This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.


BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

In tribute

Now that HOWLING LEGION is out, I thought it would be a good time to give an acknowledgement and share a nice little story with you. While I was writing this book, a friend of mine (mystery writer Bob Randisi) was approached by Deb House, the sister of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. Her brother was an avid reader and she asked Bob if he could possibly name a character in his book after him as a tribute. He was glad to oblige by naming a character after her brother in the fourth installment of his Rat Pack Mystery series (an excellent series for fans of Vegas in its prime).

Bob told me about Deb’s request and with my educational background in Criminal Justice, I was more than happy to pay tribute to one of many policemen who put their lives on the line to do their job. Deb’s brother was Robert Stanze, a Police Officer from St. Louis and if you read the new book, you’ll know the role that Officer Stanze plays in the story.

At the time when I wrote this book, I put Officer Stanze’s name in there because I thought it was a cool request from his sister to remember her brother. Unfortunately, I get quite scatter-brained with all the stuff that needs to be done in the writing and editing process and I forgot to put this in the actual Acknowledgement section. So I’m putting it here. I’ve recently spoken with Deb and sincerely hope that she enjoys the book.

Deb is also involved with MOCOPS (Missouri Concerns of Police Survivors) which is a chapter of the National Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.). These organizations help rebuild the lives of families of fallen Police Officers and do some very good work. As part of a continuing tribute to Officer Stanze and all of the other law enforcement workers who are out there with their necks on the line, I’d like to bring these organizations to your attention. From now on, I’ll have a link to them on the side of my page and hope it does some bit of good for them.

Thanks to Deb for allowing me to show my support in my own little ways and thanks to Police Officer Robert Stanze. You fought the good fight and won’t be forgotten.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Huntin' in the headlines


Ok, so maybe it wasn't in the headlines, but Nevermore Paranormal did make it into a local paper, The Omaha Reader. Here's a link to the article. http://www.thereader.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1256755515&archive=&start_from=&ucat=3& Just scroll down to the bold print that starts off with "Paranormal Activity..."

Among other things, Nevermore's also been doing gigs at sold out seminars. That's the one where I was manning the chat board early in the morning. I'm so proud of those guys. Technically, I am one of "those guys" but I'm not much more than a grunt. Click the link on the side of the screen to see their website. Warning: that website is in desperate need of being updated! Can't do everything when they're (we're) so busy collecting evidence from the Great Beyond. Wow, that sounds pretty cool when I phrase it like that.

VampChico

So far, so good on the HOWLING LEGION front. By that, I mean I've been doing a fairly good job of NOT obsessing about the new release when there's work to be done. I've heard some positive feedback so far and the rest is still "wait and see".

A while ago, I was asked by Michele over at the Vampchix blog to do a guest spot on her site. Vampchix, huh? Sounds like a perfect fit for Skinners, right? Heh. Actually, I'm amazed at how many fans of vampire romance are open to my little carnage-fests. The request was for me to participate in the site's "Vamp Bash" so how could I resist? It's a great site and I had a lot of fun writing my piece for it. Check it out at http://vampchix.blogspot.com/ .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Iiiiiiit's comin' out, so you'd better get the party started!

I'm trying to quote Pink? I'm not nearly funky enough to do that, right? Well, it's early and I'm pumped because Skinners 2: Electric Boogaloo...I mean HOWLING LEGION is released today. If you couldn't tell already, I'm pretty psyched about it. Not psyched enough to get up early, though. I did that to represent Nevermore Paranormal on a web chat in connection to a big ghost hunter event in Grand Island. If you're in that chat and my computer "crashes", that just means you asked a really good question that I couldn't answer so I ran away.


While I'm not overly superstitious, I do believe in signs. Fortunately, I got a cool one today. I have a page-a-day calendar that shows a scene from a Star Wars movie next to its concept art. Well take a look at today's scene:
HOWLING LEGION!!!!!!
I tried to scan the calendar page, but it looked more like a Fuzzy Brown Legion instead of an army of wailing Wookies. Still, this is pretty cool. Get out to the stores and pick up your copies. If they're not on the shelves yet, take a cue from these rampaging beasts and politely ask a salesperson.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What second book??

It's the day before Howling Legion is released and I'm trying to distract myself any way possible. It's either that or allow the nervous stomach pangs to grow up into something bigger. Of course, there's work to be done. Always work. I'm finishing up another project and then I'll dive into some more Skinner-ness. Also, I don't want to let October slip away without enjoying it. Halloween is this week and we stocked up on bags o' candy. We don't get a ton of Trick or Treaters, but I still don't want to be the "crappy candy" house. Plus, I like candy. As always, any kids dressed as werewolves will get extra. Hey, I don't play favorites. I just tip my hat to refined taste in costumes.

And it looks like there's no live Ghost Hunter show this year. Is that true?? I haven't seen any promos or heard anything about it. I would hate to see a cool tradition like that get shot down. It's just fun to sit and watch that stuff even if they are just jumping at spiders.

Speaking of ghost hunting, Megan and I are planning our trip to Brighton for the World Horror Convention. While we're across the ocean, we're making a big vacation of it and hitting Scotland. Being Torchwood fans, we even planned on going to Cardiff for a day to see the sights and take in the Doctor Who exhibit. Yes, there's a Who exhibit and it looks freaking great! Unfortunately, we're not made of money and need to cut down on extra train tickets and that sort of thing. We decided to use our time there for lengthier stays in London and Scotland. Back to the ghost thing, we're finding all these great haunted tours of documented sites and will be visiting as many of them as possible. I'll bring my digital audio recorder and keep my fingers crossed that the tourists before me haven't caused the spirits to find someplace quieter to haunt. Should be fun.

I've finally started in on Call of Duty: World at War. I know I'm late to the party on this one, but pulling myself away from CoD: Modern Warfare ain't easy. Mostly, I've been addicted to the Nazi Zombie levels. The single player campaign is spectacular and multiplayer is great, but I can't get enough of putting out all those glowing eyes with a few well-placed shots from a Tommy Gun.

So tomorrow is the big day. I can't be distracted for too long. Hopefully the stores will get the books on shelves and people will buy them. Uh-oh. Here comes the nervous stomach again.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Panic attack...right on schedule


Only four more days until the release of Skinners 2: Howling Legion. As is the case for any series, the groundwork needs to be laid in the first installment and after that you really get to play. I sure did play a lot in Howling Legion. It's strange because my mind is already past Book 3 and Book 2 isn't even out yet. When I think about the next one hitting shelves, I feel a twist in my gut as all of the anxiety begins to play out.

The first one went over pretty well. Hopefully the next will be better.
A series needs time to gain momentum and there's only one out there. Be patient.
What if this one tanks?
What if this one skyrockets?
What if I go to stores and don't see many on the shelves? Does that mean they sold or does it mean the store didn't order any?
As you can see, the possibilities for driving myself crazy are even wider than normal.

I know I'm in rough shape when I barely pick up the XBox controller (or ANY controller). Here's how distracted I've been...I got Borderlands on release day and haven't even cracked open the box! There's randomly generated guns in there! Electrified shotguns!! Automatic, acid spewing rocket launchers! And it's not just games. My comic reading is suffering too. There are a few issues of Dark Avengers that I haven't even read yet. DARK AVENGERS!! What's wrong with me?

Unfortunately, it's only just begun. Once Howling Legion is out, I'll be waiting to see how it does. I'll be trying not to read reviews because that just works out better for my state of mind. Usually Megan or someone else will tell me about the good ones. As for the bad ones, I expect some stinkers. They're not going to make me change anything as far as how I write my series so I'll just let them do their thing and I'll do mine.

And then there's the signings I need to set up. You can see those at the top of the page and I'm working on more. Conventions too. We're kicking around the idea of heading out to the World Horror Con in the UK. It's been too long since I've been to England and this would be a great time to go. That's a long haul, so we still need to do some figuring. Even so, I'm leaning toward the "Life's short. That's what credit cards are for" line of reasoning. Good for the economy, right? Riiiiiight.

So that's that. If you're reading this blog and don't appreciate the mental anguish of a man releasing his works into the wild, then I apologize in advance for some other blog posts to come. If you enjoy that sort of thing...well...you're in luck! Seriously, though, I wouldn't have it any other way. I've been buckled in and ready for this ride since I was a little kid scribbling monster stories onto that tan, lined paper designed for learning your cursive. Does anyone say "cursive" anymore or is it just "handwriting"? You know the paper I mean, though. It's that kind with the wide space and the dotted line in the middle? Reminds me of the days when snacks were on the official schedule. That's the good stuff.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paranormal night out



The Nevermore crew and I went to a midnight showing of Paranormal Activity the other night. We bought in to the whole "vote to bring it to your town" thing and it actually worked. Our votes allowed us to go and pay to see a movie! Hmmm. Doesn't seem like such a democratic triumph when I put it that way. Anyhow, it was cool to go to a horror movie with an actual audience. On the other hand, this audience was cranked up and ready to scream at anything and everything. Nirvana for a horror movie maker, but rakes on chalkboards for ears that are used to being on a couch in front of a TV.




After all the press and people in the lobby talking about how mind-alteringly terrifying it was, I was ready to be petrified. There were tons of creepy moments, just about all of the scary stuff worked, the characters were believable (including a guy who was such a tool and so insensitive to his girlfriend's trauma that he seemed all too real) and there were some truly classic creepy moments. Was it the piss-your-pants-fest I was promised? Not quite. More than likely, that's because I've already spent plenty of hours in dark rooms listening for ghost sounds with the Nevermore team. When the first stuff happened in the movie, all the girls (and plenty of guys) in the audience screamed. Angie, one of the co-founders of Nevermore, was sitting next to me. She calmly asked, "Why can't WE catch anything like that?" Perspective is a funny thing.




That being said, I firmly believe that this movie will be 10 times scarier on DVD. It plays on all of those "What was that rumbling sound from the next room?" sort of fear. When you're watching this in your own house in your own dark room and then go upstairs to your own bed, you won't have that cool-down time you got on the drive home from the theater. Very cool movie! Oh, and Katie was HOT! Just had to put that out there.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Call of the wild



Ok, so a while ago I was talking about how stupid it is that Microsoft is making us PAY to dress up our Avatars on XBox Live. It IS stupid to pay real money for imaginary little outfits for our imaginary little people. Then I logged on last night and saw the Halloween costumes being offered.
Uh-oh.
Sure enough, there was a werewolf outfit and it's pretty freaking cool. You can even see the guy's skin through the eye holes in the mask!! The prices are getting closer to the acceptable range (just over half the amount they want for a lightsaber) and let's be serious. There's just no way I can pass up dressing my Avatar as a werewolf. Maybe it's a business expense?

Damn you, Microsoft!!! Why must I be so weak??

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brutal Ink

It's been a full couple of days. Sunday was trip #1 for the new tattoo and all went as well as could be expected considering it was a few hours of getting inked by an electric needle followed by pulled pork sandwiches. FYI - Jesse at Nuclear Ink did the needling and Megan had the sandwiches ready for me when I came home. They were tasty. The tattoo is lookin' good! So far it's just an outline, but it turned out even better than I'd hoped. Here's a picture of Paige in her current depiction. I love the way Jesse drew her weapons and Shimmy's turned out pretty damn sweet. I know these aren't the clearest pictures, but they were the best our cheap camera could do on short notice. There's still plenty of work to be done. Looks like the werewolf on the other side of that leg will have some real good company.


In other news, it's Rocktober 13th!! That means Brutal Legend came out. It's a game I've been anxious to play for quite a while. Basically, it's about a dude who gets transported to a world from heavy metal album covers who fights chrome demons with an axe and a hot rod. If it's cool and awesome, it's in the game. I'm someone who can get on board with the notion of badass demons in a world where rock is given free reign. I've only played through the first level and done some driving around the beast & blade strewn landscape, but am already in love with this game.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Apart from the infomercials...


There are plenty of advantages for me in staying up late. I get my work done, my body stays on its natural nocturnal clock, plus I get to see the first snow of the season. Last night I went to bed and saw the white stuff falling down like the happy ending to some holiday movie. Since it's early October, I figured it would be gone by the the time the sun came up but it's still here. The neighbors are grinding their stubborn car engines, sliding around in the wrong shoes and trying to scrape their windows using credit cards. Ahhhh yes.


I love the cold. As an added bonus, it'll help dull the pain when I go to get stage 1 of my new tattoo done tomorrow. Everything hurts less in the cold right? Wait, no. It's the reverse. DAMN IT!!!! Even so... me = happy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Once upon a time...on a time...I don't know anymore

I've been going over the copyedits for Skinners 3 which are the nitty-gritty grammar, punctuation and technical fixes. In other words, this is where I learn how bad I am at grammar, punctuation and technical stuff. I'm fine with that. One thing I take comfort from is that these edits get easier and easier with every book I write. Sure, it may have started off better if I'd majored in English Composition in college or something more lit-tastic than Criminal Justice, but I'm making progress. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it, though.

One case in point: in tact. Or, intact. For some unknown reason, I ALWAYS split this into two words. My spell check doesn't catch it because they are both real words, but my proofreaders and editors sure do. It's become such a problem that I've put a sticky note on my desk that reads, "Intact = ONE WORD". You know what? I STILL make this mistake. When I'm writing, no matter how much I'm thinking about my problem, my fingers still screw up. Kind of like when I type the word "future". My fingers want to type "furture". I kid you not, when I wrote the first word in quotes it was furture. At least spell check catches that one.

Second case in point: Upon. I'm really seeing this one in the Skinners 3 manuscript. If my copyeditor is reading this, I'm genuinely sorry. Plus, you're a saint for all the freaking times you had to correct me on this one thing. My problem here is that I just use this word incorrectly. I write "upon" when it just needs to be "on". "Cole placed his hand upon Paige's shoulder." "Paige set the gun upon the table." "The furture rests upon their next decision." DAMN IT!!!!! In my head, one word just sounds better than the other. That's it. My brain doesn't care which is correct. It just knows which it likes and it likes the wrong one.

I cannot thank my editors enough. They have to put up with all of this garbage. At least they get to read the next Skinners before everyone else. If they don't like my books, then they deserve an extra medal for doing their jobs so well.

As much as I'd like to be perfect and get each manuscript right the first time through, I know that's just not going to happen. I'm not a grammatical guy. Also, in these tough times, I'd hate to put someone out of a job. This system works pretty well as it is, so I'll keep it in tact.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pro

I have returned from St. Louis and boy are my arms tired! That joke really doesn't work for road trips, does it? Archon was great. I'm amazed at just how well organized that convention is. Although I'm sure there were snags somewhere in there, everything seemed to go without a hitch from my angle. Not only did the organizers remember I was supposed to be there, but they gave me a ribbon for my name tag that says, "PRO". After having been to so many cons (heh...pro...con....those jokes just happen. I'm that funny) it was cool to move up in the world enough to get a special ribbon. Cheap thrill? Sure, but seeing my name on a t-shirt blew my freaking mind! And it was even spelled correctly!! Right on the shoulder so I can point it out to the people behind me at the post office. There I am, in the list of guests (PRO guests) for that year's festivities. I've been writing for over 10 years, but this is a first. I'll take my proud moments whenever they come my way.


My panels went really well and were well attended. Except for the one about Vampires with a Curfew. I never figured out what that panel was supposed to be about and neither did any of the other panelists. Can't really blame most people for picking another place to be on a Friday night, but the folks that did show up got some pretty decent conversation about writing and genre stuff. Good times. The werewolf panel was (appropriately enough) a wild one. When we did stay on track, we debated the finer points of werewolfery, argued scientific merit of lycanthropy, and damned Kid Rock to hell for ripping off those bars from Werewolves of London. Plus, Captain America and Hawkeye were in the audience, so how could you go wrong? Ahhh, cons.


Saturday was my time to be a fan for the most part. I did have my signing, which turned out to be a high point. There weren't a ton of people there with books (since the dealer's room didn't stock any...grrrrr), but the people who showed up were great. Here's a shout out to Michael! Thanks for stopping by. You truly made my week.


The panel with Laurel Hamilton went pretty well. She was nice and the audience actually seemed interested in hearing me talk. Well, most of them did. Even though I lost a few when I admitted to not being a fan of steamy human-on-werewolf action, the ones who stuck with me were patient and made me feel welcome. Here's a shout out to those ladies in the front corner to my left. Sorry I didn't catch your names.


So after all that shouting, Megan and I got home safely. Waiting for us in the mail was that free copy of Guitar Hero: Van Halen I ordered after getting GH 5. You've seen the commercials. 2 for the price of 1. I'll believe it when I see it. Well, I see it. What do you know? People are actually following up with their promises lately! Nice. Now if I can just find the code to dress up David Lee Roth as Rockso the Rock 'n Roll Clown from Metalocalypse I'll be giddy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A one, and 'a two, and a...

My XBox Gamerscore just hit 33,333. I think I'll stop playing for a while so I can bask in the perfect three-ness of it all.