Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from the wacky Waylands!

Well, chalk up another successful Halloween for those wacky Waylands.  We have returned, and we have returned with booty!

I think everyone had a great time, and these kids have enough candy to last for quite a while.  Well, they've got a lot of candy.  We'll see how long it lasts . . .
Anyhow, when I left you earlier, we were gearing up for the costume phase.
Alaina Rachel wanted to be a vampire princess and Taryn Grace wanted to be a rainbow fairy princess.  We found cool costumes and we got a make-up kit.  Kristen felt that it would be best if I handled the vampire princess and she did the rainbow fairy princess.  I've never applied make-up before, but I've seen every horror film known to man, and I've seen most of them twice, so I welcomed the challenge.
Here's how I did:

Not too shabby, huh?  Anyone who has read my book knows that I like my vampires scary, so I didn't pull any punches. 
And here's what Kristen came up with for Taryn:

If I had snapped a better photo, you would have a better look at the rainbows on her cheeks, but she was positively gorgeous.
Now, here's a look at our ladies in costume.  Behold, the vampire princess and the rainbow fairy princess:

I think they looked awesome, and they scored rave reviews all night long. 
Oh, here's our little elephant:

Adorable, right?
I even got Kris to provide me with a group photo op:

Those are our jack-o-lanterns hanging out in the shot, which reminds me, I shared our first two efforts with you, but I never got around to showing you the third.  Our second choice was a spooky face (that's him in the middle) so we opted for a silly face on this one:

This was another unique design, and I think it turned out great.  I can't tell you how much fun carving a pumpkin is if you have children (hell, I would enjoy it even if I didn't, but their happiness is a treasure all its own) and it never hurts to take active measures toward warding off evil spirits.  Who wants evil spirits hanging around their house?  Not us.

We hit up two "trunk or treats" and then we dropped in on the Momser and made our rounds in Fieldale.  Everyone racked up, but Kris and I couldn't help ourselves.  Yeah, we stopped at Food Lion on the way home and nabbed even more candy for the occasion.  Hey, Halloween only hits once a year, right?
Anyway, when I told you we were looking to make the most of it, I wasn't playing.  I hope you've enjoyed these Halloween blogs, and I hope to keep you entertained here in the Land of Way.
Halloween isn't over yet, so I'm going to grab my wife and make her watch a gross and utterly disturbing film of some sort.  I hope you make the most of your night as well, ghouls and goblins.
Happy Halloween!

Big Halloween Piece for RVA

I have been a regular contributor to RVA Magazine for some time now, and I presented them with a big Halloween piece that they've put up on their website.  I hope you'll enjoy my guide to picking the perfect movie for your big Halloween party, and I encourage you to spend some time with RVA.  They consistently publish intriguing material on the cutting edge, and the artistic merits of their efforts are second to none.
Read my story here: Your Official 2012 Halloween Film Viewing Guide (or something like that)


Halloween is here.  I can't wait to transform my ladies into a vampire princess and a rainbow fairy princess* later today.  Young James Asher will be the cutest elephant on the planet.  I'll be sure to share some photos with you.  We've got another jack-o-lantern to show off as well, so I'll definitely do a big Halloween post later today. 
Until then, I'm hard at work in the man cave.  How often do you get to submit your vampire novel to publishers on Halloween?  Of course, all work and no play makes for a dull master of the macabre, so I'm also taking another dip in Alan Moore's swamp today.

Seriously, his run on Swamp Thing is massive.  Now, to be fair, it isn't quite on the same level as Moore's masterpeice, the graphic novel that towers above all others, Watchmen.

Yes, Watchmen is the best of them all, a graphic novel that belongs on any fan of literature's bookshelf, but Moore did some rather gruesome and incredibly inventive stuff with Swamp Thing.  Seriously, I have always loved horror comics, but most of them are frequently fun and only faintly frightening.  Swamp Thing gave me nightmares as a child, and Alan Moore was the guy writing the book.  The first issue he scripted, The Anatomy Lesson, which is where the vintage graphic novel (circa 1987, peeps) I'm currently enjoying kicks off, is a stellar example of just what the comic book format is capable of delivering.
I think Watchmen and his work on Swamp Thing represent the finest work of Moore's illustrious career, but I would be intrigued by virtually anything that features his name in the credits.

Alan Moore
 I'm currently scripting some material based on my book for my incredible illustrator, the one and only Chris Visions, and I'm hoping we can mine some disturbing themes of our own in panels in the near future.  He's a phenom.  Seriously, check out the marvelous cover he crafted for my book sans title:

The cover Chris Visions prepared for TPT&V
See more of the fantastic work of the maestro I call "Master Visions" at:

Regardless, I'm working, reading, carving pumpkins with the fam, and gearing up for a stellar Halloween night.  I hope you're ready for October 31st, because, well, if you're not, you've run out of time.  Let's do this right, people.  We need jack-o-lanterns, costumes, tricks, treats, scary movies, and Halloween parties to wake the dead.  

*Some kids want to be witches or super heroes.  You ask little Taryn Grace what she wants to dress up as and she thinks about it for a moment and then declares that she wants to be a rainbow fairy princess.  Fortunately, we found just the costume for her.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Jack-o-lantern II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back

So, my lovely Alaina Rachel (6) is taking part in an alpaca show this weekend.  She's doing terrific, and I'm so very proud of her, but that left Taryn (4) and I to tackle our second jack-o-lantern tonight.  Of course, we had a blast.
This is Taryn having entirely too much fun yanking out the innards:

Basically, we started by flipping through pictures of various jack-o-lanterns on my iPhone.  We talked about what we liked and what we didn't like, and Taryn and I agreed that we wanted to do something spooky.  Then I drew a design on paper that wasn't really like anything we had seen online, but I liked it because I thought it had sort of a malevolent feel to it.  Taryn liked it too; she should have, she was directing traffic all the while, and surely it was as much her design as it was mine.
Then it was time to carve.  This one didn't take nearly as long as the first one, but I think I like it more.  It's completely original, and we landed the spooky face we were looking for.  It was hard to take a good picture, but here's what we came up with:

Like I said, it was hard to get a good picture, and there are some details you can't quite see here, but I think we cooked up something sinister.  That bad boy is guaranteed to keep evil spirits away!
I can only hope that my children cherish moments like these as much as I do.  We had a great time, and we finished our night off with Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.  Taryn was asleep before thirty minutes had passed, but she was having fun right up until she closed her eyes.
I hope everyone is doing their best to enjoy the holiday. 

The Audacity of Dope

Monte Dutton, a man of many talents

Note to aspiring authors: if you're taking part in any signings or events, you could certainly do worse than sitting beside Monte Dutton all day.  I was on hand for Binding Time Cafe's Fall Book Festival to sell my novel, Trailer Park Trash & Vampires (Buy it here!), and I was fortunate enough to be located next to Monte.
He played guitar, he sang, he educated the general public on the finer points of NASCAR, he pitched his book, The Audacity of Dope, and he never failed to entertain.  I had a great time hanging out with Monte, and I encourage people to check out his book.  You've got a pot-smoking hero who doesn't want to be a hero foiling a terrorist plot and finding himself embroiled in a suspenseful chase that promises to offer up ample measures of thrills and chuckles.  It sounds like my kind of book, and Monte's definitely my kind of guy.

Purchase The Audacity of Dope from Amazon here!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Book Festival

I'm really excited about taking part in the Fall Book Festival that Binding Time Cafe has slated for tomorrow.  There are going to be fourteen authors in the mix, and there will be all kinds of titles to choose from.  The festival starts at 10:00 and will last until 2:00.
Of course, Halloween is just around the corner, and I think I'm the only horror author in the mix, so that should bode well for me.  I can't thank the good people of Binding Time Cafe enough for putting this together, and I'm looking forward to signing some books and giving race fans and local readers nightmares!
Binding Time Cafe in Martinsville, VA

Binding Time Cafe is a great place to pick up a book or a killer cup of coffee, among other things. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What is best in life?

Can it be?
I'm reading reports that Arnold has officially signed up for a Conan follow-up.  Supposedly, he's on board for a film titled The Legend of Conan, a film slated for a summer 2014 release.  Some people are groaning, saying "Man, he's way too old for that," but there's some quality material to draw from.  Some of my favorite Conan tales are yarns that are set late in the barbarian's life.
Some will love this news, some will hate it.  Definitely count me among the numbers who are genuinely excited.  Though he didn't really fit the part as well as some might think, Arnold brought something special to the role.
I welcome a gritty return for the superb character Robert E. Howard was kind enough to provide us with.  Not only do I welcome such a film, but I think it can be done.  I actually like the last one, but I do believe a better story could be fashioned around Conan.  Maybe The Legend of Conan is up for the challenge.

Election 2012: Lost in the Wilderness

Here's something you may not know: we're in a dead heat as we near the election, and political fever is spreading.
The television has become a propaganda machine, the signs and stickers are popping up everywhere, and social media has become a battleground where hatred and a maddening allegiance to red and blue have become as common as quotes from songs and movies.  There are heated arguments, absurd assertions, and even a few thoughtful debates taking place, but much of what I see and hear is simple regurgitation.
Repetition is powerful; advertisers and politicians have already proven this time and time again, and now even our friends and neighbors have become talking heads, mindlessly parroting what their favorite talking heads have said. 
Both sides think that they're completely in the right and firmly believe the other side is completely in the wrong.  Some people think Duke from G.I. Joe and the Cobra Commander are out there on the campaign trail.  Seriously, how many times have you been on the sidelines for an argument of such a divisive nature where both parties weren't at fault?
Think for yourself.
One of the two candidates most have submitted to casting a vote for has a record that many consider to be an albatross about his neck that should drag him out of the White House before he can do any more harm.  His rival is a hard sell even for a great many of those who are ready and willing to buy cheap.  Virtually anyone else in this race who will command even a small fraction of the vote would likely be a superior option, but the powers that be want a two horse race, and as usual, this is a two horse race.  Will we ever see a significant victory, a true break from the status quo?  If it doesn't happen when we're floundering, it's hard to envision such an outcome in the midst of prosperity, should that illusion reappear and somehow become reality. 
I encourage political awareness.  I hope that my peers will soak it up, but I want them to be open-minded.  You can't weigh your options effectively and make a sincere decision if you make your decision before making a genuine assessment.  Watch and listen to as many different voices as possible.  None of them will tell you the truth, but the more pieces you collect, the better your chances of putting the puzzle together are.  Just don't start repeating everything you hear, and avoid pledging allegiance.  Once you bury your head in the sand, it's hard to find your way back.
Also, there are some things that you don't need to be told.  No one needs a weatherman to tell them what the weather is like just outside their door.  In other words, if you see a nice little chart or graph that portrays an alternate reality, you really owe it to yourself not to fall for the cheap tricks.  Oh, and the polls, could someone please save us from all these polls!  Really, just shoot me before you share another meaningless poll with me.  First, why should we even be so very concerned with what everyone else thinks anyway?  Place some value on your own opinion.  The harder you work to further your understanding of the game, the easier that will be.  The moral of the story remains the same: think for yourself.  Secondly, pollsters are manipulative shucksters running cons on the general public.  You can't trust those cats or their results.  They're paid to provide specific results, not to conduct a true survey.  For anyone who wants to learn more about polls and pollsters, I've provided a link at the bottom of the page to a fantastic segment c/o Penn and Teller that some may find particularly illuminating.
Let me see if I can close up shop.  It's really very simple.  Nobody likes a company man aside from the puppeteers, and it seems like this argument should see a significant boost if one narrows it down to company men from one of two companies, both of which suck.
Think, that's all I'm asking of you.
Hell, if you decide that one of the company guys is your guy, go ahead and vote for him.  I'll forgive you for that.  However, blindly pulling a lever without ever taking the time and effort to make an informed decision is pretty unforgivable.  I don't want to oversell on my way out the door, but I consider such a cavalier approach to the voting to be both an insult to anyone who ever sacrificed their life so that we could be blessed with such a privilege and a waste of time.  It's like that. 

Penn & Teller: Bullshit Polls

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spidey vs. Bats

Note: read prior to clicking the link

Kudos to the good people of SCREWATTACK.  What a cheerful bunch.  They've really brought something special to us, and I find that I must concur with most of their conclusions.  However, I fear that the outcome would be far more decisive.


You be the judge:

Spidey vs. Bats

Note: read after clicking the link

It wasn't silly.  You mine the internet for little gems like that.  That was educational.
I think those gentlemen are doing fine work.

One Pumpkin Down, Two to Go

So, this is jack-o-lantern numero uno in 2012.  I kind of felt like I had carved three pumpkins by the time I was finished, because obviously the idea was three jack-o-lanterns stacked on top of each other.  It took a little less than two hours to complete, but I should note that I was assisted by my lovely daughters, Alaina (6), and Taryn (4).  There was a stencil boasting the concept we chose in the carving kit I bought, but we definitely made it our own.  I think we're off to a great start.
Now I just have to pick the scary movie that I'm watching tonight . . .

'Tis the Season

I'm the author of a book entitled Trailer Park Trash & Vampires, so this should come as no surprise: I love this time of year.

I've had a soft spot in my heart for things that go bump in the dark for about as long as I can remember, and Halloween is such a magical time of year.  Scary movies are dominating the tube, spooky decorations are up all over the place, and I was able to score a box of Frankenberry at Wal-Mart.  Life is good.

I'm going to do three jack-a-lanterns this year, and the first will be carved today.  Few things excite me as much as carving a pumpkin.  That's silly but true.  It's hard, but creating something unique is always a worthwhile endeavor.  I like the story behind it, and I've never been a man to scoff at any totem.

I'm also devoting some time to pushing the book and writing a Halloween piece for RVA, so this has been a particularly noteworthy October for yours truly.  I'll do a blog after I finish my first pumpkin later and keep you posted.  Until then, ask yourself this: what are you doing to prevent evil spirits from assailing your home?