Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: BURIED ALIVE by Jan Bondeson, W. W. Norton & Company, 2001.

A classic horror story is Poe's "The Premature Burial" spawned out of a real fear that today, many either forgot or simply are unaware ever existed. Mr. Bondeson takes us through the history and the remedies concocted to shave some of the fear from man's greatest fear.

This is a scholarly written volume and is not light reading, but for those of us who don't resort to the more homogenized literary fare; to the more outline driven childish tome, this is an incredible gem of research in understanding the fear, the horror and the problem.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Classic Book Review: NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS by Mac Hyman, 1954

Yet another classic that started with this novel before conquering the Broadway Stage and then film. Before becoming Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith's portrayal about a backwoods country boy's experience in the military is still legendary.

This is fun and meant to be; if you are looking for 'preachiness' of what M*A*S*H became on television this isn't for you.

All salute.

Classic Book Review: THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE by Evan Hunter, 1954

The classic novel that spawned the classic film at the forefront of fifties realistic cinema. Juvenile delinquents and Rock n' Roll. Enough said.

While the modern day and hip, more self-sophisticated reader it may seem dated; remember, without this breakthrough piece we might all be holding hands sitting in a circle singing folk songs. Yuck. Read the book. See the film.

Book Review: William F. Nolan: A MISCELLANY edited by Jason V. Brock, Dark Discoveries Publications, 2011.

Neat chap book that includes a Bibliography along with the not previously anthologized noir short story "Strippers Have To Die" and a superhero comics primer titled "The Guys In Trick Suits" from 1967.

One of the greats from Golden Age standing with Bradbury, Matheson, Beaumont and Bloch; it's a limited edition from the publisher but well worth the read.


I have written Episode 7 of THE BLACKOUT CITY PODCAST. The title of this Joe Smoke episode is DITRY HANDS.

Here is the link:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book of the Day HAUNTED PEOPLE by Hereward Carrington and Nandor Fodor with Photo

THE work on Poltergeist phenomena. This is a book we should all refer to in presenting our fantasies. Published by Dutton in 1951 find the science not the sensationalism that drives the cable ghost hunting programs. Classic hauntings such as the Phelps Case and the Bell Witch come under scrutiny.

Give it a whirl.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



Literature is not only read it is read aloud.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Richard Matheson and James Gandolfini

Two giants have passed in less than a week. Artistically both are icons that can never be replaced.

My first exposure to Richard Matheson was "Little Girl Lost" from 'The Twilight Zone' a marvelously simple and devilishly creative story that later was mimicked in the movie 'Poltergeist'. It was my first 'Twilight Zone' and man was I hooked. His writings are many, famous and inspirational; like his contemporaries Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, and Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson was a hero of mine. I am thankful for what he has left us and am sorry there won't be anymore.

James Gandolfini was an actors' actor. He was complex, varied and made it look easy. He will be remembered primarily for being Tony Soprano, but he was much more. Look at his stage and film work and you find an actor that dominated a role with grace and intelligence.

They both are missed already.

More photos

Okay I get it. We are going to be more photo friendly. I hope that jazzes things up a bit. It does get boring with just text----yeah it does.


Despite the trimmed cover I felt fortunate to procure a copy of this mysterious and legendary novel. The book was published in 1940 just a few weeks after its author, William T. Richards, writing under the name "Willard Rich", committed suicide. Standing as the only published work ever written by Richards, he was employed by one Alfred Lee Loomis whose military laboratory, nicknamed "Tuxedo Park" was located 40 miles north of New York City. Loomis established the MIT Rad Lab and was later instrumental in development of The Manhattan Project. Since the novel allegedly parallels Richards' work and experience at the lab, Loomis purportedly had copies of the novel collected for destruction. But just as with the film Nosferatu some years before, not all copies met their censored end. Please note the novel is surprisingly well written and is readily available. For a mysterious book with a tight mystery, I recommend BRAIN WAVES AND DEATH. I really do. 

No Micro Award For You!!!

Once again we are left out of the running for the Micro Award. Oh well, boo hoo but it certainly strikes me that out of this crop of winners, the e-zines they were published in are now out of business. 

Since this award is largely nominated by editors, so much for awards and longevity. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: "THE LONDON MONSTER: A Sanguinary Tale" by Jan Bondeson, De Capo Press, 2001.

An obscure book about an obscure crime spree and long forgotten trial. Predating Jack The Ripper by almost one hundred years, London of 1790 is besieged by a serial slasher. This is long and scholarly work, one that is not a light read; however, it is a fascinating tale of crime, society, class, punishment, and the sado-sexual world none of us studied in Western Civilization.

If you are as fascinated with the criminal mind and investigation as I am this a book for you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"In the corner, in the lime green trunks, THE UNDISPUTED MASTER OF HORROR..."

I recently did an interview and was told I was up and coming on this list. I thanked the interviewer for the kind words, but was later troubled by the comment. Besides the moniker itself, is the fact that everyone seems to have this verbiage tacked to either the beginning or end of their name.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not big of titles or labels. Perhaps the major reason I don't play well with others, in the corporate world, is I find a title or label to be akin to name tag and frankly, "Hello, My Name Is ..." is the most inane wardrobe accessory ever invented.

As I review books for writers good and bad; as I read on my own; and even browse I am astounded at the number of masters out there. There are so many it is blinding or at least that is what my mother would tell would happen.

How about this, lets just leave the monikers and titles and preludes to the guys who need them to put a spring in their hose; just read my stuff...

DIRTY HANDS to be episode 7 of Blackout City Podcast

As the title to the post indicates, I have taken detective Joe Smoke through another realm of reality in a story/episode titled DIRTY HANDS. This will be episode 7 of the smash noir/science fiction/horror podcast. We will post a link when up.

But currently episode five is up so please take a listen.

It is a great series.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Second podcast script just went out...

This one is called HIT for the BLACKOUT CITY PODCAST. Details to follow when it airs.

Monday, June 17, 2013

HARD BITE THE NOVEL is in paperback

Our friend ANONYMOUS-9's outstanding novel HARD BITE is now in paperback. The launch is this weekend but you can begin to order your copies at this link:

This is a direct link to Amazon:

If you have it on Kindle fine, but get the paperback it is more permanent.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's an Honor

To find a quote from my review in HARDBITE the novel as part of the book's promotion and packaging. Thank you A-9.

Those who choose to ignore.....

Never before have I seen censorship as rampant as today. The glaring examples are not present but the subtle insidious spread of the practice is far worse. From school speeches, to letters from the editor, to book and movie reviews, to even statements that some find political on Facebook.

The regulation of any speech is disgusting. To that there is almost universal agreement.

By the NIMBY style in which this premise is practiced threatens us more than the content of the statement.

We need to have a thicker skin, we need to open our ears, stop rolling eyes and wake up.

What brings this about is the almost boiler plate lecturing given everywhere about feelings. I understand feelings but when emotions rule over intellect irrational behavior is spawn. We need to think before we write and be responsible (a dirty word) for what we write.

Censorship is devoid of speech and censorship is more hateful than any hate speech because censorship stifles ideas and the exchange of views.

The soapbox is closed.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Congratulations to Anonymous-9 and 'Hardbite The Novel'

The paperback version will be out in a matter of days. When we have that link it will be published here and on

The book is a must read.

And I want to publicly thank A-9 for furnishing me with an advance review copy and a marvelous inscription.

My wife and I will cherish this. Thank you.

A link will follow when it is up to stay tuned here and on

Immortal Words All Around

Jerry Lee Lewis once opened the American Music Awards, and I paraphrase, "Elvis Presley and I may never one a Grammy, but we all know who the Kings of Rock n' Roll are."

Amid the audible gasps he then dismembered the piano during a frenzied version of 'Rockin' My Life Away' making it difficult for any real musician to follow.


Well the Bram Stoker Awards are this weekend and the frenzy continues. Many writers are glued to this. I have spoken with young writers and old as well, who are basing the success/failure of their career on having one on a shelf. Other writers tell me they get inspiration from the awards; and not in a way you may think though.

There are those who use it as a style and theme guide.

Really? Well, then you might as well wear a collar while you pant and chew your own butt.


I have nothing against awards; I just take them with a grain of salt. Your work is seen through a heavy gauze of membership, in this case in a club, and then through a faint veil of a whim.

You win you lose big deal. It really should be about the work itself.

A career should not be judged on a plaque or a 'chotsky'; it actually shouldn't be judged on all out sales as history is rife with examples of artists who sold squat and are revered today while others banked coin and have been forgotten.

Your catalogue should be judged on a trajectory of good work and like your life will be judged when you are gone.

Hey congrats to all those nominated and all those who win; but remember this isn't a sprint. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"I'LL BE DAMNED" Reviewed on

Shane Ryan Staley's collection of short stories from Delirium Books is my newest review on right now! Check it out.

Monday, June 10, 2013


I have been busy, hence lax with sending out submissions. It is disappointing actually when you look at the genre and see more and more self-published.

Is there a stigma? Is the stigma lessening?

I don't think the public actually cares, but over time I do and for some silly sense I believe I will be dead longer than alive and does it really make a difference?

First came the floods, then the censoring of Marilyn Monroe's dress?

I had a few days off from writing anything. My apologies. I was dealing with my real job and the fact my basement flooded from groundwater. Takes time to clean and at the end of it all, (if there is an end since there is more work to be had down there), yesterday, in between bouts of bleaching the floor and battling mold I sat and watched movies.

"Dog Day Afternoon" opened the day with Pacino and Cazale. This is one of my favorites and well, you don't want to know about my viewing habits do you? Really?

As the day trundled by and before I knew it I walked in on Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe in the middle of the "Seven Year Itch". When this movie was made, a lot was made over how Marilyn Monroe would be photographed specifically in her flowing white dress and specifically when she stood over that lucky heating grate.

But most certainly the powers that be, those a-moral people who preach morality and always know what is best for rest of society; who always look out for the peasants' best interests; those people who you later find out are as phony as.... well I could get in trouble this morning, so you know what I mean; those pillars of society who want to keep the rest of us pure from immoral thoughts wanted to keep Marilyn's thighs from our lusty view...

Here is my point and it is more pointed than TCM, or the Hayes code censoring an innocent movie shot; the point being, for whatever purpose, we have always been on the receivership of censorship; whether it is in presentation or the collection of content.

We have always sat as panting lap dogs waiting for someone else to entertain us and tell us what is good and bad for us to see, to read, to eat, drink, etc.

Shrug it off, look beyond their soapbox and understand them for what they are. Your best bet is always to vote your dollar.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DIRTY HANDS to be an episode of BLACKOUT CITY Podcast

My episode of the BLACKOUT CITY Podcast titled DIRTY HANDS has been accepted and details of the broadcast will follow. Thank you Mark Slade.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


My flash fiction horror tale, DIRT has been published today on The Carnage Conservatory. Stop by and take a read. IF YOU DARE.....I had to write that...

Hey He's Copying!!!

It has been drummed in our heads from every 'after school special'; every clueless adult with nothing else to say; that we are each 'unique' and 'special'. Yeah. Each of us possess unique and individual talents...

Then why do we as a public at large crave sameness? Why do the many flock to undersized bar and grills, stuff ourselves, not out stomachs, inside these dumps and go wild over cover bands? Especially pretending they are the original.

Personally I don't. I'd rather stay home and listen to a CD or YouTube. At least I know I the songs will be played in the proper tempo and on key.

And why do publishers constantly look for us writers to write 'like Lovecraft' or King or Bradbury?

Why not stick with the original when you want to read something and why not promote the originality of your writers?

We all have a style influenced by those before us. Some of it good and some of it crap.

I realize the marketplace craves the homogenized, the safe, the tried and true.

I also realize that if the arts continue to follow its' standard bearer, Hollywood, I may soon and begrudgingly be forced to change my name to Xerox; or, rather instead, to paraphrase the words of a wise, wise man, be forced 'to drive a truck.'

Monday, June 3, 2013

Well I Hope This Works...I Like It

I am five sixths through my script for the 'Blackout City' podcast. It is a curious tale that I hope they feel will work and it even more curious how I am able to determine 5/6ths.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A HINT OF CINNAMON is published

In Surreal Grotesque Issue 11 titled 'Phobias' just out in the last couple of hours.

Issue 11: Phobias

This is the link. Please read and I hope you enjoy. The artwork is phenomenal.


Ghost Writes Services does offer editing to writers of literature and corporate publications including resumes and press releases. For my darling wife Sydney.

I Guess We Are All On Edge

I guess we are. Everywhere I seem to go everyone is angry; everyone is flaring up. I am even catching myself losing my temper. Is it the heat we are experiencing? Is it the economy? Is it the hopelessness we all feel because our leaders has betrayed us? Is it a combination or all of the above?

Is it the sinus medication I just took?

I don't know but as we open a new month, this living in a life and death, sudden death stasis is too much to handle.

I think a story is coming on...