Saturday, December 31, 2011

A brief appeal during lulzXmas:

Dear, sweet and shiny members of Anonymous,
I get the point of the raid on Stratfor, honestly I do. Pointing out the huge hole in security in a company paid precisely for providing that service is indeed chuckle worthy at the least. I’m sure you’re meaning well by using the card information obtained in these raids to make donations to charities, spreading goodwill as well as chaos. Superficially, the only victims are the company, who is obviously not doing its job correctly, and a horde of faceless fools who must have the extra cash if they can invest in this type of protection. And who are stupid enough to pay for a service from a provider who cannot provide. Or they were stupid enough to want to make a living working for one of the organizations that use Stratfor, which is completely their fault as all companies get unanimous permission from employees on which companies to use for security and allow anyone who wishes to keep their information out of the company systems.

However, you may not realize the problems you are creating for the charities you profess to be gifting. Whenever an erroneous credit charge is put through, and the defrauded party needs to be credited back for the charge, that money has to be credited back from the charity. In other words, the donations disappear. This, in itself is a general no harm/no foul situation for the charity except that this process of going through the donations and crediting the money back takes man hours. However unintentionally, you are costing these organizations money.

It makes it a bit hard to push the image of yourselves as modern day Robin Hoods (as perfectly elucidated here) when your actions dry up desperately needed funds from organizations which exist solely to provide help to those in need. This isn’t heavy handed lecture time, or anything like that, but we would all prefer that you think about the larger fallout of your actions.

Sometimes, the LULZ just aren’t worth it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Humpin a Corpse Never Felt so Good

One of the things that depresses the ever lovin’ shit out of me in the course of this review writin’ game is seeing good publishing companies go belly up. Sure, there is enough crap out there to drown us all, especially since so many think that the ease of e-publishing means that everyone knows how to do it right. However, there are a select few who not only “get it”, but have a real and for true honest love of literature and those who create it. Companies and individuals who pour their life and adoration into both the crafting and promotion of those little hunks of written words. The ones who make me happy to spend the roughly double price for a trade paperback or mortgage off a local newborn for a hardback. Then I see them crash because it is a stressful fucking job that takes everything you can put into it just to keep your head above water.
That just plain sucks blue whale testicles.
Case in point: June of 2010 saw Necro Publications go on an indefinite hiatus (what is usually a nice term for “done for goddam ever”) due to a combination of economic and personal health factors. Necro was the company that introduced my to the small press world as well as showing me that Hardcore horror meant much more than simple gore. Through Necro, I met a no nonsense dead cat and a goddess of shit. I found out that Gary Braunbeck can be hilarious, that Wrath James White can kick my throat out and that no one sees the world through as dark, or as hopeful, of a lens as Charlee Jacobs. Proprietor and layout guru, Dave G. Barnett, made some of the most striking looking packages available (Dread in the Beast and Dead Cat’s Traveling Circus and Miracle Medical Sideshow are almost too ridiculously gorgeous to exist). Necro was one of those companies that, no matter what it was that they were putting out, I knew I would love it. As much as Dave loved the genre, he had no tolerance for crap. Any lover of truly ballsy and high quality horror should have been weeping their eyes out when this happened. I know I did.
However, I recently found out that Necro is back on its feet, with a new website a fresh book in the form of Jeffrey (Punktown) Thomas’s vampire gangster novel Blood Society. You can also get some sweet ass versions of Charlee Jacob’s This Symbiotic Fascination and Soma, Gerard Houarner’s The Road to Hell and more Ed Lee than you can shake a cancerous dick full of smegma at. If I had the money, I’d go broke in about two seconds there.

Head yer butt on over to the new Necro website and experience a little joy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why I've been gone.

Hello all and good day to you. I know I’ve been remiss in plunking out my splendiferous little thinkies, but things have been a bit hard on the old boy lately. There are times when you think you are doing the right thing, when you act in a manner every fiber of your being says is the correct and moral thing to do, and you get kicked in the balls for it. As a result of trying to hold to a promise I made to a very dear member of my family who has since passed, my wife has no job and the two of us may soon find ourselves without a home.

We’re taking care of a depressed man suffering from senile dementia who was a bit of a bastard before the dementia set in and his wife died and he is the most reasonable person in the family to talk to. We’re stressed out to the point of nearly breaking and, if it wasn’t for the fact that I care greatly for this man, I would tell them all to take a running fuck at themselves and get out. I don’t know how to handle this and I’m pretty certain it will only get better when they finally decide to do something about the job they all feel we are not accomplishing properly but are unwilling to do themselves.

So, at this point, the only words I seem capable of typing out begin with F and end with UCK!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hairy palms and all...

Today, I caught a bit of Teenwolf (the new series, not the “Micheal J. Fox rides vans and dunks on everyone” display of total 80’s awesomeness-pictured above) on MTV. Please don’t make fun of me, it was on the TV at work and I only saw it incidentally as I was getting some water. But the portion I saw sent me into near paroxysms of laughter. Specifically, I saw I guy metaphorically get a slow dance boner and freak out in fear that someone would notice him come in his pants.

We all know that Victorians used to use vampire stories as a way to mask the hot and sexy stories for ladies, specifically those dealing with lesbianism (some thing snever change). It was a way to deal with the naughty bits while still wrapping them in lame morality and allow the readers to tell people they are reading supernatural fiction to thrill themselves. I always felt bad the Mina ended up with boring old man Harker instead of the Count, who had obviously rocked her world. Anyways, that’s probably why they work so well as a way for mid-pubescent girls to deal with their burgeoning sexuality, especially since a lack of blood would leave the guys in question effectively impotent.

Then we look at werewolves. I’m not the first one to point to a marked increase in aggression, hair in unusual places and new, frantic, all-consuming urges and say that they must be talking about guys during puberty. They become freakish, violent, uncontrollable monsters and never really change back. It’s a given.

Then I see a presumable werewolf dancing close with a girl. His eyes go wide, the music becomes distorted and the image looses focus and his nostrils flare before he freaks out. We all know what happened, because we’ve all almost turned into a wolf on the dance floor. Maybe this will even turn into a vehicle for adolescents to cope with burgeoning homosexuality in a discrete way.

(ok, so discrete isn't one of their goals)

On a side note, I rewrote the fall from paradise portion of Genesis as a fable. It didn't take much, but it amused me. Also, remember that there are only four days left until you can submit your stories of awesomely dickish awesomeness for the King Paul Anthology

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Now I've gone and done it.

Once again, my obsessions have gotten the better of me. The grand and ever expanding mythology Greg Hermes has created around the mighty and powerful King Paul via his songs on Carinemily (don't forget to check out the vintage porn while you're there) grabbed me by the balls and refuses to let go. It started with a tiny story and now... Now I've decided to give GenericPublishing (the publishing company I ran up until roughly five or so years ago that none of you have ever heard of) a chance at rebirth. The first published work through the GP mark will be tentatively titled “King Paul Crushes Your Face and You like It “, a chapbook sized anthology of flash fiction and praise poetry running with the King Paul mythology. It will be open for submissions starting June 15th and close on August 15th, with an intended release date of November 15th, 2011. If this works out okay and doesn't drive me insane, then I will look into other releases in the future.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A big step forward and a woman who kicks ass.

I’ve done it. My first official attempt at adding Weird Tales to the large list of illustrious companies who have issued rejection letters in my name has been sent out. I’m curious to see how quick the turn around will be. As it stands, I am currently awaiting similar from The Library of Horror, Zombie Zak’s House of Pain and Night Terrors II. Wish me luck, people. My goal of 100 is still a while away.

On the “actually published” side, my dear wife Piper Morgan has seen recent publication. in Bloodbound Books’ DOA: Extreme Horror Anthology (“Everyone Has Their Own Sound”- a tale of sex, revenge and music) and PillHill Press’s Dark Things II (“Deliscious Morsels”- about the thing in the closet). “Delicious Morsels” received the following comment from Trish Martin at Horrornews: “This is the kind of story that will make you want to close the closet door, lock it, and then nail it shut.”

I'm not just promoting this because she gives me the sweet, sweet bootay, though that is certainly more than enough of a reason. These stories kick serious ass.

You should buy them shits, mofos.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sucks to My Bullshit

Well, my life has been rather shitty of late. On personal and financial fronts, it has seemed to be collapsing on itself. But there have been good things to help balance it out:

“Beautiful Things” (about the deteriorating relationship between a father and son, with zombies) is in the upcoming issue of Shroud (available for preorder here). Tim Deal ran me through the wringer on this story. Twice. His brutality and honesty resulted in a story I'm damn proud of. The man is a hell of an editor.

“The Morning Ritual” (exploring the savagery underneath the facade of civility) is up on Title Goes Here's May digital edition. I'm digging how they've split the digital and print editions, providing unique experiences for each and I'm happy to be a part of it. Plus, its free. You have no excuse for not at least giving it a chance.

I think I'm done with editing a new story dealing with the vampirism and isolation integral to the creation of art that will probably be my grand attempt at rejection from Weird Tales. A friend and pre-reader called it sexy and tripcicle.

With that in mind, life can go take a running fuck at itself. I'll still break down, I might find myself crying in the fetal position or punching the odd wall, but I'll still be here. Dammit if that isn't enough.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why We Need to Repeal...

I told you it was coming, so here is my rant on Ohio’s SB5. Since much has been made of the general union issues, I won’t bother touching those here. Instead, I wanted to focus on the largely overlooked parts. Keep in mind that, though this is from the point of view of a teacher, it affects all public employees. That means police, firefighters and many others. The people you depend on to save your butt when a problem occurs.

Merit-based pay for teachers: Ohio's 146,000 primary and secondary school teachers will be evaluated largely based on how their students did on standardized testing along with other more subjective criteria. By April 1 of each year, teachers would be evaluated based on their students' test scores, their licensure level, whether they had achieved "highly qualified" teaching status, at least two 30-minute or more observations of them by administrators as well as other criteria selected by local school boards. Decisions about which teachers are laid off or fired and what kind of pay they would receive would be based on this evaluation process.

I’m all behind the idea of merit based pay, but clear specifications need to be laid down. At every private sector job I’ve ever worked, there was a standard evaluation form that was used to decide raises and any employee had access to this form. This meant that there was no question about what the expectations of the employer were and any disputes over amount could be referred to this form. Here, the language is very loose and imprecise, allowing school boards to decide on their own criteria with no set guidelines. For instance, what specific test scores will be required for what level of raises? Will it be based off of average scores, improvement of scores, average scores compared to state averages or some combination? This is all very important. How about the observations? For ohio teaching certification, there used to be very specific observation forms that were used during internship and to move past the two year provisional license. Even though it was still subjective, the general criteria was clear and available to teachers and the general public. Do they plan on using the same form? Will it be different for a teacher’s 15th year than for their first? Once again, very important to know.

With any other proposed project, we would demand specific details. There’s no reason this should be any different.

Health care: Requires public workers to pay at least 15 percent of their health care coverage. The goal here is to force unionized workers to pay more for their health care costs and thereby lower that expense for local and state governments. Supporters of the law say that private sector workers on average pay about 23 percent of their health care costs.

This one is perfectly reasonable, since it is the direction much of the employment market has gone in. Sure, we’d all rather pay less for health care, but we have to live in the real world. Besides, doing this may allow for schools to afford to provide better quality health care for the teachers while still saving money. No problem here.

Decertification: Makes it easier to end union representation by lowering the percentage of workers needed to trigger such a move. In the past, a majority of employees was needed to back a petition to decertify a union. Now, a vote by only 30 percent of workers is needed.

Notice that this only goes one direction. Does it also mean that a 30% vote would be all that is needed to reinstate a union? Can you imagine the obnoxious back and forth tug of war that could, and likely would, occur do to this possibility? Beyond that, imagine if I said that we could pass a law with only a 30% vote in its favor. Nobody would support such a thing, as it goes against what a democracy stands for. If a clear minority can make a decision for a clear majority against their will, then we are operating much more along the lines of a dictatorship. At least a dictatorship has a clear leader instead of saying that any fool could tell the majority what to do.

Payroll deductions: Prohibits any public employer from providing a payroll deduction for contributions to a union political action committee without first having written permission from the employee.

Once again, perfectly reasonable. No complaints here.

Dues: Employees who do not want to join a union -- but nonetheless still receive the same wages and benefits spelled out in the union contract -- no longer have to pay "fair share" dues. Fair-share dues are based only on the cost of bargaining a contract and are less than full dues.

Here is the problem: if a union negotiates for higher wages, everyone in the organization receives those benefits. If I told you that I refused to pay for highway upkeep since I don’t drive on the highways, even though the produce at my local grocery store and nearly everything else I use and benefit from is delivered in a timely manner largely due to those same highways, then you’d slap me and tell me to shut up. If it is something that everyone benefits from, even if they do not use it directly, then they should all pay into it.

Of course, this is largely a moot point, since the removal of collective bargaining rights (yes, I know that it is only for benefits, but that is also where the largest need is) and binding arbitration will effectively kill the unions anyways.

Strikes: Prohibits public union workers from striking, though workers who strike illegally will not be subjected to jail time because lawmakers dropped proposed contempt of court penalties from an earlier version of the bill.

Precisely why paying attention to your history is important: This calls to mind the strikes of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, where state militias were sent in to bust them up. The results were never pretty, and can we really afford to use government resources to shut down peaceful protests? I’m scared of what this will mean.

Information regarding this bill (in bold) was taken from

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Think I might Cry...

I won't take up too much of your time on this one, but I has good news from the land of the me. Just look at this puppy here:

If you follow the tastefully done list of names along the raven-birther's hair, you'll notice the first time I've ever made a magazine's cover. Not only that, but I'll be sharing the same general space-time slot as Brian Keene (don't bother pretending you don't know him), Scott Christian Carr (Hiram Grange and the Twelve Little Hitlers) and Eric Red.

Yep, you saw right. Eric goddamn motherfucking Red. The original Hitcher had a profound effect on me the first time I saw it and still does every time I watch it to this day and Near Dark was vampires, violent and bloody and dirty well before 30 Days of Night. More recently, I dug the crap out of 100 Feet. It was a solid ghost story that took an interesting American approach to the J horror thing. Holy Crap.

Buy the issue for that stuff, and for the fact that Shroud always puts out quality work. But while you're there, you might as well read “Beautiful Things”, a heartwarming little tale of a man and his son in a world overrun by the undead. I'm quite proud of this work, especially after the rewrites Tim Deal suggested, which made it a much stronger and streamlined piece.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sucker Punch: a response to reviewers and critics.

Right from the get go, I'll just say: Fuck you moronic motherfuckers. In the ass. With a candle rolled in broken glass. Now that I feel better, I can begin to speak with a modicum of civility and intelligence.

Sucker Punch has been getting beat around by critics. The overall gist seems to be that it's real pretty, but without substance and story, to which I can only respond by asking if we saw the same movie. I can frankly, unequivocally and without reservation say that this movie was genius in a bottle and you can go suck a bag of dicks. I won't bother with a full review (the almighty Arrow does it well here) and it is hard to present a full case without dropping spoilers like expletives, but I'll try.

First, I'll address the story overall, which has been called incomplete and nonsensical. Zack Snyder and co-scripter Steve Shibuya have done their job here and the only reason anyone has to complain is if they are too lazy to deconstruct the metaphors and make use of the presented subtext. If you do so, then it all makes perfect sense, but they don't make it easy on you. I think what is giving people trouble is that the metaphors are visual and symbolic, making use of a subtle (and sometimes quite overt) pattern of image “rhymes”. Even worse, the entire real story here exists in subtext. It isn't presented directly at any point, so you have to use your teeny tiny brains quite a bit.

What confuses me here is that many who have lambasted this movie lauded Inception for doing the same thing. The entirety of Inception is a metaphor arguing that fiction can create experiences that are just as valid as those gathered from real life, which is why it was called genius. The complex layering of dreams made it impossible to tell what was real, but in the end, it didn't matter. Sucker Punch does the same thing with delusions, but pushes the argument further by showing their affect on our actions in the real world. This movie is not just saying that fiction and dreams create valid experiences, but also that they provide us with a way to process the events around us that can at times seem too much to be real. In doing so, they provide us with the tools (or weapons, as stated in the movie) we need to survive and surmount the obstacles in our path. And this is all done by pitting the lies that occur within Babydoll's head against the lies presented by her pederast father and the orderly at the asylum.

***Please forgive the fact that I do not delineate how all the above is done, using examples, etc as should very well be expected. Perhaps after it has reached DVD, it will have been out long enough that I would not feel that I was doing a disservice to the creators of the film and to potential fans by giving away too much. For the moment, I can only ask that you see the movie taking what I've said into account and draw your own conclusion.***

Another problem seems to be what is generally called a music video style of film making, which is the world Zack comes from and it is particularly obvious during this film. When people complain about this, they are neglecting the biggest constraint a quality music video operates under: they have to tell a complete and satisfying story without the use of dialog. The first ten minutes of the film does this perfectly, giving us a full and incredibly powerful story without the utterance of a single word, using the combination of images and the emotional effect of the music to provide us with everything we need. In fact, the times this movie works best is when no one is speaking. You can complain about that, but the unique combination of fluid images and sound is what makes film different from other media and Sucker Punch is a story told in a way that could not be done in any other media but film.

My only real complaint is the last section. I personally feel that the screen should have gone black at the hammer strike, since the rest is merely pointing out what an observant viewer should have seen already as well as providing a bit too tidy of a punishment for the “bad guy”. Of course, given that people, including those who get paid to pay closer attention than this, seem to have missed it even with the clearly mapped out points, the addition seems justified. Otherwise, this is Art that deserves the capital A and I hope that time shows the morons and lazy dipshits for what they are.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bastards: The Dorchester Boycott

I won't go on too long today, but I wanted to toss my nickel into the ring. You may remember me mentioning my feelings on the dissolution of Leisure books awhile back. At the time, I made sure to keep my comments limited to my view as a fan but too much has come to light to keep my mouth shut. I won't bother outlining the whole thing, since Brian Keene says it much better than I ever could. Given how much this company once meant to me and the effect their output had on me as a reader, I feel personally hurt by this. Betrayed. Pissed.

Fuck yeah, I'm not buying shit from them ever again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Non-Wednesday WIP

It is quite possible that I will tear a hole in the fabric of space-time by violating the rule of aliteration, but so be it.

On the inspiration front, I’ve been running pretty dry lately. I know that’s a piss poor excuse for not writing –I mock friends readily for such things- but I just haven’t been doing it. Really, I’ve just been too lazy to peck away at ye olde keyboard. But today, I got started on a new one and it seems to be going well. 1000 words down and I might even know where I’m going with it. So far, I’m dealing with vampirism, isolation and that ugly, overused and dull saw of a narrator who is also a writer. But I like where it is going and I hope to have something decently depressing come out of this.

I’ve been in one of those moods.

On other fronts: I’ve had a story I thought no one would ever be willing to seriously consider (“Have I Got a Deal for You”, with a giant vagina as a timeshare salesman) get shortlisted. Also, the editor at Cutting Block asked for an alternate submission to replace the one they rejected, so I’ve sent them another story no one seems interested in. Curious to see how that pans out. Also, I found out that Weird Tales is currently accepting submissions, so my goal of being rejected by them is within reach.

Add to that some extremely loose employment opportunities that may or may not present themselves and you have a decent week for the me.

Then I came home to find out that my financial situation is crapping all over itself. Nice.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A line, crossed.

I’ve reached a point where I can’t hold off weighing in on the State of Wisconsin vs. its own teachers issue, especially since a similar issue has come up in my own state of Ohio. Before I continue, it is worth knowing that I am a prospective teacher. Currently, I work as a building substitute, but I would love to have my own classes and room one day. Obviously, that will flavor my thoughts on this matter.

I readily agree that teachers, as well as employees of several other government agencies, are going to have to be willing to make some tough sacrifices. Times have changed and what employers are willing to offer has changed as well. There is no doubt that benefits will be scaled back and pay will, at the very least, be frozen. This sucks horridly, but it sucks for everyone.

That said, if the right to collectively bargain for benefits is taken away from teachers, the results will be disastrous. First, this will, without a doubt, mean the eventual end of benefits for teachers or a reduction to the point of near non-existence. Without the ability to stand together, no single teacher will be able to protect themselves in this eventuality. Further, this won’t stop with teachers. A step like this will present a precedent that will be applied to all industries as a way to bust up unions.

In this day and age, with the benefits we are used to (such as the eight hour workday, paid overtime, the forty hour work week and the right to work in a safe workplace), it is easy to forget that the situation was not always this way. These things were not, as Utah Phillips put it, “gifts from a wise and benevolent management”, they were fought for and bled for by people that formed unions to protect themselves against the abuses of employers much larger than themselves.

I’m very afraid of where this could possibly lead.

(Later, I may rant some more about further specifics in the ohio bill that are even more frightening and which will have a hugely negative affect on education in the state, but that depends on my ability to stop weeping into my tie.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A sad, a happy and moderate relief in between.

Yesterday, I found out that one of my favorite outlets for short horror fiction and writerly advice, Necrotic Tissue, is closing up shop. I always enjoyed receiving my copy of NT and, while I didn’t always agree with some of the editorial choices, I thought that they showed great taste overall. The good news is that he’s keeping Stygian Press running, so we can continue to look forward to more like Malpractice, Samnhane and Three Zombies and a Demon.

Still, it sucks.

Also, I finally received the rejection I was expecting from Cutting Block Press' annual Library of Horror anthology. It’s oddly comforting to be rejected when I aim way over my head like that. Hell, Bentley Little regularly shows up in their pages, among several other names much more worthy than mine. And the rejection was personalized. Next step: being rejected by Weird Tales, whenever they reopen for submissions.

But there is good news: The Terror At Miskatonic Falls is still on track, rolling along and looking fine as can be. When I had initially submitted a couple poems a couple years ago, it looked relatively simple: a poetry anthology built around a central narrative, akin to the Spoon River Anthology or Charlee Jacob’s Vectors. Since then, Kevin Lucia has fleshed out the framing story to fill in the blanks and Danny Evarts is doing some amazing artwork, mutating it even further. I can’t wait to see what this beast will look like when it’s finished.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Necrotic Tissue 13 out now.

As a bragging point and launchpad for my giddiness, I wish to inform you, oh ye glorious reader, of the release of Necrotic Tissue #13. Not only does this fine publication have a damn sexy cover as well as a pretty good record with yours truly, as well as clocking in at well over 200 pages this go-round, but there is a special prize within. Nestled deep and slithering up the inner edge of its spine, you can find a bit of literary wonderment from yours truly. Specifically, “The Song That Crawls.” It’s fun and you know you want it.

Follow my bidding, minions, and go here to buy!