Tag Archive | thank you

Halloween Wrap Party

OK, this Halloween nearly did me in! And that’s a good thing. I once again achieved my goal of watching a horror movie every day (my favorite new flicks – new to me – being Rites of Spring and Revenge of the Creature). I read all of the books on my Horrortober reading list. Kudos to Kealan Patrick Burke for making my stomach turn with Kin. Awesome stuff.

On Halloween night, we had over 300 costumed kiddies come to the house. After canceling Halloween last year due to super storm Sandy, they had to make up for lost time. Yes, I and my twisted children dressed up to scare those kids who only wanted some candy. What was I? I have no clue. I was something no one else was likely to see that night. You be the judge.

Me Halloween

In the dark, with my hooded black jacket, it was effective enough to make trick or treaters pause. Heh heh heh.

The 99 cent sale for my first short story collection, ASYLUM SCRAWLS, is over, but it didn’t go up much. You can download a copy now for just $1.99. I noticed that quite a few folks have already checked into the asylum. How about you? A little thorazine, three hots and a cot, get some rest.


Congratulations to Lindsey Loucks who won a signed copy of SINISTER ENTITY. Thank you for playing along with my madness.

We’ve made some updates to the Monster Men website, adding a podcast archive so you can catch all the episodes you’ve missed.

I have some exciting announcements to make over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

Oh, and thank you all for making SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE an audiobook bestseller. It’s an honor to be beside the likes of Tim Lebbon and Ron Malfi. I’m telling you, those skunk apes are gonna rule the world one day.

Thank You, Dad

One week ago today, I lost my father.

It was sudden, completely unexpected, and awful to witness. There are images that will haunt me for the rest of my life; sights and sounds and smells that will always bring back what was the worst week of my life.

But there was also comfort, by friends and family, priests and even strangers. And what comforts me most of all, other than my faith that my father and friend, a good man in a world that is sorely in need of them, is in a wonderful place right now. He left this world with no loose ends. His was a good life, a happy life. He passed away knowing his family was strong, there were no quarrels, and successful and content. If ever a person could leave this world with a sense of closure, it was him.

There are little things that upset me, small closures that will never happen that seem trivial but trouble me when I think about them. Before he died, he talked to me glowingly about Dennis Lehane’s new novel and how incredible the last half was. When I picked up the book, I noticed the bookmark was placed 6 pages before the end. We had also talked about his finally watching the season finale of Bates Motel, a show he and I both got into this spring. He never got the chance to see how it ended. I wanted to take him with me to a horror convention in the fall so he could see with his own eyes all of the things he instilled in me come to fruition as a writer. We played bocce and looked forward to many, many games together, sharing a drink and a laugh as we played with or against one another. Out of all the things we’ve done over our adult years, those games mean the most to me. It’s where he became as much my friend as my father.

What I want to do is thank him for all the things he did over the course of my life. He’d just turned 70 in April and I’m not usually a mushy card writer, but this time around, I did list some of the things I was most grateful for so he knew the impact he’d had on my life.

So dad, I know you’re still reading this blog. Here’s the entire list I should have written. Dad, thank you for:

  • Giving me life and a loving home, first in our apartment in the Bronx, across the street from the cemetery, then our house where you and mom have stayed for over 35 years.
  • Horsey-back rides. Those are some of my earliest memories as a kid in that apartment.
  • Bringing home issues of Mad and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines, especially when I was sick. They cemented my sense of humor and love of horror.
  • Putting together monster model kits in the kitchen while listening to college radio replay the old radio serials.
  • Annual summer vacations, where you showed me the beauty of Maine, a place my family now calls our home away from home.
  • More drive-in movies than I can count, watching flicks that made me the envy of all my friends.
  • So many other movies, most especially the twin bill of Dawn of the Dead and The Kentucky Fried Movie when I was 10. That stands out as the single greatest day at the movies in my life.
  • An appreciation for a cold beer, a breeze to shoot and the ability to relax and not run myself ragged trying to keep up with everyone around me.
  • Being a dad to Amy, accepting her into the family and always making her feel loved.
  • My absolute love of reading, which then became a compulsion to write.
  • Being there for me when Amy was so sick, and giving me a chance to collect myself without going bankrupt.
  • Teaching me to be a man, to be responsible, caring and loving to my family.
  • Being a great grandpa, playing wiffle ball with the kids, putting together put-put boats and slippng them $5 every time they were at the house.

I could write this list for days and never come to the end. The thing is, with each line, my heart grows heavier.


I miss you. We all miss  you.

And most of all, we love you. No past tense. That will never change.

Rest in peace. You earned it.

Dance With The One That Brought You

You gotta dance with the one that brought you.” – Lyric and title to a Shania Twain song and a much older adage.

Everyone reading this has someone in their life that set them on their current path. Right now, it’s time for me to hit the dance floor.

When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be, I usually gave one of two replies. I was either going to be a radio DJ (thanks to WKRP in Cincinnati) or a Playboy photographer. Mom was so proud.  As I got older, my future plans grew fuzzier until my only goal was to make it to the next day, hopefully employed.

Did I want to ever be a writer? I think there was a three month period around the time I was 16 when it sounded like a pretty cool idea. After hammering out a couple of quasi-sci-fi stories, I opted to go cruising and hitting on girls instead.

So who brought me to the writing dance? I have one person to thank for that. His name is Norm Hendricks. I’ve mentioned him in some interviews in the past. It’s about time I gave him his full due.

You see, Norm and I meet when we got a job in customer service at the phone company. That job sucked so bad, I still have mental and spiritual scars as pink and fresh as the day they were made 20 years ago. It was a terrible place, run by dolts that would make Dilbert cringe. Norm was one of a handful of people who made going to work worthwhile. Plus, he was a fellow Mets fan,  elevating him to the top of the good guy list. Better still, he made me laugh my ass off, daily. Case in point, in a department meeting with our new director, for shits and giggles, he introduced himself as Nemo Cranston. I nearly had an aneurysm holding in my laughter when the director replied, “It’s nice to meet you, Nemo.”

One day, I spied Norm working on a book and was intrigued. I thought writers all lived in cabins somewhere and lived full, rich lives that didn’t involve descending into the 7th circle of hell each day, hawking Friends & Family. Yet there Norm was, a guy with one of the funniest and most unique minds I’ve ever come across, working at his novel.

He took writing seriously, and I was blown away by his skill. With his encouragement, I started to dabble, terribly, but it became a wonderful escape from the banality of real life. Plus, it strengthened the bond between us. It was a win-win before that asinine phrase came into being.

Since that time, Norm has published three books: Forever Indian Summer, Monstrous and The Forgotten Sleeper, which I’m reading now and slack jawed with amazement at the concepts he’s woven within its pages. He hits on heavy topics with a poetry all his own, expressing ideas that I could only guess at in fever dreams. I read his work with a real sense of pride. And where others may only get to know him through his work, I’m one of the lucky ones to have watched him secretly throw Certs into people’s drinks at parties or performed with him on stage with a band of merry, musical misfits.

What inspires me more than anything is the fact that Norm writes because he loves to write. He doesn’t give a crap about what he could potentially get in return for his hard work. He is a true writer. He’s given more to me than he’ll ever know.

So yeah, my dance card will always have Norm’s name on it.

Who’s on yours? It’s never too late to dance.

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