Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2007 Bram Stoker Award Nominees

The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the 2007 Bram Stoker Awards:

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL
  • THE GUARDENER'S TALE by Bruce Boston (Sam's Dot)
  • HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
  • THE MISSING by Sarah Langan (Harper)
  • THE WITCH'S TRINITY by Erika Mailman (Crown)
  • THE TERROR by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL
  • I WILL RISE by Michael Louis Calvillo (Lachesis Publishing)
  • HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
  • THE MEMORY TREE by John R. Little (Nocturne Press)
  • THE HOLLOWER by Mary SanGiovanni (Leisure Books)
Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION
  • AFTERWARD, THERE WILL BE A HALLWAY by Gary Braunbeck (Five Strokes to Midnight)
  • ALMOST THE LAST STORY BY ALMOST THE LAST MAN by Scott Edelman (Postscripts)
  • GENERAL SLOCUM'S GOLD by Nicholas Kaufmann (Burning Effigy Press)
  • THE TENTH MUSE by William Browning Spencer (Subterranean #6)
  • AN APIARY OF WHITE BEES by Lee Thomas (Inferno)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION

  • THE DEATH WAGON ROLLS ON BY by C. Dean Andersson (Cemetery Dance #57)
  • LETTING GO by John Everson (Needles and Sins)
  • THE TEACHER by Paul G. Tremblay (Chizine)
  • THERE'S NO LIGHT BETWEEN FLOORS by Paul G. Tremblay (Clarkesworld)
  • CLOSET DREAMS by Lisa Tuttle (Postscripts #10)
  • THE GENTLE BRUSH OF WINGS by David Niall Wilson (Defining Moments)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY

  • FIVE STROKES TO MIDNIGHT edited by Gary Braunbeck and Hank Schwaeble (Haunted Pelican Press)
  • INFERNO edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor)
  • DARK DELICACIES 2: FEAR edited by Del Howison & Jeff Gelb (Carroll & Graf/Avalon)
  • MIDNIGHT PREMIERE edited by Tom Piccirilli (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • AT EASE WITH THE DEAD edited by Barbara & Christopher Roden (Ash-Tree Press)

Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION

  • PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS by Michael A. Arnzen (Dark Regions Press)
  • THE IMAGO SEQUENCE by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
  • OLD DEVIL MOON by Christopher Fowler (Serpent's Tail)
  • 5 STORIES by Peter Straub (Borderlands)
  • DEFINING MOMENTS by David Niall Wilson (Sarob Press)

Superior Achievement in NONFICTION

  • ENCYCLOPEDIA HORRIFICA by Joshue Gee (Scholastic)
  • THE CRYPTOPEDIA: A DICTIONARY OF THE WEIRD, STRANGE & DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE by Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer (Citadel Press / Kensington)
  • STORYTELLERS UNPLUGGED by Joe Nassise and David Niall Wilson (Storytellers Unplugged/)

Superior Achievement in POETRY

  • BEING FULL OF LIGHT, INSUBSTANTIAL by Linda Addison (Space and Time)
  • HERESY by Charlee Jacob (Bedlam Press [Necro Publications])
  • VECTORS: A WEEK IN THE DEATH OF A PLANET by Charlee Jacob & Marge Simon (Dark Regions Press)
  • PHANTASMAPEDIA by Mark McLaughlin (Dead Letter Press)
  • OSSUARY by JoSelle Vanderhooft (Sam?s Dot Publishing)


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jenny Crusie, Reformed Quote-Giver

After posting my previous blog entry today, in which I linked to three recent entries on Jenny Crusie's Aargh Ink blog, I came across something else on her blog that's too good to leave out.

This entry, however, is not humorous--or only marginally so, since Crusie is naturally comic and possibly incapable of writing anything completely humorless. Rather, this is a serious entry on a topic of great interest to authors: getting quotes from other published authors for one's books. Or, from the other end, being asked to give a quote praising another author's soon-to-be-published book. Crusie discusses the effects, and the ethics, of the practice in Confessions of a Reformed Quote Wh*re. Worth reading, and worth sober thought.

P.S. (January 20, 2010) Nearly TWO years after posting this entry originally, I've had to go in and change a few words because of blog-spammers, whose spambots apparently are set to track certain words (e.g., "wh*re," but with an "o" instead of an asterisk) and to post spam about certain medications, etc. For nearly a year this entry had five comments, all made shortly after the original post. In recent months, 44 more "comments" were added, all of them ridiculous, but I don't know how to remove them. And I hate to make it hard for my readers to comment by turning on Comment Moderation. What aggravation. Guess I oughta complain to Blogger's powers-that-be, but I'm too lazy.

Bits 'n' Pieces

Okay, I think everything she does is funny:

Jennifer Crusie blogs on how she screwed up a booksigning. (Even those big-money NYT bestseller-list authors f*ck things up. This is why she calls her blog Aargh Ink.)

In a subsequent post she talks about how she and her houseguests, who are collaborating on a book with her, write in separate rooms in the house and e-mail each other to communicate. (Well, hey, when you're in the creative-flow mode you don't want to be interrupted by a corporeal being appearing at your door, do you?)

And she discusses earworms--you know, those tunes that get stuck in your mind, replaying endlessly until you go insane? Because of Jenny's post, my brain now is alternating between "It's a Small World" (anyone who's ever been to Disneyland or Disney World knows what I mean) and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (a song I actually love, but not played over and over and over). The comments following the entry are great, and it's interesting to see the oddball songs that have become earworms for people.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

sQuba: Isaac Asimov and James Bond combined

This is so cool...Like something out of an SF book or a James Bond movie. A car that drives underwater! In fact, turns out the inventor was inspired by a car from the 1977 Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

RSS Feed

One of the coolest things I've discovered since I started blogging is the RSS feed.

Before I got into the world of blogs, my Yahoo home page had modules to keep me up-to-date on local, state, national and international news; the publishing industry; magazines I like; advice columns that entertain me; my favorite cartoon strips; practical advice; humor; health information; and local movie showtimes. I chose these modules from lists provided by Yahoo when I was designing my home page. I didn't understand how they worked--changing on a daily or even hourly basis to reflect the latest news of their various topics--but I liked having them.

After I started reading blogs a couple of years ago, I began finding more and more blogs I enjoyed, but it was a lot of trouble getting to them regularly. Whenever I found a blog I liked, I'd add it to my Favorites list. To get back to it, I'd have to click on Favorites, then find the particular blog I was looking for, and click on it--a lot of repetitive effort. Most days it was too much effort, or too time-consuming, and I'd end up having to ignore blogs I would have liked to keep up with more regularly.

Then one day I noticed the "RSS FEED" button on someone's blog and thought, "What is that?" I clicked on it, read the Help information explaining its use, and then added the RSS feed for that blog to my home page.

Voila! Suddenly I no longer had to make a special effort to find that particular blog. Instead, the blog's title and its most recent entry were right there on my home page, and all I had to do was click on them to read the blog. Plus, I could see when there were new entries, so I wouldn't waste time going to the blog only to be disappointed when there was nothing new.

After using the RSS feed for the first time, I went crazy with it. I started adding RSS-fed blogs to my home page right and left. I place them at the top of the page, because the blogs are what I most enjoy reading so I want to read them first.

I now have 28 blog feeds on my home page. It's great, but sometimes reading the blogs takes up all my computer time, and I never even get to the 40 news, information, and humor modules below.

Oh well. This is why net-surfing uses up so much time.

But the RSS Feed is really cool. Instant info on tap.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Over most of the U.S., today is Super Tuesday, the day when 24 states hold their presidential primary elections to elect delegates to the national party conventions to be held this summer. The candidates have been campaigning madly for months. Those with the most delegates pledged to them will be the official candidates of our major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. (Flag clipart from

Here in Louisiana, however, it’s Fat Tuesday, better known as Mardi Gras. Louisiana’s presidential primary election won’t be held until Saturday, February 9. (Good thing, too—if it coincided with Mardi Gras, the vote turnout would be really low. In fact, the state wouldn’t be able to get enough poll commissioners to run the precincts in south Louisiana.)

The long weekend just past was a hearty-partying celebration featuring a multitude of parades—not only in New Orleans, but all over south Louisiana. In New Orleans alone, the “super krewes” of Endymion, Bacchus, and Orpheus paraded successively on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. These parades are fabulous, the sheer beauty and glamour of their floats and costumes beyond description. Rolling at night, lit by millions of fiber optics, they create a incomparable experience. (Photo of Orpheus float by Sharon Keating,’s Guide to New Orleans Travel.)

Today is the final big blowout. Ten parade krewes will roll within the 30-mile area around New Orleans. In the city itself, the day begins with Zulu, followed by Rex (King of Carnival), followed by hundreds of truck floats in the krewes of Elks Orleans and Crescent City; in suburban Metairie, Argus, followed by the truck krewes of Jefferson Trucks and Elks Jefferson; across the Mississippi in Gretna, Grela; on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Lions and Covington. (The Northshore is home to Charles Gramlich, for readers of his Razored Zen blog.) Not to mention walking groups such as Pete Fountain’s Half-Fast Marching Club and the Jefferson City Buzzards, both of which have been trekking from Uptown to the French Quarter on Mardi Gras for over 40 years.

The festivities officially end at midnight tonight, when a phalanx of New Orleans Police Department officers, led by the Chief of Police, sweep down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, warning the revelers, “Mardi Gras is now over! Mardi Gras is now over!,” followed by a fleet of sanitation trucks sweeping up the mounds of debris.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A little taste of Carnival

Taking the easy way out: posting photos borrowed from other websites. I hope the copyright Nazis won't come after me. (Yeah, right, like any of the copyright holders would even know about this blog....) The Joker photo at left is from

At right is the 2008 King of the Krewe of Tucks, which paraded yesterday. (Photo from The Times-Picayune, This krewe started life in the late '60s via a bunch of drunken college students who held their beer blasts at a local hangout then known as Friar Tuck's. (I remember those days--used to go there myself, lo, a-many years ago....In fact, I attended the inaugural parade of Tucks.) At the time it was raunchy and scurrilously parodied the traditional old-line Carnival krewes. The original parade had an actual toilet as the king's throne. The early Krewe of Tucks, populated by impecunious collegians who made their own floats and costumes, was a half-assed affair for years, but always funny. Over the years, however, Tuck has been tamed. It still has a bit of satirical edge, but mostly has gone the way of the bigger krewes, renting commercially-designed floats, and omitting its most jaw-dropping attempts to shock the populace. The biggest vestige of the original Tucks is that the king still rides on a toilet throne, although it's one made of papier-mache or fiberglass by a float designer. I guess you could say it's better than the original real toilet, because it's a lot bigger and shows up better on the float.

Regardless of what you can tell is my nostalgia for the old half-assed Tucks parade, it's still fun to watch. My sister rode in it for years, with the same group of people on the same float with the same theme: they were The Blues Brothers every year.

Oh, and at the Krewe of Tucks' coronation ball, the maids of the royal court are usually 30-to-40-something women rather than debutantes, dressed as French maids rather than in traditional white gowns. (They ain't no debs, that's for sure!)

(The above photo is either maids of the royal court, or else medieval wenches--I got the photo from the Tucks website. It's from the 2003 Krewe, and was uncaptioned.)

Here is the krewe's own description of itself, from the website (recognizing 2008 marks their 40th year parading):

The Krewe of Tucks announces the 2008 Theme:
Tucks Tops Faughty but Still Naughty

Known for its irreverence, the Krewe of Tucks began in 1969 as a group of Loyola University students. The club takes its name from Friar Tuck, an uptown pub where two college students decided to create their own Carnival krewe after unsuccessfully trying to become white flambeaux carriers. The parade has grown from a small nighttime parade of pick-up trucks into a procession of major proportions. In 1983 the parade became a daytime event and in 1986 the parade route finally stretched to downtown. Even though the club has grown in size and stature, Tucks has not lost its sense of humor.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Yipes, January 2008 is already past, and I posted only one blog entry in the entire month. Somehow time got away from me. I hope to make up for it in February.

Rather than focusing on a single topic today, I have a miscellany of comments.

It's now Carnival Time in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is extremely early this year--Tuesday, February 5. Because it's right in mid-winter, there's been a lot of rain and cold weather (well, cold for New Orleans--to us, anything under 60 degrees is cold). Already a number of parades were rained out. (Most of them were rescheduled to other days and nights, sometimes resulting in as many as four parades rolling one after the other.) Tonight (Friday, February 1) starts the really intense weekend that leads up to Fat Tuesday itself. Hotels are 90% full and will be 100% by Tuesday. Our favorite saying here is Laissez les bons temps rouler, that is, "Let the good times roll!"--not grammatically correct French, but idiomatic Cajun French.

I no longer go out to the parades myself; my physical problems preclude walking distances or standing for any length of time, both of which are necessary if you want to watch parades. Now I stay at home and watch it on TV. I'll spend Mardi Gras day at a friend's home, playing Trivial Pursuit and eating junk food. Maybe I'll wear a mask and wig to stay in the spirit of the day.

I posted in early December about my fractured wrist. The cast was removed three weeks ago and the fracture's healing nicely. I'm astonished by how much range of motion I lost simply by having it immobilized for five weeks. Unfortunately, it's my dominant hand, too. I'm taking occupational therapy sessions to regain full use of the wrist. I sit in my recliner chair at night, doing wrist exercises while reading and watching TV.

And here a segue: For most of my life I have spent little time watching TV, a residual of my childhood--when I became a bookworm to escape the constant battles between my brother and sister over which channel to watch on the family TV. I've gone through life oblivious to television programs that were cultural icons for others. Ever since Hurricane Katrina, however, I've found myself watching TV more and more, especially news programs and sitcoms. My TV time increased so much during the past year that I began scheduling my activities around my favorite programs.

I assume the TV addiction was a reaction to some extreme stress I underwent in 2007. Perhaps my brain needed rest.

As a result of the Hollywood writers' strike, however, my favorite shows went into rerun mode early, due to lack of scripts. After going months with having read very few books, a couple of months ago I started reading again. Since November I've averaged about a book a week--a low rate compared to my former reading pace, but an improvement over the preceding months. I've decided to start keeping a list of what I read this year, encouraged by the lists of my blog buddies Charles Gramlich, Tim Hallinan, and Lisa Kenney. I wish now I'd kept a list all my life--it would be cool to look back over the years and remember my past by what I was reading.

It would be hard to match the books-read list of Art Garfunkel, however, at least for sheer duration. He's been keeping his list for almost 40 years, beginning in June 1968. In that time he's read 1023 books, as The New Yorker recently reported in "Lists: The King of Reading," by Nick Paumgarten, January 28, 2008. The article says this works out to an average of 2.16 books per month. The article mentions some of the books on the list--most of them classics or "serious" literature (e.g., Foucault, Balzac, Heidegger, Spinoza, Hazlitt, Milton, Proust), with the occasional foray into popular literature or humor (e.g., Chesterton, Dan Brown). In general, however, Garfunkel says he doesn't read "fluff":

The list contains just—just—enough low- or middle-brow work to suggest sincerity. In the spring of 1996, between “Flaubert in Egypt” and “I, Claudius,” he took on “You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again,” by Robin, Liza, Linda, and Tiffany. In February, 2004, he gave Dan Brown a go before returning to Flaubert and Aristophanes. He has read several books by the actress Carrie Fisher, one of Simon’s ex-wives, as well as “Simon and Garfunkel: The Definitive Biography” (in May, 1998, two years after it was published, and just before moving on to Plato and Locke).

“I avoid fluff,” Garfunkel explained last week, on the phone from a Marriott in Florida. “The stuff that men are always reading on planes: I don’t read that.” He also doesn’t read postmodern fiction—the Garfunkel Library contains no Pynchon or Barthelme. “I tried ‘Gravity’s Rainbow,’ and I thought it was fraudulent,” he said.

“I read for the reading pleasure, not for the gold star,” he went on.

IMO, Garfunkel shouldn't be called the King of Reading--2.16 books per month isn't much. Many people I know read more than that every week; I know of some people who read a book or more per day. Garfunkel may be King of Books-Read-List Keeping, however, to have faithfully maintained his list for four decades. If you'd like to see the entire list, it's on his website.