Sunday, January 29, 2012

Don't Stand Too Close...

While taking a walk yesterday, I came across the creepiest tree in town. Sure, it looks pretty harmless in the sunshine, but at night it yanks its roots from the ground and goes looking for kids who sneak out of their houses. You can just tell that's it's very hungry...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pod of Horror #67

What? They’re back already? Pod of Horror #67 features horror writer James A. Moore, the author of Smile No More and The Subject Seven novels. Kelly Laymon discuss the legacy of her father, Richard Laymon and the long road to publication for In Laymon’s Terms. Jason L. Keene returns with a laugh packed installment of our film feature Moonshine Matinee, Nanci has all the news, and humiliation and belittlement for our host in The Call of Kalanta. The stack of prizes gets bigger in The Tomb of Trivia. And we review new books from Dean Koontz and Brett McBean. Pod of Horror is produced and hosted by Mark Justice.
Listen to it here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For Your Litter Box Lining Pleasure

What do The Possum Ranch and Sherlock Holmes have in common? They're both in my new column in the Ashland Beacon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Writing

How was your weekend? Mine was fine, thank you.

We watched some movies, took care of family stuff and other odds and ends. I wrote my newspaper column (for what it’s worth, I think it’s one of my best; you can decide for yourself around the first of the month).

On the fiction writing front, I have a rough idea of what I’m going to be working on for the rest of the year. Of course, a lot of this is subject to change, as the last couple of years have taught me.

When I finish with the second Dead Sheriff book, I have to write a couple of short stories that I’ve promised to editors.

By mid-February I hope to finally start on a horror novel called Reaper Road.

Up next is a revision of a novel I wrote a couple of years ago. I parked it in a drawer because of a few issues that confounded me. A recent re-reading of the manuscript showed me a way to fix the problems that seemed insurmountable earlier. This horror novel doesn’t yet have a title.

Following that I'll finish a novella I pledged to a publisher about two years ago. The window may have closed with that particular house, or maybe not. Regardless, I love the story and I’m confident I can find a home for it.

If all goes as planned, this Fall I will start on a humorous mystery novel, something I’ve wanted to write for a long time.

Don’t worry, horror fans. I will never abandon the field. I have many more horror novels I want to write.

I also have two or three more novellas and at least two more stories that have been bubbling under the surface for a long time. I’d like to write them down in the near future.

There you go. Lofty goals, as always. Let’s hope the year is as productive as I’ve planned. If the Mayans are right, then I’ll go out typing. If they’re wrong, then maybe 2013 will finally be the year I get around to writing my haunted amusement park novel.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Over at the Inspiration Forum, Fiona McVie has posted a new interview with me, including a free short story. Check it out here.

Later this weekend I'll post an writing update and share some of my goals for 2012.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zombie Pontificating

I have an essay in a new ebook called Zombie Writing, edited by Armand Rosamilia. My contribution describes the writing of Deadneck Hootenanny. The ebook is free for a couple of days. You can order it here.


I also have a new column in a local paper, The Ashland Beacon. It's supposed to be funny, so if you want to laugh while reading it, I won't be offended. Heck, even a mild chuckle is fine. You can read it by clicking on the paper's name a couple of sentences above. My column in on page 9.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mug Shot of the Year

A 53-year-old guy from Blue Island, IL was picked up for driving under the influence… this is the mug shot that followed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today’s my father’s birthday. He would have been 79.

He’s been gone a while , almost 26 years. Even now, my feelings about him are complicated. I loved him and I know he loved me, but he could be a difficult man to be around. To his friends, he was a happy, funny guy, quick with a joke or a sarcastic comment. In private he was often miserable. I’m not sure why–he never talked about it to me. But I suspect it had a lot to do with his own childhood.

He was never abusive to me, at least not physically. When he was angry, though, his words could cut deep and his unhappiness was often radioactive, spreading throughout the house.

Most of the time I can focus on my memories of the positive side of our relationship, and that’s what I want to do today. My father passed along a great sense of humor and a love of books. He supported my early attempts to write fiction, and if he would have lived to see me published, I’d like to think he would be proud.

Happy birthday, Dad.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Onion Rings and Me

I have a new column today in the Ashland Beacon, a local paper.

If you don't reside in the Ashland, KY area (or once lived here) your enjoyment of the column may be slightly diminished. But I think it's pretty funny anyway, and I do get to remember one of my favorite restaurants and make fun of Celine Dion, so it's a win for me.

You can read the paper online. I'm on page 9 this week.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Looking at the World on My Kindle

Amazon has just listed the Kindle version of Looking at the World With Broken Glass in My Eye, for those of you who, like me, usually prefer the ebook (by the way, this is a complete turnaround for me, who always said, “Confound you whippersnappers! I’ll never give up my paper!" That’s worthy of its own blog post sometime).

Over one hundred thousand words of fiction, most of it scary, some of it funny–intentionally so. Two original novellas. And the reprinting of the long-unavailable
Deadneck Hootenanny, all for just $3.99.

You can get it here.

And, as always, if you do read the book, I would appreciate a review at Amazon. Your comments on it are welcome here, as well.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

My New Gig

I'm doing a weekly column in a local paper, The Ashland Beacon. The paper publishes on Wednesday, but it appears the online version is available at least a day earlier. You can read the whole paper right here.

Fair warning: the column is aimed at a local readership, so if you're somewhere else, it may hold zero interest for you. In fact, if you live here, it may hold zero interest for you. All I know is I'm having a great time writing it.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Best Christmas

Christmas 2011 was always going to be the greatest of my life, simply because my wife was still with me. But it took on ever greater meaning, thanks to an email.

When I’m on vacation, I rarely check my work email, yet for some reason I did on Christmas morning. It was about 8:00 AM, and I hadn’t even had coffee when I got the message from Nevada. A woman wrote the radio station about three hours earlier. Through Facebook, she had been in touch with a school friend whom she hadn’t spoken with in many years. Her friend’s husband had been out of work for months and had just told his family there would be no Christmas. The couple had two kids and had taken in another woman and her infant soon who had no place else to go. The family had no presents and no food. The children also needed clothes.

I read the letter to Norma and told her I didn’t see how we could find clothes and toys on Christmas day.

Her reply was simple. “If there’s a day for miracles to happen,” she said, “it’s today.”

I immediately placed a call to one of our friends, who has three young grandsons.

What I didn’t know was that she had been up most of the night. Like a lot of people, she has had a rough year, but every time she was in desperate need of help, help arrived. She told me she was hoping trying to figure out a way to payback some of the good fortune she had received.

Then I called. She immediately started putting together clothes and toys, including two nearly new bicycles. Her grandsons gladly donated new toys that they had just received as gifts. Then her sister-in-law pitched in with new clothes and new toys.

Next, I got in touch with another friend, who along with her husband had been feeding the hungry through their church for many years. They quickly put together a week’s worth of food. They showed up with their truck full of food and we loaded the clothes and toys. We caravanned to the home, which was about fifteen minutes away. We had a little trouble finding it–some knocking on doors was required, but we eventually located the family. I knocked on their trailer door several times before anybody answered. When they did, I told them Santa had asked us to make a delivery. We began carrying boxes into their home while the family alternated between stunned silence and tears.

Since we don’t have kids, Norma and I had little to contribute, except for some cash. But we were able to find the right people to help this family have a Christmas.

Driving home, we were both a little overwhelmed by what had just happened. Christmas hadn’t felt this good in many years. This was the second time I’ve been able to take part in helping a family that was down on their luck. I hope it won’t be the last.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy Naked Jennifer Aniston Day

Welcome to 2012 and my blatant attempt to get more hits for this blog. If it works, I will make Ms. Aniston the official mascot of the Department of Justice.

Face it, everything becomes more interesting when viewed through the prism of Jen.

Take politics, for instance. Does Newt Gingrich have bigger boobs than Jennifer Aniston? Who wouldn’t tune in to see how that debate played out?

Or sports. Who would you rather see in a Tim Tebow jersey–Tebow or Jen? ‘Nuff said.

On the cultural side, some people are worried about a Mayan prophecy that claims the world will end in 2012. I ask you this: would an ancient human-sacrificing society predict an Armageddon that would also destroy Jen??? Okay, bad example.

Let me concentrate on the practical. When you surf to this page, would you rather view a photo of Jen or one of me?

I rest my case.