I am very pleased to announce that my short story “The View from the Apex of Civilization” will be re-printed in about a week by Through the Gaps at http://www.throughthegaps.com. Though set in a dungeon of the Spanish Inquisition, the story is an indirect comment on our own society. It is mainstream literature/facetious black humor rather than horror, though it does have a touch of suspense. The story was first published in Mobius Magazine in 2004. Once again, my thanks go out to Benjamin Choi and the staff at Through the Gaps for publishing another of my stories. “The View from the Apex…” will be my fourth story re-printed by Through the Gaps.
Humor for the Day: How to Write Good
I found this floating around Facebook today and thought I would share it. Enjoy.
From Open Culture: Writing Tips from Neil Gaiman, Henry Miller, and others
Here’s the second batch of writing tips from Open Culture. They include tidbits from Neil Gaiman, Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, George Orwell, and Margaret Atwood. Enjoy.
Dump-a-Day: 16 Micro Horror Stories
I have been surfing the net over lumch and ran across this site with 16 fun very, very (micro?) horror stories. Check it out: http://www.dumpaday.com/random-pictures/funny-pictures/short-horror-stories-will-send-chills-spine-16-pics/. Here’s the first one as a quick sample (all were submitted by “Jon” on January 28, 2015):
“Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept. Now that I live alone, it is much more unsettling.”
Horrifying Thought for the Day
The Good, The Bad and The Terrible ; Zombies | The Horror Online
Still more from The Horror Online: The Good, The Bad and The Terrible ; Zombies | The Horror Online.
Hopefully, I will find the time to sit down and write another extensive post, but unfortunately, these days I seem inundated with personal and professional tasks. I try to read when I have the opportunity. When I do have some time free, I have been watching horror films and I have several which I recommend and on which I hope to be writing posts before long. I also hope to establish a webpage for a nascent lexicon of horror.
The Good, The Bad And The Terrible ; Vampires | The Horror Online
Another repost from The Horror Online: The Good, The Bad And The Terrible ; Vampires | The Horror Online. Good stuff.
28 Totally Relatable Quotes About Books
Purely for your entertainment, here are 28 Totally Relatable Quotes About Books. I know I can relate to a lot of them. I’m sure you will find a few for yourself. One reason I find these interesting is because many of them show me how intensely involved readers will become with a book. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I believe that people live a vicarious existence through a story. When we write, we are not just writing a book or a story, we are creating a universe in which people will hopefully want to, not just visit, but dwell. All of the writer’s art should therefore focus on creating a virtual reality for one’s readers. To do that, we need a good grounding in, or at least a good feel for, human psychology, because we have to shape our creations to fit the human psyche. How do thoughts come into being? How do they lead from one to another? How do images form in the mind? No, I am not saying that we need Ph.D.’s in psychology to be good writers, but I think we need some sort of archetypal insight into human nature if we are to be the great writers we hope to be. Darn. I’m rambling again. 🙂
Hilarious Halloween Pumpkin Prank
Happy Halloween! Here is a bit of amusement from The Horror Online to lighten up your day: http://thehorroronline.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/terrifyinghilarious-pumpkin-prank/
18 Literary Pumpkins For A Bookish Halloween
This is cute. See some of your favorite horror-lit authors and characters on jack-o-lanterns: 18 Literary Pumpkins For A Bookish Halloween.
Selections from The Writer’s Home Companion
The other day I happened to find my copy of The Writer’s Home Companion (by James Charlton and Lisbeth Mark, 1987), which I had lost/forgotten some time back. I have been perusing it since and have found several anecdotes on various authors of horror, which had not captured my attention when I purchased the book, because I was not interested in writing horror at the time. I am quoting them below for your entertainment and consideration. They provide a few insights and lessons into the art and business of writing as well as into the lives of writers, if not in the art of horror specifically. If you would like to read more of the book, you can probably find a copy at your local library or half-price bookstore.
“Edgar Allan Poe opted to self-publish Tamerlane and Other Poems. He was able to sell only forty copies and made less than a dollar after expenses. Ironically, over a century later, one of his self-published copies sold at auction for over $11,000.”
“Stephen King sent his first novel to the editor of the suspense novel The Parallax View. William G. Thompson rejected that submission and several subsequent manuscripts until King sent along Carrie. Years later some of those earlier projects were published under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachmann, and one was affectionately dedicated to ‘W.G.T.'”
“Edgar Allan Poe perpetrated a successful hoax in the New York Sun with an article he wrote in the April 13, 1844 edition of the paper. He described the arrival, near Charleston, South Carolina, of a group of English ‘aeronauts’ who, as he told the story, had crossed the Atlantic in a dirigible in just seventy-five hours. Poe had cribbed most of his narrative from an account by Monck Mason of an actual balloon trip he and his companions had made from London to Germany in November 1836. Poe’s realistically detailed fabrication fooled everyone.”
“Robert Louis Stevenson was thrashing about in his bed one night, greatly alarming his wife. She woke him up, infuriating Stevenson, who yelled, ‘I was dreaming a fine bogey tale!’ The nightmare from which he had been unwillingly extracted was the premise for the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
“Amiably discussing the validity of ghosts, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley decided to try their poetic skills at writing the perfect horror story. While nothing came of their efforts, Shelley’s young wife, Mary Wollstonecroft, overheard the challenge and went about telling her own. It began ‘It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the Accomplishment of my toils.’ Her work was published in 1818, when she was twenty-one, and was titled Frankenstein.”
“Edgar Allan Poe was expelled from West Point in 1831 for ‘gross neglect of duty’. The explanation for his dismissal had to do with his following, to the letter, with an order to appear on the parade grounds in parade dress, which, according to the West Point rule book, consisted of ‘white belt and gloves.’ Poe reportedly arrived with his rifle, dressed in his belt and gloves–and nothing else.”
“Traveling along the Italian Riviera, Lord Bulwer-Lytton, done up in an embarrassingly elaborate outfit, acknowledged the stares of passersby. Lady Lytton, amused at his vanity, suggested that it was not admiration, but ‘that ridiculous dress’ that caught people’s eyes. Lytton responded, ‘You think that people stare at my dress and not at me? I will give you the most absolute and convincing proof that your theory has no foundation.’ Keeping on only his hat and boots, Lytton removed every other article of clothing and rode in his open carriage for ten miles to prove his point.”
If you have anecdotes about your favorite authors that you would like to share, please do.
Is someone not telling me something?
Over the last few days I have noticed this sign in front of a sporting goods store in Farmington, New Mexico. This is the same town where I saw the Zombie response vehicle several months ago (if you didn’t see the post, I have included one of the photos below). My question is: does everyone else know something I don’t? 🙂
Here’s the car I saw several months ago a mile or two from where the sign is located. It seems Farmington is getting ready for something. Maybe Farmington is expecting to be the zombie capitol of New Mexico.
The Best Anecdotes Featuring Oscar Wilde
Here are a few delightful bits about the author of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Movie Review: “The ABC’s of Death”
I watched “The ABC’s of Death” about a couple of weeks ago on Netflix. This is a bizarre, mind-blowing film that is not for the squeamish and definitely not for children. Though I had to turn my face a couple of times when the gore and violence becaume more than I could stomach, I found it a fun, fascinating film to watch late on a Saturday night particularly as Halloween approaches.
The link above to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)will give you the vital details, including the following excellent synopsis:
The ABC’s OF DEATH is an ambitious anthology film featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world’s leading talents in contemporary genre film. Inspired by children’s educational ABC books, the motion picture is comprised of 26 individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free reign in choosing a word to create a story involving death. Provocative, shocking, funny and ultimately confrontational; THE ABC’s OF DEATH is the definitive snapshot of the diversity of modern horror. Drafthouse Films, Magnet Pictures and Timpson Films are proud to present this alphabetical arsenal of destruction orchestrated by what Fangoria calls “a stunning roll call of some of the most exciting names in horror across the world.” Written byAnonymous
No matter what your favorite horror subgenre, I would wager there is something in this film for you: from suspense to gore to horror with an outlandish fantasy twist to shock to nudity to humor to…whatever.
One of the most entertaining aspects to me was to see how a director, once given a letter, used his/her creativity to develop a story based around that letter. On the surface, this is easy when one is dealing with a common letter like “M” (murder of course springs to mind immediately or mayhem) or “H” (for hell, horror, etc.), but what do you do with “Q” (“Q is for Quack” was my favorite) or “Z” ? Just watching creative genius at work was a blast for me.
Though I watched it on Netflix, if it was out at theatres, I would say pay full price on a Saturday night to see this. It is a great date movie–so long as your date has a taste for the bizarre.
The Zombie Response Mechanized Division
Based on my site stats, one of my most popular posts has been the one on the local Zombie Response Vehicle. What has been mind-blowing to me, is that “zombie response vehicle” is one of the most popular search terms people use to find their way to my humble blog. Out of curiosity, I went to Google images to see what other zombie response vehicles I could find. The results were even more mind-blowing. There are a LOT of zombie response vehicles out there. I heartily recommend a quick search to see what turns up. In the meantime, I have posted a few of the most interesting ones here. I have tried to limit my selection to ones you are most likely to see on the street (as opposed to artists’ conceptions, corporate advertising, antiquated military vehicles, etc.), with a few exceptions that I thought were too funny to pass up.
Trivia for the Day: Horror, Humor, and Flatulent Demons
If you would like a short trip to the weird side of the horror news, follow the link to a law article about a case in Romania in which a couple sued four priests for failing to rid their home of flatulent demons: Romanian Religious Malpractice.
It’s interesting what you find when you search Google images for “Lovecraft”.
Cartoon of the Day
Though not actually horrific in itself, I thought this cartoon might have special meaning for aficianados of horror, suspense, mystery, or of speculative fiction in general. Enjoy.
Have a Walking Dead Easter!
Our friend Alyssa Milano from B&J’s Pizza in Corpus Christi, TX posted these on Facebook. They were too delicious not to share with the world. According to her the eggs were brought by the Zombie Easter Bunny. 🙂 Have a Walking Dead Easter!