May 29, 2007
I'm taking an extra day off
after the Memorial Day weekend to get some serious work
done on my latest novel. On Saturday, the missus and I
drove out to Hertford, NC, to spend a couple of pleasant
days at Stately Wilson Manor, residence of writers
David Niall Wilson and Trish Macomber. Mostly, we
watched movies, bummed about the local terrain, and
irritated their children (and their little dog too). The
highlight (apart from irritating their children) was watching
Pan's Labyrinth, about which I had
heard good stuff aplenty, and none of us were
disappointed. It's a beautifully crafted dark fantasy film,
with some disturbing imagery and a gripping story. We
also checked out
The Descent, about which I had also heard
much good stuff; however, while it had some effective
moments, this one was not so impressive. At best, it
effectively conveyed the impression of being deep
beneath the earth and on occasion managed to be
nerve-wracking (in a good way). Otherwise, alas, not much different than everything we've ever seen before.
Knowing that I was once upon a time inclined toward
creating art of the spine-chilling variety, Dastardly
Dave impressed me into service illustrating the
signature page of his special one-of-a-kind edition of
Ancient Eyes, his latest novel. The "normal"
limited edition is due soon from Bloodletting Press. A
low-res repro of my little scribble may be found
Friday, May 25, 2007
Star Wars's 30th birthday. Not that I've
ever been a geek or anything, but I did see the original
Star Wars at the theater 23 times during
its initial run. Before I went off to college that fall,
I caught it a couple of times in my hometown, but in
that little college town, there was absolutely nothing,
nada, zip, zero to do on weekends (at least that was
legal), so for a couple of months, on Saturdays, bunches
of us would get in our vehicles, cruise up to Roanoke,
and sit through Star Wars a couple of
Yeah, I guess it beat a lot of the trouble I might
otherwise be getting into. On the other hand, I got into
trouble a lot on weekdays. (I know, someone's
going to want the details, but I can't reveal what I
can't remember. Sorry.)
It's tempting to go put on the DVD tonight just to
celebrate. Not that I'm a geek, or anything, but I've
completely lost count of the number of times I've
watched this movie. Something tells me it's in the
triple digits. But there's nothing at all wrong with
May 19, 2007
Just returned from Selma, NC, after spending an
excellent evening at the home of the redoubtable
Robert M. Price, former editor of Crypt of
Cthulhu as well as many an anthology of macabre tales.
He and his wife Carol have been hosting the Babylonian fish god,
Joe Pulver (author of
Nightmare's Disciple), this week and were
kind enough to have me out for what has become known as the
first meeting of the new Kalem Club. There was much prattling on
about things religious, political, and literary, as well as the
devouring of things culinary (homemade sausage and pepperoni
pizza, to be precise) until the wee hours of the
am in the Price's superb haunted mansion.
I was beyond blown away by the enormity of Bob's collection of
cinematic and literary 3-D figures everything from Cenobites
to Spiderman to Bela Lugosi to Space Godzilla. (To his credit,
he also owns a complete set of Deathrealm.) Mr.
Pulver was a character of the first order, and never were hosts
more gracious. I do hope that there will be many, many more
gatherings of this newfangled Kalem Club perhaps even at the
Rainey dwelling, for those who dare.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I've put together a promo
package, complete with illustrations, for Retro
Monsters, the graphic anthology project that Todd
Tennant conceived to feature stories by himself, Rob
Hood, Mike Bogue, and me ("Pachacutec"). The package has
gone to my agent, so we're hoping that we'll get some
bites from a publisher on this lil' monster. (See the
April 9 entry for more details.)
The Lebo Coven is officially out of
print; it's sold out from Shocklines, and Amazon.com no
longer carries it new only through its affiliated
merchants. I have a handful of personal copies left, so
I'm going to make a few of them available (autographed,
of course) for $25, postage paid. This is pretty much
the last opportunity to pick up the book at a reasonable
price, suitably devalued with the author's signature.
See the book page (here)
Sunday, May 13, 2007
A happy Mummy's Day to all the
mummies out there.
Received nice news from William Jones, editor of
Dark Wisdom magazine and the man behind the
Elder Signs Press, that he'd like to include "Terror From
Middle Island," which I co-wrote with Durant Haire (originally
published in Dark Wisdom issue #9), in his
upcoming anthology, Frontier Cthulhu, to be
published by Chaosium in late summer of this year. Sounds like a
cool project, with stories set in past times in various
primitive settings (hence the antho's title). Nice to know the
story will yet again be foisted on an unsuspecting public.
Well, at least a certain segment of the public has now been
forewarned. Dang me.
Friday, May 11, 2007
days, virtually anytime I write, I listen to Internet
radio over iTunes. My favorites are Space Station Soma
on SomaFM and Secret Agent on SomaFM, which play
atmospheric electronica, which is the perfect backdrop
for working on fiction. However, Net radio is about to
be doomed by the Copyright Royalty Board's decision that
would boost the royalties due to music companies
by a staggering 300 to 1200%. As a creative person, I'm
all for fair compensation for artists of any speciality,
but given the niche markets that Internet radio serves,
this wrong-headed act will do nothing but shut down
outlets for some of the best music out there. All that
will be left are the large, corporate monstrosities that
we hear everywhere, all the time, and never stop
throwing up over.
There may yet be hope, though. There is a movement in
Congress to save Net radio, and I've written my
Representative and Senators to urge them to co-sponsor
the Internet Radio Equality Act S. 1353 in the Senate
and H.R. 2060 in the House of Representatives. If you
value the diversity that Net radio offers, I'd recommend
you do the same. As it stands now, Net radio will go
virtually silent on July 15.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
last night I'm zipping a couple of emails back and forth with
Brian Keene. Just as I'm hitting Send for one of them, lightning
hits the house behind us and fries our cable line. So I'm out of
commission till this afternoon, when Time-Warner was good enough
to come round and put it right.
Nobody's place burned up or anything. I don't think. I guess our
neighbors should take some comfort in the fact that the boy
can't shoot straight.
Tuesday, May 8,
Ah. If I could afford to live like
this, I could afford to live like this. Nearly 10,000 words
written on my current novel since Saturday. Took a couple of
days off from work and have been racking up points doing little
but writing. Got in a few good walks to recharge the batteries,
an evening hanging out with my brother in the woods with a
campfire and liquid refreshment, some fine eatin', and pretty
much no TV to distract me. I did get together with some good old
friends on Sunday afternoon a couple of whom I haven't seen in
25 years. That was a blast.
Tomorrow, alas, is back to the normal grind at the office. Suckafrigginraggindingdongblastedsamhill snootinhootintootindonkeyshit.
May 5, 2007
Good ghott! My brother came round
today bearing his new copies of the deluxe SACD editions of several of
the Moody Blues albums Days of Future Passed, In Search of the
Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream,
and To Our Chlidren's Children's Children. I was a
more than a casual Moody Blues fan back in the 70s. In addition to the
original recordings, each album features extended versions, alternate
versions, additional tracks, and live performances. I saw the Moodies
several times in the 70s and early 80s; I never thought their live
performances stood up to their studio work largely due to the nature
of their music but their music in any form meant a lot to me back in
the day, and these things have rekindled my enthusiasm. They offer a lot
of goodies for the price, so I give 'em top recommendations.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Another birthday. So what? Big deal.
Didn't do anything special. Worked. Got a few nice goodies from
Peg. Had pizza, cake, watched Space Monster Dogora
just for kicks, and Lost. Then my old body asleep
in front of the TV.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Spent most of the weekend with Peg at the old homestead in
Martinsville, writing up a storm, doing some more Web site
updating, and relaxing in the woods with a bonfire and some gin.
Not much better than putting up tiki torches and having a
roaring fire going on till all hours. When I was a kid, I used
to camp out in these woods, and even the local Boy Scouts would
occasionally set up camp. One of the coolest things about the
place is that with just a little hunting around, I can often
find the remains of old toys that had belonged to my brother and
me damn near forty years ago. Back then, it was not out of the
question for me to determine that Phred had outgrown his things
and then use them for all kinds of pyrotechnical special effects
experiments. (I might mention that down at the nearby lake, the
entire Seventh Fleet probably still lines the bottom plastic
model ships that I loaded up with model glue and firecrackers,
set afire, and then afloat.) Somewhere in my mom's attic, there
are a bunch of photographs of some of those special effects
extravaganzas. They're pretty crappy, but I'll try to hunt them
up one day and scan them.
took the shot at the right. Looks to me kinda like a jaguar
leaping out of the flames...
Anyway, the weekend turned out to be both relaxing and
productive, and it's just a damn bitch that tomorrow is Monday.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thanks to overworking my little hands at the office, I've
developed one of these nice ganglion cysts on my right wrist,
for which I'm having to wear a wrist splint. The cyst is merely an
annoyance, not debilitating or anything, and it'll probably go
away on its own. They're quite common I bet some of you
reading this have one of these little knots of your own, eh?
Anyway, work sent me over to the local urgent care so I'd be
taken care of, and the brace at least helps with the
Last night, our good friends
Stormy and Channel Williams escorted us to dinner at Akashi,
for one of the best Japanese meals I've had in years. Mountains
of sushi! Yay! Turns out the sushi chef was an old acquaintance
of ours from a previous favorite local restaurant, and we ate
more than the law should allow. The Storm is an accomplished
artist specializing in political satire so I had to
reluctantly refrain from stealing his sushi, lest I be made into
Elizabeth Massie! The dastardly woman sent me a box of the
black plague. You'd think a former biology teacher might
know better. What if the damned thing should escape into the
April 22, 2007
I should bite my tongue, but the weekend has just about come to
its end, and we haven't suffered any catastrophic calamities. In fact,
it was generally pleasant; very quiet and relaxing for a change. I'd
rather have been at RavenCon, to be sure, but at least I'm starting to
feel almost inhuman again, after such a god-awful sinus bug this week. I
fit in several good writing spells, did a mess of housework, and watched
a few entertaining goodies, including Bigfoot from 1969
perhaps the cheesiest and most hootin' fun Sasquatch flick from that
wonderful, bygone era. With an exquisitely horrid cast (including John
Carradine, John Mitchum, and
Doodles Weaver), motorcycling hippies, and an unabashed
lifting of themes from King Kong (including a play on the
"It was Beauty killed the beast" closing line), it was the perfect
late-night movie show to send me to bed happy last night.
Did a bit of updating on the Web site as well. Browse around and
spot the new stuff, if you're bored and have nothing better to do.
Friday, April 20, 2007
To finish the week on a positive note, I've received a slew
of copies of
Blue Devil Island for the Shocklines bookstore,
devalued them with my scribble, and packed them up to send to
Matt on Monday. Hopefully, he can get customer copies out by the
end of next week. If you'd like to pick up a copy, order one from Shocklines. Autographed, and free shipping. (Click on the
picture or the title above for the link.)
I still feel not unlike crap, but I worked half a day, and this
afternoon, I can almost breathe a bit without the assistance of
Vicks nasal spray. I am, of course, envious of
the rotten, dirty, lucky-ass weasels
my fine friends who
are going to RavenCon this weekend, since it was the only con I
was planning to make this year, for a variety of reasons. Ah,
well. I'm saving gas. Yeah, that sounds good, don't it?
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Topping off a most distressing
week, I've been sick with a particularly nasty sinus infection since
Monday, and it hasn't gotten any better. Went to the doctor today and
got an antibiotic, but this bug is going to knock me out of going to
RavenCon in Richmond this weekend, which I was really looking
forward to. I should look on the bright side, I suppose, and think of
all the money I'll be saving, since gas has just hit $3.00 a gallon
here. I'm going to miss abusing some good friends, though, so I'm
officially bummed out.
Monday, April 16, 2007
What a terrible year 2007 has
been so far. Today, we had to put down our cat Charcoal. She'd been going downhill
for a month or so now; the vet believes it was a tumor in her sinuses. One eye had swollen badly, and she could barely breathe. She'd had a
number of tests and went through three rounds of antibiotics, which
didn't touch the inflammation. We couldn't stand to have her suffer any
further, so Peg took her for a final trip to the vet this afternoon. She
was as sweet as any kitty ever was, and I'm a little devastated.
I had a feeling it was coming when she didn't improve any from the
We still have her sister, Dusty, and our Siamese, Chester. Charcoal
would have been nine years old in July.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
started off nicely enough; got up and mowed the yard (what a treat, right?), got
some serious writing done, watched King Kong just for good
measure, and then Peg and I went out for Thai food, which was excellent. About
10 pm, she complained she was
having trouble swallowing her tongue and throat were swollen up, and soon this
was impeding her breathing. I called an ambulance, which showed up in less than
five minutes and took her to the emergency room, where we ended up until nearly
4:00 am. By all indications, she
had an allergic reaction to something; eventually, she returned more or
less to normal, and she seems okay this morning. She didn't eat anything last
night she hasn't had a thousand times before, so the source of the trouble is a
I'm quite tired now, needless to say. And I've seen the inside of too many
hospitals way too frequently over the past couple of months.
Good God! Quite by chance, I just happened upon a film my old
friend/roommate from Chicago, Bill Gudmundson, and some partners made
when they were at Columbia College back in '79. I figured the movie was
relegated to the halls of my dusty memory, but Roger Domian, one of the
guilty parties, has created a Web site for it. If you're a fan of
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it may give you a chuckle.
For me, it's a real slam-dunk for nostalgia. I always loved this little
At Columbia College, Invasion of the People Canners became
the heralded example of how not to make a film.
(For video itself, scroll down to the bottom of the site.)
Monday, April 9,
Many years ago, in my
jubilant youth (about 1975, there or about), I wrote a dorky monster story
called "Night of the Firebeast," which featured a daikaiju-like monster called
Damarron. Several years later, I expanded the thing into my very first,
honest-to-god novel, which was part Godzilla, part H. P. Lovecraft, and pretty
much all not-so-good. However, having no clue about such things back then, I had loads of fun with
the whole concept. I changed the monster's name to "Pachacutec"
(which was the name of an Incan king, the name meaning roughly "The Transformer
of the World" -- which went along with the South American origin of the beast)
and worked up a series of illustrations for it (which I used as part of my
senior art project at the University of Georgia in 1981). Quite a few years
later mid 1990s on a whim, I resurrected the beast, and rewrote the original
story, calling it simply "Pachacutec."
Well, I've always had a fondness for the old boy, and I incorporated him into my
tale, "The Transformer of Worlds," which appeared a couple of years
ago in the Australian anthology
Daikaiju, edited by Rob Hood and Robin Penn. And now, artist
Todd Tenant has proposed to illustrate a graphic novel of monster tales, aptly
titled Retro Monsters, and it looks like Pachacutec will again
come out of hiding. The project is also slated to feature stories by Mike Bogue
and the aforementioned Mr. Hood. There's no publisher at this point it's just
proposal phase but as a promo illo, Todd has done a nice splash page of my old
monster buddy, based on my original drawings.
Since the pics are pretty large, rather than post them here, I'll offer links
for the edification of the curious. Beware. Pachacutec is a monster who will
kick your ass at the first opportunity.
"Pachacutec" Splash Illo by Todd Tenant
My original "Night of the Firebeast" illo (1979)
An illustration from the story, "Pachacutec" (1981)
A painting I made of Pachacutec in flight (1981)
Todd Tennant's art page (includes images created
for Retro Monsters as well as other daikaiju art)
Enjoy. Or run away screaming, whichever you feel is more appropriate.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
If, by chance, you were reading The Log about this time last year, you
might remember that it was a fine time of year for eating bugs. I
managed to chow on several over the course of a weekend. This year, it
would seem to be birds that are out to get me. A couple of weeks ago, I
ended up with one in the grille of my car. Today, I ended up with bird
poop on my shoulder. Some of it got into my beard. I experienced it
closely enough to know that the bird had been eating fresh berries of
I always spend Easter with the family, so I was at my mom's this
weekend, along with my brother
Phred. Again, Peg was in bad physical
shape, so she didn't manage to come up today, as she'd hoped. Mum, Phred,
and I went out to Forest Park Country Club for lunch, which was pretty
satisfying, though it seemed a bit melancholy without Peg or Allison, or
my mom's friends, the Wickliffes, who were originally planning to be
there but couldn't make it, again due to health problems. I did manage
to get in some quality writing time, and a good walk in the woods today.
Perhaps it's neither here nor there, but I was listening to some Rush
the other day. Twenty-five years ago, I was a diehard Rush fan; haven't
really listened to them in years, but I still do enjoy them. There's a
song called "New World Man" from the
Signals album that I
really related to back in 8283, and I realized when I heard it for the
first time after all these years that I still do. The following passage
"He's got to make his own mistakes
And learn to mend the mess he makes.
He's old enough to know what's right,
But young enough not to choose it.
Hes noble enough to win the world,
But weak enough to lose it.
He's a new world man."
So. There it is.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
received a most gratifying phone call today. Our CEO's father, who is a World
War II vet, has been reading Blue Devil Island,
and he rang me up to tell me he's been enjoying it very much, particularly the combat
descriptions. "I rarely enjoy reading fiction," he said, "but your book has me
completely hooked." That gave me a welcome boost today, since the day job has
been such a physical grind these last few weeks. Several vets I know have now
read the book and remarked on its verisimilitude, which
means a lot to me, given the effort I put into making it believable to someone
who actually was there.
Tonight, I watched
Flags of Our Fathers, which wasn't bad, though it didn't have quite
the impact I thought it might. The point of view skipped around haphazardly, making it somewhat difficult to focus sufficiently on the
characters. Regardless, it had some very emotional moments, not to mention a lot
of vividly rendered war action. I'll give it four of six beers.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Yes, that's me. Hopeless. I was going to sit down and
write my figurative ass off tonight, so what did I do? Got hung up prettying up
my bibliography page. Wasn't particularly necessary, but it seemed like a good
idea at the time.
I'm not even sure it's terribly pretty. But if you want to see the results of my
handiwork, punch the "Bibliography" button on the left. Don't say I didn't warn
My brain is distracted, I think. Our little Charcoal spent the day at the vet;
she's got a swollen eye and congested sinuses, and a couple of rounds of
antibiotics haven't touched it. The vet is afraid it could be a tumor, which
would break my heart. She seems to feel all right otherwise, but we do worry
is the black one.
Anyway, please wish her well. She's the sweetest of the sweet.
April 1, 2007
This will have
been posted all over the planet by now, but here it is anyway the list of winners of the
2006 HWA Bram Stoker awards. No fooling.
Superior Achievement in a Novel: Lisey's Story by Stephen King
Superior Achievement in a First Novel: Ghost Road Blues by
Jonathan Maberry (Pinnacle)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction: Dark Harvest by Norman
Partridge (Cemetery Dance)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction: Tested by Lisa Morton (Cemetery
Dance magazine #55)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology: (Tie) Retro Pulp Tales by
Joe R. Lansdale (Subterranean) and Mondo Zombie by John
Skipp (Cemetery Dance)
Superior Achievement in a Collection: Destinations Unknown by
Gary A. Braunbeck (Cemetery Dance)
Superior Achievement in Nonfiction: (Tie) Final Exits: The Illustrated
Encyclopedia of How We Die by Michael Largo (Harper); and
Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth by
Kim Paffenroth (Baylor Press)
Superior Achievement in Poetry: Shades Fantastic by Bruce
Boston (Gromagon Press)
Achievement Award went to Thomas Harris, and the Specialty Press
Award went to PS Publishing of East Yorkshire, England.
Many congrats to everyone.