Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dreaded Language of Academese

I had to reject an essay for an academic journal, and am reminded how badly grad school teaches people to write. Never mind the stylistic shortcomings of a particularly stilted, artificial prose. That's bad enough, but you can probably unlearn it. More deadening is that the process teaches you to *think* wrong too - or think less clearly and in a less interesting, lively way. Not that my thought processes are firing on all six cylinders or doing anything that great, but I guess I always had certain intuitions (i.e. "This is interesting" or "I wonder what would happen if I did this?...BZZZT! YOW!") and didn't let other people's paradigms or convoluted thoughts derail me into what THEY were interested in (which I might not be). I can remember learning to count syllables and label the meter of a line of poetry (and I'm sure I could relearn the technique quickly enough if I had to) but I never let that really affect my enjoyment (or lack of enjoyment) of a poem. So much of what is called "scholarship" seems to be a dry, complicated, pointless little intellectual game or puzzle, and I can understand why people get turned off by it and think it's useless - because when it's conducted that way, it is!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

So Many Reasons to Hate Transformers

As reported, here's another:


Personally, I just hate Michael Bay's visual and auditory rape of me in my theater seat, but to play around with racial stereotypes from the 1920s? Yeah, we can add that to the list.

It's an interesting issue, and one I thought about a lot as my kids grew up on Disney flicks. But (and please forgive me for defending Walt), although the stereotypes were often pretty blatant, I thought there was often some sense of balance there. In other words, the black-stereotyped hyenas in Lion King were balanced by the effete, British-accented Scar. Most balanced of all were the very Sambo-like crows in Dumbo (made in 1941, BTW), who end up helping the little elephant, while the evil lady elephants all sound like old, white biddies from the country club.

Well, anyway, I like Disney flicks, and I hate Michael Bay movies, so maybe I'm just being swayed by my prejudices based on other criteria to overlook the racial element in Walt's old stuff. (No, I'm not going to give a defense of Song of the South; I never watched any of Disney's live action anyway.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Interview

I like this one, as it's more about Dante than me!


Thanks to John Joseph Adams at Tor.com!

Big Announcement?

Now I'm told it might be a while before we can announce! GRRR!

But, in other news, Marriott emailed me (finally) and said they are "addressing" the issue!

"Addressing"? as in "Tough luck, you bunch of horror weirdoes!"

or, as in,

"Oh, we're so sorry! Let us give you lots of free stuff so you'll come back!!"

Still waiting!

And in the meantime, you know what I need? A rich, eccentric benefactor. I'm thinking a cross between William Randolph Hearst and Howard Hughes. Maybe he could live in a giant dirigible, slowly circling the Andes? Or maybe in a secret lair under an active volcano? Either would be swell, so long as he pays me to write my novels!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seen at Price Chopper...

I saw a shopping cart rolling quite purposefully by itself in the supermarket. It did not appear just to be going downhill, but actually swerving here and there. I thought, "Hmmm, haunted shopping cart?" Then I thought that would be the kind of story that the genre's worst author would spin out into 2000 words of incoherence, all the while giving us updates on how great it was going to be and how we'd all be sooooo jealous of it.

Boy, haven't really thought of him lately. Way to go, shopping cart!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thoughts on Iran

OTOH, it's all too complicated and intractable, I suppose.

OTOH, it's all as simple as it is tragic and ironic.

Thugs hired by aged clerics shoot peaceful protesters who are chanting "Allah akbar!" [God is Great]

Leading me to believe, once again, that

God is the Ultimate Source of all freedom,
though some of the most vocal believers in God are some of the worst enemies of freedom.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Zombies at The American Prospect

Basically sound article.

And anything taking our favorite monster seriously is A1 in my little book!

Father's Day Goes Deep Underground a la Francaise!

Though the sun peeked out in the late morning, I just thought it was raining too much for Wild West City to be much fun. So I chose this classic upstate tourist trap

Under a hill NW of Albany!!

I think it was the first cave I went to when I was a kid, and I was hooked. Ever since then I've gone to everyone I could talk my parents into, and then subsequently, my spouse and children. (No, never did the lighted helmet, crawling on your belly type spelunking, just the regular tours.) But seeing it now - wow, that is a small, modest cave. Not a lot of drama there, compared to some others. (Though I guess now I have to go back to those and see if my memory is hazy as well.)

Then dinner at this fine establishment, which I discovered last fall at Albacon.

So, really nice!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Politically Incorrect Father's Day

I think I'll choose to go here -


That looks like fun, not quite as big a commitment as Six Flags, and as you know if you were following the composition of my next novel, Closes at Dusk, I try to patronize such dying tourist spots of the 50s and 60s.

Though, come to think of it, perhaps Father's Day is intrinsically politically incorrect - celebrating fatherhood? Patriarchy? Yeah, might as well go to a place that celebrates guns and Manifest Destiny while I'm at it.

No, actually - I just like 50s kitsch. I really do. You're not going to get me to apologize for that.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Big Announcement!

Has to wait until it's "official." But wow, it's pretty cool!

Rewatching KIMBA!


I'm gonna say I watched this faithfully from... let me see... 1972-1975, on WDCA Channel 20.

And I'd post a pic of Capt. Tonga, as the uber hot, sort of proto-Baroness, dominatrix I fell in love with...

But I can't find a single online image of her!!!

But, ahem, anyway...

If you take out all the ham fisted narration ("And thus we see how the civilized people are really barbaric, and the wild animals are really peaceful ...."), it's still kinda nice.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The rules are simple.

Buy any of my books between now and AUGUST 31. My Permuted titles are available online at any retailer. VALLEY OF THE DEAD is available at Horror-Mall.com.

Send proof of purchase to ValleyoftheDeadContest@hotmail.com

On AUGUST 31 I'll draw a winner who can choose -

A copy of Dying to Live, or Dying to Live: Life Sentence



Have fun! Good luck!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Home at Last!

I think there were a few other tagged photos when I got back, but so far this is the cutest.

Had a great time with my horror friends, and with film director and best friend, Bill Lebeda.

Dread Central Reviews VALLEY OF THE DEAD!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stoker Winners

Congratulations to everyone!

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL
DUMA KEY by Stephen King (Scribner)
Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL
THE GENTLING BOX by Lisa Mannetti (Dark Hart Press)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION
MIRANDA by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION
“The Lost” by Sarah Langan (Cemetery Dance chapbook)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY
UNSPEAKABLE HORROR edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder (Dark Scribe Press)
Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION
JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King (Scribner)

Superior Achievement in NONFICTION
A HALLOWE’EN ANTHOLOGY by Lisa Morton (McFarland)
Superior Achievement in POETRY
THE NIGHTMARE COLLECTION by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Too Busy Having Fun

After the early afternoon of wandering with Vince and Nanci,  the evening was taken up with shmoozing and noshing!

First, the mass signing at Dark Delicacies.  Tons of people, though some didn't make it because of continuing heavy weather in the middle of the country. I finally met Joel Sutherland and Michael Calvillo and Corinne de Winter, as well as newcomer Peter Cline, who's a swell new author with a story in The World Is Dead. Del took some copies for the store, and paid on the spot, which is always a treat. 

Then it was off to dinner at Octopus. It was a competent but not exceptional sushi bar. Or more precisely, the food was spotty. Gyoza and yellow tail were to die for, but the spider roll was blah, and the eponymous octopus was a little tough. (The surf clam, however, was remarkably tender.)

Then I was introduced to this other strange substance, which, like bubble tea, can be found around here, but I had not heard of it before last night. Hopefully, like bubble tea, I'll now be able to track it down in NY, as it was a pretty awesome experience.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Zombie Facts!

In Burbank!

Signed the copy of GOTLD at the local B&N and snap-happy Vince and Nanci took pics!

Then ate at this incredible local establishment - 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I Just Put the Ralph's Tag on My Keychain!

And removed the tiny knife and bottle opener I usually have on it!

That can mean only one thing!

I'm getting on a plane to BURBANK, CALIFORNIA!!!

Raining Hard

I hope my basil and tomato plants like it!

I remember the first time I stuck a tomato seedling in the ground. The thing grew to about 4' with little or no care on my part, and no knowledge of how to care for it, should it need it.

No, I take that back: I did notice slugs, and looked up what to do about them. I enjoyed putting out the little saucers of beer. I figured that was a pretty nice way to go, too, by slug standards.

I was 11 or 12.

Since then, no success. Though I've only tried a couple times with plants in containers.

Here's hoping this time will be different!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Zombie Command

Really great interview!


Several unusual questions this time. I think the lads have read some Dante at some point, which is really gratifying!!

Go Florence!! The place, not the gal or the TV character (though I forget who the TV character was - a waitress?).

Humanist Plus Zombie-ist

A two-page essay on the undead in H+ magazine!


With a reference to D2L! Yay!

World Is Dead Cover!!

Check it out!

By up-and-comer Christian Dovel, who's done several Permuted covers.

Friday, June 05, 2009

And for the Brian Keene Fans!

Another way to spell the eponymous former label of the famous blog!!

I saw that bus stop sign today!


Go vegans!!


Embarrassingly small con, I must say!

Smaller than last year (which I thought was kind of small). In addition to small side rooms for films and mass autographings, there was one central room, about a third of which was taken up by the stage and seating. The rest of the room was dealers' tables, but only about 3/4 of those were rented (they tried to talk me into one 2 weeks ago, so they must've been desperate, but not desperate enough to offer a discount, so to hell with that), with some prominent tables taken by annoying non-horror people. (The cell phone people were uber obnoxious.) The whole thing seemed geared to the ultra fanboy, who was coaxed to pay a couple hundred so he could go to the head of the line to fawn on Guillermo Del Toro, Tom Savini, Tobe Hooper, and Dario Argento, for a few seconds each (an aspect of fandom I just don't get).

But with a $5 coupon and lunch at a cheap thai place on 9th avenue, it didn't dent my wallet too badly.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Another Self Published Success Story!

I know! There aren't many!

But I found one today, when looking for some free stories I used to read online.


Tucker Max.

Read his stuff? Raunch to the nth degree. Funny in small doses.

If I'm reading the Amazon entry correctly, self-published in 2003, now with a major publisher in 2009.

Don't know if that's supposed to be an inspiration to the rest of us, or make us want to kill ourselves. It's all in how you look at it, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

#2 at Horror Mall!

VALLEY OF THE DEAD is the #2 preorder at Horror Mall!


Second only to the indomitable Brian Keene!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Dread Central Interview

A great one!


Thanks to Scott! A couple unusual questions in there, as well as the kind of standard ones.


Triumph of The Walking Dead