So it's Halloween, which means that October Country, my month-long celebration of scariness, is over. It's been fun, if a lot of work, and I appreciate everyone who has dropped by and shared in this effort. I know there's no shortage of reading material online--spending extra-long on some of these entries has cut into my own blog-reading time, and I hope my friends excuse that lapse.
Halloween is one of the favorite days of the year for many of us toilers in the pumpkin patch of horror. It's the day when it's socially acceptable to scare and be scared, the day when everyone else gets to enjoy that frisson that we strive to capture in our writing and our reading. On Halloween night, it's just that little bit easier to believe that anything can happen...and probably will.
If you just started dropping by here during October Country, I hope you'll make this a regular stop on your browsing circuit. It's not always all-horror, all the time, but horror and suspense crop up often in these parts. It's also about books and comics, movies and TV, writing and reading, with generous helpings of politics and ranch life thrown in.
A couple of random horrific notes:
There's an article about my horror/Western comic book series Desperadoes: Buffalo Dreams, up at Comic Book Resources. Have a look. They show lots of the artwork by Alberto Dose, in addition to a bunch of words about me.
And here's the cover of my next original novel, the supernatural thriller Missing White Girl, coming from Ace next May. I got it today, and I'm thrilled.
Because we started with him and because nothing's more appropriate, let's go back to Ray Bradbury for one more quick story.
Ray was signing at my old store, Hunter's Books, many years ago. Someone who was, let's just say, a little unclear on the concept, brought up an Arthur C. Clarke novel and asked Ray to sign it. An onlooker pointed out that Ray was not Arthur C. Clarke and didn't write that book.
"That's okay," Ray said, laughing. "I'll sign it if you want. Arthur's my son."
Which is not strictly true.
But in another, more important way, it probably is. I think a lot of us feel that way about Ray Bradbury. To read his stories is to be granted a look inside his heart, and it's a wise heart, with more than a bit of whimsy and a sinister streak of darkness. Spending any time with Ray--even in the audience of one of his speeches, but especially one-on-one, you get the sense of a fatherly sort, or maybe a favorite uncle, but there is, for me and I'm sure for many others, a connection that's rare and special.
Ray and I were both Illinois boys who moved to California and found that we could make our livings exploring the scary, fantastic, wonderful sides of life by telling stories. The fact that Ray did it well before me helped pave the way for me and virtually every writer who followed him. For that we owe him a great debt; for his stories we owe one that can never be fully repaid.
Thanks again for visiting, and happy Halloween.
"The wind came by. It rocked all the dark smoking pumpkins on the vast and beautiful Halloween Tree. The wind seized a thousand dark leaves and blew them away up over the sky and down over the earth toward the sun that must surely rise.
"Like the town, the Tree turned off its embered smiles and slept.
"At two in the morning, the wind came back for more leaves."
The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury