Saturday, January 29, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
It's called "Devourer" and takes place in the snowy foothills of the Tennessee Smokies in the dead of winter (how's that for timing?). It also includes a chilling sketch by artist Robert Aragon.
While reading the story, be sure to take note of the "Devourer" and "Darkhaven", both of which play major roles in my next novel, A Dark & Bloody Ground.
You can check it out here: http://literarymayhem.com/wordpress/ronald-kelly-devourer/
Bon Appetit, y'all!
Friday, January 21, 2011
I peeked around the doorway of the kitchen, where I was doctoring a pot of chili. "Who is it?" Since finally deciding to indulge in the Facebook community, I've dreamt about recieving friend requests from Stephen King or Clint Eastwood or Gene Simmons from KISS -- somebody really famous -- although, for some reason, that hasn't happened yet.
"Some girl," she answered. "An Alexandrious Skabrenenski."
Intrigued, I put the chili on low heat. Walking into the living room, I peered over Joyce's shoulder. The request claimed that we had eight mutual friends. Looking at the tiny roll of faces, I recognized all eight as fellow horror writers, all well-respected and of sterling character. When we share that many friends, I usually okay the request without question. "Go ahead and confirm it," I told her.
My wife wasn't so quick to act, though. "Maybe we should check her out first." When we pulled up Alexandrious's page, we saw her profile photo a bit more clearly. She was a ravishing beauty with an unruly mane of golden Farrah Faucett hair and an ample bosom that would have put Dolly Parton to shame. Her eyes were partially closed and her lips in mid-sigh, as though in the throes of passion... or dozing off. It was hard to tell which.
"Why, she can't be a day over 22," Joyce said. "Why would she want to be your friend?"
I had to admit, pretty girls requesting to be my friend was an unlikely occurance (the rare exception being my wife, God bless her!) Then an idea came to mind. "Maybe she saw me at a convention and admired my virile manliness from afar."
The look on Joyce's face told me that she didn't believe that for a second.
Suddenly, I figured out what was going on. "You don't think she's one of those piercing gals, do you?"
"Well, there's only one way to find out." Joyce pulled up her profile. At first it seemed to be legit. She even claimed to have attended a Christian college in Iowa ( although I had a difficult time believing there was actually an Alexandrious Skebrenenski enroled in the Iowa educational system.) Then my wife positioned the cursor over the photograph and the caption magically appeared.
"Hi. My name is Alexandrious. I got a new piercing today, but I can't show it to you here. Please log onto Blah-Blah-Blah.com for a better look. You must be 18 years old or older to register."
I can't say that I was surprised. I'd recieved a couple of other dubious requests a few days earlier, one from a woman in Indonesia and another from a young lady in Peru. Each one had extended the exact same invitation, word for word, and all had sported exotic names and photos.
I hate to admit it, but I couldn't help but ask. "I wonder where... you know... her piercings are?"
"I'll give you two guesses," Joyce said. "And you'd probably be right on both counts."
Annoyed with my indecision, she asked "Refuse and block?" For a second, I was certain that I detected a tiny hint of jealousy in her eyes. Maybe she was peeved because she had never recieved her own piercing-viewing invitation from strange men with intriguing names like Studdly McNuggets or Antonio Testosteroni.
I gave her the safest -- and most diplomatic -- answer possible. "Refuse and block." Which she did at lightning speed.
I could see how such an unwanted -- but enticing -- spam request might appeal to a middle-aged man on the downhill side of fifty. It was an unexpected boost to the male ego to recieve a friend request from a scantly-clad twenty-something girl from a strange and exotic land (well, Iowa could be strange and exotic, if you use your imagination). But, being the church-going fella and devoted husband I am, I simply gritted my teeth, averted my eyes, and declared "Get thee behind me, devil woman who jingle-jangles like a cowboy's spurs on a grueling cattle drive!"
Still, those lude invitations have made me wonder about the whole piercing scene and exactly what the appeal of it is. Not that I'm totally ignorant to such acts of self-expression as tattooing and body piercing. I've come across certain individuals on the job who were walking advertisements for such indulgences. I've seen multiple piercings in ears, noses, and eyebrows. Several guys I've worked with actually had tongue studs, which would seem like a terribly painful ordeal. One giant of a fellow had a golden stud on his tongue roughly the size of a golf ball (or so it seemed to me). I've never actually inquired about the purpose of a tongue stud... although, from the sly grins on their faces, I could very well imagine what it would be. I even came across a rather weird dude who liked to be pierced beneath his shoulder blades by giant fish hooks and suspended from the ceiling. I never knew if he was pulling my leg or not, but knowing him, he was probably on the up-and-up.
Out of curiosity, I Googled "body piercing jewelry" the other day and was amazed at the variety of doo-dads you could purchase. Studs, rings, chains... you name it, they've got it in their inventory. You can even get charms, like those on a charm bracelet. Little cheerleading megaphones, your high school graduation year, and tiny baby shoes complete with birthstone. I'd say they would be right popular with some distant relatives in the Kelly family tree. "Look, y'all... I've got a golden fooler hanging from my right nostril in commemoration of little Bubba's first birthday!" (In case you don't know what a "fooler" is, its a southern expression for a baby pacifier.)
Personally, I suppose I can see justification in tattoos over piercings. Tats can be a doggone work of art if done right. I've even seem Alex McVey's blue werewolf painting -- which graces the cover of my upcoming book, Undertaker's Moon -- turned into a pretty cool-looking tattoo. Of course there are disadvantages. With age, tats can stretch and distort, turning into a fleshy version of a Salvadore Dali painting. I've witnessed enough sixty year old grandmothers with lower back tattoos in Wal-Mart to know that for a fact.
Truthfully, I don't mean to intentionally poke fun at folks with body piercings. Maybe I'm just a little old-fashioned or just blissfully ignorant of the true motivation behind the whole body piercing phenomenon. The way I see it, if God had intended for us to have extra holes in our bodies, He would have put them there Himself. But, hey, if folks want to hang ornaments from themselves like a dad-gum Christmas tree, that's their business, not mine.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011
The latter half of 2010 was sort of tough for Ol' Ron. After an idyllic two week vacation in Flrorida back in June, a black cloud seemed to loom over the horizon and things got a little stormy and off kilter. I missed work due to one illness or another, the head gasket blew in the engine of my car, and I was practically blind in my left eye because of a nasty Stage-4 cataract. I had cataract surgery toward the latter half of Novemeber and what should have been a cut and dried procedure led into further complications when the lens implant slipped downward and we had to go back into the operating room and do it all over again. Due to all of this happening within a matter of only a few months, I must admit a stretch of depression set in. I attributed the majority of my inactivity as far as writing, blogging, and corresponding to my eye condition, but, looking back, I realize that a lot of it had to do with an almost crippling bout of low spirits on my part.
But the improvement of my eyesight in early December and the arrival of the Christmas season did wonders to drive those black clouds away and now I'm officially back in the saddle again. As 2010 ends and 2011 begins, I can see a brighter, more prolific, much more published future ahead. Here are just a few projects I have scheduled with publishers for the coming year:
Cumberland Furnace & Other Fear Forged Fables / In early 2010, Crossroad Press released an e-book collection of my short stories published after my return to horror in 2006. In late January or February of 2011, Bad Moon Books will release a trade paperback edition of this best-selling digital collection. Not only will it contain the original nine stories of Cumberland Furnace, but also most of the short stories that didn't make it into my first short story collection, Midnight Grinding & Other Twilight Terrors, as well as selections from my extreme horror collection The Sick Stuff and several formerly unpublished tales. 23 stories in all, if my recollection is right.
Timber Gray / Around the same time as the Cumberland Furnace release, Bad Moon will be publishing a trade paperback edition of my first western novel, Timber Gray. This straight-forward, yet dark and suspenseful western was also first offered as a digital book for Crossroad this past year. The storyline involves a wild game hunter-for-hire who pursues a pack of fifty murderous wolves across the Bighorn Mountains of northern Wyoming. Along the way he encounters both friendship and menace of a human nature; an obsessed preacher and his frightened family, a cowboy on the run from the law, and a band of blood-thirsty bounty hunters.
After the Burn / Sometime during the spring or summer of 2011, Thunderstorm Books will be releasing my post-apocalyptic horror collection, After the Burn, as one of their Black Voltage limited hardcover edtiions. It will contain two novellas and six short stories following the exploits of survivors existing in a nuclear-ravaged world inhabited by serial killers, child molesters, radiation-infected mutants, and cannibals. And it boasts yet another incredibly unique cover by artist Zach McCain. You can reserve your copy of After the Burn now at: http://www.thunderstormbooks.com/aftertheburn.php
The Essential Ronald Kelly Collection - Volume 1: Undertaker's Moon / Finally, after making the rounds with several ill-fated publishers, my Irish-Werewolves-in-Tennessee novel, Undertaker's Moon, will finally see print in a lavish hardcover edtion as the first volume of The Essential Ronald Kelly Collection. As I've said several times before, the Essentials will be offered by a yet undisclosed (but highly respected) small press publisher. Undertaker's Moon (formerly published in 1991 by Zebra Books as Moon of the Werewolf) will feature Alex McVey's infamous "Blue Wolf" cover, as well as a brand-new "prequel" novella titled "The Spawn of Arget Bethir". UM should be available in late spring or early summer of this year.
More Kelly fiction from Cemetery Dance...
I'll have several new projects coming from Cemetery Dance Publications in 2011 and 2012. So far this is what I have lined up...
* The Crane House / This is a Halloween round-robin tale that I participated in recently. Along with my contribution, it includes the dark talents of such respected horror masters as Brian Keene, Kealan Patrick Burke, Al Sarantonio, Rick Hautala, Bev Vincent, Brian Freeman, James A. Moore, James Newman, Norman Prentiss, and Ray Garton.
* La Sanguinaire / This continuation of my 1988 Deathrealm story, "The Web of La Sanguinaire" will be offered as one of CD's upcoming Signature Series books. And you all know how I love to write a good spider story, especially one that takes place in the dark, dank swamps of Louisiana!
* A Dark & Bloody Ground / My next full-length novel (now in progress) will be a historical conspiracy/horror suspense story about an evil Southern state totally erased from the annals of American history... until a husband and wife team, who have searched for the truth behind the legend of Syntrillia and its hellish capital of Darkhaven, stumble upon an ancient map pinpointing their whereabouts. With a half-Cherokee moonshiner named Ruby Buchanan along to guide them, they travel into the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains in search of the missing providence... and soon wish that they had left well enough alone.
So there you have it... a generous helping of Southern-fried horror coming your way during the coming months of 2011 and beyond. Keep an eye on RonaldKelly.com and my blog site, Southern-Fried & Horrified, for updates on these novels and collections, along with various short stories peppered in-between!