Gun research, not confiscation or control.

I am not going to hop into the middle of the fray that always happens after a mass shooting. Did that once this week with all the success of discussing with a Vatican priest what would have be Jesus’ favorite sexual position.

Investigation is another thing. For over twenty years the CDC has been hamstringed in any efforts to research gun violence as a public health crisis. They could have done any research they cared to do, but Congress made damned sure it wouldn’t be financed with government money. How this came about could lead to another screech and spittle session between the Left and the Right. I don’t want that. I just want to look at the problem the same way would handle an Ebola outbreak with the same death toll.

Here is a link to Change.org petition to repeal the budget rider that has put us in this situation. Once the facts are in, we can retreat to our neutral corners and come out swinging.

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-let-the-cdc-conduct-research-on-gun-violence-end-the-dickey-amendment?recruiter=663939806&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_more.nafta_milestone_share_ask_victory.control&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uABbwvQAAAAAAWow3ZkfbspRmNGNlOWY4NQ%3D%3D

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JFF: Top 10 Mad Scientist Songs

Long ago, I used to write little life-improvement tips from Dr. Thelonius Calico, the folksy homespun super-villain. Imagine a cross between Dr. No and Martha Stewart. I’ve put that project in a secure bunker in the back of my mind for the time being, but I do love me a bit of Mad Science. Just for fun, I did a little research to get my Top Ten Mad Scientist songs. It includes a little bit of everything from Hip-Hop to Metal to novelty.

The criteria for the list are purely subjective: musical quality, expression of the Mad Science theme, and how likely I am to jump out a window when it comes on my iPad. If you don’t like something here, draw up your own list.

10: Mad Professor, Insane Clown Posse

This has to be included for completeness sake, though I am not a Hip-Hop fan; this comes very near my “Jump Out the Window” barrier. WARNING: the language and mean spirited screaming take all the fun out being a mad/evil scientist. Also, Juggalos.

10: Monster Mash, Bobby Pickett

My earliest exposure to Musical Mad Science, twice as fun when you see the singer’s mimicry of Boris Karloff as he lip-synchs his own song.

8: Dr. Stein, Helloween

Heavy metal vivisection and experimentation. What’s not to love?

7: Building the Perfect Beast, Don Henley

This is an odd one that perfectly expresses the Mad Science theme, even to the point of having its own Secret Hide-out. This song was never released as a single, though it is the namesake of the album, and there are no videos available on line. You can at least get it on iTunes.

Building the Perfect Beast
The power of reason, the top of the heap
We’re the ones who can kill the things we
Don’t eat
Sharper than a serpent’s tongue
Tighter than a bongo drum
Quicker than a one-night stand
Slicker than a mambo band
And now the day is come
Soon he will be released
Glory hallelujah!
We’re building the perfect beast
(building, building, etc..)
It’s olympus this time- olympus or bust
For we have met the enemy -and he is us
And now the day is come
Soon he will be released
Glory hallelujah!
We’re building the perfect beast
(building, building)
Ever since we crawled out of the ocean
And stood upright on the land
There are some things that we just don’t
Understand:
Relieve all pain and suffering
And lift us out of the dark
Turn us all into methuselah-
But where

7: Sweet Transvestite, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Though there’s not a lot of Mad Science in it until the end, this is a cultural touchstone for all those who would dare where God did not intend for men to go.

6: Frankenstein, Edgar Winters

Classic Rock Mad Science by musicians that look like characters from Michael Moorcock. This is the looooooong version.

5: What’s He Building in There, Tom Waits

Creepy, unnerving and poetic. More people should know this one.

4: She Blinded Me with Science, Thomas Dolby

The ’80s seemed made for Mad Science with its atmosphere of greed, technology, sex, and greed. This is one of the two from that era that made my list.

3: Weird Science, Oingo Boingo

Our second helping of ’80s Mad Science Rock from the man who would become the sound of Tim Burton.

2: Experiment IV, Kate Bush

Not the best quality of a beautiful song, but the video does include an appearance by Dr. House. Maybe this is where he got that addiction to painkillers?

1: Nemesis, Shriekback

The Greatest Mad Science of All Time, if nothing else for rhyming “nemesis” and “parthogenesis”. That, and a little recreational refining the juices of the dying.

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Sweet dreams

It is no secret that I have been battling depression for the last few decades. It hasn’t really been a battle so much as a game of tag on the slick footing of my cerebral cortex. My doctors have given me a wide range of pharmaceuticals of varying levels of effectiveness, with a plethora of entertaining side effects. The latest set that my wife and I have had to deal with is vivid dreams.

As a horror writer, I’m not bothered by nightmares. I have them, but I just consider it working while I sleep. The problem with some of the latest drugs is that they weaken the failsafe mechanisms that normally would keep the sleeping body from taking orders from the dreaming mind.

The first time we noticed that problem, I had been escaping from bad guys with flamethrowers. An innocent bystander had been ignited and my dream self was smothering the fire. Kit awoke to me slapping out the imaginary flames on her thighs and buttocks. Neither one of us enjoyed that.

I’ve switched to different medications and the acting out in my sleep has diminished. I will still have some physical movements and vocalizations, but Kit just wakes me up gently, usually asking what I was doing at that moment. I blearily try to sum up the plot without too many gory details. Recently, she interrupted me as I was repeatedly punching a serial killer in the face through the service window of a food truck. No spouses or innocent bystanders were injured, fortunately.

When subconscious is pretty much filled with bizarre and violent creatures. REM state lets them act out scenarios that make my most over-the-top writing seem like a four-year-old’s tea party. There is no way I can stop them, and I don’t really want to, but I figured I could inflict some control over them.

One night, I decided I was going to try for sweet dreams. I didn’t concentrate on specific details, just the phrase “sweet dreams”.

In my dream, I flew to a warehouse on the Ohio State Campus, because I can usually fly in my dreams. Once I’d cleared the low-hanging power lines and branches, I came upon the architecture schools Home of the Future. It was white and blocky, with a definite Minecraft look to it. On careful inspection, I discovered everything was made of sugar cubes. These weren’t the tiny half-inch sugar lumps I was used to, but solid, hefty things four to six inches to a side. As I checked the warehouse shelves behind the home, I found any possible shape of compressed sugar a home contractor might need, including sugar toilets and sugar light bulbs.

My wife reports that I did not thrash or moan with this, or wake her in the middle of the night. I will most likely try this again, carefully choosing my focus. “Sweet dreams” worked out just fine, but who knows what eldritch horrors could be inspired by “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams”?

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What Kirkus says about my book:

I got Kirkus to take a look at the final volume of my Arcanum Faire trilogy, The Ren Faire at the End of the World. I am proud to say they liked it. I think you’ll like it, too.

 

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this final installment of a comical trilogy, a contractor faces zombies and other obstacles while trying to build a Renaissance faire.

Marc Sindri is constructing a permanent Renaissance faire in Arcanum, Ohio. Marc may be a skilled contractor, but his current assignment is anything but easy. To say that the work site has been awash with witchcraft, sex, and conflicting personalities would be an understatement. Book 3 begins in February, and with the planned opening of the faire in May, time is rapidly working against Marc. His first hurdle comes in the form of an angry phone call from one Jeremiah Stone II, who wants to know who stole his son’s body from the family mausoleum. Marc was certainly no friend of the caller’s son (also named Jeremiah), but he has nothing to do with the missing corpse. Marc soon finds himself fighting a reanimated version of the deceased in order to save his beautiful girlfriend, the witch Brenwyn. But this battle is merely the beginning of Marc’s struggles against the undead, as the area around the faire is infested with zombie rabbits and other unsettling creatures. Then there is the foreboding moment when, during a ritual between Marc and Brenwyn, it is predicted that the faire’s opening will be disastrous. Marc and his cohorts see themselves through their trials with abundant sexual innuendoes (one woman smiles at the idea of being “well-drilled”) and occasional wordplay (a character named Eleazer remarks: “I do not have a jealous bone in my body, milady, not even a bit of envious cartilage”). The result is a story that is more zany than clever, albeit with enough action to keep the wackiness from becoming dull. Whether it is naked witches performing a ritual or humans slashing at zombie animals, something is always happening. Readers may question certain details in Matulich’s (Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, 2015, etc.) novel, such as how Eleazer, who is supposedly successful at seducing women and uses terms like “milady” constantly, can talk to anyone without getting a good thrashing. But whether or not the faire comes together as a great success or failure, there is excitement in finding out how all the dust (and blood and amulets) will settle.

While unapologetically over-the-top, this supernatural tale maintains a fervent, magical pace.

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A bouncy little minute…

I don’t think book trailers are absolutely necessary for a book’s success, but it is one tool in the kit. They aren’t worth the fees some production houses are asking, though. This afternoon, I created a video on my PC. Here it is. Try not to panic.

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Launching the End of the World.

The month of December has been a rough month: I’ve been ill, I’ve lost my writing mews, and my family has been inundated with tuxedos (long, but different story). On the positive: we are hosting my book release party at The Alley tomorrow for The Ren Faire at the End of the World, we have matching black kittens Yule and Solstice, and I did this radio interview with my publisher PMP,  link below.

I would like to blather on, but I have a party to prepare for and a reading to practice, and I am still not one hundred per cent. Hope to see many of you tomorrow!

https://www.facebook.com/events/258943501303355/

http://www.postmortem-press.com/BEYOND-THE-WRITTEN-WORD.php

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A Highly Ritualized Cat is No More

for some reason, I believed I would be awakened by the six am breakfast dance well into my retirement years. I hadn’t really taken into account that Kestrel, along with being Houdini Kitty that could work himself out of any bandage system when I had accidentally degloved the tip of his tail, was also Mathuselah Kat. We aren’t certain how old he was, we aren’t careful with those kind of records, but in our archaeological methods we calculated him to be between seventeen and twenty years old.

The warning signs came when he took to his downstairs bed near his food and waited for me to come down to him last week. It was even more disconcerting when he put up no resistance in a car ride to the vet’s, something that had always brought out his inner Tasmanian Devil. We found that he had dropped from fourteen pounds to six-and-a-half and his kidneys were failing. We prepared a regimen of nightly subcutaneous injections of fluids to ease the strain on his kidneys. We all foresaw this going on for quite some time as he was a recalcitrant old beast that would not easily give up his position as assistant and supervisor over my writing and Kit’s sewing.

The crash came Sunday. He could barely make the two foot trek to his litter box, moved close by for his dignity. He drank some water, but completely gave up on food. We still held out hope that we could nurse him back to health. I stayed home Monday, already fighting off an allergy-induced asthma attack. Kestrel had collapsed to the point of no longer being able to walk. That is when he started to cry.

It was not a pained mewling, or any other sound I’d heard before.  It was a single syllable conveying pleading confusion, a single utterance at the top of his voice like “Please” or “Help”. Since it came with the sudden betrayal by his own body, it sounded to me like “Why?” The sound pierced me right to my seemingly atrophied heart,

My wife and I took turns cuddling him on the couch. She stayed with him through the night when I went to bed in hopes of getting better myself. I heard him give out that cry several times through the night.

This morning we took him to the vet’s for one last time. He did not resist the medication and slipped into his final sleep without struggle.

I know losing a cat is nowhere near as wrenching as losing a child or a parent. Believe me, I have had the chance for comparison. Still, it is the first time I have wept in several years. It is more than enough travail to wrap up the year for the Matulich household.

Farewell, Black Prince, muse, assistant, living alarm clock, and unfamiliar. May you have many squirrels and birds to chase in feline Valhalla.

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The Time of Sex, Magick, and Power Tools is Ending

My third book in the Arcanum Faire trilogy, The Ren Faire at the End of the World, is now live as an ebook on Amazon. Other venues to activate shortly. You can see at the link below.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077MG44CZ

It is a little sad to leave the town of Arcanum, OH and its whacko inhabitants after over a decade. but there are new adventures to chronicle. I am nearly done with my tale of the Squirrel Apocalypse. After that, I attack my non-eurocentric steampunk series.

For those of you who are Netgalley accredited reviewers, the second book of Arcanum Faire, Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, is available for request/download. With luck I will be able to upload RFEW to be available December 1.

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/125017

 

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There is no punchline

We are just days away from the release of “Ren Faire at the End of the World”, the third book of my Arcanum Faire trilogy. It will be November 28th for the trade paperback edition and November 21st for the ebook. Dread Central will be hosting a cover reveal on their site between now and then. This link will be live as of 11/16/17 at 09:30 PT:

http://www.dreadcentral.com/?p=260529

Until the 28th, I have a little taste of the opening of RFEW to pique your interest. As always, watch the bushes and keep a shovel handy at all times.

 

THE THREE LURKERS

A paparazzi, an OSHA inspector, and a Vatican priest hunkered down behind the bushes outside Camp Arcanum.

Unfortunately, there is no punchline to this story, Jeff Lazarro thought as he knelt in the ice-cold mud. Ms. Snowden, the disgraced OSHA inspector with a face like a weasel sucking a lemon, squatted just behind him. Her pale wool coat matched her short platinum blonde hair, which fortunately blended into the drifts of snow behind them. Monsignor Valcarcel, on Jeff’s other side, wore a navy pea coat over his black priest’s cassock. Only the white tab of the rugged old man’s color and his ruddy nose gave him away as anything other than a tree stump.

All Jeff wanted was some nice juicy pictures. With the trifecta of Sex, Suicide, and Satanism following Jeremiah Stone’s death, demand had pushed prices into the stratosphere. Marc Sindri had cost Jeff his next boat payment when he had caught Jeff and erased the card that held a few dozen images of a New Year’s Day co-ed fistfight just outside these three Airstream trailers

Snowden’s mission in life was to prove that either monsters were real and lurking on the grounds of the renaissance faire or that Sindri had rigged the whole thing as a prank to scuttle her workplace inspection. Sometimes, she speculated that he had maybe hired the monsters. Also, she wanted her clipboard back.

The priest, when he spoke, warned of a threat to souls of all involved in black magic and New Age heresy at this renaissance faire. Having Valcarcel tag along gave Jeff the same guilty feeling he got after admitting to his dentist he’d forgotten to floss, but their resources together were far better than lurking in separate bushes…

Valcarcel took a sip of his fortified coffee and pulled down a branch to get a clear view of the old barn, gravel track, and trailers that made up Camp Arcanum.

“You know,” the old priest muttered, “I would give my left nut to know what’s going on in that trailer right now.”

Jeff didn’t know what use a celibate priest might have for his testicles, but his feelings were pretty much the same.

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War and poppies

It is Veteran’s Day, a day of commemoration that was first a celebration of the Armistice of  WWI. In the century since its inception, vendors have raised money for military charities by selling silk poppies. These are inspired by the carpets of red poppies that grew on the Fields of Flanders, many atop trenches that had become mass graves.

For those who have served, thank you for your service and your sacrifice. War is not an environment that leaves anyone untouched. For those who have made the ultimate, we remember you and hope to atone for those who died for vanity or profit.

A century after the War to End All Wars, the clash of saber against shield can still be heard in diplomacy.  It is a glory to give your life for the weak and innocent; it is a sin to make that sacrifice just another chit on the bargaining table.

 

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