Monthly Archives: July 2012

Listen Carefully: The Jackalope is Here!

Jackalope Prelminary Front Cover

The jackalope is here in this special edition of Scary Scribes featuring snippets from Western Legend Press’ new anthology, Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope. Then we’ll get to chat with authors Jeff Strand, David (D.T.) Griffith, Sephera Giron, RachelTowns, Jezzy Wolfe, and Fawn Recording Artist.

Listen to it on the archives here:

Or directly on this site by clicking below:

Scary Scribes Ep 7 – Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope, 07-29-2012

…you can get copies of Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope here:



The Jackalope Arrives on Scary Scribes!

Jackalope Prelminary Front Cover

Tonight’s special edition of Scary Scribes will feature snippets from Western Legend Press’ new anthology, Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope—and then we’ll get to chat with jackalope expert Casie Smalls as well as authors Jeff Strand, David (D.T.) Griffith, Sephera Giron, Rachel Towns, Jezzy Wolfe, and Fawn Recording Artist. Tune in today, Sunday, July 29, 6 p.m. ET here to listen live…

…and while you’re waiting, check out the Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope Trailer here:

and the show’s guests below!

Introducing Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope: Eighteen stories, a poem, and a letter all about the fabled Southwestern Jackalope. Read as a lonely jackalope comes into his own, learn how Ronald Reagan used his jackalope to find political success, explore the horrific ramifications as jackalopes terrorize those unlucky enough to cross their paths…and meet other creatures along the way, like the mighty chupacabra and terrifying moths. This collection explores many aspects of the world of the jackalope! Edited by John Palisano, with tales by Jeff Strand, Rick Pickman, Fawn, D.T. Griffith, RachelTowns, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Sephera Giron, and more! Available in Print and Ebook wherever books are sold!

Jeff Strand


Jeff Strand is the three-time Bram Stoker Award finalist (and zero time winner) of such novels as PRESSURE, DWELLER, BENJAMIN’S PARASITE, WOLF HUNT, A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, THE SINISTER MR. CORPSE, and a bunch of others. Naturally, his story in UNNATURAL TALES OF THE JACKALOPE remains his greatest achievement, and there’s really no reason for him to publish another word, since he’ll never, ever, ever top that one.

More about Jeff Strand at

David (D.T.) Griffith


David (D.T.) Griffith is currently enrolled in WesternConnecticutStateUniversity’s MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program. Along with pursuing fiction in the darker genres, he’s preparing to write a book in the corporate communication field as part of his graduate thesis. His background is in visual arts, working as a photo retoucher, graphic designer, web designer, and illustrator since the mid-90s. He studied creative writing and made it part of his undergrad degree, BFA in Fine Arts. His undergrad mentor was Dick Allen, currently Connecticut’s Poet Laureate.

Learn more about David and his work at

Sephera Giron


Sephera Giron has always been fascinated with the weird and macabre. As a child, she enjoyed the taxidermy oddities displayed in sideshows at local fairs, wax museums in Niagara Falls back when they showed real mutations of nature including living humans and she even read tarot at Carnival Diablo as an adult. She has had over a dozen mass market horror and erotica books published with more of her visions transforming into e-books almost as fast as a Jackalope chases whiskey. Sephera has two sons and lives by the lake in Toronto.

Visit Sephera at

Rachel Towns

 Rachel Towns is a Teacher who lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband Paulo. She currently writes speculative fiction, fantasy and historical fiction stories, whenever she can keep her two cats, Duck and Biggles away from the laptop, which they seem to believe is some kind of high tech cat bed.

More about RachelTowns at her website,


 Fawn Recording Artist

Fawn is an award winning ASCAP singer, songwriter, composer and recording artist, who shared the top of the Billboard Dance Charts with LadyGa Ga, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson in 2010 with her song ‘Wish U Love’ on Hades/Stonedef Records.

Produced by Chad Jack and Tim Letteer, the song made it to #6 on the Billboard charts and was #2 only to Madonna, on the dance/house Masterbeat charts the first 2 months of its release. Her music video of the same song, produced by Fawn and directed by Stephan Wozniak, debuted in the top 10 music video charts on MTV’s LOGO Channel alongside Taylor Swift, Beyonce’, LadyGa Ga, Mariah Carey, Timbaland and Jennifer Lopez. It remained in the top 10 for 5 months and charted at #142 for the Top 200 Hit Dance Songs of 2009. ‘Wish U Love’ was nominated for ‘Best Dance Single’ at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards in 2010 and Fawn was personally nominated for a 2010 Wake Up Award for recognition in inspiring humanity to it’s full potential. In 2009, Fawn won the JPF Music Award for ‘Best Dance Single’ for ‘Wish U Love’ and the JPF Music Award for ‘Best Dance Album’ for “Body Soul and Mind,’ both available on itunes. In 2009 she also won the VH-1 Songwriting award for her soulful song about racism, “Into The Light” and in 2011 won ‘Cover Model Of The Year’ for LIC Magazine.

Her voice and songs have been heard on numerous TV shows, CD Compilations, commercials and films such as The Little Red Wagon, Spike Lee’s The Girl Is In Trouble,The Nathalee Holloway Story, CSI Miami, Charlie’s Angels 2011, Ugly Betty, Nip/Tuck, Ford, Mazda, Pontiac, Barbie, Ponds, Target, Guiding Light, Lavazza Coffee, The Young and The Restless, Missing, Dead End Falls, and Witchblade, among others. Fawn is currently in the studio finishing up her next electronica album and a piano based compositions album. After that, her goal is to start recording her Traditional Christmas Album made up of original songs and some oldies but goodies.

At present, she has become a published author, making it into the anthology “Unnatural Tales Of The Jackalope” with her short story “The Jackalope and The Jellybean,” currently available on Amazon by Western Legends. She is also part of a photographic exhibit and two separate coffee Table books, alongside Diane Warren and other notables in ‘A Day In My Shoes: Pumps and Pups’ by photographer Amy Martin-Friedman, with proceeds benefitting Animal Alliance, an animal welfare charity. She has future plans to be photographed for the project ‘Vgirls’ with Schwartz Studios before the end of 2012.

Fawn began her entertainment industry career at the ripe age of 6 months old, starring in several National TV Commercials. By the time she was 10 years old, she was doing voice-overs and singing commercials. Her first song released when she was a teenager and produced by BT, Brian Transeau (Film Composer for Monster/Fast and Furious), ‘Oneday,’ raised a substantial amount of money and awareness for people with HIV/AIDS. All proceeds from the song were donated to the cause.

More about Fawn at

Jezzy Wolfe


Jezzy Wolfe was the web-designer/mistress and contributor for Choate Road, the ‘Chuck E Cheese’ of horror, and co-hosted the blogtalk radio shows The Funky Werepig, and Pairanormal. Currently, she’s a reviewer for LIQUID IMAGINATION.

Her stories have appeared in various publications such as The World of Myth, Twisted Tongue magazine, The Odd Mind magazine, and the soon coming anthologies HARVEST HILL, Morpheus Tales special flash issue, The 2009 LADIES and GENTLEMAN of HORROR, and the Choate Road sampler fun book, KNOCK KNOCK… WHO’S THERE? DEATH!

More about Jezzy on her website at

Behind the Scenes: Making the Bad Apple Trailer

If you’ve not seen the trailer for Bad Apple, my dark emerging YA thriller coming from Vagabondage Press Books this September 25, here it is.

Believe it or not, people have been asking me how I did it, so here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it was made.

My initial concept was to use video of a teddy bear being crushed under the items of adulthood: originally, I had a cookbook as one item, a dish as another, and was going to make a fake “brochure” for the glitzy resort at which Scree arrives and toss that down, too. Then, believe it or not, I was going to douse it all with water or fire (crazy, right)? Somehow, the original concept morphed: it changed to a shower of kids’ toys and a barrage of apples.

One thing that never changed was that I wanted a music box as the soundtrack. Something normal, though, nothing in a minor key that would be too obviously creepy. It needed to be creepy in a very subtle way. If it was normal, it’d be creepier than if I deliberately tried to use something made to sound creepy. It also needed to be something ultra-familiar, that everyone would recognize. I figured I could purchase Brahms’ “Lullaby” legally royalty-free, and I was right (I know from my years in theatre that the key is to look for sound effect albums).

Next, I created all the title cards and the text (although that was tightened again and again as the process moved forward).

Then I went into the garage and got the teddy bear I had in mind: my Nana had made it (she loved to crochet and made us everything from stuffed toys to pocketbooks to clothes). I used the teddy bear to shoot some test footage to see if I could get the falling bear effect to work the way I had envisioned, and also to figure out how many seconds would work best: I was really insistent on keeping it to as close to one minute as possible (after all, film and television trailers are kept at 30 seconds to one minute for a reason. Anything longer than that, you might lose your viewer). I built the trailer around the false footage, so that all I had to do once the final was shot was insert, clip to the right timing and add titling. Here’s that test footage.

The falling bear effect was going to work exactly as I’d imagined. However, I couldn’t film and be the one throwing the items. I needed help, so I asked my friend Michele, who was going to furnish some of her daughter’s old toys.  What was hilarious is that a couple of these toys I had when I was a kid—and are described in Bad Apple.

The night of the shoot I went to buy apples. I swear I’d never seen Shop Rite have so many varieties—and they looked so pretty I was instantly disappointed I didn’t have my camera in my bag. I bought three of each. What was hilarious was that I didn’t keep the varieties separated, and as they were all different prices, the kid at the check-out was overwhelmed having to do them all one at a time.

I went to the car – and I did have my camera, after all. So I went back into the store and shot these photos.

01 Apple Display

How colorful! Bad Apple’s Scree wouldn’t be able to stop looking at this great display. From left to right…

02 Gala Apples

Galas are great in salads.

03 Golden Delicious Apples

Golden Delicious are great for baking. I used to call these “potato apples” when I was a kid. We always had them at my grandmother’s.

04 Red Delicious Apples

Red Delicious are good for soft stuff like sauces, but not for baking.

05 Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith is my personal fave—love that pucker! They’re great for baking and on cheese platters.

06 McIntosh Apples

McIntosh I can’t stand; they’re too mushy for me. But they’re good if you want to make your flour-based goods (like breads and cakes) moist.

07 Another shot of display

Another shot of the ShopRite apple display.

08 Pink Lady Sign

09 Pink Lady

The Pink Lady apple is great in sweet stuff, like cinnamon rolls.

10 Fuji Sign

Fujis are good for cooking.

12 Cameo Sign

13 Cameo Apples

Cameos are good for cooking.

14 Empire Sign

15 Empire Apples

Empires are good roasted.

16 Stayman Sign

17 Stayman Apples

Staymans are good for cooking.

18 Rome Sign

19 Rome Apples

Romes are good in baking and cooking.

Then I realized I’d missed a couple of varieties. I was also suddenly inspired to make a documentary of the development, writing of and execution of Bad Apple, so I started filming myself. Yeah, I know, dumb. I did it anyway. Here’s what I shot in the store.

Michele arrived with the bag of toys, and first we had to get all the stickers off the apples.

20 - Destickered Apples

The apples after we took the stickers off. They’re so colorful I really didn’t like that I had to do the trailer in a washed-out black and white. I hate missing a good color-pop! For some reason, though, it doesn’t look like I bought that many. Trust me, they weighed a ton.

21 1970s Children's Toys

The toys. As a child, I had the blue and red ball, the jack-in-the-box, the stacking rings, and the Humpty Dumpty. (Personally I find the ashtray behind the toys kind of funny. Oops.)

22 Throwing Station

Michele’s “throwing station.” In the end, the items bounced too much. She ended up standing next to me and dropping them from waist-height.

What was also fun was that, since she didn’t have one in her daughter’s toys, she’d bought a child’s ball (I’d specifically asked her for one—I was going to attempt to recreate a special effect I had done for Woman in Black back in 1998). I couldn’t remember how to do it. She figured it out.

We were ready. Here are some false attempts (we shot it four times, although it might have been more).

Here’s the final footage—shoot number 5—that was later edited and manipulated to create the final product.

Some notes on the final: I chose a washed-out black and white footage for two reasons: I wanted something “ghostly,” that suggested something deep in the past, but also something light enough that the text could be read easily. Fitting the text into blocks that were readable against the background footage was the most difficult part of the process.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the making of the trailer for Bad Apple!

Normal’s Bookstore–refreshingly, anything but: Thoughts on bookstore impulse buying

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Back in March we made our annual trip to Baltimore for the Edgar Allan Poe birthday celebration, and Charles, who has spent more time in Baltimore than I have, took us to a used book and record store he loves called Normal’s.

The store had the rich smell of aging paper, binding glue, and vinyl. Interesting articles clipped from sensationalist rags were pinned to the walls. Movie monster action figures, old ashtrays and all other kinds of freaky knick-knacks were in every corner, on every shelf. NOLA jazz floated from overhead speakers.

But what truly stunned me was the variety of inventory. Good grief, “historic disasters” had its own section! I found a book I was sure I was going to have to order from Amazon (it was one I’d borrowed from a friend years ago and returned, but loved it so much I vowed to buy it again: Black Box: All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts of In-flight Accidents—in fact, shockingly, they had two copies in stock), an older copy of a collection of haunted house stories, and an issue of an off-the-wall literary magazine I’d never heard of which focused on Poe.

I had gone into the store only to browse. I came out having spent $20.

My exciting impulse buys refreshed my perspective on an old issue: Amazon killed/is killing bookstores. I was reminded that one of the reasons I stopped going to Borders or Barnes & Noble was because after awhile, they didn’t have that book on the Hindenburg or UFOs or whatever else I was interested in buying—three or four failed attempts in a row taught me that. I stopped wasting my time to even drive to the store(s) and look, because I knew all I was going to find were five hundred copies of whatever The New York Times Bestseller list was pushing, the latest manufactured marketing machine, or, later on, tons of gifty-crap like Mother’s Day in a Box and Grow-Your-Own-Zombie Kits (the presence of which further limited space in the store for, ahem, books).

At that point, I became quickly addicted to Amazon—I could find and purchase exactly what I wanted in just a couple of minutes. But what this did was cut down on my browsing, and hence, my impulse buying.

These large bookstores have forgotten that the backbone of their bottom line is varied inventory. People like me went into a store looking for one book on a specific topic, usually found it, then browsed around and picked up other things—many times not even related to the book we came in for—that we “just had to have,” often spending twice or three times what we’d intended.

Large bookstores think that spending shelf space on a book about the Roanoke Colony when they can use that same space for yet another copy The Hunger Games is a losing proposition. In truth, that Roanoke book probably guarantees the sale of a few other things and will bring in more cash than the sale of the single copy of bestseller will. In truth, they’re not even getting one sale from people like me, because we won’t even set foot in the door to browse. Sure, I’m one person. But I can guarantee you I’m not alone. If, per day, in the U.S. alone, one thousand of us who would’ve spent close to $40 each on books don’t even show up, the chain loses $40,000 that day.

Tiny places like Normal’s are not only beginning to come back, they’re thriving. But they’re thriving, in part, because they know enough to carry inventory to generate the impulse buy.

If you love books and are visiting Baltimore, Normal’s should be on your itinerary. It’s located at 425 E. 31st Street; their website is If you’re not going to be in Baltimore any time soon, pay a visit to your nearest small bookstore. I’m thinking you probably won’t leave empty handed.

Short Film: Ghost Story by Steven Cameron Ferguson

This just under 12-minute short film was shot on location in Glasgow, Scotland, and was nominated for a Royal Television Society award. Sweet rather than scary, this ghost story is probably the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee.

52 Weeks of Spam: Winners, July 2 & 9

Stop Night Fails

Winners, Week of July 2:

(From the Spam Filter)

Free Online Watch HD Movies…

Submitted on 2012/03/29 at 9:28 pm

[…] Journey to the Center of the Earth Movie (2008) Download DVDRip Blu-ray (BDrip) DivX3-D Effects Take Audience on A Journey to the Center of the Earth (movie review)Jules Verne: Journey to the Center of the EarthStay Modern: Iceland, center of the earthartboxCatfish – Movie Review“Kun Faaya Kun Rockstar” (Official full video) “Ranbir Kapoor” On NYC Schools and ‘loaded words’: Enough, Let’s Just Go Mute […]

I don’t know how I feel about a free HD movie site spamming other sites with my posts. This one kind of bugs me.

Winners, Week of July 9:

(From the Spam Filter under the post “The Writing Life: The Balance of Work and Play”)

seiko snab65 x

Interesting blog post – thanks. I felt your blog is truly fascinating. I would like to uncover more in the near future.

The only reason this is a winner is because it’s one of those messages, especially given the post on which it appeared, that really makes you wonder if it truly is spam or someone legitimately commenting on your blog. The only reason I knew it wasn’t was because it’s obviously connected to someplace selling watches (and what’s also interesting is it’s called “watchwhich.” At least make it more intelligent and clever and call it “watchwitch.”

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 Other Shoe Drops: Robert Arthur’s “Obstinate Uncle Otis”

Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Who hasn’t lived life like that sometimes? In the circumstances in which I grew up, “waiting for the other shoe to drop” was just part of life. From my earliest memories, it seemed, I was always waiting for things to end badly–for that proverbial shoe to land, so to speak, in a very bad spot.

For that reason, there was a story I read when I was very young (probably ten or so, perhaps younger) called “Obstinate Uncle Otis,” which I never forgot (I’m doing this spoiler-free, because I’d like you to go read the story, so I’m not telling you why).

That said, I remembered how the story concluded (almost to the line, it turns out later), but it made such a strong impression on me I remembered the title. I didn’t remember who wrote it or the plot, but for me, having a title is the most important thing, since ninety-five percent of the time I can only recall one of my own mental images that went with what I was reading or what really impressed me and that’s about it.

Over the years, I had cited this story many times and how it ended to friends, mostly when we’d be sitting around talking about learning how to defeat anxiety, and I always wished I had a copy of it. Searching in old anthologies or textbooks from the era was a dead end: I hadn’t read it in an anthology—the story was part of a reading-box system, in my opinion a very effective way of teaching reading to a large group of students, because each could advance at his own pace and therefore benefit no matter what level at which he’d entered the class.

Basically, each classroom was issued several file boxes. Each box was colored and represented a reading level; for example, the orange box was Level 1, the yellow was Level 2, et cetera. Here’s a current photo of what one of these systems looks like today; I found it on a UK website, so apparently, this system is still being used someplace, although it looks like they just do one box now for the whole system:


Each box contained cards the size of manila folders. Each card had a short fiction piece accompanied by comprehension and vocabulary questions. Each student progressed through the boxes at his own pace (during “reading time” each day—we weren’t allowed to take the cards home), and when he’d successfully completed one box, he moved up to the next level.

The system we were using had many levels, I want to say eight or ten, possibly more. All I remember is that once you got up into the dark colors—navy, olive, plum, brown—you were advanced. “Obstinate Uncle Otis” I believe was on a navy card (but you know what they say about persistence of memory, it’s just that’s the color I’ve associated it with over the years). And if anyone’s assuming I was a brain and made it all the way to the last color, I didn’t. I fell three short, as I recall.

For a long time, therefore, my search for “Obstinate Uncle Otis” focused on trying to find the system we’d used. To no avail. Eventually, I gave up and just started searching for the story itself online, again, to no avail. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you’re looking for something specific on the Internet and can’t find it, wait awhile and try again. So every couple of years I’d Google “Obstinate Uncle Otis” and keep my fingers crossed.

This past January, I found it.

“Obstinate Uncle Otis,” by Robert Arthur, was published in Argosy’s July 19, 1941 issue. Someone had, in between my search periods, PDF’d all the old Argosys and archived them online. Imagine how thrilled I was to see this:


So, I think it’s safe to say the other shoe has dropped–for once, in position I like. I give you “Obstinate Uncle Otis.” Just click the link and go to Page 33. Enjoy!

Who would I cast to play Skeletons’ Cora? Find out in Kindle Mojo’s interview

Kindle Mojo’s interview with me, in which I discuss my picks for who I’d cast to play Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole’s main characters and other fun stuff, is up! You can check it out here:

And yes, Skeletons is available on Kindle! You can get it here:


Looking to chill your room this summer? Do it with Tales to Terrify!

Tales to Terrify March 2012 Cover

As you might assume, I’m always looking for a few more scary stories to read. And if you’re a busy one like me who sometimes only has time to “read” via audio—in the car or doing whatever—then you’ll especially be interested in this.

In January, writer Lawrence Santoro  (and here’s his blog: started the Tales to Terrify podcast—a scarefest that brings back the days of old-time radio in the best way possible. I’m hooked.

Hosted by Santoro, each episode features readings of stories and/or poems from the classics (think Poe, Lovecraft, and more) as well as today’s movers and shakers. In addition, there are insightful features no horror fan should miss, like Kevin Lucia’s Horror 101, in which he traces the roots of the macabre from its beginnings to today, Martin Mundt on the horror life, and so much more…this isn’t just a show about stories. It’s a thinking horror reader’s dream.

If that weren’t enough, Santoro’s voice is chilling in itself. When Jason Sanford called him “the Vincent Price of podcasts,” he wasn’t exaggerating!

So if you’re looking for a way to cool down this summer, this is it. Turn out the lights, turn up the AC and get under the blanket: it’s time for Tales to Terrify.

You can listen to any of their past episodes here: If you’d like to hear me read Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s “My Tears Have Been My Meat,” check out Episode #24 here:

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