Monthly Archives: October 2012

David James Keaton

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

 You picked a very good pocket day! Actually sort of sad pocket day. I have the broken strap of my favorite watch. Apparently my sweat is like acid because this thing was made for deep-sea divers and the rubber cracked in half after a year. I loved this watch. It was larger than most watches. This is the watch where someone the other day said, “What a big watch. Are you overcompensating?” Which led to me quizzing this person about why he thought a watch was for wearing on a penis. Seriously though. My watch was so big, you could switch one word and all the classic ‘big dick’ jokes would still make sense. My watch is so big I use it for an umbrella, etc. Some even make MORE sense. Examples. My watch is so big it arrives five minutes before I do. See what I’m saying? Much better as a watch joke. My watch is so big it won’t return Spielberg’s phone calls. Right?! There are watch phone combos now. It’s the future! My watch is so big it has its own dick. I mean, watch. Get it? All the extra watch features are like little watches in the watch? No? Okay, I’m reaching a little bit on that one. Here we go. My watch is so big movie popcorn is labeled “Large,” “Extra Large,” and “My Dick Watch!” I don’t know what I’m saying at this point. Also in my pocket, about 75 cents. I like barbecue baked chips. They’re like gold at work.

C&C: What was your favorite/most fun/most ambitious Halloween costume?  

I’m much more ambitious with pumpkin carving than with costumes. Throughout high school I would usually just tuck a Hawaiian shirt into my jeans, carry around a squirt gun and be like, “I’m Magnum P.I. Leave me alone.” It was pathetic. I had a fairly decent attempt at Donnie Darko costume though, back when the movie was new. Mostly because it was easy. I just made a skeleton hoodie, wrote the date for the end of the world on my arm, and carried around a stuffed one-eyed bunny. Actually that was a disaster. No one knew who the fuck I was.

(Batman 3D Pumpkin glasses)

C&C: Tell me three favorite movie quotes.

For some reason, I often think of the line in the terrible Deep Rising where they’re on the elevator between action scenes and the one guy says, “What is that?” “Peanut.” Then he drops it in the water and is sad. To this day this cracks me UP.

 I mutter “Time…to die” a lot from Blade Runner, usually after something fun has just ended. It’s like mild Tourette’s. Doesn’t add to the conversation, but I can’t help repeating it.

 It might be more of a movie concept than a movie quote, but every time there is a pairing of like-minded people or two similar objects next to each other, I’ll announce that it is “The Quickening!” This might have been funny once, but that was in 1987 when Highlander hit video. That may never stop either.

C&C: Do children frighten you? Because they’re tiny weird little people?

The only children that have ever frightened me when I wasn’t a child myself were the ones described in the book ‘Salem’s Lot (the ones on the bus and the one he dragged out into the sun). And the ones in the movie The Brood. What’s weird unusual is The Brood is successful at scaring you with creepy children NOT because they’re weird beaked monster children that are physical manifestations of their mother’s rage (we’re in David Cronenbergland here of course). They’re scary because they’re often filmed standing casually in their bright orange and yellow snowmobile suits in broad daylight milling around with other kids on the playground and you know what’s under the hoods but the other kids don’t. Freaky. And they don’t sing or dance about or ask us to “play with them forever” (yes, that was effective in the Shining, but oh such a cliché now).

 
C&C: How old were you the first time you had stitches, and what were the circumstances? I love injury stories…

 Oh, man. You hit the jackpot on this one. You know the injury contest in Jaws? I do that all the time, even though mine are mostly like Hooper’s gag story, “Ellen Moffit. She broke my heart!” I think the first time I got stitches was sports related (which I was terrible at but kept playing because my older brother was quite good).

One of the only times they let me on the field in football, I broke a finger by punching a guy in the helmet during the last seconds of the fourth quarter, a part of the game I referred to as the“kickoff” since it was the only time I was allowed anywhere near the game. That wasn’t very smart, but that kid had stepped on my hand when I was crawling on the ground desperately trying to get involved in a tackle after the fact that was nowhere near me. The things you do with your dad in the bleachers! I’d taken my helmet off and demanded that he do the same. He laughed and said, “No way!” so I punched him anyway and cracked the top knuckle on my ring finger on his metal chin-strap snap. Now I’ve got a bulbous, peanut-looking digit and had two stitches I think? Maybe three. Actually, earlier than that, I wrapped my car around a telephone pole and put my left hand a right foot into the dashboard, right through the plastic grille covering the vent. I milked that injury for all it was worth. It happened on the way to school, in my little red, two-seater Fiaro, called a “poor-man’s Corvette” by a snarky classmate and which, on impact, reveals that it’s probably fashioned out of Legos. All the buses, even the short ones, filed by my stupid car on their way in since it was a very small town and the site of my wreck was the last major road to our high school. Later I heard that after homeroom, I was officially “dead.” It was amazing. My girlfriend at the time had to leave her science class crying when she heard the news. Can you imagine the attention I got from her after that?! I’ve never been so happy about someone else’s misery in my life. I acted like I just got back from storming the beach at Normandy, walking around with my bandages, pointing at things for no reason. I enjoyed the attention…until these two other kids got hit by a goddamn train three days later. One of them broke his leg when the train dragged their car about a hundred yards down the tracks, and when he came back to school on his crutches (he was only out for one day!) with a fucking piece of his car still stuck in his elbow, so no one gave a shit about my hand anymore.
Wait! Here’s a good one. I was sitting on the edge of one of those aboveground pools once when I was 6 or 7, and I fell backwards and my palm slapped this row of exposed screws where it wasn’t quite finished being put together, and they punched three big holes in my hand right down to the bones. They had trouble with the stitches on that one because they were puncture wounds and not cuts. I remember staring at the holes waiting for them to bleed.

Oh, here’s a real good one where I look like a genius! I had this golf ball, and I was standing on our porch with a neighbor girl and whipping it at the ground over and over to see how many times I could get it to rebound off the roof and floor of the porch (you can see where this is going) and I threw it as hard as I could and Smack! Smack! Twice right in the fucking mouth. Slow-motion replay shows the golf ball hit the roof, hit my mouth, hit the ground, hit me in the mouth again, putting my top two teeth through my bottom lip, then me dropping to the ground very confused. And it took forever for my mouth to heal. I was proudly displaying this huge, greasy sausage lip with two oozing white holes in it and a big stitch criss-crossed in it. It looked like I got bit trying to kiss a snake. That was last Thursday. Just kidding. I think I was 9. Shit, I can think of about fifty more, but the absolute earliest earliest might be the one time when I was real little I was running with a big stick over these big, broken slabs of highway, and I tripped and jammed the stick through the center of my hand. Luckily it popped into that fan of skinny bones and didn’t pop out the top, but it left another round puncture wound that took forever to close up. I tried to save those stitches when they took them out, and did for awhile, but then I ran to show them to somebody and the paper towel I was holding them in flipped up in the breeze and they were lost in the carpet forever.

C&C: Did you make any progress with the wedding ring search? You do know that if you break your finger while wearing a titanium carbide ring, they have to cut off your finger, get the ring off, then sew your finger back on, right?

Nasty! I don’t know why, but that makes me want to wear rings on all my fingers and toes at all times. Actually I watched about a dozen videos of various people hammering rings into oblivion to finally come to the conclusion that I will probably not face a situation where someone sledgehammers my ring finger. Unless I get caught cheating at poker. Which I would totally do. In fact, when I was playing Little League baseball, I would get bored at the end of the bench and think up all sorts of schemes to cheat the other team. My dad was the coach, so he knew better than to put me in the game. So instead I would write down the other teams’ signals, diagram ways to hide the ball to tag people out Bad News Bears style. He would usually glance at whatever Rube Goldberg nonsense I’d jotted down and then make a paper airplane out of it. Then he’d ask if I could put all the equipment in the van. He said if I did this enough I would finally get a cap that matched the rest of the team (they ran out).
 
 
C&C: I think your watch story is bullshit, it breaking all on its own like that. Did you test the watch for durability?
If someone isn’t around me on a daily basis and hasn’t experienced the bizarre sight of watches constantly exploding off my arms, I can understand your skepticism. So I have included a photo of my broken watch where you can clearly see my sweat devoured the band like molecular acid. Actually this watch lasted longer than my last watch. That’s a long time for a watch, right? Aren’t they supposed to have the same lifespan as your shoes? Way less than a titanium carbide finger-munching Ring of Doom?
 
 
 
 
C&C: Do you sing or dance in front of people?
 
I think white people look silly dancing unless they’re dance-punching out their frustrations alone in a factory. I have been known to sing Prince songs after a couple Coca-Colas. “Seven,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Purple Rain” bring down the house. I like singing Meat Loaf songs, too. I plan on signing “Bat Out Of Hell” in its entirety, sans teleprompter, at a reception in the near future.
 
 
C&C: Have you seen Dead and Breakfast? What did you think?
I did. It was okay for a grubby little zombie import. No Shaun of the Dead or anything. I totally scooped them though and thought of the “zombie bed & breakfast” idea first, back when I was trying to do it for real. And obviously in their story, there isn’t an attempt to stage a zombie assault for fun. But I was still feeling defensive when the e-book got picked up for print, so I decided to set the record straight and actually referenced that movie in the expanded version of Zee Bee & Bee, as well as calling out a certain song by a local artist that I’m totally convinced ripped me off. The guy who wrote this song dated an ex who was around when I was trying to finance my actual Zombie Bed & Breakfast, so there’s no way that’s a coincidence. Here’s the passage (the talk of the “banker” is a thinly-veiled reference to our publication date being ahead of the plagiarist’s song):

“I helped hand-pick a crew, and by the next fall, we had everything up and running, but oddly enough, two full years after we’d started making enough money to think about our first 4:00 a.m. commercial spot, a low-budget flick popped up in the video stores called Dead and Breakfast that sounded a little too close to home. Everyone panicked a little. But, luckily, it bore no resemblance to our original idea of staging an attack for fun and profit. This movie was just another siege on a house, and it took the situation more seriously, even for a supposed comedy. Their storyline treated everything as if it was actually happening, something even the occasional survivalist couple rarely considered for long. Clever title though, we all had to admit. But if that wasn’t suspicious enough, a jazz/calypso fusion song about zombies ‘partying it up at a bed and breakfast’ was released the same summer we flicked on our ‘vacancy’ sign. The song was called “The Zombie and B,” but, thank Christ, it had two inherent problems that quickly relegated it to our pay-no-mind list. One, it hit the radio a full 48 hours after the story of this story was first transcribed by a banker where we secured our loan. And two, unless you say that title out loud, stressing the second syllable of ‘zombie,’ you don’t get the gag at all. You’d just think it was another stupid love song.”

 
 
C&C: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen a domesticated animal do?
Are turtles domesticated? Because that turtle-having-sex video on YouTube has haunted me ever since. The sounds it was making were utterly human. At first I didn’t believe it. I had to bang a turtle to verify. Turns out that’s how you domesticate ’em.
 
 
 
 
C&C Disclaimer: Do not click the link below if you have a shred of innocence left within:
 
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John Everson

 

C&C: What kinds of movies do you like to watch that DON’T have monsters or ghoulies in them?

 I am a huge movie buff, though I have to admit, 90% of my film watching the past few years has been horror-related! That said, I love watching Pixar movies with my son and I love all those ’80s comedies, like Better Off Dead,  Real Genius, and all the John Hughes movies (16 Candles,  Ferris Bueller, etc.) I’ve been a big fan of “auteur” directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen, and I’ll watch anything that Tim Burton does (though admittedly, they usually have ghoulies in them of some kind). I love Sci-Fi movies but it seems like they just don’t make very many any more. There have been a couple smart ones over the past few years though, like Inception and District Nine and the Star Trek reboot. Blade Runner, a Sci-Fi noir film is one of my favorite movies of all time. But I’ve enjoyed some “chick flicks” with my wife too – I’ve seen Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes a bunch of times. One of the last really great films I saw with her was Bridesmaids, both a chick flick and a really smart comedy!
 
 
 C&C: What do you have in your pockets?
 
At the moment, my iPod and my passport because I’m writing this on a plane ride to Canada. Listening to the latest Paul Heaton (former Beautiful South/Housemartins singer) solo CD that I just bought (I love it that I can order CDs from the UK via Amazon!).
 
 
C&C: Do you dress up to take your son trick or treating? Why or why not?
 
I put on a scary full-head monster mask. Anyone who knows me knows that as much as I love Halloween, I hate dressing up… but I figure my son will have a better time if I play along with it all. So I do!
 
 
C&C: How old were you when you wrote your first piece of fiction and enjoyed it and what were the circumstances?
 
I think my first short story was written probably in 4th or 5th grade — I just remember that it was an homage to Isaac Asimov’s galactic empire series, because I was reading all those Foundation / Stars Like Dust / Pebble in the Sky novels at that time. Sadly (or perhaps this is a good thing) I don’t have a copy of that story anymore. It seems a little premature now, but looking back, I’d read dozens of adult SF novels because I know by the time I hit 6th grade I’d inherited about 30 Science Fiction Book Club classic hardcovers from a neighbor … and he gave those to me because I was already reading a lot of it. (I know I had those books by 6th grade because that was the year we moved to a new town – away from that neighbor!)
 
The next piece of fiction I remember writing was for my high school newspaper… in typical high school fashion, it was a vignette about a guy who goes home and commits suicide. Everyone in high school always seems to be writing melodramatic poetry and fiction, and I didn’t escape.
 
 
 C&C: Have you ever punched anyone in the face? Was it Lon?
 
I know I did very early in grade school. But I wasn’t much of a fighter so I have managed to avoid fisticuffs for the most part in my life. I do remember clocking a kid once in about first grade with the barrel of a toy pistol. I’m guessing I got in a lot of trouble for that one, since it’s one of the few things I remember from that age! If you think I should though, I’ll go ahead and punch Lon the next time I see him!
 
 

C&C: Please don’t punch Lon. You should focus your aggression towards unreachable celebrities. If you could punch any celebrity, who would it be and why?

Tom Cruise. Why? Who doesn’t want to punch Tom Cruise?
 
And Tim Burton. I love Tim, but c’mon man, write another great original movie like Beetlejuice again instead of remaking films that don’t need to be remade just so you can cast Johnny Depp again. Will any of us ever recover from Planet of the Apes?
 
 
C&C: What did you do yesterday?

Ha. I filmed surgery. But I don’t mix the dayjob and the horror job, so that’s about all you’re going to get! Suffice it to say that I run a medical education website for surgeons, and as part of that, we go into the OR every month and film procedures for other surgeons to watch.
 
 
C&C: Do you collect anything?

I’m a media collector… Almost every movie I watch at home I’ve actually bought on DVD (I never rent), and I hold on to them. Kind of like so I have evidence of what I’ve seen. So I have two bookcases filled strictly with horror DVDs (never mind the family stuff we also have!) I used to love having a Blockbuster near us that put DVDs on sale for 4 for $20.
 
I also have several thousand CDs; they stacked up pretty high over the course of twenty years of being a music critic for The Star Newspapers(see www.popstops.net for archives). I still insist on having “hard copies” of my songs, even though I listen to them almost exclusively on my iPod. I believe in “real” media: DVDs, CDs, paper books. I have a few hundred of those too.
 
Since I got a house with a basement and a downstairs bar area, I also seem to be stacking up a good collection of bar coasters and pint beer glasses from micro-breweries and brewpubs that I’ve visited across the country on my many business and book convention trips.
 
 
C&C: What was your favorite toy as a child?

Flopsy, my handsewn stuffed dog. My evil mother decided when I was 5 or 6 that I was too old to keep carrying Flopsy around though, so she got rid of it and claimed it was lost. A warning to mothers: kids never forget. Or forgive.

 
C&C: Cats or dogs? Which are better?

Cats rock. They’re independent and F-U-Cool. There’s a reason that cool rockabilly guys are called cats. Frank Sinatra? He was a cat. Cats know what they want and know how to get it. Cats are doing it for themselves. What’s another word for cat? Pussy! Cats got it all.
 
Unfortunately, I’m allergic to cats and dogs (not to mention horses, gerbils, sheep, cows, and anything else with fur), so my preference doesn’t really matter. I raise birds instead (a cockatoo, cockatiel and parakeet currently).

Miss Ohio

impossible to believe all the lovely people who’ve allowed me to interrogate them. also impossible to believe how long i go between organizing the links in handy dandy posts….

here’s where we are since the last update:

end of July:

July 30th – Gordon Highland

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/gordon-highland/

August

August 7th- Monica Drake

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/monica-drake/

August 14th – Adam Skorupskas

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/adam-skorupskas/

August 21st – Sean Ferguson

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/sean-ferguson/

August 28th – J. David Osborne

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/j-david-osborne/

September

September 4th – Trent Zelazny

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/trent-zelazny/

September 18th – Michael J. Seidlinger

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/michael-j-seidlinger/

September 25th – Nik Korpon

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/nik-korpon/

Octoberso far…

October 2nd – Kealan Patrick Burke

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/kealan-patrick-burke/

October 9th – Richard Thomas

https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/richard-thomas/

AND don’t forget – Octoberstill has THREE interviews on their way: Bob Pastorella, John Eversonand David JamesKeaton!

link to all interviews before the ones mentioned in this post:

http://lookatmissohio.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/and-daddy-tomato-stomps-him-and-says-ketch-up/

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Miss Ohio

how long since i updated here? How long is a piece of string? Too Damn Long. yeah, i’m full of movie quotes this morning, but i’m also full of  UPDATES. first, let’s do a little Curiouser and Curiouser Recap. below are the links to ALL of this spring/summer’s interviews so far:

May:

Stephen Graham Joneshttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/stephen-graham-jones/

Craig Wallworkhttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/craig-wallwork/

Michael Paul Gonzalez –  https://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/michael-paul-gonzalez/

Pela Viahttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/pela-via/

Edward J. Rathkehttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/edward-j-rathke/

June:

Craig Clevengerhttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/craig-clevenger/

Mlaz Corbierhttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/mlaz-corbier-2/

Grigori Blackhttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/grigori-black/

Vincent Louis Carrellahttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/vincent-louis-carrella/

July:

Camille Alexahttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/camille-alexa/

Dan Donche/Janden Halehttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/dan-donche-janden-daniel-hale/

Nikki Guerlainhttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/nikki-guerlain/

Charles Dodd Whitehttps://curiousinterviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/charles-dodd-white/

And stay tuned!! i’ll be closing out July with Gordon Highland and opening August with Monica Drake

that’s a lot of bold lettering. but you know what? you’re too hungry. worry not, my lovelies, the…

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Bob Pastorella

C&C: Halloween has to be your favorite holiday, right? What’s the best Halloween costume you ever wore?

 Everyday is Halloween. Where some people put in a lot of effort to get their mask/costume just right, I get a thrill out of taking off my mask, if only for one night. Let’s see, I’ve been a vampire several times, Frankenstein’s monster when I was in Elementary school, a zombie, a car accident victim, Charlie Brown, Uncle Fester, a rocker, a redneck, a 70’s porn star–which involves wearing a giant fake penis in my jeans–but my favorite has to be The Devil. It’s a lot of work, and the red makeup is messy as Hell, but so, so worth it in the long run.

 I do my whole bald head in red, mount some horns, wear a black or red shirt, and don a cape and pitchfork. The pitchfork is essential to the character. I don’t just dress up, I play the part. Like I said, Halloween is when I take off my mask. It’s not like I hide behind a facade every other day for the rest of the year, but it’s a day where I can have a little fun and make people smile. Pitchfork in hand, I can hike up unsuspecting girl’s skirts. When she turns around to plant a slap across my face, I usually get a big smile and a hug instead. That is expected behavior for The Devil on Halloween. They probably don’t want to get red makeup on their hands either.

 When I see people out and about on Halloween dressed like they dress everyday, I wonder if maybe they just don’t know how to have fun. What’s the point of not dressing up? People need to lighten up a little. Have fun, dress up for Halloween this year. At least take off the mask you wear every other day of the year.

 

 C&C: Can you shoot a gun?

 Not really. I have fired several handguns in my life, and the whole thing scared the shit out of me. No, I do not like guns. I believe they are necessary in this day and age, and I agree that I should know more about handling them. One day I will learn.

 

 C&C: What’s in your pockets?

 Right now, nothing. When I’m at work, pockets are vital to my sanity. I keep so much stuff in my work slacks pockets that I have to buy them a size too large.

 Left front pocket: coins, my business card holder, several folded sheets of blank copy paper to take notes on.

 Left rear pocket: Blood pressure and diabetes medication, receipts, and when I’m wearing my glasses, my special cloth to clean my lenses.

 Right front pocket: Smartphone and car keys. Car keys are important. I cannot just leave them lying around when I’m away from my house. They must be in my right front pocket or I will have a panic attack.

 Right rear pocket: my wallet.

 

 C&C: What did you doodle/draw on your notebooks/desk in junior high and highschool?

 Monsters, though one time I doodled a giant vagina on one of my book-covers and no one ever figured out what it was. But mainly monsters, like Universal Movie monsters, and rock-n-roll emblems, like AC/DC, ZZ Top, KISS. I always drew profile pictures of Frankenstein’s monster and The Wolfman, but once I was a junior in high school I started drawing portraits of the monsters.

 I also used to draw a skull and slowly flesh it out, always surprised at what kind of face I would get at the end. My friends always loved my drawings, said I was talented, and maybe I am. I still draw every once in a while, but I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as my father. He rules with a number 2 pencil. But where he rarely draws anything from his imagination, that is definitely my domain.

 I find when I draw now, there’s a maturity that comes from my imagination, not from any skill I was taught. Like shading and texture. No one ever taught me that, though I know I read about it. I just started incorporating that into my drawings and it makes me wonder how good I’d be, how complete I’d be, if maybe I would have had proper schooling in art.

 

 C&C: Tell me one really interesting/horrifying car salesman story.

 There are so many. The craziest one is when I kicked a customer out of the dealership twice in one day for being a jerk, yet he came back a third time and bought two cars from me on the same day.

 The one that sticks in my mind the most is when I first started in the car business working at a Ford dealership. I took a customer out on a test drive in a new 1995 Mustang GT. Once I let the customer take over the wheel, he drove on the highway getting really close to 100 mph. I’m not a big fan of driving fast, so it definitely does not impress me at all. I told him several times that he needed to slow down, and he just laughed at me. After pulling up on the parking brake to reduce our speed, I managed to get him to pull over so I could drive back. This guy spent the entire ride back to the dealership ranting how he was going to have my job. He wanted to talk to the owner, since they were ‘good friends’. I gave him my business card when we got back to my office and took his number down. A few minutes later the owner came back from lunch and I told him what happened, sparing no details. He instructed me to call the guy and have him meet at the dealership at 1:00pm the next day.

 When 1:00pm rolled around, the Speed Demon showed up. I went upstairs and told the owner he was on the showroom floor. When we were walking down the stairs, the owner said I was not to ever do what he was about to do to this customer.

 Downstairs, he walked over to the customer and they shook hands. Before he could even say a word, the owner proceeded to chew him a new ass in front of everyone on the showroom floor. The owner told the guy that if he ever came back into his dealership again, that he would personally kick his ass. The guy just backed away and headed out the door. It was awesome. Guess it’s good to be the King.

C&C: What’s the oddest thing anyone has said to you about your face being on a billboard?

 That the glare of the sun shining on my bald head blinded them on the highway. Since I sold cars, I felt a little vindicated in asking them to buy, or at least sending me a referral.

C&C: How old were you when you wrote your first story? What was it about?

 I was probably about thirteen years old. Right upon finishing The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, I proceeded to write a story about some astronauts who crash land on a planet, only to discover is was really Earth, but they didn’t know it was Earth. I’m pretty sure I let my Dad read it, because I remember him telling that it was good, but not too original. I must say that my favorite thing in the world at that time was The Planet of The Apes and Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles so even though he was right about the not-too-original concept, I felt slighted because I didn’t care if it was original or not, it was my story. Even then I knew all the stories have already been written, it’s just up to us to make them our own.

 

C&C: Do you collect anything? How do you feel about collections/collectors in general?

 I’d really like to say I collect anything other than dust, but it wouldn’t be true. Collectors have this discipline I lack, and envy. To stick with something for so long that the whole is as great as the individual parts is an awesome accomplishment.

 

 C&C: What did you want to be when you were little? Why?

 A make-up artist. At least that’s what I called it back then, though today it’s called Special Effects Make-Up and Design. Obsessed with monsters, and monster movies, I wanted to create what I was seeing on film. This all incorporates to the Halloween thing I have. My zombie costume was quite easy, using liquid latex and fake blood to get the effect I desired. My father helped me become Frankenstein’s monster one year with padded foam and greasepaint, so much fun, but having a ring of foam around the top of your head for about four hours will give a splitting headache.

 

 C&C: Do you have any bizarre phobias? If not, what’s the thing you fear most?

 Other than a fear of heights, I have a fear of hair. Loose hair. Like finding hair in your food kind of hair. I found a long, black hair in my scrambled eggs one morning when I was young and it made me sick to my stomach. Still like scrambled eggs though. But if I see a loose hair, on a table, or a counter, or on my clothes, it makes me ill. I’m making myself ill just thinking about it.

Richard Thomas

C&C: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 
I remember playing cowboys and indians. I loved watching Speed Racer. And I also loved baseball, so I think I had a lot of big dreams, most of which fell by the wayside as I grew older. I always loved writing and reading though, even in grade school, so as boring as it sounds, being a writer, an author, is something I’ve thought about for a long time. Although, if I had to change my occupation, and be something other than an author, I’d love to be a professional athlete. I only play softball now, or maybe a round of golf or some tennis. I try not to get hurt. I’ve seen people have their heads split open, tendons snap while running around second base, wrists broken diving for a ball in the outfield. I used to pitch, but stopped, because the ball comes back at you so fast. I took a shot off my left knee, thought it shattered my knee-cap, as it flew over the chain-link fence, but it was okay. Violent sport.

C&C: Did you wear superhero underoos?
 
I do believe that I did. I remember Superman of course, Batman, and I believe, Aquaman, of all things. Gave you special powers at night, yeah? Putting that big “S” on your shirt, you feel like you can do anything. I have given my son a couple of those blue t-shirts, even stopped by the Superman museum in Metropolis, Illinois, no joke. It’s on the way down to Kentucky, where I studied for my MFA program. Cool place.

C&C: Have you ever broken into a pool/hot tub area in the middle of the night in Los Angeles?
 
Can I plead the fifth on that? Why yes, that does sound familiar. Some foreign women with accents, I believe. Shocked we didn’t get caught. When I looked at the photos from the recent trip to LA that I didn’t make, it made me a little sad. I had so much fun in LA, was great to finally meet so many wonderful people, yourself included. I still can’t believe we didn’t get busted. It was so surreal at the reading and party to hang with Craig Clevenger. I still feel like an idiot for LITERALLY unloading a suitcase of books for him to sign. And I’m using the word “literally” correct here. Literally.

C&C: Is Halloween your favorite holiday? If not, what is and why?
 
As much as I love all of the candy, and I’ve got a sweet tooth, I think it has to be Christmas. The mystery of it all, the gift or gifts that you asked for all year, the kind of big ticket items that would keep you awake at night, lego sets or maybe that GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip, Eve Knievil, Stretch Armstrong. It was magic. But Halloween is a special night, it definitely gets me thinking about ghosts and the unexplainable. I’ve often gone as a vampire to costume parties. My wife and I went as the side tables with lampshades on our heads—a couple of “one-night stands.” It’s kind of an inside joke because nobody thought that we would become a couple, we’re very different people (on the outside). She’s much more conservative, and I was a drunken whore back then. But it turned out we have a lot in common, similar values. Worked out. She went as a “Golden Ticket” one Halloween party (Willy Wonka theme) and I woke up with glitter all over me, that’s all I’m saying about it. Golden ticket, indeed.

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?
 
Man, I wish it was more exciting. A handful of credit cards, my Murray State University student ID, my library card, some cash ($24), and a Honey Lemon cough drop, as I have a bit of a sore throat. Oh, also, a shrunken head, some gaudy tiger lighter, and a handful of magic beans. Damn, I forgot to plant those. Those are going to go bad. Total waste of a cow.

C&C: Have you ever been bitten by an animal? 
 
When I was a young Boy Scout I went hiking in New Mexico at the Philmont Scout Ranch. I was the youngest age you could be and still go. Maybe 14? We hiked 110 miles in 10 days, with everything we needed on our back, including dried food, tents, sleeping bags, etc. It was intense. We saw a mama bear and her cub, maybe twenty feet off the trail, and I even went running after them because I didn’t have my camera ready. Later in camp I heard a rattling noise and looked over to see a rattlesnake maybe three feet from me. I yelled for yelp and my scoutmaster came over with a long stick and flung it away. A few days later we came to this little camp up in the mountains, where we drank root beer until we threw up. We had a relay race, and as I was running behind a mule, it kicked out, and caught me in the upper thigh. Mere inches from probably crushing my testicles and most likely making me sterile for life. I was okay, but it was very close.

C&C: How do you feel about Bono? He’s loathsome, I think. Agree or disagree and support your answer 🙂
 
I loved U2 when I was in college, loved listening to BOY and WAR. Great albums. I think he means well, has the time and money to try and change things. I see no reason that an artist can’t make significant changes in the world, but yeah, the politics, it’s hard at times to take anybody serious. All of politics makes me kind of sick. I don’t feel like a cog in the machine, I feel like a ghost in the machine.

C&C:  What’s the most difficult/interesting question your kids have thrown at you so far?
 
We haven’t had the sex talk yet, the twins are only 8, but it’s gotten close. Probably explaining the whole tooth fairy thing, that she isn’t real. My daughter was crying, asking why we lied to her, and for awhile there, we didn’t know what to say, my wife and I. Why DID we lie to them about these things? We told her that we loved her and her brother, and at a time when they were in pain (losing a tooth) and scared, the tradition of the tooth fairy was something that all parents told their children about in order to comfort them and get their minds off the pain and blood and shock of it all. But it did make me think for a second about traditions. Sometimes we pass these things on without really stopping to think about why we’re doing it.

C&C: At what point did you realize “I’d rather be writing than -whatever else you had been doing-“?
 
Somewhere between that first class I took with Craig Clevenger, deciding to get my MFA, and my story “Stillness” coming out in Shivers VI with Stephen King and Peter Straub. I mean, those guys are my idols, I NEVER thought in a million years that I’d be published alongside them. Craig’s telling me I had ability, that really meant a lot. My wife willing to let me spend money and time to go after my MFA, that made it serious. Selling my first book, recently acquiring an agent, it all validated what I was doing. But it’s really the pleasure I get from telling stories, from creating a unique point of view. When somebody on the other side of the world tells me on Facebook that they loved my book, that means so much to me. When somebody like Paul Tremblay, an award-winning author, says that Transubstantiate was one of his favorite debut novels of the year? That makes me feel great. I do read reviews that people put up on Amazon or Goodreads, and the ones that are from total strangers saying how much the book blew them away, that’s pretty cool. But I also pay attention to the ones that give me one-star review, that hated it, and I try to learn, to get better. Writing really is the one of the most fulfilling things I do.

C&C: What’s your most embarassing favorite movie and why?
 
I don’t know if this is embarrassing or not, but probably Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I love that movie. I quote it all the time to my wife and kids. I do the whole voice. “I know you are but what am I,” and “I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel,” and “Brush brush brush…brush brush brush,” and “Fruit, please.” If you recognize those quotes then you’re as big a fan as I am. I do the laugh for the kids, I like doing voices for them. I’ve watched it with them now, at least half of it, and we were cracking up, the movie is so funny. Bu the whole desert scene and the Large Marge part freaked my boy out. Someday we’ll finish it. “I love that story.”
 
 

Kealan Patrick Burke

Ohio?? How did you end up in Ohio? I haven’t heard a lot of stories that begin in Ireland and end in Columbus. How did that happen?

Why, a woman, of course! I was working in a bar in Ireland when an American tourist came in. It was a quiet night, so we spent some hours chatting. She went back to the states the next day, but on my birthday, she sent me a 3-month return plane ticket. I never ended up using the return part of it.

That’s ridiculously romantic. Seriously ridiculous. If people don’t groan from that story, they should (but seriously it’s awesome and most would punch you from romantic jealousy). Tell me one intresting surprise difference between your home and this odd place – some part of the dialect, an odd animal or living situation…

Romantic right up until the divorce. 😉wink Such is life though.

Birds. The robin here is the size of a Thanksgiving turkey. Ours is the size of a sparrow. We have puffins too, cliff dwellers that have to be the cutest creatures on earth. They look like little David Schwimmers, only a lot less dull.

Also, people don’t high-five in Ireland. Or at least they didn’t when I left. They probably do now thanks to a new generation who seem to be trying desperately hard to be American.

What do you have in your pockets?

My iPhone, wallet, and a bunch of book store receipts.

There are lots of photos of you floating around on the internet where you’re completely green. That question sort of asks itself…

I’m the jealous type.

 Don’t bail on that question! Explain the green!

Okay, okay. Those are shots from my role in SLIME CITY MASSACRE, a gory splatfest follow up to Greg Lamberson’s cult classic SLIME CITY. I spent a lot of time in monster makeup, which I loved, though the removal process took a lot of my face away with it. All in the name of fun.

What was your first job?

Waiter in a seafront hotel. I hated every minute of it, and the boss was a tyrant. It’s actually going to be the basis for my next horror novel.

What did you doodle on your notebooks/desks in middle school?

I doodled lyrics from rock songs on my desk, or added to existing drawings that had been etched there over the decades. Our desks were always ancient.

Do you know who The Enigma is? Not from the comic books, the guy with the jigsaw full-body tattoo. And the Lizard Man? Who wins in coolness between the two?

I’d have to go with The Enigma, though I think they’re both nuts. I have four tattoos and would consider more, but there’s a line, man. I’m oddly shaped enough without paying to make it worse.

Do you dress up for Halloween every year?

I always plan to, but never do. I just get too wrapped up in the planning of the annual parties to remember the costume. I did go naked one year, but that was only because I was lazy and broke.

Did you win the Costume Contest?

I did not win the costume contest. Nobody but the cops showed up.