No Time in the Present

So many updates, and no time to write it all down.

I could tell you about my work on the new animated TV show ToonMarty and link you to some of my episodes that have shown up on YouTube.

I could tell you about my trip to Paris and all the morbid history I got to hang out with.

I could tell you about my last three appearances on Cinema Smackdown and my pending chat about the Fantasia film fest tonight at 7:00 on CJLO.

I could even tell you how the sequel to Necropolis is coming along.

But mostly my time is occupied by a new/old project that requires me to produce nearly 300 pages of reformatted art—hopefully before the end of the year.

I’ll give you a clue what that involves.

Observant readers may extrapolate additional information from one of the file names appearing in that screenshot.

Yes, it’s for real this time. There’s a contract and an advance payment I’ve already spent.

What the hell have I let myself in for?

In honour of the passing of one of my personal favourite film directors, George Romero, newsletter subscribers will be receiving a brand-new exclusive short story—my one and only foray into flesh-eating zombie fiction. Sign up now to get it with the next newsletter, along with other unique content and exclusives.

Advanced Warning

I have a couple of book promotions coming up next week that I wanted to mention here. If you haven’t grabbed a copy of Filmography on the cheap yet, there will be two windows of opportunity to get it for free. And even if you already have it/read it/left a review/bought the t-shirt, there will be plenty of other mysteries and thrillers and crime stories from other authors for you to download for zero dollars and zero cents.

Download All the eBooks will be running their giveaway from June 9 – 11.

And Renee Pawlish will be running one from June 17 – 18. The page hasn’t been updated yet, but head over there when the time comes to see all the goodies.

 

 

Assisted Career Suicide

So Kathy Griffin posted a picture of herself holding up a bloody severed Trump head and I had one thought, and one thought only when I first saw it.

Meh.

I wasn’t shocked, I wasn’t appalled. I work in gallows humour. You have to go a hundred times darker than that before I even notice things are getting a tad morbid. The real sin of the photo, to my mind, was that it wasn’t funny. All it seemed to say was, “I hate Trump. I wish him dead.” Well, no shit. You’ve long since made that clear. Posing for a picture that looks like a publicity still from a low-rent 1970s giallo horror film doesn’t add anything to that narrative. I might have hoped for something biting, satirical, viciously sardonic. Instead, Kathy Griffin throws out something half-assed, spur-of-the-moment, ill-conceived, and witless. That’s kind of her shtick, I know. I (used to) watch her do CNN’s trainwreck New Year’s show with Anderson Cooper every year, and wonder when she would cross a line that would get her fired. Pretending to blow Cooper on live television didn’t do it. Screaming vulgarities at Ryan Seacrest didn’t work. Swearing at hecklers over the air failed. It seemed to be an unshakable gig. She could do no wrong—or at least could do nothing wrong enough to get her ousted.

I turned the virtual page and moved on, with a vague parting notion, “Some people are really going to hate this.”

And then everything blew up. Twenty-four hours later, the CNN gig was gone, standup appearances were cancelled, endorsements were dropped. Plus the Secret Service, which is obliged to take any perceived threat to the president deadly serious, was looking into it. The family Trump, prone to announcing any fleeting notion or passing of wind, took to social media to express their displeasure. All to be expected, really. I mean, after all, what did she think was going to happen?

A video apology followed. Griffin made one of her infrequent appearances without a ton of makeup, probably judiciously trying to appear more vulnerable and sincere by doing it au naturel, without the usual war paint. It wasn’t an apology to Trump himself, but it was an apology to people who were offended. And it seemed pretty sincere. It seemed to work.

And then, like manna from heaven, Kathy Griffin was given the greatest gift a foot-in-mouth celebrity could ever hope for. Covfefe happened, and the whole world collectively decided they’d rather make jokes about that than futilely try to find the funny in Griffin’s gory photo shoot.

Give it the weekend, and it would have all blown over nicely. Sure, a lot of paying work would have dried up, but Kathy Griffin would have been in the clear. On the heels of the vitally important political covfefe event, something else would have inevitably happened in the world, and by this time next week no one would remember or care about bloody head props. Griffin could then safely slink back to the ranks of the D-list.

But, alas, no.

She made two colossal mistakes. First: Kathy Griffin employed the services of Lisa Bloom, daughter of Gloria Allred and every bit the media-circus bottomfeeder her mother is. Second: she called a press conference to dredge it all up again. And not just any press conference. The single worst clusterfuck of a press conference I’ve ever witnessed. There were tears, there was laughter (forced and performed by mouthpiece Bloom), there was indignation, there were more insults for Trump and his family, and there were cries of victimhood.

You can try to sit through it if, like me, you’re a sucker for punishment.

At this point, the real villain here is no long Kathy Griffin, or Donald Trump, or the vulture media, or the skittish sponsors, or CNN, the worst media outlet in America today. It’s Lisa Bloom. Any lawyer worth a shit would have advised her client to lay low, take the hit, let the apology sink in, let the public move on, and let Trump get distracted by something new. I mean, hell, he’s the goddamn President of the United States. He may be petty and vindictive, but he’s got other stuff on his plate.

But that’s not what happened. Because Lisa Bloom is a terrible terrible hack lawyer who wanted to get her face front and centre and ride this celebrity shitstorm into the next stratosphere of her gruesome parasitical poisonous career. Rather than do her job properly, she let her client summon the media for an announcement and a Q&A. She may have even suggested it. And in the process, she let Kathy Griffin keep digging that grave for her career.

Give Griffin a lean year, and I thought she might have been able to bounce back from this unscathed. The story would have flared up briefly on New Year’s Eve as those few who still watch CNN asked, “Where’s Kathy?” There would be a reminder of what went down last spring, and then they’d cut away to a drunken Don Lemon talking about getting a Trump tattoo on his dick—again. Same old, same old. Before you knew it, she’d crop up in some supporting role on a sitcom, or a bit part in a movie. You’d hear she was doing standup in casinos and dive bars once more, and by the time Trump was running for re-election, she’d be back doing her ginger Joan Rivers act, and would even be getting away with a new round of jabs at The Donald’s expense.

But after this? It’s going to be a long hard road back. Michael Richards hard. And for what? She shot off her own foot and it did no damage to Trump. It gave him a boost.

Some people have come out trying to defend that decapitation photo as art. Provocative art, but art. And maybe is it. But it’s bad art. The difference between good art and bad art is that good art stays on message and accomplishes a goal. Bad art gets tossed off, lets the chips fall where they may, and has no clear message or intent. Like a grenade tossed into a room with the pin out. That’ll sure provoke a reaction, but mostly it will make a mess.

Try not to be standing in the blast radius when it goes off.

NB: If you’re a B, C, or D-list celebrity who has just committed career suicide, DO NOT call Gloria Allred or Lisa Bloom to help salvage something from the ruins of your life. Call someone who knows a thing or two about scandal damage control. Call me. I might even know what I’m talking about, and I work cheap.

There Goes the Neighbourhood. Again.

Resurfacing like an unwelcome bout of herpes, Karla Homolka is back. I haven’t mentioned her on this blog in a very long time—not since she was about to get out of prison. She was thinking of moving to my neighbourhood, and reporters were coming to me of all people to see if I had exclusive news about this celebrity relocation. In the end, she apparently landed in Guelph, Ontario instead. But twelve years later someone has noticed…she’s baaaaaaack.

For those of you not up on your infamous Canadian serial killers, Karla and her husband Paul were the Barbie and Ken of sexual predators, kidnappers, and murderers. They were a charming, handsome, blood-spattered couple who did some horrible horrible shit they’ll never be forgiven for. Paul is still in prison and will likely never get out. Karla, however, was given a lighter sentence in exchange for testimony because an innocent little housewife couldn’t possibly be as responsible for these crimes as her monster husband. Except she was, as later post plea-bargain-deal evidence suggests. Oopsie.

Karla still doesn’t actually live in my neighbourhood. Apparently her new abode (to go with her new husband and kids) is in Châteauguay—which may be punishment enough for past sins. Nevertheless, she still comes to NDG to volunteer at her kids’ Christian school just one block over from my own home.

Gotta love those hard-line Christian institutions. They’re very big on forgiving child abuse. In the past, the were mostly into overlooking child rape. Now, they’re giving a pass to child rape AND murder. Very progressive.

This volunteer work has been going on since March, but now that the media has finally caught wind of it, the circus is back in town. Karla sightings are likely to become as frequent and verifiable as Sasquatch sightings. Try not to get caught being a blonde white woman if you’re shopping at the local Provigo. You might get some out-of-season produce launched at your head. Or canned goods, which tend to hurt more.

I remember the good old days in this neighbourhood when the only serial killers living among us were mafia enforcers and mob hatchet men. They mostly kept to themselves, and you wouldn’t hear a thing about them unless there was an arrest or a middle-of-the-night assassination via a hail of automatic gunfire. Salt of the earth.

I can’t imagine they’re very pleased to have Karla in town either, snooping around their kids. Torturing a snitch to death, dismembering the body, and dumping it in the river is one thing. But what she did was sick.

We deserve a better class of psychopath.

The Game Is Apaw

“The Adventure of the Cat’s Claws,” my latest Sherlockian mystery, has been published in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part VI: 2017 Annual. It’s now available on Amazon for Kindle, with hardcover and paperback editions coming next Tuesday. This is the biggest collection in the series yet, brimming with new tales of Holmes, Watson, and other famed and infamous associates. Once again, I write from the point of view of Baker Street Irregular, Wiggins, as he reveals the tawdry truth behind “The Veiled Lodger”—one of the final stories of the original Conan Doyle canon.

With the seal of approval from the Conan Doyle estate, all proceeds will go towards the restoration of Undershaw, for the benefit of the Stepping Stones school that is now set up in the grand house that was home to Sir Arthur back when he was writing such famed tales as The Hound of the Baskervilles. As revealed in “The Veiling Lodger” and “The Cat’s Claws,” Holmes didn’t face off against gigantic dogs alone—there was at least one gigantic cat in the mix.

Followers of The MX Books of New Sherlock Holmes Stories will be dropping by the blog for a visit, so let me take a moment to offer them a handy checklist of my other mystery and crime books for sale through Amazon, and available to read for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Necropolis is a supernatural thriller full of intrigue, murder mysteries, and comedy for those who like their detective stories to come with a touch of magic and horror.
Raw and Other Stories features twenty tales of crimes, major and minor, petty and vindictive. It’s a single-author collection that prints many of my shorts that have previously been published in anthologies and magazines, as well as new material appearing for the first time.
Sex Tape is a soft-boiled detective thriller about the sleazy side of Hollywood, and the underbelly of the Montreal skin-flick industry. Join ex-paparazzo Sid Volke and publicist Alexandra Middleton as they race against time to solve a murder and keep a stolen celebrity sex tape from going public over the Christmas holidays.
Filmography tells the story of three obsessive film fans who decide to make one final motion picture feature with their favourite deceased horror-movie star by kidnapping his corpse and putting him in front of the camera again. Extortion plots and international felonies snowball out of control, until everyone is in danger of ending up just as dead as their headlining thespian.

My thanks go out to all the newcomers making this visit. I hope you enjoy the new Holmes story and that you’ll want to read more material in my solo books. If you like what you see, stick around, follow the blog and/or subscribe to the newsletter.

Getting to be a Habit

A quick note to say I’m appearing, yet again, on Cinema Smackdown in just a couple of hours. This will be my umpteenth episode. I’ve kind of lost count at this point. It’s probably only something like my sixth episode, but they all blend together into one big movie-talk blather. My old friend of 30-plus years, Michael, will be guest hosting (and judging), which always leaves me a freer hand to let my freak hang out with answers that might burn me on any other show. Last time around was something of a shambles. We’ll see if chaos will reign again tonight.

That’s 7:00 ET, live on CJLO.

2 + 8 Days Later

Ten days into release, Necropolis has already sold as many copies as my last two books combined. Raw and Other Stories still dominates on the Kindle Unlimited pages-read front. And sex may have sold Sex Tape, but not as much as urban fantasy sold Necropolis. I hope to see Necropolis, at twice the length of my collection of short stories, topple Raw in the pages-read category in the near future—not least because I ultimately make more money with the Kindle Unlimited program. Damn you, Amazon, and your tempting promotional programs that further establish you as a monopoly thanks to my willing complicity!

Last night I attended the launch part for ToonMarty, which is a new cartoon series that will air on Teletoon starting May 1st. I haven’t talked about screenwriting on this blog in a long time, but this is one of the shows I worked on recently, scripting three episodes of the first season. I’ll probably get around to linking them just as soon as someone records and illegally posts them to YouTube. Checking out my television-credits page, I notice there have been a number of episodes yanked since last time I looked. Getting called on copyright violations, no doubt. That’s unfortunate, considering YouTube has been the most convenient venue for me to see my own material for years now.

I was also informed that work continues on Chop Chop Ninja. This is the other series I worked on last year. I completed my contract on it in 2016, but if there are still unfinished scripts on the production line, I don’t expect to see that air until this fall at the very earliest.

Right now, it’s back to work on Epitaph, which is currently sitting at 66,000 words and counting. And another project that may involve just as many dots.

King of the Hill

Here’s a screenshot trophy for me to wave around like a semaphore flag for anyone who will look my way. It was an uphill battle to topple Stephen King’s It because I don’t have a movie adaptation coming out. Plus my novel doesn’t end with a pre-teen gangbang in a sewer and a universe-creating turtle-god. Can’t wait to see how those elements are not handled in the new film version of It this time around!

Okay, fine, this phenomenon only happened for a day on Amazon.ca, not over with the big boys at Amazon.com. Honestly, it took a shockingly low number of sales to climb to the top of the horror chart in Canada. Meanwhile, in the same category on dotcom, Necropolis has been picking at the fringes of the top 500.

Here’s hoping today’s promo can push it just a little higher. Download All the eBooks is doing a multi-author promo for science-fiction, fantasy, and horror novels. Necropolis is in the mix, along with box sets, series starters, and other fun stuff. Check it out and enter the contest for a chance to win a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift certificate.

The DATE multi-author promo is here.

Meanwhile Necropolis remains priced at $0.99 for a little while longer, or free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Get your copy now.

And if that epic tale isn’t enough Necropolis material for you, there’s more to be had in advance of the eventual sequel coming later this year. Clever readers have signed up for the Eyestrain Productions newsletter in order to get exclusives, like “Crocodile Tears.” This is an all-new short story about one of the cast of Necropolis—a standalone adventure featuring grief, greed, and gallows humour. Subscribers already have their free copies. Would you like a link to read or download it for yourself when the next issue goes out in a week? Just sign up.

Subscribe to the newsletter now.

Fly or Die

It’s out.

I had a hard time letting Necropolis go. This is the first thing I’ve published through Amazon that has never existed elsewhere in any other form. Most of the stories in Raw saw print earlier in other books and magazines. As did Carrion Luggage, Hot Pennies, and Choke the Chicken. The Red Baron articles also go way back to the pages of Aviation History and Dog World among others. Even Sex Tape and Filmography spent time in development as film projects first. Necropolis, however, is completely new, entirely original, and has never been seen before. It was my little secret for years, becoming a bigger and bigger secret as time went on and chapters were added. Now it’s been pushed out of the nest and onto virtual bookshelves.

Necropolis is priced at only $0.99 for its initial launch/promotion period. It’s also available through Kindle Unlimited if you’re a subscriber. Reads and reviews on Amazon.com are encouraged and welcome.