Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Post Con-Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015

     Tampa Bay ComicCon was a great time and total success from just about any way I look back on it. We sold out of books, met and created great new fans of The Five as well as enhanced some friendships we already had. The atmosphere in Tampa was great. The people were way more laid back than what I have experienced at other cons especially Mega Con.
     When the doors open in the morning, there is no mad dash but rather a slow saunter in making sure to catch every table of every vendor and artist.
Our table with me not talking

     Forker Media supplied us with a giant 8 foot tall Titainian and plenty of books to sell. The cut out was an eye catcher and people came from all over to check it out. We had two cosplayers tell us they want to try and build the suit for next year. There was also a very energetic man who insisted we make a video game. That would be great. Go ahead.
     There is nothing like meeting people who really enjoy your work to inspire you to move ahead with other projects. While in the process of selling Episode I and II to this guy, another man stepped up and thanked Forrest and I for selling him the book. He said he had started reading it the day before and loved. The man I selling to stared at him and I said, "This is really happening. We did not stage this, this guy is for real."
     Out of it all many lessons were learn, what we will do for the next Con and how we will do it. Best of all were the projects we were inspired to do after the con. I am currently writing three graphic novels and one manuscript. There is lots to do but I'm excited to do it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Focusing on what I am and not the things I am not.

    The title of this post may sound negative or depressing but I assure you it is not. I could go down a philosophical rabbit hole that would leave us chasing our own tails, snared in a morally subjective argument. I am post philosophical queries and see myself in a way ascendant from that. Three lines into it and I'm already tired of talking about this.
    To the point of my post title, I am a writer. I have decided to be one for some time. My success may appear small to some and large to others, again subjective, but I struggle onward to attain a position of comfort. Comfort being, I am my own boss and I seldom keep regular hours. At this present time, I am not. Now we're getting closer to the point I am making. And I say "we" because I am not certain I will ever get to my point.
    Anyway, there are other things I am not as well as a financially secure writer. I am not a motorcyclist. I love them, seldom ride them, and never built one. Yes, I am one of those guys who builds not buys his rides. I saw a bike I really want on Craigslist the other day. It would be a perfect candidate for a brat tracker style build. Oh how I want this bike. Bills, commitments and responsibilities have trumped my moto-card once again. And this brings me to my original point.
    What I want more than to be a motorcyclist, is a writer who does not live by an alarm clock to wake up and go to meetings about meetings then sit in a cube all day. So instead of day dreaming about the wind over my aerodynamic bald head I need to focus on the two graphic novels I have decided to write. Why? Because I am a writer.
    ....more to come on those novels. Read my previous post for sneak peek of one of them.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A little Crime Flash Fiction for you

     I wrote this story a few years ago and had it published in an e-zine that has since gone away. So I will keep it up here. If you enjoyed the story let me know as I am currently working on expanding it.

                                                                  Someone Snitched
                                                                            by H.A.L. Wagner

It did not take long to kill the first three men. With the door kicked in one caught a forty-five to the head. The next thug took a bash across the bridge of his nose and then a hard placed boot heel down on his neck. The third guy wielded a knife that ended shoved up under his sternum. The stomach holds a lot of blood. 

It was the last guy that took longer to die but that was by design.

The stranger took his time with the rising star of the underworld. He would savor every snap and pop of dislocated and broken bones. This last piece of trash, Jarrod Killjoy, would die slow.

The pocket forty-five cracked and caught Jarrod behind the knee blowing it into a crimson mist. Jarrod fell to the ground. He dragged himself towards the door but the stranger stopped him with a vengeful stomp on the blown knee.  

The killer grunted as cartilage and tendons crackled under foot. Jarrod could only gasp short catches of air into lungs that would not fill. Then he whaled in a futile attempt for absolution. The stranger was not granting forgiveness of sins, tonight he was dealing out justice.

“Who are you?” Jarrod demanded to know his executioner, a last request from a sentenced man.

The stranger stepped into the light to show a snarled and seething face. The stranger’s insanity hid his face from Jarrod Killjoy’s recollection. A tightly balled fist hammered across Jarrod’s pale face. The man spit blood and a piece of his cheek to the wood floor.

Jarrod whimpered then forced hard breaths in and out of his lungs to keep from passing out. The stranger enjoyed the man’s willingness to suffer through what was about to come.

“Did the Ramos cartel send you? I haven’t done anything wrong, I swear. This is all some kind of mistake.” Jarrod began to plead. “Who sent you and maybe we can resolve this. I have lots of cash.”

The unidentified man gazed upon his heart’s desire. His eyes grew large with excited ideas. A four inch serrated boot knife gleamed off what little light penetrated into the fourth floor walk up. He crouched holding Jarrod’s left hand tugging on the index finger. The blade sliced into the base of the finger cutting the tendon. Jarrod’s screams only fueled the single-minded torturer urging him to cut more digits on the hand.

 Despite the pain, Jarrod’s need to know who was to kill him took prominence in his frenzied brain. “If you’re working for the Deluca brothers tell them their trucks will be there and loaded with merchandise.”

The Stranger wiped the blade off on Jarrod’s pleated pant leg. He tucked the knife back in the boot.

“Deluca brothers…” Jarrod mumbled under his breath, presuming too much. His left hand was numb except for the pinky that he could feel twitch. The stranger swiveled his head “no”, then stomped on Jarrod’s pinky. When he lifted his boot what was left looked like a string of pink dough. 

Shock set into Jarrod’s body. Shivering he grabbed his left hand at the wrist and cradled it against his chest. With a whimper he said, “I am a very powerful man.”

The strangers grin angered the dying man.

“Listen stranger, I have powerful friends. The mayor and half the city police are on my payroll. You wont get far so go hide back in the hole where you came from you sadistic fuck.” A swift kick in the nuts took the steam out of Jarrod’s building rage.

The stranger thought he might have gone too far too soon, when Jarrod Killjoy slumped over. His pain threshold had exceeded their limits.

Killjoy awoke on the bed. He stared up at a slow turning fan. Lights from the city street flashed below. For less than a second he thought it was a dream until he tried to move. Exposed nerve endings fired pain into his brain brining back the events of the night. The stranger sat in a chair near the door.

“I have money stranger. Lots of it, right here in this apartment. If you just call a doctor I will give you all of it.”

The stranger sat in silence.

“Look there in the top drawer of the dresser. There’s about a grand there and plenty more. What do you say?” Killjoy motioned towards the phone on the dresser.

The stranger rose from the chair and opened the dresser. He took out a stack of wrinkled bills. The screech of a bedside drawer spun the killer on his heels. The mussel flash of a pocket Derringer lit the room and for a frozen second Killjoy had a smile on his face as the stranger dove for the floor.

Jarrod Killjoy began to laugh. He had survived the hands of the torturer and if the stranger was still breathing would inflict some of his own torment. With the hot barrel in his mouth, he grabbed at the sheets with his good hand, dragging him to the edge of the bed. Peering over, Jarrod fanned the barrel searching for a target.

The stranger’s hand shot up clenching Jarrod’s wrist and twisted it back forcing the barrel into the man’s neck. The second shot of the derringer cracked. Flesh and muscle ripped back. Flesh that remained intact singed from the hot powder.

The stranger rose from the floor. His side now brown as blood soaked his shirt.

Jarrod Killjoy leaned back starring up at the slow turning fan, grasping his neck, holding it together in a futile attempt to cling to life.

A raspy gurgle emerged from the dying man, “Who are you stranger?”

The stranger stood over him, looking into wide, ever darkening eyes. He opened his mouth to reveal a mangle piece of meat that was once a tongue.

A half grin wrinkled Jarrod’s face. “It’s you…the snitch.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book trailers from Bald Bros Studio

Hi folks,

    Check out the awesome work from our collaboration with Bald Bros. Studio on creating book trailers for a couple of my titles. It has been so much fun working with them to develop the scripts and story boards to make these videos. Seeing the characters I created come to life or at least two dimensional is truly amazing to me. There are more to come, but enjoy what has been done.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Its 5 AM and I've been up since 4

     Sometimes it is nice to wake up in the middle of the night and see that text message on my phone just waiting for me to respond. "I miss U" she last sent to me, but that was a week ago. Since then the phone has been silent in the middle of the night. The only texts that come through are during regular business hours.
      My project development partner was up til 11 pm with me, going back and forth on our script through Adobe Story. "How about this?" a text would come through and another idea would go into production. It is the stuff I live for and the nights I never want to end.
      Now I sit with ideas in my head and it is after 5 AM. Maybe I'll watch the sun rise or take my dog for a hike. Either way I wont be getting any text messages anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rock Bottom or laying on Clean Slate

   Incase anyone was wondering I have a twitter account @localhero117 Any way the other day I posted a tweet ""When you hit rock bottom the only thing you can start with is clean slate" In the past I found rock bottom to be somewhat liberating. It couldn't get worse and up was the only way to go, that was until it got worse and I kept going down.
   How do I know I have hit bottom? Well I won't fall into the trap of saying it can't get worse nor will I look only up. Right now all I do is pace back and forth looking down at the clean slate beneath my feet. Make no mistake, this slate was not cleaned by me nor am I watching it as some kind of positive reminder. No. I am watching it as I pace to make sure it does not shatter, partly due to the fact slate is usually not found too deep down. You can draw your own conclusion on that statement. The thing that you do find at the bottom are clich├ęs and people with lame advice, all things you do not want to hear. They say these things because they care. However, if you hit bottom as tell me, I will not say "You can only go up" or anything of that nature. More than likely you get a shrug out of me and maybe I will buy you a beer, unless you are an alcoholic and that is why you have hit rock bottom.
   Slate is usually found in river beds. And the only thing I remember from Heraclitus is change is constant or something like that. And you can never step into the same river twice. So there it is, a way to look to the positive and look up. Should you find yourself at rock bottom, laying over clean slate you know it is only for a moment in time as it is a constant changing world.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Getting old is hell. So says my 96 year old grandmother. She is right. You think when you are young and face a problem that it, being life, will get easier as you get older. Those problems you faced in your youth do become easier with the choices being more recognizable. However, the problems you face as an adult past your twenties are just as hard to find solutions to as the seemingly easy ones from your youth.
      This holds true for the two characters, John and Luis Solo, in my book The Collectors. In their youth they skipped out on the town that treated them like shit to pursue a more pure life out there, where ever there was located. Out there turned and smacked them in the face sending them back to East Town to where they started. It was good to be home, for the brothers, as they found work and settled into their always falling short lives. The beach community of East Town, filled with high rise casinos, creates a false sense of fortune being one roll of the dice away. And that with just a little more cash, you too can be a whale in a town full of Sharks.
     Well, you can't, not in this town. This town will chew you up spit you out and piss on your corpse. It's not personal, it's not even business, it just is how things are down in the septic vortex that is East Town Florida.
      Sound familiar? Maybe you have been there, maybe you bought salt taffy on the beach and watched the seagulls eat baby turtles. Or a shark bleed a fish until it was nothing but chum.