Monday, February 25, 2013

10 ways to get away with murder

10. Wear a really bad, distracting disguise, like a pink bunny costume or golf pants.
9. Pick targets that nobody cares about, like novelists or cartoonists.
8. Don't leave behind any DNA. Cover your entire body with duct tape ahead of time. (Note: make sure to leave holes for at least one eye and maybe a nostril.)
7. Do not live-Tweet the crime. #amateurhour
6. Have no motive. (Does not having a motive count as a motive?)
5. Don't kill anyone in any place where you have ever been before. (Bring a GPS. It's easy to get lost.)
4. Never tell anyone what you did, except for your girlfriend or wife. I'm sure she'll understand and keep your secret, right Mr. Drinks Too Much?
3. Do not purchase your stolen, untraceable gun with a credit card or personal check.
2. Never post a blog entitled '10 ways to get away with murder.'
1. Don't kill anybody. Yeah, that's probably the best way. Go play a video game or something.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gone but not (quite) forgotten

I've been thinking a lot lately about some people whose names and faces I can't quite remember.

There's the guy who lived down the street from my parents, a blue-collar worker who walked up to a sullen kid whose hands were in his pockets (okay, it was me) and ever-so-casually lifted the kid's right hand out of his pocket to shake his own hand like a man.

There's the beautiful young woman from my first office job who wore a red dress on Valentine's day, earning the derision of every other woman in the department, something that astounded me since she was as pure and nice as a person could be.

There's the older science fiction who took me aside and gave me some wonderful advice that I have never forgotten, even if I can't remember who he was.

There's the blonde music writer who moved into my apartment building who freaked out when our landlord put her name on the doorbell for her unit. I later found out she was being stalked and had to flee to a new town every time he found out where she lived. She lasted there a few months, then disappeared in the middle of the night. (I hope she found peace.)

There's the miserable older man who hired me for my first professional writing assignment, a ghostwriting gig for a professional gambler whose name I also can't remember. I screwed that gig up on so many levels, but it worked all the same. The lessons learned have not been forgotten, even if the people are foggy in my mind.

There's the woman at the photo studio where I worked my first year after college, who spent every day dreading the upcoming marriage she didn't want to be a part of. I wonder if she ever went through with it?

There's the cousin of a cousin of a cousin I met at a family reunion three whose ear appears on the edge of all of my photos from those days. We talked and joked for hours but even when I look at our family tree I can't figure out who the hell she was.

There's the heavy-drinking, happy-go-lucky guy from my freshman or sophomore dorm floor who killed himself a few years later. None of us ever saw it coming. I remember the pain I felt when I heard the news, but everything else about him has faded away.

There's the "novelist" who showed up at a Garden State Horror Writers meeting and set off all of our creep radar. I later heard he was found wandering the halls of an elementary school. I really don't want to remember his name.

There's the sad old man who lived in the townhouse below us in New Jersey, who told me that his life caring for his disable wife was so miserable he wanted to die. A few weeks later, he did, and his wife was shuffled off to a nursing home by herself.

There's the couple who gave me my fist kitten the first summer I lived on my own. I think they may have been friends of a friend, but I'm not even sure of that. At least I remember the cat's name.

There are so many people who enter our lives on a daily basis. So many faces, so many names, so many ways that they touch us. Some of the encounters are fleeting, yet they leave an impression. Other people stay in our lives for weeks or months or years but are easily forgotten the moment they are out of eyesight.

I have never been great with names, or all that good at keeping in touch with people. For all of the ones that I have forgotten, or almost forgotten, there are so many more that I remember. Even if I don't talk to them ever day, I think about them often. And I wonder how (or if) they all think of me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back in the editorial saddle

I'm happy to announce that editors Rod Heather and Sean O'Leary have asked me to come on board with the recently relaunched Lore, a quarterly anthology of weird fiction.

Rod and Sean and Lore and I go way back. Lore got its starts a small-press magazine around the same time that I was editing my own White Knuckles magazine, back in the mid-to-late Nineties. I think we each ran the same number of issues over roughly the same amount of time. Lore always had a unique identity and published truly quality fiction and many of the tales that appeared in its pages remain some of my all-time favorites.

As these things go, Lore's original shelf life came and went. But you can't keep a good horror publication down: they often find a way to come shambling back.

The new Lore -- which already has two anthologies under its belt, plus a "greatest hits" collection from the magazine days -- is a great mix of horror, SF and fantasy. I'm helping to read stories for the third edition right now. It's already a blast.

More as things progress. In the meantime, check out the site for submission guidelines and ordering information.