Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Enter the Mihmiverse!

Some exciting news today. I have partnered with Saint Euphoria Pictures to write an official novel set within the world of the Mihmiverse--That Which Lurks in the Dark!

"What is the Mihmiverse," you ask?

A brief background. For twenty-five years, I've taken my camcorder and gone out all over town with my friends and growing family to film home monster movies. We've never released them to the public--not even by way of YouTube--and have no desire to ever do so. They are simply something that we make for ourselves and our circle of friends to gather and watch and share. But they do contain an ongoing mythology that has grown to encompass (so far) over forty "home movies". The mythology has expanded so much, in fact, that it has now crept into my novels.

In fact, my two novels HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder and HITMEN: Night World are "big budget" adaptations of a curated handful of those same home movies! And, if I have my way, there will be many more such adaptations to come. These movies mean a great deal to me and have become a special "Secondary World" that even my kids hope to continue one day with their children.

Keep that backstory in mind as I take you back to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The world had shut down (though we continued to make our movies, since we were stuck in our homes with little else to do), when lo, I hear that Blobfest was going to be held digitally that year, given the shutdowns. Blobfest, for the uninitiated, is a yearly event celebrating the famed 1950s B-movie The Blob, as well as serving as a general gathering of all lovers of classic B-movie monster cinema. Our family had long wanted to go to Blobfest, but we rarely travel (that far, anyway), and the price was always out of our range. But, during Covid, Blobfest was going to be digital! No, it wasn't the same. But it was about as close to "going to Blobfest" as I was likely to get.

We "attended" the digital film festival and, during the breaks between showings, they played a trailer for a recent movie shot in the style of the a classic 1950s drive-in shlockbuster. The movie was Danny Johnson Saves the World, and that was my first introduction into the Mihmiverse.

Filmmaker Christopher R. Mihm has, for the last fifteen years, been writing and directing 1950s style monster movies with his friends and family... Sound familiar? I immediately sensed in him a kindred spirit--a man who made movies for the love of it with the people he loved. Only, he actually released his movies to the public! 

After seeing that first trailer, I dove headfirst into watching ALL the "Mihmiverse" movies and became an incredible fan of Mr. Mihm's passion and imagination. His movies are fun, and also have a very intricate mythology shared between them--which I loved, of course.

Then, last year, Mr. Mihm put out the call that he was making a new movie entitled Annihilate All Humans and he was looking for fans to film themselves in the midst of a flying saucer attack to send to him to be used in the movie! I immediately reached out and gathered my cast and crew from my home movies and we shot a brief sequence, which ended up in the finished movie. From there, I connected with Christopher and shared with him my own "home movie" experiences. 

While listening to his monthly podcast recently, I learned that there was one movie that Mr. Mihm began, but was never able to finish once the pandemic started. A "lost" Mihmiverse movie. He expressed regret that it had never reached fruition, and I corresponded with him about taking that script and adapting it to a novel. Remember, I'd done the same for my movies and knew there was a certain thrill in taking a script designed for a small budget and blowing it up in a way someone of our means would never be able to produce on film. He graciously accepted my offer and I set out to write--and complete--this Lost Chapter in the ever-growing Mihmiverse saga.

The book is out today and I hope that you check it out. It was a real treat to write. If you love campy, good-hearted monster adventure, this is for you. And while you're checking out the book, I encourage you to explore all the offerings the Mihmiverse provides. There is much fun to be had for monster fans of all ages!

As for the book, here's the official synopsis for That Which Lurks in the Dark:

Love! Terror! Tentacles!

It's New Year's Eve and the Phantom Lake Lonely Hearts Club is holding its annual celebration. When the night's festivities are interrupted by a distant explosion and subsequent blackout, its members are forced to deal with their personal anxieties in the form of overwhelming darkness, otherworldly be-tentacled creatures, a pair of monster hunting scientists and, most frighteningly, their own awkward quests for love!

Order your copy today!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Now Available--NIGHT WORLD, Hitmen Vol. 2!

 I told you the book release was just around the corner. ;)

Today, Genre Experience proudly presents my latest novel NIGHT WORLD, Volume 2 of my HITMEN saga. The book is available for purchase on Amazon in print and digital. As with the previous volume, this book is a "braided novel"--four novellas that interconnect (in this case, VERY heavily) to create a larger story. NIGHT WORLD is a celebration of monsters, fantasy, childhood, spooks, thrills, and all things Halloween. 


Every Halloween, the shadow of another world falls over the town of Willowbrook, and the monsters come out to roam. The blue-skulled giant who slew Boss Adrian Marcon’s criminal empire was not the first such creature to walk the quiet streets of this burg, nor the last. As more threats emerge from a mysterious realm, new heroes must stand against a rising cosmic evil that endangers the very fabric of existence.

In four tales of thrilling encounters with otherworldly invaders, Zoe, a teenage mother, must grapple with the shocking truth about her infant son; Jason and Jack Mills, twins raised to hunt the creatures of the night, search for balance between their tumultuous upbringing and passing their legacy on to a new generation; and Rosetta, a mystical exile in Willowbrook, finds herself faced with a decision that will forever alter not only her life, but the lives of everyone, in every world. A war of worlds has begun between the dominion of Man and the armies of the Night World.

Writing this book came as a surprise to me. If you need a refresher course, the original HITMEN novel began as a series of a no budget "home movies" that me and my childhood friends put together. They were only ever done for fun--just an excuse to chase each other with guns and dress up like monsters and tell stories that entertained us. But, man, was it a blast (read more about it here, if you're so interested). At any rate, around 2014, I had completed my epic The Coming Evil Trilogy, and I was looking for more stories to tell. I remembered those old home movies and decided--also for fun--to novelize them, greatly expanding them (think of it like a Director's Cut), to unleash on an unsuspecting public. Writing that book was a great excuse to look back on those years and was my way of saying good-bye to making home movies.

Only...I wasn't done, apparently. Or maybe those home movies weren't done with me.

After my girls were born, I dusted off the old camcorder and started making NEW home movies, letting them in on the fun. Together, as a family, we crafted stories of fairies and imaginary kingdoms and a world where monsters roam freely. As my "professional" writing took a backseat, we started making more and more home movies. Sometimes two or three a year. Elaborate productions that increased in cast, scope--but not necessarily budget, haha. They are still every bit "movies for fun", though, and will never be seen by a public audience, ha. However, as the home movies--and the mythology we were creating within them--grew and grew in my mind, concepts from these movies began to bleed over into my novels. So much so that I have novels-in-progress right now (including my next sequence of Coming Evil stories) that are almost wholly dependent upon some of the elements that we've introduced in these home movies. These are stories we've been telling each other for ten years or so, and I thought it was finally time to give them the novelization treatment. I am immensely proud of those stories, as they represent all those Saturdays that we went out, as a family, playing make believe and "fighting monsters" together. I hope that you will check it out and join in the Mitchell family tradition! 

As I write this, I'm finishing up post-production on ANOTHER home movie (I think we're approaching thirty installments now?), so there is still plenty of road left to travel if I choose to continue these novelizations. I think I will, as it is just so much fun giving a "big budget" update to our amateur films. Beyond that, though, this book marks another important occasion in my larger mythology. While the first story in NIGHT WORLD is, in fact, a prequel to HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder (starring Vinnie Caponi: Urban Mythologist), the follow-up sections take place later on the timeline, giving Readers their first peek of the world post-The Coming Evil! Aside from that, there are also tons of tie-ins to my loosely connected "In-Between Trilogy" of the Rift Jump dulogy, Infernal City, and of course the original HITMEN. The world that started in The Coming Evil continues to grow and grow, and NIGHT WORLD is certainly a quantum leap forward, laying the groundwork for all my upcoming novels for the foreseeable future.

Get your copy today!

Check out this incredible artwork done for the book by Bob Freeman!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

New Book Announcement & Cover Reveal!

In keeping with my (apparent) one post a year theme, here's yours for 2021! Haha, seriously, I don't get around these parts much anymore, but for those one or two of you who are still following--I've got a new book coming out!

As related in a previous post, my "writing career" has taken a serious backseat to "fun writing". I burnt off my entire twenties and most of my thirties "chasing the dream", as it were, of becoming a "professional writer". And, while I DID achieve that dream, it never satisfied. I chased after that for so long, I really forgot to live my life, and, as my oldest daughter is now a full-fledged teenager, I see that time with them is short. So, on the professional side of things, my writing has slowed down.

But that doesn't mean that it's stopped.

Since the 2017 (!) release of my last novel Infernal City, I have turned my attention to writing machinima based on the old video game Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic AND I've taken a turn at doing some no budget Star Trek fan films. I co-wrote and released Halloween House with my friend and often-collaborator Bob Freeman, but mostly I've been churning out a bevy of "home movies" that I make with my kids and my friends. These are not meant to be show to a public audience (as they are VERY amateur and not kind to copyright laws, haha) but they are stories I am proud of nonetheless. If you're a frequent reader of my work, then you know that I adapted four of these movies--the original main canon installments--and released them as my novel HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder

Well, I've done it again. Allow me to introduce to you my NEXT novel, a new adaptation of four more of the home movies we've created: NIGHT WORLD!

With fantastic art, once again, by Bob Freeman, this book is a love letter to the stories/movies I've been crafting with my daughters for, quite literally, their entire lives. I'll go into it more upon the book's release, which should be in a week or so, but in the meantime, please enjoy the cover! Keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground for the release--this is one wild ride!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Boldly Going...

I look back over my life as a writer sometimes and am often struck by how eclectic my journey has been. From "Christian Horror" novels to Syfy sharksploitation movies to a non-fiction guide to the convoluted chronology of Back to the Future--it's really all over the map! Well, last month, I added a new destination on this wild ride--Star Trek fan films.

As has been discussed before on this very blog, I've been making "home movies" since 1998 with friends and family. But, unlike filming your kids at their soccer games kind of "home movies", mine involve an ever-evolving mythology with complicated characters battling all manner of monsters and devils. They've really become an extension of my professional writing, often serving as a test bed of ideas that will eventually find their way into a novel. In fact, I took the four original home movies that created the foundation for that complex mythology and adapted and expanded them into my novel HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder. Not only that, but I've taken four more movies and am currently writing another adaptation--a sequel to the HITMEN collection! But more on that in a later post.

The rule of these home movies, however, has always been in place: they are just for us. I'll never post them to YouTube. I show them to new friends and am willing to show them to just about anyone who drops by the house and is ready to sit through 30+ movies, haha, but they're not intended for public consumption (or critique). It's a simple matter of creative expression and having fun with my friends.

In 2014, one such friend was Grace Bridges. Grace, and her outfit Splashdown Books, was the publisher of my first Rift Jump novel. Hailing from New Zealand, Grace frequently makes "tours" of America, visiting her authors. I was the next stop on her list and, while at the house, I was showing her a selection of my home movies. She instantly fell in love with them and, before she left (two days later), she expressed the desire to do a home movie with me! I rarely say "no" when I meet someone who shares my passion in this sort of thing, so I said "Let's do it!".

Her suggestion: Make a Star Trek movie.

Though I'd seen all the Trek movies a few times and I'd caught a number of episodes of the various series over the years, I was not a Star Trek expert by any stretch of the imagination. Nonetheless, I agreed and, with Grace leading the writing and serving as my resident Star Trek guru, we quickly (two days, remember?) crafted Star Trek: Splashdown. It was a crazy rush, but we did it, Grace had a movie she was proud of, and she continued on her travels, showing our little movie to the friends she encountered along the way. And that was that. It was over.

Until it wasn't.

Fast forward to June of 2019. I've done MANY more home movies, but I've got this itch to do another. Most of my movies involve a core group of characters. I just ping pong back and forth between a few different storylines every couple years, and see "what happens next". But I felt as though I'd tapped out all the potential for the foreseeable future. All my various storylines were just stalled out and I couldn't think of any fresh take. So I turned my sights on movies in my saga that I rarely looked at. And I remembered Splashdown. I played "Commander Mitchell" in that movie, and I thought "I wonder whatever happened to that guy?" At the same time, I had, by accident (and a slow day at work) discovered the brilliant fan film series Star Trek Continues.

I fell in absolute love with that series and it opened up to me not only the world of fan films, but the world of Star Trek. I started watching Star Trek with a new appreciation for the first time. And the fan films--I was stunned to see that, all these years, people like me had been making their own "home movies" with complex mythologies and returning characters. They were even crossing over with each other's creations, making an elaborate expanded universe of storylines! I was excited, and it slowly dawned on me, then, "Hey... I made a Star Trek fan film too!"

That was when I wanted "Commander Mitchell" to return. Only, I had no Star Trek costumes, no props, no fancy CGI, no sets, no ideas, nothing. Just me and a camera and a desire to do something. How could I ever compete with something like Star Trek Continues? That's where Vance Major came into my life.

I ran across his name numerous times while researching fan films. This guy is a legend. His character of Erick Minard has existed across multiple eras of Trek and he's crossed over in so many other series. And characters from over a dozen fan film series have crossed over with his series! It's insane. Vance, however, is a man after my own heart. He has no real "crew", he shoots all his movies on his cell phone, and he just recruits friends, family (and any co-workers who stand still long enough) into his 70 some-odd short films. He has this intricate mythology with a core group of characters, all centered around his ship, the USS Constar--a ship that, by fate or bad luck, ends up at every major battle in the Star Trek canon, even though no one seems to notice or acknowledge their contributions. They are heartwarming films, honest films. Vance bears his heart and soul in these movies, speaking to things that are personal and meaningful to him. Seeing his movies--that they were more in line with the kinds of home movies I had been making all these years--was inspiring. "I can do that!"

I contacted Vance and plainly said, "I've got this character I would love to bring into one of your movies, but I have no costume, no sets, no props." Vance's reply was an instant "No problem! We'll figure it out!" And that's just what we did. Not only did I appear in that movie, I edited it too. Then we did another. And another. And another. Since June, I have now starred, written, directed, edited (and, yes, also bought a cheap Starfleet-esque uniform) in six or seven of his Constar Chronicles. Last December, he dropped all those movies onto YouTube ready to be binged.

Among them? The original Splashdown movie Grace and I made back in 2014, now including a brand-new bonus scene featuring Captain Erick Minard :) It's all come full circle, haha, and I've broken my Number One rule for the first and only time, putting one of my home movies on YouTube for public consumption and critique. But it was Vance who gave me the courage to do so, leading by example. You can now watch that movie right here.

We're not done yet, though! Vance and I have more ideas for future collaborations, expanding these characters and their relationships. Best of all--this October? I'm slated to step foot on a real Enterprise replica set to film a movie for the first time. Wow...

I am grateful for all the opportunities that Vance has given me, and for his friendship. I've found a kindred spirit in him as we have the same heart when it comes to telling stories in our respective mythologies. It's been another unexpected stop on my writer's journey--a detour, some might say--but, much like Star Trek, you never know what adventures await you down winding back roads in life. I'm happy to have taken the time explore this new avenue, boldly going...

(If you're interested in skipping straight ahead to my contributions, check out: Splashdown, Smoke and Mirrors, All Roads Lead to Home [which I wrote and directed], Wonderwall Part 2, The Scribbler)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Is This Thing On?

tap tap Testing, One, Two, Three

Wow, it's been nearly a year since I've been on this blog. I'm fairly positive no one reads it anymore (not that many did when I originally began it), but I thought I'd drop by for a little update.

First off, I'm still here. Still writing, still creating. I have finished a working draft of the first TWO prequel novels for my The Coming Evil series. I've started work on Book Three and whenever that's finished, I plan to start releasing them in quick succession. I'm also working with Bob Freeman on another novella that I think will be a lot of fun. A follow-up to our Halloween House (that is still available and you should still read). So there are things in the pipeline to be released one day. I've also found myself falling down the rabbit hole, helping Vance Major make a series of Star Trek fan films. That's a very long story of how I got involved in that, haha, but maybe better saved for a later date. Those movies will hit YouTube in December, so maybe we'll reconvene then and do a little write up on it.

But more than that, I'm creating a lot of things that you won't see. If you've read my HITMEN novel (and, if not, why haven't you?) you know that, in my "free time", I make elaborate amateur movies. In fact, the home movies have turned into this intricate mythology where I actually work through a lot of the ideas that I eventually publish. They're sort of a test bed for concepts and dreams, where I can fully play with a story without the fear of "What will the public think?" It's just freeing and often experimental. Some of those concepts and characters make it into the books--and vice versa. It's an elaborate mythology that I enjoy creating. For myself.

Which brings me to the reason for my absence. Time for some real talk: I burnt up a lot of my youth on getting my name out there. On building a platform, a fanbase, and all the fancy "writer stuff" that you're told you HAVE to do if you want to succeed. And maybe you do, if you want to "succeed", but what's "success"? Again, I pushed aside friendships to pursue my dream. I put my life on hold, focused only on this goal of being "somebody". Somewhere along the way, however, I discovered that I was making my actual life miserable by chasing what I thought would make me happy. After MUCH soul searching, I came upon a conclusion:

Write less. Live more.

So that's what I've been trying to do over the last four years. With my kids now older and able to make more of their own choices (and mistakes), parenting is harder than ever. They need my attention, more than the cast of The Coming Evil. My wife and I are fighting to be purposeful in our parenting, but also to learn how to maintain our own identities apart from our kids who are going to be leaving the nest sooner than I really understood. Life is changing. Fast, and all the time. I've made new friends and I'm pouring myself into being a good friend--a better friend than I used to be. I seek to be used by the Lord in whatever situation I find myself in, and that requires effort. It requires diligence. Besides all of that, creatively speaking, I missed just writing and creating for myself. I didn't end up becoming the "big name" I had dreamed of when I was fresh out of high school. I am thankful to the people who have read my work and enjoyed it. That's incredibly cool to me. But the disappointment has been there, as well. I didn't get as far as I had hoped I would. Yet, then again, when I think of the novels I've seen published, when I think of the Syfy movies that I helped craft, that have been seen by audiences all over the world--maybe I got farther than I really thought I would.

All that is to say that I'm happy with where I'm at. I'm happy living my life and creating on my own time. I'm happy now that I don't find my worth in "units sold per quarter". It really IS just about the writing for me. I do so enjoy this mad mythology I've created and it's a welcome retreat from the rigors of reality sometimes. I'm happy that some of you got to explore my world--as much as I've shared with you--and I look forward to giving you more opportunities to visit in the future.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Road to Revan

Super exciting news today, guys. The cat is out of the bag, I'm going to be a contributing writer on Star Wars: Revan: Rogue Jedi!

You may ask "What is that, and why should I be excited?"

Allow me to explain:

Back in 2003, Bioware developed a Star Wars video game called Knights of the Old Republic. It's set some four thousand years before a simple farm boy from Tatooine blew up the Death Star. The game was a role-playing action adventure designed to put you in the center of the story. You're able to customize your character's appearance, give them a name of your choosing, and it also allowed you to dictate how you responded to any number of situations. YOU are the star of the game and your fate is in your own hands. It was a massive hit spawning sequels, comics, novels, and introduced the much-beloved character of Revan to the Star Wars canon (well, before Disney obliterated all that...but that's a topic best saved for another time...).

Over the years, intrepid fans of the original Knights of the Old Republic game (abbreviated to KOTOR) figured out how to crack into the game's programming and further customize it, crafting new characters and new landscapes--all still using the game's engine.

That's where Kevin Smets comes in. Kevin's a professional video editor and filmmaker--and also a huge fan of KOTOR. A number of years ago, he began "filming" a series of movies based on the game. Meaning, he recorded his playthrough, dubbed in his own voice as the main character's--that he named Logan Starr--added new music, and customized it to the point that it tells the story Kevin was interested in telling, sometimes veering away from the game's storyline. I saw his movies and I was totally smitten by the creativity and ingenuity that he utilized in putting together this "fan film".

But then! Then I heard that he had partnered with some phenomenally talented computer whiz kids to create BRAND NEW movies based on Logan Starr's backstory. Things never seen in the original game--or any game. This is all new content, built from scratch, using the original game's engine. It looks like KOTOR, it "feels" like KOTOR, but this is no game. It's pretty incredible that they were able to do this. And this movie? It is called Star Wars: Revan: Rogue Jedi.

This is the first part of a trilogy of new films, chronicling the backstory of Kevin's character Logan Starr. It will have all-new storylines, characters, locations, voice actors, new sound design, effects, etc. I  have no doubt it will be a sight to see when it is finished. I have been in talks with Kevin for a while now, and he knows of my love for Star Wars and his particular take on KOTOR (as well as my writing background), and he has graciously invited me to come on board his team and help bring the Revan Trilogy to your computer screen. Kevin is handling the lion's share of the writing chores, as this is his baby, but he's also a busy guy and has recognized he can't do it all on his own. I'm more than happy to help shoulder the burden, because I believe in the project that much.

While this is totally unofficial, it's still an opportunity to write Star Wars, a dream of mine for so long now. I am grateful for the chance and can't wait for you guys to see the final product. In the meantime, you've got plenty of time to get caught up on the other Logan Starr movies. There are a total of seven so far. The first trilogy centers on Logan Starr, while the second quartet focuses on Logan's friend and apprentice, Meetra Surik. Her journey is chronicled in the movies of YouTube user Darth Ycey.

Hit this link to check out the first Logan Starr adventure, and tune in here for future updates as they come in!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Worlds Collide!

First, allow me the annual dusting-off of cobwebs on this here blog...

Now with the housework out of the way--Welcome! The leaves are changing, the wind is turning crisper, and my favorite season is upon us. Halloween is here, and I have returned to the interwebs with a treat to offer you.

Over the course of the last year and a half--among the other projects I've been tinkering on--my friend and fellow author Bob Freeman and I have been putting together our first storytelling collaboration. As you may or may not recall, Bob has already lent his incredible artistic talents to my HITMEN novel, providing the cover. But, this time, we agreed to tackle a novella together, trading off writing chores on rotating chapters, and making it a point to surprise the other. It was a lot of fun and, today, we present to you the fruits of our labors...Hallowe'en House!

This tale was especially thrilling for me as it involves the character Bob named after me, and it also marks the first time I've ever written in Bob's sprawling occult detective mythology. I've been a huge fan of his mega-myth for a number of years now, but actually contributing to it filled me with equal parts eagerness and caution. I think we've crafted a wile ride through the darkest corners of the cosmos and we hope you agree.

Also of note, readers of my own mythology (particularly my Rift Jump duology) might find some interesting connections inside the Hallowe'en House...

The book is available now in print and Kindle. Get your copy today--just in time for Halloween! A perfect little story to read by the soft flicker of Jack O'Lantern light.


Demonologist Greg Mitchell has discovered a secret from his father's past, a secret that not only sheds light on their strained relationship but on the path he has found himself upon, caught between Heaven, Hell, and all points between.

Turning to his former mentor, Dr. Landon Connors, Mitchell and the infamous occult detective seek out Hallowe'en House, a legendary transdimensional nexus that bristles with unfathomable eldritch energies.

But they're not the only ones who have come seeking out Hallowe'en House.