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Jul 28, 2011

Teaser 2 for "Scary Dead Things"

A (rough unedited :) excerpt from Scary Dead Things
The Tome of Bill Book 2
Coming Fall 2011

*CRUNCH* Yep, no matter what way you put it, being hurled through a wall hurts. It's funny, just a few short months ago I would have argued that the dreaded atomic wedgie was the most common indignity I had suffered throughout my life. Considering that the proportion of ass-crack related incidents in one's life tends to decrease dramatically post high-school, that's not such a bad thing. After all, most people just won't wedgie another adult. Why? Well my personal theory is that part of becoming an adult means that we start asking much deeper questions about life than when we were kids. One such question being: do I really want to put my hands where this person's dirty ass has been?

That being said, getting thrown through the air to crash into, and sometimes through, solid objects was becoming a disturbingly common occurrence in my life as of late. Considering what it typically felt like to have this done to me, I was beginning to find myself oddly nostalgic about just having my underwear bunched up my ass by some prankster.

Just in case you’re taking notes, brick and concrete were easily the least fun barriers I had been smashed into. Although a wooden retaining wall, which oddly enough was the type I found myself plowing into now, wasn't exactly a vacation in Bermuda either. If this kept up I might have to consider starting a blog about all the scenic walls in the Tri-State areas and what it felt like to be flung through each and every one of them.

Although, right now wasn't exactly an ideal time for blogging. I was just starting to pull myself to my feet when a dark, angry form emerged from the shadows. It was Samuel. He was the leader of a coven of vampires from Queens, that called themselves the HBC due to their home territory including the Howard Beach area. It was a stupid name, but considering my own group was known as Village Coven, due to being headquartered in fucking SoHo, I was probably in no position to be throwing stones.

Apparently it was tradition to name covens after their territories. Sure you wound up with some silly names, (I had heard there was a Scotrun Coven in Pennsylvania, which was bad for them because they would forever more be known in my mind as the Scrotum Coven) but it probably beat the alternative. If every coven was given free reign for names, I had little doubt we'd all wind up with dopey crap like: The Blood Brotherhood, The Midnight Raiders, or maybe The Sons of Darkness. In short, we'd all sound like retarded local chapters of the Legion of Doom. My own coven had a rule not too long ago regarding taking new personal pseudonyms and we wound up with stupid shit like people calling themselves things like Rage Vector, Night Razor, and Dr. Death. So, all things considered, I could probably live with Village Coven.

Still, worrying about things like coven names is probably best left to times when you're not in danger of of getting your head torn off. Samuel leapt at me, no doubt going for the kill. Well ok, maybe that's a bit obvious. After all you typically don't fling yourself through the air at people you're having a polite conversation with about the weather. Fortunately for me, I was far from out of it. I may not able to dish it out as well as some others, but I can definitely take it. See, I'm a vampire too. I also have a lot of aforementioned experience getting tossed around. You build up a tolerance to it after a while. Those two things combined allowed me to recover quickly enough to snatch a busted two by four out of the rubble of the safe-house wall I had just plowed through. Before Samuel could fully cover the distance, I swung the beam and connected with a solid *KAPOW*. Samuel went flying back into the shadows from whence he just came. That gave me a breather, but I knew it wouldn't be nearly enough to finish him.

In barely the space of a breath he was back up. Samuel crossed the distance between us almost faster than I could see. I just barely had enough time to brace myself before he hit me in the side of the head with a wild backhand swing. I went down. Truth be told, under normal circumstances the blow would have probably put me down for the count. But these weren't normal circumstances and I'm not a normal vampire.....if there even is such a thing.

*******************

Like what you see? Be sure to check out the Tome of Bill Book 1, Bill The Vampire

Available for your favorite e-readers:

Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook
SmashWords

Jul 22, 2011

Teaser for "Scary Dead Things"

A (rough unedited :) excerpt from Scary Dead Things
The Tome of Bill Book 2
Coming Fall 2011

Traffic was surprisingly light for a Sunday night. I was sitting in the passenger seat of Ed's two seater, piece-of-shit and my roommate was behind the wheel driving. We were heading south on route 287, towards the Outerbridge Crossing. Ed had been good enough to come down and give me a ride back home. I was glad. It had been long weekend and I was in no mood to deal with either NJ or NY transit to get back home.

It was early fall, so no jersey shore traffic to content with. Even so, considering it was only about 6 pm, traffic was pretty light heading towards Staten Island. Oh well, it was that lull that tends to happen around late September / early October. People were still burnt out from the summer and the holiday rush was still a good month or so off. This was one of those rare times when people just kinda stayed put. In short the asshole ratio in the roads was low. I liked times like this.

Ed and I had been listening to some rock music on the radio, or at least what the DJ was calling rock music. There were very few real rock stations in New Jersey. Most played either classic rock, which was mostly tolerable, or a combination of lousy ballads and pop rock (which had just enough guitar riffs to be outside of the Justin Beiber demographic....barely). We had been discussing how real, kick ass rock music was such a rare commodity when my cell rang.

I picked it up and answered with a "Hello."

"William, is there something you would like to tell me?" said the voice of my dad. Uh oh. That wasn't a good sign. If he was calling me William, it meant he had noticed the little mistake I had left behind from my weekend of housesitting.

I decided to do what I did best, play dumb. "Nope. It was a quiet weekend, dad."

"I'm sure it was." said my dad's voice in a tone that said he didn't even remotely believe me, "and your mother and I appreciate you coming down and keeping and eye on the place while we were down at the beach." The 'beach' in this case being one, or more, of the many casinos down in Atlantic City.

"No problem dad! Anyway. Well I gotta..." I tried to end the call on a chipper note.

"Hold it!" said the voice on the other end, "I guess I won't beat around the bush. What the hell did you do to Angel?" at the mention of the name of her favorite cat, I could hear my mother in the background. She was wailing and carrying on, and in general sounded like she was in the middle of a major freakout.

"Mom sounds kind of upset." I said.

"I noticed." said my father, sarcasm oozing out of his voice, "And do you want to know why?" he asked, despite the fact that I had a pretty good idea why and he most likely knew it.

"Why?" I asked innocently.

"Because right now she's vacuuming up a pile of Angel dust!" he growled.

"Angel dust? You know, she should hold onto that. I hear the street value's off the charts if it's the good stuff." I joked.

"I'm not laughing, William."

"Sorry, sir." I automatically said, despite being an adult, having a job, living on my own, and...oh yeah...being a freaking vampire. "What happened?" I asked, genuinely curious. After all, I wasn't entirely sure how things had played out....especially since I had made it a point to bug out of dodge before my parents got home, even going so far as donning a hoodie, sunglasses, and a ski mask so as to be able to brave the daylight without bursting into flames. Probably not the manliest way I could have handled the situation, but then again I like to think there's a fine line between bravery and idiocy and sticking around would probably have crossed that line.

"When we got home your mother noticed the cat was acting a little strange." my father explained, "She was hissing and carrying on."

"They're cats." I said innocently, "They go loopy every now and then."

"Don't be stupid. You know Angel." chided my dad, "You could step on the stupid cat's.....sorry dear.....head and she wouldn't bat an eyelash. But not today. When we got home she was going absolutely nuts. And there was something wrong with her eyes. They had gone black like a shark's. That definitely was not normal."

"Distemper?" I unhelpfully queried.

"Not unless it was the most extreme case of distemper there's ever been." Dad continued, "Your mom was a mess. Made me go get the cat carrier so we could rush her to the vet." Oh boy, I think I knew where this was going. "I had the damnedest time getting her in it too. Little bitch kept going after me."

"She didn't bite you did she?" I asked worriedly. I hadn't considered that. I wasn't even sure she could pass it back on to humans, but it was a risk I wasn't really willing to take.....at least not with my parents.

"No, but she came damn close. I had to put on some work gloves to finally get her in. Then it got weird." (Yeah I bet it did)

"I'm listening."

"Your mom got in the car, but I left my wallet in the house. I sat the cat carrier out on the walk and went back inside to grab it and then..."

"In the sun?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

"What?"

"Did you leave the carrier in the sun?" I repeated.

"I don't know. I guess so. What does it matter?" dad said irritably, "All I know is that one minute it's quiet and the next I hear your mom carrying on and on like a mad woman. I ran back outside and do you know what I found? The cat carrier was on fire, and I'm not just talking a few sparks. It was like someone doused it with lighter fluid."

I was definitely starting to get a sinking feeling in my stomach.

"By the time I got the hose, though, the fire was already out." Dad went on with his gruesome tale, "The damnedest thing was the cat. I was expecting her to be all burnt up, but there was nothing left. She was completely vaporized. All that was left was a pile of ashes with her collar sticking out of it."

"Wow. That's....bizarre." I said, understating the whole thing.

"Yes, bizarre is one word for it. So that's why I want to know whether or not anything odd happened this weekend while you were around."

"No idea." I lied, "Like I said, dad, it was a slow weekend. Barely saw the cat. She kept to herself. Other than that, not much going on....hello dad? Dad? I'm losing you. We're heading into a tunnel. I'll call...." and then I disconnected the call as I had no idea what further to tell him.

Ed and I drove on for a mile or so, and then he said, "I know I only caught part of that conversation...."

"I don't want to talk about it." I said

He ignored me anyway, "But was that about what I think it was?"

"My mom's cat, Angel." I started to confess.

"Yes?"

"I kinda, might have...."

"Yes?"

"Turned her into a vampire." I finished.

"YOU WHAT!?" he yelled as he just barely managed to keep the car from swerving off the road.

"Turned it into a vampire." I repeated.

"Why?"

"It was an accident." I replied.

"How was it an accident?"

"Well I got pretty wrecked this weekend." I said with a guilty grin.

"And how does that lead to an undead demon cat?"

I just shrugged, "Well like I said, I was pretty messed up. I guess when vampires get the munchies they don't automatically go for the nachos like everyone else."

"That's fucked up, man."

"I know."

*******************

Like what you see? Be sure to check out the Tome of Bill Book 1, Bill The Vampire

Available for your favorite e-readers:

Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook
SmashWords

Jul 19, 2011

Dinobots, Transform and Kick Ass!


I love the Transformers....seriously. My office is filled with tons of them all the way back to the G1 TFs from the 80's (and my office is locked, much to the chagrin of my children). Hell, I have a Decepticon symbol tattoo'd onto my right shoulder. Want to see it? No? I didn't think so. Fine, your loss.

I love dinosaurs too. When I was a kid the only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a Paleontologist. Hell, who knows, with my mid-life crisis looming I might still decide to do that. Note: any 18 year old coeds who want to go digging in the dirt with me, please apply on the left.

So it should thus come as no surprise that when the Transformers introduced the Dinobots it more or less blew my fucking mind. I'm talking the original ones here: Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, and Swoop.


In case you doubt my veracity in this, here to the left is the view looking down upon me in my home office. They stand there judging me....harshly. One day I have no doubt that I'll displease them in some way and the only thing that will be left of me will be a pile of smouldering ash.

Err anyway....

Another summer is here and that means another Transformers film from Michael Bay has arrived to leave our childhood memories violated and weeping in a corner, repeating over and over again "It'll be ok." Once again Bay gives up just enough fan service to remain unlynched (barely) while at the same time gleefully raping away at my cherished memories.

The first movie gave us Peter Cullen reprising the voice of Optimus Prime, which was almost enough to make me forgive the shortcomings of the plot....almost. In the second, the big nod to the fans was Devastator and his....giant swinging steel balls? Err ok. Finally, Transformers: Dark of the Moon reintroduced us to Shockwave. Unfortunately, the three seconds he was in the movie he just wasn't enough to make me forget that Shia LaBeouf wasn't turned into a greasy smear on the bottom of Megatron's foot within the first five minutes.

However, Michael Bay apparently has no intention of ever letting my beloved Dinobots see the light of day on celluloid. After all, fuck what hardcore fans like me might want! I guess I just don't fit in with his 'artistic vision'. Why bother caring what the people who made something popular to begin with want? It's reasons like this why we wound up with a Godzilla who couldn't breath fire, a screenplay with a Superman who couldn't fly, and a Last Airbender who.....Aw fuck it. We could spend an entire novel on what was wrong with that abomination.

No, we're here to talk about the Dinobots and why they kick all sorts of ass, and it's not just because they turn into goddamned dinosaurs. Speaking of which....

They Turn Into Goddamned Dinosaurs!!

As I said already, dinosaurs are cool. There really isn't too much more to say there. Who amongst us wouldn't want a pet triceratops? Fuck German Shepherds! Let's see some burglar try to break into your house with ten tons of sharp horns and bad temper standing in the front yard. Now what if that triceratops was made of metal? Sure charging up his batteries might wind up costing more than the occasional bag of dino-chow, but the bonus would be no dino-shit to shovel off the lawn. Hey, while we're at it, let's say that metal dinosaur pet of yours can also turn into a forty foot tall robot, complete with laser blaster? Do we need to go on? If that thought alone doesn't have you drooling then I don't want to know you.

The original Jurassic park made enough money for Steven Spielberg to buy a small nation, and those were just normal fleshy dinosaurs. Just having the Dinobots show up on the screen would create a giant nerdgasm that would drown everyone in the first five rows of the theater. Hell, I'd probably drown half of them all by myself! However, they could be so much more if they were used as a plot point (yes I know....plot in a Transformers movie, go figure). Why?

Duh! It's because they were badass engines of destruction whose leader is a murderous psychopath. Think about it. One common conceit of eighties cartoons was that the main good guy was pretty much infallible. Sure the bad guys would surround themselves with treacherous oafs, but you just didn't see Man-At-Arms giving any shit to He-Man. Hell no. He and every good guy on Eternia would bend over backwards for the chance to touch He-Man's soiled loincloth. On The ThunderCats, Lion-o was young and inexperienced, but you can be sure as shit that by the end of every episode he won the day and could sit back and let Cheetara admire his biceps. So too with Transformers. After all, nobody could compare to Optimus Prime. If he told the other Autobots to go jump into an active volcano you can be sure they.....err wait. Not all of them would.

Enter Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots. Grimlock was the very definition of motherfucking badass. He was a giant sword-wielding robot, who turned into a goddamned T-Rex....and he couldn't stand Optimus Prime. He wanted Prime's job and not exactly through democratic election either. Character depth like that was unheard of on the Super Friends.

And Optimus wasn't the only one on Grimlock's shit list. He basically had a policy of disliking anybody or anything that he laid his eyes, or optic sensors on. In the space of one episode, he pimp slapped Optimus Prime, blasted Starscream, and made Megatron his bitch. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen would have been almost bearable if every time Optimus tried saying something deep and wise, he wound up catching a dinosaur shaped foot to the face.

And that's talking about a character people mostly like. Imagine a movie where Shia LaBeouf's character tried to talk smack to Grimlock. Every incarnation of Grimlock, in either cartoon or comic form, would have fucked up Shia's shit Why? Because the Dinobots don't Like humans. God what a relief it would be to see the autobots tell the humans to get out of their fucking sight before they stomped them into gravy.

But oh well, I guess that's not to be as long as Michael "Lets make a movie about a giant robot war and focus instead of Shia LaBeouf's vacuous girlfriend" Bay is at the helm. Until such time as that changes, I'll at least have my fantasies. (Although if we're talking strictly in the realm of fantasy here, I might keep Shia's girlfriend in it) Until then or until such time as the Transformers come up with a robot that transforms into Godzilla, the Dinobots will always be number one for me.

*sniff* I love you guys! Whoa, hold on! I didn't mean that crack about Godzilla. Really! Oh god...they don't believe me! Tell my wife and kids I..****

Jul 15, 2011

Thundercats Ho!

Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra the Ever Living!
Who here can say that growing up they didn't think that was a badass phrase for one of the biggest badass villains in cartoon history? Sure Megatron was cool. Hell, you could get shot for real just by carrying his toy. Skeletor had his moments too. But Mumm-ra, now there was a dude you didn't want all up in your business.

Not only was Mumm-ra too kick-ass to be the conduit for just one evil god (nope, it took four of them to keep him on a leash), but the guy was like a bad case of Malaria for the Thundercats. They just couldn't get rid of the guy. Even when they did manage to 'kill' Mumm-ra, it was pointless. The dude stayed dead for no more than ten minutes before he'd be back messing up Lion-O's shit again.

Yeah, Mumm-ra did have one of the stupider weaknesses of all cartoon baddies. The whole reflection causing him to run away thing was kind of lame. Although it's not much worse than making Superman's main weakness a green rock that every bad guy has about three tons worth of in their backyards. Besides, give the guy a break. Wouldn't you freak if you woke up one morning and looked into the mirror to see glowing red eyes and funky dreadlocks staring back at you? Actually, on second thought, I wouldn't. I'd start my own death metal band and call it Black Pyramid.

But still, let's give it up for Mumm-ra. Here's to hoping he gives little kids nightmares for years to come. No other ancient devil priest can touch his moldy robes. And even if they could, they don't have nearly as cool of a catch phrase. And of course don't forget....

Wherever there is evil, Mumm-ra lives!

Jul 6, 2011

Mental Vomit

John Corwin wrote an interesting blog post on his way of creating a new book. Definite food for thought. He asks at the end which other writers use the method he outlined. All I can answer is that I wish I was that organized.

In one imagined future, (in which I sit in my lush 50 room mansion, surrounded by avaricious decadence) I can see some young reporter asking me if my book series were all planned out in one master tome. So I can't lie later on and say that yes, everything was mapped out way in advance, (much like JK Rowling claims) I'll just say right here and now....are you freaking kidding me?

No, sadly that just doesn't work with me. I've tried the whole story outline thing before. I just can't do it without getting bored and going off on some idiotic tangent. I remember one outline I tried a few years back, when I made an abortive attempt to get back into writing. It went something like this:

-Hero wakes up in a land full of demons
-Hero dies horribly....fuck you, future Rick!

Like I said, it just doesn't work for me. I tend to be far too amused by the prospect of annoying my future self than in doing that particular job properly. So much so, that I dread the thought of time machines being invented during my lifetime in that I will most likely wake up one day remembering many many past beatings at my own hands.

My writing process is a bit more basic. (or lazy, if you don't want to mince words) Most of my stories are born much like a college road trip: I know where I am. I kinda know where I want to go. I have only the vaguest idea of how I'm going to get there. Oh well, let's hop in the car and see where the road takes us!

The chaos of doing things this way is close to maddening. However, it's a whole lot of fun as often times my characters wind up doing things that surprise the hell out of me. There are whole sections in Bill The Vampire that were birthed this way. Some examples:

There's one scene in a gym that's pure mental diarrhea. I had no idea where they were going with that dialogue when I started it, but as I wrote it I imagined the dialogue in my head and just put down what the voices told me to. When I went back to reread it, I was both horrified and amused to all hell by what had come out.

Likewise, the trip up north our characters take during the story. I had no idea nor intention for that happening until it actually did. Fortunately, when it was all over it both made sense for them to do so as well as allowed me to expand upon their world a little more. Nothing worse than pumping out thousands of words that belong in a completely different story. That makes editor Rick angry and want to wait for that time machine so he can go back and SMASH!

So that's how I do things and will keep doing it until it no longer works for me. For right now, it does work. In fact, I've just recently started my second foray into Bill's world. I think I know where I want to go...sorta. Hopefully people will enjoy the first one and want to hop back into that car with me. Who knows what sights we'll see along the way? Right now, even I don't, and damn that's exciting.

Jul 1, 2011

A Pseudonym By Any Other Name

A few people in my professional circle have raised their eyebrows at my releasing a new novel full of what many would consider decisively unprofessional humor. Truth be told, this was not an easy decision on my part either. I wasn't entirely sure I wanted "Rick: the online professional" to be associated with "Rick: the guy with a book full of dick jokes". After all, I have no doubt there are many businesses who might might make a snap judgement that such a person would not fit into their esteemed organization.

I agonized over this for several weeks before I had an epiphany of sorts: Does hiding this side of me really change who I am? Am I not proud of the work I put into writing a full length story? Would I really want to work for a company that doesn't accept that there are many facets to me, i.e. what makes me me?

Does hiding this part of me change who I am? Not at all. I like who I am, and my results speak for themselves. There isn't any one part of me I can separate from the whole and tell to sit in an office and get the job done. That's just silly. I am who I am. There's plenty of room inside of me for all my facets, and I like to think I'm more than mature enough to know which of those facets to bring to the forefront at which times.

Am I not proud of the work it took to write a novel? This is almost too absurd to ask. Great work of art or not, I'm damn proud that I had the commitment to sit down and give birth to this story that I had floating around in my head. No one can take that away from me.

Would I really want to work for a company that doesn't accept me as me? In short, no. There is no corporate-minded Rick. No novelist Rick. There's just me. And that person has the self discipline to know when it's time to put together a serious PowerPoint presentation for upper management, and when it's time to take the hero of his story and toss his ass out of a third story window for nothing more than laughs.

I'm a package deal. Much like Cable TV, I don't come A la carte.

If you are a professional during the day who masquerades as a writer by night, much like a somewhat less heroic Batman, than I hope I've given you something to think about. Be proud of your work and who you are. I know I am.

As for the rest of you, what are you still doing here.....go check out my book! :)