Wednesday, January 30, 2008

James Reasoner

Read this, then please send your good thoughts and prayers to James Reasoner, the fine mystery and western writer, and his family.

I hope they have an honest and conscientious insurance company.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dr. David Gallo

Here's Dave Gallo, world famous oceanographer, TV personality, man-about-town and friend of the Department of Justice, doing what he does best.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pod of Horror #42: James A. Moore/J. F. Gonzalez

On Pod of Horror #42, we celebrate the new year by welcoming back old friends:

* James A. Moore discusses DEEPER, Lovecraft and future works.

* J. F. Gonzalez gives us the behind-the scenes story of SHAPESHIFTER.

* Nanci delivers the scoop with horror’s premier news source, The Call of Kalanta.

* Scott Bradley reviews Ketchum and Knight, and answers listener questions.

* There’s a new Tomb of Trivia.

* And we make fun of CLOVERFIELD. There. I said it.

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

Get Pod of Horror merchandise.

Visit our MySpace page.

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

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I just saw Cloverfield. Here are a few thoughts while they're fresh:

* The characters weren't as unlikable as some of the reviews would have you believe. That said, I felt no affection for any of them.

* The special effects were incredible.

* The monster was cool. My inner geek (who is not so inner most days) was pleased.

* As slick as the editing and promotion of the film were, the movie itself didn't really break new ground. It was an entertaining way to spend an hour and half.

* If you're looking for answers (i.e. What the hell does the title mean?) this isn't the movie for you. I understand why the woman in front of me stood up at the end and said "I want my three dollars back!"

* The trailers for HELLBOY 2 and IRON MAN looked even more impressive on the big screen. The Star Trek teaser was okay.

* My brother and I went to a matinée. Two tickets were six bucks. Two large drinks and two large popcorns were $19.50. No wonder people wait for the DVD.

* If you can't wait to see the Cloverfield monster, I've posted the picture below. Warning: this is scary!

Canada Man

Back in august at the Horrorfind convention, Erik and Laurie Alkenbrack gave me a Canadian Care package. Since it was eight degrees today I thought it was the perfect day to be Canadian, so I got out the Maple Leafs jersey and drank from my Tim Horton's mug. You can't see it, but I'm also wearing the Maple Leafs socks, the Maple Leafs thong and the Maple Leafs nipple rings. O, Canada!

(After some of the things presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said this week, being Canadian is starting to sound like a good idea.)

I didn't get much new writing done this weekend, but I did polish two older stories and get them back into circulation. I tend to neglect the rejected pieces for too long. I did fairly major revisions to one of the stories, making it more focused. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

First Sale of 2008: Legends of The Mountain State 2

Editor Michael Knost has accepted my story "Dancing in Time to the Beating Heart of the World" for the second volume of his Legends of the Mountain State series ("The Way Home" was in the first volume). This story concerns the ghost of a nurse who haunts the halls of a hospital in Huntington, WV.

I'm jazzed about being a part of a lineup that includes Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, Jonathon Maberry, Brian Freeman, Michael Laimo, Rob Darnell, Maurice Broaddus, Steven Shrewsberry, Bob Freeman, Mary Sangiovanni, Nate Kenyon, Nate Southard and Brian J. Hatcher.

The book is scheduled for publication in October.

I also have a list in the upcoming Horror Book of Lists, edited by Amy Wallace, Scott Bradley and Del Howison. I believe it, too, is scheduled for October. There's an array of big name contributers in this one, and then there's me. I have to call my Mom and tell her I'm in a book with Stephen King!


The talented Steve Wedel interviewed me today for the February edition of What's On Board, Horror World's free newsletter. If you want to read it, just sign up here. In the interview I talk about my writing, Pod of Horror, why Stephen King will never be on the show and the kind of underwear Nanci Kalanta wears.

Okay, one of those statements is false, but you'll have to read the interview to find out which one.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Horror Mall Radio

Horror Mall, the excellent online book store, has just introduced Horror Mall Radio. Just scroll down and look for the button on the right side. You can hear me read two short stories -- but not at the same time. :^)

Stay tuned...there's more audio news to come.

German Sci-Fi

My friend Brian clued me in to these promos for Germany's edition of The Sci-Fi Channel. They're very innovative and far more entertaining than anything I've seen for our edition of the network.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No Leg Cramps, But...

1) I slipped on ice in the parking lot at work this afternoon and fell, screwing up my back and elbow. It looks like 2008 will be another phenomenal year for the amazing coordinated Mark.

2) Traipsing across the ice-covered back deck at home, while trying to avoid another fall, I conked my head on the f***ing tree that grows up through the middle of the f***ing deck, leaving me with a nice bruise and gash on my lovely, bald coconut-like head.

3) I spent the remainder of the day with a busted pipe under the kitchen sink. More accurately, I spent the day watching my brother fix a busted pipe under the kitchen sink. I provided support, including trips to the hardware store and the dispensing of beverages.

So don't ask me how the writing is going.

Thank you.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Over at The Horror Drive-In, the legendary Mark Seiber has reviewed Deadneck Hootenanny.

Here's my favorite part of Mark's review:

"Folks, don't expect Peter Straub here. The emphasis is on fun. That is, if your idea of fun consists of blood, guts and cannibalism. Deadneck Hootenanny is light reading. The perfect way to breeze through an hour or two between novels on your shelf waiting to be read. I'd say that the stories are silly, but Mark manages to throw in some shrewd observations about rural life. This book hints that its author has not only intimate knowledge of rednecks (or hillbillies or shitkickers; you know what I mean), but that that Mark Justice feels affection toward them."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Leg Cramp Update

This just in: The soap worked. No cramps. No further study needed.

Be sure to check back as we cure other ailments with common bathroom products.

Next up: Ending sinus infections with Preparation H.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Christmas is Over

The Christmas tree and accompanying decorations came down today, on the 12th of January.

For my wife that's some kind of record. Normally, she wants to leave them up until June, though I can usually talk her into taking them down by Super Bowl weekend.

Just kidding, honey (*nervous giggle*).

Writing: sent off another short story to an anthology last night, just under the deadline. That's two in two weeks.

Now, to polish off the long pulp story (my apologies to Wayne for being so late with it). Then it's back to the novels.


For years I've suffered from severe leg cramps. Every few weeks I'll wake up with my calf knotted up in cramp that forces me out of bed, hopping around the bedroom to a whispered chorus of "Ohshitohshitohshit!" (whispered so I don't wake Norma). It happened again this morning (and, yes, I get plenty of potassium, drink plenty of water, etc). I mentioned it to my Mother today and she told me about a recent item in the syndicated medical column in the local paper. The doctor recommended putting a bar of soap in the bed to stop leg cramps.

I am not making this up.

I came home and Googled it. I found a ton of references, like this and this. Even the reliable (my source for debunking virtually every stupid right-wing email sent to me by people who aren't very concerned about facts) got in on the act.

So I have a bar of soap for bed tonight. Maybe it's a placebo. If it is, that's fine with me. If it means no longer waking up in agony, I'll have my bedsheets made out of Ivory soap.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Five O'Clock Whistle

It's quitting time.

The day was relatively free of suckage, at least for a Monday. I've been busy since 2:00 a.m., but things went smoothly. Wrote some good comedy. Made solid progress on the new story I mentioned yesterday. Took a walk with Ed the Female Dog. Norma cooked a great dinner and we watched Family Guy.

I'm reading Kill Whitey by Brian Keene to review for Horror World, but it looks like I'm sitting that aside for a few minutes because my brother just got back in town with a pile of old Marvel and DC comics he picked up for me at a flea market. The pile includes Iron Man, Justice League, The Brave and the Bold (Batman teams up with the Flash), The Hulk, Avengers, and one of my top five comics from the 70s, a wacky little chunk of funky we call...Master of Kung Fu.

So night-night, y'all.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Let's All Go to the Movies

I spent the first part of the day watching the Sunday news shows (I'm a news/political junkie), then ran a bunch of errands.

The afternoon was devoted to working on a short story for another anthology. I thought I had more time for this one, but I realized the deadline is right on top of me. I made good progress and will hopefully finish it up tomorrow.


Yes, my Bengals will be watching the Super Bowl from home again this year. You know who'll be sitting on the couch with them? That's right...the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!


When I was on vacation we spent most of the time watching movies in a post-holiday stupor. Here's a nearly complete list of our viewing selections:

Superbad: *** out of ****. Raunchy and very funny.

The Reaping: **1/2 of ****. It was better than I'd expected. Hilary Swank did a great job.

Knocked Up: *** of ****. Gross, funny and warm. The first hybrid guy-chick flick. My wife loved it (and she also loved Superbad.)

Live Free or Die Hard: **** of ****. The best Die Hard since the original.

Waitress: **** of ****. An Oscar-worthy turn from Keri Russell in a quirky indie comedy, made poignant by the post-production murder of writer-director Adrienne Shelly.

Hairspray: * of **** if you hate musicals. **** of **** if you like them. It gets bonus points for casting Christopher Walken.

The Simpsons Movie: The same scoring system applies. If you like The Simpsons you'll love it. If you don't, you'll be wishing you were watching HGTV or something.

Equilibrium: **1/2 of ****. Christian Bale in a future where anyone displaying emotions gets executed. Sort of what the planet Vulcan be like if Stalin ran things. Gotta love that mad Gun Kata.

Eastern Promises: Viggo Mortenson is so badass he can put a beatdown on two Russian mobsters in a steam bath while unarmed and naked. *** of ****.

Flyboys: ** of ****. Corny, predictable and historically inaccurate. But it gets an extra star for those awesome dogfights (the aerial kind, not the Michael Vick kind).

Oceans 13: ** of ****. Same as it ever was.

A History of Violence: **** of ****. One of my favorite movies. I finally got Norma to watch it. And it turns out that she despises realistic violence. She prefers the Die Hard type. I know I'm a pig, yet I still have to say: Maria Bello naked. Mmmmmmmm.

Rush Hour 3: * of ****. Worse than it ever was.

Halloween: *1/2 of ****. I saw it in the theater and my opinion hasn't changed. If there had never been a John Carpenter Halloween, this would have been okay. The comparison just kills it.

Transformers: ** of ****. I was too old for the 80s Transformers craze, so I had zero expectations. I thought the SFX were amazing. Michael Bay knows when to drop in the stirring score. My wife bailed halfway through. "It's robots turning into trucks," she said. "Whoopie."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday Night's All Right For Writing

I just polished and submitted a short story to an anthology.

After the craptacular suckfest that was the last two months, it feels good to complete and submit something, especially something I feel really good about (which is no guarantee of acceptance; I usually feel good about everything I submit. I've never tried to pass off a steaming pile of shit to an editor, though I'm sure some would disagree).

Now back to another project that is way behind.

Video of the Week

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Indiana Jones in Vanity Fair

I'm probably more stoked about the new Indy film than anything else coming out in 2008. There's a nice article with pics over at Vanity Fair.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So Long, 2007

I’m one of those guys who has the tendency to focus on the things I didn’t get done or that I screwed up, rather than the things I got right. So to look back at 2007, I’m adopting the do-the-opposite tactic employed once by George Costanza. And it turns out that it was a pretty good year.

The biggest and best event of the year was my brother’s wedding, followed by the news on Christmas Day that Dave and Charlene are going to make me an uncle. Boy or girl, this is one kid that will be getting a lot of action figures and comic books.

On the writing front, things went pretty well. Deadneck Hootenanny was released and sold out. Putting that book together with Nick Cato at Novello Publishers was one of the best experiences of my fledgling career. If you’re interested in humorous horror I hope you’ll support Nick’s hard work.

2007 finally saw the release of Dead Earth: The Green Dawn. PS Publishing produced a beautiful book, and the response to it has been very positive. Now if we can get the sequel revised...

I sold Bone Songs, a collection, to Delirium Books. Over the weekend I spoke to publisher Shane Staley, and it looks like the book should show up by Summer, if not earlier.

I had a few short story sales this year. I wish it were more, but I haven’t written many short pieces in the last 12 months. I have two underway now for theme anthologies.

I’m just getting back to writing anything, after the cluster&^@% that was my life over the last few weeks. First came the pre-Thanksgiving chemical burn to my foot, followed by a back injury that resulted from the odd way I limped due to the foot thing. Throw the holidays into the mix along with the busiest time of year at work, and my time at the keyboard quickly vanished.

Anyway, I’m working this week to polish off a story for a pulp anthology set in the old west, the two short stories and a serialized novella. Work on Reaper Road is also about to resume. It was the main casualty of the whole foot burn incident.

Pod of Horror seems to be doing well. After scoring an interview with Robert R. McCammon, can talks with King and Koontz be far behind? Yes. Yes, they can. :^)

So bring on 2008. I’m locked and loaded.