Tuesday, February 27, 2007


This looks so far out of control, either in terms of gritty, intense realism, or for its in your face social commentary, that I am in total, breathless awe.


WWZ News!


(Actually, I think it's another Church of Canada commercial, from which I lifted Super Squirrel a few weeks ago. What is it with those guys and funny animals?)


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Very Satisfying Head Shots

Sometimes takes more than one to put 'em down. Be sure to keep an eye on your ammo.


God Rocks!

Well, this graffiti artist and I both think that He does.

You know, I think of all my senselss criminal acts, and graffiti vandalism was one I never committed. I suppose it's a bit late now. But the person who sent me the picture link was the one with whom I committed arson, so that brought back fond memories!

I think what held me back is that I just can't come up with something sufficiently witty to spray-paint somewhere. Like late last night, Little Tommy Sipos and I were the only people logged onto a horror message board, and I couldn't think of anything appropriately witty and caustic to IM to the Web's self-proclaimed expert on all things horror-related.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rotting Onslaught!

Reminds me of an old Atari game. But there are zombies! (And giant spiders, and other things...)


The Best Quiz I've Taken in a Long Time

It is! I found it quite accurate. It says I am vulgar, spontaneous, and DARK. Couldn't agree more.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

D2L Preview

Permuted has posted a teaser for D2L on their website:


A Finalist! Two More Times!

I am a finalist twice over for Foreword Magazine's 2006 Book of the Year Award, for both Gospel of the Living Dead and for The Truth Is Out There: Christian Faith and the Classics of TV Science Fiction (Brazos, 2006). The winners will be announced at the BookExpo in NYC on June 1.

I had completely forgotten I was even entered in this!

I'm made of metal! My circuits gleam! I am pertpetual! I keep the country clean!

The Last Person Who Messed with Me

Here's what happened to him:


So, just something to think about.

Meat Quiz

Something of a misnomer, it's more about "What's your favorite meat?" But, amusing as always for these quizzes:


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Horror Contest

This one's interesting. Maybe some of the works will strike your fancy, or you can write in. (And yes, I'd be honored.) The organizers seem to want as big a turnout as they can get, so click on over and cast your vote:


Plane Dead

Considering how bad "We have to shoot down the passenger plane before it explodes/infects/irradiates the whole world" films are (Executive Decision better than Air Force One, but neither very good, and Snakes got so panned I didn't even bother), this has SUCKS written all over it:


Oh, but what the hell. I'll probably be there opening night with a cubic foot of popcorn and a half gallon of Pepsi. 'Cause that's how I roll.

Great Interview!

Many thanks to Zombos for such insightful questions!

  • Zombos Closet of Horror

  • Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Fellow Nominees

    I can't say I've read everything on the final Stoker Ballot, but I would point out these contenders which I have read:

    Jonathan Maberry, Ghost Road Blues (http://www.ghostroadblues.com/). A big, scary book. Nice mix of psychological and supernatural horror.

    Fran Friel, Mama's Boy (http://www.franfriel.com). A smaller, scary book. Some sick stuff, with an ending that's out of control.

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Ghost Rider

    Not as bad as HULK. Not as bad as DareDevil. Probably not as bad as Catwoman or Elektra (though I didn't see those, because everyone said they were so bad). You know what? Probably about as good/bad as VanHelsing. Yup, that's where I'd put it. Solid 2.5 stars. Special effects didn't look quite right, though. Bike was cool. Flaming chain was cool (a lot like Spawn). And what the heck was Nicholas Cage doing in it? And why were Mendes' breasts exposed throughout, when they're not even that big? It just made it seem that extra level of gratuitous. I also didn't like that it was the first movie I paid L.A. prices for (outside of L.A.). Ok, so I didn't feel like asking for time travel to be invented, so I could have those 110 minutes back, and I didn't even feel like asking for my money back. That's how I'd describe it.

    Final Ballot for the 2006 Bram Stoker Awards

    Just announced by the Horror Writers Association! I'm so thrilled! And congratulations to my fellow nominees!

    Superior Achievement in a NOVEL

    Headstone City by Tom Piccirilli (Bantam)
    Liseys Story by Stephen King (Scribner)
    Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry (Pinnacle)
    Pressure by Jeff Strand (Earthling)
    Prodigal Blues by Gary A. Braunbeck (Cemetery Dance)

    Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL

    Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry (Pinnacle)
    The Keeper by Sarah Langan (William Morrow)
    Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon (Five Star)
    The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff (St. Martins)

    Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION

    Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge (Cemetery Dance)
    Hallucigenia by Laird Barron (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
    Mamas Boy by Fran Friel (Insidious Reflections)
    Bloodstained Oz by Christopher Golden and James A.Moore (Earthling Publications)
    Clubland Heroes by Kim Newman (Retro Pub Tales)

    Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION

    Tested by Lisa Morton (Cemetery Dance)
    Balance by Gene ONeill (Cemetery Dance)
    Feeding the Dead Inside by Yvonne Navarro(MondoZombie)
    FYI by Mort Castle (Masques V)
    “31/10” by Stephen Volk (Dark Corners)

    Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY

    Aegri Somnia: The Apex Featured Writer Anthology, edited by Jason Sizemore (Apex)
    Mondo Zombie, edited by John Skipp (Cemetery Dance)
    Retro Pulp Tales, edited by Joe Lansdale (Subterranean)
    Alone on the Darkside, edited by John Pelan (Roc)

    Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION

    Destinations Unknown by Gary Braunbeck (Cemetery Dance)
    American Morons by Glen Hirshberg (Earthling Publications)
    The Commandments by Angeline Hawkes (Nocturne Press)
    The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon)
    Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear by Terry Dowling (Cemetery Dance)

    Superior Achievement in NONFICTION

    Cinema Macabre edited by Frank Morris (PS Publishing)
    Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die by Michael Largo (Harper)
    Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions ofHell on Earth by Kim Paffenroth (Baylor Press)
    Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished byRocky Wood (Cemetery Dance)

    Superior Achievement in POETRY

    Shades Fantastic by Bruce Boston (Gromagon Press)
    Valentine: Short Love Poems by Corrine de Winter (Black Arrow Press)
    The Troublesome Amputee by John Edward Lawson (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
    Songs of a Sorceress by Bobbi Sinha-Morey (Write Words, Inc.)

    Goin' Postal

    I just went to my local post office. The people who work there, and one in particular, are the most surly, nasty, rude humanoids I've ever seen. The one will actually greet me with "What do you want?" But today, there was some kind of regional postal inspector in there, rating her performance. Oh man, was the service different. That woman said "please" and "thank you" to me more times in those two minutes than she had in the previous six years that I've been going in there. I guess when you have a job that consists of being rude to people all day, while getting paid more than a college professor, you really will go that extra mile to try to keep it when it's inspection time. Well, God bless her. At least I got a chuckle out of my visit today.

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Super Size Horror

    Finally rented Super Size Me last night. Not quite Michael Moore, over the top, laugh a minute satire. In fact, he seemed to be trying to do more of a documentary with funny moments. (The guy who's rail-thin and eats 2-5 Big Macs per day, every day, was a hilarious addition.) Though he does lapse into some yellow journalism: I thought the dark, whispering, gasping for breath confessional to the camera (a la Blair Witch) that death could come at any moment, was a bit much. Oh, and the stomach stapling was pretty gross. But certainly an enjoyable film.

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Another Zombie Game

    There sure are a lot of the slow moving monsters in this one:


    Reminds me of the old game BERZERK, except this guy has a nice assortment of weapons (the shotgun is sweet!) but he moves even slower.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    D&D, Part Deux

    A gaming friend sent me back to the anti-D&D site for more "enlightenment":


    Wow. A very detailed criticism. But, see, there is a real difference between "detailed" and "thorough," between seeing the details of something, and really caring to make distinctions, or understand another person's point of view, or concede that someone else might be right. This really comes out when you click the "Catholicism" link on the left of that page, or when you click around some more and come to the sections on "Islam" or "evolution." Double wow. I completely understand why my father grew to hate me because of my Christian faith (though he was as misinformed and bigoted as the creator of the website), when I read stuff like this, and I despair over our chances as a species to survive or thrive (let alone do something as grand and noble as grow closer to God), when I see a Christian thinking that it is God's mission for him that he "prove" that the majority of Christians are not, in fact, Christian. And "prove" that the 2nd largest world religion is even more in error than all those misled papists. And "prove" that science is wrong. I guess I missed those parts of the Gospels (perhaps because so many of my teachers were Catholics, or even [gasp!] Jews). I think my feelings are best summarized by the speech of T. E. Lawrence in the movie version of his struggle against tyranny and ignorance:

    "So long as the ____s fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people - greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are."

    Fill in the blank with any number of groups (yes, the original was "Arab"), and the quotation is just as apt. And yes, yes, I realize the guy on his anti-D&D, anti-Catholic, anti-Islam, anti-science webpage isn't advocating fighting anyone, and I am heartily glad for that, but he does believe that only his "tribe" knows the way to Heaven, only his "tribe" knows God's will. So long as someone thinks that about his faith, then his faith is silly, little, and barbaric, even if (thankfully) it refrains from outright cruelty and violence.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Don't Hate the Playa

    A very perceptive blogger on GOTLD, commenting on some flak I've taken (though overall, I stress, people in the horror community have been VERY welcoming), and also pointing out what a KICK ASS cover the book has:



    I was amused that some gamer dug this up, from the year I graduated high school:


    This was when lots of Christians were talking about how kids were going to start worshiping Satan, taking drugs, and committing suicide, all because of a little role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. Oh, this was before they said kids would do (or had done) the same things, because of a group of loud and scruffy lads called JUDAS PRIEST. Or, oh, wait, before they were supposedly going to do all those things because of a rather well-mannered, hard-working, highly-intelligent young man called Harry Potter.

    And tell me - doesn't the counselor/minister look an awful lot like John Holmes? I mean, 80s hair being what it was, I suppose EVERYONE looked like John Holmes, but I'm wondering if there's some subliminals here as well.

    A truly intelligent and insightful and honest clergyman, The Rev. Dr. Richard Bumpass, who has since gone on to his eternal rest in a much saner place, told me when I first started investigating Christianity, that he was constantly surprised anyone converted to Christianity, when they saw how stupid so many Christians acted. Amen, brother.

    Church Sign

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

    Pimped my MySpace Profile

    And it looks soo freakin' METAL! (Link on right)

    Almost as nice as this page. And the music is METAL!

    Well, almost Monday. Take care, all.

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    More Tips for Writing Horror

    Trying to write these down as they occur to me, mostly for my own reference later, as I think how to improve my own writing. I'm thinking now of more meta issues that go beyond specific stylistic points. And, as always, all of these are things I've noticed as I've been reading as much horror as I can in the last couple months, and as I've tried to incorporate other people's advice into my own (crude and developing) style, so I'm really just thinking out loud.

    1) It's all about plot. I keep reading this one in people's advice, like the action matters most, and I'm not sure I agree 100%, and I can think of great stories where not much happens, but the essence of the insight is that there has to be (at least in a traditional story, I suspect this does not apply as much to flash fiction or experiments like prose poetry) a problem that the protagonist confronts, and that's what drives the story. I guess I don't think of this as being as big of a problem as others, because if you've sat down to write, you've probably thought of what you want to have happen. The problems come when the plot is just too simple, too complex, or too hackneyed. Imitation is a great and powerful tool, but there has to be innovation. And the level of complexity you can sustain, given the size of the writing and your own interests, has to be carefully gauged. Nothing worse than having a very complex plot that just has to be hurriedly resolved at the end, deus ex machina.

    2) It's all about pacing. I think of this most times I see a Hollywood movie. Very important sub category of plot. So many writers seem to think that if one chase is good, ten in a row are really good. One fight is good? Ten must be better. Totally wrong. Several such scenes in a row and the effect is totally lost and you are making scenes that should be exciting into scenes that are, instead, deadly boring. Alternate intense scenes with blocks of dialogue, scenes that work on character and mood, and blocks of exposition. And keep down the total number of action scenes, even if they don't come in a row. You'll get so much more out of them.

    3) It's all about consistency. This is really important on so many levels. Grammatically: if I see shifts in tense, I'm done reading. It's too sloppy and distracting to be excused. Plot details: if someone goes outside one sunny afternoon, and breathes in the cool morning air, then I tune out again, because the author's made me waste time going back to reread what I just read, to see if I had missed something. And then the really big level of consistency: characterization. Characters have to have a very deep level of consistency in their behaviors and beliefs. A lot of writers and movies go against this, as though having a character do random, unmotivated things makes that character complex. Not at all. It makes that character annoying and unbelievable. I see it all the time in Hollywood movies, so it has nothing to do with beginning authors, it just seems to be a temptation when one works on a story (or, I suspect in the case of Hollywood, when movies are written by committee).

    4) It's all about character. This is the one I believe in the most. When I think of all the books I've loved and that I remember vividly, it's always because they are populated with such believable, rich characters. Spend time thinking about, daydreaming about your characters, how they would react in any given situation, their emotions, their values. (And as some writers have pointed out: every character is an extension of yourself, so you know what you're talking about, if you really think about it.) Now, some people go to another extreme and start putting in all kinds of useless details: no, every detail has to serve some narrative purpose, almost none should be thrown in just for "color." And I've been so thrilled when a character does something I didn't expect or plan, but which does, if I really think about and reflect on it, makes perfect sense. That means it's working.

    4) It's all about "meaning." This is another one I really believe in, so long as we take "meaning" broadly enough. I don't mean every story has to have an explicit moral, and those can be quite heavy-handed and distracting, which is where I frequently have to rein myself in, or I'll always add some heavy-handed tag (though that's no reason to eschew morals in stories completely). Maybe "effect" is a better, more general term. You are trying to induce a particular effect in your reader, something more specific than "be entertained" or "spend $10 for my book." You want them to feel "scared," or "uplifted," or "happy." Try to have that purpose in mind as much as possible as you write, to help you as you make narrative decisions and take your story in a particular direction. This also goes back to consistency: stories that mix dark and humorous elements haphazardly and inconsistently don't work at all.

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    New Quiz

    I told you I love these quizzes:


    I knew I'd get stuck with Nightcrawler, when I want to be Wolverine. Oh well, I bet everyone wants to be Wolverine.

    New Interview

    Thanks to John Morehead for posting such a detailed interview with me over at his blog:


    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    Famous People about My Age Whom I Have Outlived

    Anna Nicole Smith now joins Princess Diane and Steve Irwin on this morbid list. It is a little creepy to think of, even for me.

    And if you need to get the full macabre effect, go to http://dpsinfo.com/dps/

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Christianity and Horror - Finally!

    Finally, someone other than myself to talk to. So far, my Christian colleagues shake their heads and walk away when they find out what I'm up to, and my new horror friends think it's so cool that I take their favorite movies so seriously, but they're just not always too sure about all that God talk, as though I'm Flanders from the Simpsons in disguise and I'm going to start thumping a Bible and trying to drive the evil spirits out of their tattooed, multiply-pierced bodies. But John Morehead has jumped right in and started bringing like-minded people together in a potentially constructive way. Check out his blog and some of the others he mentions in his post:


    Another Quiz

    This one more straightforward. Basically tests your knowledge of zombie movies, by seeing which set of attributes you pick:


    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Another Great Review!


    Another great review? I'm sensing a pattern.

    However, I didn't know that writing "f__k" instead of "fuck" was considered such a faux-pas. Well, I guess writing the word out is also considered a faux-pas, so it's kind of impossible to know how to proceed. I do understand the reviewer's hesitations about academic books, and am very glad to have undermined such assumptions.

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    Urbandead - Online Zombie Game

    It's a simple (very simple) text based adventure. Reminds me of old MOOs or MUDs back in the 90s, as the fun is in interacting with people. But, everyone on there is into zombies, so you run around and shoot zombies. Or, shuffle around as a zombie and bite people. And either way, try to stay not-dead.


    I am to be found in the Quarlesbank suburb, locked and loaded and plugging for my books. Fight your way over there and say "Hi." (And it will be a trick if you make it, as surviving the first few weeks as a character is the hardest, as you have no skills or equipment.)

    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Stoker Voting Starts Today!

    GOTLD is in the non-fiction category and I'm nervous and excited.

    Several of the people I recommended have also made it to the preliminary ballot, and I highly recommended their work (again):

    Jonathan Maberry's Ghost Road Blues (Novel and First Novel categories) - a big, creepy book

    Joe McKinney's Dead City (First Novel category) - non-stop zombie killing action

    Sherry Decker's Hook House (Collection category) - really lovely, bittersweet stories of loss and sometimes redemption

    I can't wait. Tell all your HWA friends (if any) to vote for these fine books. And buy one (or more) today.


    Triumph of The Walking Dead