RIP Stan Lee. Humans entertain, gods bore.

A bright light has gone out in the world. I was but a kid when Spider-Man and Fantastic Four were first published. Compared to DC Comics at the time, Stan’s characters were more flawed, more human, more fun. Super Holly Hansson is the Superman of my writing world, but she is not a perfect boy scout. She is a geek girl with a short fuse. Lesson learned.

John Trumbull ran an article a while ago that showcased Lee’s dialog when some of the jerkier fanboys would say it was ALL Kirby and ALL Ditko and Stan just took all the credit. In the article, John showed a panel from Fantastic Four, Lee’s writing and Kirby’s art.

And one from New Gods, Kirby’s writing and art.

Have I mentioned that one way to have Super Holly Hansson give you a fat lip is to call her a goddess? Putting “Gods” in a title puts me off. Fellow writers tell me that they like how Holly is “very human.”

On Stan Lee’s Fresh Air interview, he asked Terry Gross to imagine a monster: 12-feet tall, purple skin, breathing fire, two heads. In the 1960s, a typical superhero would have said, “A creature from another world – I’d better capture him before he destroys the city.” Spider-Man might say, “Who’s the nut in the Halloween costume?” Stan said he tried to do dialogue that represented the way real, flesh and blood, three-dimensional people would talk. What better writing advice can I get?

Stan loved making original sound effect words: “btkooom” (the third O is, of course, silent) and “PFZZAKT” (a bullet going through a wall). I have been a little lax with crazy original sound words lately, but I admit that I still love Harry Headbutt punching Super Holly and then she clobbers him with five: THOOM! POW POW POW POW POW!!! THOOM! POW POW POW POW POW!!!

Stan said he used those fun alliterative names (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Sue Storm) because he had a bad memory. I use them too, I like their sound: Holly Hansson, Katsuko Kimura, Cal Critbert, and my favorite: Harry Headbutt! (Nice when the name says a bit about the character.)

P.S. I was going to have a Stan Lee type character in my stories: Dan Mann. But I already have three older men in Super Holly’s life: her Uncle Pops, Bennie the rubber cop, and Lash the barber. So I am gender-flipping Dan Mann into Fran Lee. When I FINALLY finish The Comic Book Code, Fran will be the head of a Marvel-type company who publishes Holly’s graphic novel, The Last Super. She will know comic book history. She’ll be Jewish. And she will have some of HERstorian and writer Trina Robbins in her soul.

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Non-static coffee grinding!

I give Super Holly Hansson my flaws, such as being super messy. And I give her my loves, like writing, comic books, and her writing fuel: coffee. I buy whole bean coffee and grind it with a burr-grinder (don’t use a spice grinder, it may be cheap but it grinds chunky). But then the ground coffee is full of static and sticks to the container and makes a mess. Until now. All it takes is a teeny-tiny bit of water in the beans before grinding, as in this video.

Or this video (I saw this one first).

Maybe I will have Holly’s boyfriend (Cal Critbert, super-smart Batman type) show her this trick. She’ll kiss him. Holly LOVES coffee.

Brett Kavanaugh, I want your evil laugh!

(Bob the Angry Flower by Stephen Notley, BUY HIS STUFF!!!)

If Brett Kavanaugh shoves his whiny, weepy, Yale-privileged, partisan-petty, beer-guzzling, frat-boy face into the Supreme Court for the rest of my life, I won’t cry (unlike him). No, I will put him into my stories as villainous Judge Bart Boofontov (okay, the last name is still in flux). As Lex Luthor said when he used his body’s kryptonite poisoning against Superman, “It’s a basic rule of business. Turn a weakness into a strength.”

But I need Judge Boofontov’s evil laugh. My supervillain Harry Headbutt (big bellowing bully): “BAH WAH, HAW HAW!” Ice Cream Guy (freezer frosty shiver): “HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!” Stephan (Simon Bar Sinister): “BEE-YOU, HA HA HA HAAAA!!!” Christine Ford testified about teen Brett’s “uproarious laughter” as he ground on top of her. I can cogitate on that (but not on a full stomach). Hmm, how about, “HOO HOO HOO HOO YEAH!” Too Santa Claus?

SPOILER ALERT! In my still-to-be-outlined-and-written Super Holly super civil war novel, Judge Boofontov will make the Supreme Court in Stumpfinger’s presidency. Since the word of three women (or four) is worth less than Brett’s word to old white male Rethuglicans, Bart will rule that a woman is one-fifth of a person. (Less than one-twentieth if the person is Stumpfinger.) There is precedent for this fractionalization, remember the three-fifths rule?

P.S. I have to admit that if Brett does not make the Supreme Court, I would be far less likely to create this character. It would be too much like punching down. Super Holly Hansson would prefers to punch up, punching down is for bullies.

Recent news

My Kindle book now has the expanded content in the CreateSpace book. It contains:

  • Super Bad Hair Day! (first short story I wrote for Holly)
  • The Poet and the Supersplainer! (The Karate Queen, based on a poetess friend)
  • The Fiendish Brain Freezer! (Kittygirl’s first short story)
  • The Dimensional Dollar! (first appearance of Billington Stumpfinger, my Trumpy supervillain)
  • The Intellecta-Rhapsody! (script of my second audio story)
  • Chapter Zero of The Comic Book Code! (yes, I still have to finish writing the novel)
  • Super Holly artwork drawn by various artists at local comic cons.

At WorldCon, I sold 9 books (if I counted correctly). 10 books if you count the Kindle book I sold. Good times! (I should point out that at that time, my CreateSpace book had a few minor typos which I have since fixed.)

I am working on a Kittygirl trilogy, which I want to publish as a middle-grade book. Problem: I do not know any younger girls for a test audience. I will still keep writing, my critique group told me I was good at “kidspeak.”

I am updating Super Bad Hair Day: don’t buy right now

I decided that my CreateSpace book needed to be at least 130 pages so I could have a proper book spine. I got it up to 140 with more short stories, an audio script, and some Super Holly artwork. I submitted a new Word page interior and a new PDF cover with a REAL SUPER SPINE with a REAL TITLE AND AUTHOR NAME on it! Yay! CreateSpace is currently reviewing my changes.

I will also update the Kindle book. That will likely take a few days. I am working full time, so this weekend is most likely.

So if you are thinking of buying my book, hold off. Soon you will get twice the bang for your buck. The Kindle version will stay at 99 cents, but I had to raise the CreateSpace price by 50 cents to $6.50. At least now, if you buy the CreateSpace version, you will get more of a real book.

Guest Blog: Crescendo of Darkness

I was asked to post a guest blog on May 19 for HorrorAddicts.net. Here it is now (a little late, darn it)! As a writer getting into making audio stories, this is educational! (I will be voicing a nervous teenager for an upcoming anthology by Emerian Rich, one of the editors and story contributors for Crescendo of Darkness.)

Music has the power to soothe the soul, drive people to obsession, and soundtrack evil plots. Is music the instigator of madness, or the key that unhinges the psychosis within? From guitar lessons in a graveyard and a baby allergic to music, to an infectious homicidal demo and melancholy tunes in a haunted lighthouse, Crescendo of Darkness will quench your thirst for horrifying audio fiction.

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present fourteen tales of murderous music, demonic performers, and cursed audiophiles.

Please enjoy an excerpt below from Crescendo of Darkness.

“Loved to Death” by Sam Morgan Phillips

Death explores his dream of being a rock star, but can’t avoid his purpose when a young woman forces him to live up to his destiny.

Death sat in his dressing room, getting ready for the show. He went through his vocal exercises and psyched himself up. He looked at the beer fridge and wished he could have a drink, but he knew it wouldn’t have any effect.

The door was locked for a good reason. He had yet to put on his mask and gloves and pull the black cowl up over his head. He looked at himself in the mirror.

His face of rotting flesh stretched over his skull made him look severe and terrifying. A black robe was both his costume and habitual dress. He pulled it closed over an exposed ribcage. He flexed his skeletal hands and wondered if he was doing the right thing.

He wasn’t ashamed of who he was. He was Death. He didn’t hide behind his costume or his on stage persona. In fact, they represented him perfectly. It was just that he couldn’t be exactly who he was. Not for real. He had to hide it behind art. There was no other way to get his message across. No other way to be understood.

And he so desperately wanted to be understood.

He heaved an otherworldly sigh born of supernatural vigour rather than from lungs. It rasped through his teeth, harsh and metallic.

I can do this. I’m not my father. I have my own my way. I’m Death now.

There was a knock at the door and the muffled sound of words spoken—show time. He put on his mask. It was made of hard black plastic. Painted on the front was a stylised version of his face. It captured the form, but not the essence. He knew how terrifying his true face was.

He pulled on his gloves of black leather. He raised the cowl over his head of thin flesh and exposed bone and went out through the door of his dressing room, clicking the heels of his black army boots on the floor.

As he made his way through the dimly lit backstage area, guided by a roadie, he heard the crowd chanting, calling for him.

“Death, Death, Death!” It lifted his spirits.

His band, The Minions of Death, had already taken the stage and their intro track played. It was the sound of many people screaming. He had recorded and mixed it over the years, overlapping the terrified sounds people made when he came for them. To him it was an elegy, dedicated to the dead, and celebrating the purpose of his life. He felt at home as he walked up the steps at the side of the stage.

The lights flashed red and a smoke machine filled the stage with volumes of bilious gas. The smell of sweat and stale beer filled the long hall, a metal club in the city, jam-packed with people. He stepped up to the microphone and the crowd erupted.

“Put your horns in the air!”

They obeyed, hands raised in the universal metal salute. He raised both of his arms in benediction, cutting a Christ-like pose.

“Tremble before me, mere mortals—for I am Death!”

*********************************

To read the rest of this story and thirteen other horror music shorts, check out: 

Crescendo of Darkness

Direct link: https://www.amazon.com/Crescendo-Darkness-Jeremiah-Donaldson/dp/1987708156

Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

Cover by Carmen Masloski

HorrorAddicts.net Press 

Let music unlock your fear within.

Had a GREAT open mic last night!

I was at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View for the Monday open mic, and I read part of my current story starring Kittygirl (Katsuko Kimura, who has super kittycat powers, and who loves Super Holly Hansson, and Super Holly loves Katsuko every bit as much). In this story, an EEEEEVIL villain, whose voice I based on Simon Bar Sinister (I love doing his evil laugh!), hit Super Holly with a time gun and turned her into an eight year old girl. Holly did not have superpowers at that age, but she was still a spitfire and proved it by breaking the villain’s nose with one punch.

Anyway. The crowd really loved the reading, I got laughs (like when Little Holly did a taunting Cyrano-type speech to distract a big-nosed, gun-toting henchwoman), and appreciative cheers (like “Ooo!” when Kittygirl knocked out said henchwoman).

When the open mic ended, I thanked a few guys at a nearby table for being a great audience. One guy said he would by recording of my stories, so I guess I should put some on sale someday. They asked me about the sound effects in my reading, like echoing. Turns out the sound guy added sound effects to my reading: echoing voice and the like. I thanked him too. And a lady gave me a quick drawing she did of Kittygirl. Actually, I do not envision Kittygirl with a tail or kitty ears, but it was nice of her to draw Kittygirl. (I have thought about giving Kittygirl slightly pointy, elf-like ears.)

I am a writer, and I am a performer. Expect more audio files. I love open mics!

P.S. At a writer gathering this evening, one of the writers read a pirate character, and did a great job. He said I had inspired him with my readings. I think I want a pirate-type character in a Super Holly story. Not sure about hero or villain, or even male or female. But I love reading pirate characters, like I did for Sulu’s Gay Trek.