Sunday, December 14, 2008

Books I've been reading...

Well on the bus around town, and my top shelf reading I have been finishing book two and three of John Shirley’s brilliant Eclipse trilogy. Also known as the Song called Youth books. It is an excellent set of books telling the same story all in a very slightly different style from the last. The third book for example seems to a bit more gritty than the first two.

You should read them written in the mid to late 80’s it foresees the rise of corporate war profiteers and racist neo conservatives. Excellent story and great characters, great Sci-Fi war war three novel.

On the Toilet reads are important to me because well I think a great toilet read is a fantastic thing. I’ve had two great bathroom reads. First up was a book from the directors cut series of essays about filmmakers. I got a book at the library on the films of John Carpenter. I loved reading about the metaphysics involved in my favorite Carpenter Movie Prince of Darkness.

The next great bathroom read I am still working through is the Anti-matter anthology. Norm who used to play guitar in the Hare Krishna hardcore band did a really respected zine in the 90’s. What he did best were interviews. I’m really enjoying the interviews with a lot of my favorite hardcore bands. Some old friends. I enjoyed the interview with Rob Pennington of Endpoint most of all. Reminded me what special person he was, between him and Duncan it was a good reminder that the heart and spirit of that band is what made them a special band.

Great interviews with Richie from Into another, Quicksand, snapcase, Sick of it all on and on.

One thing that kinda annoyed me was reading the interviews with Mike Judge and John Porcell. They talked about selling-out straight edge. I read the interviews long ago when the zines first came out but something they said really bothered me. I am not angry at them, they didn’t break my heart or any of that bullshit. I don’t expect much from the people in the big bands.

Mike Judge said “It was hard to stay sober when he was going through troubles,” or something to that effect. Worse Porcell implied that everybody gets weak, as if every straight edge person has fallen. I found that to be really insulting. I enjoyed his interview for the most part and I think he sounds like a good and positive human being…but no we don’t all fall.

I’ve been edge for 19 years, had some really rough times but never not once did I lose my commitment to my edge. Does that make me a better person? No. It just makes Porcell’s statement to be an insult. Not just to me but the guys in Earth Crisis who never sold out, to Kurt of Catalyst records who never sold out, to my friends Ed and Randall…I mean the list of people who never sold out is endless.

Food is different:

Research for my almost finished novel. Just started this book about the WTO and how they are fucking up everything involved in food production. I like this short book because it lays out the problems quickly and offers solutions that our governments could use to get the WTO out of effecting global food supply. Important book. Check it out.

Also been reading Iron Fist graphic novels but I don't feel like writing about those.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good Bye Lisa.

More than a month ago a close friend of ours died. We just found out last night. We were worried that she was not returning phone calls, e-mails and last night Cari e-mailed a mutual friend. Lisa died in the end of October.

We have no details yet, we don’t know how it happened. We are heart broken but sadly not surprised. Lisa was not healthy and appreantly that was the cause.

Over a year ago Lisa called to tell us that her daughter, who had been the focus of her life had died in a drug overdose. Lisa had battled with her daughter Danica’s addiction for some time. Lisa never recovered from her daughter’s death, she was convinced it was not accident. I can say after talking to her about it I agree. Lisa had become devoted to bringing Danica’s killer to justice. A lot of things didn’t add up.

Lisa was essentially homeless the last year, choosing to live in a van. The last time we talked a few weeks before her death, she sounded upbeat and slowly returning to normal. She had told us that her health was not good but assured us she was working on it.

I first met Lisa in 1999 in Indiana and it was hard to compare the beautiful strong hearted warrior I met then with the woman who was struggling in the last year. We met during the fight to protect Lake Griffy from a proposed Golf course that threatened the lake’s ecosystem. Lisa headed up an effort to keep star bucks out of town, She tried innovative activism that I didn’t always think was effective.

Our friendship took off when we had long talks about what was effective. I always loved talking strategy with Lisa. Even as she in the last year waged a fight for the truth about Danica our talks involved what was the best way to expose the issue. It was how we had bonded.

Lisa quickly proved that she was a badass activist. Where she really proved this was with her total support for the radicals. In Bloomington at the time the ELF quickly became hated after the ELF burned down homes being built on Lake Monroe. I was never a big fan of those actions myself but Lisa stepped forward to explain her support for the ELF when no one else would.

After these comments to the media Lisa was attacked in letters to the editor. Some of the attacks were quite harsh. Lisa even got phone calls with death threats telling her to shut up. Lisa refused, even better she went further. Lisa put on a huge panel discussion featuring a former FBI anti-domestic terrorist dude and Craig Rosebrough the spokesman for the ELF at the time.

The death threats against Craig and Lisa poured in. Lisa and our activist collective organized security for his talk, including a ninja trained vegan bodyguard. 200 people showed up including this hilarious cult of people who consider themselves elves based on Tolkien books who issued papers suing Craig for the use of the word ELF.

To this day it was one of the biggest coolest activist events I’ve ever been too. Lisa also got attention for fighting back against an abusive ex-boyfriend and refusing to accept it when the city seemed to be taking the abuser’s side.

Before Danica’s death Lisa was a force of nature and I am very proud to have worked with her. This last year I had been preparing myself for this awful news and was worried she would never be able to move on. The worst tragedy is she sounded better, She sounded ready to take care of herself, and try to be the old Lisa again. I can’t express how much I will miss her.

It also reminds me again why I am Straight Edge. Drugs took another victim in Lisa. She’ll be missed and never forgotten.

Fur Free Friday and Portland Vegan foodies

Thanksgiving is a painful time to be a heart heavy vegan. Every news cast talks about how people are cooking “their bird” and everyone talks about “turkey day.” Even the seven day forecast on our news had steaming cooked bird corpse on screen where pictures of clouds and rain usually are here in Portland. It is the normal for your family to expect you want to enjoy the holiday by sitting at a table whose centerpiece is a corpse with bread crumbs rammed up her ass.

I fucking hate Thanksgiving. The release for me has always been the next day when the rest of the world is focused on stomping Wal-mart employees to death to get a half off TV’s. In the Animal Rights world this is not Black Friday it’s Fur Free Friday. In 90’s it meant getting arrested or doing jail support as activists blockaded stores that sold fur from it’s customers.

In the 90’s we had the fur industry on the ropes, Things looked grim for the industry. So what happened? It is a larger debate than I have time for but I believe in part we lost focus on this winnable target. We can’t that energy back because as best I can tell the current AR movement is a little focused on peaceful protest. Which our media has proven they could care less about.

Chad of Food Fight our local all vegan grocery store recently ruffled some feathers by pointing something that is sad but true about our local vegan community. “Folks need to try and understand how frustrating it is, to consistently have a handful of people turn out to issue-based activities that can make us all more effective advocates for the animals. And then have hundreds show up to sample the newest vegan snack.”

That being said a huge crowd showed up for Fur Free Friday, next year I hope we can do better. Sure I’m annoyed that crème filled vegan donuts are a bigger draw than the biggest protest of the year. Vegan hipsters of Portland were missed but they were not the presence I missed the most. Where was the news media? A police sanctioned march doesn’t bring out the media.

The fur industry probably feels pretty good about that but they should not. If the media keeps staying away were going to have to figure out a way to get them back. The fight we used to put up at their front door worked. Don’t forget that. Animals are suffering so it’s time we remember what it took to remind people.

Animal rights films that need your support!

Cari and I recently went to the second of the Let live lecture series here in Portland. The guest speaker was Shannon Keith long time lawyer and animal rights ass kicker who directed Behind the Mask. When asked what is best to help the animals Shannon said “Media, media, media.”

She talked about reaction to her first film and how many people have written to her to express how it changed the way they viewed animal issues and us activists as well. The impact of the film Earthlings is hard to measure. Bob from Vegan Freak radio called it Thor’s hammer for veganism. I think he is right. It is a life changing viewing experience and if your not changed by you must be a asshole.

I believe bring my message into my fiction in subtle ways is in effect answering Shannon’s call to media, media, media. More on that in a bit.

Shannon is hard at work on a second film about the fur issue called Skin Trade. She needs money. So if you don’t some buy your ticket early by making a donation. Organize a fundraiser or spread the word.

Also answering that call is producer and animal rights ass kicker Eric Presscott. Who is working on a project called “I’m Vegan” He has however already raised the money for his budget. Awesome. Now he is casting Vegans. It’s easy you have to be a well spoken vegan and talk about being Vegan.

Get to it. I admit I want this project to fly since the Eric and I wrote a screenplay together for a vegan themed horror movie. “Media, media, media.” Stay posted for that one.

Support these movies!

Bizarro con and congrats to Gina Ranalli

In Mid November Portland was host to the first annual Bizarro fiction convention. I was there only on Saturday as I have been busy and Try Vegan PDX was holding a class on Sunday so I was only there for one day.

Several of the bizarre movement Flag bearers were there and the day was full with readings. The reading were diverse and the highlight of the day. The first half of the day was only soured by a fruit fly invasion that right before the panel I was on moved to a back up room. I was apart of a discussion on Bizarro crossover.

The discussion was suggested by Chicago based bizarre writer Garret Cook. The lead question was “how do we crossover into other genre and ensure that writers will not lose their bizarro cred?” That wasn’t hard for me since I am more of horror writer with a little bit of bizarre cred. It was a short but productive discussion.

The readings were wonderful, probably the highlight was Bram stoker award nominated Jeremy Robert Johnson reading a story he wrote when he was 14 - It had a killer twist! Personally I read a chapter from The Very Last Drop the book I’m working on at the moment.

I always enjoy hanging with my local bizarre pals but I was super excited to hang with Gina Ranalli. Gina is kicking butt and taking names of late. Recently she has gotten acclaim from the peeps running Horror Mall and has become one of their best selling authors. She also is getting a $150 a book limited edition slipcase of her horror novel House of Falling Leaves. It is a milestone when an author has book published they can’t afford to buy. It’s a great read by the way, so far it’s my favorite of Gina’s work.

So what is icing on Gina’s vegan cake? Well Saturday was also the first annual Wonderland awards the new highest prize in bizarro Fiction. Gina won for best short story collection with her book 13 Thorns.

So next year consider heading to the bizarro con it’s a great time. Thanks to Rose and Carl for doing such a great job putting it on!

Getting caught up with the blog.

Hey sorry I have not updated the blog in a bit, but November has been a busy month. Working with Afterbirth Books to get the trade paperback second edition of Screams from a Dying World fit to print. I’m also writing the last third of The Very Last Drop which is my first Science fiction novel. I think it’s pretty good.

I also started lifting weights with Ed Bauer - he is a new Vegan Straight Edge kid who recently moved here. Ed is a personal trainer and awesome to work-out with. Ed grew up partly in North Carolina and was friends with some of the Day of Suffering kids. He was also one of the founders of Motive company.

I’ve had some wonderful things happen and I’ve had some really sad news. So anhoo I’m going to post like four posts at once.

The pics are of our rabbits Yuen and Luna. Cari's Birthday cake from Sweet Pea vegan Bakery.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blankety Blank: Another funny read from D.Harlan Wilson

Blankety Blank: A Memoir of Vulgaria
D.Harlan Wilson
Raw Dog Screaming Press
183 pages

The first book I read by D.Harlan Wilson was Dr. Identity and it sold me on the man’s brilliance in the first few pages. While I described the book as Monty Python meets Phillip K Dick I was unsure how his aburdist style would work outside of Science Fiction.

While Blankety Blank is not exactly horror it is a darker take on Wilson’s absurdist style that is every bit as zaney. With more laugh out loud parts than Douglas Adams books it’s pretty hard not to enjoy this Blankety Blank. While the complete absurd nature of the world created sometimes gets a bit old for me the lightning speed that the pages flip makes this book a fun and light read.

The story is of Rutger Von Trout who lives in a Wilsonish absurd vision of his home town Grand Rapids. Characters throw sausages at each other and explode into bouts of hulkamania after a serial killer begins to stalk their “perfect neighborhood.” Wilson also detours into hilarious mini-chapters on the subject ranging from the film careers of Patrick Swayze to the history of Ferris wheels.

Does this advance the plot? I’m not sure but I enjoyed it just the same. Wilson is a master of absurdist humor and if that is your cup of tea. Have a drink!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reading event and a radio interview

On a side note: so glad to get rid of this moron.

So I have writer type events coming where I can promote my upcoming books soon to be released by Afterbirth books. November 15th I'll be on a panel and reading at the first ever Bizarro genre convention that will held here near Portland. Honored to be asked to appear on the panel with some cool authors.Details and a link below.

On December 4th I'll a guest on Vegan radio a a radio out from the east coast that is hosted by an old friend Derrek from the Syracuse ADL days. We'll be talking about my books and veganism of course. Details further below...

3:00-3:50 pm

CROSSOVER POTENTIAL (Garrett Cook, David Agranoff, Daniel Scott Buck, Jess Gulbranson) - Discuss ways bizarro can branch off into other genres and medias, led by four authors who have one foot in bizarro and one foot somewhere else. (Location: The Mt. Hood Room)

4:40-4:50 pm

READING - David Agranoff (Location: The Mt. Hood Room)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Metallica reviewed by Dan of the Chicago Soydairy

"I heard the new Metallica...I don't want to give away any spoilers but the only thing that kept me from throwing it out my car window was that I wanted other people to listen to it and hate it. Made me want to go buy the new Megadeth because that dude started writing metal again"

Buy CSD's temptation ice cream here in Portland at food fight and people's co-op.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stand Alone: My old Skinhead hardcore band.

18 years ago I was in a skinhead hardcore band called Stand Alone. For four teenagers in Indiana who loved Sick of it all and Agnostic Front we were not too bad. Anyways here is a scan of an “article” in Filling the void. FTV was a sXe zine from Lafayette Indiana in 1990. The kids from the band Advance did one issue of it. Some how I still have a copy. Check it will make you laugh.
My old Skinhead hardcore band.

The one of just me is from the show we played with Advance in Lafayette. The one of the whole band was a basement show in Carbondale Illinois. That show was with the bloomington band With Authority.

In the article it says I was replaced. I had gone away for school and Luther Blanton took over and they changed drummers. The band became Dead Center. They did a demo, which is not too bad for what it was. The funny part is Luther and I a few years later would start a Vegan straight edge band Warcry. I sang for Warcry at the first couple practices but when I sarted getting into hardline the band decided to kick me out. no hard feelings. Luther when on to replace me again on vocals.

Jack joined the marines and according to a myspace search I did he is still a skin and played guitar in american Oi band Patriot. Huh. Ryan the drummer moved Jamica last I heard and I have no Idea what happened to Nate. He was really into snowboarding.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary!

Lighthouse is a cool little farmed animal Sanctuary here in Oregon. On Saturday members of NW Veg, Try Vegan PDX and viva la vegan went down for a work party. Here are a few of the pictures I took.

Happy 25th Randall! Oregon coast!

Hey best friend Randall turned a quarter of a century last week. We also when to the coast and hung on the beach last week. Here are some pictures of sir Randall and the coast. It was rad you have to hike to the beach. Very cool

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Earth Crisis signs to century media!

Karl promised us a few things when they played the northwest last year, were off to good start because the first promise of no victory has been fulfilled. Can't wait. This is gonna rule.

One of the most anticipated and talked about reunions was without a doubt the reformation of EARTH CRISIS, which was followed by a massive North American tour as well as a number of European shows mounting in a truly triumphant return. The pioneers of the hardcore, straightedge movement have now officially made the decision to carry on with the band fulltime and have announced a new worldwide deal with Century Media Records.

EARTH CRISIS has crafted the most angst-ridden and unrelenting offering of its career and this effort is going to serve as a much-needed wake-up call to the masses. The group will self-produce the album and is set to begin tracking next month. Acclaimed producer Tue Madsen (SICK OF IT ALL, DARK TRANQUILLITY, THE HAUNTED) will handle mixing and mastering duties.

Guitarist Scott Crouse comments: "We are very excited to begin tracking our new record and even more excited that it will be released by Century Media. We have been working hard over the last year preparing new material and are scheduled to enter the studio in October. We will be producing this one ourselves and are extremely excited to have Tue Madsen mixing! The new songs are brutal and Century Media is the perfect label to handle them."

EARTH CRISIS' chugging riffs and barked declarations served as the mouthpiece of the militant vegan, straight-edge movement throughout the '90s, detailing the ideas of animal and human liberation, drug-free living, and personal empowerment through hardcore song. This movement spawned activists who took the law into their own hands, burning down fur farms and freeing animals directly. Their vicious debut EP, "Firestorm", was a landmark release for the hardcore scene that combined staccato, solo-free metal with barking, political, and militant vocals. The lyrics centered around the dangers of drug abuse and bringing "violence against violence" to drug dealers and those who would abuse animals: "a firestorm to purify."

Major media outlets such as CNN, CBS and MTV soon started covering EARTH CRISIS and vegan, straight-edge in general. In 1996, the band released its second full-length album, "Gomorrah's Season Ends", a polished and decidedly more metallic affair that produced even more anthems that became singalong worthy staples of their live performances. This exposed the band to a whole new mainstream audience.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Review: Super Cell Anemia

Super Cell Anemia
By duncan b. barlow
Afterbirth books
226 pages.

This is a debut novel, but I’ve been following the work of Duncan Barlow the artist for many years. My senior year of high school I would travel all over the Midwest to watch him play guitar in the legendary Louisville hardcore band Endpoint. On the surface Endpoint was just another hardcore act but their emotional shows and genre bending records played with convention. Barlow himself has said it seems like another lifetime. Duncan also played in bands such as the Lull Account, Step Down, By the Grace of God, Dbiddle and my favorite Guilt.

The most important thing for those of you unfamiliar with Duncan’s musical work is that it was always powerful, original and deeply creative. So the when the news came that one of my favorite presses was set to release barlow’s first novel I was excited. The novel Super Cell Anemia proves in the medium of prose that Duncan Barlow is an artist that values creative expression.

SCA is about Giles a germ-a-phobe who is so electrified that he relies on an experimental treatment (involving biting copper) to deal with his rare illness. Giles has moved to Cincinnati to continue this treatment and be close to his doctor. As you read the book you begin to wonder how much you can trust the journal entries that often competes with the present tense narrative.

There are two great strengths to this book. The first is the subtle nature of Barlow’s take on the absurd. I enjoy the over the top whacky-ness of some Bizarro authors like Bradley Sands (also an afterbirth author) and D.Harlan Wilson Especially but this book has different take. Like a slow burn gothic horror novel the moments of the absurd are peppered brilliantly through the first hundred pages. From there the strangeness of the book expands like lungs sucking in a deep breath.
The second strength is the structure. Giles neighbors get stranger, his doctor goes off on convincing pseudo scientific monologues and most unsettling is the half man calico cat Giles knows is stalking him.

This is an unsettling debut in all the right ways. Effectively organized through journal entries, narratives from shifting perspectives, and chapters focused on the various rooms and neighbors in Giles building are an inventive touch that relates to the character nicely. My favorite was room 104 where Giles obsesses over the sound of his neighbors late night pisses.

Super Cell Anemia is a doozy of a character based Bizzaro novel. Excellently written and everything I hoped for when I started it. Duncan Barlow has transcended my perceptions of him as an artist. He is a great novelist who happens to also be a pretty good musician. If you like a strange read this book needs to be on your TBR pile.

Food Fight 5th B-day party pictures

Food fight is a Portland based all vegan grocery store located at the Portland Vegan mini-mall. The store is awesome, picture a 7-11 run by super militant vegans. So they had a fifth birthday party last weekend. Food eating contests, a vegan mexican food truck, a velcro wall, karokee and lots of crusties.

They are awesome so go to there website and send someone you love a care package.

Photo 1: the Lettuce eating contest, they had to slam a cup of coffee first. Brutal.

Photo 2: Yes that man stuffed a whole head of lettuce in his mouth and ate in like three maybe four minutes.

Photo 3: This is super funny look the abuser in the photo.

Photo 4: The woman from the los groditoes Mexican food truck (who is opening an all vegan truck soon!)won the pie eating contest. 4 pies.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Old hardcore post #1

Another Victim second show Syracuse 1995
I took this picture.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Food from our garden pictures

Photo 1 is Schezwan (Spelling?) green beans,carrots and snow peas, all grown in ye ol Garden. Served over brown rice.

Photo 2 is Salad with baby greens, carrots, beets and toe maters from the Garden

Photo 3 is Seaweed salad. We didn't grow the seaweed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Book Review: Shell Game by Steve Alten

The Shell Game by Steve Alten

I didn't like the book, but I deleted my review because it's unfair of me to review a book I didn't read cover to cover.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The tour is done.

Two minutes ago I finished my second novel The Tour. It's a short one, it would be about 200 pages in print. 56,893 words, which is 1,893 words more than my goal when I outlined it. I outlined it as 31 chapters and it ended up thirty six chapters with a prologue and epilogue.

This is a short, fast, sometimes brutal sometimes sweet punk rock horror novel. I am very proud of how it turned out.

I asked my friend Heather who is a talented photographer yesterday to be involved with the creative marketing project I have in mind. The length is short and limits me to small presses, but that is all I want anyways. I have alot of work ahead to get my two books ready for Afterbirth to publish them this year so we'll see what happens with this one.

Kick ass. Cari and I are going to go for a walk to celebrate.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Novel is late but almost done

47,300 words so far and just finished Chapter 29. Which means I have three chapters and a epilogue to go. Which is rad because my goal was 55,000 words. I think I'll be right there or a bit more. It's going well.

On a side note I went to see a few movies. X-Files I want to believe, and the new Hulk movie. I liked both but I didn't love them. I had fun at both.

So next month I'm going to write some blogs about the houses I lived at in Indiana. I'll be writing up some stories and have fun with it. Any ways the pictures with this post are from my Indiana trip. My dad's office where I set up to work and Ryan love and I on his post apoc double mohawked car.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Back in black or at least PDX

Picture is Cari and Yuen P.Newton

So I did my last couple days in Indiana. Fndave, his housemate Bridget and I had a super hero weekend seeing Dark Knight and HellBoy 2. Both were awesome but not even close to comparable. Spent a last day with My dad and susan, My step-nephew Zevin. It was fun. Then back to Chicago. Had a nice last day with my sister but I spent most of it writing.

So I've been back in Portland for two days. First things first, I brought a hoodie with me to Indiana. Waste, it was hotter than Satan's butthole there, even at night I was sweating sitting still. Came back to Portland, and geuss what it was in the 70's. Hoodie weather at night. Hell yeah!

Cari, Ian and I Went to a meeting for the Portland Literary Offensive. That was fun. More details to come. We are planning on sewtting up a Word cart outside of wordstock to sell local authors books. "Think globally, read locally." Should be fun. Ian and suffered through M.Night's latest divebomb the Crapenning. It was as bad as everyone says. We will be writing a rewview on sunday for our bad movie blog Cinematic feces. We have neglected the blog but don't fear we are starting bad movie nights every other sunday.

As for the novel. I'm on Chapter 20, I think there will be thirty. I just passed 33,000 words. So I'm on track on length because I wanted 50,000 to 55,000 words. Short and fast like a punk song. It's a punk novel so it makes sense.

Ok back to work, since the Hulk made it to the cheap theaters and the X-files movie is out this weekend I'm going to have to work over time tonight to make time for it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Indiana has not been good for the novel.

So I've been hanging out and getting caught up with Bloomington. So here are some pictures. I didn't get pictures with fndave but he and I hung the other day. Helped My dad and Susan move into their new place. Rode a borrowed bike around town and hung out with Ryan Love and his wife. It's my first time meeting Lacey. She is good for him and that makes me happy.

Yesterday Ryan, Parker(he played the Geetar for a undying)and myself drove to visit Kurt in indianapolis. Ate some yummy Chinese food and talked about the old days like old ass hardcore kids do. I also drove around taking pictures of every bloomington house I ever lived in which should provide some fun posts next month.

I've only gotten some editing and about 1,000 words since my last update but I can write when I get home. Pics include Ryan with the pre-drive smoothie, Kurt and Parker on the porch and Me and ryan in Dad's ride.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chicago went great, rocking in Indiana!

Have not got as much writing done since I was being Uncle David, and did a reading at the Chicago Bizzaro fiction fest. Turn out was good, sales were not so hot. The readings went well all for authors were great. It was cool that Garrett Cook says he is moving to Portland. Fun.

Lots of internet and old friends showed up. F pits my former Moshed into Oblivion vocal partner showed up with his wife Diana. Nice to meet her. Mike,minku,emma_0,and Chris Z from Vegan freak, Schmeel from Vegan represent. Cool.

Got slowed down by managed to finish chapter 13 of the tour this morning. Worked in my dad's office. It was strange seeing so many pictures of myself from many eras. walked around bloomington and saw a few old friends just walking.

ended up at roots b-town's vegetarian restaurant. Got a choclate milkshake with temptation. Yummy. Some jackass fella keeps playing top forty songs on the accoustic guitar in the corner. I wanted to slap when he satarted playing "you look wonderful tonight."

Ugh eating dinner here tonight with my folks, and taking dad to see the new indiana jones movie. He's been in europe since it was released. In the next couple days I'll have to see hellboy 2 as well.

Ok got to get caught to my b-town friends.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm in chicago! Reading tonight at Quimby's!

I'm about to write, I didn't write yesterday, I spent the day hanging with my sister, brother in law and thier girls. Super fun. I'm planning on visiting with the temptation guys and get to the reading early. So I hope to see some of you there.

I'll write I post and let you know how things go.

By the way read the first 65 pages of duncan barlow's Supercell Anemia on the plane. Very good. duncan is a a strange and surreal writer. Very impressed I'll have four copies at bizarro fest tonight...Chicago peeps should get a copy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Off to Chicago!

duncan singing for his old hardcore band...I'm reading his book on the plane! I took this picture my junior year of high school.

Ok I finished Chapter 11 today but I wasn't in the zone. I think this chapter turned out pretty bad. I'll either fix it tomorrow or in the second draft. I was pretty focused on getting packed and prepared for two weeks in the midwest. Cari made a salad with greens and carrots from our garden! Amazing.

I also laid down in the backyard and read Clive Barker's short story "The Midnight Meat Train" Man that man knew how to write a scary story. I was getting excited for the upcoming movie and thought it would be fun to read again. I'm reading my old friend duncan barlow's novel Supercell anemia on the plane tomorrow. Fun.

Found out tonight our friend from PA in western Washington Timmy has cancer. He is in my thoughts and prayers. His father and sister both got it young. He is a really cool person. He and his wife owned a health food store in redneck washington and converted their family,their employees and their store to being vegan after watching Earthlings. A year later Timmy is dealing with this.

Ok so if your in Chicago stop by...

July 10th in Chicago!
Quimby's ( bookstore in Chicago's wicker park

Reading & Signing:
David Agranoff co-editor of The Vault of Punk Horror
Garret Cook author of Murderland
Eckhard Gerdes author of My Landlady the Lobotomist
D.Harlan Wilson author of Dr. Identity

Monday, July 7, 2008

Novel update / Badmitton Championship

Ok Just finished chapter 10 of the tour. I also passed the 17,000 words. Chapter 10 was nothing like I had planned but it managed wanted to express something I wanted to say with the book but wasn’t sure I knew how to do it.

I kinda lost Sunday, I wasn’t able to get much done yesterday because I had some strange allergic reaction. Headaches, squeezing and eyes watering I felt like shit. Then we hosted a potluck/ Badmitton competition. Our pal Gavin not only brought baddass cupcakes but he was the singles champion.

Randall and I (Team straight edge) won the doubles. I don’t know how because it was an ugly victory but we won.

I leave on Wednesday for Chicago and Thursday is the Chicago Bizarro fest which I’ll be reading a story at. See you there Chicago people!

Photo #1: Gavin single champ Photo#2: Double's champs

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Book Review: The condemned by David J. Bell

The Condemned by David Jack Bell
Delirium Books, 218 pages.
$16.95 at Powells.

David Jack Bell is apparently a rising star in the horror field. I saw apparently because the first time I heard of him was when he did an interview on the Pod of Horror podcast with host (and author) Mark Justice. When he discussed the plot to the Condemned I was immediately sold on what sounded like my kind of story. He also has a degree in English from the university where my dad has taught forever and I thought it was cool he lived in Bloomington. What sealed the deal for me to order the book from my local bookstore was the long chain of blurbs this novel managed to get.

To non horror readers the names may not mean much but to those of us with ‘To be read piles’ filled with horror fiction titles these are serious recommendations. Jack Kethchum, Ed Gorman, Thomas Monteleone, T.M. Wright and most important to this reader David Morrell who compared The Condemned to perhaps the best horror novel of all time I am Legend. Bell had a little edge up on the rest of us blurb hunters since he is a star graduate of the borderlands boot camp. That is a week maybe two of professional horror writers teaching the next generation to be the masters of the next. The question becomes is Bell’s novel a good advertisement for the skills taught at the borderlands camp?

The last time I saw a first time novelist in the small press horror field so hyped was Cody Goodfellow, Cody lived up to the hype and I think David Jack Bell has as well. A book this solid may have benefited from great teachers but it is more likely that the author was born a talented storyteller because you can’t bullshit a solid little novel like this no matter how much advice you get.

The novel could be called a zombie tale but that sells it so short. It does have the social commentary typical of the best in that genre but doesn’t get heavy handed with it. To me The Condemned is like a highly literate post apocalyptic Italian exploitation movie. One third Escape from NY, Part I am Legend and one part solid human drama. Bell has a keen eye towards the details of behavior which helped this horror novel rise above the other books in the small press that are not ready for primetime.

The story is about Jett Dormer (which I think is a great 80’s action hero name) a recycler who retrieves old abandoned cars which will be melted into raw materials to support the war effort aboard. Sounds easy enough right, well maybe if the dead cities weren’t filled with roving zombies made that way by a series of terrorist attacks on the water supply. Jett has just lost his partner to zombies referred in the book as city people. His family and friends hate him for it, and he is losing his own motivation when he gets a partner freshly returned from the war.

There is a lot more to the novel anything more and I think you’ll be harmed by too much knowledge going in. Usually I’m not a huge fan of first person, and the idea of a character whose simply referred to as ‘The Kid’ initially caused groans. Those problems are minor and were forgotten once the story got rolling. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s short but jam packed with excitement and superior story telling skills.

Pick up The Condemned, be one of the first to discover David Jack Bell.

July 4th update: The novel and the dumb neighbors

The picture is of treats from portland's 100% vegan bakery Sweet Pea.

So I passed the 10,000 word mark mark a few hundred words before finishing chapter Six. I've been writing about two chapters a day. If I keep to the outline I'll have no problem finishing up by July. Of course the outline can only predict so much. Chapter Five was about three times as long as I expected, Novels develop a life of there own and chapter five showed me there is a whole level I didn't foresee developing. That's great. I am shooting for a short novel 50,000 to 60,000 words So I've geussing I'm 1/6 done.

As far as it being July 4th I hate this fucking holiday. The only holiday that is worse is thanksgiving which is centered around the ritualistic slaughter/sacrafice of a turkey by millions of families. One thing I'll give Thanksgiving is I can sit and home and pretend that it's not happening and it doesn't affect anyway except maybe emotionally. Thanks to dumb neighbors including one group of meth-heads to our north and group redneckds to our east we had no escape.

Here in portland in July it doesn't get dark until 10 PM, So as we relaxed trying to watch Session 9 (Awesome film by the way)Two groups started blasting us with a three hour onslught of non stop explosions.

Forget the fact that Cari needed to be up at 6 AM to leave for work. fireworks prove to me that Americans are so stupid. Forget the facts that American history is wrought with our country doing awful things, forget the fact that we waging war on a innocent country - lets celebrate by getting drunk , charring animal flesh / eating it and simulating war with explosions so loud that our neighbors have no means to escape it.

Fireworks are
1) propbably filled with hundreds of deadly and toxic fumes.
2) scary as hell to companion animals.
3) invasive to neighbors who don't like them
4) dropping toxic fumes on neighbors gardens
5) Dangerous - every year hundreds die around the country because of these stupid things.
6) Dangerous - in the west where it has been dry for weeks it is just plain stupid.

Fourth of July sucks.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Woo-Ping Wants Jet Li for Great wall of China!

Kungfu master and film director Yuen woo Ping hot on the heals of directing the action of Forbidden Kingdom is prepping two films as the director. Lets not forget he has directed classics like Iron Monkey and Jet Li in the fantastic Tai Chi Master. This is great news for Kungfu movie dorks like me.

Read about here!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One month novel: Day three

Ok doing it so far. I've got a prologue and three chapters finished and I've still got several hours to go for the day. Oh yeah the picture of one of our rabbits Yuen P. Newton. He is a sweet heart. Back to work...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First novel ready for primetime, One month novel starts today!

So the hondapoclayse has nothing to do with this entry. It's just funny. My friend Ryan is a high school teacher, this was his car and yes he drove it to work.

Well after sometime of tinkering and a complete red inked overhaul the third and {my final draft of my first novel} Hunting the Moon Tribe is done. Finished it yesterday and I am stoked. It has found a publisher and I’m excited to say it is afterbirth books out of Seattle. If your one of the people who follows my blog you already know that. I’ll have to do another draft once the crew at Afterbirth get out their red pens and honestly I can’t wait to work with them.

I was putting in 12 hour editing days this week and fixed a lot of minor problems. Thankfully the structure of the novel was very strong. The biggest problems came from the translation from screenplay to novel. I wrote Moon Tribe as a screenplay in 2002 and in my mind some parts existed as a movie in my head. Screenplays are written in the present tense and novels are not.

I found myself slipping into screenplay tense throughout and that was the biggest problem. It’s fixed and it reads much stronger now. In the end the novel of Hunting the Moon Tribe is a novel and a much bigger canvas than the screenplay. I’m proud of it and I hope you’ll buy it, read and enjoy it.

It is a loving tribute combining my two favorite genres of film. Growing up we had a local station(well Indianapolis) channel four that had a horror host Sammy Terry on Friday nights. I would nap on Fridays so I could stay up late and watch it. But I also taped it on our betamax in case I fell asleep. What I discovered on the videos after ST was a show called Blackbelt theater.

Old school Shaw bros films like Chinese super ninjas, Master killer and Spearman of Death were some of my favorites. Now I love the fantastic Wuxia Pan fantasy films like Chinese Ghost story, Bride with white hair, Hero , House of Flying Daggers, musa and my personal favorite Ching Siu Tung’s 1982 classic Duel to the Death.

I don’t think a knowledge of these films is needed to enjoy Moon Tribe but being able to hear the sound effects in your head when the punches are thrown and swords are swung wont hurt the experience.

This novel has vampires, Kungfu masters, Red Guard Chinese agents, a Sect of ancient Chinese vampire hunters, knife throwing Chinese acrobats, giant winged mastodons, dragons, vampire wraiths, a two headed sex slave who lives with the shape shifting were-tiger warrior at Madme Yu’s House of Freaks, headless giants, Mountain spirits, Demon possessed swords and trees, kungfu zombie vampire warriors starved over a thousand years, and battles between the goddess of water and an ancient Chinese god of war under the command of the vampire master Huwan-tun. I had fun I think you will too.

My plan is to put up a blog just for Moon Tribe. It will have back stories, character bios, prequel and expanded universe short stories, ordering and distribution information.

So what’s Next now? Well afterbirth and I have to clean-up the second edition of my short story collection Screams from a Dying World since it actually is coming out before Moon Tribe. Most of that work is done, I’ve turned in final drafts that have already been very well edited. Afterbirth will have to do their pass but shouldn’t be painful.

July to August I’m making my first attempt at a one month novel. My friend Gina does this and it works for her. Her last one month novel House of Fallen Trees is her best work. I wrote the first draft of Moon Tribe in three months while working, it’s a much longer more detailed epic piece than the lean, mean punk rock themed horror novel I’m busting out next.

Two of those weeks I’ll be back in the Midwest visiting family so I may go a few weeks into august. I think I’m ready, I’ve outlined the sucker, gone on long bike rides thinking about the book. Of course once you start telling the story some times it goes on trips you could not plan for.

My Science Fiction novel is not dead. I’ve got about 45,000 words done, half mark for sure. It just became a little more research heavy than I expected, what I thought was going to be a simple story has really grown beyond what I was expecting. I think I needed a break from it. A lot of writers wisdom will tell you not to do that but whatever. I really want to bust out this horror novel and I promise I’ll finish the Sci-fi one. My best friend Randall is dying to read that and I think he would crush me if I don’t finish it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Veganic garden pics

I'll post more pictures when the garden starts feeding us.

Cari waters the herb garden...

Carrots, lettuice and cucumbers...

Corn n' squash

Beets n' green beans