There went 2006

Yeah, I got 2.5 days left in this year, so I figured I’d better do a bit of a round up.  Other writers might have a better wrap up, as they won’t be so Nate-centric, but I wanted to put this up anyway. 

So here goes.

Writing-wise, 2006 was my best year so far.  The years started off right, with stories appearing at Aoife’s Kiss, Wicked Karnival, and The Late Late Show.  I place a short in an anthology for the first time: Gods and Monsters, which is still available, by the way!  If you haven’t picked up a copy, then move your ass!

A Trip to Rundberg officially became my most successful book, continually selling from Frequency Press and Shocklines.

Through my travels to the Borderlands Press Boot Camp, World Horror Con, and Horrorfind, I met a lot of great people, both writers and fans, who I now consider friends.  You all know who you are.  Oliveri, it would greatly help if you would show up to one of these things so I can buy you a shot or two.  

I was also mistaken for Nate Kenyon six times.  I hope he puts a disclaimer of some kind on his next round of Bloodstone advertising. 

I finished my first novel and started my second.  I wrote two novellas.  Worked on three more novellas with other writers.  I have no idea how many new short stories I wrote.  More than a few.

I had my first public reading, and I sold a short because of it.  More news on that once it inches closer to publication.  I will say it’s a new Rundberg story.

I had a great year with Shawna, as we’ve now been together more than six years.

I lost more hair and gained a few inches around the belly.  I did, however, lose some of the beer weight around my face.  That was nice.

FEAR is here!

Look what came in the mail today!

FEAR has shipped from the printer.  Comics shops will probably have their copies in two weeks or so.  The Genre shops should receive their copies a week or so after that.  Me?  I get my copies now, because I worked on this baby!

Christmas Thoughts

At my Joe Job, they took the Christmas music away.  I wouldn’t mind if they took it away because it was offending somebody.  Instead they took it away for the same reason we can’t listen to a single radio station for more than an hour at a time, because half the office will bitch that it’s not what they want to listen to.  So the radio station gets switched, and an hour later the other half of the office is complaining about the same thing.

So I woke up early today and made a Christmas mix CD…

1. “It’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – U2
2. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams
3. “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” – Gene Autrey
4. “Run Rudolph Run” – Bryan Adams
5. “Linus and Lucy” – Vince Guiribaldi Trio
6. “Happy Holidays/The Holiday Season” – Andy Williams
7. “Mele Kalikimaka” – Asylum Street Spankers
8. “Christmas in Hollis” – Run DMC
9. “Feliz Navidad” – The “Feliz Navidad” Guy
10. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Asylum Street Spankers
11. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Andy Williams
12. “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby
13. “‘Zat you Santa Claus?” – Louis Armstrong
14. “Frosty the Snowman” – Berl Ives
15. “O Tennenbaum” – Vince Guiribaldi Trio
16. “Kay THompson’s Jingle Bells” – Andy Williams
17. “Silent Night” – Andy Williams
18. “The Christmas Song” – Asylum Street Spankers

So, yeah, I’m set.

My first memory of Christmas was when I was three or four.  I’m going to say four, which probably means I was five.  My brother Matt and I, like all kids in 1981, were big into Star Wars.  That was all we asked for at Christmas, Star Wars stuff.  We had nothing going into the holiday, so we were hoping to score big.

Christmas Eve, I had an anxiety attack.  I’ve always been a little high strung.  I started crying because I was too excited to get to sleep, and I was convinced Santa would pass us by if I was still awake come midnight.  Matt’s promise that, and I quote, “If you screw this up for me, I will kill you,” didn’t help matters a whole lot.  Luckily, my sister Sheryl calmed me down and convinced me Santa was cool like that.  Having nothing to fear, I fell asleep in just under three seconds.

The next morning, an intergalactic civil war had been loosed in out living room.  There was an X-Wing, a snow speeder, an AT-AT walker, and the Millenium frickin’ Falcon.  We had so many action figures they wouldn’t all fit in the Darth Vader’s head carrying case.  I don’t think Matt and I left the living room floor until we had to return to school a week later.

Nowadays, Halloween is my favorite holiday, but Christmas is still in the top two.  I still get excited, and I still get up extra early Christmas morning to open gifts.  Okay, so we can’t have a tree anymore because the pets find numerous ways to destroy it, but that spirit is still there.  I’m gonna have that spirit until the day I die.

Happy Holidays, everybody.  Take care of each other.

Your latest FEAR update.

FEAR is currently at the printers, and should be shipping to Diamond’s warehouses early next week.  Expect it in your local comic shop the week after Christmas, unless they bump us back another week.

Thos who pre-ordered from online genre outlets need to wait for Brian to sign your books.  Shouldn’t take too long.

Random Thought and Observations on this Fine Wednesday

Some blips on my Brain Radar today…

How did rollerderby get popular again?

Better yet, who thought up the rules for rollerderby?

Why are brunettes so much more awesome than blondes?

Will any of my blonde friends hate me for that comment?

Why do I crave fried chicken once every two weeks?

Can I afford to fly to LA to see The Twilight Singers perform on Jimmy Kimmel?

Has any woman who wasn’t a stripper or wearing a halloween costume ever worn fishnets?

Where does Leslie Cochran sleep at night?

Is Lindsey Lohan proof of Satan?

Should I get Shawna’s dad a different Christmas gift?

Damn, I’d like to go sledding.

Is Superchunk ever going to tour again?

How much would it cost to hire bodyguards for Keene and myself for STAPLE!?  Y’know, just for shits and giggles.

Could I con Shawna and her friends into doing it?

Could I get them to wear suits and sunglasses?  Because that would be both cool and hot.

Is Shawna gonna punch me in the face for this?

Would that turn me on?

Probably not.  It would probably just hurt.

Top 10 Songs for the Year

Much like the reads, these didn’t all come out this year.  Just the ten songs I found myself listening to the most this year…

1. “Underneath the Waves” by The Twilight Singers.  A song that just builds and builds until it explodes.  Made for a perfect closer to the Singers show I went to.  Maybe (that’s a maybe) the best rock song Greg Dulli’s ever written. Only in this way can I become alive…

2. “Throw Down” by Motion City Soundtrack.  Found on the split EP they released with Austin’s own Schatzi, this is four minutes on rock that’s hard to live down.  Poppy and high-octane,this is a tough one to beat. That’s what you get when you throw down with me.

3. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance.  Yeah, it has apparently saturated every radio station outside of Austin.  I don’t care.  It’s so incredibly over the top.  Incredible!  Do or die, you’ll never make me because the world will never take my heart.

4. “Every Thug Needs a Lady” by Alkaline Trio.  A fun little punk love song, a little broody, but sweet in its strange way.   From here I can hardly see a thing but I will follow anyone who brings me to you.

5. “Troublesome” by The Jealous Sound.  This is a band I found online.  Their 2003 record Kill Them with Kindness is full of great rock and pop.  This is a highlight.  Kool-Aid and candles, standing in line.  A bottle of something, five forty-nine.

6. “So Dawn On” by Rival Schools.  This one’s from 2001, from a one-record band fronted by Quicksand’s Walter Schreifels.  Great rock with the slightest punk edge.  This one’s a full-bore rocker from start to finish.  Are we better off as friends?  Either way, it burns.

7. “For Days” by Veruca Salt.  With the return of Veruca comes the return of their brand of hit-or-miss rock.  Luckily, there’s been more hit than miss.  This one, off the Lords of Sound and Lesser Things, is a sad song that slowly becomes somewhat triumphant.  Take a seat and pass the plate.  This is how we stay awake for days.

8. “Go” by Blink 182.  Off their final, self-titled release.  This one clocks in at under two minutes and moves faster than any other song on this list.  A great little punk song.  Turn your back on hope and go back inside, stoop my bleeding heart and let the engine die.

9. “In the Mouth a Desert” by Pavement.  This one goes waaaay back to 1992 (I know it’s only 14 years).  Lo-fi and with a little bit of a pop feel to it, this has long been a masterpiece.  Download or buy this today.  You won’t regret it.  Can you treat it like an oil well when it’s underground, out of sight?

10. “Red Elephant” by Sunny Day Real Estate.  With its driving drums and and sad guitars, this makes for a few minutes of incredible entertainment.  Another must-buy.  And no one ever knew the reason why.

Top 10 Reads of the Year

Sure, it’s a little early, but I don’t know if I’ll be updating this sucker between Christmas and New Year, so I thought I’d dive right in.  I should mention that some of these books are not new, but I’m still playing catch up.

1. DARK HARVEST by Norman Partridge.  I met Partidge at World Horror this year, and I fell in love with his fiction immediately.  Part smalltown coming-of-age story, part gut-wrenching horror, this wins best book of the year hands down.

2. THE RUTTING SEASON by Brian Keene.  Brian puts out his most heartfelt book yet, and it’s also one of his most horrific.  When a town is terrorized by a Satyr, a group of ragtag friends need to find their own magic to defeat it.

3. DMZ: ON THE GROUND by Brian Wood and Ricardo Burchielli.  In a New York City plagued by Civil War, Matty Roth finds himself stranded as the ultimate imbedded journalist.  Grim, powerful, and human.  Some of Wood’s finest work to date.

4. WEED SPECIES by Jack Ketchum.  The flat and brutal delivery of this slim and mean novella serves to strengthen the horror within.  Based on the Homolka murders, but with that dark Ketchum style.

5. THE ABANDONED by Douglas Clegg.  The last Harrow House book?  Clegg lets it all rip, here, turning a quiet town into a  home for madmen and monsters of all kinds.  Excellent from start to finish.

6. ZERO by Michael McBride.  Sorry folks, this one’s out of print.  A creepy story of the perversion of science.  The best we’ve seen out of McBride so far.

7. DAVEDEVIL: THE DEVIL IN CELLBLOCK D by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark.  Collected as The Devil, Inside and Out, Ed Brubaker takes over the title and puts Daredevil in prison, then kills off a major character (in a good way!).  A great story about a character I normally don’t like so much.

8. THE BOOK OF A THOUSAND SINS by Wrath James White.  Wrath is a philosopher, family man, pro fighter, giant, and all around scary dude.  This collection of his short fiction does everything from horrify to invoke squirming to inspire quiet contemplation.  One of the best collections I’ve read in years.

9. ONLY CHILD by Andrew Vachss.  Burke returns in style.  Another hard-hitting story of crime, corruption, and things never meant to see the light of day from the man who’s one part writer, twenty parts crusader.

10. OPERATOR B by Edward Lee.  The gross out king does sci-fi, and he knocks it out of the park.  This trim novella tells the story of the Air Force test pilot assigned to fly a mission in a captured alien ship, and the hell it puts him through.