Ho, Ho Aaarrrrgggghh! ‘Tis the season of twinkling lights, the scent of pine, spiked egg nogg and paper cuts from wrapping presents. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the Christmas season and make it a point to tell everyone ‘Merry Christmas’ as opposed to a non-committal, limp-wristed ‘Happy Holidays’. After I write this post, I’ll be on my way to putting up the lights around the house and ddoing a little shopping for the family.
Since I’ll be a very busy little beaver this month, I figured I’d post something that will remain relevant for the entire holiday season AND give away a bunch of stuff that you can put under the tree. Stick with me as I bounce around like a reindeer after 10 shots of tequila.
First, The Monster Men just put together our very first Christmas episode. We give our top 10 list of the baddest villains in Christmas special history. See how it matches up against yours!
In my house, we have a tradition of watching at least 1 Christmas special/movie a night from December 1st until Christmas Eve. Needless to say, we own a ton of Christmas DVDs and video tapes. I’m sure you all watch the standards like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Here’s a cartoon you may not have even heard of but should definitely become part of your viewing rotation.
My all time favorite Christmas cartoon is A Wish for Wings that Work, starring Opus and Bill the Cat (of Bloom County fame – the second best comic strip of all time, next to Calvin and Hobbes). All poor Opus wants for Christmas is the ability to fly. But his smelly sidekick Bill, he of the tater tot brains, accidently thwarts him at every turn. This is one the parents will love even more than the kids.
Now, on the MUCH more adult side, thanks to my Monster Brother, Jack, the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia : A Very Sunny Christmas has not only scarred me, but become an instant classic in my twisted home. If you’ve ever wanted to see Danny Devito naked or watch a man chew a mall Santa’s throat out while asking him he he effed his mom, this is a can’t miss!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, even though I write horror for a living, I do have a romantic side (or else I’d be a very lonely horror writer). For my money, hands down, the best Christmas movie ever made is Love Actually. Yes, it’s a movie about several interconnected love stories, but isn’t that what Christmas is realy all about? If you doubt the greatness of this movie, read the opening lines, then watch it.
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.
Now, on to the presents! I want to thank all of you for sticking with me over the past year by giving you some gifts. All you need to do is drop in a comment (and hopefully share this on Twitter, FB, etc). I’ll be giving away the following:
- A Swamp Monster Massacre T shirt!
- 2 signed copies & 1 digital copy of Forest of Shadows
- 2 signed copies & 1 digital copy of Evil Eternal
- 2 digital copies of Swamp Monster Massacre
- Loads of custom bookmarks
I’ll pick random winners on December 17th and send them out so you have them in time for Christmas.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I started to think about this past year and the roller coaster ride I call a life. I’ve had great highs and scary lows that have left me numb, sometimes empty, sometimes full, but neither for long.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good that comes our way. But I’ve come to realize that what we have to be most grateful for are the hard times. When we face adversity, we learn a lot about our true nature and the importance of the people that surround us.
Case in point. For the past couple of weeks, my father had his first health scare, his first surgery, and his first brush with the big C. We found out today that the surgery was a success and he’ll be fine. But that 10 day waiting period to get the great news gave us all pause and made us realize how little time we have together. We’ll make the most of it on Thanksgiving. I can assure you that.
Another case. For the past year-plus, my wife has been battling an unknown infection and lupus. We’re at the point where the doctors think radiation is the only cure. Talk about a cure worse than the disease. It’s like watching the person you love most being tortured every second of every day as radiation sears its way through the cells of her entire body. It shows me, daily, how much she means to me, and how little everything else matters if you and the ones you love don’t have the gift of good health.
Looking back at what I’ve written, I saw that this is an overriding fear in almost all my work. In Forest of Shadows, John Backman’s wife dies in her sleep, forever altering his life and his mind. In Evil Eternal, a strong man named Liam watches his wife’s murder and offers his soul to avenge her death, becoming the undead Father Michael. His torment is sealed to go on for infinity. Even in Swamp Monster Massacre, my crazy skunk ape romp, when John’s wife is killed, so is his soul, and soon after, his body. All of these things crept into my work, my conscious mind completely unaware. I’m forcing myself to look into the abyss so I can be grateful that though at times I’m at the precipice, I haven’t fallen through. My wife battles on, and so do I.
In hard times, we turn to others, or God, for strength and support. It’s at these moments where we’re truly thankful for all of the good people and happy moments in our lives.
So this year, when you look back at those moments of hell in your life, don’t ask ‘why me?’ Use them as touchstones and appreciate what they reminded you of, or how they brought you closer to someone, or even changed your life for the better.
Most of all, give thanks.
October for horror writers and lovers is like April for accountants – pure madness. And madness is damn good. I’m gearing up big time for Halloween and have a lot of treats to share (so no egging my house!).
First off, Swamp Monster Massacre is tearing it up. So happy to see skunk ape love out there. The reviews have been nothing short of fantastic. Here’s what some folks had to say (you can click on each to see the full review):
Like a good little horror ghoul, I’ve been watching horror movies all month. Rememebr to follow me on Twitter and check out #Terrortober for the list and my reviews of each, as well as the books I’ve been reading. The movies have spanned from 1920 to 2011, so there’s a lot to see.
The Monster Men unleashed our second annual Halloween episode. We have a brand new theme song and some funny surprises peppered throughout. We go from The Great Pumpkin to hanted asylums and slasher flicks. Check it out!
Speaking of the Monster Men, Jack and I will be interviewed on The Secret to Everything radio show on Wednesday October 24th at 7pm ET. Lord knows what stupid things we’re apt to say. I’m sure it will be archived at the same link.
Coming later this week will be an interview with my favorite ghost hunting team, Pink Kitty Paranormal. Get ready for a wild ride!
On Halloween, I’m going to post chapter 3 of my free gothic story, MERCY. You can visit Pen of the Damned to catch up.
Last but not least, I had a fun book event at The Wicked Wolf Tavern in White Plains, NY this past weekend. I was there along with author Robert Stava, who premiered his new book, At Van Eyckmann’s Request. We had a tarot card reader on hand, giveaways, filmed Monster Men episodes and had many, many drinks. That Jeagermeister shot machine was the end of me. Thank you to everyone who came. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a glimpse…