Sunday, December 31, 2006

And This...

Another Reason To Look Forward To 2007

That's the Way It Was

So how did your year go?

I wanted to finish three novels this year. I didn’t make it, though Dave Wilbanks and I recently completed the first draft of our novel-length sequel to Dead Earth: The Green Dawn. I submitted another novel to a mass-market publisher, so 2 out of 3 is the final tally.

I have a short story coming up as part of Delirium’s Horror D’oeuvre series. Another story was just sold to an horror anthology, though I’ll wait until I have a contract to announce that. I have a few other pieces in the pipeline – including one story accepted nearly four years ago – that are awaiting publication.

The writing continues. Over the next couple of days I will wrap up a sequel to an earlier story for a possible chapbook. I’ve got more pulp-inspired fiction to write for Wild Cat Books, including my novel Mad Reign of the Plague Master. I also plan to make serious progress on two horror novels.

So my resolution is to find more time to write. I have a great job, one I love and one that fits my limited skill set. But it sometimes takes a lot of hours from my life, so I have to be more flexible about my writing schedule, and not allow the setbacks to bother me so much.

It’s also been a good year for Pod of Horror. Nanci Kalanta has been a gracious host after giving us a new home at Horror World. We’re looking forward to a lot of offensive fun in 2007.

I hope it’s been a good year for you, and that ‘07 will be even better. Read a lot, and write, if that’s what you do. In fact, if you’re a writer, here’s my wish for you: less talking about writing and more typing. Stop the excuses. Play the video games after your pages are done. And don’t give up on your project. Type “The End” before you worry about revising that paragraph that bugged you back on page 13.

Paperback of the Day 12/31/06

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 12/31/06

"Micro-Giants"? My mind is boggled.

Pulp of the Day 12/31/06

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Paperback of the Day 12/30/06

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 12/30/06

Pulp of the Day 12/30/06


Here’s the thing.

Nobody disagrees that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy (well, maybe a few insurgents disagree, but for the moment we’ll pretend like we’re all on the same page). There might be a wee bit of contention over the notion that the Middle East or the world is in a better place because Saddam’s no longer in control (and, again, let’s set aside the question of should we have gone to Iraq in the first place instead of, you know, finishing up the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. By the way, if going into Iraq was anything more than finishing up what Daddy started or a grab for oil, something like the “he’s a threat, he’s mean to his people” rationale, then why aren’t we sending thousands of troops and millions in aid to the Sudan, where men, women and children –emphasis on women and children – are being tortured and murdered on a daily basis? And that’s just one of several other happy spots on the globe. Okay, Digression Controls initiated).

So, anyway, we capture him, make his homeboys put him on trial and execute him. And that’s good, right? Because when you’re our enemy, we vanquish you, baby. Scorched earth. It feels right.

Except when it doesn’t.

(Sigh. One more digression. Let’s also put on hold the debate over the death penalty. It’s a topic I’ve vacillated over since I was a teen. In theory it sounds good. In practice it eliminates bad guys, but only if we have the right bad guy. Time and again we’ve been shown that the wrong people get executed with alarming frequency. Not that Saddam was the wrong guy. He wasn’t.)

Just think about this: what works better for out purposes in Iraq – a dead Saddam around whom thousands of insurgents can rally and proclaim him a martyr for their cause, or locking Saddam up in prison for life and constantly providing updates of his incarceration – showing photos of him in the cafeteria line; doing laundry; sitting in the dimness of his cell, head hung in defeat? Essentially saying, “Look at this. This is what we did to the most powerful guy in this part of the world. You want some of this?”

In fact that last line could have come straight from the I-book of a Bush speech writer.

There’s no manual for this kind of stuff. Just conscience and a willingness to think it through, to weigh all the consequences of our actions

Have we made things better? The coming months will tell, but in the words of that great strategist and statesman Han Solo, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Monday, December 25, 2006

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 12/25/06

Merry Christmas, everybody. I hope you enjoy a little peace on earth today, for at least a few hours.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I'll Come At You Like A Spider Monkey

Okay, I didn't think I was going to like Talladega Nights. I was wrong.

By the way, I'm a sucker for any DVD with a gag reel. Wouldn't The Passion of the Christ have been improved 100% by bloopers over the end credits?

Also, I am all jacked up on Mountain Dew.

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 12/23/06

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pod of Horror #26

Ho-ho-holy crap! It’s a nasty, elf-whippin’ holiday installment of horrordom’s favorite podcast. So warm up the wassail, get those nuts roasting on that open fire, and prepare for Pod of Horror #26.

* “The Little Hummer Boy” by Shane Ryan Staley, a classic heartwarming yuletide tale that will offend almost everyone, read by the author.

* J. F. Gonzalez drops down the chimney to discuss THE BELOVED.

* The nephew of Grim Rictus sings a Christmas carol.

* The prize package in The Tomb of Trivia swells to the size of Santa’s toy bag.

* Scott Bradley reviews HANNIBAL RISING and contemplates Koontz.

* Mark reads an original holiday horror tale.

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, December 16, 2006

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 12/16/06

Greetings From Flu Land

Just don't get to close to the screen. *cough*

While I seem to have a mild case of the crappin' crud, Dave Wilbanks has been hit hard, so the new episode of Pod of Horror will be Dave-less (and Grimmy-less, since, amazingly, our Advice Demon has also fallen ill * cough cough *). PoH #26 is our Christmas episode. Try to imagine the warmth and entertainment in those old Bing Crosby annual TV specials, then try to imagine the exact opposite. That's our show.

It includes a special holiday story -- read by the author -- that I warned may shut down the Internet. I'll read an original tale called "The Thing in the Stocking." Dave's story will have to wait until next year. Also, J.F. Gonzalez makes a special appearance to talk about his great new novel The Beloved. I'll have more when the show goes live in a day or so.

Over at the Shocklines message board, Joe Kroeger has reviewed Damned Nation. He was kind enough to single out my contribution:

The story that I considered to be the best entry in this anthology is DAS HOLLENFEUER by Mark Justice. With a disturbing vision of a future where the Third Reich won the war with the help of the legions of Hell, Mark Justice’s writing is imaginative and rich with imagery culminating in an ending that takes your breath away. This story is well worth getting this book for.

You can read the entire review here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Correcting the Mistakes

As I sit here pretending I'm not coming down with a nasty virus, I see that the good folks at Regret the Error have posted their annual summation of the best media corrections of 2006. But it was while surfing their archives that I discovered their correction of the year for 2005:

Our choice this year is a correction that combines many elements that are indicative of the correction format: it is very short, the error is very bad and also very funny, and the correction is entirely inadequate. Ladies and Gentleman, the Correction of the Year for 2005, as published in the Denver Daily News on July 27:

The Denver Daily News would like to offer a sincere apology for a typo in Wednesday's Town Talk regarding New Jersey's proposal to ban smoking in automobiles. It was not the author's intention to call New Jersey 'Jew Jersey.'

This makes some of my on-air gaffes look downright reasonable, and that puts a smile on my face.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pod of Xmas

A little sneak preview:

There will be a new Pod of Horror on Monday, our annual Christmas episode. I'll be reading a new story written especially for this episode. We'll have an author interview and all the usual stuff.

And we will also include a holiday horror classic, possibly the most vile and disgusting Christmas story of all time, read by the author. Start your guessing now.

This could shut down the Internet. The whole thing. At the very least, I expect protests, letters to the editor and a congressional investigation. It's that nasty.

You have been warned.

More on Monday.

Monday, December 11, 2006


A power outage while I had AOL open has destroyed my mail files, including a ton of correspondence related to my writing and Pod of Horror. If anybody has a sweet fix-it touch when it comes to AOL, please let me know.

Pulp Rumor Update

Rumor no longer, as Ron Fortier pointed out in his comments to the post below. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that director Sam Raimi will be involved with a new movie version of The Shadow, though, at the moment, not as a director.

Raimi reportedly has great affection for the character. That's good. I don't really feel the crew behind the 1994 Shadow movie felt the same way.

That version, contrary to popular opinion, did not produce total suckage. While many pulp purists took issue with the melding of the radio and pulp version of the character, I wasn't bothered. Let's face it: far more people know The Shadow as the crimefighter who can cloud men's minds and become invisible. Just like more people know the "Me Tarzan, you Jane" version of Burroughs's ape man, rather than the educated, erudite adventurer from the novels.

My problem with the 1994 film was the ridiculous drug warlord backstory for Lamont Cranston. And the stupid animated knife with a face.

Okay. And Alec Bladwin's laugh wasn't so hot.

There have been hints that this Raimi deal might include a new version of Doc Savage. That, too, would make me happy. When my wife and I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at a sneak preview back in 1981, I turned to her and said, "That's what the Doc Savage movie should have been." Non-stop action and spectacular escapes. That's the Doc for me.

While George Pal's 1975 Doc flick was destroyed by its campy take on The Man of Bronze, some moments from the pulps shine through, like Doc's chase of the Mayan assassin and the slide down the elevator cables, and the dinner attack on the yacht. Teasing glimpses of the Doc movie that could be.

At least having a fan of the original heroes at the helm is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pulp Rumor

IGN is reporting that Spider-Man's Sam Raimi is planning to direct a movie that would team up Doc Savage with The Shadow, The Avenger and other characters from the Street and Smith stable.

That's an item heavy with the stench of too-good-to-be-true, though Raimi is a big Shadow fan and tried for years to get a movie off the ground before the 1994 Alec Baldwin flop. That one had some nice bits, as did the Doc Savage movie. We'll have to talk about it sometime.

Look for continuing coverage as only the Department of Justice can provide. :^)

More Audio

My reading of the prologue to Ghoul by Brian Keene is up now at the Delirium Insider.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pod of Horror #25

It’s the 25th episode of Pod of Horror (isn’t that the silver bullet anniversary?) And for your listening pleasure we present:

* A holiday greeting from Chinese Dracula

* Grim Rictus puts on the bling and becomes a rappin’ pimp daddy

* Scott Bradley reviews Richard Laymon’s THE CELLAR

* A December Horror World Update

* The horror news flows freely in Dave’s Poop

* In the Tomb of Trivia, we’re giving away books by Jack Ketchum, Ray Garton, Edward Lee, Jeff Strand, Simon Clark, Jeremy R. Johnson and Alan M. Clark

* Listener e-mail and highbrow banter (err, okay, middle-to-lowbrow banter)

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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bare Bone #9

"The Whispered Sighs of Grateful Souls", a story I wrote for Horror World a few years ago (back when Nanci actually published small fry like me), is in the new issue of Bare Bone. I haven't actually seen the issue yet, but it's listed at and Amazon, so it must be out.

It's one of my favorite pieces. In it, I tried to pay tribute to the amazing Ray Bradbury, one of my heroes.

Here's the lineup:

  • Conner's Menagerie • Benjamin X. Wretlind
  • Into the Amniotic Sky • Tim Emswiler
  • Shame on Me • Gary Fry
  • Dogfight • Andrew Humphrey
  • Mistaken Memory • Mark Howard Jones
  • Elderly Lady, Lives Alone • Paul Finch
  • Muscle Car • Kurt Newton and L.L. Soares
  • Never Let Go • Mitch Maraude
  • Three Hammers • Albie
  • And Still Insists He Sees the Ghosts • Jeff Somers
  • The Third Horseman • Chris Ringler
  • Chokecherryblack • Alyssa Sturgill
  • Dana • Colette Phair
  • Razor Jack • Tim Curran
  • The Whispered Sighs of Grateful Souls • Mark Justice
  • Laughter on the Rain • C.J. Henderson
  • Crying Tears of Blood, Sweet Like Honey • James Chambers
  • Blood Memory • Joy Marchand
  • Night Nurse • K.S. Hardy
  • The Anorexic Hatches God • Cameron Pierce
  • Salma Gundi • Christopher Danaher
  • The Price of Shoes • Jeffrey A. Stadt
  • disposable poet • Curtis
  • Aerie • James S. Dorr
  • After the Cosmologist's Death • John Hayes
  • Machine Gun/Latte • Amy Grech
  • Sometimes • Dustin LaValley
  • Conspiracy • Lida Broadhurst

What If Stan Lee and Jack Chick Teamed Up?

For most of my life I've been a Marvel comics fan, and I've found those ubiquitous Jack Chick religious tracts far more entertaining than I probably should. So this blew my mind. It's the funniest thing I've seen in a while.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

For the Locals: Be Very Afraid

Ah, Teddy Bear and his smokes. It fills my heart with holiday spirit. Thanks to Charlene Tackett for her design magic.

Listen Up

Shane Staley at Delirium Books invited me to read some stories for his site. The first one is up now, a very disturbing story by Kurt Newton called "The House Spider". If you'd like to listen to it, click here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

It's a little past 7:30. I'm sitting at my desk, sipping coffee. I've read Get Fuzzy, Doonesbury and The Dinette Set, so I'm ready to start my day.

The turkey is done. Norma has also made a red velvet cake, two pumpkins pies and a pecan pie, gravy, cranberry relish and cornbread for today's dressing. In a bit I'll be peeling about ten pounds of spuds while the Macy's parade is on and Norma will make the dressing, broccoli casserole and her signature dish, one that I had never eaten before I met her and one that has now become the most requested side dish by our family and friends, rice dressing.

I'll eat too much and laugh a lot with our extended family. Then, after everyone's gone home and Norma's in bed, I'll heat up a plate of leftovers and watch some more Veronica Mars. Norma bought the season one box set for me Tuesday and so far I've zipped through nine episodes. The theme song by The Dandy Warhols is stuck in my head.

What else is going on?

I sold a short story yesterday. It's a sale I'm very happy about. I'll tell you about it when the contract is signed.

The Secret Agent X book with my novelette "The Cult of the Walking Dead" is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. That may make it a little more comfortable for some to order online. It's a fun book, full of the old blood 'n' thunder pulp excitement. You could find worst ways to spend your leisure time. Thanks to Ron Fortier for the links.

Meantime, have a great holiday. I hope you get to spend the day with people you enjoy.

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 11/23/06

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pod of Horror #24

The 24th episode of Pod of Horror is here and oozing with infected goodness!

* John Urbancik talks writing and Australia.

* Scott Bradley super-sizes his reviews.

* Grim Rictus tell us how to *really* enjoy a Scientology wedding.

* Have we discovered Chinese Dracula’s identity at last?

* Dave’s got a little poop.

* Win Ray Garton, Ed Lee and Simon Clark in The Tomb of Trivia (or their books, anyway).

* Vince Liaguno tells us about THE LITERARY SIX and how to love Laura Branigan.

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.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hundred-Dollar Baby by Robert B. Parker

I picked up the new Spenser novel today at the library. I been doing that a lot lately, going to the library. Partly because I spend too much on books, partly because I ‘m running out of room in my house. I’ll eventually buy Hundred-Dollar Baby, since I have the other Spensers, but for now I just wanted to read it.

When I asked for it, the librarian told me the only copy that wasn’t checked out was the large print edition

No problem, I told her.

So I got it home and cracked the cover.

Holy crap.

This is some big ass print.

Before my cataract surgery last fall, I could easily read without my glasses. When you have the lenses in your eyes replaced, you have to make a choice: distance vision or close up. I chose distance. Now, for the first time in my life, I can drive or watch TV without glasses. But to read I have to have the specs on my nose.

Not with this friggin’ book. I can read it without glasses. In fact, I’m thinking of asking my wife to sit on the other side of the room and hold it up.

I think I could read this in the dark.

I’m pretty sure if I stepped outside and held it open to the sky, some airline passenger would go, “Hey, that must be the new Parker novel.” In fact, if I had this book outside back in ‘69, Neil Armstrong’s first words might have been different.

Big ass print.

In fact, more than a few minutes of looking at it gives me a headache. This will be the first Spenser novel I haven’t read in a single day.

But is that going to stop me from reading one of my favorite authors?

What do you think?

Classic Comic Covers of the Day 11/16/06

Obviously this isn't going to be a daily feature. Catch as can, most likely.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the Marvel Westerns of the 60s and 70s, with their weird fusing of western tropes with superheroics.

Back then, they were a curiosity, something I really didn't pursue for a basic reason unique to kid-dom: my dad was always making me watch westerns. Therefore, I had no choice but to reject them.

Kinda stupid, I know, but there you are.

Now, due to nostalgia and maybe something else I don't quite understand, I've been very attracted to western books, movies and comics over last couple of years.

I wish Marvel would devote one of their Essentials volumes to some Kid Colt or The Two-Gun Kid. I've read my old copies until they're falling apart.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Harlan Coben

In the last few weeks I’ve read three of Harlan Coben’s novels about athlete-turned-sports agent-turned-detective Myron Bolitar, and I have a new entry on my list of favorite writers.

Finding an author you’ve never read, one that you end up really liking, and then realizing he or she has a hefty backlist of work for you to dive into...well, it’s one of the best feelings I know.

Coben has a simple, clear, unobtrusive style. Other than an occasional missed metaphor or a train wreck of a simile, the ride is always smooth and quick. He mixes in a dash of humor as needed, and Coben has the ability to describe violence in a neutral, non-gratuitous tone, a must for PI novels.

I haven’t tried his stand-alone novels yet. I have a couple of those on the pile.

It’s going to be a busy few weeks of catching up on Coben.

Classic Comic Cover of the Day 11/12/06

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fight the Menace

It's Dennis the Menace merged with The Fight Club. Get more here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Enough With the Politics!

We now interrupt the political rants to display the lovely Kristen Bell, star of Veronica Mars, Tuesdays at 9 eastern, 8 central on the CW network.

Thank you.

Bye-Bye Rummy

It's shocking -- shocking, I tells ya -- to think a president would mislead the people, but apparently when President Bush was assuring us last week that he would stand by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the longhaul, he was actively seeking his replacement.

I'm no political genius, so somebody help me out here. Bush saved the Rumsfeld announcement for the day after the election. Wouldn't it have helped his fellow Republicans and demonstrated that, yes, he does listen to the people and his own party, by canning Rummy last week?

Or maybe he thought it would seem a little less like bowing to political pressure if he threw Rummy under the bus a few hours after the election.

Only in Washington.

Regardless of the motivation, I'm not complaining. We need a little less arrogance and a fresh pair of eyes in that position. As I mentioned in a comment below I think change can be very good. From time to time a shake up is needed. Obviously I'm not alone in feeling this way.

There's one thing I hope comes from this government overhaul.

I've always admired John McCain for his independence and his willingness to take unpopular positions. He always struck me as a man of strong convictions, some I disagreed with, naturally. However he seemed to be a rational, clear-thinking head in an increasingly partisan system. McCain regularly disagreed with the president (whether it was Clinton or Bush) and repeatedly admonished the special interests who were trying to unduly influence the direction of the country, particulary the religious right.

I was hugely disappointed earlier this year to see McCain sucking up to the president and the smug Jerry Falwell, a man who McCain had publicly taken to task on several occasions.

McCain obviously want to be president. And, just has obviously, he has reached the conclusion that he must modify his views to get the office.

After the results from yesterday's election, I hope McCain reevaluates his new direction.

If he returns to the McCain of old, he would make a very attractive presidential candidate.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Limiting the Damage

Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times:

"There are still some people urging Bush to change course. For example, a scathing editorial published Monday by The Military Times, which calls on Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld, declares that "this is not about the midterm elections." But the editorial's authors surely know better than that. Bush won't fire Rumsfeld; he won't change strategy in Iraq; he won't change course at all, unless Congress forces him to.

At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Bush's character. To put it bluntly, he's an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood - and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself "pleased with the progress we're making" in Iraq.

In other words, he's the sort of man who should never have been put in a position of authority, let alone been given the kind of unquestioned power, free from normal checks and balances, that he was granted after 9/11. But he was, alas, given that power, as well as a prolonged free ride from much of the news media."

Read the full story here.


So Norma and I voted as soon as I got out of work today. Our polling place was busy. New signs were posted everywhere urging voters to not take more than two minutes in the booth.

I never saw a single voter take less than six or seven minutes. We were the youngest there, as usual. Noon to One must be senior hour.

I asked one of the precinct workers how the turn out had been. He said that despite the current surge in attendance, things had been light. Around 30%. He told me they would be lucky if the predicted 40% actually came out to vote.

I was stunned. I've proudly voted since I was 18, despite sometimes feeling I was choosing between Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers. I've always thought it was a privilege to take part in our unique democratic process -- and that's coming from me, the most cynical person I know.

So why are 60% of you staying home? Laziness? Fear that it will take time away from watching Judge Joe Brown? Dr. Phil didn't send you a telepathic message with instructions on how to vote?

I know it can't be bitter disillusionment, since no one is more cynical than moi, and I made it to the voting booth.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Yesterday was a good day, a rare Saturday off, and a day I spent catching up on comics.

I get way too many comics and many of them end up stuffed in boxes unread. Yesterday, I was determined to make some progress in correcting that.

I started with Fables, the most entertaining and consistent book Vertigo is currently putting out.

Vertigo is the adult imprint of DC comics. Adult, in this instance, means mature subject and language. Originally a horror/fantasy line, Vertigo was founded with titles like Swamp Thing and Hellblazer. But it was a comic called Sandman, written by Neil Gaiman that brought the most success and attention to the imprint.

Sandman ended several years ago, although it remains in print, and various new iterations and spinoffs pop up every year.

The parameters of Vertigo have changed. Horror and fantasy remain the foundation of the line, but other genres like war, crime and western have flourished, and the variety is welcome.

Fables fall smack in the fantasy corner. It’s a simple idea, and one that’s used brilliantly.

All the characters from fairy tales and folklore are real, and many of them have escaped from their homelands because of the invasion forces of The Adversary. Centuries ago these refugees established a home in New York. It’s called Fabletown, a neighborhood where the human-looking characters live. Those Fables who aren’t humanoid, the talking animals, for instance, live upstate at a place called The Farm. The number one rule in Fabletown is to hide their true nature from us, the Mundanes or Mundys.

Nearly every character is someone you’ve heard of. Snow White, Old King Cole, Sinbad, Prince Charming, the Big Bad Wolf, Little Boy Blue, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), Cinderella, Pinocchio. Some are now law officers. Some are politicians. Others are criminals or spies or saboteurs.

As I said, it’s a simple idea, but a foundation that hundreds of stories can be hung upon. The latest issue is #54. The series has also been collected in several trade paperbacks and there have been some stand-alone graphic novels including the recent hardcover 1001 Nights of Snowfall.

There is also a spinoff series, Jack of Fables, which is up to issue #4.

Bill Willingham writes Fables and the art is by a variety of names, though Mark Buckingham does the lion’s share of the pencil lifting.

The characters in Fables are written as real people with all the hopes and jealousies and dreams and pettiness of us Mundys.

It’s a great ongoing work, one that should be viewed as a classic in the making.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Horror World Reviews

I have a couple of new reviews up this month at Horror World, including one of Douglas Clegg's WILD THINGS: FOUR TALES. Just go to the reviews page and scroll down. I'm there somewhere.

The Only Political Commercial I Like

After all the annoying, nasty, venomous, intelligence-destroying, innuendo-filled political ads I've been exposed to for the last six months, I was amazed to find one that I actually liked. Here it is (thanks to Rick Hautala for the link):

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Grammar: It’s Really Just a Guideline

Overheard in the breakfast buffet line on the cruise:

“Where at my crispy bacon?”

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rush Free Zone

I wrote a long and serious essay on Rush Limbaugh and his inane comments about Michael J. Fox. But after reviewing it, I decided that the world needed this instead (thanks to my cousin Angie for the link).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pod of Horror #23: Rick Hautala

Pod of Horror wishes you Happy Halloween with our 23rd installment.

* Horror legend Rich Hautala discusses his long career and upcoming releases.

* Scott Bradley reviews Matthew Warner’s EYES EVERYWHERE.

* Dave scoops up a little bit of Poop.

* Grim Rictus is in the hizzy!

* The Tomb of Trivia tantalizes with more free books.

* Homegirl Nanci Kalanta dishes on Horror World.

* Chinese Dracula whiiiiiiiiines.

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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Salty Sea Dog Returns To Port

I survived the cruise.

It was actually our best one yet. The ship was so huge that even with seven days I didn’t see all of it.

We had a great time drinking in Nassau, shopping at St. Thomas, snorkeling at St. John and visiting the topless beach on the French side of St. Maarten. Okay, I enjoyed the topless beach.

I got sunburned. I ate too much. I made a fool of myself whenever music was playing. I laughed my ass off at the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I even got hit on by a waiter who told me his nickname was Slippery Dick.

Ah, the memories.

We had a great group with us, and I found time to have 26 hours of fun a day and still read a few novels on the balcony of our stateroom.

Sleep, as they say, is overrated.

Traveling through Orlando airport was a nightmare. The U.S. Airways check-in was insane. Automated kiosks that have to be assisted by live people and a security line that seemed to stretch for miles.

I don’t think the latter is going to get better anytime soon.

Still, it was a great vacation. And when I get caught up on my sleep, I'll be ready to head out again.

As promised, Kelli at Horror Web ran "Halloween Everlasting" on October 15th. You can still read it here.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Beyond the Sea

We leave for the airport in about five hours, and we just now finished packing. We weren’t procrastinating. It was literally the first chance this week to do it. We had good intentions, but each evening found us facing some sort of mini-catastrophe. Nothing big. Just petty, annoying time-wasting stuff.

While Norma concentrated on the clothes and toiletries, I focused on the most important part of preparing for any trip.

That’s right. The books. After days and days of deliberation, I’m taking Infernal by F. Paul Wilson, Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and the latest issues of Asimov’s and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

Of course I may add to or subtract from that list as we leave the house.

By the way, I just read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was one of the bleakest, most depressing novels I have ever experienced. Also one of the most beautifully written. Highly recommended.

I’m too tired to be excited about the cruise yet. I know we’ll have a good time once we get there, so that will take care of itself. Now I just have to check once more to make sure we have everything. Then I’ll get a couple of hours sleep.

Talk to you in about a week. Be nice to each other. Don’t fight.

Our Buddy Matt

Matt Schwartz is one of the biggest fans of horror on the planet. He also runs the greatest online store for fans of the genre. If you’re interested in horror at all, then you need to check out Go ahead. Browse over there. I’ll wait.


Oh, you’re back.

Pretty cool place, eh?

Here’s something else you need to know: Matt is also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He’s helped out many, many writers and fans over the years. He’s also been a booster of Pod of Horror since the beginning. And now he needs our support. He can best explain it himself.

So if you’re thinking of buying a horror novel or story collection or anthology, please consider ordering through

You’ll be helping out a good person and a unique store. I need Shocklines. You need Shocklines, too, even if you don’t know it yet.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dead Earth: The Green Dawn--Update

My buddy Dave Wilbanks just clued me in to the new PS Publishing newsletter, which says our horror/sf novella Dead Earth: The Green Dawn is slated for release in March 2007. If it happens, that would be a few months earlier than anticipated. We all know that delays can happen, especially in the small press. But it would be cool if this really shows up in six or seven months.

For a description and a chance to pre-order, here are the links at for the hardcover and trade paperback. And the same for Clarkesworld Books, trade and hardcover.

No cover art yet. When there is, you can bet you'll see it right here.

Dave and I appreciate your support. Next time we see you we'll buy you a drink. Or give you a shoulder rub. Whichever is cheaper.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pod of Horror #22

It’s snake eyes. Double Deuce. Pod of Horror #22 has erupted from the Internet like naughty e-mails from a congressman’s computer. This time out:

* BUFFY and ANGEL star Charisma Carpenter chats about her new movie.

* Nate Southard tells us about writing BRIAN KEENE’S FEAR.

* Dave has so much Poop, you’ll think he’d chowed down on tainted spinach.

* Nanci Kalanta launches a book on tour.

* Advice Demon Grim Rictus dispenses homespun homilies with his usual warmth.

* The Tomb of Trivia is chock full of killer books and a DVD.

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.

p.s. Webmaster Nanci says that due to a recent technical glitch, you may have to reset your I-Tunes subscription.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

X Appeal

Wildcat Book's revival of the classic pulp hero is now available. I had a ton of fun with my entry, so if you like action, adventure, good guys and monstrous menace, order it now.

Here's the description:

SECRET AGENT "X": Volume One... Presenting "The Man Of A Thousand Faces" in 4 Brand-New tales of Adventure & Intrigue! This great Pulp Hero returns in this first collection of startling stories that will thrill everyone who enjoys a rollicking tale where danger lurks around every corner, and only the Master Spy, "X", can hope to stem the tides of evil! Includes: "Skeleton-Men of Calcutta" by Kevin Noel Olson... "The Cult of the Walking Dead" by Mark Justice... "The Cold Touch of Death" by Brian Meredith... and "The Red Mercy" by Steven Atkins... Covers and Interior Art by Rob Davis, with "The Agent X-Files" by Norman Hamilton that gives an in-depth background of the character, and an Afterword by Ron Fortier, who is bringing the pulp genre back to life with his new line of Pulp Hero Anthologies. Anthony Schiavino again provides the wonderful production design that will make this book really stand out on your shelves... along with the future volumes in our on-going series starring... SECRET AGENT "X"!

Monday, October 02, 2006

By The Way...

My review of Douglas Clegg's Isis is up now at Horror World. Go here and scroll down toward the bottom of the page.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Halloween

I know it's only the first, but I'm giving you the official okey-dokey to celebrate all month along.

Over at Horror Web, they're really into the spirit of things. They're featuring a different horror story every day this month. My entry, "Halloween Everlasting", will appear on the 15th. I mention this now because I'll be in the Caribbean on that date.

So head over now and get into the spirit of the season.

Sunday Pulp

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Just Two More Weeks

Christ, I need this. My Moron Tolerance Meter is off the scale. October 14th can't get here soon enough.

The Coolest Halloween Costume Ever

I didn't say the scariest. Just the coolest. I'm just imagining all the fun I could have with this on Halloween night. Hehehehehe.

The Pulp Renaissance Continues

I picked this up at the comics shop this week after a few months of eager anticipation.

Congrats to Anthony Tollin and crew for a fine product at an affordable price. Two Shadow novels a month? That boggles my mind.

As excited I am about the Doc Savage reprints, that's a series I've read. Aside from the Shadow paperbacks, I only own a couple of the original pulps, so most of the Shadow stories will be new to me. And Tollin has started out with a great combination. "Crime, Insured" is one of Gibson's best, with a criminal mastermind offering insurance to crooks to protect them against The Shadow, while "The Golden Vulture" is a legendary novel, in that it was Lester Dent's audition for Street & Smith which led to his Doc Savage gig.

With this new series of reprints, the Wild Cat Books stuff, and reprints from Adventure House, Girasol and Wildside, we are living in the second Golden Age of pulp fiction.

Saturday Pulp

Friday, September 29, 2006