Thursday, November 21, 2013

Waxworks Smackdown

Werewolf vs. vampire. Tooth and claw. Dig that Barnabas-style cane, and the pretty slick Van Heusen hipster shirt on the lycanthrope. Can't remember the name of the wax museum, but it was in New Orleans and this was taken during the '94 World Fantasy Convention. Somewhere in the French Quarter, nearly Halloween, and the Cramps were playing just up the street.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gonna Getcha So You Know You've Been Got!

The October Boy/Richy Sampson
And that's not the worst of it. The October Boy is standing about fifteen feet away, right in the middle of the road, staring straight at him. The Chrysler's Gorgon headlights reveal the thing clearly... just as they reveal the gleaming butcher knife that feeds stiletto-style through the knotted vines that comprise its left hand, filling it as long fingers wrap around its hilt.

And, seeing that, you know exactly how Mitch feels. He's belly to the ground, staring up at a legend. It's like staring up at Santa Claus, or the goddamn Easter Bunny... but only if Santa was the kind of guy who'd strangle you with your own stocking, and only if the Easter Bunny was the kind of rabbit who'd stomp you dead and peel your cracked skullcap like a hardboiled egg.

Yeah. You remember how it feels to go nose to nose with a legend. That's why the stories they spin about the October Boy are all about fear. You heard them around a campfire out in the woods when you were just a kid, and they were whispered to you late at night in your dark bedroom when your best friend spent the night, and they scared you so bad tenting out in your backyard one summer night that you thought you wouldn't sleep for a week. So there's not much chance of separating reputation from reality when you look the real deal straight in the face. He's the October Boy... the reaper that grows in the field, the merciless trick with a heart made of treats, the butchering nightmare with the hacksaw face... and he's gonna getcha! That's what they always told you... he's gonna getcha so you know you've been got!!!!!

Thanks to Richy Sampson for an amazing piece of October Boy art!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cars, Cards and Carbines

So, do you want to read a Norm Partridge story featuring cars, cards and carbines? In other words, a story about bad guys and worse guys, with supernatural action by the bucketful and plenty of gunpowder and brimstone? And while you're at it, want to read a bunch of other stories by talented writers, too? Then check out the kickstarter campaign for an anthology project from John Helfers and Travis Heermann.

To tell the truth, I'm itching to write a piece for this book. Been a while since I've written a mean roadrace to nowhere, and I hope you'll help give me the excuse.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Things to do in Denver When You're Dead

Nineties. Roadkill Press days. Elvis was in the window, and that's a first season Rockies ballcap.

And, yep, the left lane was closed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sunday Paper on a Saturday Night (a.k.a. Sunday Supplement 11/17/13)

Still the real deal, Lucille. Order up!

Cribbed this one from Too Much Horror Fiction: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Charlie Grant, Karl Edward Wagner, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Whitley Streiber, Alan Ryan, and Dennis Etchison on the State of Horror, circa 1983. If you cut your fangs reading during this era, hearing these writers talk (especially about bad books) is fun fun fun 'til your daddy takes the surfin' hearse away. Guaranteed to make you nostalgic for the age of the black-spine paperback original with the screaming skeleton cover model (and you can find plenty of those over at Too Much Horror Fiction, too).

An American FrankenFlashback: The Outsider.

Yes. Now there are (officially) too many t-shirts in the world.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Town Where Bad Things Happen

Here's a preview of my tale "Incarnadine," which will appear in Turn Down the Lights, the 25th anniversary anthology coming soon from Cemetery Dance. (Brief detour: Above is Steven C. Gilberts' illustration for the special Artist and Lettered editions of the book, which for my $$$$ is a spot-on dead-solid-perfect interpretation of the story. Thanks, Steven!)

So without further ado, here's a slice of Cemetery Dance-style darkness. In the tradition of the best Coming Attractions trailers, I'll give you a peek at the monster:

The creature’s glove is off now. Five sharp metal fingers gleam in the moonlight. Then the witch is gone for another moment. Unconscious. A flash fills her skull, like wild electricity, and her mind snaps back. Swollen eyes… blurry vision… but the witch sees the thing coming her way. Wiry gait. Clanking motion. Moonlight threading through its body like a sieve. A misplaced sculpture free of some mad museum… and a misplacer of time, too -- for several more moments have vanished.

And then it happens again. Now the shambler is carrying the witch… now they are away from the trees and the riverbed… now they are climbing together on a switchback path that rises through the darkness. Yes. The clock has skipped a serious beat. The witch blinks, tries to speak through bruised lips, but words won’t come. The thing moves forward, as if in a hurry. It wears both cops’ badges now, clipped to the gridwork of its chest. And it has a head. She sees that. A rusty bucket pockmarked with holes, and… blood. Blood spills over the edges of the bucket, leaks through the pockmarked holes. And the witch hears things slapping wetly within the bucket -- things the creature harvested from the dead cops down by the riverbed.

A brain, no doubt... and maybe a heart. Again, the witch fades. The wiry shambler inclines its bucket head, and blood spills on her face, and blood awakens her.

Drip drip drip, she thinks. This is how it starts. And then the dam begins to break, like dams always do. And then the river --

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Four Poets from the Dark Side

Along with those of you who have picked up copies of American Supernatural Tales, Janette Shurat's students at Academy West Alternative Ed High School in Flint, MI have been reading my story "The Hollow Man." They've also been trying their hands at poetry, lending their own interpretations to the story and writing some really fine work. Here are just a few of the poets... and their poems.

Breanna Baker:

Malevolent, cannibalistic
Transforming, murdering, trapping
Creature, souls, empty, rings
Smiling, twitching, withering
Stitched, hollow
Hollow Man

Shannon Worthy:

                                    On and in the woods
                                    Lurking . . .
                                    Looking . . .
                                    On the hunt to
                                    Wither you away

Oceana Harper:

The cannibalistic Wendigo
                   conquered the soul of the believer
                          uNtil his
                            Dream became a haunted fear – an

Thomas Waller:

Slowly, as the snowy white
Blanketed over the
 Of the body,
 The hollow man
 Sat rocking.

And, when the dying flame
So did the dead man’s life

And poor Rabbit
With the dead man,
While the dead man
Slept with the beast.

Norm here... just checking in long enough to say thanks one and all. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Thomas' piece, but you guys all have tools and talent -- now go write some more, every one of you!