Sunday, November 18, 2018

Eldritch Horror of A Rural Kind - New Lovcraftian Tale

One of my students graduated a while back and set to work launching a very nice publication called Aphotic Realm. It's always filled with full color art and stories.

He asked me for a story a while back to fit the theme for an Eldritch issue. Sometimes a request triggers a burst of fresh creative energy. I sat down and wrote a story called "Shotgun Wedding" that I'm very proud of. 

It's a bit of a rural eldritch tale that riffs off a bit of folklore and tips a hat to the Cthulhu Mythos. 

It's Halloween night and a knock at a family's door leads to an invasion by armed men with whole-head animal masks.

Family secrets and much more unfold from there. 

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Interview Re: My Edgar Allan Poe story

Steven R. Southard, who's a fellow contributor to the new collection Quoth the Raven, that's out today in paper and ebook editions, was kind enough to interview me about my contribution to the collection.

You'll find the interview at his blog, Poseidon's Scribe, along with interviews of many other contributors to the collection, which reimagines Edgar Allan Poe's tales and poems for the 21st Century.

It's always fun to do interviews about a new project. I find the introspection driven by questions often brings up something new.

I'd forgotten how rich and deep  Poe's influence on me had been, even though I mention him every month in my mystery class.

I was reminded of my high school days, a teacher who encouraged me and much more.

Hop over and have a look and check out the great titles from Steven's pen as well.

RIP Scott Wilson

Actor Scott Wilson has died. The Hollywood Reporter's obit is here

I learned of this via Barry Gregory of Ka-Blam Comics who was hoping to see him at an upcoming convention. Wilson was the veteran of many crime and genre films.

I never met him or interviewed him, but it’s one of those “celebrity” deaths that truly makes me feel sad. I re-watched his film debut “In the Heat of the Night” recently.

Apparently that led to his casting as killer Dick Hickcock in “In Cold Blood.” That film in turn gets a meta nod in the slasher send up ”Behind the Mask,” one of many turns on the road to The Walking Dead.

It’s as the troubled astronaut who provides the spiritual mystery at the core of William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration where he really caught my attention.

The mournful theme song, San Antone, from that film came to my mind as I read Barry’s Facebook post.

RIP Hershel. We'll miss you.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Book Cover Reveal: Edgar Allan Poe Collection Quoth the Raven

The thrill of having something new come out never gets old, I must say!

My short story "A Cooler of Craft Brew" will appear in the new collection Quoth the Raven from Camden Park Press.

The cover is a bit of all right, designed to capture the spirit of the time of Edgar Allan Poe with just a hint of the modern since the goal of this anthology is to offer stories and poems that celebrate Poe in the 21st century. Its official release date is Oct. 7, 2018, anniversary of Poe's mysterious death. And just in time for Halloween.

My story focuses on a "Florida man" and offers just a hint of why all of those Florida man headlines reporting strange and bizarre behavior occur.

Pre-order links (updated as they come):


Barnes and Nobel:;jsessionid=5D277E15B09B559849E035C80DF05247.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940161916940


Friday, August 24, 2018

A Scotland Tour: The Hermitage Walk

When we first talked of visiting Scotland, I thought of castles. I like castles.

I like touring ruins really, looking at fragments of the past, imagining with awe the reflection of a thousand years. I incorporated Irish ruins Christine and I visited on another trip into a novel, and I thought more ruins would surely inspire fresh ideas.

Yet as we made our way along our tour, things other than castles kept capturing my attention. Things older I suppose.

Near Dunkeld, we stopped at The Hermitage, a path created by a duke in the 18th century on behalf of a bard named Ossian, apparently a blind bard, though the epic poems attributed to him were penned by a later writer named James Mcpherson.

I got kind of a non earworm as I walked the path under towering fir trees, struggling with a misremembered lyric because I kept thinking I was in a forest cathedral. It's Dan Fogelberg's "Longer" I was trying to summon up. That mentions a "mountain cathedral," I think.

But forest cathedral applied with a sunny Saturday afternoon's rays filtering through branches and leaves. While the trail is old, the forest had a primeval feel. That's the real connection the Fogelberg tune makes, a "forest primeval."

It was an accurate one there amid ancient trees and stones erupted from somewhere deep in the earth.  And just like being on the deck of a ship looking across a vast ocean, everything else seemed far away, not gone but compartmentalized for a while.

We made our way over a stone bridge and on to Ossian's Hall overlooking a waterfall on the River Braan, listening to roar of the water flow over more of those ancient stones. 

And we sat on stones as well and contemplated for a while and felt our calm restored in spite of the turbulence of the universe. There's more in the world than we sometimes see. 

It's waiting silently, while the things that clamor for our attention fill our view. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Scotland Tour: Visiting The Crannog Center on Loch Tay

On a drizzly morning with enough chill in the air to require my light rain jacket, we walked across a wooden bridge of small, uneven logs and stepped into a shadowy room accented with the smell of wood smoke. 

Would it be a cliche to say it was like stepping back in time?

The Scottish Crannog Center near Aberfeldy, Perthshire, was an early stop on a Scotland tour for Christine and me recently, and it was the first real indication the trip truly was going to be immersive and educational. I had two upper-level British history classes in college, taught by a brilliant scholar, but I'd never really delved deeply into Iron Age Scotland nor heard of crannogs, dubbed artificial islands and constructed on Scottish lochs.

I got a bit of a campfire storytelling vibe as we stepped into the re-creation and sat around the fire pit that would have been kept active at all times in an original crannog.

The early dwellers would have told stories no doubt. There religion's not known, but it might have been element-oriented.

The site's host went on, explaining the underwater archaeology that led to the reconstruction and the work that would have gone into original construction.

The posts, tree-trunk-thick, which supported this structure on Loch Tay would have been driven into the loch's clay bottom and twisted using hand holds to sink the points in and gradually to let the clay close around them.

Then the artificial island would have been built up using wood from a nearby forest. The reconstruction uses thatch that would not have been so easily accessible to the Iron Age dwellers, but a modern supply offered a way to re-create the general look for the site. 

Our host took us outside after that to a number of stations, demonstrating the grinding of grain and the use of a lathe. 

Then he successfully managed fire using wood shavings and primitive tools, something I never managed with a flint and steel set as a Boy Scout.

I hadn't expected the stop, had flipped past it on the itinerary. I'd come to see castles and ruins, but I was glad we'd landed here.

Glad for the glimpse, glad for the understanding of what day-to-day capabilities a person of the time would have had to possess. 

Butcher, baker, builder, woodworker, fire bringer. The Iron Age person would have had to have been all, the host said.

It gave me a vibe I can't quite put into words, an insight and connection to those long-ago people, a vague sense of time's passage though time is impossible to truly perceive. It was long ago, and they were smart, resourceful, brave. 

They perhaps didn't know there were warmer lands or sunnier climes, so they shaped lives as they could. As do we all. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Crossroad has issued the trade paper edition of Disciples has been issued. It features a slightly different cover design with the new look of the O.C.L.T. series logo.

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