Jul
2014

Come Back to Me

Fun fact about your humble scribe: I don’t watch much in the way of horror movies. I’m a huge fan of television shows like The Walking Dead and Dexter, and of course I read the crap out of the genre, but my taste in movies tends toward science fiction and crime, with some action thrown in. Not sure why I’m wired that way, but I am. Makes date night a little easier, at least, since my missus hates the scary stuff.

I say all this to help emphasize how much I’m looking forward to this move right here: Come Back to Me. It’s based on a novel by Wrath James White, The Resurrectionist. Long-time readers might remember me writing about another book of Wrath’s Succulent Prey, and how hard-core it screwed with my head. You can read that here, if you’re interested in a very short list of books that do to me what (hopefully) I do to you at least some of the time. I also reviewed The Resurrectionist shortly after it came out, and while you’re there, you might as well buy a copy too, because it’s a great book. Finally, Wrath’s psycho killer books were at least a small influence on Skinjumper, my upcoming debut novel which features a crazed murderer as well. Here’s a little bit about the book, just to pique your interest further:

Dale has the miraculous ability to heal and raise the recent dead. But he’s also insane. When he uses his power to brutally kill the woman next door, night after night, no one will believe her impossible story, so it’s up to her to find a way to end the living nightmare.

Come Back to Me will be released in select theaters and on-demand services near the end of the month. I only hope I’ll be able to see it for myself sooner, rather than later. After you’re done hitting all the links I’ve just thrown at you, check out the short trailer for the film. It looks like it could be a fairly faithful representation of the novel…something else that makes me very happy.

Jul
2014

“This is Usually the Part Where People Scream…”

I’ve been torturing myself for the past week or so by re-watching season one of Heroes. If you’ve never watched it, Heroes was a great (in the beginning) live-action superhero show on NBC. The second season fell victim to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike and it never really recovered. There hasn’t been anything like it that I could really lose myself into–not Alphas, not even No Ordinary Family (which deserved better treatment than it could get on ABC Family, and which I would still love to write as a comic, if anyone connected is reading this!). I know that rewatching the show after season one is just going to disappoint me, but until the relaunch, I have nothing else.

Similarly, I’ve been re-reading 1980s issues of the Uncanny X-Men. I know that sometime around Onslaught (in 1997), if I keep reading in chronological order, like one does, I’m going to get disenchanted again, but I’ll probably do it anyhow. Eighties and nineties X-Men were the best, as far as I’m concerned. From about ’97 to at least 2007, I found precious little to enjoy, though the stuff that’s been coming out the past couple years isn’t too bad. At least there are those old issues to enjoy. One thing that I can’t get away from is how much more engrossing an old issue of the X-Men was, compared to a modern issue of any comic I read (even the great stuff from Image and IDW). You could literally take almost half an hour to read an issue of the 80s X-Men, due to page count and story, but even the best stuff I’m reading these days maybe lasts twenty minutes. Maybe.

One other thing in keeping with this post’s superhero theme is a great piece of news I’m very excited to share: before the end of the year, my 2012 anthology of dark superhuman fiction, CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? will be relaunched by Ragnarok Publishing, the same folks who’ll be bringing you my supernatural serial killer novel, SKINJUMPER, in October. This new treatment will be the definitive version of the book, as far as I’m concerned, with two brand-new stories that were unable to be included in the original version, and a brand-new cover!

Jun
2014

SF Signal!

I have a guest-post up today at SF Signal, where I talk about my love of time-travel and alternate-universe science fiction stories, and how that ties into Queen & Other Stories, which includes not one, but TWO time-travel pieces (though they’re vastly different from each other).

In “The Bad Place,” a boy takes advantage of a temporal anomaly in an attempt to rescue his sister from their abusive father. Of course, there’s consequences for such an undertaking. In “Kettletop’s Revisionary Plot,” a scientist goes back in time to prevent the zombie apocalypse and save his wife from the wrath of the undead. “Kettletop’s,” in fact, was originally written for IDW’s first Zombies vs Robots anthology, based on the comics by Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood.

You can pick up a copy of Queen in digital or print on Amazon or several other online outlets or even better, have your local bookstore order a copy!

Who wouldn’t want a do-over or two, if it were possible? For my part, I was an awkward kid in middle school and the beginning of high school, who turned down the occasional flirtations of a few different girls because I thought for sure they were just screwing with me. Maybe they were. I’ll never know. I met my wife of nearly nine years while engaged to my ex-wife–that is, I met the right one first, went through five years of Hell and then made the choice I probably should have made in the first place. I think everything turned out alright in the end (I totally think my wife would have ditched my younger self had we gotten together five years earlier!), but I wouldn’t mind a glimpse into the life of a Lincoln who made a different choice, just for fun.

May
2014

Reviews!

I’ve landed a couple of great reviews/special mentions in the past few days, for books that have come out recently.

Frank Michaels Errington reviewed Queen & Other Stories. He’s read/reviewed me a few times before, so I was curious about his thoughts on what I consider to be the crown jewel of my writing career, thus far:

First up was “D.T.F.”  Quick, what’s the acronym?  That’s OK, I didn’t know either.  I had to look it up in the Urban Dictionary. You’re going to have to look it up too, if you don’t already know. Good story, nice twist, and one of the best lines in the book from the story’s protagonist, Billy.  “The force is strong, he thought, one of Evan’s sayings.  The new guy at the factory was always quoting the captain of the Enterprise or some such.”

And, SuperheroNovels.Com made special mention of “Nice to Matter,” my contribution to This Mutant Life: Bad Company:

Our two favorite stories in the anthology come from Frank Byrns and Lincoln Crisler. Both of these stories feature squishy (and ill-advised?) sexual relationships between heroes and villains. In “No Chance,” a pregnant supervillain is defeated by her lover’s shield of impunity. And in “Nice to Matter,” a hero’s female sidekick outwits a villain with her sexual charms (“Distracting the bad guy with your pussy just wasn’t the sort of thing that screamed ‘superhero,’” she admits in hindsight).

May
2014

Ed Erdelac on Queen

Author’s Note: The cornerstone of my new book is the novella, Queen, originally featured as one-fourth of an anthology my very talented pals Tim Marquitz, Ed Erdelac and Malon Edwards put together based on the different stages of human life (Queen, of course, deals with middle age, while the others’ pieces deal with childhood, adolescence an old age). When the now out-of-print book, Four in the Morning, was released in 2012, the three other guys and I each picked one of the other stories and blogged about them. We also chose a favorite excerpt from each others’ stories to go with the essays. Below, you’ll find Ed Erdelac’s thoughts on Queen. If you’re interested in purchasing Queen & Other Stories, my first novel-length collection, you can do so here.

————————————-

Lincoln Crisler is the last guy you’d expect to write a middle aged woman fretting over her age lines.

Scratch that. Lincoln Crisler is the last guy you’d expect to write a middle aged woman fretting over her age lines so well.

The guy is active duty military, tattooed, and can just about quiet a room (or I imagine a lineup of guys in OD green – do they still wear that?) with his voice. His clipped, direct speech reminds me of a drilling precision cadence. He’s not a hardass or anything. The guy is quite affable. But he really is the live action GI Joe his website trumpets him as.

But man, he writes the woefully vulnerable, self-deprecating middle aged female psyche really well.

And you know how I can tell? Because I hated Rita (the main character of Lincoln’s Queen in Four in the Morning, the collection my novella Gully Gods appears in, along with works by Tim Marquitz and Malon Edwards) when I met her. But I couldn’t stop reading about her. That’s the mark of a good author and a good story, and Lincoln Crisler and Queen are both.

In Queen, Rita is obsessed with herself and her husband’s opinion of her. She’s a beautiful, mature woman, but she requires constant positive appraisal, and rebuffs it or is nearly oblivious to it when it actually comes her way. The woman can’t seem to just live her own life or fathom that her husband has a life outside of her. This drives every event of the narrative, from her decision to rejuvenate herself via an experimental age reversal treatment conducted by a shady, too-friendly pharmaceutical company, to her husband James’ inevitable conduct and the supremely bizarre conclusion.

The woman is a heavenly body (slowly made all the more heavenly by the helpful Dr. Cavelian) and the people around her are just satellites. It’s fitting really. In a way, she’s already a queen in her own mind when the story starts, albeit not the sort of queen you’d want running your kingdom.

This is a Lincoln Crisler yarn, so things are going to take a weird turn, and they do. But for the eventual strangeness and horror to be believable, you’ve got be grounded in the reality first, and Lincoln does this really well. Although I couldn’t stand Rita, I could follow and empathize with her thought processes, could almost predict her reactions to things around her. I wanted to shake her at times, but I understood her.

The treatment has side effects unforeseen by Rita, but not entirely unintended. And I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a scene in the kitchen, and you’ll know when you come to it, that is positively stomach turning. And yet, none of it is so strange that it comes out of left field or feels non-diagetic. In fact, although Rita’s fate is somewhat tragic, it’s also sort of…appropriate. Everything comes together, culminating in a fitting end. In a way, Rita becomes the queen she always wanted to be, even if she didn’t know it herself.

In the end, what Lincoln’s created in Queen is a dark meditation on the nature of beauty and self-worth. You’re only as important as the people closest to you think you are. But it’s a reciprocal thing. To be needed, you have to need in return.

And as for beauty, it really only starts to fade when you dwell on it.

Here’s an excerpt -

 Something moved, deep in her belly, accompanied by a brief flash of heat behind her eyes. She eased her head back to her pillow. If the doctor wanted her to avoid unnecessary stress, that meant playing dead until James took his ass to work. She lay still and focused on her breathing while her husband heaved himself out of bed and started his day. The hot flashes and queasiness passed, and after a moment, she didn’t have to fake sleep.

A sharp pain ripped through Rita from crotch to skull, waking her abruptly. She looked over at the clock as she struggled to raise herself up on one elbow. She’d slept until lunchtime. Fire and ice washed over her brain. Her legs felt like rubber as she attempted to stand. She fell to her knees beside the bed and pawed at the nightstand, scattering the clock and a cup of water before laying hands on what she was searching for; her cell phone. It was dead. There was no land line in the house, and she was alone.

The neighbors. The two nearest homes belonged to the Moores and the Clares. The Clares were childless and both worked, but blonde, bright-eyed Susan had retired early a few months back when her daughter started college. If she wasn’t home, her daughter, Jordan, might be. Otherwise, she’d have to cross the street and hope she didn’t get run over. Rita braced herself against the nightstand and rose to her feet. Her guts churned and static filled her head. She could hear voices through the haze, but couldn’t make out any of the words. The lurching in her stomach became rhythmic, and her hips ground painfully. Watery blood flooded from her vagina as she fell to the floor.

Oh God. What did those assholes do to me? She was in worse pain than she’d ever been in before. She crawled to the bathroom on her hands and knees, trailing fluid and mucus. She needed to clean herself up, get some pants on, and get some help. As she left the carpet for the hard, cool tile of the bathroom floor, she felt the first familiar sensation she’d felt all morning.

Birth contractions. Far too soon, but undeniable.