Monday, April 25, 2016

Dark Chapter Press Unlimited presents the A-Z Horror Anthology

A little over a year ago  Stuart Keane with Dark Chapter Press gathered up a bunch of us authors, twenty-six to be exact, and assigned us each a letter of the alphabet. These authors were to write a horror story based upon the letter they were assigned.

I am also in this A-Z Horror Anthology.

I remember thinking:

"I sure hope they don't assign me X because that one would be hard to come up with a title that isn't  either cliche or boring (for me) compared to all the other letters."

Of course, I therefore drew the letter, X!

X I tell you! In the end I actually came up with two stories. Not that I meant to or wanted to, but I'll explain in a moment.

Oh. Brief side note, director Kelly Hughes whom I've been working with on a couple of film projects is releasing a few episodes of a feature we completed, The Mephisto Box (here's the YouTube Channel). We had so much fun filming this and it was a lot of work. It's a 1970s style horror film.
Update 29 April 2016 - Kelly has now released the first four episodes. I have cameos in ep. 2 as an addict in an NA meeting bent over, face hidden and a street preacher. Interesting to note that the death scene at about four minutes in is reminiscent of the Rosebud chapter in my book Death of heaven which came out originally in 2012 and that chapter was actually written decades ago.

Now. Of the authors involved, Lily is one of them with whom I'm acquainted. She drew... W.

I had tried to get friend and author, Kurt Giambastiani in on it too (I'd love to have seen him do horror), but sadly (for us all) I had mentioned it to him too late to acquire his own letter.

These stories have a word count limitation. Obviously. They are after all, short stories.

I had come up with an interesting concept based on Xibalba, the Mayan Hell. From that I researched and wrote a story titled, "Xibalba Unleashed", a great big, epic, claustrophobic little story. A serial killer origin story.

I really liked it. My editor really liked it. There was only one problem. When I went to submit it to Dark Chapter, I discovered a terminal mistake.

I had been about halfway through writing it when I dumped my Harley Davidson. I hit a pothole and then immediately another which brought me down on the dirt road. I was only about a hundred yards from my house on our county dirt road which at the time had massive pot holes all over it. I was going slow, being (perhaps too) careful, when it happened. In fact I was only going about five miles per hour.

Two days on the couch (no hospital just pain), $3,000 (and a month later) and I got my bike back. It took a couple of weeks of healing up before I got back to finishing the story.

That was when I reexamined the rules prior to submitting it and found I had gone over the word count by nearly 2,000 words! I was crushed. I had put a lot into that story and really liked it. I had to research ancient Mayan culture and mythology. I had to examine maps and learn about actual caves that supposedly led to the Mayan Hell. Fascinating stuff, really. All wasted.

There was no avoiding it. If I wanted to be in the anthology (and I did), I would have to cut pages and ruin a very well crafted tale. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. So I would have to come up with another "X" story. And so I did.

I came up with, "X The Unknown" which will be in the anthology.

I hadn't wanted to come up with any of the titles people kept suggesting. All the obvious ones, all the cliches. I hadn't wanted even to use "X The Unknown" but finally it clicked with me and after all, I did have to come up with something.

I came up with a story about a local Seattle area FBI agent and a very messed up serial killer. It was written, edited and submitted. I liked it, again, my editor liked it. She doesn't like everything. I had struck gold twice in a row.

It will take a while for all these single story releases to get all the way down to the letter X up on Amazon. So in the meantime may I suggest you check out our first story in this series as well as all the rest as they come out every other week or so?

From Dark Chapter Press Unlimited and Shaun Hupp:

Anniversary Dinner by Shaun Hupp.
"Jim and Kristen are happily married. On the eve of their anniversary, Jim plans a special dinner for the couple, pulling out all the stops to ensure the evening is as romantic as possible. All is going well, until they have an unexpected visitor…"

After Shaun's story you can check out each letter story as they come online. Next up on April 29, 2016 is the letter, "B". In this case it is Matt Hickman's, "Brazen".

Brazen by Matt Hickman
"Karen works the pole in an exclusive strip joint, where a VIP area like no other satisfies the needs of the most discerning of customers. Noticing a client fixed on her performance, she joins him in one of the private rooms, where depraved needs are met and forbidden desires made real."

A fun something to look forward to kind of thing, don't you think?

Honestly, this should be quite entertaining and all you may very well have to do to share in this dark and interesting affair click on it (see customer's note below).

Won't you join us to explore the shadowy side of the alphabet?

After all, twenty six of us are waiting for you the dark.

Next up....

Caravan - May 4, 2016
Downward Spiral - June 6, 2016
Exposed - July 13, 2016
Frailty - September 20, 2016
Glovebox - February 21, 2017
Hard Man - March 10, 2017 by Jack Rollins
X The Unknown by JZ Murdock

CUSTOMER'S NOTE: Recommended for Kindle Unlimited users it is a single, short story. Dark Chapter Press Unlimited titles are intended for Amazon Kindle Unlimited customers, who can download these short, creepy single stories as part of their subscription at no extra cost.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince Dies, Henry Rollins Against North Carolina Anti-LGBT HB2 Law

Conservatives in North Carolina (Mississippi too for that matter). Hatred. Fear. Cowardice.

This is a short and irregular blog today as I usually release them on Mondays. I thought this important enough to share however because of all the ridiculous and disgusting actions America has been repeatedly subjected to over the past twenty years or so (which should be inclusive really of the Reagan years) from the right, the conservatives, the Republicans.

We have been abused through (anti) voter laws, gun issues, civil rights and women's issues and on and on ad naseum.

On the day that musician Prince had died, it seems especially poignant that we allow room for those Americans who are different than us. Especially those staunch conservatives. We need to be more accepting and less rigid and punitive to those different from us.

How much in our world would we not have if not for those who are different than us, be they straight, gay or whatever.

So please check out one of my favorite people, Henry Rollins, in his speaking out against North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory's new anti LGBT "bathroom" law, disingenuous as that description by the right is and as Henry will explain if you read his statement.

Please do.

I doubt I could say here what he says there, any better.

Just a taste of what Henry says:

"HB2 is now law. There is no “walking it back.” If McCrory eventually caves and tries to repeal it, everyone will know it’s because he values money over his homophobia, which he has poorly disguised as moral rectitude and common sense. Either way he’s fucked. If I were him, I wouldn’t feel all that put out by Springsteen’s cancellation as much as I would fear PayPal scrapping its plans to locate a new operations center in his state. PayPal is bigger than any governor."

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Biopic of Your Most Private Moments For All To See From Big Data

We really need to start being more aware of our actions. Why? Today and each day forward will all too soon become our legacy. We are deciding each day who we are. At least who our descendants and others might one day come to believe that we were.

This is concept and info could would fit right into my continuing horror \ sci fi story, "The Unwritten" on Wattpad.

Here's the situation. We are already working on ways to access "big data", massive amounts of information that are essentially useless to a human being. Big data requires computers or a lot of people in order to make it accessible, intelligible, useful.

Without computers, information leaks containing a million pages as in the Edward Snowden situation, or more recently with the eleven million pages from the Panama Papers leak, we simply cannot make use of that much data. It's an ongoing problem the NSA deals with on a daily, even hourly basis.

But we are starting to get a handle on it. Solutions are on the horizon.

We have to assume that in merely a few years, certainly in a few generations down the line, we will have figured something out. Projecting from that we will one day quite easily and literally be able to generate an easily understandable format to receive and manipulate all that data.

The projection that one could make a movie about the life of someone from the past with all that data isn't that far fetched. It could also include far more than we would now consider possible.

It could include for instance, friends you never wanted anyone to know you had. Places you went, things you did you never wanted anyone to know about. To make it "commercially viable" in a sense, that is at least more pleasure able to view, it could even include sexual situations you were in that were never filmed.

Remember, we're talking about the future here.

Regardless of what hidden moments you have stored away, situations meant for no one ever to see, one day they may be able to see it all quite clearly. Just for purposes of speculation, from a short sci fi story of mine, "EarVu", a scientist finds a way to produce 3D videos from previously recorded audio tapes. Think about that for a moment. That technology alone could bring down the entire world.

Already we are talking about taking various random footage shot from ATM machines, people's cell phones, things posted on social media, combing them all and getting 3D representations of what happened in choosing a single element or person as focal point.

This is all rapidly becoming not, science fiction but science fact.

When viewed from the future in using massive data it's entirely possible and would be quite plausible not to mention astounding. What could be discovered about a person's very private life in hindsight?

It is in part after all why conspiracies always fall apart and come out into the light.

Time is enemy to all and friend to some.

How would you feel about one day a movie being made of your life? You would have no control over it, not say in it, and you'd never know about it.

All this from easily known historical data. Though perhaps now being from unknown data. Just information freely available through a future version of some benign entity like or some other such entity. Like a library.

A film of your life could literally be made by anyone, though more probably it might be made by a descendant of yours. Perhaps simply out of curiosity.

Much as how someone can now write a biography of a historical figure from the past from existing information, photos and such. While now that is mostly limited to those highly documented individuals, many of us are already being highly documented in ways far exceeding that of anyone from the past, or of what we are even now aware of.

Something for us to ruminate over. As some people worry that God can see their most secret actions, what if literally anyone could?

I spent many years studying espionage when I was younger. I discovered from the analysis of freely available data that one can uncover, must as with statistics using available numbers, that you can uncover highly accurate details from information that is freely available.

In taking just a few things from someone's life you can find where they have been in a day on a specific date, even what they were doing. From that you can extrapolate other things. It's really quite amazing and the more you delve into it, the more you can discover.

In taking information from other individuals involved with someone, even peripherally involved in things, you can then find strikingly obvious things about that time. Things that an individual had believed was (and had been right about, except in hindsight) completely private and secret.

Just remember, Time, wears everything down. Entropy rules.

I was stunned during and after college to find what I could do with statistics, with just numbers being correctly manipulated, with reasonable levels of inaccuracy accounted for. I found I could literally foretell the future. I was a media buyer for a while for Tower Records and achieved worldwide top buyer one month for my accuracy. I didn't even have a computer at work back then in the 1980s, I did it all with pen and paper on a clipboard.

However in using computers, machines that can handle massive data, grinding it up into something intelligible, what will we be able to accomplish some day? To see? To know?

Think about it. You can now use a spreadsheet to generate very useful graphs. Even moving graphs. Computer models can generate real life-like looking characters. One day we will be able to produce a film just from big data. Or seemingly happened, might have happened, but that's another (scary) topic.

Time will tell. It surely will.

If ever you wanted to be the star of your own movie, a film about your life, it may just happen. Though it may happen many years after you've passed on.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Purpose of Government is Our Decision

It occurs to me that part of the political issue today between liberals and conservatives, or however people wish to categorize themselves, is that there is a fundemental undercurrent of misunderstanding about the purpose of government in the first place.

Bootie Cosgrove-Mather in an article titled The Purpose Of Government for CBS said:

"Call me old-fashioned, but I still hold with the ancient Greeks who said government has only one purpose, to improve the lives of citizens."'s article The  Purposes of Government says:

"Why do governments exist? One major reason is that they create rules. But what rules are necessary or desirable?"

Originally governments were started to protect the people. Once that is established and effective, government's purpose expands as a natural course of evolution. After having solidified its ability to protect it turns internal, taking on the actions of making the citizenry work more fluidly, enhancing and further protecting the citizens. Making the citizens more productive and enhancing the quality of their lives as a natural and necessary evolution of the purpose of government.

At some point part of the purpose of government is to maintain and protect, the government itself. Then comes a need for balance between the citizens and the government being protected. For the government to protect itself under the mistaken belief that it is more important than the citizens because IT appears to be the citizens, is a confused point of view that has led to entities such as the Soviet Union with it's leadership abuses, Communist China, North Korea, and so on.

It is not unlike the need in a company or corporation, for balance between security and business. Perfect security denies all business. Perfect business eliminates security. Too much of one destroys the other, just as too little of one can destroy the other. 

It is a balance. Just as our Founding Fathers understood and so built into the United States of America, appropriate checks and balances. In protecting the people from the government and the government branches from one another the society as a whole is protected from and within itself. 

When the initial elements of protecting the citizens and the government have been accomplished, and the basic elements involved in enhancing citizen's productivity and quality of life are in place, it is only natural that the government, as strong as it  should be by this point, would continue to strive to find more and better ways to enhancement society. Without getting in the way of the citizens needs and desires and to continue to find new ways to be more productive for the citizens in its attempt always to be considering enhancements to its purpose as time marches on.

That means that government needs to protect the citizens, the individual units from large collectives such as citizen groups and businesses and corporations. It means that rather than allowing itself to be propped up by big money, it recognizes that and takes steps to fix itself, continuing to protect its citizenry.

From time to time any entity needs to reflect, to reevaluate its original purpose, to review if that is truly what it is still doing. By that concept, people should not be working more hours for less, but less hours for more. They should be paying less for more and better healthcare.

If at some point the care by the government reaches the pinnacle of no one needing to work, because they have finally been freed up to do what they wish, it is not for others who think work is the only way to live, to judge and apply their beliefs onto others. If and when the government should be able to support that.

If the government is on that path and at some point it changes direction, someone needs to look to see why that is happening, who or what caused it, and how to get back on track. 

When people have reached a point that they no longer have to work, or even more so, no longer have to work in jobs they find despicable, it doesn't mean people will no longer need to work but that our orientation as a nation has morphed into allowing people to find what they enjoy doing and pursue that. Be it in the arts, sciences, labor force, or what have you.

My personal belief is that work enhances people's lives. If one is doing the right work for who they are.

Not however the kind of work many of us are currently being forced to do now a days. Not the stress and numbers of hours required per week for a family to be able to support themselves. Not the need of some families who have to have two jobs, three, four or five jobs when there was once a time when only one person needed to have a job to support their family. When they didn't have to work unreasonable days each week if not all, and too many hours per day.

We should not be working more than eight hours a day, more than five days a week and yet, many of us are. We have been hearing how we are slackers, lazy if we don't work twelve hour days five, days a week.

Yet we should be striving hard toward working less days and hours per week. We should be striving toward four day work weeks, six hour days. We should be working half days at full pay so two people could do the work of what one person is doing now. Those are directions, goals, we should be considering, working toward.

People may scoff at that contention. But they scoff because of how things are, not because of how things could be. The reason things cannot be that way now is because of how big money has brainwashed us all to think it's not possible. All while corporations and the very wealthy syphon off all the money so there is so very little left for the masses. 

We have to decide first, just what do we want the purpose of our government to be?

Then we can make that happen. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Something Bit The Republican Party. Was it the Tea Party?

The Republican Party over the past 20-30 years has built an environment that has finally paid off in having the likes of the blowhard Donald Trump and the despicable Ted Cruz as Presidential nominee frontrunners.

Yet, that wasn't their intent. Although forewarned, they wouldn't listen even to themselves in order to avoid this. They knew it back in 2012, claimed they would fix it, then went on like the Zombie Party they are, with business as usual.
Now they think that using Ted Cruz to neutralize Trump is a pretty durn good idea. It actually is a really neato idea... with the exception of one thing.
Over the years the GOP has shown itself to be exceptionally adept at actions based on bad ideals. Ideals that merely sound good in sound bites but lack substance under deeper consideration. Someone once said that Republicans are great at selling bad ideas (or can sell lies better than truth) and Democrats are bad at selling great ideas.
Their ability to hang onto power with dirty tricks has proven exceptional. Even at the expense of the American citizen and in how this country is perceived worldwide. Except of course where, for instance, Republican Governors have been found to be criminals, again through ideals based upon the ideologies of their party. Or simply, greed.

Essentially exhibiting a lack of self-discipline to do what is right, or perhaps simply to judge between right and wrong. The Party of Business is about profit, not people. And yet they wish to govern over people. 
They frequently have no shame. But then as I have pointed out in a previous blog, that has a lot to do with the right's extreme religious slant even as it signals their demise. 
Once again they have made a choice that is not good for them, or us, and based on a concept that arises all because of a situation they themselves have set upon this country.
If Cruz beats out Trump or forcibly replaces him it would be merely one more bad idea in a very, very long line of them. 
Trump would be an embarrassment AND a Danger to America as well as the world. Cruz would be a Danger and we'd never even get to the embarrassment stage of things.

Then again Bill Maher @billmaher Tweeted this week:

Cruz would be our worst President. 
But Trump might well be our last.
Possibly so. We keep hearing from Republicans how they are going to do this or that to fix their problems and yet, so much of the time they are merely scrambling about, sometimes in a panic, trying to fix things they did themselves. To us. On purpose. 
Sometimes bad things happen they didn't foresee or desire. Yet unbelievably as we're seeing, sometimes they are getting exactly the situation they wanted. At times using plausible deniability to defend themselves. At others not even bothering to deny it.
It's as if, they are insane. At very least emotionally and mentally unbalanced. 
The GOP is the Koyaanisqatsi of American politics (from the film and Hopi People word, Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance).
It is as if they were bitten by some diseased animal years ago, perhaps in the mid 1990s and we've been watching the progress of this disease as it kills the Party animal while damaging all those around it. Perhaps a political form of rabies. 
Often you can’t tell by looking. - We thought for years after the infected bite that Republicans were normal. We didn't at first notice. 
However, a rabid animal may stagger or stumble. It may display unprovoked aggressive behavior or be over-friendly. - Yes, quite so. 
Animals with advanced rabies may foam at the mouth. This is because the rabies virus affects the salivary glands causing hyper-salivation. They may also develop hydrophobia (fear of water). - I suspect a metaphorical approach to this one. It snaps in like it was built for it. Water substituting for xenophobia and a fear of non-whites or illegal aliens. I wonder what would happen if ever any extraterrestrial aliens were to show up?
If an animal shows any of these signs, you should contain it to prevent possible exposure either to you, your family, or another animal. - If only we could contain the GOP and their conservative puppet masters. It does point out however just how badly we do need to attempt to stay away from them (to not vote for them). 
However, none of these symptoms are definitive signs that an animal has rabies. - Oh, great!
To verify an infection, a brain tissue sample must be tested for rabies. For this the animal must be euthanized. - And, there it is. My ex-girlfriend back in college was a Vet. Tech and said she'd see a frozen dog or animal head sometimes in the Veterinarian's freezer waiting on a rabies test. They would send it frozen to have the brain cells tested. Typically the bitten individual would start the painful rabies series of shots just to be safe if deemed necessary.

Whatever happens to the GOP now, it's going to be painful. Painful for them, but more importantly painful for the rest of us. Even those of us who shouldn't have to suffer because of them. But then maybe we all are to blame in putting up with big money in politics for so long and allowing media to turn into entertainment as a profit driven venture.

We have turned over one of the most important elements in our checks and balances in the American system to Corporate thinking. A system that runs best toward not Truth but sales and profit. Is that the rabies of the American system itself?
I doubt we should wait to definitely discover via post mortem analysis if the GOP was infected, regardless what you call it. Rabies, extreme conservatism, religion, Tea Party, fascist extremist groups, or whatever. 
It seems quite obvious what's going on. And action is required... now.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy April Fool's Day (and no, this ain't no joke).

I wanted to come up with an April Fool's kind of story to offer for a free download (I just now thought about this, so I have to choose from what there is).
Free download coupon code (expires 4/4/2016): LF98T

The closest thing I have written I can think of that fits today as there is a kind of joke built into the story.

It's a Zombie story, and yet... more.