Category Archives: miscellaneous


Though I conduct my fictional affairs with a good bit of handwavium and a helping of deus ex machina, because that’s the nature of the beast, still, I’ve railed against such use in the past. And I was probably right, then.


Heh. Yeah, right, you say, and rightly so.

But boundaries, fuck ’em. I was wrong, plus it’s addictive…to be unleashed, to not worry about what hard-sf fans are gonna say, or what plot twist came straight out of tvtropes. To just tell the story as it occurs to you. Er, me. Because pov.

That’s a fun plaything, too. Perspective.

Just tell the damn story. I was good at that when I was young. I would just write until I was done. Wrote a 67,000 word novel in one day, on notebook paper, in pencil(s), longhand. It was awful. Only three people have even read part of it. They’re all on Facebook. *ducks* Continue reading


More power to me.

sgo-w640I’ve been fighting the system, the powers-that-be that govern the issuance of devices like the one to the left, for four years.

Yesterday, I was victorious, and the device was delivered to my home. It comes with one rechargeable battery, an adapter to charge via home electric current, and an adapter to charge via dashboard cigarette lighter.

In order to accomplish all of the tasks that make such a device necessary, I need at least one, and preferably two, additional battery(ies). The insurance company won’t spring for them. It would cost $258.00 apiece to rent them from the agency, or $450.00 to buy them from Amazon.
The latter seems preferable.batteries

So I’ve enacted a GoFundMe campaign to finance the acquisition of two batteries, so that I may go back to school, attend/vend through weird fiction conventions, hold book-signings, and travel more freely in general.

There are several levels of rewards, including such things as free ebooks, custom dedications, and even an opportunity to be written into a novel or short story. Words don’t suffice to express my gratitude to anyone who would contribute to the cause, but words are what I have.

The ultimate goal is to attend the Necronomicon, in 2017, and to take a vendor’s table at the convention, stocked (at least) with the six books that are already planned. This is but a step, albeit a giant one, on the way to that goal.

Thanks for reading, and many thanks for contributing.

“High” School and absent friends

Took me a little walk down memory lane this morning. Cat woke me up real early, again, and I decided to stay up rather than stare at the ceiling.

It came to me that I don’t really want to adult today of all days. Gonna have to a little, as I have things to write, but that gave me several hours to screw around in. I hatched a plan.

Went across the street and got a 2-liter diet 7-Up and a pack of rolling papers. Came back, poured the 7-Up into a pitcher, turned the bottle into a bong in the time-honored fashion (of course I have an old bongshaft in my toolbox — who doesn’t?). Ground up a goodly amount of herb, rolled two joints, and then rolled two more.

I dug out my old ear buds, charged up an old TracFone, outfitted it with a playlist. Found a short-sleeved shirt that fit me (was my style in those days to wear a short-sleeve over a band shirt), collected my quarters, stuck my oxygen tank in my backpack. Headed out. To high school…

THSHCKWVRD1976First stop was Church’s chicken. I sat on a curbstone and smoked the first joint, remembering when I used to do that in the parking lot of KFC, at 75th and Clarendon Hills rd, instead of going to first hour study hall. I would read instead. I had my kindle with me, and I read from something period — John Brunner’s extravagantly excellent The Shockwave Rider, which I had gotten from the library the first day in school, when I noticed it in the window.
My friend Dave Trojnair thought that was just weird. He thought it even weirder when I explained it. That never discouraged me. I had a different book every day. I read them while everybody else was finishing their work.

I was only at that school for a few months. Circumstances dictated that we had to move, and so we did. New friends time. I moved too. I got on the bus and rode to Campbell and Glenn, to the “Old Chicago” restaurant there. Old Chicago was the name of an indoor amusement park/mall that used to sit at I-55 and Rt. 53, in the Romeoville/Bolingbrook borderlands. It was there that I used to stop before 1st period, to brighten up my day.

I sat in the parking lot and smoked my second joint, remembering the day I saw an old friend from South Hinsdale named Jim Jackson, at the record store in the mall (I was buying “Love is the Drug/Both Ends Burning”, by Roxy Music). We laughed, remembering when I borrowed his 8-track of “In the Wake of Poseidon”, leaving my “Dark Side of the Moon” as damage insurance, and got all the way back to his house on my rickety old bike, with the tape in my hand, running into a stone in the driveway and flinging it high in the air. Jim got to keep “Dark Side”. Later that week, the B. Dalton at the mall stocked all of the John Holmes Ballantine Lovecrafts, and I bought the set.john-holmes_the-shuttered-room_ny-ballantine-1973

I remembered my friends Bill and “Brother”, whose real name was “Leydelle”, but he didn’t like to go by that. Bill was totally into Bowie. I remembered talking him into buying Genesis Live, which he hated, and gave to me. I remembered eating a huge plate of manicotti and then getting on the Rotor. (interestingly, Old Chicago isn’t listed in the wiki article…but the ride was there for sure.) That didn’t end well. Slops!

I laughed, and watched the opening cooks drain the grease trap. That was smelly, so I took the cue to depart.

The next stop was more problematical. My third school was in the middle of the inner city of Joliet, and looked like a castle. I went in for sports at first there, but soured on that all and went in for pool-playing, auto theft, and coffeeshop ennui instead. It was just as well. I was an outfielder then, and Jesse Barfield was at the school. Mark Grant was a few blocks away, at Joliet Catholic, on my way home along Jefferson st.

Eventually, I came up with a solution, and got back on the bus(es).

There’s a metal-working shop on Ft. Lowell that has a little castle out front, with what looks like a haunted house next door. I sat on the grass between them and puffed away on the remains of the second joint and some of the third one. I watched people head for work. By now, the mixtape was about midway.

I walked home from there to the strains of UFO, forgoing the second stop at Church’s, having covered half of my high school years. The second half, the employed half, was about to begin.

The two-liter bong needed water. I filled that up while getting the music ready for the next stage and having a few hits. In my files, I have an abortive attempt at doing ELP’s “Knife Edge”. The keyboard part is complete…which is what I needed. I got my guitar, tuned it, plugged it in, got the thing going, closed my eyes.

I was back jamming with my friend Al Dvorak, gods rest his soul. I remembered the eagle painted directly on the wall, and the weird stuff I painted that night while seated on the left hand of my good friend Mr. Natural. “Just a step cried the sad man
Take a look down at the madman
Theatre kings on silver wings
Fly beyond reason
From the flight of the seagull
Come the spread claws of the eagle
Only fear breaks the silence
As we all kneel pray for guidance…”

We shouted in unison. Ba ba ba babbaba ba babbaba ba, said the instruments.

Just to make things perfect, I scraped some resins out of my bowl, and smoked that, and made an egg concoction for breakfast. Scott wasn’t there this time — he usually was. I had bong hits for all three of us with my coffee, and got to work in lieu of school.

School’s out forever.engine_summerEngine summer’s here, 1979.

I spent the summer in school, too, getting my grades up for a bid at a better school. I took graphic arts, making tshirts and posters out of scrawlings and ruining a jean jacket with a bad silkscreen job. That was the summer that I developed my writing method, which stands to this day, the hippie speedball method, and finished my second novel.

Was not very innocent, but life was cleaner then. Purer. There were times when emotions were unmixed, when things didn’t overcomplicate themselves…hoo boy, it’s getting DEEP in here.

Gimme a break, me. I’ve just aged four years in an hour. I’m for a nap.


Son of the Big Dumb Object

EgoOne of my very favorite things in the world of fiction is that cosmic force, the presence that is imposing just because of its size, the very Big Dumb Object itself. An example, seen below, adds consciousness to the mix. The presentation is excellent. I love the image. But not enough was done with it, plotwise, back in the day.
One of the things that makes me create is the desire to see a better version of things, at least in my eyes. My first writing was done in response to a comic-book villain I thought terrible (the Stilt-Man, as in DD#48). So I come by it naturally. My art is, at least initially, imitative.dd48 It always has been. I like a certain amount of structure, a framework to stand on, before taking the great leap into the unknowable seas of imagination. My first drafts, first versions of things, almost always have a large portion of synthesis, of combining previously-known ingredients into a new stew, stirring it up, and then improvising over the changes. Continue reading

Monday musings 3/21


Photo by Ian Sidlow

Monday. Edit/rewrite sorta day. The NIGHTMARE GROVE collection opens with the story “Ink,” which was cribbed from the CRAZYTOWN collection since it was originally set in Oak Grove and only recently moved to Tuxtown.

So I have to fix the references (for the most part-there are connections between the two collections) and there are a couple of scenes that could work more smoothly.
“Ink” is based on one of my more successful stories, “Parchment” in its original incarnation. It was published in three languages, and in seven separate magazines/ezines, and also kindled a fabulous audio reading by the redoubtable Morgan Scorpion (Parchment).
“Ink” makes the process of transposition clearer and ramps up the body-horror and psych-horror.
There is a sequel, which will be part of CRAZYTOWN, perhaps with some input from the inestimable Frederick J. Mayer. That’s getting processed after “Ink” and “stars” Nate Jenkins, who had previously appeared in the BROWN JENKINS series of stories and in “Pnakotic Reaction”.


Art by Candra Hope

I’m reworking the text for the CRAZYTOWN cover. It looks like there may be a few things to add. Maybe a blurb or two, and the ToC has been monkeyed with. This is a copy of the original art, which is just beautiful, with the rot beneath the surface admirably depicted. Also in the current pipeline are the novella Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth, which is as gonzo as gonzo gets, a weird/bizarro treatment of the themes of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth and the preoccupations and subtext of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I do plan to run that one by Nick Mamatas and Brian Keene before it hits the stacks. They should be amused, as the authors of The Damned Highway, which has some of those ideas embedded within its pages.


Art by Will Jacques

Unfortunately, the graphic novel version of this story never got off the ground. But this version should knock everyone’s socks off.

Also in the 2016 pipeline is BETROTHED TO YOG-SOTHOTH, a Barbara Cartland meets Tom Tryon sorta version of the Dunwich Horror, with a lot of Lavinia’s biography filled in. The novel was inspired by a piece of art from someone at deviantart that doesn’t answer their email, and so that picture won’t be on the front cover. Instead, I have this evocative art:


Art by JB Lee

Those are the four books I have planned for this year. They’re all in the finalizing stages — the i’s have been crossed and the tees dotted. Walpurgisnacht and the 4th of July, All-Hallow’s Eve, and Xmas are the projected release dates.

They’ll all be under my Planet Moderan imprint, and will be available in both ebook and treebook incarnations. I’m going to revive BEFORE CRAZYTOWN instead of sticking its stories into NIGHTMARE GROVE. That’s getting done this week too.

Tinfoil Baseball Cap

As usual, we’ll cover a lot of subjects with a too-small, too-thin blanket. But cover them we will.
Firstly…Saturday night, for a little while, my one-man internet band moderan was the #1 band in Tucson/Rock, according to data from music-posting site Reverbnation. I’m sitting at #2 right now.

It was pretty easy to get there, and the maneuver was mostly pre-planned. I embarked on a series of cover tunes, some of which I’ve actually registered. Eventually I’ll register them all, but they’re about 20 bucks each, and I plan to do a LOT of them. Cuz they’re fun. I have a system for producing them quickly, based on midi drums and the forty or so years I’ve spent playing those songs, off and on. The music ranges from pop tunes like Killing Me Softly through progrock epics such as Dance On a Volcano.

I sing, play all of the guitars and basses (with a couple of notable exceptions for collaborators), most of the keyboards, some of the strings, and arrange and produce the tracks. The drums are fashioned from midi tracks, which means faithful timing. I seldom monkey with the structures, though I add or change instrumentation.

You can listen here: Continue reading

eebs and arcs

In book news, I entered into what may be the last phase of edits for the collection NIGHTMARE GROVE. This book compiles material from my ebook Before Crazytown and several newer stories, three of which were written especially  for the collection. Here’s a look at the table of contents (the asterisked are new):



The Forgotten God*
Ghoul Picnic
The Whispering Trees
Pawprints *
Pnakotic Reaction
Frieze in Blue and White*
Waiting for the Sun (both the story and as a title for a flash fiction section)


E-versions (“Eebs”) and ARCs will be made available for review purposes, upon request, from moderanathotmaildotcom, shortly after the first of the month. Continue reading