Monday, October 28, 2013

Trick or Treat, Give Us Something Good to Eat

I grew up in the 50's and 60's when knocking on strangers' doors and getting candy was safe.  Our parents dumped us in neighborhoods around town with promises they'd return in a few hours.  We had no fear of eating candy while we made our way door to door. One guy in our neighborhood never gave out candy; every Halloween he'd hang a sign on his front door: Quarantine Measles, Keep Away.

Occasionally a trick got played. TPing someone's yard. Soaping screen doors. I'd heard of burning a sack of dog poop on someone's front porch but never knew anyone who tried it.  My best friend's brother and his friends, all in high school, went out with a tool box one Halloween and dismantled backyard swing sets. They were courteous enough to leave the hardware in a neat pile.

One year getting candy while dressed as a clown was so successful that I went home wiped off the make up and put on a new face. Only one old lady said, "Weren't you here before," but she gave me candy anyway.

This Halloween I leave you with a poem I wrote for the occasion. Considering this is the first poem I have written in over 40 years, please, be kind.

Old Halloween

Dry leaves crunch beneath feet.
A black cat perches on a porch front,
eyes blinking in and out.
Clouds scurry across a watchful moon.
Carved pumpkins peek from window sills,
flashing threatening grins.
Something groans from a tombstone’s shadow.
The wind shifts, carrying the sounds
of small voices.
Bags filled with
caramel apples and
candy corn and
popcorn balls.
Discarded candy bar wrappers and
spent chewing gum.
A ghost floats down the avenue,
a zombie staggers along,
and Count Dracula offers a sharp smile.
Fairy princesses wave wands and
pirates raise hooked hands.
Door bells ring with cries for payment.
Trick or treaters loot candy bowls.
Halloween delight.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Something darker than a Vampire

I took a writing course a long, long time ago.  When asked what I wanted to write about, I chose vampires.  The teacher did not approve of my choice. Vampires had been done already. Nothing new could be written about them. The subject had been overdone.   In the end, I yielded and turned my back on a story of a blood drinking creature.

As a I said before this was a long, long time ago.  As it happens, Anne Rice made quite a career of writing about her vampires,--her most famous being The Vampire Lestat.  Stephenie Meyer brought us the Twilight series that answers the question if the all American girl can find happiness with a vampire. Then there are a host of movies and TV Shows, like We Are The Night, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Let Me In (Let The Right One In).

Perhaps the most famous is Dark Shadows that started in 60's as a soap opera about the life (or is that death?) of Barnabas Collins. Most recently Johnny Depp appeared in the title role in the 2012 remake. Here is the trailer.


Next year, my first vampire story will be out.  I hesitate to call it a vampire, but something more sinister.   As Sally in the story says, "Vampire is the invention of writers like Bram Stoker. Before the book, there was the Strigoi."

Watch for it next year.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Review of NIGHT CHILL

Jack Tremont runs from his past, hoping to start fresh with his family and moves them to Western Maryland .  But things turn sour for him.  A psycho-weirdo, Nate Huckley, is after Jack's daughter Sarah and soon she goes missing. Jack's wife thinks he has abducted his daughter and no one is buying the story of a conspiracy of epic proportions and an evil as old as time.  The story is a page turner to the last page.

Jeff Gunhus' book kept my interest and reminded me of a young Stephen King. The story line was detailed and gripping, although I think a little tightening at some places would help. Another issue I had was not really feeling grounded in the Western Maryland setting.  But the supernatural thriller is still well worth a read. I give it four thumbs-up.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Broken Pen for Tom Clancy

I’ve asked myself this question frequently. So many other things interest me. At one time, I was a magician, doing sleight of hand. I know I should exercise more; I love taking long walks. Technology fascinates me and I used to tinker with computers and software. But most of these things I’ve dropped, so I’d have enough time to hit the keyboard and churn out words.

Some innate drive buried deep inside us compels writers to tell stories and weave tales.  Happiness. Sadness. Adventure. Drama. Mystery. Comedy. Love. Death.  These are the things that drive us to write and become writer.

This past week, the world lost one of the greats. Tom Clancy died at the age of 66.  He’d brought the world the Techno-Thriller, entertaining millions with words.  His first book, Hunt for Red October, became an overnight bestseller, followed by sixteen more hits.  Here is a cut from the movie.

In magic, when a magician dies, a wand is broken in his honor to mark the end of the magic.  For Tom Clancy, a pen has been broken to mark the end of words.