Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pod of Horror #79

The final Pod of Horror of 2015 is live now.

Our year-end installment includes my annual Top Books list and another installment of The Call of Kalanta.

Also, rising horror star Glenn Rolfe talks about his books, his influences and gives his view of the Samhain controversy.

You can subscribe to Pod of Horror on iTunes or stream it free from our site.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Eve Eve

Here’s me with the massive charity anthology Legends of New Pulp Fiction from editor Ron Fortier and Airship 27.  I’m just guessing, but I’m pretty sure the book weighs 53 pounds.

My story in the antho is a modern pulp adventure of Donovan Pike. Pike will return in a new adventure novel, hopefully in 2016. I just have to finish it.

First priority on the writing agenda is the horror novel I’ve been working on for some time now. November and December didn’t turn out to be the most productive month for my writing. I’m trying to make peace with the amount of time real life interferes with writing. However, I’m plugging away.

In a couple of days I hope to have news on the other project I alluded to a couple of posts back.

Finally, the last Pod of Horror of the year will debut on New Year’s Eve. I’ll talk to Glenn Rolfe and unveil my top books of 2015. When it goes live tomorrow evening, you can listen to it here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Legends of New Pulp Fiction

LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION is a charity anthology to benefit Tommy Hancock, a writer and publisher who has had some serious health problems. It’s 776 pages of new pulpy goodness and it’s on sale now. This is for a very good cause, folks, and all the proceeds go to Tommy. Grab a copy today and help out. I have a story in there, too.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Currently Reading

Some of you know that my favorite comics are early to mid-70s Marvel. I picked up a couple of cool collections within the last month, but time has been in short supply, so I’ve just been picking at them. With Thanksgiving out of the way, I plan to dig deeply into both.

The Man-Thing book is the first volume of a series collecting Steve Gerber’s work on the swamp monster. Gerber was wildly original, and even early in the book you can watch him crank up the crazy. During this period, Marvel published out a lot of books with the only the lightest editorial interference, leading to an anything-can-happen vibe. This is most apparent in Gerber’s work.

The other book is the massive Werewolf by Night Omnibus, an oversized thick tome (over 1100 pages) collecting the horror/superhero series. A variety of writers worked on this, Doug Moench being one of the best and the one who stuck around the longest. The early issues have terrific Mike Ploog art (he’s also in the Man-Thing collection, and worked on early Ghost Rider and The Monster of Frankenstein for Marvel). I also have a real fondness for the art of Don Perlin. He stuck around Marvel for a long time and did solid work on Ghost Rider.

So excuse me while I plug in the lava lamp and travel back to the early 70s, when gas was cheap and so were the comics.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Taste Like Turkey

At least Archie thinks so.

Or maybe I taste like Little Friskies. Or butt.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Work News

Thanks to the readers of The (Ashland, KY) Daily Independent for the award I’m holding above.

I love what I do for a living, and I also know that these votes were for the show, not for me, so I share this with Jim Forrest, MJ McKay, Tim “Fig” Carper and Justin Credible, all good broadcasters and good friends

Friday, October 23, 2015

Writing Update

With the erratic nature of my schedule (and other issues over the last few years) I’ve decided not to make any predictions or premature announcements about my writing.

Having delivered that disclaimer, I can say the writing is going well on the new horror novel. If things stay on track, I hope to have this finished around Thanksgiving. Typing “The End” and following it up with mashed potatoes and dressing would be a powerful combination.

Also, there’s movement on another project. It’s actually an old one, but by the time it’s published it will be new again. Is that cryptic enough?

I should be able to announce something here right around the first of the year.

Keep your fingers crossed. I’m hoping for good things in 2016.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Black Bat Audio

 Black Bat Mystery Vol. One, new stories of the classic pulp hero, is now available as an audiobook. I’m one of the writers in this edition. You can click here for four action-packed pulp adventures.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bye-Bye, Boehner

(originally published in the Ashland Beacon)

In case you didn’t hear the news, Boehner resigned.

It was a pretty big surprise. Everyone knew the pressure he was under. We just didn’t realize how badly he wanted out.

Hambone Boehner spent nearly 20 years as the activities director at The Possum Ranch, the best gentleman’s club in Argillite. Until last Friday.

There are quite a few rumors going around about why he quit. Was it a coincidence that his departure coincided with the visit of a prominent dignitary? 

Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco is the largest exotic dancer in the world, tipping the scales at seven and a half bills. The fact that she was doing one show at The Possum Ranch was the buzz of the community. When the tractor trailer emblazoned with the Floppy Philly logo pulled up in the gravel parking lot of The Possum Ranch, Hambone Boehner was the first to rush outside to greet it.

He was overheard asking the driver, “Is this trailer full of all her costumes?”

“Naw,” the driver said. “Her stuff is in a van about a mile behind me. This trailer is for hauling her.”

As activities director, Hambone normally made out the dancer’s schedules, supervised the checkers tournament and paid the hospital bills of Papaw Hymerdinger after he made inappropriate comments to Moose, one of star dancers at The Possum Ranch. That was usually twice a month.

Hosting Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco was the biggest thing Hambone Boehner had ever been involved with. To mark the occasion, he was dressed to the nines, including the tuxedo he inherited from his uncle Stoney “Stone Face” Boehner, who’d been an undertaker at Diggley’s Funeral Home (“Put ‘Em in the Ground for No Money Down!”) back in the 50s. It fit a little snug, so much so that the button popped right above the cummerbund and a large patch of hairy pale flesh was visible.

Witnesses say he was trembling a little as he approached the back of the trailer. Word had it that Hambone wanted a raise from Big Ethel, the owner of The Possum Ranch, and if he pulled off the Floppy Philly show, his star would be on the rise.

The driver rushed around to open the trailer and lower a ramp. They say the squeak of those shock absorbers could be heard all the way to Quincy. A large form stepped slowly down the ramp. As she came into view, onlookers report that the sun itself was blocked by her size. No one got a good look at Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco, since she was covered in a large hooded robe that could have clothed an NFL team. The driver and Hambone Boehner hurried her to the back entrance of the club, if by “hurried” we mean “moved like a snail on Nyquil”.

While we may only speculate as to what was going through the mind of Hambone on that most auspicious of dates, the events of that night were witnessed by most of the town.

It was easily the biggest crowd in the history of The Possum Ranch, even bigger than the Mac-n-Cheese Wrestling Tournament of 2012. Even the wives of regulars showed up. After all, it’s not often that you get a chance to see a famous 750-pound dancer in action.

Hambone Boehner had planned for everything. He had extra beer, extra folding chairs from the VFW, 200 pounds of pork rinds and a large sound system he rented from his nephew’s heavy metal band, Dissected Frog Croaks.

There was one thing he overlooked. And you really can’t blame him.

The stage at The Possum Ranch was structurally sound, having been reinforced with good American steel to support the pounding it regularly received from the club’s plus-size dancers. However, no one thought to test it for the likes of the mammoth Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco.

The music began, and the beats of “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" filled The Possum Ranch.

The curtains parted wider than ever, and out stepped Floppy Philly in her size XXXXXXXXL G-string and pasties the size of 18-inch pizzas. She took one step toward the audience before the stage collapsed and she disappeared from view.

One observer noted, “It was like the Earth just opened up and swallowed her whole, which was kind of confusing since she was approximately the size of the Earth.”

After the patrons were evacuated, Hambone Boehner was seen entering the office of Big Ethel where he presumably tendered his resignation.

Meanwhile, Big Ethel hopes to have Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco excavated from the cavern beneath The Possum Ranch by this weekend. The equipment has to be to special ordered. The dancers are tossing pork rinds down the hole to keep Floppy Philly alive.

As for the former activities director, word on the street says that Hambone Boehner has a new spray tan and he’s considering getting into politics.

We wish him well.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The New Guy

This is Archie, choosing last night’s viewing.

He’s the latest addition to the family, having moved in on September 22nd. Today, he’s almost 16 weeks old.

It’s been 20 years since we’ve had a kitten in the house, and he’s already earned the nickname The Black Tornado. He’s constantly on the move: jumping and climbing and rolling and flying from one piece of furniture to the other.

He never stops. Until he does. Then he lapses into a kitten coma for 20 minutes, until he suddenly explodes into wakefulness, ready to explore this new and exciting world again.

At this point he’s all ears and eyes and one very long tail, leading us to believe he’s going to be a big boy in a few months. He consumes any kind of food left unattended, like some sort of roaming furry garbage disposal.

Callie and Sabrina, our two older cats, divide their time between hating him or fearing him or being confused by him. For his part, Archie is constantly jumping on them, trying, I think, to get up a good game of tag.

If I sit down to read or stretch out on the couch, a purring Archie instantly appears, climbing on me, demanding a spot to nap, some soft stroking and, occasionally, a finger to nibble on.

We only have a short time to enjoy this phase of Archie, the tiny dervish, filled with wonder and searching for adventure. I want to experience as much of it as I can.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pulp For Charity

This is the back cover for a new anthology of pulp fiction ( or "new pulp", as some like to call it) for Airship 27 Press. Benefiting Pro Se publisher Tommy Hancock, this book is going to be huge. I've read the work of some of the writers in this project, and I am very interested in thumbing through it.

My entry is "The Shadow Men of Az Zibar", featuring my modern pulp adventurer Donovan Pike. 

I don't know the release date yet, but Ron Fortier at Airship 27 seems to move like lightning. I wouldn't be surprised to see this out in the next few weeks. I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Write On

Hey! Long time no update.

Here’s some of the writing things I have going on.

I’m finishing a story this weekend for a charity anthology. Then I have to immediately finish another short story for a secret project I’m involved in with some friends.

After that, it’s on to a horror novel that is about half done. This one’s been sitting for too long. I’m looking forward to visiting with these characters again. I’m trying to finish off some old projects that still excite me.

Speaking of old projects, for a few years, I’ve been toying with an idea called Usher’s Furnace. I expected it to be a graphic novel, and I had some small interest in that. That particular avenue has disappeared. Now I’m rethinking how it might work as a novel. And I’m thinking it will work just fine.

What about The Dead Sheriff? The first draft of the second book is sitting right here. Behind-the-scenes changes have affected the future of the book, though I’m quite confident it will be published. Check back with me after when 2016 gets here.

I won’t have anything out in 2015, expect perhaps a story or two. Next year, though, should be a different story.

As always, I’ll keep you updated here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Black Bat Mystery Volume One

This collection has been re-released by Airship 27. I've always been fond of my story in this one.

Available Again in New Edition

The first in a series of brand new Black Bat adventures, “Black Bat Mystery, Vol One” was one of the last books to be published by Cornerstone Books during their association with Airship 27 Productions. Out of print for several years now, Airship 27 Productions is delighted to announce the release of this new, wholly Airship 27 Edition.

The book was nominated for several Pulp Factory Awards when first released in 2010.

It features four great pulp tales of the Black Bat by Andrew Salmon, Aaron Smith, Mark Justice and Frank Schildiner. Art Director Rob Davis provides the gorgeous 12 black and white interior illustrations and Mark Maddox the stunning painted cover.
Airship 27 Productions is currently assembling Vol II in this series and thus, having this one back in print was a major part of that marketing promotion.


Available now from Amazon in both hard copy and on Kindle.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Hippie Days

Some of you know I write a weekly column for a local paper. What you may not know is just how long I’ve been writing said column. While I’m on vacation this week, the paper is reprinting one of my columns from August of 1969. Check it out here, on page 2.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday Update

Over at I Was A Bronze Age Boy, I review the new LADY ACTION book by Ron Fortier. 

If you scroll down, you can find a brief writing update.

Also, this week in the Ashland Beacon, I present a primer for cities in naming festivals. It's on page 2.

While you're browsing the Beacon site you can find video of me acting rather undignified for a man of my advanced years.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pod of Horror #76

PoH #76 is live now, featuring my interview with writer, editor and Cemetery Dance publisher Richard Chizmar. We talk about his career and his excellent blog, Stephen King Revisited. The interview starts around the 39-minute mark. Listen here

As always, your feedback is encouraged. The links are at the top of the PoH page.

Painted and Inked

This week's column in the freakin' Ashland Beacon explains what happened when I fell under the evil influence of Philip Stewart at Russell Railroad Days. It's on page 2.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Monday Miscellany

Been a while between updates. I’d vow to do better, but we both know I probably won’t.

My pulp and comic blog has come back to life. Please check it out here. When Summer draws close, I usually come down with pulp fever. Over the past few weeks I’ve read novels of The Shadow, The Avenger, The Phantom Detective and the Keyhole Kerry stories by Frederick C. Davis, with more on the pile.
I’m still writing a weekly column for a local paper. You can read it here on page 2.


And just for giggles, here’s a blurry photo of my wife dressed as a Starfleet officer in 1998.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Here are some thoughts on the first season of Daredevil on Netflix:

The casting was very good.

The choreography was amazing, particularly the fight at the end of episode 2.

Rosario Dawson can stitch me up anytime.

Scott Glenn as Stick looked like he stepped right out of the comic book.

Matt Murdock can take a beating. And another. And another...

Vincent D’onofrio was wonderfully nuanced as Wilson Fisk, and he talked like he was battling severe constipation.

Marvel’s first Netflix successfully transferred one of the company’s “street-level” heroes to the small screen. Playing out like a 13-hour movie, Daredevil has me not only eager for season 2, but I’m pretty jazzed to see the other Netflix Marvel shows (AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders).

But before the next season of Daredevil arrives, please get Mr. Fisk some Ex-Lax.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pod of Horror 2.0

We're baaaaaak!

We have a new website and a new logo. We're refreshed, rejuvenated, re-every-other-cliche.

Our next episode debuts Wednesday March 18 on the new site and iTunes. Our featured guest is the legendary Ronald Kelly, a phenomenal writer of horror and a genuinely nice guy.

Until then, feel free to browse our archives and listen to your favorite blast from the past.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Latest Writing Update

Here’s a quick note for anyone who is interested in my writing and to clarify a couple of projects I hinted at a couple of weeks ago.

I’m working hard to finally finish up the second volume of The Dead Sheriff. I hope to have it done, edited and off to the publisher in two weeks. I’m also making notes for TDS 3. I have big plans for my undead lawman, folks.

Next up is a novelette for a licensed character. It was going to be titled “Mr. Dark”, but it may become “Mr. Dusk”instead because I like the sound of it a little better.

I am also planning at least two graphic novel pitches this year. The first one will go out in February.
Also in February, David T. Wilbanks and I start working on a new horror novel. It’s not a Dead Earth story, but it’s going to be pretty cool. I briefly toyed with the idea of setting up a Patreon page for DE (that’s the service that allows readers to pay a an author per month to write) but I’m not sure there’s enough support for a pay-as-you-go Dead Earth novel. Perhaps I should throw the idea out there on social media to gauge how many people would kick in a buck or two a month to make a new DE happen.

I have a novel called Reaper Road that’s been languishing on my hard drive for far too long while I worked on other things. That will move to the front burner in February (How do I write two novels at once? The way Dave and I work, we takes turns writing a section of the book. When I pass it off to him, I’ll write Reaper Road until it’s my turn on the unnamed novel again).

This fall, I will write TDS 3 for  2016 publication. There are also a couple of other projects that may crop up this year. It’s a little too early to say anything yet.

I have some short stories to write, too.

My weekly humor column for the Ashland Beacon has entered its fourth year.

And Pod of Horror lives! I love the podcast I do with my buddy Nanci Kalanta and I have plans to streamline the show and get it out more frequently.

If you’ve been a reader of my stuff, thank you for the support. Also, I appreciate your patience as I worked through some issues that kept me away from the keyboard.

I Feel Ya, Conan

Friday, January 16, 2015

Double-Naught Seven is Back

Discover an untold take of the Argillite Secret Service in my column this week in the freakin' Ashland Beacon. It's on page 2

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

With One Magic Word...

...And that word is Kapooyah!  It can turn your life around, transform bad times into good and make hair grow where it should. 

Find out more about these sorcerous syllables in my column this week in the freakin' Ashland Beacon. It's on page 2.


Monday, January 05, 2015

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Top Horror Novels of 2014


Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. His novels just get better and scarier, and Castle of Sorrows is his best yet. If you love to lose yourself in horror yarn, Janz has become to go-to writer. Try him out. You won't be disappointed.


Snowblind by Christopher Golden

Golden is a solid storyteller who doesn't write enough horror. But if we get something as good as Snowblind, Golden can take all the time he wants between scary novels. The greatest compliment I can give this book is to say I felt like I had opened a classic Stephen King novel from the 80s. That isn't to say Golden mimics King, but that he has a large and complex cast, expertly delineated, and a menace that uses isolation as its tool. This is a horror masterpiece and it would have been number one on my list if not for...


Revival by Stephen King

King has been an important writer in my life since I first read The Stand and Salem's Lot 30+ years ago. It wasn't the horror that first attracted me to him—although that was a big draw-but it was his characterizations, the way he dug deep into the heads of his cast and showed me that he understood how I thought that turned King into a favorite. That's why I read him. He also tells a crackling good story. Those two elements more than make up for his occasional shortcomings. In the case of Revival, I loved everything about the novel a lot more than I liked the ending. I could have easily read about the two main characters for another 200 pages. As with a lot of King, I will read this one again and probably come to like that ending a little more.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Looking Forward To in 2015

Scribbling in 2015

It’s no secret that my writing productivity hasn’t been great for the last couple of years. There have been months that the only writing I’ve managed to complete is my weekly newspaper column (of which I’m starting my fourth year).

The problems that have kept me away from the keyboard (and which I thought were resolved a year ago) seem to be more manageable now.

After I finish a long overdue project this month, I will write a long story about a licensed character that I have a lot of fondness for. My pitch was approved yesterday.

Once that’s done, I embark upon a new novel with friend and frequent collaborator David T. Wilbanks. This isn’t a Dead Earth novel. It’s a standalone horror story and I’m excited about the premise. I expect this one to be finished in the Fall.

There’s also another novel I want to finish. That will happen during off days on the Untitled Collaboration.

I always want to do more, but I think that’s a healthy 12 months of work in what I hope will be my Catch-Up Year of Writing.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

80 Years Overdue

In a couple of months Altus Press will release the 200th Doc Savage novel, The Sinister Shadow by Will Murray, featuring the first ever prose team-up of the two greatest pulp heroes of all time, Doc Savage and the Shadow (they have crossed over a few times in the comics). The above cover is by the phenomenal Joe DeVito. I’ll admit that this one has my fanboy parts tingling.