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Sep. 11th, 2013

Bleeding the Vein and Forgotten Souls News

Happy to announce that my recent novel, Bleeding the Vein, will go electronic in October from Gallows Press! Also in October, Gallows will be releasing my first novel, Forgotten Souls, in trade paperback. This edition also included an extensive rewrite.

www.gallowspress.com

Aug. 13th, 2013

Random Thoughts of an Addicted Runner, Episode 4

My Sunday slow and steady 18-mile run left me motionless for a couple hours and could not get up out of my favorite chair except to hobble to the bathroom when necessary, so this episode is a little overdue. But a great run just the same…well, except for the last mile when I suddenly turned 80 and could barely lift my toes above the road to scrape my soles forward. Absolutely exhausted during this run, as I failed to monitor what I had eaten for the days leading up to this run, and of course, missed the mid-week runs thinking I would be fine. My legs did NOT agree.

A hint of this run came with the first half mile as my ankles popped, knees groaned, and quads burned a wee bit. Slowing down in pace, I let my legs adjust to what my mind knew was going to be a definite challenge. Turns out, my mind and I would have a constant battle from mile 14 and on, just to continue. Somehow, I had to send my mind elsewhere throughout the run, to think about anything but the numbness, the aches, and the pain. For these types of runs, where the latter half appears as a significant wall I have to slowly chisel my way through, I have ways to trick my mind into thinking the rest of my body is happy as a monkey slinging poop against the walls.

Mile 1-3 typically involve me searching for my groove, either speeding up or slowing the pace to adjust as necessary and find a level of breathing that is comfortable enough for me to think about other things. This point is usually at 3-miles and today was no different. At mile 3, I found my groove and enjoyed the beautiful weather that accompanies the slow changing of the seasons—clear sunny skies and cool, crisp, temperatures with a slight breeze—primo running conditions. Well, except for the chestnuts and acorns I have to look out for lest I turn over an ankle. Been there. Done that. Not pleasant.

Once in the groove, my mind scatters into all directions, certain things I see propelling my thoughts to memories and future possibilities. This is when the portion of my brain seems to splay itself open, revealing things that I cherish as my creative genes are unleashed and find sources for stories and characters.

Sure enough, during mile 4, I slowed my pace just a little to watch a woman slowly chase her diapered son across the lawn. Clearly, the boys legs were still new to this process as he teetered on first one foot, and then the next, arms to his sides trying to maintain his balance—and giggling, the sound alone bringing a smile to my face and tears to my eyes—literally. This one scene triggered so many memories of my own son at this age and gave me a moment to reflect on great times and sad times.

As most of you may know, I am a retired Air Force veteran, serving 22 years (12 as an enlisted man, 10 as an officer) before being medically retired due to my brain issues (97% closed Middle Cerebral Artery). During my first 12 years as a boom operator (inflight refueling—YouTube it—best job I will ever have) aboard the KC-135 (just shy of 4,000 hours in this airframe). Unfortunately this job was a blessing and a curse as, for during those very formative years of my son’s life (he will be 21 in January), I was frequently gone, traveling the world—I have literally flown completely around the globe, seeing places I may never see again (almost all 50 states, Guam, Philipines, Japan, Korea, Poland, Italy, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Wake Island, Purto Rico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Diego Garcia, Spain, Mexico, Jordan, and probably a host of other places I can barely remember).
These journeys made me love and appreciate my country more than ever, a place I would protect with my life if required. And do it all over again.

I once saw a very young boy, on what we would normally consider a school night, sleeping against an alley wall in Turkey, a box of trinkets for sale on his lap and sound asleep, head resting against the wall, mouth hanging open…at midnight. This had a profound effect on me as I thought about my own son at home who would never have to do this to bring food to the table. I have never forgotten this.

I still remember the sound of my son’s own diaper made when he heard the infamous “Beavis and Butthead” laughter coming from the television then walking/hobbling quickly to the screen—bottle hanging from his mouth by teeth clenched around the nipple with an accompanying mischievous grin— mimicking this laugh as best he could. These memories literally brought tears to my eyes as I ran ( just like now as I write this) as I realized just how much my son missed out on and the sacrifices he made without even knowing it as a military dependent child without a dad that simply wasn’t there much of this time.

We never really got as close as I wanted due to my consistent absence...I had only one chance to do it right (only child), and may have failed in a few things. He also sacrificed a lot in the hours I have spent in my room, locked away and writing, following a dream…a passion. I do hope he knows how much I love him and that I would change a few things if I could just invent a fucking time machine. He is and will always be my greatest creation! Some of these feelings were captured in a short story that is going to appear in the forthcoming second Anthology of Anthocon, “Inner Demons Out,” being released in November at the Anthocon, 2013 convention in Portsmouth, NH. I will be reading this story, titled “My Aching Black Heart,” at some point for those of you nearby that may want to stop in and ummm…party?

Miles 3-8 were spent in a comfortable bliss and at mile 9, I passed the newest cemetery in our town and of course, had to go through it again. I immediately noticed the new rows of blooming flowers decorating the entire cemetery. So great seeing the resting place of many future souls getting so much attention, but still wish the older cemeteries would receive the same attention. Another beautiful site was the gleaming headstone of a Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Paxon, resting smack dab in the middle of two rows of flowers with not another stone around. As though this individual were having a private picnic on a luxurious lawn and enjoying a glass of red wine. Hope my resting place is just as nice.

Miles 8-14 were uneventful and just had me enjoying the sights and sounds and smells and looking at every plant and tree to come up with a concoction that will have a place in a story of mine. Bwahahahahaaa.

Things changed at mile 14 when my mind and body were having one hell of a fight as to which received my total attention. This is when my knees started to throb just a little, hot spots started to form on the bottoms of my toes (arthritis also kicking in on my right big toe), something in my groin starting to grind together, and a small hill made my quads burn. Everything below my waste wanted me to stop, stop, stop….just as in a marathon, the same thing appears somewhere between miles 20-23—when the marathon REALLY starts. A wall that requires more chiseling with some mind tricks I have.

Amazing what the mind can do, really—half of the game in long-distance running. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t, so you need a bag full of tricks just in case. Some will always remain private, but I will be the first to admit that I sometimes choose the nice pair of shorts and accompanying sexy legs of a woman in front of me to keep the feet churning—hey, it works! But today I used one that never fails: a dedication. I dedicated this one to the troops…in particular, to a crew of three that recently sacrificed their lives in Kyrgyzstan a few months ago on takeoff in the same plane I used to fly on.

Some of you may have seen this on the news, but I fear much of this story went under the media’s rug as their preference is much more horrific than anything I could write. Random events more important than the lives of Americans protecting their country. Sad … but true.

To Tech. Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, from Bakersfield, California (Boom Operator); Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27 from Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Capt. Mark Tyler Voss, 27, from Boerne, Texas (Pilots), this run and the Wineglass Marathon I will complete on October 6th in Corning, NY is dedicated to YOU! Thank you for your service, your sacrifice to our country, and to your families who supported you wholeheartedly in your efforts to protect the rest of us here, safe at home. I will be wearing a tribute shirt for Shell 77 (Their call sign that dreadful day) on the day of the marathon. And I will finish…there is no other choice.

So, many you know I love running, and I have many reasons for this: my creative exploration, my health, the fresh air, the exercise, the challenge, etc.. But probably, the most important reason, is to fight a demon with serrated teeth on some days, chewing just below the surface; and on other days, plunging with the longest, sharpest incisors, cutting quickly and deeply.

While my neurosurgeon, friends, and families alike warn me that running might, in fact, kill me should I become extremely dehydrated (like during a marathon), resulting in a complete stroke, I still choose to run. As safely as I can—kind of like skydiving (which I also used to love to do). While I really do appreciate the concern of everyone that also realize the risk and worry about me, I still run … and here’s why:

This is the first time I have openly spoken about this, but it will help me deal with this angry demon and maybe help a few others on the way that have the same demon existing right next to them as well.

Like so many others out there, for years I have battled the ugly, hellish demon of Depression, went years undiagnosed (partly due to my denial and worry how it would affect my military career). But, finally receiving the diagnosis and medication I need for anxiety/depression, I am much better. But the meds don’t always work. Sometimes, that demon bares its teeth and creates ugly, nasty thoughts that quickly lead me down a dark and dismal path.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve and sometimes even have to leave a room to compose myself if something strikes me emotionally, or sometimes, just let the tears fall where I sit, not giving two-shits who’s watching. It comes that quickly…even the smallest of things can trigger this. And it hurts. A lot. Sometimes to the point that I want to venture into a dark forest and not come through the other side.

So I run. As much as I can, knowing that depression will kill me long before my brain will cease its critical functioning. Given a choice of letting the demon consume me as I sit idly by drinking or smoking my life away; or running, creating endorphins I need much like an addict needs a fix, I will run. And run some more. It makes me feel good, makes me feel alive, and more importantly, KEEPS me alive.

There you have it folks, an open glimpse of me, flesh splayed open and revealing muscle and sinew. I do NOT seek sympathy in any way, shape, or form…nor do I want it. This is simply my way of battling a demon that will always exist. Thank you all for listening (if you’ve read this far) and thank you for being an impromptu therapist with a single click of the LIKE button.

Until next time…and there will always be a next time, because I really do love running. Running is the only way I have to keep this beast at bay.

I will NOT let it devour me.

And I will NOT change a lifestyle due to some physical limitation.

I WILL RUN!

I simply have no choice.

Jul. 13th, 2013

Random Thoughts of an Addicted Runner - Episode 3

I love running…

Took most of the week off last week to gather my senses before training for the Wine Glass Marathon. And now I am back and plunging head first into training, into a sport I love the most. But today’s 7-miler was the type of run I love the least … but still love, don’t get me wrong. Today’s episode is sponsored by the letters H and H, for today’s run was extremely HOT and HUMID, feeling like I was running through quicksand with a thick towel over my mouth. This was the run that creates the infamous “Dirty Diaper” syndrome (you can laugh—I AM the one wearing the diaper after all), and leaving a trail of sweat behind me on Chestnut Ridge Road as I finish my run.

All I could think about for the first three miles was breathe…breathe…BREATHE! Once I found my groove, the brain allowed my think of other things, and today was another active day along my synapses. Running by the church today, the germination of another story came when I heard the angry cawing of two crows resting on its steeple. One cawed louder the other, as though merely confused of my presence. The other…well, I could tell he hated me. Maybe they were angry they didn't have enough of them on their side to commit my murder ...

I immediately wondered what the fuss was about and actually flipped them the bird (for realz) and, surprisingly, they stopped. But I couldn’t help but wonder if they were only angry at me disturbing their presence, or, perhaps, were actually protecting something within this glowing white church. Maybe, just maybe, behind these sanctified walls adorned with the steps of the cross, the nectar of the crows flowed and meandered over ancient text and symbols, falling down other steps that led somewhere else entirely, somewhere…deep, and harvesting … something. “Nectar of the Crows”…I think that just may be a sweet story title! Something to tinker with anyway…

Names recited through the cemetery: Criddle, Howarth, and Frantz…if one of them is a repeat, hello, again, my friend!

Time to fuel up on some plank salmon and potatoes...yummy!

I do love running.

Jun. 6th, 2013

Random Thoughts of an Addicted Runner - Episode 2

I love running

Not sure what is going on in my dented cranium recently, but hope it doesn’t stop. The influx of thoughts and ideas have been absolutely amazing in recent days as I run. Maybe the collateral blood vessels from a surgery a few years ago are finally reaching my 97-percent blocked Middle Cerebral Artery, providing an increase in oxygen levels. Or maybe it’s the exact opposite and my MCA is finally starving itself as it reaches 98, 99, 99.5 percent closed … surely producing some drastic effects in the folds of my gray matter. Whatever the case, the last few weeks have been almost surreal in the amount of writing I have done and ideas that have come to me.

I think in writing these little episodes, I have found my own way to unleash some creativity and keep the words flowing, writing something completely unrelated to horror (for the most part) while still developing my craft. A creative process that I hope never to harness and only let run, run, run!

Much to the chagrin of my beloved Neurosurgeon and Physician’s Assistant, I continue to run, sometimes obsessively. While they say 3-4 mile jaunts are okay, they feel longer runs will take required oxygen from my brain and send it instead to my legs. The other danger is dehydration; but both cases put me at risk for more transient ischemic attacks or TIAs (mini-strokes), which I am very familiar with—causing my entire right side to become numb and heavy and my speech to slur or become altogether impossible—or a complete stroke. However, they do understand my informed decision to do it anyway, and are at least happy that I take as many precautions as possible. And they REALLY hate the fact that I have this compulsion to complete marathons. Alas, I have never really listened to anyone!

Though I will always be at a severe risk of a stroke, I believe running is actually keeping me healthy and more importantly, alive. I’ve never felt better. I don’t smoke anymore and don’t drink (okay—that’s a lie—a big one), but if I wasn’t running, I would be living on my couch smoking and drinking all day long, WAY worse for my brain than running. I mean, come on! Running keeps those demons (as much as I love demons) at bay. And I do take appropriate precautions, remaining hydrated before any run, wearing an emergency ID wrist ban; and for runs over 13 miles, shouldering a hydration pack that has plenty of fluids and a place for my phone and some cash since I never know where I will end up. If there really does come a day where I end up in a supine position on some back country road, unconscious or deceased, at least I know I had prepared myself as best I could. Probably, I will also have a smile on my face.

As with any run, even if I travel the same route (which I do often based on target distance), there is always something new to be seen, or at least seeing the same thing just a little differently, and yesterday’s and today;s 5-milers were no exception.
Today, I passed two bull dogs I see every day, only a short distance from my home. But today they barked at me. I’ve passed this same driveway for almost 5 years, where usually, only their heads slowly move atop their wrinkled fur and watch me pass, disinterested, tongues lolling about their under-bitten jaws. But today, something different about me running by had caught their attention. Was it the colors I was wearing, a slight change in my stride? Did my toe scraping on the road at the start of an incline startle them? Or was it because I wasn’t wearing my normal sunglasses on this cloudy day?

At mile two of this particular route, I travel pass the same church with the same “Office” sign perched on the lawn. Much like the bulldogs, I’ve seen this same sign for the last five years. But today, be it the lack of sunshine, the time of day, or maybe just the temperature, I realized that the office sign pointed to the left of the church and down a significantly steep hill (actually away from the church itself), as though the very office of this church existed in the bowels of the earth. And if that was the case, true to my usual habits and usual sense of adventure, I was taking the proverbial path that led straight to Hell. That was a joke … maybe.

Funny coincidence, but at mile three of this route, I run through a cemetery. I remember the names of most: McEntee, Bell, Dullen, Goodwin, Maxwell … and many more. During each visit, I recite each name as I pass, for respect, for remembrance, lest they be forgotten. With each visit, I also try to find one I haven’t read before and recite their name as well. Cemeteries seem an endless source of material for any piece of work. With each name, it is hard not to wonder who they were, what they did, how they died. Endless amounts of material lay resting below the surface of every plot. And one particular scene still rattles me with its beauty as I think of a run a few weeks ago that brought me to a cemetery I had never before been. Cemeteries have always been a fascination for me and the gate was open to this one. So … I ran inside. As I made my way around a half-mile paved road, it wasn’t until I neared the exit that I noticed a car pulled off to the side, empty. But a few feet away, an elderly gentlemen sat in a lawn chair by a headstone, hands clutching a hat on his lap, head hung low. Feeling like I was intruding on his moment of peace, I slowed my pace and quietly ran by, resisting the urge to stop, greet this man, and beg him to tell me his story.

Running brings me to these scenes that normally go unnoticed, scenes and happenings in this world that I would miss if not for this crazy obsession I have.

Someone actually said hello to me today as I was passing by. Such a simple gesture, but one I actually appreciate given a few experiences since I’ve lived here. Two years ago, I had a teenage passenger dump an entire fountain drink on me as he passed. Thank goodness it was very hot that day; although sticky, I was definitely cooler. And not even a month later, I had a female passenger throw fire snaps at my feet, thinking she would get me to jump. Silly woman, I expect these things. And don’t you know, runners have a wee bit more endurance than your lazy-ass boyfriend sitting in the driver’s seat? Think he might be the one that actually needs them instead—to distract him before he releases himself right before you … are … almost … oh, I think you get the picture.

I have saved the most thought-provoking things I saw or heard during my runs the last two days for the very end of this post. The first was at the very end of today’s run, when I knew I was close to finishing and relaxed my pace and defenses just enough to let the “Ding Ding Ding” of the Ice Cream Man make me jump. Immediately, stories started to unravel in my brain, most only memories as a child growing up and always selecting the same Orange Cream Bar flavor. But these days, that same Ding sounds like a bell to the gallows —deep, dark, reverberant—or maybe just an accompanying march to the counter of the most recent Meth dealer in the world. That Ding today riddles my flesh with more goosebumps than evil clowns or the Devil himself, and I bet many of you agree.

The final image I will leave you with today, is one of which I am most proud.

I heard the rumble of the Harley way before I heard it (of course), but when the driver stopped, looked both ways, and turned to the right, away from me, I saw two things: an American Flag next to a POW/MIA flag waving proudly from the back of the driver’s seat. A rush of pins and needles covered every one of my limbs and increased my pace. At that moment, I could only think of the 22 years of service I completed in the U. S. Air Force and some of my friends and so many more who never made it home. I wanted to buy this man a drink, but alas, my short legs only go so fast.

If you read this lengthy post and liked it, I am very happy. If you read it and don’t like it, I honestly don’t care (kidding); but this is really just for me and me alone. And it works. And if you’ve read this far, feel free to “Like” it, because I am sorta curious.

And I really do love running.

Tomorrow will be another 5-miler, and already, I am excited about where my feet will take me.

Jun. 2nd, 2013

I LOVE RUNNING!

Just returned from a very liberating, mind-clearing, slow and steady 12-mile run. Today was a magical run in between races that had no focus, no distance limit, no time limit, or direction. I just ran, then ran some more, legs feeling super-duper. Could have run for another hour, but Timmy hadda pee!

Today was especially awesome because my muse must have telepathically connected with me again, since I have a few more ideas rattling around my noggin. And I think tonight, I will start my very first non-fiction piece! Very excited about this sudden new project and feel another consuming adventure! These last couple weeks have been uber productive on the writing front and I can barely get everything down….which I love!!! I will be returning to novel 3, still sitting at 25K words, but not until this non-fiction piece comes to fruition!

I love running.

I don’t run with an iPod or anything like that, preferring to listen to world around me and the sources of stories that are out there. How things look, sound, feel beneath my feet …. anything. This is the only time I ever disconnect completely with everything and just enjoy the great outdoors and time alone. Just a man and his thoughts … and a few dead frogs, and today, even a field mouse that risked death beneath my right shoe to cross the road.

I wonder about a lot of things when I run. Where my life is headed, if my brain will last another year, choices I’ve made, choices I will make. But sometimes, as I run and take in the sites, weird things creep into my brain and become the source of potential material. The sound of a leaf scraping across the ground, the way the wind pummels by my ears in one direction, but with a slight change in direction, absolute silence fall down around me like the lid of a coffin.

Today, I passed three small boys playing on a slip and slide. All three had shorts on, but no shoes. However, only two had their shirts off. Did the one wearing the shirt just arrive on this hot and humid day in rural NY? Overprotective mother preventing a sunburn? Embarrassed? Birthmark? Or is mother trying to hide the bruises???

I realized during another daydreaming adventure on mile 8 or so, that every time a vehicle tops the horizon, I really am hoping it’s a car load of women that will show me their boobies! Hah! True story…

And a final thought came to me as a car blasted by my at 60 miles an hour…or faster…what would happen if, at the last second, I jumped in front of this car? What would be the expression on the driver’s face? What would the chain of events be following this ghastly scene? Would the driver flee? Would anyone know who I am if I didn’t wear my emergency ID wrist ban? How long would it really take for family and friends to find out? Would I be run over by two tires or four? Would my head split on the windshield or the grill of the hood since I am kinda short…
Random thoughts from an addicted runner.

Crazy? Maybe.

But I really love running!

Nov. 28th, 2012

Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Mandy DeGeit tagged me a week ago to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, where writers can tell others what is going on with their current work in progress by answering 10 questions about the work. Then 5 other authors that I tag will do the same the following week. Unfortunately, I could find only 4 writers to participate and they are tagged below. They will post on December 5th. You can find Mandy’s blog post here.

So, without further delay…


1. What is the working title of your book?

My current WIP is a novel tentatively entitled, Fall of an Empire.


2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

This novel came about through three ideas.

I am originally from the twin cities of Lewiston/Auburn, Maine. The original idea came about when I discovered that the aging and extremely historic Empire Theatre, in Lewiston was being destroyed to make room for a parking lot with apparently no resistance from anyone. So much history of this iconic opera house built in 1906 and later transformed into a movie theater…gone. I was aghast. Like it wasn’t even there in the first place, erased even from memory.

The second idea came with everyone’s reliance on technology, especially with the younger generations and the propensity to text (to a person only a few feet away), forego eating (okay, an exaggeration) for completed levels of video games, surf the limitless Internet…everything…to the point that people are forgetting how to communicate with one another, instead preferring the anonymity behind emoticons and avatars. No one seems to be talking anymore.

The third idea sprang with my interest in Native American culture and the art of storytelling and verbal communication.

Combine the three together and voila!


3. What genre does your book fall under?

This novel will be more of a supernatural novel with more of a Young Adult focus.


4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

One of the main characters is a Native American Elder. If Danny Trejo were Native American, he would definitely be the guy…but hey, it’s Hollywood! The other protagonist is a 14-15 year old girl that is much of a tomboy, but very insecure with herself. I’d have to say an actor that might fit her bill would be a young Lori Petty. And I know they can make her look 15 


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Empire Falls starts to slowly disappear as people are enraptured by technology, huddled inside their homes with technological gadgets, and failing to verbally communicate with each other.


6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’d really like to find a Young Adult agent that can share this same vision.


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I am currently about a third complete with the novel, with plans to have the initial draft complete early next year.


8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Really no idea. Maybe a reverse of The Village movie and The Town That Forgot How to Breathe…all squished together….or something :-D

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Storytelling as a means of teaching, learning, and communication used by the Native American culture.


10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book takes place near Oneida, New York and I am also including pieces of legends and tales from the Oneida Indian Nation.


TAG…you are it, to post on December 5th:

Mark LaFlamme

Chuck Grossart

Tony Tremblay

Brian Knight

Andrew Wolter

Nov. 18th, 2012

ANTHOCON 2012

It has been about a week since I returned from the second annual Anthocon held in Portsmouth, NH. Unfortunately, I did not attend its inaugural event, but after the experience I had last weekend, another will not be missed!

It had been about 10 years since my first convention (World Horror Convention) in Seattle, 2001, since military life sometimes made it difficult to attend such events, so I was WAY overdue to get my Con fix, and it was well worth the 8 hour drive from Rochester, NY!

Throughout the drive, my nerves were a little on the fray as I thought about what to expect, the new people I would meet, and the virtual friends I'd known for a few years but never met in person. At heart, I am an introvert, sort of uncomfortable in situations where more than a few people are together. But beer fixes many things :-)

As usual, it turned out that I didn't need to be nervous at all. Walking into the hotel and meeting just a few writers waiting for the events to begin, I was quick to feel the very welcoming atmosphere that such conventions bring to those who attend. Writers, editors, publishers, artists, gamers, or a combination of all with a shared love for the horror genre.

Although smaller than others, I couldn't ask for a better convention. A blast from start to finish, much laughter...to the point I thought my eyes would fall out (thanks Mandy DeGeit), partying, the meeting of new friends I had only met online (Tony Tremblay, Tom Erb, Andrew Walter, Richard Wright, Ron Dickie, Kelli Owen, Mark Wholley, Tim Deal, and more), and more...err...partying. What fun!

The only drawback I had was being unable to attend some of the panels since I was manning my own table and sold a good number of copies of BLEEDING THE VEIN. But I did get to see Gary Braunbeck's opening keynote speech and got to hang out with him every now and again. Another highlight was meeting one of my writing heroes since high school, fellow Maine horror writer, NY Times Best Seller, and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in horror, Rick Hautala. What a genuine, down-to-earth nice guy. He and his wife, writer Holly Newstein, are such great people and a pleasure to chat with!

Anthocon 2013, here I come!

May. 14th, 2012

Hail to the Asics gods!

For all of the runners out there, I thought I would share a funny and embarrassing, but still damn funny and remarkable experience I had in 2008. Hope you like it...feel free to laugh at my expense.

I will call this "Hail to the Asics gods!" It's why I will never change my running shoe.

I always wear Asics Kayanos...about $140, but the best fitting shoe for my teeniny size 7 feet. I have tried many, many, many other styles and brands ... more and less expensive, but these just fit like a glove.

So ... one day Timmy and family are about 2 1/2 hours into the 5 hour drive to Bug Sur to run in the Big Sur International Marathon, and Timmy realizes he forgot to bring his stinking shoes ... now what kind of marathoner forgets running shoes to a freaking marathon??? Maybe only me ... but I digress.

Obviously not turning around, I go to the sports expo before the marathon, but refuse to pay the $140 bucks again because of my stupidity and instead go to the nearest mall. Where I buy the cheapest pair of Asics running shoes I can find (around 45 bucks).

The entire evening before the race I am bending, twisting, stomping on, sitting on, chewing on, and screaming at these godforsaken shoes to break in ... even just a little.

It does no good.

When I toe the start/finish line to one of the most hilly, challenging (and beautiful) marathons out there, I can only imagine what the toes, heals, NAILS, lord even the small patches of hair on the tops of my feet are going to look like ... gulp ... at the end of a very grueling 26.2 miles ... in NEW shoes!

Felt good for the first 1/3 of the race, better during the second third of the race as I realized I was making good time, and total crap (but a very satisfying and exhausting crap--as expected) crossing the finish line.

My toes and feet were numb, legs ached like never before, and all I wanted to do was toe the beer line for a few beverages with an international community of runners.

Delaying as long as I could, and waiting for the beer to take effect (not long), I took off my shoes with my eyes closed ... I think a lot of people do after any marathon :-)

Believe it or not, in a pair of the CHEAPEST Asics out there, I ran 26.2 miles without a single damn blister....and made my fastest marathon time of 3:50:58.

Man, I wish I owned some Asics stock ... but I’ve still remembered my shoes ever since.

May. 6th, 2012

Books etc., Macedon, NY

Had a great visit to another favorite bookstore in Macedon, NY. Thanks for the warm welcome from owner, John Cieslinski at Books, etc., who was kind enough to offer me a book signing in the near future! The atmosphere in the store is incredible. Great selection, great people! And two friendly cats, Lady Latte and Mr. Books:-)

Heaven!

Been in Rochester, NY for almost 4 years now and finally found a gold mine of a used bookstore in Spencerport (The Book Centre)...everyone can be witness to my using the phrase OMG for the very first time (no joke). So...OMG! Books upon books upon piles of books behind other piles of books. Not even enough days in the year to go through everything. Picked up a hardcover Bentley Little (The Burning)...hardcover Charles Grant (The Pet)...hardcover Ramsey Campbell (Obsession) and a copy of Dickens' Out Mutual Friend. I almost forgot what lots of books smells like ... very happy right now :-)

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