Friday, August 29, 2014

Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and American Horror Story Blogs


 Photo: Pic of Walking Dead characters, in various sweaty and paranoid poses.  From this website.

--There's still a few days to enter my free contest, tied in with my most recent paid-for and published short story, "Everything's Connected."  It's a very, very short piece. Description: "Everything's Connected," is about a detective who catches a cheating spouse in the act (sort of), solves a kid's disappearance, and proves a little theoretical quantum physics--all in just a few minutes!

It can be read in about five minutes, too.  Please go to this link to enter the contest and to read the story.  Thanks to everyone who has done so already.

--Just a quick notice that I will have a blog dedicated to Season 5 of The Walking Dead.  I'll change the title of the tab above to Season 5 when the season starts.  Please watch for the change.  A blog will appear after the Sunday, October 12, 2014 premiere.  Thanks to those who suggested that I do this.

There will be more consistent blog entries about it, too.  I decree this because of the tremendous number of people reading my admittedly so-so entries about Season 4.

Or maybe I was just tired.

--I will be blogging about this season's American Horror Story.  I hope this season is better than last.  Having said that, Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates deserved their Emmys.  Especially Lange.  The irony of her wins is that, IMO, her best season--by far--was Season Two.  Which is the only season she hasn't won an Emmy on the show.  Go figure.  Her character was the ONLY reason to watch last season. If the season is as terrible as last year's was, I may cancel the blog as I did last year.  I just have to many things going on to watch a show that's not interesting anymore.  For example...

--I will also be blogging about the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.  Thanks to those who suggested I do this, as well.  Please watch for a new tab to appear, above.  This won't happen until 4.30.2015.  Unbelievable, but so.

Between Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, which do you think is the best? What did you like, or NOT like, about that show's previous season? Click here to see why I thought last season's American Horror Story: Coven really, really sucked.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

National Dog Day--Jackson the Greyhound

Title says it all, right?  So in honor of National Dog Day, here are some pics of Jackson the Greyhound.

Which one's your favorite?  (You can click on the pics to make them bigger.)

Have your own blog or YouTube with your favorite dog pics or actions?  Feel free to say so below.

                                                                Rocky Point Jackson



Parking Lot Jackson



Ponderous Jackson



Angelic Couch Jackson



Happy Ascot Jackson



Grinning Jackson



Field Goal Jackson



Watching the Mailman Jackson





Cute Sniffing Jackson



By the way, There's still a few days to enter my free contest, tied in with my most recent paid-for and published short story, "Everything's Connected."  It's a very, very short piece. Description: "Everything's Connected," is about a detective who catches a cheating spouse in the act (sort of), solves a kid's disappearance, and proves a little theoretical quantum physics--all in just a few minutes!

It can be read in about five minutes, too.  Please go to this link to enter the contest and to read the story.  Thanks to everyone who has done so already.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Police Log--Paranoia and Brazen Honesty

There's still two weeks to enter my free contest and win stuff.  To do so, please go to this link, or just scroll down to the previous entry.  Thanks.

Until then, I thought I'd pass this along.  This is a snippet from my local paper's police log, where some very wacky people do some very wacky things.  And in Warwick, R.I., no less.  If this stuff is happening here, ca you imagine the shenangigans happening in L.A., NYC, Chicago, Boston, etc.?

From the Police Log (and from the Warwick Beacon's address):

PARANOIA

Officer [   ] reported he was doing a fixed traffic post around 4:40 p.m. on Feb. 4 when a man approached him and told him it felt like people were following him. [The officer] said he talked with him some more and learned the man thought every car that was driving past was following him and looking at him and told [the officer] that he should know because [the officer] was one of the people investigating him. He said the man claimed he spoke with numerous lawyers and they all confirmed that he was being investigated. [The officer] said he asked him who was investigating him and he said the police, although he did not know where he was or who he was talking to but he knew that Warwick Police were investigating him. He said the man was alternately excited and calm and inquisitive. He said he called for another car and patted the man down. [The officer] said he was nervous about the way the man’s hands would go into his pockets and then into a bowling bag. He said he had no weapons on him but did have what looked like $1,487 worth of gold Teddy Roosevelt $1 coins. [The officer] said he also found a prescription bottle in the bag and the man said, “That is Adderall.” He said the man claimed he had a prescription for the drug but the particular pills [the officer] was holding belonged to his sister. He said he and a sergeant discussed what to do with the man and they decided he needed professional psychiatric help. [The officer] said he confiscated the pills but did not arrest the man because Kent Hospital does not do psyche evaluations on people who have been arrested. He said they took him to Kent, where the staff began to explain how the evaluation would proceed and he became impatient and belligerent and turned and said, “[Expletive] it, you are just going to have to arrest me for the Adderall.” He was taken to headquarters, where he was charged with possession of a controlled substance and held for the bail commissioner. [The officer] said they learned that the man, who earlier said his name was Kenneth [   ], was in fact Giovanni [   ], 25, of [   ] Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa., and that he was staying at a local extended-stay motel. [The officer] said he asked the man why he had so many presidential coins, 54 identical rolls of Roosevelt $1 coins, and [the man] told him he was a collector but there as nothing else in the bag to indicate it was a collection. He said they did run a check on [the man] and discovered numerous arrests and convictions for robbery, burglary, fraud and receiving stolen goods in several states. [The officer] said a Google search turned up an account of $2.4 million worth of presidential coins were stolen from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 2011. [The officer] said there was enough probable cause to believe the coins were stolen and that the Secret Service, who were investigating the heist in Philadelphia, be notified of the arrest.

(Me again.)  Now that's messed up!  How does a heavily-medicated, homeless paranoid schizophrenic man from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, get to Warwick, Rhode Island with 1,487 Teddy Roosevelt $1 coins in a bowling bag?  What?!?  Loved his response, too: He's a collector!  He probably sounded offended while he said it, too.

I couldn't make that up.  Or this:

Det. [   ] reported that a woman who was asked to come into headquarters about some fraudulent checks she’d cashed and quickly learned that it was about a purse that was stolen from a customer at Sullivan’s Publick House on Dec. 13 of last year. [The detective] reported that they had surveillance of the woman taking the purse and leaving by the back door but had more evidence that she used the credit cards in the purse at several places in Warwick and other places, but, under the circumstances, he welcomed her candor in regard to the fraudulent checks. She claimed she was cashing five checks worth $1,270 over the past week for a friend of hers and she only got $20 for one check but got a cup of coffee or a pack of cigarettes for the others. She said her friend was stealing the checks from an 80-year-old Warwick man who trusted her.

[A different detective] reported that he was there when [the first detective] was asking “the suspect in a stolen purse caper from Sullivan’s” and took the opportunity to ask her about charges made on her sister’s credit cards last November and about her sister’s laptop that went missing in December and charges on her debit card in March. He said she admitted using the debit card but denied stealing the computer. By the time the interview was over, [   ], 44, of [   ] Ave., Warwick, was charged with five counts of felony fraudulent checks, three counts of fraudulent computer access and larceny for the stolen purse that reportedly contained $140 in cash along with the credit cards.

(Me, again.)  It's hard to tell with writing from reports, but I do believe there was a little tongue-in-cheek with the underlined sentence above, as it seems a bit too dry and straightforward to me.  "He welcomed her candor," indeed.  Sounds like the first detective waved the second one over not because he feared for his safety, but because, "Hey, Harry, come here, you gotta hear this."

And this is all in one day, in one police blotter.

So let me know what you think, and maybe I'll offer up more of this stuff.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Free Contest! My Story, "Everything's Connected," Now Free at Overmydeadbody.com


Photo: The icon of Overmydeadbody.com.

Hello, readers from overmydeadbody.com--or: Hello, my loyal blog readers!

Another story purchased and published!

If you haven't already read it, please, for free, read my newest story, "Everything's Connected" at Overmydeadbody.com.  (Story's description below.)  Just click the address above.  (Firefox is having trouble with it, so please use another.  I'm using Google Chrome.)  You don't even have to download it--it just appears on the screen.  Thanks!  And I'm holding a free contest about it--so if you've already read the story, please see the bottom of this post.

If you haven't, just click this link or the one above and click on the story.  And enjoy.  The story is very short.

What it's about (feel free to skip this if you've already read it):

"Everything's Connected," is about a detective who catches a cheating spouse in the act (sort of), solves a kid's disappearance, and proves a little theoretical quantum physics--all in just a few minutes!

Reading it won't take more than a few minutes, and I'd be greatly appreciative of any comments about it that you can give.  For example, you could consider:

--Do you believe that "Everything's Connected" like Foster does?  Or that they're not, like Colleen does?

--Do you believe that the story shows that "Everything's Connected?"  Or that it shows they're not?

--Consider: If Colleen hadn't been having problems with the virus software, would Foster have figured out where his landlady's kid was?

--Was that connection, or just plain luck?

--Overall comments about Foster, Colleen, or anyone else in the story.

--Overall comments about the story itself.

--Anything else you had in mind.  I've already had a comment conversation about Chaos Theory and String Theory (and Jurassic Park), for example.

Anyway, getting this story published is very cool because Brad Foster, the main character of this short piece, is also the main character of my soon-to-be-finished novel manuscript.  He's in a different psychological space in this story than he is in the novel--this story is supposed to take place after the novel--but he's clearly the same guy.

Colleen, his assistant, makes an appearance in both as well.  She's as feisty as usual.

And now the contest.

If you haven't already, just read the story via the links in this blog, and click the blog link at the end of the story (or just come back here) and leave a comment about what you thought of the story.  Good or bad, just be pleasant and appropriate!  Everyone who leaves a comment is entered into a contest to win a free copy of Space and Time Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction, Spring 2012, Issue #116.  This issue contains many fine stories, plus my short story "Hide the Weird."  (Here's a link so you can see what it looks like.)  A description of "Hide the Weird":

A young man has the ability to see short-term into the future--just enough to see that the woman he loves is about to die in a horrible fire.  How does he save her, without letting her know that he has this curse / ability?

A number / comment will be drawn at random.  I'll contact that person (or create a blog entry announcing the winner, so check back to this blog on September 1st, especially if you didn't leave any contact info.), who needs to send me an email with a mailing address to send the magazine.  And that's it! The contest ends August 31st at midnight, EST. 

Foreign entries are welcome!  No previous winners allowed--but please comment anyway!  :-)

And please let me know if I can read a short story for you, or comment for you, or enter a contest--or all 3!

So please and thank you.  As always, readers, I appreciate you reading my stuff.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Visit to Lizzie Borden's House



Photo: Lizzie Borden's house--the murder house, not Maplecroft, where she later moved--at 92 Second Street, Fall River, MA as it looked in 1892.  From Lizzie Borden's Wikipedia page.
 



Photo: Lizzie Borden's actual books, in the Lizzie Borden house.  The 9th one from the left--the thick blue one, is titled When Ghost Meets Ghost.  This photo, and all the following photos, were taken by me in the Lizzie Borden house.  Please note: Out of respect for the proprietors of the Lizzie Borden House, I do not show any of the meatier (reads: gruesome, but better to draw in blog readers) pics that are available there (and on my phone's camera).  The address is 92 Second Street (GPS address is 230 Second Street) in Fall River, MA.  It's open from 11-3, seven days a week.  You can reserve a day and time as well.  Go to the official website: https://lizzie-borden.com/.  They have a cool thing going on over there, and I don't want to rain on their parade, so you'll have to take the tour (just $15 per person for 50 minutes) to see the pics I speak of here, and in the blog below.  Many of the pics you'll see in this entry are ones I took at the Borden House, but are also popular pics of this case, and are commonly found online.


Recently (on Lizzie's birthday, July 19th, as it turned out; 1 in 365 chance there) I went to Lizzie Borden's house, just half an hour away from my own house, just to have a look-see.  I'm planning to write a novel (one of many planned; if I had world enough, and time) about the murder and trial, told from the POV of the maid, who moved away from the house on that fateful day, and died in Montana.

The house is now a bed and breakfast, and it gives tours through the day.  The tour guide (who seemed honestly surprised that our tour took about an hour) through the house was the daughter of the guy who now owns the place.  She did a great job, and clearly likes what she's doing.  How many high school seniors can say that they work at a (possibly) real haunted house (though for the record I didn't get any creepy vibes), and that they talk to people about a famous murder that, at the time, was called "The Crime of the Century" over 100 years before O.J.?  Well, she can.  (And she said a ghost pulled her earlobe there when she was a kid, and that other guests report strange things, including Abby Borden's ghost saying nice, motherly things).  She was very knowledgeable about her subject matter (though she may have fudged a little about the maid's infamous last words--that weren't; I'll explain later, at the end of this blog entry), very friendly and energetic, and very interested in Fall River in general.  She has a career as an actress or guide, but she said she was going to college to be a biologist.

I highly recommend the tour.  You can just show up like I did, and (because they were running late) go right on the tour without any waiting.  It's only $15 a person, and you can take all the pics and all the notes you want.  No film, though, I think.  But you can ask.  The address is 92 Second Street (GPS address is 230 Second Street) in Fall River, MA.  It's open from 11-3, seven days a week.  You can reserve a day and time as well.  Go to the official website: https://lizzie-borden.com/.  They have a nifty catchphrase on the page: "Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum: Where Everyone Is Treated Like Family."  Well, I hope not!

Anyway, it's a well-maintained place with some of the real house stuff, though most of the things in there now were time-accurate pieces bought at auctions, etc.  (But the couch Mr. Borden was murdered on, the one you see in all the online pics, is the exact one that is still in the house.  If you look at the pics [too gruesome to put here], you'll see why--Who could get all that stuff out in 1892?)  I think the step-mother's bed is the same, but I could be wrong.  Unfortunately, the real things fell into neglect, as Lizzie was jailed for a long time after the murder, and the sister and maid moved away, and everything just kind of went to hell.  After the acquittal, they took whatever they wanted with them (Lizzie went to Maplecroft, up the street, which actually looks creepier than the Lizzie Borden house does today) and the rest went into storage.  What happened to all that 1892 stuff after that is anybody's guess.

The Lizzie Borden House was bought by people, and then again, and again...the current owner has really spiffed the place up for his business (the place and tour aren't as business-y as the website is), and the house itself is really well-cared for.  The tour guide was very honest about the things in the house--but as a writer, I really just needed to see the house, to stage what happened in there in my mind.  For example, how else would I have known that there aren't any hallways in the place at all?  One door opens into a room, and then another does the same, and so on.  No hallways with rooms off of them; no privacy at all, one would think.  And, as the informative and energetic guide pointed out, if you compare some of Lizzie's testimony with the layout of the house, you can see that she was lying.  For example, she said that she was in the dining room, ironing, and didn't hear the step-mother or her father being murdered.  But if you stand in the room she said she'd been in, you could see this would not be possible.  It's amazing how close everything is in the house.

So, if you're in the area, go see the Lizzie Borden House.  I also went to see Maplecroft, where she moved later.  (Just a few minutes away, the house is nothing to be named.  Only Newport mansions were named back then, and this place is a far cry from that, and even more so today.  As I said, it looks like it would be more haunted than the murder house does.  It's possible that she was putting on airs.)  I also went to see the cemetery where all of the Bordens are buried; that's just up the street in a huge cemetery on the peninsula.  The cemetery's main road has small white arrows pointing to the exact spot the Bordens are interred so that nobody gets lost and / or defaces any other gravestones--like people have at poor Mercy Brown's grave.

Blogs will follow about the murder house, Maplecroft, Fall River, and the cemetery.  Until then, a few pics:


This is a picture of the Borden house and surrounding homes as they would've been in 1892.  Today, only the Borden house is left.  It's a busy street now--as it was then--but there are newer homes, businesses, apartment houses, a cathedral.  I know it's 122 years later, but it's still shocking how much things change.

This is the room where Andrew Borden was killed.  The actual couch he was killed on is to the left in this pic.  Here it is, closer up:


And here's the bed beside which Abby Borden was killed.  The famous picture of her kneeling beside the bed was taken after her body had been moved for the picture.  Initially, she'd been trying to get under the bed, her arms were outstretched, and her skirt had ridden up.  The first doctor on the scene moved her body to a more "lady-like" position.


There are some very gruesome pics indeed I could have shown here, but out of respect for the proprietors of the Borden House, not to mention of the dead, I won't do so here.  You'll have to go to the Borden House (again, which I highly recommend) to see them; or, if you're interested in this stuff, you've probably already seen the more hideous and infamous pics online.  The one above is a popular pic.  But at the House you can see a pic of what Abby's head--and the huge thick puddle of blood--looked like.  The House has a picture of a camera taking a picture from the other side of the bed, facing the mirror / dresser you can see in this photo, to the upper left.  Reflected in the mirror is an 1892 camera taking the picture--and it is very bloody and gory.  If you're into this kind of thing, you've probably seen the online pic of Andrew Borden's devastated face and skull, as he'd lay on that aforementioned couch, his head on his folded coat, which he used as a pillow.  Very creepy, because it's taken from a short distance, and there are shadows, yet you can still see the damage.  There's another one at the Lizzie Borden House that I hadn't seen: the autopsy shot of him lying on an 1892 gurney at the Borden home, just hours after he died.  (A second autopsy was done later, after his funeral, at the Oak Grove Cemetery where he, his wives and his daughters are now buried.)  This is one of the most gruesome I've ever seen, which is saying something.  Creepiest thing is that, although the face is almost completely obliterated, you can see hair and ears that look perfectly normal.

To give you a sanitized feel for it all, here are their fake--but historically accurate--skulls.  His on the left, hers on the right.  (Their real skulls were infamously separated from their bodies and used as visual aids at the trial--and then put back with their bodies, in the wrong places!)  Notice the damage done on his skull on the side, as that would be the side facing up while he was asleep on the couch, facing out.  Her damage was done on the back and right side, as she'd been facing away at the time of the first blows, and Lizzie was right-handed.  Supposedly Abby then turned to the side, either in stunned surprise, or because she was folding something on the bed, and that's why much of the damage is there as well.






Well, that's it for now.  More of this morbid stuff to come, including paragraphs and pics of Lizzie's murder house and her later abode, at Maplecroft, as well as of the people involved and of their final resting place.

Oh, yeah, the maid.  So it's in the 1940s now, and Bridget Sullivan, the maid, lives in Montana.  As the story goes, she gets really sick with pneumonia and thinks she's dying.  She sends word to a friend to come see her before she dies because she has something very important to say.  (Why she couldn't just call this person is a mystery, since by the 40s phones were commonplace.)  Anyway, this friend travels to Montana, but by the time the friend gets there, Bridget has recovered and doesn't say anything about the murder.  Then she dies four or five years later, never having said anything about what she was going to say when she was sick.

This is, by the way, where my planned novel starts.  Flashbacks, then it bookends with her getting better--and then dying, never having said whatever it was she thought it had been really important to say.

Or...did she say something after all?