Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The New Novel-Day 8

A decent day for what little time I had. Here's the count:


Honorable? Me??

This is apparently old news, but I just heard it. My story "The Whispered Sighs of Grateful Souls", from Bare Bone #9, will be an honorable mention in the next edition of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.

Heck, I would have been happy with a dishonorable mention.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The New Novel-Day 7

Teeny-Tiny, Itsy-Bitsy work on TLH today. No real excuse. Just a swirl of activity around here.
Here's the count:

Brian Spears: A Mighty Man

After reading of my computer plight in last night's entry, my buddy Brian Spears dropped by this morning, and friends, let me tell ya...he made that PC his beeyotch! Now I'm computing again thanks to Mighty Man. Pictured below is Brian's actual photograph:

Thanks, Brian!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The New Novel-Day 6

I did nothing on the novel yesterday. The morning was taken up with Pod of Horror and another audio project for a small press publisher.

The afternoon was spent revising a separate fiction piece. I can't wait to sign the contract so I can announce this one. I'm so excited I've peed my pants twice. Okay, that's pretty typical for a weekend. Still...

Today we had a major computer crash. I'm on a laptop now. I have no idea if the PC can be fixed or how much has been lost. Fortunately I backed up TLH and I managed to get in an hour of writing time. Here's the current count:


Pod of Horror #28: Ramsey Campbell

Pod of Horror #28 is bigger than ever. How do we do it? We buy in bulk, and pass the savings to you! Start your download now for:

* A conversation with Ramsey Campbell.

* A catchy little ditty from Michael Arnzen.

* Scott Bradley takes on the listeners and reviews The Beloved.

* Dave’s Poop has all the horror news that fits.

* A Horror World February sneak peek from Nanci the K.

* At long last...a winner in The Tomb of Trivia.

* Grim Rictus...puppet master for the president.

Pod of Horror is hosted by Mark Justice and David T. Wilbanks. Download it at I-Tunes or direct to your desktop.

And be sure to drop by the Justice & Wilbanks message board

Saturday, January 27, 2007

DE:TGD--Another Update

Dead Earth: The Green Dawn, the novella I wrote with David T. Wilbanks, has gone through a slight format change, and another edition has been added. You can get all the details directly from the publisher.

Have I mentioned lately how cool it is to have our book coming out from one of the world's most prestigious publishers of Horror, SF and Fantasy? And to have Glenn Freakin'* Chadbourne do our cover...it approaches the threshold of my cool capacity.

Meanwhile, over at Shocklines.com, Marvelous Matt Schwartz has added a bonus when you order DE:TGD from him.

* not his actual middle name.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Novel-Day 5

A little more progress this evening on TLH:


Thursday, January 25, 2007

The New Novel-Day 4

I had no writing time yesterday, thus no entry. And today's writing was extremely limited due to another project that demanded my attention. I hope to announce it soon.

I did get a bit done. It's not great progress but at least it's forward motion. And the story just surprised me for the first of what I hope will be many times. The surprise didn't actually happen at the keyboard but rather as I cleaned the litter box. Is there a hitherto unknown connection between feline feces and creativity? Someone should really do a study.

Here's today's word count for TLH:


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I have a new story -- a very short one -- over at the Delirium Press Insider. It's part of their Horror D'oeuvre series, brief stories which will be eventually collected into a book.

You can read "Thief" here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The New Novel-Day 2

Fewer words today, but I finished the prologue. Even though life conspired to keep me away from the keyboard, I'm pretty happy with the progress, and I'm pumped to get back to it tomorrow.

Here's the word count for TLH:


Monday, January 22, 2007

The New Novel-Day 1

I started a new novel today. I thought I would post my progress here for motivation. I'm going to try to get something done on it every day, though my job sometimes makes that impossible. Also, I have some other writing projects I have to attend to in the next few weeks, so we'll see how it works out.

By the way, it's a horror novel. For now, let's just call it TLH. Here's today's word count and my projected finish:


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dead Earth Update

It now appears that Dead Earth: The Green Dawn by Dave Wilbanks and yours truly will be published this summer. Since we finally have a date, shouldn't you celebrate by ordering a copy?

Update to the Update:

Bloody Hell.

Just got some incredibly good news about this project, along with an indication that it might see print earlier.

I'll share as soon as I'm allowed. Mostly I just wanted a chance to say "bloody hell."

January 1967

Over at his blog, Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort lists the entire Marvel output the month he was born -- 40 years ago.

As he points out, you could get the entire Marvel line each month for a buck twenty. Looking at that list, I either bought or read (thanks to a neighbor) every one of those titles, with the exception of Sgt. Fury. The Tales to Astonish cover doesn't ring a bell either, and I almost always read it, more for the Hulk than the Sub-Mariner, but, as Brevoort points out, the distribution sucked mightily in those days. If Scott Drugs or Kanouse Drugs didn't carry it, I never saw it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Silver Surfer's Nuts

This is allegedly a video capture from the Hi-Def trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie:

Who does that Surfer think he is -- Britney Spears?

Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

When Dark Harvest opens, we’re introduced to a scenario that seems familiar by horror standards: October. A small town. A young, angry protagonist. A ritual that keeps the small town thriving, though at the costs of a few lives.

Okay, I thought. I’ve seen this before, or stories quite close to it. The Halloween sub-genre is a particular favorite, one that a few writers – particularly Al Sarrantonio – have mined successfully. If this was what Dark Harvest was going to be, I was good with that.

But about a third of the way through, Norman Partridge turned the classic horror tropes on their head, then shoved them down the garbage disposal.

Dark Harvest isn’t about the young, angry kid. The star of the show is someone totally unexpected. Expectations are flipped upside down, and we’re given something we very rarely see: a truly fresh idea.

And all of this is powered by Partridge’s lean and mean prose. You can almost visualize the narrator spinning his tale, leaning against a brick wall, hair slicked back, a pack of unfiltered Camels rolled in the sleeve of a t-shirt so white you have to squint to look at it, scuffed motorcycle boots ready to stomp you if you interrupt him.

Dark Harvest is like a rumbling muscle car (running on leaded gasoline, natch) driving without headlights through the moonless night. You don’t know where this ride is taking you. All you can do is grab something and hang on -- there are no seat belts here.

But the driver is a master. And, at the end of the road, you’ll be glad you took the trip.

Dark Harvest is a relatively short novel, or maybe a long novella. Regardless, it’s some of the best horror writing I’ve encountered. Partridge – always a fine craftsman– just keeps getting better.

Highly recommended.

Jane Espenson

She writes some of the funniest dialogue on TV. She's a veteran of Buffy, Angel, Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica and a ton of other shows. And she has a great blog.

Many of the points Jane Espenson makes about writing scripts can be applied to prose, from plotting choices to timing.

I stop by every few days. It's a worthwhile destination for any writer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Get Some White Out

I finally read my story in Horror Garage #12. Or I started it. Here's what I found on the first page:

"You're kidding, right? That's Inhabit Crane."

If you're keeping score at home, the correct line should be:

"You're kidding, right? That's Ichabod Crane."

Feel free to change your copy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Well, They Did It In Maybery

Originally published in Bridges magazine.

This is the absolutely 100% true story of how my wife almost didn’t become my wife because of a Sunday drive and a country tradition.

Before we begin, I must say I never considered myself as particularly country or hillbilly, despite growing up in a small Kentucky town. Though we did our fair share of fishin’ and huntin’, I watched Star Trek, collected comic books and pretended I was a disc jockey. Not exactly qualities that get you a seat by the see-ment pond at the Clampett’s mansion, right?

I get the feeling, though, that Norma Kay thought we were a bunch of possum-eatin’, cousin-marryin’ yokels. While we may have tried possum once at a family reunion, there was absolutely no cousin-marryin’ in our lineage. Well, if you don’t count Uncle Edsel. The less said about him, the better.

Anyway, back to the cataclysmic event that almost wrecked my impending marriage.

Back in the day – as the kids say – there was a quaint family tradition known as The Sunday Drive. This involved packing up everybody in the immediate family into the car for a trip to destinations unknown. My father loved the Sunday drives. He was a nut for them. Dad’s Sunday drives started sometime around lunch and could easily last until supper. While the itinerary varied each week, we would eventually end up on a two-lane (or fewer) road up some hollow, where we would inevitably stop for snacks at a combination gas station/bait shop/taxidermist.

Believe me when I tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed cheese crackers that smelled like night crawlers.

Sunday drives were exciting when I was small. The older I got, the more they became something to be endured. Who wants to be stuck in a car all day, eating wormy cheese crackers when you could be home playing with your friends or reading the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man? But we understood that these drives were important to Dad, so we went along.

Then, once upon a time, I met a girl named Norma Kay and decided I couldn’t live without her, so I asked her to marry me. Two boxes of Kleenexes later, we were engaged. Oh, and Norma cried too.

My Dad was so excited by the fact that I wouldn’t end up living alone with my comic book collection, he insisted we celebrate by introducing my bride-to-be to – wait for it – The Sunday Drive. Imagine my joy.

Reproduced here for the very first time is part of the conversation Norma Kay and I had when I tried to prepare her for this experience:

Her: So we’re going where?
Me: Nowhere.
Her: We’re just, uh, riding around? For how long?
Me: A few (unintelligible mumbling).
Her: What was that?
Me: A few hours. Don’t hate me.
Her: I could never hate you. But can I ask one more question.
Me: What’s that?
Her: Did you keep the receipt for the engagement ring?

Ha! What a kidder I had landed.

So the big day arrived, we piled into the Ford Country Squire station wagon with the fake wood paneling and set out for the great unknown. For a while, things were going better than I had dared hope. The small talk was great, she laughed at my Dad’s jokes, and she laughed at Mom’s embarrassing stories about all the places I peed when I was a baby.

Then came the moment that would almost change history.

“Who wants a snack and a bottle of pop?” Dad said. He pulled the ol’ Country Squire into the gravel parking lot of Wally’s Worm World at the foot of Booger Holler. We all climbed out, ready to stretch our legs after eleven hours of sightseeing. When we got inside, Dad purchased each of us a little bottle of Coke and a package of peanuts, just as he had every Sunday for the last two decades. We got back in the car and my Sunday Drive instincts kicked in. All of us – except for Norma Kay – ripped open our pack of peanuts and poured them down in our bottle of Coke.

As I took my first delicious swig, I glanced at my fiancée.

Her eyes were the size of the hubcaps on an El Dorado. Her mouth opened and closed soundlessly.

Naturally, I jumped to the obvious conclusion.

“Got a peanut stuck in your windpipe, baby?” I said, while taking another swallow of my country cocktail.

She shook her head, her eyes now open to the exact diameter of a Giovanni’s 18 inch pizza. For the rest of the ride she had little to say.

Later, when we were alone, as she tired to express her disbelief that anyone would despoil a perfectly good Coke with peanuts, I came up with the only explanation I could muster.

“Well, they did it in Mayberry,” I said. “Andy and Opie put peanuts in their Coke.”

“Really?” She was skeptical, but it was good enough to convince her that we weren’t that family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I saved the wedding.

That was a long time ago. But every time The Andy Griffith Show comes on, I know she’s waiting for Barney or Gomer to dump the peanuts in the Coke.

If you ever see an episode where that actually happened, please let me know. I’m sure it I saw it.

At least that’s the story I’m sticking to.

Pod of Horror #27

It’s a new year, and at Pod of Horror we’ve resolved to maintain the same lowbrow standards we established back on our first episode. So take off your High Falutin’ hat an plug into PoH #27:

* Byran Smith talks about his influences, work habits and his new novel THE FREAKSHOW.

* It’s information diarrhea on Dave’s Poop.

* Advice Demon Grim Rictus is back and more evil than ever.

* Quizmaster Wilbanks offers a clue to the seemingly never-ending Tomb of Trivia.

* A Horror World update from Nanci Kalanta.

* Review Dude Scott Bradley lines up the Top Books of 2006.

* All this...and Pod of Dicks!

Pod of Horror is hosted by Mark Justice and David T. Wilbanks. Download it at I-Tunes or direct to your desktop.

And be sure to drop by the Justice & Wilbanks message board.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Horror Garage #12

My story "The Diminishing Man" is out in Horror Garage #12 (pictured above. Nothing says horror like a knife-wielding chick in a bustier and garters).

You can order it at their site. And I'm sure Matt at Shocklines will have it up soon.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Paperback of the Day 1/5/07

For Ron Fortier, a big fan of Mr. Weiner's oeuvre.