YouTube Video: Edgar Allan Poe vs. Stephen King in Epic Rap Battles of History

After how many years of doing this and watching YouTube, I have finally found that I can post YouTube videos here. I hope to be using them for a lot of my Saturday Night Specials. These will be a lot easier for me to post than writing an article or copying and pasting a story. It should make things more entertaining for you as well. Tomorrow’s Saturday Night Special will be an animated version of “Dagon” by H.P. Lovecraft. Be sure to join me for the fun. I will explore other media I can include in my posts as well and bring the blog into the 21st century. This newly recognized capability intrigues me. I may make a few videos of my own and post them here. You will finally be able to hear my voice.

So let’s start this off with a fun video.  Epic Rap Battles of History: Stephen King vs. Edgar Allan Poe.

Epic Rap Battles of History is one of my favorite YouTube channels. They square off famous figures from a wide variety of fields in rap battles like the one you are about to see.

Let me know what you think.

I apologize for any commercials, but that’s YouTube. You should be able to wait them out or skip them if they are over five seconds long.

 

“Diabolical” Free Today on Amazon Kindle for the Autumn Equinox, September 22

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free today on Amazon Kindle during the Autumn Equinox, September 22.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Giveaway in Celebration of Stephen King’s Birthday

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free September 21, 2018 to celebrate the birthday of the master of horror, Stephen King.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Giveaway in Celebration of Stephen King’s Birthday

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free September 21, 2018 to celebrate the birthday of the master of horror, Stephen King.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Giveaway in Celebration of Stephen King’s Birthday

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free September 21, 2018 to celebrate the birthday of the master of horror, Stephen King.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Giveaway in Celebration of Stephen King’s Birthday

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free September 21, 2018 to celebrate the birthday of the master of horror, Stephen King.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Free Today, August 26, on Amazon Kindle

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free on Amazon Kindle today, August 26.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Free on Amazon Kindle for Halloween

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free on Amazon Kindle during Halloween, October 31.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Free on Amazon Kindle for the Autumn Equinox, September 22

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free on Amazon Kindle during the Autumn Equinox, September 22.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

“Diabolical” Giveaway in Celebration of Stephen King’s Birthday

Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge will be free September 21, 2018 to celebrate the birthday of the master of horror, Stephen King.

You can get your copy by going to my Amazon author’s page.

Jack Thurston is a retired professor of medieval literature and history. He is also a widower and father and a retired sorcerer who has returned to the black arts to exact horrifying revenge for the death of his wife, daughter, and brother. Jack has an intriguing position in the universe at a focal point of life, the afterlife, logic and reason, anger and hatred, the ancient and the modern worlds, grief and his attempts to escape grief through self-destruction. Though he wants to have the peace he once found with his wife, Agatha, he is pulled in many directions by circumstance and by his powerful negative emotions.

Currently, Jack has a Twitter account (@jthurston666), where he has attracted a small following and where it has only recently been revealed that he is fictional. Jack has his own blog at jackthurstonblog.wordpress.com (a work in progress) and his own e-mail at jackthurston666@gmail.com. Information on more social media accounts and other characters (as they are developed) can be found at: philslattery.wordpress.com. Please interact with him at any of his social media accounts as you would with a real person.

Check back frequently.  More giveaways are coming in the near future.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Watching Stephen King on YouTube

This evening I have been working on the second edition of Nocturne with YouTube playing in the background.  Currently, I am watching “Stephen King, His Books, and Their Origins at Lisner Auditorium (published on Nov. 22, 2014 by Politics and Prose).   I always love hearing about the origins of a writer’s works and King touches on several briefly followed by a reading from Revival.  The most interesting part I have seen so far is his comment that he thinks plots are for weak writers.  He follows his characters, so to speak, and doesn’t have an idea of where a book will end, so its ending is a surprise to him.  Quite an interesting video.  I recommend it.

Observations on the X-Files: Redrum, Season Eight, Episode 6

Relaxing by the front yard firepit on a chilly New Mexico evening circa 2013.

Relaxing by the front yard firepit on a chilly New Mexico evening circa 2013.

I recently purchased seasons  8 and 9 of the X-Files to complete my collection of the entire series.  As you can note above, I am up to episode 6 of season 8: Redrum.  No, it’s not based on The Shining or the famous line that sprang from there.   This is a completely original script and I think one of the best X-Files.   Why am I mentioning a Sci-Fi series in an article that should be about horror?  This article is about good writing, whatever the genre.

I will endeavor to avoid spoiling the story for you.

As we all know, “redrum” is murder spelled backwards.  This story is about a murder, but the alleged murderer finds himself traveling back in time to the day of the murder with the knowledge of how to prevent it.

I find the plot’s basic concept fascinating.  A prosecutor (and friend of Agent Doggett) wakes up one morning to find himself in prison for the murder of his wife, about which he remembers nothing.  As he is transferred to another facility for his safekeeping, he is assassinated.  However, at that point time starts to flow backwards for him.  Each morning he wakes up another day in the past (first he wakes up on Saturday, then on Friday, then on Thursday, etc.).  With each day he learns a bit more about his predicament until finally he wakes up on the day of the murder and he has an opportunity to prevent it.

Unexpectedly traveling back in time is not a common theme, but it’s not rare either.   I have to ask myself how Maeda and Arkin came up with the idea for this episode.  Maybe it was based on amnesia;  someone can’t recall his crime or immediate past and has to learn about it bit by bit, day by day, as the prosecutor does here.  Maybe it arose out of a philosophical question such as “if we could travel back in time, we could change our future but would the ultimate destination be the same and all we change is the route we take to get there?”   Maybe it was a thought that most stories show a protagonist going back in time to a certain point in time and then returning to the present; what if going back in time was not one big step, but several little steps.  How could we change our lives in that case?   What if as we traveled back in time, we knew as little about the past as we do about the future?  We wouldn’t be able to convince those around us that we are traveling back in time, because we wouldn’t know any history to prove our story.   They would believe us to be insane.

The whole scenario intrigues me.  One man goes back in time for unknown reasons while the rest of the world around him proceeds as normal.

I have to ask myself what their creative process was.

This scenario opens up so many questions and possibilities.   I love its originality.    If you haven’t seen it, I recommend renting it as soon as possible.

We never find out what causes the protagonist to travel back in time.  Like in a Stephen King novel, paranormal events happen out of the blue and at random.   But according to Lovecraft’s theories of weird fiction, not knowing the cause/origin of a horrible event, makes the event more horrifying, because the event could happen to any one of us at any time.

A common principle of writing is “to suspend belief” (some say “to suspend disbelief”).   In stories like this though, it is the natural laws of the universe that are suspended.    Everything else, all the world/universe surrounding the event. is quite believable, which emphasizes just how weird the event is.

The story was written by Steven Maeda and Daniel Arkin. A quick search in Imdb shows that Steven Maeda has an extensive list of credits as either a writer or producer for such television series as X-Files, Lost, CSI:Miami, Helix, Lie to Me, and many others.   Likewise Daniel Arkin has an extensive list of credits as a writer or producer for such shows as X-Files, Suits, Las Vegas, Alias, Medical Investigation, and others.  I will have to watch for more shows with which either one is involved.

Thoughts?  Comments?

Selections from The Writer’s Home Companion

Edgar Allan Poe, circa 1849

Edgar Allan Poe, circa 1849

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 at Comicon, 2007 Photo by Penguino

Stephen King
at Comicon, 2007
Photo by Penguino

“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 Portrait by Girolamo Nerli  (1860-1926)

Robert Louis Stevenson
Portrait by Girolamo Nerli
(1860-1926)

“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.”

Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, First Baron Lytton Portrait by Henry William Pickersgill

Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, First Baron Lytton
Portrait by Henry William Pickersgill

“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.

Questions?  Comments?

Poets and Writers: Authors on Short Stories

By chance, I surfed my way into Poets and Writers online today and was very fortunate to fall into their videos of “Authors on Short Stories”.    I was pleasantly surprised to find that perhaps the author who is the subject of many, if not most, of the videos is Stephen King, who answers questions, discusses the craft of writing short stories, and reads from his works.  You should not miss his talk on the difficulty of writing short stories and the trickiness of writing novellas.  There is also a video with comments by several current short story writers on the difficulty of writing short stories, which echoes Mr. King’s comments on the difficulty in writing short stories.

I was surprised, though I probably shouldn’t have been, to hear Mr. King talk about the artistry of Raymond Carver in writing short stories.  I have read one collection of Carver’s short stories (Where I’m Calling From) and they are nowhere near the horror genre, though they are great examples of mainstream literary storytelling as an art form.   

Mr. King’s point about Carver’s stories is that he was a master of keeping stories short, which Mr. King finds difficult to do.  He says that he often starts a story and before long it is ballooning into a novel.   Raymond Carver had a great ability to keep his stories very short.   As I mentioned, I have read a Where I’m Calling From and all the stories in it tend to be very short.  I am guessing in the 2,000 -5,000 word range at most.   Although I tended to find them boring at the time I read them in the mid-eighties, I have to admit that when I look back on them now, I am amazed at the depth contained in each.

Though I am only a fledgling writer with few stories to my credit, I am already learning that I share one thing in common with Mr. King:   I find that I often start writing a short story and before I am very far along with it, it balloons into a potential novel, of which I have about three or four that I work on from time to time.   In fact, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I have started exploring the distinctions between short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels, because so many of my planned short stories are developing into novelettes and novellas.

It is amazing how a story seems to take on a life of its own and grow whether you want it to or not.  It is very difficult to keep a story to within a limited number of words.   King mentions that this is one thing at which Carver excelled.  As I said, when I read Carver’s stories, I found them boring.  But now that I am pursuing the craft of writing much more seriously than I did then and I  reflect on King’s statement, I can appreciate the enormous difficulty Carver must have had in keeping his tales so compact.  I am only now starting to appreciate Carver’s artistry.  I should probably go back and read more of his works just to better my own writing.  I guess I am maturing in my art.

However, just because this post is turning out to be longer than I had intended does not mean that I am maturing in my art.  It just means that once again I am being longwinded and that I have a tendency to ramble.

If you have a chance, it would be worth your while as well to check out the works of Raymond Carver.  Though he is not an author of horror, he has a lot to offer to the study of writing as an art.

Thoughts?  Comments?