Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Metal World

I haven' t had a ton of time to play video games lately, but I've been spending what I do have on two games in particular. One is Mad World, which is simply one of the best games in the action / shooting / fighting/ catharsis genres. It's a simple arcadey bloodfest that is unapologetically over the top. You don't just kill guys. You throw an old tire over their head, pick them up, head butt them, dump them into a flaming barrel, pick up the barrel, knock it against a spiked wall, and then rattle them around on the wall five or six times. Let me tell you, there's something special about using your cute little Wii remote to chainsaw someone while they're on the ground. Oh yeah! It's on the Wii. What could make this game better? How about announcers doing a play-by-play while you hold someone under a rotary saw? Oh, wait. Those are in there too!! Sounds kind of gruesome, doesn't it? Well, it is in a stupid, comic book sort of way. Maybe something's wrong with me, but I found myself laughing more than cringing. It's those announcers that really pull it together with lines like, "Why would the city set up so many saw blades in the middle of the street?" or "How come nobody else found that crate full of weapons before? Oh well."

The next obsession is proving to be Guitar Hero: Metallica. This game is simply freaking awesome. Granted, I may be biased because I'm a Guitar Hero fan AND a Metallica fan. Even so, this game just feels metal from start to finish. It's so metal that I somehow DON'T feel dorky striking a tough guy stance while banging out Sanitarium and Master of Puppets on a toy guitar. Now why, oh why, can't this unlock some cool concert t-shirts for my Avatar??

Friday, March 27, 2009

Must be on the right track

I always know something is going well with a writing project when it truly doesn't feel like work. While writing Skinners #3 (and 1-2 for that matter) it just doesn't feel like a job. There have been some projects that felt like pulling proverbial teeth. Most of them fall into the "it's great to be paid for this" category, but it's best when I feel like I'm slacking on my job because I'm spending so much time doing Skinners (which IS my job).

Now don't get me wrong. These books ARE work. In fact, I put more into these than the ones that feel like a chore. That's just because I want every little thing to be just right. Every reader isn't going to think all of the finished product as "just right", but that's subjective.

I did have a truly geeky moment the other day. I was taking a break and talking to Megan when I mentioned how strange it is to have people out there reading Blood Blade and awaiting the next ones. While writing the first two, nothing was on the shelves yet. Now, my immediate family and I aren't the only ones who know about Cole, Paige, Full Bloods and all of that good stuff. I've gotten emails asking about the future storyline or what will happen to certain characters. Hell, I've written emails like that about other series. Now, I'M the one who decides the real answers. This crap on my monitor isn't just a manuscript. It's CANON!

That may be a little overboard, but it's still cool. So, there's where I'm at right now and it feels good. There will be plenty of time for the down slides in the months to come. Fair warning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hello, Abby

I finally caved and got a dog. Not that I've had anything against dogs, but my wife and I were pretty much run out of an apartment due to a long string of yapping, noisy, destructive neighbor mutts that made life miserable for the entire complex. Since then, I've been enjoying the quiet life but Megan has been chipping away at me to get a mutt of our own.
We went down to the Humane Society, saw a few rambunctious yappers and then met Abby. Well, how could you look at that face and not cave? I mean this in the toughest, horror writer, blood an guts way, but just LOOK at that little face!
Ok. I promise this won't become a babbling dog blog. Of course, you may have to see an occasional picture or two now and then, but just....nope. I'll keep it under control.

Awesomeness in the guise of research

I generally like my job. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Other times it’s a blessing. Most of the times, it’s a bunch of waiting. Every so often, however, I get to do something truly amazing in the name of research. One of those times happened this past weekend when I joined a paranormal investigation team on an actual ghost hunt.

I’d met the folks at Nevermore Paranormal some time ago at a local convention and asked them if I could pick their brains so I could flesh out the MEG guys a bit more. Although MEG is just sort of there on the other end of a phone in Book 1, they play a bigger role in the future and I wanted to make them more than just a close guess of what I thought ghost hunters were. I’ve seen plenty on TV and read a lot in books, but I jumped at a chance to talk to the real deal.

And, some time later, I got to go with them to investigate the Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I was happy to just go along and see an investigation in person. More than that, I got to hold a K2 meter and wave it around until the lights flickered at spikes in the magnetic field. It’s a lot more exciting than it sounds. I participated in EVP sessions, staked out a cellar in total darkness, took pictures of abandoned jail cells and tried to contact the Other Side. Pretty much an awesome way to spend a Friday night! It was even cool debunking some things that first seemed like major evidence. Although I didn’t get to hear any disembodied voices or see anything move or glow, I did have a few weird moments that aren’t so easily explained. (Surely, no HUMAN BEING would stack books like this) There were times that the electromagnetic fields seemed to fluctuate at just the right time in response to some questions we asked in one particular cell. Again, it was much cooler at the time.

Anyway, my thanks to everyone at Nevermore Paranormal. I did my best to contain myself and hopefully didn’t step on any toes. All of the MEG guys (and gals) are better for your efforts. You’ll just have to trust me on that for now because the next Skinners won’t be out for a while. Waiting…..now you’re in MY world!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's do this!!

Vacation is over.
I didn't do quite as much slacking as I'd planned, but it was nice.
Time to take a deep breath and dive in to Skinners #3.
Actually, it's good to finally start in on this because it's been rattling around in my noggin for well over two years. The closer I got to this day, the clearer the picture became. Now that I'm finally going to start writing it, I'm excited and nervous. Excited to do some things, introduce some characters and revisit some others that I've had to put aside. Nervous about getting it right. There are little bits and pieces I've been saving as well as some major things I've been looking forward to doing. Now, it's time to put all of it into motion.

There really aren't a lot of specifics I can write about here because Book 2 isn't even out yet and I don't want to spoil anything. And so...without further ado...I will start typing Book 3.

It's really not this big of a production, but writers get to shuffle their feet just like everyone else. Ok! Enough stalling. I'm ready to go!

Ok, now I'll go.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We can't all be Hemingway

I spent an entire day indulging in the sort of wackiness that one can only achieve by working from home and being available for last-minute adventure while the working stiffs are chained to their desks. Get ready to be jealous!!! Today, Megan and I cleaned the basement. Yeah. You heard me! Oh, and it wasn't last minute either. It was one of those things we've been putting off for too long and finally got around to it.

And it didn't take all day. It took a few hours and then I was too tired to move.

After that, I had some leftover pizza.

I...rock and stuff.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Can't an irradiated dinosaur get a moment's peace??

I was watching Godzilla Raids Again yesterday. Man, I love Godzilla movies. Doesn't everyone wish they were bigger than a building, could breathe fire and were strong enough to kick over a city? Maybe it's just me. Anyway, in the first movie, Godzilla stomps in from the sea and starts some shit. So, he pretty much deserved all the explosions and smoke popping off his head that followed. In this one, he's found on a remote island while fighting another monster. Some squirrelly dude in a plane gets all freaked out and calls in the military. I mean, what's the Big G supposed to do? Just stand there and let these gnats shoot him?? In the end, they bury Godzilla after finding him trying to catch some down time among some deserted mountains. He's just STANDING there and they drop an avalanche on him! No wonder he's so pissed for the next couple of dozen movies.

The ending does make me feel a little better about some things, though. There are times when I just want to go about my business, which also happen to be the times when all the telemarketers call, every kid selling something knocks on my door, people swarm the one shelf I want to get to at the store, you name it. "Hey," Godzilla from Raids Again says, "if I can't chill out on a deserted island or between some deserted mountains, then you don't get a peaceful trip to Target!"

All right, Godzilla. You made your point. Wow, those movies really are deep.
I watched Godzilla vs. Monster Zero today and it's not any better!! G-Man was dormant at the bottom of a LAKE and the gov't agrees to let some aliens kidnap him, bring him to Planet X and make him fight another monster. Then, the humans LEAVE HIM THERE!! There's even this scene with Godzilla watching the spaceship leave like a dog that knows he ain't comin' back from that drive in the country. No wonder I always preferred the ones where he's a bad guy when I was a kid.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Shirking my blog-sponsibility?

I was perusing some earlier blog posts, seeing what kind of BS I'm forcing through my keyboard, looking at how many "writing" tags I have as opposed to "video games", when something occurred to me. I'm writing a whole lot of stupid, unnecessary crap on this blog. Should I use this space to come up with something like...I don't know....a new invention of some kind or some sort of concrete evidence that proves the coexistence of alternate realities?

After I took a few minutes to think about what other, more important, stuff could be written here I realized THAT would be the bullshit. The truth of the matter is that nobody's thought process is bullshit-free. Maybe some of the more brilliant people have bullshit-lite brains and ALL of us have a few granules of enlightenment floating around in there, but it's mostly bullshit.

Then there's the possibility that I'm just the dummy who doesn't realize his brain isn't up to speed. Maybe I'm imbalanced in just the right way so my little section of the universe feels steady while everything else wobbles around me. That could very well be the case. If that's true, it doesn't even matter because I'd still rather just sit here coloring on my walls and singing to myself like the guy in the institution who is cracked, but doesn't bother anyone.

Eh, too much thinking. How about that Hell's Kitchen?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Today's post...the Deluxe Edition

I picked up Resident Evil 5 today, which marks the end of The Great Game Flood of March '09. This week was pretty bad, including Madworld and a few other games for the Wii. Madworld is freaking awesome and I'll get back to that later. What struck me today was how close I was to plunking down thirty extra bucks for the super-deluxe boxed edition of RE 5.

Here's what you get for the extra cash. Of course, you get the Resident Evil 5 game and an extra disk with videos and probably some gamer pics. There's also a figurine of one character, a necklace that's probably worn by another character, a document bag with the bad guy company logo on it and a patch with the good guy company logo. Plus, I think there was a book with art and other miscellaneous crap. As I stood there in Best Buy, I actually contemplated all the cool things I could do with that bonus swag. I could carry my documents in that bag. Wouldn't that be GREAT? I could sew that patch onto my jacket!! I could give the necklace to Megan for a minor holiday of some sort. I could place that figurine among the Gears of War guys on my desk!! They could have a war!!! YEAH!!!!!!

Then I realized something. I don't carry documents around. I don't wear a jeans jacket or anything else that would support a patch and I've got more than enough plastic people shooting each other on top of my desk. Nice try, Capcom. You came THIS close to having my extra $30. I'd feel pretty good about myself if I hadn't already gone on record for plunking down the extra cash for a replica Lancer when I bought Gears 2. Oh well. There's only so much will power to go around.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A glimmer in my eye

I've been gearing up to really dig in to Skinners 3 and it amazes me what a strange process this early stage truly is. Basically, I've had the main skeletal structure of the story in place for some time. There's a lot I want to happen and certain things I want to change, progress, whatever. So I let it all sit in the back of my head until it starts to congeal like a Jello salad with chunks of pineapple and peaches and any other canned fruit you had sitting around. Now I want Jello. Finally, and usually while I'm about to fall asleep or in the shower or watching TV, something falls into place. I jump up, write it down. Go back to what I was doing. Wait for more.

It's all very random. Some of my ideas make me wonder what the hell I was thinking and why anyone would pay me to write this crap down. Others become novels. A lot of this process seems like some version of insanity. Just sitting there quietly, listening to the voices and trying to make sense of what they're telling me.

Even stranger is the fact that the voices really DO come up with some good stuff! Fear not. Book 3 is going to be great. I'm VERY anxious to sink my teeth into it and do some things that I've been meaning to do since Blood Blade. For readers, this process must be strange as well, since I'm talking about all of this when Book 2 isn't even out yet. What a weird business. God, I love it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

'Nuff said

Saw this today on http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/ . I still don't understand the big deal with the whole ebook reader thing, but at least I'm not the only one.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Book 2

I was just on Amazon.com looking for other things....ok I was checking in on Blood Blade, but I've cut back on that. Really, I have! Anyway, I saw a listing and release date for the second Skinners. I've been keeping my fingers crossed that it would come out around Halloween and there it was. Howling Legion is set to release on October 27th. Yes!! My favorite time of year has just gotten an extra jolt. As soon as I get some finished cover pics, I'll post them here.

Good at what they do...and what they do ain't very nice

So the other night was DOA night. I missed it in the theaters because I didn't have the guts to pay and sit in a public place to watch a movie about a fighting game with revolutionary boobie physics. That's what home theaters are for and bless 'em for it. DOA is one of those movies that is an absolute success at what it's trying to be. Is it a polished piece of cinema full of heart wrenching drama and characters I can relate to? Good Lord, no. I was expecting to see hot chicks kicking each other along with some dudes in goofy ninja outfits and that's exactly what I got. It's one of those crappy movies that delivers. There was even a beach volleyball scene. Anyone familiar with the original fighting game and its greasy volleyball spin off was expecting, no DEMANDING, some sort of homage to DOA: Extreme Beach Volleyball. Jaime Pressly is in it and she's still Joy from My Name is Earl. I liked this top heavy crapfest and in the words of Joy herself, "Don't you judge me!"

Speaking of stress relief, I had a truly excellent moment while playing Grand Theft Auto 4. I was in the internet cafe and on my way out to steal something when the dude behind the counter groans, "There IS a tip jar, buddy!" What did he just say to me? Thanks to the glory that is video gaming, I was able to turn right around and use a shotgun to destroy that tip jar along with his smug little face. A huge police chase followed, which ended with me accidentally driving a stolen limo off a pier and swimming to safety. I then went back to the cafe and shot the clerk's twin brother. If the folks at Rockstar Games put jerks in there specifically to be executed for being jackasses, then they're geniuses. I think there should be an entire mode where all of Liberty City starts playing their shitty music too loudly, talking on their cell phones and texting while driving just so we could go on a very cathartic rampage. Sure we can rampage a lot in the game as is, but how much better would it be to have a city full of targets like that? The next time I saw one of those morons in real life, I would probably just smile warmly while imagining my consequence-free kill spree. yeahhhhhhhhhhh

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do your research, people!!!

Ok. A little bit of history here. I LOVE Jack in the Box tacos. They're fried. They're spicy. They're unlike any other fast food, mystery meat, semi-Mexican delicacy I've ever tasted. I honestly don't know what kind of meat is in there and I don't care. If Soylent Green is that good, I'm stocking up. That's the back story.

We don't have Jack in the Boxes where I live and yet, thanks to cable TV, I still see some commercials for the place every now and then. The first time I saw one, I got all amped up and looked on Jack's website to see if we were FINALLY getting one here. No such luck. All right. It's just a commercial from faraway lands (like Chicago or St. Louis) where they can partake of the ambrosia that is the subject of my most endearing, non-wife related, sonnets and acoustic guitar ballads. Fine. The second time I see a commercial, I get all worked up AGAIN. On an intellectual level I realize these commercials are out there and I may occasionally see one, but my heart wants to BELIEVE. And, much like Charlie Brown running after that football again and AGAIN, I still get worked up.

So this goes out to Jack in the Box. Please, try not to treat your loyal customers like this. Believe me, I hit Jack in the Box hard enough when I'm in the right state to be considered a loyal customer. Don't fake the throw to all of us poor dogs in the boonies who are aching to fetch some delicious tacos. It's just cruel.

And speaking of research, a few posts ago I asked for help regarding a piece of my nerdy youth. Refer here for the post where I talked about the first home video game console I ever played. I didn't know what it was called, but I remember a clunky, wood-paneled triangle straight out of a 60's Bond movie. Well, HERE IT IS!!! Many thanks to Karen, who found these pics for me.

The Coleco Telstar Arcade. YEAH!!!! You could drive, shoot AND play PONG on this sweet, sexy beast!! I remember playing this as a little kid, thinking it was great and then grabbing a snack from my solid granite fridge while my mom vacuumed with a little elephant on a set of wheels.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I yam what I yam

When I saw this sketch on Attack of the Show, I knew I needed to post it here. I've been playing a lot of Street Fighter recently, but mostly Olivia Munn is dressed up as Chun LI while saying "panties". Immature? You bet. Great? Of course. So here it is. I'm a video game dork. Olivia is hot and this is MY blog! Those are all the reasons I need. Plus, "panties" is just a happy word, don't you think? Enjoy....

Trading one storm for another

My first thought was that I had finally slipped into the calm that's supposed to come before the storm simply because I've gotten through the initial squall of, "Holy shit, Blood Blade is actually on the shelves and being read". The last several weeks have been spent reading a lot of reviews and checking all the sales figures I could find about Blood Blade, even though I knew there wasn't much more I could do about them no matter what they said. I needed to get back to work, but then I kept browsing and finding more stuff to obsess about. Well, I'm past that.
Ok...I'm past it just enough to stop the stomach cramps.

Blood Blade is out and about, doing well enough for a new series written by a new author that has nothing to do with love-stricken teens. There's still work to be done and I've been doing it. Skinners 2 is in the shop (being edited by someone other than me) and it's almost time to really dig in to Skinners 3. I've fired a few opening shots, written a few scenes, but mostly I've been working out the plot/character stuff that I need to know before maiming anyone too important. Heh. This early stage is what I like to call "the fun stuff".

I get to come up with all the things I'd like to see in a monster series, all the characters I'd like to meet and all the fights I'd like to witness. Then, I get to say, "This is MY series! I get to do ALL of this!!!" That lasts for a little while until I realize I can't do all of it and really shouldn't do some of it EVER. Still, the Fun Stuff outweighs all the long hours and meager pay. I get to make up my own monsters, create Skinners to hunt them and chronicle the ensuing fireworks. Apart from Glitter-Applicator at a high end "gentleman's club", I can't think of a cooler job than that.

I won't lie, though. I still fuss about Blood Blade and probably always will. Just the other day, I moved a copy or two from a bookstore's new release table to the horror section...cover facing out, of course.

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.