Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ruffled feathers

So it all started a few weeks ago. Instead of the Swine Flu, I get an infection in my Mastoid bone or muscle or whatever the hell is directly behind my right ear. It’s not as sexy as the well publicized flu, but it still hurts enough for me to go to the doctor. All I want is a prescription to make the infection go away. That’s it. Instead, I get treated to a CT scan to make sure nothing’s creeping into my brain to live with all the other junk that’s already creeping around in there. The scan comes up empty (insert joke here), but I’m sure I’ll get a nice bill for my insurance premium. Oh, and the prescription I wanted so badly are for pills that are bigger than my thumb and taste like rusty pennies fished out of algae-infested seawater. Thanks!!

Then it’s time to renew our townhouse lease. I’d already paid the pet deposit for my cat (now deceased) so I figured there was no harm in mentioning the new dog. You know, just to keep everything square and above-board. Turns out the deposit doesn’t carry over. Oh, and the new management has instituted an extra monthly pet fee tacked on to the rent. Screw you, Honesty!! Now Abby needs to get a paper route to cover her extra $25.

Today, I had to get up early. Now, 7am may be normal weekday wake-up time for most of you, but I usually get up around 10am and write throughout the day until around 3am. I don’t get up at 7 in the morning unless something is on fire and even then, it depends on what’s burning. I had a radio interview for Skinners set up at 7:05 this morning. I got up, punched myself in the face to get the blood flowing and waited for the call from the studio. You guessed it. They never called! Even worse: this is the SECOND time this same radio station stood me up!!! Looks like my hype machine blew a fuse.

Olivia Munn is MIA on Attack of the Show.
Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose.
American Idol continues to run over by 2 minutes every damn week, which screws up my DVR tapings of Fringe. I mean, what excuse could there possibly be for a major network juggernaut like American Idol to just putz around and. . .wooopsie! We ran over by a few MORE minutes than the extra two we already have so we can hear Randy say ONE MORE TIME that someone’s “singing was solid, but it was just ok for me. The connection just wasn’t there.” Or “DUDE, you can SING!!! I don’t care about connecting to the audience, or whatever. This is a SINGING contest and you ROCKED IT!!”

Today’s comic book day. At least that should go well. Now, if I drive up and find the place sunk into a hole or closed due to fear of Bovine Cold or Hamster Sniffles, I’ll be really pissed.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just wanted to say...

...that I have nothing to say.

Maybe some of you wonder about the exciting life of an author? Well, it's been almost a week since my last post and there's really nothing to tell you. I'm in the thick of Skinners 3, happy with it one moment, worried about it the next, relieved another moment after that and then fretting about how I'm going to wrap it up in under 1000 pages.

Pretty much par for the course.

I take some solace in knowing I felt this way during Skinners 2 and I just got done with those copy edits to wind up pretty happy with it. Does that sentence structure make sense? I don't care. There are things I want to put into this book and others that should get cut. I'm nowhere near finished, so there's plenty of time to dress it all up. The first draft is what it must be like to put a movie together using an editing machine. You look at each scene frame by frame, so one conversation feels like it took about sixteen hours. When I read it through again at a normal pace, it'll seem better and if it doesn't, it gets whipped into submission. If that don't work, it gets the hose again. Put the lotion in the f---ing basket!!

Sorry. Went a little Buffalo Bill there. Have I watched Silence of the Lambs lately?

I need to sleep.

Oh yeah, I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about Book 3.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I had to fast yesterday because it was time to get my cholesterol checked. If you've read Skinners and noticed how much loving attention I pay to various food stuffs, you might have figured out I love to eat. I've kept my love in check for the most part,but I consider eating to be one of the pure joys that comes along with living. It's one of the sweet little rewards we get for inhabiting this stack of meat and calcium we call a body. Long story short, I got my blood drawn and so fasting over. I'm not too worried about the results, but at least my doctor will be happy.

When I was done with my fast, Megan and I went to the Hollywood Diner that just opened not too far from home. I love diners. Breakfast all day long. Awesome coffee. Corned beef hash. What am I missing? Oh yeah. Peanut butter burgers!! I've never heard of these and have never thought about tasting one. When I saw this on the menu, I was reminded of that little yellow dude from the Saturday morning short cartoons who told me, "Don't knock it 'till you've tried it. Put a little on your plate! Some kids may not like it. Some may think it's great!!" Remember him? Or maybe that was just a strange dream. Anyway, I thought this burger was just too weird to pass up. About a quarter pound of beef with bacon and peanut butter under a layer of Swiss cheese. The pickles were optional, but I thought they pulled the whole thing together. It was that touch of crispy sour amid the squishy gooeyness that told me, "DAMN, that was good!" They even made their own kettle chips to go along with it. I have found a new haunt.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I’d forgotten how fickle dogs can be. The last few days, Abby couldn’t get enough of me. Always on my lap, checking up on me while I’m working, wagging the tail when I enter a room, all that good stuff. Today, she can take me or leave me. Fine. If that’s how she wants to be, two can play that game. I’ll just go about my life on my own! I’ve heard that dogs pick up traits from their owners, but it hasn’t been long enough for her to get this much. Has it? Besides, I don’t know where she would have picked that up from. Maybe Megan. Certainly not me. I’m done with that mutt!
Wait, there she is…tail wagging and everything. How cute. I love you Abby!
Aaaand she leaves the room. Who needs ya?! I DON’T!

Going through the copyedits for Skinners 2. Actually, I’m almost done with them. They use a new-fangled computer program that prints notes on the side of the page, letting you know everything they deleted or whatever. One page had notes COMPLETELY filling up the right margin. And they weren’t just a few big notes. It was a TON of little ones. They were all fine suggestions, but I wanted to just write, “YOWZA” along the edge. I would have, but there wasn’t any room thanks to my bad comma usage and repeating of certain words. Doh.

I came up with a cool new word while writing Skinners 3. Squamatasapien. You heard it first here! Basically, it’s a technical term for Lizard Man. Minor spoiler for Skinners 3? Actually, VERY minor but it’s something.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Write n' roll all daaay and edit ev-er-y night!

Vacation charged me up.
I've got Skinners 3 to write.
Skinners 2 is sitting here to be edited (again).
It's all firing pretty well. I had a minor bout of, "What the hell am I doing? I'm just messing up whatever little bit of progress I've made with this book", but that's passed for the moment. Of course, that's not to say I'm crafting a masterpiece that will need no editing later on, but it's movin' right along and that's all I can ask for at this stage of the game.
Today is Comic Day, which always puts me in the Happy Zone. So far, my plan to rein myself in has been working pretty well. I'm not going to sign up for any hold lists where the shop holds my comics for me. I'm not delving into too many back issues. I'm just picking up whatever strikes my fancy on any given Wednesday. The trick with that is to resist the impulse to blindly pick up a series because I liked the last ones. That's how I fall into the trap. Must. . .keep myself. . . under CONTROL! Ooo, that reminds me. I think I want to see what's going on with Hulk.
One bad thing about being so busy is that I don't have as much time to play video games. Mostly, it's been Rock Band and Guitar Hero in between writing. Even blasting my way through Resident Evil 5 with Megan has stalled. That one stings. Sometimes, you just need to MAKE time for the important things. Nintendo has solved their storage problem for the Wii, which removes the constant cycle of erasing crap from the hard drive, copying it to an SD card and writing new stuff onto the hard drive. This also frees me up to buy from the Virtual Console again. Wait a minute, is this a good thing?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The pause that refreshes

Megan and I went to St. Louis to visit the families for Easter. It was a good trip and the dog came along. Abby did very well in the car, sitting on Megan's lap the whole way while avoiding the temptation to jump on me while I was driving. She did great at my Mom's place and behaved in the new surroundings. We started wondering what could be the drawback to this little mutt? I mean, there had to be SOMEthing that took away from her stellar marks. If the dog was perfect, where does that leave ME??

Then Abby met my sister-in-law's dog, Olive. Now, Olive is the sweetest dog I've ever met and she politely sniffed Abby upon our arrival. And then...Abby proceeded to morph into a tooth-flashing, snarling demon straight out of my books. It had the potential to get ugly. Abby was like Joe Pesci from Casino, but without a handy pen to stab someone for no good reason. Things worked out eventually and it was a great trip. My thanks to Jenny for putting up with the little demon-in-a-box masquerading as a 13 pound Rat Terrier mix.

This trip also came in the midst of writing Skinners 3. That's been going pretty well. I've got the pieces I need, but hit a snag in transitioning from one spot to another. I was a little miffed at having to drop everything and drive to St. Louis, but that turned out to be just what I needed. My body may have been behind the wheel, but my brain was still chugging away. It even came up with just the stuff I needed to get Skinners moving again along with some bonus stuff to make the whole series better.

So...lots of food, a road trip, the chance to get some Jack in the Box tacos after watching my dog freak out, creative juices flowing, AND Reeces Peanut Butter Eggs!!! Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The dreaded Fed Ex delivery

I've been anxiously awaiting the copy edits for Skinners #2 and today they finally arrived. Of course, no matter how much I was anticipating them, there's always the anxiety that comes before opening the package.
Will there be a note from my editor saying something along the lines of, "This blows! Give us our money back and don't mention our company in public anymore."?
Perhaps there will be a slightly nicer note saying, "This needs to lose about 135 pages. Also, please rewrite the section between pgs. 9 and 328."

There's always the possibility that the notes on the margins will say, "See this part here? AWESOME!!!!" or "This word right here....genius." and maybe "I don't like your word choice here. No wait. NOW I get it!!!! Brilliant!!!!!"

Reminds me of a George Carlin routine where he's talking about the range of intensity between the slogans on various state licence plates. At one end was New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" and at the other was Idaho's "Famous Potatoes". My editing notes, as are most things in life, will probably fall closer to "Famous Potatoes".
I miss George Carlin.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wonderful. I am now a part of the tribe.

I'm not usually a joiner. "Usually" doesn't even cover it. I can't honestly remember the last group I've joined unless it was required for some other job or to get a free magazine subscription. Then again, I don't normally run into groups like Nevermore Paranormal. I recently went on a ghost hunt with them as part of my research for Skinners, MEG and all that jazz. It's a subject that's always fascinated me, which is why I wrote about it and also why I wanted to do more than just read a few books for research. One thing fed into another very nicely until I managed to fall in with Nevermore.

The hunt at the Squirrel Cage Jail went so well that I wanted to see about joining the group as a real member and not just some tag along writer guy trying not to knock over any equipment. The group either thought I would make a good member of the team or they needed a goofy-looking mascot because I'm now a full-fledged member! I put a link to their site on the side of the page and I'll be sure to write about any cool experiences I have. So far, I've just been to a few meetings but I'm looking forward to diving in and getting to work. I don't want to look like the dopey new guy, so I'll refrain from making too many Ghostbusters references. Acting like such a dork so early would be bad.

How bad?

Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Ok...that's bad.

Ahhhhh....out of my system now. Feels better.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thwip-aholics Anonymous

Hello, my name is Marcus and I've got a comic book addiction.

Like most other addicts, I remember getting my very first fix. It was an issue of Spider-Man where the Web Head battled Sandman, bought by ten year-old me at the convenience store that used to be within walking distance of my house. That was a great store, by the way. Not only did it have comics, candy and gum, but it was also where I would go to plunk my quarters into classics like Donkey Kong, Rastan and Defender. Man, I feel OLD. Anyway, I saw that wire carousel with the comics, picked out a few and was hooked. As the years went on, I graduated to other series, but mostly stuck with Marvel.

In high school, I dove in again with The Punisher, X-Men, more Spidey, Batman, Lobo, and a very wide array from all companies. Two things facilitated this: my first real jobs and the opening of comic book stores close to my house. Getting my driver's license made things worse. I just love comic book stores. They're like little geek cocoons where all the walls have cool posters, there are action figures in cases and busts of superheroes displayed like the great pantheon they are. I'm not the type of guy who really has "hang-outs" but I was a fixture in one comic shop from the middle of high school all the way through college. It got to the point where I helped unload the delivery trucks when they dropped off the new issues and my only payment was getting first crack at all those fresh, beautiful, clean, perfect. . . .sorry.

Money problems stepped in once I had real bills to pay and I was forced to go cold turkey. It wasn't easy. It was HELL, but I did it. I'd stocked up a good backlog and of course I kept every one of my older issues, including that first crinkled copy of Spider-Man from the days when I didn't know about bags and boards. Fellow comic fans know what I'm talking about.

My addiction kicked into high gear about ten years ago and quickly turned into obsession all over again. I had a good job and was able to maintain my hold list every week. These were the years when I fell in with a gaming group that not only reawakened my tabletop roleplaying bug with D&D and World of Darkness, but they also got me into Magic: The Gathering. Free samples of crack wouldn't have hit my wallet harder.

I weaned myself off of those things, got myself into shape and, apart from a few setbacks here and there, was doing fine. . .until yesterday.

My wife and I were out (she was there for the dice throwing, Magic card years) and I wanted to check out a local comic shop. I've been meeting the guys from Nevermore Paranormal (more on that later) at a comic store and felt the old cravings stirring deep inside me. Once I had a stack of comics in my hands, I looked to my wife and said, "Stop me before it's too late. Seriously." Maybe she thought the geeky fire in my eyes was cute or maybe she knew better than to grab the squeak toy from the hungry dog's mouth, because she didn't even try to stomp out the fire. I'm dipping my toe back into the comic book waters and will try to keep control of it.

Things will be better this time. I can control myself. I can quit whenever I want. I swear!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You're damn right it hurt!

A little while ago, a friend of mine asked about the tattoo I got to commemorate the fact that Skinners is actually seeing the light of day. As soon as I told him I'd email some pics, I remembered that I'd been wanting to put those pics on this blog for some time.

I didn't start out buying into the whole "tattoos for turning points in your life" theory, but it kind of worked out that way. I got my first one (a dinky little skull that looks more like a drawing made by felt tip pen) and was hooked. Since then, I've gotten them when the mood strikes me which happens to be at turning points in my life. More recently, I've been getting them as ways to mark new book series. Needless to say, I've been holding out for the REALLY special one for when I finally sold Skinners. Well, that day came and went and I got a freaking great tattoo done by an amazing artist named Jesse who works at Nuclear Ink here in Omaha. I gave him the manuscript pages for the Blood Blade chapter where Cole was attacked in Canada and he drew up a sketch of the Full Blood in that scene. It's kind of hard to get the whole gist of it because it wraps around a good portion of my leg, but here it is. This is an early picture before all the color was added, but I don't have any complete pics in my computer yet. Let's just say, I love it enough to wear shorts a lot more than I used to during the summer.

Later on, I intend on completing it by wrapping it all the way around with a scene of Cole and possibly Paige coming in for the kill. What can I say? Jesse has a wicked upsell.

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, 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.