Wednesday, September 09, 2015

It's Alive

The second book in The Obscured series, City of Demonsis out on Kindle. For you tree-haters in the group, I expect the paperback to be out by the end of the week, so keep an eye out for that, you two. It also means Shallow Veins, the first book, is free until the 13th. Not like free to date or pursue a career, free to read. It's just a sale. This is for four days only, so download now and read at your leisure. As always, you don't need a Kindle to read a Kindle book.

City of Demons took a while to come together, but I think the longer development has been kind to it. Where the first book was Butcher kind of stumbling across this widening mystery, this time around the universe of The Obscured has really begun to expand. Events are set in motion that will have repercussions in future books, and new characters- the ones that make it out alive- will return to cause problems for our heroes.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Salt in the Dark River

I have a new short story up on Inkitt for their 'Darkest Place" horror contest. The first part is here, the rest of it past the link. Make sure to vote for it if you enjoy it.

 The house sat empty at the top of the hill. Its security lights were a beacon in the night, like a lighthouse alone in the mist, warning ships away from the kiss of sharp shores. The closest neighbor was further away than a man could throw a rock, a fact that didn't appear to be a coincidence.

Inside its smooth walls, gray hardwood spread out across an expansive, single floor. The leather furniture decorating the space looked like someone’s idea of a futuristic catcher’s mitt and felt half as cozy, chosen, as was the case for much of the house, for color more than comfort. Doubly so for the tank of tropical fish that shimmered against the far accent wall. Its forty-odd gallons of water sparkled in the dark, cared for by a professional who came out to the house on alternating Tuesdays.

Overhead spotlights clicked to life. They were triggered by the abrupt opening of the heavy front door. A burst of cool air was followed into the house by Douglas, the owner. He shut the door just as quickly as it had swung open, his gray, unblinking eyes flecked with bits of blue.

Three hard clacks and the door was locked. Four beeps and the alarm system was activated.

In the kitchen, Douglas stood at the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of water, drinking it down in one gulp, then did the same with a scotch. He was thirsty and had been for some time. His nerves were on fire and needed extinguishing. After another scotch, this one over ice, he drew the blinds and ran the shower until the mirror couldn't be seen. Then he undressed and stepped in.

Under the hot water, Douglas kneaded his sore neck like a baker working a tough batch of dough. Three days now it had been stiff, three days of limited movement, of waking in the mornings with a cry. The rub helped, but he knew within twenty minutes of getting out of the shower his neck would be back to the way it had been before. A masseuse was in order, he thought to himself, one of those cute girls he always passed by at the gym. The thought alone was enough to relax him.

The little hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood up. He felt the unmistakable presence of a man standing just behind him. He rubbed the water from his eyes to catch the intruder in the act, ready to pounce on him in a commotion of fists. But he was alone in the steamy shower, and though the feeling faded the longer he kept his eyes open, Douglas swore he could feel subtle changes in the direction of the air- shifts so slight they didn't move the shower curtain.

Almost like breathing, yet soundless, and cold.

Ready for bed, Douglas turned off all the lights in the house. As he went from room to room he checked the windows to make sure they were locked properly, noting with some comfort the wires of the house's alarm system. He had settled into a decent state after two large scotches and a hot shower, and he looked forward to a good night's sleep for a change. He crept into the bedroom, slipped between the cool covers and let his eyes close of their own accord.

The house was quiet. Secure. A few odd moments in the shower notwithstanding, Douglas felt the closest to content he could expect. Already the silken kiss of sleep was swallowing him down, like sinking into the warm sap of a thousand, billowing trees.

“Tastes like salt.”

A whisper in his ear. He jolted awake at the man's voice, with it the sensation of breath on his face. A moment later came the loud bang of something hitting his bedroom window from the outside, first the impact, then the shimmy of glass dancing in its frame. It sounded like a fist had pounded at the window. He threw the covers off and jumped out of bed, looked around the room for whoever had whispered to him. Once he was sure he was alone, he yanked the curtains open.

No one. Just his front yard, a hill which sloped down to the empty street, all of it blanketed in yellow-white moonlight. Douglas leaned in close to look under the window. Possibly the trespasser had ducked down and was hiding against the house, tucked in behind the azaleas.

A black bird twitched in the grass. Its wings flapped in erratic rhythms and its legs were two, hardened sticks. Douglas looked for and found a sign that the bird had hit his window- an impression of the animal's shape had been left behind, a fine silhouette rendered in dust, the body at the center and the two feathery wings spread outward. The bird continued to twitch in the grass until the movements slowed, its solid, black eyes finally drained of sight, left to stare unfocused into the sky.

Douglas watched the bird die. Then he returned to bed.

The rest:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shallow Veins is here.

The day has come: Shallow Veins, my fourth book, and the first in a series, is alive. Since announcing it four months ago it's seen a successful Kickstarter campaign, the hiring of an excellent artist by the name of Michael Macrae, and as per normal, multiple edits. The end result is in my opinion the strongest work I've put out to date.

Obviously there's an issue with distance here- not only did I write the thing, I JUST wrote the thing- but as my second harshest critic (top spot went to this guy), I think the book came out really well. It definitely has me excited to continue the series, which is a good thing considering I'm planning to put out two entries per year. This is by far the biggest challenge I've set for myself, but I know that without pushing past our comfort zones we never really grow. A bit like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, except when I push out of my coffee can, I'm not planning to eat anyone.

Not planning to.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Mountain and The City Coming to Audiobook

Thanks to ACX, I can officially say that my first audiobook goes into production starting Monday. Sometime by Christmas you'll be able to listen to The Mountain and The City: The Complete Saga in its entirety.

The book will be voiced by the talented Victoria Smart, @smartvic on Twitter, and if what I've heard so far is any indication, it promises to be a unique and emotional ride, a real performance rather than a simple reading. I'm probably anticipating this project more than anyone else, because I'm looking forward to being able to experience one of my novels without having to look at the actual text, which more than anything becomes a regret-fest: "Why did I put that comma there?" "Did that dialogue really need a character tag?" These are the things that clench my stomach and ruin my afternoon, and if it sounds a little excessive, all I can say is, A) it probably is and B) that's fine, and I hear you, I do, but I can't do anything about it. Audio has a great way of wiping all that aside by making it real. Hearing an actor perform your work is usually equal parts terrifying and exciting, but in the rights hands it can lean joyfully toward the exciting. Thankfully, I found the right hands.

I'll update when there's an update. Until then.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Word Tank

In the months since the saga of The Mountain and The City came to a close by becoming a real, live book, I've been working on some things.

I started off by returning to my film roots with "The Scapegoatist", an unpublished novel I decided would make a better screenplay. A little digging through this blog would turn up some mentions of that story, along with an excerpt of that previously doomed book. Before the paint had dried on that one I jumped into a second screenplay, this one no less dark, yet a change of pace in that it's a period piece. More on that in the future.

The other major project I've been involved with is launching I'll let the press release speak for itself:

New York author Brian Martinez has teamed up with Naples film and literary manager Bruce Barone, Jr. to form a start-up aimed at aspiring writers. Dubbed The Word Tank, they offer a full-service gateway for editing, polishing and selling spec scripts as well as other forms of writing.

Combining the artistic with the commercial, the pair believe they offer what their website refers to as a “unique industry perspective” to the screenwriter who wants to enjoy success yet maintain their artistic edge. In some cases they may even help the project find a home. As a writer himself, Martinez has some insight into the ups and downs of the creative process. “I know what it’s like to have a manuscript locked away in a drawer because it’s not right. I honestly believe everyone has a story in them, but the process of getting it out isn’t always an easy one.”
Barone, CEO of Barone Media Group, a public relations, media and design company, says the project came from both a love of scripts and a hard look at the marketplace. “We realized there were all these script services promising fame and fortune instead of focusing on the writer’s work. We wanted to focus directly on their needs and find a way to take their work to the next step.” Their site even offers editing and formatting services to ensure the end product is as professional looking as possible. Barone adds, “If the work is excellent, the doors will open.”
Much has been said of the difficulties in being picked out of the slush pile, from tired interns to over-saturation of the market. Martinez, no stranger to the perils of authorship, explains. “If someone picks up your story, you have five minutes to impress them, tops. So the question is, what will you do with that five minutes?”
The duo invites writers of all kinds to visit their website,, where their blog offers weekly tips and thoughts on all aspects of writing and selling stories.
The Word Tank was formed in 2013 by Bruce Barone, Jr. of Naples, Florida and Brian Martinez of Long Island, New York. It offers services for beginner and intermediate writers to sharpen their scripts as well as market themselves to potential buyers.