Monthly Archives: June 2015

Got Accepted into a Pretty Prestigious Writer’s Workshop with Peter Straub as an Instructor.

I’ve been considering attending a writer’s workshop for quite a while, as a way to get out of hermitage, out of my own head and hone some of my skills.  Looked at a lot of them, and couldn’t make it work–dates, length of time, cost, etc.  Then a couple of weeks ago I saw something for the Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp.

Now, if you don’t know Borderlands Press, it’s run by the fantastic author Thomas F. Monteleone, writer of many books and author of the great M.A.F.I.A. column in Cemetery Dance.  Anyway, Monteleone’s been around the block a time or two and has a reputation as a discerning editor as well.

So, this looked pretty interesting.  3 days.  OK, I could do that.  January.  Sounds doable. Cost sounds…


The guest instructor is who?

Peter Fucking Straub!

OK, calm…calm…must….remain…calm.  Discuss with Deb, make sure this is doable…YES!

Thanks, Mrs. Taff.

Now, assemble my entry.  Yeah, you can’t just pay and get it in.  You’ve got to submit a 30-page sample and be accepted.


Success!  I heard from Tom yesterday accepting me into the Boot Camp.

I will finally meet Peter Straub in person.

Oh, yeah, and hone my writing skills, yadda-yadda-yadda.

The Sunken Cathedral Will Rise Aug. 4!


My latest, The Sunken Cathedral–a standalone novella previewed at the recent World Horror Con in May–will be officially published Aug 4, 2015 by Grey Matter Press.  I am super-stoked about this.  Bird Box Author Josh Malerman wrote a terrific introduction for it that I’d love to share with you now…but I can’t.  You’ll have to wait to August 4th!

Go here to read the announcement by Grey Matter!

Wanna Read a FREE Story of Mine? Visit The Horror Zine!

The Horror Zine, edited by the lovely and vivacious Jeani Rector, celebrates its 6th birthday in July with an interview with the redoubtable Joe McKinney and…John F.D. Taff as the Special Guest Writer!  My story, “Last Call,” appears there for you to read for FREE.  Seriously, if you’re not reading The Horror Zine you’re missing out on a great horror fiction resource.

But, ahem, back to me… “Last Call” is a dark little tale about having problems and taking short cuts to solve them.  Is that ever a good idea?  It isn’t, I can assure you, in this story.

So go here and take a look at everything Jeani’s got for you in this issue of The Horror Zine!

YOU Can Vote for The Best of Grey Matter Press Vol. 1


So, the little press that could, Grey Matter, is putting together a Best of anthology featuring the best stories it’s published so far, from books like Dark Visions Vol. 1, Dark Visions Vol. 2, Splatterlands, Ominous Realities and Equilibrium Overturned.  That’s 70 stories in all…and some damn good ones.

Among those damn good ones (I hope), are two stories by me:  “Show Me” in Dark Visions Vol. 1, and “Angie” in Ominous Realities

Now, here’s the thing.  Grey Matter is letting YOU, YES YOU vote for the stories that make it into this volume.  Here’s the link to get to Grey Matter’s page explaining all of this and how you vote.  Pretty cool.

And, needless to say, it’d be great if you voted for my stories!

As they say in Chicago, vote early, vote often!

As Always, A Few Years Behind, But We Generally, Eventually Get it Right

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.”

These words, some day, will be looked at as profound as the Emancipation Proclamation, The Bill of Rights and other documents affirming freedom and equality for all. And their detractors, like Scalia, Thomas, et al.,  will seem as antiquated and base as Chief Justice Roger Taney so long ago…

And Now, For No Reason At All…


A levitating stoat…

James Horner Died But His Excellent Music Lives On…


I’m something of a soundtrack nerd.  When I was a kid, in the increasingly distant 1970s, I was listening to the soundtracks to such movies as Star Wars, Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Superman and movies like that.  And this is while other people my age were getting into The Eagles, Pink Floyd, ELO, Boston, etc.  Not me.  Lock me in a room, give me a few scifi or fantasy books (no horror yet…that would come later), and I was a happy kid.

John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith were the big names…and, of course, James Horner.


My first exposure to his music was with the soundtrack to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan…arguably the best of the Star Trek movies and, arguably again, the best score.  Great cues there, from the opening, almost nautical motif to the bombastic battles between the Enterprise and the Reliant.

But he had a lot more…Aliens, Field of Dreams, Avatar, Bicentennial Man, Titanic (ugh) and Glory, which I am listening to as I write this.  Glory is sublime.  I’m a bit of a Civil War nerd, too, and Glory manages to capture the Civil War perfectly.  It is like the soundtrack to the actual Civil War, not just a movie.

Anyway, I was very sorry to hear that Mr. Horner died the other day in a plane crash.  Horrible way to go, and horrible to lose someone so talented.  Got me thinking of what it means to be an artist, at least at the level of an ideal.  To create a thing of beauty that will outlast its creator.  It’s like leaving little pieces of yourself behind for the world to appreciate after you’re gone.  I think James Horner did that, beautifully.

Don’t know if I will reach that level, but it’s definitely something, as an artist, I aspire to.

Godspeed, James Horner

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