Full Circle

The second to last weekend of October, I made my way up north again, this time for the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival in Haverhill, Massachusetts—a mass-signing event organized by Christopher Golden and involving about twenty or thirty horror authors. Podcast co-host Dave Thomas accompanied me for this part of the tour, and we stayed at the home of author James A. Moore.Continue Reading

Home Movies

Mary SanGiovanni and I have a ritual when we curl up on the couch at nine o’clock in the evening and watch television together. I always pick the first movie, and she always picks the second. We do this because I am always ready for bed by eleven at night, and Mary often stays up until one or two in the morning—and also because she likes to pick the worst horror movies you’ve ever seen. Continue Reading

That Guy

In early October, Mary and I climbed into the Jeep and drove from Pennsylvania to Louisville, Kentucky, where we were both guests at a fairly new convention called Imaginarium. The organizers put on an excellent event. It is geared primarily towards writers, and it encompasses all genres. I highly recommend investing the money and traveling to the next Imaginarium, particularly if you are a beginning author. There were some fantastic, informative panels, and some wonderful networking opportunities.Continue Reading

The Beginning of the End

“It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job. Save your money, man. A hit single don’t last very long. There’s gonna be another cat coming out, looking like me, sounding like me, next year. I know this.” – Cypress Hill, ‘Rock Superstar’

“Right when you get good, they replace you. Best thing that ever happened to me.” – Marc MaronContinue Reading

Go Indie or Go Home

The third leg of the Farewell (But Not Really) Tour started off locally, at The Comic Store—an independently-owned comic book store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (where I was joined by Mary SanGiovanni). From there, it moved on to a pop-up signing in New Jersey, independently-owned bookstores in Rhode Island (where scholar Jack Haringa led a Q&A), and Vermont (where I was joined by Asher Ellis), before eventually circling back home again for a signing at a corporate-owned Books-a-Million chain store in Harrisburg.Continue Reading

Keene’s Eleven

There was a long moment of stunned silence.

Then Dave asked, “Are you insane?”

“No,” I replied, suddenly feeling very foolish. “I mean, Mary experienced it, too.”

“I felt something in the bookstore that day,” she confirmed, “but I don’t know what I think about the rest of this.”

“Oh, I’ve no doubt you guys experienced something,” Dave said. “I’ve had my own encounters with the paranormal over the years. And who knows? Maybe you did make brief contact with Jesus. It’s possible.”

I frowned. “Then why do you think I’m insane?”

“Because you’re not talking about seeing his ghost. You’re talking about stealing his corpse!”Continue Reading

The Dark Highway

“Everybody thought it was a big joke… It was so funny, I just kept on going…Everybody thought I was just going to go on tweaking the Major’s balls to the very end. Which was what I did. Then one morning I woke up and I was in. I was a Prime Walker…So I guess it turned out the Major was tweaking my balls.” Stephen King, The Long Walk

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God and Country

End of the Road

The audience in Morgantown, West Virginia was small—easily the smallest since Albuquerque—but the dozen or so people who showed up were enthusiastic and engaged. One guy, Jarod Barbee, had traveled all the way from Texas. It is December as I write this, recounting events that occurred at the end of July, and I’ve been going back through these columns, collecting them into manuscript format so Cemetery Dance can eventually publish them as a book. Many recurring things jump out at me as I re-read them. Continue Reading

Dickens’s Ghosts

End of the Road

“The allegorical nature of A Christmas Carol leads to relatively simplistic symbolism and a linear plot. The latter is divided into five Staves, each containing a distinct episode in Scrooge’s spiritual re-education. The first Stave centers on the visitation from Marley’s ghost, the middle three present the tales of the three Christmas spirits, and the last concludes the story, showing how Scrooge has changed. The Ghost of Christmas Past represents memory. The Ghost of Christmas Present serves as the central symbol of the Christmas ideal—generosity, goodwill, and celebration. Appearing on a throne made of food, the spirit evokes thoughts of prosperity, satiety, and merriment. Within the allegory, the silent, reaper-like figure of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents the fear of death, which refracts Scrooge’s lessons about memory, empathy, and generosity, insuring his reversion to an open, loving human being.” – Spark Notes

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Scares That Care (Part 2)

End of the Road

You ever heard of a crowd being described as “an ocean of people”? That’s what the third annual Scares That Care Weekend Charity Event was like—an ocean of horror movie and television celebrities and their fans, filmmakers and their fans, authors and their fans, publishers and their customers, haunt professionals and enthusiasts, comic book creators and their fans, paranormal investigators and their fans, make-up and special effects artists and their fans, cosplayers, and everyone else—all descending upon the convention hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia, to raise money for burn victims and children and women with cancer.

I was exhausted, but I had no choice but to cast myself into that ocean, to dive into that sea of humanity and hope I wouldn’t drown. Continue Reading

Scares That Care (Part 1)

End of the Road

Scares That Care is an IRS approved 501 (c)(3) horror-themed charity that I donate my time and name to. We fight real monsters of childhood illness, cancer, and more by financially helping families experiencing these overwhelming hardships. Each case is unique. We provide money, toys, utilities, and other items to help sick children and their families. We do the same for women fighting breast cancer. And we also partner with actor Kane Hodder (the Friday the 13th series) to aid children who have suffered serious, life-altering burn injuries.Continue Reading

Time Bubble

End of the Road

And thus began the most grueling part of the book signing tour since Tod Clark and I had driven across the American West—John Urbancik and I spent five days in mid-July crisscrossing Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. That no doubt sounds romantic and adventurous to some of you. Hell, up until a few years ago, it would have sounded romantic and adventurous to me, as well. It would have been my idea of fun. Sadly, it’s not so fun when you’re approaching fifty. Continue Reading

Camelot

End of the Road

“So,” author John Urbancik said as we drove across Florida from Tallahassee to Land O’ Lakes, “let me see if I understand this correctly.” (That’s how John talks. If you’re writing dialogue for John Urbancik, he would never say something like, “Let me get this straight” or “You’ve gotta be shitting me.” He would say, “Let me see if I understand this correctly.”)

“You’re on the second leg,” John continued, “of a book signing tour for The Complex and Pressure. In the first week of this second leg, you’ve been orphaned by the publisher of one of those books, and you’re waiting to hear the outcome of that. You have also seen three previously scheduled signings unceremoniously cancelled by the venues. A bookstore and a vehicle caught on fire, the radiator in your Jeep blew up, and you are running low on money, hope, and gas—and running even lower on fucks to give.”Continue Reading

End Times

End of the Road

To get to New Orleans, you’re pretty much going to have to drive across a bridge. That’s what I was doing the morning of July 16, on my way to sign at Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop. I was still thinking about warnings from dead friends, and about balance and patterns and nice fans and fires and the theory of Eternal Return. Continue Reading