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October 14th, 2004

Today was better than yesterday. That is an easy call to make, though, since yesterday I felt like worms were rolling around in my guts, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drive home, let alone do anything when I got there. Today I remain mildly woozy, but fortunately I can type when I’m woozy. Might not be coherent, but the fingers are in motion. I’m going to spend most of this evening working on the second part of the outline for “The Mote in Andrea’s Eye” – which is coming along nicely. I am probably fooling myself. I have this outline and a synopsis – a plot from start to finish. The odds that I will follow it as written? Let’s just say it has never happened before. Then, of course, I’ve never had such a complete outline. When I’m done with the e-serial and the last word is typed, I’ll go back over the outline and let you all know how close I came. They should lay odds on me in Vegas…just don’t tell me how they are running.

Last night with the liars debating on most channels, we did some channel surfing and ended up on the Sci-Fi channel. The first show up was “Proof Positive,” where they take paranormal or supernatural events and present three or four cases, plus their own investigative findings. Then they tell you which of the cases they believe shows “proof positive”. Last night they had a psychic whose additional talent to talking with dead relatives or friends was that he drew portraits while he “read” people. The portraits supposedly represented someone trying to reach out to different folks in the room. To me, this seems about as hokey as you can get. I mean- a good artist can look at the person in front of them, change some features, keep enough of the aspect of family traits in the sketch, and draw away. The artist did four pictures. Of the four, two turned out to be very similar to someone the people were familiar with, but again – I think they just play the odds of every few portraits painting some age onto the face of their “readee” and changing something, like hair, or gender, in the hope of a close match.

The other contenders were a son / dad team who apparently made up some channeled letters from a dead boy to support their claim that one of their beds was haunted. They were given a polygraph. The boy wrote the letters, and the father used it for personal gain. Go figure.

Then they had “The Lizard Boy” with the 14” feet in the swamps of South Carolina – a crypto-zoologist debunked the plaster cast of the print, stating that it was not only a hoax, but the person perpetrating it didn’t know much about animals or how feet worked (lol).

Overall, it was fun. Then we watched some Roto-rooter men who hunt ghosts in their spare time – and that was sort of like Ghost-Busters meets American Chopper. They found nothing amazing or even semi-amazing…but apparently a chair fell over during their studies, and they all found this to be fascinating.

Last but not least – SCARE FACTOR – now that show was cool. Friends set up scenarios to catch other friends, and every single one of these morons FELL for it, even the one who came in as an assistant to a noted physicist who claimed to be creating a transporter and pretended to try and send the subject through space – while killing his friend. Very funny and well worth a look if find yourself bored on a Wednesday night.

Maybe it’s just that I was so out of it and sick, but I found all of that pretty entertaining, though I could have lived without the American Ghost Choppers.

Pre-ordered John Merz’s novel “The Fixer” last night. First off, I want to see how REVELATION PRESS’ first title comes out. Second, I want to read the novel because Lawson seems like an intriguing character. Third? I want to win the sword! There is a contest for those who pre-order the novel. The winner gets a practice sword – a very well crafted, professional practice sword, and a lesson from John Merz himself, who has been studying and teaching martial arts for years. My own studies ended in the mid 1980s in the US Navy. I was a green belt in Tae Kwan Do at the time.

A quick rundown will suffice. We pulled into the Phillipines. There was a tournament to be held while we were there – some locals and a lot of sailors. Our “sensei” a black belt who was also an officer on our ship, signed us up. I faced off in my first competitive match with a little Phillipino about the size of my stepdaughter, Stephanie. Supposedly, we were on about an even keel in our training. I never even saw what hit me. In fact, we were all shown very quickly that there are major differences in what a black belt means in one place, and in another. The instructor did okay – but he certainly didn’t win. The rest of us needed the beer we then drank VERY badly to numb the pain.

I finished Darren Speegle’s “Dirge For The Temporal,” and Mark McLaughlin’s very silly “Men are from Hell, Women Are From the Galaxy of Death.” I’m nearly done with Steve Vernon’s collection “Nightmare Dreams.” I have to review all of these, but let me say – I wish Steve had gone ANYWHERE but cyberpulp or lulu.com. My god. To put their production values in perspective one needs look no further than the bar code. It’s printed on dot matrix printer, and they wrote in the US at the end of it by hand – VERY sloppily. The margins are bad, the print is weak…the stories are good.

Steve has been writing for a very long time, and I had to smile as I was reading through the stories. He was in Year’s Best Horror XIX with me – and a lot of other markets I remember fondly from the earlier, formative years of my career. Steve – if you’re out there? RUN FAR, RUN FAST from Lulu.com. You’re better than that.

Anyway…the rest of the evening calls. Until next time…


The Temptation Of Blood

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