Monday, August 31, 2015

Farewell, Wes Craven

The other day I was absently singing some kiddie nonsense to the baby.

"One, two, buckle my shoe...three, four, shut the door...five, six, grab your, eight, better stay up late...nine, ten, never sleep a- oh, damn it."

But this is the kind of thing that happens when you're a Wes Craven fan.

And today we say good-bye to one of my favorite horror guys, who once read an article about the unexplained deaths of two sisters and from it created one of the most terrifying concepts in horror cinema.
But this story about the creation of one of filmdom's most notorious monsters is a great example of How to Avoid Writer's Block.

We all get stuck on stories sometimes. But too often I hear people complaining they just don't have any ideas. They want to write, but don't know what to write about.  And I always

Wes Craven read a news story about two teenage sisters who died, apparently in their sleep, of no known cause. Witnesses said their faces bore expressions of fear when the bodies were found. He was intrigued by the case, and eventually speculated that something in their dreams had frightened them to death. And thus Freddie Krueger was born. The real terror of Freddie was never his burn scars, or the claws. It was that he could attack you in your dreams, and everybody, EVERYBODY, has to sleep sometime. There was literally no way to escape him. It's brilliant. It's scary as hell. It's a fantastic story, and a great character.

And this is how we get ideas. We pay attention to the big news stories, and also the small ones. The weird ones. One of my favorite things in the world is a radio show called Coast to Coast A.M., a hotbed of conspiracy theories, ghost stories, and alien abduction experiences. This show- on nightly, 1 am- 5 am ET, probably on your local FM station- is a gold mine for speculative fiction writers. A few days ago Coast to Coast was interviewing the great-great grandson of H.H. Holmes. Apparently no one in the family was aware of their ancestor until the interviewee's grandfather took the opportunity over a family dinner to tell them they were descended from one of America's most notorious serial killers.

Now THERE'S a story.

So keep your eyes and ears open. Stories can hide anywhere, and they want to be told. All it takes is a little persuasion to draw them out into the open.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Author Secrets as Revealed on Squidbillies

I am a big fan of a Cartoon Network show called Squidbillies. It's about hillbilly squids, it's incredibly offensive and way funnier than it has any right to be. This episode, in which the son of the hillbilly squid family takes up reading, taught me a little something about us authors, courtesy of horror legend Dean Koontz.

Yes my friends, most popular authors are in fact illiterate. I can read, so I guess that's why I'm not quite as successful as Robert Ludlum (yet!).

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Giveaway is Ended!

This afternoon I drew a winner for the Late Summer, Early Spring e-book giveaway, by using the very scientific method of writing down names on paper slips and putting them in my son's Super Mario Brothers lunchbag, closing my eyes and drawing one out.

Congratulations Kimber! I will contact you shortly for an e-mail address where we can send the book.

Thanks to everyone for entering, I wish I could give you all a copy but the publisher might frown on that...

Sunday, August 9, 2015


So I was absent for another whole week! Well, I have an excuse of sorts. The oldest kid starts school early this year and so last week was a jumble of traveling to see relatives before then, Gencon 2015 and GISHWHES ( But I did manage to make this lovely portrait of Nicki Minaj in rice and lentils.

Anyway, that's all over now, and I can concentrate on this bit of news:


Here's the protocol: leave a comment on this post. Any comment. It can be about the book, or about Nicki there, or your favorite dinosaur, or whatever. Just talk to me. It gets lonely here in this corner of the net.

I will give away ONE copy, and this giveaway will run one week, until Sunday, August 16th. At that time I will write everyone's name on a slip of paper, pop it into a hat, and draw one with my eyes closed. This a super-scientific manner of choosing. Then I will contact you and ask for your e-mail address (or you can just leave it in your comment if you'd rather) and a lovely lady at Dreamspinner Press Publications will send it on over. Once you get it, I'll ask you to leave an HONEST review on Goodreads or Amazon or some such place. You don't have to, but it would be awful nice...

To entice you, here is a summary of the book (which is actually two linked novellas):

Hour of the Lotus
General Sho Iwata is devastated when the man he secretly loves, Prince Narita, is struck with a mysterious illness. Iwata's current lover, Hiroshi, is well aware of the general's unrequited passion. But that isn’t his biggest problem. His sister is Narita’s favorite consort, but Hiroshi believes she has been replaced by an imposter. When they discover the true cause of the illness, they will have to battle an ancient spirit and survive. 

Fox Hunter
Lord General Iwata Sho sets out in search of the mysterious Fox Hunter. When he finds his former lover, Hiroshi, he discovers a changed man, scarred inside and out and consumed by vengeance. Together with Narita’s grown son Daigo, Iwata and Hiroshi pursue the malicious spirit as it leaves bloodshed in its wake. Iwata worries about what will become of Hiroshi when the fox is defeated―if Hiroshi’s revenge doesn’t kill him first. 

Hour of the Lotus published by Dreamspinner Press, May 2013

Aaaand here are a few snippets from Goodreads reviews:

Late Summer, Early Spring is a perfect treat for anyone looking for beautiful writing, ancient mythology, and casual inclusion of gay characters.

have to admit that I was drawn to this book by the beautiful cover of two Japanese samurai warriors, but it was the writing and the characters that made me stay drawn.

It was a very good read and I recommend it to anyone who likes established couples, Japan and its history and mythology, and to those who just love a good story.

 Patricia’s stories, layered and textured worlds populated with complex characters battling evil and each other, offer a look at different people, societies, customs, norms, and sometimes push us to look at things we might normally avoid. 

So leave me a comment, friends, and you might get this digital volume for absolutely free! And as a bookseller/reader/writer, I can tell you there's nothing better than a free book. Except maybe lots of free books. 

You have one week. I look forward to giving this story to one lucky commenter!