About Me

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I write and live with my beautiful wife, Sandra, and sons (Solstice, Finnegan and Brahms) in a little-big house on a dirt road in a valley in the hills. My secret identity struggles through the grind of teaching high school English to the denizens of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just finished reading Oh, the Horror!

Hey everybody, I will endeavor to write down some reviews of the books I've been reading in the future. I just finished reading the anthology: Oh, the Horror! by Static Movement. Chris Bartholomew is an inspiration of a publisher and editor as she gives lots of opportunities for people to edit their own anthologies and have their work published. The cover, I believe done by Jessy Marie Roberts is a fun one. And the stories begin and end on high points. "Fresh Meat" by Darren Gallagher is a fun flash piece that gets the reader ready for some of the disturbing elements of the anthology (a buffet of horror!). Also the final piece is a powerful one by Yolanda Sfetsos, "Sweeping Darkness".

I am reluctant to review a book that I have a story in. My story, "England, the Bad Dream" is in there. There are many stories that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I would like to mention some of the stories that really captured my imagination. I suppose that is the litmus test for personal taste. It may have been because of tone, or imagery, or for a certain alchemical mix with the reader's experience and taste, but I know what I like.

So these are just the stories that I personally liked the best that spoke to me as a reader and managed to give me a chill up my spine or a queasiness in the stomach:

1. "Bed Bugs Bite", by Yolanda Sfetsos. I wonderful gothic tale about a girl and the monster under her bed. Truly spooky and dark. I loved it! I look forward to reading many more stories by the talented Ms. Sfetsos.

2. "Here and There", by Gregory Miller. A great tale about an investigation into an abandoned farm house. This story has a wonderful pace and voice. In the author's note it mentions that Ray Bradbury liked his stuff. I'm not surprised. The quality reminded me much of the master. I know Mr. Miller will have a long and distinguished writing career. Hopefully, he will have a lot of dedication to his craft, because from one teacher and father, finding the time and energy is not the easiest of tasks...

3. "The Sick Little Puppy", by Lorraine Horrell. This story made me sick! Seriously, I don't know if I'll look at hot dogs the same way again. A great little story of revenge and the nature of evil. This story successfully navigates the gray waters between abuser and the vengeful in an over-the-top fashion. Thumbs up, Lorraine!

Again, there are many stories that I also enjoyed, the stories by Jim Bronyaur, Ken Goldman, and Joshua Brown also come to mind, but those three in particular spoke to me and made me particularly proud to be in the anthology.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Busy writing...

I have done some massive editing of two stories in the past two days. Both I shaved off over 2,000 words and was pretty happy with the results. One of them: "The Back Seat was Empty" became a flash fiction piece and will see print with "To Serve the Weird" in Static Movement's Something from the Attic anthology.

I also wrote a 5,500 word story about love, horror and apples on the eve of World War II. It was a fun story to write and I think it is one of my good ones. We'll see if it makes the cut.

If my wife continues to be so supportive and let me shut myself away,I'll continue to peck away at The Hairy Monster Book. It is going along great, I just shouldn't let myself get so distracted. It's not easy, I have a lot of ideas!

Well, if you don't hear from me till later, have a Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"To Serve the Weird" will see print!

I just had another acceptance at Static Movement. "To Serve the Weird" is a little tale about a modern wizard apprentice who must face the final test, serve the weird or his his own dark path.

I have just managed to get all of the publications that I've been published in and they are a handsome bunch on my shelf. I also am finding that a lot of what I'm reading far outranks much of the "professional" anthologies out there in the big box book stores. I will be posting some of my favorites as I go...

Well, I might have a few free days to pound out some chapters of The Hairy Monster Book this week. Wish me luck!

And luck to you, as well,


Monday, October 4, 2010

The David Banner Blues

I am a proud father of a son that is suffering from the David Banner Blues. Really, he has a severe form of arthritis that has changed his life and challenged his enjoyment of said life since he was seven years old. He's nine now, and just today the boy had a lot of trouble with stairs. I know how angry I feel when I think of how much pain the universe has dumped on my little boy. When he was little we used to call him the Buddha boy. He is so naturally happy, gentle and sweet. He is giving and thoughtful and just about everything a dad could want in a boy.

Right now, he is an Incredible Hulk addict. I come home from work, and find him curled up on the couch, his eyes drawn from the fatigue of his condition and the energy sapping nature of his medications. He is entranced with watching Bill Bixby trudge across the late seventies in his bell bottoms with only a backpack and a hope that someday a cure will be found. I will sit down and watch with him for a spell, noticing the melancholy sweetness to Bixby's performance and the haunting piano theme. Suddenly, it all makes sense...

Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung explained that heroic archetypes call to us. That myth is the truest religion in the most sacred sense. The heroes journey marks are own search for meaning. I think of all the lost adolescent girls in the confusing world shelling out millions of dollars to see Titanic over and over again, and weeping countless times because of the doomed love of Jack and Rose. This journey tells them that love is real, that it matters, and that it transcends all the pain and limits of this catastrophic world.

Here is my son, angry, frustrated as his peers dart about, heedless of pain and agony, enjoying their nine year old lives. Sure, some days he puts on a grin and tells me he's hulking out and dares a tiny leap up into my arms, after doing a marvelous Lou Ferrigno impersonation with all of his 60 pound shaking might. But then, the arthritis flares up again wiping out all his plans, all his schemes, all his backyard, boyhood dreams. He travels for the third time in a month to the medical center, to be poked, prodded and experimented on, all in the hopes that someday a cure may come.

How could my brave boy not find solace in David Banner's journey? How could he not find hope in Banner's hope of searching for the final cure? I know that as David, in all of his seventies sensitive drifter heroism, exemplifies the best that is in my boy, the best that is in all of us. So I understand; and when my little boy gets overtired and screams and then falls into tears afraid that he has hurt my feelings in his outrage, I understand.

I, too, have my David Banner story. In the early eighties I was afflicted with a kind of fear that is alien to the kids that I teach today. I feared nuclear war, to the point that my nightmares resounded with glowing mist and the blaring of air sirens. In one, particular dream, I was in the midst of a devastated city, hallowed out by nuclear catastrophe, and Bill Bixby wandered up the street, looked me earnestly in the eye and told me it was all going to be all right. I guess, I believed him. I didn't have any nuclear nightmares after that.

I still believe him. I think my little boy does, too. I think there will be a cure, someday, and until then, we have the stories, the hero, to lead us on, do the right thing, and give us the inner-strength to meet their grand gestures with our little ones, especially when the heroic feat is getting to the top of those stairs in one piece.

That's the miracle of story, of myth. That's what I have always wanted to do. I hope someday, that my tales will give someone a bit of that magic stuff to hold on to. Myth isn't a lie, just as the Hulk isn't some cheesy seventies serial. Myth is metaphor, it is alchemical, it acts as the remedy, the panacea for any wound the spirit can endure.

I hope that people continue to retell these stories in ways that will reach us. The makers of superhero flicks should take a page from Bill Bixby's work. Regardless, each of us will continue our own journeys, and occasionally find that perfect story, that elixir for our very souls.

The time for the anti-hero is done. The time for real heroes, however misunderstood and afflicted, is here.

Mr. Bixby, my boy and I both thank you. We hope you are enjoying yourself in heaven.


My progress...

Hey, you guys!

My short story, "England, the Bad Dream" is now available in the anthology, "Oh, the Horror" by Static Movement. It is a creepy tale of an American abroad student who gets caught between two rival and very evil forces in England.

My short ghost story, "The House on Dearborn Street" is available in the anthology, "Ghostly Tales of Terror", from Living Dead Press. This one is for young people, and I'm psyched to be in a book like the ones I loved as a kid. I have told this one many times to frighten my students, my children, and my nephew and nieces.

I am pretty much done the final draft of The Door to Halloween. Now we'll see if some literary agents want to make some money with me. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I am about to get back to Glen and Barry in order to complete "The Hairy Monster Book".

I will write more when I know more...