Monster 50

The Invisible Man

From the mind of H. G. Wells comes one of the most dastardly of the Universal monsters line up. Of course, he was driven slowly insane by the procedure of becoming invisible, but that is hardly an excuse to go around causing havoc and killing strangers. Claude Rains turned in a riveting performance as Dr. Jack Griffin in the 1933 Universal movie, even though he was wrapped in bandages or invisible most of the movie. The incomparable Vincent Price played a different invisible man in the sequel The Invisible Man Returns.

There is some great allure to each of us of being invisible. However, it is rarely for a noble reason. The invisible make great spies, thieves, murderers, peeping tom’s and pranksters. Perhaps some would think their sanity an acceptable price to pay.

Truth be told; the Invisible Man is the only classic Universal monster that I have actually dressed up as for Halloween. Of course, that could be because bandages and gloves make an easy costume. Then again, I may have a bit of madness in my blood.

I remember a little movie directed by John Carpenter called Memoirs of an Invisible Man starring Chevy Chase as an average man turned invisible by an accident. I have not seen it in ages, but do remember it being a trifle but fun in parts.

I hear that Johnny Depp will be playing the Invisible Man in the upcoming Universal remake. This seems a novel choice due to Depp’s eccentric nature. However, it also seems a miscast since this will no doubt be mostly a voice performance. Who knows. It shall be interesting anyway.

Careful out there. Watch your step. You never know who may be watching you be alone.

Invisible Man 1
“Now you see me…”

Monster 50

The Wolf Man.

The Wolf Man or werewolf has taken a bite straight into the jugular of popular culture. The wound is deep enough to contain the original Universal monster movie, Werewolf of London, Wolf Man Jack across the radio air waves, Teen Wolf, numerous rock songs, American Werewolf in London, Werewolf by Night comic book, Wolf, and I could howl on.

I always return to Lon Chaney Jr. as the original Wolf Man, and his portrayal of a good man cursed to do terrible things against his will. Lon plays the tortured soul like no other (though Benicio Del Toro came close in the more recent version of the film). He battled Dracula and the Frankenstein monster and lived to lock himself up under another full moon.

Even a man that is pure in heart,

And says his prayers by night,

May become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms,

And the autumn moon is bright.

We all struggle with darkness at times, and can relate to the plight of the reluctant werewolf. Regarding the willing kind…there is no chain heavy enough, nor wall thick enough, nor hole deep enough to place that soul.

“Your not safe here…gggrrrwwool!”

Monster 50

The Gill Man.

The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

There is something eerie and ethereal about the Gill Man in the original Universal movie, as he pushes through the waters of the deep, effortlessly, shadowing the oblivious swimmer above. This a creature forgotten by time but disturbed by curious and fearful humans, driven to do what he must to ensure his survival. Of course, the beautiful Julie Adams makes a pretty good lure.

I can’t remember precisely the first time I happened upon the Gill Man, but I didn’t see the original Universal movie until later in my monster timeline. It could have been in The Monster Squad, which would have made a fine introduction. Whatever the origin, I did find the Gill Man and gleefully added him to my list of favorite monsters.

The design of the original creature is perfection, which is a minor miracle considering what it started out as. The original costume was bland and boring, looking more akin to a classic grey alien than a fishy man from the deeps. We can thank former Disney illustrator Millicent Patrick for the improved and now beloved design. It was Ricou Browning that gave the creature his grace and strength while playing him under water.

I heard that Universal once had a musical show featuring the Gill Man at their theme park, but sadly, it was too late for me to view it. At one time John Carpenter was set to direct a remake of the Creature From the Black Lagoon, which I would have no doubt loved (still trying to hunt down a copy of the screenplay for that). There has been no talk of the Gill Man joining the recent revival of Universal monster movies, but I do hope they include him somehow.

There is something about the things that lurk under the water which instill a natural fear and unease that the Gill Man taps into with great effect.

“I smell a Twinkie.”

Monster 50

The Frankenstein Monster.

Arguably the most famous monster in film land. Created from the finest body parts of the recently deceased, this is the perfect monster…except for the little issue with his brain.

Victor Frankenstein may have given the creature life, but it was a young girl by the name of Mary Shelly that created this monster in her novel Frankenstein. Boris Karloff played the monster in the classic Universal film, and gave the monster a certain dignity and pathos. The monster has also been memorably played by Glen Strange, Christopher Lee and Robert De Niro. I would also be remiss if I did not mention Tom Noonan’s portrayal in The Monster Squad. The friendship of the creature and the little girl Phoebe threatens to turn me into a blubbering softy every time I watch it. Peter Boyle’s monster in Young Frankenstein is hilarious and also a loving homage to Karloff.

There seems to be some debate among monster enthusiasts what to actually call this monster; Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Monster or The Creature. I have no problem with Frankenstein, since he was created by a Frankenstein and would carry the name of his creator. I also tend to use The Frankenstein Monster, as my more traditional and classical nature dictates.

Odes to the Frankenstein Monster include Feed My Frankenstein (Alice Cooper), Frankenstein (Edgar Winter) and the famous Monster Mash (Bobby Pickett). I’m feeling a lot of love for the monster here.

“Hey guys, look what I found.”



Monster 50

The Mummy.

Stuck in an unmarked Egyptian tomb, cursed for a crime of love and raised from the dead by the reading of an ancient scroll, Universal’s The Mummy leaves quite an impression. I may start with that incarnation, but the Mummy in all his (and upcoming her) forms is an easy favorite of mine. As played by the great Boris Karloff, he is a menacing and mysterious foe. I would be remiss if I also did not mention the stunning make-up work by Jack Pierce, that helped cement the character into the pantheon of monsters. The movie also had arguably the greatest movie poster ever created.

A highlight of other movies containing the Mummy would include the Hammer horror movie with Christopher Lee playing the monster, the 1999 adventure/action film directed by Stephen Sommers, and appearances in the Waxwork and Monster Squad movies. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is a light but fun entry as well.

As for literature appearances, I am mostly at a loss, which is a pity. I feel that the tropes of the Mummy are fit to be used in a bevy of eras and stories. I know only of the mummy in the excellent comic Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Rectifying this sad situation, I have created a short story featuring a cowboy Mummy bounty hunter in the old west (which will someday be published in Emby Press’ Reconstructing the Monster anthology, whenever that is finally printed). More tales featuring my Mummy are forthcoming.

Let’s show some love to the Mummy, and bring new tales to life, cursed or not. Perhaps the upcoming new Universal movie featuring a female Mummy and Tom Cruise will ignite the imaginations anew and unwrap something ancient, dark and arcane in sand and blood.

“I know you know what I know…so I must kill you now.”

Monster 50

Welcome to the Monster 50. These are the top 50 monsters, as determined by me, in no particular order other than the order I thought of them. Make of that what you will. Placing monsters in any kind of ascending or descending order, would be like asking me to rank movies, books or musketeers (Athos…no…forget it).

Let’s lead this thing off with style with Dracula.

That’s right, the count himself will lead off. He would have it no other way, of course. From his first appearance in Bram Stoker’s novel, named after him no less, he captivated readers with his style and coiled menace. It has taken actors such as Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman, each owning their portrayal in excellent ways, to attack the role and attempt to give Dracula his due presence. Who knows if the count would  be honored at the valiant attempts by such luminaries of the field, or if he would simply huff at them and wave away their gall. That’s part of why he makes the list.

The Dracula novel never gets old, just as the main character lives forever. Yet, though monster he certainly is, there is sadness and heartbreak in that mesmerizing gaze. Living forever is rarely what it promises to be, an unquenchable thirst for blood is difficult to accommodate, and try finding a soul mate that loves you for who you are when you are a blood sucking fiend. Though Van Helsing would hold no sympathy.

So here’s a toast to the man who doesn’t drink…wine. Raise your glass high. I hear that a new Universal movie featuring Dracula will be made soon. The actor that gets my pick to play the count is Russell Crowe. Maybe Dracula would approve.

“How dare you!”

The Podcast Codex

A podcast can be a wonderful thing. I have been tempted to start one of my own, but my general lack of being interesting, and my fear of the great time suck have so far stopped me. It has not stopped me from enjoying them.

So, without further ado, here is a list of the podcasts that I frequent. I recommend each and every one of them.

Monster Talk: This is a show presented by Skeptic magazine that critically examines the science behind cryptozoology, ghosts, myths, aliens and other generally spooky things. Seems to have been on a hiatus since December last year, but there are several shows in the archive to keep you busy. Really fascinating stuff there.

Astonishing Legends: This is a relatively new podcast headed up by Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess where they examine legendary strange and unusual events. You see a pattern here, don’t you? I love the casual style of the podcast and admire the research often given to each subject. I thought I knew a lot of strange legends and urban myths until I listened to this podcast. I just wish I could get a new show more often than every two weeks or so. The suspense kills me. If you love the strange and mysterious, give this show a listen right away.

This is Horror Podcast: A cool little podcast from across the pond that has a focus on writing horror. As a fan of the horror genre and a writer of fantastic fiction that often strays onto the horror path, I find the interviews they conduct to be valuable. I have also found several British writers to follow, that I may not have found otherwise.

Writing Excuses: If you want to be a writer, are a writer starting out, or have a few stories under your belt, this is a podcast for you. At 17 to 21 minutes a show, you certainly can find time to listen. The information presented by professional writers Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells is entertaining and informative for any writer of the fantastic.

Monster Party: Certainly not always safe for work, but fun anyway, is this show about monsters. If you have a love of all things monsters, as do I, you will enjoy this show. Each podcast has a theme that the group talks about and special guest stars pop up frequently. No one can label the hosts insincere in their monster love. May the ghost of the Great Vincent Price visit their monster patch each and every night.

The Dice Tower: A podcast about board games, and the people who play them. This is a great podcast headed by Tom Vasel where he brings us reviews, stories of board game horror, commentary on board game mechanics and a plethora of errata. Open up the world of designer board games and jump into the deep in here.

Adventures in SciFi Publishing: A great podcast brought to you by Brent Bowen and Kristi Charish. The show often contains interviews with writers of speculative fiction, SciFi and fantasy with topics all over the map, but mostly about the writing. I would pair this show with Writing Excuses as a one-two punch for writers of the fantastic at any skill level. There is occasional chatter about craft beers, so teetotalers beware.

Recommended by no less than the great Jack Burton.

Beach Boy Brain

Love & Mercy is the title of a movie about some key moments in the life of one Brian Wilson. I’m sure that many of you know that Brian is a member of the Beach Boys. He is also the creative instigator of the group. He wrote most of the songs and music for the band, many of which are rolling around in our ears still today.

The movie, based on Brian’s autobiography, chooses to highlight and contrast his younger years of churning out the music with his older years of struggle against mental illness and an oppressive/abusive caretaker. Paul Dano plays the younger Brian and John Cusack the older Brian. It is an interesting way to present the story and I liked the back and forth view of history. The music is great of course. It is the focus on the toll that being a musical genius can force upon you, that really caught my attention.

I am far from a musical genius, or genius of any kind. However, I can sympathize with being the owner of a creative mind. The creative artist is a different beast than most.Throughout any given day I can have a number of stories, characters, plot points, and other creative endeavors whirling about in my mind. I sometimes wonder what ordinary, non-artistic people think about throughout the day. If I do not have a current creative project to attack, I have an urge to start one, thus it never ends. Not that I am complaining or anything. It is what makes me hum, so to speak.

I can almost imagine if a movie were to be made about me someday. It would obviously highlight and accentuate my OCD, my board game hobby, my general worrisome nature. They would have to cast older because nothing of note has even happened to me yet. No doubt it would be very boring.

Now if they could see inside my head…

I can so relate to this. 

Of Beginnings

Just as a year ends, a new one begins. That means that every new year we begin a new story of our life, with only a rough plot outline to guide us. Sometimes the plot veers wildly off course, sometimes plot points disappear altogether, but no matter what happens a story will be written.

I am not one to write by the seat of my pants entirely. Therefore, here a few points of plot for my own personal story this year.

  • My short story Devil Eye, Desert Heart will finally be published this year in the Reconstructing the Monster anthology by Emby Press.
  • I will finish rewrites on my novel Shoot the Devil and begin the search for an agent and/or publisher.
  • I will update my blog more often.
  • I will finish my short story about a mystery solving old witch hunter (inspired by Ms. Marple).
  • Zoolander 2
  • Reread The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
  • Write some poetry.
  • Buy a proper writing desk and chair so that I can sit for longer than 30 minutes and I can do so without banging my knees into the keyboard tray.
  • Take my daughter to her first professional baseball game (go Royals!)

That should be enough for now. I will no doubt accomplish things not on this list, but that is the fun of a rough outline, it is rough and leaves plenty of room for bursts of creativity. There may be things on this list that I fail to accomplish, but they will remain as wonderful backstory.

I wonder what your story will be this year? Feel free to leave a plot point or two of your own in comments. Whatever your story is, I hope it is simply fantastic.


Why So Many Songs About Werewolves?

Monsters and music go together like Laurel and Hardy, movies and popcorn or cotton and candy. I believe the first song I heard that featured a monster was either The Monster Mash or Ghost of John. The former is a Halloween staple that deserves to live forever, the latter is an old folk song with a creepy vibe. Lately, after trying to compile a monster music mix of my own, I came to realize that the werewolf reigns supreme in the genre.

Now, I love a good werewolf song as much as the next guy (I did write a children’s story about a werewolf), but how about giving some love to the other monsters. Off the top of my head I came up with Werewolves of London (The king of the werewolf song by Warren Zevon), Hungry Like the Wolf, Bark at the Moon, and Bad Moon. I found a list of another 163 songs during a short Google search. This is substantially more songs than for any other monster.

Is there something about the lore of the werewolf that lends it to flowing into song lyrics better than some other beast? Perhaps it has to do with tropes such as the full moon, wolf pack, silver, base animal instinct and letting the beast run free (although, other monsters certainly contain interesting and adaptable tropes of their own). Maybe the werewolf alone holds a unique pull on the human psyche. Maybe there are just more werewolves in the music business than we are aware of (you can’t tell me that Springsteen is not a werewolf, double for that Van Zandt fellow).

What about the Vampire? The only song that immediately comes to mind is Suck on the Jugular by the Rolling Stones (Jagger, definitely vampire). That’s all I can come up with for the blood sucking fiends of the night. They deserve more.

Ghosts have Miss Ghost by Don Henley, Ghost Story by Sting, Ghostbusters and Ghost Riders in the Sky. Admittedly, this is more than the vampire, but I know we can do better.

Frankenstein’s monster has Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper and The Monster Mash. The Monster Mash is a verified classic that, by itself, seems to eclipse the whole of all monster songs. I have no problem with that, and feel it a shame that the tune is not played on the plethora of days that happen to fall outside the Halloween season.

Let’s see…zombies have Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie. Witches fare slightly better with Witchy Woman by the Eagles and Hex Girl by the Hex Girls. Alien invasions have Children of the Sun by Billy Squire. Michael Jackson’s Thriller has honorable mention for incorporating a total horror B-movie vibe. While the Mummy…well…I’ve got nothing (somewhere in the desert a crusty tear slides down a tattered and dirty cloth strip cheek).

I’ve decided to do my part and provide a few song lyrics as impetus to get those creative juices flowing for all you musicians out there. Please allow that I am no lyricist, merely a humble writer of stories and poems. I present the following:

  • Let’s trip the bite fantastic
  • Far, far worse is the desert curse
  • You’ve got blood in your eye
  • Shambling from the grave you gave
  • Creature stole my heart
  • I’ll take a bite out of your life

I should think that would be a good start. Feel free to provide a few of your own lyrics to help the cause.

Now if I can just get Weird Al to make his Halloween album…

Sing me a song you're the Creature man...
Sing me a song you’re the Creature man…

Tiny Little Dispatch

Been on this ship for…months maybe. Years?

Have to get away. Aliens. Grey, slimy things. Big black eyes like saucers.

What did they do to me?

Gotta get back to her. I was a fool. She’s probably worried sick.

Sick. I was so sick of the drugs. Broke that beast now. Gotta get back to the music.


Was that a cow? All these corridors look the same.

“Psst. Over here.”


“Wanna break out of here?”

A wiry little man steps out from a shadow. He hands me a blaster.

“Thank you, thank you very much.” I tell him.

Diary of a Mad Writer

Allow me to introduce you to a bit of my writing process. The following are a few pages from my writing journal for the current novel in progress. A glimpse behind the curtain. Now, off you go to that wicked witch’s castle.



Under the Influence

All of us are influenced by something or someone. This adds modifiers to our life for ill or good. In the life of a writer, those influences can be readily seen in their work. Sometimes you have to search for it, and sometimes it shouts in your face and kicks your head in. I thought I would take a moment and list a few of my influences. “I thought they were readily seen?” you may ask. With much of my work, as yet, unpublished, I feel that I must do a little shouting. So, in no particular order I give you a few of my influences:

  • The Bible. This book is filled to the brim with the struggle of good and evil, light and darkness, sin and righteousness. As a whole, it tells an amazing story of love and grace. There are profiles of incredible courage and faith as well as horrible misdeeds and destruction. The blind being made to see, the bones of dead men walking, fire from the heavens, ghosts and witches, angels and demons, wars and family squabbles, kings and prophets, and all manner of supernatural events. It is difficult to not be influenced, in way or another, by such things found here.
  •  Dragonlance. The original Dragonlance series by Magaret Weis and Tracy Hickman to be exact. I believe this was the first series of books that I read, or more like devoured. The various characters that comprised the Heroes of the Lance, became like family. It has been a long time since I read those books, but the feel of the adventures and the aspects of the characters such as Raistlin and Caramon and Tanis and Tasslehoff and Flint and Sturm and Laurana, echo often in my mind.
  • The Universal monsters. I have no idea when it started, but I have a special fondness for the staple of movie monsters that Universal made popular. I never tire of watching the old black and white movies haunted by Dracula, the Wolf-Man, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the Creature. These are beings that live just outside of the normal world with fantastic and often tragic stories. Misunderstood or malevolent, these monsters continue to find new ways of reinventing themselves and staying fresh. Perhaps it is because they whisper to something deep inside each of us. Maybe it is because what frightens us also fascinates us. Either way, I am a fan.
  • The Three Musketeers and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This may surprise none of you, but I am a romantic. These two novels, more than any other, speak to that romantic writer in me. I am referring not to being in love (however, there is much to love in the language and prose found here), but in that classical sense of the word. These are stories that are pumped from the heart to the page through the pen. Stories of horror, adventure, honor, pain, grief and a whirlwind of human emotion. I cannot shake them ‘ere I try.
  • The movies of John Carpenter. I can still remember the first time I watched Halloween. The way that Carpenter used the widescreen format is nothing short of haunting. He showed us a boogeyman of pure evil that would not be stopped, but framed him in such a way as to be instantly mythical. I could say the same of many of the films in the Carpenter filmography. The Fog is another personal favorite. Escape From New York is dripping with cool. The Thing is a remake that eclipses the original in every way. Big Trouble in Little China is filled to the brim with so much of the things I love that I can’t help but take it as a personal letter to me. I envision all of my writings as a John Carpenter movie as I’m writing them.
  • Honorable mention: Robert E. Howard, Marvel Comics, William Shakespeare, Zhang Yimou, Danny Elfman, Shaw Brothers, The Monster Squad, Stephen King, Vincent Price and Edgar Allen Poe.
Yeah, that image is burned into my brain.
Yeah, that image is burned into my brain.

Good Evening Mr. Vampire

I have had the movie Rigor Mortis in my Netflix queue for a while and finally decided to give this little vampire flick a viewing. I must say that I was impressed.

I had no idea going into it, but this movie is apparently an homage to the eighties Chinese film Mr. Vampire. I have not see Mr. Vampire, but I have a fond remembrance of an old Hammer movie called Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. Which was my introduction the Chinese hopping vampire. Rigor Mortus may be an homage but one they take deadly serious. This movie is very dark and very bloody.

The mood is set at the beginning with focus on the aftermath of a horrible fight or accident. A slow, haunting song permeates the scene. Burning embers float in the air. We then proceed to see how this scene came about.

The actors are very good all around. I have to give a special mention to Anthony Chan as Yau, the vampire hunter. I could watch a whole movie that just followed him as he vanquished vampires and other supernatural things around his apartment complex. He is supposed to be a vampire hunter who ran out of vampires to hunt and so cooks with his extra rice for those in the building. Here’s an extra tip for you; they don’t say it in the movie, but the reason a Chinese vampire hunter would carry rice is because if they dropped a handful of rice in front of a vampire, the fiend would have to stop and count each one.

Look for Rigor Mortis streaming on Netflix.

He doesn't wear the mask due to bad breath people.
He doesn’t wear the mask due to bad breath people.

Action in Writing

Have you ever had an idea that seemed good at the time, then when it came time to execute, you cursed your past self for a fool? Perhaps, it’s just me.

When plotting my current novel, I had several grand designs; let’s have a great portion of it happen on a train, set it in the late 1920’s and include a car race between ghostly and ghastly drivers. It was this last one that got me. I have always wanted to write a race between monsters, and I found a prime way to introduce one to my novel. I had little idea what I was getting myself into.

I decided to have six racers, each with a unique car and distinct driver. At first, I thought I would write the race in verse to give the sequence an epic quality it deserved. However, this would take considerably fewer pages and I have a tendency to write sparse enough as it is. Scratch that idea.

I then commenced to writing the entire thing out as one long chapter. I wrote a short description of each car and driver and kept it handy as I wrote. I also sketched out a map of the road the race was to take. This led me to the different legs of the race and included a distinct obstacle for each to keep things interesting. While writing, I had to juggle the racers and positions and take care to keep track of each. As this is a first draft, I am certain to have made some mistakes ( I caught one during writing), but the flow of the race is intact and should make a great fossil for me to flesh out in the next draft. Hopefully, it will be as thrilling as my original grand design suggested.

The lesson here is to be careful not to bite off more than you can write. Now on to the part of the story where the hunchback, lady and angel evade the mob and the cops with the aid of some carnival crew and gigantic bird…

Tiny Little Dispatch

The Lumberjack

Can’t run anymore. Leg is broken. Too far…

I’ve seen him, seen the Jack. Seen his soulless eyes through the slits in the tattered mask.

They say he was the best, or at least thought he was. I’m no challenger, just a hiker on a two-day. No Challenge. Don’t think he cares.

Hear the clinking of the chain with that wicked hook at the end. Why not an ax?

What kind of man haunts the woods to find a challenge? Arrogant? Dangerous?

They say he was cheated. Not my business.

What is that?

Why not an ax?

I’m not OK.

October Reading

I thought I would do something a little different this October. Instead of recommending movies, I will recommend books to read during the Halloween season. You can find my movie recommendations easily enough, and they have not changed much. There is nothing like finding that perfect book to guide you into the Fall and get you in the mood for candy corn breezes, skittering shadows and howling at the moon. Without further ado…

Dracula by Bram Stoker: If you don’t know what this book is about, I pity you.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: This eerie tome will capture you in dark shadows and far off places, and drown you gently in its splendid prose.

Anno Dracula: What if Dracula lived through Bram Stoker’s tale? It won’t be pretty…

From the Dust Returned: A fabulous collection of tales woven by the master of October. Read each one carefully and bathe in the magic of the night.

The Savage Tales of Solomon Cane by Robert E. Howard: You can choose any of the stories in this collection to read or read them all. Kane will take you into the thrilling dark wild and face things that will make your bones quake.

The Poems of Edgar Allen Poe: Take your pick. My personal favorites are The Raven and The Bells. You will easily find your fill of the macabre and spooky within Poe’s verses.

I will leave you with these for now. I bid you good night…and a good haunt.


Tiny Little Dispatch

A little while back I had a piece of writing posted on a website for a Horror Under a Hundred theme. The writing had to consist of 100 words. I liked the restrictions of this format so much I am co-opting it for my own. Periodically, I will be posting a Tiny Little Dispatch of horror, fantasy or science fiction. I am doing this because I think it will be fun, but also to provide fodder for this blog. I hope you readers out there enjoy it as well. Who knows, maybe one or two of these will become a future novel, film or short story?

This Tiny Little Dispatch is called Werewolfing.


They had been trekking through the thick woods for nearly an hour.

“I think I’m going to try a call,” Bob said.

“Yeah, this is a good place,” Jake said.

Bob made a long howl.

“Man, that was a great one, “Jake said, “Great night for werewolfing.”

A lone howl echoed amidst the trees. Close.

A rustle in the brush.

A snap.

“I think there’s a werewolf in these-”


The half of Bob that remained was unable to answer.

Jake dropped his gear and ran. He tripped over a leg or branch and tumbled into a withered creek.



Baseball Magic

As a slight chill slinks into the nights and the close of the baseball season is nigh, I feel compelled to write a few words about the sport. I am not a sports nut by any stretch of the imagination, but I do follow the Royals, Cheifs, Bears and spy an occasional hockey game. However, it is baseball that has always held me in thrall.

I collected baseball cards in my youth and and chased autographs like any young fan would. I have a baseball autographed by George Brett, a picture autographed by Nolan Ryan and faux autographed postcards from nearly the entire team of the ’87 Mets (we can’t always choose who we love and why, we just do). I played baseball from elementary school days through high school, and though I was never very good, I had a certain excitement when trotting onto the field. A game of catch always seemed to occur in a pocket dimension of bliss.

There is something magical about baseball. Something in the pace of the game, the sounds and the flight of the ball. The eldritch sign of the diamond, the positions of the nine men on the field weaving a spell over all who witness the proceedings. The fascination in the people and the numbers of the seemingly simple game. Whatever it may be, I love it. It doesn’t hurt that the Royals are deep in contention for the playoffs this year, a kind of magic indeed.

I wish I could write as eloquently about the sport as Joe Posnanski (a fine writer and fellow man bewitched by the Royals), but this small aside will have to suffice. In case you are in need of a baseball movie to ease the end of the season out to that sea of ethereal mist from which the season always returns each spring, I recommend The Natural, Mr. Baseball and Field of Dreams.

Someday I will write my vampire baseball novel, but it will have to wait for another season.

Wheels Within Wheels

I recently finished my first P. G. Wodehouse book. It most certainly won’t be the last. You see, I have been holding off on reading Wodehouse for some reason or another for many years. I knew that folks like Steve Martin and my friend Alan Cornett have nothing but high praise for the Wodehouse bibliography, yet still I resisted. That is, until I spied this Norton paperback edition of Heavy Weather with a wonderful illustration on the cover (by Siyu Chen). Seemed as good as any book to start with.

The title of this post refers to a saying that a young Monty Bodkins says many times throughout the book and could easily describe the plot. It involves a manuscript of recounts and reminiscences by a Galahad Threepwood that, if they were to be published, would surely bring to light the rowdy pasts of much of the elite society and generally cause an uproar of sorts. However, Galahad has refused to send the manuscript to the publisher Lord Tilbury(AKA Stinker). Lord Tilbury takes it upon himself to pinch the papers, so to say, but he is not the only one after them. Hilarity ensues.

Wodehouse has a wonderful way with language and I can see that Terry Pratchett must be a fan of Wodehouse as well. The descriptive passages often reminded me of Pratchett. The characters are lovingly rendered and fit the story marvelously. I look forward to reading more of Wodehouse. I know there are a few more of the Norton editions with equally fantastic covers I will have to chase down. Tally ho, and I’m off.

Cloudy with a chance of funny
Cloudy with a chance of funny