Monday, April 30, 2012

Riots Recalled

My wife remembers the LA riots of a generation ago. I was employed at Warner Bros. out in Sherman Oaks back then. However, no one actually worked that Thursday. Everyone was crowded around a television in Tom Ruegger's office watching the looting of the Beverly Center Shopping Mall. Smoke from the arson fires drifted into the San Fernando Valley and would worsen over the next two days.

We were sent home. My future wife stopped by my Glendale apartment and we watched the chaos on TV. Coverage was non-stop. As we snacked on the couch, seeing familiar places burn or be picked clean by street locusts, Joy coined a term for us: "Riot Potatoes."

The Dutchman, an old friend and veteran sit-com cameraman, lived in Tinsel Town several blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard. When looters sacked a shop just down the street, his fellow neighbors agonized over whether to block off their cul de sac with cars. But no one wanted to volunteer his vehicle. At that moment, The Dutchman strolled into a knot of worried homeowners wearing a 9mm semi-auto on one hip and sporting a .22 semi-auto in a shoulder holster. Holding up his hands, he waited for their full attention then said, "Let us not reason out of fear."

The irony drew a few smiles, as intended, and the looters eventually moved west instead of north.

Time flies faster than Iron Man.

Image: the daily

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ahoy! 'Pirates' Review Up at F.O.G.

Pirates are so cute and cuddly lately. But this film decided to counter-punch. Find out how and why at Forces of Geek.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paul Rugg Tossed Off Own Blog!

You knew it was coming, like 2012 or middle age.

But Paul Rugg has been asked to leave blogging.

Learn why and how here and now!

Image: wdw

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Dagon and Jill" in Lovecraft Anthology

IA! IA! I am more feverish than a poet in a madhouse. Wildside Press has released their ebook anthology on the Cthulhu Mythos. This short story collection includes Lovecraftian tales by Conan creator Robert E. Howard, Psycho's very own Robert Bloch, fantasy-horror author Clark Ashton Smith, and fantasy-sci fi scribe Lin Carter. Oh, and a number of tales by some guy named Howard Phillips Lovecraft, including "The Call of Cthulhu."

In addition, there is a novella by T.E.D. Klein. Klein was once editor of The Twilight Zone, a 1980s magazine dedicated to horror. Klein rejected one of the first horror stories I ever sent out back in my college days. He was generous enough to forward the tale to a sister publication, Night Cry. And while the story never found a home, I was motivated to keep typing away by Klein's encouraging note.

Finally, the last story you'll read in Wildside's The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack is my own "Dagon and Jill." Being in such exalted company has made me feel all eldritch and cyclopean. The megapack contains forty stories and is a steal for under a buck. Warm up the Kindle, download a copy and read it in the waning light of a gibbous moon.

Image: hireanillustrator

Three Stooges Review at F.O.G.

All of it. I've held back nothing. See, learn, know.

But not in that order.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stooges In-Bound

Tom Ruegger suggested I review The Three Stooges. So I have chosen to write a full review based on avoiding the film.

On Thursday, Forces of Geek will unveil my insights into the craft necessary to convincingly portray a chucklehead.

That leaves next week wide open.

Drop me your suggestions for a film to review.

If I run with your suggestion you will see your name printed in this blog in a much larger font that I normally use.

Don't pass on a sterling opportunity.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wonderful Residuals From the Continent of Europe!

Later today, a story of munificence bestowed upon me courtesy of many European countries. They may be broke, but they did all right by me.

Plus reviews will return this week to F.O.G. after writing chores derailed them.

There will be a good review of...?

Perhaps you should choose.

Pick a film opening this Friday and I will review it sight unseen.

For that is my craft.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Assault Review Up at F.O.G.

Normally, I sup up French cinema but this time the Frenchies double-crossed me. Learn why here today.

Vonnegut Notes on Short-Story Writing

Tom Ruegger sent me these eight thoughts from Kurt Vonnegut on short story writing.

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

via The Atlantic
Image: TV Tropes

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Flush Fiction Contest

America's favorite bathroom reader teeters on the edge of release. My short story "Fresh Ideas" resides within the book's papery grasp.

I will have a spare copy of Uncle John's to dispense, thanks to marketing largess.

Write and tell me what reading in the bathroom has meant to you over the years.

The winner will receive a free copy of the latest edition of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader signed by me. ME!

Deadline is Tue. April 17, so get your porcelain tales in by then.

UPDATE: Send your entries to
Subject Line: Flush Fiction Contest