Posts Tagged ‘Night of the Living Dead’

Courting Horror with Florida Gothic

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Stephen King loves Florida Gothic!



OH, THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Horror isn’t exactly new to me. No, I’m not talking about my personal life; I’m talking about my writing life! I’ve crossed over into horror on several projects, though technically speaking, it’s probably safe to say that my new book release Florida Gothic is my first full-on, guts-on-the-table, cringing-in-the-corner horror novel. As the debut release in The “Gothic” Series, I’ve combined plenty of grit and gore for this one. I think the book demonstrates that I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to swimming in the alligator-infested swamps of the horror genre.

Ernesto’s mad as hell – and he’s not gonna take it anymore!

Hang on, did someone say alligator? There just so happens to be one in the book! And it’s because of him (or her?) that events move in a particular direction, shaping the fate of our unlucky protagonist, Ernesto Martinez. We get to see the “hero” of Florida Gothic shambling through life (or make that DEATH) as he seeks payback for all the wrongs that have been committed against him. Like this book’s author, Ernesto’s no shrinking violet either.

Though I’d like to think I’m better looking.

Set against the “glamorous” backdrop of South Florida (think heat, sun, sweat, beaches, drugs, voodoo, Cuban food, and Ernesto’s ever-present cucarachas), Florida Gothic offers what you won’t typically find in those tourist guidebooks.

So am I using my blog to promote my new book? You bet! If you enjoy horror, I’m convinced you’ll enjoy Florida Gothic. Even if you aren’t a horror aficionado, you’ll have a gruesomely good time reading it. So what are you waiting for?

To find out more about Florida Gothic (and access those handy little “buy” links designed to make your life so much easier), please visit:

Oh, and here’s the official book trailer!

The Writer’s Life (A Case for the Humble Bin Man)

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

There’s a lot to be said for being a bin man. Now I’m not trying to use sexist terminology here, but I’ve yet to see a lady bin man. Anyway, “bin man” has a better ring to it. So, for aesthetic purposes, let’s continue with the masculine title.

I’m often approached by people who tell me that they want to become a writer and ask me for advice on what to do. (I generally tell them to go buy a gun and shoot themselves.) They get this child-like glazed-over look in their eyes, no doubt envisioning all those wining and dining New York City lunches with high profile agents and book editors at Tavern on the Green. Oh yeah, Tavern on the Green went bust, didn’t they? Ah well, considering the fickle and transient nature of the publishing business, you’ll be lucky if your agent or editor springs for a Big Mac and fries!

Which leads me to the point of this blog missive: if you had to choose between a career as a writer and a career as a bin man, which would it be?

I can hear your answer already, you poor deluded naive soul. Though who am I to burst your bubble? But may I, for a moment, plead the case for the humble and unappreciated bin man?

There are many advantages to being a bin man. First of all, there’s the obvious: a steady paycheque. Depending on which country you live in, there are some good benefits too, such as health insurance for you and your family and a nice pension plan. Of course, if you’re living in America, the government will probably take these things away from you in order to bail out fat-cat bankers. But I digress…

Another advantage to being a bin man is that no one’s likely to rip off your ideas because they lack the talent, creativity and ability to come up with their own. (Forget that “intellectual property” bullshit; it won’t hold up in court.) Having said that, if you in your capacity as bin man suddenly develop some innovative new method to carry or empty bins, it could happen – and all the other bin men will be jumping on the bandwagon (or rubbish truck) doing the exact same thing. But let’s leave that for now, since bin men don’t need to live off their royalties!

Oh, yeah. And that’s another good reason to choose the litter-strewn path of a bin man – no royalty payments. Bin men are paid a set amount per week or month, and there’s no fluctuation in that number unless a pay rise (or cut) has been implemented. As for writers, when (or IF) your royalty payments turn up, they might look a tad peculiar, as in never actually accruing any earnings above the advance which was paid out (usually barely enough to pay the gas bill). I’ve had discussions with other writers on this very subject and they all say the same thing: they rarely see a penny in earnings after they’ve deposited their very tiny advance cheque (and some writers don’t even get an advance!). Yet go on Amazon or phone your local Barnes & Noble, and they’re always out of stock and having to reorder your books. It kinda makes you wonder if some of these publishers have Mr Bean doing their accounting.

Obviously, the issue of royalties means that you’ve actually been published – and to be published, your work needs to be seen by the right people (and by right people, I mean a real editor or agent, not some ditsy college intern who thinks she’s Carrie Bradshaw). Bin men don’t need to worry about their work being seen by the right people. They empty the rubbish and that’s it, they’re done. Writers waste time and energy and money submitting their material to agents and publishers, only to have it not even properly considered (let alone read) or completely ignored. (And yes, Dorothy, that includes solicited submissions.) Bin men also don’t have to swallow down that great big gorge of vomit every time they see some hack who can’t write his or her way out of a paper bag being rewarded with book deal after book deal as effortlessly as a rat drops turds.

Am I suggesting that the majority of writers are treated like shit by those who seek to profit from our labours? I’ll let you decide. But let’s face it, there are far too many of us around, and our sheer numbers alone do little to inspire respect from those who have control over our livelihoods. We’re like the cast of a spaghetti western – you can shoot down as many of us as you want, yet still more keep popping up. Come to think of it, maybe we’re like those zombies from Night of the Living Dead.

To aspiring writers, I recommend the Martin Amis novel The Information. Flawed or not, it deals with the grim realities of the publishing business and “life” as an author. More importantly, however, it deals with the celebration of mediocrity which, I’m sorry to say, permeates every aspect of our culture, not just the literary spectrum. Also read my blog posts Aren’t We Just Precious: Writers Who Live in Ivory Towers about author ego and book promotion, and Fairy Tales Can Come True (Well, Maybe if They’re in a Book), which touches on the odds of even getting published at all.

So why do we writers do it? Because we’re sick and twisted, that’s why. And maybe because we don’t want to (or can’t) live like the rest of society. Perhaps it’s our inability to conform that keeps us banging our heads against brick wall after brick wall. Indeed, we’re true renegades.

…Or true masochists.

Noddy Holder Has a Lot to Answer For

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Well, yet another Christmas has passed and if you’re anything like me, it tends to bounce right off, leaving not so much as a dent. However, even us expat Scrooges can’t avoid some of that “Christmas cheer”. I’m speaking, of course, of the one kind of Christmas cheer that can turn even the most mild-mannered librarian into a berserk axe-wielding psychopath ready to slay anyone who so much as looks in their direction.

No, I’m not talking about that great British tradition Sir Cliff Richard and his oh-so-happy bowel-loosening Christmas tunes. I’m referring to yet another great British tradition: the vomit-inducing endless playing and replaying of the 1970’s Slade hit single “Merry Xmas Everybody“, featuring the vocals of one Noddy Holder, whose voice could strip paint from metal, not to mention turn human eardrums into tinsel. Oh yeah, it doesn’t get any worse than this. No matter where you go or what you do, you can’t avoid it. In the words of my hair stylist, “It’ll get you sooner or later.”

Ominous, eh?

Indeed. And no one seems to be immune to this menace either. You can tell that things have really deteriorated to Night of the Living Dead sheer terror stage when you observe Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs all tapping their toes to this musical malady that is being blasted from the sound system in every shop, petrol station, hair salon, kebab house, and newsagents throughout the United Kingdom from November till New Years. Where’s George A. Romero when you need him? Come to think of it, where’s Dirty Harry? (Do you feel lucky, punk?)

The strange thing is, everyone seems to hate this bloody song, so why does it keep getting so much airplay? I guess it’s like traditional Christmas pudding – everyone hates that too, but just try finding one family Christmas dinner in Britain where it isn’t being served. It’s analogous to fruitcake in America, which works brilliantly as a door-stopper or laxative, but bears little resemblance to a proper dessert. I doubt even death-row inmates are forced to endure such punishments.

As for Noddy Holder, he has a lot to answer for. Though I suppose if I were back in the USA, I’d be driven to wall-biting insanity by Bing Crosby‘s “White Christmas“, which offers up its own special brand of nausea, albeit with a more American flavour. Oh man, some people just won’t die, no matter how much you might want them to. I suspect it will be the same with Noddy Holder.

Which leads me to the whole point of this blog post. There’s only one cure for this malady which strikes Great Britain every year at Christmastime and sends millions of its inhabitants gagging and heaving to the nearest gutter or toilet – and that’s to rid this island nation of the great menace itself. And yes, folks, it can be done!

We have to take matters into our own hands. After all, do you see Amnesty International coming to our rescue? Hell no. We’re on our own. So that means we need to take drastic action against this musical pestilence lest it rears its ugly head again next Christmas (and you just know it will!). So what I’m proposing is this: the Death to Noddy Holder Fan Club.

I urge you to take up arms now and enlist. Who knows? If we band together in battle, we might be lucky enough to spend Christmas 2010 with one less agony to endure. So let’s see some of that fighting spirit that made Britain great. It worked during World War II – it can work again!

The full unadulterated evil of this menace can be found here. Watch and listen if you dare!