darwin Games. In The State’s latest iteration of The Games, the odds of survival are slimmer than ever before, and Adam soon finds himself pairing up with an old friend of Jonah’s, fighting to escape certain doom.

Meanwhile Ana, Liam, and Katrina’s escape from Hydrangea has not gone unnoticed, adding to their struggles to not only survive, but find Adam before it’s too late. But when they pick up some unexpected new allies during a thwarted rescue attempt, they get more than they bargained for. Now that Ana knows she could be the key to stopping the zombie plague that has brought humanity to its knees, can she trust anyone?

Questions will be answered and fates will be determined in the thrilling final installment of Sean Platt and David Wright’s series that began with Z 2134.

Z 2136 is a Kindle Serial, published by 47North. You buy the e-book once and get a new episode delivered to you each week over the course of the next six weeks, staring on April 15.

Pre-order your book today for just $1.99

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Is this the final book in the Z series?

Yes. We planned Z as a trilogy, and this is the first series ending we’ve written. We’re excited to show that we can end a story as well as we end seasons.

Are you going to leave me with a bunch of unanswered questions and a WTF ending?

No. This will be a proper ending, and most, if not all, questions are answered. I swear. We want to be like Snickers, and leave you satisfied.

How many episodes will this season be?

This season is six weeks. I think it is also our longest season in word count yet with the final episode being double sized.

Do you kill off characters?

Of course we do!

Really?

Maybe. You don’t REALLY want me to spoil it, do you?

No, I guess not. Do you continue to rip off The Hunger Games, 1984, and The Walking Dead?

No, this time around, we’re ripping off The Sound of Music.

Really?

No. While Z started out as a mash-up inspired by those titles, as you saw in the second book, we’ve built a completely realized world completely its own. We planted seeds in each of the books which bloom wonderfully in the finale. You’ll get to delve even deeper into the characters’ lives and learn more about the conspiracy.

Why isn’t the book available yet outside the US? Do you hate foreign readers?

No, we love all our readers. Kindle Serials are a US thing at the moment. However, the book will be available worldwide once the serial is completed in the US after a six week run.

Is this book available in other stores?

No. This series is published by 47North and is exclusive to Amazon. You can, however, download the Kindle app for free to your computer and many other phones and tablets. Learn more here. Also, there will be a print and audio version available at some point if you don’t want to use the Kindle app.

When will you write the second season of Monstrous?

Sean and are releasing Monstrous as an indie book, and plan to publish it later this year.

What about the next season of Yesterday’s Gone, WhiteSpace, ForNevermore, and Available Darkness? What’s taking so long?

We’re working on Yesterday’s Gone: Season Five next. After that, we’ll likely hit WhiteSpace: Season Three.

We’re humbled that so many people want to know when we’re going to get to the book they’re waiting for. We work 60-70 hours a week writing in order to hit each season as soon as we can. However, we also have to balance books that do well financially (Yesterday’s Gone and WhiteSpace) with those that don’t do as well, (ForNevermore, Available Darkness).

Why did you write ForNevermore: Season One if you didn’t know it would be successful? 

Just like television networks, you never know what your next hit will be.

We hope each series will be a smash hit. And while readers seem to love all of our titles, they don’t all sell the same. So, just like Hollywood, the better selling books allow us to fund the smaller books.

Why don’t you just cancel the series that don’t do as well? Just write the stories that are already doing well?

Our promise here at Collective Inkwell is that if we start a story, we will finish it.

So while it would probably be financially smarter to ignore titles that don’t prove themselves in the first season, we don’t want to punish readers who took a chance on these books.

Plus, there’s always a chance that these other series will be discovered and become just as popular as our other titles. Books are forever, and we’re patient. A lot of people that originally had no interest in ForNevermore, wound up checking it out and liking it, so in time, I think all of our titles will get love.

Did people really ask these questions?

This is a mash-up of questions we get asked a lot, which I thought would be good to answer once and for all on the blog. If you have any questions you’d like to ask, feel free to leave a comment below.

As always, thank you for reading,

Dave

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Fuck it http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/02/25/fuck-it/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/02/25/fuck-it/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 13:44:00 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3641 When I was a child, I was certain that my family would die if I thought bad thoughts as I went through doorways.

Yes, you read that right.

I even had specific and elaborate scenes play out in my head on how they would die, ranging from car crashes to random acts of violence you saw on the news all the time. And the only way I could save them was to reverse the bad thoughts while I went backwards through the offending door.

Repeatedly.

My days were ARE filled with many such rituals designed to keep bad things from happening to people I love. Whether it be unthinking things, blinking, sniffing, or any other number of things that made me look weird, I had to do them … or else.

It’s like the whole “step on a crack break your mother’s back,” on meth.

I had no idea what was wrong with me. My affliction didn’t have a name back then.

Today, we call it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

OCD is a disorder where you have an obsessive thought which grows increasingly harder to ignore, like an itch you can’t quite scratch. And the only way to find relief is to act in some compulsive manner, a ritual. Rituals can be physical — washing hands, touching objects, walking backwards through doors; or mental — counting, praying, reciting words in your head, and more. Or even a dizzying array of both.

Again, those are but just a few, and I’ve done hundreds of odd rituals to ease the obsessive thoughts.

For many OCD sufferers, it’s all too easy to get caught in loops of thoughts and actions which take hours of their days. In extreme cases, the disorder can be debilitating. It’s quite hard to have a normal job or family if you’re stuck in the bathroom repeatedly washing your hands, or have to spend hours checking your door locks.

The truly weird thing about OCD is how the fear defies logic, yet it takes root just the same.

I know that I can’t possibly make something bad happen just by thinking about it. If I had those kinds of powers, I’d surely not be letting them go to waste!

Yet, there’s some part of my brain which says: Well, what if?

I better go ahead and do the ritual … just to be on the safe side.

It’s like knowing that you’re in a nightmare, and that you shouldn’t be afraid, but you run just the same … just in case.

Fear

I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear.

Fear of bullies who tormented me as a kid.

Fear of being embarrassed.

Fear of standing out and opening myself to ridicule.

Fear of asking out a girl I liked.

Fear of getting old.

Fear of dying young.

Fear of car accidents.

Fear of flying.

And … well, you get the point.

So many fears that I’d built a cocoon around myself in the form of a dead end job, in the form of being obese, and in the form of stagnation and crippling depression.

In the 90s, I found rock bottom. My best friend died in a car accident, I had a few relationships end badly, and I had falling outs with family and a few close friends.

And then something clicked.

I realized that so many things I’d feared (the more rational fears, not the odd ones) had come to pass, despite my attempts to circumvent fate.

I realized that living in fear and insecurity is toxic to relationships and I’d likely caused the very things I’d been trying to avoid.

I realized that bad things happen no matter how hard we try to avoid them, so what’s the point of living in fear?

Living in fear didn’t prevent bad shit from happening.

It certainly didn’t somehow make my life better.

If anything, I’d say that I lost a good 20 years of my life to fear. 20 years I could have been doing things, rather than hiding from life’s pains. 20 years I’ll never get back.

I realized that I was, for lack of a better word, …

BROKEN

brokenSo, how did I overcome my fears?

I haven’t. Not all of them, anyway.

But a few things have helped me get over the larger ones that were getting in the way of life.

First was putting my art out there back in 1999 with a comic strip I was doing on the web. It was the first time that total strangers had responded to something I did, and it was magical. Through comics, and later writing, I was able to create worlds that people got lost in. I was able to make people laugh, cry, shiver in fear.

Second, I stopped caring so much what others thought of me. I used to worry so much about everything. I used to attempt to hide my fatness beneath a jacket — in the Florida summer!

Why?

Who cares? If someone doesn’t like me because I’m fat, I’m different, I’m broken?

When you stop caring what people think, you’ll attract the right people into your life. The people who care about the same things you do. And the right people can be all the difference in the world sometimes.

And for me, being at rock bottom taught me a very important lesson. Sometimes, you just have to say two very magical words:

FUCK IT.

And just stop caring about every little thing.

It was quite liberating.

And in that time, I’ve found a healthy relationship with my wife, have a son, landed my dream job as a reporter and a professional cartoonist, and am now writing for you.

None of this would’ve been possible if I continued to live in constant fear of what people thought.

I’d love to end this by saying I’ve gotten rid of all of my fears and “everything is awesome!”

But like my obsessions and compulsions, some fears remain. Especially the irrational ones which annoy the hell out of me. And some which take up far more of my mental time and space than I’d like.

But it’s a lot better than it was. Case in point: there was a time in my life when I couldn’t even do math work because I might have to write the number “three.” I would oftentimes write another number, even if the answer was wrong, just to avoid having to write the number.

Why three, you ask?

When I was a child my friend’s mom, a very religious woman, convinced me somehow that “three” was Satan’s number, and told me all these horrifying crazy extreme religious things no child should ever be told. Religion is like adding fuel to an OCD fire. Her stupid evil threes is something I still carry with me to this day, and I fucking hate her for doing that to me. I can’t think or write “three” without unthinking it several times.

Three was my very first obsessive thought, the birth, so far as I know, of my OCD.

In case you’re wondering why I wrote this, here in this public place, it’s because of my fear that I must. To be silent about things like depression, anxiety, and OCD allow those things to cut you off from those that you love.

WE DON’T NEED TO BE ALONE

After talking about a panic attack on one of our podcasts a few weeks ago, some readers and fellow authors reached out to me with some helpful advice of things that have worked for them. It reminded me that I’m not the only person in the world battling these things, even if I often battle them alone.

So I’ll be experimenting with these things, trying find the right balance.

I’m also considering medicine, for both anxiety and OCD.

But there’s a part of me that is — afraid — to ruin something that might actually help my writing.

Imagine, I find a way to become fearless and happy, but lose my creativity!

I’d like to say thank you, dear reader, for both allowing me into your world, and for enjoying the stories Sean and I create. And for helping me feel a little less broken.

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I’m No Hugh Howey http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/02/13/im-no-hugh-howey/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/02/13/im-no-hugh-howey/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 13:29:27 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3626 So a while ago, Hugh Howey did a dance video when he reached 100 reviews for a little book you might of heard of called Wool.

While our series Yesterday’s Gone: Season One has more than 600 something reviews (thanks, Goners!), WhiteSpace: Season One was taking F O R E V E R to get to 100 reviews, so I took a page from Hugh, and decided I’d bribe our readers with some sexy dance moves.

I said that once WhiteSpace: Season One got 100 reviews, I’d make an ass out of myself to the song they chose.

They chose Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

And then many months passed.

I thought maybe people had forgotten. And I was relieved, as I hate dancing. Namely because I suck at it, and I’m a big giant fat guy with the grace of an elephant… an elephant with broken legs.

Then last week, Donald Wells emailed me to say, “Hey, I left the 100th review! You owe me a dance.”

Bastard!

Er, I mean, thank you, Donald.

I emailed Donald back, may have called him a bastard, and he said not to worry, he wouldn’t hold me to it.

I said, no, I promised to make an ass of myself, and…

An ass I do make of myself.

So, here you go, Donald, and everyone else who left a review.

Before you watch, I should warn you: when I showed this video to my wife, she stared at it through closed fingers like you would a car accident, scary movie, or natural disaster. Frankly, I think this is worse than all three of those combined.

This is painful to put out there, but when I promise to make an ass of myself, I stick to it!

Enjoy.

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Do you believe in ghosts? http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/02/05/do-you-believe-in-ghosts/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/02/05/do-you-believe-in-ghosts/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:54:40 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3620 The first death which truly affected me was that of my maternal grandfather.

I was eight or nine. I remember people coming over to the house and talking in hushed whispers around me, pretending everything was okay.

But I knew it wasn’t.

My mother eventually broke the news to me, which was tough for her as it was her father, and she knew how much I loved him.

He was a tough old guy who had survived World War 2, a heart attack, electrocution, and diabetes. He also spoke his mind no matter who he pissed off.

But he was always kind to me, and his loss cut deep. Even decades later, I see how much his death impacted his offspring and their families in negative ways.

We’re never the same when someone close to us dies. We’re never really whole again.

For months after his death, I waited for his ghost to return, to say goodbye to me.

At the time I was reading lots of ghost stories, and truly believed ghosts might exist, if you just allowed yourself to see them. The problem with adults, I’d figured, was that they couldn’t see ghosts among us because they’d stopped believing in such things.

But I was wide-eyed, young, and ready to believe.

I oftentimes went to bed, watching, waiting, thinking every noise and movement in my dark room might be him. I was both afraid and excited at the prospect of seeing my grandfather again.

Even though I was too young to recognize it, I needed closure.

So I waited every night for his ghost to come.

While there were a few weird things that happened in the wee hours — unexplained noises, things I thought I might have seen, I never had a full-on visitation from my grandfather, as far as I know.

Eventually, I stopped waiting.

Later, when I was 26, I lost my best friend, Todd.

This death crushed me in new ways.

Young people aren’t supposed to die. We had our lives ahead of us.

We had plans!

And now all I had was regrets — of the things we didn’t do, the chances I hadn’t taken though he’d urged me to, and that I’d never see him again to say sorry about our last words to one another.

But Death doesn’t give two fiddler’s fucks about plans. And it eats regrets for dinner.

While I had no such illusions about ghosts at this point, there was a part of me that held out hope — that somehow Todd could communicate with me.

I soon started having dreams — very vivid dreams where we’d be hanging out together. We’d be talking, driving around, doing the things we’d been doing since high school. And it felt so real.

Usually, I’m able to tell when I’m dreaming.

But in the Todd dreams, that wasn’t the case.

Everything felt so real until some horrible point in the dream where I’d suddenly look at Todd and say, “Hey, wait. You died.”

And then, just like that, the dream would crumble around me.

And I’d wake up feeling the loss of Todd all over again. Though not a ghost, Todd was haunting me no less.

Eventually, though, the nature of the dreams changed. And at some point I was able to keep the dreams alive even after I realized he was dead. And it was then that we were able to talk about things — how I wish I could take back the things we last said to one another, among them.

The skeptic in me believes this all to be my brain attempting to recover, playing things out for me in my sleep to make the pain of Todd’s loss a bit less so. To take away the sting of regret.

But another part of me, that wide-eyed child still waiting for ghosts, thinks perhaps in sleep we can connect with those who’ve moved on.

I think a lot of what I write is informed by the ghosts who still haunt me.

So when Sean and I wrapped up our 2013 serials and decided to write our own standalone novels to finish up the year, I knew what I wanted to write about — ghosts.

I’ve been working on a story, Crash, since I was 18. It’s one of those things that I’ve wanted to finish, but working through it has been tough as hell. It’s a dark story, darker than anything I’ve ever written, I think. It’s also a very personal story without even being about me. And each time I’ve lost someone close to me, I feel the story pulling my strings, wanting me to write it again.

Crash is about loss, and it’s about ghosts, and how we deal with them.

So I was surprised to find that Sean was also writing a ghost story of sorts.

When I read his story beats for the first incarnation of the story, I immediately wanted to help him write his story, rather than finish mine.

So I put Crash aside and helped Sean flesh out the story a bit more.

Threshold is the story of a man, Scott Dawson, whose wife is missing (and presumed dead). He’s spent months clinging to the house he can no longer pay for and trying to be a parent to children without his wife around. And things aren’t going well. He’s about to lose his house, and his kids are slipping away from him.

Soon, Scott finds out that his wife had an uncle he knew nothing about. And that uncle has recently died, leaving the house to their children.

The beautiful old mansion is the answer to all their problems. And they’ll be well compensated for staying there.

There’s just one provision in the will … one of his children have to be on the grounds at all time, or else they lose the house.

But this isn’t just any old house. It has ghosts.

And that’s only the beginning of what lies behind the walls of the mansion.

What I love most about Threshold is a secret I can’t give away, lest I spoil the book. No, it’s not a trick ending sort of book, but there is more than meets the eyes.

And I’m thrilled to have had a chance to help Sean write the rough draft. You should be seeing it later this month.

As for Crash, while I did eventually get back to it, I’m still struggling through the middle part. And since we’ve got Z 2136 coming up, I had to put it aside for a bit.

My hope is that I can get back to it soon, to finally put some of these ghosts to rest.

What about you? 

Do you believe in ghosts? Are you haunted by those you’ve lost? Leave a comment below and share your story.

 

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Bullies Suck http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/01/21/bullies-suck/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/01/21/bullies-suck/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 18:08:52 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3604 (Note: This is the author’s note from our short story, Monsters, and was written in 2012. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers.)

Last week my wife and I (Dave) brought my son to his first day of kindergarten.

He held my hand as we made our way up the sidewalk to his school. As we approached a set of double doors to go inside, we had to pass a group of kids outside, aged between six and 10.

All eyes were on us as we walked past the kids. Being shy, my son looked down, not meeting any of their eyes.

And yet, the kids didn’t take their eyes off of us.

We were early, and the only new people there at the moment, so obviously, we were the center of attention. I watched as the children looked him up and down, judging him, seeing how he fit into their world.

And I had flashbacks to my own childhood, that feeling of being the new kid. Being judged on a first impression and being cast in some role or another.

And it all came back to me in a flood of memories and sensations.

Suddenly I wanted to grab my son, hold him close, and bring him home, so he never has to deal with the difficulties of being judged, singled out, or picked on.

Of course I didn’t do that.

For one, my wife would freak out.

For two, I’ve got to let my son find his feet and his own way.

And I didn’t want to kick off my son’s first school year by being the most embarrassing dad ever!

Fortunately, my son seems a lot better equipped than I was. He has no problem making friends, and is a happy, sociable child. By the end of the day, he’d made friends and was having fun.

THE MONSTERS

However, I dread when my son gets older and has to deal with fitting in, and possibly even dealing with bullies. Once I hit middle school, I had a lot of trouble with both.

So I’m not really sure the best way to handle either situation.

But I’m not going to scare him with stories of my monsters. I’m not going to shape his world with MY experiences of it.

Fortunately, bullies are talked about a bit more these days. The problem is complex and there is no easy solution, especially considering that many bullies are victims themselves.

When I was a kid, however, you rarely talked about bullies.

There was a deep shame in being bullied. You were somehow less than a man (despite still being a child) if you couldn’t stand up to them.

The few times I’d found the courage to tell an adult, I was usually met with skepticism. Like I had somehow provoked a bully. Or there was something I could’ve done differently — maybe flown a bit more under the radar, not be so goofy and attract attention or something. And of course, some people asked why didn’t I just fight back?

There were a couple of incidents where I did fight back. And both were scary, because I almost lost control.

One incident involved a threesome of kids who picked on me. I ran from the fight at first. But when they found me later, I lost it, and wound up on top of one kid, dragging his head to a sidewalk to smash it in, so he couldn’t possibly get up and hurt me again.

Fortunately, that fight got broken up before I wound up doing any real damage.

But that’s the sorta thing that can easily happen when you get bullied over and over. Eventually, you snap and you either harm yourself or someone else. Which is why there needs to be more discussion about the subject of bullying.

MY OWN ‘ELLIE’

Fortunately, in middle school, I met my own version of Ellie.

Her name was Tanya. And though we’re separated by miles, we still keep in touch from time to time.

She was there for me when I had no one else.

She gave me a confidence I didn’t have.

She taught me how to fight the monsters.

And one time, she even scared off a whole gang of people who wanted to kick my ass for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tanya didn’t put up with bullshit. Never did, never will.

I always admired her strength, though it took me years to be even close to as brave.

So this story is for Tanya, and everyone else out there who has helped someone fight the monsters. Thank you. And thanks to Sean who helped bring this story to life with his usual flair.

And to those who are fighting monsters, I don’t really have advice on dealing with them. I’d say to stand up for yourself, but sometimes, it’s wiser to lay low.

But one thing I can say is to never be silent about it.

Tell someone.

Tell many someones.

And to others, if you see someone being bullied, offer your support, even if it’s just a friendly ear.

Because if I didn’t have Tanya, I’m not sure I would’ve ever survived the monsters.

What’s your bullying story? Did you have a friend to help you through it? Or were you that friend for someone? Leave a comment below and share your story.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Monsters, one of 18 short stories in our Dark Crossings collection. Of course, if you are already a Goner, you just received Monsters for free. Not a Goner yet? Sign up here.

 

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The Best Dystopian Deal You’ll Probably Ever See! http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/01/08/the-best-dystopian-deal-youll-probably-ever-see/ http://collectiveinkwell.com/2014/01/08/the-best-dystopian-deal-youll-probably-ever-see/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 00:26:43 +0000 http://collectiveinkwell.com/?p=3351 You know those .99 romance book bundles you see at the top of the charts ALL THE TIME? 

Nothing against romance box sets, as I’m friends with quite a few romance authors, but I’d LOVE to see a dystopian box set at the top of the charts!

Well, some authors on the Kindle Boards decided to make that set.

Dystopian-Boxed-Set-Cover-1024x949

And … Yesterday’s Gone: Season One is one of 11 books included in this GIANT dystopian box set released today called A Taste of Tomorrow.

And when I say GIANT, I mean this thing is MASSIVE — like 3,000 pages!

Now, I know what you’re saying — I already read Yesterday’s Gone: Season One. Why are you telling me to get this?

Glad you asked!

Well, first off, we wrote a brand new author’s foreword for this edition, talking about Yesterday’s Gone’s place in both our careers, and in dystopian fiction.

But wait, that’s not all!

You’re also getting 11 books from some of the best writers in dystopian fiction!

Are you ready to buy?

A Taste of Tomorrow — The Dystopian Box Set

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HPM3PDA/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HPM3PDA/

What? Not convinced yet? How about a list of authors and stories included?

OK.

Here ya’ go:

Sand: Part 1 – The Belt of the Buried Gods by Hugh Howey (40 Pages)

Yesterday’s Gone: Season One by Sean Platt and David Wright (503 pages)

Apocalypse Drift by Joe Nobody (314 pages)

Contamination Zero by T.W. Piperbrook (95 pages)

Artificial Evil by Colin F. Barnes (272 pages)

The Tube Riders by Chris Ward (449 pages)

Halfskin by Tony Bertauski (260 pages)

After the Cure by Deirdre Gould (415 pages)

Black Hull by Joseph Turkot (317 pages)

The Man Who Ended the World by Jason Gurley (270 pages)

Gameland: Book 1 – Deep Into the Game by Saul Tanpepper (130 pages)

 

Holy shit, that’s a lot of dystopia!

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

Dave, this box set must cost a thousand dollars.

Nope.

$500?

Nope.

Oh, I got it: $97!

Nope. Not even a tenth of that!

What? You guys are practically giving this thing away! What is it, .99?

Well, close. The authors WANTED to sell it for .99.

Unfortunately, Amazon wouldn’t let us price the book at .99 because it was JUST TOO DAMNED BIG AND AWESOME!

OK, Amazon didn’t say it was too damned awesome, but the file size is too big to sell for .99.

So we all got together (in a last minute WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO NOW email thread) and decided to sell it for $2.99.

Which means we’ll need YOUR help in promoting this set. That means leaving reviews, and linking on Facebook, Twitter, etc … and letting people know this box set is out there.

If you like dystopian fiction, and I’m guessing you do if you’re a Goner, you’re going to LOVE this collection.

Again, here are the links:

A Taste of Tomorrow — The Dystopian Box Set

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HPM3PDA/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HPM3PDA/

The books will also be available at all the usual places in the coming days. Check our website for updates.

A TASTE OF TOMORROW EVENT THIS SATURDAY

The authors of A Taste of Tomorrow are hanging out on Facebook on Saturday Jan. 11 between 1PM and 3PM PST, where we’ll be chatting with readers, answering questions, and giving away some stuff.

Check it out here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/244052475761607/

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