Drake Novak is an alien who feeds on the misery of other life forms. He runs a factory in a small Southern town — and he systematically torments all the workers. A young cop from the Galactic Precinct comes to Earth to arrest him. Finding Drake Novak is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Copyright © 2016 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.
Good morning. My new book is on Amazon now. It’s a story about growing up in church, feeling extremely uneasy about God, leaving church, struggling with anxiety, using substances to cope with that anxiety, and then eventually realizing that God wasn’t the scary monster I thought He was.
I’ve been clean for eight years now. Even though I still struggle with anxiety sometimes, I’ve learned to lean on God and pray during those nervous moments — instead of grabbing pills. My life is much better now. I don’t miss my old habits at all.
The book is available in paperback and on Kindle. You can click here to order.
Copyright 2018 Matthew David Curry.
I started writing when I was twelve and never stopped. Now I work in a factory, driving a rickety old forklift, but I still write books in my free time. I self-publish them on Amazon too. Writing is more than a hobby for me. It’s a basic need like food and water. I mostly write science fiction stories filled with dark, twisted humor. Sometimes I write madcap comedies set in the South. I also write a little bit of nonfiction.
Finding Drake Novak combines science fiction and Southern Gothic. Drake Novak is a malevolent alien with bloodshot eyes and a black business suit. He draws his nourishment from the pain and sadness of other living things. He takes over a factory in rural Georgia and keeps all the workers as miserable as possible. He absorbs their frustration and despair the way a plant absorbs sunlight. Then a young policeman from the Galactic Precinct comes to Earth to arrest him.
Under the Electric Sun is a book about a robotic raccoon and a boy named Jake. They live in a luxurious underground city beneath the ruins of Washington, DC. One afternoon, as they relax in a room full of plastic trees, a giant praying mantis arrives and tells them it’s safe to live on the surface again. Their lives change forever.
I also love to draw. Sometimes, when people find out I’m an artist, they hound me to draw portraits of their kids. Or they describe tattoo ideas to me, asking me to draw all kinds of ridiculous, complicated things. Some people are downright rude and pushy about it. How to Make an Artist Miserable is a book about these annoying people and the ways I’ve learned to deal with them.
All my books are available on Amazon. You can order paperback copies or download them to your Kindle.
* You can also visit The Publishing Parlor, my other blog, to learn more about my books. It’s mostly a collection of book samples and a few personal essays. Feel free to visit, but please don’t follow it. If you follow that blog, your inbox will be flooded with posts. I update it compulsively. It will drive you absolutely nuts, I promise.
Thanks for reading.
We found an auditorium where a heavy metal band was playing. Thick smoke floated above our heads. Red laser beams flashed in the air. People danced with their eyes closed, waving their arms in slow motion, grasping at imaginary objects with their fingers. I watched them with nervous curiosity.
After the show was over, I stumbled into the street with Greg and Jesse. It was time to return to the youth hostel. We walked down a staircase in the sidewalk, into the concrete labyrinth where the subway trains lived. We boarded a train and rode through the tunnel a few minutes. Then we stepped off and climbed another set of stairs.
When we reached the top of the stairs and looked around, we didn’t recognize the signs and buildings around us. We had gotten off at the wrong stop. We didn’t know where we were. It was almost eleven o’clock. And we couldn’t call our teacher on our cell phones because we didn’t have cell phones. It was 1998.
So we rambled through the streets, asking strangers for directions to the youth hostel where we were staying. Most of them were friendly and polite, but they had never heard of the Jump In Youth Hostel. We even found a black taxi cab parked indiscreetly on the sidewalk, a common practice in Germany. The driver sat behind the wheel, sipping coffee and listening to the radio. We eagerly asked him to take us to the Jump In Youth Hostel, but he shook his head and started pointing, giving us directions in German. None of us understood German well enough to know what he was saying. We mumbled “danke” and walked away, disappointed and discouraged.
We walked through the subway and found a group of policemen playing cards in a small, dirty room with pictures of naked women plastered on the walls. We explained our predicament to them. They also gave us helpful directions in German.
You’ve been reading an excerpt from How to Make an Artist Miserable. The Kindle version is free May 19-23. The paperback version is $5 plus shipping and handling as always.
Copyright 2015, 2017 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.
I hate it when people stand behind me, staring down at my paper and invading my personal space. I don’t know how other artists work, but I spend a long time building the basic shape before I flesh out all the little details. If I’m sketching a face, I might spend ten minutes forming the outline of the head and the curves of the hair around it. But if spectators are gathered around me, I feel obligated to hurry up and work faster in order to keep them entertained. This hasty scrambling always leads to a sloppy picture.
People also love to yell out brainless comments as I draw. If I’m drawing a face, for instance, I will loosely sketch the eyes, make some rough marks representing the nose, scribble in the lips, and then return to the top of the face to add detail to the eyes. As soon as I direct my attention to the eyes, some bonehead will blurt out, “You forgot the give her nostrils! She needs nostrils, don’t she? Are you not gonna give her no nostrils?”
They don’t understand that I’m building the picture in layers. They just think I’m forgetting important details, so they like to point at the paper and remind me to add this and that. Sometimes, they’re deliberately being rude. Sometimes, they’re truly ignorant. Whatever their motivation, it drives me insane. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t open your mouth and spew criticism.
This is why I prefer to draw in the privacy of my apartment, spinning a Miles Davis record on my turntable. Or sitting in a cool hotel room, drinking coffee and listening to the soothing music of The Weather Channel.
How to Make an Artist Miserable is free on Kindle May 19-23. The paperback version is still $5 plus shipping and handling.
(Copyright 2015, 2017 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.)
Here’s my little drawing of Miles Davis. The drawing is actually bigger than what you see in the photo, but I didn’t like the way his hands turned out. They were supposed to be clasped together with the fingers interlaced, but they ended up looking like a sloppy bird’s nest made out of old twigs. So I just cropped that part out altogether. But I’m pretty happy with the face. I loved drawing the glasses. I like the overall look of Miles Davis. Serious, intense.
Anyway, I hope you’re doing well, wherever you are in the world.
For the past four years, I’ve been writing and self-publishing books on Amazon. It’s a lot of fun, especially the last one I wrote. I loved watching the characters come to life and surprise me. I even enjoy the proofreading stage of the process …. although it’s horrendously tedious and gives me six or seven nervous breakdowns and completely destroys my social life. Somehow, that part is still fun too. It’s like solving a giant puzzle. Once the book is finished, it feels good to hold it in my hands and flip through the pages. And it’s good when people tell me they enjoyed reading it.
But the whole thing is time-consuming. Every time I write a book, I neglect everything else. I forget to clean. My apartment begins to look like a crack house. My friends think I’ve forgotten them. Also, it’s hard to get people to notice these books. Every time I send a copy of my book to a critic somewhere, I feel like I’m sticking a note in a bottle and slinging it into the ocean.
So I’m considering a different approach, a new strategy.
I don’t plan to quit writing books, but I do think I’ll focus my energy on writing short stories and sending them to magazines. It would be less time-consuming. I could write little stories and knock them out quickly and get on with my life. And I might get more exposure that way. And maybe make better money.
My newest book, Finding Drake Novak, actually started off as two short stories. Those stories became scenes in the first chapter of the book. This week, I gently extracted those two scenes, edited them a little bit, and turned them back into short stories. And I e-mailed them to magazines. I think I’m going to write some essays too. Funny stuff about everyday life. Observational humor. Stories about ordinary things and lessons I’ve learned and so on.
Do any of you have experience with this kind of thing? Can you suggest any magazines or websites? Or newspapers? Do you have any advice about this?
My new book is on Amazon now. The Kindle version will be free August 1 – 5. This one isn’t fiction. How to Make an Artist Miserable is a journal/essay/tirade about some of my frustrations as an artist — and how I’ve learned to overcome them. Like people assuming I work on a “for hire” basis and requesting giant portraits of their children, for example. Over the last few years, I’ve actually found a way to deal with those people. I no longer draw pictures I don’t want to draw. It’s very liberating.
You can click here to learn more.