I don’t want to brag, but that might be a lie, since I’m here making a blog post about it. Yeah, since the end of January, I haven’t chronicled a goddamn thing I’ve read, but I’m here now to do so. Maybe I do want to brag, IS THAT SO BAD?!
My good friend and fellow Indie author Jason S. Hornsby has finished his fifth book, Ghost Sickness, and y’all, I had the honor, privilege and pleasure to be one of the first to read it. And as I told him (because I finished it already) I’ve been gagging for this book for years now, and holy shit, did it deliver.
I can’t say too much about it, not until he’s found a home for it of some sort, but if you’re a fan of his previous books (listed below) then you will shit yourself over this one. That may be hyperbole, but you’d best get some Depends, just in case it weren’t.
2007 Every Sigh, the End
2010 Eleven Twenty-Three
2014 Desert Bleeds Red
TBD Ghost Sickness
Yes, I know I said fifth book, but his first one has been disavowed by the author so thoroughly, I’d feel bad bringing it up by name. I also won’t start on the back cover copy. Heh. IYKYK
Anyway, all five of you seeing this, just know that this fucking legendary tome is coming sooner or later, and when you’ve got your copy, you can thank him then. It really is that good.
Not mine, by the way. This time. No, I’ve just finished reading a rough manuscript by a private investigator who’s turned a real-life case into a fictionalized account, and it had a very good story. I mean, something of a tragedy, but that’s life, innit? I think I gave some good feedback. I hope I did, at least.
I don’t want to say the author’s name or the name of the manuscript, not until it’s more tightened up, I guess? On the other hand, since I’m working on a crime thing of my own, I wanted to state that I had read the work, so everybody knows there’s nothing shady going on here. I already promised I wouldn’t steal from him, and I won’t, ha.
(If I’m going to steal from a crime author, it’s going to be Robert B. Parker and his forebears, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Just so’s you knows.)
The second installment of the World of Trouble series (Cult of Personality) is going to be heavily led by a private investigator, so maybe I’ll get to have a real-life PI read that (whenever it’s done) and get some feedback? That would be neat. And while that certainly is one reason I did the reading, I also want to pay forward all the help I got when I was a wee budding author, myself.
People like David Moody, Jonathan Maberry, Tim Curran, and Joe McKinney all took time out of their schedule to help me out, be it in the form of advice or reading a finished manuscript for a cover blurb. And who the hell was I? Nobody, with no real prospects, and they helped anyway.
So now that I’m still nobody with few prospects, I still like to help when I can. It’s not much, but it’s honest work. Heh. -TB
After my startling revelation about Evil Dead 2 and my childhood penchant for thievery, I figured it would be just as well if I shared how I felt about Bruce Campbell’s book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. I gave the book four stars on Goodreads, and this is what I said:
“I enjoyed this very much. I’m a fan of the Evil Dead franchise, as well as the various and sundry things Bruce Campbell has been a part of. It has an easy, readable narrative and the stories therein are great windows into the world of movie making from the Indies on up.
I don’t have too much more to say about it. It wasn’t a quick read, but it was worth the time.”
The first thing I saw of his was Army of Darkness, which really blew my mind open. I’d seen zombie stuff before that, and I’d seen kind of Lovecraft-adjacent stuff as well, but Army of Darkness? Man, that thing was everything. And Ash, too, if I’m being honest. I was right at the age where I had finally decided (rightly so) that Han Solo was cooler than Luke Skywalker, and Ash with all his bravado and 85% ability to back it up was both hilarious and inspiring.
Following that, I’ve seen Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, but they haven’t touched me like the first one did. The 2013 reboot that I’ve finally seen was thoroughly enjoyable, even if there was no Ash or even an Ash-like character. I had heard rumors they were going to attempt a crossing-over of the two sides of the franchise, but I understand that’s a dream, now.
The only way I could see it is if the ending of the Ash vs Evil Dead AMC television show led to an Army of Darkness 2 somehow, but that would be completely unexpected. I’m looking forward to Evil Dead Rise, too, even though it doesn’t look like it has any connection to 2013’s Evil Dead.
In any case, I’m glad for what we’ve got, no matter what may come next. If there was any possibility of writing something set in that universe, I’d jump at it. I might do some of that right now, just for me, damn it. -TB
Okay, so… slightly overstated and click-baity. Who I really met was Mark Pellegrino, who played Satan on the popular horror dramedy Supernatural. (You may have heard of it.) It was sometime between 2011 and 2014 (inclusive) because I was working offshore at the time, and we were off the coast of Brazil.
Now, this was at the airport, either in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo (I can’t remember which) and I was somewhat aware that he wasn’t having a great time of it. There was some sort of convention he was on the way to, I think, because he was with people who were trying to resolve his issue—my money is on lost luggage, since he didn’t have any bags with him—and they wore lanyards with convention badge lookin’ things on them.
In any case, I recognized him right off the bat and ran up to say howdy-do, Satan-man, I love your show. I even have on my left palm the major elements of the intricate Devil’s Trap from the Season 1 finale, the one on Bobby’s ceiling. (The major elements, to me, are the heptagram and the scorpion, so that’s what I got. No more, because yowza did it fade fast. And I got it done twice. But I digress.)
Anyway, I flashed this at him and said how great he was doing as portraying the first fallen, blah blah, blaaah. He took it well, because he was in town for a fan thing anyway, and was friendly enough for being in a foreign country and suddenly bereft of worldly belongings.
And then, for no reason, part of my brain said to me, “Tell him you liked him in Battlestar Galactica, too.” And the rest of my brain answered, “but he wasn’t even in BSG. Was he? No. There’s no way. He was in an episode of Brimstone once, but I don’t think bringing up his portrayal as some kind of white supremacist is a good idea right now.” And that first part of my brain screamed I should JUST DO IT, TELL HIM HE WAS GOOD IN BSG, NOW NOW NOW.
So, hey, I did.
And you know what? His day got just a touch worse, because I could actually see it in his face. “This idiot doesn’t really know who I am,” it said to me. He gave me a short thank you, and waved, and turned away to deal with whatever it was he had to deal with, and I went on my way back to America. Of course, I chastised my treacherous brain the entire way, but it was content that it had gotten its way, no matter how wrong it was.
If anybody seeing this knows Mark Pellegrino, tell him I’m sorry. —TB
Pale Fallen Angels, Parts 3 & 4 is the title of this one.
This was, to my eyes, a much different read than most of the other VHD books. After we got away from the frontier and into the village proper, with high-tech brothels and mad scientist lairs and vampire fortresses, and you know what? I liked it.
Also, things were different this time around with the dangers presented. Previously, people or things were described as dangerous beyond compare, but they were dealt with relatively easily by the beautiful man in black and his voracious left hand. But in this book, D isn’t only in danger, he is hurt pretty badly more than once.
So I really enjoyed this one. My Vampire Hunter D steam had been flagging, to be honest, but this volume reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the series. I’ll probably start the next one before the first quarter of 2023 is up.
For my first read of the year, this was pretty nice. Next up, If Chins Could Kill, the autobiography of Bruce Campbell. I usually limit myself to one or two non-fiction works per year, as there is enough of this hellscape poking through my daily life to begin with, but I’m an Ashley J. Williams fanboy from way back.
As a matter of fact, the first time I stole anything was from a food market in San Antonio, TX, while my father was away in Georgia, training to be a Customs Agent. This left my mom on her own to wrangle me, an eleven- to twelve-year-old boy, as best she could, and believe you me, she did the job.
I was in the store with her and ran across an unsupervised sticker sheet. Right in the middle of it was a skull with eyeballs which said EVIL DEAD 2, and I had to have it. To be perfectly frank, I had no idea what the hell an Evil Dead was at the time, but the imagery did it for me. I slipped that sticker sheet into my pocket (careful not to fold that one sticker, of course) and we went about our shopping.
Later, after I’d applied the Evil Dead 2 sticker to my skateboard (because where else would it go?) I was so proud of it I showed it off to my mom, rather foolishly, in hindsight. She went ooh and ahh and asked me where I got such a lovely thing, which should have been an enormous red flag, but I was too full of myself to realize it.
I told her I’d gotten it at the store, and she rose up like the angry sea. “When?” she bellowed. “I didn’t buy it for you, so when?!”
With a firm grip on my arm, she marched me back to the market to turn me in. (It was only half a mile, according to Google Maps, but that’s a long freakin’ way to be dragged, I’m here to tell you.) She made me tell the manager what I’d done, and he was very stern and everything and told me I was going to be watched like a hawk every time I went into his store. He took a picture of me and put it on the wall and told me next time, it would be the police.
Then, while I was bawling about it, he told my mother in Spanish they didn’t even sell those stickers there and he didn’t know where they’d come from, so maybe take it easy?
I knew enough Spanish by then to know that the universe had turned on me, but I figured I had gotten away with enough that things probably evened out. But I didn’t let her know that, because that would unveil how much Spanish I really understood by then. Heh.
Well, of the times I’ve had to write the date so far, I’m batting a thousand for writing 23 instead of 22. I’d say I’m off to a good start, but the week is young. I’m fresh off a well-earned end of year vacation and ready to do things and be better.
We’ll see, ha.
Against type and tradition, I’ve actually made some resolutions for this new year, and I mean to keep them. To that end, I made them simple, ha. Easily memorable. My wife got me an hourglass the size of my head, so that’s going to help with one of them.
If it feels like I’m being vague with my resolutions, it’s because I’m being vague with my resolutions. A good half of them have to do with me and my writing, and the other half concern health and stuff, so yeah. Nobody needs to know all the latter, and I said I didn’t really want to blog about the former. I still don’t, though I’m really goddamn tempted.
(To that end, I’ll probably be seeking out interviews and such, because there’s a new book, and will be at least two this year, and goddamn I got to get out there more to move some units. So.)
Anyway, if you’re here and reading this, I hope your 2023 has started off well. And some of you who aren’t here and reading this, you, too. See? I can be magnanimous. -TB
I still don’t want to write about the writing, but there is something I need to get out, because I don’t know what the right answer is. And yes, I know this is basically screaming into the void, as nobody really knows this blog exists except me. (I’d say my parents, because they maintained a presence on the web, but they’re ghosts now.)
On social media, since the beginning of the month, I’ve been pushing the new book, and while it feels like I’ve been making small steps (sales are in the double digits, and three times as many as the entire Century series, and as of this writing, there are already two (2) five-star reviews) but it feels like if I keep going on in this vein, small steps is all I’ll ever make.
To that end, I think I need to build a street team. Small steps, but in multiple directions, right? Right. I was on the street team for Black Label Society way back in the way back, and all I really got was some stickers. One or two for myself, and the rest to plaster all around, which I did. (Maybe, maybe I kept more than one for myself.) I think maybe I could do the same kind of thing, except maybe with bookmarks? Book cover bullshit on one side, web address and maybe a QR code on the other? Send a really nice one for the street team member, and a stack of ones I won’t feel bad about giving away en masse for distribution? That’s the only real idea I have right now.
I’m open to suggestions, obviously, even if I’m really of the opinion that nobody is seeing this, lol.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at, here at the end of the year. I’m grateful for the things which went right, and I’m not bitter anymore about most of the things which went sideways, and I guess that’s as good as it’s going to get, since the PCH Prize Patrol isn’t on their way to my house today, hehHA.
In the words of Jerry Springer, ’til next time. Take care of yourselves, and each other. -TB
I’m way behind on the reading and the keeping up thereof, so I’ll just mention a couple of things which really got my attention this year. I can only say for certain about thirty of the books I read this year, because most of those were new reads. Everything I re-read this year, it’s all speculative as to when I read it because I was trying to use Goodreads to track what I was reading, leaving reviews on books I’ve already left a star rating for. Unfortunately, neither the dates on the books nor their position in my books list changed any when I added the reviews, and I don’t have the patience to sift through my entire book list there to find the reviews I left this year. The only re-reads I can say for sure I read were The Lord of the Rings and The Ghost Brigades, because they were the last two.
I started out with Hours of the Dragon, by Robert E. Howard, and that was a pretty good way to kick off the reading for the year. Start on a good foot, yeah? Yeah. I also read Bye, Bye, Baby, Ace Atkins’ goodbye to the Spenser series. That was bittersweet, as his voice is entirely reminiscent of that of Robert B. Parker’s when he was at the height of his powers. But he’s got to move on to focus on his own work, which is also very good. The next book which left an impression was The Black Dahlia, by James Ellroy. It was the noirest of noir, and I enjoyed it immensely.
I read my one (1) non-fiction book in Death of the Territories, a story about how Vince McMahon Jr. and the WWF turned the world of professional wrestling on its head. I read Web, by John Wyndham, and that was both creepy and undermined by its own format, as most of the reveal and scary things were given away at the very front of the book, which is fucking baffling to me. Also, the behavior described in the novel was found in nature not too long after the book’s publication, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re living in a real-life Kingdom of the Spider. Whee!
I re-read Left Behind because I’m a masochist, and there’s still more of that to read, but it’s only been five months and I haven’t yet fully recovered. And speaking of underwhelming reads, I also failed to really enjoy Isabel Allende’s rendition of Zorro. I much preferred the graphic novel version as written by Matt Wagner and drawn by Francesco Francavilla for Dynamite Comics. And in that vein, finally, is Slaughterhouse-Five, which I suppose is some kind of heresy. I mean, I enjoyed it, but goddamn. What was the point of that book? Would it have hit the same if it was told in a linear fashion, or was it dependent on the character being unstuck in time to be enjoyable? I don’t think it would have been the hit it was if it weren’t for the gimmick.
The last book I finished before the end of the year was John Scalzi’s The Ghost Brigades, and it will be an eternal source of irritation to me that he has no interest in taking over John Gardner’s Armor sequel, ha. I asked him about that, once upon a time, and he very firmly denied any interest in that kind of thing. And that’s completely understandable, as any writer worth their salt has projects a-plenty, but still. It’s irksome, because he’s just the right author to do it. Anyway.
That was the reading for 2022, and may 2023 have better accountability, ha. I hope you had a good year in reading, and I hope that continues next year. Especially, you know, if you pick up my new book, World of Trouble: Tribulation of Dax.
(I’ll have you know, I feel dirty now, having typed that last sentence.)
I still don’t want to write about writing, blecch, no. I’ve been away a while, mostly working on taking a demo album from twenty years ago and turning it into a real album, and it was going pretty well until October.
In October, I started working on a song for Halloween (for Brian P. Easton’s YouTube channel) and that worked out well, and then November came and I decided to NaNoWriMo. And THAT went pretty well.
But now I’ve been contracted for a soundtrack for a book series, and one of the pieces of advice I got early on was: never put off spec work for something with a paycheck attached. So that’s what I’m doing now.
Still, I don’t want to talk about the music too much, because that’s just like talking about the writing. I don’t want to write about it.
So instead, hey, howdy! How you doin’? If you’re seeing this, let me know. Also, hey, just as an aside, last month I self-published a novel. Check the main site, it’s listed there., World of Trouble: Tribulation of Dax. Yeehaw.