Interview: Roman Dirge

Look at that: LENORE is 20 years old. That’s rather venerable for a little undead girl. I had a chance to chat with creator Roman Dirge about the latest collection of LENORE that’s got a lot of fun (and not just the piratey goodness). Her new adventures, SWIRLIES, will be out later this month.

Congratulations on 20 years of Lenore: did you ever imagine you would have such a success with the little undead girl?

Nope. I created her as a magazine filler. She had other plans though, apparently. Also, she has sharp objects.

I know Mike Mignola likes to watch films while he draws, while many other artists prefer to listen to music while working. Do you need silence or do you like some kind of music or film playing? Is it a distraction or inspiration?

I’m more of a film and TV guy. I constantly have something playing on my computer while I work. I do seem to pick the crappiest movies, so I have something going but I don’t have to pay too much attention. When I go the music route, it’s almost always movie soundtracks. Life is a movie if you pretend hard enough.

Do you have any idea where Lenore will go next? How much of a plan have you had all along — or have you just been winging it for two decades?

I have a plan. I’ve even known how Lenore will end when it’s time for years now. I’ve sketched out more issue idea then I will ever be able to draw in my lifetime.

After so much frustration, did you think Mr. Gosh deserved a little bit of hope?

I feel bad for Mr. Gosh. He deserves better. I have stories that involve him for later dates, but I don’t have it worked out how he’ll return after the last heartbreak he suffered under her. That poor, poor bastard.

Roman Dirge (via Wikipedia)

I would say the pirate Lenore was the best image in this collection if it weren’t for the single panel of Ragamuffin ‘riding a rodeo monkey competing in the lil’ Miss Texas Teapot Bowl.’ Do you take especial glee in finding humiliations for him?

I dooooo. I could have done a whole book of JUST Polaroids that Lenore and Pooty took of Ragamuffin while he slept. I’d still like to do it if it’s possible.

What is the best way to tempt a hair hobo to take up residence on your head?

Pee in your hair. It’s fun, mathematically difficult and surprisingly liberating.

LOL! Seeing your German beer adventure I have to ask, have you not tried Belgian beers? Even better than German!

I was in Germany, so it was appropriate. Plus, I’m German ancestry, so I’ll never admit Belgium beer is better. I’ll NEVER EVER talk about how amazingly good Belgium beer is. Nope. I certainly won’t talk about the way Belgium beers have such a perfect aroma and utilize complex flavors to compliment each other. Just not gonna do it. Back off.

Hee! Thanks for the interview.

Reserve your copy of LENORE: SWIRLIES by clicking this picture. We’ll have a review up on the release date, August 21st.

~ K. A. Laity

Inanimate Evil: The Plank

In honour of the memory of Eric Sykes who died today, here’s a bit of horror-tinged comedy in the mostly silent film, “The Plank” where the star of the film causes an awful lot of mayhem. Sykes was a prolific writer/performer and worked with just about everyone (which speaks well of his nature; imagine writing with Spike Milligan!). As in the slapstick humour of the Evil Dead trilogy, this short film demonstrates there’s a lot of juice to be found in the borderlands between horror and humour.

I mined that vein myself to win a runner up mention in the Stylo Short Story Competition (limited to six words) with “Won the lottery! Didn’t see bus…”

It doesn’t always work: see for example King’s Maximum Overdrive — laughable and not especially horrific, though he did somewhat better with Christine. There are many reasons to dislike King’s writing, but it takes a real special kind of asshat to write something as condescendingly dickish as this LA Times piece (h/t Anne Billson). I guess it’s become common practice for newspapers to adapt to the digital age by hiring trolls.

~K. A. Laity

New Release: Solarcide presents Nova Parade

Download the FREE anthology here Solarcide presents – Nova Parade (click to open or right click and ‘save as’)

Alternatively, you can download Nova Parade, or read it online, at Mediafire, or view online at Issuu.

Nova Parade is a festival of theatrics. An offering to two of the great powers of art, tragedy and comedy. This anthology is a twisted helix of stories that will lead you on a journey through many strange landscapes. It will introduce you to characters you will adore, and to characters that will appall you.

These are stories to be read beneath a dying sun.

There are ghosts. Monsters. There are jesters and there are nightmares.

There’s sex, drugs, and there’s violence.

Horror and hilarity, bizarro and sci-fi and all kinds of trangressive voodoo.There’s a whole lot of great fun. This collection will wound you, but hey, then it will make you laugh. It’s a NOVA PARADE, BABY!

Let’s ride this carnival all the way to the sun.

Let’s kill the bastard!

CONTENTS

Richard Thomas – On A Bent Nail Head
Martin Garrity – Walking On Water
Bryan Howie – Tides
Bradley Sands – Giant Monster Attack!
Nathan Pettigrew – Today Our Future Is Born
Tony Rauch – That’s Where Your Real Parents Live
Rebecca Jones-Howe – Blue Hawaii
Andrez Bergen – An Octopus’ Grotto Is His Castle
Jessica Taylor – Just A Man
Paul D. Brazill – Catch As Catch Can
Chris Lewis Carter – Kill Screen
Amanda Gowin – Charlotte & Jolene: How To Make A Baby
Michael Paul Gonzalez – Ingénue
Jason Lairamore – Jack?
Jay Slayton-Joslin – Awkward Mornings Beat Long Lonely Nights
Chester Pane – Dreadlocks™
Joshua D. Moyes – A Stronger Family
Nikki Guerlain – King Neptune Sucks Off The World’s Largest Potato!
Caleb J. Ross – Vertigo Unbalanced
Phil Jourdan – Vomit As A Talent
Laurance Kitts – Poetry
Clint Rhodes – ATTN: Human Resources
Dakota Taylor – A Day In The Life
Jeremy Robert Johnson – The Brilliant Idea
W. P. Johnson – Cold Heart

Review: Somebody Owes Me Money

Somebody Owes Me Money

Talk about prodigious outputs! Donald E. Westlake is a legend. Over a hundred novels, many under pseudonyms, mostly in crime but also in other genres as well. He was in the back of mind from some conversation this past week, so when I went to the library this week to return books I checked to see if they had any Westlake and sure enough, they did (not that my shiny shiny iPad Rook isn’t groaning with books to be read >_<). This one looked like fun.

First published in 1969, Somebody Owes Me Money got this shiny new edition from Hard Case Crime in 2008. The main character is the hapless Chet Conway, cab driver and inveterate gambler. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he generally catches on eventually. There’s something fun about writing a character that’s going to be less swift than the reader and Chet fills the bill. The brilliant opening line plays with the gradual reveal: “I bet none of it would have happened if I wasn’t so eloquent.”

What happens is that Chet gets the tip of a lifetime, scores big, goes round to his bookie Tony and finds him dead. And then Tony’s wife arrives and eventually the police and things don’t look so good. Chet manages to get the police to believe he didn’t kill Tony, but the next thing you know the bookie’s sister Abbie arrives with a gun in hand, sure he did murder her brother and ready to get revenge.

Chet and Abbie make a winning pair, bickering and working at cross-purposes; she’s way out of his league and Chet’s constantly surprised to find her in the vicinity. If it weren’t for Abbie, he’d have bought it in the first few chapters, which brings out his chivalrous desire to protect her, though as even he realises, “Abbie McKay was no helpless damsel in distress. She could take care of herself, that girl, I was sure of it.”

Fun stuff: suspense, twists and turns as well as laugh out loud moments. Full of those nice little touches that give a richness to the story and fill in its world, like everyone arriving out of breath from the long walk up to Jerry’s fifth floor apartment or the insane insurance calculations that obsess Chet’s dad. Well worth a ride.

~ K. A. Laity

Review: Plague Town

PLAGUE TOWN: AN ASHLEY PARKER NOVEL
DANA FREDSTI
Titan Books

Blurb: Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down. A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not dead, but far worse. Attacked by zombies, Ashley discovers that she is a ‘Wild-Card’ — immune to the virus — and she is recruited to fight back and try to control the outbreak. It’s Buffy meets the Walking Dead in a rapid-fire zombie adventure!

Review: Chock full of fun and a really speedy read, Fredsti takes you from the mundane world of a sleepy college campus to zombie-chomping melee with blood and fluids spurting without losing your . Ashley Parker makes a winning heroine: she’s a bit older than her fellow students and while she’s got the classic California co-ed looks, it’s her intelligence and integrity that you’ll remember. Fredsti’s writing is always full of good humour and arch observations (see her MURDER FOR HIRE or RIPPING THE BODICE written as Inara LaVey), but it’s also chock full of action and really gruesome horror. The alternation in narrative between zombie hunters and zombie sufferers gives a chance to recognise the human price of the plague, something that doesn’t come across in a lot of more depersonalised tales of apocalypse. At times the in-jokes come a little heavy, yet the story cracks right along with both intense and grisly action, as well as complicated interactions between characters you will root for. Looking forward to the sequels to see how Ashley and the Wild Cards develop and survive.

-K. A. Laity