Tag Archive for muy mal

Writing: Moving Right Along

It’s been a slow summer for my writing, but there are a few odds and ends worth reporting.

First, for those of you not already aware, Brimstone Turnpike is finally available. For the first time, my name graces the front page of Cemetery Dance‘s website. Bask in the glory while you can. If you’ve ordered from Amazon, however, I have bad news: I was just told Amazon is emailing people and saying the book won’t be available until January. I’m guessing there’s some marketing or distribution snafu in there somewhere, but the book is coming.

Second, CD has released the table of contents for In Laymon’s Terms, the long-awaited tribute anthology to Richard Laymon. In a newsletter distributed today, CD says “At this point, all of the signature sheets for In Laymon’s Terms have been signed (by around 50+ contributors!) and the interior of the book has been proofread several times. We’re waiting on one last contribution from one of the editors and then it’ll be ready to go to the printer!” With luck that means we’ll see it sooner rather than later.

Some of you may have noticed the page link for Wounded Gods has gone poof. This is because the WG title will now be used as the title for a different project under development with a new publisher. Discussions with that publisher got me thinking about the original premise, and I’m thinking that story may work better as a prose piece. It will be shelved for the moment and get a new title when I get back to it.

On a related note, there are developments for Call of the Wild and a third comics project, but it’s way too early to announce anything yet. Stay tuned. Unfortunately, I can tell you that those of you who were waiting for the trade on the Moonstone run of Call of the Wild are going to be out of luck, as there are no plans to do a trade at this time. I will try to have copies available at conventions where I have a table (such as this weekend’s Archon near St Louis), and you may also find it in the boxes at conventions where Moonstone has a booth.

Regarding my novels, work on Powerless continues. I haven’t touched it in a while due to the comics commitments, but I still want to get this baby out there. I will be sending it to my German-language publisher, Otherworld Verlag, as soon as possible, and then I will start submitting it to both mass market and small press houses in the US. I think this one’s a worthy successor to Deadliest of the Species in a way the other two completed (I use that term loosely) novels weren’t, and it’s about time I got a novel back on the market.

Meanwhile, the status of the top secret book I announced sometime back is undetermined. Writing on the novella for the book is on hold for the time being. Best case scenario is this book will be very late. Worst case is it will be canceled, but I feel it will be picked up by another publisher.

Then there’s Muy Mal. Wow, have I dropped the ball on that one. However, given it doesn’t pay the bills and wasn’t showing any future ability to do so, these other projects just had to supercede it. At this point I don’t know what’s in store for the future. I suppose it’s time to speak to John and Weston to see what, if anything, we’re going to do with it.

Hmm. I was feeling pretty good when I started this, but then it’s all non-news and bad news. I can even see a few of you coming to lynch me right now. I think a distraction is in order.

Look! A booth babe!

Can you tell me more about the boobies -- er, movie?

Can you tell me more about your boobies -- er, the movie?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Wiz World's Number One Question, Unanswered

As I wandered the con floor talking to people, by far the most often asked question was “What are you working on?” Looking back, I’m not sure I gave any of them the same answer.

Just how do I answer that when my productivity is in the shitter?

On the up side, the publisher meeting on Friday went well. On the down side, I’m still sans artiste and don’t see that changing any time soon unless I am able to cough up a page rate (which, sadly, I am not). I did get two pitches to the publisher in time, but with the artist situation being what it is, at least one of those pitches may become a prose project.

Then it’s a matter of cramming that prose project into my others. I’ve got a book sold to a good small press publisher, but he’s dealing with some family matters and there’s no telling when the book will be out. Top Secret Novella is also slated to go his way, but I’ve struck it several times and have yet to report any real progress on it.

Das Tödliche Geschlecht has been released on an unsuspecting German market, and I’ve been interviewed for a major German horror magazine called Virus. The publisher has already asked to see my next novel, and based on my present experience with them, I intend to deliver. (If only the English-speaking world were so interested in my work…) This bumps Powerless up a notch on the priority list.

Not to mention I could also sell Powerless to the aforementioned small press publisher. He’s called the upcoming book the first of many we’ll be doing together, which would make me very happy. The artwork on the first book is terrific, and I know he puts out a solid package that could later help lead to a mass market sale.

And oh yes, I still have Muy Mal hanging in the breeze, The Malice Engine outline to turn into either a graphic novel or novel, and two novels that I’m convinced are pieces of shit but could possibly be hammered into something useful.

So, what am I working on? Good question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Productivity Update

I get asked once or twice a week how things are going with my writing, and given it’s been a while since I’ve talked about things here, I thought I’d save a few emails this week. These are the most active and/or most asked about projects.

POWERLESS

I’m proofreading the existing material, which is about eight chapters long. There’s a lot of clean-up to be done, but not as many changes as I feared. About a thousand words will be excised completely, and then I’ll fill a gap back in and continue on with the rest of the book. I’m pondering a prologue as well.

The good news here is I have a publisher eager to see it. The bad news is it’s my German publisher, so my English-reading fans may have to wait a while. The middle news is I’ve got a project in the works with a US small press and, once things settle, he may be willing to take a look Powerless. That other project is still under wraps for the time being.

TO CONFRONT THE ENEMY/TO RISE FROM THE ASHES

The first draft of To Confront the Enemy is finished and one of my early readers responded with positive marks. To Rise from the Ashes is plotted but has not been started. Both are novella-length and I do have a publisher I want to send a complete package to. However, these have been back-burnered because I need to finish Top Secret Novella for the small press publisher mentioned above.

TOP SECRET NOVELLA

There’s not much I can tell you at this point, other than it needs to be finished before the Top Secret Book it is part of can be published. The publisher’s working through a few things which buys me some time (which is fortunate for my schedule), but I don’t want to keep him hanging much longer. This should have been done a long time ago.

MUY MAL

Poor, neglected Muy Mal. The sad fact is the pay projects have to be a priority, especially with at least one of those projects already under contract. No way I’ll finish by our June suspension date, but I’ll just leave it open until I can get the story of Troy and Delilah finished.

WEREWOLVES: CALL OF THE WILD

There are currently no plans to continue Call of the Wild in its current form, much as I would like to. I’ve been invited to contribute stories about the characters (including a few you haven’t met yet) in anthologies, but it’s just not feasible to continue the series. I’m feeling a lot of possibilities for the characters, though, and I have at least three more arcs in mind, so I’ve talked to someone about another possibility. Stay tuned for updates.

WOUNDED GODS

Wounded Gods is, in a sense, sold. It has a 90% chance of seeing print, though not quite in the same format originally intended. Unfortunately there’s not a lot I can tell you at this point, but there’s definite interest from a third party in seeing this sucker in print. As with Call of the Wild, stay tuned.

OTHER COMICS WORK

Another common question is “when is your next comic coming out?” Good question. I’ve got yet another project in the deep planning stages, and there’s interest in it as well. I’m glad to see a lot of people enjoyed Call of the Wild enough to keep chasing my work, but at the moment there’s not a lot to report.

OTHER PROSE WORK

As I type this, I was invited to contribute a short story to an anthology. I’m sure I’ll be taking the editor up on their invitation, but at the moment I’m exhausted and will crash out when this post is posted.

OVERDUE BOOKS

Yes, both In Laymon’s Terms and Brimstone Turnpike are very, very late. No, I don’t have any idea when they’ll actually see print.

SHORT STORY COLLECTION

It is to laugh. I’m flattered at the thought, but honestly, I’m not sure enough of my back catalog warrants a collection. I’d probably want to write all new stuff – or at least half new stuff – and I just don’t have the time to make that commitment right now. The closest to this will be the reprinting of “To Fight With Monsters” and To Travel Among Men with the aforementioned To Confront the Enemy and To Rise from the Ashes.

I think that about covers it. As always, thanks for the interest, it’s greatly appreciated it. Now I just need to get my sorry ass to work and live up to some of the expectations.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Setbacks

No, I haven’t forgotten about the Muy Mal relaunch. Have I neglected it? Hrm. Kind of hard to argue with that one.

I’ve been working on a novella instead. One that needs to be done pretty quick, or a publisher may start losing patience with me. I was getting up a good head of steam on it, too, and had a self-imposed deadline for today. Well, yesterday, anyway; it’s after midnight as I type this.

Then I did something stupid.

I wiped out the whole freakin’ thing. That’s right, all gone, back to a blank page. A few weeks’ worth of work right into the crapper.

It occurred to me that the story would work a lot better if I took two characters and changed their genders and motivations, which in turn altered some of the events of the story. It didn’t help that I feared the story got off to a weak start as written, so I saw no sense in keeping that, either.

So boom, back to square one.

While this does set things back a bit, I think it will be better for this story in the long run. I’d rather get it right than deliver crap to the publisher. I’d rather you buy the book and think “Wow, that was great!” than say “Christ, what a rip-off!”

And if I could be downright mercenary, I’d rather put my effort into something that pays than a fun Internet experiment (i.e., Muy Mal). I still want to finish Troy Romano’s story in Down Vendetta Road, but it has to take a back seat to this baby for a number of reasons. I hope you’ll understand.

Now the question is do I stay up and hack on the revised novella some more, or should I go to bed and get some rest for the day job? Argh. I’m predicting some late nights come Spring Break next week.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Bad Moon Bundle

Bad Moon Books is offering Restore from Backup in the Bad Moon Bundle, a collection of their first six publications being offered for $95.00.

If you’re a Muy Mal fan and read John Urbancik‘s work over there, you should know that the Bad Moon Bundle includes two novellas by John, “House of Shadow & Ash” and “Wings of the Butterfly”.

Good stuff, Maynard.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

New DVR Live At Last

I finally got around to posting the latest episode of Down Vendetta Road to Muy Mal from the road this morning. You can find episode 10, “Conversation Starter”, right here.

It’s a good thing my wife let me write in the car, or this might have been delayed until next week. I’m looking forward to things settling down soon, so I can get some consistency rolling for the next few episodes.

Look for episode 11 by the end of the month.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

2008: The Year to Come

It’s been an interesting start to the year already, but there’s a lot on the horizon.

For starters, Muy Mal is officially back, complete with a rockin’ new look provided by Russ Dickerson. John and Weston have already posted their first contributions and mine won’t be far behind. I’ll be wrapping up Down Vendetta Road and sometime this Spring I’ll tackle the next volume of Bastard Precinct. Our plan is to tie up all the loose ends on the site by June.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got two book releases due. The German edition of Deadliest of the Species, Das Tödliche Geschlecht, will be released soon, and I’m writing a novella to go on the back of a second book that I’ll be able to announce soon.

I’ve signed the signature sheets for both In Laymon’s Terms and Brimstone Turnpike, so we should finally see them on the market. It’s been so long for both of them that I’m a little worried they will no longer be representative of my current writing style (especially In Laymon’s Terms), but that’s just part of the business. I dug around, and it turns out I was hoping to see the release of both books at least three years ago. Argh. ILT contains a short story and Brimstone has a novella.

I actually made progress on the To Fight With Monsters front, completing To Confront the Enemy over the fall. To Rise from the Ashes is next, and the whole package will go to a publisher as soon as possible.

There’s a spark of interest in Powerless, which I’ve decided will be my next novel. I’ve written two other novels since Deadliest, but I’m really not happy with either and they’d just about have to be rewritten from the ground up. Given I’m more excited about Powerless and it needs the same amount of work, I may as well pour my concentration into it. At the moment, all I’ve written on it so far is printed and waiting for me to edit and reintroduce myself to. There’s at least one chapter that will be excised, one that will be chopped in half, and then I need to tweak the location and geography throughout.

Last week I sat down with a publisher and discussed several things. It’s too early to announce anything, but we had a great conversation and we’ll be getting together again soon. Our conversation includes Wounded Gods and at least one other project which I’ll slap with the working title The Shattered Man. I’m excited about the direction we’re headed in, and if it continues I’ll be talking a lot more about these projects soon.

That’s only the projects already lined up, of course. The next step is to build toward the future, to put together some more sales and make sure 2009 will look as promising as 2008 does.

On a personal note, I’ll be continuing my karate training. If I work hard, I could (and should) be a purple belt by the end of the year, which is two ranks from my current blue belt. I’m also going to try to attend more kendo classes at my school, and I may even explore aikido in the fall if a local community college continues to offer it.

I’ve officially changed the Fatty post category to Fitness. I think losing 30 pounds last year has earned me that much. This year I’m setting a smaller goal to cut 20 more. When the weather warms up, I’m going to try to motivate myself to try the Couch-to-5K-Running Plan. It’s a long shot because I hate running, but I’m realizing it’s the best way to both cut weight and improve cardiovascular health. I’m trying to think of it as a good way to improve my endurance for karate class and sparring matches, too.

I’m going to try — again — to do more with my camera. I consider myself an amateur photographer at best, but I really do enjoy taking and sharing pictures. I’ve still got a lot to learn about digital post-processing, so that’s one of the areas I’ll concentrate on this year. It’s also high time I start saving up for a good DSLR camera and dump my aging, point-and-shoot PowerShot G2. If I get active enough I’ll start a Photography category on this blog.

That about covers it. I’d say it’s more than enough to keep me busy this year, too.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

2007: Year in Review

If someone were to ask me how this year went, my first reaction would be to call it a write-off. Then I got to thinking about it, and it actually hasn’t been so bad after all. Let’s look back, shall we?

I started the year by selling the German rights to Deadliest of the Species to publisher Otherworld Verlag. The book was pitched to retailers this month, and it will see publication early next year under the title Das Tödliche Geschlecht. I followed that up over the summer with another book sale which I’m still asked to keep under my hat.

Restore from Backup, my novella collaboration with JF Gonzalez, was released from Bad Moon Books. The hardcovers sold out on preorder, but you can still get copies of the trade paperback.

Moonstone Books published The Phantom Chronicles, a prose anthology of Phantom tales including my short story “The Servants of Set”. Moonstone is also the publisher of my comic book Werewolves: Call of the Wild.

I received word today that In Delirium II is shipping. This anthology includes a reprint of “Crazy for You” by myself and Brian Keene. This story previously appeared in Crime Spree. The book doesn’t appear to be listed on the Horror Mall yet, but I imagine it will be up for order soon.

Finally, I attended two comic cons — one large and one small — and did signings at two comic shops. I sold enough comics to pay for the trip at the small comic con, and I was well satisfied with the results of the large con and the signings. I also had fun, and probably picked up a few new fans to boot.

I’d like to have accomplished more, of course, but I don’t feel I should be complaining.

In personal news, I joined the Academy of Okinawan Karate in March and started studying Shuri-ryu, a style of karate. I climbed the ranks from white belt through yellow and to blue belt, and I’ve learned a lot of cool things. Between classes and home exercise, I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds and I feel better than I have in years. I’d have to say that’s the best accomplishment of the year. My class and workout schedule may have put a dent in my writing productivity, but I feel like my health improvements will keep me writing for years to come.

I joined an active Flickr photo group called 52 Weeks, where users post a picture a week for a year. I did fine for a while, but the last few months I’ve fallen way behind. I would like to have posted an honest week 1 and week 52 pic right now, but it’ll have to be off a little bit. You can, however, see my contributions so far right here.

Finally, I expanded my computing horizons by picking up a MacBook at work. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about it in the future (and I’m writing this post on it now), but this gets me closer to being a triple threat in desktop computing.

There are a few things I wish I’d accomplished or wish I’d done better, but hey, that’s what next year is for. Overall, I’m content to call 2007 a win.

Onward and upward.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Down Vendetta Road: The Story So Far

The Muy Mal relaunch is imminent! Because I’ve left Down Vendetta Road hanging for so long, I thought it might be a good idea to post a complete collection of the first nine episodes (thanks to Tod for the suggestion). If you’d like to read it, just follow this link:

Down Vendetta Road: The Story So Far

This is a chance for current readers to get caught up again as well as a good jumping-on point for those of you who haven’t read any of the Asphalt & Alchemy tales (or any of the Muy Mal works, for that matter) yet.

While I’m at it, I’d like to give a big thanks to Russ Dickerson, the official artist for Muy Mal. Russ really went out of his way to change the look of the site for the relaunch, and we think he did a fantastic job. Thanks again, Russ! You da man!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Muy Mal to Return on January 1st for a Limited Engagement

Muy Mal, the place for free fiction about very bad things, will return January 1, 2008 for a limited engagement. Originally conceived by authors Weston Ochse, Mike Oliveri and John Urbancik as a shared-world, online fiction universe, Muy Mal exploded through RSS readers and podcast clients on January 1, 2005, providing fans with more than 60,000 words of dark adventure culminating in a spectacular, end-of-the-world event called Cataclysm in February 2006.

Since then each author has been concentrating on other projects. But a convergence of events has generated renewed interest in the stories and characters the authors left in fictional limbo.

“I’ve had a host of comments wondering about Seeker,” says John Urbancik. “The fans loved the character, and frankly, I miss him. It’s time to bring him back and tie up some loose ends.”

“I’ve also received emails asking me about the zombies and saints,” says Weston Ochse, author of the Chronicles of the Black Bishop story arc. “I left a very sympathetic character strapped to a windmill. I think I should figure out a way to get him down, you know?”

Muy Mal (loosely translated as very bad in Spanish) was the brainchild of Mike Oliveri, author of the Asphalt and Alchemy story arc and the webmaster. “Muy Mal began as an experiment in online fiction delivery. Thanks to the power and flexibility of WordPress, the stories are accessible in a familiar, blog-like structure where each new chapter appears at the top of each writer’s section.” Protected under the Creative Commons license, the authors want people to read the stories, download them, copy them, and give them to their neighbors; just as long as they’re read.

So what exactly is Muy Mal? It’s a world very much like our own, similar in time and place, but just about thirty degrees off reality. It is a world in which magic never ceased to exist; a world that is a very bad place. Is it horror? It’s Muy Muy Horror! There might be magic and there might be fantastical creatures, but in the end everything is horror. Oliveri’s work has been described as Sam Spade meets Stephen King. Ochse’s stories have been described as Clive Barker meets Quentin Tarantino. Urbancik’s dark fiction has been described as Clive Cussler meets Neil Gaiman. More than just flattering, these comparisons highlight how horrific the stories are.

“We’ll run until June 1, 2008, then call it quits,” says Oliveri. After that, they have other options. The Muy Mal Triumvirate has been approached by several publishers asking about a future book. El Cazador, part of Ochse’s Chronicles of the Black Bishop, has been looked at as a possible comic book. An independent movie producer has also queried the three about the possibility of a future project.

“So far nothing’s certain other than June 1 will be the end of Muy Mal in its current incarnation,” says Urbancik. “As far as the future goes, we’ve made no promises to anyone. We’ll keep our options open.”

Called ‘an exercise in innovative thinking,’ by Rue Morgue Magazine, all the stories have been archived and are available to read, download, and in some cases, hear. The authors urge readers to take the opportunity to read the back stories at www.muymal.com so they can be ready for the January 1 return.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.