Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome to Vacation and a Bit of Publishing News

I’m on vacation for two weeks beginning today, but the fun started last night with 70 mile-an-hour winds, which knocked down this tree in the back yard.

Fortunately, the tree missed the deck. Unfortunately (this isn’t visible in the
photo) the upper end of this chunk of tree is on the power line, making it dangerous to attempt clean up and dragging the power line closer to the ground than anyone wants to see. This morning the power company has many customers without electricity, so, obviously, we aren’t very high on the priority list. The other thing that happened during the windstorm was this:

This big old tree in the front yard was actually cracked by the wind, not by lightning as some who have seen the tree suggested. There was no lightning until much later and we, you know, watched the tree bend and the crack appear, running fro
m the base upward. As the wind gusted, the crack would widen then close, much like an accordion.

No one was hurt. The trees will be removed and life will return to as normal as it gets around here.

As for vacation, the next two weeks will be serious writing time, as I try to make significant inroads on the current novel. I may post my daily word count on my Facebook page as a motivational tool. If I can get motivated enough to do that.

As I hinted below, the first Dead Sheriff book is finally getting close to publication. I know I’ve been posting updates for what seems like years, but now the book is actually in production. The lesson I’ve learned is to stifle my excitement and wait until there’s something substantial to report before hyping a project.

The ebook should appear within weeks, with the trade paperback showing up this fall. The final piece of the puzzle was a new author photograph, which was taken by the immensely talented Heather Mattingly-May.

I’ll post ordering information for The Dead Sheriff: Zombie Damnation as soon as the ebook is available.

Monday, June 25, 2012

At The Movies

Here’s my short review of Prometheus: I loved it.

I know, I know. Some science Fiction fans are foaming at the mouth because of scientific inaccuracies and such.

You want to know something? Usually when I see a movie, I want to like it. I’m not a professional film critic; I simply want to be entertained. And with Prometheus I got my money’s worth. Here’s what the movie has going for it:

1) It’s visually stunning. Incredible sets and effects.

2) An engrossing story of the search for mankind’s beginnings.

3) Tremendous acting, especially from Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender.

4) An ending that surprised me.

5) Charlize Theron in tight clothing.

While others are arguing about flight vectors and fusion engines and the like, I’ll be seeing the movie again, and then standing in line for the Blu-Ray.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Where's Neelix?

Ethan Phillips, who played Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager, is starring in this movie tonight on SyFy. I had an interview scheduled with him Thursday to plug the flick.

There I was, ready to go, with all my little research notes, when the producer called to say, “There’s going to be a small delay.”

“What’s the problem?” I said.

‘We, uh, can’t find Ethan.”

So I went about my business and an hour or so later the producer called back to formally cancel the interview. They still couldn’t locate the actor. Neelix was apparently in hiding.

His latest credit is Arachnoquake, so you can’t really blame him. But, man, that spider looks SO real.

(And, yes, I’ll be watching this. I can’t help myself.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Werepig Redux

I have been informed that my episode of The Funky Werepig from March will be repeated Friday at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern) while Pig Master Gregory Hall is summering in West Virginia.

If spending an hour listening a couple of disturbed adults discuss their love of Mary Lou Retton and unitards (not the only ‘tards on the show, if you can dig it), then listen here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

For the Facebookless

Not much posting lately, mainly because of time. Also, there's a short story that's kicking my ass. And every time I come over here, Google makes me sign in again, even though it used to remember my log-in. I get frustrated, curse Google and go read a Ray Bradbury story.

I post pretty regularly on the Facebook, though. For those who aren't members of that particular time-wasting club, here are some recent items.

There's this:

And the Apology List:

I found this particularly gut-busting:

Oh, and I'm in a relationship and it's not complicated (that's a shout out to those who used to be on Facebook).

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Boy That Bradbury Built

I first encountered Ray Bradbury in middle school. I believe that is the perfect time to meet Bradbury. Any younger and the wonder of his stories would have escaped me. Any older, and my focus would have been on girls and cars and football–the business of growing up. I would have read the words but perhaps missed most of the magic.

Instead, I was the perfect audience for Bradbury: shy, bespectacled, a quiet boy secretly yearning for adventure.

I don’t recall the first Bradbury story I read. However, I cannot forget the first story that had an impact on my young mind. It was “Mars is Heaven”.

A rocket is sent to the red planet to discover what happened to two previous expeditions. Upon landing, the rocket’s crew discovers an idyllic American small town, circa the 1920s, the perfect Bradbury town. The residents of the town are the deceased relatives of the astronauts, all in perfect health and leading an ideal life on the surface of Mars. Overcome with joy, the crew abandons the rocket to reunite with their long-lost loved ones. The only crew member who doesn’t trust what he sees is the captain, who suspects his men are being duped by telepathic creatures.

I had never read a story with that emotional heft (honestly, more heft than I was capable of processing. Still, like most kids who had read a lot by that age, I knew there was more going in in the story than I could see, even if I couldn’t grasp every nuance) and I remember lying awake in my bed for several nights, replaying the tale’s events over and over. I wasn’t sure what had happened or why I couldn’t stop thinking about “Mars is Heaven”.

What I didn’t realize until much later was that Ray Bradbury had changed me, as surely as if he had opened the top of my skull, reached into my brain and rearranged a few things. Because of Bradbury, I asked for a telescope and began searching for that tiny red speck in the sky. I read more Bradbury and discovered the magic and mystery that hid in autumn, of the ghosts and monsters who yearned for a better life just like the rest of us. Because of Bradbury, October became my favorite month and Halloween the most cherished holiday. I was transformed into the boy that Bradbury built.

I’m still that boy, all these years down the road. My life is richer for his works. Anytime I feel that old red planet slipping away from me, I just have to turn to my bookshelf, where the dinosaurs and little ghosts and rocket men are always there to welcome me home.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Pod of Horror #68: Joe R. Lansdale

Pod of Horror is back, and #68 features the legendary Joe R. Lansdale, plus newcomers Jonathan Janz and Ty Schwamberger, as well as the creator and host of The Funky Werepig, Greg Hall. Nanci Kalanta has the news, Jason L. Keene goes to the movies with Moonshine Matinee, and we give away swag in The Tomb of Trivia. Scary Words reviews Southard, Janz, Cato and Schwamberger. The fear is here with Pod of Horror #68, produced and hosted by Mark Justice. Get it now at iTunes or here.