Monday, January 31, 2011

Digital Pulp

Black Bat Mystery, the pulp anthology I was a part of, has gone digital. Now you can get all the action and adventure on your e-reader. Click here, then scroll to the end.

Dead Earth in Horror Fiction Review

I've loved Horror Fiction Review, dating back to the days when it was a photocopied and stapled fanzine that arrived via the post office. Now it's a digital zine, and I'm happy that Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road was reviewed in the new issue. Check it out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pod of Horror #63

Pod of Horror is back with over two hours of ghastly goodness. On episode #63, we talk books with Necon’s Bob Booth and Matt Bechtel, author/actor Michael Boatman, Pod of Horror co-founder David T. Wilbanks, and Cutting Block Press’s R. J. Cavender. Nanci has the news, Jason L. Keene critiques the movies and we introduce our new book review segment, Scary Words. We’re also giving away a bunch of great books in The Tomb of Trivia. Get it at iTunes or download it here. Pod of Horror is hosted and produced by Mark Justice.

Don't forget to check out the new PoH message board.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pod of Horror Message Board

It just went up at Horror World. Do drop by with your questions and comments and random observations.

Later today, I hope to be back here to tell you that the new episode of Pod of Horror is at long last available for your listening pleasure.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Social Podcast

Pod of Horror, the Internet radio show I do with Nanci Kalanta and Jason L. Keene, finally got a Facebook page.

This is where all PoH-related announcements will be made first. If you're on Facebook, I hope you'll give us a "Like".

The next episode of PoH should go live next weekend.


It's been a productive writing week.

We made great progress on Dead Earth 3 (more on that on the next Pod of Horror).

Both Dead Earth books are selling well. Dead Earth: The Green Dawn is an especially good deal for your e-reader--zombies, aliens and much ass-kicking, all for 3 bucks.

In an Amazon oddity, the e-book versions of the two Dead Earth books appear in two different fiction categories. Dave Wilbanks discusses that here.

I also finished my revisions and edits on my supernatural western series The Dead Sheriff. I'll have a lot more on this as it gets closer to publication.

Now I'm working on an untitled novella set in West Virgina. There are no zombies or aliens in this one; just ghosts, grief and a Drive-In theater. Giddyup!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chiller Theater/Why Horror/The Dead Sheriff

This morning, The New York Times ran an article on SyFy’s so-bad-they’re-fun original movies. This line caught my attention:

Syfy’s Saturday-night movies harken back to the so-called “creature feature” days of local television. Starting on a widespread basis in the 1960s and continuing through the 1980s stations programmed off-peak hours with old horror movies like “Creature From the Black Lagoon.”

Anybody who reads or writes the stuff I love has gotten some variation of this question: “Why horror?”

(Of course, it’s sometimes phrased differently. As in Why do you read that junk/ that crap/that weird shit, and the line is delivered by someone who, upon discovering your copy of
Night of the Crabs by Guy N. Smith or Salem’s Lot by Stephen King or, going back further, a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, looks like he or she just bit into a nice steak only to find it was filled with thick, squirming maggots.)

Here’s my answer:
Chiller Theater.

Chiller Theater ran on Channel 13 in Huntington, WV, from the time I was a child until sometime in the 80s. By the end, they ran the pre-packaged Elvira show and I rarely tuned in.

When I say “a child”, I mean exactly that. One of my earliest memories is a Saturday when I was sick and my parents let me stay up to watch
Chiller Theater. I remember walking down the stairs from my bedroom, realizing I had never walked down those steps at night.

We moved from that house when I was four.

So this horror thing has been with me for a while.

Channel 13 (which went by the call letters WHTN when I first tuned in, then later became WOWK), unlike many stations in other markets, never had a horror host, at least that I recall. For a couple of years, they had an out of focus dude with Christmas lights on his clothes moaning about something, but I usually took advantage of his time on-screen to run to the bathroom or get a snack. Remember, those were the pre-VCR or DVR days.

During one period,
Chiller Theater had Barnabas Collins doing the weekly opening. Channel 13 was an ABC affiliate at the time (they’re with CBS now) and Dark Shadows was a popular ABC daytime soap (and the only soap with vampires and werewolves). Jonathan Frid, the actor who played the tortured, blood-sucking Barnabas, made a publicity stop in Huntington, and the TV station got him to record some brief segments for Chiller.

Dark Shadows was also one of my favorite shows, this was awesome.

At least for the first couple of years.

After a while, it sunk in that the TV station only had Frid for a short time, and they ran the small handful of Barnabas bits over and over and over.

But, God, I loved all those horror movies.
Chiller was where I was introduced to the classic Universal monsters and the darker and sexier Hammer flicks. It’s also where I saw the AIP library. Even then, I knew a lot of it was crap, but who could resist tuning in to The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow? And don’t forget, AIP also gave us all those cool Vincent Price movies based on the works of Poe that ran every few month during my adolescence.

So if you are wondering “Why horror?” it’s because of
Chiller Theater. And Dark Shadows. And Famous Monsters of Filmland and Marvel Comics like Werewolf By Night and Tomb of Dracula and Ghost Rider and The Living Mummy.


I got some writing done this weekend, including my latest section of the third
Dead Earth novel and another chapter of Donovan Pike and the City of the Gods (that’s three chapters in a week, kids) over at Pulp Nocturne.

I started revisions on
The Dead Sheriff today. This is going to take more than the couple of days I set aside for it. There are so many red editorial comments on every page, it looks like the manuscript was used to clean up after a Manson Family party.

I need to hire an editor to edit my stuff before it goes to the actual editor.

Anyway, there are several good editorial suggestions regarding the plot, and I have to give them serious consideration. This will be my major project for the next week or so, along with prepping the next episode of
Pod of Horror.

What’s next?

I’ll be getting back to a novella set in West Virginia. It’s a ghost story, and I did some research for it a couple of months ago. It will be good to get the story written.

After that, I’m revising a horror novel to submit to a publisher.

I also have an idea for a 12-issue horror/SF comic book series. I’d like to type up the proposal and script the first issue, but it has to sit on the back row for a while. My 2011 vow is to stick to my schedule. Besides, some ideas get better with age.

Now I need to go find a copy of
The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brief Update

For those keeping score at home, I submitted the long (and long overdue) story yesterday. That's one more 2010 obligation out of the way. I'll be sure to let you know when it will be in print. Of course, the editor could always reject it, but I think it's pretty good, and regardless of what happens with it now, I'm happy I finished it.

Today, I also crossed another late assignment off my list, this one a book review.

And I put up a new chapter of
Donovan Pike and the City of the Gods over at Pulp Nocturne.

That clears the schedule for a couple of days. Dave Wilbanks sent the
Dead Earth 3 manuscript to me last night, so I'll be focusing on it for the next two days. Then I'll do the edits on the first Dead Sheriff prose book, which should be published in the spring. Evileye Books gave me a great editor for the series, and he provided the best notes I've ever received on a project. I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and digging into it.

So far Operation Catch-Up is going well. Don't confuse it with Operation Ketchup, something I plan to combine with Operation Tater Tot later this weekend.

So how was your week?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Machete Don't Blog

But I do.

So let me use the space to tell you if you ever went to a drive-in theater or have enjoyed an exploitation flick, then Machete is must-see viewing.

If you don’t enjoy over-the-top violence, gore and nudity, well, I don’t wanna know you.

Director Robert Rodriguez and his cast have their tongues buried to the hilt in their cheeks for Machete. From the scratchy film in the opening scene to the way every wound fountains arterial blood like a Monty Python skit, this movie is a hoot.

It is such a drive-in flick, at one point I swear I could taste the stale popcorn my local passion pit served.

Speaking of the cast, how did they get Robert DeNiro for this?? The stellar list of actors include Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey and a bloated Steven Segal. The title character is played by the ubiquitous Danny Trejo, who proves you don’t have to be pretty to carry an action flick.
If you still don’t think this movie is for you, allow me to borrow from Joe Bob Briggs. Machete features weedwhacker fu, shoe fu, meat thermometer fu and, in one of the movie’s funniest scene, intestines fu.

Still not convinced? The movie has a naked Lindsay Lohan, a sorta naked Jessica Alba and a nearly-naked and phenomenally buff Michelle Rodriguez.

Here’s hoping there's a sequel some time soon.


The writing has gone well this weekend.

I polished my latest section of Dead Earth 3 (nobody, by the way, likes my title: Dead Earth 3-D) and sent it to Dave Wilbanks, then spent the bulk of the day working on that overdue story that is trying to become my personal Waterloo. Fortunately, I have the beast pinned to the mat. Let’s see if I can hold it there until the ref finishes his count.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Write On

For those who are interested, work continues on the third – and currently title-less – Dead Earth novel. I finished my first pass at my most recent section earlier today. I’ll give it a polish tomorrow and send it back to Mister Wilbanks.

It’s still very early in the proceedings, but I have a good feeling about where this one is headed. Several possible cool twists occurred to me during today’s writing, so I’ll pass those on to Dave, so he can mock them. Hopefully, at least one of the ideas will make the final cut.

After a long delay, I also posted a new chapter of Donovan Pike and the City of the Gods, my pulp adventure novel. You can check it out at Pulp Nocturne.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Another DEAD Review

Author, editor, talk show host and publisher Nick Cato has read Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road and he liked it.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

True Grit

The new version of the 1969 John Wayne/Glen Campbell/Kim Darby flick (which is supposed to be more faithful to the Charles Portis novel, which I have never read) is a pleasant surprise. It's a good western which also succeeds as a great movie.

The Coen Brothers have crafted a solid and entertaining film, resisting the need to bombard the audience with quick edits, a modern soundtrack or distracting special effects. Instead, they created a solid script, hired superb actors and an excellent cinematographer, and came up with a film that is violent, touching and surprisingly funny.

Speaking of superb actors, Hallie Steinfeld is a revelation as Mattie Ross. She should have been third-billed in the credits, ahead of Josh Brolin, whose role is comparatively brief.

Jeff Bridges, as Rooster Cogburn, deserves another Oscar nomination.

But the thing that pleased me the most about True Grit was that Glen Campbell wasn't in it.

Next, they need to make a movie about the breakfast my Dad always forced on us when we were on family vacations. But would anyone go to see True Grits?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011, Day One

Today I wrote the first words in the new Dead Earth novel. Later, I'll be working to finish up a long overdue story.

Welcome to the new year.

Here are the random thoughts rattling through my head today:

The Larry Sanders Show is the greatest sitcom ever. Hanging in at #2: The Andy Griffith Show (the first five seasons only). I have worked with Hank Kingsley.

I am to technology what Blatz beer is to gourmet dining.

The strongest force on earth is Jennifer Aniston's nipples. Nothing can stop them.

Can't they lie to Dick Clark and just pretend the camera is on?

When certain guests come over, hide the good beer.

If you look up "mediocre" in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of the Cincinnati Bengals playing the Cleveland Browns.

When did Vince Vaughn decide his new career path was making unfunny movies?

I refuse to pose for a Rex Ryan foot fetish video. I have my standards, you know.

You should never, ever say "good sir" unless you're working at a Renaissance