Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween is Today
... Trick or Treat

Monday, October 30, 2006

1 Day till Halloween
"trick or treat ... see you in your dreams heh-heh-heh"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

2 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... smiling makes you pretty -- delicious"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

3 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... you're zombie meat"
Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight when you go to bed. Back to Standard Time.
Haven't posted or written anything in the last few days. Had a colonoscopy on Wednesday and, while nothing serious was found, I've just had the don't-wanna-do-nuthing blues eversince. Did rent Slither, Rest Stop, The Proposition, and American Dreamz. Can't recommend any of them. Did watch (again) Dave with Kevin Kline. That movie I heartily recommend. Okay, bye for now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mystery author M.D. Benoit (Metered Space and Meter Made) is posting photos of the writing workspaces of other Zumaya authors on her blog Life's Weirder than Fiction (http://www.mdbenoit.com/blog/). It's a pretty cool idea and I'm enjoying seeing where other writers work. Well, I am a bit jealous of thriller writer Cheryl (Death Game) Swanson's location. {Let's see here ... mind wandering ... storyline -- our heroine posts pictures of her home and friends and family on her blog and a pyscho gets jealous and ...} Anyway, I took pictures of my workspace desk and every photo came out looking like a write in the dark. Hey, I heard that. Yeah, some of my critics would say I do write in the dark. I'm still going to take some more photos and see if they turn out. In the meantime, check out Dom's blog then go to Zumaya Publications (www.zumayapublications.com) and order some books. Good stuff, folks, and the Holiday Season is coming faster than you think.
Photo above: Sam Clemens was one of the first authors to use a typewriter. I wonder what he could've done with a P.C.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

There's a solid review of the sword-and-sorcery anthology from Armand Rosamilia's Carnifex Press at Howard von Darkmoor's website (http://vondarkmoor.blogspot.com/2006/10/clash-of-steel-demon-rosamilia-ed.html).
Check it out. Buy a copy (or several). Yes, I have a story in it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

11 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... you mean, you just knock on the door and they'll give you candy to go away? I like it"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I had this dream the other day and I decided to share. Maybe I'm over-doing the Halloween stuff.
Dear Chris:

Thank you so much for submitting your story, “Flaming Asses & Elbows,” to us. Yes, we want to publish it. In fact, the entire editorial board agrees unanimously for the first time in our history that we want your story to be the lead title on our winter issue. I want you to know our two staff artists are battling to see who gets to do the illustrations for your work. Payment will be at the top of our scale. The marketing department will contact you separately. Contracts to follow.

Excellent work,
Editor Biff
World Famous Magazine
Dear Editor Biff:

The story I submitted to WFM was entitled “Bag of Griffins.” I did not write a story called “Flaming Asses & Elbows.” You have somehow confused me with someone else.

Dearest Chris:

How can we argue with that? Our publisher has agreed to double our usual rates for your story. Furthermore, the people at Entertainment Weekly and 60 Minutes will be contacting you for interviews. I wouldn’t be surprised if representatives from Universal Studios and/or Warner Brothers contact you about the film rights. They somehow (hee-hee-hee) saw the galleys for the story. It still boggles our minds that a 10-year-old girl for who English is her second language was able to create such a dark and moody tale as “Flaming Asses & Elbows.”

Award-winning work,
Editor Biff
World Famous Magazine

Read this slowly. This is the fourth email I have sent you. I didn’t write “Flaming Asses & Elbows.” You have the wrong email address!

Dear Chris:

Our humblest apologies. Your email address was mixed up with someone else’s. We hope this error did not cause you any grief. We have just finished reading your story, “Bag of Griffins,” and we regret that we must turn it down. I will admit that your story was smooth and polished, the characterization and dialogue incredible, and the ending was completely unique and spirit lifting. Unfortunately, it was too similar in many ways to the lead story in our winter issue. For example, both tales take place on Earth and both are told in the third person. Please consider us for future submissions.

Editor Biff
World Famous Magazine

PS – Because I felt so bad about the mistake our former secretary made, I forwarded a copy of your story to my old college roommate who is the Executive Fiction Editor at Everyone Knows Our Name Magazine. I’m sure “Flaming Asses & Elbows” and “Bag of Griffins” will be competing for the same literary awards.
Submitter Criss:

Where did you get the idea you could write? I want you to know I had to wash my hands and eyes after reading this crap. Hell, it gives crap a bad rep. You shouldn’t be allowed to write a grocery list. Never submit to us again. Your email address will be permanently blocked at our site. You’re an untalented s.o.b.

Editor Hurley
Everyone Knows Our Name Magazine

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


A friend sent me this list. I thought I’d share. I don’t know where Chuck got it. If I did, I’d credit the author. The photo above is from Annie. It’s the view from her back porch in Minnesota.

As I grow older, I look upon the lessons I have learned in life--
Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never triedbefore.
Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention! It never fails.)
For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.
Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.
Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist
change places.
Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeksbefore you need it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

14 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... I never drink wine"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

16 Days till Halloween
"trick or ... let's skip this house"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-- Robert Frost


I recently bought the new DVD version of the 1941 movie, The Maltese Falcon. Directed by first-timer John Huston and starring Bogart. This is a totally cool movie. It is one of the rare films that if you’ve seen the movie, you don’t need to read the book. However you’d miss Hammett’s clean and lean prose if you do. While Bogie doesn’t fit Hammett’s description of Sam Spade (He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.), he ably fills the shoes of the private detective. The plot has solid twists and turns and the dialogue is sharp and cool. Add memorable characters played Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook, and Ward Bond and you have a great film that has influenced film noir for generations. Trivia: Bogart’s last line is often listed as one of the great closing lines of cinema. When Bond’s policeman asks Bogie what the black bird statue is, Bogie replies cynically, “The stuff dreams are made of.” Actually, Bond has the last word. He says, “Huh?”
This is my second favorite Bogart film. My top five are:

The Maltese Falcon
The Big Sleep
Angels with Dirty Faces
(this counts but Cagney is the actual lead)
There have been a lot of detectives in film and TV. I decided to list my favorite private detectives. No police detectives in this list. Some are former cops however. In alphabetical order:

Nick Charles (William Powell)
Jake Gittes (Chinatown)
Lew Harper (Harper)
Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone)
Thomas Magnum (Magnum, P.I.)
Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep)
Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files)
Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon)
Sidebar: I noticed while making my list that there were no female private eyes. Hmmm… Miss Marple from the Agatha Christie novels? Nope. Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) from Murder, She Wrote. Naw. Honey West (Anne Francis). No again. Oh, well.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I should be sleeping. Long day at work. Instead I'm surfing the net. I find myself checking out the list of the 100 Greatest American Movies at the AFI website. There are ten films that I've never seen (Lawrence of Arabia and Midnight Cowboy among them.) But there are also several movies on the list that I don't like. In order by AFI ranking:
Gone with the Wind (My mother's favorite movie of all time. I frankly don't give a damn who Scarlett ends up with or if she saves the plantation.)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Technically a marvel and HAL is a cool character but this is really a long and boring movie. Kubrick is one of the most over-rated directors ever.)
Raging Bull (Scorsese's movies are always memorable but I can't think of a single one that I'd want to see a second time. Haven't seen The Departed yet.)
Apocalypse Now ( Over-praised Vietnam b.s. like Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket)
The Godfather Part II (The first movie is great. Filled with memorable scenes and dialogue and characters. The second just re-tells the same story without the memorable scenes, dialogue, and characters. I know Michael has lost his soul.)
Doctor Zhivago (Long. Boring. Long. Let's see more snow. Yecch.)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Stella!!! Get me outta here.)
A Clockwork Orange (Yes, I felt sorry for the creep Alex at the end but this is Kubrick again. Technically a marvel but distant and cold like all his films.)
Taxi Driver (Intriguing storyline, great characters, solid directing. But this film makes me feel like I need a shower afterward. That was probably Scorsese's intent but still...)
Amadeus (Who cares?)
Easy Rider (Definitely a product of its time. Has not aged well.)
Pulp Fiction (Don't care for Tarentino's movies. This one is just too precious for its own good. Has memorable moments but ... come to think of it I'd watch this before I'd watch Jackie Brown again. Couldn't get through Kill Bill. Quentin is the most over-rated director today.)
I'm done now. Been grumpy lately. Can you tell?
18 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... I get all the black jelly beans"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

(or, where have I heard this before?)
From President George W. Bush's press conference yesterday: "That's what they want to do -- they want us to leave. And we're not going to leave. We're going to do the job. And a free Iraq is going to be a major blow to terrorism. It will change the world. A free Iraq in the midst of the Middle East is vital to future peace and security."
President Richard Nixon (1969): "In January I could only conclude that the precipitate withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace."
President Lyndon Johnson(1965): "We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny. And only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure."
The more things change, the more the stay the same. I think I'll play some late '60s rock or the new Dixie Chicks CD. I'm done. The soapbox is free.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die, by Michael Largo. I think I'm going to buy this book. The author has collected stats on how we die.
Did you know?
*In 2003, 24 people died from a rare lung disease caused by frequent exposure to the fumes from microwave popcorn.
*In 2002, 776 people were killed by accidential discharge of firearms.
*In 2002, 341 people were killed by being hit by a baseball.
*Between 1920 and 2000, 1682 people were killed by grizzlies and polar bears.
*Since 1965, 11556 people died from their dentures becoming lodged in their airway.
*From 1985 to 2004, 224 people were fatally electrocuted by their toaster.
*Since 1965, 265 people were killed while riding roller coasters.
*300 people die annually from chewing gum.
Yeah, I'm going to be reading this soon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

21 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... no sugar, please"

Monday, October 09, 2006

22 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... it's alive!"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Writing Résumé
I’ve hit a downslide in my writing of late. I start far more pieces than I complete. I thought it might be a good idea to list my works including the reprints. Perhaps it’ll get my butt out of neutral.


The Inheritance (horror -- Zumaya Publications)
Rebel Nation (alternate history/thriller – Zumaya Publications)
To the Mountain of the Beast (science fiction/horror/western – Carnifex Press)
Dark Legend (paranormal horror – Zumaya Publications – not yet released)

SHORT STORIES (Anthologies):

In the Garden on the Far Shore Of the Styx (The Best of Pirate Writings II)
Costa de Malo Muerte (Darkness Rising 7)
Midnight Lover (Deathly Desires, Erotic Fantasy: Tales of the Paranormal)
On Display (Erotic Tales Hosted by Justus Roux)
Melinda (Hauntings)
Blood Alley (Monsters Ink)
The Beast of Lyoness (Clash of Steel 3)
Blood Alley (Pure Fantasy {The Netherlands})

SHORT STORIES (Print/Electronic Magazines):

In the Garden on the Far Shore of the Styx (Crusader tale – Pirate Writings, Electric Wine)
Bagman (noir – Hardboiled)
Death And… (speculative – Lynx Eye, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine {Australia})
At the Dessert Palace (speculative – Outer Darkness)
The Hunters (science fiction/vampire – Burning Sky, Dramaturges of the Yann {Greece})
The Killing Moon (werewolf – Vampire Dan’s Story Emporium, Spin {Finland})
Black Moon Night (horror – Deadbolt)
Blood Hunt (science fiction/horror – Of Unicorns & Space Stations, Axxon {Argentina})
Blood Alley (horror – Mindmares)
The Covenant – (Crusader tale – Parchment Symbols, Flashing Swords)
Sanctuary Defiled at Ananyas (Crusader tale – Fantastic: Stories of the Imagination)
EscapeVision (speculative – Dread)
Midnight Demons (horror – Parchment Symbols)
The Last Gathering (speculative – Parchment Symbols)
Now Playing (speculative – Fantastic: Stories of the Imagination, Ambitions)
Nightbugs (science fiction/horror – Redsine {Australia}, “9” {Greece})
Human Resources (science fiction/horror – The Edge: Tales of Suspense, Electric Wine, Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest)
Jazz & Silk (erotic – All in Your Mind, A Sexy Story, Justus Roux’s Erotic Tales)
…buzzing… (horror – Whispers from the Shattered Forum)
Coming Home Late (erotic – Biblio Eroticus {Australia})
Facing the Man (mainstream – GC Magazine)
Katie’s Nightmare (horror – Vestal Review)
Spun Monkey (horror – Dark Moon {UK})
Midnight Lover (paranormal erotic – Peacock Blue)
Fallen (science fiction – Steel Caves {UK}, Chaos Theory: Tales Askew)
Last Night (vampire – Whispers from the Shattered Forum)
Telling Chloe (mainstream – Virginia Adversaria)
Final Soulcatchers (speculative – Elysian Fiction)
Seeds of Evil (speculative – Story House)
Strickland’s Bones (noir – Underworlds)
Sangre de la Perro Luna (horror – Fangoria)
Week’s End (mainstream – Flash Me)
Immobile (noir – Futures Anthology MagEzine Online)
Summer Vacation Deals (humor – Astounding Tales)
New World, Old World (science fiction – Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest)
Before Me (science fiction/horror – ScienceFictionFantasyHorror.com)
The Gardener (erotic – Midnight Showcase)
Love Letter (horror – Devil’s Work)
The Ice Queen (erotic – Justus Roux’s Erotic Tales)
Waiting… (horror – Bewildering Tales)


The Submission Pile (SF Reader, Preditors & Editors)
The Character Moment (Speculations, Voices in the Dark Newsletter)
The Small Press Print-on-Demand Solution, or Please Order Dozens (Peridot Books)
The Top Ten Movies in Outer Space (From the Asylum)
Villains (SF Reader)

Four stories have been accepted but not yet published. A few others are in the mail.

Also written (some with Mark Sevi, some solo) 14 screenplays and 3 treatments. Two were spec screenplays that producers asked for then changed their minds. One had an exclusive that a producer asked for but couldn’t sell. One was optioned (with 10% payment) but movie not made.

Seems like a lot but I can’t seem to write that one novel, story, or screenplay that “breaks” out. Maybe I should just write the stories I want to write and if the “break-out” happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t then it doesn’t.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

24 Days Left Till Halloween
"trick or treat ... heh-heh-heh."

Friday, October 06, 2006

There are a 1001 things I should be doing. Instead I'm looking at some stats on the blog site-meter. Some folks find their way to this blog via Google (should the registered trademark symbol go here?). Anyway, I became curious to what they put in the search engine to end up here. Below are some answers:
*from London, England: Zodiac Killer (okay, I did a couple of blogs on unsolved murders)
*from Las Vegas NV: symbolism in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (it's hard to see the symbolism in a movie when you're watching it with your hands over your eyes)
*from Ogdensburg NY: canada murders severed body prostitute (the blog on unsolved murders again -- I hope)
*from Walsall, U.K.: "I want you to squeal like a pig" (line from the movie Deliverance that I've written about)
*from Camp Hill, Penn.: percy garris (the name of the Strother Martin character in one of my fav westerns Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)
*from Oxford NC: chuck stires campaign slogan (not me and I have no idea what office he was running for but we are probably related somehow)
*from New York City: paddled tush (Huh? I have no idea how that lead to me -- I mean, once, a while back, in a different life ... uh, nevermind)
Interesting. Well, a little bit. All right, I probably won't do this again. Maybe.
((PS -- What does the picture of Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives have to do with this topic? Absolutely nothing. But now when someone types her name into the Google search engine -- guess who'll pop up? Hey, Google folks, check out the novel links on the right side of your screen. Really good stuff. )

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tonight I watched this movie. Corny premise even if it was inspired by a true story. Whatever "inspired" means. Anyway, a ballroom dancer instructor decides he can help disadvantaged inner-city kids by teaching them dance, courtesty, and manners. A high school principal accepts his offer and assigns him to the teenagers in year-long detention. One reviewer wrote that the whole premise would've crumbled if there had been one hardcore gangbanger in the group. Right, like a hardcore gangbanger would show up for after-school detention.

I'm not a big Antonio Banderas fan. Except for The Mask of Zorro I don't much care for his choice of films. But I bought him in this. I liked this character. All the other characterizations are paper-thin. The plot is by-the-numbers. Still I was engrossed from beginning to fade-out. I'll add that I can not dance a lick. Not joking. My buddy and I took dance lessons back in the day. After the third

or fourth lesson, the instructor offered us a refund. I think the tango is the sexiest, most sensual act a couple can do with their clothes on. Even beats several acts done in the buff. Totally cool. Check out this movie. You'll see what I mean.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A classic thriller with one of Orson Wells' most memorable performances. In one scene, Harry Lime (Wells) meets up with his old friend Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten). Author/screenwriter Graham Greene has said that Wells wrote the following lines:
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful.
Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias
they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed,
but they produced Michelangelo,
Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.
In Switzerland they had brotherly love -
they had 500 years of democracy and peace,
and what did that produce?
The cuckoo clock."