Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Supplement 11/11/12

Don't know how I missed Dale Watson until now. I've about worn out The Sun Sessions and The Truckin' Sessions, and it looks like I have many more good CDs to pick up.

Yes. You read that right. I still buy CDs. They'll still be spinnin' when your iPod is dead and buried and all your virtual music has flown the coop.

File this under required reading: 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium. Dark Harvest is in some fine company, and I am stoked.

I had the pleasure of writing the introduction for Laird Barron's next collection from Night Shade Books. Nope, you can't order it yet. My favorite story? "The Men from Porlock." That one would make H. P. Lovecraft cry for his mama. Seriously.

Haven't read Laird's novel, The Croning, yet? Pull that trigger, son!

The last two years, I've sworn I'm going to blog about Richard Sala at Halloween. Didn't happen. You can check him out here. If you're a monsterkid, you won't be sorry. Sala twists up everything you remember from your youth -- Universal Horrors, E. C. Comics, old pulp stories -- and somehow makes it all fresh and vital (i.e. "It's alive! It's alive!")

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Something To Do With Death

"Just before the 'Cattle Corner' sequence was completed [for Once Upon a Time in the West], [Mickey] Knox remembers, the actor playing 'Knuckles' -- Al Muloch -- committed suicide by throwing himself out of a hotel bedroom window, dressed in his full Western costume: 'Actually I was with Claudio Mancini in a hotel room and we saw the body coming down past our window. I guess he was a very troubled guy. Nobody knew what the hell was wrong with him, or why he did it. I think he was a Canadian. The interesting part was that we went down, and the body was on the ground. There was Sergio Leone over there. Claudio Mancini put him in his car and drove him to the hospital. But before that, Sergio said to Mancini, 'Get the costume, we need the costume.' The guy was dying there, and Leone was asking for the costume!"

--Christopher Frayling

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2012

 Paula Guran's latest Year's Best roundup is now available, including "Vampire Lake" by yours truly. Bonus: This antho's also got a tale from my bride, Tia V. Travis ("Still"), so there's plenty of good reading from our casa contained between the covers.

While I'm at it, here's a chunk of an interview I did on the Prime Books website about the genesis of "Vampire Lake:"

PRIME: The mythology behind Vampire Lake is fantastic -- almost Lovecraftian -- as it constantly hints at something bigger and much worse, even though we never learn explicitly what that might be. How did you come up with this hellish setting and its inhabitants?

PARTRIDGE: The initial inspiration was a song of the same title by The Builders and the Butchers. It lit a fire under me. Of course, songs and stories are very different animals. Apart from the weird western aspect, "Vampire Lake" is at heart the tale of a quest. One of the great things about writing a quest story is designing the (in this case literal) hell through which your characters journey. I had fun riffing off legends of the Old West -- lost Conquistadors and hidden gold, etc. I tossed in an underground lake, albino gators, dead men made of shadows, and a vampire queen. Since I was writing about a cave, there was plenty of room down there and I did my best to fill it up...

To read the full interview, click here.

And to check out an interview with Tia about the genesis of "Still," click here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween Roundup

Thanks to everyone who came out for our Halloweenebration at the Saint Mary's College Library (you can catch some pictures here). I had fun reading from Dark Harvest on the day itself. Biggest surprise -- how quiet it got in the building while I was behind the podium. I figured it was going to be pretty crazy reading in the lobby of a busy library as patrons wandered in and out, but you could have heard a pin drop. Or maybe I should say you could have heard small town badass Mitch Crenshaw drop when the October Boy nailed him with a pitchfork out there on the Black Road, because that's the part of the story I read.

My little girl Nevie Rose must have been inspired, because she came up with her own Halloween story, which I'm posting here for posterity: "Suddenly, the ghost heard a strange sound... and it was the KITTY! He was waiting for the ghost. Then they danced and danced! But the pumpkin was sad. Why was he sad? Because he lost his pumpkin slippers. But then he found them, and he was happy!"

Nevie's only two, but with a pair of writers for parents, I think she might just turn out to be a writer, too.

Could be it's the family curse.

Monday, November 5, 2012

And Speaking of John Skipp...

Writer. Filmmaker. Editor of Psychos. Horror legend. Once (and future?) Splatterpunk King. Really, really weird dead guy in a lost sequence from Clive Barker's Nightbreed. What else can one say about John Mason Skipp?

Well, for one thing, he's a helluva nice guy. And a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm. I've met John at a few conventions, and you can't help but catch a little of his lightning if you hang out with him. There's just something about the guy that pushes past the ordinary. He's like some secret creation a bunch of rogue Disney imagineers cooked up in the late fifties, one that escaped the lab and has been operating off the grid ever since.

Plus, he's one of the nicest guys in the business. I know, it's a cliche to say that, but it's true. I took the picture of Skipp that's posted above at a World Horror Convention several years ago. Came out kind of arty, and John liked it a lot. He asked me if he could use it. Every now and then it pops up around the net, and on an occasional bookjacket. That's okay by me.

The picture itself? An accident. I had a new camera. Didn't know how to work it. Inadvertently turned off the flash. Pow. Instant streamlined headlight-flowing-electric-neon artiness.

I guess I was bound to get lucky with a camera once. It's like the old saying about monkeys and typewriters. Lock a hundred of them in a room with a hundred typewriters, sooner or later one of them will write "Hamlet."

Of course, I'd be more worried about said roomful of monkeys cannibalizing those typewriters for spare parts, making weapons, and going Planet of the Apes on our asses.

But that's just me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Supplement 11/4/12

Mike Jung, my library compadre, has a song that'll tell you what it's like to write a book. Exactly! Check it out, and order up Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities while you're at it.

Daniel Kraus reviews Dark Harvest at Booklist.

For those of you who aren't Halloweened-out, here's Steve Calvert's cool page of public domain horror films. This was a big help setting up our film program for this year's Halloween event. I especially liked the silent stuff... much of which I hadn't seen. (And there's a radio show page, too; check out the Beyond Midnight episodes if you've never heard 'em -- one of my all-time favorite shows.)

I've saved the most important news for last: An update on Tom Piccirilli's fight with cancer from Brian Keene.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Well... you just knew I'd have a story in this one, didn't you?

Kidding. Psychos is a new anthology from horror legend John Skipp. Flip through the table of contents, and you'll see that it's one of those compilations that looks like a horror yearbook. Everyone's in here -- from Robert Bloch to Mehitobel Wilson, from Edgar Allan Poe to Jack Ketchum to (wait for it) serial killer Albert Fish. At 601 pages, Skipp did not mess around. Neither did the publisher, Black Dog & Leventhal. I love the book design and illos, and the simple fact that the whole thing isn't jammed into 400 pages with eyeball-torturing print. I wish more publishers operated that way.

My contribution is "And What Did You See in the World?" Or, as Tia says, "that's the story where the guy keeps his girlfriend in the trunk of his car." Yes, it is. I wrote it in an afternoon so I wouldn't lose a bet to a publisher, but that's a tale I'll save for another day. Anyway, "And What Did You See..." is a story I like a lot.

Sometimes you get lucky and catch lightning in a bottle... and all in the space of a single afternoon. I wish that happened more often. Usually, I run into more trouble catching lightning than Dr. Frankenstein himself.

In other words, gifts from the heavens are okay with me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sawtooth Jack 2012

Here's the official 2012 October Boy that I carved up last night (note: I could probably explain the spirit-hand visitation in the lower right hand corner, but in keeping with the season I'll just say that some mysteries are best left unexplained). Not too many trick-or-treaters went nose-to-nose with this bad boy when he was encamped on the front porch, though. Rain rolled over the hill from Oakland early, and that (mostly) skunked the trick-or-treat action around here.

Hope you and yours had a great holiday. On the post-Halloween front, Joe Nazare of Macabre Republic is back in action, post-hurricane. He's posted an interview with me where we discuss Halloween, favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and Universal Monsters. As Joe says, "it's a cool six-pack to stave off any Halloween hangover," and you can check it out here.