Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tomorrow I will be… The Ultimate Answer To Life, The Universe, and Everything

Or, to be more specific, I will be 42.

Thank you, Douglas Adams.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. 41 has been very good to me, in a lot of ways. I couldn't possibly imagine everything that would come my way, both good and bad. 42 is going to be amazing. I can't wait.

On a side note, Rudy Panucci posted on the Gazz Blog 50 Cool Things About 2008, and I happen to be one of those cool things. I'm grateful for the mention, but I shall not rest upon my cool laurels, oh no. Time to whip up brand new cool for 2009.

Everyone have a happy and safe New Year's. See you on the other side.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So THAT'S the problem...


How To Tell If Your Girlfriend's a Psycho





How To Tell If Your Boyfriend's a Psycho





This explains everything.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ouch!

Any test that starts with someone jamming this into your hand...


.. and you know you're in for a bad day. But I think I'll have some good news soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Early Xmas Gift




I have the best PA ever. :)


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank You

The point of Thanksgiving is to reflect on what we are thankful for. A week ago, I was rushed to the hospital with what I thought might be a heart attack. I honestly thought I was going to die. I am thankful that I have more time on this Earth. How much more no one can ever say, about any of us. I am also thankful to be reminded of what really is important in life. Mostly, I am thankful for everyone who, each in their own way, wished me well and gave me support while I was in the hospital. I am truly blessed. In my darkest times, I see just how lucky I am to have the friends I do. Thank you, one and all, and I hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hospital Trip

I woke up Thursday morning with chest pains and numbness in my left arm. I wasn't in a lot of pain, but my uncle Jerry died of his first heart attack when he was about two years younger than I am now, and I have a history of heart problems on both sides of my family. Not wanting to take any chances, I checked myself into the hospital, and they held me for observation.

One of the first things they did was put a heparin lock in my arm. This is basically a catheter inserted into a vein so drugs can be administered during a cardiac arrest, when veins can collapse and are difficult to locate. They performed an EKG, did a chest x-ray, and scheduled a series of blood tests to check for cardiac enzymes. There are chemicals in the heart muscle that are found only there, and finding cardiac enzymes in the bloodstream indicates damage has occurred in the heart. They take blood at least three times during a 24-hour period, and having a tech wake you up in the middle of the night to draw blood has become one of my least favorite things.

The good news: the tests came back negative and my heart is fine. The bad news: my problems stem from a huge blood pressure spike brought on by stress, which carry with it problems of its own. I see my doctor sometime next week, and from there, we will decide what to do.

Fortunately, I will still be able to attend the book signing at the Capital City Art & Craft Show tomorrow at the Charleston Civic Center. I will be there from 3:30 to 7:00 pm, signing copies of both "Legends of the Mountain State" books at the West Virginia Book Company table. Stop by and see me if you're in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick

Grace and I headed up to Cromwell CT last weekend for this year's Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Annual Gathering. The theme was "Devil of a Bar & Pub", and the Guest of Honor was storyteller and magician Ed Solomon. As always, much learning and good times were had by all. Grace and I had a table in the dealer's room, where she had several prints and original pieces of art and I had copies of both volumes of "Legends of the Mountain State" and Weird Tales #351. Business was brisk and our offerings were well received.

There were two evening shows this year: "Le Petite Guignol" on Friday night and the formal dinner and show on Saturday night. I did sound for both shows, getting to do a bit of theater work for the first time in a couple of years since I stepped away from theater to concentrate more on my writing. It's good to know I still have the knack.

As always, it's great to see magical friends who I only get to see once a year, and I come away inspired anew in all of my creative work. Grace and I are working on some new magical pieces. My plan is to perform in the close up show next year, and I have some new effects I plan to debut there. Ms. Grace has a few surprises of her own planned. We are working together to develop for her a magical persona that is uniquely her and to create an act that utilizes many of her interests and strengths as a performer. She has always had an incredible stage presence, and she's going to make one hell of a great magician. Stay tuned, folks.

Grace put up some pictures from the trip on her MySpace site, and there are pictures on the ICBM Photo Gallery. Let me say one thing to any magicians or prospective magicians who read this blog: you need to come to the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Gathering. You will learn so much, and the environment there is indescribable. When I first attended in 2004, I was a complete outsider in magic, but from the moment I arrived, they made me feel like family. It is to magicians what Necon is to writers and artists. If you've been thinking about attending an ICBM event, don't put it off. Visit the ICBM website, and when they put up the registration form for next year, register and go. You absolutely owe it to yourself; it is a magical experience like no other. I hope to see you there.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Back in Cromwell Again

I am in Cromwell CT, along with artist/PA/magical assistant Grace Welch, for the 2008 Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Annual Gathering. For those who don't know, bizarre magick is a form of performance magic that focuses on story and drama. It is fun, creative, and sometimes a little spooky; that's why I like it.

I spent half the night in the hospitality suite talking to magicians, and as always I learn a lot when I go there. I'll post a blog about the convention sometime Monday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Part III: Personnel

I'm a busy guy, and I like it that way. But sometimes I pay the price for having too many irons in the fire. A three-part blog that was supposed to be Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday and became Monday-Wednesday-Friday is a good example. But I can't help it. I like to be busy. But recently, I've become overly "blessed".

I remember when I had all the time in the world to write. No one was waiting for anything, and if it took a week, a month, or six months it really didn't matter. Now, it seems I can't sit at the keyboard without hearing the ticking of the clock. Everything's on a deadline, but hey, isn't that what I wanted? Throw into the mix readings and book signings. Sure, I don't call myself a horror writer anymore, but Halloween is still the busy season. In fact, I have one coming up tomorrow at Taylor Books. I might have another reading coming up for Halloween, but we'll see.

If that isn't enough, I have my extracurricular activities. Wrestling shows, magic performances (have an appearance coming up this month), and maintaining not only my website but also the website of poet extraordinaire Brandy Schwan. Throw in a day job and the occasional trip, and there you have it: my filled-to-the-brim life.

So full, in fact, that life is beginning to run away from me. I've reached the point where I can't do it alone. I need help. I need a personal assistant. Brian Keene has Big Joe. Maurice Broaddus has his "con wives". Yeah, that's what I need. A helping hand. A partner in crime. A cross between My Girl Friday and Wednesday Addams. Someone who is, God help us all, crazier than I am. An impossible dream, you say? An unreachable goal? Au contraire. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Grace Welch:

Some of you have already met her. Expect to see more of her around as I travel to conventions and other gatherings. As well as being an exceptional historian, researcher and note-taking goddess, Grace is also an amazing artist. You can see samples of her work on her MySpace page. She and I are in the planning stages of a series of children's books. More details to come.

I did want to mention that the reading at the Book Exchange yesterday went swimmingly well. I had a great time, and had story time with 10-12 kids, and then more adult spooky stories with the adults toward the end of the evening. Music provided by Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen, a duo I first saw perform at Rudy Panucci's Radio Free Charleston celebration. They brought the acoustic funk.

By the way, the new Weird Tales is on newsstands, and you can find my poem "The Monster With the Shape of Me" on page 13 (how cool is that?). I couldn't have asked for a better layout, and the page is illustrated with a piece by omni-talented artist Steven Archer.

More projects on the way. Would you expect anything less?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Part II: Purpose

Brian Keene and Gary Braunbeck made my decision much easier, and helped me to realize this was the right thing to do; but they weren't the catalyst. The seed was planted many years ago.

I've been writing poems and stories since elementary school. I made the decision to become a professional writer about six months after I left seminary. I started out with an electric typewriter, but I created the majority of my early work on a Commodore 64 and a nine-pin dot matrix printer. My word processing program was Geowriter, part of the GEOS software suite. For those who don't know, this was one of the first Graphical User Interfaces for a home computer. It was Windows long before there was a Windows. I knew what I wanted: to be the next Stephen King. I submitted to Eldritch Tales, Spectral Tales, Grue, 2AM, The Horror Show, The Scream Factory, and others. I received many encouraging rejections, for which I am both grateful and amazed. At this point in my work, I was not very well read in the genre and I still labored under the false impression that all horror stories had to end with a Twilight Zone-like ending. Still, these editors encouraged me to keep writing. Perhaps they saw something more that what I had given them on the page.

I knew that if I wanted to get better, I would need to learn more. I read every writing book I could get my hands on, and managed to understand a little of it. I finally decided that formal education was the route I needed to take and enrolled at West Virginia State College.

I worked during the day and went to school at night, taking courses when I could. I majored in English with a minor in Computer Science. I studied literature and linguistics. I read a wide variety of authors. I wrote stories and poems, and published in the school journals. After six years of hard work, I finally earned my degree. And promptly gave up writing.

Jean Anaporte, my poetry professor at State, was very upset to learn I had taken a computer tech job and had stopped writing. I thought I was just being practical. I had read great literature and felt I didn't have the talent to measure up to that. I had a good job that stimulated me intellectually and paid me well. I had simply grown older and my dreams had changed. Or so I thought. Being a writer is very much like being in the Mafia: you can try to get out, but it just keeps dragging you back in.

My road to becoming a published professional began in New York City in 2005 at the World Horror Convention, which I attended because I saw something about it on the Internet. I was the quiet guy who knew absolutely nobody, feeling like a gatecrasher at an exclusive party. I did manage to introduce myself to a few people, see how real authors behaved (both good and bad), and met people who would influence me in ways I never would have guessed. Many of these people became my good friends.

WHC would be followed by Necon, HorrorFind, and Borderlands Boot Camps. My knowledge grew, and would eventually bear fruit in my incipient writing career. I'm not even close to being another Stephen King, but I couldn't imagine ten years ago where I would be now. Horror has been very good to me. That is why what I am about to say might come as a surprise. It certainly does to me. But the seeds to this announcement started right at the very beginnings of my writing, found root and were nurtured during my time in college, and has come to fruition because of the counsel of some very wise teachers and friends in the horror business. And at this point in my career, it is the logical next step.

I am giving up horror.

It was a matter of time. My writing has drifted away from purely horror themes. I can see the pattern in my writing clearly now. During a horror author panel at this year's ConText, I asked a bit of a loaded question. "What is it that you want your readers to take away from your work?" The answer was nearly unanimous: nothing. Horror is meant to be a funhouse ride and nothing more. These authors didn't tell me anything that I hadn't read in many of the literary texts I've studied. Horror is the most restrictive of all genres, focusing on the emotion of fear very often at the expense of all others. Calling fiction "Dark Fantasy" or "Supernatural Thriller" are simply attempts to write horror themes without being beholden to horror construction. Horror can be a box that limits theme and meaning. Although it may not be important to a horror writer for a reader to take something away from their work, it is important to me.

Therefore, I'm no longer calling myself a horror writer. I am simply a writer. This doesn't mean that I won't write horror fiction. It does mean that those stories I choose to call horror may not fit very comfortably within what some might believe horror fiction should be. Personally, I believe horror can and should use a broad emotional palate, and that a horror story can have meaning that isn't painfully contrived when constructed by a skilled author. Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, and Gary Braunbeck prove that in their work, and I would be thankful indeed to have a fraction of their talent.

I don't wish to be misunderstood here and lead anyone to believe that I have ceased upon the na├»ve conviction that I have gained some sort of enlightened state that makes me somehow better than the average horror writer. I am no literary snob, and becoming one would be the death knell to my writing career. I still love horror stories, and I don't believe anyone who writes horror needs to explain themselves to anyone. I'm not in a better place than my friends who write horror, just in a different one. And I truly believe that the writer's panel at Context—many of whom are friends of mine—were selling themselves short. Readers take away more from their work than they know.

Honestly, I'm not sure what label will ultimately be placed upon my work. Mainstream or genre. Popular or literary. I don't worry about that. My only concern in to improve my craft and to write fiction and poetry that is uniquely and irrefutably… me.

Tomorrow, I'd like to introduce you to someone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Part I: Projects

I have made a concerted effort to get more writing done and out for submission. So far, this has only managed to increase the number of rejection letters I receive per month, but that's the name of the game. Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) said that the best magicians were the ones who put in the most "flight time", the ones who perform the most shows. It's not that much different for writers. The ones who continue put words to paper, send their work out, and take their lumps are the ones who eventually publish. Writing has gotten more difficult for me recently, but only because I require so much more from my work. Mentors have shown me weak points in my work, and I'm managing to stumble onto many of them on my own. Yet, I continue to write and make my work the best I can make it, and then try to make it better. That's the name of the game.

I have several short stories out to different anthologies, and I am polishing a few more to go out to magazines. I've been submitting several pieces to literary magazines, and am working to get a few publishing credits outside of genre fiction. Michael Knost is putting together a new anthology of stories written by West Virginia authors, and I believe I have a story worth submitting. It's unlike anything I've done before, and that's what makes it interesting to write. If there were a theme to my latest works, it has been "Explore New Territories".

With the upcoming publication of "The Monster With the Shape of Me" in Weird Tales, my poetry is gaining a wider audience. My first works as a writer began with poetry, and it has always been a part of me. My recent success, as well as help and encouragement from poets such as Linda Addison, Mike Arnzen, and Brandy Schwan, drives me forward to pursue my poetry and to get more of it out there. I hope all of you will get the opportunity to see more of it soon.

I also have an idea for a series of children's books, inspired by the artwork of a local artist. I am very excited about this new project, but I won't say more about it until Wednesday, and then you'll see why I've waited.

My big project, however, is my novel. The working title is "The Patchwork Queen", and it is a supernatural thriller based in a fictional town in West Virginia. I will be workshopping the novel in January at the Borderlands Press Novel Boot Camp. This project has taken a life of its own, and I already see some changes I want to make to the structure of the novel. I'm looking forward to the critiques in January, and with the help of the instructors and fellow grunts, my plan is to have a finished manuscript to market sometime next year.

What all this boils down to is that how I pursue my writing, how I choose my subjects, and how I plan my career path is changing. The nature of this change, and what it means to me as a writer, is the subject of tomorrow's blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

State of the “Union”

Especially since I haven't posted in a while, I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on what I have been up to, and what I have coming up toward the end of the year and in the coming year. As I began to put the blog together, I realized that if I did it all in one blog, I'd have one huge wall-o-text with a lot of comments of tl;dr (too long; didn't read). So, for the sake of personal and general sanity, I will post a new entry over the next three days: "Projects" on Monday, "Purpose" on Tuesday, and "Personnel" on Wednesday. For today, a few news tidbits.

1) The Legends of the Mountain State series has been doing well. I had a great time at the reading at Border's in Huntington with Mark Justice and Michael Knost, as well as the book signing at the West Virginia Book Expo. I have more appearances down the road, including a reading at the Book Exchange on October 24th. Both books are soon to be available at Amazon.com, and are currently available at the Horror Mall.

2) Speaking of Michael Knost, he has some exciting projects on tap, and one of particular interest to WV writers. Get all the details at http://www.michaelknost.com, and sign up for his newsletter.

3) Weird Tales #351, and my poem "The Monster With the Shape of Me", will be hitting newsstands soon. Look for it.

4) Shroud Magazine is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the horror genre. Definitely worth a look. My flash fiction piece "Snowbound" appears in Issue #2 as part of their MySpace contest. You can read it on the Amazon.com website.

5) Congratulation to Brandy Schwan on her first poetry reading. One of the great joys of being a writer for me is to stand in front of an audience and read my work; I'm glad Brandy has finally experienced this for herself. If you want a copy of her new chapbook Catacombs & Photographs (along with the $5 Grim Trixter special), don't wait. This limited edition is going fast. Head over to the order page at the Apex website.

Enough for today? I believe so. Check back tomorrow for "Projects".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Get Ready...

This weekend, I finally break my silence and let everyone know what's been going on, and what coming up soon. Some great news and some big changes are on the way. Look for a huge blog post soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Readings

Mark Justice posted about last Friday's "Legends of the Mountain State" readings at Border's in Huntington on his blog. Check it out.

Also, the following announcement for those of you near Charleston WV:

The Book Exchange
1588 Washington St. E Charleston, WV
304-941-6170

Presents!

Brian J. Hatcher

Coauthor of
Legends of the Mountain State, vol. I and II:
Ghostly Tales from the State of West Virginia

Date: Thursday, October 23rd
Time: 5pm to 8pm

Come as you are or in costume. Refreshments, candy for the kids, and live music provided by:

Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen

Finally, I'll be making an announcement in a few days about the newest member of Team Hatcher, and what I have coming up for the new year. Keep an eye out for that.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weird Tales #351



The weird animation of Bill Plympton
- Viktor Koen's biomechanical visions
- Exclusive excerpt: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia

INTERNATIONAL FICTION SPOTLIGHT:
- "First Photograph" by Zoran Zivkovic
- "The Gong" by Sara Genge
- "The Dream of the Blue Man" by Nir Yaniv
- "The Wordeaters" by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
- "Out of Sacred Water" by Juraj Cervenak
- "Time and the Orpheus" by chiles samaniego
- "BleakWarrior Meets the Sons of Brawl"

POETRY:
- "The Monster With the Shape of Me" by Brian J. Hatcher

NONFICTION:
- The Library: Elizabeth Genco talks with author Lauren Groff about writing The Monsters of Templeton
- The Bazaar: Jessica Joslin's crazy steampunk critters
- Weirdism: Robert Isenberg on the cinema's latest obsession with apocalyptic futures
- Lost in Lovecraft: Kenneth Hite dives literarily into the Pacific Ocean and pulls up H.P. Lovecraft
- Harvey Pelican & Co.: special offers from the esoterica king

ARTWORK:
- Cover art: "Skelephron" by Viktor Koen
- Illustrations by Steven Archer, Hellstern, Ira Marcks and more

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Clock's Ticking

Thought I would stick my head out of the office for a bit to let everyone know how things are going.

1) The conventions I've attended rocked. I enjoyed the readings, panels, meeting with old friends and making new ones.

2) "Legends of the Mountain State 2" will be out in a few weeks, and already we are lining up book signings. I will post a schedule when we have it finalized.

3) Not much traveling left this year. Going to Brian Keene's reading in York PA, ConText in Columbus OH, and the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Annual Gathering in Cromwell CT.

And now, why you won't be hearing from me for awhile.

I'm spending this weekend finishing a story I'm submitting to an anthology, then I'm off to finish outlining and writing on the novel I will be workshopping at the Borderlands Boot Camp the first of the year. Then it's tuning and sending out stories and poems, working on some projects that are coming my way, plus reading and critiquing the novel selections for the Boot Camp. I'm also working with an illustrator on a series of, believe it or not, children's books. So I'll be pretty busy, as you can see.

I'm not leaving completely. I'll drop a line or two on the blog when I can, and there's always Twitter. But as it stands right now, life is really good, and it'll only get better from here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, the writing calls...

Monday, August 11, 2008

HorrorFind This Weekend

This weekend, I will be at HorrorFind at the UMUC Marriott Inn & Conference Center in Adelphi, MD. I will have an author reading on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m in Room 2110 with author Jonathan Maberry. On Sunday, I will be on a panel moderated by Jonathan Maberry called "How Would the Real World React, Research and Respond to a Zombie Uprising?" with Lisa Mannetti, Tony Monchinski, Jack Ketchum, and Dr. Kim Paffenroth. The panel starts at noon and is also in Room 2110.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A New Day is Dawning

On the wall of my office, I hung up a new framed painting on Sunday. It is an original piece that was painted just for me. A girl with auburn hair, wearing a green and blue dress and holding a traditional magician's wand, is summoning a rabbit from a hat sitting on a small table. The rabbit's ears poke out of the hat. However, from the black brim of the hat, as well as from inside the hat and from under the table, subtle tendrils of living shadow coalesce and reach out from the darkness.

What do I see in this painting? What does it mean to me?

A hell of a lot, to be sure. More soon, friends.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dark Scribe Reviews "Legends 2"

Poking my head out of my writing burrow to let everyone know that Dark Scribe Magazine has posted a review of "Legends of the Mountain State 2". You can read it on their website.

Friday, July 18, 2008

NECon

It's Friday morning, the first full day of NECon (Northeastern Writers' Conference). I've had a big breakfast, and while some of the others are out playing minigolf, I'm taking the opportunity to rest and get ready to attend panels this afternoon. My weekend is off to a great start.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Twitter

Not one to shy away from new technology or new ways to communicate—even if they don't necessarily make sense—I have created a Twitter account. You can view my updates on the left side of this blog, or at http://twitter.com/brianjhatcher. If you have a Twitter account, you can subscribe and receive notifications when I update.

We'll see how this works. And I promise not to post when I'm going to the restroom.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

HorrorFind Weekend

It's not yet up on the HorrorFind Weekend website, but the times for the author readings have been set. I will be reading in the 6 -7 pm slot on Saturday, August 16th, in Room 2110 along with superlative author—and fellow contributor in "Legends of the Mountain State 2"—Jonathan Maberry.

HorrorFind Weekend is August 15th through the 17th at the UMUC Marriott Inn & Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland. Learn more at the HorrorFind Weekend website.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th

Here's to a happy and fun 4th of July weekend. I'm pretty much grounded at home for the weekend, but I'm hoping to use the long weekend to finish two short stories by Sunday. Hopefully nothing blows up at work in the meantime.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Please Help the Losander Family

Luna and Dirk Losander are friends of mine, and I would dare say icons in the magic community. As I also perform magic for events held by the American Heart Association--a cause near and dear to me--this situation takes on a greater urgency. Below is the email I received from Paul Gross of Hocus Pocus, who has set up on his website a fund to help the Losanders. As he has made the call to the magic community, I am posting this to all of my online friends. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

As some of you already know, Luna and Dirk Losander recently had a brand new baby girl, Ione. Unfortunately, her birth came with a grave challenge, and she is in dire need of heart surgery, which the Losander's medical insurance is unable to cover.

As of Monday, June 30 at 10:00 AM, she was admitted to surgery, and we are sending a call to the magic community to help the Losanders in their time of need. We know that these are difficult times, but none as difficult as for the Losander family.

You can make your donation here of $20.00:

http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/?product=10334

If you can afford more, please make note on your online checkout process. If you can afford less, please make a note on your online checkout process as well.

PLEASE NOTE THAT 100% OF ALL DONATIONS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO THE LOSANDER FAMILY, AND WILL ALSO INCLUDE YOUR NAME, UNLESS YOU WISH TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS.

Thank you all in advance for any support big or small that you can provide.

Best regards,

Paul Gross
Hocus Pocus
1492 N. Clark #104
Fresno, CA. 93703
800-407-4040
559-266-5150
559-266-4517 FAX

The Ups & Downs of the Writing Life

This week, I got a check in the mail for my story in "Legends of the Mountain State 2", received a very nice compliment for the first "Legends" anthology, and the story I'm working on now is coming along better than I hoped. But, I also received an email Saturday from a magazine, saying they were taking a pass on the short story I sent them. Close, but no cigar.

Such is the life of a writer.

Harry Anderson once described Las Vegas as a town that, in one moment, could make you feel like the King of the World, and the next minute remind you why the hotel windows don't open past the first floor. Both gamblers and writers know about playing the odds. The difference is that even the most daring gambler would refuse to play a writer's odds.

Writing never gets easier. In fact, if you're doing it right, it gets harder as you go along. When I started writing, I could stay up all night writing, and by the morning have a short story ready to send out. I can't do that anymore; not because I'm older, but because I'm smarter. I never managed to get any of my all-nighter stories published, and with good reason. I don't let stories go now without putting a great deal of work into them, and thank goodness for that. Writing is hard, and it should be. Writers who are looking to "make it" so that they can coast by and not work so hard to get published are really in the wrong business. Sure, there are those rare few authors who have built a reputation and could get away with coasting; but those authors achieved that reputation by never wanting to.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

HorrorHound in Monroeville

My friend Kevin and I went to Monroeville and the HorrorHound Convention. Mostly, I went to see with Greg Nicotero. We don't get to hang out that much, since we live at opposite ends of the continent and are both pretty busy (he, of course, is a lot busier than I am), so it's great to have these occasional weekends where we can get together and goof around. Greg is like the big brother I never had, and he's always looking out for me. I can always count on him for those precious things all big brothers dish out: ridicule and abuse. And I do loves me some ridicule and abuse.

I ran into some other friends I didn't expect to see. Rob Lucas was there helping out with Toe Tag Pictures, and I hadn't seen him for awhile. We also ran into Mike and Patty, two friends from JawFest and NoFest. I made a few new friends, like Slick and Jessica. They were good friends, but hadn't met each other except for online. HorrorHound was the first time they had met face-to-face. Horror Conventions: They Bring People Together.

A few things I took away from HorrorHound:

  • Jovanka Vuckovic rocks hard. You may think you rock, but you don't rock like she rocks. Not even close. End of story.
  • John Landis proves that the very best in the business never stop being fanboys.
  • Not everyone should do karaoke.
  • No movie can ever truly suck if it has a monkey in it.
  • No good deed goes unpunished. Thanks to Time and Space Toys for keeping "Dawn of the Dead" playing at the Monroeville Mall, although it was an obviously uphill battle. I appreciated all you did. I wish more people did.
  • If you find a model of the USS Enterprise that screams "Khan! Khan!" when you press a button, you have to buy it. You are powerless to resist.
  • Always be ready to pitch your zombie golf movie. Doug Bradley will remember Kevin Pauley forever.

This will be my last horror con for a while, and least until August and HorrorFind. I still have NECon in July, and I'm ready for a more laid-back trip, although the drive itself is long and no fun at all. I have about a month to rest up for it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Legends 2

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the cover for "Legends 2":

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

My friend Kevin and I spent the weekend at the HorrorHound Convention at Monroeville PA. I will blog about that later; for now, I would like to say a few words about comedian George Carlin, who passed away this Sunday from a heart attack.

My long-time friend Perry Lynch introduced me to Carlin in junior high. He lent me his copy of Carlin's "Class Clown" album. That's right, I said album. I'm old enough to remember when turntables weren't musical instruments. We called them record players, and once you put the needle down, you just left the thing alone and let it play. And did I ever play the hell out of that album. I did eventually give it back to Perry, but not before I managed to record it on tape.

I picked up every Carlin album I could get my hands on. I looked forward to his HBO specials like other people look forward to the Super Bowl. And he kept going strong over the years, writing books, acting in movies and on TV, and doing more HBO specials.

My junior high sensibilities were drawn to Carlin by his colorful language and his willingness to talk about anything (Remember "The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television? Of course you do.). But what kept me following his career was the thoughtfulness of his material. He made you laugh, but he also made you think, something not a lot of comedians can do. He was the master of what I call an epiphany laugh. You'd laugh while thinking to yourself, "Oh god, that's so true! I never noticed that before." Comic genius is a term thrown around a bit too easily; for George Carlin, that label was earned in the trenches and deserved many times over. He was the perfect successor to Lenny Bruce, and as important to comedy as his contemporary Richard Pryor. Sadly, they're all gone now.

I doubt there's a comedian working today who wouldn't site Carlin as an influence, and his work will continue to influence comedy and art. He showed us that art has to be brave and unflinching. He made comedy mean something. I miss him already.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Journey to Monroeville

My friend Kevin and I are leaving this morning to Monroeville and HorrorHound Weekend. It will be a weekend filled with fun and visiting friends I get to see only a handful of times a year. I am very fortunate to have talented and successful people as my friends, and they all are inspirational to me. However, success means we don't see each other that much because of busy schedules. I'm beginning to learn how precious little time one has when they are developing and perfecting their Art. All my free time seems filled to capacity with work; but I wouldn't have it any other way.

HorrorHound Weekend will be my last real trip before I apply nose to grindstone and begin work on a short story I plan to submit to an upcoming anthology. I can't say more right now, but this story may be one of the most important of my career. The competition will be tough, and I will need to be at my absolute best to place a story here; but this is an extraordinary opportunity that couldn't come at a better time. With a lot of hard work—and a little luck—something wonderful may happen here. We'll see.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Explanation, and the Secret of Writing

Several weary Mo*Con attendees (Mo*Coners? Mo*Conites?) have come out of hibernation to blog about their Mo*Con experiences. Jason Sizemore of Apex Publishing has posted his blog, and on a numbered list appears this item:

5) Brian J. Hatcher tried to get me naked. At least by proxy.

Perhaps I should explain. One of Jason's authors happens to be Brandy Schwan, whose website I maintain. Brandy called with a request, one that I attempted to fulfill. Nothing more needs to be said about this, except that perhaps I should sit Brandy down and explain what services a webmaster does and does not provide.

Speaking of blogs, Fran Friel's blog mentioned that an excerpt from Thomas F. Monteleone's book "The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Writing a Novel" has been reprinted on Cemetery Dance's website. Anyone who knows me know how much I value Tom's advice, and what he has to say here is crucial for any writer. While you're at it, you should pick up the "The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Writing a Novel ". Good instruction from cover to cover.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mo*Con

Yes, I know it's Wednesday--three days since I returned from Mo*Con--and I've yet to blog about it. I did have some other things to take care of, and I promised someone a long letter, so I hope you forgive my lateness.

Most people have given up trying to blog about the extravaganza that is Mo*Con. Lots of promised blogs that are yet to come to fruition. Even Maurice hasn't posted yet. They closest thing to a blog has been Nick Mamatas proving that he can deadlift anyone, including yours truly. So, this is gonna be short and sweet.

Mother Grove played on Friday night, and they rocked the church. The panels on Saturday were very interesting, and took full advantage of my cellphone's ability to order books instantly from Amazon.com, as the reading suggestions came fast and furious. It was great to see friends again and make new ones.

There is one item I mentioned before I left: that I was going back to Indiana to find something I left behind. I really believe this deserves a blog of its own, and I have to admit I'm not sure what I'm going to say yet. I suppose I'm still thinking about the experience. What I will say is that twenty-two years ago, I attended a Baptist seminary in Crown Point, Indiana. When I left, I left a part of me behind.

More on that later…

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back from Mo*Con

And boy am I tired! More details when I finally wake up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Journey to Mo*Con

As many of you know, I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Indianapolis IN and Mo*Con. Obviously I won't be online this weekend. I'll be busy meeting old friends and making new ones. But I'll be doing something else as well.

Twenty-one years ago, I left something I valued a great deal in Indiana. Now, I'm going back to see if I can find it again.

Stay tuned…

Monday, June 9, 2008

Back To Writing

I survived my week on the pager, and still managed to show up to my friend Tara's birthday party on Saturday. Always an interesting time at Kevin and Tara's. It's been a while since the last time I went to bed as the sun rose. Nice to know I still have it in me to do that. Nice to know I still have it in me to do a lot of things.

Oh, wicked Dionysus, tempting Maenads enclose;
Ah, blest Bacchanalia, stealing righteous repose.

I received in the mail today the contracts for my story that's appearing in Legends of the Mountain State 2. I sign them, send them back, then do my best to patiently wait for October. I'm very excited for this volume to go to print, and I can't wait for all of you to see it. Everyone's been really positive about the first one, and the second one will be that good and better.

It seems the heavy rains and flooding in Indianapolis will do nothing to stop this year's Mo*Con. Everything is on schedule, and I leave here first thing Friday morning. This is my first Mo*Con, and I'm not going to miss it, come Hell or high water. They already have the high water, and I'm bringing the… well, you know.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Magical Weekend

Yesterday I received new magic books and DVDs in the mail. I just finished watching Jeff McBride: Magic at the Edge. The DVDs also feature Abbi Spinner-McBride and Eugene Burger. I have benefited greatly from their teachings, both in books and DVDs and in person. They teach more than tricks; they teach the Way of Magic. They strive to go deeper into magic, to take simple tricks and explore their spiritual centers, and to make their Art transcend themselves. And they strive to encourage that passion in others. Jeff, Abbi, and Eugene always make me think, and I walk away inspired and motivated to make my magic better.

The timing of these DVDs couldn't be better. This coming Friday, I journey to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Mo*Con III: The Intersection of Spirituality, Art, and Gender. It may sound contradictory for a group of horror writers to get together to discuss spiritual matters, but really it isn't. The best writing--especially horror writing--comes from a spiritual center. One of the greatest lessons on authorial responsibility and having a moral center to your work was given to me by writer Jack Ketchum. He writes some of the most brutal fiction I've ever read, but the moral core in his work is why he is a superlative writer. Other writers try to be as graphic and shocking, but lack that core; and I believe that's why their work always falls short.

I hope this week brings beauty, creativity, and greater spirit for all of you. I should have good news to report in the weeks and months ahead.


 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Have Blurbage

Here it is, the first blurb for the new book Legends of the Mountain State 2: More Ghostly Tales from the State of West Virginia:

"Hardboiled, Southern Gothic. I loved it. It's lean and mean and it doesn't care if you like it, which is what makes me like it all the better. Written with a razor on the back of a dead bloated redneck cracker down by the river side, the mountains in view, this is one excellent read."  - Joe R. Lansdale

Monday, June 2, 2008

We Got The Blurb

Check in tomorrow for the details.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Speedbump Week

I am on the pager this week at work, which always puts me behind schedule on my writing. I manage to get a little done, but it's hard to get into the flow when the pager can go off at any time (this makes sleep a bit tricky sometimes, too).

My plan is to get my home office cleaned up and organized this week. Projects have a way of spreading themselves out while you're working on them. I'm hoping to pick up a couple of six-foot bookcases for my bedroom. I can move some books out of my office to give me more storage space. At least until I get more books, which is entirely possible.

Michael Knost sent me my copy of the picture of us presenting a copy of Legends of the Mountain State to the Governor. I took that, along with the nice letter the Governor sent me, to the Art Emporium to have them framed. By the end of the month, I will have a gorgeous frame and matting in an apropos blue and gold theme displayed in my office.

Speaking of Legends, the manuscript for Legends of the Mountain State 2 is in the hands of a very distinguished author in hopes of getting a blurb for the book. I can't say more right now, but it is an author I admire a great deal, and the thought of him reading my story makes me a bit nervous, I have to admit.

I have two novellas in development: The Grimhawkins and Living with the Freemartins. Grimhawkins is about halfway through the first draft, and I'm outlining Freemartins. I don't expect to have much progress on those this week, but if I can get some groundwork laid, I will be raring to go by next week.

In travel news: The travel season is now officially underway. I'm heading out to Indianapolis and Mo*Con on the weekend of the 13th, then it's off to Monroeville and HorrorHound Weekend on the 20th.

So, a lot of work ahead for me, which I of course don't mind, but some fun times ahead, too. Yeah, life is good.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A New Beginning

I have had a MySpace page for almost three years now. It has allowed me to make contact with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones, all of whom I cherish. It has been the center of my web presence for all that time, and if you wanted to find out what was new in my life, it was the place to go.

For almost as long, my web site www.brianjhatcher.com has been on the web, beautifully designed by the very talented Deena Warner. I am very proud of the site, but I haven't used it for much. It has languished lonely on its little part of the Web, and hasn't been updated since the first of the year.

And I believe I've been doing this all backwards.

MySpace is a great advertizing tool, and a great way to reach out to people. It is also a huge hassle, and a place of unreasonable and uneven censorship. The experiences I and many of my friends have had recently illustrated to me the need to turn things around.

From this moment, www.brianjhatcher.com will be the main source for news and information concerning my writing career. My focus will be primarily to develop the site and to make it more informative and interactive for everyone. I will maintain my MySpace page for the time being, and will mirror my blogs onto it, but it will no longer be the primary focus of my web presence. If you want the latest on me and my work, the place to go is www.brianjhatcher.com.

I will also be developing a web site to showcase my magical career: www.hatchermagic.com. This is currently in the planning stages, but I will let you know more as the site develops.

It is very possible I will close my MySpace page in the future. As of right now, I will to keep it open, but we'll see how things go. Thanks to all of my MySpace friends who have joined me on this crazy ride. Trust me: more is on the way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Announcement Friday

I will be making an announcement Friday on here and on my MySpace page (www.myspace.com/brianjhatcher), concerning both websites. Check back on Friday.