Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And the Winner is...

Ah, the fateful day is finally upon us. It’s time to reveal the winner of my “Scare Me” contest. I thought this would be a lot more fun than it turned out to be. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy reading everyone’s entries; it was that I enjoyed them all so much, it became almost painful to come to a decision. I can safely say that my readers are some of the most talented on the net. You people are awesome. In the end, I still had to come up with one winner. After much waffling and near declarations, I’ve finally narrowed the list down to the winner (there can be only one), I think…no, no, I’m certain. This is definitely the winning entry:

Yesterday, I was watching a news story about a ten-old boy who had been strangled. He’d been branded just over his heart. They didn’t say what the brand was, but I knew. It’s a cross.

This disturbed me greatly. Not because of the ghastly circumstances, or the pain he must have endured, but simply because I had not done it.

This tantalizing little treat was brought to us by Damien Navillus. Please stop by his website to see more about our talented winner. He also has a blog on MySpace. Be sure to give him props for winning out over nearly thirty other entries.



Congratulations, Damien. Not only do you receive link love from all four of my most visited websites, but you also receive a free copy of my latest e-book, The Writing on the Wall.

I want to give out a giant thank you to all of the participants. It was truly a pleasure to read your words. You’ve awed me with your talent.

Oh and have yourself a Happy Halloween. Stay safe and be sure to check your candy well before it goes anywhere near your mouth.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Recap

We had a great weekend, filled with tricks, treats, and good eats.

Friday, I was too exhausted for much of anything (not much sleep Thursday night, obviously). We hung out and talked until it was time for my son to go to bed, then I managed to stay awake long enough for us to watch Hostel II. Man, is that one twisted flick. Yeah, I thought it was awesome. It had several unexpected twists and turns that, in my humble opinion, made it an even better watch than the first one. I may have to watch it again, when I’m not so punch drunk to make sure the statement stands, but it was good enough to keep me awake when all I could think about before we put it in was going to sleep.

Saturday, we hit our local Pumpkin Patch to find the biggest orange beast we could carry back to the car. The pumpkin ritual (both selection and the subsequent carving) is quickly becoming one of my favorite Halloween traditions.

After we unloaded the mammoth gourd, we decided to slip out for a bite to eat. Compadres was the undisputed choice of the day. If you love good Mexican food, I highly recommend you give this place a try.

After dinner, we took my son out to HallowZooeen at the Tulsa Zoo. It was a bit crowded for my taste, but I think we still managed to have a great time. We all three went in costume and we had as much fun playing with each other as we did gathering mounds of candy and certificates.

It was fairly late when we returned from the zoo, but not so late that we didn’t have time to hit a costume party before we retired for the evening. My neighbors across the street threw quite the shin dig and it was kid friendly so we all had a groovy time. My son even got to play DJ a couple of times. It was a hoot.

Sunday, we had a fairly lazy day. We went over some course work that has been plaguing my son (much to his chagrin). Then we settled in to watch another twisted little movie, 2001 Maniacs. Southern Fried horror, with a touch of a good B-Movie feel, what more could a horror buff ask for?

Of course, the icing on the cake for my weekend was watching my New England Patriots put a colossal size hurtin’ on the Redskins (yeah, I’m not even going to bother to give them a link). Final score: 52-7. All I can say is wow.

So, what did you do over the weekend?

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Where There's Smoke...

Ah, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being gently pulled from a deep slumber by a blaring, air-raid style, fire alarm. After I pried myself from the ceiling, I realized what it was (and where I was for that matter, I’m still up in Denver). I threw on a pair of jeans, searched the room I’m staying in (didn’t take long as it is about the size of my closet at home) and rushed outside. The fire trucks were already pulling into the parking lot (kudos to the boys in the yellow slickers for responding so quickly), but I still couldn’t see any smoke.

Before long, the fire trucks killed their lights, still no smoke, but that cursed siren was still wailing. I milled around for a bit, along with all of the other dazed and confused occupants. Finally, after nearly an hour they managed to get the siren turned off. I never did find out what caused it to go off in the first place. Quite frankly, I was just too tired to care. I hope that doesn’t happen again any time soon.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.
(30 August 2007, Kansas City, Missouri) Tired neighbors were roused from their warm beds by blaring music that just would not stop. They staggered sleepily into the street, where a car was rocking with loud music, and a man was speaking with a police officer. The officer explained the situation to the pajama-clad crowd.

Two women and a man had been cruising around after a long night of partying, when the ladies decided to dance, dance, dance in the street. That decision was not very sensible, but their next decision was very nearly fatal. They failed to set the parking brake!

The car began to move. It slowly but inexorably rolled over both dancers. The male passenger (a back seat driver) climbed over the front seat and braked the car before it inflicted further damage.

The passenger was hospitalized with head injuries. The driver, who obviously suffered from head problems, too, fled the scene. Sgt. Jim Fuller remarked, "That's really stupid. I will be that blunt. It doesn't show much common sense whatsoever."



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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Born to be Wild

Furio pushed the kickstand down on his custom chopper, swung his leg over the backseat, stood and stretched. His back creaked and popped in protest. It’s been a long ride. He unzipped his leather jacket, letting the cool fall air wash over his damp T-shirt. He eyed his dust covered bike. Even with the layer of grime, the orange and red flames looked almost alive as they snaked across his midnight blue gas tank. It was a damn fine machine, a testament to American pride, all chrome and fury.

He’d been on the road for weeks, stopping every evening in a new town. He was born with a nomadic heart, but that wasn’t the reason for this quest. He was searching and tonight his hunt brought him to Chanute, Kansas. Time was running out.

He stopped at the door of the convenience store, knocked the dust off his boots before he strolled inside and made a beeline for the refrigerated units in the back, plucking a 32 oz. Miller from the rack. Brain Grenade, just what the doctor ordered.

He set the bottle on the counter and dug out his wallet as the kid behind the counter stared at him with wide eyes. At six foot five and two hundred forty pounds, he tended to have that effect on people. He pushed his sunglasses up on his forehead and gave the kid a wink, let them drop back to the bridge of his nose.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to bite you,” Furio said, handing over a sawbuck. His voice carried the deep rumble of thunder riding on a storm cloud in the spring.

“Sorry,” the kid said, averting his eyes. “I didn’t mean to stare.”
“Don’t sweat it.” Furio shrugged his massive shoulders. “Do you know if there’s a biker friendly bar around these parts?”
“There’s always a few Hogs in front of Dagwood’s, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a friendly bar.”
“Sounds like my kind of place.” Furio grinned, causing the kid to turn away again. “Where’s it at?”
“Just head east on Highway 39. You can’t miss it. It’s only like ten minutes from here,” he replied, counting out the change.

Furio spun the cap of the bottle and turned it up. Air bubbles quickly replaced the golden fluid. He sat the bottle on the counter and wiped the stray splashes of beer from his salt and pepper beard with the back of his hand.
“Thanks for the info, kid,” he said, pushing the door open with his boot.

Furio zipped up, straddled the bike and hit the ignition. The bike roared to life beneath him. He let the clutch out just enough to urge the bike forward until he faced the direction of the highway. He rolled the throttle full open and dumped the clutch. The back tire broke free, sending a shower of gravel out in front of him. He slid sideways all the way onto the blacktop of Highway 39. He switched gears, righting the bike, and sped away from the setting sun.

The kid was right, you can’t miss this place. Dagwood’s crawled into view. It was an old wooden building, bleached grey by the weather. The roof was a patchwork of different colored shingles, some of which had come loose and curled up under the weight of the harsh Kansas summer. A handful of bikes lined the wooden porch at the front of the little dive.

Furio backed his bike into an empty spot closest to the exit. You can never be too careful these days. He dismounted in a fluid motion that belied his size, he removed his sunglasses and hung them from his throttle cable. The sun was all but a memory for the day and he was sure he wouldn’t need them inside.

The battered door of the bar had once been painted red, but weather and more than a little abuse had left it pocked and peeling exposing the brittle dry rotted wood beneath. Furio stood just inside the doorway, letting his eyes adjust to the dimly lit, smoke filled room. The jukebox in the corner had the volume turned low, but he could still make out the song The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.

The hairs on your arm will stand up at the terror in each
Sip and each sup will you partake of that last offered cup
Or disappear into the potter's ground
When the man comes around



Furio walked to the bar, the boards creaking beneath his feet from their enormous load. He took an empty stool near the taps in the middle.

“What can I do you for?” the bartender asked curtly.
“I’ll take Miller High Life, draft.” Furio pointed at the appropriate tap. “And perhaps some information.”
“What kind of information?” he didn’t move to get Furio’s beer.
“I’m looking for a man,” Furio began.
“Sorry, fella, but this isn’t that kind of bar.” The bartenders scowled.
“You’re a funny guy.” Furio paused to crack his neck. “A regular fucking comedian. Now, how about that beer?”

“Coming right up,” the bartender grabbed a mug from beneath the counter and filled it with golden liquid, seemingly unaffected by Furio’s growing ire.
“You got a name?”
“Everybody’s got a name,” he quipped, sliding the beer to Furio.
“Yeah, but what’s yours?”
“Folks around these parts just call me Mack.”
“So Mack, this guy would’ve been coming through here about a week ago, maybe less. Answers to Zanna,” Furio began again.

“Hey buddy, I hate to burst your bubble, but we get a lot of people in and out of here. Unless he’s a regular, I’m thinking your shit out of luck.”
“No, this guy is a drifter. He can’t stand to be in one place too long, but if he’s been here I bet you’d remember him.” Furio let out a long sigh.
“Fine, since you seem hell bent on busting my balls about your boyfriend, I’ll humor you. Let’s get this over with, so I can get back to work,” Mack said in a put out voice. “What does he look like?”

Furio stood, towering over the bartender, held his hand palm down against his chest. “He’s about this high, has black hair, lamb chop sideburns, a braided goatee and a tattoo of the man in the moon on the side of neck.”
The bartender stiffened at the mention of the tattoo. “Is this Zanna a friend of your?”

Furio could barely contain his excitement. “He’s been here! How long ago. Did he say he would come back?”
“Bear, Johnny, Clint.” Mack waved at a group of biker’s playing pool in the back of the bar. “This is the asshole buddy of that freak from the other night.”

A dozen bikers wearing patches sporting the logo of the Devil Dawgs, M.C. on their jackets answered the bartender’s call. Several of them pulled pistols seemingly from out of the air, they materialized so fast. The others pulled knives from boots and sleeves.

“Whoa!” Furio held his ham sized hands in front of him. “I just said I was looking for him, I never claimed to be his friend.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t deny it until the brother’s got involved,” the irate bartender countered, ducking under the bar and coming up with a shotgun leveled at Furio’s chest.
“Look, he took something from me. I’m just trying to get it back. I’ve got no beef with any of you.” Furio moved his hands above his head to show he meant no harm.

“What a coincidence,” Mack paused, whistled appreciatively. “He took something from us too. My bet is that you’re our ticket to get it back.”
“Oh, no.” Furio shook his head. “How many?”
“You asked if he said he’d come back. You knew he did. That first night, he was all smiles and free beers for everyone in the bar.” Mack let the barrel of the shotgun rest on the bar. His eyes grew vacant as recounted the encounter.

“How many?” Furio repeated.
“The second night, he began to show us stuff. Weird stuff. Shit like I ain’t never seen before, man. The way he moved stuff around and made things disappear. He was like that fella from the TV only better, because we were all right here, we could see with our own eyes what he was doing and I’m telling you right now he didn’t have any hidden cables to help him pull it off. He still had that wonderful smile and was ready with the free beer between stunts.”

“How many?” Furio asked again, his voice growing louder.
“The third night, he dropped the bomb on us. He made his proposition. He kept that god awful smile the whole time he laid it out for us. Hell, I thought he was joking at first, but then…when I realized he wasn’t--”
“How fucking many?” Furio roared, causing the crowd to take a step back.

“He said that they weren’t tricks,” Mack continued undeterred, apparently lost in his own private hell. “He said it was real magic. Big bad voodoo magic, that’s what ol’ Hawk called it. He said he would show us how to do it, make us like him. We could do anything we wanted. All we had to do was make a gesture of good faith to prove our commitment, to prove we were worthy.”

Furio’s right hand shot out, grabbed Mack by the front of the shirt, and dragged him over the bar with blinding speed. “How many?” Furio held Mack at eye level, his feet dangling a good foot from the floor.
The air came alive as the other bikers cocked their pistols, pointed them at Furio.

“Two,” Mack muttered. “He said if we gave him two he would show us wonders beyond our wildest dreams. He would make us gods.”

Furio lowered him to the floor, ran his gaze over the frightened faces of the others. They sickened him. “Do you even realize what you’ve done?”

I realize what I’ve done. I’ve just given you a teaser. Sorry folks, I can’t print any more of this because this is the first part of a short story I finished last week. But by what you’ve read so far, does this sound like something you would be interested in reading more about?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Where Have I Been?

So, it’s been awhile since I posted and I apologize for that, but I’ve been quite the busy bee. I had a blessed extended stay at home and yes…I soaked up as much family time as I possibly could.

Where do I begin? Perhaps the beginning, but no, we don’t have that kind of time. I think I will stick to a few highlights.

I received another review for The Writing on the wall.

Here is the link, but the review contains a rather significant spoiler, so don’t click on the review if you haven’t had a chance to read the story yet. I offer this taste instead:

From the first page, The Writing on the Wall snags its reader. Its novella length makes it easy to finish in one day, and the gritty writing doesn’t hold back on details when it comes to describing the many graphic scenes of gore.

Yeah, I was pretty stoked about that…

We spent a lot of time at home, this time around. Yes, we went out to eat and even met up with a couple of friends at one point, but the bulk of our time was spent curled up together on the sofa.

I’ve also spent some time going through the submissions to the contest. You guys are awesome. There is some really great material in there. If you haven’t sent in you’re entry, don’t worry…you still have time and I am far from picking a winner.

Oh, before I forget, my wife and I both fell in love with a wonderful little series from Showtime. It’s fun little show called Dexter. Have you heard of him? No? Quick, click on the link above so the next sentence makes a bit more sense. Yeah, a serial killer with a heart of gold, this guy is right up my demented little alley.

Sadly, the storyline, made me have to alter a storyline I was working on, but that’s not really the show’s fault now is it?

On my reluctant return to Denver, I discovered they’ve already had the season’s first snow. This would be really neat if I didn’t have such an aversion to the cold.

I’m sure there are a few other significant topics I’m skimming over, but it appears I have a couple of hundred emails to catch up on, so I must bid you all adieu.

So, what did you do to occupy your time while I was away?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scare Me

I love this time of year. The changing colors, the smells, the brisk mornings and the sunny afternoons all play their part in the magic of Fall. With all of the beauty that surrounds us, it is quite appropriate that we have a holiday to give it all balance. For nearly the entire month of October the thoughts of the masses seem to lean towards horror. I know Halloween is the primary cause for this, but I think the longer nights have something to do with it as well. The darkness grows, lending fuel for dark imaginations.



I’ve been inspired by some of the shorts posted over at Storytellers Unplugged. You will find several pieces there that are brief, but very powerful.



Then of course, I saw the contest Joe Schreiber had on his blog where he asks for the creepiest excerpts from a children’s book.



So, I thought it might be fun to combine the two. Let’s see how dark you can be. I want you to rock my world, but I want you to do it in sixty words or less. So, come on over and show me your shorts. It can be a passage or if you’re up to the challenge, an entire story.



What’s in it for you, you ask? Well, the winner will receive a free copy of my e-book The Writing on the Wall. In addition I will post the winning entry on all four of my websites complete with link love giving the author full credit.



The contest will run from now until midnight (CST) on the 28th of October and I will announce the winner on Halloween. Please send entries to jgoodman@goodysworld.com.



Thanks for playing…

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Rock Me

Friday was an interesting day. I hopped on a plane in Denver around 4:50 and my wife met me at the airport at 7:30. She then whisked me away to see Puddle of Mudd and Deepfield in concert.
I had never heard Deepfield, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. To put it quite plainly: They are a down and dirty rock band, who pulls no punches. They had a hard gritty sound that was amplified by the lead singer’s unique style and almost anguished vocals. Their stage presence wasn’t half bad either. I look for this band to go places.


Puddle of Mudd rocked the house, there are no two ways about it. The way they worked the crowd was a thing of beauty. These guys are awesome live. Their onstage sound is very much akin to that of Nirvana, so much so, that it was no surprise when then performed a cover of the Nirvana song Breed and damn well at that. Performers to the end, they left the stage, only to return for encores on three separate occasions. The crowd went while. If you ever get a chance to see them play live, I highly suggest you take advantage of it. I hope to see them again soon.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Human Monster

Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?

I’ve plunged myself into my next project. It is a story I’m doing by request and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. There’s something different about this story. It is different than anything else I’ve produced, save maybe a few shorts. There are no monsters, zombies, vampires or even demons. No, for this story I will be exploring the human monster, but there is nothing otherworldly about him. Can I make him scary without the assistance of beasties? Oddly enough, I think I can. For me there is nothing scarier than my fellow man. There is always a safety net when dealing with imaginary creatures, but when you’re reading about the actions of a man, well…it could really happen. These are the thoughts that would keep me up at night when I was younger.

I want you to think back over every scary story you’ve ever read. What character (or creature) affected you the most? Did you ever have a story that scared you so much you had to put the book in the freezer to keep the evil contained? If so, I want to know about it.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(19 August 2007, Serbia) It's well known that alcohol impairs judgement. It's well known that carnivorous wild animals and humans don't mix well. What happens when we combine all three? One might expect a concoction of men, bears, and beer to have lethal consequences. Such was the case for a 23-year old man who inadvertently fed himself to Masha and Misha at the Belgrade Zoo.

The Zoo director said of the incident, "Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage."

The man's naked, mauled corpse was found inside the bear habitat, along with several mobile phones, bricks and stones, and plenty of beer cans. His clothes were completely undamaged, suggesting that he approached the bears naked. They may have feared that his intentions were not honorable. Certainly, his intentions were ill-informed.

Masha and Misha "reacted angrily" when keepers tried to recover the man's corpse, but were eventually persuaded to give up their tasty prize. We await word on how many beers were bartered for the body.



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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Big Pimping

Resplendence Publishing had a huge launch party yesterday. They are now open for business. I look for this publisher to do great things. They’ve already put together a wonderful group of authors and have been burning up the trail getting the word out about their upcoming titles. They have a wide variety to choose from (mine is the only horror novel they’ve picked up so far) and some of the best editors in the business. Stop by and pick up a gem of your own. You won’t be disappointed.

Speaking of picking up gems *clears throat*, did you know that you can download a copy of The Writing on the wall for less than $5? That’s right for less than the cost of the average lunch, you could own my debut novella. So what are you waiting for?

Just pressed for cash, but would still really groove on some gripping material to read? Friend and author David Niall Wilson has posted a very intriguing short story that happens to be about a vampire over at Storytellers Unplugged. This is not a scary story in the sense of raw emotions and blood, but rather more an introspective dialogue about the state of masses, floating adrift and wondering why. Yes, it is a good read. Don’t believe me? Stop by and judge for yourself.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Recap

We had a wonderful weekend. I flew in fairly early Friday evening and my wife and son met me at the airport, then took me out for a bite to eat. After we caught up on the week’s goings on, it was time to retire.

Saturday, we ventured over to the Tulsa State Fair. It was a blast. Tyler rode rides until his little heart was content, if not a little queasy. He was so proud because he managed to ride a rather large and twisty rollercoaster twice in a row without blowing chunks. Which, you know, was good for all involved.

We ate poorly and played myriad of games along the midway. My son won an enormous stuffed gorilla that he and my wife said reminded them of me. Yes, I’m aware that they are comparing me to a gorilla and no, I don’t find it offensive in the least.

After the fair we went out to see my mother and brother and his family. It was a good visit. I hate that I don’t get to see everyone no more than I do, but I think everyone understands the why of it all.
Tyler spent the night at Mema’s so I took my wife out to celebrate her birthday. We tore up the town like we were a couple of twenty somethings. It was fun, but I’m still recovering. Lack of sleep isn’t as easy to shake off as it was when I was younger.

Sunday, we just hung out around the house. I took some time, much to my son’s delight, to go over some homework with him. Oddly enough, that’s one of the things I really miss about not being there during the week. We also fell victim to one of those suggestive commercials and ordered the new Oreo Pizza from Domino’s. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I was expecting sweet and gooey and what we got was blah cookies on a cardboard crust. Not a big fan.

I flew back out to Denver this morning and boy are my arms tires. *groan* I’m already counting down the days until I can fly back home to see my family.

What did you do this weekend?

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