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…at the Guinea Pigs and Books booth at Wizard World Chicago, August 18-19-20-21.  Yeah, I know, that bit of terrible word play is not really going to pass muster; however, I have a good excuse in that I’ve been using most of my brain to work on paintings again. Paintings like these:

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Very fluffy.

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Very fluffy.

 

Danger Dixon-Rachel E. Smith

Guinea pigs sit down to use crossbows. They sure do.

 

Danger Crumples has taken over for Ash and Daryl this time around. Oh, and also Blaine.

 

iPiggie - Where I dared to question whether or not guinea pigs would use chopsticks, eat brains, and if Horace would dare to wear a sweater vest. They can do all those things, through the painful magic of painting.

iPiggie – Where I dared to question whether or not guinea pigs would use chopsticks, eat brains, and if Horace would dare to wear a sweater vest. They can do all those things, through the painful magic of painting.

These are but three of the six new paintings I’ve done since the Madison convention in April – six! And you bet there are Danger Dixon and Army of Dangers tea towels (and also prints on paper), Danger parodies only truly work if there are kitchen accoutrements. Plus, as established, I am a bit of a lunatic and I like tea towels with strange things on them. My kitchen will never be boring. Yours doesn’t have to be either.

Oh, and I should warn you, iPiggie is only available in mildly expensive painting and much cheaper postcard format. The world could not withstand the complications of an iPiggie tea towel. By the world I mean me, printing simplified versions of my two Danger designs was torturous enough.

Come facilitate further torture at Wizard World Chicago! Whee!

Here we go again with the linkage – Wizard World Chicago profile

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*69 would’ve helped

29. In the Middle of the Night – Robert Cormier

The scenario that drives the tension for the protagonist of this book is barely possible today. Sure, there are many people with land lines, also businesses, but if someone’s father made a terrible decision that cost the lives of many disadvantaged children, they’d just be haunted on the internet instead of via repetitive phone calls. A Google-haunting has a very different kind of tension than repeated phone calls to a landline in the middle of the night (Ha.). It’s a little harder to utilize online threats and harassment to drive a novel’s plot forward. I’ve read a few novels that used texts and snippets of online postings and for the most part I find that timely but sterile and I guess at some point it’s all going to seem dated anyway… Datedness aside, Robert Cormier is very good with dark topics and slowly revealing important details and this book is a good example of his talents. To be fair, a time when it was only possible to get a hold of someone when they were actually near a landline feels like a dark topic in and of itself to some- but I definitely miss it on occasion.

Don't even think about waking Murderface up from her nap with threatening phone calls - or anything else.

Don’t even think about waking Murderface up from her nap with threatening phone calls – or anything else.

Mixtape:

1. Christian Woman – Type O Negative
2. Under the Spell – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
3. Dirty Black Summer – Danzig
4. Crux – Electric Citizen
5. Need Some Air – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6. Teen Age Riot – Sonic Youth
7. Wake Me Up – The Raveonettes
8. Lost Boys and Girls Club – Dum Dum Girls
9. Want Remover – Protomartyr
10. Charmer – Kings of Leon
11. Under My Chin – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
12. Tension – Zebras
13. Evil! – Grinderman
14. Older No Wiser – Red Desert
15. Guilt – Those Poor Bastards
16. Motherfucker – Faith No More

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They always come back.

67. 99 Fear Street, the House of Evil: The Third Horror – R.L. Stine

Half the population of Shadyside are either dead or about to be dead, which is something they could have included in the brochure- but it’s understandable that they haven’t. Shadyside – highest teen mortality rate ever! Might not end up drawing visitors.

Good thing they have repeat visitors like Kody Frasier. She’s even capitalizing on her sister’s death. Whee! That will end well, it always does.

Peregrine clearly doesn't care if Danger Crumples whispers the true secrets behind 99 Fear Street to her.

Peregrine clearly doesn’t care if Danger Crumples whispers the true secrets behind 99 Fear Street to her.

Mixtape:

1. After School Special – Mr. Bungle
2. Never Be the Same – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
3. Crypt Key – Windhand
4. Empty Room – Arcade Fire
5. Ain’t Fit to Live Here – Graveyard
6. These Spectacles Reveal the Nostalgics – The Hives
7. Ghosts – UNKLE
8. Home Sick Home – Faith No More
9. The Night Creeper – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
10. Deconstruction – Witchcraft
11. De Lux – The Duke Spirit
12. Tear You Apart – She Wants Revenge
13. A Song From Under the Floorboards – Magazine
14. I Hear Colors – The Black Angels
15. Dear Prudence – Siouxsie & the Banshees

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The real horror would have been a young, awesome-looking new resident going unnoticed.

66. 99 Fear Street, the House of Evil: The Second Horror – R.L. Stine

Shock horror – Good looking young man moves into haunted house, gains attention from ladies both alive and dead! Brandt’s new and the latest ghost to occupy his new home has taken an interest in him. Whatever happens, Brandt is popular. Yay, Brandt, 90s guy!

Pickles will awaken from her nap when something slightly more interesting happens in this trilogy. Something that doesn't involve a good looking person in distress.

Pickles will awaken from her nap when something slightly more interesting happens in this trilogy. Something that doesn’t involve a good looking person in distress.

Mixtape:

1. House on Fire – Hanni El Khatib
2. The Suburbs (continued) – Arcade Fire
3. Cul de Sac – Tomahawk
4. Love Thing – The Melvins
5. Winter ’68 – The Black Angels
6. Truth in the Dark – Dax Riggs
7. Ghosts House – Witchcraft
8. Nattesferd – Kvelertak
9. Who Was In My Room Last Night? – The Butthole Surfers
10. Evil Ways – Graveyard
11. Midnight Creeper – Eagles of Death Metal
12. Crying Lightning – Arctic Monkeys
13. Friday Night – The Darkness
14. Heartbeats – The Knife
15. Cheap and Cheerful – The Kills
16. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare – Mr. Bungle
17. Ungrateful Are the Dead – Graveyard
18. If I Live of If I Die – Cuff the Duke

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“He is so annoying, he is so frightening, and he doesn’t wear a shirt.”

65. 99 Fear Street, the House of Evil: The First Horror – R.L. Stine

Moving happens. Moving into haunted houses happens. Moving into angry haunted houses that spurt green vomit from the sink happens…in this book. Plus, the ceiling drips blood. It seems as though Glenn Danzig was the house’s preferred tenant as opposed to the Frasier family – although he wants the blood to run UP the walls, which is a tall order. Anyway, I guess the lesson for this family is that they never should have left New York.

Thaddeus and Pammy moved with me three times. We never managed to move into a haunted house.

Thaddeus and Pammy moved with me three times. We never managed to move into a haunted house.

Mixtape:

1. Life Fades Away – Roy Orbison
2. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
3. Thea – Goldfrapp
4. The Clerkwell House of Detention – Gallon Drunk
5. Blade in the Black – UNKLE
6. Dead Sound – The Raveonettes
7. Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird – All Them Witches
8. Too Young to Love – The Big Pink
9. TV Set – Spoon
10. I Think I’m Paranoid – Garbage
11. Evidence – Faith No More
12. Home – Hanni El Khatib
13. Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash
14. A Perfect Place – The Raveonettes

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Conservation efforts be damned, there’s a mystery afoot.

56. The Claw – Carmen Adams

After reading this book, I had a lot of questions about zoo internships. I also kept wondering why the interns weren’t doing any work, why they even had an internship program at the Zoo of Lax Security portrayed in the book, and why anyone would choose to create such flimsy characters and think anyone would believe they’d be qualified to be interns at a zoo – interns who stay overnight at the zoo to help out security, even. The zoo part, which for me was clearly of major interest, was just surface level fluff. A setting that was just a setting with a conveniently placed leopard to let out. So disappointing. I would have let out a rhino if I wanted to cause some major distress in a community. Well, not really, just in case it had to be shot instead of tranquilized, I really care about rhinos, but, in this hypothetical imaginary situation, I’d let out an imaginary rhino if I wanted some impressive destruction. A rhino wouldn’t stomp on one person’s locker, it would knock them all in. Perhaps snort afterwards and twitch its little ears in that adorable way that they do that. Yeah. There’s some turmoil.

Another animal capable of major distress: Merricat. You don't even want to know what she'd do to a precocious intern.

Another animal capable of major distress: Merricat. You don’t even want to know what she’d do to a precocious intern.

Mixtape:

1. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire
2. The Cutter – Echo & the Bunnymen
3. Johnny Hit and Run Paulene – X
4. Baby’s Ok – Hanni El Khatib
5. Cat Claw – The Kills
6. Whack of Shit – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
7. Yellow Moon – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
8. The Hanging Garden – Masquer
9. Shake It Out – Florence + the Machine
10. Piss Off – FFS
11. Dime, Dime, Penny Dime – Electric Six
12. Complexity – Eagles of Death Metal
13. Crawling After You – Bass Drum of Death
14. Hot Pursuit – The Bravery
15. Lions In Cages – Wolf Gang
16. Enough Embarrassment for One Day – Dick Valentine

 

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YA Megamix Summer III: Season of the Witch

The school year is already over for some people, so, it’s basically summer…of course some of those people are now done with their undergraduate degrees or graduate degrees, so in their case summer means “life anxiety season,” unless they already have jobs. Good luck to those about to go over the precipice of the shocking lack of opportunity, it’s not fun.

Anyway, I’m continuing my tradition of the last couple of years and “reviewing” only older YA books and including one hour long mixtapes I’ve compiled to go with them. This year’s YA Megamix Summer shall be known as the “Season of the Witch” because I will not be reviewing a single book that has a witch in it – just like the Halloween franchise entry – and it’s the third Halloween-associated movie and this is the third summer I’ve done this, and I am in the process of finishing my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” painting series so I can bring all of it to Chicago in August.

To kick off the Season of the Witch, I’m going to post a mixtape of songs that have been carrying themes and revision-staples for my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy. Somehow, these never ended up being chapter titles.

Mixtape:
1. Stormy High – Black Mountain
2. Ah! Leah! – Electric Six
3. Ash of the Mind – Agents of Oblivion
4. My Apocalypse – Zebras
5. Homemade – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
6. My Dreams – Gun Club
7. You Don’t Own Me – Masquer
8. Queeny Gloom Doom – Zebras
9. Restarter – Torche
10. Hold My Hand – UNKLE
11. Down in the Park – Foo Fighters
12. Filled With Fire – Zebras
13. Skogsdotter – Finntroll
14. Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

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And yet, Leviathan is still my favorite Mastodon album

49. Fathom – Cherie Priest

I’ve been intrigued by Priest’s work since I saw the cover of Boneshaker while shelving in Mississippi. I’m not particularly interested in steampunk – I respect it and appreciate it but it’s not my thing-, so I haven’t read Boneshaker yet and ever since I found out that she’d also decided to write her take on the Lizzie Borden story (Maplecroft) I thought maybe that would be a better starting place for someone of my tastes, which generally lead towards murder faster than steampunk… Anyway, I couldn’t get into Maplecroft, so I had to find another starting point. Fathom is the one I found while at the Madison Public Library. I hadn’t heard or read anything about it and I had recently finished Kraken by China Mieville when I picked it up, so, I figured maybe another sea monstery story would be all right. Well, this was not actually a good starting point either. There is a murder toward the beginning, and yet I wasn’t entirely on board with the trajectory of the two cousins turned immortals helping opposite sides of a world ending scheme. I think Priest had a lot of intriguing ideas but they didn’t coalesce as much as they needed to in the final product. And I couldn’t find my ground in it and had no one to relate to or root for. I wish I could have, because I’m going to get through Maplecroft at some point and all I have right now is some suspicion that relating to Lizzie Borden over a girl-turned-statue trying to stop the world ending is not going to be good either. Maybe there will be someone else in Maplecroft to ground the story, it does have a little reality in its origin, whereas if Fathom has some, I’m currently unaware of where it came from. Perhaps the depths.

Murderface and Duncan know that guinea pigs' hierarchical issues would be cause enough for some immortal sea monster fights. It's a good thing they don't have access to the sea.

Murderface and Duncan know that guinea pigs’ hierarchical issues would be cause enough for some immortal sea monster fights. It’s a good thing they don’t have access to the sea.

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Aqua Teen Hap and Leonard

68. Mucho Mojo – Joe R. Lansdale

Remember when Meatwad pulled the Danger Cart and Shake kept saying “Aqua Teen Hunger Force assemble!” so they could solve mysteries? I do because I watched the first episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force last night. That level of pretty much amateur mystery solving is essentially what Hap and Leonard are up to in this second novel in their oeuvre. Leonard’s Uncle Chester dies, leaving Leonard his house, along with its shitty neighbors and a skeleton in a box that leads them to some unpleasant places and more of Lansdale’s corral of weirdos and creeps.

The events of Mucho Mojo are foreshadowed in pieces during the Hap and Leonard series that recently ended on the Sundance channel and I SUPER hope there’s a second season so I can watch James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams deal with that skeleton. I haven’t read Savage Season yet, and so it was fun watching a story about my favorite imaginary East Texans that I didn’t already know and both actors did an excellent job bringing the most important aspect of the Hap and Leonard books – their ride or die friendship – to life.

Peregrine and Ozma, they're still working on their mystery solving friendship. It would help if Pere wasn't so nippy.

Peregrine and Ozma, they’re still working on their mystery solving friendship. It would help if Pere wasn’t so nippy.

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Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?

In the Mouth of Madness is one John Carpenter movie I won’t guinea pig-ify- because it is just too close to home sometimes. As a writer, who has written while watching In the Mouth of Madness, and who writes horror things that could be considered ridiculous under certain circumstances, and who decided that it would be a good idea to finish her Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy before Wizard World Madison started, I can relate to the “Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?” scene from both Sam Neill and Jurgen Prochnow’s perspectives. When I finished Night of the Squirrels, I yelled the same way Sam Neill does. And I wanted some Cheetos, if you read it, you’ll be able to tell that I wanted some Cheetos.  I did not have any Cheetos and it was late enough at night that I decided not to go out for some. Such a dilemma.

Anyway, Night of the Squirrels is up and ready for purchasing via the usual ebook retailers, I’m waiting for distribution to finish to a few retailers, and it’s currently easiest to find via my Amazon Author Page (Who knew that title would be so hard to search for? Me. I am a librarian, so I know some searching, but, still, that’s why I also decided to use “Squirrelpocalypse” repeatedly and I should have used it when I printed the first cover…damn the permanence of printmaking!)

It's all three covers together at last!

It’s all three covers together at last! So squirrely.

 

Of course, I’ve also done some paintings and prints related to my series (I have a few sets of all three book covers, several of the Day of the Robots cover, and several of the Night of the Squirrels cover – all in multiple colors) for Wizard World, today is the last day, so…  Merchandising, where the real money from the novel is made!

 

 

I've always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I'm also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

I’ve always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I’m also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

 

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

 

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell - and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell – and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

 

Will you endure the placement of this link with me, one last time? my profile on the Wizard World site

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing