Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Phew--the book release party is over. Actually, it's been over for a while: it's after four o'clock in the morning, but I'm still wired.

I am amazed and humbled to have such great friends--I love you guys. For the past week I've really been sweating this party, preparing myself in case no one showed up (and why would they, after all? On a weeknight? For a hermit like me?), but pretty much everybody was there. Incredible. It gets me a little choked up, to tell you the truth--it was a beautiful night. I only wish I could have talked longer with everybody individually, which I look forward to doing over the next few days and weeks. I hope nobody felt snubbed, or bored by my nervous ramblings. I should have prepared a speech...and hired some suave bastard to read it. But all in all, the whole thing went well. Beyond well.

Anyway, thank you all. Okay, now it's 5am. I better at least try to get some sleep.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Well, I'm doing something I've never done before: throwing a book-release party. What book, you say? Well, since you ask, I'm talking about my novel, XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES. So if you happen to be in Providence, Rhode Island, at 7pm on Tuesday the 29th, I invite you to come by Books on the Square, 471 Angell Street, and join me for some food, drink, and naked fisticuffs. No!--I meant genteel conversation.

Oh, and I've just confirmed that from 1-4pm on Saturday, October 3rd, I'll be signing books at B. Dalton Books, S. Shore Plaza, in Braintree, MA. At the very least I'll have snacks there, so that should be a good time, too. I'm a no-pressure kind of guy.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES book trailer is finally done!

I don't quite get the whole book trailer thing. I only recently heard of this phenomenon of authors making video teasers for their books, and to me it just seems like one more burden on struggling writers. The rich ones can afford to pay thousands of dollars for a slick-looking, professionally-made trailer, but the less fortunate are screwed...and it has zero to do with the quality of the book.

Even so, I thought it might be fun to make one. Stage the Xombie Apocalypse with only materials I had on hand or could get for next to nothing. I already had a clunky old video camera, so my biggest expense was art supplies; mainly masking tape, clay, and spray paint--maybe twenty bucks worth of stuff. The rest all came out of my recycling bins or from the Salvation Army.

I've always loved making short films. When I was a kid, my best friend and I spent our summers filming little space movies on his Super 8 camera, shooting model spaceships against a black velvet bedspread, then etching laser bolts directly on the film. I loved everything about it: building the models, shooting them, blowing them up, editing the film (literally by cutting and pasting), then finally adding the effects. In recent years I've enjoyed working as an actor for my friends' theater and film projects, but here was a chance to make my own little movie. At the very least it would be an interesting challenge.

Holy hell, what an ordeal. It took me three months longer than I thought it would. Everything that could go wrong, did, including my ancient Hi-8 camera needing to be sent away for repairs (I looked into buying a new one, but the color quality didn't mesh with what I'd already shot). But in the end it all came together, thanks to the camerawork of my son Max, the patience of my wife Cindy (who had to put up with a houseful of puppets and cardboard props all summer), the editing know-how of my friend Steve Ahlquist, and the last-minute voice talent of my friend Tangie Miner. Speaking of voices, the "music" on the soundtrack is some impromptu harmonizing by me and Max, and I did the percussion with two kitchen whisks. Call it my tribute to Hardware Wars.

Enuf said. Here's the link to the trailer:

Friday, September 04, 2009

Wow...I just saw a trailer for the movie The Road, based on the Cormac McCarthy book. That book is so gloomy I was wondering how they could ever make it into a watchable film...but I must admit it looks pretty good. Kind of a Road Warrior vibe--lots of post-apocalyptic bad guys driving junk vehicles, and the good guy (Viggo Mortensen) trying to protect his child from the marauders. Be interesting to see if it holds up, but I like what I saw.

Oh, I also saw the trailer for James Cameron's Avatar. I try to avoid learning too much about movies I'm interested in (I deliberately skipped the Avatar presentation at Comic-Con) but a lot of what I've been hearing has been negative, so I finally decided to check out the trailer for myself. Frankly, I think it looks pretty amazing. I mean, come on! A crippled Earthman infiltrating an alien tribe amid a backdrop of interstellar jungle warfare? It's like the best Edgar Rice Burroughs story never written, illustrated by Frank Frazetta. Spaceships and exotic planets and sexy blue aliens riding flying beasts--how can anyone not love that? And in 3-D!

Speaking of cool weird stuff, I just read Bob Fingerman's illustrated book Connective Tissue, which is like Dante meets Lewis Carroll meets Jonathan Swift meets Harvey Kurtzman (in full-on Little Annie Fannie mode) and narrated by a juicier Janeane Garofalo. It's the tale of a pulchritudinous and smartly snarky New York chick who is literally snatched from her dead-end job and dropped into a surreal wasteland full of freaks and geeks. Is it Hell...or just a really bad trip? I'll just say that by the end it really doesn't matter--it's all about the ride. You'll never look at Gummi Bears the same way again.