Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So, this is the New Year


What a year it has been. Personally, and professionally it's been a year of some stellar highs and some lows. I'll be glad to have 2014 in the rearview. I'm also excited to see what 2015 has in store. On a more positive note these past few weeks have been really fantastic in regards to my novella Ghost Box.

The early reviews have blown me away. It's truly humbling to have strangers showing such a strong connection to your work. It's more than I could have ever hoped for. On Christmas day I ran an experiment and made a thread to promote Ghost Box and to see if I could stir up some interest in it. I'm very happy to report that it was a huge success -- and not from the number of books sold, but that I met a lot of new readers and we chatted on Reddit for most of that morning and afternoon. The conversations ranged from great feedback on my novella, our favorite books, stories we like, giving books as gifts, etc. 


It's been really cool and very unexpected to be engaging with people who like what you're doing. I've also been blown away by just some of the in-depth conversations I've had around the craft of writing and even getting feedback from what readers look for and what draws them to download something. 

I had never considered Reddit as an outlet before, but I'll definitely be looking to use it again.


I have big plans for 2015. I'm presently working on a new project that I hope to tentatively have out in March/April. I'm excited for people to see it.

Also, I'd be remiss not to share likes to a couple interviews I've done for Ghost Box in the past week. First, I spoke with blogger Dawn Napier for her website to chat about my debut novella and writing. That can be found here

And then I sat down with a good friend and fellow writer, Kyle Rader, to talk about inspiration, early beginnings, and all things Ghost Box and writing. You can check out the interview here

I hope everyone has a good start to 2015. Thanks for reading as always and supporting this writing habit of mine.

Till next time...

-Derek-

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Casting Off


Hi there. It's me again. I hope you're doing well. I'm literally waiting for a pizza to arrive at my apartment and figured I'd work on something in the interim. Thanks for indulging me. So, as of late I've been hard at work on a new story. It's an idea I've had for a long time and it's seen many iterations over the years. For whatever reason I was never able to see the bread rise on any of the directions I took on it previously.

This happens to me from time to time. I try to figure out what it is I'm trying to say and what story the characters are trying to tell me. I wasn't able to crack the story until I was driving home one night and the solution just drifted into my head out of no where. I don't think there's anything better than when you finally solve a long standing problem you're having with a given story. 

Because I knew of how many issues I had in the past with this story I really wanted to change up how I worked on it. I wrote in new locations, listened to different music during editing, etc. The biggest change I made was deciding to cast the main characters. A process I had never attempted before, but decided to experiment with.

The idea behind this is to fully visualize who is playing each "role" by using actors to cast each of the parts.

I have to admit it was a lot of fun and definitely added a new energy to the project. It's not an approach I'm sure if I'll use again, but was a fun experiment to help work through some droughts of writer's block. If there's any interest perhaps I'll post my cast list at some point once the story is released. 

Shifting gears for a bit ... I'm part of an anthology that's just been released entitled STORIES ON THE GO and features 101 works of flash fiction from -- you guessed it -- 101 authors. All the stories are quick reads. I definitely recommend checking it out to support indie authors. Also, it's FREE. So there's no reason not to pick it up.

Okay, so there's pizza I have to eat and a movie to watch. 

Till next time ... 

Be excellent to each other.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Unboxing a Ghost

Hello. This is me, Derek Neville again. I'm letting you know that today my novella Ghost Box is live in the Amazon store. It's pretty exciting. It's been amazing watching this little book that could enter the wild. If you read it, I hope you like it. If you hate it, well then, I'm sorry and perhaps I could give you a hug the next time I see you. If you're not into hugs, and why wouldn't you be, but hey, no hard feelings.

Also, for those folks that like print media. I have something for you too. You can purchase the print version as well. It should be available in the store sometime this week. And by store, I mean Amazon. You can't just walk into any store and get this thing, though that would be pretty cool.

To wet your palette (or beak) check out the short videos below of how great the print version came out with a super rad cover design by M.S. Corley.


video

A huge thanks goes out to everyone that pre-ordered the book. That means a lot. Please don't be shy about sharing a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, you name it. Word of mouth keeps this thing alive.

That's all I got.

I hope wherever you are you're doing good.

Till next time...

-Derek Neville-

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ghost Box


Hello! It's been a crazy last couple of months to the say the least. Work and a late fall move have definitely kept me pretty busy. So, outside of a miracle, I'm super excited to finally see my novella Ghost Box enter into the wild. Definitely a lot of blood, sweat and tears, plus a ton of hours went into making this thing be the best it can be. The M.S. Corley cover alone is worth the price of admission.

What's Ghost Box about?

In the summer of '92, a young girl named Isabelle disappears into a vacant building and is never seen again. She becomes another name alongside many others who have vanished when stepping through the building's doors. 

Boyd Dwyer knows a thing about missing people. At least he did when he was a cop, but that was before Morgan died, and before his 'little drinking problem' forced him into an early retirement. Now the only job he can get is the one no one else wants -- protecting a building with a violent and disturbing history. 

It's not so bad until he starts getting phone calls late at night. It seems someone really wants to talk to Boyd and confess something awful. 

Will he answer? 

The book is up for pre-order over on Amazon and will be out December 14th.


A few people have reached out to me asking how they can help. The answer is simple -- word of mouth! Tweet, Share, Instagram, Facebook, Email or send a smoke signal if you read the book and want to let people know about it. Also, a review or two doesn't hurt, but most important is just getting the word out. Click on the book icon above to bring you straight to the Amazon page!

I'll leave you with an excerpt for chapter one. 

I hope you enjoy!



                                                                     -1-
                                                                                
                                                              {1992}

On her second pass down the hill, Isabelle saw that her mother was still talking to the strange man. Where he had come from, she didn’t know. He didn’t live in their neighborhood — Isabelle knew that much. He was slender, with a long neck and a bulbous head almost like a grasshopper. He wore dirty jeans and a leather jacket even though it was ninety and humid. He had his long, dark, wet hair pushed back behind one ear with a cigarette holding it in place. As Isabelle neared, he was leaning over and whispering something into her mother’s ear as the wisps of her hair blew up around his face. He smiled as they seemed to tickle his chin, then reached up, and tenderly pushed them away with a finger. He whispered something else, and her mother laughed so hard she had to cover her mouth as her face flushed. 
Isabelle rode right up onto the curb where the two were standing in Mrs. Baker’s driveway, but her mother wasn’t paying attention. Not even when she squeezed the horn on her bike, which was pink with a white leather seat. Isabelle turned and pedaled back toward the end of the street. She hopped the sidewalk and started down Jasper, the street that connected to her own. Near the end it curved almost like a cul-de-sac, except the outlet road rose upward toward a large building that sat in between the trees. In the crook of the bend was a granite sign that had Lansing High School chiseled into it. She wasn’t supposed to stray this far from her house — the boundary was supposed to be down to the end of her street and back — but her mother hadn’t said a word when Isabelle had first pedaled out of her sight. 
She stood up off her seat as she made her climb up the hill. The gray T-shirt she wore clung to the perspiration on her back. When the road finally flattened out, she glided over the fresh black pavement of the high school parking lot. 
Once she had caught her breath, she doubled back and paused near the top of the hill leading down to the street below. This is what made the climb all worth it. She pedaled twice, and then took her hands off the handlebars as the bike began to catch speed. The momentum built and she rode the descent all the way back to her street. When Mrs. Baker’s driveway came back into view, she squeezed the horn on the bike to announce her arrival. Her mother turned on her heels; she had the look on her face she always got when Isabelle said or did something that embarrassed her, but made her angry, too. It was the same look her mother gave after her fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Newcomb, had called the house wondering why Isabelle hadn’t brought a lunch for three days. 
Isabelle!” her mother said with her hands on her hips and her head cocked to one side. “The parade is coming. Get off the bike, please.”
Strange Man took a drag on his cigarette and gave a chuckle, as if this all amused him somehow. He was squinting over the smoke and staring off down the street toward the oncoming parade, though nothing was visible yet.
“One more loop,” Isabelle said, and began pedaling away.
“Isabelle, I’m serious!” her mother called, but Isabelle was already heading back towards the end of her street. Behind her she could hear the distant sound of the drums from the marching band. At the top of the climb she slowed and used the back of her arm to wipe the sweat from her brow. She’d have to ask her mom about getting a glass of water when she got back. Maybe another loop wasn’t such a good idea after all. Her legs felt like stretched rubber and she didn’t feel much like pedaling anymore.
She let the wheels carry her as she headed toward the breezeway in the front of the building. Her gaze drifted to a figure standing in the vestibule of the front entrance. As soon as Isabelle saw him, her pulse leapt, and she almost lost control of the bike. She steadied herself and went about six feet past the building’s entrance before turning back around toward the breezeway.
The man was still there.
It was difficult to make out his face due to the reflection of the afternoon sun on the glass and the shade from the roof of the breezeway. Isabelle looked away and fixed her eyes on the row of houses she could see from way up on the hill. 
She kept the man just to the corner of her vision. 
The brassy sounds of the marching band were louder now. They would be passing the street for the school soon. The thought crossed her mind that her mother was going to be mad that she was missing the parade. Isabelle didn’t much care. She wanted to be far away from here, at Hoyer Field maybe, having a cookout with her friends Emma and Kaylee, and not watching the fire department toss out stale candy to all her neighbors on the sidewalk. 
When the machine gun precision of the drums grew faint she heard the door to the vestibule unlatch. The man stood there on the walk. He had a young face, though it kind of reminded her of her father’s; at least, her memory of it from the last time she had seen him. Maybe it was the tiny smirk at the corner of the man’s mouth or how he wore his short black hair combed neatly to the side. She thought she had seen her father’s hair that way, but perhaps it was just a memory of looking at a picture.
“Hello,” he said and stuck his hands into the front pockets of his trousers.
Isabelle didn’t reply. She wasn’t sure what to make of the man. Maybe he was a teacher; that was possible, right? Yet, it was the first week of July and school was out. He started towards her, slowly, like he was on a stroll. He kept the smirk on his face.
“Missing the parade,” he said.
“I hate parades.”
The man shrugged, and kicked at some loose gravel on the walk. “I can’t say I’m too big on them myself.”
“Are you a teacher?” she asked. “Don’t you know school’s out?”
He craned his neck to look back at the building and admired it like he was seeing it for the first time. “Oh, so that’s what they’re using it for now, huh? Interesting.” He looked back her way. “I’m not a teacher.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Waiting,” he said. “For you.”
Isabelle felt her balance on the bike waver and she had to plant both feet down on the cement to keep upright. “You were?”
“Yeah,” he said and gestured with his hand. “I saw you pedaling up and around here and then I said to myself, my Isabelle has gotta be thirsty.”
She frowned. “How do you know my name?”
“Why, because you told it to me.”
“No I didn’t.”
“Sure you did. You were thinking in your head that you wanted to tell me your name and I read it there. It’s no big deal. Say, would you like to get a glass of water?”
Isabelle ran a chalky tongue over her dry lips. “My mom said I shouldn’t go with people I don’t know.”
“That’s really good advice. Smart woman, your mom. Maybe we could get to know each other? Look, we already have something in common — we both hate parades.”
“I am kinda thirsty,” Isabelle said.
“I bet you are.”
He crouched down so he was eye level with her, and for the briefest of moments she thought she saw something flicker across the man’s face like when the lights in the house flashed during a storm.  He extended a hand out, palm upwards, and she stared down at it. Isabelle thought about what her mother had said about strangers, but her mother was talking to someone she didn’t know, and she seemed okay. 
Isabelle climbed off the bike and let it fall with a clatter onto the pavement. The man’s palm was cool to the touch as she watched her hand disappear into his and he started to lead her back toward the building.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Oh,” he said. “I’m being rude, aren’t I? I know your name and you don’t even know mine. You can call me Badge. All my friends do.”