Sunday, February 12, 2012


Hey Kids.

We've recently updated the website,, and the new format enables me to blog there exclusively. Therefore, I won't be utilizing the Daily Cave any longer.

Come check out the new site.


Monday, April 11, 2011


Tomorrow I'll be speaking to students taking a Wisconsin Literature class at an area high school. Two of my books, "The Feast of Catchville" and "Swaybuck" are part of the class curriculum, and as such they've asked me to come as a guest speaker.

In going over some notes from previous times I've done this sort of thing, I was rediscovering just how Wild West the profession of "AUTHOR" has become over the last few years. It was only a few months ago that e-books outsold paperbacks on Amazon for the very first time in history.

This is huge, folks.

I'm one of the "old timers" who never, ever thought anything big would come of those new fangled e-reading devices. (Kinda like that whole internet fad.) But apparently I couldn't have been more wrong. Ebooks are on the rise, and as such, more books than ever are going to be available to the reading public.

Is that a good thing?


And yes.

As old Ben would say, "It all depends on your point of view."

No, it won't be a good thing because anyone with a limited head for tech will be able to "publish" their writing on their own independent "imprints" with minimal effort and have it as accessible as reputable works.

Yes, it'll be a good thing because anyone with a limited head for tech will be able to "publish" their writing on their own independent "imprints" with minimal effort and have it as accessible as reputable works.

I recently listened to a series of discussions with Rod Serling in which he spoke at length about writers and writing. In one of them, he spoke about young writers not wallowing through years of "paying dues" if what they had to say was important, well thought out, well executed, and interesting. Too many times writers were being looked at as inexperienced because they hadn't cut their teeth on a hundred short story sales to magazine markets.

I disagree with what Rod was saying there.

And I agree with him.

Clearly, it's nice to think that we, as writers, really did have something unique and interesting to say in our first books, and that what we did have to say was worthy of being read by anyone who was interested. At the same time, perhaps many of us were saved from embarrassment by the very fact that what we wrote the first time out wasn't deemed worthy of being read by any and all by those that guard the keys to "being read": editors, publishers, et al.

Magazine markets.

Now there's an interesting prospect.

There once was a time when a writer could tap his fingers raw and make thirty or forty bucks a week writing three or four stories for the magazine market, and that thirty or forty bucks a week was enough for rent on a room, a little food, some smokes, some drinks, and some typewriter ribbon.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century.

The rates for the work haven't changed much, but the cost of living has. I do not know of a writer that started out in the last decade that could afford to live on writing alone when they started out. The economics of it just don't work. The digital revolution hasn't changed the economic viability of short stories - in fact, by and far, the majority of online "zines" are strangely called "for the love" markets, in that they won't pay you a dime, but boy oh boy, your story will be in pixelized "print" - the internet equivalent of Broadway's "up in lights." These days, you'd do better to start your own website and post your stories there, something more and more writers are realizing is easily within their capability.

But what about being a paid Author? you ask. How does that happen? How do you achieve that? How can I make enough money to live on simply by writing and selling stories?

Good question.

And the answer goes something like this: Be original. You write fantasy stories? So do a hundred thousand other people. You need to set yourself apart from the get go... and I don't just mean on paper. I'm talking about image. I'm talking about creating, maintaining and selling a BRAND. Sounds crass, don't it? Oh, don't get me wrong, your writing has to be on the money, so to speak. You've gotta have some talent and be able to spin a grand yarn.

But there's more to it than that.

You can no longer be an introvert and a succesful writer in the twenty-first century.

Let me say that again in case you weren't listening, You can no longer be an introvert and a successful writer in the twenty-first century.

You HAVE to be out there selling your BRAND. And when I say "out there" - I mean literally and digitally. You need to attend Conventions and book signings and lectures, and when you do, YOU NEED TO MAKE THE MOST OF THEM. People must, must, must remember who you were and what you do. People must remember that you had a spark, that there was something special, something unique about you. How you do this is entirely up to you, but you have to do it. You must have an INTENSE, DAILY web presence. You must frequent the places that your readers frequent. You must blog. You must tweet. You must make yourself known in a huge way to the masses.


There's a reason that there are endless MacDonalds and Coke commercials: Everpresence. You are constantly in the mind of your consumers. You are there whenever they need you.

Admittedly, all of the above is a tall order and not for the faint of heart, but it's all true. I haven't accomplished it by a long shot. I've found that there are other things in life that I wish to do beyond writing, and as such, I'm perfectly fine with not making a living at it. My goals are such that I want to write the stories that I want to write, and leave it at that. I hope many, many future generations enjoy them, and that I'll briefly be able to infect their minds and affect the way they think about things. That will be good enough for me.

At any rate, back to my original point. The profession of Writing is truly in a "Wild West" phase at present. The advent of the Ipad and tablet computers have already infected children's books to the point where the reader can push certain buttons while reading the story to activate all sorts of fun and educational "accessories." It will not be long before these sorts of things infect the adult e-book market, eventually blending the reading experience with the auditory, and the auditory with the cinematic. A blending of formerly multiple professions into possibly a solitary one.

Exciting and adventurous, both.

And scary.

The world is moving faster than ever. I hope the young can keep up, for I'm not certain that I'll be able to.

Best of luck.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Question: How do you know that you haven't written a blog post in a long, long time?

Answer: You forget the password to get into your blog posts.

I haven't gone through and read the last few posts I'd written, but I'm sure that they'd all do some apologizing for not posting in a very long time, and then go on to promise more frequent posts.

Let's not fall into that trap again, shall we.

I'm currently sitting in my blissfully quiet office listening to the wind howling outside the window. We've been treated to a few days of well above normal temperatures, and tomorrow we're dropping back down into the mid-twenties - normal temps for mid-February in Northern Wisconsin.

Let's start with what I've been reading.

Over Christmas, I received "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" and Volume II of Neil Gaiman's "Absolute Sandman."

I'm loathe to admit that I've never read any of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous mysteries before now. I'd always intended to, but just never got around to it. Then, shortly before Christmas, I was listening to an interview with Harlan Ellison, in which, on an Ellison-esque rant on religion, he happened to mention A.C.D.'s collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, claiming that if ANYone wanted to be smart, all they had to do was read the stories, and understand what Doyle was telling you about observation and inference. I thought to myself, "hey, you could stand to be a bit smarter," and here we are.

I'm about halfway through the Holmes stories and have enjoyed them immensely. Certainly, I've learned much, but what really surprised me about the tales is how much fun they are. Sherlock Holmes is a hoot, as is Watson in his role as straight man. The book is good fun, and I can highly recommend it before I've even finished it.

The other book I'm reading - (I've been bouncing back and forth between the two as they're both collections) - is Volume II of the Absolute version of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman." I was lucky enough to receive Volume I a few years ago, and again, it was the first time I'd ever ventured into the Sandman series. (Am I one of the only people in the world to come to Gaiman through the novels BEFORE the comics?) The Sandman is, of course, simply amazing. It's one of those things that even when you're in the midst of reading it for the first time, you realize you're reading something special. Something like a masterwork. At any rate, it's good fun, and I also pleasured myself by re-reading the first volume before starting this one. Amazing stories. Amazing mythos. Good times.

Now then, what are we writing these days?

The same thing I've been working on for what seems like the last few years.

"Delving: Culminations" is the toughest book I've ever had to write. A big reason for that is self imposed pressure, I suppose. I'm very proud of the first two Delving books, and as such I want to make absolutely sure that the final chapter of the trilogy holds up to the standard set in place by the first two.

I'd actually written almost the entire book in 2008 when I came to the conclusion that that version of the book didn't measure up to the rest of the series. I toyed with the idea of taking snippets of the book and rearranging them, but then thought that that would be cheating myself and you out of a good story. Instead, I trashed the whole thing and started fresh.

And then the hard drive crashed, and yours truly was too idiotic to have things backed up...

But let's not speak of bad memories. Lessons were learned - the hard way - and we do things differently now.

The book is going well. The characters you and I know so well are doing some surprising things. A certain Mr. Graff shows up in a big way, fresh from the pages of "Exile: The Collected Helman Graff." It's going to be a great book. It's due in late spring, and I'm hoping Stone Garden will be able to release it this summer.

What else...

Oh, I'm in the process of starting a company, but as this blog centers on the writing stuff, we'll veer away from that part of my life for the moment.

At any rate, I'm here. And that's a good thing. I had a pretty good scare involving a brain scan and some vision loss not too long ago, but maybe we'll save that story for next time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

"Exile" for Kindle

"Exile: The Collected Helman Graff" is now available for the Kindle from

"Exile..." contains ten short stories featuring Helman Graff, a character popularized in my first book, "The Feast of Catchville." Each one of the stories features illustrations by Nate Fehlauer, and all of those illustrations are included in the Kindle version.

I've been told that more of my books will be available for the Kindle very soon, and I'll of course give you a heads up when that time comes.

Here's the link for the Kindle version of "Exile..."

Monday, October 25, 2010


Recently some guy named Neil Gaiman came up with a great idea that I've taken a definite shine to, and it's cool enough that I'd like to pass it along to you as well.

The idea is simple. Gaiman's named it "All Hallow's Read," and all it entails is giving your friends and family members a scary book on Halloween.

You know, as the years progress and my library size increases, it never ceases to amaze me how I can always encounter a new horror novel that I've never, ever heard of each time I go to a great book store, a thrift shop, a garage sale, or what have you. With that in mind, no matter how well read in the topic your friends or relatives might be, there's always something out there that they haven't read. Guaranteed.

Of course, it's almost more fun when it comes to your friends and family members that aren't all that well versed in the genre. Herein lies the perfect opportunity to present them with the cream of the crop, the must reads, the books that will assure them little to no sleep on the last night before November reigns.

So, whatever your situation presents you with, All Hallow's Read sounds like a kickass way to celebrate Halloween. Kudos Neil for coming up with it. I'm celebrating, and I hope you will too!

Here's a link to Neil's original idea:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Twenty-Two Years and Counting

All right, let's go back a ways. Let's go back twenty-two years to when I was an innocent fifteen-year old. Someone, and for the life of me I can't remember exactly who, borrowed me a cassette tape called "Garage Days Re-revisited" by a band called Metallica.

Up to that point, my musical tastes had been largely banal. Nick at Nite told me that the Monkees were pretty "swell" - and I loved listening to them. I'd dipped my toes into the Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses well a bit too, but I wasn't head over heels into them like some of my peers.

Then came Garage Days. When I heard that first Hetfield hum at the beginning of "Helpless" followed by Lars' ensuing drum beat, I was interested, but it was the Krunch that got me; that metal guitar Krunch that I became instantly addicted to and haven't been able to shake for almost a quarter of a century.

I bought "...And Justice for All" a few days after hearing "Garage Days," and I can remember lying on my bed, listening to the "Blackened" intro, looking at the four guys wearing black on the folded out tape insert, and wanting to be them. I remember listening to and reading the lyrics, lyrics more intense and intelligent than any I'd ever heard before. Lyrics filled with anger and honesty, lyrics filled with powerful disdain. At fifteen, this band was just what I needed. I worked my way back through Metallica's catalogue, picking up "Ride the Lightning," and "Master of Puppets," and "Kill 'em All."

Oh, those were good times.

I started wearing black. I started drawing poor imitations of Pushead skulls on my notebooks at school and on the bottom of my skateboard. I learned how to play bass and formed a band with some friends.

As I said, Good Times.

Metallica was my gateway band into the thrash metal world.This was all before the internet, kids, and when you wanted to find out what was going on in the world of your favorite band, you had to pick up Metal magazines at the newstand, which I quickly did to keep up with the Cap'n's of Krunch. In the process my eyes were opened to Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Danzig, Suicidal Tendencies, Pantera, D.R.I., the Misfits, and so many more. I'd found my musical niche, a niche that perfectly reflected my attitudes and sensibilities. For a misfit that didn't know where to look for camaraderie and community, Thrash was a godsend. The music gave me a spark of identity, and the courage to do whatever I wanted without fear of scorn.

Okay. Fast forward twenty-two years to August of 2010. I went over to St. Paul with a friend of mine to see Testament, Megadeth, and Slayer live at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Before the show, Dave Mustaine, the lead singer and guitar virtuoso of Megadeth was siging his autobiography at a Borders in Minneapolis.

Despite what anyone thinks about Mustaine's demeanor or attitude, no one can dispute that he is one of the founders of the thrash movement, so I was stoked to meet him at the signing. After standing in line for close to two hours, I finally got up to the table and said, "Hello, Dave."

"Hello, Scotty." - (my name was on a post-it in the book)

"Just wanted to say that I really like your music. I've been listening to you guys and thrash metal in general for twenty-two years."

At this point, Dave stopped signing and thought for a moment before saying: "Twenty-two years. That's a long time, man."

I smiled. "Yes. It is."

"Well thanks for your support, Scott. I really appreciate it."

"Sure man. Have a great show."

And that was that. My encounter with Dave Mustaine. It was cool. Later that night, Megadeth put on a good show, and Slayer killed - no pun intended.

At thirty-seven years old, I like lots of different kinds of music. I listen to everything from Johnny Cash to Gwen Stefani to Lagwagon. And I still listen to Thrash Metal. And it's still my favorite.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WGO or 9ML!!!!

So we'll title this one either "What's Going ON?" or "Nine Months Later..." - either one would work.

I see in the last post I was giving a laundry list of reasons why I wasn't blogging more. I suppose I could do that again, or I could just blog.

So what's going on? In the writing world, I continue to work on the final Delving book. Beyond that, well, everything is up in the air. There were a few other projects on deck, though whether or not they'll get written is really something TBD - that's to be determined.

What's happening in the larger writing world is certainly worth commenting on. It seems that Leisure has all but folded. When I first got into the professional writing racket almost a decade ago, Leisure was a company to shoot for. Now I'm hearing via all the author-written obits that the pub wasn't so esteemed behind closed doors. Let me say that they did a decent job of keeping that fact hidden from prying eyes. Wait a minute, before I get a deluge of hate mail, let me clarify something: a lot of my favorite authors have written books that I've loved under the Leisure banner. However, I didn't read everything Leisure put out, and apparently some "critics" have stated that not everything that Leisure put out was noteworthy. I guess you could really say that about any house, however, so perhaps the point is moot.

Everyone is talking about E Readers: "What's the price point going to be?" "Will the Ipad topple the Kindle?" "The conventional book is dead." "The Big Chains will fold because of the ebook."

The funny part is, I've never seen anyone sitting around reading an ebook. Perhaps I just live in an "e" resistant part of the country. Perhaps not.

I listened to a Studio 360 podcast yesterday in which Johnathon Franzen was interviewed. He stated that he thought the stagnation and loss of steam the white house was experiencing over the last six months only confirmed the fear that the country was "ungovernable". I thought that statement was genius.

I watched a Monster Quest program earlier this afternoon about crocodiles, and their return to power. A prehistoric crocodile, essentially the exact same model as the current crocodile, only forty feet long, fed on dinosaurs. When the dinosaurs died out, so did the "super" croc. Now, however, crocs are rising in both population and size again. Interesting program.

Contrary to popular opinion, I'm NOT going to be a Yeti for Halloween. If you think you can guess what I will be, take a shot.

There is a MOOSE on the horizon, and I can't wait to unleash it on you. More on the MOOSE project later.

Apparently I'm in a band again. We've named the outfit "Looking For Two's" and it's a compilation of my old friends, Jed (the Colorado Kid) and Aaron (the Original Duluth Shredder) and Pete, the brains behind the beast. I'm playing bass mostly, but guitar on a few tunes. So far we've got a wedding and two bar gigs booked. Sweet.

This has been fun. I hope you've enjoyed it. Let's do it again, soon.