Monthly Archives: October 2014

Halloween Season for a Horror Guy

Got up at six am. with the urging of my black cat, who desperately needed fed before imploding. After the proper rituals to appease the Cat Gods, I settled down at the laptop to check my emails and Facebook. My slow, grinding campaign to get Camp Arcanum reviewed garnered me three responses this morning out of perhaps three dozen queries. Not all of those were positive, but the statistics are still better than those for my days of dating.

I got onto Facebook and found that the Wicked Library had just posted their latest Halloween Special which included one of my flas fictions stories “Head Full of Worms.” I then and there listened to the podcast and enjoyed it immensely. You can catch it here:

Nelson and Maddie knocked out of the park again.

Yesterday, had been an early day. We hosted Dana Turtle from Good Day Columbus at The Alley, spending three or four hours playing dress-up and broadcasting inserts for the morning show. Both Dana and his cameraman Edwin were fun and the dynamic between the two characters has me inspired for future stories.

Unfortunately, we will not be putting up our Halloween castle again this year. The last two years, the weather has been too bad to be leaving large expanses of sail-like plywood in the front yard to catch the winds. This year it is simply a matter of time. Both Kit and I have been spending every spare minute at our costume shop; we will not even be done with the last customer before trick-or-treating closes down tonight. But we will be giving out candy to kids and grown-ups alike tonight and doing some make-up work for our patrons besides. Not a bad way to celebrate Halloween.

Of course, we will have a few offerings set out for our dear departed tonight when the veil is thin. For a change, Kit picked up some Gack, one of Alyssa’s favorite things for play therapy. Probably a few shots of Scotch or gin for my parents, and a Smorgasbord for the Dead set out on our mantle for everyone else on Kit’s side.

So, Happy Samhain to all today whether you see it as a time for costumes and dress-up, or a time of monsters and mayhem, or the night when the veil between worlds lifts enough for loved ones to brush by for a visit.

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What our Super Powers Should Be.

When I was a boy, I wanted to be a super hero. I daydreamed myself into a tragic lonely life where I was the last of my kind imbued with magickal powers in battle. Others admired me as a lone wolf beyond the reach of humanity but always there to save the weak and down-trodden. Sometimes I was an elf and my blood had the power to transform animals into intelligent companions who fought at my side. Other times I built spaceships and crusaded across the cosmos.

For a while, I imagined myself as ten feet and made of steel. Occasionally, the giant me had four arms. He could type and drink coffee at the same time or put a sasquatch in a death grip. A ten-foot tall four-armed steel giant didn’t have much in the way of friends, or love, or rooms he could walk into without damaging the ceilings with his head, but that ugly, scary thing was a hero. Whatever the universe threw at him, the giant would triumph. Then he would wander off to his lair to be noble and mysterious and stoic.

I spent a lot of my youth being noble and mysterious and stoic, never grasping from the outside it just looked like a spindly, little weirdo was deservedly being ignored. The moment of truth never came, where only I could step forward and defeat evil with my amazing abilities. Slowly it dawned, that even in a world where super heroes and villains fought, they couldn’t go at it all the time. Long stretches between battles weren’t just skipped panels in a graphic novel. That was your Life.

Being a lone wolf, a cypher which no-one had any compulsion to solve, was not mysterious or romantic. It was effectively doing nothing with a limited time on Earth.

Instead of firing laser bolts from his eyes, a hero could learn to read others from the unwritten language of their faces and carriage. A noble and mysterious being would even care about what they saw and speak up.

Instead of bearing a hide of titanium-steel, a hero could learn to withstand all the slings and arrows of modern life without bitterness and without letting their pain flow down hill.

A hero might not be able to punch his way through a wall, but he could carry his weight.

I’d like to think I do okay with those powers, but I still have that lonely and mysterious lone wolf thing to live down. I can summon snark at the speed of lightning, making light of a situation as others are busy casting darkness. And I do have the real life super power of disappearing in a crowded room,

Look away as I vanish into the shadows.

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My Horror Selfie

As a novelist and screenwriter, my favorite playground is the Venn diagram intersection of the horrific and the comedic. I find find many hilariously horrifying things coming through our vintage & costume store. When a crocodile purse with an attached baby crocodile arrived at The Alley, I knew I found the perfect prop for my Horror Selfie. You can see it by linking over to the site set up by the Horror Writers of America to promote the reading and viewing of Horror. My face and Percival the crocodile purse certainly qualify for that.

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Telecommunications Shenanigans

I have been wedged solidly into the Twenty-First Century as one might squeeze a buttered gerbil into an aspirin bottle. Naturally, there is a good deal of squirming and squealing and the uncomfortable position at the end has feet and tail tips in the most delicate of places.  There can be some comedy to it, of course.

Two weeks ago, I was standing at the microphone to start my reading at Context’s Flash Fiction Competition. I blew into the mike as a test and my smart phone on my hip went “whirr-BLEEP!” The timing was so close that it appeared that the signal from my lips travelled down the mike stand, skipped across the floor, climbed up my pants leg and lodged in my phone. I was a bit surprised; the three people that ever called me knew where I was. I discovered that what the phone announced was that I had won a free book from one of the other publishers at the convention.  I had entered the drawing in the most Nineteenth Century of ways: pencil and paper in a goldfish bowl. The publisher responded with a text message at the most comedic of moments.

I silenced my phone and went on to win the Pro Division of the flash competition. Thank you very much.

This last week I was approached through a Facebook group to be interviewed on my first live podcast. All I needed was to learn how to Skype. I did download the software and even tested it successfully. That means I stole a headset from my son’s X-Station and called my wife at her laptop.

Beside me on the couch.

I achieved something through modern technology that normally could be done simply by raising my voice. Still, last week I logged onto Zombiepalooza Radio to be interviewed about witches in genre fiction, per my novel Camp Arcanum. It would have gone fine except severe thunderstorms knocked the podcast off-line. Twenty-first century communications technology was trumped by Perkunis the Thunderer. I am set to appear again tonight in just a couple of hours. I just hope phones and livestreaming video isn’t effected by locusts

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