Monthly Archives: February 2012

Get horrified, play old Atari at the Queen City Kamikaze Anime & Video Game Convention this weekend!

Nathan and I will be at the New England Horror Writers table at the Queen City Kamikaze Anime & Gaming Convention this Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Manchester Memorial High School in Manchester, New Hampshire.

There are lots of interesting activities slated throughout the day; according to an interview with the presenters I heard recently on the Sci-Fi Saturday Night podcast, there will be television screens playing movies (rumor is the NEHW table will have horror movies running all day nearby), gaming consoles available for play (there’s going to be an attempt at beating Jimmy Fallon’s 9 consoles in under a minute record–although someone named Ryan Sullivan logged in at 13:,2817,2399510,00.asp), music, and other interactive areas.

New England Horror Writers will also be presenting two panels: “Women in Horror,” which will start at 4 p.m. and be moderated by writer Stacey Longo. Panelists will be me and writers Tracy Carbone and Alyn Day. At 4:50 p.m., Jason Harris will moderate “From the Apocalypse to Zombies: Where’s Horror Heading?” Panelists will be writers K. Allen Wood, Rob Watts, Stacey Longo, and occult specialist Nathan Schoonover.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of my NEHW peeps again—there’s always a bit of a break once Anthocon, in November, ends, usually until late winter or early spring. This is going to be a great weekend, so please join us!

For everything you need to know about Kamikaze Con, visit here:

As a bonus, Sci-Fi Saturday Night podcast talks with the convention’s organizers on TalkCast 120. Give it a listen by clicking the link here:

Think you’ve got nerve? Then don’t miss John Palisano on February’s Scary Scribes!

Writer John Palisano.

At last, John Palisano’s debut novel, Nerves, is due to be released by Bad Moon Books later this year, and Scary Scribes listeners will get an exclusive sneak peek on the February 26 episode!

A visceral tale with unique—and I do mean unique—vampiric undertones, in Nerves, something strange has changed in Josiah—he suddenly has power to give life to the dead, and he isn’t the only one with an amazing new ability: halfway across the world, his brother Horace discovers his very presence can kill. The brothers’ powers are not a secret to everyone, however—and that is where the battle begins…

Scott Nicholson, author of The Red Church, has heralded Nerves as “Inventive dark fantasy from a fresh talent. Action, horror and high emotional stakes make this a winner.”

Palisano is well-known to readers of Horror Library, Darkness On The Edge, Phobophobia, Harvest Hill, Halloween Spirits, the Bram Stoker-nominated Midnight Walk, and many other dark publications.

After the show, we’ll chat with John about his new work in depth. I’m absolutely thrilled he’ll be joining us on Scary Scribes. You’ll be able to listen live on Canada’s Paranormal, Eh? Radio Network at 6 p.m. Sunday, February 26.

You can read more about John Palisano here:

To watch the Nerves trailer, head here:


Saturday, February 4, New England Horror Writers members TJ May, Trisha J. Wooldridge, and I presented a day-long writing workshop on the craft, critiquing, and business at Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester, MA. The event included breakfast and lunch and all participants received written professional critique of their submissions.

Annie’s Book Stop provides, as you can see from the photos below, a great community service.

But Annie’s has an interesting dilemma: their dedicated staff consists of unpaid volunteers, and with the economy being what it is, this can’t go on much longer.

Annie’s has created a Peerbacker project to secure some funding. Consider pledging a couple of dollars to keep this community resource and quality bookstore (that has the largest collection of Dr. Who memorabilia and it’s available ONLINE) open and thriving!

From their Peerbacker description:

“Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester
Funding for: Creating jobs

“Take one traditional used bookstore with bookcases of gently loved paperbacks and hardcovers in every genre…Add new, exciting, hand-picked books direct from major publishing houses, small presses, and local authors…Throw in the largest assortment of DOCTOR WHO merchandise on the Eastern seaboard of the United States…Top it off with an incredibly knowledgeable and personable staff, and you’ll get a truly unique shopping experience.

“Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester has passed its critical first year of operations after a turnkey takeover in November 2010 from the prior owners. Despite the challenges created by a horrid economy and the impact of the James Street Bridge closure from July through September of 2011, we have grown our sales by more than 20% and expanded our customer base to include worldwide online sales.

“However, to keep succeeding, we need your help. 

“Our loyal staff of knowledgeable booksellers consists of unpaid volunteers. They have stuck with this bookstore through thick and thin and because they believe in the store’s mission. They are instrumental in helping new customers and serving the bibliophiles of central Massachusetts and beyond though the physical store and online. They deserve paychecks for their dedication.

“The city of Worcester deserves to benefit from the jobs created by our employing these volunteers on a permanent basis, the revenue generated, and the lowering of the city’s and state’s unemployment rate.

“Our customers, old and new, deserve the best selection and service available,  

“Our local and worldwide community of authors, artists, performers and creators deserve a venue, both physical and virtual, that showcases their works and talents. Many already call this bookstore home and grow our community outreach.

“The publishing industry deserves a success story in one little corner of the country and the Internet, rather than the constant bad news of storefront after storefront closing.

“Help us continue to BE that success story. Thank you.”

You can visit this link to make your pledge:

In the meantime? Take a virtual look back at the NEHW Writer’s Workshop hosted by Annie’s Book Stop.

Annie's Book Stop in Worcester, MA.

Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester, Mass. welcomes us for the day-long Feb. 4 writing workshop.

“Just throw it in my eyes…” What gets a writer moving better than caffeine and sugar? TJ May knows…

Program participant L’Aura Hladik reaches for a munchkin.

Annie’s rented a space across the street in a re-purposed mill; I don’t know if this space is a church now or if this is just what’s left of a church that used to be there.

Just inside the entrance of the rented space. Initially, this is where we had set up the tables for our workshop.

Standing in the rented space, looking back towards the door.

To give ourselves more room, we moved everything to a larger space in the back. Here are the participants and presenters settling in.

Participant Deborah Sadenwater takes a look at one of the books presenter TJ May brought for everyone to peruse (and add to their library lists).

Lunch was an assortment of sandwiches purchased from the Theatre Café in Worcester. The sandwiches—roast beef, turkey, and vegetarian hummus—came with chips and pickles and cookie.

Presenter Trish Wooldridge focused on running your writing life as a business, as well as marketing, copyright issues, accounting, good writing resource websites—and everything in between.

Presenter TJ May discussed craft: scenes, pacing, plot, and other basics.

Participants Cheryl Cory, Tracy Vartanian, and Deborah Sadenwater share a moment.

A vacant table during a break.

The presenters and participants at the end of the day. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Cory, Tracy Vartanian, Deborah Sadenwater, L’Aura Hladik, Kris Star, Bob Blois, Trisha Woodridge; front row, left to right: TJ May, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Lisa Jackson, Jennifer Allis Provost.

This phone booth was in a large lobby area behind our space, and I couldn’t resist a photo.

Left to right, Trisha, me, TJ, and the interesting phone booth. We wanted to get in it, but it was welded shut—no surprised, it is across from a lounge, so we figured they did that so drunk people wouldn’t go in and use it for unsavory purposes.

Autographed copies of In Poe’s Shadow, which contains my short story “Vanity,” for sale at Annie’s BookStop, 65 James Street, Worcester, Mass.

Autographed copies of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World for sale at Annie’s Bookstop, 65 James Street, Worcester, Mass.

Wake the Witch anthology, for benefit of Red Cross, available

May-December Publications’ Wake the Witch anthology, which contains my long out-of-print short story “Whether Girl” and benefits the Red Cross, is now available in both print (paperback) and Kindle editions.

“Whether Girl” was originally published in the Summer 2005 issue of The Wheel.

From the publisher’s website at

“Prepare to have a spell cast over you by this collection of bewitching tales; each one cast out by well-trained sorcerer or sorceress with a heart of gold. These charms and incantations were offered gratis as a spell of protection and assistance for people around the world suffering from tragedy and heartbreak. By reading this tome, you will be helping a stranger, a neighbor, or perhaps even yourself.
We thank each and every author that donated their stories for this charity anthology: Adam Millard, Bennie Newsome, Chantal Boudreau, CW LaSart, DA Chaney, David Landrum, Elizabeth Butler, Geoffery Crescent, Ken Goldman, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Marius Dicomites, Mark Jones, Michael Frissore, Todd Brown and Walter Campbell.”

From the book’s Introduction:

“May December Publications is proud to present to you this little anthology of witch-themed stories. It should be noted that everything you are holding was donated by the artists. None of the contributors to this anthology received so much as a contributor’s copy for the work included in these pages. The reason is simple: we want every penny of proceeds to go to the Red Cross. 2011 was a year many would like to forget. From devastating floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes, to a tsunami that caused a nuclear event that will have lingering effects on the people of Japan.

It seems that every year there are terrible events in the news that kill and displace thousands. The sad truth is that the public consciousness only lasts for the few days that the images are on their television screens. Yet, for the victims of disaster, the story continues long after the cameras pack up and head for the next “event”. To that end, May December Publications wants to offer the proceeds from this anthology to the Red Cross in quarterly checks in the name of all who contributed. It may not be much, but as the saying goes, every little bit helps.

I urge you all to remember that the need for your help does not end simply because nobody is talking about the problem. Thank you for purchasing this book. You have unwittingly (or maybe wittingly) helped a person in need.

TW Brown

Editor, May December Publications”

To purchase in Print:

To purchase for Kindle:

As a woman reading this, I found it refreshing. I never really stopped to think about a man’s relationship to his own body; I guess I never thought they were as “in tune” as women. Plus, this really made me laugh. It takes a serious issue and puts a humorous spin on it. And I think that ALL of us, male or female, can relate to “it’ll pass.” I just HAD to reblog this one.

Readers & Writers

I shouldn’t be writing this post. I’ve been musing undecidedly over whether to give a written birth to it from thought, mainly due to the explicitly personal nature of it – but I suppose that is what writing is all about.

For a few weeks now, one of my balls has been troubling me. When I say ‘balls’, yes, I mean testicles. And when I say ‘troubling’ me, I mean killing me.

I feel that now I’ve got that dreaded ‘T’ word out of the way, I can write through the rest of this post. The pain started a few weeks back. A dull ache – nothing to arouse too much concern. Having had an operation as a child on the very same ball, after a sporting accident, I did begin to wonder if something had gone balls up and left me in a sticky situation.

Nah. It’ll pass.


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Happy Valentine’s Day from The Back of the Bus!

This bus wished me a Happy Valentine's Day!

When I was driving from Provincetown to Auburn, MA on February 3 for a New England Horror Writers Workshop, I saw something so cool I just had to grab it: a bus bound for Woods Hole had a “Happy Valentine’s Day” message flashing for the benefit of everyone behind it.

The film giggles a little bit because it’s hard to film and drive, but…Happy Valentine’s Day from the back of the bus! Enjoy!

21st-Century Dickinson, Byron: Vagabondage Press releases Love Notes just in time for Valentine’s Day and Wedding Season

My poem “Today”—which has long been buried—is now available in Vagabondage Press’ Love Notes anthology. What’s really great about this? It’d make a great Valentine’s Day gift, birthday gift for your sweetheart who’s a lover of poetry…or wedding gift for bridesmaids or couples. Check it out:

January 31, 2012—Love in secret, love celebrated. Love so close or not close enough. A shared candied apple, a farewell at Paddington Station. A face that leaves us breathless or wounded, a single word that changes our lives forever.

Vagabondage Press releases Love Notes—a collection of poetry as diverse as the experience of falling in love itself—just in time for Valentine’s Day giving and Wedding Season wishes.

Featuring the work of over fifty poets, some nominated for Pushcart Prizes, the collection features work examining all aspects of love—and love lost—in a myriad of forms and styles.

“We wanted a poetry collection that would be more like ‘love letters,’—think twenty-first centuryDickinsonand Byron,” says Fawn Neun, Managing Editor of Vagabondage Press. “A book that would make a wonderful gift for Valentine’s Day, weddings—any tender occasion, really—because of its classic feel.”

Love Notes is available in both print and eBook and is sold at all major online book retailers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, and AllRomance, as well as on the Vagabondage Press website at

To purchase Love Notes:

52 Weeks of Spam: Winners, Week of February 6

Winners, Week of February 6:

johnny[rest of email address]

i think im pregnant

Oh my God, Johnny! You’re the world’s first pregnant man and you decided to e-mail little old me first! I’m so honored! By the way…who the hell are you?


Everybody hates Spam—it fills up your Inbox (unless you’ve got G-mail, which does a great job of putting it in an appropriately-labeled folder), clogs your blog (WordPress does a great job filtering, too), and can threaten your computer’s security.

I have to say though, I love my Spam. It cracks me up—it’s poorly spelled, illiterate, and often leaves me wondering who would be dumb enough to click on the link for whatever product/service/lottery winning from mysterious relative in a country you’ve never heard of. So I decided in 2012 I’d go through my Spam each week and pick my favorites to share with the world. I remove the sender and any links that might be damaging (plus, who wants to give them press?).

See you next week! If you get any great Spam, you can post it here, just strip any links and the sender’s e-mail. And be sure to say something in the post to let me know you’re real. Otherwise I might think you’re…well, Spam.

The Sea’s Many Moods

Winter sunset, Provincetown.

The first time I came to Provincetown, I fell in love with it—not just for the usual reasons: that at that time in my life it represented freedom, recognition, new discoveries, peace and time to write—but because there was something so very familiar about it. As though I’d spent my entire life in a tiny, charming, New England seaside community.

It wasn’t until my second week here back in 2010 that I put my finger on why I felt so comfortable and at home—call it genetic or familial memory, but I suddenly made the connection: my father’s family is from the North Frisian Islands, specifically from one of the four large ones called Föhr. This group of islands, under German rule, is largely economically dependent on tourism, but, being surrounded by the sea, has that fishing-village feel; my father had visited there in 2001 and brought back photos, and when I recalled them, I wasn’t surprised to realize that the small streets, the houses decorated with flowers, the landscape in general and the atmosphere didn’t seem that much different from Provincetown’s.

The near-full moon over the bay, February 9, 2012.

That said, when I’ve stayed at the colony in winters past, I was given an apartment—usually off Bradford Street—which wasn’t near the sea. This time, I’m in Norman’s house, and the sea literally comes up to the base of the stairs on Norman’s back porch at high tide. I can see the ocean through almost all of the windows: I watch it as I work in Norman’s dining room, I watch it when I drink at his bar, I watch it when I’m having coffee in the morning; I hear the pounding surf from every room in the house, especially at night.

For the first time in my life, I’m surrounded by the ocean 24/7.

While this may not seem an extraordinary thing to most people, it is for me, as I’ve spent my life land-locked. I know full well the sea is quixotic and wears many masks from photos, films, and the brief, infrequent times I’ve spent in and around it. But to see it constantly live has been incredible, a reminder for me that we, just like the sea, have the power to change our perceptions in an instant—if only we are open to the forces that shape us.

Here’s a montage of what I’ve seen since I’ve been here. All of it was shot on Norman’s back porch.



Sign at the intersection of Route 6A and Snail Road in Provincetown, MA.

The more things change, the more they stay the same: below shot of me leaving for Provincetown in 2011; below that, a shot of me leaving in 2012. 

January 15, 2011.

February 1, 2012.

This is my third winter at the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony inProvincetown. While I know what to expect, I also don’t, which strikes a little trepidation in me: every time I get into the car to come here, I wonder what new discoveries and revelations await me, and even though they are almost always positive, I cannot say that the journey to them is always pleasant.

One of my favorite things to do while I’m here is get out for a drive every day—not necessarily to go anywhere; with the town being three miles long and its roads basically one large loop, it’s really easy to just put on some tunes and admire the beautiful landscape and take a break from work. One of the things I’ve noticed about Ptown’s winters (even last year, which was snowier than usual), is that when they are not gray (which honestly, at least when I’ve been here, really isn’t that often), they are sunny and bright—a cure for me, who suffers from lack of light, and I know for a fact that where I live is much, much grayer much more often during the winter months.

For fun, I thought I’d share my drives from 2010 and 2012 (for some reason, I cannot find the 2011 film, although I remember doing it). What’s most interesting to me is that, just as my 2010 experience was so vastly different from my 2012 experience, the type of sunny winter is also vastly different: 2010 was, just as it appears on the video, much colder, and you can see that in the way the sun and the landscape looks compared to 2012—which looks a little bit more like spring sun and there’s good reason for that, since it hasn’t really dropped below forty-five degrees since I’ve been here. It feels like March, not February, and again, the sun and landscape reflect that difference. It’s this type of thing that reminds me—and should remind us all—that sometimes it’s okay to go home again; everything changes, even if in only the smallest ways, and most of the time, it’s for the best.

Enjoy (excuse the Peter Cetera; that’s the only CD I listen to when I’m here, and really don’t know why except that it seems to mellow me out).

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