I am often asked what scares me. I scare people for a living with horror fiction, so the question is a natural one and I hear it a lot. The answer is simple:
Crazy scares me. You cannot reason with crazy. It is impenetrable. You cannot talk crazy out of being crazy. It will not listen to you and it does not care what you want. Crazy just keeps coming. Crazy scares the shit out of me.
Did anyone have a good year? A show of hands, please. Yeah, I thought so. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wants to drive a stake through the heart of 2014.
It was bleak and depressing, with a lot of in-your-face violence and death — it was a goddamned Lars Von Trier movie! — much of which has been politicized to further divide a country already at each others' throats. There’s been a lot of loss, a lot of fear and anxiety. There have been some goo
Facebook holds tremendous appeal for professional writers. It allows us something we don’t normally have much: contact with other people. Writing is solitary work. We are typically holed up in an office every day (or night, depending on one’s schedule). Unlike a regular job, there are no coworkers, no sociable lunch or coffee breaks, only the writer, the keyboard, and the screen.
Then Facebook came into our lives. Suddenly, we had access to old fr
It’s been more than a month since my last blog post, so I think I’ve firmly established the fact that I am not a regular blogger. Lately, I’ve been trying to put a dent in a pile of backed-up work, and I haven’t been popping my head out of the hole much. Among other things, I’ve been researching the geological history of Washington state. And my brain hurts.
People often make a mistaken assumption about writers. Someone who can write books, the assumpti
I saw Godzilla recently. Dawn and I don’t go to movies often these days for a few reasons. The cost, for one. Then there’s the audience, which usually includes a number of people who seem to believe themselves to be alone in their living rooms. And there’s also the fact that we’re just not that interested in the movies Hollywood is turning out lately. But Godzilla was different.
I wonder how many hours of my childhood I spent watching kaiju destro
I feel like I’ve been living in a hole for the last year and a half. In addition to having throat surgery to remove some precancerous tissue from a vocal cord, I’ve been sick with GI problems that have become, at times, quite severe. I improved after cutting gluten from my diet — believe me, as sick as I was, I rolled my eyes while I was doing it because it has become such a fad. But I have since been diagnosed with celiac disease, which forces me to maintain a gluten-free diet
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Albert said as he carried a hollow, plastic donkey through the snow to the nativity display in front of the strip mall. “There were no rabbits in the manger with the baby Jesus.”
Beside him, Ed’s right arm was wrapped around Joseph’s neck while he cradled the baby in the crook of his left elbow.
“Then how did a rabbit get involved in his resurrection?” Ed said.
Albert’s feet stopped sloshing through the melting snow in the
My first novel, Seductions, was part of a two-book deal with Pinnacle, so as soon as I was done with that book, I went to work on the next. There had been a good deal of sex in Seductions and the book had a high school setting. I wanted this novel to be as different from the first as possible, so sex would not be a priority and it would not be school-related. But I had no idea what it would be about. My thoughts turned to a recurring nightmare that had haunted my sleep fo
Seductions was my first novel. I couldn’t close my mouth the first time I saw the book and held it in my hands. A half-naked woman dangled from the dripping, embossed letters of the title, which were written in glimmering blood-red foil. It was lurid. It was garish. And I was thrilled. That meant it would fit right in with all the other lurid, garish, blood-dripping paperback covers on the shelves in every book store, grocery store, convenience store, pharmacy
When I finished Ravenous, the story had not ended. That’s clear to anyone who read the book, which has a rather bleak ending that leaves a whole lot of things unresolved. Bestial picks up shortly after Ravenous ends, as the werewolves begin to organize an effort to take over the town of Big Rock.
In Ravenous, I introduced sex into the werewolf mythos. That had always been the domain of the vampire, ever since Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Vampires are sexy. We
It’s been about two months since my last blog because I’ve been huddled over a book that was giving me a lot of trouble as the deadline grew closer and closer. It was a new writing experience for me — they all are, but this one called for me to write in a way I’d never written before — and it tripped me up. I finally finished the book last Tuesday in a writing marathon that lasted all day and all night, and all of Wednesday morning. Then I couldn't sleep, no matter how mu
My biggest complaint about the job of writing is that you can’t walk away from it. I can’t, anyway. Most jobs aren’t like that. You go to the office, or the factory, or the strip club, wherever you work, and you do your job for the allotted amount of time, and then you go home. You leave the job and go do something else. I’ve never been able to do that. I’m probably better at it than I used to be — I should be, I’ve been at this for about thirty years — but I
I haven’t blogged in a while because I’m working on a new book with a looming deadline and it has consumed most of my life lately. I’ll be able to discuss the project in detail soon. When I’m involved in a book, especially one that has a quick deadline, I tend to become somewhat useless. My brain never stops working on it, so no matter what I’m doing, there’s always a lot of distracting activity going on in my head. Sometimes I’m surprised other people can’t hear it.
In the new Fox horror series The Following, Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy, is both a serial killer and a novelist, two things that have been romanticized and mythologized all out of proportion. (A perfect example of the mythologized writer is Carroll’s idol, Edgar Allan Poe.) Carroll is the villain of the series, and the reason people will keep coming back. Kevin Bacon’s damaged FBI agent Ryan Hardy and all the other characters are really just window dressing. Let’
2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of Live Girls. It was my fourth book, and I’ve written a lot more since, but it’s still the most well known of all my work. I’m often asked if, after all the work I've done in the years since, it’s irritating that my fourth book is still getting so much attention. Absolutely not!
In fact, I’m pretty astonished and quite thrilled that a book I began writing 26 years ago on a spare typewriter i
There have been many charming movies featuring Santa Claus. Fortunately, all of them have been Christmas movies. It just wouldn’t work if Santa showed up in a movie about Valentine’s Day or Easter — although in a perfect world, Mel Gibson would have cast him as the guy who whipped Jesus to a bloody pulp in his gay BDSM Easter porn flick, The Passion of the Christ. Sure, there have been a few horror movies featuring someone posing as Santa Claus that would make appropriate Hallo
Earlier this week, a story first reported a little over a decade ago resurfaced. It seems that in the 1950s, during the Cold war, the U.S. considered detonating a nuclear bomb on the moon as an intimidating display of power to the Soviet Union. According to the man in charge of “Project A119,” physicist Leonard Reiffel, the project was scrapped for fear of endangering the people of earth and contaminating the moon with radioactivity.
I’m thankful that the founders of my country were wise enough to overcome their differences and set aside their personal beliefs to create a document as brilliant as the United States Constitution, which established a nation that embraces all of those differences — whether they’re differences in politics or religion, background or lifestyle, or anything else — and attempts to reach above them. I hope it keeps reaching.
I’m thankful to all the men and women who have risked and
Today is the 165th birthday of a man who wrote 18 books in his lifetime, a dozen of which were novels, the fifth and most famous of which struck such a nerve that it’s still widely read today, and its influence is everywhere as it continues to inspire writers and artists all over the world. If you were to approach people at random on the street and ask them who Bram Stoker was, you might get some blank stares or rapid blinking. But ask who Dracula is and there will be no hesitation.
Ah, it’s that time of year again. You can smell it in the air — the decaying flesh of zombies, the fear of small children. The decorations are up, people are planning their costumes, and once again, I’ve been spending October watching some of my favorite horror movies.
I’ve made my way through the classic Universal Frankenstein films, the Hammer Dracula series, and waiting on the shelf are seasonal favorites like Halloween (the 1978 original, of course), Tim Burton’s Sle
I’ve never been comfortable writing critical book reviews. I stopped years ago. I’ll be critical of a book in conversation, but I don’t write those reviews because the fact that something doesn’t work for me only means it doesn’t work for me. If I read a book that I enjoy, whatever criticism I might have of it, if any, is irrelevant, I think. I’d much rather recommend it in the hope that someone else will enjoy it, too. You might even enjoy it more than I did.
Carnivals have always fascinated me. Lots of color, noise, clashing music and flashing lights, the big rides and sideshows, the game booths promising gigantic stuffed toys to winners, the aroma of everything under the sun being deep-fried. But scratch that surface even slightly, of course, and you see the grime and sleaze underneath. Even as a small boy, I could see that. Everything looked good from a distance, but was dirty and worn up close. Those gigantic stuffed
When Bobcat Goldthwait invaded comedy back in the early 1980s, no one had ever seen anything quite like him and didn't know what to make of him. He would shout and shriek on stage, twitch and squirm, huff and puff and roll his wide, starin’ eyes like a man who’s taken an ill-advised cocktail of drugs that started kicking in about five minutes ago. He was unpredictable, possibly dangerous, and very funny. He’s always made me laugh as a stand-up comic and actor, but over the year