Sunday, January 21, 2024

Gone So Long and Gone and Going On

I started this as a post for social medial, but it didn't quite seem right for that. Maybe it's a prose poem. Maybe it's just a few thoughts at the end of a week, an OK week except for contemplations. 

But then those matter don't they? They affect well being. 

Talking about them is supposed to do some good. 

 I’ve been gone from where I used to live a long time, almost a quarter of a century. A moment in a book I was reading reminded me the other day I ought to try again to find out what happened to this one girl I used to know. We knew each other as kids and in high school, rubbed each other the wrong way frequently, but co-existed well all in all. 

Funny the little things that trigger memory. The book had an incident about a swimming pool, and she and I were in the same circles that when swimming when we were 10 or so.

I had learned when her mother died that she had preceded her in death sometime before the internet documented obituaries as well as they do now, except maybe behind paywalls. 

I thought a fresh Google might let find out what happened to her. I didn't get an answer. But that led to the discovery of another person who passed, then another and another. 

That on the heels of learning a while back of a friend 30 years gone I just hadn’t heard about.

I need to stop looking and counting. 

One girl, I couldn't tell you the last time I saw or talked to her, but her passing made me sad and made me keep reading legacy. 

One in the mix was a guy I hadn’t thought of in years and years and years, but when I saw his obit I remembered this one time a friend and I went with him and flew this plane he built—long, long before drones.

A piece fell off while his remote-controlled plane was in the air. He managed to land it without destroying it in spite of the fact that it was an aileron he lost, a piece pretty important to control. 

We joked about insurance. As he loaded the damaged plane into the back of his car, he said: “Yeah, I need `a piece of the rock' for my plane, too.” It was a spin on a slogan for Prudential many might not recall. 

As I read of his passing, I learned he turned that passion for building into a successful small business and made that how he spent his time until… 

Made me look more at one of the others. She was a parallel friend, someone from the schoolyard you'd say hey to or chat with if you crossed paths back then. You can look at some timelines now and get reminded in small ways they did the same thing you did back when with a different set of friends. 

And she went on to a career and other things until circumstances, and possibly some bad decisions, kicked in. 

Trying to find out more, I learned of another friend who preceded his mother in death. That's all her obit said.

It's made me think of fond moments with each of those seven gone that I've learned of in the last few years.

Apparently origins and specifics of the quote are disputed, but I'll go with the variation attributed to German poet Ludwig Jacobowski that I found. It seems to fit best:

“Do not cry because they are past! Smile, because they once were!” 

 Maybe so. I'll remember that and go on trying to create new moments. 

 Zevon nailed it. "Enjoy every sandwich." 

And a paraphrase from that first quote above is sometimes mixed with a passage from Dr. Seuss, I'll keep in mind too. 

 “We’re off to great places, so let’s be on our way.”

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Bit of Memoir - C. Dean Andersson, John Steakley and Self-Promotion

I've mentioned not loving self-promotion, but I'm also aware repetition is necessary on a project so I share where I can. It's in marketing textbooks, but I got got a personalized lesson once upon a time.

I guess that makes this a story with foreshadowing and everything.  

The late great and wonderful C. Dean Andersson (the ๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ trilogy, ๐˜ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜‹๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ข and much more) and his wife Nina Romberg aka author Jane Archer, once told me of doing a mall signing with the late John Steakley of ๐˜ˆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ and ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ$--the one made into a movie by John Carpenter--fame. 

Steakley's father was a car salesman, so when someone was dismissive of the work on the signing table, he rose and followed the guy all the way down the mall loudly hawking the work with a continuing spiel about the virtues.

So flash forward a while later, Steakley was master of ceremonies or toastmaster at a con I was attending, okay it was a Coast Con in Biloxi, Miss. Early '90s or so. There were these big gatherings of con attendees and guests on opening night in those days. 

A comic I wrote, ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ, was the new thing I had out in the moment so when Steakley introduced me, I mentioned that. 

"What was that title again?" he asked, tipping a microphone to his lips then pointing it back at me.

 "Er, ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ." 

"๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ you say. Interesting. So everyone should know about ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ?" 

"Sure, it'd be nice." 

"Excellent, so what was that title again?" 

I said it a little louder and with more assurance: "๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ." 

"๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ. Well great. ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ!" 

He kept the riff going a while, proving everything Dean had described, repeating ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜‰๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ often and loudly until he finally clapped me on the shoulder: "That's what you have to do. Keep saying it, my friend." 

I smiled and sat back down.

Wish he and Dean were still with us.

Friday, November 10, 2023

GNELFS are back and a Secret Revealed

GNELFS Vintage Paperback Cover Art

The team at Crossroad Press actually broached the notion of bringing some of my backlist out in new print editions for the first time at Scares That Care Authorcon in the spring of this year (2023). They've had ebook and audiobook editions out for some time but had plans to do more with their print catalog.

I said sure, and in the fall, they touched base about getting the original over art for a trade paper edition of GNELFS

Since there was no art credit on the original mass market edition, I had to reach out to the last editor I had at Kensington Books. He reached out to the art department, but he wasn't optimistic.

They turned up a name, Richard Newton, and Crossroad reached out to him and worked out some sort of deal for the cover, partly as a flag to the fact they published broad backlist of vintage horror titles.

I was kind of amazed to see the crispness of the digital art they obtained. The size of the original mass market had resulted in the original painting being cropped, and other losses in reproduction had affected the color mix and more.

Happily on the new mass market, much is restored. 

GNELFS vintage paperback and trade paperback Sidney Williams and Richard Newton

The re-release prompted me to search for GNELFS online a little more, and I discovered more love for the book than I'd ever realized. Some of it's cropped up in the past few years in a wave of interest in vintage horror titles following the release of Paperbacks From Hell even though the art didn't appear in the volume. None of my titles did.

I actually became aware of some of that love because British author Mark Morris revealed on socials he desired a copy of GNELFS. He pointed me to a YouTube channel where his novel Stitch and GNELFS were reviewed.

So, it's exciting to have the book back in new paper editions with new people discovering it. 

It's also fun to find people like Danube, the peripheral protagonist who joins Gabriella Harris in her struggle against dark magic.

I originally thought I might do more with Danube, gradually revealing more of his history. Clues are in place for his identity, but they are not overtly stated. 

Mantus battles monsters

That was not to be, but I considered using Danube when I was invited to do something for Malibu Graphics back in the day. 

He seemed like a natural for some comics adventures, but I was worried about tangling up the rights to a character I might use again in print. 

I developed Peter Mantus from there. Mantus, like Danube, was essentially a psychic investigator. 

He also had a complicated history with his father, a dark sorcerer. Mantus, not Mantis as some people mistake it at times, took his surname--and pseudonym since he wrote books about his investigations--from a demon or god depending on who you talk to, sort of as a reminder of his father's bad acts and what he was standing against.

I've probably mentioned that before in interviews or somewhere, but it's nice to get it all in one place here. 

It's been kind of fun to learn in some cases GNELFS was a favorite book for many readers when they were younger, even though it wasn't written as a YA. 

The concept and art are iconic, so GNELFS stands out, I guess. As Stephen King said not long ago, long after he's gone, "that fucking clown" will be remembered.

Probably so too for me and these little minions. So it goes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Long Waltz Bookmail

Sidney Williams author Long Waltz trade paper

 Here's a picture of the Long Waltz trade paper edition. There's been a flurry of activity so I'm a little late in posting here. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Long Waltz Cover Reveal Coming Soon - Get An Early Peak

 The sequel to Fool's Run is called Long Waltz, and it's coming soon. Final touches are being put on the cover, so the full reveal will be in the near future.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of a look. This book's going to find Si Reardon in Florida and wrangling with a fresh group of powerful men. This time they're from Hollywood. While stars and producers are busy shooting a sequel to a film lensed in Florida years ago, Si is called on to find out what he can about a girl who disappeared after working briefly on the first movie.

Of course he'll find himself plunged into a maelstrom of drama and corruption that will call on all his wits and resourcefulness. Friends Jael and the McCluskey brothers will be on hand too.

Long Waltz Cover Teaser - Si Reardon Novel 2

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Folk Horror Tok - Halloween and Harvest Season Six-Word Stories

Just like a TikTok video, Halloween got over too soon.

It's fun experimenting with the TikTok platform. It's challenging to work in a form that can fit in a very short time frame. I did a series of six-word horror stories leading up to Halloween 2022.

Each was designed to stand alone but also to contribute to a progressing narrative, culminating on the day Halloween. I was happy with how things came together. A folk horror tale emerged, drawing in many Harvest time trappings. 

The spoken-word versions are aligned here in appropriate order now. 

@willysid #Halloween #October #microfiction #horror #horrorstory #writing #writingcommunity #shortstory #flashfiction ♬ Eerie - Music Beyond
@willysid #horror #sixwordhorrorstories #october #halloween #microfiction #shortstories #fiction#flashfiction #flashfictionfun ♬ Eerie - Music Beyond
@willysid #sixwordhorrorstories #horror #halloween #october #shortstories #microfiction #writing #scarystories #harvest ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective
@willysid #amwriting #sixwordstory #microfiction #writing #sixwordhorrorstories #shortstory #horror #spooky #october #Halloween #horrortok #horrorstory #horrortiktok #horror ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective



@willysid #sixwordstory #sixwordhorrorstories #horrortiktok๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ #horrortok #horror #microfiction #microfictions #halloween #octobermood #october ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective
@willysid #sixwordstory #sixwordhorrorstory #writing #microfiction #shortstories #flash #flashfiction #amwriting #halloween #october #horrortok #horrortiktok #sixwordstories #horror #Halloween #octobermood #octobertiktok #october #horrorfan #folkhorror #spooky ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective
@willysid #sixwordstory #sixwordhorrorstory #writing #microfiction #shortstories #flash #flashfiction #amwriting #halloween #october #horrortok #horrortiktok #sixwordstories #horror #Halloween #october #tiktokhorror #flashfiction ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective
@willysid #sixwordstory #sixwordhorrorstory #writing #microfiction #shortstories #flash #flashfiction #amwriting #halloween #october #horrortok #horrortiktok #sixwordstories #horror #Halloween #october #tiktokhorror #flashfiction ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective
@willysid #sixwordstory #sixwordhorrorstory #writing #microfiction #shortstories #flash #flashfiction #amwriting #halloween #october #horrortok #horrortiktok #sixwordstories #horror #Halloween #october #tiktokhorror #flashfiction ♬ Eerie Music - Sound Collective

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Dark Angel Christmas - An All New Christmas Holiday Single from Sidney Williams Writing as Michael August

Dark Angel Christmas by Sidney Williams

Okay, long story shortened - I was in a writer's group and a workshop challenge was posed, compose a Christmas horror story.

Years ago, as I sat at an intersection stop light, a car with three young ladies in Santa hats passed in front of me. I recalled that and started wondering what might happen if one of them had been left behind and had to walk. 

As I started writing, I realized I was working in the voice of Michael August, my pseudonym for young adult novels, and that the tale was going to go a little longer than the 4,000-word cap for the group. 

So, Dark Angel Christmas was born, a slightly darker Michael August tale. 

Official Synopsis

It’s a 10-minute walk to the town square for a Christmas concert, until a mysterious white truck turns up.

In seconds, following a detour to shake her stalker, Amity Nichols is in a test of endurance and a game of survival that are one and the same. Does the mysterious driver know about the dark secret she’s harboring? Or does he want something worse for her than silence?

As darkness falls, Amity will have to face a challenge of stealth and patience until decisions on life or death can’t wait any longer. 

Warning: Contains mature themes and intense situations. Dark Angel Christmas is Sidney Williams, author of The Gift and New Year's Evil, writing in a slightly darker vein as Michael August.
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