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October 17th, 2005

Rockin' good reads

I know you'll be disappointed to read that this blog isn't entirely about ME today, but I hope you won't object if I take a few moments to sing the praises of some other writers. Specifically, those who are participating in The Rolling Darkness Revue.

I saw the first performances of the Revue last year, when the line-up consisted of Mssrs. Glen Hirshberg, Peter Atkins and Dennis Etchison; I loved the idea of three fine writers reading against a background of live music, and was thrilled to have them at the Stoker Event last June. Now the Revue has a new look, and the troupe on Saturday night consisted of Glen and Pete plus new additions Nancy Holder and Robert Masello.

And let me tell you, these guys (and gal) rule.

All four presented some damn fine writing, but I really do have to give special props to Glen, whose new story "American Morons" knocked me upside the head (as has virtually every other story of Glen's I've read). I've been chattering for ages about my feeling that horror needs to get more political, and most of the time people have no idea what I'm ranting about. No, I'm not saying that we need more stories in which Tom DeLay is buttraped by a backwoods mutant freak (although it's not a terrible idea, come to think of it...), but I do think the horror genre misses huge opportunities not addressing the real modern-day horrors of the political situation in this country. Well, Mr. Hirshberg gets it: "American Morons" is about two American tourists stranded on a freeway just outside of Rome, who find that their status as Americans has endangered them. The story twists the fear from sexual (as the men seem to converge on the protagonist's girlfriend) to more overtly political (as our protagonist realizes they are both targets), keeps the tension pumping throughout and offers a genuinely unexpected twist. It was probably the single best short work of fiction I've read/heard this year...but then I thought Glen's "Like a Lily in a Flood" was the best story of 2004. Call me a fan, I guess.

And remember, you read it here first: Pete and Glen asked me if I'd like to be part of Rolling Darkness 2006. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the offer. I'll do my best to pole-vault over the quality bar they've set high.

Okay, and here's some more about me: Tonight I'm signing/talking about the Dark Delicacies anthology at the Burbank public Library, and on Thursday evening look for me at the Soap Plant/Wacko in Hollywood, as part of a group signing of HWA LA members and others. I guess I'll actually be doing a bit of reading there, so it'll be good practice.

Hey, how'd this foot get in my mouth?

As the author of The Halloween Encyclopedia, Halloweens come and go when I see tons of other authors getting quoted in articles about the holiday, but I never get asked for anything. So this year I finally got quoted in an article, and of course I managed to screw up. Cripes. Here's the article:

Article on dressing up your iPod or cell phone

What I should have said was that Halloween was second only to Christmas in retail sales for DECORATING ITEMS, but I just blurted it out as a generalized second only to Christmas (in fact it's still running 6th to Christmas in overall retail sales). AAARRGGHHH!!! Yeah, that gives you faith in checking out my meticulously researched book on the holiday, don't it? Oh well. Figgers.