Monday, August 31, 2009

Chocolate in my peanut butter?

I just read that Disney has purchased Marvel for some ungodly amount of money. No matter how much the "rational" part of my brain tells me that this is "just a standard business deal" and that it shouldn't effect "comic book coolness" or that I put "too many" quotes around things, I can't help but wince. I just got finished reading an awesome Wolverine/Punisher crossover where Frank beat Wolverine by blasting him in the face with a shotgun, slamming him in the nads with a bat (repeatedly), shooting him some more and then running him over with a steamroller. Comic fans may smell Garth Ennis's touch all over this and you'd be right. Disney does not mesh with this stuff.

I know. I should just relax. Disney owns half the world already and things are more or less ok. They've been too big to make everything kiddie friendly for a long time. Plus, Touchstone Studios is Disney, isn't it? They put out some great stuff. Hell, Disney puts out great stuff. Wait a second, I just got an email. Ooops. Looks like I've been warned not to use "hell" and "Disney" in "the same or tangential sentences". Also I should seriously cool it with the quotes.

Can you tell I don't want to get to work right now? Maybe if I pretend some other non-issue is important I can justify blogging about it instead of doing some "real" writing.

**This post brought to you by Quotation Marks. For when you don't want to just say something. You want people to know you SAY you're saying it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Upcoming Strumming

Over the next two weeks, some very cool new music games are coming out. Well, one pretty cool game and another AMAZINGLY cool game.

The first one is Guitar Hero 5. I've been with Guitar Hero since the beginning. I ran around trying to find a copy of GH1 on release day and had to go to some Best Buy in Iowa to get it. Even then, the woman at the register looked at me funny and asked, "Does this teach you how to play guitar?" I told her, "Sure. Just like Call of Duty teaches me to be a Marine." I love this series. I'm pumped for 5, but it looks like just another new Guitar Hero. It'll look a little better and there will be a lot of new songs. Sympathy for the Devil should be fun to play. Nothing to get all worked up about. I recently saw this picture today along with the announcement that Kurt Cobain will be a playable character along with Johnny Cash, Shirley Manson and a bunch of others. Personally, there was no topping Zakk Wylde showing up in GH World Tour. Kurt looks good and I'm glad "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Lithium" will finally be in a game. Then I read some of the comments on that website asking if Kurt would have approved of showing up in a game like this.

Interesting. On one hand, Kurt Cobain was known for being none too happy about always being in the spotlight or the subject of pop culture fame. Isn't that what "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is about? "I feel stupid and contagious. 'Here we are now, entertain us'." On the other hand, he had a sense of humor about himself. He didn't have any problem with Weird Al doing a parody of Teen Spirit that made fun of the garbled lyrics. Plus, Kurt was a smart guy. I think he would have found the irony amusing. Well, I'd say there's about a 70% chance that he would have been cool with it or at least chuckled and given an off-handed ok to showing up in a video game. I definitely don't think the GH creators meant any disrespect. The way this whole music game thing is going, it's a pretty damn good compliment.

The week after GH comes out, The Beatles Rock Band hits stores. To say I'm excited for this one doesn't even begin to cover it. Every detail I've seen in this game looks lovingly crafted to be so much more than John, Paul, George and Ringo dumped into a Rock Band game. This thing just feels like every Beatles fan's dream. Literally. Performances start off in a studio and melt into a flowery landscape with rolling hills and blue skies maybe it sounds kind of fruity, but it's not. It's Beatles through and through and it's awesome. I played a few songs at a demo kiosk in Best Buy and loved it. When I played "I Feel Fine", it started with a shot of an audience filled with screaming girls straight out of my mom's high school class picture and panned over to a scene that, at a quick glance, looked like it could possibly be a picture of the actual band on stage. I wanted to pick up one of the replica guitars they're putting out (ok so I wanted to pick up ALL the replica guitars) until I saw the price tag. $100. For a guitar and the game? I can swing that. For JUST the guitar?? Yowch. I'll have to wait until a few more of those Best Buy Reward Zone certificates pile up. I'm even pumped to sing with this one. I may have said all of this in an earlier post, but I don't care. Beatles Rock Band!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday -- Day of the BAT

A little while ago, I mentioned playing the demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum. The whole game was released today and I picked it up. Actually I was all fired up to go to a midnight opening at my local Game Stop so I could dig in right away, but the geeky part of my brain lost out to the part that was comfortable in my recliner while not driving around at 11:45pm. Ok, so that was a part of my ass instead of my brain but some might say the difference isn't too great.

I gave up the whole preordering games thing a while ago. More often than not, I could find them in Best Buy before my Game Stop people got around to unpacking them. Then there were a few times when they called me that a game I'd preordered was going to be in the next day, I went in and it wasn't there. That sort of nullifies the whole convenience aspect of the process. On the other hand, if they're offering cool bonus items for preordering, I'll cave in and plunk down $10 toward the price of the game. For Batman, they were offering a free bonus map full of skeletons and. . .well that was enough to sell me. I went to Game Stop and preordered.

"Do you want the deluxe edition?" the guy behind the counter asked.
Thinking I wasn't going to bother with a bunch of diagrams and a behind the scenes DVD which I'd probably never watch, I was ready to refuse. This is Batman, though, so I asked, "What's the deal with the deluxe edition?"
"It comes with a Batarang, a book, a behind the scenes DVD and some other stuff."
"Excuse me? A Batarang?"
"Yeah," the guy said as he showed me a picture of this huge, glorious bat-shaped box. "A life sized Batarang. It's plastic, but still pretty cool."
Let's just say the geeky part of my brain nearly spilled out onto the counter into a messy puddle.
The deluxe edition is more expensive, the Batarang isn't a collapsible metal crime fighting weapon, but it's still more than just PRETTY cool.

Cut to the happy ending: The game, so far, is already miles above any other Batman game ever made. It's fantastic. And here's me with my Batarang. Sure it's not as hot as Jessica Chobot or Olivia Munn licking random electronics or gaming stuff, but it's from the heart. Hopefully, the sequel's deluxe edition with come with a utility belt.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Even a man who is pure at heart...

I've been keeping my hopes up about the upcoming remake of The Wolf Man. From what I've seen, the effects look pretty good, the cast is awesome (Anthony Hopkins AND Elrond?? Sweet!) and the director knows his stuff. He helmed The Rocketeer which introduced young Marcus to the glory that was Jennifer Connelly in that low-cut ball gown, so I'll forgive him for his participation in the Young Indiana Jones fiasco. Here's the new trailer!

I really like the way they kept the feel of the old movie and didn't try to set it in modern day. It seems to have that same creepy, European fairy tale kind of setting of all the classic Universal monster movies. "Terrible things, Lawrence. You've done terrible things." Ohhh yeah.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I write chocolate

I was putzing around online and came across this video of a debate between several huge names in the science fiction genre including J. Michael Straczynski (who will always be a favorite of mine for the AMAZING Babylon 5 as well as his many great writing stints on comics like Spider-Man and, more recently, Thor. He also wrote episodes of everything from The Real Ghostbusters to He-Man. This guy is connected somehow to just about everything I hold dear in one way or another) and Harlan Ellison, just to name a few. It’s a debate about “Science Fiction” vs. “Sci-Fi”. While this showed up on the SciFi Channel’s website as a way to draw attention to their name change to SyFy (which was probably based on marketing or some other commercial reason…I don’t know. I didn’t check), I’m not addressing that whole thing at all.

Mainly, this stems from several conversations I’ve had with my agent. I’ve never hidden the fact that I write in other genres. Mostly, I’ve written a ton of westerns and have also done some mystery. I’d really love to do something in the science fiction arena and have put together several proposals that are being shopped around. When I speak of this to my agent, I say “sci-fi” merely as a way to cut down on syllables or typing. That’s all I’ve ever viewed it as. Just a simple shortening of a term for convenience sake. “Oh no,” my agent said. “You really should say science fiction. Nobody in that field likes the term sci- fi.” Me being me, I asked, “Why?” She told me about how Harlan Ellison once said at a convention or somewhere that calling it sci-fi was like lumping your wife and mother in with diseased hookers and street trash. No offense to diseased street trash, by the way. Anyway, I’m paraphrasing here, but that was the gist of it. To anyone who knows who Harlan Ellison is, this is well within the range of things he might say. I don’t know him personally, but I do know he’s famous for being very outspoken about a great many things. He’s passionate about his craft and I can appreciate that. Still, I thought this was a little extreme for me just trying to shorten a phrase down to a very common abbreviation.

For a few years, I’ve wondered if this is really a touchy subject in the genre as a whole or if it’s just touchy with Harlan Ellison. I’ve never seen the appeal of being in groups and debating topics like this. I do what I do and don’t want to argue about it afterward. My guess was that “science fiction” has more of an emphasis on science and “sci-fi” is more of a whiz-bang-explosion sort of thing. Turns out I was partially correct. Here’s the interview.

Ok. So I watched this and came away with mixed emotions. First of all, I understand the difference between the two terms and think these people do have a very valid point. Science fiction and sci-fi ARE two separate things. I get that. Second, I didn’t appreciate how arrogant and condescending the literary folks were being. They want to make it two separate sub-genres? Fine. That sort of division is necessary and I can see how a writer striving (and in several of the panelists’ cases, succeeding) to create genuinely intellectual stories that examine the human condition wouldn’t want to be lumped in with stories about giant space stations blowing shit up just to watch the pretty lights. But that doesn’t give them the right to look at the other sub-genres and call them shit. You want to know what’s really limiting this, or any, genre? The assumption that it has only one flavor.

The way I see it, consuming anything whether it’s books, movies, games or photography is like consuming food. The literary side of the argument in this video came off as vegetarians pounding the table, swearing that ALL FOOD SHOULD BE VEGETABLES!!!! Or worse yet, since vegetarians are basically the genre with several other sub-genres therein, they’re saying all food should be TOFU!! “Hey! Tofu is good for you! It makes you a better person. Eating any of that other shit is demeaning us as a species and rotting us from the inside out! EAT TOFU AND LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!” You want to be a vegetarian? Fine. Don’t yell at me for eating what I want. You’re coming off as an elitist dick. Just crank it down a notch.

What struck me here is that these authors seemed to come at this from a perspective that science fiction readers only want to (or should) read one sort of thing. People generally read a lot of different stuff. Just like any other consumption, it boils down to your classic bell curve. You’ll tend to focus on one spot, but you’ll still hit other spots on either side. All of the science fiction fans I know may enjoy the intellectual stuff more than the explosion-oriented fare or vice versa, but they still dabble in the other stuff too. Moviegoers like to watch stuff blow up, but they also like to watch thought provoking drama and see the occasional pie-in-the-face comedy. And speaking of movies, the authors in that video threw out the “giant ant” movies as the shit that supposedly drags down quality science fiction. Are you telling me those guys don’t enjoy the occasional giant ant or explosion fest? Are you telling me they weren’t raised on that stuff? But now that they’re older and THEIR tastes have changed, everyone else’s should too. Most of these guys write comic books! Even there, you’ve got comics about teen suicide and ones about superheroes. They’re just different. What’s the debate??

On one hand, I find the fact that there is a debate at all to be sad. I realize this is an old video, but the sentiment can still be found in a lot of places regarding plenty of topics. Isn’t it obvious that there are different flavors in any genre and that’s what makes the whole thing so rich? It doesn’t all have to be purely intellectual literature. Every now and then, let’s see some cool aliens blow shit up. The fact that one end of the genre says the other end is “debasing and stupefying the public” just seems pathetic. This video was about sci-fi (yeah, I said it) but it could just as easily be about horror. Trust me, Skinners is new in the field, but I still deal with people thinking everything’s gotta be something else. “Is this like Twilight? No? Oh, so it’s about a monster hunter like Anita Blake? Not quite? Something other than those two things?? Is that possible???”

A writer needs to be passionate about what they do. Without that, they won’t have the steam to make it in this business. And a writer can’t write in every style. There are intellectuals, there are visionaries, there are technical experts, there are entertainers and plenty of others. Any one artist will excel in one or two categories and dabble in others with varying degrees of success like the ol’ bell curve. Isn’t this all common sense?? It seems pretty basic, but then I see a debate about it and hear that I can’t refer to one without upsetting the other.

This really got under my skin because if I was to get my proposal written and published, it would fall squarely into the “sci-fi” category. According to these guys, I write shit and only those who strive to be Phillip K Dick or Isaac Asimov are worth reading. Going back to the food analogy, health food can taste good and is good for you, but the junk food makes you happy you have taste buds. The crappy, unhealthy, not-so-intellectual stuff is what makes life fun. Hey, there’s a word that got completely lost in this debate FUN!!

So, I write chocolate. I realize I’m not in the same league as a fully decorated Master of Horror, but I’m not trying to be. They deserve their awards for examining the human condition. I’m writing the stuff I like, just like they’re writing the stuff they like. We’re all getting readers and many of them are the SAME readers who are pulling from different spots of the same buffet. I’m also not pounding the table and saying that all of that intellectual bullshit is ruining MY genre and how dare they lump me in with those other stuffed shirts!!!! I’m coming from the camp of writers who like watching stuff blow up and enjoy writing about cool monsters who do cool things. You know what life would be like without chocolate? It’d be just as boring, drab and mind-numbing as life with only one flavor of science fiction and only one educational television show. If I have to eat nothing but sprouts (no matter how many different ways you cook ‘em) to live a long life, then maybe it’d be worth indulging in some junk food every now and then just to check out of that gray f’ing world a little sooner.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daring suggestions

Megan and I were in Borders the other day. We got some amazing coupons and were looking to spend, so we dove into the coffee-scented treasure trove. One of the first things I saw was a display with several rows of books. You've seen this one. It's got a really popular book on the left in one column labeled, "Like This?" followed by a row of other books labeled, "Then Try These!" What a great idea. Simple, but very necessary. After all, it's tough for fans to know about every series out there that they might enjoy. Unfortunately, whoever put this display together just didn't seem to get it. Example: Like This = Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, Then Try These= The rest of the Sookie Stackhouse series! Like This = Twilight, Then Try These = All the other Twilight books. And so on.

Not that I have anything against these books. I've said it before and will say it again. These aren't really my personal cup of tea, but are fine for other people. My lovely wife happens to read both of these series. I prefer my vampires with less sparkle and more snarl. To be completely honest, I'm so far behind on my reading that I haven't even given the Sookie books a chance yet. My whole gripe is with this display. This kind of thinking is what stymies the literary industry in general. Like this series? Try MORE OF THE SAME. Fans of the first book aren't stupid. They know there are more in the series. If they don't, they just need to look at the section on the regular shelf where the series is ALREADY arranged for them! The problem here is the store being so lazy that they can't even put some thought into their recommendations. Hey Twilight like Twilight? How about reading the sequel? Ya THINK??? It's not like there's any shortage of "sexy vampire" or "tortured supernatural romance" selections out there to suggest.

Eh, this isn't the downfall of the industry I guess. It did get me fired up and if I can't vent on my own blog where the hell am I supposed to go? Maybe I just caught this Borders on a bad day or perhaps some new, tortured, pale, sparkly southern clerk was hired to stock the shelves. And you know I'm not ranting out of self interest. If Skinners was put on either of those "Then Try These" shelves, the store would be even guiltier of not paying attention.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gotta have patience

Now that I'm back into the weekly comic book buying thing, I'm also digging into issues that have been sitting around for a while. Every now and then I talk about those, but lots of times I shake my head and wonder why the hell I let those issues sit around so long. Now I know why. Case in point: The Flash Rebirth. I've been reading and enjoying this series for all three glorious issues. In fact, when I buy them, they go straight to the top of the stack to be read ASAP. For someone who is used to having several issues in a series backlogged and ready to go, waiting for normal publication dates is excruciating! On top of that, Flash is BEHIND the monthly schedule!! I even started to think I'd missed an issue and bugged the comic shop guy about it. He rolled his eyes and checked anyway. If there's one thing dorkier than your typical dude behind the counter of a comic book store, it's the pasty dude pestering the guy behind the counter. What depths I've sunken to.

While on the subject of comics, I'm loving the Ultimatum storyline. I'm just behind enough on that one for me to read at my leisure and always have more to fill the void. This storyline must be part of Marvel's "Summer of Cataclysmic Doom". It, combined with the whole Dark Reign event in which all the bad guys take over the superhero roles in their own awesome, twisted ways, has been a source of endless joy. I've always loved the bad guys. Maybe that's why I wear so much black. Well, that and the fact that white shirts make me look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Slow Sunday

Megan's out of town this weekend, which leaves me alone with the dog. No big problem there. Unfortunately, walkin' the dog is pretty much all I've got going this weekend. Well, that and work. Always work. Could be worse. There could be NO work.

So I have to take Abby out yesterday morning and it's raining. If I open the door and she even hears rain, she wants nothing to do with it. What's the deal with dogs not wanting to get wet? Do they realize how bad it makes them smell? Where some people are still out partying early Saturday morning, I'm trying to find a dry section against my house and then convincing Abby to cop a squat there instead of her usual place. Let the good times rolllll.

Also, I'm trying to wrangle a spot for myself at next year's Comic Con. By the time the big show in San Diego rolls around again, the first 3 Skinners will be out. Maybe I'll have people wanting books signed. Maybe I'll be a huge draw. Maybe my publisher will believe some of this enough to get me in. I'll pay my own travel expenses! Pleeeeease! Ok. Enough begging. We'll see. Just to be safe, I'm going to work on a costume. I could go as Tombstone (the Spidey villain, not the frozen pizza). Or maybe I and the rest of the Nevermore crew could all go dressed as Multiple Man. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Yesterday, an update for the XBox came through. Fortunately, it didn't send my console into red ring oblivion. What it did do was allow me (and everyone else) to watch my Netflix stuff even easier than before. Just flipping through the choices for the Watch Instantly option, I stumbled across MI-5, The IT Crowd, a season of CSI that I hadn't caught the first time around and The A-Team!! As with most guilty pleasures, I waited until Megan was dozing on the couch before watching the classic adventures of Hannibal, B.A. Barracus, Murdock and Face Man. Perhaps it was the catchy drum line at the beginning or the rousing theme, but Megan snapped awake immediately at the opening credits for A-Team's pilot episode. Much to my surprise, she stayed awake and watched the whole thing. Ahhh, classic 80's TV. So pure. So riveting. Just like a car wreck with poofy hair.

I'd never seen The IT Crowd before, but was hooked from the first show. It's a BBC sitcom that's a combo of The Office and Big Bang Theory. Basically, nerds in an office. Since I'm a nerd with plenty of office experience, I can relate. Awesome show. The only problem is that each season is only 6 episodes long. Why can't those Brits learn how to over saturate and wring a good concept dry like us??

Another thing that showed up on the XBox update was a marketplace to buy crap for your Avatars. For those who don't know, Avatars are these little dudes you make and dress up that "represent your gamer personality on your console". At least, that's the official definition. I don't mind playing around with my guy and switching his clothes around every now and then. In fact, here's a snapshot of how he currently looks. See? I'm writing westerns so he's got a little cowboy hat. Real freakin' adorable, huh? Anyway, the new clothes and stuff just show up for free every week or two. Well, with this new Marketplace, you can BUY clothes for the Avatars! Wheeee!!! I know Microsoft is a corporation and not a charity. They're out to make money. I get the whole capitalism thing, but $5 for a freaking set of Gears of War armor? Some of this stuff is kind of cool, but DAMN! I'm more intrigued by the idea of winning new outfits by playing games. Or here's an idea. Every Achievement has its own little picture. How about being able to wear your favorite Achievement on a t-shirt? I'd pay a buck or two for a shirt that can display any Achievement I want, so long as I can can switch it up when I like for no extra charge. Eh, I'll just stick to the free clothes and hope to win some more. No need having my virtual dude dressed better than the real thing.

Today is new comic book day, so I need to get some work done and free up enough time to venture out for my Marvel fix.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday and I'm ok with it

Had a very nice stretch of time off, but it's over now. This weekend, Webmaster Steve came by for a visit and we didn't talk about anything remotely to do with mastering webs. I've gotten him hooked on Magic: The Gathering on XBox Live, so it was time for the real deal. Always ready to drag out my custom decks and life counters, I introduced him to the crack cocaine that is tabletop Magic. Holding those cards, savoring the art, flipping enchantments onto someone else's creatures, it all just feels so much better when you've got real cards instead of a controller in your hands. Very geeky, I know, but still very fun. Needless to say, Steve went home with some decks and the intent to teach his wife to play the game. Let's see how that works out. If she's anything like Megan, she'll be grateful he's not engaging in a seedier hobby and just indulge him for a few hands every now and then. Otherwise, she's in for a lot of whining and begging to appease him. Sound familiar Steve? Ba-zinga!! I can kid because I'm speaking from personal experience. Ahh, the trials that accompany the addiction that is Magic.

Today I start on a new manuscript. Nothing Skinners related. It's one of my Galloway westerns. Those are always a welcome change of pace. There's just something pure and elemental about a western. Gritty fun.

Played the demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum. All I can say is WOW! The fighting mechanics were simple and fluid, but had enough going on to keep it fun. Swinging around in the rafters, swooping down to kick thugs in the head, tossing the Batarangs, it just all felt like Batman! There have been so many crappy Bat games, but this one feels like a winner. Either that, or they just put all their effort into an awesome demo and let the retail version crap out. That would just be cruel.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Evidence review

You know how, on Ghost Hunters, Jason and Grant always say "These things don't happen on cue"? Well, it's true. I spent some Nevermore time last night going over hours of video as well as audio evidence from our last hunt and didn't come up with squat. It's funny because it seems pretty logical that we might not catch anything even in a place that has genuine activity. It is, after all, only one night. To a spirit that presumably has all the time in the world to make noise and move stuff, that's not much. As logical as it is, coming up empty hits you on the same nerve when you get yourself convinced that you really can make some money in slot machines and then strike out. Oh well. On to the next one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Same blabbing, different blog

When I was at Osfest, I met another local author named Travis. He was with me on the panel about mistakes made by first-time writers. The panel went well, Travis and I spoke afterward and he asked to interview me for his blog. Well, here it is! Click to read it for yourself. That is, if you still want to read more of my yammering on a different site. Seriously, though, it's a great site and the interview was a lot of fun. While you're there, send Travis my best.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Down time

It's amazing how much stuff can get crammed into a block of time allotted for "relaxing". My dad and step-Mom have been in town, so that's kept me busy. There was all the necessary clean-up before they arrived, which was a fun couple of days. Not that the place is filthy, but let's just say I'm not one who's opposed to a bit of friendly clutter. As you might have surmised from all the blogs about comic books, action figures, movies and video games, I've got a lot of stuff that any outsider might label "crap".

We've also been watching the Torchwood miniseries, Children of Earth. Megan and I are huge fans of the show and this 5-part series is one of the best story lines we've seen in a while. Lots of action, cool aliens, cliffhangers and surprises. For the most part, the usual excellence from that show. And speaking of BBC goodness, we've just gotten into Being Human. Watched the first show and I really liked it. They sort of jumped right in without much explanation as to why a vampire, werewolf an ghost are living together (unless it got edited out due to time constraints) which bugged Megan more than it did me. I want to know what's going on, but I've got faith that they'll explain everything in good time. BBC genre shows haven't let me down yet. Whenever I try to explain Being Human's premise to someone, it sounds like I'm setting up a joke. "Ok, so a vampire and werewolf go into a bar. A ghost walks up to them and says..."

The new batch of Gears of War 2 maps came out. Megan's addicted to Horde mode and has become scary with the sniper-headshot action. Very nice!

Another thing that occupied me over the last week was a ghost hunt. It was the first one where I got to investigate someone's home. Nothing really happened while we were there, but there's still the evidence to sift through later this week. I've got my fingers crossed for a nice little vortex to show up in one of our pics. Maybe a demonic voice on my digital recorder. You know, nothing fancy.

That's about it for now. Abby's crossing both sets of doggie legs, so I should probably take her for a walk.

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.