Life Advice

Life Advice

  • Check out my TEDx talk!

    I did a TEDx talk, titled “Confessions of a Super-villain: The Psychosis of Lies.” You can check it out by clicking here.  

  • The Ultimate Romance Rec List

    Thanks for tuning in to the First Annual Ultimate Romance Recommendations list. By which I mean a List I Made and Which I May or May Not Do Again Next year.    For those tuning in for the first time, my name is Michaelbrent Collings. I’m an internationally-bestselling author of everything from fantasy to humor […]

  • Thoughts on the shooting in my home town

    I wasn’t born there, but Thousand Oaks is my home town – a kind, happy place. Today it is a place in mourning. […]

  • Why I Love Horror

    “Why do you love horror?”   Better yet: “Why do you write horror?”   This last is a question that I hear often – even more often than most horror writers, probably, given that I’m a guy who doesn’t look like he’s planning on how to make a wallet out of your face-skin, have no […]

  • Storytelling on Social Media – a Parable of Tanks and Rollerskates

    What to write about… what to write about…   This is the question I face when writing this article, or starting a book, or anything else. What do I write about? What do I DO?   So I thought I’d write about that process – and about something that so few of us think about: […]

  • The Ultimate Horror Rec List

    Thanks for tuning in to the First Annual Ultimate Halloween Recommendations list. By which I mean a List I Made and Which I May or May Not Do Again Next year.   Below you will see the favorite scary fare in movies and books from some of my favorite people – many of whom also […]

  • I guess I’m not a writer

    This article is going to use several Family-unfriendly words. Be warned. […]

  • Dear Facebook (because I know you’re listening!)

    Facebook is full of Dumb People. That’s the only possible explanation I have for the current issue about the current “what does FB to fix the breaches?” kerfuffle. The answer is simple: THEY STRIKE ALL ADVERTISING AND OUTSIDER APPS THAT REQUIRE YOU TO PROVIDE YOUR FB INFO.   There are currently 2.2 BILLION active monthly […]

  • The Only Three Rules You CANNOT Break

    Writers are fond of finding exceptions. It’s part of who we are, I guess. I mean, if we were people who liked following rules we’d already be in a more “normal” profession. We’d be doctors. Or lawyers. Or terrorists. Anything but these free-wheeling weirdos for whom “Pants Optional” is a huge job perk.   So […]

  • Book Review: Map of Shadows by J.F. Penn

    My review of Map of Shadows is a fairly simple one, but it highlights a few terribly important things.   To start, here is the litmus test for a great story: when you are in bed at night, reading, and your spouse elbows you in the side and says, “Shut UP.”   “What?” you answer, […]

  • Star Wars Episode VIII – The One Whose Title I Remember

    I saw the new Star Wars movie today. It is hard to compare the new series to the old, because they are doing such different things in terms of social effects and emotional reaction. The first three movies changed cinema in some fundamental ways, and were a great thrill ride to boot. They were trailblazers, […]

  • My review of Justice League

    I saw JUSTICE LEAGUE with my two oldest kids. Verdict: it was okay to good – which is at LEAST an order of magnitude better than I expected. You could absolutely feel Whedon’s touch in the script and directing – a bit lighter palette on screen, and a lighter feel. Some good jokes (Aquaman sitting […]

  • Writing is Magic

    I’ve been scarce on social media (including this site) as of late… building up my identity as a Western Romance writer has been much more time-consuming than I thought it would be. Which is probably funny for most people, considering the assumption of most is that I already have at LEAST seven or eight other […]

  • Let’s talk about “assault weapons,” shall we?

    I tried to post this in response to a friend’s Facebook post of “for the love of all that is holy, NOW can we ban military-grade assault weapons?”   Apparently, my post was too long for a “reply,” so I’m posting it here. Incidentally, doesn’t it say a lot about the fact that Facebook – […]

  • Hope is a Dream, a Time Asleep…

    After my recent retirement announcement, a few people have stated that my situation is discouraging, given that they have always hoped to make writing a career and here’s a guy (me) who HAD it as a career, but couldn’t hold onto it. A few have lost hope in their own talent, their own futures. Here’s […]

  • The Press – A Powerful Enemy (of Itself)

    Here’s a good example of being your own worst enemy:   I *DESPISE* those people – usually powerful – who don’t like having to answer questions about their decisions; especially those who, once questioned, react with all the grace of a two-year-old who’s had his lollipop ripped right out of his mouth.   So this […]

  • Happy Easter

    It’s happening again.   It’s worse at the end of the year, but it happens now, too.   “Happy Easter!” “Happy Easter?” “Happy… Sunday?”   Every time there’s a religous-themed holiday, someone inevitably complains. Yes, there are the complaints about commercialization, or the True Meaning of [Fill in the Blank], or how the day brings out […]

  • AN MbC MUST-READ: Ten Steps to Overnight Success…*

    So you wanna be a writing success? Then let’s just dive right into the nitty-gritty, shall we? And no, I’m not talking about the “writing” part.   The top 1% of members of the Writers Guild of America — the folks who make between $600,000 and the “big money” (seven figures) number in the mere […]

  • Mormons and Horror: Light Within the Dark

    Paper sponsored by the Association for Mormon Letters, presented at Life, the Universe, and Everything writing convention February 18, 2017     I am a horror writer. I am a Mormon. Whenever these two intersecting – and yes, they are intersecting – facets of my life are discovered, the response is invariably one of surprise, […]

  • Our Wonderful Obsession With Horror

    What is it about horror? We’ve had it as part of our lives since… well, forever. I mean that literally. Look at the first recorded art — cave paintings. They weren’t about that one time when Cavedude got a shiny rock from Mrs. Cavedude, or about the time they had a nice romantic night away […]

  • AN MbC MUST-READ: The Song of the Rafters

    We moved a few years ago, and I was thrilled. Not because of the great neighborhood (though it was great), not because the new house was nice and big (though it was nice and big), not even because it came with its very own trampoline (boing!). No. It was the garage. More to the point, […]

  • A Very Merry (Scary) Christmas

    It’s an age old story. Everything’s blissfully quiet. You settle down for a long winter snooze after putting on your coziest winter jammies. Then… a clatter atop the roof! You jump out of bed and run to the window. To see Santa and his reindeer above you! And then… Santa PULLS OUT HIS MACHETE/CHAINSAW/MACHINE GUN […]

  • Gun Control: Necessary?

    In the wake of recent mass-murders/shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, a lot of my friends have been debating gun control vs. no (or less) gun control (for obvious reasons). I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but the below captures one of the most important parts of my “gun philosophy”: A recent […]

  • Santa Claus: Christmas Terror

    It’s my favorite time of the year. The wind is blowing, I look absolutely fabulous in a variety of amusing sweaters, and the tiny children who ride past my window on their bicycles have gone into hibernation for the winter. Also, I had most of them killed for riding past my window. The other thing […]

  • Let us all be Friends, and WET OUR PANTS

    I love children. People say that children are our future, which is why I asked my two kids what next week’s lottery numbers would be. Neither of them answered. Well, I don’t think either one did. My youngest responded with a screech and ran to the bathroom where she immediately started peeing, but I couldn’t […]

  • Faith and Obscenely Large Pickles

    I think it’s okay to be afraid of certain things. Like tsunamis, or terrorists, or those people who buy giant pickles at amusement parks. But it seems like fear is overpowering so many of us these days. I went for a ride in a car the other day. It wasn’t my car; I didn’t even […]

  • The Miracle in a Baby’s Hand

    People ask me sometimes how a horror writer can believe – and write – about things like Good and Evil, God and Devil. Here’s an example: Yesterday my wife was cooking lunch for the kids. She opened the oven door, and my infant son – less than a year old, just learning to pull himself […]

  • Personal Thoughts on Collective Thinking

    I grow concerned at the way we as a culture are seeking forward growth. For a long time we were hunters and gatherers: the ultimate individualists, with some of the greatest limitations built into our way of life. With no cooperation there could be no chance of any one person growing beyond his or her […]

  • The 2015 Hugo Controversy – A Few Thoughts

    I usually don’t get involved in online “discussions.” Partly because so much of what we “discuss” happens on Facebook – the equivalent of trying to teach recalcitrant students rocket science exclusively through the use of bumper stickers.* And partly because I’m busy, you know, writing for a living. But a number of events have come […]

  • Thoughts on a Suicide

    I saw a man kill himself last night. No, this is not a joke, and no, I will not provide details other than that it was incredibly tragic. And it led me to a thought or two. Many of you know that I suffer from major depressive disorder. There are days where I just want […]

  • AN MbC MUST-READ: Success is BAD

    I am often asked questions about the business of writing – how to self-pub, how to market, how to amass a group of loyal fans – but the question I am most often asked (in some form or other) is this: “How do I become a successful writer?”   For a long time I tried […]

  • What Good is Horror

    I hear it all the time: why do you spend your time on horror when there are so many other “good” things you could be writing?   And it’s a legitimate question. A lot of people’s opinions on horror are shaped by the images they see on movie trailers, or confined to the vague idea […]

  • Horror and Hope

    I am a guy who writes scary stuff. It’s basically all I do. I’m one of the bestselling horror writers on Amazon, and as of this writing one of the scary movies in Redboxes and video stores all over the world has my name after the “screenplay by” part.   I specialize in ghosts and […]

  • Creation in Writing

    There are several reasons we write. For personal satisfaction, as a way of making sense of the world around us. We write to create emotions in others, to teach lessons that will (hopefully) make the world a better place.   We also write (perhaps most important) as a way of creating community.   Think about […]