It is with the heaviest of hearts that I sit here today. For those of you who are unaware, today we lost a great man. Rocky Wood, President of The Horror Writers Association, lost his hard fought battle against ALS. Many of you will know him from his career and his close ties to Stephen King. Some of you will know him as a champion of the horror genre and a dedicated man who gave his all to helping to elevate the genre and its acceptance in the literary community, all while battling a crippling and devastating disease. Some of you are fortunate enough, as am I, to remember him as a supportive friend, honorable human being, and a blessing to be around. For the last three years I have forged a bond with Rocky as he helped me navigate the ins and outs of the Bram Stoker Awards® and the many rules I needed to be familiar with. He was always kind, always patient, and always a friend. It is soul crushing to look back through our years of correspondence and realize that there will be no more. I am deeply saddened by this, as I know many others are and it’s hard to find comforting words at a time such as this. Instead, I can only offer his family, friends and associates a prayer for peace in the knowledge that his earthly suffering has reached its end. The people in our lives are not gifts. They are loans. And we are blessed for the time we have them, and further blessed when they are gone by the lessons and love that is their legacy. Godspeed Rocky. We will miss you forever and always.~C.W.
And so it ends. Another October gone, the streets quiet once again, the children all scrubbed and glowing from exhaustion and sugar-rush. Across the country, teachers sigh in frustration as students gaze into nothing, their little minds and bodies wore out from the previous night’s adventures and imagining that magic time when the school bell will ring and free them to go home to a candy bag bursting at the seams. And once again, my favorite holiday is fading…
BUT! There is still a little Halloween magic left! I get to give one lucky a soul a box of goodies. Less than a dozen of you entered my contest, which should’ve made it easy, but BOY it sure wasn’t. Who knew you were all such talented bastards?! I am amazed at the level of skill in most of the jack-o-lanterns sent to me. It wasn’t an easy decision at all, the originality and thought that went into each and every one was stunning. You are all rock stars as far as I’m concerned. Of course, there can only be one winner. In the end, I had to go by technical difficulty and even then it was hard.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Brandi Slater of Michigan, for her two jack-o-lanterns pictured below. Though I loved them all, these two really stood out to me, particularly the wolf. The skill it took to carve that moon in the background is amazing. Brandi will receive the prize pack including signed copies of a few of my works, some cool Jack Skellington swag and of course, a signed copy of COFFIN HOP: DEATH BY DRVE-IN from which the proceeds go to supporting children’s literacy at: Litworld http://www.litworld.org/. The rest of you can still pick up a copy here: http://goo.gl/1FyjiU and do your part to help create a world where all children know the joy of reading. Congrats Brandi and a huge THANK YOU to everyone else who competed. You are all amazing!~C.W.
Hello Boils and Ghouls! Can you believe it’s already been a year since the last Coffin Hop? Time sure flies when you’re a demon, bent on destroying the world… Erm, I mean, Having fun! This year I’ve decided to keep things short and sweet as I’m sure you have plenty of other sites to hop to. My contest will be pretty easy as well, at least for those who truly celebrate Halloween, the way our ancient alien ancestors intended. And this year, the Hop is all about YOU!
So, do you carve? Are you a painter? Do you do both? How early do you buy your pumpkin? Do you keep it until it rots, or throw it out November 1st? What’s the most important trait for a good pumpkin? These are the things I want to know about you. The information I carve, I mean CRAVE!
At my house, it varies from year to year. Last Halloween we carved, the year before we did both. But this year it was all about the paint. We’d spotted some brilliant white pumpkins at a local farm and fleet store around the end of September and just knew they were for us. Of course, as mild as the weather had been, we also knew there was no way those pumpkins would survive until All Hallow’s Eve. So we waited, we bided our time, our grubby little paws rubbing together in anticipation. And guess what? You’re right, they were all gone by the time we returned. And so we set off to the seventh level of HELL (yeah, Walmart) in search of the next best thing, orange pumpkins and white spray paint. Now my family is pretty diverse. We each have our own criteria for what makes the perfect pumpkin. I am all about the symmetry. My oldest daughter believes it is the roundest pumpkin that makes the grade, and for my son, the smoothest. My middle daughter swears it’s all about SIZE! She always picks the biggest of the bunch, regardless of whether it’s a lopsided, warty monstrosity. Lou doesn’t give a shit what pumpkin he gets, as long as he doesn’t have to come with.
I’ve included photos of this year’s pumpkins. I think they turned out pretty well. They should appease the spirits and keep the demonic forces from entering our home to raise all manners of havoc such as fire, pestilence, and that annoying toe seam on your sock that won’t lay flat.
This brings me to the important part, THE CONTEST! It’s simple really. All you have to do is send me a photo of your pumpkin. Paint it, carve it, throw it in the road. It doesn’t have to be this year’s jack-o-lantern. It could be a favorite from years gone by, but be original, be creative. Feel free to include some details about what makes a perfect pumpkin in your eyes. There are only a few minor rules you must adhere to:
*Do not cheat. Only dickfaces cheat! Don’t insult my intelligence by sending me a google image. I know a professional photo from a snapshot.
*Send the photo to C.W.LaSart@hotmail.com NO LATER than Midnight Central Time on October 31st.
*Please include your full name, email address and mailing address in the body of the email. The photo can be an attachment.
*MOST IMPORTANTLY! DO NOT, under any circumstances, include naked pictures of yourself. Seriously. I am getting so sick of all the junk in my inbox! What is it about my writing that makes you sickos think I want to see your tidbits? No really, just don’t.
And that’s it. After I have collected all the photos, I will present them to an impartial Jury made up of myself, two preteen girls, one flirty 8 year old boy, and a bulldog. We will pick our favorite and post it here on November 1st! The winner will receive all the wonderful goodies pictured below, as well as a signed copy of the Coffin Hop Charity Anthology, Death By Drive-In! So what are you waiting for? Get carving and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!~C.W.
Prize Includes: One signed copy of Ad Nauseam: 13 Tales of Extreme Horror, One signed copy of Bad Dreams New Screams (A limited edition Cemetery Dance Chapbook, only 500 in existence), One signed copy of Coffin Hop:Death By Drive-In (A Charity anthology by the Coffin Hoppers that supports literacy with all proceeds going to Litworld http://www.litworld.org/), One Jack Skellington Notepad, One Jack Skellington Hardbound Calendar/Planner, and a snazzy pair of Jack Skellington socks! Those who don’t win can still pick up the Charity Anthology here: http://goo.gl/1FyjiU Coming soon in E-Format!
Get Back To The Hop Here: http://coffinhop.com/
I want to tell you a story. Those of you who are familiar with this blog know what comes next, but for my new friends, this is where I begin my rant. Usually I try to stick with topics that scare me. Today however, I want to share something that disappoints me deeply. I would like to preface this by explaining that I am not easily offended. Anyone who has read my writing can vouch for that. I’m also not opposed to nudity in general, nor am I opposed to nudity in horror films. I love horror films. Gratuitous sex is just part of the bargain. I’m not offended by it at all. Far from it. I’m one of the least prudish people you will ever meet. Of course, after today the fans of a certain well-known horror site might disagree on that point, but we’ll get to that. This post might piss some of you off and I’m deeply sorry about that. No, I’m just kidding, if it pisses you off, you’re part of the problem. Let’s start the story, shall we?
Imagine if you will, a facebook timeline. It could be very much like yours (probably is since we are both horror fans) but it isn’t yours. It’s mine. On this timeline are many posts by horror writers, memes by horror sites, and in general, just a plethora of horror related stuff. It’s a lovely timeline. It sees its share of monsters, blood and gore, and even some nudity. Now climb into my head as we are scrolling this timeline. Do you see it? Good! Imagine, if you will, you come across a picture that gives you pause. We are all familiar with the little twin girls from The Shining. Imagine that same hallway, only in place of the young girls, two adult twins have been poorly photoshopped into the foreground. They are both blonde with headbands and they are holding hands. They are also both completely nude with the exception of a pair of bloodstained knee socks. The tiniest of little boxes cover the necessary bits, but there is a link to the “uncensored version” posted directly below.
Okay, here is where you start rolling your eyes and saying “Come on, C.W.! It’s HORROR. This seriously can’t offend you, can it? You wrote a story about a guy fucking a hole in the ground!” But please stick with me here, I’m not done and I have a point to make. Whether that point is valid or not is completely up to you. Back to the story…
So you see this picture and you realize it is posted by the facebook page of what is known as a respected and highly trafficked horror website. It’s one of your favorites and is generally full of reviews, photos of classic horror movie posters, and all those usual things. You’re surprised, so you click the picture and are directed to the page. You’re still slightly shocked that they would post this. It really has nothing to do with the horror industry and is clearly a blatant excuse to post a rather gratuitous picture of porn. You aren’t outraged, but you’re a little stunned (remember, you’re in my head right now). Then you see the comments on the picture. Now you’re pissed. These misogynistic replies, posted by what can only be politely referred to as basic and crass troglodytes, start to get under your skin. I will share the fine comments posted by these knuckle-draggers later, complete with my own commentary.
But let’s get back to the subject at hand. You may not see my point yet, but I will spell it out for you. The picture was originally shared by a website called Boobs and Blood or some such shit. That’s fine. I’m not offended that they have this picture. It’s clearly not a site for which I am the target audience. Have at it! But it was shared by a site I do follow. It wasn’t on their website, just the facebook page, but that page is representative of this site I once followed and respected. I’m not offended. I’m gravely disappointed. I find it sad that such a respected site, with a broad range and large female fanbase would allow the posting of something so irrelevant to the horror industry. Posters of movies with nudity are relevant. Sure, they are. Gratuitous sex is a staple of the industry. It’s the norm. Full frontal female nudity is not. The most disheartening part of it is that they would willing post something that is potentially offensive to half their fanbase. And if the photo doesn’t bother most women, clearly the commentary that was allowed to follow would make the majority uncomfortable. I know that it is impossible for a site to post things that EVERYONE will enjoy or agree with, but I think a line was crossed here. The picture and ensuing comments gave what was once an enjoyable page for most, a crass frat house atmosphere. Let’s take a peek at some of these comments, shall we?
Eric S. says “Carpet installation. Hahahahaha! Pretty smooth…” Very clever there, Eric. I see what you did with the thinly-veiled reference to the women’s grooming habits. Your mother must be proud.
Michael B. says “One of them actually stole a book of matches and tried to burn off her
pubes, so I… corrected… her….” Wait, what? What the fuck does that mean? Does anyone else think that sounds rapey?
Lee V. says “best photograph in the world” Clearly Lee’s reading tastes don’t include TIME magazine. I bet he considers the stories in the Penthouse Forum to be fine literary fiction.
There are more along that line, but I think you get the picture. But here’s where the disturbing shit really starts. Enter a couple people who speak negatively about the photo. Let’s look at how their comments are treated:
Jill G. says “What the hell is this? What does this have to do with the Shining? Why
can’t you just have a horror site without parading around naked women? And the
pseudo-pedophilia implied here is more than a little disturbing.”
To which Michael C. responds (Michael is my new favorite. A very special sort of douchebag) “@Jill Chill out please. It’s a parody on something most horror
fans are familiar with. If not then you almost can’t call yourself a horror
fan. As for the rest of your comment. Those things you mentioned never came to
mind until you spoke of it and I still don’t see it. You have to try real hard
to imagine the pseudo-pedophilia. I think you have serious issues if you think
this image is problematic. And suggest to seek out professional help” Um, Nice try. I don’t think so, Michael. You see, I don’t remember the twins from The Shining ever being naked. If you are seeking a true parody of this scene, might I suggest the one featuring Stephen King and Colbert? Now that was funny shit. This is just an excuse to post two naked women.
Another post speaking out about the picture, Caren says “22,701 Horror fans on this page. How many do you think are women? Glad the guys think this is relevant.”
And the responses. From “The Site In Question” “Probably a lot of women. We have posted things like this before, and have actually gotten good responses from women. If there are men that are doing this sort of stuff, we would post it up there as well. That is just not the norm for the most part. Sorry if it offends you.” Oh, okay. The fact that you would post penises makes this totally cool. My bad. Carry on. But the fact that two women have now commented against it must be about as irrelevant as the picture itself.
The only male response speaking out against the picture, Paul F. says “I have to agree with Caren on this. I don’t really see the relevance of this to horror. It’s simple pornography. You might as well be posting links to Redtube or something. And before anyone gets on their histrionic high horse, no, I’m not gay nor am I a prude, not that that would be relevant to any intelligent debate on the subject. Those that do comment like that, should really question whether they see women as anything more than ‘walking vaginas’. I simply don’t want to open up Facebook, where I connect with a lot of horror authors and horror movie film pages, and see what is basically porn. Which is why I will now unlike the page. Good luck in the future.” Thanks Paul. Nice to see you aren’t all like Michael.
But wait! Here comes that wily Michael again “@Paul How is this porn? Go look up what the definition of porn is and then come back and explain it to me. The image here is censored. While it might be slightly erotic it sure is no porn. @Caren Your comment suggest that all women would have problems with this assuming you represent all women. I know a lot of healty and law abiding women who don’t object to this kind of imagery. And sorry to say but if people make more fuzz about seeing a little nudity as opposed to limbs being chopped off then I am kinda worried. Don’t we all come to this world naked? Honestly people chill out.” Yeah! How dare you point out the irelevance of this picture! It’s naked women for Christ’s sakes! We NEVER get to see that. Bite me, Michael. And they linked the uncensored version. They only posted the censored version out of the desire to keep their facebook page, not any nod to modesty or taste.
But, apparently she does speak for some other women. Sumiko S. Says “Your comment suggests that you speak for all women vicariously, Michael
– because you know some women that it doesn’t bother. The fact that it doesn’t
bother some women does not mean that the women and men are bothered by it
should be silenced. People are entitled to have opinions, even ones you may not
personally agree with.
I think you should chill out.”
Okay, enough of that. At this point you might be thinking to yourself, “Come on, C.W. It’s not that big of a deal.” Some of you women may even be thinking the usual things. Men are pigs. Guys will be guys. No. That’s a cop out and you know it. I mean really? You men should be offended by that (though most aren’t because it lets them get by with bad behavior). Seriously, it’s not like you’re intelligent people who can control your actions and words, right? (note, heavy sarcasm intended by author) Women are forced to be okay with this sort of thing all the time, but let me tell you something, just because they remain quiet does not mean they aren’t uncomfortable. The unfortunate side effect of Women’s Lib is that a percentage of women, in hopes of not being lumped in with the more militant feminists, strive to embrace this behavior. They bury their discomfort in hopes of being “cool” or not being “that gal”. Well guess what? I’m okay with being that gal. I don’t give a shit. I’m not a prude. I’m not easily offended. But I’m sad to see this site resorting to this behavior. Right now is a hot time for the Sci-Fi/Horror industry in regards to the treatment of women. I am generally the FIRST to defend the industry amidst many allegations of sexual harassment at cons, disadvantages toward female authors and all the other horseshit that women deal with on a regular basis. I am not a card carrying feminist. You may think it’s wrong to call out all those men and their posts, but don’t worry. Sexist primates like that probably aren’t reading this fucking blog anyway.
But, in the end, it’s their page. They have the right to post what they want. Even if it is completely irrelevant to the industry and potentially offensive to the women on their page. As a former fan, I have a right to react. Their choice has put them in this blog. You know how we writers are. Originally I had intended to leave the site unnamed. But then I read their lame excuses and apologies which acknowledge the picture, but take absolutely no responsibility for posting it.
“We all love watching death, blood and gore…. Don’t let a couple of naked people get to you!!” It’s not the naked people, it’s the absolutely gratuitous reason for the picture on a site dedicated to horror.
“We share a lot of things on this Facebook page. One: its not our website, Two: if you don’t like it, don’t see a point to it, or are really offended by it, tell the blog it came from. Funny thing is we have had more bad comments and people mad about a twilight post than this. Again, we just share things sometimes. Could be a cool t-shirt, hello kitty chainsaw, trailers, or naked people. It’s a big world out there folks…” Yep. A big old world. Full of people. Some are writers. Welcome to my blog.
No, they’re right. It’s not their website. Just their facebook page, which all decent authors know is a huge representative of who we are as a brand. I won’t name the site. No, that would be wrong. But I will include a link to their page. I would like to know what you think. A decent dialogue goes a long way toward resolving issues. Much farther than asking people to chill out, and expecting them to bite their tongue when they see something they don’t like. Maybe it’s an overreaction. After all, it could just be that time of the month. Right guys?
Upon some reflection, I have decided to delete the link. Though my opinion on the actions of said Horror Site have not changed, it is not my intention to cause a witch hunt. However, the picture of me flipping them the bird still stands. Thank you~C.W. LaSart
Hello my friends! We’re going to something a bit different today. I have been tagged by the very talented Benjamin Kane Ethridge in a fun little game called The Next Big Thing where I am challenged to answer a few questions about what I’m working on before directing you to other writers who will do the same. You can still read Ben’s answers at http://benjikane.livejournal.com/, and at the end I will direct you to next week’s blog. Okay then, that’s easy enough. Without further adieu, on to my questions!
What is the working title of your next book? My first novel, which I am currently hard at work on, is called Calliope.
Where did the idea come from for the book? That’s a little bit harder. This is one of many ideas that have been rattling around my head for years. I can’t really remember the origin. It’s been there for so long that I almost feel it’s been up there forever!
What genre does your book fall under? Definitely horror. Maybe even a bit towards extreme horror.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Another hard one. I can certainly tell you who wouldn’t star in it. Kristin Stewart. I don’t watch nearly enough movies anymore, so I am out of touch with actresses. Maybe the gal from the remake of Fright Night for the female lead. I liked her.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? Ancient evil overtakes a small town.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Neither. It will definitely be released by a small press. I’ve had a few inquire about seeing it when it’s finished and plan to go with one of those. Provided they like it of course.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I hand wrote it in about four months. The book itself is done, other than editing, but I am immersed in the painful process of trying to decipher my own handwriting and type it up. Not an easy task. I write fast and in sloppy cursive. Even I don’t know what I’m saying half the time.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Hmmmm. I’m not sure on that one. It has an 80’s pulp feel to it and a carnival theme. I suppose there’s a few golden oldies on my shelf that it may compare to, but none of the top of my head. Though the monsters aren’t werewolves, one could say there is a resemblance to the beasts.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? I have made no secret of the fact that I miss the old pulp feel of horror, back before the genre started to take itself too seriously. I suppose that is what really inspired me to write this book. I grew up on the fun of splatterpunk and I wanted to pay homage to my roots. I wanted to write something that would’ve fit in well with the genre during my early years when I feel in love with horror. I hope I have succeeded.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest? Did I mention it’s got a carnival theme? There have been many books written about evil carnivals that descend upon unsuspecting towns, but I chose to take this familiar trope and give it a little shake. What if the town itself was evil, and the carnies the heroes? You’ll just have to read it to find out
Well, that’s it. Now I’m supposed to tag 3-5 other writers and send you on your way. Of course, I’ve never been one for the rules, so I think I will just tag one. Okay, you got me, I came into the game late and could only find one other person who wanted to play! But he’s well worth the visit! I give you, Dan Dillard! Check out his blog while you wait and next Wednesday you can read his answers to the same questions. http://www.demonauthor.com/ Happy reading my friends. Until next time~C.W. LaSart