Friday, August 11, 2017

Reflections on proofing the Sin and Nicki Box Set

I published Sin Walks Into The Desert, Regret Things and To Guns as a Kindle box set this weekend. Mostly, this is just a marketing thing. (My Owl and Raccoon box set easily outsells the individual books in that series.) But it's also because I want more readers to make it through to To Guns, which is one of my favorite books.

I did the due diligence of proofing the whole series, and it was a frustrating and illuminating experience. Sin Walks Into The Desert is undeniably a niche book. I get that. Sin is sulky and obsessed with guns and the language of the book follows his lead. Still, with all the awards the damn thing has won, I feel like it should be a best-seller. Some of the scenes - like the conversation between Sin and Sandy in the diner after Sin pulls a gun at school - are just fucking great.

Regret Things was a much more frustrating read. Some of my more creative friends say it's the best thing I've ever written. And there are places they're right. The dialogue between Nicki and Ryan before she asks him to help with her heist? Fucking brilliant. The spiraling trip through bohemian New York? Hell, yeah. But the pages read like a mashup of scenes, not a novel. And too much time is spent with Nicki's illicit lover, Grant. He was the inspiration for the book, and therefore the whole series. But now I look back and worry that he sucks all the oxygen out of Nicki's story. And his nonstop leering feels eye-rollingly adolescent. I wish I'd culled his airtime back.

So I'm not surprised To Guns has been a flop. To enjoy it, you really need to have read both of the prior books. But I can't imagine there are many people out there who'd tolerate both a raw neo-Western and a casserole of bohemian excess. That's a huge regret of mine. To Guns' descriptions of the Colorado mountains, its shootouts, and its scene between Nicki, Sin and their underage bartender are all so, so good.

I hope this box set will finally get To Guns the audience it deserves.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Baby Monitor comes to YouTube

The entire first (and only) season of The Baby Monitor: A Podcast of Family Horrors is now streaming on YouTube. You can sit back and listen back to the whole thing in sequence right here:


Friday, July 21, 2017

Two songs from The Optimism Delivers House Band

I'm a decent guitarist and a good poet, but I've never been able to write a song. That's something I really wanted to accomplish. So awhile back, I decided I wouldn't start any new personal projects until I'd completed a piece of original music.

The results are "Stanzas From Sober Poets" and "Devil in the Margins," which I published on Soundcloud today.

I finished writing these songs about six weeks ago. I made demos on GarageBand and sent them to my friend Jeff of Of Heaven and Sea. He generously agreed to record and mix them for me. He also gave me tons of advice along the way, and I owe him a huge debt I'll probably pay in bourbon.

The two songs tell a single story, so we mixed them together as one track, a la the Beatles's "A Day In The Life." If you're an indie music fan, you may be able to hear other influences like Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Keaton Henson, Jason Molina, Broken Social Scene, La Dispute and the Cure.

Together, the songs tell a story about a modern couple and their encounter with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. In the first song, two teens meet at a summer camp near the Gulf of La Spezia. The ghost of Shelley seduces them out into the water to search for the spot where he drowned. When the ghost suddenly disappears, he leaves the young lovers adrift metaphorically and literally. The betrayal sucks all the romance out of their hearts. In the second song, the man, now older, realizes the moral of Shelley's life lies not in his writings, but in his actions. He thinks about the psychopathic tricks and devilish sketches Shelley indulged in as a child. In the end, the man decides Shelley's poetry was only a distraction from the decay that defines adult life.

So yeah, it's not a real cheery piece of music. And I know I'm not going to win The Voice anytime soon. But I hope you enjoy it anyway. In addition to Soundcloud, you can stream it on YouTube.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I just published The Perfume All At Once: A Sever Short Story

I have written a bunch of short stories. Some I send to my email list. Some I throw in the trash. Today I published a Kindle version of one on Amazon. It's called "The Perfume All At Once" and it's free from July 17 to July 19.

This story began in the very best way. I wrote a sentence, which led naturally to another and another and so on until I was done. It sat in a folder on my computer for several months, but I have never wanted to rewrite it. It came out almost perfectly.

I published "The Perfume All At Once" partially because it features some of the bit characters from Sever, and I thought fans of that horror novella might want to explore its extended universe. But mostly I published it because I like it and want to share it. It's an unsettling, witchy high school tale. But, like Sever, it's very sad - a sort of eulogy for youth. Please check it out.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Come Across Artist Series: New work for the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Here are three videos from a new series we created for the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park with singer-songwriter Covenhoven, fashion designer Mona Lucero, and artist Will Lee-Ashley. The films were shot and edited by the team at Boyte Creative.

If you want the behind-the-scenes scoop, I did a full writeup on the VJ site. You can also check out the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park's Come Across page. Covenhoven's song is for sale now on his website. And Mona's dress and Will's art will be on display at the Bridge all summer long.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Kirkus and IndieReader review The Baby Monitor: A Novella of Family Horrors

I haven't written a lot about The Baby Monitor: A Novella of Family Horrors since the podcast version launched back in January. The book dropped February 28 in print and on Kindle. I ran a new release sale on FKBT. Mentioned it a couple times on Goodreads. And offered it free to my email list.

It's been reviewed on a couple of the indie publishing sites. IndieReader was unequivocal in its praise. "Short, but perfectly formed, The Baby Monitor is a very smart, very human, and very skillfully constructed horror novel... The conclusion is a stroke of genius."

Kirkus Reviews was a little conflicted about my style, but also enjoyed the end. "Ingwalson’s narrative is effective and suspenseful, and while the conclusion at first appears to be a standard, urban legend-style twist, the ending is more complex and satisfying than that... While some readers may feel that the short length leads to a lack of details about the characters and their surroundings, others should enjoy the tight pacing and claustrophobic dynamic."

I find it intriguing, even frustrating, that the number one comment I get is that my novellas are short. Never mind that novellas are short by definition. I read a lot. And I'm often frustrated by how little happens in many novels. And by how many words it takes some authors to convey simple ideas.

The Baby Monitor: A Novella of Family Horrors is a novella by design. It would crack if it was spread over too many pages. On the other hand, I do wonder where my novel is. I'm toying with a couple of ideas for the type of story where the plot deserves 80,000 words.

Someday, I guess. Someday.