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.