Just finished writing the novel I started the day that Cult workshop went over (21 June; really I finished Friday night, I suppose, just before Monk). It Came from Del Rio. Nothing but fun. Planned to go no more than 240 pages, and then just went 285, which is something of a record for me, staying that close to the blueprints. Anyway, it’s a story of a father and a daughter, of a rabbit and a zombie, a border story which deals with the traffic both of narcotics and weapons of terrorism. And yeah, it splashes down Sixth Street a time or two, yelling everybody’s name.
subtitle: “an Epistolary Slasher Novel.”

series indicator: Part I of the Bunnyhead Chronicles.

publisher: I’ve yet to even let my always-editor (at FC2) or my agent read it. So, like the rest I’ve got cued up and ready ( Tar, Baby; Seven Spanish Angels; Hair of the Dog; The Meat Tree: thirteen stories [ and one whose title I can’t say, because it’s too cool, and happens to be about werewolves, and whichever one or two I’m probably forgetting here ] ), this one isn’t even submitted anywhere right now.
working on now: as no prominent think thanks are leaving me voice mail, and nobody needs me for any focus-group/market research kind of stuff, and I don’t really have a job, I’ll be writing a screenplay for the rest of August, I’d guess. And maybe a story or two. Been meaning to get in Weird Tales, just because, well, 1) they rock, but 2) Conan debuted there, so maybe will try that, finally.

And, speaking of Conan, thanks to a guy with the unlikely name ‘Pooka,’ I now have that UK-only Centenary Edition of The Complete Chronicles of Conan. Which I had to immediately put in my special-book place, along with Bernard Heuvelmans’ On the Track of Unknown Animals, Slavoj Zizek’s The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime, and that X-Man / Star Trek Next Generation crossover novel, which has yet to get the acclaim it deserves. You can tell by the cover that it’s timeless, though. I mean, Picard and Professor X on the same deck? It’d be a real test of Patrick Stewart’s acting ability, if this one ever makes it to the big screen. But of course I’m sure he’d do it with aplomb, which, for all you cake sniffers, here means ‘in a way which should put all other actors to permanent shame.’
[ oh, and too, just talking boring site-issues, I may have to turn off the comments here for awhile, as the spambots are massing for some final strike, it feels like; I’m getting probably fifty fake-comments a day, which, I mean, they’re easy enough to kill before they ever show, but I’d rather be cruising eBay or something, yeah? but then too I’ve yet to skate the WordPress pages, see if there’s some anti-bot or something . . . ]

  • Shocklines is selling some autographed copies of Demon Theory. Click the image to go to the page. Also check out their forums. Between them and DreadCentral, if you can’t get your horror fix, then it could be that you’ve got a pretty serious little habit there, and might want to look into some rehab, possibly at an abandoned asylum or something, or maybe at least spend a week or so at the lakeside campsite of your choice. You might want to be bring some gauze, of course And maybe leave a properly notarized will with somebody.
  • Also, couple of new reviews, looks like:

FancyPants, Inc

  • And, nope, still no clue what’s up with Amazon and Demon Theory, though my publisher’s looking into it. Luckily, of course, it’s available everywhere else.


I got word that two are just out, in the mail to me and more or less available, and one’s shipping next week:

and no, alas, no clear word on the what Amazon is or isn’t doing with, to, or just in the general area of Demon Theory. it is gone from there, though. still available everywhere else, though, including, maybe, your local bookstore. my publisher says they’re reentering it, though, so it’ll be up again eventually, anyway; I’ll drop a note here when I get word it’s happening again.

click the image for the full-size cover; click the Cemetery Dance link for the table of contents

Just finished Charles McCarry’s OLD BOYS, which, like the rest of the Paul Christopher series, just absolutely blew me away. The guy’s not just a good storyteller, he hammers his prose, too. Usually you get one or the other.

A sample line:

She had the wary unwavering eyes of a woman who knew how attractive she was but wanted no sign from me that I might have noticed this too.

I’m not sure or even suspicious that it gets any better than that. After reading it, too–and this was just because I didn’t want the experience to be over, so was trying to wring the book for every last word–I finally got around to the back cover. Elmore Leonard, Peter Benchley, Norman Mailer, etc. First, though, right at the top, one of the best blurbs I’ve ever seen:

Infinitely seductive, sophisticated, and authentic, finely conceived, perfectly written; a masterwork by an exceptional novelist who writes about espionage.

It’s that last bit that stands out: “…by an exceptional novelist who writes about espionage.” this is wholly different than being a ‘spy novelist,’ a term people might use to dismiss a writer as unserious, perhaps. Crass enough to want to actually appeal to a reader or two. But Alan Furst (the blurber here), he cut through all of that, and even kind of showed us how we should be organizing our shelves: not by genre, but just alphabetically, by author. Granted, it’s not so easy for the marketers to sell an author as it is to sell a trusted category of fiction. But, man, if people could just be “exceptional novelists” who maybe write here, and there, and wherever… It’d be cool. And I’m dreaming, yeah, but Charles McCarry’s writing, I don’t know: it makes me think thinks are possible.

Finally rigged it up, here. It’s in Javascript, so hopefully your browser’s got that turned on. No cookies, though. And, the only possible glitch I can see, really, aside from not knowing the answers, is that if you’ve got your screen-resolution set too low, then things might get a little bit hinky. Which is the first time I’ve ever used that word. And yeah, it’s not set up to take comments/corrections/answers, so, if you’ve got any, just leave them under this. Don’t worry, though — there’s no essay questions.

As for other news, I don’t know: hit the Rob Zombie show Saturday night, and it was good. Somebody wrote asking how to buy Demon Theory, and I of course thought to myself, ‘Hmmm,’ which means, roughly, did this person own a computer, and, if not, how had they e-mailed me, but then I tried to shoot them back an Amazon link and bam, Demon Theory’s gone from Amazon. Maybe it was too scary? Who knows. Think some signed ones are going up before too long through Shocklines, anyway, and of course they’re all over every other place, both cyber- and physical, so shouldn’t be hard to find.

Anyway, reading Charles McCarry’s OLD BOYS right now, and, man, it’s the perfect, perfect thing. Like every other one of his books.

like I haven’t done this with every banner etc. but, anyway, yep, polished the trailer up in a few ways, and it’s here now:


I’m leaving the old one up as well, though, for those who might have preferred it.

too, am going to do one more thing (talking digiswag) for Demon Theory as well. a quiz-type thing. just still deciding whether to do it just in text, in javascript, in flash, or whether it might be fun to just make it into another trailer. leaning towards either text or the trailer right now, as both of those aren’t interactive, so require a lot less debugging, ie, allow me more time to write this new novel I’m already thirty pages into here.

well, okay, Pinhead’s maybe not a true and classic slasher. but he’s got the look, anyway, and has been pretty vital to this project we call horror. was going to synch some music up with this, but have no clue how, without going the Flash-route. anyway, the bigger version’s here.

a very brady horror film

as to why I killed two hours of my afternoon making this:

  • it’s lead-in for a Horror-IQ type quiz I’ll be posting here, as soon as I get a copy of Demon Theory, so I can track down the necessary page numbers (provided I keep it rigged like that–where it requires page numbers)
  • tomorrow morning, fates willing, I’m meeting somebody in town, so I can finally, for however long the moment lasts (we’re talking horizontal time here, not vertical–ie, clock-ticks, not depth or intensity), hold that box I keep my heart in, Demon Theory.

I don’t know anybody who’s got their Demon Theory from Amazon or Barnes & Noble yet, but, as of today they’re both showing it’s available, or, available-ish, anyway. And, I mean, if they’re selling it, it must be real, yeah? Exist in what we all agree is an objective reality? That is, it’s not just in my head, isn’t just some yearslong dream I had, and keep having. Or, too, maybe mine’ll somehow wend its way to me on this day, and some prophesied-against circle will be complete, and, being matter, I’ll touch the antimatter it must be and then stand in the middle of some bloom of light and power, which’ll crater the crust of the earth a little, to say nothing of space or time. It’ll probably really mess my hair up.

Just because I don’t write reviews anymore. Just because they seem to use the same part of my brain I use to write. Anyway, The Omen: a remake in a year of remakes, yeah. Not quite as ‘reinterpretive’ as When a Stranger Calls and not quite as ‘faithful’ as Psycho, but, too, I’m not yet confident it’s the ‘improvement’ The Hills Have Eyes might have been (not that Craven messed up or was hamstrung by budget or any of that, just that it was a nice surprise, finding that I cared for that little monster girl at the end). Too, though, I do appreciate how much Father Spileto was a dead ringer for He Who Must Not Be Named, But Can Be Played Pretty Effectively by Ralph Fiennes. And the visuals and effects and acting were all good, I guess (I’m always so pulled in by story that, unless any of that’s bad enough to push me out of the experience, I don’t notice it–as it should be, I think, yes. Isn’t this how the score’s supposed to function as well?).

Still, though, the first one, man, it didn’t just scare it, it disturbed me. Like stopped me from breathing kind of scary. Why then wouldn’t this one too?

Well, it’s complicated. Bear with me now (this is what I always say at the drive-through window too). The reason this Omen doesn’t disturb like the last one doesn’t really have anything to do with how it was made or rewritten or any of that. It has everything to do, instead, with the fact that it’s set in an alternate reality. Which one? The one where, in 2006, people can still, in good conscience, name their child ‘Damien,’ and not expect fire & brimstone & priests scurrying around, full of portent. I mean, in 1976, sure, ‘Damien’ was a little bit charged ‘evil,’ but, man, nothing like it would be after Omen had its way with it. The same way after Silence of the Lambs, the panel van went out, thanks to Jame Gumb, and the minivan rose to power, so did the name ‘Damien’ fall out of favor. So, for us to somehow accept what this Omen‘s trying to sell us, we have to first postulate a thirty years prior to that 2006, in which ‘Damien’ wasn’t charged. That is, a world in which the 1976 Omen never happened. A world where the graduating classes of the 1990s had a lot more antichrists than they really did. So, yeah, this Omen remake is caught in a tight little circle of bad logic: either use a different name than ‘Damien,’ or not be a remake–exist instead in a world which had no 1976 Omen. And, as for the first option, of course The Omen‘s not The Omen without a kid named Damien. As for the second, I don’t know: production budgets are high, yeah–but that high?

Too, the faithful among you will of course intuit that The Omen‘s dillemma here is similar to the tightwire The X-Files always had to walk: if Fox ever actually did get some disc of irrefutable proof of alien stuff into the right hands, and suddenly it was accepted, then at that moment the show would be divorced from the world we live in–the world which has no such proof–and The X-Files would spin off into their own little alternate dimension, all insulated with fantasy. Or, to look at it another way, maybe the inverse of this is what let the very unlikely Buck Rogers actually work.
Anyway, talking minivans, I wonder if clear-plastic shower curtains kind of caught on after Psycho? I would guess The Hitcher‘s left a lot of lonely non-killers walking in the rain on the side of the road, anyway, and, as for being buried in Haiti: forget it. Serpent and the Rainbow was all the cautionary tale I needed. And, I mean, it’s just totally unfair, America’s media-influenced prejudice against those of us who, on occasion, choose to wear hockey masks in public, just because it makes you feel like Clint for some reason, looking out those eyeholes (okay, the ‘Clint’-association is almost surely the mouthlessness of those masks matching up with how little all his cowboy/strangers ever said–or, had to say).

Anyway, to sum up: If you’ve just drifted into town, and are killing time, brooding around, trying to kick your cigarillo habit, squinting into the heat maybe, like you’d fight the sun if you could just reach it, and a minivan pulls up beside you with the antichrist behind the wheel, and he’s wearing a hockey mask, then lean over to spit a line onto the hot asphalt, and, like you don’t really even care about the answer even, ask him if his name’s ‘Damien.’ If not, then shrug one shoulder, tell yourself what the hell, and get in, just on the chance he’s going home, to whatever his native reality might be, where the shower curtains are thick and admit no light, no shadows.

[ this sestina provided by amateurs, for non-spousal consumption ]

is the author of 22 or 23 books, 250+ stories, and all this stuff here. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and has a few broken-down old trucks, one PhD, and way too many boots