The Halloween Tree is in full bloom today

My new short story “The Halloween Tree,” inspired by the Halloweens of my youth and a scary tree that lurked over the roadside near where I grew up, is available today in Volume Four of Halloween Carnival, the anthology of stories edited by Brian Freeman that is being released throughout October. You can see the other contributors on the cover. Eventually the five parts will be assembled into a single book.

Also out today is my review of the Netflix original movie 1922, which premiered on Friday.

Whenever we send a package to our daughter and son-in-law in Japan, we like to add things we know they’d enjoy. Cereals, spice packets, clothing items for our grand-daughter, etc. Turns out maybe that’s not a great idea. We sent our son-in-law a birthday present along with some of the aforementioned. The parcel weighed 19 lbs when it was delivered to the UPS Store via USPS and 12 lbs when it arrived in Okinawa. Two items were missing from the still-sealed box: the electronic game components intended for his birthday. I figure if we had shipped them without the other material, it would have been harder for someone to steal them, because a 7 lb box that suddenly weighed 0 lbs would have been more conspicuous. Lessons learned.

I watched Season 2 of Top of the Lake this weekend. Directed by Jane Campion and starring Elizabeth Moss, along with Nicole Kidman (in probably her least sympathetic role ever) and Gwendoline Christie (more familiar to many as Brianne of Tarth from Game of Thrones) as a statuesque Sydney police officer. It also features a guy who looks eerily like a young Charles Manson, with many of the same attributes. Moss is the only returning character from Season 1, and she’s still having to deal with some of the events from four years earlier. The story features a sex worker stuffed into a suitcase and the daughter Moss’s character gave up for adoption seventeen years ago.

This morning I started Chance on Hulu, the series starring Hugh Laurie as a consulting neuropsychiatrist in the middle of a divorce. He meets a beefy, strong silent type (called “D”) who doesn’t mind a bit of violence to set things in the world a-right, and Gretchen Mol as the abused wife of an SFPD police officer who claims to have a dual personality. When Chance learns how D resolved a robbery at their store and says later that “shit like that makes my day,” Chance muses that he knows a lot of people who could use that kind of treatment, which piques D’s interest. He is tempted to take a walk on the dark side. I like what I’ve seen so far.

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