Author

Conrad Zero Halloween 2006 - Before Caffeine

Who the hell are you?

Call me Zero. I’m an author, a musician, and a demonologist. (Long story…) One advantage is that all three occupations have the same monochromatic dress code, which makes Laundry Day pretty simple.

I’m not a vampire, but I don’t prefer sleep or direct sunlight. I don’t drink blood. I drink caffeine. Lots. So much that my blood is corrosive, which is a handy deterrent against many paranormal creatures.

I’m an author. I write dark fiction, classic horror and even horror/comedy. I was born and raised in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota. I flirted with an English Major and eventually stood her up for a degree in Philosophy and Computer Science from the University of Minnesota.

Where the hell is Minneapolis?

The word “Minnesota” comes from the Ojibwe, and translates as “the land where milk is considered a spice, and any day above Zero Degrees (Kelvin) is to be cherished.”

Minnesota is also where Minneapolis can be found. Minneapolis is from the street gang the Bloods, and translates as “the city where it never gets over Zero Degrees, and we shoot strangers, children and small dogs on sight.”

Minneapolis is my home. I live just down the street from where Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay for “Juno.” Yes, I did actually see her there at Starbucks, hunched over her laptop, all leopard print and tattoos. No, I never slept with her. In fact, I *so* did not sleep with her that I wrote a song about it.

conrad_halloween2005-026On Being a Writer

Many people think that a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy is worthless, and I almost certainly couldn’t disagree with this less. It completely strips you of anything you thought you knew, including any moral or religious upbringing. It instills a healthy sense of paranoia, causing you to doubt everything and trust no one. It consumes so much of your time, that you will have to completely give up on sleep, relationships, television and social activity. Caffeine will become your new God.

There are also disadvantages.

For example, by the time you are done with your four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, you will have amassed enough debt in student loans that you could have purchased your own third-world country, and proclaimed yourself to be ‘smart’. Or, you could have hired a small but dedicated group of people to follow you around all day and point out all the smart things you do. In lieu of a six-year Master’s Degree in Philosophy, you could have a small, dedicated and really good looking group of people follow you around.

Writing. Yeah, I’m getting to that. Just hold your horses.

One by-product of Philosophy is that it forces you to write. A lot. It forces you to think both creatively and logically whilst typing at speeds only achieved by replacing your soul with caffeine. When I finished my degree at the University of Minnesota, my Inner Philosopher wasn’t willing to leave, and there wasn’t much else for him to do but write…

Conrad Zero in New Orleans GraveyardOn Being an Author

Winnie the Pooh said it best:

“Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you.” -Winnie the Pooh

And I think that can be extended to any creative art. Who chooses to become a Sculptor, Interpretive Dancer or an Author of Dark Fiction? No one chooses these things – the spirit of the art possesses them, and they can suffer or cope or self-medicate or create. More likely some combination of the four.

On Being a Dark Fiction Author

There are two “Oh”s I tend to encounter when meeting new people. The first is when people discover that I’m an author:

“Oh!”

That’s the first one. It contains properties of surprise, and positive expression. Eyes open, lips curl slightly upward. This is of course followed by:

“What kind of books do you write?”

“Horror”

“Oh.”

There’s the second one: eyes narrow, lips purse or curl slightly downward, and sometimes there is a notable shudder.

So now I just say “Dark Fiction.” Since it encompasses the Horror genre as well as the outlandish Horror/Comedy hybrids I’ve done, I’m covered. And I don’t even have to lie about it.

Like Winnie the Pooh said, it’s “something that gets you.” I never said the spirit of art that possesses people is always a pleasant one. I’d rather be happy drawing pictures of unicorns or something, but you have to play the hand you’re dealt.

On Being a Dark Fiction Author from the Midwest:

Let’s be honest, Minneapolis is great… for about three months of the year. But when the temperature drops to the point where molecular motion nearly stops, there isn’t much to do except sleep, drink, and write progressive rock music / horror novels. Ask Björk, she knows…

Demonologist?

Boy, do I hear that one a lot. The Philosophy studies I’ve done are more accurately classified as ‘Spirituology’ but Spirituologist just doesn’t have the ring that Demonologist has.

I’ve been interviewed on the subject of Demonology by Midnight Highway Radio. And I’ve written a non-fictional “Demonslayer’s Handbook” which is a companion to my novel-in-progress, Evil Looks Good.

jaggedspiral_jan2007Jagged Spiral

Jagged Spiral was a three-piece ‘Northern Rock’ band from Minneapolis that existed from 2005 till 2013. Not a bad run, as far as bands go. Colin played guitars. Josh did percussion and backing vox. I provided lead vocals and bass guitar. We wrote and produced our own original music. The genre is an evil combination of sharp and slick, piercing and polished, jaggedy and spirally (hence the name).

Jagged Spiral provided the entire score and soundtrack for the 2007 film Pray For Daylight, appearing in the credits as “Jagged Halo.”

Our debut album, “Days From Evil” was released on the internet for free in Fall 2007, and the CD release party was held at Club Underground on July 11 2008. You can download the entire Days From Evil album at this link

Despite the band breaking up, our second album “Fire And Dice” will be released later this year. I’ll post links to the album files here when they become available.

www.jaggedspiral.com.