Apocalyptic Visions

While in Tucson recently, I stopped off at a comic shop to see what’s new. As I browsed the shelves, my eyes fell on the title Scooby Apocalypse. The premise is that the familiar gang of Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred are on the scene as nanites are released, transforming humanity in monsters and unleashing worldwide catastrophe. apocalypse comics I browsed through the first issue and saw lovely artwork and soon realized they had created a science fictional reason for Scooby to be able to talk.

Before I go too much further, I should explain that I grew up in the early 70s, watching Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and a host of other Hanna-Barbara cartoons when they first ran. In fact, you might say Scooby was my first introduction to horror. Even if they did pull off rubber masks and reveal that the villain was always a crook in a suit, the ghost in Vásquez castle and the Spooky Space Kook both freaked me out as a kid. The influence Scooby has had on me was evident when Fred Cleaver at The Denver Post said the characters in Vampires of the Scarlet Order reminded him of the Scooby Gang. In fact, while working on The Astronomer’s Crypt, the copy editor noted that the protagonist, Mike Teter, had a “Velma moment” and I had to laugh.

Also, I’ll note that as a writer, and especially a horror writer, apocalyptic fiction has a certain appeal. After all, one of the things writers want to do is maximize the emotions felt by the characters in their stories. Putting characters into an apocalyptic scenario allows us to see what these characters do in the very worst possible situations. In that sense, The Astronomer’s Crypt is very much an apocalyptic novel, because I trapped people in a confined space with minimal resources and threw real-world villains, ghosts, and true apocalypse-bringing monsters at them. This kind of scenario clearly has a strong appeal with writers and readers as evidenced by such books as Stephen King’s The Stand, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, and Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

So, when I saw old favorites like the Scooby gang thrown into an apocalyptic scenario, I had to check it out. I’m happy to say the first two issues of Scooby Apocalypse were pretty good. They reminded me of one of my favorite Scooby-Doo movies after the original: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. In fact, Daphne and Fred work for television, just as they did in Zombie Island. Like the movie, Apocalypse imagines that the gang are now grown-ups. However, in this case, the series is something of a reboot and in this world the gang meets for the first time as adults.

I was eagerly awaiting issue 3, but discovered that my local comic shop in Las Cruces sold out before I got there! I have a copy on order, but while waiting, I made a second interesting discovery. It turns out DC Comics has another Hanna-Barbara story imagined in an apocalyptic reality. This time, they took the silly cartoon Wacky Races— inspired no doubt by such slapstick comedies as 1965’s The Great Race—and imagined it in a Mad Max-like post atomic horror.

For those who don’t remember Wacky Races, it imagines colorful characters like the beautiful Penelope Pitstop, the villainous Dick Dastardly and his dog Mutley, the handsome Peter Perfect, and the inventive Professor Pat Pending racing in different venues around the world. Among the characters racing are a beaver, a bear, and a pair of cavemen. In the new comic, Wacky Raceland, all the same racers are there but now in a world with such creatures as “sandtipedes” and such hazards as nanite storms. Imagining the silly cartoon in a post apocalyptic world works surprisingly well and the second issue even brought an unexpected tear to my eye. I’ll likely be following this one for at least a little while.

My one concern about apocalyptic fiction is when people in the mainstream start taking it a little too seriously. Apocalyptic scenarios are fun to throw at fictional characters. They’re important for writers to posit as cautions to society. Apocalypse 13 However, I grow wary when politicians start telling me apocalypse will result when I vote the other guy. These scenarios are rarely that simple. If an apocalyptic scenario is imminent, I don’t believe that fixing it is as simple as voting for one person over another. I want to know how you’re going to inspire us to work together to move the world away from the apocalypse envisioned.

For those who want to see my story of a strong leader leading people through apocalypse, check out “A Garden Resurrected” in Apocalypse 13 published by Padwolf Publishing.

The Apocalypse is Nigh

As the end of 2012 draws nigh, there is much talk of the so-called Mayan Apocalypse. In fact, December 21, 2012 marks the conclusion of the thirteenth B’ak’tun cycle of the Mayan Calendar and there is every indication there will be a fourteenth. If you would care to read my tongue-in-cheek predictions for the end of the year, you should check out my story “Perry and the Apocalypse” that I wrote for the Bubonicon program guide.

Still, any time questions of the end of the world come up, it’s natural for us humans to ask how we would fare. To that end, Padwolf Publishing has compiled the anthology Apocalypse 13.

When faced with the end of the world, who do humans turn to? Perhaps they look to gods and goddesses, wizards and warlocks, the fey, heroes, assassins, or even beings from outer space. This anthology presents thirteen stories that dare to imagine the final battles to prevent annihilation and save us all.

My story from the anthology is called “A Garden Resurrected” and imagines that a comet has been spotted heading toward Earth. The story is set in a remote German village making plans to survive the catastrophe. Their eyes turn toward the castle on the hillside and the vampire who once lived there. They believe that such a strong creature can help them survive the dark times on the horizon.

The story was inspired by my love of the Universal Horror films of the 1930s. Many of those movies are set in a little European village existing out of time. This village is a little like that, but I think you’ll find some interesting surprises and even a hint of a steampunk twist at the end.

In addition to my story, there are great stories by such folks as Keith DeCandido, Patrick Thomas, John French, Edward J. McFadden III, Hildy Silverman and Samantha Mills.

Apocalypse 13 is now available for preorder from Padwolf Publishing at: http://www.padwolf.com/store.htm. Hope you’ll drop by and take a look!

Good Food, Haunted Hotel, and the Apocalypse

The Scarlet Order Vampires have an amazing set of abilities. They can hear better than humans, they can see further, they are stronger. What’s more, they’re virtually immortal. However, these gifts come with a price. The vampires must feed on blood in order to survive, sunshine will kill them, and they cannot eat solid food. I admit, that last part would be very difficult for me.

Fortunately, I am not one of the Scarlet Order Vampires, and I’m guessing most of you aren’t either. If you’re like me and enjoy the pleasure of a good meal, you need to check out Passionate Cooks a new ebook that will be released in October by All Romance eBooks and is available for pre-order now. Oh, did I mention it’s absolutely free?

Food and love have had a long association. For Passionate Cooks: Free Recipes From Today‚Äôs Hottest Romance Authors, over 150 authors of the genre have put their pens and computers aside to don aprons, get down and dirty in the kitchen, and share their love of food. Among the recipes included is mine for Spicy Yet Comforting Chilaquiles, a recipe that would be certain to frustrate the likes of the vampires Daniel, Mercy, and Jane. But, it won’t frustrate you because the recipes are good, in some cases sensual, and the book is free. So, what are you waiting for, click the banner above or the “Download Free” button on the right and pick up your copy of Passionate Cooks today.

Also, if you would like to explore the websites of the Passionate Cooks, you may click the webring icon on the right. That will take you to the next cook in line. If you download Passionate Cooks be sure to let me know your favorite recipe!

Another thing I want to be sure to let my Arizona and New Mexico friends know about is that I will be signing books at the historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona on October 13 as part of the Centennial Authors and Artists Weekend. Not only will I be there, but so will Gini Koch and Jeff Mariotte. If you are in Douglas that weekend, or can get there, be sure to drop by, it will be sure to be a fantastic time.

This will be my first visit to the Gadsden Hotel, but I’m looking forward to it. It was designed by architect Henry Trost, who built many wonderful buildings around Las Cruces, El Paso, and Tucson. What’s more, it’s said that the hotel is haunted by numerous ghosts. One of those is supposedly Pancho Villa! Do you think any of the Scarlet Order vampires wander the halls?

Finally, I’m excited to announce that my story “A Garden Resurrected” has been accepted for the Apocalypse 13 anthology to be published by Padwolf Publishing. What’s your survival plan when an asteroid is about to wipe out the Earth’s surface? In this story, a small German village plans to resurrect the local vampire. I don’t dare tell you any more, except perhaps that the vampire is not the garden of the tale!