Writing Through Adversity 

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time but I am still alive. I’d like to talk about something that’s been a big part of my life recently. Writing through adversity. 

What keeps you from writing, from focusing on your thoughts and you passion? Mine is right in front of me… 

Yup, you got it. I’m a truck driver traveling the country 6 days out of the week. Everyone has something, or many things keeping them from writing. In this, you have two choices: throw away what’s keeping you bound, or write through it. 

If your kids are keeping you from writing, I’d hardly ask you to remove them from the picture, but find a way to write through it. A writer is not a person who has X number of published books, articles, or blog posts. A writer isn’t a person with a studio and a desk for all their writing endeavors. A writer is a person who writes. So if you call yourself a writer, write. 

Writing through hard times makes you a stronger and more thoughtful person, and a better writer than someone who has no struggle to write. 

What are the struggles you’re writing through? 

She Was, She Is, She Will Be

I am undoubtedly sorry for this because despite my every attempt to be true, fierce, and honest, I as the writer of this short trivial piece, will fail you.

When she came into view and sat down in my car, the feeling that said I was right where I was supposed to be washed in and around me and brought a smile to my heart that only mirrored slightly on my face. I hoped that she felt the same.

I could go on about the specifics of the night but for you, the reader, it doesn’t matter. What I want to tell you is how beautiful she was, how beautiful she is. Even though it’s been some time since I’ve seen her, every strain of thought somehow winds itself back to her.

I could tell you in every cliché how perfect she was. I could say that her imperfections were perfect for me. I loved maybe a subtle scar on her face, or a birthmark. She could have had a tattoo visible above her shoulder that she regretted. And we laughed when she told me the story of how it came to be.

But this has nothing to do with loving imperfections. It has nothing to do with perfections either. It has everything to do with her. What was her, what is her, and what she will be. I thought of everything I don’t know about her. Every moment in her life from the time she crawled on floors to learning to tie a shoe, to learning to drive a car has changed her into who she is now in front of me. Every exchange, conversation and action affected her and made her into who she was underneath. And although this can be said about anyone, even myself, it was her that somehow walked into that place at the exact time that our paths would cross.

They say there are chemicals in your brain that trigger the feelings of love and lust. And I don’t argue that at all, I’m sure it’s all true. But how does that lessen the impact of someone who makes those chemicals rage inside your mind?

I told you at the start that I would fail you as a writer. And true to my word, I have. I’ve set out to describe the one you love. The one I love. The one, maybe, I will love. But songwriters, poets, and artists will always fail trying to pin down love because it’s only when you can understand, explain, and define something, it loses significance and meaning. I can’t explain love, I will never understand it, and I will flail in attempts to define it. We can only give examples in fiction.

But when I look at her, when I was there in her presence, laughing and sharing stories, I’d like to think that for one fleeting moment that passed by so quickly, I saw love. She was, she is, she will be.IMAG0037.jpg

Shadow & Soul For Your Demonic Pleasures

My new book, Shadow & Soul is available to buy now on Amazon! 

But you may be asking yourself, why would I buy some stranger’s book about demons and other carnivalistic things? 

Well I’m glad you asked… 

A monster was born out of a family massacre in 1886. Flash forward to modern times, this monster has set its eyes on a teenage girl, but for a reason that remains to be seen. 

Do you like Insidious, The Conjuring, or Sinister? Wouldn’t you like to read a book that plays on the fear of your own imagination? It’s not what’s in the details, it’s what’s left to your mind’s wandering imagination. 

Yes it’s a sequel to Infernous, but you don’t need to read the first one to understand this one, although it might not be a bad idea to pick that up as well. 

Thanks for reading! 

Shadow & Soul Out Now! 

Scaring Parents With Demons 

What a weekend it was at the Red Lion Street Fair. Accompanied by two other authors, Andy Craven and Ryan Griffin, we sold more books than we ever had before; Ryan sold out of his book. 

But let’s get to parents who hate educating their children and people who hate getting asked what kind of books they like to read… 

One of the first things we’d ask people passing through the fair was what kind of books they like – that or just bellowing “LOCAL AUTHORS, WE WRITE ‘EM, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO READ ‘EM, JUST BUY ‘EM!” 

So moving on, we would ask people, and the responses were a little on the unexpected side. In-between the normal replies, we received some interesting rage. 

One father walked up to his 12ish year old daughter who had been looking at our books and yelled, “No more books in the house!” It wasn’t lighthearted, it wasn’t joking, the guy was pissed. Yanks his daughter’s arm away, and they’re gone. I just had to look at Andy and Ryan and we all kind of simultaneously asked each other, “what just happened?” 

I could see this reaction, even if it was extreme to a video game or something. But a book?? When I have a kid, if they want a book, I’m getting them a damn book because I don’t want my kid to hate reading and never read one book after school is out. 

So we moved on… And asked more people the all important question. We were told what we could do to ourselves when we asked certain people, and we replied that we had that genre, we made people laugh and smile. 

A surprising amount of people yelled at us with animosity that they couldn’t read, as if we were mocking them. So we just went on, selling books, and I was scaring parents. 

My banner was undoubtedly working, a giant 5 foot of the demon Beleth from my Infernous trilogy. Teenagers held my book in front of their parents asking if they could get it, and the very second they gazed upon the demonic horror, they blurted, “No! Put that back!” 

It was amusing, but thankfully the banner drew in more sales than it lost. 

It was a great time, Andy took to the street and began selling the idea of a book to people in a carnie type way… 

Thanks for reading 

Why Catfish & The Bottlemen Might Be The Best Band In A Long, Long Time

Go back two years with me to 2014. A strangely named band emerges from seemingly out of nowhere with a humorous album artwork. Their name: Catfish And The Bottlemen. With such a title, what would they sound like?

Their debut album The Balcony released a long 7 years after the band originally formed and caused waves among music listeners. This isn’t an article about a band who didn’t make it but deserved it, it’s an article on a band that made it and stayed there – all deservedly so.

The Balcony had so many singles I thought they had used the entire album up. Each song told a story of love in light-hearted and sometimes funny ways. Every 3-4 minutes the listener is treated upon a mini-movie that lyricist and singer Ryan “Van” McCann has created. The songs are relatable.

Their new album The Ride came out on May 27 and I had my doubts. When a band puts out an incendiary debut effort, the term “sophomore slump” was born for examples like this. At the very least, bands can almost never top it, so it’s disappointing on some level. Well, despite reservations and worries, Catfish have put out something that stands with their debut in a triumphant fashion.

The differences with this album is noticeable mostly with the lyrical content. While there are the same fun songs like “Soundcheck,” “7,” and “Oxygen,” the album features a more angsty mood that triggers a different reaction. The top and prime example of this is “Red.”

As clever as ever with his words, Van sings lines like “Does he take you the Liquid Rooms after work/Just to unwind you but then goes and makes it worse/Can he do what I do for you?/I’ve not stopped thinking this shit since I come away.” The song has an infectious chorus of anger but don’t let it discourage you from listening to it. It still has that “!!” factor that makes Catfish what they are.

The last song is one to remember as well as it’s probably the heaviest we’ve seen from them. In addition, the album closes in the same way their former did – mid beat and cuts out. I’m not sure why they do it, it can be a little frustrating because I feel like we’re missing the latter part of each closing song, but either way – The Outside proves Catfish & The Bottlemen are here to stay and will to continue to produce music that should be the soundtrack of every experience in life.

Check them out,

Zac Zinn

Infernous II: Shadow & Soul

Chapter II of the Infernous trilogy has been delayed just a tad. The reason for this is I’m halfway across the country in school to get my CDL license. You got that right, writer turned trucker.
So the expected release for chapter two has gone from summer to late summer/fall. It may even be better if it’s timed around Halloween.
But rest assured, it’s coming.

image

2 Quick Rules To Writing Horror

f18506018fcd5482f757fc4cd0d3822f

Photo Source

In my research for the Infernous Trilogy, I’ve found two consistent pieces of advice to write the most compelling horror.

  1. Think of a book or a movie that disturbed you the most. I’m not talking about cheap jump scares, but something that unsettled your gut. Maybe it’s just a single picture you found floating around online like the one above, a King novel, or a James Wan film. Either way, likely, it was a relatively vague monster/demon/creature/etc. Here is why over explaining your nemesis can actually be a bad thing.

Detail of the enemy can be your own enemy

All through your writing ventures and your schooling from the age of 6, you’re taught detail detail DETAIL. The more detail the better – so long as it keeps the story line moving. However, this rule has an end in horror writing. Everyone has something that they fear. Whether it’s a memory of their childhood house basement, a scene in a movie, or something that they simply made-up in their head. But – that isn’t someone else’s fear. It’s only yours.

You have a much better chance of scaring the hell out of your readers by painting a vague picture of what your enemy is, but not give away too many details. Maybe your character only sees a silhouette of the beast. Maybe they see it fully, but you just don’t explain it. Why do you do this? Because:

When details end, the reader’s imagination picks up and creates their own worst nightmare.

A side-note as well: When your enemy is unknown, it’s creepier as well. When the reader doesn’t know what the thing in the corner of the room is, it let’s their mind travel to its own darkest depths.

2. Long sentences.Short sentences have their place. But rarely in horror. It’s disjointed. It disrupts the flow. And detail matters. Except when it’s about the nemesis. See?

When you said the scene for each chapter, go crazy with details and long descriptive sentences. Set your rooms, buildings and scenery with such vividness, the reader will see it in their head. Long sentences can suck them into a story.

 

We need more horror writers out there! Comment your thoughts, questions, or details of your latest horror project!

The Hipster Level Is Strong With This One

image

I can’t be the only one who loves records?
There’s something to be said about records, actual records, not MP3’s, not Spotify, not even CDs.
Music has become so immaterial and soulless, not only in quality but how we care for it.
You can’t damage an MP3. You can’t break iTunes, unless you’re some master hacker with a purpose.
The amount of care you have to put into a record can be time consuming but it’s also so worth it.
Think of an album that really means something to you. For me, it’s After The Gold Rush by Neil Young.

image

Do you want to just look at the artwork on a screen and listen to a sub par quality version? Or do you want to hold it in your hands, a fragile piece of art of the highest quality. Do you want to make the music that already meant something to you mean so much more that you have to physically keep it safe.
Drop the needle on a record and listen to music birth to life.

Music Review – Stonerider – Hologram

Score – 4.5 outta 5

Rock ‘n’ roll is coming back, but it won’t be heard on the radio – not yet at least.

One of the bands bringing the blues infused rock back is a hidden gem named Stonerider. The boys in the Georgia based band have evolved from many different types of rock. Coming to the scene in 2008, they released Three Legs Of Trouble, which was a AC/DC – Jet inspired cock rock. Four years later they released the timeless Fountains Left To Wake which rekindled early 70’s – late 60’s rock. It’s classic tone and rock piano let listeners know they weren’t just a group with rock in them. They were a band with deep substance and roots into the soul.

What would they do next? Would they even put out another album? Surviving as an independent band is so difficult.

Another four years later, Hologram is released.

Stonerider has gone from cock rock, to soulful rock, to now, Pink Floyd-esque, organ blairing, vocal harmonizing rock. They’re proving again that whatever they set their minds to, they do it right.

Make no mistake that these guys are a rip off of whoever they are inspired by.

The title song is an awakening to what rock was intended to be. It’s not about sounding as heavy as possible, having tough guy vibes. It’s soul, it’s something you feel inside your chest when you hear that organ or guitar rip around, not for the sake of doing so, but stirring something inside. Drive around open roads in the middle of the night and listen to this album.

Highlight songs are War, Traffic, And Blind Faith, Your Chains, The Great Divide, and Undertow.

They play cock rock better than Jet, early rock to match bands like Kadavar or Horisont, and they released an album unrivaled by modern rock.

I can only hope the world is gifted by another album in the future.

Check this one out on their bandcamp and buy the CD.

Why Can’t We Keep Social Media Fun?

Chances are, the last time you checked your Facebook feed, you saw a bunch of angry posts about today’s issues, politics and just overall frustrating topics. To be completely honest, nobody cares about your tangent about how much you hate Trump or North Carolina.

I’m not saying we should ignore issues, or be ignorant to them. But do you really think ranting on Facebook makes a difference? We’re living in a society where people think standing for an issue is screaming your opinion on Facebook and unfriending anyone who disagrees with you. This is modern society. It’s either what you believe, or the other idea is blasphemy and wrong.

All I want on my newsfeed is funny memes, updates worth reading from friends, and cat pictures. Not, TRUMP SAID THIS! THIS PERSON CANCELED HIS GIG IN NC.

I don’t care, and hopefully, nobody else does. Politics is a shitty topic and will divide people no matter what. So please stop spreading anger and frustration. We all know life sucks and things are getting worse. Rants on Facebook won’t stop that, neither will signing a petition, except, oh, you don’t sign petitions anymore. In today’s world, you type your name and click a button. Way to stand up for what you believe.

Why can’t we keep our newsfeeds happy and fun? The world sucks, why does Facebook have to as well?