Friday, December 11, 2015

Charleston Nights

My wife, Christine, and I spent a few days in Charleston, S.C., recently, and a little of that time was devoted to exploring dark alleys and a few cemeteries. I suppose walking tours are a bit touristy, but they can be a way to pick up lore and details, especially in a historic city like Charleston. And the tour guides usually have keys to the cemetery gates.

Temps were dipping a bit as we walked toward the tour office for a 7:30 p.m. tour. "Are you sure you still want to do this?" Christine asked.

That's Christine above at Circular Congregational Church cemetery.

That graveyard has historic graves, a mausoleum and an employee who gets a little testy about the gate's padlock.

We also headed down one cobblestone alley where the whistling ghost of a physician killed in a duel can reportedly be heard from time to time. We didn't hear him, and we didn't catch sight of a boo hag, a spirit from Gullah lore, as we traversed a few other dark corners while the tour guide explained the boo hag's characteristics.

Wasn't for want of looking over my shoulder. Into the shadows.

We actually stayed across from another stop on the tour, the restaurant Poogan's Porch.

Reportedly a former resident, a school teacher named Zoe, cruises past windows late at night and isn't really happy about an eating establishment doing business in her former home. Word has it a stovetop fire she may have been responsible for almost claimed the building once upon a time.

Other accounts include patrons who've reported seeing what they thought was an elderly woman in the restroom only to find out the "woman" looked a lot like Zoe.

Didn't see her myself, but had a great BLT with fried green tomatoes there day after the tour.

And we learned the story of the spot's namesake, a little dog named Poogan who lived in the neighborhood when the restaurant opened.

He served as a greeter on the house's porch, and earned a statue when he passed away in 1979.

I was struck most by the story of Sue Howard Hardy, the mother of a stillborn baby. Her ghost was reportedly photographed in St. Philip's Cemetery in 1987. Supposedly she'll reach out to expectant mothers to this day. 

Several establishments have glass floor panels that look down on old tunnels and wells under the current city. I knew of underground Seattle but I didn't know about Charleston.

It's exciting to walk through history, to pass buildings George Washington visited and to stroll past spots where the city's almost forgotten wall once stood.

It was cool also to stroll around the edge of Charleston Bay and to visit White Point Garden. That's the spot where gentleman pirate Stede Bonnet was executed following a betrayal by Blackbeard and his trial and conviction. Bonnet was inspiration for my tale "Admiral of the Narrow Seas".

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Final Girl - Interesting Take on the Maze and the Minotaur Trope

In the intro to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, Lee Child observes that we, humans,  have a way of re-telling tales in veiled new forms, harnessing tropes from stories that have come before but redressing them in more contemporary fashion.

Theseus and the Minotaur becomes James Bond and Dr. No: Bad actor in isolated location perpetrates evil deeds until a nobleman from afar shows up to intervene.

I watched an interesting variation on that trope that gets there by way of the slasher genre and Carol J. Clover's final girl. It's called  appropriately Final Girl, and it's an intriguing and perhaps a bit eccentric thriller with Abigale Breslin and Wes Bentley.

Bentley's Williams, a man who's lost his family to killers. Breslin's the teen version of a character who faced similar horrors as a child and agreed to be reared as a trained warrior to take out other killers. Guess there's a little Hitgirl in there too.

In a town that seems to consist of woods and a diner, a group of young men perpetrate Most Dangerous Game-style mayhem. Dressed in tuxedos, they lure unsuspecting girls to the woods and pursue them in deadly hunts. The body count's pretty high, and one missing girl's the subject of local "unsolved mystery" fascination it seems.

It's a situation in dire need of Veronica's (Breslin) talents, which are considerable thanks to training from William. We get just a taste of that early on.

Placing herself in the role of victim, she sets off to do battle in a prom dress.

There's a bit of timelessness--helped by the fashions--to the setting that vaguely suggests a time few years back in the vein of Stoker. Or perhaps it's just an alternate universe. Either way it evokes an effective atmosphere, and things are engaging as the story builds.

Tension rises not with excessive brutality but with subtle touches like a game of truth or dare that winds the trap for battle.

The killers are a twisted and colorful band headed by Alexander Ludwig, who trained for the role by playing Cato in The Hunger Games. Cameron Bright is the most subdued of the bunch with leanings toward normalcy, while Logan Huffman's dark, giggling and wild eyed. His dance with his axe, Anna Belle, offers a standout moment.

It's definitely a striking refurbishing of its sources, directed by Tyler Shields and conceived by a number of credited writing contributors. A harsher judge might ask for more compelling traps, tricks or twists, but I liked it and found it a nice "something a little different."

In the VOD universe, it's a nice and dark little trail to wander down.

(I watched by Hoopla, but it's available on platforms including iTunes.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What's on the iPod: Locke&Key

I finished the adaptation of "Locke and Key" while on a walk this morning.

I got the free download from Audible a while back, and the 13-hour experience took me a while. It's a great way to re-visit the world of Lovecraft, Mass., and the Locke family envisioned by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez.

I say re-visit, because I think experiencing the comic/graphic novel in its original form is essential for full enjoyment of the audio. And it's a great horror-mystery excursion that really should be on any horror aficionado's "To Read" list. It's a saga in comics form that's comparable to Michael McDowell's "Blackwater" multi-part novel.

As a character notes in the opening of the tale, it's impossible to understand what's going on if you come in in the final chapter of a story.

As the story's protagonists, the Locke children Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, discover as the tale unfolds,  a lot has gone on in their ancestral home where they seek refuge after their father's murder. Relevant events stretching back years, even centuries.

Various mysterious keys and a dark and mysterious woman living in the house's well gradually reveal the details over six collected volumes of comics.

The audio follows that and all of the spooky encounters with giant shadow creatures, vicious wolf-creatures, demons and deadly possessed characters.

The power of audio to stimulate the imagination is true and grand, but at times that's where the audio falls down. At times it seems you're hearing powerful action in a dark room. You know something's happening, but you can't quite ascertain what's going on. Contemporary audiodrama writing eschews the old technique of having characters spell out their actions in dialogue: "I've reached the gate, Shadow. I'm aiming my gun at the lock." But at times just a little more guidance would be fun in "Locke and Key."

I think the ideal experience would be reading the graphic novels first. They're all available in book and digital forms. Then listen to the audio as a way of reliving and appreciating the intricate plotting and the finely crafted characters.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Speaking at Florida Writer's Conference 2015

A photo posted by Roland Mann (@therolandmann) on
Thanks to Roland Mann for a snapshot of me discussing subtle horror at the Florida Writer's Conference October 18, 2015. My presentation included an appreciation of W.W. Jacobs "The Monkey's Paw" and plugs for Charles L. Grant's Oxrun Station books, Black Fox Literary Magazine and Robert Aickman.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Weekend and Art Impulses

Christine and I went over to the Winter Park's Autumn Arts Festival on Sunday and wound up impulse buying some art including this piece:

It's called "Smiley" by Michael Nemnich. Christine was enamored of it on sight, so after walking around and mulling it over a bit, we back to his both and bought it along with a tall and narrow piece that should fit nicely on one wall or another in our downstairs hallway.

We had the interior of the house painted last year but haven't really had time to focus on putting things on the wall. We're trying to remedy that, and we reasoned in our discussions as we walked around Sunday that there's much better thing to impulse buy than a piece of art. If it speaks to you, there's something there.

We passed on a $2,000 work that struck us both, though I'm mulling over a print vs. original version of that piece for my office wall.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Dark Was the Night

I've always been fascinated by the story of The Devil's Footprints, that unsolved mystery of strange footprints in the snow in Devon England in 1855. Sure, there are skeptical views, but they marks offer a wonderful "what if" and induced a lot of anxiety in their day.

I've wanted to see Dark Was the Night since I read of the Blacklist script "The Trees" by Tyler Hisel and heard that it was finally being filmed. The story transplants those odd tracks to a small town north of a logging operation and pits a local sheriff suffering the bereavement of a child against a mysterious something disturbed in the forest.

Just in time for Halloween, the film is streaming on Netflix and is a nicely creepy and atmospheric monster movie that leaves the imagination plenty of room to play. Director Jack Heller seems to have a great sense of how to deliver a building sense of menace and read.

Frequent villain Kevin Durand is the sheriff and makes a great hero and a sympathetic grieving dad who's also coping with estrangement from his wife and remaining child. Lukas Haas is his ex-New Yorker deputy who's smitten with a local girl and looking to make a quiet home.

Huge and mysterious footprints, like the ones that were  in my upstairs closet when I moved into my current house, appear one morning, stretching the length of the town, and Durand as Sheriff Shields begins first to seek a logical explanation.

He gradually realizes he'd better prep for things worse than skeptics might have expected, and gets some chilling and tantalizing glimpses of what might be lurking in the shadows.

The story builds to an intense third act with the mystery and chills piling on. It's a pretty nice dark night viewing choice.

I'd say: Worth the time.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Night Out with Horror and Science Fiction Professionals

Christine and I decided not to sit home last night. It can be rough when a pet dies. Every corner holds a memory.

We decided to attend the monthly gathering of The Orlando Horror, Fantasy and Sci Fi Professionals group. Organized by Owl Goingback, who I've known since before we had gray hair,  the group was celebrating its one year anniversary.

It was at Eden Bar attached the the Enzian Theater, an open air spot Christine and I enjoy.

So it was a good evening, and I wound up chatting quite a while with Mitch Hyman. He's creator of Bubba The Redneck Werewolf and a veteran of publications like Cracked, the original magazine iteration.

He pointed out horror writers could learn from comedy writers, who are always building up to a punch line.

I agreed, since I'm often discussing with students how Stephen King's top level of fear, terror, as described in Danse Macabre, can be achieved in film or fiction. That's often by a buildup that allows the reader or viewer's imagination to work a while, I think.

It was nice to kick ideas around, and talk Cthulhu with people who know Cthulhu. And it was nice for Christine and I to have pizza and drinks under the stars with friends old and new.

And speaking of slowly building horror, Christine and I will be heading back to the Enzian in a few weeks for a revival screening of The Haunting, the 1963 version, you know, the good one.

I really need to get out more, anyway.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Monty is gone

Monty is gone. It's hard to believe. He'd been with us around six years when I started this blog in 2005 or so. I thought he'd go on forever, but that's not the way of the world.

Our last day together was a good one, peaceful and friendly, with him at my side much of the morning as I graded.

I dreaded the afternoon, but I petted him and talked to him and fed him whenever he wanted to eat.

He passed peacefully in his own bed with a blanket that had often served as curtains for him underneath a toadstool at the bottom of our cat fort.

He was between Christine and me, petted, whispered to and comforted. It came three weeks to the day after Daisy passed away.

We had no idea Monty had a brain tumor when she was diagnosed with lung tumors. In her final week, he seemed as strong and vibrant as ever, especially for a cat with diabetes.

I'm numb at the moment, but contemplating what it means. Daisy and Monty were a part of our married life so long it's difficult to remember life without them.

Pets occupy a special place. They are just there, filling a piece of our worlds.

I'll miss Mon and Dee forever.

Monday, September 21, 2015

And Now for the Bad News

Rain held up a semi-annual inspection of my roof on Saturday. The guy called and asked if he could come by Sunday morning.

I said "sure" and watched for him so I could avoid a ringing of the doorbell which disturbs Monty, my eldest male cat. It's been a bad week for Monty, around 18 or 19, who seemed fine, even robust leading up to Daisy's death a couple of weeks ago. He'd even spend time with her in the closet where she liked to rest those last few days.

His behavior changed a bit after she was gone, which we attributed to the loss of a longtime companion, even though they weren't always on the best of terms. Then other signs took me to the vet with him for some tests on Wednesday.

They determined his blood sugar was low and suggested we step back the insulin he's received for two years. Before that step back could happen, Thursday afternoon, he crashed.

I tried to get some food into him but wound up rushing him back to the vet after he lay prone on my living room floor, unable to move.

An IV drip got him perked up at our vet, and he spent the night at an all-night emergency vet where he could be monitored. He had a seizure around midnight. Then another the next morning as I drove him back to our vet for a follow up.

The seizures shouldn't be happening after drips that restored his blood sugar levels, our vet said. She said the symptoms aligned with a brain tumor. That also would help explain why he suddenly no longer needed insulin.

Christine and I talked and decided to bring him home for the weekend and evaluate our decisions.

It seemed unreal,  not because I didn't trust our vet but just because. Monty and Daisy have been with us since the late '90s. That's the newspaper clipping in the upper left that brought Mon and us together. Daisy had been with us about a year then.

To have both Monty and Daisy decline so quickly within a few weeks has staggered Christine and me.

So I meet the guy from the roofer's Sunday, and I tell him I'm trying to avoid ringing the bell. He tells me he understands. He had a cat who had a brain tumor, he volunteered. This is without me saying what was wrong with Monty. Then he proceeded to describe what are also Monty's symptoms and the experience he had in letting his cat go.

And I understood better what had seemed unreal.

Monty's eating, sitting beside me as I grade, sticking close and being himself. He's a little wobbly at times, but he's hanging in.

We will stick close to him the next few days and decide. And at least we have this time and some clarity to celebrate his life and our lives with him.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Painted Moonlight - my surreal mystery short finds a home

I'm not sure why the timing works as it does. Perhaps it's because I'm on Eastern time and thus asleep while much of the country is still awake, but anyway, I often find acceptances or rejections in my morning in-box.

My ritual works like this: I roll over and pick up my phone to shut off The Archies singing "Sugar, Sugar," my alarm tone. (On the weekend it's Dylan's "Hard Rain.")

Then I check email, and head on to coffee either dismissing rejections or singing when positive things come in. Like the summer sunshine, pour your sweeness over mee.

If there's nothing submission related, which is most days, I just sip coffee and read Zite next until the caffeine kicks in.

Last Saturday morning, I picked up my phone to discover a subtle little mystery tale, "Painted Moonlight," had been accepted by The J.J. Outré Review for online publication. It always feels good, but I was particularly pleased with this placement.

I'd worked on the story for a while. The idea came to me years ago of an artist possibly slipping into schizophrenia who stops in a small Texas town and promptly begins to pursue surreal visions toward the solution to a local mystery.

His wife, who's been coping with his developing symptoms is forced to search for him while he's drawn deeper and deeper into a world of ghostly figures and a compulsion to pursue a truth he can only sense.

I like a tale that kind of lets me, as reader, connect the dots. Robert Aickman's work has always affected me and I love stories like T.E.D. Klein's "Growing Things" and Kelly Link's "The Specialist's Hat."

I'd tried with this piece to provide a tale where the story's truth was present but did not beat the reader about the brow. I worked on the piece a while when I still lived in East Texas. The idea developed after my wife, Christine, and I took a long drive south from Tyler down to Beaumont for a memorial service.

It took things a while to gestate, but I finished the story last year, shaping it to the form I wanted.

Then I began to send it out, first to a literary-horror publication Lit Reactor seemed to think was a desirable market. I let it sit there a while but finally withdrew it after a number of calendar pages fell with neither acceptance nor rejection.

Then I collected some rejections, one for an anthology that felt it wasn't quite right and another from a publication that attached a kind P.S. to the form message: "Nice writing. This story is just not for me."

To paraphrase The Stones in  "Sympathy for the Devil," that's the nature of this game. You craft something as close to perfection as you can make it, and it either clicks or doesn't with someone else's intellect.

So, I moved on, found the home it needed with J.J., which seeks to offer mixed and crossed genre mysteries, and enjoyed the elation of my Saturday morning email.

Then I suspected I could expect a rejection next because that's how it usually goes, some law of the creative universe or something like that. I have a few more stories floating around at the moment, so someone was probably due to let the air out of one of them.

I picked up my phone last Sunday morning, almost dreading the in box, and found another email from J.J. Outré Review.

"Painted Moonlight" made it onto their Top 10 of the year list. It'll be in a print and ebook publication with the other stories as well as online.

So it goes, from ignore to "unfortunately not the right fit" to the right and comfortable home.

Sometimes getting up on the weekends doesn't mean facing a hard rain but a more gentle delight.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Discovering The Hidden Face

My classes meet on a monthly basis. Students join me to discuss horror, mystery and suspense, and then they move on, usually to study science fiction and fantasy.

In our final week, I invite, all right, I compell students to bring in properties they've discovered to discuss. The only stipulation is that the selected piece fall somewhere under the horror, mystery and suspense umbrella.

I can't see everything. That guy from FX was right. There's a lotta TV out there in addition to movies, books, games, graphic novels and web series.

So we crowd source, and we get more than just Dad's movies --i.e. selections I root out--to explore genre elements.

It produces the usual suspects like Dead Space and Silent Hill, assorted anime and sometimes graphic novels.

And sometimes things turn up that I haven't encountered. Such as The Hidden Face aka La Cara Oculta, a 2011 Spanish-language thriller from Columbia.

The presentation in class included a couple of spoilers, which disappointed me a bit. I usually like to experience a piece without knowing major twists, but I was happy to have the film brought to my attention

I learned in watching the film, it's hard to discuss it without spoiling something.

 The trailer spoils a bit, in fact, removing some of the fun of the first act, so don't watch the trailer. Just dive into the film, which focuses on orchestra conductor Adrián (Quim Gutierrez) and the women in his life.

He's broken down in the opening when he gets a farewell note from his live-in girlfriend Belén (Clara Lago). The two have moved together from Spain for him to take the post as conductor of the Bogata Philharmonic, but she's apparently grown disillusioned with their relationship.

Odd occurrences soon plague the house when Fabiana moves in. Eerie ripples disturb her bath, and she hear odd sounds which compell her to explore the house more.

To further complicate matters, Adrián is soon the target of a police investigation. There's no sign that Belén left the country or is alive anywhere.

What follows is twists, with shifts in perspective on key events and a number of surprises, all unfolding as the quirky nature of love and desire are explored.

It's paced a little different than an American film, and it's hard to know what to expect, which is kind of refreshing, and the twists continue to the film's final seconds.

It can be an interesting experience for the horror and thriller fan who's not all about blades and car chases.

Streaming availability seems limited, at least through current subscription services. I ordered the disk from Netflix or it can be rented via Amazon.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Birthday reflections

And so it's time for another birthday and a few rambling thoughts. I shaved off my beard for the first time in a while, to see my face and because a birthday seems like a good time to do something a little different.

I don't feel older today or old, though the world feels a little empty without Miss Daisy.

One of my male cats, Ash, is on my lap on the other side of my laptop, filling the spot she often occupied while I work. Sometimes both of them spaced themselves along the length of my legs when I propped them on the coffee table. I've been fond of interpreting Ash's thoughts in those moments as: "Great, I get stuck with the shins again."

He's just looking for a warm spot and not really conscious of offering comfort, but it's nice to have him on hand and Monty beside me. Oliver is on the prowl somewhere, perhaps on the second floor.

Daisy spent a lot of the last couple of weeks in our bedroom closet, and Monty often lay in there as well, beside her in a cat bed she rejected for a green towel. He hasn't gone back in there to sleep since she's been gone, so perhaps he was keeping her company. Now, the sofa is his domain again.

Other than the loss of Miss Daisy, I've had a pretty good year. I've had several new short stories published as mentioned in posts below, and I have several others out. There's a certain satisfaction in short fiction and in sending my notes to the sea in bottles.

Inevitably there are arbitrary rejections and editorial notes you don't agree with, but those are kind of signs of being alive. It's kind of exciting to have so many outlets for short fiction these days.

I've become more prolific since leaving the corporate world for my current teaching gig, an experience that's been as educational for me, in my world, as I hope it is for my students.

It's forced new research into writing and horror, mystery and suspense theory, and it's freed my spirit a bit as well as putting me into the company of brilliant and creative people.

I'm fortunate, and I march on.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Steampunk Graphic Novel Kickstarter - Citizens

My buddy, comics writer and former Marvel editor Roland Mann has a Kickstarter campaign going for a steampunk graphic novel called "Citizens." It will be drawn by Joe Badon, who's done work for a number of comics companies since 2009.

"Citizens" is the tale of an injured soldier who must accept a government-sponsored, biologically fabricated body following war injuries. It's all in pursuit of acceptance and the love of a girl. The world created for this story looks intriguing.

Donations have been good so far, but there's a ways to go and there's still time to kick lend your support.

Head over to the Citizens Kickstarter page.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Miss Daisy has passed

(I switched the video to a clip from six months after her CRF diagnosis.)

My cat, Miss Daisy, who I've written of often on this blog, passed away this morning. She'd developed tumors in her lungs following her other health problems which had intensified in the last several months.

After a week of antibiotics and asthma treatment to see if recent labored breathing might improve, the vet felt she was doing as well as she could.

Though she was compensating for her issues, Christine and I felt we'd just be prolonging things if we held on any longer.

She passes almost at age 18. She was diagnosed with chronic renal failure at age 10 but responded well to subcutaneous fluid treatment, so she had quite a long and happy life.

In human terms she was in her 80s. The video above was shot shortly after the CRF diagnosis when we thought she'd be passing soon.

Seven years later we have to say adieu.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My tale Mr. Berrington appears in Black Fox Literary Magazine

A while back, I read an article about how much marketers know about us, and I started turning over the implications in my head.

What if someone with malevolent intent knows more about what's going on in your household than you do?

"Mr. Berrington" was born, an odd little man who turned up on my first-person narrator's doorstep to pose questions.

The tale's now available in Issue No. 12 of Black Fox Literary Magazine.

You can read online or purchase a paper copy if that's your preference. It has a host for short stories and a number of poems as well.

Learn more about reading online or ordering here.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chat er Cat life

I do weekly, optional chats with students in my horror, mystery and suspense class. Just as he sometimes joins me while I'm writing in the mornings, my cat, Oliver Littlechap, occasionally sits in. Sometimes he walks in front of the camera as well, offering close-up views of his fur.

He seems to have picked up the job from Ash who used to join me for chats but has kind of lost interest.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thresher - A Mind-blowing Lovecraftian tale

I read about this short film over at the Lovecraft eZine and was blown away. It builds slowly, but it's, well, kinda mind blowing. If you're interested in Lovecraft or horror at all, you really should check it out.

Trust me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Miss Daisy's Eyes

Facebook served up a memory recently. Miss Daisy Kittycat rested in a spot we call the Crow's Nest on the cat fort. The photo was posted shortly after we purchased the cat condo in 2009.

That was about a year after her diagnosis with chronic renal failure. We'd thought the end was near for her at age 10. But I learned to administer subcutaneous fluids from our vet, a bit like kitty dialysis, and she stayed around.

She's done well for much of the time since.

Years catch up, however. This year we've seen a bit more decline with perhaps some hyperthyroidism that's cost her a few pounds.

Related or not, recently she showed some signs of not feeling well. I feared a urinary tract infection and took her to vet. Vital signs seemed generally OK at that point, and an antibiotic was prescribed.

A couple of weeks after that, Christine thought her pupils looked enlarged.

I realized that night she wasn't seeing things like cat treats or my fingers. At least she refused to say how many fingers I was holding up. Cats can be stubborn.

Another visit to the vet determined her blood pressure had spiked, causing a retinal detachment in the right eye and probably damaging the left.

We've added a blood pressure medication and a downward BP trend seems to have developed.

I pretty much need a jeweler's glass to cut the pill down for a tiny cat dosage, but treatment seems to have perked her up. She navigates our house with ease. It's hard to tell there's a vision issue.

Time marches on. "Days dwindle down" as the September Song puts it, but for the moment, we abide.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pilgrim: A Brief Noir Tale

"Pilgrim," a brief little noir tale, appears in the new issue of Heater magazine. It's available in multiple ebook formats including Kindle.

I'm kind of proud of the story that looks into the mind of a weary police detective as he visits a brutal crime scene.

Get purchase info here.

Or for Kindle here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Christopher Lee RIP

Seemed like Christopher Lee would be with us forever. His departure spurs random memories.

I was always glad to see Lee in new roles. It was exciting to see him as part of the Lord of the Rings, which had captured my imagination in my teen years as novels around the same time I came to appreciate Lee as an actor.

Perhaps a few years before I discovered Rings, I read a cool interview with Lee in The Monster Times, a great horror newspaper in the early '70s. He spoke of his work on Dracula and in other horror fare. I was impressed with his statement that he read a book a day.

I couldn't manage that then, and I can't now.

The horror short story collection From the Archives of Evil still rests on my bookshelf. It features Lee's face in a spooky all-red photo and includes great introductions at least attributed to him.

In the early '90s, he hosted a Halloween horror fest on the Sci Fi Channel, as it was known in those days. It was great to see him leading into to all of the Universal Fright Flicks over multiple nights. I got to see some of the Universal Films for the first time since my childhood days that week.

Adieu, Dracula, Mr. Holmes, Frankenstein's creature, Lord Summerisle, Saruman, Count Dooku, Scaramanga and all the rest.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Dark Fantasy Pirate Serial

My dark fantasy pirate tale is being released in serial form over at Paper Tape mag. It clocks in at around 11,000 words total and will be appearing in four parts on consecutive Thursdays.

It's loosely based on the career of the gentleman pirate Stede Bonnet, who lived the life of a planter until one day he decided to become a pirate.

I've always wondered about that dramatic U turn, and the story took form as I contemplated what dark magical reason might have driven him.

Read Part 1 here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Success in Horror Panel with Saw II director, Walking Dead Editor, Insidious actor

I had a blast moderating a panel this morning called "Success in Horror" featuring several cool horror film talents:

 Saw II, III  and IV and The Barrens writer-director Darren Lynn Bouseman 

 Supervising Editor Hunter M. Via whose work includes The Walking Dead, The Mist, The 100 and more.

 J. LaRose, actor and the Long Haired Fiend in Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2.

You can watch the complete 1 1/2 hour how show on You Tube. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Jetstream - Comicbook anthology with steampunk and more

Jetstream, an anthology comic, is now available. It features tales written by students from the creative writing program in which I teach. Paper or digital versions are available via IndyPlanet and Comixology.

Roland Mann developed the idea for this project and spearheaded it. Tof Eklund (editor of RPG book The Unconventional Dwarf) and I worked as editors along with him. It's a pretty cool collection with a steampunk tale as the cover suggests.

A variety of other tales are included. Check it out if you get a chance.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cover Art: Dark Hours - Upcoming Thriller

The cover art's come in for my all new novel Dark Hours. It's the work of David Dodd, who's done covers for several of the reprint editions of my books for Crossroad Press.

The novel follows a brilliant but overzealous student journalist whose pursuit of an interview with a fugitive killer leads her into a maze of traps and puzzles that forces her to confront secrets she's tried to leave behind.

No word on a release date yet. I'm working through the copy edits on the manuscript at the moment, though I'm getting close. 

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