Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meeting Larry Hama (and many other amazing talents)

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.

2011 in review

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.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top 10 Novel to Movie Adaptations

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:

http://litreactor.com/columns/the-top-10-book-to-film-adaptations-that-were-actually-good

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

4. Trainspotting
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.

The Top 10 Best Opening Lines Of Novels – As per Lit Reactor

My favorites of the group:

2. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953
“It was a pleasure to burn.”

4. The Gunslinger, Stephen King, 1982
“The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”

5. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien, 1937
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

See them all here:
http://litreactor.com/columns/the-top-10-best-opening-lines-of-novels

Art Machine: Jason Hite

I stumbled across the work of Jason A. Hite on the internet. This guy is making some way cool stuff, as a sculpter extraordinaire. His work is like Clive Barker, MC Escher, and HR Giger got together and had some sort of magical lovechild.

I love his stuff, if only had the cash I would populate my office with his craft s I find it rather inspirational. Rather than me blather on about his creations take a look for yourself:

http://www.hitestudios.com/#!

More Palahniuk

Just finished 2 more Chuck books:

Diary: Misty Wilmot is a once promising artist who is now a waitress at a tourist resort as her husband lies in a comma after a suicide attempt. She quickly learns everything is not at it seems and that she may simply be a pawn in deep, dark conspiracy. I really liked the concept here but the story didn’t grab me that much. You are either a fan, or not a fan, of his writing and I happen to be a big fan, so I did enjoy the ride anyway. I did like the ending which contained the usual Palahniuk twists and turns and it really elevated the book for me from average to above average. Keep in mind the ending of Beautiful Monsters did the exact opposite.

Snuff: I enjoyed the whole ride on this one. The plot on this gem is that an aging porn star plans to go out with a bang by setting the world record for the largest gang bang. You soon learn why she is really doing this as you learn the reasons for her assistant and three of the actors, who wait their turn, for being there, as well. Oh, and one of them may want to kill her. Great read this book was and don’t let the porn aspect throw you off from reading it. While there are some graphic descriptions there was actually very little actual sex in the novel. The only thing that kept this book from being one of the greats, in my opinion, is that once the book ended there was really no real resolution to any of the characters plights. It still clocks in high on my Chuck reads and I can’t wait for the movie to come out.

I rank my favorites as follows:

Lullaby
Choke
Snuff
Beautiful Monsters
Diary
Haunted

Next up for me, Fight Club.

A Blast From The Past

I am well into the second draft of my “novel” and to keep the masses (of one…maybe?) satisfied I am posting a story from 3 years ago due to my lack of new material.

Although some spots are cringe worthy it’s worth a gander into the past.

So…here goes…..

Ten
By
Matthew Piskun

The sink was filled with soapy water, thousands of small bubbles, shimmering with rainbows from the refracted sunlight through the kitchen window. She could hear her two children playing in the basement.
Her thoughts drifted off into the past as she stared out the window and washed the large glass serving plate, from last night’s dinner, in the soapy water. The sky was azure and calming with a couple of clouds listing lazily in the breeze. A white blaze streaked across the great blue sea of sky then vanished. “A shooting star?” she thought. “During the day?” Figuring it must be her lucky day she made a wish.
She looked out at the wooden swing set in her backyard. It seemed like yesterday she was pushing her toddlers on the swings, now they would go out and play alone for hours. She enjoyed the extra free time but part of her missed the innocent dependence on her to be all there was to them. To be everything. She rinsed off the glass serving plate and placed it on a dishtowel on the countertop. She heard her children’s high-pitched laughter downstairs and smiled.
She sunk her hands down into the dirty water to pull out the drain stop. The sun outside moved behind a dark cloud and cast long shadows across her backyard. A rumble rolled in from the heavens, distant but ominous. The windowpane rattled and she cried out in pain as she cut her hand on a knife lurking beneath the water. Instinctively she yanked her hand from the sink revealing a long thin slice across the palm of her left hand. Drops of blood slid down her wrist and dripped into the sink water, swirling and mingling with the suds in a celebration of freedom from the flesh.
Suddenly as if the sun had been extinguished it grew unnaturally dark outside. A streak of lightening singed a jagged line in the sky outside her window. Another thunderclap, more jarring than the first, followed shaking her wedding ring from the windowsill into the water, murky with grease, suds and freshly let blood. After a failed attempt to catch it she watched the ring’s spiraling descent to the bottom of the sink. Her wedding ring clanked on the bottom of the sink and as if it was a catalyst the bright red in the sink joined together. Small drips swarmed, like angry, red wasps, and found each other. Unified they formed a message and there was no doubting the message delivered by this blood scribe. Crisp and unmistakable, the message spelled out a crimson “10”.
Another flash of lightening gave a glimpse of a shape outside, for just an instant. Did she see something? Was someone out there? Her heart moved up into her throat. Thunder rattled her once again and the kitchen lights began to blink. The television in the basement grew loud with cartoon laughter then quiet. Another bolt of lightening exploded and this time there was no mistake, someone was out there. It was a young girl in a dress swinging on the swing set. Thunder boomed once more and the lights in the house went off as if blown out. A primal fear of darkness and the destructive force of nature, so old she didn’t know she had it, caused her hair to stand on end as another flash lit up the back yard, leaving behind a bright and eerie glow of sickly, jaundiced yellow. The girl was standing halfway between the swings and the window. Paralyzed with fear the mother tried to cry out, but no sound came out, her throat sticky and dry.
There was silence now, save for the beating of her own heart and the dripping of the faucet. The wind howled outside, speaking words barely audible, raspy whispers, a breeze through razor blades. A shadowy image, impossibly darker than the false night, moved toward her outside the window. She realized she had been clutching her chest and removed her hand to reveal a bloody handprint on her white sweater. Little pieces of white fuzz were stuck in the knife wound on her palm.
The smell of ozone preceded another white flash that incinerated the darkness. A hand slapped the window and this time the mother managed a chocked scream as she looked up to see the face of the girl looking right at her. A bone white face with eyes of fluid mercury that shimmered as if melting and reforming. A mouth full of black serpents smiled and thick rope-like hair flailed in the wind like nooses blowing from a branch. Then the lights went out and the world outside her window grew black again. Her children screamed in the basement.
Panicking in the dark she fell over a kitchen chair and landed on her injured palm. Slick with blood her hand slid forward and her face fell forward into the linoleum. Her lower lip began to swell as she climbed to her feet. As she grabbed the doorknob leading to the basement she heard the faintest, tattered shred of a whisper that formed the words, “Your too late.”
Flinging the basement door open she faced the darkness, its great devouring maw warning her not to enter but she charged down anyway, knocking pictures from the wall as she fought for balance, disappearing into the blackness.
The door slammed shut behind her knocking more pictures down shattering glass and nerves. The lights began to flicker on and off in irregular strobes that hurt her eyes. At the bottom of the steps, through the jagged beat of lights, she found red barefooted footprints in small pools of blood. An icy wind caressed the nape of her neck and she turned to meet its source. The door at the top of the steps had frozen over in a block of ice. Through the frantic blinking of lights she could see small clouds of breath from her mouth escape the madness and dissipate into the darkness.
Her heart beat loud and frantically as she followed the bloody footsteps around the corner of her basement. One cautious step at a time she moved, afraid of what she would find. When she turned the corner the lights grew bright, like stars blooming supernova in the dead of night. Several lights exploded behind her but the ones in front of her stayed on, illuminating the horror in front of her.
The footprints led to the brick wall at the end of her basement where there was a huge hole. The lights grew brighter and brighter and she felt their searing heat on the top of her scalp. The image before her was immaculate in detail, frozen in the moment. The girl from the backyard stood before her smiling. Her porcelain white face frozen and smooth, with black serpents writhing at the corners of her mouth, their scales rubbing together sounded like fluttering moths. Her hair flailed angrily as her eyes melted and reformed in an endless cycles of death and rebirth. She spoke without moving her mouth. A stale breeze carried the stench of rotting corpses as it blew past her and carried the message, “They are mine now.”
Like a zipper the bricks reformed below her and made their way up, making the brick wall solid again. The blazing lights died gloriously above her showering her with hot flakes of broken glass.
“NO!” she screamed at the dark. “Give me back my children.”
She did not wait for a response and beat the brick wall with her bare hands, trying to find the seam that had closed right before her eyes moments ago.
“Please!”
She pounded her fists until it felt like she had broken both of her hands then fell to her knees sobbing.
In between her sobs the darkness, as if mocking her, carried the far off pleas of her children. Desperate, she felt her way into the basement utility room where her husband kept many of his tools. She ran her hands across the handle of a chainsaw. “Would this work she thought?” She gave up pondering its potential value when she realized she didn’t know how to start it. Her fingers made their way across the metal teeth of a rake, “Useless!” she aid out loud.
Realizing she had no idea what to do, she fell to her knees crying once again, and landed on a long wooden handle. She moved her hands along the length of the handle, past small splinters and gouges, and came to the large metal head of an axe. Her smile was invisible in the darkness.
She held the axe in both hands and swung it like a baseball bat at the brick. Nothing. Angered she swung again with greater force and the axe head sparked against the brick wall. Another swing brought about another spray of sparks. Frustrated she ran her fingers across the wall to feel if she did any damage.
“Kids, I’m coming. Mommy’s coming for you!”
The darkness tightened its grip around her, the cold void pressed against her flesh, and whispered in her ear, “Yes, mommy, come to me.”
The brick grew cold beneath her fingers, a headstone in winter. She followed the wall, hoping and praying for a crack or seam that she could use the axe against. Suddenly the brick stopped and she came to sheet rock. It was her only hope. She gripped the axe as tight as she could and swung.
A lightning flash lit up the room as the axe head stuck into the wall. She could hear her children screaming now. She reared back and swung again. Another flash bled out the darkness. In its brilliance she saw the wall bleeding from the axe wounds. A foul smelling mess oozed its way out
“Mommy, stop it hurts!” her children cried in unison.
“Lies!” she shouted back and swung the axe again and again in a desperate act of madness. Her children begged her to stop. “You’re killing us!” they screamed. She swung again and blood splattered across her face and the flowing mess from the wall began to pool around her feet. If they were pleading with her to stop, she hoped, then they were not being killed by her actions and she was merely being tricked. Her arms where heavy and her shoulders burned with the fire of exhaustion. The basement grew colder and the blood on her clothes began to freeze in small frosted clumps.
She swung once more and in the blaze of accompanying light she saw that she had made a sizable hole in the wall. Se wedged the axe handle inside and pulled with all her weight. A large piece of sheet rock cracked and broke off with a splash as it landed in the blood that collected on the carpet. Warmth poured out from the hole and it glowed red inside. It smelled wet and the effluvium that escaped reeked of iron and marigold.
“Come.”
She placed her head inside and crawled through the opening.
It was all warmth and red and wetness. A red mist hovered above the floor, swirling as if alive, making it impossible to see her feet. A beating, as if from a heart of stone, echoed trough the chamber she was in. Warm tendrils, meaty and slick rose up and grabbed her wrists, making it impossible for her to move. The red light grew brighter and a dark imaged began to take form before her. It was the young girl, her face still white despite the red glare. Behind her hung a bulging membrane sack and inside, curled in the fetal position with there backs pressed against each other, were her children.
“What have you done? Give me my kids back!”
Black snakes writhed in a mouth that didn’t move. “It has been ten years.”
“Who are you?”
“Don’t you remember?”
“I…I don’t know…”
Thick ropes of hair flailed. “Yes, you do.”
A spark of recollection caught fire in the mother’s mind. “That’s not possible.”
“You killed me ten years ago.”
“No, I never killed anyone! I didn’t, I….”
“You gave me life and then you took it.”
“Ten years ago I…. had an abortion.”
The stone heartbeat stopped and the girl floated towards her. Her silver eyes caught fire with shimmering bands of red. The snakes retreated inside the girl’s mouth and white lips pressed tight together. The grip around the mother’s wrists grew tighter and she could no longer feel her hands.
“This isn’t happening.”
“I have been so alone, afraid and angry.”
“Please give me back my children.”
“I only know death.”
“My kids didn’t do anything wrong!”
“They were given a life and a family! I have been given lies and the broken promise of a life that wasn’t.”
“I’m sorry! You have no idea! No idea about what I was going through, about the life you would have had! The horrible life we would have had.”
The chamber grew hotter. The mother started to sweat and it evaporated as soon as it escaped from her pores. She smelled of salt and fear. The girl’s mouth opened and the snakes writhed and hissed in primal anger.
“It is you who has no idea!”
The snakes unfurled from her mouth. Their emerald eyes and four pointed fangs, dripping with green venom struck. The mother was bitten on the neck, forehead, and both shoulders. The fangs sharp and long clamped down hard through meat and bone. She could hear her blood rushing through her body then slow as the venom took over. The room grew cold and the red glare faded into nothing.
“Know me.”
The mother disappeared inside herself. She felt the energetic spark of life flow like an electric river that coursed and created. She saw a great light that wasn’t white or black yet was everything and she felt naked and secure. The light wrapped around her and knitted her soul into a great tapestry of dreams, hunger, and the highest of aspirations that were incomprehensible. She wept tears of purity, clear and thick, and then as suddenly as it came it left. The light was doused and the fabric of her being, not yet fully formed, unraveled and left a hole of unfathomable magnitude. Dreams burned up as if shooting stars until there was nothing.
“Stay with me.”
“But, my children?”
“They will be safe until their father returns.”
“They still need me.”
“I need you more.”
To this the mother had no words. The snakes retracted their fangs and fell to the floor, disappearing in the sea of red mist. The tendrils that ensnared her gave up their grip and the girl stretched out her arms before her in welcome.
The mother walked slowly, still carrying the axe in her hand, and cried, once more, the tears of purity that only existed in visions an dreams. As she walked the stone heartbeat came back to life, each step making the rhythm slower and softer. The girls white face bore the rivulets of silver tears as shimmering eyes wept. The mother dropped the axe into the swirling mist. Then they embraced and became one.
“I’ll allow you one last look.”
The mother watched as her husband came home and noticed the sink full of dirty dishes tainted with blood. She watched him run down the basement stairs to find his two children playing. Then everything vanished, burning up as if a shooting star.

Horror Writer, Matt Piskun….I like the sound of that.

I was just featured in the Writing Room as a Brookdale fiction writing grad. The post was made by Jeffrey Ford and award wining author.

Jeff is a great guy, an excellent mentor and an even better author. Do yourself a favor and check out some of his stuff. My 3 favorite works by him, to date, are:

1) The Physiognomy
2) The Girl in the Glass
3) The Shadow Year

You can check out my link here:

Invisible Monsters and An Update or Two About Writing

I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s been a while but I’ve good excuses. First the holidays are always hectic and it’s hard to get anything recreational done. Next work has been nuts and I won’t get into that, suffice to say that well….it’s been nuts.

Most importantly I am in the end stretch of draft one of a novel length work. It has been consuming my free time, in a good way. I am enjoying the process and I know there’s a long way to go but it feels great. I can’t wait to finish it up and get going on the edits.

While I’ve been writing this novel sized piece my short story “Beth Hartley is Hot” was rejected.

I have not been fixin/resending any short stories because I don’t want to loose steam on the longer piece but all my little babies waiting to go back out into the world is making me itch a bit

In the meantime the most memorable book I’ve read in the past few months is Chuck Palahniuk’s “Invisible Monsters” a book that takes on: Transsexualism. Models. Riches. Shotguns. Makeup. Drugs. Disfigurement. Fire. Sexually transmitted disease. Estrogen. Real Estate. Weddings. Homosexuality. High Fashion. Yup, it’s a wild ride.

Interesting book. I liked it a lot, better than “Haunted” but not as much s “Lullaby.” What kept me from loving monsters? It had some very interesting twists and turns but the last one was just too much for me. I don’t want to spoil anything…but did you read it? What do you think?

My Profile Now Graces the Morpheus Tales Website

I am now part of “The Team” on Morpheus Tales, which is a high quality quarterly horror magazine. My short story “The Key” was accepted back in August and will be published in January 2012. Yes, 2012 but don’t worry I’ll remind you as we get closer.

I know you can hardly wait and it must be hard to temper your excitement but do yourself a favor and read my other stuff while you’re waiting and check out my profile at:

http://www.morpheustales.com/the%20team.htm

Never has it taken me so long to write so little but I think it says what I want it to. It’s alphabetical so scroll down to “P” (just in case, that’s between O and R).