Sunday, August 8, 2010

Promised Review of Robert Plant Concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall

First, I have to mention the opening act, Bettye LaVette.  Great bluesy singer that to me was somewhere in-between Gladys Knight and Tina Turner.  Probably closer to Tina.  Her band was great also.  Two or three hours of her music would have been well-worth the money.  Her music and her versions of other's songs were all well done.  Perfect choice to set the mood.
As to Robert Plant and his Band of Joy, it was a thrill and a joy to witness.  They started off with 'Down to the Sea' from his Fate of Nations album.  Sounded great.  They also played quite a few songs from the Band of Joy album (which I will buy when it comes out).  He played quite a few Zep songs, such as Misty Mountain Hop; Houses of the Holy; Rock and Roll; Over the Hills and Far Away; and my two favorites of the night, Tangerine and Thank You. 
One thing in particular that really impressed me was that Plant stepped back and played harmonica or sang back-up while other band members took the spotlight on at least four or five songs. 
Don't miss this concert if it comes your way.  I'm sure this isn't Plant's last tour, but it was well worth the money.  His voice is still wonderful and his band is awesome.

Friday, July 16, 2010

End of another vacation.

Only two days of bliss left.
Spent too much time alone on this one.  The walls start closing in.  Might be a suitable atmosphere when writing about a guy trapped underground, though.

Not much more to say.  Back to work!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Update for 'The Drifter' and some rambling on.

81 pages and nearly 20000 words into my sci-fi/PA story called 'The Drifter!' I didn't get as much done this vacation as I hoped I would, but our main character, Mace Christopher is trapped inside an underground city/bunker complex long after a nuclear war, and hideous mutants have found a way inside! Mace Christopher, hired killer, ex-soldier, ex-husband, plunges into depths beyond his capability of dealing with. Hopefully I'm not exagerating when I tell you that it has a breakneck pace and that frankly I'm having a blast writing this one. I put this book off to write Dead Tide, Barren Earth and Dead Tide Rising---The time has come! I have had positive feedback from two readers and it has me stoked. ( I won't identify them in case they'd rather preserve their dignity)Lets take a ride, and forget using the brake for turns---I'll just let off the gas a little.

There is a second, related novel called After Action Report and it is about the same size as this one is presently. I've debated blending the two stories, but it might be better to bookend them like Stephen King's 'Desperation' and 'The Regulators.'

Thanks for putting up with my rambling! The rest of the weekend will be spent celebrating my wife's birthday. Hope you all enjoy the weekend also!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Okay, a few days have gone by, and now I'm on vacation.

So pleased to say that.  The downside is the days go by too fast.  Three are gone already.  I have written 2000 words of The Drifter since then.  Not exactly the level of productivity I hope for, but it was Father's Day weekend.  The story seems to be shaping up quite well.  May have to send a sample to a certain loyal fan, to be sure it is.
I'll post something story related in the next day or two.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Watched a friend's son graduate high school tonight.

Pretty large graduating class.  Far more female honor students than male.  Are women smarter (or just more focussed) than men?  Is it that maturity thing?
Sure was a lot of young people about to embark into this insane world we live in.
Wonder how many of them even have a clue what they'd like to do with their future?  Are they cattle matching down the chute to the abbattoir or newly-minted adults about to make calculated, rational decisions?
By my twentieth re-union I think eight of my classmates were dead.  This particular class, 2010, had already lost two of theirs.
Here's to my friend's son, a fine young man named Keenan.  May you live and love well and make the most of life.  Dreams are within reach.  It is just a question of how bad you want it.
Another friend's son graduates tomorrow.  Stefan, I wish the same for you!
Time for this old man to hit the sack.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What? Another post so soon?

I must be turning over a new rock or something.  I could attribute positive actions such as this (posting on my blog) as merely a good day, but why?  I'll take it for whatever it is.  The good news is that I am writing and I hope to write a lot more on my vacation in a couple weeks. 

Might even post some more of the story soon if enough people are interested.  And yes, there will be more from the world of slime molds and the dog turd fungus!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

So, for those who are interested, how about a little teaser from my upcoming novel, 'The Drifter?'

This excerpt is from 'The Drifter' or 'Test Group Six,' not sure of the title yet.  If you prefer one title over the other, please feel free to comment.   Sorry, I yanked this, but the teaser is back now...  I'll see about some more later.  ;)

I can hear the advertisement coming through the open doors behind me.

“Lucid Stillness, key to space travel and possible panacea for disease and death by old age. Join a test group near you. Colony ships to the Bacchus System planets are taking volunteers now! Escape to the colonies and live the adventure of your life. All made possible by Terratech Corporation and Swansong Petrochemicals!”

Too late for me.

Or is it?

From the balcony on the fifth floor of the Hotel Las Nubes De Sal, I watch the sun go down in a big, blood red ball. Another magnificent Madeira Beach sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. With the sound of surf rolling in, I take a last long drag on the cigarette, then toss the butt toward the garbage can a few feet away. I insert the last slug into the .357’s cylinder and then flick it closed.

The cellular impant phone in my left ear gives a discrete beep and I answer, “Mace here.”

The voice is guttural, but calm, with no trace of the rage boiling within the man. "You know Mace, I don't really care how you do it, I just want you to do to it."

"You don’t care how I kill Wertz, or his goddamned enforcer?"

"Both. I'm trying to be civilized here. I'm becoming more sensitive, you might say."

“It’s all that book-reading you do, Boss. Next thing you know, we’ll be opening a flower shop like that guy, Capone’s enemy. What was his name…Some Irish guy, I just can’t remember now.”

“Doesn’t matter Mace, that was two hundred years ago. Just take care of business for me, ok?”

“You got it Capo!” I say.

The man laughs over a thousand miles away, then hangs up the phone on his end.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Only two people like Fungi and Mold?

Or do I really only have two fans?


What is the truth?  I mean what could be sexier than fungus and mold?  You'd think people would be busting me in the chops for more.  Guess it is a good thing this hasn't caught on.  My job leaves me brain dead by the end of the day.  Not much left---Certainly nothing normal. 

How many people can claim they've sang 'Danke Schoen' over a retailer's   intercom system?   That is just a hint of the insanity lurking close to the surface of my mind.

Good fun too. 

I'll try to improve the content of this blog.  You never know what may happen if I start to use this place to blow off steam.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Lost in Time

So far I'm about as faithful to this blog as I was to my diary as a teenager.  There are huge holes where my job sucked up and devoured large portions of my life.  Not complaining.  I'm lucky to have a job, let alone the ability to write a novel. 

Of course, it wasn't a job interfering with my writing as a teen, but simple laziness or lack of interest.  Not that there wasn't good stuff going on.  Duty calls.  Pick back up on this later.

Or not.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A great quote

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
Dr. Suess

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Question of the day

What are Cryptogamus plants?  Give up?  They are soft, spongy growths that are destitute of chlorophyll.  They derive nourishment wholly, or chiefly from organic compounds. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Primarily, this blog will feature samples from my novels or other works.

First, how about a couple of blurbs from authors you may know:

“Dead Tide is a fast-paced journey full of zombie mayhem, in
which ordinary people encounter the most gruesome monsters,
both living and dead. Any fan of zombie fiction should enjoy
this page-turning romp.”
—Dr. Kim Paffenroth, Bram Stoker Award-winning
author of Gospel of the Living Dead, Dying to Live,
and Dying to Live: Life Sentence

“A militant zombie novel that, like all good zombie novels,
bares the predatory nature of mankind. [Dead Tide is] a
wonderfully brutal debut for Library of the Living Dead.”
—D.L. Snell, author of Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines
This novel also includes an Introduction from David Dunwoody, Cover Art by Dan Galli, and was edited by Travis Adkins.
Here is the prologue from my zombie novel, Dead Tide(Not sure why, but some of the
paragraphs didn't format properly when I copied and pasted.  The irregularities don't
show up on the edit page---My apologies):

FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS he finds it difficult to see, but chief among
them is the protective mask over his face. Fortunately it is the newest
model, a fairly sleek piece of rubber with large binocular lenses. Even
so, he can feel a film of sweat forming on his forehead and cheeks.

As the helicopter drops lower, the haze hanging over the small
town becomes apparent. The northern side of the town is enveloped
in roiling smoke and flame. The chopper banks right and circles
clockwise in toward a parking lot that is the landing zone.

“Get ready Jacobs,” the pilot says over the headset.

Jacobs takes off the headset and puts his helmet on quickly. The
other men around him are already tense and poised, ready to go. The
chopper settles, hovering about a foot off the ground and men begin
to jump to the asphalt from the open doors on either side. Jacobs is
last and the chopper is pulling up even as he jumps. He lands fine,
and quickly takes a knee, with his M-4 carbine held up to his cheek.
He activates the laser sight.

Roughly fifty yards away are a line of storefronts. From left to
right they are: a Chinese restaurant, a liquor store, a grocery store, a
pawnshop, and a beauty parlour. Some cars off to his left are still
parked in orderly rows, but not those near the front of the grocery
store. Two cars and a pickup are locked together burning just ten feet
from the store’s entrance. Jacobs can smell gasoline. Broken bodies
and shattered glass litter the ground. A state trooper’s cruiser is parked
on the sidewalk at the entrance to a liquor store. No sign of the trooper.

Jacobs glances to his left, and activates his mike. “Headcount!”

Each of the five men sound off over the headset. Right now, each
is in position in a circle perimeter with roughly ten meters between
each man, all facing outwards to cover each other.

“Listen up. We’re going to leapfrog up to the store’s entrance.

Booth, Hicks and Lepski will go first. Shell, Watson and I will follow.
Got it?”

“Yes sir!”

“Then move it!”

Shell and Watson move up on either side of him. A second or two
later, the other three men sprint toward a camper with a horse trailer.
They cover the twenty or so yards without incident. Booth kneels at
the rear of the trailer, Hicks at the middle in between the trailer and
camper, and Lepski at the front of the camper.

“Go,” Jacobs orders, and his men comply, scrambling to follow
him as he sprints left of the trailer toward a scorched yellow minivan.
Somebody with an automatic weapon opens up, firing several
bursts that tear up the asphalt all around him. A shot whines past and
another tears a gouge across his right thigh. Breath rasping, he makes
the final few steps and falls near the rear of the van. Shell and Watson
drop beside him a moment later.

“You hit, Sarge?” Shell asks, leaning over him. He too is breathing

“Just creased along the thigh. I’m more pissed off than hurt.”

“Yeah, who the hell is shooting at us?”

“Not sure, but it sounded like a Thompson.”

Watson looks up. “You mean that World War Two submachine

“Yes. Did either of you see where the shooter was?”

“I think it came from the liquor store, Sarge,” Watson answers.

“You want me to put some stink on him?” He hefts his light machine
gun like a toy.

Jacobs shakes his head and laughs. Putting some stink on someone
has been the big joke lately. “Be ready in a moment to do just that.”

He then keys his mike. “Booth, you and the others be ready to lay
down cover fire for me and Shell. We’re going to rush the storefront.
Think we got a shooter over at the liquor store. Copy? Over.”

“Roger,” Booth replies. “Whenever you are ready, Sergeant, we
are too. Out.”

“Ready Shell? Let’s go!”

Gunfire erupts and the tinted glass windows and door of the liquor
store shatter. Someone leans around the police cruiser. Before Jacobs
can fire, several rounds hit the guy and knock him flat on his back.
Jacobs keeps running. The crease stings with every step but is

Suddenly the fire slacks off, and he and Shell run past the guy
near the cruiser. Sure enough there is a Thompson in his hand, and
bullets have literally riddled his body.

Just some crazy fuck trying to stay alive.

His boots crunch on the broken glass as he hits the remains of the
door at a sprint.

His boots slip in a big puddle just inside the door, and someone
just inside grabs his protective jacket and the suspender for his ammo
pouch as he falls backwards. A snarling, snapping nightmare straddles
him. The carbine is lost. Where is Shell? Can’t see, but he has one
hand on the thing’s throat and the other struggling with its ripping
fingers. He can feel his equipment belt coming apart. The thing lunges
and his hand on its throat can’t stop it. His mask almost comes loose
with the impact of the thing’s face.

Oh Jesus, it’s chewing on my mask!

So weak. No energy to fight much longer.

A shot rings out, deafeningly loud. The weight of the thing falls

“Fuck Sarge, I’m sorry, I just couldn’t draw my pistol quick enough.
I couldn’t use the Ronson here, or I’d toasted you both.”

“No problem Shell, I think I’m all right. But this mask has to go. I
can’t see a stinking thing.”

“That woman was chewing on it. Probably saved your life.”

The suction is too great for a moment, and the rubber resists, but
it comes free bringing almost immediate relief to his sweaty face.

Vision returns.

He looks at the mask in his gloved hand. The eyepieces are smeared
with blood that is still dripping.

“You said woman?”

Shell nods. “Yeah, it was a woman all right, and if she wasn’t trying
to bite your face off, I might’ve been tempted to leave you two alone.”

Jacobs lifts an eyebrow. “Don’t go there Shell, I’m warning you.

Now where is my carbine?”

“Have a look yourself, Sarge. Look at her…”

Jacobs turns fully toward Shell, and before he can stop himself,
grabs the man by the throat. The other man’s eyes are wide behind
the lenses of his mask. “Get moving, Private! Back outside!” He gives
the man a push backwards.

“Sure thing, Sarge,” Shell says over his shoulder.

Once the other man is gone, Jacobs gives in and looks at the body.
She is wearing a light green jogging outfit and tennis shoes. Her hair
is long, and a light brown with blonde highlights. His rifle is right
beside her.

Wonder what her face looks like? What color are her eyes?

A distant shout snaps him back.

Why am I looking at a dead woman?

Because there is no chance they’ll look back. This one isn’t going
to recoil in fear, hatred, or disgust. No restraining orders. No shouting
or screaming.

No nothing.

He feels a tear course down his cheek, and a long shudder wracks
his body.

He picks up the rifle, checks it over, then heads for the exit.
Once outside he finds his men behind nearby cars, spread out
once again in a circle perimeter, covering all approaches.

Shell stands up. “Are we going to clear the buildings, Sarge?”

Jacobs can see most of the others looking over at him, waiting for
an answer.

“No, we’re not, Shell. You are going to burn them.”

“But there may be healthy people still trapped in there. What if
some people are still alive? I can’t kill innocents.”

Jacobs lifts his carbine up a bit, and the red dot of the laser sight
plays across the asphalt at Shell’s feet. “You heard my order, Shell.
I’m getting impatient.”

It is impossible to read the man’s expression behind the mask,
but he nods, then steps forward from behind the cover of the minivan.
He aims the nozzle of the flamethrower and slowly squeezes the release
and ignition triggers, which requires both hands, one on each pistol

There is a roar as Shell directs a jet of the burning fuel up and
onto the roofs of the stores.

They’ll thank me later, Jacobs thinks.

Ok, Fungi and Mold isn't the focus, but it could be...

My blog's title hearkens back to my days as the lead writer of a 'for free' computer game called Mutants Rising. I spent four years trying to finish the game, but left when my second novel was published in 2008. During that time period, I would feel the urge to blow off steam, and so one day in a fit of madness "Your portal to the world of slime molds and photo-sensitive algae" was born!

Stephen A. North