Thursday, July 28, 2011


It's cliche' to start a post by talking about how there hasn't been one in a while, yet one we've all been guilty of. Here's mine.

My excuse is at least is one I can be proud of, and that's that I've been off doing what I do. After Amazon suddenly made "The Mountain and The City" free on Kindle, I had even more reason to push forward on the project I had started, which was to turn that story into a serialized novel. A serial is something I've always wanted to write, having always been interested in stories like that of Great Expectations and the way people were so impatient for the next installment they literally lined up on the docks to wait for the shipment to come off the boat. Serials seemed to die down over the past number of years, but now with the internet and the development of ebooks and email, Twitter, Facebook and all the other methods of communication, as well as condensed time and attention, I feel times have strangely come back around to making sense for the serial.

It seemed to me that this story made perfect material for a serial, and having sudden exposure on Kindle (3,000 downloads so far, still mind-blowing) even furthered that, so I hunkered down and completed Part II, which I'm proud to say is out now on Kindle and Smashwords. Already I've been involved in some interesting conversations about the idea of the serial ebook on Twitter and Goodreads, most especially the always active "Apocalypse Whenever" group, where I'm getting some good feedback.

It's an interesting experiment regardless of what else, and I'm curious to see how it plays out. I'll share anything I learn and I invite everyone to leave suggestions/thoughts/doubts/opinions in the comments. I'm, as always, open to hearing what people think about what I put out there and how I go about it.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Something for Nothing

Big announcement: The Mountain and The City just became a free e-book in Amazon's Kindle Store. Either sometime late last night or early this morning, Amazon dropped the price to zero in order to match how it was being offered through Smashwords and the affiliates they distribute to. I'm not sure when it actually happened, but the book has already hit #403 in Amazon's overall rankings, as well as #19 in the Horror genre and #7 in Short Stories, and is being downloaded more as I watch.

This has really made my morning, and I thank everyone for the support you've given me as well as the new people who are just checking out my stuff. I'm actually writing Part II of The Mountain and The City as we speak (to be fair, I'm writing a blog post about it, but I believe we all accept the parameters of this phrase) and I'm even more excited to finish that and put it out there now that this happened.


Twenty-four hours later, the story has been downloaded over twelve-hundred times and is sitting at #130 in the rankings. I've wanted to crack Amazon's top 100 for a while and this is the closest I've come by a mile or so.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

An Epic Battle in Two Acts

I leave words like slugs leave slime.

On all my computers, on my cell phone, even on old, unlabeled cds, I have files of random text. Open some of my closets and you'll find manila folders bulging with stacks of papers, both hand-written and printed. In drawers you'll come across backs of receipts, corners of flyers, with only a sentence or two on them which by now have lost all context. They're ideas I need to get down before they disappear, or conversations I've had. Or people I've met who struck me as such fully-formed characters I knew I'd write them into something some day. Or dreams.

In one such place I had these: two notes which I left for my wife before leaving the house, which I usually do in a text file on our computer's desktop. Screw you, Post-its. The day before the first note, leading up to a trip to Mexico, I had spotted a spider in the corner of the bathroom when I was getting into the shower, but by the time I had gotten back out it was gone. Worse, it seemed to be colored a deep red.

This is what followed.

Dearest Natalia,

I hesitate to tell you the following, as it will certainly put you into a state of distress, however I believe in my heart that you deserve fair warning in these matters. In short, the bathroom spider exists. Yes, the large arachnid which I did briefly spy upon entering the bathroom those several nights ago, half asleep, torch in hand, is real, and continues to be real and to live. I spotted it just this morning, in the far corner to the left of the mirror, as I sat for my morning rituals. I can confirm only this: that it is large, that it is red (yes, I regret to say, red, as a hemophiliac's nightmare), and that it possesses telepathic abilities. This last detail is the only logical conclusion I can make based on what I witnessed of it, which was nothing less than fully developed psychic power. The incident in question concerned the matter of an immediate response in the bathroom spider to my silent retreival of the tissue which I had planned to form my weapon with. It responded by proceeding directly behind the mirror, out of harm's way, before I could so much as stand let alone deliver the deathblow. I feel I've failed you in no small way by falling short of protecting you from this hellish beast which has violated the security and sanctity of our homestead, but I take solace in the unexpected skill my enemy brandished. I was, after all, outnumbered, at least in the area of legs, by a ratio of eight to two. I've formulated several ideas as to how we can proceed from here to fell the intruder, not the least of which is burning this house to the ground and starting over somewhere the bathroom spider can never find us. Montenegro, perhaps. I regret to be the bearer of such grave news but as I stated previously, I believe you have the right to know the particular danger you find yourself in as you await my return. I wish you good luck and humbly recommend you take caution.

Dutifully yours,
Brian Martinez

Dearest Natalia,

I hope this letter finds you in good health and in high spirits. If they are not, I have news which very well may lift them. I say it with great joy: the bathroom spider is dead. I felled the beast.

The day started in a rather dismal and unassuming manner, as I rose feeling the effects of what is surely a touch of the consumption which has afflicted these parts. Do not worry for my well-being, I have already frequented the apothecary, and he supplied me with several tonics which he assured me would cure the illness. It was in this weakened state that I entered the bathroom this morning, forgetting myself for a moment and ignoring the danger inherent in the room. Quickly the thought struck out at me and I whipped around, scanning the corners, the nooks and crannies the beast is known to inhabit, and surely enough it was there, above the shower, with all of its red eyes trained upon me. I feel comfortable in admitting to you that at first I did not feel up to the task, what with my weakened state and lack of sleep. It was only my thoughts of you that steeled me for the task. I thought of you, sitting alone in the house all day, frightened to enter a room of your own home, and the image angered me so much I put my mind to it, right then and there: it was to be the beast, or me.

I withdrew my weapon of tissue paper and went to the beast where it crouched. I felt not only its eyes upon me but the effects of its mind control which at this point I am most sure it possessed. Its shrilly voice was inside my head, taunting me, confusing me. But I would not lay down so easily. I shall spare you the more gruesome details of our battle, but I will tell you this: I felt as if the Lord Himself guided my hand. My strike was fierce and my aim true, and in the end I stood before the fallen monster and, for just the briefest of seconds, I pitied it. Strange, isn't it, how we can pity the very thing which terrifies us. Such thoughts are useless, I am sure, but there they are regardless.

We are free, my dear. We can go about our lives here in the cottage and raise our family in the knowledge that we are safe. I believe a celebration is called for, even a voyage. I have always wanted to vacation in a more tropical region, perhaps the time has come.

Triumphantly yours,
Brian Martinez