Look what came in the mail! The Korea Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan Association has accepted me as a 3rd degree black belt and issued this certificate backdated to my original promotion date. They are the original TKD MDK organization established by members of the MDK who unified into the KTA in 1965. Rank is an obligation, not a privilege. As such, I will endever to live up to the trust they have put in me and will represent them to my hightest ability.
It’s here! Includes my story, “The Midnight Club!”
“It’s here and available for purchase now! Includes an introduction by Stephen Graham Jones, a foreword by WD Gagliani, and spine-chilling tales of lycanthropy from Ramsey Campbell, JG Faherty, Susie Moloney, Nancy Kilpatrick, and a myriad of other noteworthy authors.” Go here: https://www.amazon.com/TheV-Horror-Zines-Werewolf-Stories/dp/1953905323/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1647347788&sr=8-8&fbclid=IwAR31H0povZJt1dkI-vggrMYR9lbJzsMXUJFyvcfkv_1l8xzFv-AzK4QiE7c
Each year I create a list of goals for every area of my life. Throughout the year I work my goals, track my progress, and commit to posting my top accomplishments. I hope to inspire others to do the same.
- As heard on NBC New Radio in Los Angeles/Riverside/San Bernardino/Palm Springs/Seattle/tacoma/Salt lake City/Phoenix and online Podcasts.
- Invited to talk about my writing on The House of Mystery Radio Show on NBC News Radio by host and producer Alan R. Warren. KCAA 106.5 F.M. Los Angeles/102.3 F.M. Riverside/1050 A.M. Palm Springs, KKNW 11:50 A.M. Seattle, Washington, and KYAH 540 A.M Salt Lake City, Utah, among others.
- My interview episode became part of a Best of House of Mystery week.
- My interview episode is #12 in 2021 downloads on https://www.alanrwarren.com
- After the interview my Wolves of Vengeance Facebook page reach was up 400% and page likes up 1000%.
- I was invited to co-host on The House of Mystery Radio Show on NBC!
- Listen to my interview here: https://shows.acast.com/houseofmysteryradio/episodes/david-north-martino-wolves-of-vengeance or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTnetgdDHHw&t=12s
- I made some Dollar Store DVD/Blu-Ray videos early in the year. Check out my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWAGfK61_Pc6vOlOmUD1sRg
- Invited to co-host for The House of Mystery Radio Show on NBC News Radio.
- Set up a radio studio in our media room to facilitate co-hosting duties.
- Co-hosted over 80 shows, provided banter, and assisted with editing and marketing.
- This year we became the #6 show in the Los Angeles Market over the air with a 2.5 – 3.2 market share and 46,153 listeners per episode.
- Podcast version had 1,923,359 downloads/plays from website/podcast platforms.
- Listen to the show here https://www.alanrwarren.com/house-of-mystery-radioshow
- Invited to review movies for The House of Mystery Radio Show on NBC/Alanrwarren.com.
- Wrote full reviews of over twenty 2021 movies.
- Created Movies at a Glance database based on my notes to provide short reviews of over 200 films for listeners/visitors.
- Read my reviews here https://www.alanrwarren.com/martino-movie-reviews
- Check out Movies at a Glance here: https://www.alanrwarren.com/martinomoviereviews/movies-at-a-glance-(film-review-database)-
Short Story Writing
- My story, “Expiation,” was a Semi-Finalist in the 3rd Quarter of The Writers of the Future Contest Vol. 38. Certificate on the way! https://www.writersofthefuture.com/writers-of-the-future-3rd-quarter-winners-announced-for-volume-38/
- Sold a short story to a 2022 upcoming anthology. More info soon!
- Submitted to 11 short story markets.
- Wrote 1 new short story and sold it.
- Edited a short story from an honorable mention into a semi-finalist.
- Re-edited and polished all short stories before submission.
- Received good feedback and made it into 3rd read pile for a well known small press magazine.
- Finished proof reading draft of The Tower 78,000 words.
- Finished restructuring draft of Year of the Demon.
- Finished proof reading draft of Year of the Demon 80,000 words.
- Received certificate and challenge coin for attending last year’s MDK 75th anniversary.
- Invited to and attended advanced Kali seminar at Derderian Academy of Martial Arts. We covered mostly levels 5 and 6 with the lift series double stick (baston), Panatukan (mano, mano – Filipino Boxing), espada y daga (stick/sword and knife), foot drags, disarms, arm drags. Lacosta 8 and 10. Trained with my friend Tony, a great instructor in his own right, who helped me with new material.
- I called my cousin Thorny and received verbal instruction in various martial arts.
- Grandmaster Tony Gould passed away this year. RIP.
- I made some martial arts TKD/JKD/Kickboxing videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JSh2IARl90
- Continued solo training TKD foundation, JKD, Filipino boxing, Kali drills, and sword cuts. HIIT Bas Rutten Thai Boxing three 2 min rounds 3x per week.
- Improved stretch and high kicking.
- Began the process of joining a prestigious Tae Kwon Do association.
Family & Friends
- Brought my mother to see Frankie Valli at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Great show!
- Began friendship with Al Warren.
- Patty got a new job in Information Security!
- Kept up with my friend and former English professor through email.
- Called my cousin Thorny.
- Visited in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner at my niece’s house.
- Called my parents at least twice a week.
- Celebrated 26 years of marriage & 29 years together.
- Brought Diesel to yearly physical along with distemper and rabies shots.
- Physical and flu shot. My weight was up but otherwise healthy.
- Moderna and booster.
- Got new prescription glasses and sun glasses at Visionworks.
- Dermatologist – had an ingrown hair removed. Biopsied just to be sure.
- Dental Cleanings. Gold star.
- Ophthalmology changed med. Stable.
- Mazda – Oil changes, tire rotation, Mass Inspection.
- Subaru – Oil changes, tire rotation, Mass Inspection, new alternator, new battery.
- Replaced air cleaners.
- Set up new larger desk, chair, and double monitors for Patty’s new job. Also brought down and repurposed a bookcase and put together a printer stand.
- The Association had a company come in to clean dryer vents.
- Victory performed plumbing work.
- Replaced defective garbage disposal. I installed it myself.
- Rearranged media room and set up desk to create radio and podcasting studio.
- Placed humidifiers upstairs and downstairs.
- Cleaned out garage and had Affordable Junk Removal haul away the crap.
- Replaced and set up a new modem and router and connected all our devices.
- Installed an air TV 2 as a replacement for the now defunct Locast.
- Switched to Ooma for VOIP Phone. Phone bill went from $40 per month to $6.00.
- Replaced dead subwoofer and paired to Vizio sound bar.
- Cordcutting: Utilized multiple free trials and sales including Paramount +, Disney +, AMC +, Discovery +, Epix, Starz, Apple Music, and Sling.
Whisk(e)y, Spirits, & Cocktails
- Longhorn Old Fashioned
- Maple Old Fashioned – Tavern on the Square
- Outback Old Fashioned
- Pumpkin Beer Nitro
- Elijah Craig Small Batch – Tasting notes: buttercream and cinnamon.
- Bully Boy Negroni cocktail in a bottle.
- Knob Creek Bourbon – 9 Years old.
- Knob Creek Maple Burbon
- Jameson Watermelon cooler for Patty.
- Rye Rickey for Patty
Travel & Fun
- The Monkees Farewell Tour at Mohegan Sun Arena. This was one of Michael Nesmith’s last shows before his unfortunate passing. Dinner at Summer Shack.
- Went to see Rocky Vs. Drago at the Regal Cinema. Had fajitas and margaritas at Chili’s. Patty got steak and avocado. We sat at the bar to kill time and went to the paper store. The seats at Regal were uncomfortable.
That’s all for now. See you in 2022!
In conjunction with Alan R. Warren and The House of Mystery Radio Show, I have a new page for movie reviews. I’ll give you the skinny on the best and worst movies to stream. Now that theaters are opening back up, I’ll also cover theatrical releases whenever possible. I hope you’ll bookmark the page and come back again and again.
If you haven’t heard, I’m co-hosting The House of Mystery Radio Show on NBC News Radio. Alan Warren, and a bevy of talented co-hosts, delve deeply into the creative process of our writerly guests. Listen live Monday – Friday 9 p.m. PST on KCAA 106.5 FM Los Angeles/ 102.3 FM Riverside/ 1050 AM Palm Springs or stream online at https://www.alanrwarren.com/hom-how-to-listen
Listen live at 5p.m. MT on KYAH 540 a.m. Salt Lake City or stream live at https://www.alanrwarren.com/hom-how-to-listen
Missed an episode? Listen to the archived podcast versions of all the shows at
Thanks for listening!
I was interviewed by Allen R. Warren on the House of Mystery Radio Show airing on NBC News Radio. We talk about my book, Wolves of Vengeance, and all things writing. Listen live January 21, 2021 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time/12 A.M. Eastern on KCAA 106.5 F.M. LA/ 102.3 F.M. Riverside/1050 A.M. Palm Springs, 4 P.M. Mountain Time on 540 A.M. Salt Lake City or streaming online at the House of Mystery website below.
Each year I create a list of goals for every area of my life. Throughout the year I work on my goals, track my progress, and then commit to posting my top accomplishments. I hope to inspire you to do the same.
This was a difficult year for all of us. When talk of the lockdowns began, I decided to ask myself a question: how do I use the lockdown to make every area of my life better? I wanted to put my efforts and resources into positive action and still have an outstanding year despite obstacles that were outside my control.
I’ll start with short stories since I decided to put a lot of time into the creation, editing, and submitting of short tales. My efforts paid off with one acceptance and two honorable mentions. More info below.
My story Shattered was accepted and published in the Horror Zine’s 11th Anniversary issue. You might still find it free to read here.
Atonement received an Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest 1st quarter 2020.
Received an honorable mention for my story Leviathan in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest for 3rd quarter 2020. (Including last year, this was the 3rd story that received this honor in a row).
Completed and sent a new story (5,000 words) to Writers of the Future contest 4th quarter.
Wrote a 1,700 word short story for Weird Tales but the contest was canceled. The story is cooling while awaiting an edit and a new market.
Sent stories to 24 markets including WOTF, The Horror Zine & the Baen Fantasy Award. More than normal and due to Covid restrictions.
Each story submitted received a new polish edit bringing writing up to current standard.
Wrote 2 new stories, one for Weird Tales and the other for WOTF.
Editor told me I was writing at a profesional level.
Received invites to resubmit from pro and semi-pro publications.
Had a top editor include me in a post where he touted the quality of fiction in the Horror Zine.
I love to read but have been a little distracted. I’ll make it a goal to read more next year.
I fell off from blogging and only posted 1 video related to writing.
An opportunity arose that I can’t talk about yet. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know more by the middle of January.
Completed the free Writers of the Future writing workshop. It’s great! What are you waiting for? Take the workshop here.
Completed up to Chapter 17 in Black Magic Bullets that began as an NaNoWriMo project. As the Covid lockdown took over, I found myself spending more time finishing up a completed novel and writing short fiction for the WOTF contest. I received good feedback on this first draft, including an excited reader who compared my story to the Dresden Files.
Completed the ProWritingAid edit of The Tower. I deleted over 30k words bringing the story from 90k to 60k. I cut this thing to the bone!
Reassessed Year of the Demon and am considering transforming it into urban fantasy. If nothing else, I’ve decided to put it through another round of edits before sending it out again.
Darkness Absolute (working title)
Began a redux in late February bringing the events back to the late 1990s. Hopefully it will be complete by the time 90s nostalgia hits.
Wolves of Vengeance
On account of the lockdowns, I decided to do a free kindle promotion of WoV.
Free kindle promotion received 31 downloads.
ProWritingAid purchased WoV as part of a Facebook promotion
Martial Arts and Physical fitness
With many martial arts seminars on hold, I wanted to make sure I kept up with solo training. My main goals were to burn calories, stay sharp, and improve my flexibility. Most of my kicking had been centered around practical low line techniques. I decided to return to high kicks to increase my stretch.
Warmed up and stretched before each session (ballistic, static, active, etc.).
I purchased Marco Lala’s stretching video and put his recommendations into practice. Check out his products here.
Performed shadow kickboxing session 3 times per week with Patty.
Utilized Bas Rutten’s Thai Boxing workout routine 3-4 two minute rounds with one-minute rest. This is high Intensity Interval training (HIIT). You can still get his MMA Workout CDs & DVD here.
Practiced combination kicking with an emphasis on high kicks for stretching. Spinning and turning kicks to reclaim agility.
Hojo Undo (supplementary exercises): Performed the 1st five dumbell exercises in the original P90X program, low weight high reps 3x per week. Performed calisthenics on many opposite days. Also, practiced various squats for leg day.
Ken Suburi (basic sword cuts) Inspired by the last korean sword seminar I attended, I performed 100 sword cuts per session with bokken from various stances.
Kata/hyung worked various forms and studied bunkai and oyo for practical effectiveness. Focused on improving Gankaku/Jindo. In the early days we learned advanced forms for testing but tended not to go back to them.
Sinawalli: practiced double stick solo paterns shadow and on targets.
Knife: practiced basic knife cuts and patterns along with live hand positioning.
Improved my high kicks to where I can once again kick above my own head height.
Created the Warrior Temple Garage Dojang. I utilized the dumpster provided by our condo association to clean out the garage. I swept the area, put down puzzle mats, hung up an American and Korean Flag and equipped the area with training items including a target bag.
Began wearing a fitness tracker. Discovered that even with exercise I’m struggling to maintain moderate activity during the lockdown.
I posted some martial arts videos on YouTube. As the summer heated up, I fell out of making videos. I might go back to it eventually.
I attended some virtual seminars on FaceBook Live.
I was accepted as a Moo Duk Kwan Herritage Member.
I attended the 75th anniversary of the Moo Duk Kwan Zoom seminar. It was amazing to reconnect to my Moo Duk Kwan roots, roots that go back to my Dad and my 2nd cousin.
I utilized a free GracyU program preview but I fell out of using it.
Called my parents 2x per week.
Celebrated 25 years of marriage & 28 years together.
Post Christmas get together at in-laws in January 2020.
Visited parents at Foxwoods
Diesel’s yearly physical along with distemper and rabies shots.
Helped my parents with their car radio—went up for a visit and had lunch.
February Eye Appointment.
March Dentist Cleaning.
August eye appointment.
September Dental Cleaning with full x-rays.
November Annual physical. Everything normal but I could use to lose a little Covid weight. I was up 5 pounds.
I began weighing in again and counting calories. Then I found that just limiting my calorie intake worked better than keeping track in a food planner.
By restricting calories and continued exercise, I was able to lose the 5 pounds by the middle of December. This goal continues and is on going. My last weigh-in near the end of December showed I had lost close to 7 pounds since my physical.
Patty was sideswiped in a parking garage and we had Liberty Auto fix the damage. We only paid deductible.
Had airbags replaced through a Subaru recall for my car.
Mass State Inspection for both cars.
Air Conditioner Warranty Repair at Mazda for Patty’s car.
Purchased a desk and set up an office for Patty to work from home during lockdown.
Purchased draw organizers for kitchen.
Removed hutch on entertainment center to streamline and make more modern.
Utilized dumpster provide by association to clean out garage. Turned garage into lockdown dojang.
Purchased Robot Vac to keep house tidy.
Attached a strap to our living room TV to make it Diesel proof. Patty let me use power tools?
Hahaha! Our plans were sidelined by Covid.
Canceled Philo. It’s a great service and cheap, but we weren’t watching it enough.
Began donating $5 per month to Locast to get reliable local stations through streaming.
Got a 3 month trial of Peacock. We didn’t watch it enough and canceled.
STARZ – we got a couple free 3 month previews. Not enough movies or shows we were interested in to keep.
HBO $10 a month for 3 months through Amazon. We ended up going with the HBO Max promotion for $11 a month.
We tried two weeks of YouTube TV but we rarely watch anything except local/network programing. It’s a great service but canceled after the trial.
Sling Happy Hour free after 5pm or something like that. We signed up and it’s a good service but we didn’t use it enough to justify the cost after the free Happy Hour ended.
We watched The Phantom of the Opera musical free on YouTube.
Epix was free for a time on Apple+ and we watched a couple movies.
Love Never Dies free on YouTube.
Watched Halloween 2018 on Blu-Ray as part of a Twitter watch party with the cast.
Watched Sly Stallone discuss Rocky while watching movie live streaming.
I began posting Youtube videos regarding dollar tree finds and movie collecting.
Xfinity provided us with a free subscription to Peacock Premium along with a free Flex streaming box.
Made many trips to Dollar Tree stores in my surrounding area to pick up DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.
Purchased some movies on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Sampled Redbreast 12 Irish Potstill Whisky. So good! This was my first time sipping an authentic Irish whisky that’s not a blend.
That’s about it for this year. See you in 2021!!!
I just wanted to announce that my cosmic horror story, “Shattered,” is included, and free to read, in the 11th Anniversary issue of The Horror Zine! Check it out here!
As an organic writer, I firmly believe in letting the characters dictate the narrative within the plot structure. To that end, I created the first three main characters.
Jack, much like his real-life counterpart, was a former bully in high school, a drug user, and a problem drinker. Turning his life around, he moves out of the fictional Wellington, Massachusetts, and gets a job in construction in the equally fictional Farmington, MA. When he hears about his old friends dying from wild animal attacks, he remembers the curse Michael Matheson put on all of them. A curse they had laughed off. He returns to Wellington to attend a funeral and to investigate the real reasons his old classmates are dying. Writers often use the name Jack for the quintessential hero, but I also had another reason. As I mentioned in part 1, I received partial inspiration from Flatliners (1988), and Kiefer Sunderland’s character in the film. The TV show 24 made me think of Sunderland as Jack Bauer. I decided Jack would be a good first name. In high school, I loved King Diamond’s horror concept albums and took Jack’s surname from the house (Amon) in the albums, Them and Conspiracy.
Michael was bullied which eventually led to him attending Gold’s Tae Kwon Do to protect himself. But Michael had a dark side, dabbling in black magic and the occult. Finding a spell in an old grimoire, he performed a ritual to awaken the Wolves of Vengeance, a corporal curse to attack his bullies. After performing the ritual, nothing happened. Michael chalked it up as a failure. Twenty-something years later the Wolves finally arrive and begin killing their marks. Michael never left Wellington and took over the school when Gold retired. Michael comes from my middle name and Matheson as an homage to Richard Matheson, the author of such works as I am Legend. Like Jack, he’s a composite character, drawn from more than one person, but he’s somewhat based on me.
Katty was an aspiring musician in high school (a guitarist to be exact) and a self-described rocker chick. She, like Jack, has a problem with alcohol. Unlike Jack, she’s a full-blown alcoholic. Her pet name derives from her high school persona (catty) and Andy LaRoche’s (King Diamond guitarist) last name. She’s based on various musicians I knew in high school and a real-life rocker chick from my high school.
I had read Tom Piccirilli’s Welcome to Hell: A Working Guide for the Beginning Writer. Pic suggested newer novelists lightly outline the first half of their novels. I took his advice. Once the outline was complete, I realized the manuscript would only reach novella length. Needing to beef up the manuscript, I asked myself this question:
What characters do I need to tell this story?
Police involvement was a given. Adding a detective made sense.
The only thing I worried about was voluminous research. What experience did I have that I could transfer to the character to make him believable? Turns out, I had more than I thought.
I had worked a decade in private security, part of the criminal justice field. First, as a patrol officer, then as a security manager, and finally as a human resources recruiter. Security work put me in regular contact with police, fire, and EMS. As a security manager, I had performed investigations and later worked for a security and investigations firm, picking up interesting information directly from private investigators.
My dad had also worked in private investigations, safety & security, special police, and fire, along with being one of the first EMTs in Massachusetts. He had been in charge of makeup and effects for emergency response training. When I was a kid he’d sometime practice the makeup effects on me. I grew up with this stuff!
I had also recently visited my local PD to renew a license and got the nickel tour. I used my hometown police station as a model for the one in the book.
The Writer’s Digest Howdunit series filled in many of the gaps.
With the research and experience in mind, I set about creating Detective Adrian Callahan. Originally, he was nothing more than a generic Irish cop. My wife would later express an idea that would help flesh out his character. More on that later.
All in all, I consider my detective a success. I had a former law enforcement officer say as much. He felt my detective was accurate and believable. You can’t get much better than that.
With the decision to include a detective, I then decided that the military in some form might also be involved. I thought about adding a grizzled military captain but not wanting to include another generic character, I cast a woman as my military captain. At that moment, Captain Amanda Rann was born.
Next time, I’ll discuss how Callahan’s changes made him a controversial character, and how Rann becomes a driving force in the novel.
Get Wolves of Vengeance here!
Note: Since most people are sheltering in place, I figured I’d make my first novel FREE for as long as Amazon lets me. You can get Wolves of Vengeance here. If you read it, and you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to post a review on Amazon. Just a few sentences and whatever star rating you feel it deserves would be perfect. Thanks!
Back in 2006, I abandoned my first novel. I had spent four long years trying to wrangle that mess of a manuscript into a cohesive whole, and by the time I figured out how to save it—I had a big problem. My skill level at the time was no match for the complexity of the story. I stepped away from the project.
I decided to develop an idea originally envisioned as a screenplay.
The seed of that idea came from an incident in high school and the aftermath that would stay with me forever.
The “stranger comes to town” motif of Stephen King’s novels, along with the “man and woman come together to defeat a great evil while healing themselves in the process” motif, often seen in Dean Koontz novels, inspired my approach to this story.
Also, the film Flatliners, where Kiefer Sunderland’s character “flatlines” and has a confrontation with the “ghost” of the child he bullied when he was younger, was very influential.
Here’s some background information:
In 1987, after dealing with bullies in my freshman year, I attended an old school Tae Kwon Do dojang (training hall). Our teacher ran the place like a fight gym. The students were motivated adults, mostly working-class men who liked to beat the crap out of each other for fun. It was a rough tutelage. We maintained military bearing, conditioned ourselves like fighters, and lived for continuous contact sparring practiced every night without safety equipment.
Within a short time, the fierce reputation of the dojang, along with winning a few school fights, ended the bullying.
In my senior year, I slacked off a little with my training. Without the constant need to defend myself, I lost my motivation.
Then providence intervened.
Without going into the details, I had an altercation with a student. We’ll call him Jack. After the encounter, he said he would beat me up after school.
I waited for him in the parking lot, but he never showed. That should have ended it.
Instead, the next day, a female student asked if Jack and I had fought. I told her he never showed. And then, stupidly, I added: “He must have been too scared to fight me.”
My comment didn’t allow Jack to save face. I had just been afflicted by the symptoms of foot-in-mouth disease. My remark made it back to him, and this time he was waiting for me after school.
We had a standoff and a shouting match. The principle broke it up. Although we threw no punches, we both declared victory.
Of course, neither of us wanted to fight and is the reason we ended up in a stalemate. But from that point on, I needed to train just in case we ended up throwing down. I went straight back to hard training at the dojang. Two years later, I would earn a black belt. You can watch the highlights of that test here. Skip to near the end for sparring.
Jack and I never had words again. We ended up at the same party once, not long after high school, but we kept to ourselves.
The last time I saw him, he was walking around the downtown area. I was driving my girlfriend’s (now my wife) brand-new car. We made eye contact. That moment seemed like a little victory.
I never forgot about our skirmish, though. Without a resolution, the incident nestled insidiously in my subconscious.
A few years later, my dad called to tell me Jack had died of a drug overdose.
I began to wonder what would have happened if he had turned his life around. That gave me an idea. I could give him a new life in the screenplay idea I had always meant to write. In that instant, Jack Amon and Wolves of Vengeance were born.
In 2006, I decided to develop that idea into a novel.
Next time, I’ll explain how I expanded the idea into novel form and how I developed the main cast of characters.
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