Posted: June 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

I have sold my eighties-style horror novel OUT OF THE WOODS to Post Mortem Press, with a release sometime between October 2014 and February of 2015.  It’s still in the early stages, but the ink on the contracts is dry, and I intend to publicize the hell out of this one.  I actually like it quite a bit, despite the gruesome sections!  You can think of it as a cross between Ed Lee’s redneck novels, H.P. Lovecraft (without the racism), and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13.  The John Carpenter version, not that glossy new piece o’crap.

If you’ve never read a book from Post Mortem, they are a local press based here in Cincinnati.  They specialize in darker material – horror, thrillers, zombies, true crime.  If you’ve never read anything from them, I highly recommend Brad Carter’s (dis) COMFORT FOOD and SATURDAY NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as well as Max Booth’ TOXICITY.  Great stuff!


More to follow…

I’ve had several books published, one of them by Simon and Schuster, one of the Big Five.  I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but…what the hell?  Often, I have to ask myself ,”Why do I do this?  Why do I spend hours and hours over a computer typing my fingers to the bone and then editing for months?  The time it takes to write, edit, and market a novel is overwhelming.”

All for a couple of hundred dollars…possibly two thousand if I am lucky in the end.

Let’s break that down.


I have estimated the time it took to write PRIMEVAL as approximately 180 hours.  I know; I am not the fastest writer in the world, but this is about right.  Then, I edited the thing for two months at about 90 minutes per day…about 90 hours.  Then, after the editor looked at it and I received proofs to inspect for errors, I spent about another 25 hours on this.

This adds up to 295 hours worked on a book.  Doesn’t sound like much?  It equates to about 6 weeks working full time at a store.  Only more mentally grueling and self-deprecating.

Let’s say I made $1500.00 on PRIMEVAL.  This is actually, a fairly high figure.

This comes out to about $5.08 an hour for the work I did.  This doesn’t include any marketing, social media, interviews etc I did as well.  Let’s add those in at about 75 hours, which seems fairly close.


We are now looking at $4.06 an hour for my work.


Yikes.  Sobering, isn’t it?  Trust me, most of us work for less than this.

Why in the hell do we do it?


After several sites pirated my books and gave them away willy nilly, I chased after them, despite writing two books at the same time.  I accomplished nothing, and many copies of my work got out there for free.  They probably still are out there, and you can get them if you like…but if you do, you’re a jerk and the reason why so many authors are quitting.

You see, we can’t make a good living at this.  Now, some will.  I know some people personally who are making fairly decent livings at writing.  These are few and far between.  Most writers, like myself, must work other jobs to supplant their writing.  Say you write three books a year, no!  Five books a year!  That’s 1850 hours, nearly the equivalent of working a full time job for a full year.  And you will bring home the staggering sum of…


Yeah, try to eat out once a week on that!

I nearly gave up.  Everything seemed futile.  I worked and worked at it, but it was like screaming into a void.  For goodness’ sake, I was published by Simon and Schuster!  Doesn’t that count for anything?

I did other things with my spare time.  I read a heck of a lot more.

And then I had a story idea.  A good one, too.

I found myself at the same computer hacking away at it to meet a deadline for a magazine.

And they bought it.  It wasn’t a life changing amount of money, but it allowed me and Don to go out to a very nice dinner.

And I was off and running again.

This writing bug, the people who have it for real, is something akin to a compulsion.  You can’t stay away for long.  The stories build up behind a dam in your head.  One day, they’ll burst the dam and you’ll have a creative flood.  Hopefully, this ends in a sale.  If not, well, at least it is out of your head so you can create new ones.

It’s a compulsion.  I wonder if there’s a psychological term for it?


Oh, and I recently sold a book to Post Mortem Press, a nifty small press right here in Cincinnati!  Once it is published, I hope you all read it.

Because I have a new idea that’s just awesome.


Top 10 (OK, 12) Books of 2013!

Posted: December 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Top 10 (OK, 12) Books of 2013!.

Bearing in mind that I have read 160 books this year, these are my top 10 picks in no particular order….and, yes, I picked a top 12, because this is the best year I have had for reading in a very long time and it was difficult to whittle the list down to only 10.  I also only counted books released in 2013, so lots of classics etc were not counted.


1. A TRUE NOVEL by Minae Mizumura.  Beautifully translated and filled with unforgettable imagery, Mizumura’s modern day Japanese take on WUTHERING HEIGHTS is brilliant, funny, and absorbing.  Taro, our brooding hero, is exposed little by little to be an anti-hero if there ever was one.

2. THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tarrt.  More than a tragic tale of loss, this story of a boy who steals a painting connected to his mother, is a lovely look at redemption, art, beauty, and how we can change the future through acts both good and wicked.  Although long, this novel is never dull and always fascinating.  The ending is incredibly moving.

3. THE LUMINARIES by Eleanor Catton.  The winner of the Man Booker Prize tells the twisty tale of a man who steps into a tragedy told by twelve characters.  A man has been murdered; a prostitute is found supposedly committing suicide; but the truth of the matter lies somewhere in the crossword puzzle of stories told by the members of a New Zealand gold rush town.

4. TELLING THE BEES by Peggy Hersken.  Southern fiction at its loveliest, TELLING THE BEES is about a man who cuts himself off from the world, associating only with the bees in his hives.  When the woman he once adored is murdered, he is forced to re-examine his solitary life and the bonds he broke with the world.

5. READY FOR A BRAND NEW BEAT by Mark Kurlansky.  The master of micro-history brings us the story of the song ‘Dancin’ in the Street’, the woman who recorded it, and the way that particular song affected the Civil Rights Movement.  Fascinating, funny, and revelatory, I dare you to stop reading it once you’ve started.

6. THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker.  An epic historical novel starring two mythological creatures who fall in love in the early Twentieth Century after immigrating through Ellis Island.  A beautifully written, evocative piece on what it means to be American and how mythology from so many cultures has influenced us.

7. MURDER AS A FINE ART by David Morrell.  This blood and thunder Victorian set mystery gets everything exactly right.  You will feel like you are breathing the yellow fog as you follow author Thomas de Quincey in his search for one of the first serial killers.  Don’t start this one late at night!

8. DRAMA HIGH by Michael Sokolove.  An inspiring true story about one of the poorest towns in America, whose public school has the best drama department anywhere.  During the drama teacher’s last years directing plays, we experience everything from the loss of the arts in our schools to the love lives of the students.  The best non-fiction I read all year!

9. THE PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan.  A terrific epic fantasy that eschews all the stereotypes of the genre.  Imagine a world where countries battle each other with wizards who ingest gun powder and turn themselves into living cannons.  I can’t wait for the next installment.  Adult fantasy is rarely this great!

10. THE SON by Phillip Meyer.  A brutal family saga as big as Texas.   Three stories are conjoined – a man is kidnapped by Indians but escapes to become a cattle baron, a young man goes against his father’s wishes when he falls in love with a Mexican woman, and a woman intrudes upon the male only business world.  Fascinating, intense, and exciting.

11. WHERE THE LIGHT GETS IN by Louise Penny.  The ultimate Inspector Gamache novel ties up all the story threads from the past years while presenting a great mystery about who is killing off a group of sextuplets.  Louise Penny is the best crime writer working today.

12. THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert.  A fantastic historical novel that delves into the divide between science and spirituality while emulating the great novels of the Victorian period.  Gilbert proves herself a prose expert, and the story unfolds lovingly, like a flower exposing a petal at a time.

There are several others that may make my list once I read them, but these were the favorites of the year!

It’s out!  Finally!  From Necon e-books and available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and straight from Necon e-books website….THE SCHOOL THAT SCREAMED, my homage to 1970s and 1980s grindhouse/drive-in movies is here!


Dolly Elliott’s School earned its reputation as a school for bad girls.  Nestled within an isolated forest outside of the London suburbs, it’s the last stop for students who have been expelled from every other school in Europe.  For the right price, the administrators guarantee a diploma for any girl, no matter how rebellious.
But, the halls of Dolly Elliott’s are haunted by more than the laughter of the young women earning their degrees.  At night, the wail of a baby can be heard emerging from the cellar, and foul odors permeate the dorms.  Glimpses of blinded nuns disturb the daily routine of the young women.  And something is moving from the other side of the mirrors, seeking a way into our world.  It hates the living, especially the girls it jealously watches.
When Laura Pennington arrives as a new student, she carries secrets, a past that led to her fleeing her last school screaming in terror.  On the same day, Sarah Stallworth begins teaching the young women of Dollie Elliott’s, and she brings her own baggage.  When a young maid is horribly mutilated and a teacher is murdered, they launch an investigation into what roams the halls of the school at night. The past is trying to intrude upon the present, attempting to force its way into the new century.  Can Laura and Sarah learn the terrible truth about the school before more women die?
THE SCHOOL THAT SCREAMED is a loving homage to the over-the-top exploitation films that were imported from Europe in the 1970′s, a drive-in flick brought to vivid life on the page.  Full of sex, sin, slashings, and secrets, it delivers a grindhouse sized dose of terror and laughter.

LibraryJournal says, “Carl’s third novel (Bestial: Werewolf ApocalypsePrimeval: Werewolf Apocalypse 2) succeeds overall as a casual, fast-paced addition to contemporary horror. This short, dialog-driven read oozes all the good—and bad—of a 1970s B horror movie (think Dario Argento’s classic Italian splatterfest, Suspira). Fans of the genre may find this satisfying. [“

Get your copy today!

Are You A Bad Girl? Take the SCHOOL THAT SCREAMED quiz!d. ….

SCHOOLTHATSCREAMEDcoverTo celebrate the upcoming release of THE SCHOOL THAT SCREAMED from Necon e-books, I have created the following quiz.  THE SCHOOL THAT SCREAMED is my tribute to Euro-horror-sleaze movies from the 1970s and 1980s, featuring an all girl (and one gay man) cast as they attempt to solve the puzzles lurking within their school.  Why do some girls hear a baby’s cries from the basement?  Why do some girls see blind nuns staring back at them from mirrors?  Really, why are all female gym teachers lesbians?  It’s a funny and terrifying road to the answers.

Now, take the quiz and discover if you really are a bad girl!


1. If you find yourself possessed by the spirit of a wicked nun, do you…

a. Attempt to understand the nun and what she is doing to you.

b. pick up a melon-baller and attack a maid in the kitchen.

c. Exorcise yourself using herbal remedies and accidentally resurrecting the dead in the process.

d. Make up for lost time and sleep with as many priests as possible.

2. How many schools have expelled you?

a. you say four, but it was really one.  However, it was pretty exciting!

b. 18.

c. 12

d. 37…in Europe alone!

3. How many men have you slept with in the past month?

a. none

b. one local village boy

c. none, but several girls!

d. 781 and a half.

4. What is your biggest vice?

a. Telling lies about your past.

b. being practically perfect in every f’ing way

c. your Wiccan powers pretty much top out at making tea.

d. Men find you irresistible.  Oh, that’s not a secret.  Everyone, including cats and dogs, know this!

5. You believe hauntings are…

a. …all in your head.  Time for some shock therapy.

b. …terrifying!  Flee!  Flee!

c. …pretty cool, if only the ghosts would haunt you and not your roommates.  Why the hell are they so special?

d. … fake.  Ghosts aren’t real and aren’t scary.  Lesbian gym teachers, however, can be horrifying.

6. You curse an average of how many times an hour?

a. 6

b. 7

c. 2

d. 781 and a half.

Give yourself10 points for every A answer; 20 points for every B answer; 30 points for every C answer; and 40 points for every D answer.

Add them up.

If you scored…

40-60-you’re not all that bad.  You’re like Laura Pennington, a Nancy Drew wannabe with secrets galore.

70-100-you’re on your way to being bad.  You’re like Allie Sayers who talks a good game and indulges her passions, but only performs evil deeds on people when she is possessed.

110-140- You are fairly naughty!  You’re like Jane Melville, a Wiccan-Priestess-wannabe who tries very hard to be bad, but only succeeds when her lesbianistic tendencies override her senses.

150-160-You are one bad mofo!  You’re like Brandy Huber, who proudly wears her bad girl status as a medal of honor.  She could never be a cowgirl, because she just can’t keep her calves together.

Hope you had fun, and watch for the release of THE SCHOOL THAT SCREAMED, featuring some very bad girls and some who only try to be bad.

Coming very soon from Necon e-books!