Monthly Archives: May 2014

Got a One-Star Review for The Bell Witch! Ummm….YEAH!

The Bell Witch 4 (small)

So got a one-star review for The Bell Witch today on Amazon.  I’m pretty open about my  reviews (if you take the good ones, you gotta take the bad), but most of the one-star reviews I’ve gotten (and there aren’t many for any of my books) are kinda…well…stupid.  Go take a look by clicking on the link…I’ll wait here..

Finished…great!

People like what they like, and there’s nothing that can be done about that.  But the Amazon reviews are more than comfortably skewed toward the high end.  Even that aside, I’m cool that some people don’t like my stuff.  But, I mean, the worst thing she’s read since her own high school short stories?  I can maintain my objectivity about my writing at most times, and I am very, very comfortable with the knowledge that, among the few key things that I do well, writing is at the top.  The very top.

But today…well, eat a bag of dicks Amazon reviewer.

That’s all I came here to say.  Carry on…


So My Publisher Came Down from Chi-Town Just to Meet Me.

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So these days I work pretty exclusively with two publishers–Books of the Dead Press, out of Toronto, and Grey Matter Press, out of Chicago.  Both of them bring different things to the table, and I am happy to be working with them both.

Grey Matter Press is relatively new to the publishing table, having come on the scene in late 2012 and producing four pretty top-notch anthologies in 2013–Dark Visions Vol. 1, Dark Visions Vol. 2, Splatterlands and Ominous Realities.  Now, I was lucky enough to sell them stories for two of these–“Show Me” in Dark Visions Vol. 1, and “Angie” in Ominous Realities.  On the strength of those two experiences, I thought of Grey Matter when I was working with R.J. Cavender on The End in All Beginnings.  They loved it, and took it pretty quickly…even before the thing was truly finished.

So, I was set to meet Anthony Rivera (Tony), at the recent debacle that was the World Horror Convention in Portland recently.  But Tony got sick and wasn’t able to attend at the last minute.  We had a good run at previewing The End in All Beginnings at the con, but Tony wanted to meet me in person.  So, on Wednesday, he hopped in his car and drove down to St. Louis, just to meet me.  To say that I was flattered is an understatement.  How many publishers travel 4 or 5 hours by car just to meet one of their authors?

Well, it was great.  Tony is a great guy, focused on what Grey Matter is doing and definitely responsible for all of the things that impress me about his publishing company.  The attention to detail.  The genuine respect he has for his authors.  The communication and promotion and marketing that go into all of the books.  The great eye for stories and talent.  The fantastic editing.  Spectacular graphic design and layout.  Promotion…the list goes on and on.  Grey Matter, as far as I’m concerned, is doing everything right.  Need further proof than just my opinion?  This new company made it to the final Stoker ballot for Dark Visions Vol. 1 (which contained a story by me!)…the first book it ever published.  Now, it didn’t win, but holy shit, it made the final ballot right out of the gate!

Over dinner, and then drinks with the beautiful Deb, we talked about a lot of stuff.  We got to know each other. I got a glimpse of the passion that drives Tony, that drives Grey Matter.  I got a hint at future plans.  Sorry, not my stuff to share with you just yet, but believe me, they’ve got some exciting stuff coming down the line, and that’s after the already announced Equilibrium Overturned, Death’s Realm and my own The End in All Beginnings.

And perhaps, just perhaps, we might have talked about my projects and how Grey Matter might fit them in.  Oh, perhaps a novel or two.  A collection of short stories a little further down the road. You know, stuff.  Secret stuff for right now, but I believe that my relationship with the fine folks at Grey Matter is going to be a long-term one.  And after meeting Tony, I am more than just fine with that.  I am actually excited about my work in a way that I haven’t been in a long while.  You know what happens when a writer is excited, right?

Yep, he writes more.  Which, I guess if you like my work, is a good thing.  So keep your eyes and ears peeled.  I think there might be some good news here over the next several months.


One More Sylvia Post…

I buried my best friend today.

Horrible.  It’s trite to say how short a time we have with pets.  How much they grow into our lives, our hearts.  And then suddenly, they’re gone.  It’s trite, but there it is anyway.

No one should have to wrap a limp little body in a pillow case.  No one should have to place that body inside a cardboard box. No one should have to dig a hole and then bury that box, cover it with dirt.

But I did all that for my Sylvia because I love her.  I loved her many quirks and eccentricities.  How she sat on the couch and stared at me for hours while I wrote.  Or stared outside the window and growled nonstop at the stuff floating down the river.  I love how she went bat-shit insane whenever “outside” was mentioned.  I love (and oh god, I will miss) her having to sit on my left leg when we rode in the car.  How she looked out the window and felt the air and smiled her little doggy smile. She loved car rides.

I shouldn’t have to miss any of that.  But I do.  I already do.

I have two other pugs that I love dearly–Sadie and Tovah.  But the house is quiet and lonely today. I can’t look over and see Syl on the couch.  I can’t hold her, squirming, and give her kisses, smell her ridiculously bad breath, rub her tummy.  I won’t be able to torture her with pug maintenance–teeth brushing, ear cleaning, fold cleaning (her absolute least favorite) and nail trimming.  I won’t be able to sneak her secret treats, because she was the oldest and my special, special baby.

I won’t be able to snuggle up to her on cold nights.  To have her lick my head when she feels the need to clean me.  I won’t be cleaning up the enormous amounts of shed fur anymore. Deb won’t have her special pug to settle into the chair with and watch TV.  I won’t be able to watch her as she watches TV, growling at other animals, especially horses.

She has moved on, moved on from me as life does, as all life does.  And while that’s the way of things, it doesn’t mean that I have to like it…right now anyway.  I don’t know what you believe about life and death, and I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything.  But I do believe that death is a movement, a next chapter if you will.  That whatever animates us–all of us, dogs included–whether that’s a soul or a life force or cosmic energy or whatever, it carries us through this transition that we see as death.  I believe that there is something after death.  What?  I dunno. But I do believe that I will see Sylvia again someday.  I believe that I will hear her happy little squeals, that she will dance in circles at the sight of me, that she will lick my head and smile her snaggle-toothed smile.

And as I said in a story about another lost dog of mine, we will both be here.  Right here.

Until then,  I will miss her profoundly.

Lord, I will miss her.


Here’s a Sylvia Slide Show While I Go Cry…

Sylvia Says Huh?

Sylvia Says Huh?

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My Sylvia Passed Away This Morning in My Arms.

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OK, so I’m a little distraught.  A lot distraught.

My Sylvia, the best pug in the world, passed away this morning in my arms.  She’d been feeling sick the last couple of days, but we thought it was something she ate or just some small sickness that dogs get and seem to get over quickly.

She was only just 11.  I got her when she was only 8 weeks old, and I still remember how tiny she was, how she rode with me on my lap all the way home from deep southwestern Missouri.  I will remember her smile most though.

She’s in bed now, wrapped in a pillowcase, cooling.  I closed my sweet baby’s eyes and I go in and look at her every few minutes.  It happened early this morning, and Deb’s not here, so she doesn’t even know yet.  I do not look forward to telling her that the mama’s pug has passed away.

At some point I have to bury my baby here at the house.  She will be the second pug I have buried while living on this lonely country road.

Sylvia, I love you and I always will.  You will always be daddy’s girl.  Go, now, and frolic and look after Hector.

I will never forget you, Syl.


A Great Interview with My Favorite Author, Peter Straub

A fantastic interview with THE man, Peter Straub.  To say that I would have killed Cesar Torres and crawled through his dead body to be able to take his place in Mr. Straub’s backyard chatting him up is a given.  ;  )  But, a good listen nonetheless.

Labyrinth 71 – Peter Straub.


Godzilla Was Long & Loud

And that’s about it.

I don’t have patience for a movie that kills off Bryan Cranston in the first 20 minutes.  Wha?

Let’s see…Spider-Man 2, Godzilla.

Still no big summer movie.

Perhaps it will be X-Men: Days of Future Past.


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