For about 5 years, during, and after college, I worked as a bouncer at a bar in Bowling Green, Ohio called Uptown/Downtown. It was the most popular bar/nightclub in town.

One night, while working, I’m talking to some girl that I’m messing around with when another bouncer walks up to me and says, “Have you seen the new bartender?”

It was Brenda. She’s wearing an Uptown/Downtown T-shirt and Daisy Dukes-type, cut-off denim shorts.

I look over at her and say, “Yeah. She’s pretty hot.”

The girl I’m standing next to happens to work with Brenda at her second job as a Supply Manager at a nursing home. She says, right away, “That’s Brenda. She’s racist.”

So, I’m automatically like. “Really? Well. Fuck that bitch, then.”

It’s closing time and all the employees from the bar are headed to one of the bouncer’s apartments for an after-hours party. As we’re walking toward the door to leave, I look over and see the bouncer, whose apartment we’re going to, walking with Brenda, the new bartender. He motions to me, when she’s not looking, like “Look. I got the hot, new bartender to come to the party.”

Still thinking she’s racist, I’m like, “Good for you, man.”

During the party, a few of us sneak off to a back room to smoke some weed. Brenda is part of the group. I’m not happy about that. The room is extremely small and not well lit. It’s me, several other muscular, bouncer-types, Brenda, and maybe one other girl who worked at the bar.

It was Brenda’s first night and she didn’t know any of us, so she kept asking if someone could open the door a little. I’m shooting daggers at her the entire time, thinking, “Why did Dave even invite this racist bitch?”

Every time she says something I jump on her. “Why? Is it too dark in here for you?” That type of shit.

During this time we learn that we live in the same apartment complex, and I realize that Brenda is the hippie chick that my roommate and I would always see laying out in a bathing suit with her sister.

Eventually Brenda says to me, “Why are you being such an asshole?”

I was livid and I wanted to tell her off, but I bit my tongue and decided it was time to leave.

The next night, I come to work and, at some point, early in the night, Brenda and her best friend come up to me and say, “Are you gonna be around at the end of the night?”

Me: “Why?”

Brenda: “So you can give us a ride home since we live in the same complex.”

Now I’m confused, but, still thinking she’s racist, I blow them off.

It’s the end of the night and, wouldn’t you know it, Brenda comes up with her best friend and says, “Can you still give us a ride?”

I was supposed to go over the other girl’s house that I was messing with at the time, but, for some reason, I said, “Yes.”

I think it was that something seemed off. She wasn’t acting like someone who was racist, and there was something intense going on between us. Annnd, she was attractive in a weird, Earthy way that was different from all the high-drama-girls that I was used to from the bar/nightclub. I’ve said this before, but she came off like the kind of girl who would fight back against the killer and ultimately survive at the end of an 80s slasher flick. Like a mixture of Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part 2, and PJ Soles.

So, I give them a ride. We get there. I park and start walking toward my place, on the other side of the complex, when Brenda says, “Aren’t you gonna come in?”

Now I’m like, “Da fuck is going on here? Is this some kind of set-up?”

But I decide to go in. Brenda’s best friend wanted to watch “Sleepless in Seattle,” and finish off the jello shots that they had made earlier. Not exactly my idea of a fun night, but, I go along with it.

The next thing I know, I’m waking up on the couch, hours later, snuggling with Brenda. We were fully clothed, by the way. I bring up the shit about her being racist and she’s completely horrified that someone would say that about her. Turns out the other girl was just jealous. The next day, Brenda hunts the girl down, makes her apologize, and makes her admit that she had made up the shit about Brenda being racist. I was like, “Damn!”

We were together every day after that. It was intense. Five weeks later we got into an argument over something petty. I said to her, “It’s not like we’re married,” to which she replied, “I would marry you.”

She looked deadly serious. It stopped me cold. I’m like, “Are you serious?” and she said, “Yes.”

Funny thing was that I felt exactly the same way. It was strange.

We gave ourselves a week. We asked each other every day, “You still want to get married?” and both of us said “Yes,” each time. So, a week later we eloped without telling anyone.

Then the shit hit the fan.

That was 24 years ago…



First and foremost, a big thanks to everyone who contributed to the budget. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Be on the lookout for a nice little ‘Thank you’ package once we’ve got everything wrapped up.


The short is shaping up nicely thanks to the efforts of our top-notch cast and crew and to a great director in my partner Bill Haley. I look forward to our continued collaboration.


What started out as a three-day shoot has become four days once we decided to expand a pivotal scene in the film. It took a while to synch-up everyone’s schedules, but we’ve finally confirmed 12/4 for our final day of shooting.


In the meantime, we’ve hired Alex McVey ( to paint the poster for the film. Alex recently painted the cover of my novel VOODOO CHILD, co-written with Wayne Simmons. If you’re not familiar with Alex’s work, shame on you. Get over to his site ASAP to see what you’ve been missing.


Stay tuned…


Weren’t you supposed to write TOOLBOX MURDERS 3? What ever happened with that?

It all started with a conversation over dinner  with Morgan Gendel. Morgan is a screenwriter/television producer who’s written for shows like Law and Order, Nash Bridges, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. He also executive-produced that awesomely cheesy Pamela Anderson series from the late 90s, V.I.P. He’s kind of an old-timey Hollywood guy who’s still pushing forward in a town that has become unfamiliar to him. And I mean that in the most affectionate way possible.

We became friends after meeting during the MUF/Hollow Eyed Mary fiasco (See Ain’t it Cool News Article). We’d bounce ideas off of one another from time-to-time with the intention of finding the right project to work on together. That project eventually became the Outer Light comic book.

I attended a Star Trek Convention with Morgan in Cherry Hill, NJ. He invited me up on stage during his Inner Light Presentation and I got to say a few words about the comic to an auditorium full of Trekkies/Trekkors in full character. It was like some weird acid trip. Probably didn’t help that I was high at the time.

Every year after that, Morgan and I would meet for dinner whenever he was in town for the Cherry Hill Trek Con. During one of these dinners he brought up acting.

“You ever think about moving out to LA?” he asked. “I could put you in touch with a few people. It might take a little while, but with your martial arts and everything, I know you could get consistent work. You’ll probably be typecast as a ‘sonofabitch’ all the time, but you don’t give a fuck about that.”

Now, acting has always been part of the dream, but a small part compared to writing. I’m a writer first. Any attempt at chasing the acting part of the dream has almost always ended in what amounts to a giant waste of time that I could have used to expunge some of the scary words from my brain. Afterward it fades to the back-burner only to be occasionally reignited by some comment like Morgan’s, usually from someone in the industry.

Moving out to LA is something I should’ve done in my 20s. At the time I wasn’t mature enough to see that. But then I wouldn’t have met Brenda and I probably wouldn’t be the writer that I am today.

Long story short, Morgan’s comment ignited that spark again. He put me in touch with a few casting agents and I was off to LA to meet with them. Turned out that the AFM (American Film Market) was going on at the same time. My college roommate and good friend Tony Kern (who now lives in Singapore) was going to be in town to hock his film Afterimages. On his suggestion we got a room together a The Jolly Roger Hotel, which is kind of an awesome little kitschy place in Santa Monica just walking distance from Venice Beach.

The hotel was populated with foreign (mostly German) filmmakers, distributors, etc. There’s an outdoor deck that looks out onto Washington Blvd.  A little hot tub attached to the deck. This deck should have been renamed The Marijuana Lounge.

One day I’m sitting in the Marijuana lounge writing on my laptop when this very well-groomed older gentleman walks up the stairs chomping on a cigar. We make eye contact. A few seconds go by before we realize that we know each other.

“Tony DiDio?” I say incredulously.

“Andre?” he says in the same manner.

Tony DiDio has produced several films, most notably, the original Toolbox Murders in 1978 and the 2004 remake directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Angela Bettis. He’s another old-timey Hollywood guy with whom I’ve become friends over the years. We met back in ’08 when he was interested in producing my script for Hollow Eyed Mary.

The thing about old-timey guys is that they’re full of cautionary tales about the film business. Hanging with them is like taking private lessons from some wise old film historian. Occasionally you get the odd gem like, the time Tony almost worked with John Carpenter or working with Tobe Hooper or stories about his good friend Roger Moore. Roger’s son Christian was briefly interested in the Hollow Eyed Mary script.

So, back to the story…

We give each other a big hug. Tony tells me that he’s in town for the AFMs. It just so happens that he always stays at the Jolly Roger when he’s in LA. We get reacquainted over the next few days. I would wake up early every morning to work out and run. And he would walk to the end of the Santa Monica Pier and back every morning as part of his exercise. So I started walking with him every morning. The old timey stories are in full swing as we walk. At some point he goes into the problems he’s been having with Toolbox Murders 2. He comes right out and says that the film is “a piece of utter shit.”

A few years back during the MUF thing, Tony was still riding high from the moderate success of the Toolbox Murders remake. He always felt that the film never got the exposure it deserved. It was originally slated for a larger theatrical release, but according to Tony, it was shelved briefly to make room for Cabin Fever, which had red-hot word-of-mouth at the time. Toolbox eventually received a limited release in 2003.

Tony had hired Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination) to write the script for the sequel which was going to be bigger and badder than the remake. So, when Tony mentioned how bad the finished film was, I said, “You mean the Jeff Reddick script you showed me years ago? That was a fun script.”

Tony tells me that they ultimately went with a guy named Dean Jones, and that they let him rewrite the script. Dean is a makeup artist/FX guy with an extensive resume, but I think this was his first shot at writing and directing. There was some issue with the finished film not being what was promised to distributors, etc., who were now threatening to kill the deal. Then there was an issue of ownership between the director and producers. Lawsuits were filed.

Tony invites me to the screening of Toolbox Murders 2 at the AFM. He warns me several times about just how awful the finished film is.

“We even dumped a chunk of money into the thing to fix it,” he says. “And it still sucks.”

What a fun experience that screening was. It had little to do with the film, which was pretty bad. People were walking out. Watching it made me feel like the director hated women.

Tony and I sat next to each other in the rear of the screening room. A few film buyers, etc., sprinkled here and there. The whole time Tony is sinking lower in his seat with his hand over his face groaning about this scene and that scene.

“What til you see this,” he’d warn, and then sort of chuckle nervously and shake his head in disbelief. Or “This has got my name on it,” he’d say sarcastically. It was 80-something minutes of Tony cursing the screen. Man. I never laughed so hard. He was so exasperated that he would eventually start laughing, too. It was the most fun I’d had in a theater in a long time.

“You want my honest opinion?” I said to him afterward.

“I know it’s shit,” was his response. He starts telling me how he wants to move the next one away from the gory slasher/torture porn stuff. He wants to take the material in a new direction.

The next day I pitch him an idea. It involved a strip club run by an Asian gang. My friend Tony Kern could direct and we’d do the film in Singapore or in some American Chinatown. The two Tonys had already met by this point and Didio had already expressed interest in maybe getting into the Asian market.

DiDio liked the idea and, for a moment, things were coming together.

Tony Kern was weary of attaching himself to Toolbox Murders, especially after hearing how bad the sequel turned out. But I’m like, “Fuck the title. Let’s just tell a good story.  Hopefully it’ll get us one more rung up the ladder. Down the road we can do our own thing.”

It was ultimately decided that there was “no market” for an American horror film with a predominantly Asian cast. Yep. Marinate on that one.

Next, I pitched him an idea called “Hoodie” It involved 4 female vigilantes dressed in hoodies and bikini bottoms. Each one had a different tool. One of them had a circular saw-blade dangling from a rope. We never see their faces, just darkness inside their hoods and maybe a few strands of hair spilling out. The vigilantes targeted sex offenders. Their sexualized look (hoods & bikini bottoms) is a play on actresses from a popular porn-ish website where girls dressed in hoodies (with the hoods pulled up) and underwear go through their daily lives while being filmed 24/7. Little pop-ups would appear that would say something like “Hoodie Girl Sarah is relaxing with a good book.” The public starts to cheer on the vigilantes. People think that maybe the website/actresses have something to do with the crimes. Maybe they do. You get the idea.

The idea came to me one night after Brenda walked past me wearing a hoodie and nothing else in an attempt to lure me away from the computer.  It worked.

I wrote an 8-page treatment for the thing. Everyone loved the idea. They got what I was trying to do. It was raw. Edgy. The film would have been controversial, but it had a brain. Tony DiDio is originally from Philly and wanted to do the film locally. He brought in a guy by the name of Bill Haley to direct. Bill owns a successful video production company here in Philly.

The distributor was excited to get the film going. They wanted a poster to market the project at Cannes even though there was no script yet. When they asked for ideas for the poster I suggested a riff on the Ms. 45 poster with our hooded vigilantes surrounding some random criminal.


The poster you see is what we got.


As time went on, people got cold feet. Raw and edgy became risky and riskier. People want to make their money back. I get it.

So I get notes like, “Could we change this sort of weird risky thing here to something much less weird and risky?”

That keeps happening until the original idea is whittled down to something resembling a generic slasher film. Like that poster.

And then the ball drops.

“The investors want to give their own guy a crack at it. He pitched them an idea that’s more in line with what they’d like to see.”

So, there you have it. Another one that almost was. You learn that the road to success in Hollywood is paved with almost was. If you’re lucky, each one gets you a little closer to the door.

Incidentally, Bill Haley and I have since become friends. We’re working on an idea that we’re currently trying to raise money for. Developing…

Whatever happened with the casting agents? Right? Well, they all played out pretty much the same. I went in, did the old headshots/demo reel tap dance. They blew smoke up my ass. Gave me their cards/contact info and told me to get in touch with them when I move out to LA.

Alas, here I am in Philly.

Who’s That Knocking on the Window?

It was 1997. We lived on the second floor of a three story apartment building. The front door of the building was squeezed between a Chinese Restaurant on the left and a Japanese Restaurant on the right. You could walk onto the roof of the Japanese Restaurant and easily gain access to our bedroom via three large bay windows. These windows were like 100 years old and didn’t lock. That’s what you get for $375 a month in 1997. With the exception of the Fortune Teller across the hall (whose customers constantly rang our doorbell looking for a reading), we were the only other tenants in the building.

At the time, I was between jobs. Brenda was working as an Office Manager at an accounting firm. She usually came and went by herself. When I wasn’t looking for a job, all I did was write, work out, and practice kung fu. I rarely left the apartment during the week, except to go to the kung fu school. So to someone watching, it would appear that Brenda was single.

One morning she wakes me up. I hear fear in her voice.

“Somebody’s knocking on the window,” she says.

I listen. It’s quiet for a few seconds, and then…

A series of light taps on the bedroom window. I go to the window, peek through the curtain, and see a guy standing there, waiting to see what happens.

I yank the curtain back. The guy appears flustered, caught off guard. Like a shirtless black dude with a machete was the last thing he expected to see. He immediately starts apologizing and says some bullshit about looking for his sister.

“I thought she lived here,” he says.

I tell him that he’s got the wrong apartment.

I thought that if he was telling the truth, then he might be talking about the biracial girl who lived at the corner. I mentioned her. He said, “Yes. That’s her.”

I told him that she lived at the corner and that sneaking around outside people’s windows was a good way to get himself killed. I watched him walk to the edge of the roof, down the stairs, and out of the alley into the connecting parking lot. Brenda was in bed, watching all this unfold, but he never saw her.

Brenda is in the shower about half an hour later. I remember walking into the kitchen and seeing movement on the fire escape outside the kitchen window. I walk up to the window and look out.

It’s the same fucking guy!

This time he’s sneaking up the fire escape. At this point, he doesn’t know that I can see him. So I watch.

He’s checking out the windows on the side of our apartment. You can access them directly from the fire escape, by the way.

I open the kitchen window. The noise startles him. I lean out and say, “Are you fucking serious, man?!”

Without saying a word, he turns and hurries down the fire escape.

Brenda goes to work. Around 10am I go out for a cup of coffee. We lived on 20th and Chestnut Street, which is crowded with human traffic at 10am on a weekday.

It’s a nice day. I walk outside and look around. Waves of people hurrying past in both directions. I happen to look across the street and see the same fucking guy staring up at the second floor windows of our building, like he’s studying the place, trying to figure out a way in.  He eventually sees me standing in the doorway looking at him and disappears into the crowd.

Now, at the time, I had no idea who this guy was and the whole thing eventually just became some creepy anecdote of city living.

A few years later, we’re sitting on the couch watching TV when the regular programming is interrupted by a “Special Report.” It’s about the infamous Center City Rapist. They’ve finally caught the guy. They run footage of the police escorting the guy, in handcuffs, into a squad car. We instantly recognize him.

“Holy Shit! It’s him!”

It was a definite goosebumps moment. Big time.

As we learned the details of the rapist’s modus operandi, we realized that he had been stalking Brenda and didn’t realize that we were together.

Art Upside Your Head: Silverfish

Being an artist myself, I’ve always felt the need to express myself visually as well through prose. Art Upside Your Head is my way of saying thanks to all the artists I’ve had the opportunity to work with so far. First up is my personal favorite of the bunch, Texas-based artist Silverfish aka Amanda Barnett.

What attracted me to Silverfish was that her style reminded me of Stephen Gammell, whose work in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books I loved as a kid. Turns out Gammell was one of Silver’s influences. From the first piece of art that she turned in, it was evident that our styles were simpatico. Her illustrations, with their twisty, acid-flashback strokes and blotches and gaunt characters with long limbs, pointy digits, and haunted expressions, were like literal translations of my “bizarre ideas and prose,” to quote a reviewer of one of my books. From then on, she was always the first artist I contacted when I started a new book, and she was always willing to contribute.


For a while there we were on a roll. After working on three books, a novella, and a graphic novel (she contributed a pin up to Hollow Eyed Mary), we were starting to feel like a team. We had developed a great rapport as our correspondence graduated from email to speaking over the phone. We discussed art and movies. We made plans for future projects, one of them being her own book of poetry that would also showcase her artwork. I was going to write the introduction for her. But that was a ways down the road.

As I got to know Silver, I got the sense that, like many artists, she struggled with her talent. It was the one thing she loved doing, but it had to take a backseat to paying the bills. The fear is that it’ll always be like that, and your dream will always be just a dream. I’ve been there myself. Then, to top it all off, she lost all of her artwork in a fire that completely destroyed her house while she was at work one day. I don’t think she ever fully recovered from that. I didn’t hear from her for a few months after that, and then, all of a sudden, we were back in business.

The next project was going to be a novel called NoFace. I think it was around ’09 when I started writing it. I had included several different artists in my previous books, but this one was going to be all Silverfish. She turned in two illustrations and then we mysteriously fell out of touch. I waited awhile, thinking that she needed some time for whatever reason, and then tried to contact her several times, but my emails and voicemails went unanswered. Then sometime last year, I happened upon this post on her page at

Well over a year since i last fell off the wagon now. This site is often an unsettling reminder for me of who i once was, but the disconnect between that person and who i am today makes it quite manageable.


Art used to be a tool for self-validation for me. I would joke that it was just my stupid human trick, but it was so much more. It made me feel worthwhile and special, because it was one thing i could do that no one else could. Lots of people make art that is more beautiful, more moving, more labor-intensive, more intellectual, but no one could do precisely what i did. They could imitate it, or even copy it directly, but no one can reach into your psyche and pull out your secrets and mold them into images that can only be truly understood by you. It makes you feel powerful and certain of your identity.


But i lost it for a very long time. It seemed to be always floating just out of my reach, and i’d grab at it and hold it for a moment, but it never would last.


And y’know, i don’t think i’ll ever have it back in quite the same way. We get older, more complicated; strangers to ourselves. At least i did. Always trying to silence the inner voices rather than bearing the pain of what they had to say. But i’ve reintroduced myself to myself, and we’ve been talking for about a year, and been being honest with ourself for perhaps 6 months or so, and it turns out we have a lot to say. Much of it hurts, much of it makes us deliriously excited, but most of all it makes us feel that underneath all the baggage of terrible choices, discarded opportunities, failed endeavors and lies, there is a me that i recognize and can be friends with. And for the first time in almost 10 years, i feel like i don’t have to be ashamed of myself.


Maybe this is no place to be so confessional, but i say fuck it. Art, among many other things but perhaps above all, is self-expression. I don’t know where exactly this new phase will lead me, but i feel more wildly creative than ever. I’m chiefly in the business of rebuilding my life these days, but i have been and will be drawing, writing, sculpting, sewing, always absorbing (and remembering!) new material, and i am thrilled about the possibilities in life. It isn’t to say i have no remorse, for indeed i consistently endure it and mean to continue to make peace with the past in whatever form that takes. I have a lot of messes to clean up, and i care deeply about doing so with no concern over how much pain it causes me. I’ve been shielding myself and running away for far too long, but i am awake now and have discovered that i am a fighter, and i am not afraid to face the demons.


I hope to reconnect with Silver at some point, even if it’s just to catch up. Maybe I can persuade her to do one last project just to put a period on our collaboration. I’ve got the perfect thing for her; a novel I recently completed called Technicolor Terrorists.

MY Very Brief Stint in the Porn Industry


“If you really wanna find out what makes people tick, just watch porn

-Howard Stern

So, I was listening to Howard while working out last week when he prefaced some awful-sounding, scat-porn clip with the above quote. It struck a cord that took me back to a time when, after a long day of watching porn at work, I rode home on my bike thinking the same exact thought.

It was around ’05. I had just been laid off from a good job as an Editor/Proofreader at a Pharmaceutical Communications Company. I had interviewed for the same job at another Pharmaceutical Communications Company and was waiting to hear back. In the meantime, I answered an ad for an Editor Position and was called in for an interview. Now, the ad wasn’t very specific, but it sounded legit, so I went in for the interview. The company was located in a building that was only a few blocks from my former job. A building I walked by every day unaware of what was going on inside.

I met the Manager, a nice guy named Mike. Here I am in a suit, and he’s wearing a T-shirt and jeans. He takes me into his office where he’s got the company website projected up on the wall: He asks me if I’m comfortable with adult subject matter, and I direct him to my website. With the cover of my first novel, Dead Bitch Army plastered on the wall over his shoulder, we proceed with the interview. He offered me the job, and then gave me some time to think about it.

I went home and talked it over with my wife. At the very least the job would give me good material for a future book (That book would become my as-yet-unpublished novel, Invisible Piranha). She agreed, with the caveat that I not get any ideas regarding our sex life. Well, maybe a few ideas, but nothing crazy. Well, maybe a little crazy, but…

So, you’d expect the environment at a company like this to match the subject matter, but the first thing that struck me upon being shown to my cubicle on the first day was exactly how mundane it was. Here’s an excerpt from Invisible Piranha that describes it best:

“The place resembled any other office, at first glance.  Cubicles sectioned off by department; sales, advertising, graphic design, accounting, editorial.  Short walls decorated with kitschy reminders of the occupants’ lives outside of work.  Slouching bodies clothed in business-casual costumes, languishing through yet another day or socializing on the sly instead of working.  

But then, as the sounds begin to register… 

Uncomplicated keyboard riffs over the genderless symphony of moaning and screaming that translated both pleasure and pain in one sonorous sucker punch; the smack of skin on skin; the moist crackle and pop of natural lubricants, bedsprings squealing, furniture thumping against hollow walls.   

From there the whole environment became surreal.  The lurid details begin to reveal themselves.  Stacks of adult DVDs sitting on desktops.  Adult film starlets simulating sex-acts on posters.  Hardcore screenshots with pixilated genitalia on posters promoting less ambitious productions.  Catalogs and flyers lying around.  Autographed photos of naked women hanging from cubicle walls like trophies.”    

The cubicles were manned by people who would’ve fit right in at any other corporate office, most of them going about their duties with aplomb, as if they were working in the furniture or soft drink industry and not Internet porn.

My official title was Editor, but the bulk of my job involved watching unlabelled (usually) foreign porn DVDs and writing synopses for them using industry buzz words. I was given a list of said buzz words, which included hits like: DPed, Spit-Roasted, Facial, Cum Slut, Cum Dumpster, Hot Man Love, Plumper Booty, etc. Next, I had to pick a screen-shot from every scene in each film to display on the film’s page on the company website.

I was given a stack of DVDs and left alone to watch them. The first batch was all hardcore gay films. Now, I’m all about live and let live. Who gives a fuck who you like or what you’re into as long as you’re not hurting anyone, but that doesn’t mean I want to sit through hours of hardcore man-on-man action. As a straight guy, it’s strange to hear two guys in the throes of sex with each other, but hey… Live and learn. Part of me felt like it was a test to see if I was there to actually work or to get off watching porn.

The movies kept cuming. The categories were endless: Amateur, Anal, Ass-to-Mouth, Babysitter, Big Butt, BBW, College Hazing, Blondes, Brunettes, Redheads, Black, MILF, Moms, Mature, Grannies, Older Men, Interracial, Double-Anal, Anal Gaping, Ass-Licking, Amputee, Lesbian, Face-Sitting/Smothering, Humiliation, Wrestling/Catfighting, Balloon Play, Bubble Gum, Farting, Spanking, Squirting, Pregnant, FemDom, Hogtied, Cockold, Threesomes, Animation, Milking, Trampling, Rimming, Adult Babies/Infantilism. The list goes on and on. And after all that they somehow felt the need to include a category for Kink. Really?

I started paying attention to the number of views that each film had. Most were in the thousands; hundreds of thousands in some cases. I found myself wondering who those people were and what made them want to jack off to this stuff. I started to really understand the business of porn. These films weren’t being made for the hell of it. They were being made to serve a huge market made up of some of the same people you and I walk past in the street everyday. These are their deep, dark secrets, the skeletons in their closets.

The constant ambush of sexual perversity began to weigh on me. I like a little porn as much as the next guy, but this was way too much. I started to feel for some of the actors and actresses, wondering what kind of dark places they must’ve been in to agree to say… having some dude slap the shit out of them while pinching their noses shut and gagging them with his abnormally large penis until they vomit. I left work everyday feeling like I needed about 40 showers.

Thankfully I got the job with the other Pharmaceutical Communications Company and that was the end of my very brief stint in porn.

Don’t Call it a Comeback…


To put it simply, the Make U Famous debacle took a big, runny shit on my dream. If you’re not familiar with that went down, you can read about it here: Ain’t It Cool News

Ga head. I’ll wait…

All done? Pretty fucked up, right? I had never experienced anything close to the level of conniving, backstabbing, underhanded cowardly behavior that took place during that nightmare, and I grew up in the hood. In retrospect, I should’ve seen it coming. But I kept relying on this thing called trust. Live and learn, right?

Up to that point the Duza machine was moving ahead full steam. After three novels I was just settling into my place among a new crop of horror writers. I had finally come to understand my idiosyncratic voice and how to utilize it to its best potential without beating people over the head. I was collaborating with great artists to help translate my visual style via interior illustrations—a process that I thoroughly enjoyed. It seemed like a graphic novel was the next logical step.

But then the bottom fell out and writing (the business side, to be more specific) became that girl who cheated on you, the one you forgave, but then found it hard to look at without seeing some anonymous sweaty masculine figure conjured up by your insecurities thrusting and grinding on top of her as she moans in delight in a way that you could never elicit from her. So, I looked away.

While I never stopped writing, the mentality was no longer “write to live.” The inherent need to purge my brain of the surplus of words and images was still there, but I wasn’t going to stress about getting this or that published. If a manuscript was accepted then that was icing on the cake, but if not, then so be it. I became less of a presence online. I was less concerned with scheduling my day around writing. I would just let it happen.

I dove headfirst into personal training and teaching kung fu and spent more time being a husband and father. Not that I was ever neglectful of any of those things, but oftentimes I would be there physically while mentally I was elsewhere, compiling ideas for the next writing session. I did some acting, and stunt work, which I hope to do more of in the future.

I got myself an agent and passed everything on to him once I finished; one novel, two novels, three novels. Turns out he didn’t really understand how to market a weirdo like me, but no hard feelings. It’s not like I was really busting my ass to get the word out about my work.

Along the way someone would express interest in my screenplay for Hollow Eyed Mary, and I’d get my hopes up only for it to fizzle out each time. You learn that this is par for the course in the film industry, even moreso than in the literary world. The people who make it are either lucky or they simply keep plowing forward no matter how many times things don’t work out.

I became increasingly frustrated for allowing myself to be dragged into it again and just when I was ready to throw in the towel, I get an email like this:

“Hey man. I love your work. Any word on upcoming projects? I’m in need of a Duza fix.”

Then an opportunity arises with TV writer Morgan Gendel. We had become friends since meeting during the MUF debacle. Morgan’s a veteran TV-writer/producer who’s written for shows like Law and Order, Nash Bridges, Hunter, 21 Jump Street (The original TV series), Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and he created that awesomely bad Pam Anderson show V.I.P, so I would often defer to him for advice concerning some potential script deal. These calls would inevitably devolve into brainstorming sessions. After a year of this we finally found a project to work on together, a sequel to a Hugo Award Winning episode of Star Trek: TNG that he had written called Inner Light. He had pitched it years ago to the execs at Paramount and was told, “We don’t do sequels.” So, we came up with the idea of doing the sequel as an online comic. You can check it out here: The Outer Light

Next I get an email from Wrath James White asking if I’d be up for collaborating on a novella, Son of a Bitch. Then another chance to collaborate, this time with author Wayne Simmons on a novel, Voodoo Chile.

The collaborative process is different each time, but equally enjoyable, and I credit it along with letters from fans with helping to reignite my passion for writing. Another, unlikely inspiration was the wealth of material mined from conversations with my personal training clients. Training is a funny business. Your clients are often successful people who are used to dominating their respective environments. However, they might be overweight, or maybe they’re not the most athletic or coordinated person, and there you are, this living action-figure standing over them barking out commands. It’s a weird dynamic. You almost become their therapist. As a writer, it’s impossible for me not to expound on their tales once I get home and sit down in front of the computer. Some of them are wilder than anything I can dream up. And I’m good for some pretty off-the-wall shit.

In short, I’m back. I’ve got a couple new projects on my plate, some unpublished novels and a few screenplays to sell, and enough ideas to last a lifetime.

So, stay tuned…