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A toast to new beginnings . . .

Welcome to the Madhouse.

In many ways, this shiny new website you're visiting right now represents a sort of new beginning for me. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time, but kept putting off.

I mean, you're looking at a lot of work here, building a website. A lot of feeling around in the dark, trying to figure out where to start. And while I wouldn't exactly call myself computer illiterate (is that even still a current phrase, in these modern, futuristic days of wireless connectivity and cloud storage?), I'll be the first to admit, I'm about as familiar with most of the technical terms related to computer activity and operation as I am with the languages spoken on Mars and Jupiter. Which is to say not at all.

I know how to use the things, and I can usually find my way around, but as far as how a computer works, or why it sometimes doesn't? No idea.

And so when it occurred to me that it was probably time to finally get a writer's site off the ground, the idea was so intimidating to me that I just sort of pushed it aside. I used all the standard arguments about it, too:

1) Even if I did start a website, there's no guarantee that anyone will even visit it.

2) Doesn't a website offer a sort of faceless presence, something that's cold and neutral and lacks my charming and slightly twisted personality?

3) As a writer, wouldn't my time and energy be better spent actually writing?

That third one is my favorite, by the way. Not only does it offer a valid argument, it also puts things into the sort of perspective any creative person would understand immediately.

It goes something like this:

"Yeah, a website would be great, but I have writing to do."

"Yeah, I understand that making industry contacts and putting together proposals and submissions are all important parts of becoming a successful writer, but right now, damn it, I just want to get some writing done."

Because, truthfully, that's what I'd rather be doing. Getting words down on paper, turning paragraphs into scenes and scenes into chapters and chapters into books. It's what I do and I love to do it.

Finally, though, I had to give in. Because as much as I enjoy being right (and who doesn't, when you get right down to it?), it's not exactly one of the great mysteries of the universe that the creative part of writing is not the full job. The work, once it's done, has to be promoted and made visible, and it has to be made accessible to the reader.

That means some sort of advertising campaign or book tour or huge promotional event, like a blimp with my book cover on it traversing the skies over every major American city for a month or two. But, hey, when you're an independent writer like me, with an advertising budget that is in danger of falling to zero when the ice cream truck rumbles down my street . . . well, you have to find ways to make due.

And one of those ways, of course, is to build a website.

This website.

As it turns out, I'm pretty excited with how it came out. Not just excited, I guess . . . I'm really proud of it. The simple fact that a guy like me ended up building something like this makes me feel as though I've truly accomplished something. Sure, it took time away from my writing and rewriting (and yeah, re-rewriting), but when you get right down to it, it was still a creative endeavor, and I'm glad I finally took the plunge and decided to go for it.

I hope you'll enjoy it as well, and that you'll visit often.

And that you'll click the BUY NOW buttons and purchase my books. I mean, I'm not stupid, I had to include those, right? Sure. Just like I had to include that little sales pitch just then. It's a necessary evil: in a way, part of the purpose of this website is to spread the word about my work and to sell a few books now and then.

But with all that being said, however, I can promise you something: there is--and there will continue to be--far more to see at the Madhouse than just a constant sales pitch and an urge to fill your shopping cart. There will also be a steady stream of new material. There will be Free Fiction for you to enjoy, and new blogs and rants, and photos and articles and contests. There will be advice for writers, and examinations of the process of how some of my book covers were created, and news not only about my books but about the horror genre in general. There will glimpses into my works in progress and even the occasional opportunity to become a part of the creative process.

Because I decided early on that if I was going to take the time to do this, then the site had to be something that would not only be interesting to the people who visited, but it had to be fun for me as well. There was no way I wanted to just swing in and update the site everyday with new ways to push my books down the throats of my readers. Anybody can do that, and it's just not my style.

It's not the type of relationship I want with my readers. In gratitude for the time you spend reading my work or browsing around my site, I want to find cool and interesting ways to give back.

That's part of what the Madhouse will be about, and I sincerely hope you'll enjoy your visits here.

But enough of this rambling. Let's raise our glasses and toast this occasion, and push open the doors of this Madhouse.

Come on.

Step inside . . .

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