A New Viewpoint

When I first started this blog - a bit over a year ago - my intention was to promote my new anthology, What Scares the Boogeyman? A lot has happened since then and I find that my focus and purpose have changed.  Obviously, I will still promote Boogeyman, but I have a lot more going on - as do a number of my fellow authors and friends.  "No man is an island, complete unto himself."  No statement is better descriptive of the fantastic community of writers that I find myself part of than that.  We all do our best to promote each other, to share ideas, and to lift each other emotionally.  I have yet to find rancor, jealousy, or mean-spiritedness among any of them even though we all have different political, social, and religious viewpoints.  Therefore, I have decided that my blog will no longer be solely about me, but also about them and helping to spread the word about their works. 

Still, it is my blog.  In the end, and I will still shamelessly promote my own work.  After all, I, too, have to eat.  I just wanted for anyone who reads this (including the crickets I keep hearing) to not be surprised when I talk of other books and writers, too.  They deserve your support as well.

First, though, upcoming works and events.

I have four guest appearances established, so far, for 2013.  The first two are in Dallas, Texas, both at the same venue - the Crown Plaza Hotel (Galleria) on Midway Road.  The first is ConDFW on the weekend of February 15-17.  This is primarily an art and literary show.  It has a very comfortable atmosphere, good parties, great panels, and lots of other things to do.  I would recommend this convention even if I wasn't a guest.  It's a lot of fun and not the least bit stuffy.  All-Con (March 8-10) is more of a multi-media show.  The costumes and displays are fantastic.  Last year my sales table was between two Tardis's.  They have a Droid Hunt that goes on all day Saturday and involves everyone except maybe the staff.  Again, I would recommend this show even if I wasn't a guest.  April 5-7, I will be headed east to Richmond, Virginia, to RavenCon - a horror and dark fantasy convention.  This will be my first time attending, but I've heard great things about it.  June 28-30 will find me in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at LibertyCon 26.  This will be my second time as a guest at this show, and I had a blast the first time I went.  I am looking forward to being there again.  In August, I plan to spend a week in Cozumel just eating, getting smashed, and having fun with about 2,500 other friends.

2013 is going to be a very busy year for me.  Aside from the conventions and vacation mentioned above, What Scares the Boogeyman? will be released in January.  I will be editing - with the incredible help from Stormy - Terror by Gaslight.  Our targeted release date for this is early summer.  In addition, we will be accepting and editing stories for Heroes All - a collection of heroic fantasy stories mentioned in my previous blog - and Dark Corners - a collection of psychological horror and dark fantasy that I just announced and has already attracted a number of talented writers.

On the personal project side of the house, Forrest Hedrick and I have already started working on Levi, the much asked for sequel to Black Stump Ridge.  I have been thrilled at the critical success of our first novel.  It placed in the top 10 New Horror Novels of 2011 in the Editors & Preditors Readers Poll.  It was under consideration for a Nebula.  Although it never made the final ballot, it was placed on the Nebula's recommended reading list for urban dark fantasy.  I am also working on two solo novels:  Walkabout in Hell and Fear the Reaper.  The first is a spin-off novel from Janet Morris's Heroes in Hell series (authorized by Janet Morris) and deals with my main character, Aaron "Monty" Montgomery, featured in "Disclaimer" (Lawyers in Hell) and "Showdown at Brimstone Arsenal" (Rogues in Hell).  It centers on the fact that Monty finally accepts that hell is very real and that damnation is not just life in another existence.  His "walkabout" is his search to find God in hell and to plead for another chance.

Fear the Reaper is a vampire story that I first wrote in the early 1990's, shortly after my late wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I raced to finish it so that she could read it before she finally lost her fight in 1996.  Since then, it has been carted around from state to state, city to city.  At long last, I am ready to do the rewrite it so desperately needs.  The protagonist is a young man named Todd Armstrong who works at organizing the gaming program for a local horror convention.  He's been doing this for about ten years.  This time, however, things go terribly awry.  The antagonist, a vampire named Darian Appolini, and his two "children", Danielle and Gabriella, find out through their daywalker, William Fenstermacher, about the convention and one of the events:  Vampire Live Action Role Play (VLARP).  In this game, the players portray hunters, victims, bystanders, and, of course, vampires.  They decide to attend the convention and play their own version.  A word of warning:  my vampires have no clue about how to "sparkle."  They are very powerful and, if they weren't undead, sociopathic.

I have just submitted my third story to the Heroes in Hell series called "Just Dessert."  This is for Dreamers in Hell and has two plots intertwined.  Five Nazis, who were punished be Erra and the Seven in "Showdown at Brimstone Arsenal," awaken on the Undertaker's slab and are immediately assigned to Jimmy Hoffa to work as staff for an upcoming gala event.  They are not happy to find out that their supervisor is Izzy Bernstein, a former member of Detroit's Purple Gang, the only Jewish mob in any major American city in the 1920's and 1930's.  (Even Capone feared them, preferring to work with them than start a war.)  The other plot involves Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne, two English witchfinders who plied their trade in the late 1500's, and feel unjustly sentenced to hell.  Hopkins acquires what he believes to be the authentic Spear of Destiny from Madame Blavatsky.  His plan is for him and Stearne to volunteer as servers for the gala so that they can assassinate Satan and, thereby, gain heavenly favor and be rescued from hell.

My short story "Mr. Bass Man" will appear in the fourth book of Michael H. Hanson and Ed McKeown's Sha'Daa series entitled Sha'Daa - Facets, due out in the fall of 2013.  If you have not read any of this series, I highly recommend that you get all three.  I'll give you a hint:  Perseid Publishing is reprinting the first two books, but all three can be found on Amazon.  You will not be disappointed.

Michael Hanson is putting together another anthology, this time a science fiction space opera based loosely on Homer's The Odessy.  It's title is Not to Yield and is about the ten year voyage home of the battle cruiser Ekaterina after a lengthy interstellar war.  The title for my chapter is "Gremlins" and I think that says enough about that.

Although submissions are in for the next Hell book, Dreamers in Hell, due out in June, 2013, work has already begun for the next one, Poets in Hell.

I think I'll end this one for now so that I can share it.  Lots more to come about exciting works by some of my partners in crime (or grime, depending on how you see us).
  • Current Mood
    pensive pensive

Update: Exciting news!

A lot has happened since I last wrote on here.  I went through some bad times.  Spent time in the hospital twice.  Went through a lot of personal changes.  Moved to Housotn.  Through it all, the work on What Scares the Boogeyman? managed to limp along.  The good news is I'm (reasonably) healthy once moire.  Houston turned out to be a great move for me.  The best news is that Boogeyman is finished and at Perseid Publishing.  It will finally be released January 2013.  Here is the final list of stories and authors:

"Boogeyman Blues" by Janet Morris
"The Boogeyman's Wife" by Nancy Asire
"The Road to Afghanistan" by David Conyers
"The Fear of the Lord" by Robert M. Price
"The River Witch" by J.D. Fritz
"The Cold" by Jason Cordova
"Blood and Ochre" by Thomas Barczak
"Testament of Tuff" by C. Dean Andersson
"Night of the Bettys" by Beverly Hale
"Jack the Raptor" by Chris Morris
"Failure to Comply" by Michael H. Hanson
"The Shadow of a Doubt" by Larry Atchley, Jr.
"L'Uomo Nero" by Richard Groller
"Bad Mustard" by Bill Snider
"Grandma" by Wayne Borean
"Breaking Up is Hard to Do" by John Manning
"Apis Primatus" by Bettina Meister
"Under the Bed" by Shirley Meier

This endeavor took on a truly international cast as writers from four contries (Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United states) all contributed.  Some of the authors are fairly new.  For at least one writer, this is the first time any of her fiction has been published (I promise you won't be disappointed).  Other names are familiar, long-established pros - many from genres other than horror.  The book became a delightfully spooky (and sometimes darkly funny) macabre stew.

Three other anthologies are now under construction.  Terror by Gaslight (due out Summer 2013) is a collection of period horror, with stories set between 1860 and 1940.  The stories, so far, range from the Old West to Victorian to Steampunk to Gothic.  Many of the contributing writers are part of What Scares the Boogeyman? There are some new faces, too.  Heroes All presents a different picture - heroic fantasy of any time, any place - real or fictional - and any genre.  This book is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2014.  The third anthology, Dark Corners, represents a return to the horror scene and is tentatively planned for release in the fall of 2014.  Perseid Publishing will print all three volumes.

2012 has been an exciting year on another writing front.  June saw the release of Rogues in Hell, the second volume of Janet and Chris Morris's Bangsian fantasy series, Heroes in Hell that started in 1985.  The first, Lawyers in Hell, was released June 2011.  November 2012 saw the release of Michael H. Hanson's Sha'Daa - Pawns, the third in his series of pre-apocalyptic shared world collections (Tales of the Sha'Daa).  I'm excited because not only are they really good collections, but also - I have a story in each one.

2013 is going to be an even better year as many new projects begin to bear fruit.  I will try to do better with the updating.  Until next time...Are you ready for the Sha'Daa?

Other Works

I also have a story in the upcoming shared world anthology Sha'Daa III - Pawns to be released in 2012.  Here is a snippet from that story (which is titled "Asylum").

It was a crossroads.  An intersection of two country roads passing through a copse of trees.  It was unremarkable, although it did seem to some that the oaks and willows crowded close to both trails.  The noonday sun exerted little warmth over the juncture.  A cool breeze blew across it from the north, affirming the lingering presence of winter in this part of North Texas. The chilliness would pass, and soon.  Winter was a fleeting and sporadic visitor this far south.
            James Paxton sat on the hood of his three-year-old black Ford Expedition and stared down the gentle slope to the crossroad below.  In the back seat lay his books on magic and hoodoo; witchcraft and Cabalistic rituals.  A large wooden box painted black and covered with colorful sigils lay in the rear compartment.  Inside were candles and bronze candelabra; a brass censor and an iron charcoal brazier; vials of oils and packets of powders.
            Something was coming, and coming soon.  It started as a whisper, a mere echo in his brain as he studied his magic.  As his knowledge and ability grew, the idea filled him.  It grew.  It spread – a single dark word that resonated in his mind and stalked through his dreams: Sha’Daa! He didn’t know what it meant, but it was a glowing ember in his brain.  It pushed at him.  It ate and gnawed at him. 
            Sha’Daa.
            Higher up the hill to James’ left, in the northwest portion created by the crossroad, stood a SOLD sign.  He’d purchased the entire one hundred and forty-three wooded, brush-laden acres – all four parcels surrounding the intersection.  If all went well with his ritual tonight he would build an ashram on that site, a secret temple for the dark gods he worshipped, although ostensibly it would be a place of sanctuary – an asylum – for the homeless he planned to attract.  He would spread the word through the media, of course, but also through the hidden, secret ways used by the down-and-out.
            Paxton was no altruist.  He had no interest in the comfort or conditions of his fellow man.  They had only one thing he needed: mental energy.  Every human being – every functioning human brain – was a living dynamo.  Religious leaders and politicians the world over knew this and used it.  He planned to do the same.  There were a few ways to those he needed – the ones he wanted.
            He could be ordained and start his own church.  The credentials were easy enough to obtain in this age of the internet and web sites.  The problem with that, however, was that it took time to attract a following; time he did not have.
            He could go a less legitimate route and start a cult.  There were always disaffected, disenchanted people willing to follow anyone who seemed to have an answer.  That solution had some issues, though.  James doubted he had the charisma to pull it off, knowing he was no Adolf Hitler or Jim Jones or David Koresh able to inspire people to follow him, lemming-like, into the Abyss.  There was always the chance, too, that the authorities might figure that he was up to something and shut him down just as he was about to reach the apex of his plan.
            No, the best way was simply to gather people by playing to their wants and needs.  Then, when the time was right, he would gather them together and harness their unsuspecting minds. 
            First, he had to harness a focus, a nexus of power – traditionally, a crossroads.
            James slid from the hood, his shoes crunching on the dirt and gravel.  He stretched, his arms stiff, his fingers spread wide above his shining, shaven head.  Hyperaware from a lengthy fast, he stepped lightly toward crossroads.  He watched his lengthening shadow point him to that node of magic, that gateway to power.  His skin tingled as he drew near.  An electric tang danced in his nostrils, crackled in his hair.  So much power pulsed around him he felt he must burst if he did not harness it.  He had never felt so alive before a ritual.  When dusk deepened into night, he would return to the junction with his paraphernalia.  He would cast the circle and call the Dark Ones and bind them to him and order them to do his will. 
            And, they would obey.

(c) 2011 Ed McKeown and Michael H. Hanson - All Rights Reserved

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I'm getting really excited about the progress with this work.  Here are the newest stories and authors accepted so far:

"Under the Bed" by Shirley Meiers
"The Cold" by Jason Cordova
"The River Witch" by Joan Fritz

This is such an all-star line up.  And, there are more to come.  This will be one spooky Halloween offering.

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Well, this is the first posting and update for the upcoming anthology, What Scares the Boogeyman? scheduled for release in the fall of 2012.  It will be published by Perseid Publishing (Lawyers in Hell; Adventurers in Hell; The Sacred Band; Tempus with his right side companion, Niko).  It is edited by me, with the outstanding help of Meghan Graham and Stormy Medina.

What Scares the Boogeyman? is a collection of horror stories ranging from the creepy to the macabre to the darkly humorous.The authors range from established horror masters to brand new writers dipping their creative toes into the bloody pools of fear for the first time.  As of this posting, seven stories have been accepted:

"Fear of the Lord" by Robert M. Price, noted Cthulhian mythos writer.
"Road to Afghanistan" by David Conyers, noted mythos writer. David is reprising a character, Harrison Peel, from The Spiraling Worm.

"The Testament of Tuff" by C. Dean Andersson (Raw Pain Max; I Am Dracula
"Failure to Comply" by Michael H. Hanson, creater of the Sha'Daa shared world series
"The Boogeyman Blues" by Janet Morris, noted fantasy author and editor of the Heroes in Hell series
"Jack the Raptor" by Chris Morris, noted musician, writer, and co-editor of the Heroes in Hell series
"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" by John Manning, editor and writer

We have six more stories at various stages of the editing/revision process that I feel will make the grade for the finished book.

A note about our editing process may be in order.  When a story is submitted - even my own - a copy is made.  All personal information is removed from that copy before it is sent to one of two proofreaders/associate editors.  They have no way of knowing who or how experienced any given author may be. Each story receives the same attention and brutal honesty as any other.  It's a level playing field.  The story is then sent back to me.  I review the comments, add my own if needed or delete if I disagree, and forward to the author for corrections, if necessary.  So far, only three stories have not had to go back to the author for revision (mine was definitely not one of them).

I will update this page as often as needed as the book gets closer to completion.  Also, if anyone has questions, I will answer as best as I can.