This week Scott and Todd start off with some final thoughts about Harvey Weinstein after his being ejected from the academy. They then talk about fandoms and how poisonous some of them can be. All this and a few laughs along the way!
This week Scott and Todd start off with some final thoughts about Harvey Weinstein after his being ejected from the academy. They then talk about fandoms and how poisonous some of them can be. All this and a few laughs along the way!
As it’s NaNoWriMo time again, I thought I would share something from the piece I’m working on. This is a bit of an odd one, as what follows will most likely not make into the final product. What started out as a lighthearted idea, quickly became something a bit darker, more twisted. It seems no matter how much I try, the horrific elements seem to follow me.
Also of note is none of the following has been edited. This is as crude as a draft can be. I post it because even though I may not use it, I like the scene quite a bit, and thought it made a good opening.
Kharisi skewered the sewer rat with the tip of his iron sword. He watched with more than a little delight as the vermin wriggled, even as its little rat guts clung to the weapon. Kharisi turned and shook it at his dwarven companion. “Didn’t you mention lunch but a moment ago?’
Slate Fistcrunch glared at his companion, and stroked at a long, luxurious beard that was no longer there. Realizing his old habit, he let out a fart in Kharisi’s direction.
“The most sense you’ve made all day Slate.” Kharisi said with a small edge in his voice. He lowered the sword, and with one foot pushed the dead animal off his sword, and stepped on its head, grinding bone and brain beneath his boot. He walked a few paces ahead of his companion, the sound of dripping water echoing off of moss covered walls. “Well dwarf, which way?” Kharisi didn’t look behind him, but could hear the stocky Slate catching up to him.
Slate stood by the elf’s side and looked around. He held out the burning torch in front of him and squinted. They were at a three way intersection and he immediately dismissed the path in front of them as it was barred by an iron grate. To the left was a nothing but a dark shaft, and to the right, he could sense a slight wind and with it the smell of offal. “This way,” he said.
“Lead the way,” Kharisi said, motioning the dwarf to move ahead of him. AS they started to move to the rightward tunnel, Slate stopped, held up a hand, and drew his axe.
“What is it?” Kharisi asked, and the sound of multiple legs scurrying up behind them answered his question. Kharisi laid a hand on the hilt of his sword and he could feel the hairs from the enormous spider brush the back of his neck. He held his breath, his grip tightening on the sword, as the spider started to raise itself up to strike. Kharisi turned, his motion a blur, sword out and plunging into the largest of the six eyes. The spider let out something like a scream which chilled Kharisi to the marrow. It backed away, blood and gore dripping from the wound. Slate not wanting to miss out on the fun, took a short leap and plunged the fire end of the torch in the ruined orbit.
The now flaming spider moved back even further, hissing and spitting phlegm-like wads of venom that sizzled as they hit the damp floor of the sewers. “Kill it you damned useless dwarf!”
Slate grunted, and muttered curses under his breath. He dislodged the torch which managed to remain lit, and replaced it with his axe, chopping away at the spider, avoiding the venom, and still managing to get his by gouts of blood. Not for the first time he cursed the Bards for making the slaughtering of beasts sound so easy. One quick thrust my ass, he thought. As he hacked away He saw Kharisi move swift as the wind to the backside of the spider and climbing on its back, he shoved his sword into its head. It gave one final squall and slumped, dead as can be.
Kharisi sheathed his sword, jumped down from the corpse and looked down at the dwarf. “All that hack and mucking about wastes too much energy. A deftly placed sword works every time. Ask the Bards.”
Slate grumbled something impolite and put his axe away. He pushed Kharisi out of the way and stormed ahead. As he set off to follow the dwarf, he noticed something glimmer in the muck, and bent down to pick it up-pocketing it before Slate could see.
He smiled and continued on.
“How much more of this place is there?” Slate asked. Kharisi gave a small shrug. “After the Arnisian War decimated the country King Saerus’ grandfather ordered these to be built for any emergency or need to escape. They’ve been built upon since, and seeing as how peace reigns-however fleeting-our good King has seen fit to make it a sewer, fit only for vermin and shit.”
Slate looked up at Kharisi, studied the elf’s emerald green eyes that were almost translucent. The alabaster skin only heightened their deep color. “Are you sure? I’ve never seen anyone working on them, or digging.”
Slate let out a laugh that was closer to a bark. “As if a mage would sully their precious feet and robes down here.”
Kharisi pondered this for a moment, wondering if at first it was a jab against elves, as most wielded magic. Kharisi could as well, but it was weak-his strong suit had always been that of a Warrior. In spite of race, Kharisi was a few inches taller than most elves, and possessed a physique befitting the Arnisians from the North. A stocky, fierce nation, all but wiped out after King Haveron destroyed it with the use of a mana bomb. Much as he hated to admit it, Slate was probably right-Elven Mages were a rather prissy group. He sighed and continued walking. “Be that is it may, it changes not one fact that these sewers do seem to be getting bigger. I remember as a boy, when these were first being built, I would come down and practice my swordplay on the rats. There were very few places to go, or hide for that matter, and the rats then were smaller, weaker and far more frightened of me, than I of them.”
They soon reached a dead end, with the only other option to go back. “Did we miss a turn?” Slate asked. He leaned against the stone wall, and when it gave way , he fell back into the opening it had created. Kharisi grabbed the torch that had tumbled from the dwarf’s grip and held it out after extending his arm into the entry just created.
“My my, you’ve earned your gold piece for today my friend.” He patted the top of Slate’s head, who took a not so serious swipe at the elf’s hand.
“All you’ve earned is an ass kicking, now let’s see where this goes.”
Kharisi had to duck to get into the opening, and what they found themselves in wasn’t another corridor, but a large room. In the center was a fire that threw off no smoke. A cauldron sat on the floor next to it, big enough for someone to sit inside. Slate and Kharisi looked at one another, unease enveloping both of them. “Stay close,” Kharisi said in a hushed tone. “Put the torch out,” he added, we don’t want to be too obvious.”
“Like Elder beasts in the plains,” a voice rang out. It sounded old and haggard as if it took everything the owner had just to say that. Both knew not to let their guard down, as Crones were known to be very tricky. “Come, come, I won’t….bite!” A cackle of laughter and a flash of light blinded them briefly and when they could see again there was a shadowy figure next to the cauldron, hunched, withered, and covered with a cowl that had straggles of straw coarse gray hair.
“I said, come.”
The duo found themselves walking towards the elevated platform where the Crone and her pot waited. Despite the chill from the stone walls and Fall weather outside of the walls, sweat began beading on their foreheads, this despite the fact the fire she had going gave off no heat. Slate was the first to climb up the three shallow steps and stood within striking distance of the Crone, though he gave no appearance he would do so. The Crone eyed Slate, scanning him with an intensity that Kharisi found frightening. “I’ve no interest in you dwarf!” She said, and with a small flick of her wrist, Slate flung backwards as an unseen force blew him off the altar.
“You, Elf, give to me what is mine,” flames danced in her white blinded eyes. There was a sliver of saliva dripping from the corner of her toothless mouth. The nostrils on her sharp nose twitched with impatience.
“I have nothing for you hag, not even a stiff wand for you to fondle.”
“Hag?” she cried, her stooped posture stretching itself out until she stood straight and tall. “Watch your tongue Elf! You killed my precious Eolanda, then stole the ring I gave to her. Tread carefully. Hand it to me and you may even live.”
Kharisi had no doubt she was serious, and while Crones weren’t necessarily good, they never went out of their way to harm a stranger. That was until Kharisi met this crone, whose heart was as black as the robes she wore. Must be very important if she’s threatening. Must not let her have it then. “Perhaps in your old age you’ve forgotten things, it happened to my grandmother. Besides, why would you give a ring to a spider?
“That is not yours to know. Give me the ring.” Her voice was cold and frosty. Kharisi stood there, unmoving, barely blinking.
“Once more, I know nothing about it.”
“Liar! I saw you pocket it, look into the cauldron as instructed, and saw the fight with the spider on the oily surface. He watched as Slate kept chipping away and Kharisi snuck around to deal the final blow. He saw himself pocket the plain looking ring and catch up to Slate.
Kharisi refused to admit his thievery and remained silent. He put his hand in his pocket and closed his fist around the jewelry. As he pulled his hand out, Kharisi opened his hand, showing the ring on his sweat slick palm. The crone snatched for it but was too slow, as Kharisi moved his hand then unclenched his fist to show the ring had disappeared.
“Enough games,” the crone said with a quiet voice. “That ring is mine and I want to have it.” From within the sleeve of her robe she pulled out a gnarled branch of a wand, and pointed it at Kharisi. A thin blue beam of light pulsed from the stick and sent a wave of cold over Kharisi’s body, he could feel his toes starting to freeze to the point he was unable to wiggle them. His teeth chattered, as his torso shivered. Kharisi’s eyes began to burn as he couldn’t blink, and the tears which tried to fall became little shards of ice. As he tried to close his mouth, his jaw froze in an O position, which he thought would bring no shortage of amusement to anyone who might see.
The Crone moved closer and the cold became stronger. She cackled and was so intent on Kharisi, that she hadn’t noticed Slatesneaking around behind her, axe held high. “That’ll be enough of that!” he said, and swung horizontally, cutting the Crone’s head clean from her body. The head flew through air, as the body crumbled to the floor. Her wand fell to the ground, bounced and hit Kharisi between his now thawing legs. In almost an instant, his bulge grew and distorted the front of his leggings. Slate pretended not to notice and grabbed the wand but it crumbled in his hand leaving nothing but shavings.
You had the ring all this time and said nothing? Slate said, his face turning red as much from anger as embarrassment.
“I had a ring. But it’s so plain I had no idea it was the one we were searching for.” He made no attempt to hide his engorgement, though he was still feeling the effects of the Crone’s freezing spell, he may not have even noticed were it not for the fact Slate kept glancing at his. Kharisi looked down and grinned. “Apparently something is still frozen. Care to warm it up?’
Slate gave him a look of disgust and turned away. “Let’s just get out of here,” he said, walking away. Kharisi remained quiet and followed, kicking the Crone’s bloody head out of the way out of spite.
Several weeks ago my friend Joe made a mock up cover using a photo I had played with on my phone. The title, Phobophobia, was his idea. The only problem was, I didn’t have anything I was writing that might fit the title. I liked his idea for the cover a lot, and put it on the back burner as I continued working on Lonely Are The Dead.
As it so happens, progress on LATD began to become a fight to get anything written. I sort of know where I want to go, but the ending has been eluding me. Everytime I would open the file, I’d stare, and edit what I’d already written, but couldn’t-and still can’t-figure out the right ending. The one I had in mind would serve its purpose of tying the tale up, but it’s not one I’m happy with.
And then last night in a conversation on facebook, Joe asked me if I was working on anything new. I had a couple of ideas for a short story for the next Fossil Lake anthology, but instead I wrote, “I have an idea for my next one, which I kind of got from that phobophobia cover you did. Lots of bugs, boils, and a serial killing priest.” Thus surprised me as I did have an idea involving bugs and boils, but the serial killing priest was a new element. However, it intrigued me, and I started thinking about it. I went to bed, and when I woke up this morning I knew how the first chapter would go. I banged it out in about an hour, and very happy with the results.
As I was writing it, I was struck with another inspiration: I would not only connect it with Barbed Wire Kisses, but also introduce the main character in LATD, psychic detective Napoleon Santierre. What follows is part of the first chapter from Phobophobia. A one sentence synopsis would be: Father Rossi is a serial killer priest who chooses his victims based on his phobias, and Santierre, with the help of his victims and other ghosts sets out to uncover and stop him.
As always this is coprighted by myself and none may be used or excerpted without my express permission. Enjoy.
Father Rossi sat in the confessional, and wiped sweat from his smooth upper lip. He could feel it beading on his hairless scalp, and felt it trickle down his brow. Some errant droplets slid down into his eyes, stinging them. When that happened he would push the frames of his bifocals up and wipe at the tear ducts with a dainty finger. Even with his thin frame, the confessional was cramped, and with the air conditioning on the fritz, and claustrophobia beginning to kick in, hearing the sins of his parishioners seemed unbearable.
Not for the first time, Rossi pictured himself as the Lord wandering through the desert,. Dried, on the verge of bleeding skin buffeted by hot wind. as sand ripped at the flesh and blinding him at the same time. Arizona was no place to be without working air conditioning, particularly in the summer. Rossi sighed and opened the door. It had been almost fifteen minutes since the last sinner had bleated their litany of crimes against God, and he wasn’t surprised to find the church empty. The only noise to pierce the quiet was the repairman on the roof tending to the cooling units.
The priest took his walking stick which was leaning against the flimsy panel that separated him from the confessor and stepped into the oppressive heat of Our Lady of Immaculate Dispensation. He surveyed the small area as he always did when he finished his obligation, and wondered, again, as he always did, what he’d ever done to be placed in such an unremarkable, almost forgotten parish. The wooden pews were ancient, even when he’d arrived almost a decade prior, and almost unbearable to sit on for any length of time. The hymnals, on the rare times they raised their voice in song, were tattered. Pages were missing, and indeed, so were some of the covers. What remained of them had yellowing pages with fading ink. Rossi had continually asked for the funds from the Bishop to renovate or at the very least replace the hymnals but his requests had always been rebuffed. “Tough times, declining numbers, maybe another time…” is all he heard. When Rossi heard the Bishop was driving a new Lincoln town car he stopped asking.
The priest walked up the aisle, eyes focused on the altar and the large crucifix attached to the back wall. The eyes of a Christ in agony seemed to follow him. He knelt before the creaking altar, genuflected, and jumped as the sound of something crashing came from above. Rossi looked up and saw some of the plaster floating down like dirty snow. “What in blazes?” he said under his breath. He turned around, marched down the center of the church and opened the front doors and was accosted by the ruthless heat and blazing sun. Rossi for once ignored the weather, and walked around the wood and stone building to the back. There was a rickety wooden stairwell that led to the roof, as well as the bell tower though there hadn’t been a bell in place since the late 1800’s. Holding his cane in one hand and grabbing the splinter laden banister with the other, Father Rossi climbed up what was essentially a fancy ladder and peered over the Spanish tile roof top.
There was no response. Rossi set his cane down on the edge of the roof, careful to not let it fall over. He pulled up the hem of his cassock so as not to trip on it and set a foot on the roof. With great care so he didn’t go falling off either, he pulled his other foot onto the fragile terra cotta shingles and held out his hands to gain his balance. After a moment, he made his way to the middle where the rusty evaporative cooler sat like a malignant growth, and saw the repairman straining to lift it back onto the metallic shelf it had fallen from.
“Need a hand?” he asked.
The repairman looked up, eyes hidden behind a pair of 99 cent store sunglasses. “About six of them.”
Rossi gave a slight smile, and bent down on his haunches, and the repairman waved him away. “No need, this ain’t going anywhere, ‘cept maybe through this roof if we mess with it.” He stood, and offered a hand to help the priest up. Rossi accepted the help, and heard his knees pop as he stood. He reached into the slit in the side of his cassock, and pulled a handkerchief from his back pocket. Rossi wiped the sweat from his face, and ran it around the damp collar.
“I’d give this last rites father. It’s done for.” He then went on to explain everything that was wrong, and how he might be able to get parts, but no guarantees as this model was so old, and should have been replaced years ago. Rossi nodded, a fake smile amidst a darkening face. He would nod, and give an “I see,” once in awhile, but all he could think of was the sweat.
The soiled clothing, the wet skin, and the bacteria that could form in the excretion. While no doctor, he knew that sweat could be cesspools for any kind of bug and cause ringworm, illness, and God knew what else.
No, I’ll have none of that, he thought. Rossi processed all he’d been told and concluded that despite its age, the cooler could be fixed, but the repairman didn’t want to. Already he was gathering up his tools, and placing them in a canvas bag, his work here done. What the priest saw was a lazy sinner only intent on sending Mother Church a hefty bill for doing absolutely nothing except get a tan.
The repairman zipped up the bag, grabbed it by the handle and made his way to the staircase. He noticed the can laying on the roof, and bent to pick it up. He gripped it by the bottom and offered the handle end to the priest. Rossi took it and held firm. Before the repairman could release it, Rossi gave a hard shove, throwing the worker off balance. He yanked his cane away and poked him in the chest sending him back and over the side of the church. Rossi heard the satisfying sound of his skull cracking on an exposed rock.
Rossi climbed down, careful to fall himself, and when he reached the bottom, stood over the repairman. Blood and gore leaked from the open wound, as his eyes fluttered in his sockets and his limbs twitched. He stepped over the soon to be dead man in search of a glass of water.
Then maybe he’d use the phone in his rectory.
Those who follow me on twitter or facebook know some of this, but for those who don’t, (and why not?), here’s an update on what I’m working on.
You may notice that it says narrator. Yes, Barbed Wire Kisses is an audiobook! Or will be, in about 10-14 business days. My narrator Wayne Messmer did an incredible job, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it! Details on where and how to get it will be posted as soon as it goes live.
With another great cover by Joseph K. Adams, this is a compilation of my John Waters essays from talkbacker.com. I’ve gone in and reedited them, and in some cases added more material. There’s a great foreword by Nick NIghtly and an introduction by myself. This is in the end stages of editing and formatting, and will be available as an ebook in mid July.
And last but not least there’s:
My original intention was to have this out by mid summer. As with all plans, it’s not going to work out that way. I’ve had problems with getting an ending I’m satisfied with, and while it’s very close, it;s just not where I want it to be. My plan is for a Fall release. Possibly Halloween. I know people are excited to read this, and I apologize for the delay, but I don’t want to disappoint anyone.
I’m also going to be working on a story for the next Fossil Lake anthology, as well as a radio play about H.P. Lovecraft. And of course there’s the articles at talkbacker.
I thank each and everyone of you for your support, and hope you enjoy everything I do.
One of the reasons I like Google+ so much is being able to discover new authors, talk to them and have a level of interaction that I don’t get from Facebook or twitter (and endless self promo spamming doesn’t count as an interaction). Wilf Nelson is one such author. I was very impressed with his intelligence, and love for writing, and when I learned he had a book coming out, I wanted to take an opportunity to interview him. What follows was conducted via email over hte past couple of days,
Tell us about yourself
“3 days on Earth looks at a world we all know, a post apocalyptic disaster with the world scarred, the population crippled and aliens making contact. But it is not the end, the aliens called the Helpers rebuild the world for us and let us live in a beautiful world of tomorrow capable of supporting the millions of those blind after the radiation bloom from Earth’s destruction.
The story follows Mark Trayler, a detective versed in burglaries and household arguments, now having to solve the first murder in twenty years. With the world watching him for the answers Mark becomes one of the most important figures in the world
What drew you to science fiction as opposed to other genres?
My stepfather when I was young was the only one up as early as me on the weekends. He would watch doctor who omnibus as well as old or cult science fiction films. Once i was a bit older i began to read H.G. Wells, H. Beam Piper, Harry Harrison, Edgar Rice Burroughs. These authors showed me the future and what we were heading towards, but also how to solve the problems and if it is humanity’s nature. So when i found myself wanting to write about people, the fear of aliens, the fear of the apocalypse it felt like a natural choice.
Who are some of your favourite writers?
I guess I’ve mostly answered this but H.G. Wells, Ian McEwan, Fitzgerald. These writers create very fun, very clever novels where you have to pick apart the narrator not just the plot. Also they write (spare Ian McEwan) very short novels most of the time that I can read on the weekends between finishing one book I’m writing and starting another.
What do you hope to readers will take away from 3 days on Earth?
That literature doesn’t have to be dark to be interesting, that the villain doesn’t have to enjoy or even want to do what they are doing and really just to enjoy the nice parts of the books as they make you smile while the dark parts only make you sad in the end.
What are you currently working on?
My new book doesn’t have a name right now. It is about an ‘Oxfam’ like company in the future where instead of going to countries in distress they go to times of distress. It is set in the Black Death where they are handing out painkillers and muscle relaxants secretively to help. It is not done for profit nor did the company cause the Black Death as friends and family have guessed; just people trying to help others. There is more but for now that is all i want to say.
Where can readers pick up your book?
Right now it is available on a kindle or kindle ready devices such as iOS (apple products) and Android devices.
It’s not that I don’t love you all, because I do, but I’ve been doing some posts on another blog. In an effort to branch out a bit, I’m submitting posts over to talk backer.com. I’ll be posting about the site in a day or two, but in the meantime I have 3 articles you can check out over here.
The first sale I ever made was a poem for the anthology DEATH IN COMMON. While the antho is no longer in print, my poem is available in my sampler DETRITUS. It was probably the hardest I’d ever worked on anything in my life. There were probably 20 drafts and half as many versions. The editor (and a friend) Rich Ristow was incredibly helpful and patient, making my contribution FORGOTTEN SON something I take much pride in.
Nikita also wrote a poem. While it’s not as bad as some other work I’ve reviewed…oh who am I kidding, it’s shit. The piss poor writing aside, it also details his feelings about 9/11. As the anniversary draws closer, I thought it appropriate to critique: THE SEASONS OF BLACK SEPTEMBER. A big thank you to Lewis for pointing this out to me.
Note: All misspellings and double commas (!) are from Nicky.
Prologe: Reminders of Forever
that I cannot ever tell,,
No more, yes! One more? Dammit. For someone who frequently uses expressions like I cannot ever tell, you never seem to stop babbling.
one more horror in the sleep
Patterns I am sensing. Talent, I am not.
years to come — cemetery graves,
As opposed to say, the bakery graves.
I watch the towers fall
I watch the many die
no more, one more
one more mourning
I’m going to guess he had a rainman like obsession with one more. Nothing wrong with repetition if it serves a point. If it’s the only words you know however…
I. Clay and Dust
I am one — yet no one,
Can’t argue with that.
when angels cry their blood,,
only then we begin — crucified,,
impaled by our thoughts — slaved,
lead into salvations — enslaved,,
I’m not sure he knows the difference between crucifixion and impalement. I’d settle for either rather than have him go on. And yet he does, trooper of turds that he is.
dying — this is my suffication,
horror — flames melting my flesh,,
decay — blackness of hell around me,,,
Not sure what suffication is, but it can’t be any worse than an eternity of having this read to me over and over.
melting flesh — flowing blood, clay and dust,,
full blood moon — raising brighter in black,,
Melting brain overflowing with illiterate scibblings. full stomach about to raise and splatter.
II. Ashes and Blood Flow
when we allow all the blood flow,,
the question without the reason,,
Blood flows, that’s what blood does (along with other amazing things but I won’t bore you with my lack of scientific tidbits), but what is with these double and triple commas? No doubt he’ll have some excuse though it still boils down to lack of knowledge of and talent.
death in the end is only the beginning,,
take the tour of hell my friend — here it is
Could have told me that in the beginning and saved me from reading this. Fucker.
III. Untold Omen
dying tomorrows, lost my sorrow,,
of what hope is sinking forever,,
My hope of you making sense sank long ago. I know the feeling.
where our truth turned into the lie,,
Or in your case where the lie turned into a greater lie.
IV. Seasons of Rust
as it comes where I walk alone,
I could say something really disgusting about this, but then I’d never sleep again. Suffice to say everything he does is alone.
fires — were we have no more control,,,
time — as it ticks slowly down into night,,,
horrors — as they cannot be defined,,,
Crap, we’re back to the undefined again. Though if a word could ever describe this work, undefined is as good as any.
V. Stygian Skies
do we see inside our own demise
gathering in the travels to stygian
Umm, yeah, I got nothing for this bit of nonsense.
as it remains the memories of the day of Black September,,,
The best I can suggest is remember those who lost their lives, but forget this turgid, incomprehensible, waste of time. It does far more of a disservice than anything else in recent memory.