wednes: (Irate typist)
I have a terrible track record when it comes to media and popularity. What I mean is, some of the new shows I hear about...I think are the most disgusting and offensive ideas ever. And then they become huge hits:

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (stereotype much)
The Biggest Loser (surely people know that's unhealthy and fake)
Storage Wars (strangers fight over cherished possessions of poor people)
American Idol (mostly that beginning part where they mock sincere people)
Dancing with the "Stars" (who the hell cares if Ben Nye can dance?)

That doesn't even get into reality shows that exploit families with any sort of unusual traits. Too fat, too skinny, overwhelming amounts of kids, poly, weird religions, dwarves, rednecks, whatever, or things like Prime Time wife-swapping. I'm terrible at determining what kind of things will be popular, and what will be scorned. That's also why shows I like so seldom make it past 3 seasons.

With all that in mind, it's probably good that the new project I'm embarking on feels somewhere between an unholy terror and a colossal waste of time. Cut for complaining ) I've begun so many projects thinking, "Okay, this is the thing that will get me noticed," but then it isn't. Even bearing in mind that there's really no tipping point where people go from nothing to SUCCESS, I have to think there are stages at which large amounts of new people take an interest in the work.

The new project is at the Radish app. It's new around here, but has been popular in Korea and Japan and thereabouts for a while. They publish serial fiction in a whole bunch of genres. They said they were looking for horror writers, but that's not even an option yet on their site. So we shall see...
I'm publishing chapters weekly in a serial format. I get paid based on readership, which is not really the important part. It's a way to reach a new audience and get some new fiction out there, which I haven't been doing much of in favor of commission work and paid media stuff. New chaps will go up every Wednesday (see what I did there?).

What's the story? I'm so glad you asked.
But I'm not telling you except that it will feature a revolving cast of regular people and their interactions with Max, a guy who looks normal but is actually an employee of Hell.
Yeah, that Hell. ;-)
H has been a bit of a stressbag since they changed his work schedule.
That means I had to do my own cover design, which I'm not great at.
They also don't allow words on the covers. This is what I ended up with.
View post on imgur.com
wednes: (Stephen King)
I'm going to preface this by saying that of course people have different tastes in movies and books. While I do sometimes feel judgy toward people that defend literary or live-action garbage, I recognize that this is a shitty trait I should continue trying to shake. People are allowed to like whatever the hell they want. That's not the point I'm making here. With that out of the way...

What do horror writers and fans think they're accomplishing by talking shit about Stephen King? What is achieved by insulting the work that inspired so many people to pursue the genre, and writing in general? Even if you weren't personally influenced by King, someone you were influenced by was.
Do you think you're being edgy or outside-the-box by pretending that Carrie isn't a good novel? Or that you felt nothing when reading Pet Sematary? Or that The Shining didn't scare you ever, at any point? I'm not saying people are wrong for not having King on their top-ten lists or whatever. But this bland "I don't see what the big deal is about Stephen King" bullshit has to stop. When you say that, you're revealing your own ignorance far more than you're making a statement about King and his work. Besides, it's not possible to dislike everything he's written--unless you haven't read enough.

Until Daniel Craig happened, I did not give half a rat's ass about James Bond. He's basically what a 12-year-old boy thinks it's like to be a spy. I've not read the books, but the movies are silly and campy and don't seem to realize that they are. But I understand that it's a wildly popular series and that people have strong love feelings for it. I can also tell the difference between something being objectively bad, or simply not being to my taste. Bond films are simply not what I'm looking for in a film.

Stephen King is like The Beatles. You can't possibly dislike all of it. There's too damn much. And it's all so different. I Wanna Hold Your Hand and The White Album are worlds apart. Come to think of it, I haven't even read all of King. I haven't touched any of the Dark Tower stuff (no pinkie wags please), and never got around to the JFK thing. The point is that there's so much King work, much of which is not even horror. Don't believe me, read Eyes of the Dragon to your (older than toddler) kids.

King's work isn't perfect. I'm not here to say that it is. He's got that "magical negro" problem. Most of his sex scenes are basically the same. He's got a clear bias against fat people. One could argue that he has a definite formula, but must also admit that he changed it up after a time. His wife characters are often interchangeable.

Admittedly, I'm one of those people who came to love and understand horror because of Stephen King. I was a kid when Salem's Lot and The Shining and Carrie came out. One might argue that 9 was too young to read such things. But fuck that. Letting me read whatever the hell I wanted is one of a very small number of things my mother got totally right. We also watched almost whatever we wanted, horror wise. That's how I got to see Alien and Fulci's Zombi at the drive-in. But I digress.

Rage. I get why he wants it out of print, because actual school shooters had actual copies nearby when they actually killed people. But dammit. If we're really gonna ban every book people use to excuse horrible deeds, the Christian Bible should be ripped off shelves tomorrow. If I was ever gonna direct a short based on a King story, Rage would definitely be the one. And yes, I know it's technically a Bachman.

Those early collections of King's shorts are practically a class in how to tell stories. How to reveal information to the reader for the most impact. How to let readers identify with someone in a very short amount of time. When to use 1st person POV versus 3rd. Stuff like Strawberry Spring and I Know What You Need and The Man Who Loved Flowers inspired me in ways I didn't even notice until I started publishing my own horror stories.
They don't call him the Master of Horror solely because he sells a lot of books. There's more to it than that. Read Danse Macabre, or On Writing (easily the best book ever on the craft, regardless of your genre) and then tell me he hasn't earned his place in both horror history and literary history in general. How can you know anything about horror at all and not know that?!?

Ya wanna fight about it?
Let's Get It On.
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
Like most horror fans, Creepshow has always been high on my list of fave horror movies. I love the cast, the camp, the gruesomeness, and that hilarious dub where it's super obvious that Adrienne Barbeau called Emily Vanderbilt a cunt. Hahahaaha.

H and I watched an awesome documentary about it recently. Apparently, it was on the UK DVD reissue that never actually came to this side of the pond. That's bullshit, BTW. Because then I had to download it on the grey market. Shame on me!

I have always thought of the middle story, Something to Tide You Over as being about revenge zombies. Ted Danson "steals" Leslie Neilson's wife, so he buries them both in the sand up to their necks so they can drown slowly when the tide comes in. It really is masterful suspense and drama. Over-the-top performances make this essentially two-man piece (the chick is mainly a prop) a thrilling watch no matter how many times I see it.

So...In the documentary, Savini refers to these characters as "ghosts." I must say, it never occurred to me to even consider that these might be ghosts. That's probably because Creepshow is Romero and Savini, who are just naturally associated with zombies. Stephen King has done both zombie and ghost stuff (and in-between stuff like 'Salem's Lot, which is technically vampires--but ones that are highly shambly and zombie-like).
It is true that the zombies/ghosts suddenly appear on the other side of rooms, just behind the guy they're tormenting. That can suggest ghosts more than zombies. I had always presumed that revenge zombies are inherently magical, so they could just do stuff like that. Now I wonder if my willing suspension of disbelief is overactive. Probably not though, because watching the Arrowverse is one long exercise in repressing my inner cries of "Shenanigans!"

I ask you, horror fans and cineasts, are they zombies, or are they ghosts?
Do you have an immediate reaction to this that differs from your thoughtful one?
I hate the idea of disagreeing with Savini about his own work (which is funny, considering how often I want to tell Nicotero to go fuck himself), but I'm just not seeing what he's seeing.
What say you?
wednes: (Go Crazy?)
I finally finished the first season of Stan Versus Evil. I like it a whole lot.

This is strange.
See, the show is very much Evil Dead-flavored, but I still like it anyway. Trying to put my finger on exactly what I like about it that I hate about Evil Dead.

Maybe it's just because I adore Dana Gould.
Not sure, but I'm stoked for next season.
wednes: (Stabbity)
I haven't blogged in a while. To be honest, my thinker has been a little cloudy of late, and I'm slowly working it all out via the printed word. Can you even bear to hear someone else prattling on about what they think Drumpf is teaching us about America? No? I don't blame you. Feel free to skip this post. For the rest of you...

The U.S of A. has the biggest and most well-funded military in the world. War is where much of our technological advancement comes from (though good old capitalism is no slouch in that arena), and where most of our discretionary income goes. If one argued that military spending was a drug, America would be long overdue for an intervention--we've become beyond obsessive with being well-armed. OVER armed, I think. Ready for anything, even though we're not really ready for things like say, a biological attack. Readiness is a lie, and most of us know that.

Still, as Drumpf loves to point out, we have a YUGE and impressive military. We could fuck up pretty much any country we wanted, especially if we didn't give a crap about loss of life (evidence suggests that we don't). We've used our military to topple democratically elected leaders in other countries. We've armed terrorists who were actively fighting their governments and killing law-abiding citizens. Saddam Hussein wouldn't have had two sticks to rub together if it weren't for us. We've used our military to torture people, and to hold suspects illegally and without charge or counsel. In much of the world, not only are we not "da best," we're not even the Good Guys.

We've all listened to most of what Drumpf has spouted as his ideas for foreign policy: building a wall, keeping out members of one religion, killing terrorist's families, carpet bombing nations we have not declared war on, and even using nukes. Reasonable people can agree that he shouldn't drive a car, let alone be given nuclear codes. And yet, it could happen. If too many people vote 3rd party and split the rational vote, it could happen.

If another country elected a dumbass maniac tire fire like Drumpf, one who threatened to kill our families and banish those of a religion they didn't care for--what would we do? Remember, we're a people who think a cashier saying "Happy Holidays" is being oppressive, and that Occupy Wallstreet protestors deserved to be beaten and pepper sprayed for "not having jobs" and "blocking the street." So I say again--what would we do to another country who elected such a hateful, disgusting, sexist bigot who threatened war crimes as an opener--and was still voted to the highest office in the land???

Seriously. What reason would they have NOT to invade us, attack us, remove the despot from office? If Drumpf was elected president, the rest of the world would have good reason to bomb us back to the stone age. It would suck, but we'd deserve it.
wednes: (Wednes Logo)
Probably the question horror writers get asked the most is "Why Horror?" When I interview people, I ask it too. The answers reveal as much about the author as they do about the power of horror itself. No lie. I've been thinking about my earliest introductions to horror, and how I always sort of knew I would always be a horror fan. I've narrowed it down to a few, which are presented in no particular order.

1. Sir Graves Ghastly. Sir Graves was the Detroit host of scary movies on Saturday afternoons. If I was home on a Saturday at 1pm, you could always find me in front of the TV, waiting for Sir Graves to show a black-and-white horror movie. If I wasn't home, I was complaining loudly that I was missing Sir Graves. I saw King Kong, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Brain that Wouldn't Die, Them!, something about a woman who could change into a cobra, and whatever else he had for me. Sir Graves read birthdays (and said one year that I had a cute name), showed drawings kids sent in. Once I sent him a giant ceramic skull that was a bank. He opened it on the air. No footage of this exists, which is true of most of Sir Graves broadcasts. They were tossed out like a bunch of S1 Doctor Who episodes. But I always loved Sir Graves--and eventually got to tell him so when I got his autograph when I was about 12.

2. "How to Care for Your Monster" by Norman Bridwell (the guy who also made Clifford the Big Red Dog). I loved this in particular because it looked at the Universal Monsters in a new way. Horror AND Comedy?!? The idea boggled my 2nd grade mind. And I wanted a Frankenstein's Monster soooooo bad.

3. Jaws. I was 4 when trailers for Jaws started running. I begged my mom for a Jaws poster from the grocery store, which was put up on my bedroom door. However, I had so many nightmares that ended with me waking up screaming, my parents finally took it down. Even the trailer gave me nightmares. This was long before we had a VCR, so I didn't actually see Jaws until they showed it on TV. I couldn't fully explain then why I pursued something that gave me nightmares, but I didn't care. I wanted it.

4. 'Salem's Lot. This made-for-TV Tobe Hooper movie scarred many kids my age for life. Not only is it terrifying, children are not safe from The Master (who in this movie is a silent Nosferatu type). The kids get vampirized, and go on to vamp-up other kids. I hadn't felt so personally targeted by a horror movie ever--and frankly didn't again until Silence of the Lambs featured a killer who specifically went after fat chicks. Reading 'Salem's Lot, while awesome, never scared me as much as watching that movie did. I've seen it a billion times and it still makes me jump when Anchorman's boss gets it, and again when Danny Glick sits up in his coffin.

5. The Oakland County Child Killer. A local murderer with a highly unimaginative name (though some called him The Babysitter), this guy was on the prowl for kids my age in my neighborhood for a few years in the 1970's. He was on the news constantly, everyone was talking about him. At one point, my mom told me that my biological father might have been the OCCK. That's not true, but even if it were, that's an insane and horrible thing to tell a child. When I delivered school newsletters to the houses on my street (literally, my route was 3 blocks long), my mom followed me in her car to make sure no one stole me. So I grew up being told daily that a death by kidnapping was imminent. Again, this is something you'd think would repel me from horror, but it didn't.

6. Night of the Living Dead. I've talked at length about this. It scared the hell out of me, and still does. When I have zombie nightmares, they're often about no one believing me that we're all in danger, that the undead are coming, that we need to prepare.

7. Psycho. A movie about a killer mother who turns out to be about a matricidal son? What's not to love? This movie stuck with me not so much for the shower scene, but because I was so totally taken in by it. I responded exactly as Hitchcock wanted me to, at every turn. The novel is a very different sort of story, because Norman is a very different guy. I talk a lot about this in my Bates Motel reviews.
wednes: (Eclipse)
As you know, my fiction writing has been minimal since I started writing for a living. Not that I would change anything, but I feel decidedly unmotivated after a few hours of work-writing, to sit and write any fiction. But that's lame. That's stupid. And I need to do better.

Still, I'm in a new anthology that you can (and totally should) buy Right Now! It's called "Not Your Average Monster" and contains stories by plenty of up and comers. For only $2.99 it's an utter steal.

My story, "Raja" is one I've written years ago and that can also be found in audiobook form as a podcast. That's got a pretty excellent cast and some great music too.

In other news, being a book producer is a pretty cool gig--or would be if it weren't for needy clients. It's allowing me to do cool things and buy cool stuff. With that in mind, I invested in a fake Pandora bracelet and some fake beads. Obviously, the Pandora bracelet thing is a huge scam where you pay $40-$120 for a plain bracelet and between $20-$300 for each friggin' charm and bead. I got the bracelet for $8 and a slew of beads and charms that totaled about $35. Some from Amazon, some from etsy. Will post a pic when I get it put together. Yeah, I'm a chick. You wanna fight about it?

We finally went to Secretary of State to renew my "driver's" license. You should all be frightened by how easy it was for me to convince the state that I'm cool to drive. An eye test that literally took 15 seconds. No driving test (I took one of those in high school, then never again), not even a written test. They asked me if I had any blackouts or memory lapses, and took my word for it. Really?
I mean, really?
wednes: (NaNo Runner)
The NaNoWriMo is upon us once again. I haven't won it in some time. My first year was 2004. I played and won for five years in a row. And before you say "writing is not a game you play," let me assure you that the NaNoWriMo can be as much a game as you make of it. Little bursts of productivity as you compete with smug strangers for hourly goals, stalking the forums with much clucking and head shaking, and the timeless wily game we fondly call Procrastination. But yeah, I'm doing it again this year, and I fully intend to win. Behind right now, which is why I'm blogging instead of writing--even though that makes no sense.

I've already drafted much of the novel that I'm working on. For now, it's called The Second Funeral which is catchy evocative, I think. As I write a new first draft (so called because I'm making so many changes), I have no idea what the theme of this book is yet. That makes it harder to write because I'm focusing on arcs, plot, and character instead of on theme. What is theme to me? It's the reason people should read the book. The theme of A Stabbing for Sadie is that a) you never know someone else's story, and b) it's wrong to murder people no matter how right, how justified, how fair and balanced you may think it is. The theme of Kiss Me Like You Love Me is that a) we're all full of shit to some degree and we owe each other far better than that, and b) some people never fucking learn. The theme of The Finster Effect is that a) one day all the daily bullshit we deal with is going to go to hell--then we'll be left with the people we are and the choices we make, and b) humans don't know what the hell they're doing, and are doomed as a species.

As far as I'm concerned, if my books don't have a compelling theme, a valid and vital message--then they're a waste of everyone's time. Just typing that out worries me. I fear that I sound like an elitist jag (which, if you're new around here, is something I constantly struggle with). Plenty of people write books without a life changing theme, and that's a totally valid and personal choice. I read books like that, and I rarely come away with a feeling that I've wasted my time. In some ways, I feel like I owe it to the horror genre to elevate it to more than knives and monsters. Then I wonder if horror gives a rat's ass what I feel. If horror loves me as much as I love it, it's keeping a tight lid on that shit.

Somewhere between the 2nd edit, I tend to have that "Aha!" moment where I realize the real-world significance of the book I'm writing. That makes it easier to edit the fuck out of the draft, and then write a 3rd (or final, depending) draft. The one I send out to beta readers. I usually end up cutting a ton of stuff out, tightening all of it, and adding more about things and people who should have gotten more focus initially.

Without a theme, it's hard to know where anything is really supposed to go. Until I figured out the ending of Kiss Me Like You Love Me, I had no idea how it was supposed to end. Once I had a theme, it was clear that it could only end one way. Tough luck, Character!

I guess my main point here is that the new book doesn't have a theme. I can tell you who the main characters are, and basically what is happening. But I have no idea what it's "about." So please don't ask. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.



In other news, Deep Blue Sea is on cable this month. One of those movies that I know full well is terrible and has no connection to logic or science. I must admit though, I find it highly compelling as a film to have on when I'm doing other things. It has a great cast including Samuel L Jackson and Thomas Jane (a blonde, American James Purefoy if you will) along with Aida Turturro, Michael Rappaport, Saffron Burrows, and LL Cool Jay. H and I saw it on a date during those brief months after we were a couple but before we started living together.

Holidays

Oct. 17th, 2015 09:08 pm
wednes: (Go Crazy?)
Today is Sweetest Day, which I completely forgot.
Was going to cab it over to the mall to get H a pressie, but it's football Saturday, which I also completely forgot. I could not possibly care less about football, except that it makes me want to leave the house even less than usual. Drunken crowds, you know.

Halloween is coming up, and I have no plans. Bummer.
If you know of any cool events that I'd be welcome at, do let me know.

Started Xmas shopping. H is probably getting mostly books and movies, candy, socks, and a T-shirt of some sort. If this new gig works out, I might also be able to buy him a small drone. He would have tremendous fun with that.

Thinking that my birthday party will be the Saturday after Thanksgiving, as per usual. I never know if it's gonna be a huge party or a tiny one. Thinking about making a coconut cake with a chocolate ganache. That would be tasty.

Had given up on getting a regular writing gig I applied for, but then I heard back from them. The work seems pretty straight forward and the pay is good. So I'm stoked about that. Also have a new short story I've been noodling for a few weeks now. Looking forward to getting that drafted before the NaNoWriMo starts. Oh yeah, I'm doing the NaNoWriMo this year. Go me! ;-) Who else is playing? Be sure to add me as a writing buddy.

Movies have and will watch soon:
Green Inferno
The Visit
Knock Knock
Honeymoon

I should probably start working on my list of horror for the year-end wrap up for Geekbinge. American Horror Story is going well, BTW. By which I mean the show itself, and my reviews. South Park commenters at the new sites are often shitty and mean, and make personal slams when they disagree with something. But AHS fans comment about the show, the references, and horror in general. Speaking of TV, Simpsons is having new Halloween eps two weeks in a row. They're totally embiggening the whole season.
wednes: (Go Crazy?)
I quit ArticleCats this week. Nice people there, but I've had 4 editors in the last 8 months because they all either quit or get fired. Lamesauce. Plus, my assignments there were boring, and the pay was too low.
Got offered another geekwriting gig. But again, not enough money for the work they're asking me to do.

It's not that I'm unwilling to write geekery for a low base wage. I am. But I only have so many hours a week to devote to stuff I don't make a decent wage from. Three reviews a week for peanuts is quite enough.

The new business venture H and I are doing is working out well. I've helped a handful of authors with getting their books formatted and ready for publishing. H is awesome at graphic design. So now we're hiring ourselves out as a full-service team for people trying to self publish. We edit, do layout and formatting, design covers and internal graphics, and offer marketing consultation. Our hourly rate is competitive--lower than many other places that do the same thing--yet still a wage that makes us happy. So that's been great.

If you haven't checked out http://thehorrorwithin.com/, you should totally do so. We've got tons of great content up including great FREE fiction, an array of incredible art, reviews for movies, books, and TV, plus a lot of extra horror features. I'm thrilled with how well our staff has risen to the occasion, and with how great everything is going. I'd love to see more fiction subs. And I'd love for more authors to contact us about hyping their horror books.

Here's some fun news: I'm doing the NaNoWriMo this year. I haven't done it seriously since the aughts, so it's totally time. I have enough free time (is there really such a thing as "free time"?) these days, and a story that needs working on. So I'm prepping that now. Wish me luck! Um, unless you hate the NaNo, then don't.

Finally watching the Democratic debate. What strikes me the most after watching the GOP debate is that *this* is a stage full of politicians debating issues. It's fucking tragic to think that the most impressive feat of the Democrats might have done thus far is to not descend into a sea of prideful ignorance and playground insults. Even if Trump wasn't running, the GOP would still be a total shitshow. I'm still feeling the Bern, but everybody except Webb was fairly impressive.
wednes: (Default)
On a huge "She Wants Revenge" kick after the Hunger-inspired killy group sex scene in the AHSH premiere last night. Not a bad ep, but as usual, seeing everyone complain about how much they dislike the show (that they somehow keep watching in the 5th year) is equally fun. I can't imagine hate-watching a show this fun, but to each their own, I suppose.

Was delighted to see that Kevin McCarthy (no, not the good one from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and UHF and such) is no longer trying to be Speaker of the House. Seems that if you hate gays, think women are stupid, and loathe the immigrants you hire to do the shit you think is beneath you, the only thing that can make the GOP hate you is you giving up their plan. So yeah, telling everyone that Benghazi was just a long con to discredit Hillary was never going to go his way. Even though most of us knew that already. Still, it's terrifying to think that John Boehner is the lesser of many evils in that instance.

BTW, I saw a few people making jokes about Boehner's orange face and not knowing what's up with that. Kids, Boehner is an alcoholic--the sort that drinks all day. When some people drink, they get red in the face. That makes it really obvious that they're stumbling around wasted, which is still considered unbecoming of a congressman--even on the right. Hence, the orange face that makes the red accents less obvious. You're welcome.
wednes: (AB/Waffle Man)
I do the overwhelming majority of the cooking around here, since H can only cook bachelor food. His fave meal that I make is chili, because I am the ace at it. I think my chili con carne is so good, that I'd enter it into cookoffs if they happened anywhere near me. But I'm certainly not schlepping my chili and fixin's down to Texas. I hear it's hot and racist down there. ;-)

Tonight though, H wants his second favorite meal--which is abbreviated thanksgiving. I take a whole mess of veggies and mix them with a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing. Add chicken stock and bake--serve with gravy that came out of a jar. That's right, a jar. You wanna fight about it? Sometimes I mix in some ground chicken, but today I'm keeping the ground chicken on the side for portion control. Meat is expensive, you know. With it, we're having green bean casserole. H friggin loves green bean casserole--and like many African Americans, he had never heard of it as a kid.

This is a discovery that I made in my adult life--that the Campbells cookbook from 1968 didn't make it out of middle-class white neighborhoods. When H and I first got married, H's grandmother asked me for the recipe after having it at her new church. She was the 3rd or 4th black person I knew who had never heard of it, despite being part of casserole culture. As far as I knew--if you knew about tuna casserole, you should also know about green bean casserole. Not so, though.

Like most people, I make personal adjustments to my green bean casserole. I always use frenched green beans out of a can, and more mushrooms than the recipe calls for (I loves mushers). I use cream of chicken mushroom instead of regular cream of mushroom. I also add sour cream and a healthy couple of shakes of Kraft parmesan. No fresh foods to be found, really. I stir it twice during cooking. Then of course the crunchy onions--which H would put on everything but breakfast cereal if he could.

In other news, my short story, "Raja" has been accepted by an anthology called "Not Your Average Monster." I had a feeling it would be a good fit for them if they liked it. I did a lot of work on this one before submitting, since another pub (that folded before they could publish it) made me edit it down to absurd proportions. So I'm pretty stoked for this fleshed out version to be getting some ink. Yay!
wednes: (OMG!!!)
I'm doing a really, super good job of not freaking the hell out even though at least 3 hatchling centipedes have come out of our bathroom faucet in the last 2 days. I dismissed the first one as a random fluke--at H's behest. That's after screeching like a little girl, obviously.

I am most displeased.
H promises that he is taking care of it, which I guess means purification by fire (my idea) will be a backup plan.

Maintenance around here is usually hardcore weaksauce. But this time something will be done or we will move the hell out of here despite our intense poverty. I'd rather stay at the friggin shelter than deal with venomous insects breeding in our goddamn water supply.

As a horror writer, this is the sort of thing I would never include in a story because it seems cartoonishly horrific. Now that I'm living it though...I might have to.
In the mean time, I'm going to continue my quest for calm.

Goings On!

Jul. 30th, 2015 08:03 pm
wednes: (The Horror Within)
The Horror Within website is up and running. There will be wee improvements as time goes on. The slider is missing, but will be up soon. Of course, we'll be adding tons and tons of content as we get it.

We'll be featuring art, novel excerpts, short stories and interviews as they roll in. I'm waiting to hear back from a few interviewees, and for some feature writers to get their first articles in to me. The site looks great thanks to the hard work of Rich, our web guy, and Hollingsworth, our graphics guy.

Peep us, if you dare!

I'm looking to take on some new projects as well. Some paid, some not. I applied to write for Bloody Disgusting just so a few more people can hear me rant about horror things. I'm also looking into a few more writing and editing gigs--I predict that some of them will require a pen name. I think I need to tell people why Z-Nation is a lot more fun to watch than The Walking Dead.

Coming up for GeekBinge, I'll be reviewing the new Sir Pat Stew show: Blunt Talk. Then not much until American Horror Story comes back. A lot of my GB shows are no longer on the air: Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, The Following, and I refuse to watch Under the Dome anymore, because fuck that shit and the cow it split in half. Not sure what else I might like to review. Maybe one of the new SyFy shows.

Been brushing up on my Espanol of late. It's much worse than I remembered it being, which I guess is not a huge surprise. My vocab is weak and my verb conjugation is worse. But dammit, there's no reason why I should only speak one language. I'm pretty smart and certainly have enough time to do a few minutes every day. If I can pedal with those stupid pedals, I can surely do this.
wednes: (The Horror Within)
The new site for The Horror Within is almost ready. Now that the foundation has been laid, it's just a matter of adding final graphics and organizing everything the way it needs to be. Then getting all the staff accounts ready. Oh, and I'll need some fiction to share with readers. Sad times, because I can't pay anyone yet. We'll be accepting reprints and actively seeking new authors. Plus I want to have novel chapters and interviews with up and coming writers and artists. That'll be good stuff!

My blood sugar has been kind of high. I was gonna buy an exercise bike, but found out that it's way cheaper to just buy the pedals and use them with a regular chair. I'm not really one for the fitness training. But something about having a sitting down job and sitting down hobbies has made me lazy as hell. So I'll be working on that, now that the pedals have arrived.

Going to the glasses emporium tomorrow to get an exam and new spectacles. I hope they have some I like. Our insurance went from awesome to lame, so the out-of-pocket promises to be hefty. I'll be sure to post a pic.

Having family visits next week, and some in July too. I hate having new people over to my apartment because it's such a filthy shithole. I really need to shampoo the carpets, but that's kind of a major and expensive undertaking. Plus, our vacuum, which we've had less than a year, is already making a terrible smell and not picking anything up. Fie!

Jaybird

Jun. 7th, 2015 06:56 am
wednes: (Milk & Cheese)
You know how ever since I started writing for a living, I haven't written much fiction at all?

Well, I went through some unfinished short stories tonight, instead of going through the Netflix selections--which is what I usually do on a Saturday night, because I are old. Of the four I went through, two of them actually fit together into what could very well be the basis for a new novel. Another of them came together in my mind so brilliantly that I sat down and spent what amounted to four hours drafting the whole damn thing. It's about 3,300 words.

It's called Jaybird. It's gruesome, unnerving, and scary. I also think it's highly truthful with an unexpected ending. I enjoy the way information has been parsed, and I enjoy the voice--though it will probably get some fine-tuning in a few days. Need to let it sit for a bit while I cleanse my literary palate with other things.

I'm more pleased with myself than I probably should be.

But, you know...take THAT, Guernica!!!
wednes: (Zombie B&W)

Picking Brains with Wednesday Lee Friday: Joshua Hoffine.

Hoffine has a Kickstarter going on RIGHT NOW that can land you some sweet new art.


Joshua Hoffine is a Kansas-born artist with a degree in English Literature. He worked as a professional wedding photographer before moving on to do work for Hallmark, and has been commissioned for publicity photos for various rap artists including Tech N9ne. His current works often utilize themes of children in peril, and quintessential human fears like spiders, clowns, and monsters lurking just outside your field of vision. His own four daughters are the perfect subjects, natural and photogenic girls whom you don't doubt for an instant are truly terrified.

Artists who work in the medium of horror have a hard time of it. Unlike web comics that get passed around with gleeful abandon, horrific art is something that comes on you slow. You have to really look at it, think about it. And it's unlikely to wind up taped to your cubicle or hung from your fridge with a decorative magnet. Still, there are some truly exceptional artists with a passion for examining mankind's most pervasive fears. Luckily for us, one of those geniuses has consented to answer some questions just for us.

WLF/ZZN: Let's get this out of the way: Of all the emotions an artist can choose to evoke, you've chosen fear. Is that because you secretly loathe humanity?

I do not harbor a secret hatred for humanity. I find Horror to be a compelling genre. Horror is psychological, existential, and inherently metaphorical.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us a bit about your relationship with the undead. When did you first become aware of zombies?

I saw NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD when I was 12 years old. Upon reflection, I'm very grateful that this was the first zombie movie I ever saw. When my daughters asked to watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD, I insisted that they watch NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD first. (WLF Note: Yay!)

WLF/ZZN: I think it's awesome that you terrify children for the sake of art. That alone is delightfully horrific. Can you reassure your fans that no children were harmed in the creation of your amazing work?

The children featured in the photographs are my own daughters. Other family members play the monsters. The girls are never frightened. For them it's like a big game of dress-up.

WLF/ZZN: Your work is often a single frame that evokes a story. How are you able to say so much in one still photo?

I choose a moment that will offer the possibility of suspense, and then I will often try to suggest a specific sub textual meaning through my production design. Michelangelo Antonioni called this 'symbolic mise-en-scene'.

WLF/ZZN: Many, if not most zombie stories feature undead kids. What do you think it is about zombified tots that is so damn scary?

On some level, they represent the ultimate unruly child, beyond control or discipline, bent on violent and destructive behavior.

There is also the tragedy inherent in child mortality.

Distorting traditional icons of innocence and life, and rendering them as lifeless (and soul-less) - pushes a deep button in most people.

And for some reason, people respond to diminutive sources of threat - spiders, rats, parasites, the dwarf monsters in PHANTASM, and children. Small can be scary.

WLF/ZZN: Your work features varied monsters, both real and fictional. What inspires you to choose a subject?

I look for universal ideas, or cultural iconography, that we can all relate to.

WLF/ZZN: Many horror artists assert that the horror genre still doesn't command the respect it deserves. Do you agree with this? If so, what can be done about it?

I do agree. I am on the very fringes of the art world, and my choice of subject matter is the primary cause. I hope to continue to illustrate and discuss the potential depth of the genre. Films like PAN'S LABYRINTH and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN shine as exemplars of what the genre is capable of.

WLF/ZZN: Who in the wide world of horror inspires you the most?

It's a tie between Mario Bava and Walt Disney.

WLF/ZZN: You've spoken about your emphasis on the psychology of fear. I'm guessing that you're a Jungian. Am I right?

Yes I am. I believe that Horror functions as a projection of the repressed and forgotten fears lurking in the Unconscious mind. I study Jungian psychology partly to better inform my ability to explore and exploit this psychological process in my work.

WLF/ZZN: Your work clearly illustrates some of our most primal fears. What do you see as the value in confronting people with the things they are most frightened of?

Part of my motivation is to show how we are all afraid of the same things.

I also believe that Horror provides a sanctified space for the expression of repressed feelings, such as terror and rage - which is beneficial and necessary - for both the individual as well as society.

WLF/ZZN: How do you think your intimate relationship with monsters and fear will improve your chances of surviving a zombie uprising?

Absolutely. Horror films remind you that life is dangerous - they keep you on your toes. Horror films teach you what not to do in a crisis situation. For instance, you know from countless slasher films that you never go out into the dark woods alone to investigate a weird noise or search for a missing friend. That's just an obvious way to get yourself killed.

WLF/ZZN: After zombies, clowns are probably next on my list of creepy things. As such, "Balloons" is freakin' terrifying. What is it about clowns that frightens us so?

According to child development psychology, young children are easily frightened by distortions of the human form or human face. Clowns fit this bill perfectly. If you see your first clown at a very young age, you are likely to remember them as frightening.

WLF/ZZN: "Pickman's Masterpiece" differs from much of your work in that there are five frames instead of one. It is also based on a Lovecraft story. Can you talk about the process of creating this awesome piece?

Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine asked me if I would be interested in creating 5 images to illustrate an H.P. Lovecraft story called PICKMAN'S MODEL. I read the story and fell in love with the character of Pickman, a brilliant but ostracized Horror artist. With only 3 weeks and $300 to work with, I chose to focus on the moment in the story when Pickman reveals his masterpiece to a visitor in his underground studio. I found and re-dressed 2 different basement locations to serve as my backdrop. I talked Chad Michael Ward into donating some of his photographs to double as Pickman's artwork. I borrowed everything I needed, including easels and painting supplies, and talked my friends into helping me.

I enjoyed spreading a scene over 5 images. I may do more.

WLF/ZZN: What are you working on next?

Either a child-eating plant or a horde of spiders coming in through the window.

WLF/ZZN: How can fans contact you and buy your work?

All of my work is available for purchase on my website at http://www.joshuahoffine.com/ using PayPal. Signed original prints start at only $25.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Anything you'd like to say to the fans?

Thanks!

(WLF note: Pics used in this interview are NOT complete versions of Mr. Hoffine's various works. They cropped and altered for space and so as not to give away the goods. The best way to see Mr. Hoffine's amazing work is to head over to his website and order some for your very own.)

wednes: (The Horror Within)
At the Delonis shelter in Ann Arbor, homeless people have to take a drug test before they can be admitted. If they can't pass a test within three days, they don't get to stay and work the program. However, if the weather is below 20 degrees F, anyone can stay in the sitting room so nobody freezes to death--even if you can't pass a drug test.

When I was learning this in the training classes for volunteers, the instructor couldn't remember if it was "20 degrees or below" or "twenty degrees below." Finally she reasoned that 20 degrees below zero was absurdly cold--in fact, we all had to think hard to recall if we'd ever been in a place where the temperature was literally 20 below, not factoring for wind.

Well kids, when I checked the weather at 5am this morning, it was 27 degrees below zero. And all I could think was, that shelter has got to be fucking packed.

In other news, the Kickstarter for The Horror Within is slow going. I made a new video in the hopes that it explains who we are and what we do a little more clearly.



We have 20 days remaining, so please do tell everyone you know about it--especially writers, horror fans, rich people with money to burn, and budding philanthropists.
wednes: (Default)

 Zombie Zone News is delighted to be privy to the thoughts of Thomas Newman, director of the instant zombie-stoner classic, Bong of the Dead.  Billed as a $5,000 Zombie movie, Bong of the Dead had a presence at the Cannes Film Festival, and was lauded by such authorities as Tommy Chong and Rue Morgue Magazine. 

 

WLF/ZZN:  Hey there!  We're so excited you could answer our Q's.   I'm sure some of our readers are wondering, what exactly is a Bong?

Well…a BONG is basically a pipe or device that one can use in order to smoke marijuana.  Some people who are serious pot smokers actually take pride in their bong collections. Some Bongs are hand blown glass with intricate hand painted colors and chambers that make the whole social pot smoking activity more fun. I used to collect Bongs and had over 150 different bongs from all over the world!  (WLF note: Kids, don't try this at home!)

WLF/ZZN:  Do you feel there's some kind of cosmic correlation between zombies and fans of marijuana?

I think three’s an even bigger correlation between fans of entertainment in general and pot. Lets face it anything you do straight just feels much better on pot! When we go to concerts to movies or anything else that’s supposed to be fun to begin with, we (those who smoke pot) usually enjoy it even more with pot!  (WLF note: See previous note.)

 WLF/ZZN:  Novelist Christopher Moore has asserted in his novel The Stupidest Angel that zombies have no interest in eating the brains of potheads.  Seriously, how relieved were you to hear that?

I have not read Christopher’s book but did hear that they are currently working on a movie for this concept. I think its bullshit to say that zombies are not interested in the brains of those who smoke pot! I know a lot of people who smoke pot including myself who are a lot smarter than those who don’t smoke pot. Besides a zombies hunger is driven by the smell of the living. They have no way of distinguishing whether a person smokes pot or not. At the end of the day we are ALL just meat! 

WLF/ZZN:  The Bong of the Dead trailer seems to suggest that there will be benefits to be had in the event of a zombpocalypse.  Isn't that dangerous thinking?

I’m the type of individual that likes to try and find the positive in any situation. Just because the world ends and zombies have taken over does not mean that has to be it. I like people who can take a bad situation and make the most of it. This is the reason why I wrote the Edwin character as a high functioning creative pot smoker. I guess I wrote myself into that character just to flesh him out even more.

WLF/ZZN:  What are the advantages of featuring stoners as the main protagonists?

The definite advantage of that in a comedy film is the fact that it allows you to write whacky scenes and dialogue that is genuinely funny and acceptable. BOTD is supposed to be a fun movie with unique characters that allows you to escape without being bored to death with too much seriousness. I believe having Edwin and Tommy as our stoner leads helped keep a good balance of that. Especially when they meet up with our more serious character, Leah Kroaker. 

WLF/ZZN:  The trailer features a tough, sexy chick who knows how to shoot and does not appear to be getting anyone a sandwich.  Can we assume then, that this story is fiction? 

LOL I really enjoyed writing Leah’s Character as this inventive, tough no bullshit type of girl. She is a more modern girl of the 21st century who has no time for being vulnerable. I think it’s nice to see a woman take the power roll in a situation where us men usually are expected to step up. It’s also nice to get a break as a man and have your woman do some ass kicking for you for a change! 

WLF/ZZN:  Your film played at the Cannes Film Festival.  Was that as wicked awesome as it sounds?

Well I had my sales agent go to Cannes to represent the movie since I was staying back to do the Vancouver showing. Because of BOTD’s appearance at Cannes I was able to secure a sale for Australia! That means my movie is now going to be released in The Netherlands, Benelux, Luxemburg and Australia. I’m expecting a big marketing push and release for October of this year. 

WLF/ZZN:  What was the reception like? 

People genuinely loved it and distributors as well as other festival representatives from all over the world also liked it enough to ask for DVD screeners from my agent for their up and coming festivals.

 WLF/ZZN:  Does marijuana come into play in your own zombie defense strategy?  Do you consider it to be part of any well-stocked hidey-hole?

If zombies ever took over the world I would definitely grow fields of marijuana and find ways to get the zombies to work my fields for me! What better substance to have for future medicine as well as leisure escape?

WLF/ZZN:  Please tell us about the casting process.  What impressed you most about the actors cast as Tommy and Edwin.

The thing that really impressed me about ALL my cast and crew was the fact that they understood the commitment I was asking of all of them and they gave it! It was a tough 15-day shoot where I would soak them from head to toe with blood at 8AM each day then we would shoot until 10 PM that night. The whole time I would have to soak them again and again to make sure my continuity was perfect. They were devoted to the project 100%!

WLF/ZZN:  Simone Bailly has mad Sci-Fi cred, and is one hot tomato.  I don't really have a question there, just pointing it out.  Wouldn't you agree?

The reason I cast Simone was because of her eyes before anything else. I met her on the set of Stan Helsing a film that was EPK Producer on and she was a stand in. The second I saw her and it was not even up close but rather form a distance I immediately thought to myself that she was Leah! I wanted someone with sexy cat like eyes that would pull you in the second you saw her. Simon Bailly is a true professional who brought so much to the film with her talents and her vibrant beautiful screen presence.

WLF/ZZN:  Is Canada considered to be a zombie-friendly country?  I would guess the brisk weather would make zombies stay fresher longer. 

Canada is definitely great for zombies because of the constant cold and rainy weather we have, especially in BC! Also if there was ever a mass zombie attack here, we would not be short on weed let me tell ya.

WLF/ZZN:  I understand that there are marijuana loving bears in British Columbia.  Do you think these ursine creatures would operate in concert with zombies, or against them?  (this is what I refer to here: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/canadian_marijuana_bears_wake_up_with_the_munchies.php )

If the bears were high on weed then it could go two ways. On one hand they would be really sluggish and therefore easy to get eaten by a horde of zombies. On the other hand they would have a bad case of the munchies themselves in which case the zombie would be the ones in trouble. It could go either way.

WLF/ZZN: What have you enjoyed most about promoting Bong of the Dead?

What I have enjoyed the most about promoting my movie is the fact that the world has accepted it! It’s a tough thing to pour almost 4 years of your life into something, sacrificing it all then exposing yourself to the world. Lets face it audiences are spoiled today with all the dazzling multi million dollar effects that they get to see in so many films. You do a film for only $5000 and you’re going against major studios its nerve-wracking! I’m just happy that fans and critics all are loving my movie!

 WLF/ZZN:  Where can fans go to see this film?  Is there a DVD release forthcoming? 

Currently Vancouver fans or anyone close to Vancouver BC can see it again at the Rio theatre in Vancouver on August 19th then maybe again on October 9th! I'm trying to 4 wall my movie so if any other regions want to see the film then I would love to hear about it because I will bring it to a theatre near you! Also it will be available in Europe on DVD in October. I'm still awaiting domestic distribution which means it will soon be available in the US and Canada.

Really?

Oct. 31st, 2014 12:08 am
wednes: (Jack Mocks)
That hilarious moment when someone who SWEARS they don't have your Email password and would NEVER use it to intrude on your correspondences pops a friggin gasket at the fact that Email passwords have been changed.

Um, how do you even know I changed it if you weren't trying to use it?
Dumbass...
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
This week's ZZN reprint is from Danish director Casper Haugegaard.  I loved this little film.  



Casper Haugegaard is the director of the newly released film, Opstandelsen (AKA The Ressurection) I found this to be an awesome little Danish chompfest, and I enjoyed it very much.
ZZN was fortunate to interview the film's lead actress, Marie Frohme-Vanglund last winter. She shed plenty of insight on the film, and on her character, Esther. As if that isn't awesome enough, now Casper Haugegaard relates some production stories, and we learn that it can be tricky scrubbing blood off a church floor.

But that's no surprise to ZZN readers, eh?

WLF/ZZN: Who are your favorites, and/or least favorite purveyors of zombie pop culture? I could name a few. There wasn't really any particular zombie films that inspired me to do Opstandelsen. I love horror and gore, and that's what I initially wanted to do with this film. Zombies just seemed to fit the story that I wanted to tell, perfectly.

WLF/ZZN: Please tell us about something unexpected that happened during filming. A lot of unexpected stuff happened, and a lot had to do with our extensive use of film-blood, plus the fact that we film shot the film in a real church. The first couple of weeks of shooting were supposed to be in the church. But after doing a very chaotic and gory scene inside the church we accidently left a small stain on the floor, which got us banned from shooting there ever again. We still had at least a week worth of shooting to do there. That really made things difficult for us as we now needed to change a lot of things. We had to go on shooting the underground scenes without knowing if we would be able to finish up the project, which was pretty stressful. When all underground scenes were shot, we still hadn't done the ending in the church. Then all of a sudden after begging the church for ages we were allowed to come back and use the church for two nights to finish it up. But this was like a third of the time we needed to do the scripted ending, so we had to think fast and alter things to fit our timeframe. So the ending might seem a little off to some people, but I really love how it turned out!

WLF/ZZN: What scene turned out the best in your opinion? The ending for one. But I'm also quite fond of the sermon in the beginning of the film. It really gets you in horror mode before the film unleashes the zombies and gore. And Hans Maaløe is one evil g*ddamn preacherman. But also some of the more violent and gory scenes works really well I think. The gory gags are so fun to do and it's amazing to watch something done in the simplest and cheapest way, turn out great.

WLF/ZZN: The film has a wonderfully unique setting, the underground scenes in particular. Is there a story behind your choosing, and gaining permission, to shoot there? When I started scouting locations for the film I just began to check out every cellar around me. And I found some pretty rough and dirty locations in places where I didn’t really need to gain permission. We were a tight little crew on the film, consisting of two or three people besides the actors. With a little crew like that it's easy to go and shoot unnoticed. So we actually didn't always bother asking for permission as we were going to soak everything in blood.

WLF/ZZN: Some of the blood spatter—especially on the actor’s faces, looks painstakingly applied. Did you have a particular philosophy with regard to the make-up and special effects? I just wanted the blood-spatter on the actors to increase throughout the film. Most of the time I did the blood-spatter on the actors myself because it was so much fun to throw blood at them. Every single day of shooting I covered them in this sticky, smelly, homemade blood-mix and they really hated me for it. So later in the shoot when I had to do my zombie cameo, the actors couldn't wait to do the blood-spatter on me. In terms of the gore and special effects I really wanted to do everything as old school, down and dirty as possible. No CGI blood spatter or anything like that. Horror films these days tend to overuse that stuff and just doesn't look good, no matter how well it's done. Even on big-budget films gory CGI gags look like crap. So I'm glad we stayed clear of that and did everything the old fashion way.

WLF/ZZN: Kunzen, the German composer wrote a famous oratorio that shares a title with your film. Coincidence, or inspiration? ...flat out coincidence.

WLF/ZZN: George Romero is insistent that zombies are regular people reduced to base instinct. Agree or disagree? I'm not fond zombie films explaining to much about what zombies are, and Romero for one tend to do that too much. In the case of "Opstandelsen" I guess the take on zombies is more in a spiritual sense, and my zombies are maybe a bit more demonic then they are "humans reduced to base instinct". But there's really no explanation for the zombies in my film and you never really get to know that much about them. I think the zombie is interesting to use in telling a story and it's an amazing concept to use when doing a story about Christianity. But I only needed them to be there as a background terror throughout the film, I didn't want to do a film "about the zombie character" as I think that is a general mistake a lot of zombie-directors make.

WLF/ZZN: What are your feelings on having Opstandelsen dubbed into other languages for DVD release? Bring it on! I would love that. As long as the subtitled version is available I don't mind a dubbed version being out there as well. We'll see what happens, but for now people in the US will have to settle for a subtitled version on the Danish DVD release.

WLF/ZZN: Are you dedicated to the horror genre? Not really. As much as I love horror and gore, and as much as I really enjoyed making Opstandelsen, I also want to explore a lot of other things. To do another horror film like Opstandelsen isn't something that appeals that much to me right now. But some day I might get back to it.

WLF/ZZN: What is next for you? I'm doing music videos these days, toying around with a lot of different styles and trying to do some interesting stuff. And then I just started writing a feature film that people should be able to enjoy in a couple of years. Very exiting stuff! If folks are interested in what I'm up to they should join me on FB.

WLF/ZZN: Thanks so much, Casper. And thanks for the badass film.
wednes: (Zombie Cart)
I've been doing Wednesday Reprints of my old Zombie Zone News articles since they can no longer be seen on the site. Taking a break from interviews this week to reshare my article detailing why I hate The Evil Dead--especially when everyone assumes I must love it.



I hate The Evil Dead: Explained, because you asked for it.

As a life-long zombie fan from the great state of Michigan, I am met with varying degrees of surprise when new friends learn that I loathe The Evil Dead movies—and indeed, all of Sam Raimi's horror. "Even Army of Darkness?!?" they say in feigned hipster shock. Yes, 'fraid so. People have been asking me to explain (read: justify) this for at least 20 years now. I wanted to explain it, but I honestly didn't know—until now. This might end up being more about me than the film itself, but hey, you asked. See, I don't just "dislike" Evil Dead. I loathe it. I've reached a point where I'm pissed that people praise it so highly, love it so much—especially when the most gung-ho people aren't even zombie fans. "The Evil Dead" is kind of a silly title if you think about it—akin to The Mean Murderer or Bad Men We Don't Like.

Until my preparation for this article, I hadn’t seen the original Evil Dead in over 15 years. I remembered it as tritely scripted, horribly acted, rife with ridiculously bad dialogue, and generally shitty overall. It was also advertised as a zombie movie, which it really isn't. On the off chance that I asserted this, I would typically be met by—let’s say vigorous disapproval. Eventually I became perplexed, suspicious that there must be something I was missing. The disagreement was SO strong that I doubted the veracity of my hatred—even Stephen King has admitted liking The Evil Dead.

"But…it's terrible," I'd say, referring to the aspects of the films which are…you know…terrible. And here's the thing—no one disagrees that Evil Dead has horrible acting, is poorly written, has amateurish special effects and makeups that are lit far too brightly, and is generally stupid. Everyone concedes these points. "But, you don't understand--they had so little and did so much," they bray. What I gather from that is that I'm supposed to love the movie because they took the time to make it, and it was hard. It's probably hard for Uwe Boll to make movies, but the fact that he did so isn't enough to make me go. I'm not falling for THAT again. Now that YouTube exists, we now know that movie making is not some elusive skill that only Kubrick, Fincher, and Hitchcock were ever good at. Simply making a film with a small budget is not a good enough reason to like it.

Side note: I once paid to see Drag me to Hell in the hopes that there would be ONE Sam Raimi horror movie that I could enjoy. No dice. I love Spiderman, but all of Raimi’s horror watches like he’s enjoying a private joke that I just don’t get. The talking goat was enough to make me want to walk out in a huff; and I spotted the **spoiler alert** button switch from a mile away. Sad, because like Evil Dead, Drag me to Hell has a promising beginning.
It's even been suggested that I don't like Evil Dead because I'm a girl. And apparently, Girls don't know anything about zombies. Pish tosh, I say. If you don't think chicks know zombies, I'd implore you to check out Z Magazine, and its proprietess Eloise Knapp. Hell, you can read my own zombie book, The Finster Effect, which is a damn sight more interesting than any horror Raimi has ever directed. AND it's set in the great state of Michigan.

The Evil Dead starts out fine. There is some great footage of a swampy, wooded area (that isn't in Michigan, for some reason) where scary shit is no doubt brewing. These swooping opening shots are fun and visually appealing—setting us up to think the movie will have a certain artistry that just doesn’t develop. By the time Ashley et al have a near-miss car collision, it’s clear to the viewer that not a single one of them can act. An abundance of 20/20 hindsight tells us that only one of these people went on to do any actual acting—if indeed, Old Spice commercials and Bubba Ho Tep can be counted as "acting." ;-)

Because this film is so well-known among fans, I'm not going to do a play by play of character or plot. If you're reading this article, chances are you don't need the information. That said, I do feel compelled to mention the following:
--How am I supposed to like a character who thinks it's funny to point a loaded gun at his buddy? Unless the setup is "they're a bunch of douchebags and you shouldn't care if they die," I don't see the point.
--Some of the props are really cool—the book and the skull in particular.
--A chick is raped by a tree. I'm gonna say that again in case you aren't getting that. A Chick. Is Raped. By a Tree. Evil Dead is considered to be an American classic, and a shining example of great filmmaking on a tiny budget. And in this zombie opus and source of American pride—a chick is raped by a tree. Women have come a long way in horror since then, but c'mon.
--Scott: Huge Asshat, or the Hugest Asshat? In fact, for being such close friends, all of these people are serious dicks to each other.
--Um, is that gerbil supposed to be a wild animal? If so, really?
--The clouds going past the moon shot is an affront to all things lunar. If you can't just shoot the actual moon, please don't bother.
--"Zombism." Personally, I believe in a relaxed and inclusive definition of "zombie" which can include infected, voudon, bite-based, chemical, viral, etc. But being possessed by a Demon is not really zombism. Evil Dead "zombies" don't seem to want to actually eat anyone, not as a primary goal anyway. What really bugs me about this is how many zombie aficionados will scream for days that 28 Days Later is not zombie movie because infection isn't dying blah blah blah, but have no issue with this? I guess later in the film it's a little more zombie-like, but really? Evil Dead is a zombie movie like Pet Sematary is a zombie movie—which is to say: kinda, but not really. In fact, it isn't even marketed as a zombie movie anymore.
--Bruce Campbell. I know he has legions of fans, and is purportedly a really nice guy. He's handsome. Ridiculously, absurdly, chiseled-out-of-stone handsome. No disrespect, but Bruce looks like he could be Mitt Romney's brother. He's so handsome, I'm suspicious and want to dislike him on general principle.
--Claymation. I gotta admit, I like it.
--Zombies don't talk. And you can posthumously tell that prick Dan O'Bannon I said so.

Lets agree for the time being that The Evil Dead is a zombie movie. Zombies are part of the horror genre, and will be until they sparkle and make the romance with teenage girls. But The Evil Dead isn't scary. It's gross and silly and ridiculous. It doesn't take horror seriously. And I do. Horror is serious business, and if you're going to piss on it with your foolish FX and shittier than shitty dialogue (which is free, BTW. Good dialogue costs nothing, and the only thing you need to get it is talent) it needs to be at least as funny as say, Fido. Evil Dead isn't, not in MY humble opinion. It isn't even as funny as Saturday the 14th and how many of you have even seen that little gem of a film? ** insert horsehead bookends joke here **

There's one more thing that keeps me from digging The Evil Dead. And I didn't put it together for the longest time. And it begins with the Fake Shemp. A "Fake Shemp" is a delightfully nerdy expression derived from when the Three Stooges had to complete a few shorts after Shemp Howard's sudden death. They worked around him with (what we now call) some Ed Wood-style body doubling. They had to shoot around Bruce Campbell to finish the film. Since Ted Raimi was far too adorable to stand in for Mitt jr, they used a series of these Fake Shemps.

Hmmm…a Three Stooges joke. Even with that knowledge, it still took someone actually telling me that one reason I don't appreciate Evil Dead movies is that I don't like the Three Stooges. Once I looked for it, Evil Dead was rife with references, parodies, a veritable cornucopia of Three Stooges humor. That's the ongoing joke that I just don't get. And let me assure you, that running gag is holding that movie together more than some of you realize. Without it, the whole thing turns to an unfunny crapshack.
Even more eye-opening was the realization that I don't know a single chick who likes Three Stooges. Not one. I mean, I've seen a few of their shorts and don't wish them any specific harm. A lot of fingers in eyes and pies in rich dowager's faces. Hardee har har. But aside from thinking that recent movie was an affront against the gods of cinema, I know fuckall about the Three Stooges, and am quite comfortable with that. But I was pissed to realize that my dislike of Evil Dead had more to do with me being a chick than I'd care to admit.

In the end, I can forgive lame special effects, bad makeups under too bright lighting, suspiciously handsome actors, and can even learn to tolerate poorly written dialogue. But if I'm not scared, I need to be laughing, intrigued, or care even the tiniest bit about these characters. I wasn't, and I couldn't, and I still can't. And that, ultimately, is what keeps me from enjoying The Evil Dead.
Aren't you glad you know?
wednes: (Irate typist)
I got tagged on FB to do the 10 Books that Impacted Me Profoundly meme. FB isn't really a good platform to compose lists, so I'm doing it here. I'm restricting this to fiction because non-fic would take FAR too long and could never be narrowed to ten.
In no particular order and presented without commentary:

1. To Take a Dare by Paul Zindel

2. The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danzinger

3. Carrie by Stephen King

4. Skeleton Crew and Night Shift by Stephen King
(these go together since they're both anthos, and I obsessed over both around the same time.)

5. My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

6. American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis

7. Psycho by Robert Bloch

8. The Bachman Books by Richard Bachman
(these include Rage, The Long Walk, The Running Man, and Road Work)

9. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

10. The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

Honorable mention to Skipp & Spector's Book of the Dead anthos, all of Milk & Cheese, Coraline, and anything at all by Roald Dahl.

While I have your attention, I'm looking for someone who might want to write a monthly mag article about horror in television. It will be a nice addition to our regular lit, movie, and game reviews. It's not a paying gig, but I promise I'm swell to work with, and I bet some of you would love to add "magazine feature writer" to your resume. Right? :-)
wednes: (Jack Mocks)
Watched a couple of movies this week since I've been feeling so sad about the world I actually live in.

You're Next was tremendous fun, if not particularly scary. Family squabbles, creepy masks, and rampant douchebaggery made this blood-soaked funfest a total treat.

Occulus was much more serious, and really quite scary. Katee Sackoff gave a stunning and strong performance as the mom who...well, I won't spoil it. But the casting of this one went a long way toward bringing truth and real terror to what could have been a simple haunted object film.

However...I KNOW I've read a story about a haunted mirror with a small crack in the corner. I know that a guy sees it in some kind of curio shop and doesn't believe the guy who tells him it's haunted. Terror and sundry hijinks ensue. That's all I remember, and it's driving me crazy that I can't place the story. Early Stephen King? One from the Clive Barker collections? Tonally, it could have even been Ray Bradbury, but I'm damned if I can remember.

This is gonna drive me crazy.
wednes: (Wednes Logo)
I'm working on a short story right now, called Irises about a little girl making a bouquet for her Mother and Daddy. I pondered it for weeks before I started writing it, and it's still like pulling teeth.

I don't know why it's such slow going. I'm also wondering why I should continue writing it if I'm not feeling it. Like, how can it be any good if there's no passion behind it?

But...

Since I write for my job, I can't really just fuck off and not write because I don't feel like it. Besides, once I lay the first draft out, I'll know what it's about thematically and I can edit into something good. Right? RIGHT?!?

We shall see...
wednes: (Count Thumps Edward)
Was reading a book called Horror 101 which is a collection of essays about working in the horror industry. One of them suggested that in social media, topics like politics or religion are best avoided. If you're trying to build up a following, it's best not to be "preachy" or angry or aggressively passionate about such things--essentially for the same reason it's inappropriate to discuss such things at a day job.

I think that's probably accurate. That the blander and less forthcoming you are, the less likely you are to piss people off. But really, who the hell wants that? If I want people to buy the things I write, hiding who I am doesn't seem like the best way to encourage them to do that. After all, my books aren't just stories I thought up, they're things I feel deeply. It seems obvious to me that if you don't like me, you won't like what I write. So if people don't like my books, it might just be because I am an asshole.
Unrelated: Damn, I hope I'm not an asshole.

Slow growth is what they call it when you build your name (or Brand, if you must) by being yourself, interacting with people, and mentioning what you're up to professionally. By doing this, I have gained a small but loyal following of people who seem to like what I do, often sharing or even participating in my scary shenanigans. That is awesome. But I seem to have plateaued. I know I'm doing something wrong, or failing to do something important--but what? It's very frustrating. Not so frustrating though, that I'd be willing to stop talking about things like equality and poverty.
That said, I'm making a concerted effort to be more positive online. More agreeing with people, encouraging them, and much more scrolling past stupid memes and religious crap--while still not letting the big issues slide. Once someone crosses a certain line of dicketry, I begin to feel complicit if I say nothing. But overall, I want to focus more on the positive.

Earlier this week, a man very much like Mikey Goretti in Kiss Me Like You Love Me killed some women for the same reasons Mikey killed them. Part of me actually felt like I should somehow mention that in all the places people pay attention to me--as a way to sell books.
I actually sat down to see if I could think of a way to do that where I wouldn't retch or hate myself afterwards. No luck. Is that what I'm missing? I admit, it would be comfy to claim that I'm not a mega popular writer because I refuse to capitalize on the news of the day.
You know, because morality...or something.

While I have your attention, Buy My Books! Or hook yourself up with a subscription to the mag.
Your first month is FREE.

Still looking for peeps to review the 2nd edition of A Stabbing for Sadie which has some marked improvements from the first version. Right now, it still have zero reviews on Goodreads, which means finding marketing partners is infinitely more difficult. If you bought the first edition, I'll be happy to slide you an eCopy of the new ed for free. Hit me up.
wednes: (TV!!!)
Before I get right into the Penny Dreadful tarot, I'll take a mo' to remind you all that I'm reviewing Penny Dreadful for GeekBinge. The first episode looked like 75% vampire wank, 25% cool Frankenstein stuff. The second episode was fucking incredible. If you check out my review, you'll see that Alex Price (Proteus) stopped by to give it a read. Squee, am I right?

Before the show aired, I went ahead and ordered the Penny Dreadful Tarot from the Showtime store. Their Dexter stuff is of good quality, so I figured these would be cool. By the by, you can get Penny Dreadful Tarot readings Here. They are silly.

First off, the Penny Dreadful tarot is smaller than a typical deck, though larger than a playing card deck. 2.75" x 4.75" They are purple with line drawings, and no other color. I don't have any other decks like that, so that's neat. If you're wondering, these are the other decks I have:
Rohrig
Rider-Waite
HR Giger (Major Arcana only)
Thoth
Goddess
Mythic
and now this one, the Penny Dreadful tarot.

The major arcana cards are interesting, if not particularly true to the original symbolisms.
I'm gonna cut the pics since they're kinda big )

The so-called face cards are unique and cool also. I just don't think I could ever actually read with this deck. But then, I don't read with the Giger deck either. I have it because it's utterly badass, and was a gift from an old friend.
What I think is cheap though, is the number cards. Each suit has one card design, with the symbol added to match the count. So the II of Cups is the drawing with two cups. The III of Cups is the same drawing with one more cup...and so on through 10.
Here they are )

So yeah, they aren't bad. They aren't very expensive, so I think the Penny Dreadful tarot deck can be a fun little treat. But don't expect to actually read anything with it. The good news? After a slow beginning, Penny Dreadful is kicking ass and has every indication of being a top-notch show.

TV news

May. 10th, 2014 09:25 am
wednes: (TV!!!)
It's May, which means all the new TV news is coming down.

You don't need to be clairvoyant to figure out that Agents of Shield will be back for another season. There's also gonna be a spinoff, and it's not the wacky adventures of HYDRA. Too bad.

Larry Wilmore has been tagged to be Stephen Colbert's replacement. Obviously, it will be a new show, a scripted panel show that I imagine will attract plenty of great guests.

Community was cancelled.
That's some bunk ass bullshit.
Unless Abed gets a spinoff. Then I'll be okay.

Penny Dreadful starts on Sunday. Yeah, I could have watched it early, but I'm a fan of ephemerality and like to pretend TV has some left. I'm hoping it's not just a riff on American Horror Story, but it sort of looks like it. I like the combination of literary characters (Dr Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, Mina Harker), and the cast is strong. I'm reviewing it, so hit me up on Geekbinge if you're watching.

The Maron premiere was fantastic. It's amazing how much I like the show, when I'm confident that I would not like Mark Maron if I ever met him.

Delighted to see that the FCC's internet has been slowed down to modem levels. Not sure how much impact that will have since they're probably all using their tablets and phones with 3G or 4G. Still, fuck those guys.

In not-TV related news, few things depress me as much as seeing a family member post anti-fat hate on their Facebook--and then realizing that they're raising a daughter. You'd think people would want to create a better world for their kids, free from stigma and hate. Okay, maybe that's not possible, but mark my words--that poor kid will be dieting for weight loss long before she's a teenager. Gross.
wednes: (Hail Ants!)
Matthew McConaughey is not returning to True Detective next season. Luckily, he's not why I watch. Still...a little Bill Paxton would be nice.

I'm glad I don't actually know anyone in RL who thinks their religious liberty depends on being able to legally discriminate against gays, or anyone really.

Not linking to it, but Zack Snyder seems to think he directed Watchmen to "save" it from the Terry Gilliam's of the world. Fuck you, dude. Even if Terry Gilliam stopped making films after The Fisher King, he'd still be a goddamn genius.

Did everybody see my Seattle PI article about horror and perspective?

I do not support sending troops to the Ukraine, no matter what kind of shenanigans Putin is getting up to over there. Might be a non-issue though. Wait, do they have oil? I'm sure that will make all the difference.

Bates Motel comes back tonight. I'm reviewing it.

I was interviewed for Women in Horror Month, at long last!

Pasta for dinner, with tons of capsecum, mushers, and ground pork. Unusual for us to eat ground pork, but H does most of the shopping now--so I ain't complainin'

We're finally gonna watch Thor 2 so we know what the heck is happening on Agents of Shield tomorrow.

Shockwave Flash, I hate you. Chrome for mac, you're really starting to suck.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
Found out today that someone I used to know pretty well has started collecting...well, they're calling it "World War II memorabilia." But I think we all know what we're talking about here: Nazi shit. Shit with swastikas on it, death certificates from The Camps.

I don't mind saying that Nazi shit scares the hell out of me. After all, I'm married to a black man who's over six-feet-tall. Michael Moore says people think that's the single scariest kind of person to be. And you know, more and more states are legalizing the murder of black people as long as they're scary. It's all part of the same mindset, as far as I'm concerned. But I digress.
Honestly, this person has always been totally racist and in private, unapologetic about it. But this rises to a whole new level of...I mean, it's a psychopathy, right? There has to be something wrong with anyone who can get into that mindset or think it's something to celebrate, right?

Or is there a non-fucked up reason for a blue collar, non-scholarly person to collect Nazi "memorabilia?" "Memorabilia" is a word for objects that help us fondly remember things from the past. So "Nazi-memorabilia" is really only for crazy people, isn't it?

Even among the unapologetically racist, Nazi shit is considered at least taboo. There are tons of racists who don't admit to being racists, and would be embarrassed to have a swastika in their home--not that they'd ever let a minority in to see it. You know, unless their pool needed cleaning or whatever...

I am just horrified.
wednes: (Wednes Logo)
You'll all be thrilled to know that the 2nd edition of A Stabbing for Sadie is available now wherever fine eBooks are sold. I imagine Amazon is where most of you will be picking up this awesomely edited, vastly improved version of my debut novel. Smashwords also has it in a variety of DRM free formats.

cover by David Dodd

Haven't read my first book? It's about a mentally unstable chick trying to shake off her miserable formative years and develop into something better. But, she's confused, ill, tired, and poor. Luckily, she's also witty, honest, and complicated while having a knack for bitter sarcasm and knee-slapping humor.

Did a Guest Blog recently, about how point-of-view impacts the relationship between characters and readers. I use popular examples like The Girl Next Door, Carrie, and Fowles The Collector. Then, of course, I talk about my own books as well. I think it's a pretty good read. I'd be stoked if it got some real play. Personally, I don't think horror writers talk about POV and narrative voice nearly as much as they should.

Things at Under the Bed magazine are still a fine mix of frustration and awesome. The issues continue to get better and better. We're taking on a lit reviewer and looking for a videogame writer, and we have an excellent film reviewer (Psst, it's [personal profile] porcelain72). We don't get enough Letters to the Editor though. You guys should send some in:
Wednesday@fictionmagazines.com
wednes: (Neville)
H and I took a look at Good Day to Die Hard. We didn't watch it, per se, just took a look. It was super explosiony and lacked any sense of why people liked Die Hard in the first place. Anyway, the movie takes place in Russia. McLean is pissy because everyone is speaking Russian--in RUSSIA. He actually punches a guy at one point because he's mad that the guy is speaking Russian. That's basically a hate crime--and he's the goddamn hero. Lame, and John McLean is just cartoonish at this point. That especially sucks because we know he's capable of so much more.

Speaking of actors who give us more, film and theatre fans were collectively punched in the dick this weekend with the untimely death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman I won't belabor the obvious loss to his medium, and to all of us who enjoyed watching him do his thing. In a dream world, he would have played Mikey Goretti in a film version of Kiss Me Like You Love Me. I can't begin to imagine who I'd cast now.
Anyway, it's clear to me that the more intuitive a person is, the more difficult it is to deal with what they know. This probably sounds douchey, but I hate the kind of understanding I have of my fellow humans. I further hate that seeing people has not helped me to be more empathetic, though it does lead me to make excuses for keeping people in my life when I know intellectually that they shouldn't be there. In the end, using intuition, empathy, and understanding to communicate something vital? Awesome, practically the meaning of life. But what's awesome for society can be excruciating to the individual.

So, I read the Hunger Games trilogy in less than a week. Cut for spoilers and swears ) Imma check out the first two movies when I'm caught up on work. I hear the first is not great but the second is better. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.

Still having a tough time with the mag conversions. Getting closer though. I'm told that Under the Bed's layout is complicated compared to the other mags. I didn't really think it was--I'm just trying to make it look nice and have a good vibe. I had a bunch of ideas for stuff I want to do when I'm better with the program. If you've checked it out, I'd be grateful for your input on the layout.
Maybe I should get better at cutting myself some slack.
I'm behind with work in general, as are a few of my bosses/editors. I think the cold is slowing us all down.

We watched a horror movie called The Colony, mainly because it was a horror movie and contained Bill Paxton. He didn't look so good in it, and he was a jerk, and he died. Not a bad movie overall, just really ordinary.

I've been buying stuff lately. Got a few pieces of inexpensive jewelry ($13 for both things including shipping!!) that I love. One is a Dumbledore's Army pendant that looks like a scroll, and the other is a glass egg that looks like there's a tiny dinosaur embryo inside. It's badass, and made by one of my fave etsy jewelry chicks. I also had to get a new Logitech Marble Mouse. I swear, it's the greatest mouse in the world--except that they're practically disposable. I don't think I've ever gotten more than 2 years out of one. But they're cheap and work great...until they don't.
I also got us a living room lamp because it's damn dark in here with just one. I have a bunch of crafty projects I want to do--many of which are thinkin' frogs. But I can't do them because there isn't enough light. I also got a piece of wood I'm gonna make a ouija board out of, and a cool planchette I found on etsy.

Movie Talk

Jan. 17th, 2014 06:45 am
wednes: (Default)
Dude, Where's my Car? is a cheap homage to American Grafitti.

House of 1,000 Corpses is a better remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre than the actual remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Most horror remakes are shitty.  A few are great:
Dawn of the Dead
The Fly
The Hills Have Eyes
13 Ghosts
Red Dragon (original title: Manhunter)

Some are pretty good
The Hitcher
Psycho
Salem's Lot
Halloween
Last House on the Left
Night of the Living Dead (Savini)

I wouldn't say these are definitive list, but those are the ones that come to mind.  I also really need to have a lot more Pixar movies.  As I was thinking that, Disney sent me a thing to join their movie club.  H doesn't have a copy of Avengers, which he totally should.  I need a copy of Up, and would like to have Monsters Inc and Wreck it Ralph.

Found out tonight that the head writer from The Daily Show has left to work on John Oliver's new show.  This bodes well for Oliver, and HBO, and us viewers.  I imagine TDS writing staff is solid enough that this won't be an issue that makes it all the way to us.  

"New Year"

Jan. 6th, 2014 04:24 am
wednes: (Wut?  JoJo)
I still think it's dumb to start a new year in the middle of winter. Where I am, there's literally a foot of snow on the ground, and even seasoned Michiganders (NOT Michiganians though, because fuck them!) are losing their shit. It's dangerous out there, folks. I predict that H and I will have a spirited argument when he goes back to work Wednesday night. He'll insist that it's perfectly safe to walk a mile to the bus stop. I'll disagree strenuously and end up envisioning stoned Ann Arborites sliding their Volkswagons off the road and right into H.

*sigh*

Otherwise though, all is well at Chez Wednes.
I decided to by myself the damn Furby (*Zoidberg voice* Why not?) since I was rolling in gift certificates and totally wanted one. Sadly, the accompanying app will not work on my iPod. I've been thinking about getting a new iPod touch (or probably a newer refurbished one), since I need a way to take credit cards at events. After I figure out a new computer, that will be my next fanciful tech-want.

Been looking around to pick up another writing gig. I'm amazed at how little some of these places are offering when they want people who've been published in national magazines. Two dollars a page. Really?

Technical issues at the mag continue to vex me. I'm told that the EiC will be more available this year, so that will be good. There's a lot of great fiction coming up. Artists continue to be awesome in letting us use their work. The Feb cover is creepy cute, while March will be downright gruesome. Working with authors continues to have its challenges. Who knew customer service skills would come in so handy working with pushy authors and their fragile author egos? Oh wait, I did. ;-) Anyway, the January issue will be available on Amazon soon. If you've been readin' the mag it would be awesome if you could take a mo' and leave a review. If you'd like a review copy to check out (you'll need to leave a review at Amazon and Goodreads to get a freebie), hit me up.

Been actually writing the screenplay instead of just talking about it. For now, Final Draft is the software that's working best for me. I really only like Word for stuff that's full of paragraphs. It's not as funny as it should be yet. After I lay out the story, I can go back through and punch it up.

Did I already post about Stoker? OMG it was fucking incredible. The cast was pitch-perfect--Matthew Goode is one of the creepiest guys in the world--except usually he does romantic comedies. Ew, right? Stoker was truly exceptional. Scary, sexy, suspenseful, and damn surprising. Loved it.
wednes: (Under the Bed)
Hey kids, the November issue of Under the Bed is available now in all formats. So that's awesome.
Only $3.99 per issue

Or...

Subscribe to save some dough. Only $1.99 per issue, or $19.99 for the whole year. AND you can try us out for FREE for two weeks. Neat, eh?


Tech-wise, I'm still having a rough time with the mag. Converting my beautiful layouts to epub and mobi files is sucking my life dry. Gotta work on that this weekend when I'm done writing boring SEO and fascinating Kinkly stories.

I'm pretty pleased with my new Website. It's pretty nice and lets me show off more stuff. Stig & The Puppetman are slowly going up there, the podcasts are all there too, and the mag, and all my books, and links to everything else I'm up to. So that's cool. There's also gonna be a newsletter, once people sign up.

Holy Crap! I just saw that Anthony Wiener is being on Bill Maher tonight. That's crazy. Who gives a crap what that guy has to say anymore? Um, Wiener, I mean. Maher is also kind of a jerk though.

I downloaded The Conjuring so I can finally check that out. H is also done watching Fringe so we're gonna start buying eps of Torchwood--like I wanted to forever ago.
Comedy-wise, I'll be caught up with Community by the time it comes back in January. Only 13 eps in the next season. That's not nearly enough, because this show is hilarious and clever and I'm bummed I waited so long to watch. Abed and I should have been friends since years ago. Plus, how awesome is it that Chevy Chase plays an out-of-touch asshole? Classic.

I hate spending more than $10 for a Kindle book, but I did pay $12 for MaddAddam. See, I adore Margaret Atwood and this is the third in a trilogy. So far, awesome. I can't even get my head around how she makes the fantastic feel immediate and earthy, while taking vile characters and terrifying events and making them seem like they're being read to you in a flowery garden. I wish I knew what she was like in RL. I suspect if I had insight like that it would totally break my brain.

FYI

Aug. 7th, 2013 01:48 am
wednes: (Count Thumps Edward)
Hey all,

I am told that server issues at FictionMagazines.com are being worked on.
The august issue should be up at the site within a day or so, as well as at Barnes & Noble.

I'm really glad that subscribers and new readers alike are so excited to get their hands on the issue. I'm stoked for you to see it too.

Now for the love of all that is holy, stop sending me mean Emails!

Your Fearless Editor,

--Wednes
wednes: (Wednes Logo)
Checked out The Orphanage today after buying it a long while ago. Damn, it was amazing. Beautifully shot, great cast, and plenty of surprises. It was creepy throughout, damn scary in parts, and had a motherfucking gut punch I in no way saw coming.
So yeah, bravo once again, Guillermo Del Toro.

Speaking of movies, the remake of Maniac was fucking incredible. Exactly what it needed to be, plus Elijah Wood. Very strong camera work, excellent stylized kill scenes, and just the right amount of camp. I did think that Elijah Wood could pull off a serial killer, so it wasn't a total surprise. I was very pleased with how well he developed such a dark character, and how much humanity he was able to bring to something SO melodramatic and textbook.


The first mag issue is coming out on August 4th. I daresay it looks more like an anthology with pictures than an actual magazine at this point. It's a great read though, with some fun stories and cool extras. The subscription link isn't quite ready yet because there's an error and I can't find where to fix it.

Horror fans take note: I'm looking to bring in some more curators to read, comment, and vote on submissions. It's pretty fun--so much fun that we don't actually pay people to do it. But you'll get to read tons of free fiction as well as getting your name in the mag.

And finally, Taco Bell's smothered burritos are pretty good. They are spicier than I expected, very filling, and tasty.
wednes: (Growlers)
We are a few short days away from...
da da da DAAAAAAAAAAA!

The first issue of Under the Bed
(formerly eHorror magazine)


Yeah, that's right. Some foolish fool has given me total control over my very own Horror Fiction Magazine. Can you even believe it?
*rubs hands together in sinister fashion*
I gave it a new name, it's getting a new logo, and the first issue will be out even sooner than I was ready for. Lucky for you, I do some of my best work when I'm scrambling around like a maniac.

There are some damn fine stories to be had in this issue, featuring some truly sick individuals. Of course if you don't like hearing about blood, naked people, or naughty language and stuff, you're probably gonna want to steer clear.
wednes: (OMG!!!)
Yeah, power was out for a fraction of today, giving me yet another fine excuse to not get much work done. It's back on now, which is how I'm blogging. Duh.

Stonegarden.net Publishing is closing down today. This was the publishing house that sent me my very first acceptance letter for my very first novel, A Stabbing for Sadie (which was almost named "Tiamata"). That book is in the process of being released as a second edition. In fact, this very weekend I am going through it one more time. I was ambivalent about some tense issues and now I need to fix it. Anyway, publishing with SGP was great in many ways, and helped me learn a lot about publishing, about writing, and marketing, and how it was not very much like I thought it would be at all. I'm pretty happy to be with a new house with new editions, soon to have a new website and my very own horror mag.
I always had a vision of me sitting in a room with some brilliant editor type, discussing all the ways to make it better. That never happened though. Like a lot of things in life, that's something I imagine will happen to other people but never to me.
But then, I tend toward the melancholia.

Speaking of which, the finale of Marc Maron's show is on tonight. I'm a great fan of Maron, but I daresay it's different than the way I'm a fan of say, Jon Stewart or Carlin. I've been watching Jon Stewart since Mtv Spring Break. He's always seemed like a cool older cousin who knows where I can get some pot--and will sit down and talk to me if I'm sad because the older kids were mean to me.
Maron doesn't seem like someone I'd ever hang out with. He seems like the sort of guy like Jerry Seinfeld--who is way to self-conscious to enjoy hanging out with someone like me. I had a hot, hot boss like that once.

My hair is well on the way to awesome, color-wise. I bleached the hell out of it, becoming half a blonde after about 2 hour of Flash Lightening. I'm doing it up with a new blue and a lilac--which is not taking very well. I'm hoping this second round of color will absorb better and end up looking stunning. The trim I gave my own hair looks kinda shitty, but I'm not cutting any more until it grows out a little in the front.

First issue of my horror magazine is due July 4th. That means I'll have to accept all the stories by then, and notify the authors. I also have to finish Sadie edits in that time, write 8 new SEO articles, finish the last Stig & The Puppetman for a while, and do two TV interviews a week. Dexter starts back up on Sunday. That is, if you'll pardon the sexist expression, gonna be tits!
wednes: (Sow the Seed)
I'm watching all the eps of Maron that I had on the DVR, mainly to avoid work for a few hours. It's really funny and good in that low-key, depressing Maronish way. I was a fan of Maron back when you could see good stand-up on Comedy Central all the time. Boy...those were the days. I hadn't really thought about him for a while before his new show. I don't really listen to podcasts, even when I made one. Now I kinda wonder what Dave Atell is up to. ;-]
It's weird, Maron feels like he's trying to get to the guts of some big emotional and personal issues. But the show almost watches like he doesn't hang out with enough crazy people that offer him perspective. But that's not possible, is it? After all, he's a comedian. They're all kinda nuts, right? Is it because men are just so terrible at communicating? Anyway, Marc Maron in coveralls looks like a depressed serial killer who can't remember where he left his chainsaw.

Speaking of depressing news, I was sad to hear that Stephen Colbert's mom died. Still, 92 is a pretty good run. I'll be lucky if I make half of that.
John Oliver is kicking ass on Daily Show, but I'm not sure I'm ready for the inevitable announcement that Jon Stewart will be leaving some day.


Moving on to Wednes-related things, I've been reading subs for the magazine.
Oh yeah, if you haven't heard:

I'm now the editor of a horror eFiction mag!!!


Yeah, I'm not sure the complete extent of my duties yet. Should be meeting with my boss-type person soon and figuring out all the details.

My new website is progressing nicely. My cousin Richard is doing an awesome job with the design and colors and stuff. I think he is my second cousin, actually. Well, he's the son of my mom's cousin, whatever that is. It's a much more um...modern looking site that will feature blog snippets and recent Tweets, in addition to offering newsletter sign ups and all the stuff that was on my old site--like book excerpts and free audio stuff.
That'll be cool. Still waiting for KMLYLM audiobook to get approved and released. Also waiting for paperback version of The Finster Effect which I hope will be ready soon.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
You may have heard that The Finster Effect is available for purchase as an eBook and an Audiobook. What you may not know, is that audible.com members are not impressed. If you've listened to it, or read it, you might want to pen a wee review and help a sistah out.
I have a small number of FREE codes for reviewers. Not sure yet who's gonna get those.

Been listening to the audiobook for Kiss Me Like You Love Me The reads are fantastic. I am most def the weak link as far as doing voices. After a few tiny edits, it'll be up on Audible for approval. Then it will go live and you'll be able to hear it. I'm stoked, since it's so good.

In horror news, I am now the editor of an eHorror mag.
I have a name for it in mind, but don't want to tell you until it gets approved.
This should be a ton of fun, and allow me to flex my editorial muscle.
wednes: (Go Crazy?)
I have devoted my life to the worship of Choffy.
People actually tell me that I make it on the weak side. Not being a coffee drinker, I don't really know how strong steeped beans are supposed to be. But honestly, Choffy makes me feel sort of drunk.
Not drunk drunk. Not a head buzz at all. But like, a body buzz--which I don't think I've ever gotten from booze. Choffy is a vascodialator so it makes my blood vessels relax and open up. It also makes me feel like I need a nap. I'm gonna start drinking it at the end of the day instead of the beginning.

Work is going okay. I need to pursue more avenues for making money with writing. A lot of the gigs I'm finding are evil enough that I wouldn't want to do them under my own name. But then, do I really want to do work that I feel I should hide from people who know me? Probably--because I'm a big fan of paying my own bills and buying my own stuff. And I need a new computer.

My current clients are pretty cool though. Easy to work with and decent pay for what I'm doing. The sex writing is getting me more notice than the horror stuff--which I guess makes sense since more people admit to enjoying sex than admit to loving horror. *sigh* I was hoping KLMLYM would get reviewed by my beloved Jack Ketchum. No dice. That's a shame, since I honest think he'd dig it. Then again, I'd be crushed if he thought it sucked...maybe so crushed that I'd stop writing horror altogether--and nobody wants that.

In re: horror. I'm not sure what I want to work on next. I have two partial novels (NaNos, so VERY loose rough drafts of about 55K words) that could both be made into something cool. One is a huge story that includes a monster in a lake and was supposed to capture the scope and bloody whimsy of Christopher Moore. That's when I learned I couldn't possibly carry a cast that big. But then I wrote The Finster Effect where the cast is almost that large and diverse.
The other partial I have is about a chick with erotomania who's in love with her hot hot boss. This, like most of my work, has no parallel with my own life. Bahahahahaa! Anyway, it's told from both MC's POV's. I don't remember enough about it to say if it's any good, but I'll probably take a look at it soon.
Lately I've been working on short stories in between other work projects. I look around at the call for subs and treat them like homework assignments. I've got a cool one in the works right now. 3rd person POV, which is something I have to work on.
New Stig & The Puppetman coming up. I really hope those are as funny as I think they are.

Talked to a web guy who suggested moving my whole site over to Wordpress. I have no idea how any of that works, my ignorance about such things is annoyingly pervasive. So I gotta research all that before I can figure out what to do next.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
Yeah, I know I'm way behind on the whole Tweeting thing. I hate restricting myself to a single sentence, because you can't actually talk about anything. I'm following tons of celebs--the interesting ones. Except when I scroll down my Twitter feed, I just respond to them like I'm talking to my regular online buddies. Not sure if that's the best way to go. Somebody already told me I should leave the internet because I hate all things Evil Dead. Yeah, the internet is no place for people with shitty taste.
If you want to read my Tweets, they crosspost to FB and LJ, but I don't know how to make them post here. Yeah, I'm sure you're bummed.

Have you seen the greatest thing to happen in the history of horror television?
No? Then by all means, feast your peepers!


If you're in the mood for an announcement, you should know that both A Stabbing for Sadie and Kiss Me Like You Love Me are getting shiny new complete audiobook editions. They'll be distributed by the good people at Audible dot com, through my publisher at Macabre Ink Digital and Crossroad Press. So there. My widespread popularity is imminent. So get ready for a bunch of trollish commenters to tell me my work Suuuuuuuxxxxx1!1!1!! Because that's what happens when you get famous. I look forward to people judging my entire existence based on a single Tweet or post, and perhaps assuming things about my life based on a single photo.
That's gonna be awesome! Luckily, I've already worked a ton of customer service, so I won't be surprised at the shitty meanness of the public at large.

Putting together a series of articles detailing my career in phone sex. Also did a review of...well, I'll post it once it's up. Let's just say, it's been a long while since I've been able to write off sex toys as a business expense. ;-]

Hope to have S4S edits done by next week so I can seriously draft and polish Millicent Mixter's Guide. Been writing that in sections that I have not put all together. Stig and the Puppetman continues to be awesome. These days, all the comics are 4 pages long. I'll have a book in no time!
wednes: (Really?)
I've been so busy with work writing and NaNo writing and pretending to be a comic-er...whatever you call someone who arts comics, that I haven't been watching any new movies. I like to sit down and enjoy a movie every week. Now that I'm caught up on a few things, I thought it would be cool to watch 2 movies over the weekend.

Cabin in the Woods. Really? This is the movie you people have been blathering about since mid-summer? Let me see if I can set up my review as a cutaway: Remember that Family Guy episode where Peter says he hated The Godfather? And the family is shocked and demands that he justify it? Peter says simply, It insists upon itself. I've pondered that ever since. Peter has a point. I still love GF and GF2, but that criticism stuck with me. Last weekend, when I watched CitW, I realized that it totally insisted upon itself--and everything that came before it. In detail...including my thoughts on Who is a horror fan. )

The Muppets. On Sunday afternoon, I finally checked out that Muppet movie that came out last year. I'd had it on the DVR for a while, and grew tired of waiting for H to be in the mood to watch it. Man, it was fantastic. Fun, inspiring, incredibly moving. I'm exactly the right age to appreciate the intense nostalgia, and the sadness of Fozzie Bear having to endure the drumming of Dave Grohl. Ba-ZING. Just joshing, Grohlly ol' chap!
If I ever meet Jason Segel, I'm just going to hug him and thank him for The Muppets. Chris Cooper was delightful as Tex Richman. I wanted more cameos, but there were a bunch of cool ones anyway. The songs were good, the story was classic, and I swear, I cried through half the movie.
Everyone should watch it, but be ready to be made aware of just how old you fucking are.


If I may issue a plea to some of you's: The Finster Effect is in great need of reviews and good buzz. If you've read it, please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. If you'd like to review it and can't afford to buy a digital copy, hit me up privately, and we'll arrange some kind of barter for sexual favors, or cookies. ;-] If you're famous, please blurb it.

Three cheers, as Resilient Brainforest #4 is out. This is a FREE pdf comic collection from people who don't normally make comics. You will find crude drawings and photos, sexy talk, drug references, and #3 of Stig and the Puppetman, my delightful comic about mismatched serial killers who are also roommates. Every issue has a theme, and this months theme is "WANT." Know what *I* want? I want you to download it. We are looking for contributors, so ask me for details if you'd like to be a joiner. (Psst. Be a joiner. It's ridiculous that I know so many people yet haven't brought anyone in to this thing!)
wednes: (Stabby Rage)
American Horror Story: Aslyum served it up last night. The link is me, telling GeekBinge all about it.

Having quit my day-job in July, I have now (mid October--uh, go me?) secured enough steady work that I don't actually need to look for more. I'm back to paying my share around here and getting those fucking medical bills off my back. Oddly enough, our deductible is actually going down next year. Thanks, Obamacare. It's still a bitch to come up with a few extra thousand dollars every year; but right now I'm just thankful that we're not getting crushed even harder than the previous year--which is what's been happening since oh, 2001 or so.

In addition for my writing and editing at ZZN, I'm also writing for GeekBinge (see above), and doing marketing writing for a company what shall remain nameless. Doing occasional mystery shops so I can get free stuff and have a reason to step outside on occasion. Recently secured a gig with a sexy-times site called Kinkly. My first article for them will go up soon. H finally relented on letting me use my real name since I'm not talking about anything from the POV of personal experience. Apparently, the fact that we have an awesome sex life is supposed to be some kind of giant secret. So if you see H, pretend you know nothing...
Actually, if you *do* see him, wish him a Happy Anniversary, because it's tomorrow. Though we've been together since 1999, we've only been married since 2007.

Still fighting this same chest cold I've had for a friggin' month. Good thing, as bleaching out the entirety of the CPAP every night grows tedious.

I predict that Obama will win the election.
I don't think even Americans en masse are stupid enough to fall for Romney and his bullshit.
wednes: (OMG!!!)
*

Prepare to be Ascared
The Finster Effect
Coming in 2013
From Crossroad Press


You can also expect newly edited versions of A Stabbing for Sadie, and Kiss Me Like You Love Me, also from Crossroad Press.

*This is actually H's mockup of the cover. The final version will likely get some tweaking, maybe some texture in the black area. Not sure yet.
wednes: (Stabby Rage)
You may recall my interview with Joshua Hoffine back in April of 2011. He had just busted out with Pickman's Masterpiece, a series of photos based the Lovecraft story. Damn, it's awesome.
Hoffine is a horror photographer who shares my love of primal terror, and the belief that the best scares come from deep within us all.

Today I got a press release (and early pic, but I can't post it online) for his new thing, and man...it is badass! I loves it!!


Joshua Hoffine, the internationally renown Horror Photographer
residing in Kansas City, reveals his latest masterpiece: JACK THE
RIPPER.

Joshua Hoffine's work exploded on the internet and in numerous
magazines and news outlets around the world in 2008 when he released
his collection of photographs exploring the nature of childhood fears.
Since that time he has cultivated a massive cult following for his
meticulously staged photographic works regarding, as he puts it, "the
psychology of fear."

Conceived as a 2-panel diptych, JACK THE RIPPER depicts the moments
"just before" and "just after" a grisly alleyway murder. "What makes
Jack the Ripper compelling to me", Hoffine says, "is that nothing is
known about him. Because he was never caught, we have no actual
information about who he was or why he committed his gruesome crimes.
What we have is not a historical or biographical portrait, but a
communally imagined idea of Jack the Ripper as an aristocratic
predator. As a boogeyman, he graphically symbolizes the idea of the
wealthy and powerful preying on the poor."

On September 4th, Hoffine will be officially releasing the first image
of his project online. Signed archival prints will be available for
purchase though his website at WWW.JOSHUAHOFFINE.COM. He will be
releasing the second part of his project on October 1st.


You can find this cat on Facebook, and do check out his incredible photography on his site. It's all staged photography, not photoshop.
Plus, he's a super nice guy.



In Wednes-related news, I took a longish 2-part test for an awesome work from home day-job. It's more than I was making at the last day job, but much less than a phonsex operator. *snicker* All this hounding of freelance clients for money has already become tiresome. I think I'm more productive with a steady gig, rather than chasing work with big payments that are few and far between. Plus, writing about flowers wasn't that fun. Anyway, I'll hear about that on Monday.
Next week, we're also getting cheaper cable. No non-evil cable companies exist where I am. So we're getting rid of Comcast and getting AT&T. On paper, they'll give us a lot more for less money. I hear the internet will be slower. I hope it's not too annoying. The DVR will record 4 channels at once, which will totally rescue my Sunday night. Yeah...I got first-world problems.
;-]

Watched the RNC convention last night. It seems that the next time we see Paul Ryan, he'll have a very long nose and will have to resign himself to never becoming a Real Boy.
wednes: (NaNo Runner)
You'll all be delighted to learn that I am over my harrowing experience with almost getting scammed. My "recruiter" is still trying to reach me via Email and text to find out why I haven't completed my "assignment." Eat a dick, buddy!


I sent a query to a small house (that does reprints *rubs hands together in sinister gesture*) over the weekend since I finally finished the summary for The Finster Effect. Fuck, I hate summaries. I got an Email back on Monday asking for the synops and 5 chapters. I sent it. Waiting...
Also going to be checking in to a few other houses.

Since I've started trying to be a novelist, I think my writing has gotten pretty good. Without any extra formal training, I've developed a strong narrative voice. In face, my narrative voice has become more controlled and assertive from book to book. I've learned that I can't write a 3rd person POV with anywhere near the truthiness of the 1st person. My dialogue kicks ass. And my plotting skills are improving, though certainly not at the same rate as my character development, which is, if I do say so myself, stunning.

But...the editing. All of my books have different editors. My experience has been that editors at small houses don't really do what I was expecting editors to do. I thought an editor was supposed to find typos and stuff...but also to find ways to improve the book. I thought they would suggest cuts or adding things to explain them more fully, or to generally come up with things to streamline things, or make them more clear, more scary, whatever. My hope was that over time, I'd develop a relationship with a particular editor, and would learn and grow as a writer because of their input.

What I've been getting are editors who attempt to correct typos, and maybe point out a glaring inconsistency or plot hole. That's it.

Am I expecting too much from small houses? Or too much in general? Am I not really famous enough to score that kind of editing? I'm not entirely sure what's happening here, or what I can do to fix it. Could it be that small house editors are really just writers with proofing skills who don't have the confidence or objectivity to make editorial suggestions?

I recognize that I could do with more formal training in the world of writing. Since I can't afford it, I try to read as many different authors as I can. Certain books are so good that they change your whole perspective on shit--even making you think for a day or two that you shouldn't be writing at ALL if that's what other people are doing.

I feel a little too old for grad school at this point. Even if I could go, I could never afford it. But I could really do with a couple years of writing with hardcore critique and intensive networking with other writers.

That said, I am no longer trying to get a professional advance and join HWA as a full member. Instead, I'm looking for a smaller advance so I can join as an associate member. Associate members get assigned mentors, which sounds like just the thing I need. Then maybe someone can paint MY face up like a zombie and film me while I run around outside. Hahahahahahaa! (It's funny because that's what I did with my protege)
wednes: (Heart Horror)
We went to see Prometheus, after making 1 million jokes about Jay Sherman's student film. Because, seriously...


I liked it very much, as did H.
Funnily enough, we watched A.I. last night. I'd never actually gotten around to seeing it. I thought it might make me sad. Yeah...
A friend described it as "greif porn." That pretty much nails it. It's wrenching, all the way through. It should have ended much sooner. It was like Logan's Run in that way--there were a few good places to end it, but it went on and on.
Still, it was a cool movie with a great cast and I'm glad I sat down and cried my way through it. I'm stoked for what will happen when Haley Joel Osment reemerges as a grown-up actor. Maybe he and Lucas Haas can play stoner brothers in something? Anywhoo, watching A.I. put me in a weird space to watch Prometheus. Plus, both movies had an artificial person named "David."

So yeah...Prometheus. An Alien Prequel/Spinoff
Thematically, it's the most *important* film in the series. Spoilers lurk here. )

No, Prometheus wasn't what I was expecting. And I'm glad of that. My favorite thing ever is when I don't see the ending coming. Prometheus was awesome in the truest sense of the world. I almost wish I'd seen this at age 22 on LSD. I'd have felt like every question in the universe had been answered and I could move on to more important things.

Speaking of universal questions, I have finally posted a detailed article about why I loathe The Evil Dead. It is my hope that I will never have to answer that question again. Please, horror peeps, link to your friends. I keep hoping for a ZZN flame war and I never get one.

In other news, I got a call about a job I'd love to have. Will be phoning them back tomorrow. Details to follow, if applicable.

Oh, and the Frankenweenie trailer makes it look like a delightful watch. I have to laugh though, because even among his animated characters, Tim Burton casts the same ones over and over. That is totally the kid from Vincent, and the dog face from Nightmare Before Christmas, and a couple of people from Corpse Bride. But hey, it's Tim Burton, so you know it's gonna be some fun watchin'

New podcast tomorrow. Kiss Me Like You Love Me. Yay!
wednes: (FG/Psycho)
If you could ask something to a tour guide at Lizzy Borden Bed and Breakfast, what would you ask?

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