Friday, January 28, 2011

Kindle Dawn

There's a first time for everything in publishing, including new-fangled reading things.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unfinished Bin

While working on the novel last year I stopped writing short stories. I need to crank out a few and send them around. Fortunately, my unfinished bin offers a wealth of material.

On Monday, I found an old horror story I wrote for an anthology a few years back. It was rejected, then rewritten, then parked, then forgotten. Yesterday, I came across it in a pile of folders I call my "unfinished bin." After a quick read I concluded my rediscovered tale stunk like wino poo.

But there's plenty to work with. I need to lop off the first seven pages and start in the middle of things. And so I will...eventually. Don't rush me. I'm getting to it. No. No, I 'm not. I'm writing aimless post-filler right now. Okay. NOW I'll get to it. So long.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Will Be Interviewed

Necrotic Tissue wants to interview me for Issue #14 in May. Several questions deal with Freakazoid!, which is fine—glad to keep alive the guy with lightning in his hair. I'll update later in the spring as publication approaches. What fun! What giddy fun!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dagon and Jill Publishes

Issue #13—how fortuitious!—of Necrotic Tissue is out. My story is teased on the cover along with my fine name in the lower left hand corner. (Editor's Pick, I tell you!) Few will spot my name because of the hot spider chick, but it's there nevertheless. Should time and finances permit, pick up a copy. (Note: this is a print publication not digital. As such, it involves various inks and paper.) Should you buy Issue #13 and enjoy my story, stop over at Amazon and rate "Dagon and Jill" as well as the publication in a kindly manner as befits good folk. (Image: Stygian Publications.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rats and My Security Guard Job

Over the years, I've worked a few midnight-to-eight jobs in downtown LA. This article comes as no surprise. Like fishing tales, rat sizes grow larger with the retelling but I will nonetheless affirm that downtown LA rats are fecund and large. A jewelry factory where I worked as a security guard had trash cans overflowing with discarded lunches. You'd hear the metal cans rattling all night as the rats chowed down. I'd make my rounds and flash a light, catching sight of a long, scaly tale disappearing snake-like down the side of a barrel. Once a bold rat paused atop the trash and eyed me as I passed. I wanted to shoot the defiant vermin, but only carried a .38 and feared aggravating it.

Back at my desk, I'd type up jokes and short stories and glance at the monitors until my next round. Once an outside monitor displayed a rat with ruler- straight tail trotting across the street toward our building. In this pre-digital age, our grainy, black-and-white monitors barely registered the outdoors. For a rat to show up, it had to be trophy-sized.

Around 6 AM, the morning security shift would clock in. I worked with really fascinating guys. Jerry my boss was a former Air Force military policeman who'd been stationed on remote Johnston Atoll out in the Pacific. He guarded the launch sites used in Operation Dominic, the last of the outer space thermonuclear tests back in the early sixties. Treeless and barren, the atoll provided little recreation. Jerry said the garrison split roughly into two categories: physical fitness fanatics and drinkers. (I think he leaned toward the healthy side.) In any case, Jerry watched as hydrogen bombs were fired up into space and detonated, blossoming in the pitch-black sky like eerie buds.

At the factory, Jerry had an assistant named Ski. Ski was a former LA cop, fired for pulling some prank on a supervisor. He had a lawsuit going, claiming unlawful termination. I couldn't comment on the "unlawful" part, but Ski did have a very droll sense-of-humor. He'd served in the 26th Marines at Khe Sanh and had his own adventures with large rodents.

During Khe Sanh, Ski and the other Marines were pinned down by heavy North Vietnamese rocket and artillery fire. No al fresco dining there. Living in bunkers, they ate and dumped their trash on the floor. This bonanza drew in large rats from the surrounding forest who disturbed the men's meager sleep and occasionally nestled between their legs for warmth. (Charming.) One day, the troops had enough. Someone squirted lighter fluid on a rat, while someone else lit the critter on fire with a Zippo cigarette lighter. Other bunkers joined in. Soon the perimeter was alive with flaming rats, falling rockets and laughing men.

It made my rat woes seem weakish by comparison.

Years later, I spotted a small article in the LA Times. Ski was mentioned along with the words "settlement" and "estimated million dollars." Whatever the amount, I'll bet it could buy a tanker truck of lighter fluid. (Image:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Christmas in January

This weekend we'll be joining our Orthodox and Armenian brethren who celebrate the birth of Christ in January, starting about the time we Catholics take down the Christmas decorations. Why? Because of monetary reasons we skipped our usual northwest trip to visit my sister. Instead, we'll holiday in Sonoma County. North of San Francisco, this wine country locale is close to the sea and Indian gaming. As my sister's boyfriend has a time-share in said region, it will be a festive cheap event.

Eponymous. There. I've used the word. I feel soiled. George Orwell once said, in effect, that to maintain fresh writing you should use no word which has found currency with the press. I'm guessing he would've included the Web. He also said don't trust large pigs. I don't. So I'm okay there.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Space Mobsters vs. Nazis

Brutal bug-like aliens with murderous ray guns, wearing snap brim hats and track suits, battling, well, Nazis—I'm thinking SS panzergrenadiers with Tiger Tanks and air support. Our world faces destruction unless young people without super powers or very-much ambition can stop them both.

A. Short story?

B. Video game?

C. Graphic novel?

D. Animated feature?

Vote and let me know what you'd like to see.

I opened up an idea for votes awhile ago. The people wanted a sit-com and I actually wrote it. So let's see where this one goes. (I haven't given up on the book—just gathering energy for the last push on draft one.)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

So long, Gerry Rafferty

In an age before iTunes and craft-your-own-playlists, songs played on the radio. Some played more than others. Sting and The Police "I'll Be Watching You" dominated the 1983 airwaves. Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" ruled in 1988. And ten years earlier, Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," with its jazzy sax lick, defined that summer. In 1978, I was working days on a Post Office loading dock and nights as a stand-up comic in and around the Windy City. I'd get off work, stop at the local tavern, quench a beer or five, and usually hear some part of "Baker Street"—starting or ending. Rush home, shower and eat then scoot to my first gig, often way south down in Lyons. "Baker Street" would accompany me on the toll road regardless of what pop station I settled on. After Lyons, I'd drive north to Rosemont or into Chicago to the northwest side, performing my set at this club or that. (The club in Chicago had a stage above the bar—it used to be a strip joint—and the drink mixer just below the stage. You were guaranteed to have a high-pitched whirring sound obliterate at least one of your punch lines...more if the bartender didn't like you...or liked you personally but didn't care for your act.) In between my sundry rounds of mirth, I'd be catching Gerry Rafferty. Today I heard he died of alcoholism. (I consider myself fortunate not to have trod a similar path.) May he rest in peace as I recall mail sacks, Old Style draft, hot nights driving, laughs and drink blenders. (Image: Pop Dose)

via Jaspierrr

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Artist Maz Zolp Demo Reel

Here sits her animation demo reel. Give it a peek and enjoy the pert, retro soundtrack.

Monday, January 03, 2011

"Dagon and Jill" A'Coming

Third day of the new year and nothing fantastic has happened yet. Then again, nothing terrible has happened.

In a few weeks, (Fri., January 21) a short-story of mine will appear in Necrotic Tissue #13. "Dagon and Jill" explores the blending of worldviews as a publisher struggles to put out a trilogy of disturbing text books that have a way of coming true. This will be in print—a form of written communication involving paper.

Nothing fantastic since I started this post.

I'll update as the months unfold.
(Image: Stygian Publications)