Have a horrible time in Austin

World Horror 2011A World Horrible time, that is. The web site for WHC 2011 is now up and ready for registrations. In a moment of weakness I allowed myself to be roped into joining the committee, although my responsibilities will be limited to one specific function: keeping the Guests of Honor happy. Should be easy, eh?

I posted earlier today about Tesseracts Thirteen, but that’s not the only Edge Books project that I’m involved with. My short story “A Murder of Vampires” will be in EVolVe, which will be out in March 2010, set to debut at WHC in Brighton. The theme of the anthology is contemporary vampire stories where the existence of vampires is more or less a given in society. I decided to write a crime story. You can see the cover and contributors list here if you scroll down half a page.

I got a lot of work done this weekend. I finished, revised, edited, proofed and submitted the short story I was working on at the end of last week. First draft was 3300 words, second draft was 2500 words and the final version came in at around 2700 words. Then I brushed up three of four short stories intended for a multiple-author collection I was invited to be part of. I guess you could call it an anthology, but each of a small group of authors will have about 20,000 words in the book, which in my case will be three stories. One of them is a reprint–I spent the most time on that one since I hadn’t read it since 2003. I took the liberty of sprucing it up a little from its original appearance. The other two stories I sent in have never been published, and I’m still thinking about which one will take the final slot. This is another project that will debut at WHC 2010 in Brighton.

This morning I got back to an old story that I have been revamping for a Southern Gothic anthology I was invited to join. The story in question was originally a 6200-word behemoth, but when I last finished with it, I had gotten it down to about half that length. I am now taking it to pieces and reassembling it in a different order to accentuate certain incidents sooner and enhance the overall Gothic feel of the piece. I hope to get the first draft done by the end of the week.

Stephen King asked me to repost my essay on his web site, so who I am to argue? The thread on his message board is called Gender bias in publishing.

We watched an odd movie on Saturday night. We saw it OnDemand, but apparently it hasn’t been released to theaters yet. It’s a Robin Williams flick called World’s Greatest Dad, and the title is nothing if not ironic. The movie was written and directed by, wait for it, Bobcat Goldthwait. We didn’t realize that until the closing credits. Williams plays a high school poetry teacher and single father whose teenage son is an obnoxious boor. He ignores and ridicules his father, mouths off to his teachers, makes rude comments to his schoolmates, spies on his 60-year-old neighbor as she undresses at night, and engages in dangerous solo sexual activity. A prime candidate for boarding school or military academy, if you ask me. However, something unexpected happens about 30 minutes in that changes everything. I’m not sure if they’re going to publicize this with the movie, so I’ll keep quiet about it, but the film then becomes a parody and indictment of popular media culture, the way people are selected to be turned into heroes and how the general populace falls in line with this new definition of the person, regardless of how they used to think about him or her before. It gets a little tedious in places–we almost gave up on it at the 2/3 mark–but it’s quirky and biting. Williams is the restrained version of himself, for the most part. His character has a girlfriend who is probably half his age (how that happened is never explained in the movie). His trajectory is interesting, and you know it’s all going to come crashing down at some point but the big question is how? There are some very good red herrings that make it seem like something else is going to happen, and the ending is quite satisfactory, as Nero Wolfe used to say.

The movie is also a showcase for one of my favorite musicians, Bruce Hornsby, who appears as himself near the end of the film to play a re-imagined version of Mandolin Rain. His songs appear off and on throughout the film, and he’s almost a running joke. By the by, I see he has a new album coming out in September. Levitation, it’s called.

Eureka: I like the new hire at Global Dynamics, Dr. Tess Fontana. She’s cute, smart, and looks like she could be the Sheriff’s new love interest.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent: A crossover episode with Eames partnering with Nichols. The episode is predicated on a huge coincidence–that Nichols should happen to have connections with the guy who happens to be the killer and by pulling strings he puts the evidence in the case directly at this guy’s disposal. Take that out of the equation and it was a fun episode. Eames is an interesting character, almost invisible for the most part. Small in stature and minimalistic in impact on the situation, and yet she plays a good foil for the more overwhelming personalities.

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