My weekend — spoken for

The show goes on. My publisher has no power. My editor has no power and has had to relocate. But still they manage to get the copyedited manuscript for my next book to me. So, now I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend. I haven’t dared to open the document yet to see how much work will be involved. It’s a big manuscript, so there might be a lot. We’ll see.

We had a moderately quiet Hallowe’en. The first trick-or-treater showed up at about 6:45 and the last ones at around 8:30. In total, maybe 20 or 30 kids. Lots of Avengers.

Danel Olson and I went into Houston on Tuesday night for Justin Cronin’s block party. Cronin read from The Twelve at Brazos Bookstore, answered some questions, then moved up the block to Murder by the Book, where he read a different passage, answered some more questions, then moved across the street to Under the Volcano, where he signed in a back room. The bar concocted a special drink called “viral juice” for the event. It was red, of course, and was made from pomegranate juice, hibiscus tea and vodka. I don’t think a person would drink more than one, but it was tasty. Cronin surprised me by saying that he recognized my name from Twitter and Facebook. I have a few pictures from the event on Facebook.

My story “In a Country Churchyard,” which was first published at Horror World, is part of a new collection from the Tales to Terrify folk. Volume 1, edited by Larry Santoro and co., features some stories from their audio site, but it’s not a “best of” collection. Some of the stories (including mine) were never part of their podcast series. Among the contributors: Gene Wolfe, Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy Kilpatrick, Tim Lebbon, Christopher Fowler and Weston Ochse. It is available in hardcover, paperback and various e-book formats. Read more about it here.

A blogger liked my story “Harming Obsession” enough to record herself reading it as part of her lead-up to Hallowe’en. Of the story she wrote, “I really love this one. It was introduced to me by a fellow horror enthusiast when I asked for help filling out the last of my list, and as soon as I read the final line I knew I had to include it. I love the kind of short story that is only vaguely menacing throughout, the kind where you think, yeah, okay, this isn’t so bad, and then the last line just hits you.”

I wrote recently about narrative shortcuts and inconsistent storytelling. A prime example of that took place on this week’s Sons of Anarchy. It’s hard to believe that they allowed so many things to slip by. Gemma is stoned when she has a wreck, but there’s no blood test and no mention of the transport she almost ran into. One of the Sons is taken hostage to guarantee a miscreant’s escape, and no one seems the least bit perturbed. Despite the fact that the guy has just shot an innocent woman, the other bikers assume he’ll let their mate go once he’s gotten far enough away. And yet it seems like the dude hasn’t decided himself whether or not he’ll kill his hostage until the last minute. Did they even send someone out to look for the captive? I don’t think so.

It didn’t look like Penner was going to use his immunity idol on Survivor this week, but at the last minute he did—and a good thing, too. That should shake everything up in the new merged tribe. It’ll be interesting to see what new alliances develop in the wake. Leave it to Miss Goody (Lisa) to do the laundry while everyone’s setting up and accidentally find Malcolm’s idol. Guess what, Lisa—you’re now part of an alliance!

I liked the conceit of this week’s Castle. Kate and Rick are a new couple and all of a sudden she has to figure out how strong her faith in him is. Signs indicate that he was having an affair and that he killed his lover. She had a moment of despair but she stood by her man and her trust was validated. I don’t think anyone believes the psycho actually died in that shootout. He took an awful lot of bullets to the body, though. Why didn’t anyone aim for an arm or leg? Those last five minutes or so were intense. The look on Kate’s face when she got out of the car and just nailed the guy with bullet after bullet. Stand by your man, indeed.

I’m still on the border with the new season of American Horror Story. Sure, it has lots of creepy moments, but I don’t feel engaged with the characters the same way I did last year.

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