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01 February 2010 @ 07:45 pm
I've moved yet again! I'm now on a GoDaddy Quick Blogcast to supplement the new and improved website. Thank you for following me, and to continue to do so, please click below:


Location: Phoenix, AZ
We finally have our first review posted online, and it's a good one!

Many thanks to Debbie Wiley's Book Reviews and Book Illuminations for publishing the following:

"Darryl Dawson gives readers a glimpse into the macabre, providing unsettling tales that fit together perfectly into one horror anthology that is sure to thrill!

The anthology kicks off with my favorite story, “Hamburger Lady”, in which a teacher tells of a ghostly appearance. Retribution is a key element to this story and Darryl Dawson creates a haunting atmosphere that makes it believable. “The Puppet Show” features a bizarre attraction at a deserted gas station. Anyone who has ever stopped at one of those isolated gas stations will get a shiver down their spine after reading this tale! “The House With No Clocks” shows a gambler whose luck is about to take a turn for the worse. “I Am He Who Laughs Last” is a new twist on the dangers of viral videos. Short but frighteningly realistic! “The Crawlspace” ties in with the cover and was easily the most horrifying tale for me, thanks to a fear of all things bug-related. “A Test of Faith” features a controlling, abusive husband and an act that changes it all. Darryl Dawson does an excellent job at conveying the abusive nature of the husband and making the reader sympathetic to the wife. “Trick” is a story of revenge by an old lady at Halloween. “I Scream, You Scream” takes on the ice cream man and turns him into a nightmare figure. “The Paper Technique” shows a hypnotist trapped by his own tricks. “Chien Sauvage” shows a cheating husband getting his comeuppance by a woman he meets online. “Yellow” offers a new perspective on the traffic light. Short but stunning! “Closing Time at Teddie’s” is about a haunted nightclub where a birthday takes a dangerous turn. “Connecting Flight” concludes this anthology and features a boy at an airport who can levitate. Just how far will he travel?

THE CRAWLSPACE offers up a variety of tales for all lovers of horror short stories. Ranging from the bizarre to the mundane (with a twist, of course), Darryl Dawson covers the gamut in his anthology. “Yellow” and “Hamburger Lady” are two of my favorites and both are very different in their impact but with one key similarity- retribution. Darryl Dawson taps into the reader’s need for justice, often offering it up in terms that can be both satisfying and disturbing. This is the mark of a good horror writer- one who can make explore your fears while at the same time drawing on societal issues, such as sexual abuse, adultery, and domestic violence. Bravo!"

Debbie also gives the book "four stars" out of five. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself.

By the way, those of you who have been waiting paitiently for the e-book will be rewarded very soon. Keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: gratefulgrateful
Music: "Jesse" - Scott Walker
27 November 2009 @ 05:12 pm
I've been working in television since 1994, slaving away as a video editor, stumbling around as a video photographer, or pulling off small miracles as a satellite coordinator in Reno, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Phoenix again. There are many disadvantages to this career that I will discuss at another, more appropriate time. But there is an upside: occasionally, when you have something to report, announce, complain about or sell, you get to be on TV without asking. This was the case as my cohorts at KPHO CBS5, desperate to fill time on a slow holiday morning, invited me onto the set for an interview about The Crawlspace.

This would be my first time talking about the book in this medium and hopefully not the last. As my workday started I was in the best of moods, converting my nervous energy into quick and easy conversation (something I am not known for). After a half-hour of sifting through video feeds of preparations for the big Macy's Parade and tuning in live shot from a McDonald's where they were giving away free breakfasts, I was ready for my close-up at 5:00 a.m. Sarah, our floor director, handed me my wireless microphone, and I'm still not sure to this day if Mike in audio got a full mic check from me. After a quick look at the overnight stories and a weather update, it was, as they say, "go time."

It was weird sitting on the desk of the fancy, HD-ready set normally reserved for the on-air staff, but not altogether foreign. Chris and Marya were fantastic, keeping the segment lively while allowing me to be myself and make my points. I did very little preparation for the interview...why micro-manage yourself? I thought...and it was much smoother than I could have asked for.

With huge thanks to everyone involved, here now is the segment as seen live on KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona at about three minutes after 5 a.m.

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: energeticenergetic
Music: "Television, The Drug Of The Masses" - The Disposable Heroes Of HipHopcracy
18 November 2009 @ 04:47 pm
Now that a trip to the dentist, some menial errands and a rather unpleasant headache have all concluded, it's time to talk to you about one of my favorite subjects--writing.

As many of you know, writing is a challenging process that can yield an overflowing cup of reward on many levels, but only if it is done well. There are very few writers who are born with the skill to move you with a work of total fiction, but it's not an unattainable skill. With the right tools and teachers (and most importantly, the right attitude) anyone can write a worthwhile book and maybe even sell more than ten copies of it. But let me warn you; as hard as you try to write the perfect mystery, rom-com or science fiction epic, as glowing as the reviews of your work will be, as many weeks as it can hang on to that coveted number-one spot in The New York Times...you, my friend, will never be as good as Stephen King.

Stephen King is the best storyteller ever. Not probably, is. Period. End of story.

And no, I don't want to discuss it because it's not even debatable. Do you want me to go over how many millions of books he's sold over the course of nearly 40 years, and how many of those titles were made into immensely popular movies? Yeah, I didn't think so.

As you probably have guessed, I'm particulary fond of his short stories, and have only started on his most recent collection, Just After Sunset. Last night I read a story called "Rest Stop" that thrilled me as Stephen's tales often do. In it, an author named John Dykstra who writes action-thrillers under the name Rick Hardin, is driving home on the interstate when he stops at a rest stop for a bathroom break. Just as he's stepping into the men's room, he hears a woman being violently beaten by her jealous man. As the sounds of sobbing, swearing and hand-on-face become louder and more distressing, Dykstra, a decent, practical man, finds himself compelled to stop the savagery, but isn't sure if he can. He only knows the longer he waits, the more likely the woman would be killed right there in front of him. Having dismissed more rational courses of action, he assumes the identity and personality of Hardin, his hard-boiled, adventure-loving psuedonym. That should give you enough of a taste to make you go out and buy the book so you can see how it ends.

At the end of the anthology, Stephen provides a "notes" section to give his perspective on each story and how they came to be. He says that "Rest Stop" is based on an actual incident that happened to him in 2003 while driving on the Florida Turnpike.

It was that note that sparked the epiphany that I'm writing about now.

When you need those meaty plot points, those character quirks, those colorful settings that your fiction requires, your first step is to go outside. Step out of your house and your comfort zone and experience life. Okay, seeking out danger may be a little dicey, but like Mr. King sometimes you just step into those situations and a good story drops right into your lap. And when these things happen, take note of what the room or the space was like, what the people looked like, what sounds and smells were in the air and so forth, and more importantly, how you felt...and even more importantly, how all of those things changed as the situation unfolded. Great stories, like life, are in a constant state of motion.

The point is, life should always be your first inspiration. With that idea as your guide, writer's block should be as easy to cure as a headache. Speaking of which, mine's gone, thank you.

BREAKING NEWS! -- I will be making my first television appearance on CBS-5 in Phoenix, Arizona (big ups to Shawn Martin) on Thursday the 26th, Thanksgiving Day. I'll be talking about The Crawlspace and my personal self-publishing journey on the morning newscast sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. (I wish I could give you a more specific time, but as of this writing I can't!) If you miss it, the video will be posted on this blog as well as my Facebook page soon thereafter.

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: quixoticquixotic
Music: "Do What You Do" - The Love Me Nots
20 October 2009 @ 04:34 pm
I have purposefully made The Crawlspace dark as the heart of midnight and conditioned the air with a dry coldness best suited for a crypt, and I've done so for one reason: to plumb the depths of your courage and stretch the boundaries of your perceptions of how a horror story should make you feel. Just how far are you willing to step into the darkness? You can test yourself with the story below, a full-sized free sample of what you can expect when you read The Crawlspace for yourself.

Before I direct you to the widget, a few words about "Hamburger Lady".

The lead story is, of course, inspired by the Throbbing Gristle song of the same name. I think it was 2006 when I heard that song for the first time, and was so disturbed by it I lost sleep (I love songs that do that; they're quite rare). The next day I challenged myself to write something equally as disturbing.

I set the story in the era the song was written, the early 1970's. The Carpenters, Al Green and Black Sabbath. Archie Bunker and Flip Wilson. The last salvos of the war between generations, cultures, races and genders.

To me, the phrase "Hamburger Lady" sounded like the name of an urban legend, so that's what I made her, but she decided she wanted to be a ghost. Given her unsettling presence, it suited her perfectly. Throw in a taboo relationship, a reference to Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," and presto--a horror story. And a damn good one, I think. But that's only my opinion.

You can make your own conclusions after reading the complete story, "Hamburger Lady", offered to you now, free of charge in the BookBuzzr widget below. And visit my website when you're done. That's free, too.

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: mischievousmischievous
Music: "Hamburger Lady" - Throbbing Gristle
15 October 2009 @ 05:58 pm
The best thing about writing fiction is when your work echoes a truth about the strange and fragile nature of human life. When you write horror fiction, as I do, finding that truth can get a little dicey.

Those who have my book already have probably read "Connecting Flight," and for those who haven't, I'll give you a spoiler-free synopsis: An eight-year old boy is stuck in a snowed-in airport with his parents and rediscovers his ability to fly with his mind, and uses it for an opportunity to find freedom. It was the final story completed for The Crawlspace, written in July of this year, and by my judgment (and hopefully I'm not giving too much away here), it's the perfect conclusion for this collection.

So you can probably imagine my dismay when, at my day job at CBS-5 in Phoenix, Arizona, I saw the first images of the giant, inflatable flying saucer circling wildly and hurtling without course over Fort Collins, Colorado, and how my heart sank when it was reported that a six-year-old boy may be somehow piloting the hulking craft, not knowing or comprehending how to bring himself down.

For about ninety minutes, life was imitating art. But in this case, art was a horror story.

We search for ghosts, we admire vampires, we hide from serial killers. But this thing that I created was supposed to be as far from reality as any of those things. A grade-schooler flying all by himself? Nonsense! The stuff of Serling, Wells and Bradbury! A foolish fantasy! And yet here it was, unfolding before the world, keeping us glued to what I call our Boxes of Dreams, with all of us assuming the worst. I really wasn't sure what to think in those moments--whether I should be proud or ashamed, whether to dismiss it as a wild coincidence or accept it as punishment for my dark thoughts. Such a strange thing, this was.

Thank God it ended well for everyone involved, myself included.

But did it echo my story? Well, dear friend, you'll just have to read the book.

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
Music: "Drift I" - Yellow Swans
11 October 2009 @ 07:00 pm
I want to welcome all of you who are visiting from FearOfWriting.com, of which I am an alumnus! Feel free to drop by anytime!

As Milli has prominently pointed out on the front page of her site, my book, THE CRAWLSPACE: A Collection Of Short Horror Stories, is now available for purchase. At the time I signed up for FoW only a few of the thirteen stories that ended up in the final production had been written, and I had been lobbing them off to various online magazines like unappetizing bait in a poorly-stocked lake. Rejections were hard enough; the ones who flat-out ignored me cut a little deeper. Every time I ran into a wall, I became more convinced that the wall was better than me, and more powerful. I began to question my abilities and resign myself to a life of TV signal receivers and alarm bells at 2:30 in the morning.

Googling the words "fear of writing" was the most important step in the creative process behind The Crawlspace. Investing in Milli's online course was money well spent, for her class taught me that despite their inconvenience, no wall can outrun you. Many of the walls find in our paths to greatness are self-constructed and useless, and it's really only a matter of finding the energy to walk around, jump over or plow through each one. For many people that requires help, and the creative spurs, tactical solutions and positive reinforcement provided by FoW gave me all the energy I needed to see this project through. After graduating, I finished several more stories (two of them, "Chien Sauvage" and "Yellow", should have a familiar ring to some of you!), and my newly-acquired self-confidence inspired me to self-publish and not wait for validation from some huge, corporate publisher. Now my book is ready for public consumption, and I am very proud of what I've been able to achieve. I still work for a TV station, but now I know that with the right amount of "buzz" and promotion, The Crawlspace can help propel me into a fulfilling writing career.

Last Friday I got my first fan letter from one of the first buyers of my book. Do you know how uplifting and invigorating it is to have a total stranger read your work and tell you how great it was? If I could bottle up that joy, I'd drink from it every day!

I wish that joy for you, and I hope all of you aspiring writers can learn and benefit from the FoW course. Best of luck to you...and keep writing!

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
As Peter Gabriel once said, "Here comes the flood."

The official release is rapidly approaching, and the buzz emanating from "The Crawlspace" is becoming a little more audible, and as the weeks go by I hope to turn that buzz into a choir of thousands. Warm up your singing voice, kid, you're about to hit the stage.

Already there is a small group of early birds who have put in their orders through AuthorHouse, and I want to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to all of them (especially Michelle and Jason, who bought their copies sight unseen).

But right now, I want to address the millions of you who aren't following me on Facebook or Twitter, are visiting my website for the first time, and are trying to ascertain a reason why they should give a rat's ass about me or my book. There are probably a number of questions you have that are setting up barriers between your impulse and your sense of caution, and that's completely understandable. Let me attempt to calm you apprehensions and inform you of the five things you should know about this book:

1. It's not about me or anyone I know. Like most authors, I try to draw from the influences of who I am and where I've been and what I've done, but I can assure you that nowhere in "The Crawlspace" are there any direct references to myself, family, friends, co-workers, or that clerk in the checkout line of the grocery store that gets on my nerves (not that there is one, I'm just using an example).

2. I'm a normal guy. My childhood was great; no traumatic or shameful incidents. My attitude toward life is generally very positive, though sometimes the human race can make me pessimistic at times (not misanthropic, mind you...just pessimistic). So how come I have all this random, gory, grotesque stuff running through my head? Because we all do. Horror is our common denominator; it's how we deal with it and express or suppress it that sets us apart.

3. This book is for grown folk. I have nothing against "Twilight" or "Harry Potter" at all. I say anything that can get pre-teens to read instead of vegetate or act out in violence is a plus for humanity. I'm just saying that my book is not in that category. I understand fully that horror's job is to make people uncomfortable, but there are themes running through some of my stories that I don't think are "age-appropriate" for a middle school kid. By the way, that's for a parent to decide, not any special interest group or government entity.

4. It won't take up too much of your time. Just thirteen stories, average 10.1 pages apiece. And all the stories are self-contained; it's not like a novel, where you have to re-read the previous chapter after you've put it down for awhile. Although, you'll want to read them again and again! Which leads me to my final point...

5. It really is an outstanding book...really! Let me explain. "The Crawlspace" is a "self-published book," which means that instead of biting from the carrot dangling from big, corporate book publishers like Random House, it was sent to a company to be printed and distributed, with the author himself having to do all the marketing and promotional legwork. There is a certain percentage of the literature-loving populace that has a problem with books that are self-published, holding on to the prejudice that it probably isn't good enough to be backed by a big publishing house, or that it's just a worthless vanity project. If that's your line of thinking, I want you to consider all the indie musicians you've got shuffling in your iPod--the ones who post their recordings online or burn them on CD's and sell them out of the trunks of their cars, play in small, insignificant clubs and act as their own roadies, and remain satisfied in knowing that they can succeed without corporate record labels looking over their shoulder and dicking with their style and attitude. You like what they do, don't you? Well, that's what I am at the moment--an "indie" author--and I feel this book holds up to anything comparative on the bookstore shelves.

Did I cover everything? Good! If you have any more questions, feel free to drop me a line. But for now, enjoy my book...and thanks!
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: thankfulthankful
Music: "Burning Bridges" - Living Colour
05 October 2009 @ 04:09 pm

There you go. This 34-second promotional clip felt like it took 34 weeks to complete! Only a couple of days actually, but with all the trial and error it felt like it would take forever. Looking at the finished product, I'd say it was worth it...don't you agree?

Two days to the official release date. Still taking pre-orders.

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: artisticartistic
Music: "Be Thankful For What You Got" - William DeVaughn
30 September 2009 @ 04:14 am

There are moments in everyone's life in which pride in an accomplishment is palpable. It's more than a big smile or a broad chest; it is a splash of raw energy that electrifies the soul. For me, this moment is one of those times.

I'm very pleased to announce the arrival of my book, THE CRAWLSPACE: A Collection Of Short Horror Stories, which now has an official release date of October 8, 2009. Yes, dearies, just in time for Halloween! This book is the culmination of half a decade of dedication, the "cream of the crop" of my best short stories for mature horror fans, and it would never have seen the light (or in this case, the dark) without the help of my family, my friends and colleagues, my online pals and you. Big props also to AuthorHouse and GoDaddy.

But wait! There's even better news. Right now, you can pre-order the paperback directly from AuthorHouse.com for just a tick under $10. When the big boys of the bookstore biz--Amazon, Barnes & Noble, et al--put it on sale thirty days later, it'll run you $11.99, so I'd jump on this right now if I were you!

By the way, those of you who were looking to buy the e-book, I'm told it won't be available for a few days yet, but be patient! When it goes on sale, you'll be among the first in line. To stay up-to-date on this and all other news regarding THE CRAWLSPACE bookmark my official website, DarrylDawsonBooks.com , and come back often. There you can find out a little more about me and read excerpts from the book, as well as connect with my Facebook and Twitter pages.

I trust that you will enjoy this book, and I thank you in advance for purchasing it. Happy Halloween!

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Mood: jubilantjubilant
Music: "Rock 'N' Roll 2 Nite" - Mother's Finest