A writer friend, Tom Piccirilli, passed away this morning after a valiant battle with brain cancer.  If you don’t know his work, buy a couple of his books.  Take your pick; they’re all equally good.

After I heard the news, I re-read some of his poetry.  I came across one poem in particular, from This Cape is Red Because I’ve Been Bleeding, that struck a cord on this of all days.  I thought I’d share it with you, because it’s short and in Tom’s own words.

Cremation Reformation — Tom Piccirilli

Perhaps the crematorium isn’t the best place

to mull over your melancholy, make a chart

of your misgivings, take account of all

your secret mischief — the bodies of neighbors

and pets fill the black air with ash,

and the taste is never completely washed away.

Smoke rises but the temperature drops.

Someday, I’ll be sent on in there,

and they’ll hand a tiny box of powder to my wife,

but I want her to put me on through again,

and again, and again, until there’s nothing left

but air, and I’ll drift over town and get into everyone’s

clothes and hair, and work my way into every

crack and fissure of skin and eyelid, all your mouths,

your nostrils, breathed into every lung, until

you all tap your temples with freshly sharpened pencils,

acting for a moment, exactly the same,

as each and every one of you writes

with a flourish and grin


for absolutely no reason you can name.

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Read this article about the endless slate of horror movie sequels Hollywood pumps out.  The horror and action genres have always been more franchise-oriented than other genres; today it seems excessive that even successful comedies and dramas need to be spun out into trilogies.

And Mental Floss catalogs some of Stephen King’s unpublished work — mostly why it remains unpublished, and the reasons Steve doesn’t want it to see the light of day.  A couple of these I hadn’t heard of before, while others have acquired almost mythic status over the decades (Last Dangerous Visions, anyone?).

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Read this great article about film marketing that appeared a few years back in The New Yorker.  Writing and filmmaking I understand; the selling of a project, however, remains foreign to me.  This shed a lot of light on a process that seems at times part luck and part alchemy.

And check out this epic prop auction held tomorrow in Los Angeles.  Movie memorabilia from special effects guru Rick Baker’s entire career.  You want to bid on Hellboy’s Right Hand of Doom?  Go for it.  How about a twelve-foot-tall animatronic alien from Men in Black?  If you’ve got an extra forty grand to blow, this too can be yours.  Or what if you prefer taking home a full-size Eddie Murphy fat suit from The Nutty Professor?  Whatever, I don’t judge.

Take time to peruse the entire auction catalog.  It spans Baker’s whole career, from An American Werewolf in London to Gremlins and Planet of the Apes.  No doubt Hollywood collectors have waited decades for a treasure trove like this to go on sale to the public.

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2015 Stoker Awards

The 25th World Horror Convention takes place next month (May 7-10) in Atlanta.  The annual Bram Stoker Awards are being held in conjunction with WHC this year, and the nominees are listed below.

Additionally, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree is Jack Ketchum, and the WHC Grandmaster Award goes to William F. Nolan.  Congratulations to all involved.

Taken from the WHC2015 website:

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Craig DiLouie – Suffer the Children
Patrick Freivald – Jade Sky
Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You
Christopher Rice – The Vines
Steve Rasnic Tem – Blood Kin

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Maria Alexander – Mr. Wicker
J.D. Barker – Forsaken
David Cronenberg – Consumed
Michael Knost – Return of the Mothman
Josh Malerman – Bird Box

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Jake Bible – Intentional Haunting
John Dixon – Phoenix Island
Kami Garcia – Unmarked (The Legion Series Book 2)
Tonya Hurley – Passionaries
Peter Adam Salomon – All Those Broken Angels

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Emily Carroll – Through the Woods
Joe Hill – Locke and Key, Vol. 6
Joe R. Lansdale and Daniele Serra – I Tell You It’s Love
Jonathan Maberry – Bad Blood
Paul Tobin – The Witcher

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Taylor Grant – “The Infected” (Cemetery Dance #71)
Eric J. Guignard – “Dreams of a Little Suicide” (Hell Comes to Hollywood II: Twenty-Two More Tales of Tinseltown Terror)
Joe R. Lansdale – “Fishing for Dinosaurs” (Limbus, Inc., Book II)
Jonathan Maberry – “Three Guys Walk into a Bar” (Limbus, Inc., Book II)
Joe McKinney – “Lost and Found” (Limbus, Inc., Book II)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Hal Bodner – “Hot Tub” (Hell Comes to Hollywood II: Twenty-Two More Tales of Tinseltown Terror)
Sydney Leigh – “Baby’s Breath” (Bugs: Tales That Slither, Creep, and Crawl)
Usman T. Malik – “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” (Qualia Nous)
Rena Mason – “Ruminations” (Qualia Nous)
John Palisano – “Splinterette” (Widowmakers: A Benefit Anthology of Dark Fiction)
Damien Angelica Walters – “The Floating Girls: A Documentary” (Jamais Vu, Issue Three)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Scott M. Gimple – The Walking Dead: “The Grove”
Jennifer Kent – The Babadook
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: “Séance”
Steven Moffat – Doctor Who: “Listen”
James Wong – American Horror Story: Coven: “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Michael Bailey – Qualia Nous
Jason V Brock – A Darke Phantastique
Ellen Datlow – Fearful Symmetries
Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, and Dennis Widmyer – Burnt Tongues
Brett J. Talley – Limbus, Inc., Book II

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Stephen Graham Jones – After the People Lights Have Gone Off
John R. Little – Little by Little
Helen Marshall – Gifts for the One Who Comes After
Lucy A. Snyder – Soft Apocalypses
John F.D. Taff – The End in All Beginnings

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Jason V Brock – Disorders of Magnitude
S.T. Joshi – Lovecraft and a World in Transition
Leslie S. Klinger – The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft
Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley – Horror 101: The Way Forward
Lucy A. Snyder – Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Robert Payne Cabeen – Fearworms: Selected Poems
Corrine De Winter and Alessandro Manzetti – Venus Intervention
Tom Piccirilli – Forgiving Judas
Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo – Sweet Poison
Stephanie Wytovich – Mourning Jewelry

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Here are a couple of new articles about writers breaking in to movies and television:

The first comes from Matthew Weiner.

The other is an interview with David S. Goyer.

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Bleak House vs. Ackermansion

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Animated Shorts

Here are a couple short animated pieces I came across recently that impressed me.

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Things have been quiet here on the site for good reason.  I’ve been busy over the past month, having made a cross-country move to trade one coast for another.  Until I get properly settled in, expect minimum updates (I’ll still be tweeting, however).  For now, here are a few goodies I came across recently:

Hard truths about MFA writing programs, from a former teacher of one.

I agree that television needs a spec script market.

And ongoing developments in a lawsuit involving one of the top sci-fi movies from the past few years.

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My thanks to Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, which gave my novel Leviathan a shout out in its article “7 Books in Which Giant Monsters Reign Supreme.”  Looks like I’m in good company.

I also came across this cool YouTube video explaining ‘The Psychology of Scary Movies.’

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Here’s a new article from W Magazine about Jason Blum and his eponymous production company.  Blumhouse has put out some of the highest-grossing horror movies in the past few years, and has only recently spread out into non-genre material.

In other (sadder) news, someone has purchased Ray Bradbury’s iconic yellow house and razed it for future construction.  Click here to see the process documented.

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