The Book Of Witness – Volume #1

short read, erick mertz, paranormal fiction, the book of witnessEver heard of the parable of the blind men and the elephant? I will do my best to make this a short read but it goes a little something like this:

A group of blind men hear about a mysterious beast known as only the elephant. They want to get an idea of what the beast is about, so they touch it. But they only touch one part. One touches the flappy ears. Another touches the smooth tusks. Another touches the tail. Later on the blind men meet and take turns trying to describe the creature they experienced. Ultimately, they cannot agree because what each man touched was so wildly different than the other.

Writing a supernatural series like The Strange Air often feels like that parable. Whenever I try and bring a part of this massive world into the light, it’s becomes that elephant. And I’m a blind man.

It’s not just a tusk. Or a tail. It’s all of it.

~

My inspiration for the concept behind The Book Of Witness collection came from three places.

1.) Fiction readers want more short content. The novel is still king in fiction, but a short read performs well. Studies of Amazon buying behavior provide market insights proving this idea.

Readers want short fiction.

2.) I already have quite a few short pieces in the Strange Air series written. Going back a few years, every time I wanted to develop something in my world, I would write a witness account.

As a result, my Strange Air file was bursting with little “witness testimonies” as I liked to call them.

3.) Time did nothing to sour my enjoyment of these stories. Skimming back through my files, I found gems. Whether it was a character or a situation, I felt good about my ability to produce a short read.

~

the book of witness, erick mertz, supernatural fiction, short readAt first, bringing out a volume of stories because it makes market sense offered conflict. Seeing how I had already these stories though, and readers want them, it just made sense.

Once I decided to go through with publishing the Book Of Witness project, the real hard part followed. Deciding on four witness testimonies that I liked.

The first volume contains the stories of four Canyon County residents and their encounters with the weird. If you have read The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice (thank you!) you’ll recognize a few locations. Some of the characters may be familiar too.

The stories are not connected. Events take place more than a century apart in some instances. These stories are interrelated though, each offering a unique peek at the weird.

Whether that peek be at the tusk or tail.

The first volume of The Book Of Witness is due soon. Sign up to my email list for updates on where and when you can get your copy of the book.

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Episode #6: “The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice”

erick mertz, episode #6, the lies and truth of doctor desmond brice, supernatural fictionThe Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice Episode #6 brings us another step closer to the end of our titular character’s misadventures. Thus far, I have avoided blogging about the publishing process.

As near as we are now though, I feel it’s a good time.

Bringing an episode of this novella out every week (or so, I get it…) has been a fun little adventure. But would I do it the same way again? Maybe.

Serial publishing is nice because it gives me, the writer and publisher, a chance at increased interaction. Writers are always complaining about not having enough relevant material to blog or write about to their audience. This process has given me an opportunity to introduce and discuss a piece of new work on a weekly basis. From readers, I have gotten the impression that this works too.

What serial publishing has done though is made me eager. I am really ready to have this whole book out. There has been so much getting ready and getting the book together that arriving at the end has felt too long.

Here we are though. Episode #6 “The Old Lie”. According to Doctor Desmond Brice, the last of his many lies. The next episode, the last in the ebook we discover the consequences of truth.

How Do I Get My Hands On The Novella?

Did I mention that this eBook is free?

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

Once you subscribe, I’ll send you “Episode #1: The First Lie”. Every one of my subscribers will receive this plus each of the following episodes in this serially published novella.

When this novella is complete, it will stand as the prequel book to The Mask Of Tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for release January/February 2019… more on that) the first full-length novel in my series.

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Episode #5: “The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice”

erick mertz, supernatural fiction, episode #5, the lies and truth of doctor desmond briceA couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog confessing that Episode #4 took longer to release than expected. Well, in that case, the amount of time I took getting Episode #5 out and off my desk has been just plumb ridiculous.

I’ll blame the holidays, how’s that? I’m sure that you’ve heard that excuse before. But it’s true.

I spent last week with family down in balmy Carlsbad, California up the coast from San Diego. Once I got back home to Portland, I decided it was a good idea to take a few days to acclimate back to life in the normal lane.

Better never late, I know, but the episode is out just the same.

After Episode #5 “A Cover-Up” there are only two more episodes left. Best get writing, right?

What Happens In Episode #5?

In the most succinct possible terms, Episode #5 finds Doctor Desmond Brice face to face with a new foe. Anson Jeffs arrives on his doorstep with an offer that he claims Desmond cannot refuse.

Is there such a thing? Find out in Episode #5, “A Cover Up” the latest installment.

How Do I Get My Hands On The Novella?

Did I mention that this eBook is free?

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

Once you subscribe, I’ll send you “Episode #1: The First Lie”. Every one of my subscribers will receive this plus each of the following episodes in this serially published novella.

When this novella is complete, it will stand as the prequel book to The Mask Of Tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for release January/February 2019… more on that) the first full-length novel in my series.

Sound interesting? Sign up today and receive this mailing list exclusive.

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Episode #4: “The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice”

erick mertz, the lies and truth of doctor desmond brice, free ebook, episode #4, supernatural fictionSo, the publication of “Episode #4” took me just a little bit longer to get out to my readers than I would have hoped.

Sorry folks. I missed the good Doctor Brice too.

Today is release day though. The latest, “Episode #4” of The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice will drop to all my loyal email list subscribers later on this afternoon.

This episode I’ve entitled, “Falsehood”.

And just so you don’t go thinking I was too indulgent with my  week away from publishing… I went out to Lake Chelan, Washington and got a lot of writing and novel plotting done with the good folks from Write On The River.

Also, Episode #4 features a brand new eBook cover. Anyone like this one better than the last? Leave me a comment below.

I have to say, I missed the process and I missed dropping eBooks in your email boxes.

Thank you for your patience… and enjoy.

How Do I Get My Hands On The Novella?:

Did I mention that this eBook is free?

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

Once you subscribe, I’ll send you “Episode #1: The First Lie”. Every one of my subscribers will receive this plus each of the following episodes in this serially published novella.

When this novella is complete, it will stand as the prequel book to The Mask Of Tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for release January 2019… more on that) the first full-length novel in my series.

What Happens In Episode #4?:

Desmond Brice returns home from school for the Thanksgiving holiday in this episode. As you lovely readers have discovered, the good Doctor isn’t exactly a normal guy.

While most of us return to our home towns looking to reflect by the home fires, Desmond comes back seeking something else altogether. For Desmond, the idea of a home fire has an entirely different meaning altogether. In Episode #4, he is reminded of that.

Sound interesting? Sign up today and receive this mailing list exclusive.

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Writer’s Retreat #1 – Onto Lake Chelan

erick mertz, supernatural fiction, author, retreat, lake chelanI think that every writer shares a similar dream. A time to get away. The space to think clearly. The much coveted writer’s retreat experience is that rare opportunity to get both at once, usually in a gorgeous location to boot.

As a few of you have noticed, I took this last week away from publishing episodes of The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice in order to prepare for a retreat to Lake Chelan, Washington. The curious Doctor Brice remains in my thoughts, as I do hope he remains in yours. The time away will be a chance to focus on what comes next and I am thankful to Write On The River in Wenatchee for affording me the opportunity to share space with some of Washington’s finest writers.

What comes next? As many of you are aware, Doctor Desmond Brice fits into a larger supernatural mythology of Canyon County, Oregon. While up in Lake Chelan on this specific writer’s retreat, I am going to break out the time twisted plot of The Strange Air which will be the second novel in my supernatural mystery series. Also, I am going to take a little of my three days to work through edits and ideas for The Mask Of Tomorrow which I anticipate releasing in January or February.

Stay tuned. I also anticipate a few blogs and pictures along the way.

By the way… don’t think for a moment I’m taking a retreat just anywhere ordinary. According to legend, Lake Chelan is haunted by a dragon.

Don’t believe me? Check out this story.

Sound interesting? Sign up today and receive this mailing list exclusive.

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

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Podcast Review – “Welcome To Night Vale”

erick mertz, welcome to night vale, supernatural podcast reviewI don’t know whether it was a mistake to announce at a recent board game night that I was in the market for a new supernatural podcast. When the entire room shouted “Welcome To Night Vale” in unison I felt like a fool.

Only momentarily a fool though. Then I felt grateful.

To say that “Welcome To Night Vale” has everything would be an understatement. The podcast takes the form of a free form community calendar with each episode featuring town news and updates on the locals. An idyllic, small town feeling exists throughout, and there is usually a piece music to boot referred to as “the weather”.

The fictional Night Vale is not a normal town though and your host isn’t an everyday local radio DJ rube. Strange things happen in Night Vale. Bizarre turns of events are part of the community character. A recent High School Football preview show dissected the local team’s chances on the gridiron… only with bizarre touch like dismembered limbs and undead coaches. You get the picture.

Did I mention your bi-weekly host? Cecil Baldwin is the show’s host and narrator and one of the first things listeners notice is the resonant magnetism of his voice. His baritone read on news is a draw. He’s funny. He’s mysterious. When I listen to Night Vale it’s easy to just slide in and forget I’ve ever lived elsewhere.

The world of Night Vale is more surreal that it is terrifying. It’s bizarre. In one episode a boy turns into a tree which is a strange fate but his transformation is for poetic reasons and his fate is cruel, yet touching.

The writing is top notch. The characters are memorable. On the binge worthy scale, “Welcome To Night Vale” is up there and well-worth your headphone time.

Have you checked out “Welcome To Night Vale” yet? 

Leave a comment about this podcast, this review, or suggest a supernatural podcast for me to check out. While you’re at it check out my book page to see the latest Oregon supernatural mystery I’m working on.

emertzPodcast Review – “Welcome To Night Vale”
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Episode #3: “The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice”

erick mertz, book release, episode #3, the lies and truth of doctor desmond briceMy first order of business is to wish everyone out there a Happy Halloween. The song tells us that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. For me though, nothing feels quite as good as the crisp late-October air out here in western Oregon.

Doctor Desmond Brice is back. “Episode #3: A Deception” will release later on today to all of my loyal and patient email subscribers.

Thank you to all of those who have already signed up. As a long time devotee of spooky stories, I am grateful that, in a small way, my little story will find a way into their “spooktacular” evening.

Be safe tonight. Be silly. Let the ghosts in.

How Do I Get The Novella?:

Did I mention that this eBook is free?

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

Once you subscribe, I’ll send you “Episode #1: The First Lie”. Every one of my subscribers will receive this plus each of the following episodes in this serially published novella.

When this novella is complete, it will stand as the prequel book to The Mask Of Tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for release January 2019… more on that) the first full-length novel in my series.

What Happens In Episode #3:

We know Desmond Brice has a very special gift. He can hear things no one else can.

In “Episode #3: A Deception” we find our main character far away from Canyon County, Oregon at school in Upper Michigan University. Desmond is a studious young man and he wants nothing more than to keep focused on his studies.

But a young student has her sights set on him. Sarah Schofield Taylor is every bit Desmond’s intellectual equal and by the end of “Episode #3” she will begin to threaten his most tightly held secret.

Sound interesting? Sign up today and receive this mailing list exclusive.

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Episode #2: “The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice”

erick mertz, the lies and truth of doctor desmond brice, episode #2, supernatural fictionI want to pass along a great big thank you to everyone who has signed up for their free eBook. Those readers have already received Episode #1 of my supernatural fiction novella, The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice. Now it’s time to let Episode #2 loose into the world.

I have gotten some early reader feedback and it has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ll admit to some nervousness.

So positive feedback? It feels terrific.

In a logistical sense, I’m feel a little leery of the weekly publishing schedule I’ve set this book on. At this time though, I don’t feel like it’s too much.

Not yet at least.

How Do I Get The Novella?:

Did I mention that this eBook is free?

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

Once you subscribe, I’ll send you “Episode #1: The First Lie”. Every one of my subscribers will receive this plus each of the following episodes in this serially published novella.

When this novella is complete, it will stand as the prequel book to The Mask Of Tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for release January 2019… more on that) the first full-length novel in my series.

What Happens In Episode #2:

Taking place a few years after the events of the previous chapter, in “Episode #2: A Sweet Little Lie” we meet Desmond in high school where he is learning the hard lessons of truth and love.

As we know though, truth is a challenge for young Mr. Brice. When pressed to describe his real feelings, Desmond whispers those sweet little nothing the girl wants to hear instead of what he’s really feeling.

As is usually the case, even a little lie has consequences.

Sound interesting? Sign up today and receive this mailing list exclusive.

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Episode #1: “The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice”

erick mertz, lies and truth of doctor desmond brice, book release, episode one, the first lieToday marks the book release for Episode #1 of my serially published novella, The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice. For a couple of reasons, I am particularly excited to announce this book release.

One reason for excitement… this book the first publishing venture for Longbranch Productions, my fledgling company. For that reason alone, I am very excited. I have been building up to this for quite a long time and to see the book come to life is a dream come true.

Another reason, and perhaps even more critically… this is the first in my The Strange Air Series of supernatural fiction books which explore the strange happenings around Canyon County, Oregon.

For a writer, a book release is always exciting… but this one is special. Thank you for being a part of it.

How Do I Get The Novella?:

Did I mention that this eBook is free?

Getting your eBook copy of The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice could hardly be easier. Just fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list.

Once you subscribe, I’ll send you “Episode #1: The First Lie”. Every one of my subscribers will receive this plus each of the following episodes in this serially published novella.

When this novella is complete, it will stand as the prequel book to The Mask Of Tomorrow (tentatively scheduled for release January 2019… more on that) the first full-length novel in my series.

What Happens In Episode #1:

Each of the seven episodes (or chapters) of The Lies & Truth Of Doctor Desmond Brice depicts the titular character at a critical junction in his life. In “Episode #1: The First Lie” we are introduced to Desmond Brice at the age of seven. Although Desmond is very young, his powers of perception are one of a kind.

Another aspect playing prominently in Episode #1 is Desmond’s family. We meet his Father, a failed Canyon County farmer riddled with self-loathing, and his Mother, a hopeful religious sort who finds her hopes crushed by her husband’s bitter temperament.

Young Desmond Brice possesses powerful gifts. How far will he go to prove to himself he’s not crazy? Will he figure out a way to keeps his powers secret long enough to use them?

Sound interesting? Sign up today and receive this mailing list exclusive.

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Mindfulness & Space Invaders

erick mertz, fiction author, mindfulness, mask of tomorrowSearch the term mindfulness on Google and you’ll come up with 160 million hits… approximately. For a myriad of reasons, focusing on the present moment is an idea that is gaining traction in our cultural zeitgeist.

Down to a more personal level, my recent draft of The Mask Of Tomorrow is done. I mean it. My draft is done.

Translation: I can’t even look at the manuscript. Right now, what I need is to practice a little mindfulness.

You know Space Invaders, right? If not, you’re either fourteen years old, or you spent the bulk of the last thirty years on a church mission in Guyana.

Space Invaders is the quintessential drone-making 1980’s video game. One of the earliest shooting games, Space Invaders hit the market in Japan and the US in the late seventies. By 1982 it had grossed over $2 billion and spawned an equal number of suburban American zombie children.

Need a refresher on the game mechanics? You control the little side-scrolling space ship on the bottom of the screen. For protection you’ve got these shields made of what I can only imagine is marshmallow. Blocks of aliens five high and six wide drop bombs as they move left to right before they drop down to move right to left. A space ship scrolls over top. Manage to clear the screen and it starts over.

You can play this game for hours. And hours. It’s fucking brilliant.

mask of tomorrow, mindfulness, erick mertz, fiction authorLast Christmas a family friend bought me one of those all-in-one Atari 2600 consoles. Ever seen one? Looks like the classic Atari 2600 console but it comes with hundreds of games already built in. All hail exponential advances in technology. No need for cluncky cartridges.

We relegated the little console to the old 32-inch TV upstairs. Upstairs is where a lot of the old stuff goes. Couches and desks. Beds and toys. It’s nice though because Lisa has built a little massage studio up there too.

With every page closer to the end of my recent draft, the sound of Space Invaders calling out my name has gotten a little louder.

My son goes to school on Monday and Wednesday mornings. He goes to school on Thursday too but Lisa works upstairs on Thursdays. This makes Thursday a gaming bogie.

After Lisa goes to work on Monday and Wednesdays though, I drop the kid off at school at nine o’clock. Four hours later, I return to pick him up.

Four hours. That makes for a lot of frickin’ aliens.

It’s 9:12. I turn off the cell phone. I go upstairs and only one game in, I clear six screens. How can this get any better?

Back in the late 1990’s, I lived in a house where half of the residents were studying to be sommeliers. The other half really loved their roommates’ course of study.

In that house, I learned then that your tastebuds are most active in the morning. Today I learn that applies to Rainer as well, cracking a can of the frosty lager as I work on besting the last high score.

Did I mention high scores? I turn the game on and the high score reads 000000. After my first game of scoring 970 points, the high score turns to 970.

Unlike in the arcade there are no left behind initials to focus my competitive edge on. I settle in for game two. I drink my Rainer. The phone rings. I ignore the phone knowing full well that student loans are paid off and I’m not in any need of consolidation.

12:20 rolls around. I need to compose myself before picking the kid up. As it turns out, I opened one Rainer can and only finished about 2/3rds of it.

The high score is 1,030. If I sit here another forty-five minutes, I’ll best that score, but then I’ll be the bane of my son’s school (and my son, to be honest).

1,030? Talk about a crummy high score.

I really don’t know what today was supposed to prove to me. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to prove anything. Maybe the whole point is to spend a day in idle mode.

Focus on the present moment. Rather than spend my day at my desk working for tomorrow, I sat upstairs and saved the world from an imminent attack from side scrolling aliens.

What could be more mindful than that?

Doubly confusing, I don’t know what this blog is suppose to mean to anyone reading it either. Maybe you searched for mindfulness and found this curious mash-up and now you’re terribly disappointed. If you’ve read this far though (thank you) maybe it’s time to wax philosophical.

Should you shirk a day’s responsibility to play Space Invaders? Maybe. It worked for me.

Should you drink Rainer in the morning? Probably not. Unless you’re camping of course.

Mindfulness is the practice of embracing the events in the present moment. It’s a tough sell. With the mid-term elections coming, you’re shooting the damn aliens, which only get faster, you think about work, when all of a sudden the ship moves overhead and…

Well, you get the idea. Writing is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. That manuscript isn’t going away either. Once I get the little man home and into his nap, I’ll be back downstairs.

I’ll be writing. I’ve got a pretty good idea what to do with that scene involving the truck.

Maybe the point is, we all need a little mindlessness of our own design.

I can’t promise I’ll write anything more about mindfulness, but mindlessness? Sure. Subscribe to my mailing list today to keep track of all the wicked escapades.

emertzMindfulness & Space Invaders
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