I came from the town of Wenham, Massachusetts, on the North Shore. It was a town with a population of about 3,000, though it was actually bordered by 17 different towns. Wenham was 9 square miles of swamp with a fudge shop, a library, an ice cream stand and an antique store, in short, there was nothing there. Wenham was once called Enon because there was much water and it made most of its money off of the ice trade. It was the advent of the refrigerator that turned Wenham into an impractical yuppie suburb, a safe place for sure, but one not untouched by a legacy of snobbery and Puritanism. It is perhaps growing up among stereotypical white clapboard churches built atop swamp and knowing that those around me were in their secret hearts the witch judges they came from that planted the seeds for me becoming an editor…
The destruction of the old city must be prevented. John feeds the machine nightly. The devil in the fridge watches. Nobody wants to be a man-in-a-can anymore. Take in a show at Jeremy’s. Get your head checked at Fred’s. Ride the rails until the tracks are set ablaze by firefighters who fight fires with fire. Tuesday’s coming. Did you remember to bring your coat?
From Brian Auspice comes a down-the-rabbit-hole adventure into the depths of the human condition.
You are walking down an unfamiliar street. People push past you, a dense mob of angry faces, stiff arms, and muttering voices. It feels dangerous but it offers no thrill. Every ounce of you wants to just run back home. Run back to what you know. To where it is safe.
But you can’t.
Because of that picture.
You happened upon it one day. A peculiar painting. It intrigued you. Then you read the words, just a few simple sentences, but their meaning eluded you.
It was a definitely coded message. This much you were certain. You knew that until you could decipher it, there would be no rest.
That picture and those cryptic words led you here. You stand at the end of an alley, a narrow mildew-coated murder channel. Your gut twists. Hope dies in halls such as these. Amongst the debris and detritus, you spot a faceless man, his back pressed the back wall. He beckons. Bravely, perhaps stupidly, you ignore the scent of wither and woe and push forward. For you must know the answer.
Curiously, he pulls a chair out from the shadows and gestures for you to sit. You obey. He hands you a straw and a mirror. A line of fine powder sits upon it, expectant and eager.
You wave your hand. Not for you. Emphatically, he points back down to it and your eyes follow. You watch the granules. They begin a dance, pushing to and fro, zigzagging across the length of the mirror. They take a shape – is it a caterpillar? A slug? A simple worm? Whatever it is, it is looking at you.
Then the scream. A most terrible scream!
The scream is yours for you have chosen suck in this devil dune of exotic dust.
Your head snaps back. Your chest tightens. A terrible ringing fills your ears. Sweat explodes from every pore. You feel as if you are going to die.
You are most definitely going to die.
Your hands clench your thighs. Your nails dig deep, their purchase met with a slow, warm trickle of blood. Your stomach cramps and you curl forward, as a maddening parade of tiny men sealed in cans sing to you. Mono-color flashes blind you, viciously betraying you with every hue of color. Faces fold and slide through newly formed fissures in the brick.
You can hear your bones crack. A symphony of fractures. Glorious! Then, a choir of laughter. The rise and fall of a cackle. The huff of a guffaw. And lastly, a snicker.
Are you laughing? Are these voices your own?
The abyss calls and you answer. A change of scene occurs…
You wake in your bed.
In your room.
In the house that you know.
All is well.
You cracked the code.
You solved the riddle.
You now know a secret.
You have just read Deep Blue.
I give this book a rating of: Five Twisted Little People in Funny Hats.
Mad science, giant monsters, and a whole lot of severed limbs…
Things were bad when Darren lost his arm to a drunken farmer driving a stolen bulldozer the wrong way down a one-way city street. All he had left was the strange tingling sensation where his arm had been and a life that was no longer there. Now, even that is about to be stolen from him.
The foulest mad scientist the world has ever seen has plans for Darren’s phantom limb, and the limbs of all the other amputees he can attack. He is gathering them to build the greatest Frankenstein ghost ever made from phantom body parts – a SuperGhost designed to destroy the world! And it will take Darren and a ragtag band of amputation survivors to bring down the creature and save mankind from total destruction!
If there’s one thing my dad taught me, it’s that you can NEVER trust a mad scientist. You can trust an eccentric botanist, a quirky chemist, and maybe a funky geologist — but never, never, never, trust a mad scientist of any discipline.
Author Scott Cole proves my father’s lesson timeless in his fun novella SuperGhost. Scott is one of Eraserhead Press’s New Bizarro Series Authors (NBAS) for 2014 and he delivers a promising debut to the scene. This cozy story presents a classic monster movie dilemma, engaging characters, and hits some nice bizarro notes that will prove satisfying to fans of the genre as well as providing a great entry point for those that are new to the bizarro world.
As I read SuperGhost, I couldn’t help but be happily reminded of Ghostbusters (which has been mentioned in other reviews), Men in Black, and the criminally underrated David Duchovny movie, Evolution. There’s a bit of schlock but a lot of heart here. A great Saturday afternoon read.
Somebody call Jon Lithgow — because if there is one man to play the evil Dr. Rains, he’s the guy.
2014 is now a wrap. It is but a memory. It is the past, and whether it treated you well or terribly, it is done and done. You can’t go there and you don’t live there anymore.
Here we are on this New Year’s Day, 2015. We live in the future – at least to Marty McFly. One quick look at my news feed makes me feel like I am living in the first 10 minutes of a post-apocalyptic movie. You know, the montage where they show you how the world ended? Yeah, that part.
I don’t know if we have turned a corner with social networking, where it’s no longer a party but instead it’s an angry mob. All year long I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that we were about to reach a critical mass, conscious or unconscious, but most of the outrage I witnessed on my computer screen was compartmentalized and appears to have had little effect outside of its immediate participants.
It’s trite, but I firmly believe in the adage, “Solution not Pollution.” To complain is only to add static to an already noisy world and although one might trigger an epiphany or two, I personally don’t feel that it will result in any positive effect or create change. And while I am being honest, all this pollution has left me exhausted.
A few years ago, as I prepared to take a permanent teaching position at another school, my assistant principal told me (the job was a temp gig and the advice was solicited) this:
“Never go into a principal’s office with a complaint. Come in with a solution and ask permission to execute the action.”
I have used this advice time and time again and as a result I have created positive change in my life and in the lives of many close to me.
This is the “solution” part. We can do this on a larger scale. It’s no longer good enough to want justice. It’s no longer good enough to want change. It’s no longer good enough to just talk about it. Do something about it. Take action. If one can’t see how to take action or is not moved to do so, then I would say that that person doesn’t really care. They are just static.
Take that anger, that passion and make it real. If one fails, at least there is the truth of action.
Or, to use another trite saying, “Keep your side of the street clean.”
Now then, 2014 was a great year for me. I experienced the greatest success I have had in the realm of creative writing to date. I have a new publisher, a new book, and 2 out of 3 submission secured for anthologies coming out in 2015. I ran two half-marathons, fostered new friendships, and many of my students saw writing success as well.
This year, I will return to writing my horror novel (it’s that Trainspotting in a Haunted House book) and find a few more pubs to submit to. I have many drafts (mostly short stories) in the hopper to play with and it’s time to find them a home.
I will also be promoting my new book quite a bit. So far people seem to love it and should the book do well, I will be in a much better position to sell future books to my current publisher. If you haven’t picked a copy up yet, I sincerely hope you do. It was a blast to write and I really want you to read it!
I’m also going to concentrate on nurturing the new relationships in my life – colleagues, friends, and fans (the fans part is a new development but it seems to actually be happening even if it feels odd to say). I will remain authentic in how I present myself, because 1) It’s much easier 2) There’s so much bullshit in the world that I refuse to add to it.
Lastly, I am running three races: two more half-marathons and then the big daddy – my first marathon. I just haven’t decided which one that will be.
These aren’t resolutions that I list here. These are plans.
Thanks for your support – it was you that helped me get to this place, this fantastic where I am now. I will never be able to express my appreciation in a manner that is fitting, but please know that I have it for you.
Ok, that’s enough for now. There’s a Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy right now, the NHL Winter Classic in a few, and some bowl games to watch.
Or, maybe I’ll just take a long nap. Haven’t decided.
May 2015 treat you very well, my friend! Many thanks!
P.S. – Live it up. According to the movies, we only have four years until LA looks like this: