The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged by the lovely and talented Dana Baird as well as by fictioneer Tyler Tork as part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! So in accordance with The Next Big Thing rules and regulations, I’m supposed to answer the following questions about my upcoming work, then pass this along to five other Next Big Thing authors.

What is the working title of your next book?

Pinky The Invisible Flying Pony Vs The Alien Robot Zombie Dinosaurs

No, seriously.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for an invisible flying pony superhero is a story in itself. But after writing the previous Pinky story in this series, I received so much positive feedback and I had so much fun writing it, that I couldn’t help coming up with other ideas for preposterously-adjectived antagonists. The previous story,  Pinky the Invisible Flying Pony Vs. The Giant, Carnivorous, Poisonous, Exploding Spider-Leeches  sets the enemy bar pretty high, but Alien Robot Zombie Dinosaurs should give them a run for their money.

What genre does your book fall under?

Gothic, Sci-Fi, Horror-Comedy.

Think Calvin and Hobbes meets HP Lovecraft, then add in some Terminator 3 technology…

What is the synopsis or blurb for this book?

I don’t have a blurb for this story, because the title is long enough already, but here’s a quick synopsis:

Payton and her best friend, the invisible flying pony Pinky, take a field trip to the Minnesota Science Museum. Unfortunately, the dinosaur skeletons come to life and begin abducting people in puffs of black smoke! Can Payton and Pinky evade agents of the Shadow Government, find out what’s behind the Zombie Dinosaur Menace, save the Earth from certain destruction, and still get home in time for Payton to finish her report on Egypt? Probably not, but watching them try will be a laugh for all fans of preposterously dark fiction.

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Any actor or actress could play Pinky, as long as they were invisible.

For Payton, I’d love to see  Natalie Portman from The Professional back in the mid 90’s, or Chloe Moretz (aka Hit Girl) from the 2010 hit, Kick Ass.  Since either of these would require a time machine, we might just as well go back 6 years and shoot the movie with the real-world Payton whom the character is based on.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

If you read my answer to “What genre does your book fall under?” you should be able to figure this one out yourself.  This story is probably too adult for kids, and too kiddish for adults. I’m not sure an agency would touch it. Besides,  the publishing industry is still busy running research groups to analyze the business potential of this “internet” fad. I’m probably best off releasing this story myself.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Way too long for a short story. Nine months, I think. But several of those months were interrupted by other projects like Jagged Spiral’s second album.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The positive feedback I received from the previous Pinky story, and sheer fun I had of writing it. One person told me she read the first Pinky story to her kids as a bedtime story, and they loved it!

Many people asked me if there would be more adventures with Pinky and Payton and writing these short stories is so much easier than the serious novel I’m laboring over, called Evil Looks Good. Diving back into Pinky and Payton’s world is a welcome break that is fun and easy to write, with a high payoff for both me and my readers.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

One reader pointed out to me that the interaction between Pinky and Payton reminds them of Calvin and Hobbes by  Bill Watterson, and I would have to agree, but add a sinister, world-ending antagonist. Like HP Lovecraft, I try to ratchet up the evil to impossible levels, but I do so with a very wry and dry sense of humor in the style of Douglas Adams’  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter by  Seth Grahame-Smith, and the  Emily the Strange  stories come to mind  because of the gothic/horror/comedy crossover.  Someone told me my writing reminds them of Terry Pratchett. Not sure if that was meant as a good or bad thing.

What else about your book might pique the readers interest?

The fact that it’s a true story…that really happened. At least the invisible flying pony swears it really happened, and who am I to argue with that?

Or perhaps the fact that it will be really inexpensive. Plus, each copy comes with an invisible,  intangible, unscented and completely silent flying pony!

The Next (Five) Big Thing(s)

As part of the Next Big Thing Perpetual Motion Machine, I’m also expected to pick five other authors who I’m into right now. So here’s a list of authors who should be part of the Next Big Thing hoopla:

  • Abra Staffin-Wiebe – Fellow Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writer Abra Staffin-Wiebe is not only a really good writer, but also has a great voice. Check out both her writing and her voice in her podcast of  
  • Joseph Garraty – When I was very young, I asked my mother where I came from. She informed me that I was “left on the doorstep by Gypsies.” I always thought she just wanted to avoid the “birds and the bees” talk. Last year I read Joseph Garraty’s  The Voice  (NO connection to the TV show of the same name, btw…) and I had to contact him to say how much I liked it. We got to chatting, and the more I learned about Joseph, the more frightening similarities between us were revealed. I’ve decided that either Joseph is my long, lost, Gypsy brother, or he is actually me, and there is a time machine involved. Either way, you should check out his work.
  • Carole Lanham  – Author of The Whisper Jar, Carole writes “Deliciously Dark Fiction” from her home in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also the purveyor of
  • Jonathan Winn – Author from Seattle, WA. I’m halfway through his first novel  Martuk… The Holy. Mixing dark fiction with comparative religion, Jonathan Winn does description like no other author I’ve read.
  • Joseph Nassise – With over twenty novels under his belt, and former Horror Writers Association President creds, Joseph Nassise is already a Big Thing. However,  I was able to preread some scenes of Eyes to See  before it was released last June, and it’s in my reading queue right now. I know fans of dark fiction are going to eat this up.
Conrad Zero

Yours Darkly, Conrad Zero