Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Let's take a trip back to the early 90s. I know, it'll be scary. There's all sorts of things we'll probably see: pinned and rolled acid-washed jeans, Boyz II Men videos on MTV, maybe even a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or two. We're also apt to see a scrawny, gawky-looking teenage drama nerd with a penchant for mystery novels and big, swooping hair. Like, Jason Priestley, 90210 large hair. And as you may have guessed, the nerd with the comic books and Stephen King novels in his backpack, rushing off to play practice? Yeah, that's me.

In our basement, there are bins of old work from my childhood, from elementary school through the aforementioned awkward teen years. There are papers and stories and poems (yes, I wrote them for a girl. And yes, it did work, so lay off) written on my grandfather's old typewriter. There's childhood stories about Spider-Man, about werewolves, about The Hardy Boys. There's also a bunch of printed out emails from college, when my friends and I would spend our workstudy time sending one another lyrics for a fictional rap group (don't ask).

So I'm going to start sharing them with you. I thought it would be fun to see what that early work was like, and how it has - or hasn't - influenced my current work.

Up first? A little gem titled Blood Moon, a short story I wrote in '93 for my creative writing assignment. It's about a man who discovers his one true love has been kidnapped by an ancient vampire, and he and his chums rush off to rescue her. Yep. I was on to the whole vampire craze waaaay before that Stephenie Meyers lady.

Here's the opening paragraph:

He crouched there, quivering. Deep in the shadows of a far-away corner of the castle, he sat with his head between his knees and his arms wrapped around his legs. His body ached from the amount of time he had hidden there, in the abandoned room in a cobwebbed corner. His mind, filled with fear, ran back the dreadful events of the night so far, fearing the end of it.

Exciting, right? You want to read more, right? Well, if you do, God bless you. The whole story is just one click away.


Be on the lookout for more posts like this, where I start to share all kinds of quirky stories from and about my youth.

Until then,

*NOTE: How cool is that Photoshop art I whipped up?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


So, I've got a nice deck. Yeah, I know. "That's a weird thing to brag about, Brandon," you're saying. "What does that have to do with books?" But stick with me here. This deck? You'd almost say it's dang-near perfect. It's large, there's a great table and chairs and a wide umbrella, and it rests in the shade of a towering tree. It's the ideal spot to kick back in the summer, crack open something cold, and get acquainted with a good book. And nearly every spare minute I have, I'm doing just that. So now that summer has arrived, and that shady perch is once more a warm weather mainstay, I thought I'd share a few of the things on my reading list.

THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY by Suzanne Collins: I'll be the first to admit, some of the books on this list are ones I've been hankering to read for some time. This past Christmas, I received the set of all three hardcovers, and they've been patiently sitting on my shelf, waiting for me. I polished off the first book in no time, and plan to do the same with the other two soon. I can easily see why this is a popular and engaging series of books. And the fact that it reminds me of The Running Man (sans a flag-wearing Jesse Ventura and an evil Richard Dawson) makes it even more awesome.

THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin: Again, something I've been waiting to read for some time. Last summer, when I started my latest WIP, I purchased Passage as a reward for a completed manuscript. Two revised drafts later, the WIP is still just that. But I feel like I've earned some killer zombie action.

FUN AND GAMES by Duane Swierczynski: Reading a Swierczy book is like getting an adrenaline shot to the heart, Thurman-style. If you love fast-paced, smart action, definitely check him out. Games, about a group of hitmen who specialize in making deaths look like accidents, seems to be another jolt of action. It's almost like Eric Stoltz has already drawn an 'X' on my chest in Sharpie.

BLOODY CRIMES by James Swanson: Swanson penned one of my favorite non-fiction reads, the amazing Manhunt, which follows two parallel storylines: the death of Abraham Lincoln, and the search for his elusive killer, John Wilkes Booth. Crimes, the story of Jefferson Davis and the funeral pageant of Lincoln's body, continues his captivating, heavily-researched narrative.

BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey: Let's go back five years or so. NBC was producing 2 shows about late night sketch shows. One had the name Aaron Sorkin attached to it; one was a sitcom with, of all people, The Shadow..I mean, Alec Baldwin. I'll admit, I thought the Sorkin/Matthew Perry drama had the legs to make it, and didn't put much faith in 30 Rock. Damn, I'm glad I was wrong. Tina Fey is like the prettiest girl in band class, the one you totally have a crush on, the one you know is not only way smarter than you, but that she wouldn't have time for Indiana Jones references. She's too busy being amazing. Nerd crush? You bet.

KILLING KATE by Julie Kramer: The fourth book in the witty and entertaining Riley Spartz series. Set in the good ol' Twin Cities, with the backdrop of local television reporting, the Spartz series is always smart, funny, and filled with twists.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs: Sometimes, a book comes out of nowhere and you can't stop thinking about it. Last week, I had no clue what Home even was. Now, I'm obsessed with reading it. Weaving a story around existing...um, peculiar...photographs is an ingenious idea. Must. Get. Hands. On. This. Book.

THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta: Perrotta excels at making the craft of writing effortless, and his natural tone made Little Children one of the best books I've read in a while, and cemented him as one of my favorite authors.

The fun doesn't end when summer does, though. Fall is looking pretty mint as well, with a number of great books (many by talented Minnesota authors) hitting the shelves.

NORTHWEST ANGLE by William Kent Krueger: I've been a fan of Kent's since he visited the Barnes and Noble I worked at and graciously signed and chatted with me for my entire 15 (plus) minute break. The arrival of a new Cork O'Connor mystery is always met with eager anticipation in the Terrell home, and this is no exception.

BROOKLYN, BURNING by Steve Brezenoff: I feel pretty lucky to have befriended a number of talented writers courtesy of the Interwebs, and Steve tops that list. His previous work, The Absolute Value of -1, is a fantastic book told from the perspective of each of the three main characters. Steve's ability of weave character and voice through out the narrative is an enviable trait. Be prepared, people. From what I've read, Burning is going to knock your proverbial socks off.

THE TANGLEWOOD TERROR by Kurtis Scaletta: You know how they say never judge a book by its cover? Well, they haven't seen this damn cover. How could you not pick up this book? The fact that Kurtis (another Minnesotan I've been fortunate enough to speak to on the Internet, where we grumble about the Twins or make fun of Steve's love of the Yankees) is a great storyteller. And if you love baseball, check out Mudville, Scaletta's novel about family, and the longest baseball game in history.

THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK by Kelly Barnhill: Yet another MN author I've been fortunate enough to discover online. Jack is Kelly's debut novel, about a boy who visits his family in Iowa, and discovers the townsfolk have been waiting a long time for him. I can't wait to get my hands on this magical, whimsical book.

BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX by Laurel Synder: Speaking of magic...I've only recently discovered Snyder's work, but I'm thankful I have. Her novel Penny Dreadful was a charming book, and Breadbox - about a magical breadbox that delivers your wish, so long as it fits inside said box - is earning rave reviews.

Last but not least...it's been about a year and a half (oh how time flies) since one of my favorite publishers, Hard Case Crime, has released a book. And this October, they're back with a vengeance. Included in the line-up of books by authors like Max Allan Collins, Donald Westlake, and Lawrence Block is this killer little novel called CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust.

So there you have it. That's what I'll be reading on my deck this summer and fall. Care to join me? There's enough shade for everyone!


Friday, May 20, 2011


Happy Friday, everyone! Well, it seems like we had to arm wrestle Mother Nature for spring this year, but after turning our hat around backward and going 'Over the Top', we finally won. It's been a pretty beautiful stretch here in MN (until today, of course. As I write this, it's dark and rumbly and glum-lookin' outside. Almost like the Rapture approaches...)

Of course, this isn't just a post about the weather, because really, how boring would that be? I wanted to remind all of you comic book fans and lovers of all things nerdy that this weekend is the annual SPRINGCON comic convention hosted by the Midwest Comic Book Association at the State Fairgrounds. This is the big 2-day event, held in the large Grandstand building. If you haven't attended the show, it's a great venue, filled to the brim with talented folks - artists, writers, vendors, panels, etc. - and I'm proud to say I'll be there at a table, once more selling copies of Horrorwood & Drake Bacula.

So if you're in the area - hell, even if you're not! - come on over and check it out. The show runs 10AM - 5PM both days (Sat. and Sun., barring earthquakes, zombie uprisings, or Kirk Cameron sightings).

For more info about the con, check out the MCBA's website HERE.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Hey all! Well, May is shaping up to be one heck of a busy month, on both the professional and personal front. But hey, as my Pops used to say, "Make hay while the sun shines."

So, on top of two contracted books (an exciting project that I'll discuss more of later), my lovely wife's birthday, Mother's Day, my son's second birthday - and subsequent birthday party, a much-needed and highly anticipated visit from my sister in Colorado, SpringCon (check back for more deets soon), and meetings with a fantastic writer's group, I've been asked to speak at the Hiawatha Valley Education District's Young Writer's Conference tomorrow and Friday in Winona.

I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity to speak with kids who are passionate about writing, and who are eager to learn more about it. My session, entitled "And...ACTION!" discusses the similarities and differences in novel writing and screenwriting, and the elements needed to write a screenplay. So yeah, I get to talk about scripts, films, and filmmaking with a bunch of kids over the next couple of days. Super. Cool.

Hope everything's right as rain in your neck of the Interwebs!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Greetings, everyone! This Sunday, I will be participating in the annual National MS Society's Walk MS in the Twin Cities. This will be the 5th (or 6th) time Jen and myself have strapped on our walkin' shoes and got down to business. And for good reason, too. My cousin Chad has been battling MS for some time now, and even though it sometimes feels like there is little I can do to help, this annual walk is a great reminder that there is hope. For change. For a cure. For a chance. So it's an honor and a privilege to be able to walk alongside Chad and our family to support the efforts of the National MS Society.

That said, I am hoping you will consider sponsoring me in my efforts. A donation of any size will go a long way to support a great cause.

If you'd like to make a donation, CLICK HERE.

This will take you to a search engine. Simply type in my name (adding the appropriate state will winnow down your search) and you will taken to my page.

Thank you so much.

All the best,

Monday, April 18, 2011


Hey y'all! See, that's my new way of saying hi, seeing as how Netflix has the first four seasons of Friday Night Lights available to stream instantly, and I'm neck deep in Dillon Panthers football. But seriously, this post isn't to update you on my television viewing habits (I'll do that at another time). Nope, the 2011 Minneapolis / St. Paul International Film Festival is underway right now (April 14 - May 5), showcasing flicks from around the globe.

Part of the fest is a wonderful night of highlighting locally-shot short narrative films. The screening is taking place tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 19th) at the Saint Anthony Main theater (a frequently-visited theater back in my college days. Ah, the 90s).

Among the mini-flicks screening - and making it's premiere - is Patrick Coyle's The Comeback. If you recall, Patrick is the uber-talented director behind the feature Into Temptation, on which I was fortunate enough to work as the First Assistant Director. Well, same goes for The Comeback. Patrick, myself, and a dedicated and talented cast and crew shot much of the film in a single day. It's a touching flick about a man going back to work after suffering a terrible loss.

Of the other films screening Tuesday, I can proudly say I am good friends with two other talented filmmakers showing their work. Local producer/director Todd Cobery will be screening his powerful, heart-wrenching piece Good Morning, Beautiful. It's a deeply emotional story about a man facing a great loss, and it features a quietly affecting performance by a fantastic actor named Dave Tufford.

On the lighter side, there's Sarah Jean Kruchowski's Jerry Schwingle and the Happiness Well, a bright, cheerful story about a guy having the worst luck imaginable, and the magical well that just may be able to grant him a bit of happiness.

So if you're in the neighborhood Tuesday evening, come check them out. There's a slew of talented folks making movies in the Twin Cities. Come out and support them!

For more info on the MSPIFF, click HERE.

Remember: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Hey gang. Yep, I've gone and done it again. I've strayed away from my blog for months on end, only to show up at your doorstep, on my knees, begging for your forgiveness. You're wary, you don't want to trust me again. Heck, you've probably already started seeing other blogs. I get it. I don't blame you. But I've got some pretty cool things to share in the near future, so I hope we can still be friends.

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 19), I will be participating in the annual Bloomington Writer's Festival & Book Fair. It's my first time at the event, which guarantees to be a day filled with literary conversations, exciting and fresh new books, and plenty of networking. I'll be seated at a table with publisher Tom Keyes, whose company Third Child Press has published such wonderful books as This Sold House and Dart.

The book fair is free to the public, so if you're interested, come on down. There are workshops about writing and publishing all day, but I believe you need to pre-register for those. For more info on the event, and a schedule of workshops and authors, check out their website HERE.

Here's a few more details...

Where: Bloomington Center for the Arts (1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington)
When: Saturday, March 19th
Time: Book Fair is from 11AM-3:30PM (registered events begin earlier, however)

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Hey there! Happy 2011, everyone! The year kind of snuck in under the radar. While at a friend's party, we took a break from a riveting game to ring in the new year, pouring glasses of bubbly and clicking on the radio, only to hear the last lingering notes of Auld Lang Syne. To quote Maxwell Smart, "Missed it by that much." Well, we counted down and toasted anyway, because that's what Dick Clark would have wanted us to do. So sure, I may have missed its introduction, but I have no doubt that 2011 is going to be one heck of a good year. I've got big plan for the next 365 days - well, 361, to be exact.

To that effect, sound the horns, because the year is already off to a great start. The first of my two graphic novels, each published by the fine folks at Stone Arch Books, will be released in their Spring line of books. The book, part of their Sports Illustrated Kids series of graphic novels, is titled Quarterback Scramble. It's an action-packed, eye-popping football story, with gorgeous art by Gerardo Sandoval and Benny Fuentes.

Here's the rundown:

As the backup quarterback for the Hawks, Ben Paulson is happy to ride the bench and hang out with his teammates on the sidelines. But everything changes when the Hawks' star quarterback, Wes Blake, gets suspended for pulling poor grades in math. With Ben at the helm, the offense starts to stall, and his teammates place the blame squarely on his shoulders. Soon after, a possible solution to Ben's passing problems reveals itself -- but he's not so sure it's the right answer.

Sounds good, right? For more info about the other books in the series, click the magical button HERE.

That's it for now. But get ready, 2011. You're about to get sacked (see what I did there?).

More soon,