Sunday, December 19, 2010

Come on, now!

Yesterday was nearly pain-free as far as my constant headaches go. What was the stress-relieving combo (other than Ibuprophren), you might ask? I played a game called Da Blob on Wii and watched the Friday the 13th reboot from last year. Da Blob is a game where the world is colorless and you play a blob of paint that turns everything red, blue, or whatever by rolling around on everything. Sounds stupid? Well, it's actually very relaxing. The music is nice and it does my right brain some good to slap different hues on an otherwise drab world. Heh. Then there was Friday the 13th. I hadn't seen this when it came out and finally got around to watching the DVD. It was an awesome combo of hot girls being naked in a summer camp and a huge psycho chopping up said girls. We all know the story. Jason hacks up the guys too. Oddly enough, this was therapeutic as well. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

And then I went to bed. Apparently, my brain wants to escape from my skull because it's doing its best to crack it open. Ever have one of those dreams where you're back in school and you miss a class or test or something? I've had them where I go through an entire school year and remember I've spaced off going to a class all semester. Pretty common stuff dream-wise. Well, the relief comes when I wake up and realize I'm not in school anymore. Whew. Well, my brain got one ahead of me last night and gave me a dream where I had a bill for a little line of credit I don't normally think about too much, but haven't paid for the better part of a year. I've still got bills! I've got lines of credit!! Shit!!!! Is this real? Did I really forget about a bill for that long? It's possible. Things have been crazy around here lately. And because it's my brain doing the meddling, there are little doubts inserted into my thoughts regarding this fictional(??) line of credit. Come to think of it, I don't exactly remember paying ANY bills this month! Now, along with my splitting headache, I've got a nervous stomach going.

Thanks, brain. Love you too.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Finally done with the first draft of Skinners #6! Whew!!!! Now I can take a few days off and collect myself before editing. There's a lot going on in this one, which I can't really talk about since Book 5 isn't even out yet. Oh well. Take my word for it. It's cool.

Looking forward to watching some movies over the weekend. Probably just some mindless special effects festivals like Prince of Persia or The A-Team. A-Team looks perfect for me right now. Lots of stuff blowin' up and things gettin' shot. Sign me up for that.

Christmas is almost here. To be honest, I'm looking forward to when it's all over. Just fast forward me to January 10th or so, let me know if anything cool happened in those previous weeks and get on with 2011. Remember those other prospects I mentioned earlier? Still nothing about them, which isn't a huge surprise. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but no news is better than bad news, so I'll take it. Not that I wouldn't mind some good news right about now. Don't want to jinx anything.

Speaking of good news, Skinners made the Barnes & Noble list of Best Paranormal Fantasy releases for 2010!! Here's the link: YAY!!!!! Thanks B&N!!!

I'm off to plop in front of the TV for...ohh...about two or three days. Later.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fa la la forget it

Should be wrapping up draft 1 of Skinners 6 today. This one's been a long haul, mostly because of rescheduling conflicts, the holidays, and various other wrenches tossed into the works. As far as first drafts go, I'm pretty happy with this one. There is a TON of editing to do, lots of which is hacking and slashing. The good part of that is that I'm just holding off on those plot lines so I can insert those pages directly into another book. The bad part is that I'll be working my butt off throughout Christmas and the New Year.

New Year has never been a big deal to me. I've always got goals/resolutions in mind and have submissions or proposals in the works to see them through. I'm not a huge drinker and am firmly of the belief that if you want to party and get trashed so badly, you shouldn't need a sanctioned excuse from Hallmark or the calendar to do so. My tradition has always been to stay home, cook up a bunch of snacks/appetizers, watch movies and have a toast at midnight. To all of you party people out there, have fun!

Still pumped about Tron Legacy. I'll be seeing this one in a theater and will actually be my second mainstream 3D movie in modern days. By that I mean it wasn't at an amusement park and the glasses won't be the red & blue numbers. Remember when they showed classic 3D movies on TV and you had to go to a 7-11 to get glasses? I saw Creature from the Black Lagoon on our Creature Feature that way. Also saw a bunch of the old goodies at a theater on retro night, but Tron in 2D should blow those away.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Head Asplodin'

Yesterday was pretty much filled with blizzard-force winds from 4AM - 3AM today. Right now, there's an eerie calm. It's quiet....TOO QUIET! Heh. Three degrees and snowy, but hey. It's December so what should I expect? Wrapping up the first draft of Skinners #6. It's shaping up, but there's a LOT to do in editing. Already talked about that and it comes up yet again. Welcome to MY WORLD!!

Still trying to get some business stuff done before the holidays. Technically, the holidays are already upon us, but there are still a few folks in their offices pretending to work, so I need to try and enjoy that while it lasts. Got a few more irons in the fire as far as some promising possibilities and I will let you know if anything pans out. Could be some new series or projects other than Skinners. I love Cole & Paige and don't plan on abandoning them, but a change would be nice for a while. Also, taking a small breather would allow some of the new Skinners stuff I've been coming up with to gestate into plot lines for other books. The more I write/edit #6, the more I want to do for #7 and beyond.

As far as those other projects go, I've always had interests in multiple genres. I got my start in westerns and have ideas for fantasy, science fiction and mystery. Of course, I've got other ideas for horror and urban fantasy, but that goes without saying. It's exciting to think of planting my flag in another section of the bookstores. Even for someone who's already published, the publishing industry works how it works without bothering to inform anyone like the writers (unless you're a massively popular writer who can write their own ticket, aka "not me"). So we just have to sit around for months (or years) and wait to see if we'll have a source of income next year. Ugh.

In possibly related news, I've been having these headaches for oh....about two or three weeks now. They're in my neck as well as specific spots in my skull that feel like a little knife is lodged there and occasionally twisted. Could be stress. Could be a tumor. Does thinking about a tumor give me stress? Can too much stress give me a tumor? Uh oh...I think something just popped.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Log Jam at the End of the Ride

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry about that. Mainly this is because I've been tying up the first draft of Skinners #6. It should be finished this week, just in time for me to be editing through the holidays. Yippee. The good news is that I know where I'm headed and am getting there fairly nicely. The bad news is that this is only because I've been slaving over the keyboard trying to get everything just right for several weeks.

I had to come to a painful realization that I just can't address EVERYthing I want to in every book. My whole purpose has been to make Skinners something that broadens in scope with every book. Naturally, one side effect of this is that the scope is pretty freaking broad by half a dozen books. That's fine. I can just set some stuff aside and get to it later. After all, not every character will be doing something in every book. That just leaves me with a bunch of stuff I thought I would address when I started writing this one that now needs to be taken out and smoothed over during editing. Yes, loyal blog readers. It's almost time for the "bitching about editing" section of the process. Heh.

In distraction news, I picked up Disney's Epic Mickey for the Wii and it is very cool! I'm also 97% sure I'll be heading out to theaters to see Tron Legacy in 3D (maybe even 3D IMAX!). Nerd-gasm alert.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Insert frustrated grunting sound here)

After lugging around that colossal pile of paper that was my copy edits for Skinners #5, it's time to send it back to New York. After this step of the process, there's just looking over the final run before publishing and Book 5 is in the books! IS a book. Whatever. It's almost done. It also gave me a chance to look over the stuff I wrote leading into Book 6 which helps me in that writing process. Very "Circle of Life"-esque.

I've decided to go with UPS this time as my little protest against the whole Post Office experience. You know the one. I go there, find a line of 45 people waiting because there's only 1 window open and that person is just milking time before they go on break. Or where I go to the automatic teller, punch in the ZIP code 4 times, swipe my card, tap 57 screens and then get to the last screen that tells me the machine just broke, jammed, or ran out of paper so I need to hop into the line I was trying to avoid. Or the one where I send my package 2-day delivery, pay extra and have it get there in 6 days. Fun.

In other transit news, I'm seeing all this stuff about the outrage regarding airport security searches and privacy issues. Since I rarely fly anywhere, that usually doesn't get a lot of attention here but I'm planning on visiting family over the holidays (wow...real unique there, huh?) and will actually be flying. As cool as the big X-ray machine was in The Running Man (or was it Total Recall?) I'm not sure about it here. I mean, the airport is still afraid of excessive amounts of shampoo and now they've got head-to-toe radiation generators and strip search VIP rooms? Ugh.

First HUMBUG of the season!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Busy Brain Syndrome

Today I woke up thinking someone was knocking on my door. The maintenance guy is supposed to come over and change the filter on the heater, but it wasn't him. It was probably just the other people in my complex leaving for their normal work hours. More than likely, the same people who wonder what the hell I'm doing pacing my floors when I'm still editing at 3 AM. Even after I realized I wouldn't have to hide until an unwanted visitor found his way out, I couldn't just get back to sleep because my brain would not leave me the hell alone about Skinners #6.

This is a part of my normal process. After I pass the halfway point of a manuscript and think the end may be in sight, I start worrying that I'm ruining the book I'm working on, ruining the series, forgot how to write, or any number of self-defeating happy thoughts that give me a migraine as soon as I wake up. This happens with every book and knowing it's coming doesn't help in the slightest. It's kind of like tugging at the proverbial thread that makes the whole sweater unravel. Only, I'm not done knitting the freaking sweater so why am I pulling on ANY threads?? Drives me crazy. I did come up with one solution to a plot concern which I wrote down before trying to get back to sleep but the migraine hangs on.

Since the other Skinners books turned out pretty good, I should just let the process happen, right? Unfortunately, that ISN'T a part of the process. I still think I'm screwing up the book, the series, my career, all of it. Thank you brain! Could you please shut up for a while?

On a slightly related note, there are a few more interviews that have come online today. That way, you can see what else is going on inside my brain. Heh. Ok, so it was a lame transition but here are the links anyway. One is a guest blog that I think turned out to be pretty darn amusing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hello world, it's me again

I've been showing up in some interviews lately to promote Vampire Uprising. Here are a few links if you feel the need to sweeten your day with a little Pelegrimas goodness. Ugh. At least the interviews aren't as bad as that. Check 'em out....

There are a few more on the way, plus I'm still featured on the Barnes & Noble book club through the rest of the month at:

Wow...after all of this even I'M sick of reading about me. Sorry folks. Back to the inane movie and video game talk next time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A magical, fun-filled adventure....and evil.

South Park has always been wrong. Just plain wrong. But that's what makes it oh so funny. Here's a clip from last week's show that I can't get out of my brain. It proves that even a racist, obnoxious little creep gets a chance to have a buddy. There's hope for us all.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good thing I've got plenty of free time. Oh, wait...

Just when I get into the groove with work after coming home from World Fantasy, my video game systems begin beckoning to me. Tuesday, the new Call of Duty comes out. Black Ops looks just as awesome as the other CoDs, but with zombies. Everything's better with zombies, right? Actually, all the zombie stuff can get tiresome, but this is an updated version of the Nazi Zombies levels from World at War. If you've played that game, you know all about Nazi Zombies. It was an extra mode with an arcade feel that I STILL play long after I was through with the WWII campaign. A new CoD campaign as well as more zombie action makes me giddy.

Then there are the new motion controllers that came out for XBox and PS3. I was more excited for the Playstation Move because it looked better suited for "real" games like shooters and anything else in the "killing stuff" genre as opposed to "swinging stuff". Then I saw demos for XBox's Kinect where there's no controller at all. This looks fun for families, but not for some dude sitting in his La-z-boy. Now that they're both out, I realize I'm not excited for either one. There aren't any games out there for me (although there are some promising ones in the future like the Star Wars game for Kinect) and I simply don't want to get up when I play my games. Sure, I stand up when rocking the plastic guitar for Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but I'm well past the "jumping is fun" stage of my life. Also, I barely keep from knocking stuff over when I walk to my chair carrying a drink and a bag of chips. Flailing my arms and jumping in front of my flat screen is a recipe for disaster. So it looks like I'm sticking to the Wii.

Speaking of Rock Band, all of my data from Rock Band 3 was wiped out yesterday and I had to start that career over. Actually, that wasn't so bad. I play those songs plenty of times enough to fill four careers anyway.

So, it looks like this week will be chock full of shooting stuff. On top of that, I'm still working on Medal of Honor and Halo Reach. Once Call of Duty: Black Ops gets into my hot little hands, I'll be dreaming of shooting bad guys for a long time. Kind of like the last scene in A Christmas Story, except with head shots and teabagging. Heh.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Legends, Liquor, and...something else that starts with L

I'm back from the World Fantasy Convention! Whew. Drove home last night and boy are my arms tired. Wait, that only works for flying. Well, all of me is tired so it still applies. It was a great convention. My first World ANYTHING con, so it was very exciting. Got a bag full of books, spotted some SKINNERS books in the dealer's room, met a lot of nice folks and just soaked up the literary atmosphere for a while.

My panel, Humor & Horror, went very well. Great turnout and an interesting discussion. We all stayed on course and everyone had some very cool things to say. That's the most anyone can hope for at any panel, really. Even if I was in the audience, I would have had a good time. Being up there on the stage was a real kick.

The signing was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. We got to sit anywhere we wanted, so I picked a spot next to E.E. Knight. Thanked him AGAIN for the awesome blurb for Blood Blade and chatted for a little bit. At one point, I even got to meet Brian Lumley!! I didn't even know he was going to be at that convention, but I got a chance to step right up to shake his hand. I'm not one to get star-struck, but anyone who's ever heard me talk about my inspirations has heard me mention Mr. Lumley. His Necroscope series in particular is a major influence on my writing as well as my love for horror in general. I got to thank him in person and even pose for a cheesy picture. WEEEEE!!!!!!

Another thing I always mention about cons is to always hang out at the bar. This is especially true for aspiring writers who want to meet their idols, agents, or even editors. This was in full force at WFC. The bar area was this wide open, expansive place with comfy stools, bowls of delightful snack mix and big names everywhere. Agents and editors want to get away from meetings for a moment and the writers need to drink to make it easier to deal with their agent and editors. Heh. Seriously, we're all at the bar at these cons. Take that bit of advice, all of you writers looking to get some face time.

So it was a lot of fun, but now I'm home. Gotta get back into the groove with work and try to put a dent in my DVR backlog. Anyone catch The Walking Dead? LOVED IT!!! More on that later, I'm sure.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vampire Uprising released!!!

Here we go again. Another SKINNERS hits the shelves. I'm not falling for it this time. Every time there's a new release, I go out and try to find my book on store shelves and every time I have to ask someone to dig into their back room to find me a copy. That's just around here, though. I've had plenty of reports from other areas that they find it displayed prominently at their local store. Plus, this being the 21st century, plenty of people get their copies online anyway. It's a joyous occasion, but I'm NOT going out looking tomorrow.

I will be out, though. It's Tuesday which means new DVDs and games are released so I always hit Best Buy to take a peek. I've also got to run some errands before driving to Columbus, OH for the World Fantasy Convention over the weekend. Who am I kidding? I'll probably hit a bookstore just like I do every other release day. It's fun...right until my hometown Barnes & Noble doesn't include me on the Local Authors table. DOH!!!

It's all right. I'm still on the shelves eventually and plenty of you good folks will be reading my words. That's undeniably awesome. Book 6 is coming along fine and I've got lots of ideas brewing beyond that. Day 1 or not, Vampire Uprising is an awesome book and I'm very proud of it. Hope everyone likes it, so be sure to let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

These boots are made for...writing? I guess that's what they'll do.

I go through footwear phases throughout the years. Sometimes I prefer sneakers. Sometimes I prefer boots. Sometimes I don't give a crap just so long as my flat, flipper-like feet are comfortable. The other day marked a shift into boot phase and I realized I didn't have any that weren't scuffed to hell or too small. Have my feet expanded? Ugh. So I decided to go to an Army surplus store for some combat boots. You know, just the plain, smooth black combat boots. Not the ones that have canvas and designs and all that other stuff. I don't know what sort of boots are standard issue now, but I couldn't find any plain combat boots in this place. The other ones (as authentic as they may or may not be) just looked too sporty. Flummoxed as to where else to find classic combat boots, I thought of where else to go for some cool footwear.

Off to the Harley store. I lucked out here because not only were their boots around the same price as what was in the surplus store, but they had kick-ass versions with skulls on them. Hey, I've got skulls on everything else I own, not to mention tattooed into my flesh, so why not? If I can't have plain combats, I'll have skull-tastic bikers. For a moment, I thought I didn't want to look like some kind of Harley poser because I don't ride a bike. Then I realized I'm not a Marine either, but would have been fine in my combat boots. Boots is boots and mine have cool skulls on 'em. Yeah!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yo, World Fantasy....I made it!!!

Heard back from the World Fantasy Convention and I'm gonna be on a panel!!! Woo hoo!! The theme of the con is "whimsical fantasy" so Skinners should fit in just fine!! Heh. Seriously, I'm happy to be included at all in such a big con. My panel will be at 1PM on Friday the 29th and is about "Humor and Horror". I think I'm a pretty good fit for this one, so I just hope I don't freeze up and sit there like a smiling lump with what are surely going to be much more notable speakers on either side of me. There's also a signing on that same night at 8 or 8:30 so if you're in Columbus, OH the last weekend of this month and feel like getting a world class fantasy fix, come on down and see me. There's bound to be some other pretty good authors and stuff there too.

This will be the first time I've ever been to Columbus, OH so if anyone has any good dining suggestions I'd like to hear them. Thank God I've got my GPS because otherwise I'd have to drive out there with a notebook full of Google maps. This will be an exciting con. Also, it should be the one that puts me over the top for a while in the "outside with other people" department. Most folks don't get just how rough it can be going from sitting in front of my computer all day every day to being surrounded by LOTS of people. At least at cons, lots of those people are in costumes so it makes it easier for me to handle.

I'm plugging away at Skinners #6. I like to think of the series as being told in arcs and Book 6 will be the end of this particular arc. Not the end of the road, but ties up some loose ends. I will tell you that not everything will be wrapped up all perfect and happy by the last page. I mean, what fun is that? I've also been getting tons of ideas for other stuff. A few that I'm really excited about are in the Steampunk genre. More than anything, that genre seems to embody raw creativity at its fun-loving best. All too often, I hear people griping about the more practical aspects of stuff that's just supposed to be entertaining. My favorite will always be the conservation of mass in shapeshifters. Ok, I realize a physical object can't create more bulk than it already has but people really can't change into were-leopards either. Lighten up!! As long as the story is good, the characters are likable and the world is consistent, I'm always willing to go along for the ride. Since Steampunk subscribes to stuff like alien tech, clockwork robots and supernatural science fiction wrapped in a historical setting, that's a ride I want to take! I'm sure they get their gripers too. "But...but....that technology didn't EXIST in the 1800's!!" SHUT IT, ass clown!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There are lots of reasons for me to chew my nails lately. Skinners 4 will be hitting store shelves in a few weeks, Skinners 5 is with my editor getting its first once-over, and I'm hard at work on Skinners 6. That's a whole lot of Skinners! Also, I'm putting together a few other projects that I've been excited about for a while now. All this AND the Jonah Hex movie hits DVD this week! Ok, so maybe that last one isn't really a nail-biter, but it looks like a fun flick and I do want to see it.

It's a slow, trudging weekend here. Remember my great mood during the last post when I got a little taste of autumn? Well that lasted for about a day before the temps hit the upper 80's again. According to the weather gadget on my phone, it should be in the 70's this week and those weather predictions are never wrong, right? Yeah. Sure. Oh well. Keeping my fingers crossed anyway.

The new Medal of Honor comes out this week. They're taking the Modern Warfare route and doing...well...modern warfare. Looks really good. There's been a bit of a commotion since multiplayer battles are to be between US and Taliban forces. That means players get to play as the Taliban and shoot US guys. First of all, it's just a game. Secondly, hasn't this already been done in other games? Pretty much any modern military shooter with multiplayer has SOME side shooting at the US. This just seems like one of those little bouts of ruffled feathers that comes along with plenty of games regarding violence, language or any other sort of non-issue that's clearly marked on the package of said game beneath the big "M for Mature" rating on the cover. My view on this topic? See the first point. Just a game. No actual soldiers were harmed in the single or multi-player arenas. Plus it was already mostly solved by calling the Taliban "opposing forces" in multiplayer. Does having those guys shooting US troops make it all better? Who cares. Next.

Gearing up for World Fantasy at the end of the month. My first big con, so I'm excited. The deal is that any guest (apart from the Guests of Honor) get to do one panel or reading and one only. Makes sense, since it's such a big convention. A few months ago, I got an email asking which of the panels I'd like to be on. I responded and waited to get the schedule. Last week, I get another email asking which panel I'd like to be on and did I get the first email? I respond again, saying I'm sure my first email was accidentally spammed or overlooked. No biggie. I'm fully expecting to show up at the convention without being on any panels because they never got my responses. All too often, I get to experience the crappy parts of being invisible without any of the perks. In other words, nobody knows I'm there unless I try to walk into the women's locker room at the gym. Should be a fun convention whether I get to be on a panel or not. Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I love autumn. I know it's not exactly an original sentiment, but being able to open the windows and have a cool breeze come in just brings a smile to my face. My build / complexion makes me a natural for wearing flannel shirts over standard issue t-shirts. Plus, how could you NOT love flannel sheets? I guess those are more of a winter thing. Anyway, October brings to mind such scents as burning leaves, pumpkin pie, apples and fun-sized candy. Those are a welcome replacement for summer scents like hot tar, body odor, bug spray and misery. Ok, that's a little harsh but you get my drift.

October is also a busy convention month. Just got back from Archon in St. Louis, which was great. Even had some folks show up to my signing which was amazing! Thanks for stopping by! Gave away a bunch of stuff, talked to some readers, plus I had some Jack in the Box tacos afterward. JOY! At the end of the month is World Fantasy. I won't lie to you, I'm a bit nervous for that one. It'll be the first time I've ever been to a con THAT huge. On top of that, I'll be a guest at a signing and a panel. Whew. Vampire Uprising will be hot off the presses by then. By the way, I just got my first advance copy of the book and it looks GREAT! Everything in this paragraph represents what we professional writers call "the fun part" of our job. We must savor these moments while we can because it's a tough business.

Just got back from picking up the new Nightmare on Elm Street DVD. Didn't see it in theaters, so I'm buying it on faith. The first one's a classic and this looks like a good, scary installment of the series instead of the many goofy Freddy movies that came out over the years. Gotta get back to work. There's stuff to write, new TV shows to watch, new games to play. I LOVE this time of year!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fish 'n Fan Pages

When I first signed on to Facebook, I started a Fan Page for Blood Blade. Didn't really know what to do with it, slacked, didn't follow up with subsequent books, it petered out. Well, now that I'm more familiar with the whole process and there's more going on with Skinners in general, I've started a page for the Skinners series. Just go to Facebook, search for Skinners and look for the official page. It's that simple! There's some gadget that's supposed to allow me to put a cool link directly to Facebook onto this site, but that part wasn't so easy for me to figure out.

So lately I've been trying to eat healthier. Part of that includes eating more fish (you know...because it's fish). I'm not a huge fish expert, apart from my definitive knowledge that fish sticks are DEFINITELY different that fish patties. Although both go well with mac & cheese, patties have a lighter, flakier crust while the sticks are crunchier and better for dippin'. Now that I've been trying to cook with "real" fish, I find myself buying those bags of frozen Tilapia, Flounder and Salmon without really knowing what the difference is between them. Last night, I found out that Salmon comes with some skin still on it. That kind of freaked me out. I flip over this cut of fish to still find scales on the freaking thing! Am I supposed to eat the skin? You can eat chicken skin. Is it the same for fish? I didn't want to push it, so I cut it off. "A-ha!" I thought. "Now I know what that thin, curvy knife that came with my steak knives is for!" Grilled it up with some Mrs. Dash, made some rice and had some green beans. Healthy meal. Long story short, I still prefer patties and sticks.

Has everyone forgotten about the whole Shimmy's pass thing? There seemed to be some interest when I was working on them and now that they're done, I've only sent a couple out! All it takes is a quick review of any or all Skinners books on Amazon, Barnes & or some other site. Send me the link to your Skinners review, your address and any inscription and I'll send you a Shimmy's pass, or some bookmarks...even some covers (all signed by me). Sounds like a cool deal. Ok. Enough begging. You get it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I tell ya, it's rough

Next weekend is Archon, a nice-sized convention held in St. Louis. I attended last year and it was fun so I was cleared my schedule for this year as well. Today I get the programming guide for panels and such to find that I'm scheduled for a signing and....that's it. I guess if they're willing to let me attend the con as a guest and just put me down for a signing, that's their prerogative. I thought it was kinda funny that there's a panel immediately following my signing called "Writing Horror Stories" that doesn't include a guest who writes horror for a living. Now, I'm not saying I'm a big guy on the block here, but I am at least a horror writer! Hello??!!? I dropped an email to the programmers humbly offering my services if they'd like me to be on the panel. If that pans out, cool. If not, that's cool too.

I don't go to cons for an ego boost. So far, every time I've appeared at one, the people running them are always nice folks who forget to put me on any programming. There are panels about vampires, werewolves, writing horror, writing urban fantasy, writing about monsters and still nobody thinks to put me on any of them. Fine. Cool. Your con. You can put whoever you want up there. I am a horror writer, though. Think I could be on a horror writing panel? No? Ok. Whatever. I'll be in the dealer's room where three different book sellers have every copy of every vampire romance series published in someone's basement and not one copy of Skinners. Didn't you know I'd be at this con? Didn't you put me on the guest list? Do any book sellers check what authors will be there to maybe sell their books? No? Ok. I'll be in the art room. And why the hell hasn't anyone drawn me a cool painting??? Ha.

So, I'm still going to Archon and I'm sure it'll be a great con. If you're in the St. Louis area on Friday, stop by and say hello. Believe me, I REALLY want people to say hello. I'm bringing bookmarks and some of those cool Shimmy's passes. Remember when I used to be too proud to beg and bribe? Ahhhh. Such youthful confidence. Such hope. Those were the days. If you're at Archon at all, keep your eyes open. I'll be wandering around taking in the sights. See you there!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I can breathe clearly now, the snot is gone

Well, for the most part anyway. There's still a residual haze in my brain from all the medication, but I'm able to function better than I have for almost a week. I don't get sick that often but when I do, it can kick my ass. Oh well. Now I can really sink my teeth into Skinners #6. You heard me. Book 5 was just sent in and Book 6 is on the way! Great things are brewing in the Skinners-verse. With the way 5 ended, going right into 6 was pretty easy. In fact, I had to cut a lot out of 5 so it could be plugged into 6 anyway. Can't really say much about specifics since 4 isn't even on the shelves yet. Ugh. The dizziness is coming back.

In other news, Sons of Anarchy is back on the air and I'm loving it! I like the Irish storyline, but am having some trouble understanding some of those guys when they grumble in their accent. I'm just losing a word or two here and there, which could very well be my fault since my ears (as well as my entire head) have been plugged up recently. Not a gripe. The show still rules.

Archon is coming up. Wow, that kind of snuck up on me. Three weeks from now, I'll be in St. Louis for the convention. That one's always fun, so come see me if you're in the area. I'll bring along a few Shimmy's passes and bookmarks to give away to lucky readers. Don't know how I'll determine which are the lucky ones. Probably the first ones who ask for 'em. Complex system, huh?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Halo Flu...seriously

Picked up Halo Reach yesterday. I'm not a Halo fanatic, but they are undeniably awesome games. Also, I've been sick for a while and thought it would be a nice pick-me-up. Anyway, it's an awesome game and I love the multiplayer, but there are some frustrations that accompany pretty much every multiplayer game for me anymore. Saw this comic at Penny Arcade that sums it up nicely....
I may love playing games and I may play them a lot, but I sure don't play them as much as I USED to and I sure as hell aren't as good at them as I used to be. Ugh. Whenever I log on to a Modern Warfare or Halo game, I don't expect to win. I just expect to run around and shoot some crap and blow some stuff up. I don't talk strategy. I don't care about kill / death ratios and I'm not in it for glory. Still, it gets awfully frustrating when you're pitted against Terminators who can take me apart before I get a chance to have any fun. If Halo had bots for the multiplayer aspect, it would be perfect. Oh well. I'll still be online.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pass to Paradise!

Ok! I'm done with the Shimmy's passes and I think they look pretty cool. These, the bookmarks and the promo covers for VAMPIRE UPRISING are ready for me to sign and send out. All I need are names to put on these things and addresses to send them to! Although I ended my sentence with a preposition, you get the point. Details are at the top of the blog page, but it's the same deal as before. Write up a review, send me a link and tell me what you'd like. Many thanks in advance!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Website updates!!

I FINALLY got off my ass to write up some stuff for the appendices on It's something I've been meaning to do for the MEG Files and Skinner Field Guide and I think it turned out pretty well. This is just the first entry, by the way. I intend on periodically adding to them to provide some background to the series. For those of you who are new to Skinners, these appendices will fill you in on some important characters and creatures. For current readers, there will be little tidbits of info that aren't mentioned specifically in the books. Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fly off, little birdie

Is it sappy that I get sentimental about sending a manuscript off? Yes. How about nervous? Eh, maybe a little. Anxious. That's more like it. Today I head out to the post office and mail the manuscript for Skinners #5. Going back to another blog post where I talked about music accompanying each book, I'd have to pick another Disturbed song for this one. Check out Indestructible. Especially this part: "Indestructible. Determination that is incorruptible. From the other side, a terror to behold. Annihilation will be unavoidable. Every broken enemy will know that their opponent had to be invincible. Take a last look around while you're alive. I'm an indestructible master of war!" How can you not think of monsters kicking ass when you hear that? Great stuff. Speaking of Disturbed, the new album is out and I'm lovin' it.

This has been a rough week. Mostly, that's from putting the finishing touches on this book. Now this one isn't exactly finished, but the hardest part is over. There's a few more editing rounds to come. At least now this story is a finished product in my mind. So many times throughout the process, I think I'm ruining my own product, screwing up my career, or am just lost in the world I've made up. At this stage of the game, there's a definite relief. Of COURSE that's how Book 5 ends! So now it feels good to take a few days off and then jump into Book 6. Actually, I'm already primed for that one.

I think I'll play some games and catch up on some DVDs I need to watch. Downloading the demo for the new Guitar Hero as I type this. I'll finally FINALLY be able to dive back into some more Red Dead Redemption. I actually just started in on Borderlands. See how behind I am?? Plenty of new XBox Arcade titles to dig in to as well. Have you played Shank yet?? Pure Awesome! I want to see The Losers and Book of Eli.

Ok, so that's it for now. Just so you know, I've started sending out bookmarks and stuff as rewards for my plea for online reviews of Skinners. Haven't forgotten, so write those reviews, send me the links and I'll send you some free stuff. The Shimmy's passes are almost done and those will be going out soon. Get 'em while you can!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Amazon beat me to the punch

Hey everyone! The cover for Book 4 is here!!! Actually, I've had these for a while, but wanted to focus more on Book 3 since it was just coming out at the time. Then, well I've gotta be honest, I spaced it until I saw it on Amazon.'s the cover for Skinners #4.

So...what do you think?

It's set to be released on October 26th...just a few days before I'll be at the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus. As usual, I'll be offering to send out free signed promo covers to anyone who would like one. Since I'm on an online review kick at the moment, if you put together a good review and send me a link to it, I'll send you a cover PLUS one of the super cool bookmarks I just got finished making. And yes, the Shimmy's VIP passes are still on their way. All I need are some readers to take this stuff off my hands. Hint-hint....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Business time

Ok, time for me to get serious about marketing. Honestly, I hate this part. I'm a writer, not a salesman. That's why I've decided to make this fun for me which hopefully produces some cool results. Remember my plea for online reviews for Skinners books? Well I'm putting together a cool giveaway as an incentive. It's a badge / VIP Pass for Shimmy's Gentleman's Club (home to everyone's favorite dancer / muse Tristan) that I will sign and personalize with your name and a short inscription which I will send out for free if you help me out by putting some good reviews on sites like, Borders, Barnes & Noble, or other major places like that. Just send me a link to your review along with your address and I'll get you your pass to nymph paradise. (Replica, of course, so don't sue me. If I had real passes to nymph paradise, I'd be there instead of sweating in another Midwestern summer.)

I should have the badges ready to ship out in a few weeks and will only have a limited amount. Who knows? Maybe they'll be collectible. Couldn't really guarantee that, but they should be pretty cool anyway. If this doesn't sound to your liking, maybe you'd prefer a bookmark or autographed sticker / book plate you can put in your copy of Skinners? Let me know. I just know I want to get more proactive with spreading the word! Let's do this!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hate to beg, but....

It's been a while since I've checked my own books on Amazon, B&N or any of those other sites. Mainly, that's because I used to get extremely obsessive about watching the sales ranks rise or fall. Since I'm already doing whatever I think I can, there's no reason to keep fussing with it. Just keep writing and trying to promote and the rest will be there whether I look at it or not. Sounds like a level-headed approach, doesn't it?

Well, I checked the Amazon site yesterday. I was only there to see if they had the cover of Book 4 up already. Good news -- They did! Bad news -- Book 3 only had 1 review! Granted, it was a great review, but I see other books in genre series that are at the same point as I am as far as number of releases, etc and they've got like 50-60 reviews. Does this make any real difference? Do books with more reviews show up on more pages? Does 1 or no reviews place a book lower on the food chain as opposed to straight-up sales? I honestly don't know. I just figure that more reviews couldn't be a bad thing. More GOOD reviews would be awesome!

So here's the deal. I hear from a lot of readers how they like Skinners and I do my best to respond to you all any way I can. If you've got the time, do you think you could write up a review and place it on a site like Amazon, B&, or any other place that might review the book? Word of mouth truly helps sales of any kind and this would be great. I never wanted to come out and ask like this before because it seemed cheesy. Still does, actually. Sorry about that, but I can only create so many fake accounts on Amazon before they realize it's me who LOVES Skinners. Heh.

Now, since I'm a firm believer in being grateful and showing it. I was thinking about offering free signed promo covers for any / all of the Skinners books, but I've been sending those out for free anyway and don't want to suddenly slap a price tag on it. Do you guys want something like that as a thank you for helping me out by writing a review? Maybe I could come up with something cool to give away. I've been working on a promo project recently, but it really won't make sense until Book 5 is published. Let me think it over. Maybe bookmarks? How about a signed VIP pass to Shimmy's? I can think of something. In the meantime, just let me know what you think of this whole campaign. I'm new to the whole "aggressive marketing" thing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We're Skinners. We're werewolves. We're all a little loony!

The end is nigh. Well, at least the end of this draft of Skinners #5. I should finish up with it in a few days and then I can take a much-needed (albeit short) rest before starting in on the NEXT draft. Whew. What really bit me in the ass with this one was the whole "Keep writing until it's finished" mentality for the first draft. That's a good thing because I want it to be a great story and not just one that fits within a certain page count. I originally typed that last bit as "paige count". Heh. See what all of this editing has done to me? Anyway, the first draft wound up being 691 pages. YOWZA! I've cut a significant amount already, saved some for Book 6 and just sent some into story heaven.

I've been on a cartoon binge lately. I think that's got a lot to do with my brain being fried after so many long days of work and me not having any gray matter left when I do get to step away from the computer. Also, I just like cartoons. It's been a lot of 90's stuff like Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, and X-Men. Plus some 80's goodness like Thundercats, He-Man, etc. Throw in some Spongebob and I also found some Tom & Jerry collections for super cheap at WalMart! Funny thing about that. It's hard to find a lot of classic cartoon shorts like Loony Tunes and Tom & Jerry on TV anymore. Plus, they seem to be cut up and edited to shit, so why bother when I do find them? The thing with Tom & Jerry was that Tom's owner in a lot of those classic toons was this big lady who was voiced as some horrible, outdated, and just all-around crude racial stereotype that seems like something from the pre-Civil War days. I know these cartoons are old, but yeeesh! So I pop in my new Tom & Jerry dvd and the first thing on the screen is a disclaimer that basically says, "We know about the racial stuff. Sorry about that. These shorts are from another era. They were wrong then, wrong now, but nothing worth rioting about. Just relax, and enjoy seeing a mouse smack a cat in the face with a frying pan." If you can't laugh at that, you're just beyond hope.

So it's back to work for me. There was something else I wanted to discuss with you guys, but we'll get to that next time. Gotta leave 'em wanting more! Eh, don't get too excited. It's nothing that great.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Editing....that's about it

Wow, it's been a while since my last post. Sorry about that. I wish I could say I've been kicking back and relaxing after OSFest and finishing a preliminary draft of Skinners 5, but that's about as far from the truth as....well...something that's really far away. I wrapped up this draft of Skinners on August 1, took a whole day off and have been editing like a madman ever since. My days are simple. I wake up, watch Price is Right, have breakfast, shower, maybe step outside for a little while, and launch into editing. I'll edit through some pages, take a break for a minute or two of watching something on my DVR that I can start and stop at will, edit, watch, edit, you get the idea. That goes for about 12 hours a day.

I'm not complaining, mind you. The book is coming along GREAT and I'm gearing up for #6. Yes, there will be a Skinners 6. Sweet! Somewhere during my rare downtime, I've been playing a few games. Went through Limbo, which is downloadable on XBox Live Arcade. What an amazing, brilliant, creepy, artistic, sometimes very WRONG game! Love it! You play as a little kid who can't swim (that's important with all the water in this game) who dodges giant spiders and spikes. You die in so many gruesome ways, it makes me giggle. There's even a part where you jump across a lake using the bodies of other little kids who died before you as platforms. Like I said, wrong but fun. It does me good to see horror representing! Plus, I unlocked a creepy little pet for my Avatar. Nice. Still chopping away at Red Dead Redemption and Fallout 3. Yes, I'm still playing Fallout 3.

In movie news, I finally got to see the new Clash of the Titans and Kick Ass. Clash was pretty cool, although not as cool as the original. The first one KNEW it was shooting for cheesy. This one is cheesy in parts, serious in others, whatever. The scorpions, Medusa and Kraken were awesome and that's what I was after. Kick Ass was just f'ing great! Since I wait for the DVD release of just about every movie anymore, it seems dumb to go into detail. It's been out for a while, most everyone else has seen it so who needs my ultra-late reviews, right?

Speaking of behind the times, I just found out that the new Black Label Society CD is coming out on Tuesday. AWESOME! For those of you piecing together a Skinners soundtrack (are there any of you out there??) play BLS's Fire it Up when reading Book 4 in October and Electric Hellfire when reading the big finale battle in Howling Legion.

That's about it for now. Gotta get to work. And I haven't forgotten about my promise to update the main website. I hope to get to it when I have more than a moment to let my brain cool off.

Monday, July 26, 2010

OSFest in the books!

Another OSFest went really well. Convention weekends are always strange for me. I love getting out and seeing all the cool stuff in the dealer's room, meeting other writers, talking to readers, seeing the costumes and everything else that goes along with the con experience. On the other hand, it's a huge shift compared to my normal life of sitting at my computer and writing. Sometimes I hardly see much of anyone throughout the course of a week, so being surrounded by people for days on end takes some getting used to.

This year was a great con and I think better than last year's OSFest. There was more writing programming and the panels went pretty well for the most part. There are always those moments when they derail, but that's the way it goes. All in all, it was a lot of fun. I was geared up for a heated discussion on the Vampires Don't Sparkle panel, but that didn't quite turn out the way I was expecting. I was just along for the ride, however, so no problemmo. The highlight for me was sitting on the World Building panel with Robert J. Sawyer, Chloe Neill and Daniel Nielsen. There was a lot of great discussion, great questions from the crowd and I got to hear some really interesting stories from seasoned pros.

Next up is Archon in October, followed by World Fantasy later that same month. That'll be interesting. Until then, it's back to work!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My OSFest schedule

This weekend is one of the few science fiction conventions held in Omaha. There are plenty of fans in the area, so I don't see why there aren't more cons being held for them around here. Even before the economy took its bite out of everything, pickings were sparse. Anyway, here's what I'll be up to while I'm there:

FRIDAY: 10PM - Panel -- "Bump, There Goes the Neighborhood". I'm guessing this is about the Urban Fantasy / monsters / modern settings trend in books and / or media. We should be able to run with it.
11PM - Reading -- "These Bedbugs Definitely Bite: A Reading with Marcus Pelegrimas". Yes, another reading. As I said in a previous post, I was scheduled for an earlier time, but requested a change so I could be on an anti-Twilight panel. The title for this reading was my idea. Cool? Eh.

SATURDAY: 5PM - Panel -- "Top 10 Tips for Getting Published". Pretty self-explanatory. I'll try to be optimistic and downplay the role of stupid trends and blind luck. Honestly, on bad days, I feel like my first bit of advice for would-be writers is, "Run. It's too late for me, but save yourselves. Just run!"

SUNDAY: 11AM - Panel -- "World Building". I really like the focus on literary craft with convention programming. It gives starting writers a chance to hear some (hopefully) good advice and ask some questions. So if you're a starting writer and attend something like this, please ask us questions! And don't be shy about talking to us afterward. If we've got something else to do right away, we'll let you know and probably will catch you later.
NOON - Panel -- "Vampires Don't Sparkle". How cool is this? I'm sure there are plenty of panels like this at plenty of cons all over the place, but it's still great to talk about. Hey, the sparkly vamps get plenty MORE panels to themselves! Plus, this gives me a chance to gripe in an official capacity.

So there's my official schedule. I'll be hanging out at the con unofficially, so keep an eye out for me if you're so inclined. I can be found in the dealer's room looking at swords, skulls and wolf stuff. Black t-shirts...even though I DON'T need any more...are always a draw. Also, Nevermore Paranormal will be there doing a few panels, so check them out too! See ya there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not an actor, but I did ok.

So readings aren't my best thang, but this one turned out pretty nicely. There weren't a lot of people there, but enough to make it a good event. Thank you to the folks who did show up. Nobody threw stuff at me while I was up there, so that's cool. It was a coffee house, so there was the occasional blender to deal with. On the good side, that gave me the chance to scream lines from my book such as Bob Rothbard's "Go around me ASSHOLE!" from Howling Legion. Big stress reliever. The last word in that quote was delivered to the dude sitting along the wall who refused to stop talking on his cell phone while Matt Rotundo was reading. Heh.

I had a peanut butter / chocolate chiller which was excellent. Cut down on the sweat factor after walking through the sweltering Old Market. This weekend is another reading at OSFest, which I don't expect to get a huge turnout for. It's at 11 PM on Friday. A bad spot, but my choosing since I insisted on rescheduling so I could take part in the "Vampires Don't Sparkle" panel. Worst case scenario: I show up, nobody else does, I leave. No biggie. More on OSFest later...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I am not an actor

Today I'm headed off to do a reading at the 13th Street Coffee House in the beautiful Old Market district in downtown Omaha. I think I've been to the place before, but I've definitely been to the Old Market several times. It's a shopping district with cool stores, funky restaurants and cobblestone streets. There's a great pub called The Dubliner which I've featured in one of my earlier books that was never published. Since MEG has a branch in Omaha, maybe I can fit the place into Skinners before too long.

No matter how nice the venue is, however, I hate doing readings. They really make me appreciate little things like annunciation and voice inflection. The worst part is reading dialogue where there's banter between two characters. Do I just pause between lines to tell the difference between characters when two people are talking? Do I try to do different voices? For Paige do I try a woman's voice? Can I come up with more ways to make my own books sound horrible?

Hopefully it goes all right. Next weekend is the OSFest convention guessed it...another reading! I feel Like I HAVE to do these as part of the whole process. On the good side, I love getting out to meet readers so that should be fun. The only thing I need is for readers to actually show up to thee things. That's always the tricky part.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Arguing with the Demons

My brain has been on overdrive lately. That's the thing with writing as a profession. Lots of the hardest work is done when I'm just sitting there, seemingly watching TV or something while I'm thinking about elements or characters or any number of things that need to be worked out in a manuscript. My brain never stops during these times. NEVER. When I can't come up with what I need, half of my brain is chugging away at the problem and the other half is yelling at me for not being able to figure it out. Yes, I have voices in my head and they're fighting!

Today I'll be submitting another project I've just completed. It's a western ghost writing thing and now that it's done, I can focus on Skinners 5. All the while, my brain's been working out all the parts of Skinners that need to be edited, how they'll be edited, what to keep, what to throw out, which characters go, which stay, what makes sense and what doesn't. The list goes on and on and ON and it's always cycling through my puzzler no matter what I'm doing. When I sleep, I don't get the cool "I just dreamt the BEST story and I should jump out of bed and write it down" sort of dreams. I get the crazy "my brain is busy and frustrated so it's sending me disjointed chaos during my sleepy-time hours" sort of dreams. Is it any wonder why so many writers are alcoholics? Not that I'm spending all this time drunk, but it is almost obscene how good it feels to take a shot of Jim Beam every now and then. Can't drink too much, though, because I've got more work to do.

And don't worry. Despite all of this, Skinners is coming along nicely. Actually, this is more or less my "process" so the book is coming along nicely BECAUSE of this. Really? Why do some writers get a muse and I get psychotic mental ramblings about werewolves and monster hunters? Sure, sometimes those ramblings are pretty cool. That being said, a nice, gentle muse or a million dollar dream would be a pleasant change of pace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It IS better than the demo!

I'm a pretty big believer in signs. I know. Signs, signs, everywhere is signs. But seriously, I do tend to pay attention when I'm pointed in one direction over another. Sometimes it's in regards to big things like career choice, relationships or where I should live. Other times, it's smaller things like whether or not I should buy Crackdown 2 when I hated the demo. I decided to wait until it was marked down or on sale for between $20 and $30. So today, as I'm reading the not-so-bad reviews of this same game, I remember having some gift certificates I earned through the Best Buy Reward Zone Club or whatever. A quick check on their website to see if any more coupons are on the way tells me I can print off another certificate that will essentially bring the price of Crackdown 2 to $26 after taxes. Sign!!

I picked up the game, played it and decided it's more of the goodness I was after. Nothing blazingly new, but more of the same stuff and since that stuff is Crackdown, it's just fine. I think my problem before was that I'd just finished going all the way through Infamous on the PS3, which is an AMAZING game that has a lot of Crackdown elements like climbing around on buildings and stuff. I've only cracked this one open (HA! Cracked!! Ok sorry about that) but if you liked the first Crackdown, the new one should scratch that itch nicely.

Was all of this a big way to delay my work today? Not really because I got a lot done. Was the whole signs thing a flimsy excuse to buy a game I already said I wanted no matter how crappy the demo was? Yeah. You got me on that one.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I've been slacking

Well, the long weekend is over, so it's back to work for me. Actually, since I'm a free-wheeling writer type person, my work schedule has little or nothing to do with official holidays or weekends. I've been working steadily throughout the 4th, although I did take some time to step out onto my balcony and admire several different fireworks displays on the horizon. With the smoke in the air, the crackle of popping explosions and the flickering of bright colors in the sky, I was reminded of some CNN footage from the Desert Storm days. Apart from that, it was really pretty cool.

Also, I was reminded via scathing email from a reader that I've all but forgotten about updating my main website. Jeez, Joshua! Give me a break! Just kidding about the scathing part. I was reminded about neglecting my duties as far as that goes and he's absolutely right. I've just been figuring that nobody's even noticed the links for MEG Files and Skinner Journals where I promised to put up appendices regarding the Skinners and creatures in the series. I'd like to blame Webmaster Steve for this, but can't do it. The truth is I meant to do an update after the series has been out for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it. Well, the series HAS been around for a little while and seems to be doing pretty well. I'll get off my butt and put something on there by the end of the month.

In gaming news, I played the demo for Crackdown 2. I loved Crackdown. Seriously, I played the living hell out of that game. The demo for this one just seems bland. The graphics seem really dull and the game mechanics are clunky at best. I want SO DESPERATELY to like this game, but the demo hasn't sold me. Should I say "It's just a demo and not the final build, so give the game a chance" or "Most demos are pretty close to the actual games, so steer clear until the price drops"? With so many games coming out, I'm leaning toward the second one. We'll see if my willpower holds out when I see it on the shelves.

That's it for now. Got to wrap up one western project, continue plucking away at Skinners 5 and oh look...there's the final edits for Skinners 4! I can do this, right?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back from the road

I just got back from the Western Writers Convention in Knoxville, TN. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet some very nice people. Now, many of you who know me for Skinners may not be able to picture me at a western writers convention. Lots of hats, big buckles and boots, right? Well, yes but I don't wear any of those. I have some black cowboy hats, many of which are pretty cool in a Rob Zombie / ZZ Top sort of way. If I could grow a cool beard like any of those guys, I'd be all about the cowboy hats. Come to think of it, the ZZ Top guys aren't really known for their hats. They're still cool, though.

Thought I'd get some work done while on the road. Brought my laptop and everything. Didn't happen. Oddly enough, I did wind up talking about video games. Specifically, Red Dead Redemption. That's just one more thing to let us know that the western genre isn't forgotten. People just want GOOD stuff in that category. [Insert derogatory comment about my own western series here] So many industry experts and editors talk about how the Old West is dead and buried. I say that's bullshit. Plenty of writers (me included) are coming up with stuff, but have a hard time selling them because the execs who do the buying are convinced there's no audience. I'd say the legions of people playing Red Dead at this very moment would disagree.

So now I'm back and trying to get some work done. Too bad I've talked about Red Dead so much now that I want to play. NO!!! Must...resist! Must....type!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Big Three

E3 is pretty much wrapped up now. I think it goes through today, but all the big announcements were made by the end of Tuesday. I was able to see the Microsoft briefing on Monday and the Nintendo one late Tuesday, but had a lot of trouble catching the Sony one. I had to watch them online, so there was a lot of crashed sites, buffering, broken links and that sort of thing. I finally caught up when Sony posted the briefing on PSN. So anyway, here goes.

Microsoft - They were all about their "controller-free" motion control system which is now called Kinect. Looks very cool at first until I think about how I'm going to play games where I do something other than swatting or jumping over stuff. The big focus is to get gamers off their butts and interacting with their TV. My problem is that when I have time to game, I WANT to sit on my butt. If I had kids, I'd be much more excited about this but being a guy who's pushing 40, I got winded from watching the Kinect demos put on by all those athletes and "active people". There are some games that look awesome such as a Metal Gear sword-type game where you can run around and slice anything into pieces, including trucks and (of course) people. YES! I'm severely pumped for Gears of War 3 and the new Halo game looks amazing.

Nintendo - There was a lot to like about this one. The new Zelda and Metroid games jump out right away, but their big focus was on the 3DS. It's a DS with 3D that's supposed to work without glasses. They couldn't show it to anyone who wasn't there to see it first-hand, but I have enough faith in Nintendo to figure it's probably pretty cool. The new Zelda looked impressive, even if it wasn't working at 100% for the presentation. Nintendo has a lot of hardcore fans and it's funny to hear them hoot and holler for the slightest things. New Kirby game? YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! He looks like a ball of yarn now??? HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Not that I didn't blow my wad when I saw the new Gears, but it's still funny to hear such unbridled wonderment over so many things in a row. Kind of like dropping a pirated advance copy of Rob-sessed 2 into a middle school cafeteria. Or, my reaction to the Star Wars lightsaber game for XBox's Kinect.

Sony - They have a new motion controller too and this is the one I've been most excited about. It's an actual controller that looks much better suited for "real" games. A great deal of their presentation was in pointing this out (heh...get it? Pointing. It's a pointer controller! Moving on) and making fun of Microsoft's lack of buttons. Oddly enough, the coolest presentation they had for their motion control thing (The PS Move) was a game called Sorcery. This was odd, because I thought it was a game that could actually be played pretty well on the Kinect. Oh well. There were tons of games to love including Killzone 3 and a new God of War for the PSP. Sony also spent a lot of time harping their 3D tech. Do I need to buy one of those new TVs for that or does it come through fine with the PS3 alone? I'm not sure. It's one of those things that looks cool, but seems out of my reach. HA! Reach!! Like it's 3D and I'm reaching for....never mind. I'm burned out from looking at too many game trailers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Radio spot

For those of you not in the Illinois area or if you just somehow missed my interview on WSPL a little while back, here's a link to hear the streamed version. Hope you like it and before you comment on how bad my voice is or how dorky I sound...I already know!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Writer's Jam Report

Yesterday was my first jam session. Ha. Hilarious. Hey, I've never been in a band, so at least let me say that once. The event at Krypton Comics turned out to be a lot better than suggested by first appearances. When I arrived, there were three cars in the parking lot: mine, another writer's and someone else's. Going by past experiences with signings and such, that car was our only audience member or possibly just someone looking to buy comics. The rest of us showed up and by the time the panel got rolling, all of the seats that had been set up for the event were filled!

A great group turned up both behind the table and in the audience. It's always nice to be around other writers since we don't really get a chance to commiserate in regards to shop talk. At least, anti-social, sun-dreading cave-dwellers like me don't get many opportunities like that. It's always so refreshing to swap editing stories and compare industry nightmares. There were plenty of great tips for the audience as well. That's good, since it was a panel for them.

One funny / embarrassing thing. There was a woman in the audience who I recognized as someone I'd gone to high school with. She's been to one of my signings and I was happy to see her at this event. I saw her in the audience, smiled and acknowledged her a few times with a nod amd afterward, I figured she'd come up to say hello. She came up, talked to the person next to me and left without a word to her old classmate. Odd. Well, not really. I checked that high school friend's Facebook page and found out she's been in Cincinnati since Thursday. To that very nice complete stranger in the audience yesterday...sorry about all of that smiling and nodding. To that high school on the alert because you have a doppelganger!! Honest mistake on my part. Remember, I don't get out much.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Almost E3 time!!

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) happens next week and I'm looking forward to it. That's when all the big video game announcements for the next year or so are made and it's pretty exciting for gaming geeks like me. Seems like the festivities have kicked off a little early, because this new trailer hit the internet and it looks AWESOME. Seems like the new Mortal Kombat is taking a cue from the newest Street Fighter games by keeping the gameplay 2D while boosting the graphics and everything else to current gen standards. See for yourself...


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

OSFest is shaping up!

Next month is the OSFest convention here in Omaha. I'm always glad to do local events like this. There's a great community out here and the previous OSFests have been wonderful. This year looks to be even better! Click on the link in the "Out and About" section above to see their website.

I recently got a list of the panels that are scheduled and it looks like I've got some fun ones to look forward to. On Friday night, there's one called, "Bump, there goes the neighborhood". I don't have details on every panel, but I'm thinking this has something to do with monsters in modern day or urban settings or something along those lines. Should be cool. On Sunday, there's a panel on World Building and I was also supposed to do a reading. Then I saw my reading was scheduled opposite a panel called, "Vampires Don't Sparkle". Now, I'm not one to rock the boat with programming, but I HAD to be on an anti-sparkle panel! I contacted the OSFest guys and told them I'd sacrifice my reading to sit on that panel. They were gracious enough to not only put me on the panel, but reschedule my reading for late Saturday night. I hope to have a few people show up for the reading, which should be a lot of fun. One convention had me there to promote Skinners, but listed me with all of my western credits and billed my reading as something of a good ol' time to round up the cowpokes. Needless to say, some of the people in attendance were horrified when I read the opening mutilations from Howling Legion instead. Oh well. Being a horror author, that kind of reaction is fine with me.

So it looks like OSFest is going to be great. Anyone in the Omaha area the weekend of July 23-25 should check it out! The folks from Nevermore Paranormal will be there as well, so come on down and say hello to some real MEG guys! See you there.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Making your weekend plans so you don't have to!

This weekend wasn't bad, but wasn't as cool as this weekend will be! This Saturday is the Writer's Jam at Krypton Comics here in Omaha. For those of you in the area, come on over to enjoy a panel of writers including me, Chloe Neill, Matthew Rotundo, Travis Heermann and others. My apologies to the others. This is the list of participants as far as my latest info tells me. The event is set up to be a series with panels held every so often on the subject of the craft / business of writing. Should be a lot of fun for anyone interested in writing or writers. There will be plenty of chances for Q & A and of course you'll be able to buy our books and get them signed. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Krypton Comics is a great store anyway, filled with all the stuff that makes every geek's heart sing. At least, it makes THIS geek's heart sing. Anyway, I hope to see a bunch of you there. If you're a writer, the best advice comes from other writers. If nothing else, talking to more of us makes you realize you're not the only one who goes crrrrazy trying to piece a story together.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

...but I'm not making a habit of it.

Yesterday, I woke up earlier than usual and for some reason was thinking about Iron Man. That sounds weird, I know, but there it is. I figured I could get to an early show and be back in time to start work. Well I did and it was actually good. I was expecting Iron Man 2 to be pretty good and it WAS! Took a little while to get to some real Iron Man action, but the movie was great!! What I'm surprised about was the actual theater experience. I've been spoiled with the home theater and annoyed with the "high price / loud jackasses with their phones" combo pack, which has gotten me into the habit of waiting for DVD releases.

This time was great! At first, it looked like I was going to be the only one in the theater. Eventually 5 more people wandered in but kept to themselves. No screaming during every quiet part. No yapping on their phone or texting while using the most blindingly bright screen setting possible. And no tossing beach balls around before the previews started. What the HELL is up with that??? Is that a local thing or some new and improved form of douche baggery?

Even more surprising was the fact that I was the ONLY ONE who stayed through the credits to see the last scene and most recent teaser for the next Marvel movie. Now, this is where it's very cool seeing a genre movie in a big crowd on opening day. We're all there as one big geek collective. We all know about the secret scene and applaud after watching it with baited breath. Although the home theater is great in every other way, there's no beating the experience of sitting in a theater packed full of like-minded nerds who just want to see comic books come to life.

This was a very cool movie and a fun day out. You know what brought me back to my original line of thinking? The price of my ticket and snacks was about the same as buying the DVD.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Seriously...I did do SOME work over the long weekend

Although I don't generally get to partake in long weekends (or any weekends) like everybody else since writers typically always need to work, I did get some down time over this last one. Mostly, I caught up on a bunch of housework type of stuff like cleaning the bathroom and buzzing my hair. I know it's time to shave it off when there's enough hair to get bed-head. Since I could actually feel some movement up there when the wind blew, I was getting dangerously close to "hippie phase".

Also, and much more interestingly, I caught up on some movies I've been wanting to see. First up was Land of the Lost. This one is the embodiment of why NetFlix is so great. I mainly use the Instant Queue on the XBox, so the DVDs they send me through the mail are freebies in my mind. Land of the Lost is one I wanted to see because Will Ferrel is always pretty funny but the movie had the chance to be too stupid for words. Well, it was pretty stupid, but in a great way. I laughed my ass off at some stuff. Then again, I still find the Three Stooges to be hilarious so that's that.

Next was Legion. When I think of a movie where angels come down from the heavens to kick human ass, the first one that comes to mind is The Prophecy. That movie is AWESOME. Legion, while not as good as that, was pretty cool. I liked the premise of God getting "fed up with all the bullshit" (as stated by the main character) and deciding to clean house again. Instead of a flood, He sends in a bunch of flippin' cool demon type things. Michael stands up for us, Gabriel comes in to get his hands dirty, angelic throwdown commences. Very nice! I would have liked a little more of the creepy stuff and action, but that's no surprise, right? Recommended.

Day Two started off with Dragon Wars. This is a movie that's all about expectations. Anyone who's read this blog knows about my fondness for those crappy Sci-Fi Channel (since I still cringe to call it SyFy Channel) movies. You know, like Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus? Those movies are perfect relaxation tools where you watch some over-the-top stuff and plot-wise it doesn't matter if you fall asleep anywhere along the line. Dragon Wars seemed like one of those with a much bigger budget. Well, that's actually a fair description. Are you expecting a riveting plot that makes sense all the way through with characters that behave rationally and get wounded when they're shot? This one's not for you. If you're ready to kick back and see some huge and honestly very cool giant monsters stomp and fly through modern cities? Then you'll have a fun time with this. I was fully signed on for the latter of those and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Were there laugh-out-loud dumb moments scattered throughout? Oh yeah, but that's part of the fun.

Finally, there was Daybreakers. Seems like I saved the best for last because this one was great! Very cool premise. Awesome effects. Scary vampires. Willem Dafoe!!! It starts off with the vampires having already taken over and settled in to make the world their own, complete with vamp advertising campaigns and cars that are protected against sunlight. I thought the Subwalk underground walkway was a cool touch. Humans are slapped into giant milking machines and drained of blood. I especially loved the horrific bat-vamps that came about when regular bloodsuckers were starved for too long. They mutated into these big Nosferatu dudes with wings and feet that could grab onto the ceiling Spider-Man style. Awesome?? I think so.

And today I run out to the store to buy The Wolf Man on DVD. Or should I go Blu Ray? Can't wait for this one. Please don't let the ads make this look better than it is. I want to love this movie SO MUCH!! I'll let you know.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Here's something that makes me look super old. Remember the show WKRP in Cincinnati? No? Well now I feel old. Thanks a lot. Heh.

I had the opportunity to be on WSPL's Morning Show with Jaimie London and it was a lot of fun. She even remembered me from the talk we had when Howling Legion was released. What can I say? I'm a guy, so it's nice to have women remember me. I've done a few interviews for all the Skinners books and I always get nervous. Thanks to some great hosting, I think I sounded all right. I'll see for sure if I embarrassed myself when I listen to the playback sometime. For those of you who know WKRP, do you remember how Dr. Johnny Fever got fired from one of his old jobs? He said "booger" on the air. Hey, it was funny in the 70's! I can still see Howard Hesseman sitting at his mike during a moment of rock 'n roll rebellion and growling, "BOOGerrrrr!!". Well guess what I have to concentrate very hard NOT to say when I'm doing a radio spot. Somehow, I controlled myself.
Thanks, Jaime. See ya for Book 4!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Online Multiplayer -OR- Meeting New Jerks From Across The World

So I've been playing a lot of ModNation Racers on the PS3. Very cool game and ranks high on the Cute-o-Meter, which is a fun change from my normal splatteriffic, headshot-heavy fare. The online component is huge with this game and it really shows the variety you get when you dive in to multiplayer.

First, there's the good side. At times, this game makes me realize why I've got my console hooked into the internet in the first place. Racing with cool people who take a lot of time to put together some awesome tracks and then being able to download those tracks after the game. We comment on how fun it was, go on to the next one and I feel good about dropping the cash for the game.

Then, there's the bad. I join another multiplayer lobby and immediately get to hear everyone swearing at everyone else or singing. Yes...SINGING. Now I realize I was just talking about how bad my language gets when playing Mario Kart, but that's not when I'm playing with other people. Somehow, it just seems like I'm getting hosed so much worse when the computer is the one doing it. Oh sure!! Of COURSE you get the perfect power ups for every situation. You're the freaking COMPUTER!!! Let the human win every now and then. Remember Tron?? The users were GODS there and the programs worshipped them. That's how it SHOULD be!!!

Sorry about that. Back to the singing lobby. I don't have a headset hooked up and don't know how to mute other players (or if I can) so I ignore them and go about my race. Even knowing they're real people that I can't see makes the whole thing less stressful for me. I lose a race, I stick around for the next one. I get hit by a power up and I keep going, even though that power up is accompanied by a scratchy, vaguely anonymous "Take that, bitch!" from some dude's headset. The loading times are a bear on this game, so I stick around because I don't want to take the time to find another lobby. The icing on the cake is when I finally win one race. ONE race goes my way and as soon as I get back to the lobby, I get the boot. I'm out, by myself, wondering why I bother interacting with anyone and expect it to be fun. High school all over again. Doh!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Picked up Super Mario Galaxy 2 and was not disappointed. So far, it's every bit as well made, easy on the eyes and just plain fun as most of the other Mario games. Maybe it's bad for my "horror dude" image, but I don't mind sitting there, grinning like an idiot while living vicariously through a mustachioed plumber riding a little chubby dinosaur. Let's face it, life sucks sometimes. Sometimes, it sucks a LOT and Mario is like a dose of happy mainlined into your arteries. Who wouldn't want to spend some time in the Mushroom Kingdom when times get hard. Then again, I suppose a lot of people spend time there, but rehab usually follows.

I've heard about nursing homes using the Wii for physical therapy, but they should put Super Mario games into mental hospitals to help relieve depression. Keep it away from the folks with hallucinations, though. Seeing talking mushrooms and floors that fall away into nothingness won't do them any favors.

I'm seriously considering getting ModNation Racers for the PS3. Another dose of cute, but in go-kart form. Creating my own tracks and karts looks just easy enough for me to give it a go. Speaking of karts, I haven't stopped playing Mario Kart on the Wii. I've got to say, despite its Mario-cute factor, I spew more obscenities per second during that game than any other. And that includes games where I get shot, stabbed, or otherwise worked over by an unrelenting and unforgiving AI with superior processing power behind it. Getting tea bagged by some dickhead 11 year-old on XBox Live? It happens. Getting dicked over by a stuck-up blond princess throwing a blue mushroom at me when the finish line is in sight? That's tough. Hearing her honk, yell and wave at me as she drives by to steal my victory for the 5th race in a row?? That mother f*%$ing little bi&$h has gotta PAY!!!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chick Has Very Low Pain Threshold - Watch more Funny Videos
Not long ago, I finally got the piece on my leg completed. It's a Skinners tattoo with Paige and a Full Blood that took upwards of 30 hours total to complete. Jesse at Nuclear Ink did the work and it's freaking awesome. Although there were rough patches sometimes, it was NEVER as bad as this. Yowza!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bram Stoker 2...this time, it's PERSONAL

Remember how I'm appearing all month long at the Barnes & Noble Paranormal book club? Well if you haven't stopped by, get over there! Wait...after you read this blog.

So far, there have been some fun discussions on the board but I sure didn't see this one coming. Paul Goat Allen's blog was all about me and the Skinners saga (it's pretty cool for me to think of it as a "saga") and frankly, I was blown away by the title alone. It's called Vampires, Van Halen and Video Gaming: Why Marcus Pelegrimas is the Bram Stoker of the 21st Century. Click here to read it for yourself. My first thought was that this was a tongue in cheek sort of thing that would end up with a big ol' "Bazinga!" Not that Paul is a mean sort of guy, of course. Like I said before, I was just blown away.

So go read the blog and keep reading while you're at that site. There's plenty of great stuff to catch your eye.

I have to go play some more Split Second. With the push of a button, I can collapse a building or drop a dry-docked boat onto my fellow racers. How could I not love this game??

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm one happy geek

Yesterday was a big day for game releases. Actually, Tuesday is always a mini-event because new games as well as new DVDs are released so it tickles me on a few of my sweet spots. That sounds more than a little nasty, but you get what I'm saying. Nothing hit as far as DVDs that I wanted, but there were games coming out the wazoo!! And by that, I don't mean this guy. He's The Great Gazoo. I don't want anything that comes out of him.

Anyway, I was trying to decide if I should break down and buy a new game and, if so, which one. In the middle of that process, I checked my Facebook page and found a little somethin' that a reader whipped up. It's a Magic: The Gathering card featuring the Blood Blade! How freaking cool is this? Just the sight of it made my geeky heart skip a beat. Even stranger is the fact that I actually have this knife. Bought it at a con because I thought it looked like a Blood Blade. Coincidence? I think not. Actually, probably is a coincidence, but still a cool one. Thanks, Michael!

On the video game front, Alan Wake, Split Second, new Prince of Persia, and Red Dead Redemption were some of the releases that had caught my eye. I intended on getting Red Dead simply because someone FINALLY made a high quality open-world western game. The only thing that stayed my hand was the fact that I'm in the middle of some open-world goodness now (Infamous, Fallout 3, GTA 4 -- I know these have been out for a while, but I'm slow!!) and would like to wrap up at least one of them before diving into another. Alan Wake is about a horror writer who fights monsters, so that was a no-brainer. Plus, I think I can find a way to use that as a tax write-off. Research? While I was in Best Buy, the girl in the blue shirt wandering the aisles told me they had the Split Second demo set up on one of their plasma screens. I checked it out, fell in love with the idea of blowing up buildings while racing and dodging debris, and picked that one up too. Damn you, Best Buy Temptress!!!

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.