Tuesday, July 21, 2015


(I imagine) Because they are feverishly attempting to turn around this anthology for NecronomiCON in August, no one has time to update the Ulthar Press web page.

But, yesterday on their Facebook page, they announced their upcoming Lovecraftian anthology, A LONELY AND CURIOUS COUNTRY.

I have a story in the anthology!

As explained on their submission page, the title comes from "The Dunwich Horror";

 “When a traveler in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean's Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country."

This is a general Lovecraftian anthology as opposed to something specific, like say, an Innsmouth anthology. I look forward to reading all the tales.

I'm very excited to be in some great company in this table-of-contents!

ANNOUNCING the contents for the upcoming Lovecraftian anthology, A LONELY AND CURIOUS COUNTRY:

The Dreamer of Nothingness Steven Prizeman
Paudie O'Brien and the Bogman Sean Farrell
Turn on, Tune in, Infiltrate, Disrupt Kenneth Heard
Down Through Black Abysses Peter Rawlik
Project Handbasket Rebecca Allred
Incense and Insensibilty Christine Morgan
Salt Water Bodies Susan Wong
Interrogation Damir Salkovic
Radical Division Jonathan Titchenal
Igawesdi Cliff Biggers
After Birth Sammons/Jenkins
Rehab Kevin Wetmore
Unsung Heroes Don Webb
The Litany of Yith Brett Davidson
The Third Oath of Dagon Robert Price
Down By the Highway Side Paul McNamee
In the Forest, with the Night Aaron French

Monday, July 20, 2015

NECON 35 (2015)

NECON 35 did not disappoint. This year my goal was to spread out, chat with more people, discuss writing craft along with the random topics that come up in conversation. (Last year I was a transient wallflower.)

The convention opened on Thursday afternoon. Thursday is usually a quiet half day, nothing really official happens except guests arriving and newbie orientation. I was fine with that. It would mean more time for conversation.

Things kicked off with a bang - I received a story acceptance email during dinner. (More on that once the contracts are signed and I'm at liberty to announce.) The food was delicious, too. The Lobster Pot cooks a mean lobster roll.

After dinner everyone gathered at various locales - the lobby, the bar, the new lounge room. The courtyard is the biggest evening destination, with "saugies" roasted, drinks consumed and conversation long into the night.

Last year, the conference center's pool was closed and we thought it was under construction. In fact, it was on its way out. It has been replaced with a large lounge space with plenty of seating. This was a great feature and the room was used for the Friday morning kaffeeklatsches. People used the room all weekend. In fact, it is so large Brian Keene used one area to record interviews for his Horror Show podcasts while other folks were in the room, too. So, be sure to listen to upcoming episodes.

One corner of that room became the morning rendezvous spot for some of us. Friday morning, I was one of the early risers. I looked up the local Dunkin Donuts and made a coffee & munchkin run, because the breakfast didn't start for another 2 hours. Great time just chatting with Charles Rutledge, Brian Keene, Jim Moore and others who came by.

The panels started after lunch and the nice thing about NECON is that they keep things simple and small. There is only one panel track. Nothing gets out of hand with over-scheduling. They were all great panels and worth the time.

I had a great Friday night dinner chatting with Errick Nunnally, Dan Foley and artist guest of honor, Duncan Eagleson.

Friday night there was the NECON toast and update. Funny, funny, funny wonderful time. After that - again to the courtyard for socializing late into the night. If you're not a social creature, NECON will make you one.

I had to leave Saturday afternoon, so I missed the evening roast. Considering just how darn funny the Friday night festivities had been, I can only imagine how hilarious that evening must have been.

I came home with too many books (both in my goodie bag and more that I bought.)

On a personal note that made me smile; ospreys took care of my raptor fix. Two had territorial squabbling over the very top of the nearest cell tower. This happened each morning. I enjoyed watching them for a few minutes each morning until they winged away.

Without actually having "writers' bootcamp" writing sessions or anything like that, somehow NECON still manages to be one hell of a writers' pep rally. I can't imagine anyone heading home not being excited about getting words on paper. I mean, excited and scared of Jim Moore ;) who has certain methods of persuasion.

Though I came home early, I did stay two evenings this time rather than a day trip. I hope to stay the entire length of the convention next year. It is a great, great time.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Recreating my youth, one digital file at a time

I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but my first superhero comic was an issue of Captain America. I remember it well because we had dropped my father off for a business trip and we bought the comic at the airport newsstand. I read it in the car on the way home - and that is how I became car-sick the first time.

I never got swept up in comics as a kid. I didn't quite get hooked, and my parents didn't exactly encourage nor discourage comics reading. I know my Dad didn't think much of comics.

Flipping through stacks at the comic shop this weekend, I came across a Spider-man (actually, a MARVEL TEAM-UP) that I also owned. So, I bought it. Then I recalled I also had an Iron Man issue. Yes, just three issues. I remember reading the Captain America over & over. I don't remember the other two as well, but they are the same year. I wonder if we had actually bought a 3-pack at the airport. Or maybe I had the Captain America and then shortly after tried a 2-pack. I don't recall.

I let them go many years ago.

Anyway, after that little memory tweak this weekend, I looked up the digital versions and lucky for me, they're all available at Comixology. I already had the Captain America, I grabbed the Marvel Team-up just because, and I added the Iron Man to my digital collection.

Looking forward to re-reading these two.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Howard Days 2015 panels

As a public service, I am posting a thread from the REH Forums that contain videos of panels from Howard Days this year.

Great stuff, and I've only watched 2 so far.

Friday, June 26, 2015

TIN MEN marching

Believe it or not, this is not a review. On Tuesday, Christopher Golden's latest novel, TIN MEN, a scifi military thriller set in the near future, was released.

Chris setup a launch event split over two nights. I attended last night's event at the Haverhill Public Library in Massachusetts. To make it fun and informal, Chris brought co-guests. John McIlveen, Toni Kelner and James A. Moore.

Chris read a small excerpt, and the panel held court on writing questions and stories. It was pleasant and fun.

There were plenty of other writers in the audience, too. Chatted with other NECONers and even spent some time talking with director Izzy Lee about an upcoming short film she did with a Innsmouth flair. (It will be part of an international anthology movie called Danse Macabre.)

In addition to buying TIN MEN, they held a robot trivia contest and I came away with extra loot. Extra special as all three of these books were on my wishlist. I love the cartoony take on pulp cover art on Wicked Tales. If you look close enough, you'll see that it is H. P. Lovecraft's gravestone. (really, that is what it looks like, the artist did his homework.)

Great night out!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

recent read; Virgin Zombie

Virgin Zombie by Charles R. Rutledge

Armand Brule, aka 'Houngan', is a meth cook on the run from a murder charge in Chicago. When he turns up in the small town of Wellman Georgia, Chicago homicide Lieutenant Jacqueline 'Jack' Daniels is dispatched to apprehend him.

Jack ends up teamed with Wade Griffin, a mercenary turned private investigator. Their search will bring them into conflict with a biker gang and something far more sinister. For Houngan is another name for a voodoo priest and Brule may be cooking up something worse than crystal meth. And then there's the dead guy with a hatchet.

This story is a fast-paced crime/mystery with plenty of action. I enjoyed it. I have read previous Griffin & Price novels, but I have not read Jack Daniels stories. That in no way limited my enjoyment. Reading Griffin in action – and bumping into some other characters of Wellman, GA – was like a quick, satisfying visit with old friends.

If you're a fan of either Jack Daniels or Griffin & Price, I would give it a read. Or try it anyway, even if you aren't familiar with either series. It is a solid story that stands on its own. Charles writes good, fun stuff!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

recent read; Bless the Child

Bless the Child by David J. West

Impelled by a quest for redemption, the man known only as The Spartan finds unholy work in The Holy Land. And work is good, there is no end of service amongst kings and robber barons for a man who sells his sword so well. But blood won’t wash away blood and The Spartan finds himself compelled toward something greater than himself. Bless The Child is a romance of redemption and glory. Numerous historical personages cross paths with The Spartan, including Solon, Nebuchadnezzar, the prophets Lehi, Jeremiah and Daniel, King Zedekiah and the poetess Sappho. Come back to 586 B.C. when Jerusalem burned and the life of a prince rested in the hands of the exiled Spartan. Can a mercenary trained only for war become an instrument of peace?

David J. West again (see Heroes of the Fallen) dives into a historical Mormon framework to weave a solid historical fiction tale.

The Spartan narrator of this story is a great character. A warrior by nature, and exile by honorable choice, the mercenary life is all he knows or wants. We follow his journey to find purpose, from the depths of working for men he despises to finding reasons to fight that have greater meaning. Along the way we see some solid combat and action, learn a haunting, tragic backstory, and meet historical characters.

As a story structure, allowing time gaps between the acts of the novel worked, but it did create some moments of telling rather than showing. Certain characters appeared and disappeared off-stage, as it were.

I particularly enjoyed the third act of the novel as the tension heightened and the action kept coming. It is written in present tense, but it is one of those rare cases where the verb tense shift worked. It definitely gave the tale a sudden immediacy.

Overall Bless the Child is a good read, And I think David's ability to write a novel length tale improved over Heroes of the Fallen.

And hey - all proceeds on this one go to charity, so if you're considering it, you should go ahead and buy it.