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.

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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.

Me and Keith Knight in San Francisco!

It has been a while since I had said hi to Keef (check out his K-Chronicles website here). He was in San Francisco doing his presentation on police brutality. (I wonder how Keef stays so positive and nice with such a depressing subject.) I should have done a Spider-Man web-shooting hand gesture so Fox News could say I was doing a gang sign. Go to www.kchronicles.com and see Keef’s work and buy his books!

I have been a fan of Keef for what, 20 years or so? 30? It has been a while. Way back when WonderCon was in San Francisco, Keef was manning his booth and selling books, and he asked me to man it while he visited the restroom. So I stood in his booth. An older white guy came up and asked me if I was Keef. I told him I wasn’t, but I thought about it. Keef told me I should have said yes. (In this photo, I am the white guy with the glasses and the slightly droopy left eyelid.) I gave him a copy of Super Bad Hair Day and Boss by Mike Royko. I think of Keef as a writer as well as a cartoonist. He writes great little stories in his work.

I still have not put Keef into a Super Holly story, but I intend to. It would be a police brutality thing, but with Super Holly and Harry Headbutt to add slapstick comedy. I would move Keef’s home town to Chicago because I know nothing about Boston. I have decided that Keef and his wifey Kerstin (or rather, the characters I create based on them) will be the parents of Tucker and Wrigley, The Puppy Brothers (hear their Malevolent Mystery Meat audio story here), BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK!!!! I can’t wait to write Kerstin’s German accent: Ack, little Schnitzels, stoppen der barking! What would be Keef’s superpower? I had thought about super-speed because Keef is the hardest-working guy I have seen in this business, and had stuck i tout for all these decades. (I have seen a lot of comic book / cartoonists come, and I have seen them go. And mostly go.) Keef once said his superpower would be the power to make people vomit (read that story here).

Great seeing you again, Keef. And great hanging out afterwards at Southern Pacific Brewing and having a ginger beer and a root beer (I always stop after two drinks).

P.S. Kerstin is a sweet lady. I wish I could have said hi to her also.

Still time for Batton Lash’s Kickstarter!

Batton Lash, story writer and Ditko-esque artist, drew the cover of my book Super Bad Hair Day. He gave me great advice (red cape and up-arrow chest logo for Holly). He created Alanna Wolff, a great female lead and a great lawyer. Super Holly would hire Alanna in a nanosecond.

March 26 is the last day for Batton’s Kickstarter for his latest graphic novel, Grandfathered in. He reached his first goal of $11,000, but has another for $13,000 where he can offer another prize. From the Kickstarter page:

In this full-color original graphic novel, Wolff and Byrd take on a case in which a ghost is literally “grandfathered in” to a home inheritance. Grandpa has died but his ghost won’t leave the house—much to the chagrin of his son and daughter-in-law! Meanwhile at the law offices, the landlord wants Wolff & Byrd to leave because their clients are disturbing the other tenants. Plus: Someone from Alanna’s past comes back to haunt her, Jeff is having family troubles, and intrepid secretary Mavis has her own challenges! Readers can expect lots of plot twists and turns and a surprising revelation. This is the first all-new Supernatural Law graphic novel in 5 years!

If you want a strong, smart, tough female lead and a great courtroom story with the drama of Law & Order (sound effects: BOM BOM!) and the laughs of Seinfeld, read Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law graphic novels. If you contribute to the Grandfathered In Kickstarter, you can get goodies such as the new graphic novel ($25 and up).

Heavens to Murgatroyd! A comic book about a writer!

DC Comics is bringing several decades-old Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters back to life in new comic books. I am in love with one of them. (In a totally hetero way, of course.)

In my opinion, The Snagglepuss Chronicles has the best writing in current comic books. Mark Russell writes that pink cool cat as a gay southern playwright in the mid-1950s. It fits like a velvet glove. So go fit this comic book into your stash!

I love the dialog. In issue 3, Snagglepuss is on a talk show, where he neatly stated the difference between television and theater.

Snagglepuss: Television is about creating stars, theater develops actors.

Talk Show Host: And what’s the difference?

Snagglepuss: A star shows people who they’d wish to be, an actor shows them what they are.

In issue 2, a nasty woman from the House Committee on Un-American Activities tries to convince Snagglepuss to write scripts for her about the evil commies about to take over America and we gotta get them and anyone who remotely smells the least bit pinko. Snagglepuss elegantly, politely, and firmly refuses.

Snagglepuss: You ask for my pen, and that I cannot give.

Nasty Woman: Why?

Snagglepuss: Because it’s all I have.

I wiped a tear from my aspiring author eyes at that. I get the feeling I will wipe off a few more. HUAC did not treat writers well.

Huckleberry Hound is also gay in this storyline. Snagglepuss takes that poor, hangdog-sad soul under his wing. I admit I would never have thought Huckleberry would be gay. I can’t tell by looking at him, surprise surprise. A guy at Prism Comics once called me an ally. That was nice of him, but that didn’t give me gaydar.

Except for Porky Pig. C’mon, everyone knows Porky was gay! The rumor is that Porky kept his career because Yosemite Sam kicked down the office door of a homophobic executive who wanted to fire Porky, and Yosemite drew his pistols, and…

Yosemite Sam: Ah hates homophobes! Ah’m the nastiest, worstiest, shoot-em-firstiest bigot basher in the west, east, north, and south! If’n I hear of yuh ever threatenin’ my pal Porky Pig ever again, mah two six-shooters will do mah talkin’ for me! Like this!

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!!!

The executive’s desk fell into itty-bitty pieces. Yosemite hopped onto the homophobe’s lap and smushed his face onto the homophobe’s nose.

Yosemite Sam: One more thing, you skunk. Mah guns are cartoon guns, so they don’t run outta lead. Lemme show yuh!

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!!!

The executive’s chair fell to pieces. Yosemite stomped out of the office. Bugs Bunny stepped in and smirked at the carnage. He spoke to the trembling, white-faced, whimpering homophobe.

Bugs Bunny: Eh, what he said, doc.

P.S. I don’t own any velvet gloves, I just like the sound of that.

Michael Ironside and me at Cinequest!

For the past few days, I have gone to Cinequest 2018 in San Jose and Redwood City. The photo is Michael Ironside and I. You cannot see it, but he put his arm around me. Nice guy! He chuckled and poked me in the tummy when I told him I’d never forget Darryl Revok (the villain from the movie Scanners who made a guy’s head explode by thinking at him, although I think he could have done that with his evil smile). His performance in Knuckleball showed that he’s still GOT IT! I love older actors, their talent and skill age like fine wine. During Q&A for the movie Knuckleball, Michael pointed out so much about the movie’s themes (like love given and love withheld) that made me think, yeah, he is so right! He knows his craft!

Here is a rundown of the movies I have seen so far.

Short Film Program 1: Too Much Pressure. Too many sad violins. Okay, so I am a happy ending kind of guy. I liked the first short, Fighter, about a young man with Down’s Syndrome deciding if he really wants to step into the boxing ring (I was rooting for him). But as for the others? When they start with a long, drawn out, monotone violin note, I know I am in for a depressing time.

Short Film Program 2: Bending Space, Folding Time. The Apocalypse Will be Automated: Siri and zombies do not mix. Hybrids: Fantastic visuals. Rakka: Sigourney Weaver in an alien invasion short, and she’s still got it! Space Girls: Adorable! Tree House Time Machine: Best short film title ever, excellent kid actors!

Flin Flon: A Hockey Town. A feel good documentary. I am not a sports guy but I loved that high school hockey team!

The Go-Getters: Made me think of Repo Man, in a good way. The low I.Q. protagonists had rapid-fire dialog and the lowest goal ever: 50 bucks.

Peaches. Time travel comedy complete with retrofuture commercials!

Short Film Program 4: Animated Worlds. I missed the first short because Peaches ran a little long. Catherine had the best gloomy humor I’ve seen in years. Darrel and Our Wonderful Nature -The Common Chameleon were goofy rivals to Pixar. I Like Girls was cute and made me smile. The Edge of Alchemy was the longest short and had the least amount of story, funny how that happens.

From Baghdad to The Bay. Documentary about Ghazwan Alshari, a translator for the U.S. forces in Iraq, who was tortured for trying to help. I thought of George Carlin’s bit about oxymorons, like “Military intelligence.” Ghazwan came out as gay, which referenced an Iraq has another oxymoron: “Honor killings.” Homophobes have NO HONOR!!! Ghazwan is a gourmet chef, and the food looked YUMMY. I rooted for him. A lot. And I got my happy ending.

Skull. My good clone (my lookalike whom I met at Cinequest years ago, and we have been movie buddies ever since) picked this one. Science Fiction from Thailand. Unfortunately, the filmmaker needed to learn a big rule of writing: if a scene does not move the story forward, cut it. Skull was 2 hours and 10 minutes. With proper editing it could be a good film short. But I am rooting for that director, he made this with a lot of personal effort and on a very tight budget. Keep trying, kid, but study screenwriting.

Knuckleball: The director said the movie is a more realistic Home Alone. During Q&A, I made my usual comparison to Alfred Hitchcock, but the director said he was more inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and I can see that. Lotsa suspense served hot and cold!

Short Film Program 7: Something Funny. I love this, lots of laughs. My faves were Space Butthole (so many butt puns!!!), The Spectacular Summer of Weredog and Amy (sad ending but I still smiled), and Bigfoot’s Love Slave. It is hard to go wrong with this program.

Short Film Program 6: DocuNation. Good lineup. My fave was 6th Graders School Roy Moore’s Attorney. You’d think a highly paid lawyer would be able to put sentences together. Nope.

Pick of the Litter. Follow one litter of puppies growing up, in training to be guide dogs for the blind. Most do not make the cut. There was a row of little girls behind me going “Aw!” Dogs are cinematic naturals. And yes, I got my happy ending.

Speechless. Joined my good clone for this one. About a writer who is trying to care for his senile mother. Scandinavian, sad, but an uplifting ending. I have to admit that as a writer, I would have liked a little more about him as a writer.

You & Me. Romantic comedy. Deaf girl, blind guy, goofy relatives, and a baby at the end. Lots of great performances: the girl’s way-too-many-philosophy-classes father was a hoot.

My Tourette’s. I liked it a lot. I only saw part of it because I had to meet my good clone before it ended.