Trailcam snapped some foxy pics. Here’s some:
The last one amuses me. I didn’t think it was going to take our picture when I was changing the memory card… but it DID!
Enough tomfoolery. It’s time to go write up some Chuggie.
Trailcam snapped some foxy pics. Here’s some:
The last one amuses me. I didn’t think it was going to take our picture when I was changing the memory card… but it DID!
Enough tomfoolery. It’s time to go write up some Chuggie.
We got the cover:
And now we even got us an Official Release Date! Get your copy of Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways on
Mark your calendars, chums! There are some excellent reasons why you’ll want to get yourself a copy. I’ll be sharing more of those reasons the closer we get to Release Day. Until then, I recommend you re-read book #1, Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater. If you haven’t read that one yet, you can snag up a copy right here.
I’m going to be giving away some prizes soon, so pay attention to this here blog, the Facebook page, and/or my Twitter feed. I’ve got some cool stuff planned, and you don’t wanna miss out.
Today was a good day. First, I got interviewed by Johnny Worthen in his Blog Mansion. Then Omnium Gatherum Chief Editor Kate Jonez sent me this:
That’s all for now. I have work to do…
Winter hung on a little long this year. Here’s a photo I took from the end of April:
Wondering what it looked like yesterday? This was the scene at my local golf course, Inshalla Country Club:
But I guess that’s enough small talk about the weather.
Editing is hard work, folks. You gotta make your brain go, and sometimes it no want go. I’m working closely with my editor right now (well, not this exact second…) on finalizing Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. I’m very pleased with this book, and I think folks are going to have lots of fun reading it. It should be available sometime in May. You might notice that it’s May right NOW. You’re very astute, and someone should buy you a pony!
I leave for South Africa in June. I’ll be gone for three weeks. What will I be doing in South Africa for three weeks? There’s a long answer and a short answer. I’ll give the short answer here: Book Research! That’s right, South Africa will be the nest. I’ll be the bird, and the next Chuggie adventure will be the egg I incubate under my butt. So just picture that for a moment. Chuggie’s third adventure is tentatively titled Chuggie and the Prisoner Gods. It’s gonna be wild, Jerry. WILD!
This website will be quiet just a little longer. Soon, however, I’ll be posting links to interviews, giving away goodies, and telling you how nice you look on a very regular basis. For now I’m going to go and listen to Rob Zombie’s new record, which I believe is titled “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor.” It features the instant classic ditty “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown.” If you fancy some high class audio to play on your hi-fi, I recommend you shine up your monocle, pour a snifter of brandy, and enjoy this fine album some evening.
CHICKS IN BIKINIS!
Here’s Stephen King:
Here’s the cover of The Gunsinger:
Well, that’s a cover of the Gunslinger. There are others, but this one’s pretty recent. Today I want to say a little about King’s Dark Tower books and how Chuggie relates to them.
Chuggie started as a kind of response to the Dark Tower series. I loved the Gunslinger (Dark Tower, book #1 for folks who might not know), and I have thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the series. I kind of want to go back through and read the books again to take a closer look at the technical side. I have a pretty high stack of books to read first, so I probably won’t be doing that soon.
King’s hero Roland is a very serious man on a very serious quest. He holds his goal firmly in mind at all times, and nearly everything he does is in pursuit of it. Roland is a man of few words, and he isn’t prone to exaggeration. He’s completely sober and clear of purpose. He isn’t completely humorless, but he doesn’t joke often. You can’t really fool Roland, either. In the end, Roland is just a man. His power comes from his determination.
Chuggie, on the other hand, isn’t quite so serious. He’s a grouch, sure, but he’s been known to break into song or poem. He doesn’t really have a quest. When we meet him in Desecration of Stagwater, he’s just trying to get south before winter. He wants a boat to sail around on, but that’s not much of a mission. Chuggie will talk your ear off if you let him. The story he tells might not have happened exactly the way he describes, if at all. He’s permanently intoxicated and has a tendency to be sidetracked by the smallest things. He often says things that are inappropriate to the situation, and likes to mess with people. In his state of perpetual inebriation, Chuggie can occasionally be tricked or manipulated. As the embodiment of Drought, he’s as old as the world he lives on. He can drink a body of water, pull at the water table, or rip the moisture from living things around him. He has terrible power that, once released, he has trouble controlling. The Big Thirst is the reason for his intoxication, you see. He found being hammered quieted the thirst, so he drank a whole bunch and then put a curse of permanence on himself.
Roland’s world is our world, a kind of alternate timeline future Earth. Chuggie’s world is its own place, called Mag Mell. It has one super-continent shaped like a hand. Roland can travel between worlds, sure, but he only comes to our world. Chuggie will be able to travel between worlds, too, but he will not come to Earth. There are too many other fun places to visit. If he ever does stop by here, it’ll probably just be for an interview, to wreck some of my stuff, or to guzzle down a bunch of my wine.
I’d love to go on, but Bugs Bunny just lit a stick of dynamite and tricked a dog into fetching it. What kind of monster could do that to a dog?! Now I have to lie down and try to forget the gruesome horror I just saw.
Weclome to my One Question Interview, where I ask one question and have it answered by some of my literary pals.
The Question: You’re alone, cornered in a dark basement. Something horrible is upstairs looking for you, and it’s only a matter of time before it comes down those stairs. What is it? For extra credit, how will you escape (is escape even possible?!)?
Benjamin Kane Ethridge: It’s that damn rape demon again. I suppose I’ll just have to give it up this time.
Louise Bohmer: It’s a phooka crossed with goblin, better known as a phoogob. They’re nasty pieces of work with backward knees and breath that smells like a long forgotten outhouse that was never cleaned. But their heads are quite spongy, so if we’re talking my basement, I’m going for the poker by our woodstove and aiming for the cranium. Phoogobs are fast, though, so I’ll have to make my first hit count.
C.V. Hunt: The man lurking upstairs is a manifestation of my conscience. He stomps around with an arrogant stride, knowing he’s tormenting me. His snarky laugh echoes through the first story as he approaches the basement door. He knows there’s no escaping the windowless and dank basement.
I press my back into the cold cement of the corner as he slowly clomps down the stairs. I refuse to scream or beg or cower. I’m not giving him the satisfaction of watching me squirm. Besides, no one would hear me even if I screamed till I tasted blood.
He reaches the bottom of the stairs and he plants his feet firmly on the concrete floor. He folds his arms, lifts an eyebrow, tilts his head to the side. We make eye contact. We stare at each other, regarding each other as the enemy. I hold my eyes open, refusing to blink, and hold my firmest and most confident look I can muster.
My eyes sting from the lack of moisture. My eyelids flutter. But we continue our staring contest for a lifetime and wait for the other to relent.
Jessica McHugh: Malfunction
I’m afraid it will smell the gash on my leg. Even with a towel wrapped around the cut and half a bottle of Drakkar Noir soaking in, I’ve seen enough of the beast’s talents to know the cologne won’t be enough. If it had a normal sense of smell, I might have a chance. I might even have the courage to search the basement for an exit. Instead, I huddle deeper into a bulky mountain of toilet paper, my leg stinking of my first boy/girl party.
Truthfully, I don’t have the energy for much else after running all the way from Denmore Labs. I’d hoped the beast would lose interest in me, maybe get distracted by a jogger, but it seems the technician who ran 10,000 volts through its body daily wasn’t an easy man to ignore. When I busted into a random house on Porter Street, I thought it might pass me by, even with the old lady screaming and smacking me with her knitting needles. But when I saw it through the curtains, its mammoth nose snorting at the trail of blood I’d left on the sidewalk, I knew it was over…
Anthony Rapino: The thing upstairs is an electric razor. Of course, this is no ordinary razor; it’s both enormous *and* sentient. I cower downstairs in the dark, stroking my luxurious man-beard and plotting my escape. The razor, however, has picked up the scent: a musty mix of testosterone and whiskers. My face-pubes stand on end in anticipation of the violent face-rape now headed down the stairs.
Practiced as I am in the subtle art of misdirection, I quickly pull out a few strands of my beard and fabricate a trail for the slow-witted beard eater to follow. He buzz, buzz, buzzes his way into a dead end, and I hightail it up the stairs, turning back only long enough to pull out its power cord.
I’m safe. My beard is safe. But for how long?
Behind me, my girlfriend smiles menacingly.
Ennis Drake: You’re in the basement. That quintessential womb of Horror. And you’re being born, reborn, borne into Fear. You’re hiding. Curled. Fetal. Trembling. Willing yourself to be still, but your mind, your body are no longer yours. You whimper. Stifle yourself with your own shaking hand. You can’t be quiet. Your voice is no longer yours. It’s coming. It’s coming and it’s going to find you. The earth floor smells of finality. Sweet and pungent. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dirt. Soon, you will be one with it: the earth. Decomposing organic matter devoid of all things. Dirt and nothing more. Your bladder goes. Loose. Hot wetness between your legs. The smell is strong, stinging. The scents mingle. Earth and urine. Mingle with your sweat. The odor of fear. Fear. And it is coming. There are no windows. No exit. No escape.
Fear is our ghost. Our monster. It haunts us. Stalks us. Corners us. Devours us. But only if we let it. Fear is on the steps. Looking for you. Hungry for you. Does the fear of Fear paralyze you?
Dean Harrison: “What Came In From The Hurricane”
In darkness I huddled in a corner, hearing the grumble of thunder, the crackle and sizzle
of lighting, the dull pounding of wind-driven rain—
And the heavy thud of footsteps from the thing upstairs.
The thing that only moments ago crashed through the sliding glass door, barreling into
the living room where my wife and I sat cuddling on the couch, listening to the storm.
The thing that bit into her neck and ripped it open like a wet paper bag. The thing that
feasted on her flesh and blood as I scrambled for my gun in the coat closet.
I shot it five times with the revolver, but the bullets merely ricochet off the hard and scaly
surface of its huge, black-green body. Crouching over the grisly meal it made of my wife,
the reptilian creature looked up with its fierce red eyes and snarled. I knew then that I was
The power was out. The hurricane outside knocked a tree down in front of the house. The
giant, sharp-tooth monster blocked the only other means of escape left. I was trapped.
The only option I saw available in my frantic state of mind was to barricade myself in the
basement—a dark, damp, cluttered dungeon where alone I now awaited my fate.
I heard the creature upstairs hiss and shriek. I heard it reduce the basement door to
splinters. I heard it descend the stairs two at a time.
The gun was still clenched in my hand. I knew the single bullet left in the cylinder would
be ineffective on this lizard-like abomination, but it wouldn’t on me.
Not wanting to suffer a slow, painful death being devoured like a slab of meat, I slid the
bitter steel barrel of the revolver along my tongue as the wet, slime-dripping horror from
the storm towered over me; and prayed that this was all a nightmare—
That I was actually lying asleep on the couch, my arms around my wife, as the hurricane
passed through. None of this was real.
Dear God let this be a nightmare.
LET ME WAKE UP!
My shaky finger pulled the trigger.
Thanks for contributing, comrades! I loved reading these, and I’ll definitely be doing more One Question Interviews in the future.
So I’ve been pretty quiet. Why, you ask? Because I’ve been writing. What have I been writing, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been hard at work on the follow-up to Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater. It’s called Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways.
Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways is the account of what happens to Chuggie right after the Desecration of Stagwater. The Bleeding Gateways has just been sent to my editor. We’ll rake it over the coals for a month or two until we think it’s ready to publish, and then… well, then we’ll publish it. I don’t have a release date for you yet, but I assure you, when I know the date, YOU’LL know the date. I plan to go on and on and on and on and on and on about it as soon as I know the date. I’m pretty excited about this story, and I absolutely can’t wait to share it with you. I wish I could be there to see the look on your face when you reach the end.
To answer some technical questions:
How long did it take? It took about a year to write, but that’s because I wasn’t writing the whole time. From about mid-April to August, I didn’t get much writing done. From November to mid-December, I didn’t get much writing done. I’m pretty sure the next book will take much less time.
How long is it? In its present form, the manuscript is just over 99,000 words. If you figure a paperback averages 250 words per page, that’s about 397 pages. I expect it to be trimmed quite a bit in editing, though.
Do I need anybody to beta read? No. I have that taken care of. I’m glad you’re interested, but it’s not in the cards. Advance copies for reviewing purposes can be discussed closer to the release date.
Why should you read Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways? Because it describes a series of wild events that will resonate across the world of Mag Mell for millenia. And also because of Chuggie’s profanity-packed monologues. I love those, and you do, too!
What’s the synopsis? I’m not telling. At this point some things can change. If I tell you anything, it guarantees that whatever I’ve told you will be cut or edited.
I think I mentioned I’m excited about this book, and it remains true. My editor is brilliant, and I can’t wait to see what kind of sweet action we end up with for the final draft. The word “Kachonga” comes to mind… Whatever. As long as it makes me several million dollars, I’m sure I’ll be happy.
I’ll tell you more about Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways when I have more to tell. Keep it classy, comrades!
PS. I may have some other mind-blowing projects to tinker with along with Chuggie. If you buy enough copies and get enough friends and family members to buy enough copies, maybe some of these other super-secret projects can come to life!
PPS. That picture at the top of this post? I made that with the Pulp-O-Mizer. Have fun with that!
And here’s our interview:
BMK: First of all congratulations on your debut novel being published. That’s a huge deal, and you should be proud. How are you planning to celebrate the release?
DH: Thanks. Yes, I am very proud. It’s been a long, hard journey with this novel and I’m glad I finally made it to my destination—publication. I don’t have a release party plan, but I do plan on celebrating. In fact, I have a cigar I’ve been saving for this particular occasion. Might pick up a bottle of my favorite bourbon as well.
BMK: You’ve had several short stories published in the past, so you know your way around a story… Were there any unexpected challenges that you found in writing a novel? Second part: how long did it take to write?
DH:Though I knew going in that writing novel was going to be a tough battle, there were many unexpected challenges. First of all, the story I started out with was nothing like what I ended up writing. The plot was different. Some minor characters were major characters and vise versa. Scenes were taken out and others added in. Settings were different, etc. It took a while for me to get the novel on stable footing, and it also took a lot of help from friends and fellow writers. They say that writing a novel is not a solo effort and it’s true. I couldn’t have made it over certain blocks without their insights and opinions.
How long did it take to write it? Three years. Why so long? Four reasons: 1) Because of many blocks I faced in the writing process and the changes I had to make in order to make it over those blocks. 2) I went back to school for a second BA degree (journalism), so schoolwork took up a lot of my spare time. 3) I was working on a novella for an anthology titled Twisted Tales from the Torchlight Inn. That was another adventure. 4) I wrote three short stories for three other anthologies to which I was invited to contribute. So to sum up, I was distracted, but busy and productive.
BMK: Horror writers have to have an understanding of real fear to be any good. So what kinds of things do you find terrifying?
DH:I know it’s cliché, but I am genuinely terrified of heights. Even when I’m watching a movie and a character finds himself, lets say, standing on the ledge of a tall building looking down, I feel myself getting jittery and weak in the knees. Another thing that makes me sick with dread is the thought of nuclear war, which seems to be an imminent threat these days.
BMK: Is there a worse flavor of ice cream than Possum Blood Crunch?
DH: Now there’s a random question, and it deserves a random response—Porcelain Mudslide.
BMK: How are you on vampires, zombies, and werewolves? Seen enough yet, or is there still some ground left to cover?
DH: I’ll start with werewolves—can’t get enough of them. I find that they have a lot in common with the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome, another of my favorites. I love the theme of man’s inner beast breaking free of its moral restraints, which is explored in my novel, but not in werewolf form. That’s for another story.
With zombies, I know I might be in the minority here, but I just don’t get the fascination. To me, there’s nothing interesting about them. I loved Night of the Living Dead, but beyond that I just get bored. What can you do with the zombie story that hasn’t already been done? I’m sure Brian Keene has already answered that question for me. I still need to read The Rising, and watch an episode of Walking Dead. Maybe one day I’ll jump aboard the zombie train. We’ll see.
Vampires. Now here is why I believe I might one day change my opinion about zombies—because I used to feel the same way about vampires. I thought they were boring and overdone. It wasn’t until I was asked to write a short story for the anthology Fem-Fangs that I changed my mind. There are always new twists you can put on old stories. That’s where the creative part of fiction writing comes in. You also need to have fun with it. Don’t go down the well-trodden path. As Richard Laymon once put it, “blaze your own trails.”
BMK: What kind of entity or being would you like to see enslave humanity? Mole people? Aliens? Robots? Something else?
DH: Dancing skeletons. That’s not enslavement, that’s a party.
BMK: If you could see any two literary characters in a fist fight, who would you pit against each other?
DH: The Frankenstein monster and Hannibal Lector. I think that would be a pretty interesting fight to watch.
BMK: I’m recycling this question because I love it: Many, many years from now, after I’ve passed away, I would like people to be able to summon me. I think a person alone by a campfire at midnight should be able to close their eyes, say my name eleven times, and have me appear. How will the children of the future summon Dean Harrison?
DH: After midnight, spill a bottle of Southern Comfort on the floor in the shape of a star. Next, blast Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu” at full volume and turn off all the lights. Then, stand in the center of the star and scream my name until your voice gives out. As a result, I will manifest before your very eyes and scold you for wasting perfectly good liquor.
BMK: What’s something folks should know about These Unquiet Bones?
DH: It’s more than just a horror novel—it’s a mystery, a psychological suspense thriller, a family drama. I like to think of it as a Southern Gothic. I hope others agree.
BMK: What are you cooking up next?
DH: A novella inspired by some elements of Celtic mythology and vampire lore. It’s a quiet horror that reveals my spin on the vampire theme. Though the monster in this story is not a vampire, it has somewhat similar traits.
BMK: Those questions were so glorious, the voices tell me I can ask a bonus question… Gotta think… This has to be good… GOT IT! Who is a cartoon character that deserves to be tortured for weeks on end, and what should be the nature of said torture?
DH: Sponge Bob Square Pants. A few hours spent in the toaster.
Thanks to Dean Harrison for taking time out of celebrating his novel’s release to answer my super awesome questions! Everybody else, go buy These Unquiet Bones. Read it, review it, tell a friend. “But, Brent! I was saving that money to buy smack!” No, guys. No more smack. We talked about this, remember? You spend your money on top-quality, independently-published literature from now on.
So yesterday, if 84 trailcam photos are any indicator, the squirrels were busy.
Hmm… the deer seems spooked… What could it be?
Some kind of wild dog, or something. I don’t know. I’m not some forest dork, okay? What’s amusing to me is the times on the deer and the wild dog-thing. I was awake and typing on Chuggie #2 when those were taken, sitting 20 yards away. I could have hit them with a water balloon from my desk (if there wasn’t a wall in the way). And yes, we have water balloons. We keep them in the fridge and use them to discipline our
infant son dogs.
My delightful parents thoughtfully gave me a trailcam for Christmas. What does that mean for YOU? It means this blawg is going to get a lot of trailcam pics. For example:
Now, as you can see, I’m being taunted by a black squirrel. He looks fairly innocent here. Just hopping around on a pumpkin. Let me assure you, though, this is a tiny, hate-filled villain with an agenda of destruction. And it’s not alone. There’s an ever-growing tribe of these jerks hopping from limb to limb in the trees surrounding my house. They killed my sensei, and now I’m out for REVENGE!