Author Archives: mpiskun
I finally made it to a writers convention. After a few years of thinking about it I finally decided it was time to go, but the universe seemed to conspire against me. Fist came the bitch storm, Sandy. She flew into south Jersey and New York devastating so much around me. I am grateful that I had only minor damage and loss of power for 2 days. Not even a flesh wound compared to so many friends and neighbors.
Sandy flooded LaGuardia airport which is where West Jet flies out of. Day by day they handled fight cancellations leaving my fight status in constant limbo. 10/31 cancelled. 11/1 cancelled. Would they give me my money back and let me make other arraignments? First off, no, because despite being nearly completely submerged LaGuardia held out hope they would be able to fly me out on 11/2. Second, there were no other flights to be had…anywhere…as thousands of people were in the same situation as myself. My flight ended up being cancelled 11/2 anyway and I stopped keeping track after that.
The cosmic joke continues…as I’m on the phone with Orbitz, begging for my money back I get an e-mail from Black Static rejecting my latest and greatest story, “Pax Salutem.” So now I’m thinking that maybe this whole writing thing wasn’t quite meant to be.
Now I get my money finally and begin the drive from Atlantic City to Toronto. Good, right? Now there is no gas to be found. All up the Garden State Parkway and through New York it was Mad Max territory.
So, at last I arrive at WFC and I had a great time. I met up with my old teacher and friend Jeff Ford, as well as lots of other talented writers and editors. The panels were excellent, entertaining and informative and the networking proved to be most valuable and reason alone to make the trip. I’d list all the cool people I met, but would hate to leave someone out. I posted some pics on Facebook if you’re interested.
I can’t recommend going enough. 2013 will prove to be interesting as WFC will be in England, but the World Horror Convention (where I probably belong) will be in New Orleans. Either way I better start saving.
One of my favorite horror sites, Pseudopod (who happened to publish my very first story), has just rejected my short story “Colony.”
The responding editor had some good things to say though:
“Thank you for sending us “Colony.” I have reviewed this submission and
decided not to purchase it. I found it lovely and well-wrought and
enjoyed most of it immensely. The ending just really didn’t work for
me. For me, it detracted from such an otherwise strong piece. It
brought me out of the dark place and shattered my suspension of
So, I guess I know what I need to fix.
In my home office, that I primarily use for writing, I have been trying to surround myself with things that I enjoy (obviously) as well as inspire me and get me excited creatively.
At the center of my desk is a replica of LeMarchand’s box, better known as Pinhead’s Hellraiser box, and I have many other autographed Clive Barker pieces smattered about.
Also on my walls are several autographed sketches and inkings from various comic book artists I’ve collected over the years, two of my favorites are from John Romita JR, and Ron Garney. I also have a unique photograph of a Stormtrooper drinking beer in the Cantina Bar on Tatooine from the http://www.thesecretlifeoftoys.com.
However, there was a giant space right above my desk. For about 1 year I waited and searched for just the right piece and finally I found it in the art of Will Conrad (many examples of which can be found at http://www.willconradart.com).
I won’t get into MR. Conrad’s bio other than to say I love his stuff and I finally found what I was looking for in Wolverine Origins #38 page 13, a 1/2 page splash of Wolverine stabbing his son Daken. Cool stuff. I had it framed with the actual comic cover and page. It came out pretty nice.
It’s always a pleasure when you meet someone your a fan of, or admire, and they turn out to be a geniuinely great person. Many creative people that are successful can be arrogant and treat you like a bother when you take the time to meet them.
I won’t mention the individuals who have been less than receptive over the years, but I can mention those I admire who have been quite accommodating and inspiring.
Clive Barker was extremely nice. He took a lot of time to answer all my questions and seemed more than pleased that I was a fan. He also signed a ton of material I had with me, as well as promotional material he had with him. He was very down to earth.
Neil Gaiman was an intriguing guy. I had to get a ticket, wait in line and ride some elevator to some secret room to meet him if I remember correctly. We talked a bit about his creation Sandman and he drew a little picture on the cover and signed my copy of Sandman #1. He also took a lot of time to chat and didn’t make me feel rushed at all. Cool guy.
Ron Garney is a very talented comic book artist. When I met him my kids were both under 2 years old. I was waiting on line for about 30 minutes in my comic store at the time, “A Timeless Journey”, when my kids had a meltdown. My informed me in no uncertain terms that it was time to leave. Ron saw I had to split and offered to draw me something and leave it with the store’s owner. When I came back in a few days I was more than surprised to see the detailed drawing of Spider-Man he left for me. He even inked it! He made me a fan for life.
At a comic convention I was waiting to meet one of my favorite all-time artists John Romita, Jr. Long story short there was a mix-up and I waited on the wrong line for a while along wit a bunch of other fans. When he found out he was very apologetic (even though it was not his fault) and banged out a quick Spider-Man sketch for me that now hangs in my office.
Another author I happen to know if Jeffrey Ford. The man is genuinely friendly and has been more than helpful to me for years when I took his Creative Writing class. He has gone out of his way on numerous occassions to mentor me and help me out. He’s one of m all-time favorites. Talented author who’s an even better person.
Lastly, as seen in the picture above, is Larry Hama. He is way more talented than most people realize and if you took a look at his career I think you would be amazed. What I remember him most for was his his tremendous run on G.I. Joe. His run was nothing short of epic and what he did with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow was amazing. The mystery and suspense that he architected around those 2 characters was nothing short of awesome. The issue you see in the pic I gave to my son, but I had him sign copy of “Silent Interlude”, which was the issue of G.I. Joe with no words (a very cool issue), for me. He also signed a copy of Wolverine for me, for which I even have a greater fondness for. I grew up on his run of my favorite mutant and that’s what we talked about. He told me that the idea to give Logan bone claws when his adamantium was sucked from his body was not something he wanted to do and it turned out to be somewhat of a Marvel controversy. The X-Men summit was split 50/50 on whether to give him bone claws, but after 3 days of arguing he finally agreed. I told him for what it’s worth, he pulled it off quite well and I loved it.
Good news today as two of my previously published stories have been picked up in anthologies! I spent about 8 months writing a long piece and the accompanying synopsis, then had a bunch of rejections on the stories I finished recently so these acceptances are welcome news.
“Little Pieces” which was originally published in the October 2010 issue of Necrotic Tissue. The story deals with the harsh realities of dealing with death, knowing when to let go, and the complicated family issues that can accompany such pain.
“Little Pieces” was accepted into a Wildside Press’Haunts & Horrors’anthology. The editor said:
“It was great fun to read; very well-written and atmospheric, with an excellent ending.” I hope others agree.
“Cookers” was originally published on August 10th, 2010 in the aptly named Tales of the Zombie War. The story follows our young heroine in a coming of age story as she struggles to survive with her father and grandmother in…wait for it…a zombie apocalypse! These undead are super-heated, their flesh overdone and falling from the bone, and are just as dangerous as the mutated, meat-eating plant life.
“Cookers” was accepted into the ‘Zombie’ Anthology.
Dates are not set for either publication, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
At last issue #15 of Morpheus Tales, a UK quarterly magazine of horror and science fiction, has arrived!
“It’s a beautiful casket.”
The story begins as a boy finds a key around his dead father’s neck as he lays dear old dad to rest. Curious as to what secrets the key holds he begins a surreal journey through the present while using clues from his past to ultimately arrive at an answer he surely wishes he never found.
My story also brags art from the talented Vladimir Petkovic.
A free preview of the issue can be found at:
You can order the issue here:
The cover art of #15 reminds me of the cover Berni Wrightson did for the Spiderman graphic novel “Hooky.”
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.
Being the holidays and having just suffered a computer crash I have taken the easy way out and ripped another top 10 list from LitReactor available at the following link:
1. Jurassic Park
By Michael Crichton/Adaptation by Steven Spielberg
2. Fight Club
By Chuck Palahniuk/Adaptation by David Fincher
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
By Ken Kesey/Adaptation by Milos Forman
By Irvine Welsh/Adaptation by Danny Boyle
5. American Psycho
by Bret Easton Ellis/Adaptation by Mary Harron
6. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
Created by Bob Kane, written by others/Adaptation by Christopher Nolan
7. The Shining
by Stephen King/Adaptation by Stanley Kubrick
8. Bringing out the Dead
by Joe Connelly/Adaptation by Martin Scorsese
9. Memento Mori
By Jonathan Nolan/Adaptation by Christopher Nolan (as Memento)
10. The Godfather
By Mario Puzo/Adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola
My personal favorites are:
FIGHT CLUB – Both the book and movie are fantastic and the movie makes changes in all the right places that work. Great soundtrack, great everything.
THE GODFATHER – The movie was better than the book in my opinion and the book was awesome.
THE SHINING – I can’t beleive King doesn’t like this movie.
BATMAN – As long as the movie was by Nolan it’s good. He captured the struggle between the Dark Knight and the Joker beautifully.
One movie that didn’t make the list was CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Another movie that made a few changes that worked well on film, like leaving out the last chapter.
One of my favorite books that I’d love to see as a movie is THE PHYSIOGNOMY by Jeffrey Ford. If you haven’t read it, please do so. It’s time to make this gem into a film.