you know the old story...
musician is hired for a tour of china... overprotective mothers...president's brother behaves badly...same old thang
my new dumb white husband post is up!
you know the old story...
musician is hired for a tour of china... overprotective mothers...president's brother behaves badly...same old thang
cart before the book...
looks like when i made my list of favorite books i read last year, i typed a bit too soon.
reviews and recommendations for jeremy robert johnson's work had been popping up all over the place for a long time. i'd been wanting to read something by jrj for a while, but he's put out so many books i didn't know where to start. along came social networking to the rescue! unbeknownst to me, some of my fb friends happen to know mr. johnson personally and directed me to start with a happy little jaunt down insanity lane called "angel dust apocalypse".
ada is a collection of twenty short stories. each detail uniquely crafted, mind altering versions of what can only be described as hell. to me, most modern horror writing tends to be derivative of other more famous big shot names in the industry or struggles so hard to be shocking that it falls flat in it's sheer transparency and lack of any real heart of vision. not so with these stories. not so in the slightest.
whether lost along with drug addicted rave kids circling down the drain of disassociation, experiencing body modification to the furthest degree of nightmarish borderlines, or sewing a suit from live cockroaches in order to survive nuclear annihilation...each story is populated with real people and true emotion. honest fear and pain seethe, brilliantly sculpted from jrj's dark imaginings.
one particular story, "swimming in the house of the sea" is not so much a tale of horror as it is one of regret and frustration. being a parent of a special needs child, this subject matter was addressed so brutally and yet simultaneously so tenderly that i found myself weeping uncontrollably. it's a beautiful journey into the mind of a sibling burdened with unwanted responsibility. how he unleashes his rage against the unfair world he is forced into. his regret, palpable and heartbreaking. without becoming sappy and overwrought, he lets us know how strong brotherly love can flow even in the toughest of challenges.
i don't believe i need to disclose how rare it is to find such deep wells of emotion right along side horrors able to wake me sweating through the sheets in the middle of the night. jrj is a master that should be recognized as a true genius in this dark fiction world overcrowded with too many sparkling vampires and hunky zombies.
myself, i very much look forward to exploring his other works as soon as possible. i already have a few loaded on my book apps ready to scare the crap out of me!
Wanting to see what would happen to my writing without auto-correct and spellcheck, I asked around to see if anybody could give me any recommendations on good places to pet old typewriters. A few days later my friend Laura brought me two machines that her dad didn't want anymore.
I have spent the last week attempting to get used to using them and figuring out some of hidden tricks buried in the old metallic casings. The sound of these hammers connecting with the paper is very soothing and quite meditative. Much like playing rudiments on a snare drum. While I'm certain that time will reveal more and mere to love about writing this way, I am already quite fond.
This morning I spent an hour or so writing on this ROYAL TAB-O-MATIC. I put down two pages on my current WIP and then turned around to go on my computer. Yes. The digital world does indeed offer some convenience. It is much easier to correct mistakes and connect with friends all over the world through Facebook and email. But the FEEL of my wireless keyboard is flimsy, plastic and lifeless. There is no energy in the words appearing on the screen.
My mind might change about this, but right now I much prefer "analog" typing over "digital". Not only does it sound better, my fingers appreciate the tactile sensation of depressing the keys, throwing the hammers and seeing the result of the effort pressed into the page without hesitation or remorse.
Geeking out, as I am known to do, I found several interesting spots on the WWW with other dorks like me interested in these machines. One place in particular out geeks me far beyond my expectations. UUSBTypewriters.com makes conversion kits to allow your analog machine to control your digital. With little effort (according to their website) you can modify your typewriter to connect to your computer through USB and become they keyboard for your software. Let me see if I'm interested... Umm .. .
I read through the page giving a list of all machines compatible with the modification set. Since I couldn’t find mine on there, I sent an email asking if it will work. Cross your fingers gang' If it works, I’m gonna dive in.
I'll keep you posted.
In the mean time, have a great holiday!!!
Don't forget, if you love someone, give them the heebie jeebies this
As we come to the close of 2013, and I am a geek of the manly persuasion, it’s list time! I’ve compiled a selection my favorite sounds and reads from the past twelve lunar cycles. The twenty albums I have chosen were all released during the year while the twenty-five books happen to be the stories that moved me the most whether they are brand spanking or have a few flecks of dust on their jackets. Since it was difficult enough to slim down and make choices for my lists of favorites, I put them all in alphabetical order rather than top to bottom.
I’m certain you all have your picks from the year. Please feel free to share/debate/argue/praise/dismiss!
I hope there are some new things here that you enjoy
MY FAVORITE RECORDS of 2013
(in alphabetical order)
FAVORITE BOOKS (that I read in) 2013
(in alphabetical order)
After posting a scene from tK2e a little while ago, the awesome folks at That Part Where are sharing some of my wordiness again today! head on over and check out a scene from my short story "The Loneliness of Left Field" from the new collection A Chorus of Wolves.
over at The Fussy Librarian, the AMAZING Terry Persun, the SPECTACULAR AJ Aalto & lil' ol' me are joining together for the
SUPER MIND BLOWING DEAL OF THE CENTURY!!!
(echo echo echo echo)
"Sweet Song", "the Key to everything" & "Touched"
are all available for just $2.99
great deals in and of themselves
if you buy all three and send a receipt (screen cap) of the purchases,
we will each send you a copy of one of our other books for...
that makes it 6 books for under $10!
how can you pass that up?
so go and get some words
i mean it
all the cool kids are doing it
Uncreative. Ideas refuse to reveal themselves. Go for walks, crawl library stacks, read books, slip between gravestones in the cemetery down the road and watch movies. Search for inspiration. Brainpan running empty.
Drink coffee. Eat home made garlic bread. Punk rock. Ambient sounds. Reissued classic albums. Tiny computer speakers with no low end resonating. Make flyers. Waste time on Facebook. Lou Reed is dead. Wonder why I feel bad about not being a fan of VU. Not that kind of “cool”.
Need a costume for Halloween. Think about going as a frustrated writer. Maybe I’ll duct tape a broken computer keyboard to my face. Break off letter keys and glue them to my fingertips. Bust open a monitor and wear it around my neck. Stuff torn pages into pockets with crossed out profanity and cliché phrases like “It was a dark and stormy night…”, “It was the best of times it was the worst of times…”, “To be or not to be…” and “Call me Ishmael…”
Wonder how many people would get it?
Wouldn’t be much of a costume anyway. Since that’s how I am most the time.
Absorb distractions. A sponge sucking up water from the bottom of a sink. What can I find to pass the time so I don’t have to write? There’s a new record I HAVE to search for. I don’t have any money to buy it. What’s new on Amazon Books today? He didn’t really say that on Facebook did he? Search the quote to see if it’s real. Only a few minutes on Huffington Post. Only a few more on the Daily Beast. Really. I’ll get back to the project before 10:00. I promise. Besides, the puppy needs to go outside and pee.
Breathe in fresh air. Fall is ending. Winter is coming. For real this time George R.R.
I know. Map out detailed strategy for what I need to get done over the next year. Month by month. Week by week. Day by day. That should motivate. Right? Right. Sure thing. Whether I do it or not, most of my friends are so it should be a near distraction free month. Time to get shit together and grind the proverbial nose.
Ready? Get set… Oh look… Breaking Bad is on Netflix…
My friend Jeff Tsuruoka recently posted a blog with his answers to this AUTHOR SURVEY. I couldn't help myself but to copy/steal from his example...
Author(s) You've Read the Most Books Of:
I don’t know why I’m ashamed to say it, but probably Stephen King. William Shakespeare is probably next. After him it’s most likely Michael Marshall/Smith
Best Sequel Ever:
THE UPRIGHT MAN from THE STRAW MEN TRILOGY by Michael Marshall Smith. If you haven’t read these books, make sure to put them on your TBR pile ASAP!
In alphabetical order:
1. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
2. Dead of Knight – Nicole J Persun
3. Do I Bother You At Night - Troy Aaron Ratliff
4. Fugue State – Brian Evenson
5. Harbor – John Ajvide Lindvist
6. Hear No Evil – Terry Persun
7. How To Market A Book – Lori Culwell
8. On The Gathering Storm – Jason McInTyre
9. Penpal – Dathan Auerbach
10. Perdido Street Station – China Mieville
11. Reamde – Neal Stephenson
12. Scorch Atlas – Blake Butler
13. Songs From The Phenomenal Nothing – Steven Luna
14. The Emperor of All Maladies – Siddhartha Mukherjee
15. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
16. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – Neil Gaiman
17. The Sorrow King – Andersen Prunty
18. The Water Sign – Casey Samulski
19. This Plague of Days – Robert Chaz Chute
20. We Are Here - Michael Marshall Smith
Drink of Choice While Reading:
Coffee or bourbon. But moist often I just have iced tea.
E-Reader or Physical Book:
Physical Books for sure. While E-Readers make taking many books with you a lot more convenient in the same way that MP3 Players do for music, to me they lessen the intrinsic value of the art. $.99 for a book or a song is a swift kick in the pants to the artist. So much time, work and heart go into creating. As a society we don’t value that anymore. That’s why electronic media theft is so prevalent. But mainly, I just love the smell and feel of a physical book in my hands. I enjoy the act of turning the pages. Plus, the heft of a book can let my arms know when they’re tired and it’s time to stop reading and go to bed.
Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:
MOBY DICK. Most of the classics we were assigned to read in school left me bored and uninspired. MOBY DICK wasn’t even on the list of books we were “supposed” to read. I picked up a dollar copy at a used bookstore just for the hell of it. Captivated by the first page, MOBY DICK became one of my all time favorite books. If you haven’t read it, you really should.
Hidden Gem Book:
THE DESCENT by Jeff Long. What if Hell was a real place and the Devil was real? Stumbling into the darkness, humans search through a labyrinth of caves that stretches its tentacles throughout the globe. In search for the First Word, they find truth behind myths and legends. Terrifying and nightmare inducing. Not for the faint of heart. I loved every word. The sequel DEEPER is pretty great as well. Eagerly anticipating the third entry in the trilogy.
Important Moment in Your Reading Life:
Sitting alone at home reading PET SEMATARY. Finishing the very last page as our cat jumped on my lap scaring the crickeys out of me! That’s when I fell in love with the horror genre.
N0S4A2 by Joe Hill and THE FIGHTER by Craig Davidson.
Kind of Books You Won't Read:
Most Fan Fiction. I never find them as entertaining as the real thing if you ask me.
The Twilight series and anything else that “Romancizes” the horror genre.
Longest Book You've Ever Read:
THE TALISMAN by Stephen King and Peter Straub. INFINITE JEST by David Foster Wallace.
Major Book Hangover Because Of:
HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski. That story stayed with me for months after I finished it. In fact, it haunts me to this day. I read it at least once a year.
Number of Bookcases You Own:
One. We have a very small place. :-(
One Book You've Read Multiple Times:
I can’t pick just one so I’ll give you three:
THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES by Ray Bradbury. One of the greatest books every written. The signed copy I have is one of my prized possessions.
DEATHBIRD STORIES by Harlan Ellison
HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski.
Preferred Place to Read:
Sitting on my couch with a comfortable breeze blowing through the window. Wife sitting with me doing her crochet and kids goofing off. I know. It’s so sweet it puckers my mouth too.
Quote That Inspires You:
“Perfection is the enemy of done.” - Steven D. Kimmell (my Dad)
THE HUNGER GAMES is a “Tweened” down version of the Japanese masterpiece BATTLE ROYALE by Koshun Tagami. Personally I prefer the unpredictably realistic vulnerability of the characters and terrifyingly original atmosphere of BR. The homogenized Americanization of the concept in HG tunnels deep under my skin. While I begrudgingly understand it’s success, I think if more people in the U.S. had been exposed to BR, it wouldn’t have become nearly as popular as it did.
Series You Started and Need to Finish:
I have finished every series that I felt the need to. The only one I have yet to complete, the final book isn’t out yet. Hurry Up Jeff Long!
Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:
That's like choosing which breath of air is my favorite of the day. If I have to narrow it down, here's the first three that come to mind...
HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski
THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES by Ray Bradbury
DEATHBIRD STORIES by Harlan Ellison
Unapologetic Fanboy For:
Richard Matheson. Not really any need to apologize for him though. After all, he is the master.
Very Excited for This Release Over All Others:
Whenever Mark Z. Danielewski or Michael Marshall Smith release a book, I slap my fins like a seal barking for dinner.
Worst Bookish Habit:
My foolish attempt to read too many books at once. I have no patience to wait un. I get too excited and have to dive into everything at the same time.
X Marks the Spot - Stop at the Top Left of Your Shelf & Pick the 27th Book:
SWEET SONG by Terry Persun.
Your Latest Book Purchase:
THE WATER SIGN by Casey S. Samulski
Zzzzzzz.... The Last Book That Kept You Up Way Too Late:
COLD COMPANY by A.J. Alto
i think i've overloaded myself a bit. i'm in the middle of edits for my new collection of short stories, writing my next novel, hanging out with the kidlets for their last few weeks of summer break and attempting to read all of these at the same time. maybe somehow I’ll figure out a way to clone myself so i can get all these words shot into my brain box at the same time.
here's my current list of reads in alphabetical order...
Dead of Knight - Nicole J Persun
Do I Bother You At Night - Troy Aaron Ratliff
Fugue State – Brian Evenson
Harbor – John Ajvide Lindvist
Hard Boiled Wonderland & The End Of The World – Haruki Murakami
Hear No Evil – Terry Persun
How To Market A Book – Lori Culwell
Mo’ Betta Blues – Questlove
On The Gathering Storm – Jason McInTyre
Penpal – Dathan Auerbach
Perdido Street Station – China Mieville
Scorch Atlas – Blake Butler
Songs From The Phenomenal Nothing – Steven Luna
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – Neil Gaiman
The Sorrow King – Andersen Prunty
The Water Sign – Casey Samulski
This Plague of Days – Robert Chaz Chute
We Are Here - Michael Marshall Smith
What are you reading right now?
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
On the surface, House of Leaves is three different voices telling tales springing from the same story. It’s the dark tale of a family moving into in a new home when they find it larger on the inside than on the outside. Oh yeah, and it’s growing. One version is a documentary that the photo journalist patriarch of the family made called “The Navidson record”. The film depicts events occurring during their move, along with resulting horrors they discover. Another version of the story is written on random scraps of paper, index cards and typed out by the hands of an old blind man’s assistants in an attempt to describe the film. Finally, we read from the diary of a young junkie who finds an abandoned crate full of the blind man’s notes in an empty apartment. Filled with fantastic visual imagery and “found footage”, the story describing the Navidson Record is in turns challenging, intensely literary and nightmare inducing.
The first time I noticed the book, Barnes & Noble had it tucked away, deep on a shelf beneath a shadowy stairwell. I read the back jacket of the oversized paperback. Though I found it interesting, we were late for a movie and had to rush to get decent seats. Throughout the next few days, the concept of the book looped on play back in my head. Something about the idea resonated with me and without having read a word, I noticed the hallways of our small apartment stretching long into the darkness of night. On my next visit, I planned to buy it but the bookshelf was no longer there. (Perhaps I should have recognized the foreboding irony at that point.) Still ignorant of major parts of the storyline, I asked the bloodshot eyed, skunk stinking employee for help and purchased the first of what would eventually end up being five copies.
Yeah. You read that right. I’ve since bought the book five times. One that I gave to a friend, two loaned out and never returned, one dog eared copy that I read once every year and finally, the full color, hard bound version that Danielewski signed for me at a reading in 2006. Am I a fanatic? Probably. What can I say? The book changed my life.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint a passage that frightened me the most during my
first reading. Right now, my copy of the book is burdened with post-it notes
marking pages like a porcupine is stacked with piercing quills. At every turn of the page I find another horror that makes me want to leave the lights on after bed time with covers tucked over my sleepless head.
Danielewski invents fresh ways of conjuring demons from the recesses of instinct. The impenetrable blackness swallowing deep into the mysterious labyrinth that appears where it should by all logical explanation, not be. The savage and guttural growling that stalks us as we explore faceless hallways and ominous arches disorienting us further into the nowhere.
The book itself devolves into a physical manifestation of the labyrinth, with multiple storylines running at the same time on the pages in upside down or even backwards text. Certain passages can only be read through a “hole” on the other side of the page, cryptic photographs and cartoons depicting characters and locations from the story. It may be confusing and impudent, but HoL is never once boring.
An entire chapter consists of a thesis on the physics of sound before revealing in the last few words that there is a basic, terrifyingly primal reason behind the science, mythology and textbook quotations:
“The terrifying implication of their children’s shouts is now impossible to miss. No room in the house exceeds a length of twenty-five feet, let alone fifty feet, let alone fifty-six and a half feet, and yet Chad and Daisy’s voices are echoing, each call responding with an entirely separate answer.
In the living room, Navidson discovers the ehoes emanating from a dark doorless hallway which has appeared out of nowhere in the west wall. Without hesitating, Navidson plunges in after them. Unfortunately the living room Hi 8 cannot follow him nor for that matter can Karen. She freezes on the threshold, unable to push herself into the darkness toward the faint flicker of light within. Fortunately, she does not have to wait too long. Navidson soon reappears with Chad and Daisy in each arm, both of them still clutching a homemade candle, their faces lit like sprites on a winter’s eve.”
I sat on a plane next to my new bride when I first read this passage. Whether it was from the small confines of the pressurized cabin or the instinctual protectiveness I felt from our recently discovered pregnancy, the concept of mysteriously growing spaces that swallow children swaddled me in lumpy gooseflesh.
Regretfully, I told my wife about the happenings in the Navidson Record.
We landed after 2:00AM in a small, unpopulated, pitch dark area. The only illumination was provided by the headlights of our rental car. I drove slowly on the winding road unable to see much in front of us other than the next curve as it veered right before our tires. A sign came into view before the next turn reading “Kihe 5 Miles”. Good. We weren’t too far. After five minutes another sign appeared. “Kihe 6 Miles.”
“The island is growing!” My wife prodded me with her elbow.
“No it’s not! Shut up!” My white knuckles squeezed the steering wheel nearly cracking it from the dashboard. Eventually we did arrive safely. We unpacked our bags and went to bed.
What do you get when you cross old buildings and windy nights? Yeah. The walls groaned and creaked. What did my wife say? “This place is growing!” I proceeded to leap out of bed switching on every light in the place. Did I mention that I love my wife?
I’ve been reading horror and thriller fiction for as long as I can remember. No book, movie or fireside camp out fright tale has come anywhere close to affecting me the way House of Leaves does. I find myself still lost in its labyrinth. I continue to walk down the long faceless hallways, descending stairs into the enigmatic, all-consuming darkness.
something interesting about me goes right...here