Monthly Archives: March 2008

The Semi-Cryptic World Horror Post

Notes and bulletins about this coming weekend’s World Horror Con.  Offered without clarification.

I’m really looking forward to those two panels.

Yes, I’ll be ignoring you.

Because I don’t like you.

Why am I on that one panel?

Okay, that other panel’s gonna be fun for all the wrong reasons.

Nope.  Haven’t talked to him.  Haven’t heard a thing.

That’s my beer.  No touching.

You, get out of my room.

All right, people.  See you on Thursday!

I always wanted to play SXSW

This past weekend was South by Southwest, Austin’s four day music festival.  Every year, thousands of bands descend on Austin to play as many shows as they can in a short span of time.  In addition to the usual music venues (of which there are a ton), bands end up playing in porn stores, front yards, tattoo parlors, and next to the front door of various restaurants.

I always wanted to play in a band at SXSW.

I first heard about SXSW in 1993.  There was a special report from the festival on MTV news, and it looked incredible.  It looked like this explosion of rock and roll, like Mecca for aspiring bands.  Every year, City Beat in Cincinnati would make special mention of the one or two bands who got to make the trip to Austin.  One year, I was going to be in one of those bands.

In 1997, I was in a band called Radioburning.  We’d recorded a particularly crappy-sounding demo called Gossamer in my garage.  With a fluttering stomach, I filled out the SXSW application and mailed it off with a copy of said demo.  I was convinced the next Spring would see a trip to Austin.  Nevermind we had no press and had only played one show in an actual city (to be fair, we did have almost ten people at that gig).

Any guesses how that application went?

Yeah, so these days I’ve realized my future isn’t in music.  I don’t want to lug drums around or stay out until 3AM on a work night.  I don’t want to schmooze in order to snag an opening slot. 

But dammit, I still wanna play SXSW.  I want to stand on a tiny stage and play with everything I have for forty minutes.  Is that too much to ask?

Yeah, it probably is.

World Horror Panel Times

Barring any last minute fiddling with the schedule, here are my current panel times for the World Horror Convention…

THURSDAY, MARCH 27

3:00-3:50PM
What makes a good horror movie?
(Michael McCarty, Paul Anderson, Eric Swedin)

10:00-10:50PM
Urban legends as fodder for horror stories
(Gerard Houarner, Weston Ochse, Hank Schwaeble, Steven Shrewsbury)

FRIDAY, MARCH 28

6:00-6:50PM
How to write a graphic novel
(Cullen Bunn, Cody Goodfellow)

SATURDAY, MARCH 29

3:00-3:50PM
The New Writer’s Market
(Steven Shrewsbury, James Gurley, Kelli Dunlap)

Top Chef Returns, Pray for My Family

Top Chef, that reality competition of bad-ass chefs, returns tonight.  I can’t wait.  The show is one of my greatest guilty pleasures, and I can already see myself staying up later than usual (I’m lame and hit the sack early) while staring at my TV and salivating.

Of course, the return of this fine show creates some problems.  Not for me, of course, but for my family, most notably Shawna.  In the past I’ve discussed my love of food and cooking, and I’ve discussed my relative suck-i-tude at said cooking.  Well, maybe I don’t suck, but I’m no where as good as I’d like to be.  I tend to stress over details that shouldn’t affect a small dinner between Shawna and myself.  Couple this with my complete lack of maturity, and we’ve got one helluva a recipe… for disaster!

So, for your reading pleasure I now present a list of things Shawna is most likely to hear me say in the kitchen during the coming months.

“Don’t burn!  Why are you burning?”

“Fuck you, rice!”

“Everything we own is shit!”

“Get these motherfucking animals away from my stove!”

“Do I look like I need help?”

“Um, a little fucking help, please!”

“Fuck!”

“Motherfuck!”

“Motherfuck me!”

“Motherfuck your fucking mother, you motherfucking chicken breast!”

“Why the hell is it sticking?”

“The goddamn fish just fell apart!”

“Simon, get your fucking nose out of the wok!”

“Goddammit, I fucking suck at this!”

“Why do I even bother?”

“Seriously.  Fuck you, rice!”

“They don’t even look like scallops anymore!”

“Should have ordered a pizza!”

“No salt?  You don’t want salt?  Why don’t we just eat some motherfucking cardboard?!”

“Please cook this goddamn thing before I completely ruin it!”

“There is no way I can un-fuck this!”

“I could destroy Cheerios!”

And so forth. 

So you see, Shawna may have a bit of an adventure coming her way, courtesy of her stress-filled boyfriend who loves to cook but can’t keep things from going south.  Pray for her.

The Burden of Patience

Let me start by apologizing for the recent lack of any real news (this sentence reminds me that I should also apologive for my many attacks on proper grammar).  Trust me, I’d love to tell you about all the incredibly exciting things I’ve got going on right now.  There are, however, a few problems…

1) There’s not much going on.

2) It’s not that exciting.

and 3). The burden of patience.

See, over the last year or two, I’ve really tried to make it a point of doing things the right way.  I treat conventions like work (fun work, but still work) instead of a week-long party, I don’t go spouting off on message boards about certain “writers” (term used loosely) even though they might deserve the occassional drubbing, I try really hard not to be annoying, and more than anything I try to keep myself from announcing things that shouldn’t be announced yet.

But the problem is that I get excited about what I’m working on.  I think any good writer should get that sharp thrill from their work.  The trick-and it’s a damn hard trick-is to keep that excitement below the surface.  I want to tell people about the stuff I’m writing, and it usually ends up embarrassing me.

Case (well, cases) in point: since I started this blog, I’ve probably talked about close to ten comics projects that have fizzled out, disappeared, or blown up in my face.  I should have kept my trap shut, but instead I blabbed.  Now, you might be wondering what happened to Saint James or To the Last Man.  Well, one went through three artists over as many years and the other went through five artists without the script ever getting finished.  Then, I stopped liking comics and decided to concentrate solely on prose.  Now, I love comics again, but I’m keeping my feet in the prose world because I don’t have to sit around begging artists to turn in pages that way.

See what I mean?

So I’ll try to come up with other things to write about here.  There will be much fun and entertainment, and I won’t announce anything until it’s ready to be announced.  How’s that?

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Gary Gygax

Today is the Texas Primary and Caucus. I’m told it’s important, but in all honesty it means less than a shit to me. Why? Well, for one I hate politicians. Two, Gary Gygax died today.

If you read the blog of any horror writer this week–hell, any writer–odds are you will see mention of Gary’s passing. See, Gary Gygax created Dungeons and Dragons. This man spent his college years creating a brand new form of entertainment. In essence, he turned a backyard game of fantasy into a creative wellspring for creative types everywhere.
Maybe that sounds ridiculous. It looks a little ridiculous to me, and I just wrote it. If I’m being honest, however, I have to admit that the first real story I ever wrote was a Dungeons and Dragons adventure I took my friends on when I was eleven years old. Well, really it was just my friend George, who I let role play eight characters because we didn’t have anybody else in our gaming group.

See, when I was eight, I played D&D for the first time. A gaming group whose ages ranged between my eight and the dungeon master’s sixteen enlisted me because they needed somebody to play a monk. A week later, I begged my mother to drive me to Children’s Palace in Florence, Kentucky so I could buy a Player’s Handbook. At sixteen dollars, the book was a bit expensive for my third grade pocket, but I just had to know what my bardiche-wielding monk would be capable of in the future.

Long story short, an obsession was born.

These days, I play Dungeons and Dragons every Friday night with my friends. Everything else gets put on hold so I can go spend some quality time with my buddies, hacking and slashing and role playing our way through adventure after adventure. I made my first real friends in Texas because of Dungeons and Dragons. My best friend George became such a good friend because of Dungeons and Dragons. Damn-near every writer I’ve ever met has played Dungeons and Dragons.

Thank you, Gary Gygax. Come Friday, I’ll roll a d20 for you.

STAPLE! recovery

Hope you guys weren’t expecting a huge recap.  I can probably give you one, but it’s gonna take a few days/weeks/months/years.  After a week of preparing for STAPLE! and a day recovering from it, I really need to get back to writing.

In a word, my fourth STAPLE! was incredible.  I made more than a few sales, gained a new fan or two, and was told by one con-goer that Drive was his favorite book from last year.  Other than the security guard who thought security meant standing directly in front of my goddamn table, the day was great.

The pre- and post-parties were incredible once again.  The Red Scoot Inn is a great place for a live art show, and I even managed to afford some art this year.  Of course, that means I finished the weekend with the same amount of money I had when I started, but that’s more than I can say about most cons!

And once again it was great hanging out with friends I see occasionally at best.  Rafael, Danielle, Kristian, Brian, Marianne… we’ll have to do it again sometime!

If you sent me a post-STAPLE! email, I’ll be returning them in the next day or two.  Until then, thank you and good day.