Happy Halloween

Gothic

It’s that time of year again! I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Sure, Hanukkah has presents and Valentine’s Day is romantic, but come on. Halloween is all about ghouls, ghosts, and goblins! It’s the one day of the year when everyone loves horror as much as I do all year ’round!

I’m a little bummed, though. I was too busy this October finishing up some writing projects and promoting Dying Is My Business to partake in any of my usual Halloween traditions. There was no visit to Blood Manor with my good friend David Wellington this year (the first year we’ve missed since we started going in 2006), no Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of Ghouls at St. John the Divine. I didn’t even have the time for my annual viewing of Ken Russell’s Gothic. (Oh my God, that Thomas Dolby soundtrack!)

Regardless, the big day is finally upon us! This evening, Alexa and I will be handing out candy to neighborhood kids with our friends Mark and Dalila in Kensington. I didn’t have time to put together a costume, and I don’t feel like wearing the werewolf costume I wore last time I did this, so I’ll just be wearing my devil horns. But who cares what I wear? Halloween is about getting to see everyone else’s costumes! And jack o’lanterns on doorsteps! And homes decorated as haunted houses!

It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year!

Ghost Stories and Wine

Last night’s ghost story reading at the Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg went very, very well! First of all, let me just say that the Brooklyn Winery itself is a beautiful venue. The reading had its own room off of the main bar/restaurant area, which helped a lot in terms of noise and audience attention span. But the room was also really nice, came with its own waitress, and featured an enormous window into what I call the “wine cave,” where huge casks of wine are stored and aged. The room was packed to capacity, which is always nice (and rare!) to see for a reading. Best of all, I didn’t know a single person in the audience! (Well, other than my wife, but you know what I mean.)

Leanna Renee Hieber and I each got to read two pieces. The theme was ghost stories for Halloween, and host Gordon Linzner made it clear to us we could read something of our own, or classic ghost stories, or both. Leanna read a short story of hers, as well as a novel excerpt, both of which were wonderfully gothic period pieces, but also had a lot humor to them. Her fiction strikes me as really fun, and I’m eager to discover more. I read Ray Bradbury’s “The Emissary,” a story that, to me, epitomizes autumn and Halloween in particular, and an excerpt from a novel in progress called In The Shadow of the Axe, which despite its lurid title is actually a gothic period piece deeply inspired by Hammer films and the Roger Corman Poe cycle. I know it’s not ideal to read from a work in progress because then the audience can’t go out and find it afterward, but I thought it fit the Halloween mood better than something from Dying Is My Business would have. Gordon rounded out the night with a reading of Robert W. Service’s “The Ballad of Pious Pete.”

Speaking of Dying Is My Business, I sold a couple of copies of the book there, too. (And gave one to Gordon gratis as a thank you for inviting me.) That made it a better crowd than at most readings, too! I was also thanked by a devout Ray Bradbury fan for choosing to read one of his stories.

It was a great night. I’d read at the Brooklyn Winery again in a heartbeat — even if it does take me three different trains to get there from my apartment! Many thanks to Gordon and Leanna for making it such a fun event!

Ghost Stories Tonight at the Brooklyn Winery!

Tonight! Me and Leanna Renee Hieber! 7 p.m.! The Brooklyn Winery! Ghost stories! More exclamation points!

Click here for more info, including directions.

Hope to see you there!

Two Tens

I’ve got two more big appearances around the Web today! And they both coincidentally involve the number 10.

First, I answer ten questions for Blackbirds author Chuck Wendig over at his blog, Terrible Minds. Here’s a snippet:

I learned some hefty lessons about plotting. I love great characters and I love emotional arcs, but I’ve always been a plot-heavy writer. So I thought writing a chase novel would be a breeze. Cue the loud buzzer and the giant red X from Family Feud.

Then, I’ve also got a Top 10 list — “Top 10 Immortal Heroes” — up at one of my favorite book blogs, All Things Urban Fantasy. There’s a free giveaway there, too, if you’d like to win a copy of Dying Is My Business. Just saying. Here’s a sneak peek about one of the better known immortal heroes on my list:

The question of whether Superman is immortal has been debated by comic book fans for decades. The theory is that Superman will never age or die as long as he has access to our yellow sun. The opposing viewpoint says Superman isn’t immortal per se, he’s just aging very, very slowly thanks to his superpowers, much like Wolverine. Possibly disproving both theories is the fact that Clark Kent grew up. If Superman can’t age, or ages very slowly, why isn’t he still the baby Ma and Pa Kent found in a corn field? The debate rages on. But all you really need to know is this: When Doomsday killed Superman, he didn’t stay dead very long. Whatever the reason for it, Superman appears to be immortal, borne out by the fact that in the comics he’s still alive in the 853rd century!

Did I mention there’s a free giveaway over there, too? Go check it out!

 

 

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