I like how sometimes we don’t get it right on the first draft of something we’re creating, and then we see the heart of what we meant to say is straddling the track parallel to what we actually have. It makes for an easy fix and it’s uplifting. Anyway, I’m working on the second draft of this novel. It was originally planned to be a simple ghostwriting project for my dad’s best friend, but he’s been adamant he wants to be listed as co-authors. That’s great because I think this novel is going to be very successful. I’ll just have to pay back the ghostwriting fee once it sells so we’re squared away. Simple.
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Anyway, now that I pitched the newsletter, here is the pitch of the novel, which I’ll have tightened up around the time I finish this second draft:
In An Ounce of Mercy Charlie Sullivan is watching his wife battle cancer until he starts dreaming that she wants him to smother her with a pillow and end her misery. He can’t imagine life without her, let alone a mercy killing. Under the guise of needing something to do to keep Alzheimer’s at bay, Charlie writes about the month in their early teens when they first fell in love, and he explores the tragedies they endured that made national news.
And here is the first chapter, when his wife is on her death bed and he’s beginning to write about the horrific things they faced when they were children. And of course it will return to them in the present at the end:
This is going to be the longest love letter you ever received from me, Kayla. I wish I would have written you more of them while I had the chance. But I was a fool then, through all those weeks of that horrific autumn when we were children, through all the years we tried to pick up the pieces following those encounters we shared.
Looking at you now, as used up as you are, and seeing how you still fight, and knowing that you do it for me more than anything, it breaks my goddamn heart. It breaks me entirely, because I want to tell you: Go on, it’s okay to leave your body here, I’ll visit it and tend your grave, and you just make sure to tell God to take good care of you because he’s got himself another angel…
But when I try to move my mouth, to make the words come out, they just won’t.
You remember the fall of 1980? How I celebrated my birthday without my mother for the first time. I had just turned thirteen, and like most children I believed I knew everything because my parents had taught me their own beliefs with such force and verisimilitude. It hurts to know that they were wrong about a lot of things, and it hurts to accept that I couldn’t help them, or save them, or simply be the binding agent that held them both to each other and to this earth.
Even now, all these years later, as I write down our story, Kayla—how we tried to save our families from falling apart, and how we tried to pick up the pieces and put them back together—I’m reminded how helpless I am.
Yet you called me your hero.
You even did it this morning when you were halfway lucid.I hope you come through this. I hope the chemo works. I hope that you will bounce back the way you always have from everything else that would have cracked or destroyed a lesser person.
I have faith in you. You’ve proven yourself a woman of stunning faith, incredible feats, and an endless love you give not only to the world, but also to the people who populate it. It amazes me how even when you’re in incredible pain, you still believe that things will be okay.
I don’t know how you do that.
I have to hurry to get this down, Buttercup, because my memory sometimes slips and Julie tells me that this will be good for me, maybe for us.
Maybe, I can read this to you when it’s finished and you can correct all of the things I’ve gotten wrong. That gives me hope that you’ll still be here; life can’t be so cruel as to take you before our story is told.
But you know what I dreamt about last night? You told me you didn’t want to suffer anymore. And you asked me if I remembered the ending to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. You had tears in your eyes and in the blackness of your iris I could see the ending of the film, how the big Indian smothered Jack Nicholson’s character with a pillow because old Jack had been a man full of living until the end, when he was comatose and helpless in bed, so drugged up he might as well have been dead. And the big Indian smothered him with that damn pillow.
In my dream, you said, It was like an ounce of mercy.
But all I could do was shake my head, and say, I can’t.
And you whispered, You can…
I can still hearing you saying it now, so loudly at times. It makes me want to hold the damn pillow over my own head. Hearing your broken voice makes it so I never want to dream again. I just want to enjoy every moment I can with you because it was a warm fall season that brought us together, and I’m afraid it’s this warm fall season that will tear us apart.
You were strong like my mother, you know. Maybe stronger. When I look at the letters she had written me before I even had the ability to read, and those you wrote as well after she was gone, it’s sometimes confusing because you two are so much alike. Despite all that happened back then, all we tried to understand, and in all the ways we failed since we had been only children, you inspired me.
Very excited to share that I sold my Crime novel A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS. I can’t share any details with you yet, but find that little Subscribe box on the side there and sign up to stay in the loop once the novel’s cover, jacket copy, etc., are revealed! As of right now it’s scheduled for an August 2014 release. The date could change, but it might also remain the same. Either way, I’m excited. A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS is a rip-roaring romp with a surprising amount of heart. I can’t wait until everybody has the opportunity to read it!
It’s a beautiful (and cold!) Sunday morning. I hope you all have an amazing day! I’m usually not torn between which book to write next, but I just started another novel (and I’m editing two other novels to pitch to my agent), but anyway, my brain is wired with faith in the impact all of these pen-named novels will have when Chip sells them and they’re published.
I woke early (2 am) because I had a dream that startled me with its vividness. I’ve been thinking a lot about the next Julian Vaughn novel and I haven’t been certain how to start it. But that’s the beauty of dreams and letting our subconscious have its way with us. Here’s the opening I just saw in my dream, I’ll save the rest of what I saw for when I start writing the manuscript (let me know what you think!)
For the longest time I thought the worst night of my life was when the three O’Connell brothers nailed my dad to a tree.
Looking back, it seems that what I’m about to tell you began that bloody evening, when I was twelve, and that the miracles which followed were birthed by adversity and grief; not only my own and my families, but possibly that of all the world. My ears bled from the roar of it and when I woke in the hospital I learned I’d been struck deaf, and later, after the fear and the blackouts passed, I learned the fate of my father.
It was five years later, at the open house following my graduation, when the first miracle manifested itself in physical form and changed the world.
From now until just after Halloween you can get my novel Gossamer: A Story of Love and Tragedy for 99 cents! Grab it for Kindle here, or grab it in another format here.
“Gossamer” is a mythical, almost philosophical book that strips the reader naked and forces us to challenge our assumptions about love with passages that will touch you in places inside yourself you forgot exist. – Anita Siraki/HellNotes
Lee takes the unlovely parts of real life and sets it in a setting so deliciously bizarre that you think you’re simply reading a story, when in fact you’re listening to a man sitting across from you and telling you all about pain. – Mercedes Yardley/Shock Totem
“10 out of 10 Stars… GOSSAMER: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY will blow you away my friends. It is that good.” — Peter Schwotzer/Famous Monsters of Filmland.
An ancient witch, Dorothy Good, has lost everything to the vampire who has blown in on the hot desert wind and lain waste to her soul and her town. When a young family arrives at the end of a two week battle, she sees a chance to end the bloodshed and possibly regain a portion of what was stolen.
But they’re heavily outnumbered and night is falling…
Those who know me know that I love Mercedes M. Yardley. I think she’s special, and a beautiful person, and incredibly talented. A lot of authors become blurb whores, but I’ve only given two (one to Les Edgerton for his awesome novella The Rapist, and the other to Mercedes), because I think they’re two of the most gifted writers I know, writers that I wish I could write like. But I can’t, so fuck it.
Check out M’s latest podcast interview, which also includes a great sample of her reading from her novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu. This woman is going to be a big deal soon. Trust me, I have good taste and a natural intuition.
It’s so easy for a writer to just sit in front of their laptop and never get outside and do something. And you know what happens? We become a lazy, sedentary fat ass… (Below you’ll see how I get off my fat ass)
One year goes by, and then the next, and our waistline keeps getting more disgusting, and it becomes harder to do things that were nothing to us before we started writing full-time. I deal with this to a degree, mostly because I drink every day, sometimes a lot, and it all adds up, and if it wasn’t for going out and doing some side work a few times a month, grueling work actually, and if it wasn’t for shadowboxing, I’d be even more angry with myself than I am. And the beautiful thing about an aggressive exercise like boxing is that you get to let go of that anger. It’s therapeutic, trust me.
I’ve gained twenty five pounds from drinking in the last year. To me, and my family, and friends I’ve grown up with I’m starting to look like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I’ve always been in great shape. I want to get back to that . And it doesn’t take a lot of effort, although the more we let ourselves go, the harder it’s going to be. I’ve started shadowboxing, and look forward to buying a heavy bag to beat on since I’ve done tons of exercises and I have never found a better activity. Shadowboxing is easy. You’re just throwing punches, hard ones, and you learn to throw combinations, and you do one minute sets, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it’ll tax your air intake and get you buzzing, and how quickly your shoulders and core are feeling it. Take some lessons if you have to. A few weeks with a proper trainer will help you get in the best shape of your life. Plus you can use the concepts you learn shadowboxing/boxing in your stories. There are principles that you can carry over to improve your writing even as you get back in shape. I won’t tell you what they are because I think discovering things for ourselves is the best teacher.
I come from a background in music and boxing/martial arts. From decades of doing what I love, things that were there for me long before writing, I still believe that beating on a heavy bag is THE best exercise there is. And heavy bags are cheap, and they pay off if you use them. Before you get a heavy bag to get in shape, the best thing you can do is what I’ve always done (with music, with fighting, with writing) and that’s to mimic those you really admire. To be honest, I’m sick of being fat, but I love drinking and eating and don’t want to quit/moderate either of them, but it doesn’t take a lot of boxing work–an hour a day probably for most people, keeping their heart rate up for most of that time–to feel better about themselves and to shed the fat they’ve been accumulating since they’ve started staring at a computer screen twenty, or more, hours a week. You can get back in shape. I’m going to. Join me. It’s so easy for us to let ourselves go. It’s up to us, just like it is with writing or parenting or whatever, to DO something about it.
Received a sweet review from the wonderful and talented Mercedes Yardley over at Shock Totem. She reviewed my novel Gossamer: A Story of Love and Tragedy. Neat. You can read the review here. I love Shock Totem, and M is terrific and one of the most beautiful and gifted people I know.
Also saw that her latest novella (Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu) has been reviewed by my bud A.E. Siraki over on Hellnotes. Check it out here.
I haven’t been online much because I’ve been super busy. Those who know me know that I’m a workaholic, even though it appears to those close to me that I’m never doing anything but watching my favorite shows and drinking and playing guitar and reading. I am way behind on everything, especially emails. I just can’t keep up. As soon as I can find an assistant I’m going to hire one, and will be changing my contact email address. I’ve been tempted to make a Q & A on Goodreads so I can direct all correspondence there, but not everybody is on Goodreads, and I wouldn’t be able to guarantee I’d be on there every day to answer questions and thank people every day anyway. But know this: I appreciate you taking the time to buy my work, read it, talk about it, review it, and everything else you do. Seriously, I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for editors, pre-readers, proof readers, and readers in general.
I’m a writing maniac and can’t reply to everybody in a timely manner, so suck it up if you’re annoyed, but remember that you were heard (Hell, I read everything that’s sent to me, but I don’t want to spend six hours a day replying to messages from ten different places like Yahoo, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter, text, etc, etc..). That’s the gist of it.
Here’s what I have going on…
I have six novels to sell. Phew. That’s crazy. Six novels!
I have The Lesser People by Thomas Morgan (one of my pen-names) that my agent has on sub with some awesome publishers right now. I’m very excited about that because I want to reach thousands of people and any writer who says they don’t want that is probably a liar. We want to reach as many people as we possibly can; I have another pen-named novel (Earthly Things by Julian Vaughn) that will be under sub by my agent soon as well; then there’s another novel under submission with my Horror/Thriller publisher Darkfuse; I’m also working on my first ghostwritten project, Muddy Waters, that I’ll be finished writing the first draft of soon, and I’m very excited about! Then there is the second Thomas Morgan novel, A Savage Autumn, that I need to edit and send to my pre-readers still, as soon as I finish this ghostwriting project; and I have one that I plan to self-publish from my Division Mythos, The Collected Songs of Sonnelion, before Christmas but need to pay for the cover work from Dani Serra, and build up some buzz about it.
I have an audiobook in production.
I’m also thinking about eight other novels I want to write. Jesus Christ. I’m probably going to die young, but you know what? I did what I wanted to do and I think that it’s brought me a lot of satisfaction and I don’t have to worry about regretting anything.
Oh, I’m also working on a neat idea with my brother, who is an amazing sculptor and artist, for a children’s picture book series that I think could be something truly special.
There are other things going on in my family and personal life too. You just get the tip of the iceberg.
Anyway, I hope everybody is chasing their dreams down and embracing that you can succeed if you have the drive and the talent and the determination to reach your goals.
Next month I’ll be in New York for The World Mystery Convention (Bouchercon)! Last year I had a blast meeting Les Edgerton, John Connolly, Michael Koryta, Michael Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip), Sabrina Callahan from Little, Brown & Co., Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Clair Lamb, and a bunch of other people. The panels were great too and I learned a lot.
This year though I get to take part! I will be on the panel: Worse Comes to Worst (Tragedy as Entertainment), with fellow scribblers Joe Clifford, Johnny Shaw, Nik Korpon, and Vincent Zandri. Our panel will be moderated by Art Taylor.
Awesome. All of my work centers on tragedy.
My best friend and fellow writer, Shaun Ryan, is going, and I’ll get to hang out with Les Edgerton, who is an awesome writer, as well as the very cool writing duo of Michael Stanley (creator of the Detective Kubu series, which I thoroughly enjoy!)
I’ll also get the chance to meet some of my favorite writers again! I see Megan Abbott, Joe Lansdale, Lawrence Block, and a number of others will be there!
It’s a great time. I’ll post pics in a few weeks when I attend the conference! I hope everybody is well!
Here’s a cover reveal of my buddy Mercedes Yardley’s novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, published by Ragnarok Publications, cover by George Contronis. Really looking forward to reading this! Mercedes is crazy talented.
Her mama always said she was special.
His daddy called him a demon.
But even monsters can fall in love.
Montessa Tovar is walking home alone when she is abducted by Lu, a serial killer with unusual talents and a grudge against the world. But in time, the victim becomes the executioner as Apocalyptic Montessa and her doomed lover Nuclear Lulu crisscross the country in a bloody firestorm of revenge.
“Gossamer” is a mythical, almost philosophical book that strips the reader naked and forces us to challenge our assumptions about love with passages that will touch you in places inside yourself you forgot exist. - Anita Siraki/HellNotes
Lee takes the unlovely parts of real life and sets it in a setting so deliciously bizarre that you think you’re simply reading a story, when in fact you’re listening to a man sitting across from you and telling you all about pain. - Mercedes Yardley/Shock Totem
"10 out of 10 Stars... GOSSAMER: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY will blow you away my friends. It is that good." -- Peter Schwotzer/Famous Monsters of Filmland.
"WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL is as crazy as its tormented protagonist. Hard as nails." -- Jack Ketchum, author of The Woman.
"Lee Thompson knows his horror-noir. He fuses both genres together in the turmoil of terror, tragedy, blood, guilt, and lost chances at redemption."--Tom Piccirilli, author of THE LAST KIND WORDS
"The Dampness Of Mourning is taut, tough, and terrifying..." -- Brian Hodge, author of Picking The Bones
“The Dampness of Mourning is a riveting thriller." --Midwest Book Review
"Thompson’s voice is his own — strong, hypnotic, and unsettling--grabs you by the balls and rips them right off, breaking your heart and your psyche in the process.” -- Brian Keene, author of Ghoul, Dark Hollow and The Rising
"Brooding, soulful, haunted." -- Robert Dunbar, author of Willy and Martyrs & Monsters