Monday, July 30, 2012

The 2011 Shadow Awards

I was one of the judges for the 2011 Shadow Awards. You might not know what those are, so I'll tell you. They are the awards presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association. No, I am not Australian. Yes, I am a horror writer. I was asked and I was very, very honored to say yes.
I was also swamped with an amazing array of stories, because along with my co-jedges, I was helping to decide who should come out on top of a very serious competition.

The choices were not always easy. But then, that's half the  fun, isn't it?

Still, that said, I wanted to bring to your attention one particular tale by one particular writer. The lady in question is Amanda Spedding. The story was the winner of the short story competition for the Shadow Awards. The story was called "Shovel Man Joe" and I think it's about perfect.

Sometimes it’s easier to judge a contest than other times. Easier does not, for the record, mean easy. It’s never easy. There are too many considerations: length of story, caliber of writing, those are relatively easy to quantify. They are almost concrete. The grammatical errors are an aside, by the way. Editors are supposed to fix those and if they should fail, it’s either because the story demands deliberate mistakes (a few authors insist that typos and misspellings are deliberate and will, in fact, fight tooth and nail to keep them) or because the editors in question suffer from the horrible frailties of being human. For that reason that sort of error never gets considered by me when it comes to judging a story. No, the thing here is that judging stories and collections by their merit means more than just whether or not the story is well made. My co-judges might disagree, and if they do I will certainly not take it personally. That’s part of the fun of having more than one judge. We disagreed a few times.

Except when we didn’t. And we disagreed more often, oddly enough, on the honourable mentions than we did on the winners in the selections. Let’s take, for example, Amanda J. Spedding’s “Shovel Man Joe.” Honestly? I think we all agreed from the very first. It’s a no-brainer. My God, what a brilliant story! I’ve never met Ms. Spedding. If I did I suspect I’d make an ass of myself. It’s hard not to when you’re in the process of falling all over yourself. I’d be in that sort of hurry to shake her hand. Not only is “Shovel Man Joe” a truly amazing story, not only is it the perfect length, the perfect level of detail and the perfect synchronization of character, pacing and horror, it’s also an ideal example of cross-genrefication (Yes, I know that’s not really a word, but I don’t have a proper single word for “a perfect fusion of multiple genres and an example of why writers should feel obligated to stretch the boundaries of what they can achieve within their chosen fields.” So I had to make up a word. Deal with it. I’m a writer. I do that sort of thing.). Not only is it one of the best horror stories I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the best steampunk tales I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

If you have not taken the time to read Ms. Spedding’s simply incredible tale, you should immediately set out to rectify that problem.

Shovel man Joe

Follow that link if you want to read it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Coulorophobia and other fun games.

So I'm working with a couple of folks on the possibility of a movie staring Rufo the Clown. Today I did up a few notes for one of the guys, possible scenes for teasers trailers.

This should be fun.

The aforementioned clown is pictured above, courtesy of Alan M. Clark, who remains insanely talented.

More news as warranted.

There will be at least one more seriously demented Rufo tale, a little ditty called BACK TO SERENITY. Rufo will be laughing, I make no guarantees about how others will feel about his return to the place where he was murdered.

On an entirely different note, we broke 70,000 words on the novel today. I'd say we were ramping up for the finale, but I don;t know if this beast can be ramped up much higher.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

60,000 words

Charles and I had lunch today and discussed the trends the book is taking. We're both from the school of thought that says it's more fun to write the book without an outline, so we need to meet up and discuss things form time to time to make sure that we're not going too far out into left field. It's okay to head in that direction, of course, but you have to remember the rest of the field.

I genuinely loved the prices of working with Charles on BLIND SHADOWS and this one is the same situation, but what I truly love about this is it's not at all the same book, Yes, same town and same characters, but aside from that there are almost no similarities.

New villains, more actual crimes, a few extra subplots and a coup elk of subject matters that are hot buttons for the both of us. We're working hard to make sure we aren't pulling any punches. Parts of this book are likely going to be uncomfortable but that's okay, they should be.

You'll see when we get there. But either way, this is getting interesting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Yep. In a day or so the links will be up for the Kindle version of Bloodstained Oz. What's really, really cool about that is it's the first time the book will be available for less than fifty or so dollars in many, many years.

Here's a few of the nice things people said about BLOODSTAINED OZ when it came out, courtesy of Christopher Golden's website:

Bloodstained Oz
A novella by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore
Introduction by Ray Garton
Art by Glenn Chadbourne
Something's gone wrong over the rainbow.…
1933. The winds of the Dust Bowl have reduced what had been the nation's breadbasket to a desert full of broken dreams and desperate prayers. The water is gone, the crops are ruined and, for the people of Hawley, Kansas, there's little left to struggle for except the chance for another day in hell.
There's a storm coming, one that will rip the roofs from farms and scatter the wretched crops far and wide. One little girl will find a treasure trove in a ruined field and converse with a nightmare. One man will find salvation in the dirt and damnation close on its heels. One woman will suffer the sins of her husband and seek hope in the actions of her only child.
Dying faith will be tested, because that isn't rain wetting the crops; it's blood. Those aren't trinkets and toys that are lying hidden in the fields; they're nightmares wrapped in false promises. And while the darkest storms bring the brightest rainbows, that isn't a pot of gold waiting at the far end; it's an emerald that gleams and flickers with its own infernal light.
Join bestselling authors Christopher Golden and James A. Moore as they show you there's no hell like home . . .
"One of the creepiest pieces of fiction I've read in a long, long time. Golden and Moore take delight in moving the Oz characters and creatures from our dreams to our nightmares."
-- Ray Garton, from the Introduction
"Parents beware, don't read this bedtime story to your kids unless you intend to scar them for life! Wonderfully warped and twisted."
"A fast, terrifying ride showcasing the best of Christopher Golden and James A. Moore. I highly recommend this."
-- Horror World
"This story will rape your childhood memories of Oz. A great, creepy story that will stick with you. It's straight-up horror... and much better done than most of the stuff out there."
"One thing is for sure, after you read this book the Baum classic will be the last thing you think of when Oz comes to mind. These two writers have taken Oz and put it in the blender and hit the puree button. I, for one, hope they have left something for a second helping because after this you surely can't go home without wanting to return. Golden and Moore have crafted a delightfully chilling work that makes the reader certain that they're not in Oz anymore."
-- Baryon Online
"A book that turns the stuff of dreams into nightmares, taking something we as a society know dearly, and twisting it on its heels to create one of the best pieces of short horror fiction I've read to date. If you've ever seen the movie The Wizard of Oz, or even read the story, then you know about the world of fantasy that mimics the stuff from your most vivid childhood dreams; there was a young girl whisked away to a land of bright and vibrant colors, a lion that lacked courage, a scarecrow missing a brain, a man made of tin longing for a heart, a wicked witch and her evil band of flying monkeys, and a wise wizard at the crux of this whole cornucopia of imagination. Now think for just a moment, what if two incredibly talented and gifted storytellers got together to shove all that wonder and amazement of Oz out of your head and replace it with a fear and dread like none you've felt before. One of the finest crafted stories you're likely to read. Bloodstained Oz is the perfect homage to one of history's most fantastical stories. Just don't let the kids read it. This sucker is for adults."
-- Insidious Reflections
"I was really surprised at just how far Golden and Moore were willing to push what could've very easily been a comedic setup. Instead of going for laughs, they go straight for the throat and hold nothing whatsoever back from the reader. It's fast and brutal, but somehow still manages to give enough insight into the characters at its core to make you care for their well being. Bloodstained Oz is plain and simple a really good horror story. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5 Mugs o' Blood."
-- The Horror Channel
"Deliciously gruesome."
-- Publishers Weekly

Monday, July 16, 2012

Burn, baby, burn!

Just read the latest scene in the collaborative book I'm writing with Charles R. Rutledge, the sequel to BLIND SHADOWS. We just broke 50,000 words. And to celebrate, Charles burned down a building or two. Well, okay, he had the characters do it.

And then things got violent.

And that's just the warm up.

Heh heh heh.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Famous Monsters of Filmland

I grew up on the magazine. I read the articles looked at the pictures and eagerly awaited my chance to see the movies and TV shows they discussed within the pages.

And the online version has book reviews!

And they have a book review of BLIND SHADOWS by yours truly and Charles R. Rutledge.

I'm sort of ecstatic right now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A small update

Well, Charles R. Rutledge is apparently as insane as I am. In just over a week we've now broken 27,000 words into the first draft of the sequel to BLIND SHADOWS. We are also, happily, getting several positive reviews for the first book (can't really get any reviews for the second book as we're A) still writing it and B) not showing it to anyone yet.). It's a lot of fun so far and I'm enjoying the whole process of building a story, creating character, revisiting other characters and preparing for some hardcore violence along the way.
It's interesting to me revisiting Wellman, Georgia in the aftermath of the last novel. A few new faces are required and the dynamics of the town have changed. Evolution is always a fascinating thing to watch, but as a writer I'm always drawn to seeing what changes have occurred because of the events that happened in the interim. I don't often do sequels (Not direct sequels though I often use the same characters) and it's a nice exercise in tapping into the imagination to see what happens after THE END.
Charles and I have discussed several scenes. A few of them, if we manage them properly, are going to be absolutely terrifying.

Here's hoping....