Friday, December 20, 2013

Woopty freaking doo

I write this out of part anger, but moreso out of being proud of myself:

About 99% of what I've accomplished, I've done going against odds. Being related and having my last name has been a road block for me, not an open road. I don't (or very rarely) write science fiction/fantasy. I think only once have I used a connection that remained from my father's day; but I knew almost nobody in the business, and those few I did know, I never asked favors of, I never kissed anyone's ass.

I just write what I wanna write. I've gotten offers (bigger offers) to write SF&F, or to do spin-offs of my father's work, but always said no with two exceptions, and the only two times I said yes, I got fucked out of thousands of dollars.

I've written under other names, but a part of me thought, Why the hell should I bother doing this? I mean, I'm me, and I'm my own self; I write the stuff I wanna write, and I want credit for the stuff I write, good or bad. I have very little connection to my father's estate, and only have a fraction of a percent of the connections my father had, and even those connections are, for the most part, useless.

People have attempted to use me over and over again, with promises about doing this or that with my own work, solely in hopes of obtaining property of my father's ("Listen, do you want to be president of Texaco oil?" "Sure!" "Then clean up the sink in there." "And then I'll be president of Texaco oil?"). Not every time, but almost every time, it comes up. But while on one hand I'm tired and fed up with being tied to the Zelazny name in my professional life, I also don't wanna go out and pretend to be somebody I'm not. People pay me to lie, but I want to lie with honesty.

How many authors have the last name King? Right, so there just happens to be more than one author with the last name Zelazny. Woopty freaking doo.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wow! Too damn long...!

It's been a long time since I wrote anything here. So much to share, and yet I'm so tired right now. Maybe I should wait another few months...

Eh, I'll give it a shot. Why not? But I'm not promising anything, like coherence. I'm gonna go with what is simplest at the moment--a kind of list. Okay.

Let's see... Since we last spoke (no, technically we did not speak, but whatever) I signed a contract with Evil Jester Press for my novel Voiceless, which is tentatively scheduled for a May 2014 release. I love the folks at Evil Jester, and am so thrilled to get the chance to work with them. Check out their books. Do it! DO IT NOW!!!




On September 20 my novelette People Person came out from Black Curtain Press as an ebook single, basically. I wrote it in one sitting, but am quite proud of it, to tell you the truth. Had no idea I could write that much, that well (reasonably) in such a short amount of time. It's available now. I'd love it if you picked up (or downloaded) a copy, and reviews are always good. So, thanking you in advance.


Next, hmm... let's see here... Oh, yeah. Too Late to Call Texas has been reissued in paperback and electronic format. The typos have been cleaned up (mostly, anyway), and there is a great introduction by suspense master Billie Sue Mosiman, as well as mind-boggling new cover art by the super talented Gary McCluskey. Like People Person, thanking you in advance :)




Also, my short story "The Rag-End of Dreams" is now out in the collection Nightscapes: Vol 1, edited by two other folks I love, Robert S. Wilson and Jennifer Wilson. Like the other books mentioned before this one, thank you in advance, only this time 23 other authors thank you as well. I don't have my copy yet, but really can't wait to read it. A lot of people I respect and admire in this baby, and I'm thrilled and honored to be in their company.



On a non-writing, personal note, I now have a girlfriend.
Really?
Yes, and she's real, not inflatable like the last few. Her name is Laurel and she is amazing, and actually seems to get and understand the insanity that comes with dating writers, for she herself is a writer. I'll keep it simple but since I met her, life has been great in ways I never knew, or haven't known in a long time, and I feel lucky as hell that she agreed to join forces with me. I wasn't 100% sure I even understood what happiness was anymore, but with Laurel, I know it, I remember, and I feel it. I'm one damn lucky son of a bitch.
I would post a picture of her but... wait, I just received permission it's okay to do so. So here is the woman I'm so blessed to be in cahoots with. Laurel, and her adorable little Banjo :)
 

I don't believe in posting pictures of people without their permission.
That is, if I actually know them.


Lastly, Neil Gaiman and his lovely wife Amanda Palmer came to town to do a charity event. I'm sure neither of them reads my blog (I barely look at it), but thank you guys for coming out and doing what you did, and doing it for two very good causes here in Santa Fe.

After the event, Amanda went home, feeling a bit under the weather, as Neil still had gazillions of books to sign. I agreed to give him a lift after he had sufficiently cramped his hand, which was great,as we hadn't seen each other in a couple years, and while tired, we got to catch up at least a little bit. Laurel joined us on the ride and I promptly missed our exit, then drove us I don't fucking know where. So, the three of us got semi lost in the New Mexico desert for a little while, but it was a great time (as well as being around midnight). In this time, however, being a fan and friend, as well as a fan of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, I did my best to convince him he should make an appearance. Did I convince him enough? Guess we'll see. I then considered writing the episode, but again, we'll see. I've too many other things going on at the moment, and Neil always has too many things going on at the moment.

So, yeah, I have the sniffles, and I'm up later than I should be. I'm gonna turn in, but consider some of the things above. Have a great night or day or whenever it is after you read this. I'll try to do a better job of doing this whole crazy blogging thing.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Too Late to Call Texas Reviewed by Anthony Servante

Too Late to Call Texas by Trent Zelazny
Reviewed by Anthony Servante

Book summary
If only he hadn't found the hat. Or the dead guy. Or the steamer trunk. Or the rag doll. If only he hadn't found any of these things, everything might have been okay. But he had found them. All of them.

Now Carson Halliday is on the run, trying his damnedest to keep one step ahead of a dangerous gang of outlaws and mad men. A run leading him from town to town in the dry wasteland of the southern New Mexico desert, over dark hills and dangerous plains, through shantytowns and city streets, and, most frightening of all, into the mysterious depths of the human heart.

Trent Zelazny

Author Biography
Trent Zelazny is the Nightmare Award-winning author of To Sleep Gently, Destination Unknown, Fractal Despondency, Shadowboxer, The Day the Leash Gave Way and Other Stories, A Crack in Melancholy Time, Butterfly Potion, and his latest, Too Late to Call Texas. He is also an international playwright, as well as the editor of the anthologies Mirages: Tales From Authors of the Macabre, and Dames, Booze, Guns & Gumshoes.

He was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has lived in California, Oregon, Arizona, and Florida. He currently resides back in Santa Fe.

Review:
Existentialism. How’s that for a big word?! Wiki defines it as “a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.” Crime Noir, in the hands of Trent Zelazny, is purely existential. Big questions are asked and, sadly, answered, even if the answer is no answer at all. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
It all begins with a hat by the road with indications that its wearer was shot in the head. For no particular reason, our hero Carson Halliday follows the trail of the hat to dangerous encounters and strange locations. Let's take a look at his name. Halliday implies "Holiday" or holy day, but this is a misperception, as the name means "[that he can] feel and sense much that one does not fully understand, and can be deeply influenced through the thoughts of others without realizing just how he is being affected." Also, the name implies that "You attract success and money, but will either be very wealthy or very poor because your good judgment fails at times." Thus, Carson can be construed as a malleable man with poor judgment. True so far. 
With this tragic flaw, Carson undertakes a journey based on poor decisions and though he may not be aware of it (as the reader often suspects) his decisions are tainted by others whom he encounters along the way. The only meaning for him at this point of his journey is to reach an old friend in Texas where he might unload the drugs he found with the money at the end of the trail of the hat. What little there was of his world begins to unravel. Everyone he meets on this journey adds a piece to the puzzle of his existential path, ultimately leading to the answer to life itself.
Carson encounters Dana, our requisite femme fetale, when he has barely survived an attack by unknown assailants. She summarizes this journey he is on with a line of questioning that Carson is pulled into more by curiosity than philosophy. She asks him if he believes in God and Fate. Just as his curiosity about the hat put him on his journey, Dana questions whether or not she is on a similar journey, which is a “fated” life leading to a pre-determined death. Carson answers her that whether or not there is a God, our journey is inevitable, and that Fate is greater than God. Little does he realize that he has just sealed his own fate with these words.
Which brings us to Albert Camus. Death by suicide is an existential belief expounded by Camus; that is, if life is meaningless, death too is meaningless. Zelazny has fated Carson with a journey that is drenched in meaninglessness but which seems to have a point (thus the ironic title of the book). As readers we, too, are drenched in death as we follow Carson’s exploits (and those of his wife Brittany). This is a spider-web of predetermined demises and gunplay. The journey leads to a meeting with the spider, even as Carson helps the spider build the web: Suicide by life, per se.

This is cold-hearted Crime Noir. The words on the book’s cover “Not everything happens for a reason” are not to be ignored. This is existential territory in the hands of a master web-builder, Trent Zelazny. For those of you expecting a traditional tale of Noir, prepare to be bitch-slapped by the ending. There’s no avoiding it. We are all doomed to the Fate awaiting both character and reader. Carson picked up the hat; we picked up the novel. At his best, Trent Zelazny is Albert Camus meets Raymond Chandler. And Too Late to Call Texas is Trent at his finest.



Be sure to check out Anthony Servante's blog at http://servanteofdarkness.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Amazing Stories Reviews Fantastic Stories



Amazing Stories (yes, THAT Amazing Stories) recently reviewed my good friend Warren Lapine's anthology Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. 

I have a story in it.

Anyway, here's what they had to say:

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination
Warren Lapine, ed.


In one of its prior incarnations, Amazing Stories® had a sister publication, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. That publication has been gone for quite some time now, but last year Warren Lapine edited a (mostly) original anthology of the same title for Wilder Publications.

This is a nonthemed anthology, something I think the genre needs more of. The selection is quite varied, which I consider to be the sign of a good general anthology. As such, I don’t expect all the stories to be to my taste. Not all of them were, but I’ll discuss that in the following paragraphs. Enough of the stories were to my taste that I hope this will become an ongoing anthology series.
Here’s what you’ll find. First there’s an introduction by Lapine describing what led him to publish the book. Then we get to the fiction. “Interface Pattern” by Kelly McCullough is a cyberpunk tale about an investigator trying to track down a killer who is able to alter the victim’s perception of reality. The first reprint is by Harlan Ellison®, his Nebula Award winning “How Interesting: A Tiny Man”. This is followed by Douglas Cohen’s riff on Lewis Carroll, “Steaming into Wonderland”.

Trent Zelazny has one of the most moving stories in the anthology, “The Digital Eidolon That Fits in Your Pocket.” In this one a man is confronted with the possibility that his dead wife still lives on in a small electronic device. “Riding the Bus” by Tom Piccirilli tells the story of a man who takes a bus ride into Rod Serling territory is Serling were channeling Stephen King. The always entertaining Mike Resnick provides a fantasy about a monster named “Sluggo” who is too scary for even the carnival freak show but still manages to find love.

Barry B. Longyear’s “The Swap” lets the reader know what happens when you trade jobs with a ghost. “Starwisps” is one of those stories that could be science fiction or fantasy. We aren’t given enough detail to tell. It’s about a world where the inhabitants live on mesas above the jungle, with the descendents of criminals banished to a nearby mesa. The people are visited at regular intervals by the starwisps, which bestow what seem to be supernatural gifts. This visitation brings some very unusual gifts.

“Custody” by Jay O’Connell is probably the darkest selection in the book and concerns a custody battle between a woman and a vampire over their daughter. No sparkly undead here. In Shariann Lewitt’s “Haircut” we learn that sometimes it’s the little things we have to give up to achieve our dreams that tell us maybe our dreams aren’t really the things we most want after all.

“A Cry for Hire” by Carole McDonnell is one of the longest stories in the book. I’ll have more to say about it in a moment. Mary Turzillo’s “And What Were Roses?” is a dark love story about a young woman and the result of a failed genetic experiment, a man who was designed to live in the ocean but is forced to live on land. Amy Sunderberg provides a counterpoint to the Zelazny story with “The Box in my Pocket”, in which a young girl traps the spirit of her dying mother in a small box, much to her regret. The final story in the anthology is another reprint, “Skyblaze” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, set in their popular Liaden Universe.

It’s this latter story I want to contrast with the McDonnell story. These two were the longest entries in the book, and I had very different reactions to them.

First the McDonnell, “A Cry for Hire”. This one concerns the reclusive black wife of a white minister in a small town. Her husband has had an affair with one of the parishioners, who is now dying of cancer. Of course, he has to go minister to the dying woman quite often. He’s also sunk their savings into buying an old roadhouse, creditors are calling, and Novella (the wife) is trying to renovate it by herself. In the process she discovers that the house contains a number of portals to other worlds. The first world she visits contains a city of skyscrapers in which the residents move up and down by a series of pulleys and carts. She befriends a young boy, who she meets when he notices her sticking her head out of the window. His name is a variation of her husband’s.

This sounds like an intriguing setup, and in the hands of an established genre writer, it could be quite fascinating. Unfortunately, this reads more like literary fiction, and poor literary fiction at that. The emphasis is on the inner life of Novella, which wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t wallow in self-pity over her husband’s affair but refuse to confront him with it, although he knows she’s aware of it. And her husband is a total ass. I wouldn’t want to spend time with any of these people, socially or otherwise, and that includes the boy. Novella eventually explores the house and the worlds they lead to in an attempt to rescue him. Predictably her husband follows, and they reconcile. All’s well that ends well.

Some of the stories in this book were less to my taste than others, but this is the only one I actively disliked. If I had been reading Fantastic Stories of the Imagination for pleasure rather than for review, I doubt I would have read to the halfway point.

Fortunately, “Skyblaze” more than made up for it. This one tells the story of Vertu, who is the head of a small clan that operates a taxi service. One day she picks up a couple of travelers who turn out to be mercenaries. Mercenaries on a mission.

This one didn’t go in the directions I was expecting. And it didn’t flinch from the hard realities that resulted from Vertu’s decision to accept the commission the mercenaries offer her to be their main method of transportation while they’re on planet and the choices she makes afterwards. Rather, the authors give us a detailed look at a woman who makes the best decisions she can for her clan and herself and then accepts the consequences stoically, trying to make the best of a situation that goes from bad to worse. Never does she wallow in self-pity. Rather she works with what she has, and when the chips are down she does what she believes to be the right thing, even if the consequences aren’t pleasant.

I’ve only read one other story set in this universe, and that was a few years ago. I enjoyed it, but for some reason I never read any others. After reading “Skyblaze” I’m going to be looking for more of Lee and Miller’s work. It was top notch.

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Other stories I particularly enjoyed were the ones by Zelazny, Piccirilli, Resnick, O’Connell, Lewitt, and Turzillo. In spite of my dislike of the McCullough piece, I quite enjoyed Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and hope there will be a follow-up volume. I’d like to thank Warren Lapine for the review copy.
Finally, a note on the electronic edition. Here we have another example of the small press making a high quality electronic product. The formatting was flawless, as was the copy-editing. The cover art was bright and eye-catching. There was an interactive table of contents, and all the links on it worked. A top-notch job.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The contest has changed

Okay, the contest has completely changed.

Starting now, through the end of June.

Have you read a TZ book but not posted a review? Today through the 1st of July, leave a review of any TZ book on Amazon, B&N, etc., post the review on Trent Zelazny -- The Writer in Ward Eleven, and be automatically entered to win one of the following:

One TZ kindle book of your choice.

A signed paperback copy of The Day the Leash Gave Way and Other Stories, as well as a cheaply made Butterfly Potion magnet.

A signed copy of my play Not Any Little Girl.

A misprinted copy of Destination Unknown (signed or unsigned) where the book opens on page 145 and goes to 150, then starts at the beginning.

A first edition copy of my father's book Roadmarks.

An unsigned copy of POEMS but my father. Includes Braxa, Brahman Trimurti, and 10 others. Limited to 1,000 copies. Small press pamphlet for Discon II. Wonderful illustrations by Jack Gaughan.

NOTE: All prizes include a Destination Unknown postcard.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

As a thank you

For all everyone has done for me. I'm offering up two ebooks for free download at the link below.

Thank you so much! We're nearly halfway at out goal!

People really do rock.

https://www.dropbox.com/home/EBOOKS

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Save Trent's Teeth, Save His Life

So my sister has posted a crowd funding deal to help my potential deadly situation. If you cannot donate, please, please share. There are details on the page.

Thank you.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/save-trent-s-teeth-save-his-life/55708




Friday, April 19, 2013

Debating

So, yeah, I'm debating going the indiegogo route for what might to some sound absurd, but to me is not. Yes, I'm talking, believe it or not, dental implants. The story of how I got this way is very long and I won't go into much detail here, though I'll say a big part of it is from my days drinking and, for want of a better way to put it, slumming it in Tampa and Ocala, Florida, often sleeping in alleys and whatnot, times in which I wouldn't eat for days upon days. But enough about that, and be thankful I'm not posting any pictures.

Point is, I've got my life, for the most part back together, but this problem is no longer just a simple nuisance, it's become a bit debilitating and, even moreso, embarassing, and I no longer can ever smile.

This whole post is kind of embarassing, honestly, but, well, there it is. I'm no longer one of those people that says, "Hi, everything is great," when it's not.

So, if I were to do something like this, I have two questions for you all.

1) Any suggestions on the best way to go about it?

2) What sorts of incentives would you all be wanting?

I've debated auctioning off some rare Roger Zelazny stuff (including an amazing original painting), but I'm not quite sure in this case.

Any thoughts, suggestions, love, help, etc., is more than appreciated.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An introduction of sorts

So, very slowly, I've been piecing together an anthology.  All reprints, all tales from pulp fiction's heyday.  I've been loving it.

While it's not the best (it certainly could be better), I decided to post my introduction here.  Why, you ask?  Because, well, I just plain feel like it.  So here you are.  My introduction (at this point, anyway) to Dames, Booze, Guns and Gumshoes: Classic Tales from the Dawn of Crime.


Pulp fiction.

Usually when these words are uttered today, people immediately think of the Quentin Tarantino movie, which, my God, is already twenty years old.  To my recollection, though, the movie did little if anything to remind people of, or help bring back, the type of literature the film was inspired by.  Pulp Fiction the movie, to me, was Tarantino’s well structured if not overly stylized tribute to mostly a literary genre that, in many respects, had fallen by the wayside.

Whether it was his fresh take on the genre or complete and utter ignorance by the world at large that the genre had already existed for more than half a century, I don’t know.  What I do know is that, while a very good movie, Pulp Fiction did not create a new genre, as many people said at the time.

Tarantino’s now seemingly obvious tribute appeared to have been pretty much lost to viewers at the time—myself being one of them.  I was in my late teens when the movie came out, and I don’t recall anyone in my peer group—or anyone older, for that matter—suddenly discovering the old pulp crime novels from the thirties through the sixties, or getting into the genre’s movie counterpart, Film Noir.  What I remember is everyone owning the soundtrack, quoting snippets of dialogue, and talking about the violent and gory scenes.

All fine and good.  I owned the soundtrack.  I own the movie now on DVD.  I’m neither slamming Tarantino or America’s collective consciousness.  It’s just that I wish that, at the time, the popularity of the film would have spawned more knowledge of the vast number of books and short stories and movies that inevitably inspired the film.  (I use the words “movie” and “film” interchangeably, by the way; to do otherwise, I think, is to be a snob… or a beatnik.)

You can go ahead here and state a few of the obvious folks.  Hitchcock, Chandler, Hammett, Cain.  Again, all fine and good, but these dudes have always been consistent in their level of the mainstream.  The earliest writers of quote-pulp-fiction-end-quote, for the most part, achieved critical acclaim while they were still alive.  They were put on the same level as Faulkner and Hemingway.  Cornell Woolrich, it seems, kind of blurred between the two, for a long time seemingly only known as the guy who wrote “Rear Window.”  And I mention Alfred Hitchcock because you simply can’t ignore him (he also directed the movie Rear Window).  Since this piece all started with talking about a movie, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention at least one filmmaker, especially one as brilliant and obvious as Alfie.

Today many of the old pulp crime writers have achieved success to one degree or other.  Sadly, like so many artists, they had to die before anyone took their work seriously.  Thanks to Stephen Frears’ film The Grifters (1990, adapted for the screen by one of my favorite writers, Donald E. Westlake), Jim Thompson climbed out of the muck a bit earlier than most, and has come to be regarded as a relatively important literary figure.  David Goodis is another who has managed to achieve a level of success, over forty years after his death (remember that movie with Bogart and Bacall where Bogart walks around with his head wrapped in bandages for half the movie?).

Hard Case Crime has been, without a doubt, the best publisher for helping to bring many of these authors back into the spotlight, to a degree, anyway.  Without them I may not have ever found some of the authors I now love deeply—Day Keene and Gil Brewer, for example.

These days anyone can write a full-length novel and get it released, thanks to ebooks and print-on-demand companies (Hey, look at me right now).  I’m not going to go into the ups and downs of this.  That’s a subject for another time.  What I’m saying is, back in the day, and up until only about ten or fifteen years ago, the means for a writer to get their work out there was very different.  Literary magazines are essentially dead now, but through the entire twentieth century they were the primary way for a writer to get out there.  Send short stories to magazines, get rejected, rewrite, resend, etc., until you started getting accepted and published.  From there, keep doing it until enough readers look forward to seeing what it is you have to say, then hope for that book contract.

Gold Medal, Dell, Fawcett, much like the major publishers of popular fiction today, were interested in product.  That’s fine.  What is a writer doing if they’re trying to get published?  They’re trying to sell a product.  Duh.  Even the writers who’ve turned their nose up so many times that they resemble the “people” in the Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder” are trying to sell.  If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be publishing or trying to publish their work.  (On that, Dean Koontz was very correct in saying—total paraphrase here—that writing for a select few is very easy compared to writing for millions of people.)

The old magazines, as well as the publishers, usually had strict and required word lengths if the author wanted to get paid his penny a word.  At times this clearly hurt a story, but at times it very well might have helped it.  I was not one of these authors, so I really don’t know for sure.  But what matters here is the entertainment.  People were not picking up Thrilling Detective to study Heidegger’s hermeneutics transmuted by extraterrestrial rabbits with an emphasis on Kant’s categorical imperative as defined by reindeer who had survived Santa’s slaughter house.  They were picking it up to be entertained, to escape the dreadful reality that surrounded them, or if not to escape, then simply to get a glimpse of what it was like to look at the world through another person’s eyes.

Is that philosophy?  Don’t ask me, I’m making this up as I go.

Anyway, in between the covers of these old magazines were short, snappy tales of dames and booze, guns and gumshoes, double-crosses and triple-crosses.  Action!  Suspense!

These days if you say pulp fiction, and someone doesn’t go immediately to Tarantino’s movie, they might come up with Jim Thompson, they might come up with Robert Bloch, but more than likely they’ll come up with something ignorant and/or snobby, like trash, or those old cheesy throwaways with the sleazy covers.  It has gotten better with time, and writers like Michael Chabon have helped considerably.  It’s very unlikely, however, unless you’re speaking with an aficionado, that you’ll hear names like Joe Archibald, William O’Sullivan, Charles Einstein, Norman A. Daniels, Gil Brewer, or Jerome Severs Perry.

My director is pantomiming cutting his throat, which means I need to wrap this up.

Too late to make a long story short, there were many great writers in pulp fiction’s heyday, many who have slipped beyond unknowing.  I hope in the pages that follow, you are not only thoroughly entertained, but that you find some writers worth researching a bit, and that while at times you might say to yourself, “The writing could be better,” you might also consider something like, they had to do it this way, because if they didn’t, they weren’t gonna get paid, and everybody needs to eat.

Bon app├ętit.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Anthology Review: Mirages – Tales from Authors of the Macabre

It went up a little bit ago, but this was such a great review, speaking a little bit about each author's story (which are all fantastic, by the way; I should know), that I wanted to post it here for y'all to read.

Thank you, Dave Brendon!

Anthology Review: Mirages – Tales from Authors of the Macabre (Edited by Trent Zelazny)

01 Feb
 
 
 
 
 
 
2 Votes

I received this anthology a couple of months ago from one of its contributors, Curt Jarrell, a fellow bookseller and champion of all things Speculative. :-)
I’m really glad that I got an opportunity to read this anthology, because it’s one of the best collections of dark, unsettling tales that I’ve ever read. I won’t say that it was a pleasurable read -I’m not sadistic or masochistic- but it was definitely an eye-opener, and supremely memorable.

The anthology kicks off with The Conclusion by Tom Piccirilli, which was, for me, a beautiful and heartbreaking tale about how one man deals with the impending death of someone very close to him – the story was dark and, in places, unsettling, but quite beautiful.

The next tale, American Chinnamasta by Jeffrey Thomas, was insanely twisted and yet deeply affecting – we become a passenger on a girl’s journey toward getting the love and acceptance from her father she always believed she lacked, and it’s what happens during this journey, what she does, that really shocked and held me.

Dumb Luck by Barb Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper was awesome – a truly speculative look at luck which I really enjoyed! Sort of still boggles my mind. :-)

Poor Old Soul by Lee Allen Howard gave me a new perspective on those old ladies everyone seems to know – the nosy ones, those who always have opinions, who’s loneliness seems sadder for all that; very good tale. :-)

No Name, No Voice by Tina Swain was sooo damned good – an excellent exploration of the kinds of thoughts we hide from everyone, those bloody, murderous, deviant thoughts.

Reprieve Eve No. 33 by Joe S. Pulver Sr. was incredibly unsettling and different to anything I’ve ever read – I felt like I was in the midst of a deeply fractured and ill psyche, where very little made sense, but with sights and thought paths that kept on drawing me deeper. Very strange and darkly brilliant.

Switchbitch by Gerald Hausman answered the question for me – what would it be like in someone else’s body, and the answer isn’t as cool or exciting as what I envisioned. A short but excellent tale.

Bastard by Billie Sue Mosiman was quite scary, in that it showed me how badly the search for answers can sometimes go, or even how sometimes that search shouldn’t even be undertaken.

Angela & the Angel by Scott Bradley and Peter Giglio was, to my mind, the saddest tale in the collection, because it illustrated -in stark and jagged-edged lines- just what can happen when what you get is not what you wanted, or the idea behind something is more powerful than the disappointing reality.

Offline by Kealan Patrick Burke was terrifying and very, very creepy – after reading this I just didn’t look at electronic communication (email, social networks, etc) the same way. It’s a tale that’ll probably haunt you a bit, too.

Fairy Tale by Lori R. Lopez was dark and sometimes brutal, a tale of a desperate woman and a desperate man, and how both find release of a kind, very cool.

The Sum of Spectacle by Jason S. Ridler was a fun, almost frantic tale, about the realizations concerning loss and how, sometimes, we find our way back – yet the path and the destination might be darker than we imagined.

The Descent Upstairs by Leigh M. Lane is a tale that I’ll probably remember for a long time – I certainly wouldn’t want to be pushed as far as the poor woman in this story was. Sort of makes me think that the fantasies we have regarding how to deal with people who irritate us and enrage us could be dangerous fantasies to have…

The Pit by Joe R. Lansdale was the most difficult story for me to read, which might sound strange to you once I explain why – I abhor violence and cruelty against animals, and there’s a scene in this tale which is pretty damned hectic; which means that it’s incredibly well-written, and not just that scene but the entire story. It focuses on the battle of one man to survive in to-the-death battles that lead to absolutely no kind of victory, even for the survivor. It’s bleak and brutal and brilliant.

Jagged Night by Curt Jarrell was brutal, too, and sad. It’s the tale of a man who loses it and does something terrible, who then runs and tries to not only survive but to live, dogged the whole time by what he did. It’s a dark tale, very unsettling, but honestly so – we can never escape our mistakes, can we?

Shattering the Meat Tunnel by E. A.Black was a really distasteful story, but a damned good one, too. Two lonely people are randomly thrown together, one of them desperate for any kind of contact, the other made angry by the loss of this contact – both of them hurtle towards a climax that is terrible and brutal.

Beast: A Fable for Children by Edward Morris is definitely not for children, not young human beings, if you get my meaning, but a tale for the frightened child in all of us who has had to experience something that was levels above what we could understand at that age. But it’s also a tale about how that frightened child will deal with this experience, and how the outcome will change them forever and in ways that they probably won’t even understand with a grown-up mind. It is sad and beautiful.

Taken together, this anthology is an exploration of the darker, more distasteful aspects of being a thinking, feeling human being. It doesn’t shy away from disturbing imagery or ideas, doesn’t pull any punches at all – every tale was something new and thunderstorm-incredible, something that momentarily stole my breath, and I can only applaud Trent for bringing together these awesomely talented authors. It’s an anthology that lingers and taunts and, sometimes, disgusts, but it is an excellent collection, and all of these authors are now on my radar.
Bravo!

10 / 10

Saturday, March 23, 2013

MAN RULES

Came across this this morning and felt it was worth sharing. It is quite funny, and I do agree with most of it, especially #1. But whether right, wrong, true or false, it is amusing. Enjoy.


WE ALWAYS HEAR 'THE RULES' FROM THE FEMALE SIDE
NOW HERE ARE THE RULES FROM THE MALE SIDE

THESE ARE OUR RULES!

PLEASE NOTE. THESE ARE ALL NUMBERED #1 ON PURPOSE!

1. MEN ARE NOT MIND READERS.

1. LEARN TO WORK THE TOILET SEAT. YOU'RE A BIG GIRL. IF IT'S UP, PUT IT DOWN. WE NEED IT UP, YOU NEED IT DOWN. YOU DON'T HEAR US COMPLAINING ABOUT YOU LEAVING IT DOWN.

1. CRYING IS BLACKMAIL.

1. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. LET US BE CLEAR ON THIS ONE:

SUBTLE HINTS DO NOT WORK!
STRONG HINTS DO NOT WORK!
OBVIOUS HINTS DO NOT WORK!
JUST SAY IT!

1. YES AND NO ARE PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE ANSWERS TO ALMOST EVERY QUESTION.

1.. COME TO US WITH A PROBLEM ONLY IF YOU WANT HELP SOLVING IT. THAT'S WHAT WE DO. SYMPATHY IS WHAT YOUR GIRLFRIENDS ARE FOR.

1. ANYTHING WE SAID 6 MONTHS AGO IS INADMISSIBLE IN AN ARGUMENT. IN FACT, ALL COMMENTS BECOME NULL AND VOID AFTER 7 DAYS.

1. IF YOU THINK YOU'RE FAT, YOU PROBABLY ARE. DON'T ASK US.

1. IF SOMETHING WE SAID CAN BE INTERPRETED TWO WAYS AND ONE OF THE WAYS MAKES YOU SAD OR ANGRY, WE MEANT THE OTHER ONE.

1. YOU CAN EITHER ASK US TO DO SOMETHING OR TELL US HOW YOU WANT IT DONE. NOT BOTH.
IF YOU ALREADY KNOW BEST HOW TO DO IT, JUST DO IT YOURSELF.

1. WHENEVER POSSIBLE, PLEASE SAY WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO SAY DURING COMMERCIALS.

1. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS DID NOT NEED DIRECTIONS AND NEITHER DO WE...

1. ALL MEN SEE IN ONLY 16 COLORS, LIKE WINDOWS DEFAULT SETTINGS..
PEACH, FOR EXAMPLE, IS A FRUIT, NOT A COLOR. PUMPKIN IS ALSO A FRUIT. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MAUVE IS.

1. IF WE ASK WHAT IS WRONG AND YOU SAY 'NOTHING,' WE WILL ACT LIKE NOTHING'S WRONG. WE KNOW YOU ARE LYING, BUT IT IS JUST NOT WORTH THE HASSLE.

1. IF YOU ASK A QUESTION YOU DON'T WANT AN ANSWER TO, EXPECT AN ANSWER YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR..

1. WHEN WE HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE, ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING YOU WEAR IS FINE...REALLY.

1. DON'T ASK US WHAT WE'RE THINKING ABOUT UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO DISCUSS SUCH TOPICS AS FOOTBALL OR MOTOR SPORTS.

1. YOU HAVE ENOUGH CLOTHES.

1. YOU HAVE TOO MANY SHOES.

1. I AM IN SHAPE. ROUND IS A SHAPE!

1.. THANK YOU FOR READING THIS. YES, I KNOW, I HAVE TO SLEEP ON THE COUCH TONIGHT.. BUT DID YOU KNOW MEN REALLY DON'T MIND THAT? IT'S LIKE CAMPING...




Why I added a picture of Nien Nunb, I've no idea.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

So, yeah...

There are times when it seems nothing is going your way and the world has it out for you. Then there are times when things go pretty middle of the road. There are also, however, times when things are great.

Is my life great? It could certainly be better.

Does it seem that nothing is going my way? No, some things are going well and some not as well as I'd like.

Are there any terrible, horrible things in my life right now? No, not that I can think of.

Are there any wonderful things? Yes, there are. One of them even has a name, but at this point I shall refrain from giving it.

Why am I posting this? Because I've barely been online at all. Not just the social networks, I've barely been on the Internet at all. And I've found I prefer it.

Something I've learned not cruising the Internet hour after hour: the sky, trees, the sun, the moon and the stars are not only available in a JPEG.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Three Ebooks for $10

Hola,

Been a while. Just wanted to let you all know that, if you're interested, I'm selling a bundle package of Too Late to Call Texas, Mirages: Tales From Authors of the Macabre, and Fractal Despondency right here. You can choose between either EPub or Mobi. Simply go to the "Donate" button, toss in ten bucks, and in the message specify which format you want and, if needed, what email to send them to. It's that simple. This offer is good until ... well, until it's not, I guess.