A Few Simple Things

Cover to Simple Things, an anthologyLots going on the past couple of weeks and plenty to catch everyone up on, but first things first. The blog. No, not forgotten, but tried doing the trendy thing and using Facebook for updates. Can’t stand Facebook, though, the Replies function sucks, so, while I’ll keep sharing stuff there, back to blogging. That blogging is now considered ‘old school’? Well, that’s tech for you, eh?

On to this week’s good news. Couple months back, got a tip on a new horror anthology that was looking for subs. The book’s premise was, ordinary, everyday, simple things that had the potential to be forces of evil. The kinds of things you’d find in a secondhand store, thrift shop, you know the type of place I’m talking about. Well, the summer’s been crazy what with some family issues, some travel (planned & unplanned), things going on here at the house and life in general. I almost bailed out on the story twice. I started a couple of times, things went haywire outside of writing, and it got real iffy for a while.

The good thing was, I had a concept I felt was solid, had a decent idea of where I wanted to go with it, and figured unless I hit the wall deadline-wise, I’d find a way to carve out the time and make it happen, especially because the guy who tipped me is a great storyteller and was going to be running the show. Lo and behold, got on a roll a few days before relatives came to town, stayed up three nights straight to finish the first draft, went three days on 8 hours sleep to get a really good final done, and, even though Pam was out of town (she always sends out my attachments because my software is so out of date), it got there.

I was sent the contract for Simple Things, by Lycan Valley Press, last Friday. Cover appears.well, somewhere in here. Damned if I know. Release date is – you guessed it – October, just in time for Halloween. I’m not gonna spoil anything, so click thru to see who I’m lucky enough to be sharing the table of contents with – it’s an impressive list of fellow sickos. Also have subs out at a couple of other new places, and will update on that as I hear those tales’ fates. In the meantime,  working on two new stories, one that’s likely to go into my next anthology because I’m not sure there’s a mag or publisher out there looking for material this unspeakable, but if any fellow scribes or avid readers are aware of an outlet looking for a story you’d describe in a word as: reprehensible, let me know. Hope all you guys out there are doing well, and enjoying the summer as much as I am.

Currently listening to: “Let the Day Begin” by The Call


As some of you saw, new WordPress plug-in was a failure, and blogging by e-mail left just as many Ev – Subject:s in once uploaded, if not more. Latecomers just saw the edited, “Looks fine to me… version. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

The more I hear U2’s The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) the more I think: 20 years ago, this would’ve been a future track, currently in its gelatinous, incubation stage. And yeah, I *can* hear the promise of U2 circa 1982 buried in this thing, which should’ve been left in the oven a while longer before being released. My thought is, either they just rushed it, or they’ve gotten so complacent they thought this was ready to go. I hope it’s the former and the Apple money, and this isn’t just the creative end of the road for Bono & company.

Is it just middle age, or am I the only one noticing that not only does every male singer who goes by their own name sound the same, but that whine-singing has become the norm? What? No one in the top 40’s got a voice any more? No one can hit a note? And, if they can’t hit it, instead of working around their vocal shortcomings, they drop down and squeak out a sad, raw, college radio sound? Really? Is that what sells now? Heard a guy on the Link the other day (the local, uh, ‘Modern Music” station) and could’ve sworn it was an old Cheryl Crow B-side.

Speaking of middle age (and yeah, I’m getting more comfortable calling it that, although technically it’s gotta be old age, because the odds of me making it to a hundred are pretty freaking lousy), reason I need to put up a pool #58: I’m too lazy to haul my ass in and out of the shower three times a day after working out. I’m going grey already, so the chlorine I can tolerate. But the whole warm water in a state as humid as Florida, lather, rinse, lather, rinse, shampoo, rinse, dry off thing is getting’ old *fast* with all the treadmilling and Bowflexing, and if we get the new equipment Pam and I are talking about investing in? Well, one of those spring-up pools better be part of the mix.

Is there anyone more intolerant than someone who demands you accept them as they are…who then proceeds to tell you who they are in more detail than any stranger you’ve ever met? Hey, chief, it’s a big world. I don’t give a damn about how transgender you are behind me at Wendy’s while I’m trying to figure out if I want the chicken sandwich or a double with cheese and onions, all right? Take your gender-neutral bullshit out in the parking lot and ram it down your friend’s throat. I can’t even see you, so no, I don’t give a damn that you’re expressing yourself and your identity is just as worthwhile as anyone else’s. Get your fu@k!ng debit card out and just pay for your unsalted baked potato and eat like other human beings, all right? The line at a fast food joint is *not* automatically a “teaching moment” for everyone around you, got it?

I’m convinced that the Spotify algorithm figures out what you like, and then tries to drive you to Pandora if you don’t wanna pay the $10 a month for basic radio. Heck, I don’t mind listening to a commercial or two an hour, guys. You get big money from those advertisers. If you want $10 a month out of me just so I can hit Skip when you keep playing the same 15 songs??? Piss off. Iggy Pop’s been recording since the ’70s. If I tune in to an Iggy Pop/similar artists station, don’t tell me that between Iggy, Bowie, the Velvet Underground, the Ramones and the Kinks you can’t come up with a playlist that I can work out to for 2 hours without repeating anything. And, if I hear Real Wild Child two days in a row, and Space Oddity, and Rebel Rebel in the same order? Why should I have faith in your music service when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs that your catalog blows and you don’t have enough songs to round out an afternoon, much less a month?

I think Don Imus should set up live outside Al Sharpton’s offices and sit there and broadcast until the race-baiting Reverend issues a statement on the Kentucky kid who called that basketball player from Wisconsin a ‘nigga.’ C’mon, Al, where’s the outrage? I guarantee if Imus had said, “Fu@k that nigga” about one of the Kentucky hoopsters, you’d have been boycotting him the way you did when he made the “Nappy-headed ho’s” comment years ago. Why aren’t you up in arms now, huh Al?

I’m not into the texting slang, and the lingo that goes along with typical online chatter. I don’t like using 3s for Es, I’m not into waz over was, I don’t much like any of that crap. However, since I’m still testing out the blog plug-in, I’m going with the Z in today’s blog title so it’s easy to search. I know…That’s not hipster! but too bad.

Got a good chunk of the intro to the new horror story done last night. Of course, something struck me after I’d been trying to get to sleep for an hour, and then Whammo!—inspiration. But I rode it ’til about 4:45am, and liked what I read this morning when I got off the treadmill. So far, so good, at least insofar as rough drafts go. Gonna be subbing this one to an upcoming anthology, so will keep you folks posted about what happens and when/where it’ll be released, even if it’s not published in that book. I can always put it up on Kindle as a stand-alone if need be.

Knowing that the Nassau Coliseum is closing still depresses me. There will never be another building like Fort Neverlose when the Isles were dominating the NHL and winning 4 straight Cups. It was something else, being a young fan in those days (I was there with Dad the night they beat the North Stars for Cup #2). The Brooklyn Islanders??? How did they ever let that happen. 

I’ve become far less militant in my anti-Pepsi lifestyle. Probably because Diet Pepsi works a little better for my diet milk & chocolate-syrup sodas, but probably also because if it’s a buck a bottle? I’ll drink just about anything. That WalMart Sprite knock-off? I can’t tell the difference. But their cola? Sorry, guys, not at any price. That stuff needs some serious work.

Enjoy the week, especially you baseball fans. Even you folks in Chicago. Just think, the Cubs aren’t out of it yet…