Paul Elard Cooley's blog

Horror Creature BBQ? Fresh Sushi?

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Okay, so I have to write this. Richard Cartwright on twitter wondered aloud if a certain creature from Scott Sigler's Ancestor would BBQ well. This got me to thinking: what horror movie monsters would be the most fun to consume? What would be the worst? In no particular order, here's my take.

Houston! Seth Harwood Signing on June 27th at Murder By The Book!

Houston! We have Seth!

Seth Harwood is going to be at Murder by the Book this Saturday at 1630 or 4:30 pm for you civvies. Seth is the author of the fantastic "Jack Palms" crime novels, as well as the producer of CrimeWAV which is a short-story crime podcast. In my opinion, Seth is responsible for bringing the American noir crime stories back into fashion.

If you haven't heard of Jack Wakes Up, his first novel, you should definitely get your hands on it. Or go check out the free podiobook from podiobooks.com or Seth's site.

If you're in Houston, don't miss the chance to meet Seth Harwood and get your book signed. And if we're lucky, we can take him out for drinks. Yeah, it's getting to be kind of a ritual with these podcast authors. You take 'em out, get 'em drunk, and let them babble. I love talking with other authors. And if you haven't done it before, you really should. It's a blast.

UPDATED!
Seth has graciously agreed to join us afterwards at Two Rows restaurant in Rice Village. Plan on spending saturday evening with us after the signing!

Make sure you get there. Again, Murder by the Book at 1630 on Saturday, June 27th. Get your ass there. Join the party. Listen to Seth read and give 'em hell.

A Brief Discussion on Sexuality in Fiction

I've been ill. Since Wednesday. And boy has it sucked. This whole not breathing through the nose tends to give one a sore throat. And then there's the fever to go with the 1000 degree heat we already have here in Houston. Then you add the rest of the nyquil commercial to it and, well, you get the idea. But I don't want to talk about that. Instead, I want to talk about something "real". I've been stuck on a particular story, "Worship," for two months now. If I told you what had stopped me from finishing it, you'd probably laugh. Of course, next month you're going to hear it. Then you're not going to laugh. I've stated before that sex is more difficult to write than violence. The stories that take place in the "Garaaga's Children" universe touch on more aspects of sexuality than I've ever dealt with in writing before. The series itself, or at least my plans for it, travels down some pretty damned dark corridors of the mind and body. Clive Barker and Peter Straub are really the only two writers I've read that mix horror and sexuality together in a potent mixture. I don't read Anne Rice, or her erotica alter ego, so before you jump down my throat, take that into consideration. I read a lot of horror novels though. So I do wonder sometimes--why is it so easy to write violence, yet so damned difficult to write about sex? There are friends of mine who love violent movies. I mean LOVE them. But if you give them something to watch or read that has the slightest tinge of sexual abnormality, they completely freak the fuck out. And if you mix sex and violence? Forget it. Now, let me get this out of the way first. I know there are people out there who hold sex and sexuality in the same regard as spirituality. In fact, I feel the same way. Sex should be an expression of love between two people. It should bind them. And dammit, it should be a hell of a lot of fun. Don't think for a moment I'm a prude, I just don't believe in one night stands. Three night stands, maybe... With that baggage dealt with, let's get back to the real discussion here. I know not everyone sees sex the way I do. They don't hold it in any spiritual regard, yet they are so very squeamish when it comes to actually seeing it on screen, reading about it in books, or hearing it in songs. What's the problem here? The quite simple explanation, for we Americans anyway, is that our puritan cultural roots somehow keep us from actually exploring our sexuality. We have some serious hang ups. If you've ever seen some of the television in Europe, you'll know what I'm talking about. We can't really even have naked nipples on our broadcast programs. I'm sure there's a movie out there that was rated NC-17 for violence, but I can't remember one. All I remember is the massively controversial films that were rated NC-17 for sex before some of the more "racey" bits were cut. These are films for adults, folks. If we wish to indulge our fantasies in film, shouldn't we be allowed? Look at the religious groups out there, as well as the "sex-ploitation" protesters, who lobby congress and scream to the press every time there is some controversial film. Why is this such a big deal? I remember the 80s and the whole Gore senate wives bullshit. The great hated satan known as the PMRC. Remember those idiots? They wanted to basically ban any kind of heavy metal. Any outlet that had sex and violence was something to be abhorred. If those idiots had their way, we would all be listening to freakin' Barry Manilow and Wayne Newton. Songs about nothing. Songs about the world being this bright, innocent place where there are no demons. Where man is always kind to man. Husbands and wives sleep in separate beds. And children live in a fucking wonderland. Most of us read, watch, and listen to escape for a little while. Get outside of our heads and our mundanity. All of us men want to be that muscle-ripped adonis that women worship. Some of us dream about having that perfect, buxom beauty in our bedroom every night, and therefore wish to look at the playboy centerfold and dream, just for an instant, they were in our beds. Women, I think, see sexuality very very differently than men. They tend to be more mental than visual. I'm probably going to get some hate mail on this one, but I think it's true. Yeah, I'm rambling here. But I think it's a very important discussion. Have you ever thought about these issues? Have you ever wondered why you get uncomfortable when reading certain scenes in books? Or why some portions of movies bother you? Do you care? As a writer, there are certain stories that intrigue me. Some of these tales have to deal with issues that make me very uncomfortable. Mixing sex and violence, for instance, is difficult, but it is a reality. Characters, like people, need histories. Some of those histories are not particularly pleasant. There are people you deal with every day that have some very very dark skeletons in their closet. Some of the skeletons you know about. Others are things that will never see the light of day, even in the most intimate friendships. The world of make believe allows us to pull our personal skeletons out and give them light. It helps us deal. Writing about them can be very cathartic. It can also make those around you look at you like you're some kind of monster. So writing about these topics is always dangerous. It has to be handled delicately. "Worship" takes place in the Garaaga's Children universe. Therefore, it's difficult for me to write it. There are some scenes that I completely dumped because I felt they were too much. Over the top. Served no purpose. I don't like writing violence just for violence sake. There must be reason for it. Sex has to be the same way. If it doesn't move the plot or give you a deeper sense of the character's motivations, there's no reason for it. My "fiend" stories don't actually have a lot of violence in them. They are characters talking about why they do the things they do or how they see the world. But there's no blow-by-blow dismemberment. There's no real splatter-gore body horror going on. I'm kind of squeamish about writing some of that, because it requires me to see it in my mind. And sometimes I shudder just imagining it. So for me, sexuality in fiction has to be handled the same way. But I do think it's something we writers, we American writers, need to deal with. Milan Kundera is so unabashedly carnal in his accounts of Czechoslovakian sexuality in the 60's and 70's. His fiction drips with sex and how it influences thought and motivation. In other words, it has a point. We American writers could learn something from that. I'm going to offend some people in the next few stories. I guarantee it. "Worship," "The Day The Town Died," and "Garaaga's Child" are all going to ooze sex. But it's necessary. It's going to be very difficult for me to write. And it may be more difficult for the audience to read or listen to. But I'm going to write it and perform it anyway. Hopefully I'll write it convincingly, and handle it properly. Hopefully you'll give it a chance and make the journey through it with me. Even if you don't, hopefully you'll re-join me for the other stories that have good old fashioned violence woven into their plots. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get back to writing the kind of fiction that won me an award so long ago. But until then, I've got other tales to write-- a horror Western, monsters coming of age, children discovering the world of adults way too early, and quests for salvation. Be patient. Make the journey with me. And we'll see how it turns out in the end.

epub Format Conversion: Step 3--IT WORKS!

So here's the deal. I'm going to post the code for this when I get it cleaned up (because right now it looks like a first-year programmer with dyslexia and brain damage coded it). But for now, I need some testers for the epub file. It works fine on calibre (on linux) but I need to know whether or not this is working on other readers.

My wife's iPhone is having problems with it (using stanza) so I need confirmation there's another issue.

Please email me strange behavior or add comments.

Cheers.

File is located here.

UPDATE:

I spent a little time working the format. The epub now works properly in stanza, although for some reason it works better on the iphone than on the desktop. Still works in Calibre without a problem. Please please please give this a try and let me know if you see any other problems with it.

Finally! These Bastards Got Caught!

Well, I wondered how long it would be before these fuckers got caught. I've been tele-spammed via my office phone, my company cell phone, my personal cell phone, and home phone. It's enough to make me want to block calls from an entire freakin' area code. Bastards. ALL SPAMMERS MUST DIE!
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