Sunday, December 12, 2010

(Insert Clever Title Here)

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Tumbleweeds are rolling through the desert of my mind.

Okay, that's not entirely true, but it sounds nice.

It is a bit quiet here on the porch, though. I finally received a rejection from an agent who had requested a partial submission of CROWLEY'S NIGHTMARE back in March. Even though I had written that one off a few months ago, it's still nice to have some closure. My short story PAINTED has been submitted for a contest. Some of you may remember A REQUIEM FOR THE UNNAMED from my reading at the "Up From The Underground" art show back in June; a revised version of that story is awaiting response from a well-known digital distributor. I've completed my partial submission of BOX 32 for a huge novella contest, and started revising a ghost story for possible inclusion in a 2011 anthology. Oh, and there's that pesky MFA thesis that is ongoing, ongoing, ongoing.

Huh. Guess it's not too quiet, after all.

And, just for fun, let's wrap this up with an edition of The iPod Random 15:

1. "And My Fury Stands Ready" - My Dying Bride
2. "Angel's Punishment" - Lacuna Coil
3. "Love" - Strapping Young Lad
4. "Hello, Goodbye" - The Beatles
5. "Evil In A Closet" - In Flames
6. "Will You Love Me Now?" - Ihsahn
7. "Whoa Mule" - The Black Crowes
8. "The Slumber Of Yesteryears" - Thyrfing
9. "Everytime I Die" - Children of Bodom
10. "I Am The Black Wizards" - Emperor
11. "O Novo Ja Nasce Velho" - O Rappa
12. "Slanderous" - Machine Head
13. "Heaven Beside You" - Alice In Chains
14. "I Am Abomination" - Exodus
15. "Metal Command" - Exodus

Monday, November 1, 2010

Movin' On Up

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Thanks, everyone, for checking out PAINTED. Reader response was awesome, and that makes me feel all gushy inside. If you enjoyed it, I'm glad.

So, what's next? Well, there are always projects in various stages of completion. Focus right now is forked into three tines: there's BOX 32 (a novella I'm wrapping up for a pretty major contest), an untitled thesis in progress for the MFA program, and further drafts of my (still tentatively titled) novel, NIGHT TERRORS.

Oh, and let's not forget THE BOND. Filming has finished, editing has begun, and director Rick Dumont hopes to have the whole thing boxed and bowed by Christmas. There will be numerous promotional activities, public showings, readings, and all those dates will be posted up here well in advance. Schedule permitting, I'll be at as many of these events as I can, so if you're in the area, come by and see us.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Program Status: Meltdown

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Sloth. What a beautiful word. But after two or three days of inactivity, I'm starting to feel a bit guilty. Especially considering the mad productivity of the last few weeks.

The first draft of NIGHT TERRORS (still only a placeholder title) has been completed. That one was a real accomplishment. Unlike the other two novels I've written, all of TERRORS feels strong. The story is tight and creepy as all hell. Now it goes in the drawer for a while, to be looked upon with fresh eyes before starting revisions.

I also drafted two new short stories, one of which will be posted here at IaM for Halloween. It will only be up for one week, October 25 through November 1, so be sure check it out while you can.

THE BOND, a film I co-wrote with Rick Dumont and Carla Bonney, has entered post-production. Rick hopes to have it in the can by the end of the year. Follow PIP Films for more information.

I'm officially knee-deep into the new novel. Smoked through the first sixty pages. Still too early to discuss titles, plots, synopses, but know that it's moving along well.

That's about it for the moment. Always a party here at IaM - tell all your friends they're invited.

JAK

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October Coming Fire

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Ah, sweet October. How I've missed you.

As a horror writer, I realize the cliche of embracing a month that celebrates death - and life after - in all its forms, be they gory, subtle or (oftentimes unintentionally) silly. For me, there is just a special scent in the air at this time of year. It's an intoxicating mixture of cinnamon and woodsmoke and freshly dug grave. It's chilly enough to make you shiver, but not so cold that your nose drips. And maybe, if you're lucky, that noise your hear in the walls at night is not a mouse, but a ghost come to visit while the fabric between this world and the next thins for a short time.

Keep an eye out (but you can leave the other one in) for an exclusive Halloween story to be posted here in the very near future. And, if you're creepy enough to follow this blog regularly, you certainly don't need me to suggest appropriate October entertainment. However, if you've been buried alive for the past couple of months and don't know about the great Frank Darabont's new zombie series, consider yourself schooled:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And It All Comes Back Around

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Alright, vacation is over and it's time to get back to work. We've got new projects galore, updates on old projects, and a few neat little surprises in store.

NIGHT TERRORS (novel) - Only the final scene, about twenty more pages, remains to be written. This is a first draft with a tentative title, and you probably won't see the final product for a good year or so.

CROWLEY'S NIGHTMARE (novel) - Finished. A solicited partial has been in the hands of an agent since February, but I may run through it again just to tweak some niggling details.

THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH (short story) - Finished and posted at Killing Boxx in the Grim Tales section. Direct links can also be found here. UPDATE: this story is in the process of being translated into Portuguese and French exclusively for Infamy and Misfortune.

THE BOND (film co-written by Rick Dumont, Carla Bonney, and me) - Principal shooting has (as far as I know) been completed. Early 2011 release is likely.

UNTITLED (novel, and no, "Untitled" is not the name of the book, smart aleck) - Approximately thirty pages into a new project that will be a bit of a departure from the standard horror/supernatural fare. It will, of course, retain a certain darkness you've all come to expect.

Thrown into this mess are seven or eight short stories in various stages of completion. Some will end up in magazines, websites, or anthologies. You'll know when I do. And, from time to time, we'll have exclusive content here at Infamy and Misfortune.

Stay (de)tuned . . .

JAK

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome To The World

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Just a quick note to let you all know that THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH has been posted in its entirety at Killing Boxx and you can also find links to their site from the Stories page. Big thanks to Will, Anastasia, Ken, and the rest of the grim crew for putting it out there.

JAK

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Propaganda

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

The fiancĂ©e and I are on vacation soon, so updates will be sporadic for a few weeks. In the meantime, on the Stories page, you can find all the parts of "The Miracle of Birth" that have been published so far. Killing Boxx put up the sixth chapter yesterday, and there are three more to go. Keep checking their site on Saturdays for new additions. Or new editions. Whichever you prefer.

I have also added a Propaganda page that will contain links to articles, reviews, and other goodies related to the various projects to which my name is attached. For now, we have The Big Foot Diaries, an independent mockumentary made by Jamie Sharps of Sharps Films. I spent an evening assisting on set and sweating my fat off in a bigfoot costume for scenes that were eventually cut (but are included in the DVD extras). We also have Setting the Scene, an article by Kathleen Baglio Humphreys for The Cabinet Press, a New Hampshire newspaper. Kathleen discusses Rick Dumont's film-in-progress, "The Bond,"
written by Rick, Carla Bonney, and yours truly.

I guess that's it for now. Spread the word.

JAK

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back from the Dead

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

I've recently returned from six days on Star, a notoriously haunted island off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and I didn't see a single ghost. Not one. And I made it as easy as possible for them to access my spirit by lubing it up with plenty of alcohol. I attended a bedtime storytelling for a few dead children, gravitated nightly to the oldest grave in NH, and not a single supernatural, pants-pissing experience. But I did get to hang out with a group of amazing writers and generally cool people all around, and that made it all worth it.

While I was gone, Killing Boxx posted up chapters three and four of "The Miracle of Birth." Links can also be found on the Stories page.

And since the residency on Star Island was billed as a "writer's retreat," I might as well slap a chunk of raw material here that I wrote there specifically for one of the open mic readings. Enjoy.

____


            Cheryl’s breath stank of cigarettes and coffee and sex. She sat at the bar, one tattered sleeve pushed up to her elbow to show off the faded Tinkerbell tattoo she’d gotten when Del last saw her ten years ago. She drank Coke, no Jack. Del had heard she’d cleaned up after the accident, but the way her gaze lingered on the glittering row of bottles behind the bar made him wonder how long her sobriety would last.
            Del didn’t want to talk to her, not after what had happened. His breath caught in brief despair like a pinprick in his lungs, and he wondered how long she’d been back in town. Wondered if he could make an escape without her seeing.
            She had a cell phone glued to her ear, spoke two conversations at once. Said to the bartender, “Can we get some more pretzels?” Said to the phone, “Can you believe the nerve of that bitch?” Then she turned slightly, her eyes like laser scopes painting a target on Del’s forehead.
            “I’ll call you back,” she said, brow scrunched, clapping the phone shut, and then ambled over with a leg drag she hadn’t had before.
            This was not going to be fun.
            “Cheryl.” Del nodded, as if nothing at all had happened. As if he wasn’t responsible for getting her locked up a decade earlier.
            “Son on a bitch,” she said, and open-handed him hard enough that tiny tears sprang up.
            “I can see you’re still angry.” Del shrugged, aware of the heads swiveling in the their direction, pretending his cheek didn’t feel as if it had just been stung by a couple of killer bees.
            “I want those ten years back,” she said. Her mouth opened too wide, revealing three gaps where teeth had gone missing.
            “They don’t have dentists in jail?” Del said.
            “It should’ve been you.”
            “It was your car.”
            “But you were driving.”
            “I think your memory ran off with your teeth.”
            She hit him again but not quite as hard. Del thought he could take her if he had to.
            “If you’re looking for an apology,” he said, “you’re not gonna get it from me.”
            A crowd had gathered, sides were drawn even though Del didn’t recognize anyone in there but her, and he was sure no one remembered Cheryl. Small towns like Belmont were places where memories went to die.
            Men and women alike stood behind Cheryl. No one stood behind Del.
            “What good would an apology do?” she said. Her bottom lip quivered, left eye twitched at the inside corner. She’d been unconscious, not breathing, when the cops had arrived that night all those years ago, her crimson VW Bug crumpled into the guardrail, a bright red scar slashed across the dying sunlight. The officers had peeled her off of the steering wheel, Cheryl’s head as shattered as the windshield, and worked her until the ambulance showed up to take over.
            She’d woken up in the hospital with a vehicular manslaughter charge. Her friend Melissa had woken up dead.
            “It’s pretty fucking shallow of you,” Del said, “to be more concerned with your freedom than your friend’s life.”
            “You killed her.” Cheryl’s cheeks went red and she shifted to place one foot slightly ahead of the other.
            Del stepped back, keeping his nuts well out of kicking range.
            He’d been driving that night, and the only one wearing a seat belt. Cheryl up front, Melissa in the back straddled over the gap between the two front seats. When Del had lost control and hit the guardrail head on, both girls smashed into the windshield, but only Melissa went through it. The force of the impact had shattered Del’s left collarbone. His license had already been suspended for drunk driving and these two chicks were in a bad way. Much worse than him, anyhow.
            Del had dragged Cheryl into the driver’s seat, hopped into the passenger’s side and prayed that when the cops arrived, they wouldn’t notice he had broken the wrong shoulder.
            They hadn’t.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

"The Miracle of Birth" is Crowning

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Since you've all been pestering me about the next chapter, I am glad to let you know it is now posted. While the schedule is not up to me, it looks like the good folks at KillingBoxx are releasing the chapters a week apart. That may change, of course, at their discretion, so just keep checking back whenever you get a chance. There are nine chapters in total, so there's plenty of creepy goodness to come.

For now...

















The Miracle of Birth - Chapter 2

He'd never had a real relationship. He could count his friends on no hands. His mother and father were ghosts. They had abandoned him at a young age, left little Roger to toughen up on his own, learn to cope or be eaten alive by the world and all its harsh realities. His coping mechanism was isolation. Seclusion. These things he could control. Dora he could control.

This, the inhuman thing squirming inside Dora's gut, he could not control.

Roger fled, slammed the bedroom door, and for some unexplainable reason, locked it from the outside. Read More...


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Locked In The KillingBoxx

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Just a quick update to let you all know that the first chapter of my story THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH is now live at www.killingboxx.com, a very cool site dedicated to horror and all things grim. I'm also their featured artist for the week. Check out the story at the link below, and have a look around the KillingBoxx.










The Miracle of Birth - Chapter 1
One good thing Roger could say about Dora was that her skin was still just as soft and smooth as the day she'd shown up on his doorstep all those years ago.

That was about it.

Sure, her breasts were still pert, ass still tight. Nothing had sagged, which was as it should be. He'd paid a pretty penny for her.

Though they had been married (common law, anyway) for well on ten years, Roger and Dora didn't speak much. In fact, she couldn't even really speak English; that was part of the reason why she'd appealed to him in the first place. Roger's extreme social phobias and anxieties relegated him to a hermetic life, barely making it by writing various web-based reviews, puff pieces mostly, that deciphered the hidden morals of classic films. First-year college essay stuff. It wasn't much, but it was a living. As for Dora, well . . . she didn't work – couldn't work – and was pretty much useless when it came to things like household chores. Read More...




Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Do You Want To Be?

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At the risk of turning this into some feel-good, look-at-the-clouds, happy pappy, Tony Robbins bullshit, I have some things that need to come off the chest. And since this is my blog, I'm going to selfishly use all of you as my soundboard.

First, a couple of questions:

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
2. What are you now?

I wanted to be a musician, a writer, a martial arts instructor - all things that I pursue to this day. Sometimes reality (that petulant bitch) threatens to drown passion, and I tend to get rather ornery when that happens. Focus is not completely lost right now, though I admit it might be a red c-hair scattered. It has actually been a pretty good year on the writing front. 2010 has seen me co-write a film that is currently in production. I've finished a final draft of my second novel, nearly completed a first draft of the next. There have been public readings and short stories published, increased visibility, and I dive full-bore into an MFA program at the end of this month. Can't complain, really.

Yet, I do.

Like many (most) writers/artists/musicians, I'm forced to maintain a "real" and "respectable" job. This "real" and "respectable" job was definitely not what I wanted to do when I grew up.

The Dead Weather, the most recent pet project of musical genius Jack White (a man who doesn't seem to know the words rest and laurels), played last night in Boston. Besides being an incredible live band with a truckload of stage presence, they got me thinking about how music, film, literature, and entertainment in general, affects people. For me (like so many others), the arts help relieve those daily stresses we're all forced to confront, but they also remind me that there is large contingent of dedicated souls who had a vision or an idea, and they fight with everything they have to see these things through to fruition. They are persistent, sometimes stubbornly so, and don't give up when their detractors spout off about how many obstacles they'll face, how the odds are stacked against them, or how it will never happen.

Everyone has heard of the mystical "right place at the right time." The detractors will tell you it is damn near impossible to have those two ideals meet, that the very fucking stars have to align for this to occur. I don't buy it and neither should you. The right time will come eventually, but it's our own responsibility to put ourselves in the right place.

In short, do what you want to do. Be who you want to be. As every disgruntled generation says, don't let the bastards get you down.

Maybe this is more a reminder to myself than anyone else.

And go see The Dead Weather in concert. They'll rock your face off.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Neglect and the World Cup

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

The title pretty much says it all. World Cup 2010 has been sucking up just about every waking hour here at Chez Korolenko, as I'm working midnights at the "day" job this month, and sleeping in shifts between matches. Our regularly scheduled program will resume shortly after Brazil wins this thing on July 11.

In the meantime, I managed to redraft a short story called "The Miracle of Birth," which is a nasty little tale of obsession and isolation. I have also reviewed the video of "A Requiem for the Unnamed," from the June 20th reading in Rochester, and I've decided to hold off on posting it here for the moment. There are very cool things in the works for both of these stories, and when you see the end results, I'm certain you will agree that the wait was worth it.

So, for now, go forth. See you soon.

Yours,
JAK

Monday, June 21, 2010

Consistency

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This blog lacks consistency, I know. You can be sure, though, that I am busy writing and creating and working hard to entertain you. There are all kinds of goodies coming down the hatch in the near future, so keep checking back.

Up From The Underground was fun. If you missed out, you . . . well, missed out. Lots of cool people, great art, trippy art-housy film, fantastic music, and me. "A Requiem for the Unnamed" went over quite well, I think, and if you're lucky, maybe I'll post a video of the reading on this very site within the next couple of days. Thanks to everyone who came out, participated, or simply wandered in to take a look around.

Work continues on "Night Terrors," which is about two-thirds complete. Briefly distracted by two new shorts (tentatively titled "Trust" and "Box 32"), I've resumed focus with tunnel vision. I'd like to finish a first draft by the end of July and move forward with the next project, which will either be a new novel or a film adaptation of an old one.

Thanks again for stopping by. This place can be as cold and lonely as a crypt sometimes.

JAK

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rodenticide


[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

I had a long post written about the differences between penning novels and short stories, and which I prefer, when I realized there is nothing more boring (at least from the POV of non-writers) than a writer writing about writing.

So, instead, here’s a story about mousetraps.

A guy (we’ll call him Jarrod) came home from vacation to find a kitchen sink full of splintery mouse turds. The little sonofabitch rodent must’ve been searching for water, since Jarrod kept his apartment spotless and free from foodie crumbles. In a fit of rage our hero acquired several mousetraps, baited them with tasty peanut-buttery goodness, and spread them about the apartment.

Jarrod slept that night with a smile.

Sometime in the infant hours of morning, a sharp crack woke him from a sweet dream of beaches and beer. The trap in the bathroom had been triggered, but there was no mouse carcass to be found. The little bastard had picked the trap clean, then set it off (probably) just to flip Jarrod a mousey-middle-finger.

If he was trying to piss Jarrod off, it worked.

In a desperate fury, our hero replaced the trap with a fresh one and returned to bed. Sleep was a long time coming as Jarrod waited and waited, eyes squeezed painfully shut, for the violent, satisfying snap of metal on mouse. Sometime before dawn, his patience was rewarded.

This time, though, the triggered trap was in the kitchen. Not only was the trap mouseless and bare of bait, but there was a fresh turd right there on the countertop.

Mouse, two. Jarrod, zero.

Jarrod, consumed with hatred, went to work that day with only one thing on his mind: rodent genocide. 

After a long, distracted day crunching numbers and fielding calls from needy clients, Jarrod purchased a sack-load of mousetraps. Not the PETA-friendly mouse houses that allowed you to catch the offending pest without harm and then release the beautiful creature back into the environment. No. Jarrod loaded up on the old-school, wood-and-metal clap traps. The girl at the counter had even said that sometimes, if you were lucky, a trapped mouse would chew its own leg off to escape.

If only.

So he set them, all thirty, and climbed into bed. He giggled himself to sleep, knowing there was no way Mighty Mouse would get away from him this night.

The first trap went off at 1:30 sharp, and Jarrod jolted up. He couldn’t tell from the echo which trap had been triggered, so he sat there a moment, rubbed his eyes. While fighting his way back from dreamland, a second trap snapped shut.

Not a good sign.

There was a light switch on the other side of the room, but Jarrod's eyes hadn’t yet adjusted enough to find it. He stumbled through the dark, groping, when the third trap cracked. Then the fourth. Followed swiftly, inconceivably, by a fifth. A moment before Jarrod’s fingers found the switch, all twenty-something remaining traps went off within a fraction of a second.

Every single trap was picked clean of bait, and not a single one sported a mouse corpse.

Jarrod spent the rest of the night in a hotel.

Kind of a true story.

JAK

Friday, May 28, 2010

Long Time Comin'

[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

Well, well. Nice to see you here again. How long have you been waiting? My sincere apologies. I'll try my damnedest to not let so much time pass before our next meeting.

Lots of cool stuff going on. The film I cowrote with Rick Dumont and Carla Bonney, GUARDIAN (a.k.a. THE BOND, or WHATEVER THE DIRECTOR WANTS TO CALL IT TODAY - P.S. Love ya, Rick!), went into production a couple of weeks ago. I play a small part, the first scenes of which were recorded onto celluloid last weekend. If all goes according to the shooting schedule, we should be done by September, but I've learned that nothing ever goes according to schedule in the entertainment industry. Still, I will certainly keep you posted.

I'll be performing a short story reading at the Rochester Opera House in beautiful downtown Rochester, New Hampshire, on Sunday, June 20, 2010. Presented by Beth Eisenberg's The Floating Gallery, the Up From The Underground Art Experience will feature over two dozen artists from the New England area, the premiere of Rick Dumont's film BROTHERS IN COMMUNION, live music from the Boston-based duet GOLI, and yours truly. The reading starts at 2:00 pm, but get there early and support local artists. Partial proceeds go to the Cocheco Valley Humane Society and Sexual Assault Service of the Seacoast. For more info and tickets, go here: http://www.rochesteroperahouse.com/upcomingevents.html

My novel CROWLEY'S NIGHTMARE is still in the hands of some interested agencies, and its follow up, NIGHT TERRORS, is still in production. I've been on a short story kick lately, pumping out three in the last few days. Though the market is small for shorts (but shorties need less space, right?), I'll still throw as many as I can at magazines and websites to see if they stick, as well as considering some as exclusive content for this very blog. Maybe a story here and there for that blessed four-letter word that everyone loves: FREE.

That's it for now. Add me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, if you please. Your loyalty and dedication will pay off in the future.

I promise.

Your Humble Servant,
JAK

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Personal Diatribe on Horror


[Please visit www.jasonkorolenko.com for updated content]

In Danse Macabre, Stephen King writes about that moment when a person makes his or her first deep connection with horror. He believes it to be so memorable and powerful, for some of us, that it gets slung into the “Where were you when…” category. While certainly not as life-altering (or maybe it is, on a different level) as the Challenger explosion, the felling of the Berlin Wall, the Desert Storm announcement, the L.A. riots, the O.J. Simpson verdict (as sad as that is to admit), Katrina, or 9/11 (the most obvious “Where were you”s I can think of in my generation), the first time I watched Sam Raimi’s cult classic, Evil Dead, inserted a bug in me that would be forever hungry for horror.

I must have been eleven or twelve (that glorious, innocent age when most of my best stories seem to have taken place). Earlier in the day, at the video store, I had begged my mother to rent Evil Dead because it had this cool image on the cover of a hand reaching up from the grave to clutch the throat of some young maiden. It was either a weekend or summer break or both, since we lived in the Midwest and it was warm outside, so two of my friends convened at my house that night to partake in the gory goodness.

We waited, of course, for the folks to traipse off to bed, before turning the lights down low and popping the videotape in. What followed was the most terrifying ninety minutes any of us had experienced, or probably ever will. Everything seems more frightening when you’re a child; in that juvenile, borderline pubescent state of being, all emotion is ratcheted up a few notches. I particularly remember sitting cross-legged on the floor, a blanket wrapped around my head trying to hide my fear while, on the television screen, the group of campers played a psychic game with a deck of cards. Ash held up a card, the others tried to guess what it was. Cheryl, who was staring out the window, not even looking in the direction of the others, started calling out the numbers and suits as Ash held the cards up. Naturally, Cheryl was on the money with each one. Worse, she called them out in the creepiest altered voice ever. 

And when she turned to face the group, good God, we saw that she was possessed by some nameless Kandarian demon.

I think, at that point, I gave up pretending like I wasn’t scared because both of my friends were just as terrified. I’m pretty sure we all spent the rest of the movie idly wondering how the hell we were going to sleep that night.

I was on home turf, but unfortunately for them, my friends still had to walk home. In the dark. We lived in a fairly wooded area, and if you know anything about Evil Dead, you understand that the Woods are alive with demonic presence.

Even as kids, though, we recognized the concept of strength in numbers. We agreed to walk together to a point where each house was equidistant, then on the count of 1, 2, 3, we would bolt for our respective front doors and the relative safety of our homes. (Note: I saw my friends the next day, so I know for certain we all made it home alive.)

Even though I made it home safely, I was still alone. Sure, I knew the folks were down the hallway, but they were sleeping, and besides, even they couldn’t protect me from possession. Still, I pulled a sleeping bag into my bedroom doorway so I could see, to my right, my parents’ bedroom at the end of the hallway, and to the left, the living room where the demons were most likely to come from. I didn’t make it long in that position before I dragged the sleeping bag to the foot of my parents’ bed and still had to sleep with a low light on.

I avoided that movie like the plague for the next five or six years, but the itch had started up. I watched every other horror film I could get my hands on after that, always subconsciously searching for the one that would do to me what Evil Dead did. The Exorcist came pretty darn close. In that one, Father Merrin says something along the lines of, “You cannot be possessed by a devil unless you believe you can be possessed.” In a sense, you have to let them in. I remember lying in bed, night after night, trying 
to convince myself that I didn’t believe it could happen. But secretly, way deep inside, I did believe it.

Anyway, I finally braved Evil Dead several years later, and by then I was old enough to appreciate the unintentional humor embedded in the film. It’s now more funny than anything else, though if I try real hard I can still summon a mild set of chills when I think about how those scenes affected me as a kid.

The reason why I’ll watch almost any horror movie now (good, bad, high-budget, low-budget, B-grade, Z-grade, it’s all good) is probably because I’m still searching for a movie that will scare the living daylights out of me. I realize it gets harder and harder as I age because things naturally affect us differently when we are children. Things that are life-and-death important when we’re young become silly and inconsequential when we grow up. It’s easy to put the blame on society, the great omniscient presence that shapes and molds us into responsible human beings. But it’s not society’s fault. It’s not our parents’ fault, or our friends’, our teachers’. It’s a simple question of biology. When we are kids, our brains are hardwired for wonder and belief and experimentation. It’s how we learn. When we’re kids, we really believe that shit can happen. We believe in zombies and vampires, and even the more docile monsters like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

So, I guess a good horror movie (and even a bad one, really) makes me feel like a kid again. It’s a brief, welcome release at an age when I’m expected to be serious and professional and mature all the time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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There was a delightful two- or three-week respite from snow here, and suddenly, yesterday, the sky shat awful quantities of wet, heavy white stuff. It's still coming down. Please, someone turn off the machine. I've had enough. Okay?

The last few weeks have been a mad rush (well, not consistently - more like languid periods of inactivity broken up by brief spurts) of activity. Though the final draft of Crowley's Nightmare had been completed, it still needed a proofreading and a synopsis. The former is almost done, the latter being mentally outlined as I write this. I've got got six query letters (all to agents) circulating, but it will likely be weeks before I hear back from any of them. My first book, Nine Days Down, garnered some interest a few years ago, but I ultimately stopped submitting that one simply because, over time and numerous re-readings, I realized it was a "drawer novel." That is, it was a good exercise, but not something I'd be happy to see in print. (Of course, the rejections had nothing to do with it, did they?)

Meanwhile, Night Terrors is coming together fantastically. It's the first novel in which I've had a pretty good idea, throughout, where it will go and how it's going to get there. Granted, there are surprises and sub-plots that seem to pop up unbidden as I'm writing (which is always fun and welcoming, though it can present a challenge during future drafts). We're some 30,000 words, about 100 pages, in and I'm having a blast with it.

And, well, there's that other damn job I actually get paid to do. Responsibilities. Let's make a deal, right now, you and me. When you see my books in a store or online, please buy them. In return, I will entertain you full time. Quid pro quo, yeah?

2010's Book List (not in order of preference, but in order of completion), So far. These are all fantastic. You should read them.

1. Mean Spirit by Will Kingdom.
2. F My Life by Maxime Valette, Guillaume Passaglia, Didier Guedj
3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
4. Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker
5. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Next up:
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Drood by Dan Simmons