|Fresh Dirt Archives:
Dec. 29, 2005
reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov, which I
always thought was a dirty book, judging by its
reputation. I'm surprised to find it hilarious and
well-written, and not really dirty at all. (After all,
dirtiness is mostly in the mind.) Got a couple of things
in the mail I'll be putting on eBay next week: an advance
reader copy of Richard Laymon's Once Upon a Halloween
and Cemetery Dance #3 from 1990.
Bought an acoustic
guitar last week in the midst of spending money on other
people. I haven't had one for a while. It's kind of nice
to have something to beat up in those cold, quirky
The much-anticipated Corpse Blossoms anthology is out
in trade hardcover format and is getting great reviews.
Signed, limited edition versions will be out early in
2006. Contributors include Bentley Little, Bev Vincent,
Ramsey Campbell, Tom Piccirilli, Steve Rasnic Tem, and
Joseph Nassise, among many others. Me, too.
Dec. 23, 2005
out Therese Pampellone's The Unwelcome Child. It was just
released by Pinnacle Books, and obviously I highly
recommend it. The book was picked up for release by The
Mystery Guild. My cover blurb is "The most chilling
study of motherhood since Rosemary's Baby." It's the
best new book I've read in a long while.
I'm doing maintenance for
"Scottnews," my free quarterly newsletter. You
can join here if you wish and be eligible for great
Dec. 19, 2005
Barzelay for president.
Watched "Shaun of the Dead."
Witty, poignant, and everything but horror.
Do you say "Merry Christmas" or
Dec. 16, 2005
watched "Care Bears: Journey To Joke A Lot"
(well, parts of it--parental love does have its limits).
When I asked girl if it was funny, she said "Not
really." Dad then asked, "Is it one of those
that teaches you a lesson?" Girl delivered a
classic: "Sort of, but it's sort of one just to
It's a well-done movie, using CGI instead of
cartoons, with homage to Monsters, Inc., 2001: A Space
Odyssey, and even Beatlesque elements in some of the
songs. But, I gotta tell you, Care Bear butts are
Dec. 12, 2005
the classic black-and-white 1925 movie
"Metropolis." Is it about communism, fascism,
homosexuality, or Catholicism? The hero looked like a
cross between Robert Smith and Leo DiCaprio. Why does
Fritz Lang hate our freedom so much?
Dec. 9, 2005
through Farm proofs. Working on a writing article. Got
royalty statement for The Red Church. Sales appear to be
dwindling a bit, not unexpected since it's been thirty
months since the release. No word yet on if it will go
back for a third print, so if you want a copy, you'd
better snag one from B&N online, since even
bookstores seem unable to order them anymore.
Put some books up for sale on eBay: Brian
Keene "No Rest For The Wicked," Brian Hodge
"Falling Idols," and a book I helped copyedit,
"Scary Rednecks" by Weston Ochse & David
Watched "Batman: The Movie"
several times with my daughter. At age five, she
understands it perfectly. The movie is billed as family
entertainment, and it delivers. Bruce Wayne even quotes
Edgar Allan Poe during a romantic scene. Adam West is a
great actor. He's what William Shatner could have been
with a little more courage.
Dec. 3, 2005
through about 120 pages of the Farm proof. As always at
this point, I think I should throw the book away, send
the money back, and go on to a reputable career in vinyl
siding. But, as always, the money is already spent and,
well, parts of it are interesting, and I believe the
story does get better as it rolls along. My entry at Storytellers
Unplugged is up, an expansion of something I'd
covered in the journal earlier this year: limited edition
books. I raised the subject there in hopes of sparking
Nov. 29, 2005
my copedited manuscript of "The Farm" today.
Haven't glanced through it yet, but there's a list of the
character names at the beginning--featuring 61 different
people. Wow. While the manuscript is 616 pages, I would
have expected maybe half that. Of course, most of those
are just throwaways, as the novel has maybe eight or nine
viewpoint characters, and only three main protagonists. I
have a little over two weeks to get it checked over and
sent back. I can usually do it in three or four days.
Nov. 26, 2005
turned in the five children's books to my agent. I'm
pleased with the results,and think a couple of them have
a real chance at publication. It was the hardest writing
I'd ever done, because I had to second-guess every single
word choice. Plus, of course, you can always fool adults,
but you can't fool children for long. Also turned in the writing column
"The Final Left Turn Into Darkness" for Hellnotes, and the first
chapter of The Farm will eventually be
posted on the newly upgraded Cemetery Dance website.
Here's Sharyn McCrumb and me at the Great
Smoky Mountain Book Festival last weekend. I got to read
the first chapter of her current project, and it's so
wonderful, laugh-out-loud funny, and insightful. I think
she's the Mark Twain of the 21st Century. I believe this
will be my last public appearance of the year, though I
swung by the local Waldenbooks and signed the copies of
my books they had in stock.
Nov. 17, 2005
interview by Scott Johnson for Horror Channel is up at their site. Scott's a fine
author in his own write. New article
"Spooky Cinema" is up, a
little late for Halloween, but, hey, every night is
I'll be at the Smoky Mountain Book Fair
Saturday, in Sylva NC, so drop by if you're in the
western North Carolina area.
Nov. 13, 2005
join me for a chat Monday (Nov. 14) hosted by the Salt Lake City Public
Library System. The chat
begins at 7 pm Mountain Standard Time or 9 pm EST. I'll
be at the Great Smoky Mountain Book Fair in Sylva NC on
A new interview with me just came out in Dark Discoveries # 5, a cool genre
magazine edited by James Beach. The issue also contains
interviews with Ramsey Campbell, Norman Partridge, and
Doug Winter, as well as fiction, articles, and book
reviews. Definitely worth a look.
Nov. 11, 2005
couple of high school advanced-placement English classes
tackled my story "In The Heart of November,"
which is posted in the freefic section. The story was
originally published in a young adult horror anthology
published in Canada. The students were a lot more blunt
and honest than any other of my critics have been. The
most common complaint was I was talking down to younger
readers, I was out of date, and my protagonists sounded
like middle schoolers instead of high schoolers.
Few found it scary. One wrote, "While
not an excellent story, I would give it a 6/10
rating." Another one said, "I'd give it
one-half stars out of five, and that's just for
trying." Overall, it was a great learning
experience, and I was reminded yet again that teens are
savvy and well-read.tz
Nov. 7, 2005
cover for The Farm (due out in July) arrived this
weekend. I like the cover scheme and I think it's the
best one yet. I've been very lucky to have consistent
presentation of my books, and each of my covers have been
evocative. I hope you'll check out the large-scale
versions and let me know what you think. I have a
new entry up at the communal blog Storytellers
Nov. 1, 2005
from Frightfest up at Scott...In Action. Turned in a piece
on promotion for the next HWA Handbook from
Writers Digest Books. I've got a couple of chats coming
up, you can check them out at the booktour section. Watched
"The Last Man on Earth" and "Night of the
Living Dead" for Halloween. Amazing the
similarities--the zombie-like creatures trying to get at
Oct. 26, 2005
was about ready to turn in my set of children's books
when I got an idea for an extra one, so I'll have to
finish it up as a Halloween-related story. I'm doing this
one with pen and paper instead of the keyboard, and I'm
amazed by the number of corrections I make. I'm not sure
if I do that when using the keyboard. Maybe I do it
With the first snowstorm officially wiping
out the garden, here's the tally: a great year for
tomatoes, peppers, and greens; decent for winter squash,
potatoes, and beans; not good for cabbages, corn, or
summer squash. I'll be planting some garlic this fall,
and probably a couple more fruit trees. I'm going to buy
as many local plants as possible. Autumn has been
colorful here despite predictions of mediocrity, though I
suspect this cold and wet weather will knock it down a
Oct. 20, 2005
recently got my advance check for "The Home,"
and even though I have a day job, here's what it means: I
can pay off the credit card I've been rolling over for
several months (I abhor debt, especially the part about
paying interest); I can buy some printer cartridges
(haven't printed anything out in a couple of months); I
can pay a little ahead on the second mortgage (did I
mention I hate debt?); I can buy organic food; I can
clean out the silverware draeer, meaning I can through
away any plastic forks that have broken tines; I can
spend some money on promotion; I can crack the whip on
myself to get the next novel done because I know how
desperately I will need the money.
On the home front, it's a depression. The
next-door-neighbor clear-cut about 20 acres of forest
because "after 40 or 50 years, the trees start
getting trashy." At least cows will graze there.
Then the power-line guys come through and wipe out a
half-dozen more trees and I will be able to see my
neighbor's house when the leaves fall. In the picture
below, the large tree to the right has been severely
topped. I'm letting every little sapling in my yard get
established, then I'll decide later how to move them
around after my fruit trees get bigger. I can't control
what my neighbors do, but I can create my own little
hideaway spot until I have enough money to buy more land.
Ah, the curse of the wannabe recluse.
Oct. 11, 2005
interview with Mark Justice is now online as a podcast at
Horror Reader. Not much new on
the writing front, just launching the start of the
"2007 novel with no name." I also hope to write
a story on cops for the next Mystery Writers of America
anthology, edited by Michael Connelly. With 3,000 members
and only 10 slots, it will be a reach, but I have an idea
that can probably work for another project if rejected.
Here's a photo of my front yard.
You can understand why I hate to ever leave this place.
There are a couple of major land plots for sale a mile or
two up the road, so my serenity is not eternal, but I
should be safe from the cancer of development for a few
more years. House values go up 10 percent a year here, so
I should be able to manage a nice trade-up when I'm ready
to move. If ever. I don't know how deep these woods go,
and with gas prices forever high, I don't know how far in
the wilderness I can afford to live.
Oct. 4, 2005
my contributor's copy of Crimewave # 8 today, a magazine
well-blurbed by Ed Gorman, Ian Rankin, and Ellen Datlow.
Fellow contributors include Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Joel
Lane, Joe Hill, Darren Speegle, Jay Caselberg, and more.
I've been looking forward to reading this one, and it was
accompanied by payment in British pounds.
Contributed my monthly entry (a day late) to
Unplugged. Hard to believe a month has passed since
DragonCon. Harder to believe I only have six months to
finish the next novel. Harder still to believe I have
four other projects demanding attention.
-- copyright 2005 by Scott
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