Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I just finished reading FINDING ATLANTIS by David King, which I highly recommend. It's the great true story of a man who thought he'd discovered Atlantis in Sweden. I loved the hell out of it even though I don't think he was right. (I don't think the author believed in this theory, either.) While reading this book, however, I came upon something that ripped my heart out, and I know it would pain any of my fellow bibliophiles.

Ever hear of the Silver Bible? It's a Gothic translation of the gospels of the Bible. It was taken from the Goths in battle, and it was eventually (over the course of centuries) brought to Sweden where it is kept until this very day. It's a very valuable book, as there is only one copy in the world. The keeper of the Silver Bible thought it was so valuable that he figured he'd sell it by the page.


That's absolutely disgusting behavior. He was a librarian, so he should have known better. But according to King it would seem that a lot of librarians back then were unscrupulous sorts. Still, it hurts just thinking about that. Luckily the chancellor of Sweden (known, incidentally, as "the most beautiful man in the world") at the time managed to buy up most of the pages, so we have a good deal of the book today. But it's not complete, all because of that dickhead librarian.

Fate wasn't done with the Silver Bible, though. A scholar along the way changed the wording of some passages to make it fit his theories. No one knows who did it. Everyone has their suspicions, but whoever it was, he's a dickhead, too.

And then there are the assholes who broke into the university library in the 1990's and stole the whole thing. It was eventually recovered, but still. Come on.

(It should also be noted that the Silver Bible was almost lost to the sea during its transport to Sweden from Prague. Apparently the only thing that saved it was being locked in a sturdy oak chest.)

So yeah. If you happen upon some ancient text, like there's only one of it in the world, try not to tear it to pieces and sell it page by page. That's dickhead behavior, and some guy like me will call you out on it centuries from now.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Seriously, if you haven't seen the new Star Wars movie, you should skip this one. To be honest, I don't think it's a spoiler, but out of fairness I don't want to fuck around with it. See the movie before you read this. On the off chance that you don't know anything about the movie and want to keep that intact when you actually do see the movie.

You know, the new Star Wars has given me a lot to think about. I wish I could have an open discussion with people who have seen the movie around people who have also seen the movie so I don't have to worry about fucking it up for someone who hasn't seen the movie.

OK, I think I've pumped enough words into this. It won't show up on Twitter, but I think I've gone far enough so that Facebook won't quote me this deeply.

Earlier I sent out a Tweet stating this: "The new Star Wars gave me everything I wanted."

This is true. It did. But I wanted my Tweet to say something more. By this point I'm sure you all know that Luke Skywalker is in this one. On the off chance that you didn't know, I wanted to keep my mouth shut. What I really wanted to say in my Tweet is this:

"The new Star Wars gave me everything I wanted. Adventure, excitement and the Jedi who craves not these things."

I loved the new cast, and I expect many things from them. The villain is amazing. I've already heard the complaint that he's a pussy. He's not. He's a wannabe. Here's the interesting thing: HE KNOWS IT. He will never be as powerful as the person he wants to be, and he knows it. He commits a terrible act which will earn him infamy forever among the fans, but here's the thing: I think he feels bad about it. He doesn't want to feel bad, but he does.

Here's what I think will be the next movies: Luke will train his new padawan for a confrontation with the new villain in an attempt to turn the villain from the Dark Side to the Light Side. It will not work, and Luke will be cut down like Obi-Wan. The padawan will have to take over, but the padawan is too full of anger to be a good Jedi. The padawan will have to overcome the qualities of the Dark Side before the villain can be converted. And the villain will be, and the price is the villain's life. It hits all the marks, and if I were to write the next two movies, that's what I would do.

If I'm wrong, I would love to hear about it. What I just said makes total sense, but I am a huge fan of being surprised. I can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


It's one of the most depressing things that can happen to you when you're in the bathroom. You're bloated almost to the point of pain, and you feel an overwhelming urge to shit. So you sit down and get ready for it to just slide out of you.

A timid fart is all you get. You can feel there's something more than gas in there, but it's just not moving. You give it a push, and it nears your asshole. But then it doesn't go further. Maybe it touches the rim, and if you could bend that way, you could probably see it through your stretched anus.

But it doesn't come out. There's no way it's coming out without getting some blood in your stool. It's just not ready to leave your body. There's nothing you can do but suck it back up and wait for later. You wipe, just to make sure, but you don't expect to actually see any shit on the toilet paper. Surprise! There's a thin brown stripe. So you wipe again and again and again, and it just doesn't stop. Jesus hell! You didn't even get to shit, and now you've got to put up with this?!

Finally it subsides, but now you're a bit raw and in a foul mood. You pull up your pants and wash your hands, still feeling bloated but now there's a touch of anger and sadness. There's nothing to do but wait until your log is fully incubated. Time to go back to work and wonder when the bastard will be ready.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Longtime readers might remember that my favorite character from BOARDWALK EMPIRE was Richard Harrow. Spoiler alert, but he dies in the fifth season finale. It absolutely broke my heart.

Remember a while ago when I was talking about things I wish I could write? BOARDWALK EMPIRE was a masterpiece of the kind of thing I wanted to write. It had those quiet moments mentioned about THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, but it also had great moments of character development which I wish I could pawn off as my own.

Richard Harrow went to WWI and got half of his face blown off. An artist was able to give him a half-mask to hide his caved in skull while the rest of him continued as an assassin. But he was never comfortable with who he was. He knew he looked bad, and he tried to hide it from the children of the woman he loved when he came home. The kids never liked it, but the woman was able to cope. No one else could cope except for Jimmy Darmody, who never turned away from his disfigured friend.

Harrow never fails to bring tears to my eyes. He's an efficient killer, but no one (aside from Jimmy) feels close to him because of his horrible disfigurement. Richard falls in love with a woman who does her best, and her children want to be better.

But Richard is on his own. Except . . . do you remember "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Bierce?

Fans of BOARDWALK EMPIRE will know what I mean. I wish things worked out better for Richard Harrow. Now that I think on it, he was my favorite TV character of all time.  It would have been nice for him to have a way out, but I know, as a writer, that it was impossible.

It's a shame. I loved him more than I've ever loved a person who didn't exist.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Adolf Hitler was a terrific guy. He did wonders for the German economy, so he made a lot of people rich. He was also an advocate for clean living. He never smoked and he rarely ever drank. The man was a vegetarian. He also made the trains run on time. I don't think Obama has done a very good job of that. He was also a renaissance man. A wonderful writer. I like his watercolors. He was a true artist. Best of all, he went out on his own terms. He's an inspiration to me, and when I'm elected, I'm going to implement a lot of his plans in order to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


I woke up at 3 am this morning. I did not want this, but it just happened even though I'd taken a sleeping pill. I tried to remember my dream, but nothing came to mind. I did have morning wood, so out of boredom (and hopes that it would help me get back to sleep), I masturbated for about 15 minutes. Nothing happened.

I took a pill and had a few drinks, but I had to do something until sleep finally took me over. I decided to reread Bukowski's FACTOTUM. I read about twenty chapters before the drugs and booze kicked in. Then I read a few more chapters to make sure the job got done.

Nothing makes one feel better than being intoxicated at 4 am and reading from Bukowski. I passed out soon after, and I didn't get up until 1 pm. It felt wonderful.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Many of you longtime readers and friends know that I don't drink and write. I'm horrible at that kind of thing. I don't make sense when I try shit like that. Every once in a while, I will drink and edit. It helps to distance myself from my own work, to make me feel like I'm editing a stranger's work. But write and drink? It has not happened in ten years because it doesn't work.

Until now. For my secret project, I've been drinking and writing. I can't get into the proper headspace without it. It's a special brand of writing that requires being fucked up. I don't feel possessed without it. If I'm just sitting there in front of my computer and typing, it just doesn't feel right unless I've had three shots of whiskey and a beer before writing. At the least. Sometimes some Wild Irish Rose helps. Thankfully this is not going to be a novel. It won't destroy me. Just so long as I can get through the next week of writing in this weird altered state, I think I can survive.

It's weird being in someone else's head, especially the head of a dead man. I'm OK with that kind of thing when they're fictional characters, but when they're real life people, it fucks with me. I don't think I'll ever do this again. It's taking a toll on me. It's fun, but I think if I ever do this again, it will destroy me. Because . . . well . . . it's not just the drink.

Here's the weird, fucked up thing: I'm not getting paid for this gig. I'm doing it for the challenge. It's fucking with me in ways I can never say. It consumes my every thought, and I wonder if I should have ever been given all the medication I've been given all these years. Some are painkillers, and some are psychotic drugs given me because they have an effect on the strange digestion I suffer from.

What am I saying? Well shit. I've always been honest with these GF's. I'm not going to stop now. I don't recommend acting in this way, but it works for me. Shit, it might not even work for me. I don't know what I'm babbling about.

I'm almost done with this story. I think I'll be done in a week, and then I'll stop this nonsense. I won't have a reason to continue after this. I would not be doing this without needing to write this story. I have every confidence that I will stop this when I'm done. Besides, what doctor would give me more drugs to continue this madness? I'm not good at getting drugs on the street, so I won't be able to continue.

Shit. If this story sucks, I'm fucked. All of this will be for nothing. But I feel confident. I read everything I've written every day, and I think it's good. I hope it's all worth it.

Monday, November 30, 2015


On Black Friday, while the rest of America was beating the shit out of each other to get their hands on TV's that were discounted by 10% or some such happy horseshit, I was driving my brothers home to Crystal Lake. Normally I take I-90, but it was so fucking packed that I had to take the back roads, mostly using Algonquin. That's a nice, quiet country road, and I enjoyed blasting through there at 90 mph while listening to Alestorm.

Never mind that, though. I was severely hungover, but my mind never turns itself off, not when it's not in blackout drunk phase. No, as I drove down this isolated road, I saw decrepit houses with miles and miles of flat land around them. I zoned out on Alestorm, and I could see these buildings as the quiet monoliths of the Suburban Prairie that they are.

The atmosphere is astounding. I wish I was good enough as a writer to capture these quiet, atmospheric settings. I tried with this piece right here, but I still failed to communicate the feeling I experienced that night.

You know who was really good at capturing that kind of feeling? Andrew Dominik. I can't speak for the director as a person (nor for the writer of the book, which is on my reading list but I have not yet gotten to it), but he directed THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, and there are scenes in this movie that are exactly what I want to accomplish in my fiction. He can do it with images. I need to learn how to do it in imagery. God, I envy him this ability. If I can do with words what he does with visuals, I would be very happy, indeed.

The TV show FARGO is also pretty good at this kind of atmosphere.

Shit. My new book, DONG OF FRANKENSTEIN, is out today, and it has already gotten a lot of attention from people and writers I respect. Yet I don't think I'll ever be the writer I want to be. I learn a little bit every day, but I get the feeling I'll be learning this trade until I inevitably die at my keyboard. I heard Robert Parker died at his typewriter. I can see that happening to me, and I can see myself being completely unfulfilled upon my death.

Maybe that's OK. Like Rufus says near the end of BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, "They *do* get better." A close friend of mine told me a while ago that when he read my work when we were in high school, he thought I was an absolutely shitty writer. Yet when he read my recent work, he saw leaps and bounds in improvement until I was pretty good. Maybe that's the best I can hope for.

But I'll never settle. Not until they pry my cold, dead hands from the keyboard.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


When I was in high school I bought my first Tarot deck. I did this for a few reasons, but chiefly among them was the fact that I was looking for a religion at the time. I hoped that this shit actually worked. Spoiler alert: it didn't. I also didn't find religion. No offense to those who have their own gods and such, but I found it all to be horseshit. To this day I'm an atheist. But that's beside the point. A story for another day. I taught myself how to read Tarot with that first deck. (PS: It was the Mythic Tarot that I bought. I did so for two reasons: 1. I'm a fan of Ancient Greece. 2. Some of the cards had boobies on them.)

Even though the Tarot is make believe, it does serve a great purpose. Back when John Sandford was writing books under his own name, John Camp, he created a dude by the name of Kidd. He's an art thief and a hacker, but he is also a Tarot reader. No, he doesn't believe it works. He uses it as a thinking tool, and he inspired me to do the same.

Here's the thing: have you ever felt like Tarot cards are for real? There's a reason for that. It's not what the cards actually say. It's the interpretation you give them. You know the situation, so you assign the meaning yourself. That's why they make such a great thinking tool.

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you don't know what the fuck to do. I do a quick Tarot reading because it helps me dissect a problem. It helps me see things I wouldn't have thought of before. It kicks my brain into a higher gear.

I have many Tarot decks right now, and I will ask the same question of them all. They will all help me see things from a different perspective or a new light. I highly recommend it as a thinking tool rather than an augur.

I'm incredibly depressed right now, and the Tarot serves as a great thinking tool. It helps me cope.

The most trusted of my decks? The first one I ever bought. It has served me better than any of the others. Its dedication to ancient Greek myths hits me right in the heart, so it is better suited than any other deck for me. Your mileage may vary. I recommend this to everyone with a creative bend to their minds. Don't even read the explanation book. Just look at the cards. They tell their own stories. Stories that will help you figure out what is going on in your own lives.

Friday, November 27, 2015


A moral blow was dealt to me today. Just now. I'm not going to say much about it, but it hurt me a great deal. No matter how badly it hurt me, it hurt someone else a lot more. She did something terrible and is now reaping the terror that comes along with that. She says she wants help, but her actions don't prove that.

I do want to help her, but I can't. She doesn't want that help. She wants to revel in her own bad decisions, no matter what she says. She'll deny it, but then she'll do whatever the fuck she pleases because she needs to be the way she is. I spoke to her last night, and she told me she was drunk, but she was intoxicated with something else. I can't deal with that. I told her I can deal with anything except for that, and she chose that.

Fine. It's done. Don't pity me. I placed myself in a position where I thought her and I were good. But I can't do that anymore. I can't help her anymore. I'm done. O discordia!

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Before we go any further, you should read this. Nothing I say here will make any sense without it, and it's a pretty short and entertaining read.

Now: to business. I have never had Wild Irish Rose, although I've kept an eye out for it thanks to the above mentioned article. Someone asked me to buy wine last night, and while I was looking for what she wanted I found, in a dusty and forgotten corner of my usual liquor store, three bottles of WIR. It's a four day weekend. I would be a fool not to try it.

When I got home, I cracked the seal and smelled the neck. It smelled like wine, all right. Nothing special. I took down a mouthful (because something tells me the only way to drink this stuff is to drink it directly from the bottle), and JESUS GOD! This vile swill tried to poison me! It's horrible, horrible shit. But it's cheap shit. I got a fifth for five bucks, and that's cheaper than the cheapest vodka Mom ever had me go out and buy when I was younger. Despite its cheapness, I would never waste alcohol. The last time I felt like this was when I got Bacardi's 151 rum, and it tasted so godawful I wouldn't drink it straight. I could barely tolerate it mixed in Coke. I might as well have drank gasoline straight from the pump. But goddammit, I didn't waste it, and I wasn't going to waste this WIR.

I drank half of the bottle, and I didn't even have a buzz. I never get a buzz when drinking wine. My system is used to high proof bourbons. However, WIR has an exceptionally high (for wine) proof of 34. I should have felt something kick in. No dice. I gave up and switched to the half of a fifth of Jim Beam I have on hand for just such emergencies.

That's when I discovered the true power of WIR. It's not something you can get drunk on, not really, but if you need your pump primed before you move on to something that WILL get you drunk? This is what you need. I soared with the goddam bats once I'd finished that bottle of Jim Beam. The Jim Beam alone would have given me a nice buzz, but on top of the WIR I felt like a god king. I was bulletproof, and I didn't really want to horsewhip someone with my dick, but goddammit, I could have.

I've been working on a story for a top secret anthology for a while now, but I just couldn't get into the right mind space for it. It involves being able to get into a specific person's head, but God broke the mold when He made this man. What I was working on just felt like a pale imitation . . . until last night. WIR and Jim Beam propelled me into his head, and I'll be goddammed if I didn't THINK like him. I sent out posts and texts, and it wasn't me. I was possessed by this man. And I got the best writing on this project I've done so far. And now I can't get HIM out of ME.

I still have half the bottle of WIR left, and I have a shit-ton of whiskey. When the proper holiday is over, I think it's time to rock and roll.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


[This is the first in what I hope will be a series of my imagined ramblings of what Donald Trump would think of particular historical figures. If you have any suggested targets for The Donald to take on, let me know in the comments, and I'll give it a shot. Let me know if this actually entertains you, or if I'm wasting my time on something only I think is funny. --JB]

Why does everyone call him Alexander the Great? Is it because he conquered the known world when he was so young? I don't think that's an accomplishment worth bragging about. If he was truly great, he would have discovered America. Did he discover America? No. Anyone could conquer the so-called "known" world. I think Genghis Khan did it once, and do we call him great? No. Alexander was a proven loser. He died at the age of thirty-two. That's pretty lazy. I guess that's what happens when your mom is a snake handling freak.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I'm serious. I mean it. If you don't read THE WALKING DEAD comic book series, you need to turn back now. This also includes those of you who have not watched tonight's episode. I'm giving you a chance to back away. Spoilers lay ahead. I'm not fucking with you.
I'm pissed off about tonight's episode of THE WALKING DEAD. I think I might be the only person in the world who is angry that Glenn is still alive. I think the writers took the coward's way out. They decided not to kill a fan favorite because that would kill ratings. Sure enough, it would. But it's not the right creative answer.

I wanted Glenn to be dead because of one reason and one reason alone. Those of you who follow the comic book series know that Glenn meets his end when Negan beats his fucking head in with Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire.

If Glenn died the way the TV series suggested he might have, do you realize who would have died beneath Negan's Lucille? If the TWD writers had balls (which, at this point, I have to believe they don't), they would have killed Glenn episodes ago, and in his place, they would have put Daryl. That's right, Daryl would have died due to Negan and his love of Lucille. How incredible would that have been? Yes, there would have been riots . . . online. Not in real life. No one loves a character enough to actually riot BECAUSE IT'S NOT FUCKING REAL. It's a story.

That's a great story that could have been told, but it won't be. Because the people who write for THE WALKING DEAD thought they had balls, but they don't. They just wanted a who-killed-JR moment in TV history. They proved that tonight.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


I ready myself to leave Days of the Dead. I want to be there for every day, but I don't have the money, and I am denied a vendor table. I leave early. I say my goodbyes to the one friend who showed up as a fan, and as I go through the revolving door, I see an Arab gentleman entering. He wears a turban, and snow has frosted the top of his headwear. Then I see the outside world, and I curse it. Snow falls heavy and hard, flakes the size of pennies.

I have a long walk back to the parking garage, and I can feel my entire body being infected by these flakes. I follow the path through the parking lot, and a young woman with a big umbrella approaches me. She is looking at her iPad and pays me no mind, but I can hear what she's looking at. The X-Files theme echoes back to me as I watch the snow fall in front of me. The mad calliope drifts to me in the soft breeze, and I can see every individual snowflake fall before my eyes.

A hush falls across the land, and I'm alone. I blink, and I can see a freeze frame of the falling snow. In the distance I can see trees, bare of leaves, skeletal branches reaching toward the powdery sky. I pause, and I look about me. No one is present to see this silent beauty, and I feel kind of important. This moment is for me, and for me alone. I snap a picture which I will eventually post to my Twitter, but it doesn't do that hushed silence justice. It's a frozen moment in time, and it's gone, never to be replicated. Never to be explained.

I move on to the parking garage, which is also silent. I feel a moment of fear when I realize that I'm alone, and if anything were to happen, my slightly pacifistic self would be left alone to deal with any threat that might present itself. I see a man approach me, and I can only guess what he sees. An overweight man with a fresh goatee and his hair and shoulders frosted with the fresh snowfall.

He ignores me. I ignore him. Our worlds are not threatened. I get in my car and drive home in the first blizzard of the year. Snow flows around me like star beams in hyperspace.

I arrive home. The beauty is still out there, despite my attempts of capturing it. But that's all right. You will all find it without my help. I hope it serves you well.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Remember how I said that I do my best to go to an indie bookstore at least once a month? I try to live up to that, but I'm not always successful. Imagine my surprise when an indie bookstore popped up a mile from where I live . . .

It blew me away. I couldn't believe there was a bookstore so close to me. I saw a sign pointing it out on the same street I live on, just a mile away from where I sleep every night. I saw the sign (no Ace of Base jokes, please) a month ago, but I didn't have the free time to investigate until I had time off. The shitty thing is, this bookstore doesn't have a good location. No one would expect a bookstore there, for one, and for another, it's really hard to find. I can't even describe what it takes to find this place. It's in a strip mall BEHIND a strip mall that you can't see from the street. I drove past the place twice before I found it. If you live in Elmhurst, you'll find it behind 7-Eleven and Mama Maria's.

But shit. When I walked in, it was a nice enough place, but I don't think it was meant for me. From first glance, it looks like this place is aimed more at kids. There is some stuff for adults, but I saw more kids books than adult books. Chances are, I won't be back.

BUT. If you're local and you have kids, this place will be perfect for you. The books I was bragging about finding earlier today actually came from the Frugal Muse in Darien, which is a great place. I picked up a dinged copy of AMERICAN SNIPER from A Book Above. I wanted the book, but it was more of a polite purchase. But still.

A Book Above is not my kind of thing, but if you live in the Chicagoland area, and you have a kid, this is the perfect place for you. It's a wonderful indie bookshop. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


A while back, when I was Future Booze Jesus, I was asked if Charlie Sheen really was "winning." You can check it out here. Considering new information, we now know that around the time I wrote this was when he was diagnosed HIV positive. Would that change my opinion?

That presents an interesting question.

First of all, the fact that Charlie is HIV positive is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. He only went public because some scumbag was blackmailing him. Considering that, there is really only ONE question: how responsible was Charlie with this information? In other words, did he tell women he slept with that he had HIV? Did he wear a condom? Or were there other precautions taken?

He says he's a responsible sort when it comes to this. I read that as him having confessed to his condition to sexual partners and taking precautions to make sure that his partners don't get it. It sounds really good, and I hope it's true.

At the same time, and this is JUST MY OPINION AND NOT FACT, he strikes me as the kind of guy who would rawdog it no matter what. If this is true, then I really need to revise what I said before.

Yet he's been sober for a fairly long time. If he says he was responsible, I think I believe him. Matt Lauer tried to rat-fuck him on his alcohol intake, even though he said it was every once in a while, as compared to a drink every once in a while.

Again, it is ONLY MY OPINION AND NOT FACT, but I believe that Charlie drinks more than he says. But I don't think it's enough to get him fucked up so that he won't take his meds and so that he'll rawdog a girl without telling her about his diagnosis. That's some hefty shit, and speaking as someone who can routinely be drunk as fuck, I don't believe it. There was a time that I suspected that I might have Hep C, and I warned any potential sexual partner about it. And if they were OK with that, I would not have sex without a condom. Luckily, I didn't have it, but as drunk as I was, I never took chances with someone else's life.

Speaking as someone who is fucked up, I think I believe Charlie. So let's calm down the witch hunt. If it turns out that he knew about it and lied about it, that's a different story, but from my perspective right now: this is not our business. It sucks that he had to go live with this info because of his blackmailers (could YOU deal with $10M worth of blackmail?). As it stands, I don't think we have enough info, but what we have so far means it's his business and the rest of us can go fuck off.

So let's let Wild Thing go for now until we have something that really, truly condemns him. Because from what I can tell, he's an angry man who gets fucked up and likes to lay pipe. The dude has been very honest with us in the past. I have no reason to think he wouldn't be honest now. Until we have something else, that's the end of the discussion.

Monday, November 2, 2015


So many people have been telling me all kinds of crazy shit I did on Halloween during a boozy black out. I don't know what is true or not, or if it's true, how true it is. A contest just occurred to me. How many of you have read my book POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS?

Here's what I propose: I'm going to give out a free book of PB&RF to whoever can give me the best version of what I did on Halloween night. I don't care if it's true or not. The best story gets a free copy of the book. Add comments here or on my Facebook or Twitter or however you follow me. The deadline is when I get back from my Vegas vacation on Tuesday of next week. We'll say on Nov. 10 at midnight Central time. Good luck and have fun at my expense.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


[EDIT: The sale is now over. Thank you to everyone who bought something.]

My life is waaaaaay too cluttered. I have to get rid of some stuff. I'm selling a bunch of books and posters. It's not because I don't love them, but it may be because I didn't get much out of them, or I have more than one copy, but they've got to go. I'm offering them up to those who follow me first. Whatever is left by Halloween is going to Half Price Books. If you're interested in a book, they're $2 each. The posters are .50. If you live close enough to pick them up from me, that's it. UPDATE: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I can no longer ship posters. Apparently USPS and UPS considers them "oddly shaped" and therefore cannot ship for less than $12. If you want to take that insane leap, I'll do it, but I somehow don't see anyone wanting that. You can contact me in the comments, Facebook, Twitter, etc., or you can send requests to tabardinnedgewoodent@yahoo.com. I hope you all find something you like, and first come, first serve.

Allbeury, Ted
            -Shadow of Shadows
Allingham, Margery
            -Traitor’s Purse
Anderson, Poul
            -The King of Ys: The Dog and the Wolf with Karen Anderson
Anscombe, Roderick
            -The Secret Life of Laszlo, Count Dracula
Arensberg, Ann
Austen, Jane
            -Northanger Abby
Bacon-Smith, Camille
            -Daemons, Inc.
Barbour, David
            -Shadows Bend with Richard Raleigh
Black, Campbell
            -Letters from the Dead
Blatty, William Peter
Block, Thomas H.
Bolin, MC
            -Gone in 60 Seconds
Bowker, David
            -The Death Prayer
Brand, Max
            -Gun Gentlemen
            -The Guns of Dorking Hollow
            -The White Wolf
Breslin, Catherine
            -Unholy Child
Brooks, Owen
            -The Gatherer
Brooks, Terry
            -The Black Unicorn
            -The Elfstones of Shannara
            -The Sword of Shannara
            -The Wishsong of Shannara
Burney, Frances
Carcaterra, Lorenzo
Caunitz, William J.
            -Black Sand
Cheshire, Giff
Cline, C. Terry
Collins, Larry
            -The Fifth Horseman with Dominique Lapierre
Cook, Judith
            -The Slicing Edge of Death
Coyne, John
            -The Legacy
Cunningham, Jere
            -The Visitor
Darnton, John
David, Peter
            -Batman Forever
Deaver, Jeffery
            -The Coffin Dancer
Defoe, Daniel
            -Robinson Crusoe
Dekker, Thomas
            -The Shoemaker’s Holiday
DiPego, Gerald
            -Keeper of the City
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan
            -The Complete Sherlock Holmes
            -The Complete Sherlock Holmes vol. 1
            -A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles
Edwards, Anne
            -Haunted Summer
Eidson, Bill
            -The Guardian
Elrod, PN
            -A Chill in the Blood
            -The Dark Sleep
Eulo, Ken
            -The House of Caine
Farmer, Philip Jose
            -The Dark Design
Farris, John
            -Sharp Practice x 2
Faulkner, William
            -Light in August
            -The Sound and the Fury
Franklin, Max
            -The Dark
Gardner, Craig Shaw
            -Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Return to Chaos
Garrett, Randall
            -Lord Darcy
Garrison, Webb
            -Civil War Curiosities
            -More Civil War Curiosities
Gems, Jonathan
            -Mars Attacks!
Gipe, George
Goddard, Ken
Goldsborough, Robert
            -The Last Coincidence
Griffin, WEB
            -The Core: Semper Fi
            -The Victim
Grisham, John
            -The Firm
Hall, Karen
            -Dark Debts
Hambly, Barbara
            -Those Who Hunt the Night
Hamilton, Laurell K.
            -Burnt Offerings
Harris, Richard
Harvey, Clay
            -A Flash of Red
Heffernan, William
Hemingway, Ernest
            -A Farewell to Arms
            -The Old Man and the Sea
Henley, Beth
            -The Miss Firecracker Contest
Herbert, Frank
            -Dune Messiah and Children of Dune
Herbert, James
Hitchens, Dolores
            -Stairway to an Empty Room
Hogan, Chuck
            -The Blood Artists
Hogan, Ray
Horovits, Leslie Alan
            -The Donors with H. Harris Gerhard
Huggins, James Byron
James, Henry
            -The Portrait of a Lady
Jensen, Carl
            -20 Years of Censored News
Karlin, Wayne
            -Lost Armies
Katz, Shelley
            -The Lucifer Child
Katz, William
            -Death Dreams
Kellerman, Jonathan
            -The Butcher’s Theater
Kerr, Philip
King, Stephen
            -The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
            -The Dead Zone x 2
            -Different Seasons x 2
            -Night Shift x 3
            -Salem’s Lot x 2
            -The Shining
            -Skeleton Crew
            -The Stand
            -The Tommyknockers
Kiraly, Marie
Knight, Kathryn Lasky
            -Mumbo Jumbo
Kunstler, James Howard
            -The Wampanaki Tales
Kyd, Thomas
            -The Spanish Tragedy
LeFanu, J.S.
            -Uncle Silas
Leroux, Gaston
            -The Phantom of the Opera
Lowen, James W.
            -Lies Across America
Lucas, George
            -Shadow Moon with Chris Claremont
Luceno, James
            -The Shadow
Lutz, John
Martin, Malachi
            -Hostage to the Devil
Mason, Bobbie Ann
            -Shiloh and Other Stories
McCarrick, Chris Shea
            -Now You See Her
McNally, Clare
            -Somebody Come and Play
McNally, Terrence
            -Lips Together Teeth Apart
Melville, Herman
            -Moby Dick
Menninger, Karl
            -The Crime of Punishment
Menzies, gavin
Mercado, Carol
            -A Voice from the Grave
Murphy, Pat
            -There and Back Again
Newman, Sharan
Norton, Andre
            -Here Abide Monsters
Onetti, Juan Carlos
            -Body Snatcher
Parkin, Lance
            -Dr. Who: The Infinity Doctors
Pasternak, boris
            --Dr. Zhivago
Pelton, Robert Young
            -The World’s Most Dangerous Places
Pool, Daniel
            -Dickens’ Fur Coat and charlotte’s Unanswered Letters
Pope, Alexander
            -Essay on Man and Other Poems
Prachett, Terry
            -Guards! Guards!
Presler, Jerome
            -Last Man Standing
Preston, Richard
            -The Cobra Effect
Profumo, Tony
            -The Mime
Pulver, Joseph S.
            -Nightmare’s Disciple
Rainey, Rich
            -Haunted History
Ralston, Gilbert A.
Ramos, Manuel
            -The Ballad of Gato Guerrero
Ravenswood, Fritzen
            -The Witching
Reuben, Shelly
            -Origin and Cause
Roby, Mary Linn
            -When the Witch is Dead
Rosen, RD
            -Strike Three, You’re Dead
Rucka, Greg
            -Batman: No Man’s Land
Salinger, JD
            -The Catcher in the Rye
            -Franny and Zooey
Saperstein, Alan
Schmidt, Stanley
Schoel, William
Scotti, RA
            -The Devil’s Own
Shakespeare, William
            -Four Tragedies (Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet and Julius Caesar)
            -Henry IV, pt. 1
            -Romeo and Juliet
Sharman, Nick
            -The Surrogate
Shaw, Bernard
            -Saint Joan x 2
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley
            -The School for Scandal
Simak, Clifford D.
            -Over the River and Through the Woods
Silone, Ignazio
            -Bread and Wine
Slater, Ian
            -Showdown USA vs. Militia
Stackpole, Michael A.
            -A Hero Born
Stanwood, Brooks
            -The Glow
Stout, David
            -Hell Gate with Ruth Furie
Straub, Peter
Tan, Amy
            -The Kitchen God’s Wife
Teresi, Dick
            -Lost Discoveries
Thomas, Craig
Tine, Robert
            -The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Traver, Robert
            -Anatomy of a Murder
Turtledove, Harry
            -How Few Remain
            -The Two Georges with Richard Dreyfuss
Vaughan, Robert
            -Yesterday’s Reveille
Walker, Dale L.
Weaver, Michael D.
            -My father Immortal
Wharton, Edith
            -The House of Mirth
Whitten, Leslie
            -The Alchemist
Williams, Walter J.
            -The Rift
Wolfe, Gene
            -The Book of the New Sun with poster
Woolfolk, William
            -The Sendai
Wouk, Herman
            -The Caine Mutiny
            -City Boy: Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder
            -Don’t Stop the Carnival

Ancient Mysteries by Peter James and Nick Thorpe
The Book of Dzyan edited by Tim Maroney
Caesar’s Gallic Wars I-IV
Carnage at Christhaven from the Chrysostom Society
Great American Folklore
Independence Day by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich and Stephen Molstad
The Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes
The Pendtragon Chronicles
Portable Steinbeck
Post Reader of Civil War Stories
QPB Treasury of North American Folktales
Scroll of Thoth edited by Richard L. Tierney
Seven Masterpieces of Gothic Horror
The Weird Wide Web by Erfert Fenton and David Pogue

-Blood Thirst by JM Dillard
-Deep Domain by Howard Weinstein
-The Entropy Effect by Vonda McIntyre
-Final Frontier by Diane Carey
-Memory Prime by Gar and Judith Reeves-Stevens
-The Voyage Home by Vonda McIntyre

-Attack of the Clones by RA Salvatore
-The Black Fleet Crisis by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
-Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly
-The Corellian Trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen
-The crystal Star by Vonda McIntyre
-Dark Tide by Michael A. Stackpole
-Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
-The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
-The Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly
-Rogue Planet by Greg Bear
-The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers
-Vector Prime by RA Salvatore
-X-Wing The Bacta War by Michael A. Stackpole
-X-Wing Iron Fist by Aaron Allston
-X-Wing The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackpole
-X-Wing Solo Command by Aaron Allston
-X-Wing Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole
-X-Wing Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston

-Beyond Sanctuary by Janet Morris
-Beyond the Veil by Janet Morris
-Beyond Wizardwall by Janet Morris
-The Price of Victory edited by Robert Lynn Aspirin and Lynn Abbey

-Anti-Bodies by Kevin J. Anderson
-Fight the Future by Elizabeth Hand
-Ground Zero by Kevin J. Anderson
-Ruins by Kevin J. Anderson


THE CRAZIES (remake)
SHAFT (remake)

Sunday, October 11, 2015


After the Printer's Row show in Chicago this year, there were a few Rooster Republic and StrangeHouse books left over. Rather than ship them back to the publishers, I offered to try to sell them at Flashback Weekend and Days of the Dead. Unfortunately, it turns out that I can't get into Days of the Dead as a seller. I'm told there's not even a waiting list for the show. So I'm going to sell them here if I can. What follows is a list of books I'm selling, some on my own behalf, some on behalf of the publishers. If you see anything you like, contact me in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter or wherever you follow me. If all else fails, contact tabardinnedgewoodent@yahoo.com. If you're buying one of my books, let me know if/how you want it inscribed.

-5 copies of TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE by John Bruni

-2 copies of POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS by John Bruni


-1 copy of THE FARROWING by Jesse Wheeler

-1 copy of STRANGER DANGER by Kevin Strange and Danger_Slater (these are signed by Danger! Plus, this is no longer a StrangeHouse Book. This is going to be a collector's item!)


-1 copy of I AM GENGHIS CUM by Violet LeVoit (because I got a second copy by being a part of the Fungasm crowdsourcing thing)

To sweeten the pot, I'm offering the usual convention deal: each book is $10, or 3 for $25. If you live close enough to me to pick them up yourself, that's it. If I'm shipping these out to you, add a dollar for each book you want. Cool?

Friday, September 18, 2015



Whoo-boy. Where do I start with this book? If capitalism could have a wet dream, it would be ATLAS SHRUGGED. It is insane and outlandish and unreasonable. But it is also entertaining. I tend to enjoy Ayn Rand's work despite her best efforts. That's an odd thing to say, I know, but I'll try to break it down.

First, the things I liked: I really appreciate how well Rand gets corporations nailed down. If you ask someone who lives the corporate lifestyle a direct question, you will always get a long, rambling, meaningless answer, even if it's a yes or no question. No one wants to make any decisions because if they're wrong, they'll be blamed. Culpability is certainly shifted around constantly in this book until it nails some poor guy who didn't really have much to do with whatever went wrong. It's also like these corporate swine can't hold a decent conversation with intelligent people. There are quite a few instances of Dagny talking with someone, and it's like there are two conversations happening. Dagny asks direct questions, and the other person will ramble on about their life story, or whatever. They just have this narrative in their head that they have to get out, and poor Dagny gets stuck listening to it. I really identify with this kind of dialogue because I deal with it constantly every day at work.

The things I don't like are a bit hard to discuss because they start with something I do like. I agree with many of Rand's ideas, as I'm sure most creative people would. I'm a strong believer in independent thinking. I think taking other people's ideas to make it their own is a watery thing to do. I believe that if someone earns something, he or she should be able to keep it. Plus, if I may be so bold, I'm a bit selfish. As anyone who has ever dated me will attest, I tend to put myself before anyone else. Maybe I'm delusional, but I justify it in the same way a parent would justify putting  the oxygen mask on themselves before putting one on their kid while on a plane.

The problem is, Rand takes it waaaaaaay too far. The heroes of this book are so fiercely individualistic that they don't care about anyone else (for the most part). They're so selfish that to help someone else is unthinkable to them. Not only that, but they are absolutely dedicated to the dollar. Their symbol is the dollar sign. It's even on their cigarettes. This is militant individualism, and it's too crazy for me. I do believe in helping people, after all. I do care about society. I do think that there should be safety nets because disaster can happen to any of us. (Although I do think that American safety nets are a bit too giving to the point of rewarding questionable behavior.) I believe in pulling oneself up by the boot straps, as the old saying goes, but it's unhealthy to live your life dedicated to that kind of thing, and if you need a helping hand every once in a while, you should get it.

You know who makes the perfect Objectivists? Terminators. Not Arnold in the sequels, but Arnold in the first one. They are killing machines that stop at nothing until they achieve their objective, or they'll die trying. Remember that John Galt says he'll kill himself before letting the looters exert control over him.

The heroes are cold and inhuman. Ayn Rand, from what I understand, was the same way. Not only that, but I heard that she was buried with a garland in the shape of a dollar sign. So I guess people like that *can* exist. But generally speaking, I think they're rare (and possibly sociopaths).

The only time they're passionate is when they're making love, and Rand's description of these scenes makes it sound more like they're fighting each other. This is some violent sex, folks. In a way I kind of like it because it's not something I expected from her work. But on the other hand, I think it's kind of messed up because this is the only time in Dagny's life that she's submissive. I think it sends the message that strong women want to be treated like "just a woman" in bed, which I don't think is true, generally speaking. It's also out of character for her.

Rand uses interesting language in this book, though. I like the way that some of the tougher characters talk like sergeants in WWII movies. It's "goddam" this and "those bastards" that. Conversely I don't like the way that the looters, as she calls the villains, talk. They're all hysterical and screaming when something they don't like happens. And they all sound the same. They use the same phrases. Come to think of it, the heroes run together, too. There are two types of characters in this book: heroes and looters. The heroes all sound the same, and the looters all sound the same.

Two characters do not fall into either category: Cheryl Taggart and Eddie Willers. As a result, I actually like these two more than any of the other characters. In fact, I kind of identify with Eddie, mostly because I'm not a one-track-mind kind of guy. I also feel pretty helpless in the big picture, but I also find the situation funny. As America faces utter destruction from the looters and their red tape, Eddie utters a mad laugh, amused by the fact that no one is changing anything because they're all convinced that they're right.

Speaking of red tape, that's another thing about corporations that Rand gets spot on. I find there are way too many regulations in government, and they hamper real creativity. Yet once the red tape gets spinning, it's impossible to stop without destroying the system entirely. Which is pretty much John Galt's mission. I'd call that a spoiler in any other book, but this one is revealed 500 pages before the end, so to hell with it.

Speaking of length, the number one thing that annoyed me about this book is the sheer thickness of it. I'm not opposed to reading long books. When I was a kid, my favorite book in the world was Stephen King's THE STAND. The extended version, that is. My problem with Rand is that her prose is incredibly bloated. She needlessly repeats herself as if she was afraid that people would miss the point. Don't worry, Ms. Rand. We got it pretty solidly by the hundredth time you repeated it. Some characters get speeches that are pages long, and they're all rambling and repeating themselves a lot. For Christ's sake, the climax of the book is John Galt's 60 page speech. At the risk of coming off like Rand, let me repeat that so you can let it sink in: A 60 PAGE SPEECH. The edition I read is 1168 pages long. If I were to write this book, I think I could get it done in under 300.

The story is simple enough to do that. On the surface, it's about a woman who wants to build the best railroad she can in the face of her incompetent brother and her lovers' (that's not a typo) attempts at destroying America. Meanwhile, all the most competent men (and it's almost universally men) in the nation are being recruited by a mysterious man to live in a secluded valley from which they intend to rebuild America after they've let the looters destroy it.

This story actually takes a few odd turns, like when Dagny arrives accidentally at Galt's Gulch. (By the way, I should mention the completely insane idea that she piloted a plane to get there--and she doesn't know how to fly it, but she learns on the spot. That's how capable a person she is, I guess.) It has this weird feeling, like the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ. She's seeing all of these people who have disappeared, and it feels like Dorothy telling the farm hands that they were all in her dream. It's a pretty dreamy sequence, too. For a moment, I thought she'd died in the plane crash, and the afterlife turned out to be some kind of Capitalist Heaven. I wouldn't put that past Rand, even though there were still 500 pages to go in the book.

And I certainly didn't expect a book driven by ideas to have something as crude as a gunfight in the end. I do have a few things to say about that, but they're spoilers for real, and I try to avoid those for Goodreads reviews.

This is probably the longest I've written about a book since college, but I think I hit all the major points. I don't want to be as bloated as Rand, so I'm going to cut this off by saying this: for a book that aggravated me so much, I really enjoyed it. Despite all of its flaws, it's a good book, and Rand is a captivating writer. If anyone else had pulled this BS, I would have quit on them. (Truthfully, I almost quit when I reached Galt's super-long speech, but I was already 1000 pages in, and I wasn't going to quit when I was that close to the finishing line.) As an added bonus, this book made me think a lot, and I really love a book that can do that.

WHAT I DIDN'T PUT INTO THE GOODREADS REVIEW (SPOILERS): There are two things that really turned me off about this book. One of them involved the gunfight in the end. It's one thing to be a cold, uncaring asshole, but it's another entirely to cold-bloodedly murder someone, as Dagny did in the end. When the heroes are trying to rescue John Galt from the looters, she holds a soldier at gunpoint. Granted, she gives him every opportunity not to get shot, and the dummy just couldn't give her a straight answer, but that's no excuse for shooting him in the heart. The other heroes get to commit a few murders, too, much in the same way she did. I'm a firm believer that people can be assholes. I, in fact, am an asshole. People can take me or leave me. That's their choice. But once you cross that line into hurting and/or killing people you disagree with, that's downright evil. That's some Hitler/Stalin-type shit right there. I get the idea that this is the kind of thing Objectivists think about when jerking off.

The other thing that bothered me was Eddie's demise. The last we see of him, he's a broken man, weeping on the railroad tracks before the monolithic Taggart train. I don't think he deserved that. I know that was part of Rand's heartless message, that even those who believe the importance of individualism despite being unable to do anything about the state of the world will perish with the looters. But still.

OK, that's it. Sorry if I bored the hell out of you. This is just something I had to get off my chest.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


If you are a fellow author, and you have been in my presence for longer than a half an hour, you're probably aware of my unending battle with the novel I'm currently writing. I've been kicking this beast for many, many months, and it just doesn't want to work for me. Every time I sit down, getting a mere 100 words is agonizing. Nothing wants to move forward. It just wants to marinate in a stand-still.

This sucks because I like the characters a lot, and I think it's an interesting situation. It's a vampire book, but I think I do some different things with the undead. That's what's killing me the most: I LIKE THIS BOOK. But it just doesn't want to come out of my head. I know where I'm going with it, but it just doesn't want to get there.

I've been beating the shit out of myself trying to figure out why that was, and today I think I have my answer. This book has no soul. It has no soul because it has no purpose.

Alan Moore once said that you should always have a purpose when you write something, and I agree with him. It doesn't have to be front and center, but it should be there. I write entertaining (I hope) stories, and if someone wants to peek around for a deeper meaning, it's there for them to find.

It's not there for this WIP. As a result, the whole thing seems hollow to me, and that's why it's fighting me so hard. I'm just going to have to lay this one to rest. Maybe I'll come back to it someday, if I finally figure out what to do with it, but for now? I have to move on to something else.

This blows. I wish I'd figured this out almost 50,000 words ago. I lost so much time on this, it shames me. It's like trying to fix up a car that Bigfoot rolled over.

That's all right, I guess. [He said without making eye contact.] I have other projects I've been working on. There's one that's been sitting on my backburner for a looooong time. Sometimes I write something to figure out how I stand on a particular topic, or how I would react if something were to happen to me. I've got a doozy like that on my mind, so I think I'll work on that instead.

RIP, vampire WIP. Or maybe not. Vampires tend to rise again, don't they?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


This is a bit late in posting, but mostly it's because I've been super fucking busy. I just wanted to take a quick second to talk about something that I don't usually see writers discuss: the post-con depression.

There is something magical about a convention. It's exhausting because you have to perform for hours on end, doing your absolute best to sell your books (or, if you're fortunate enough, your table partner's books). Writing is an introverted thing; to suddenly be a book-slinging extrovert is hard to pull off for that kind of personality.

But a writer has to be both. When creating, a writer must be isolated and alone. Yet when selling, a writer must be outgoing and fun and adventurous. When you think about it, it's the perfect combination. It's the yin-yang personality all in one. It's actually a lot of fun because you get to talk with a bunch of strangers that are into the same shit you're into. Most times you don't even have to talk about your own work. You get to talk about cool shit you like, and if you sell a book, cool. That's the best part: talking about cool shit. That even extends to the fortunate few who have a table partner. At Flashback Weekend, I was lucky enough to have MP Johnson by my side. I could talk shop with him for hours on end because we've been at this for the same amount of time, and we have a lot of similar stories. Plus it helps that he's got a deep punk background and has some supercool stories. If you get the chance to work with him and you don't, you're a fool.

I'm wandering a bit from what I meant to talk about, but it's worth noting that hanging out and selling books with MP Johnson is fucking awesome, and it makes the post-con depression a little harder to take because even now, as I go to bed early to make it in time for my square job, I miss it. I miss it a lot.

By the end of Sunday, I was fucking exhausted. Yet I knew it was a rewarding experience, and not just because I sold a bunch of books. I took Monday off to recover, but when I woke up and realized that I couldn't go to Flashback and sell and talk and have fun because it was over, I felt a darkness wash over me. I didn't even want to get out of bed.

(Something else happened, and it hurts me waaaaaaay too much to talk about right now. Maybe someday, but it certainly added to my overwhelming depression that day.)

I don't want to write. I NEED to write, and I've been doing this for a long time. It's great to have the modicum of success I've had, and it's a harbinger of what's to come. But when I clocked into my square job on Tuesday, the finality crept in. I couldn't do the awesome shit I really had fun with because I had to work at a 9-5 (except in my case it's more like 5:45 am to 2:15 pm). I honestly believe I was meant to do these shows and sell books and talk to awesome people all day, every day. To be stuck dealing with a square job? It nearly killed me.

To be fair, my square job is pretty nice. Plus I recently got a promotion. More money, better hours. Not bad, right? But I would much prefer to be doing cons and meeting people and selling shit and--you know. The best is when you have an awesome fellow author to sit at a table with. I've done it with MP Johnson and Kevin Strange, two awesome dudes who never run out of awesome things to say, whether it be about past experience or the industry. I wish I had those guys attached to each hip, just to remind me of how cool the cons are when I'm not stuck with my square job.

I guess the whole point of this rambling piece is to say that I would much rather hang out at cons with awesome people than be stuck at my square job. I'd really like to make that happen before I die. Until then, I guess I'm going to stick it out through the dark times of my mundane life.

PS: For those interested, my grandfather is doing much better. They moved him to hospice, but he's been getting better. I think he might actually be able to come home. Better news: the VA shaved his head. For as long as I've known him (ie. my entire life), he's been trying to pull off the worst comb-over in history. My grandmother noted that he looks like Bryan Cranston on BREAKING BAD, and I couldn't believe her. Not until I saw him. Holy shit, he looks younger and tougher than he's been in a while. I think he might actually pull through this. I'm an atheist, but I thank you all for your prayers. Your thoughts. All the friends who offered to help me. Everything and everyone. I wanted #150 to be a blockbuster, but it doesn't seem like much. Yet at the same time, it does. I think all of the anniversaries have something to do with Gramps.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


I don't know what I can say. I'm sad and lonely and fucking scared. If you've followed me for a while, you know my grandfather, who had a major hand in raising me, has had difficulties of late. He's back in the VA because of his heart. The front valve, he says, isn't opening regularly. They told him that they can fix it with surgery, but he doesn't want to do that.

Oh fucking fuck. He's ready to die. I've known this for a while, but it hasn't been real until now.

I can barely type this through a veil of tears. He means so much to me, and I know he's ready to go. He has a pamphlet from the VA about going into hospice. INTO HOSPICE. When he told me that, I felt my eyes burning. I didn't want to cry in front of him because I wanted him to know I was strong enough for this.

But I saw something tonight that I've never seen before. My grandfather, my hero for as long as I've been alive, cried tonight. He bawled his eyes out. He begged me to take care of my grandmother. I've never seen him like this before, and I felt weak to my very core. It scared me more than I've ever been scared in my adult life.

God, I can't stop crying. Oh please. I'm sorry. Help me. Please. I'm losing my mind. I'm so scared.

They took him downstairs for PT today. He did pretty well until he fell when he was using the walker they gave him. I saw the bruises and the bandages. He told me his shoulder hurt so much, but he was afraid to ask for painkillers to help.

All of my life, he told me that he hated having a beard. He needed to be clean-shaven at all times. The only day of the week he didn't shave was Sunday, just because he wanted to relax. Tonight . . . tonight he has a beard. No one at the VA wants to shave him. I have never seen him with hair on his chin before, and it's scaring me a lot. He's got headaches that come and go, but when they're coming, he doesn't even look like my grandfather anymore. The little hair he has is wild. He has a beard. His face isn't like anyone I know. He holds his head in pain, and I don't know what I can say. I beg him to tell the staff, but he doesn't want to. He doesn't want to because I think he's ready for the end.

I'm not ready for that. I can't live without my grandfather. He's made so much of an impact on me that I don't know what I can do. I want him to come home. I want him to be OK. I want him to . . . I want him to BE.

I'm sorry for all the times I was impatient with him because he couldn't hear me. I'm sorry for all the times I was angry because he soiled himself and the floor. Please don't take him from me. I love him too much. I can't see myself living without him.

God, if you're really there, help me. Don't take my grandfather away. Please. I beg of you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


It's great to have STRIP back in print, but holy hell that's a lot of money to charge for it. If I could get Amazon to sell it for cheaper, I would, believe you me.

But . . . well . . . there are two ways you can get it for less. Ten bucks, in fact. However, a lot of factors have to come together for you.

First of all, you have to be in the Chicagoland area on either August 1st or the weekend of August 7-9. In the case of 8-1, you'll have to be at G-Mart Comics in the city at 8 pm until whenever the new Bizarro Hour ends. In the case of 8-7 to 9, you have to be in Rosemont for Flashback Weekend. I will have copies of STRIP at both of these events, even though it is not bizarro or horror. And yes, I will be selling them for ten bucks a pop. Interested? Then come on out.

I'm not the only attraction at either of these places, kiddies. At the new Bizarro Hour, we'll have a bunch of awesome writers like:

And to top it all off, I'm sharing a table at Flashback with none other than the author of CATTLE CULT! KILL! KILL! himself, MP Johnson. (And, you know, there are a bunch of horror celebrities at the show, as well.) So yeah. Come on out, have some fun, buy some books. Maybe get drunk. Who knows? I hope to see you all over the course of the next couple of weekends!

EDIT: Want STRIP and my other books for EVEN LESS? Plus MP Johnson's books? Go here and print up a 10% off coupon for Flashback!