|I attended the World Horror Convention and the HWA Stoker Awards. The
highlight of the weekend was when THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW received the
Stoker (Stroker as Dick had quipped in the past) Award in the BEST NOVEL
category. I am glad that Dick won for TVS, it was high time he won an
award, though I think BAD NEWS should have won also in the Anthology
Kelly accepted the award in Dick's stead. Kelly went up to the podium, accepted the award, and read a speech that Dick had written. I, for one, was wondering what kind of speech she was going to give. Imagine everyone's surprise when the speech she read was the one Dick had originally written just in case A WRITER'S TALE won the NON-FICTION category in 1999! It was a 'diddy' (poem) devoid of 'violence and titty' (those are exact quotes) specific to A WRITER'S TALE, but engaging nonetheless. I could almost hear his voice as Kelly read the words. After she finished, the room erupted into a standing ovation.
Right before she dashed off the stage, she held the award up and proclaimed, "The Dick is pleased!"
As for FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE BEAST HOUSE, during Jack Ketchum's tribute, he stated that he was sorry there would never be a sequel to THE MIDNIGHT TOUR. When Kelly went on stage to accept the award, she corrected him stating that FNITBH should be out in August or late August from CD.
|Stoker award acceptance speech in case A WRITER'S TALE should win:
I hope to entertain you
With my little "thank you" ditty
Without gratuitous displays
Of violence or titty.
Thanks to Ann, my darling wife
And Kelly, my bambino --
John Scoleri, Bob More-ish,
And Peter Enfantino.
Thanks, indeed, to Tanner, Bob,
My agent without peer
Who sold my books to Headline
And gave me a career.
Thanks to Michael Bailey,
Chizmar, D'Auria and more...
I'd like to thank a thousand folks
But hate to be a bore...
Kudos, though, to Warner Books
For giving me a start
By publishing THE CELLAR
Then ripping out my heart.
My hat is also off to Tor,
Onyx and St. Martin's Press.
They bought my books...a few, at least...
And published 'em -- more or less.
Here's to ALL the agents
And editors I've known --
Those who've helped my dreams come true
And those who've truly blown --
For they're the ones who gave me
In fabulous detail,
The curious adventure
That I call A WRITER'S TALE.
Before I go, I have to say
My thanks to every joker
Who cast a ballot for my book
So I could win a Stoker.
-- Richard Laymon
|Among the Missing is a great book. It was the first book that I have
read since my senior year in high school.
The book was odd to me since I did not want to put it down. Richard Laymon's book, Among the Missing kept me interested and I was so into it that I would not realize I was reading for a couple of hours or so.
Among the Missing is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who likes to read action and suspense books. - Matt Y.
|Among the Missing contains a very creative, plot-twisting story line
that makes you unable to put the book down. Richard Laymon is, hands-down,
one of the most creative authors that I have ever read.
...I would like to discuss the wonderful detective work in this book. No, the detectives were not right in their suspected lead, but in real life, most detectives never are. It is never as easy in real life, as it is on TV, to catch the bad guys. It usually takes time, patience, and, sometimes a good gut feeling. The Crime Scene investigation was very well written about, and you could almost feel as if the writer were a real police officer.
Laymon kept you on the edge of your seat. That's excellent writing. - Andrea P.
The writing style was another turn on of this book.
Overall I think this is a wonderful novel. I have recommended it to everyone I know, and am looking forward to reading more works by Richard Laymon. - Emily S.
|Although I was very skeptical of the book at first, it turned out to
be one of the best books that I had read. The format and writing style
sharply resembled the techniques used in film writing.
Overall, the book was really good and the twists in the plot caught me every time. -Brad M.
|Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was really quick to read and very exciting and entertaining. I would strongly recommend it and look forward to reading more books by Richard Laymon in the future. -Lucas R.|
|Richard Laymon's murder mystery novel, Among the Missing is the best
book that I've ever read. Never before has a book grabbed and kept hold
of my attention so completely. The plot was engrossing enough to keep
the reader interested at all times, but it was also straightforward enough
that you didn't have to go back and read it over again. Laymon combines
all aspects into this book. It has suspense, comedy, passion, and fear.
There was not one moment in the entire four-hundred pages that I was not completely engrossed in it. This book is a testament to Richard Laymon's ability as an author. I would recommend that anyone who enjoys a good story would relish reading this novel. - Paul L.
|Among the Missing isn't too far off my usual reading list except for the fact that it is fiction. True Crime books are usually my first choice but with the action and somewhat realistic events narrated throughout this book I found myself having to continue on until I was finished. I must agree that Among the Missing is an outstanding book that keeps the reader interested right up until the explosive end. Another interesting fact about this book is that Stephen King (which is one of my favorite authors) also enjoys reading this dramatic tale and even goes as far to say that Richard Laymon is one of his favorite authors. Sadly the recent death of Richard Laymon leaves not much more to the imagination as to what else he can write. I definitely will take advantage of his style of writing that he has published up to this point. Unfortunately, I am sure this is limited especially with the recent death of an obviously structured and talented writer. After reading this book I find myself saddened at the missed opportunity for him to write any more thus me to read any new books of Richard Laymon. - Tori S.|
|Wow! I loved this book. I usually read Stephen King and Dean Koontz but I have never been so involved in a book. I was completely mesmerized by it; I could not put it down. I hope to read a lot more of his books. His descriptions were fantastic, I felt like I was there and a part of the investigation. I never saw the end coming until I got to it and I was so shocked that I still could not believe it. I cannot say enough good things about this book and this incredible author. - Alison S.|
|This book starts out by getting your attention quickly and keeping
it throughout the entire story.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed were the small chapters, which kept you reading, usually a reader will stop or plan to stop at the end of a chapter because they are long, but this book did not make me feel this way, it was perfect in that respect. I also liked the story line and the many twists and turns that kept you wanting to read to find out exactly who the killer was and why. The "Why" or reason a person committed the crime is the biggest thing left out of books and movies. Over all I enjoyed this book and would probably read something by Mr. Laymon again. - Crystal M.
|Refreshingly, this book held my interest while hitting on points that were discussed in class. I feel that Laymon showed extensive knowledge on the field of policing. Furthermore, this book helped me better understand the concepts presented during class. At times, I found the book nerve-wracking, because I was afraid something would happen to the 'good guys.' Not only did this book force my class mates and I to reexamine topics discussed in class, but also presented to us what a police officer gives up and puts on the line in order to maintain a safe community. - Nikki T.|
|This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. Not only was it suspenseful, but it had a surprise ending. Richard Laymon did a great job in writing this book and making it a suspenseful realistic novel that taught me several things about community police work. - Bryce C.|
|I enjoyed this book. The only hang up is the vulgarity of its content. Richard Laymon obviously is not writing to the Christians because they would take this rather offensive. This is not criticism because I enjoyed the book, and the book was as real as you can get but Christian readers would not be able to handle it. This is a great book which if put on the big screen would be an even better movie. - Nathan A.|
The following is my experience of the events following the Richard Laymon Memorial
Service held at Dark Delicacies on March 3rd. I know this was an emotional and
personal experience for those involved and I hope I do not upset anyone who was
present by relating my experience.
A little background, I was part of a group of writers/non-writers that included Brian Keene, Geoff Cooper, Weston Oches and many others (please do not take offense to my not listing all names). There were about eight (more including wives/girlfriends) of us mingling around the back of Dark Delicacies between the middle bookcases.
Now this is my experience:
After the service we went outside to stretch, talk and blow off some steam. Brian Keene had to take a walk, he was the most affected second only to Geoff Cooper. Not that we didn't care . . . Our talks ranged from Laymon to our own work. Then one of the guys, Feo Amante I think, opened the trunk to his car and passed out some beers and chilled coffee for Cooper and John Pelan. After that we toasted Richard.
The time now was around 11p and everyone was heading home. Most of the group I was with were actually staying with the Ann and Kelly. They were headed back to the house and invited me along with them. Ann graciously allowed me to go along.
We took the back streets driving through Burbank, meandering through Mulholland, past the Sunset strip into West L.A., close to UCLA (where Dick once worked). I was surprised to find where they lived. When I first moved to L.A. 3 years ago, we lived in West L.A. also, maybe 3-4 miles away.
At the house we unloaded the remaining food from the service and the beer we had stopped to pick up. The Laymon's have a nice cozy house. After passing through the living room there was a glass-top table with boxes, papers and mail strewn about. Four boxes were stacked on the table. Can you guess what they were? They were four manuscript boxes with notes written on the side flaps. I believe these were the four manuscripts tagged by Dean Koontz as being possbily publishable.
I only remember one of the titles, A TIME TO KILL, with the date 1969 on it. The other boxes had title names and either 'unpublished' or 'unpublished with notes' on the side. On top of the boxes were about 30 manuscript pages of THE QUEEN OF THE SUNSET PALACE. I flipped through some pages but did't read anything. Mike Oliveri told me he had read the pages already. Thinking about it now, I should have read some also.
Behind the table was a hallway leading to the bedrooms. One wall was dedicated to various pictures of Kelly from birth on up.
After things were put stowed in the kitchen, Weston Oches got out a bottle of tequila and started pouring shots. Everyone took their shot glass and went into the living room were Weston held a plate containing one empty shot glass, that was for Dick. Everyone then poured a bit of their tequila into the shot glass. Another toast was made and everyone drank. As far as I know, Dick's shot glass was never emptied, though one of the guys suggested that Dick's glass should be poured onto the carpet in memory of him.
After a moment of silence, Brian Keene took me, and some others, up to Dick's office. The office was above their garage and fully operational with bathroom and heat/AC. His office is big. Two walls are lined with plain bookshelves. The other two are lined with bookshelf/storage units. The regular 2 shelves hold books he read or collected. I saw several Koontz books: older editions, psuedonym copies, etc. One shelf/storage units held all his books. I saw about 10 copies of BAD NEWS, paperback/hardback copies of American/UK editions, some of his older juvenile or romance books. He must of had over 20 copies of the UK HB of Island. Some we standing 2 deep in the shelves while some were still in their shrinkwrap from the publisher.
On the other wall, cut short for his work area in the corner, was another shelf/storage unit that held various personal records, his books and limited editions from authors like Koontz, Gorman, Lansdale, etc. For those who have a copy of the CD edition of THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW, and maybe the Leisure edition, can get a glimpse of one of his bookshelves in the background.
In the corner was his work area. On the big desk sat his new computer. To the right hung the framed cover art to COME OUT TONIGHT. I was told that there was a sheet of paper of his upcoming publishing schedule, but I didn't look at it. The wall behind the desk (his back facing the wall), had some framed pieces of his older short stories. There was the first page art and text from his short story "The Grab" that was in Cavalier I think. There also hung a picture that contained the ad for DARK OF THE WOODS that Dick took out in some magazine to advertise the book (I think the book was DARK OF THE WOODS). Under those pictures was a small table/desk loaded with floppies. One of the floppies I saw was marked somthing like "Traveling Vampire disk 4".
In one of the shelves were other manuscript boxes that seemd to contain manuscript boxes of unpublised pieces. I don't know anything else about those.
After looking around and staring in awe at the units holding his books (we frequently commented on how it was a dream of ours to one day have a wall devoted to our stuff) we all sat down and just hung out. Most of the talk was business: writing, publishing, publishers who were screwing people, upcoming titles from publishers. Then the talk drifted to Marvel comics, horror movies, Godzilla movies, Japanese Anime, computer games. At one point Keene commented that Dick would have enjoyed our bull session.
After a while of talking we went back down. At this point is was about 1:30am. We got some food then went to sit in the living room where Ann was talking with some of the wives/girl friends that had come along. I sat for about 30 minutes then had to leave. It was 2am already and everyone else was still going pretty strong though you could tell Ann was tired. I think Kelly had gone to sleep by now.
I thanked Ann for letting me come along and offered my condolences again. We shared our third hug then I was off.
I know I glossed over a lot of things like who actually was there and other items, but I hope you got an idea of what I saw. Ann and Kelly were very generous with everyone there.
|On February 14, Laymon died of a massive heart attach, aged 54. His death carried a particular poignancy because of late, after several years during which he couldn't find an American publisher even as his books climbed bestseller lists in England and Australia, he was enjoying a comeback here, with his current and backlist work being issued by Cemetery Dance and Leisure Books. Some of Laymon's problems with American publishers arose from the downturn in the horror market in the '90s; more came from what many considered excess sexual violence in his books.
The poignancy of his death shades into irony because his posthumous publication (there are more to come)...features less of the sexual violence...[and] also highlights his tremendous strengths as a writer. This is at once one of the eeriest, and one of the most immediate, horror novels of recent decades...
....Above all, this novel, like so many of his others, is just good old nasty fun to read; it's a traipse through unknown territory, with jack-in-the-boxes of all sorts lurking just behind the next shadow or page.
With Laymon's death, horror has lost one of its rarest talents. Horror fans know this, but, sadly, few others do. That horror remains literature's shunned child needs no further demonstration than that most major media (eg: The New York Times) ignored the death of Laymon, who was, in addition to the author of more than 30 novels, some of them bestsellers, the President of the Horror Writers Association of America. RIP.
G. B. Michaels
Inside it’s an altogether different creature. Ghoulish trinkets, dark jewelry, posters and paintings, and, of course, books. Oh so many books. It wouldn’t be hard to get lost in your dreams there. But that’s not why we gathered.
We came to say goodbye. Or perhaps to let him know that we remember— And we won’t forget.
By 7 PM, the official start of the gathering, there weren’t many folks there. Proprietors Del and Sue Howison were on hand, along with two vanloads of family and close friends. We trickled up and down the book aisles, running our fingers over the spines of so many stories. A few waited up front, by the door, looking over the three poster-board spread of pictures Kelly Laymon had prepared. The pictures told a story, in no particular order. They were a hodge-podge of memories, each one as precious as the next. Here, Dean Koontz and Richard clown around at Universal Studios. There, Richard and Brian Keene launch an assault on Feo Amante at Keene-Con 2000. Each snapshot is a memory, a frozen moment of time. Sure it sounds corny—corny until you realize that it is true. Richard with Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum. Richard with Don D’Auria. Richard with friends. Richard with family. Richard at play. Richard at work. Richard…
There was a memorial guest book to sign and snack table to visit as well.
People started to arrive and visited both.
And then more. And some more.
At the opposite end of the building rows of fold-up chairs, seating for perhaps seventy-five to eighty people, faced away from the entrance and filled nearly half of the store. The aisles between the shelved books and horror knick-knacks filled with wandering people and clustered people. Conversations broke apart to reform elsewhere with a slightly different compliment.
More people arrived. The store filled quickly.
There weren’t any stars. No heroes and no noticeably notables. Yes this is L.A., but friends of Laymon don’t play that shit. Tonight everyone stowed their artisan mantles and simply became friends of Dick Laymon. The fans showed, but there weren’t any fan shots tonight either. No autographs or shoulder-pinching pictures.
Half an hour before the memorial started the chairs began to fill. Some tired of standing, perhaps, and others were jockeying for the best seat. Before Del took center stage and ushered a semblance of order into the small store more than half of the seats were occupied.
By the time he began, they were filled, as were the aisles, the corners, and the doorway.
(From left to right) Mike Oliveri, Feo Amante, and Brian Keene
Del started with recognition as to why we were gathered. Not to commiserate or hug and cry, but to nod to what was right when Richard Laymon was with us. To consider his life, celebrate his victories, and remember his smile. Afterwards Del laid down the ground rules – we could take turns stepping up front to speak our own personal remembrances, and between each speaker he’d read a few of the notes received from fans and friends abroad who couldn’t make the trip.
Brian Keene opened the service, reading aloud “Among The Missing: Richard Laymon In Remembrance”, the memorial essay he had written for both Jobs In Hell and the HWA Newsletter. He was followed by Rain Graves and Michael Oliveri, both of whom also spoke of Laymon’s effect on the younger generation of horror writers. Long-time friend Gary Brandner spoke next, offering a touching remembrance of Richard from horror’s glory days. Other’s who offered testimonials were authors such as Geoff Cooper, Nancy Holder, Dominick Cancilla, and Weston Ochse, who read a written statement from Irish writer Eoghain O’Keeffe.
But horror writers weren’t the only ones touched by Richard Laymon, nor were they the only attendees who had something to say. Bookstore owners like Alan Beatts of Borderlands Books, web masters like Eddie “Feo Amante” McMullen of Feo Amante.Com, neighbors of the Laymon family, and fans of Richard’s work all took turns speaking what was in their hearts and on their minds.
Del Howison read remembrances from people around the world, including Joe Lansdale, Robert Devereaux, Stanley Wiater, Garrett Peck, JF Gonzalez, Edo van Belkom, Steve Gerlach, and fans from all over the globe. Perhaps the most poignant tribute of all was the one delivered by Frank De Laratta (the inspiration for “Pete” in THE STAKE), who spoke of Richard not as a fan of his books or as a fellow writer, but as “just a friend.”
Others who showed up to pay their respects were Bentley Little, Michael T.. Huyck Jr., Craig Spector, Dennis Etchison, Jeremy Lassen (Freak Press), Mary Ann Mitchell, Jason Williams (Nightshade Books), Gak, and Jonathan Torres.
Author and editor John Pelan delivered the final remembrance of the evening, in which he likened the group of writer’s and friends that Richard Laymon had inspired to a modern day Lovecraft’s Circle.
(From left to right)Mike Oliveri, Mikey Huyck, Weston Ochse,
and the back of Jonathan Torres's head.
The service was concluded with a showing of the Dark Dreamers television episode in which Stanley Wiater interviewed Richard.
The silence in the store during the viewing spoke volumes…
Then the memorial was over, and the crowd again splintered into groups. At the snack table, Bentley Little talked quietly with Weston Ochse. In the aisle, Alan Beatts talked with Jason Williams and in the corner; Michael T. Huyck Jr. commiserated with Frank De Laratta and Ann Laymon. Several fans gathered in the Laymon section and discussed favorite titles. Outside, about two dozen writers and fans participated in an impromptu curbside toast, led by Feo Amante. Past them, John Pelan confered with Rain Graves and Gak. On a nearby street corner, Brian Keene stared off into the sky above L.A., while Geoff Cooper disappeared down an alley.
I watched them all, these writers and readers, fans and friends. They stood apart and in constantly shifting groups. But one thing was evident. Something tied them all together as one.
And that is the one thing they each took home with them.
Or was it?
The lovely green gardens and clear blue waters were still, deathly silent. And one look skywards would be greeted with thousands of tiny beady eyes.
Yep, you read right. Beady eyes.
Melbourne is suffering from a plague of fruit bats. Thousands of the furry little guys were perched, hanging upside down, in the trees above.
I think Dick would have chuckled at the scene. Somehow it was just the kind of unnerving landscape that could have featured in a Laymon novel...
Were the bats about to attack? Or were they waiting for some kind of sign? We'll never know...
The Melbourne Laymon Memorial Event began at 4pm on Saturday, March 3. There was initially some confusion as to the meeting place, as there are actually *two* cafes in the Botanical Gardens, and people arrived at both. Still, like intrepid Laymonites that we are, a small party was sent into the woods to find the others and, unlike a Laymon novel, they all came back safely.
Once the two groups were united, almost two hours was spent under the tall trees in the gardens. We talked everything Laymon: from fond memories of our favourite Laymon novels, to the IN THE DARK movie; from favourite characters to best scenes; from what Dick meant to us to how we would survive without him. The two hours passed quickly.
Packing up our gear, we headed to McKillop Street in Melbourne, where the Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour (http://www.haunted.com.au) was to begin at The Haunted Bookshop. Deciding we didn't have much time to eat before the tour, we brought a little American flavour to the event by stopping at McDonalds for a quick bite.
Then, at 8pm we headed inside The Haunted Bookshop to meet our tour guide, Drew Sinton. Dressed like someone from a Laymon novel, with a long flowing coat and wide brimmed hat, he welcomed us to his bookstore and told us to take a moment to look around. Everything occult could be found in the store. From The Antichrist Bible to Spells and Ouija boards, the darkly-lit bookstore (with seance room out the back) set the tone for the night to come.
And soon we were back out the door and away on the tour. For "the world's most livable city", Melbourne had suddenly gone very quiet. In fact, for a Saturday night (and the night of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix - held no more than two kilometers away) there was hardly any sound at all. This did not surprise our guide, Drew, who informed us that the centre of Melbourne is built on cemeteries and is "the only cemetery in the world lit up at night."
The bats flew overhead as we walked down the backstreets of Melbourne. An eerie silence fell over the group as we listened to tales of mass murder, suicide and horrific accidents. To take you all step-by-step through the tour would ruin it for those who may one day walk that same route so, needless to say, we got our money's worth.
But some of the highlights included walking by the scene of the 1987 Queen Street massacre - an office building that's now an international hotel. Pity the international guests in certain rooms... We toured through back alleys and past Australia's first AIDS quarantine building. We came to building after building whose street numbers added up to 13. Even two bouncers outside two different haunted pubs wore security tags numbered 13.
Maybe someone was trying to tell us something...
But for pure Laymon-like chills and thrills, you couldn't go past the old Cobb & Co building.
It has now been converted into a carpark but, naturally, it holds a grim secret. Can you see a ghost on the first floor platform? In the middle of the night, and in the silence, we were invited to roam around the big empty building one by one. To walk out the back, completely cut off from the rest of the group, to find out what "vibes we could pick up". Naturally, we were then told of the horrific axe murder that took place there early last century. In cold, calm tones, Drew related how the murder took place and used his flashlight to trace the route the ghost takes when it is seen; usually on cold, windy winter's nights.
These horrid events have left the building with the legacy of a ghost that from time to time has enjoyed scaring the wits (and a lot more) out of people! Even the carpark attendants and security guards won't stay there! For an open building in the middle of Australia's second biggest city, it was eerily deserted, cold and dank.
Did we see anything? Naaaaah.
Were we freaked out?? Oh Yeah!
I'm sure I could hear Dick chuckling through it all.
On the last leg of the two-and-a-half-hour tour, and with the bats still arcing overhead, we arrived at Queen Victoria Market. The "Queen Vic" is Melbourne biggest and most famous market and, you guessed it, built on the site of a cemetery. We stood in the catholic section while forklifts spun around us, preparing the merchandise for Sunday's market.
In the end, the night was a raging success. As we all split up to go our separate ways (most to head off back to certain areas of the tour to find what they could "dig up" themselves) we left united as a group of like-minded individuals.
A group brought together by one man: Richard Laymon.
And that's one of the things I have heard and read repeatedly since Dick's passing, in email after email and phone call after phone call, is how proud every Laymon reader is to have known Dick, either personally, or through his writing. And how wonderful it is they have met like-minded people - other Laymonites - who are now friends, because of him.
As one Laymonite said at the end of the night, "What do I do now that my hero is gone?"
It's a question we had all thought. And sadly, we had no answer.
But Dick will live on in his books and in the hearts of his readers worldwide. And those very same readers will introduce new readers to Dick's works. And that way, we all help keep Dick's memory alive.
And as the bats flew over our heads as we made our way back to the car, I couldn't help looking up past their fluttering wings and smiling at the half-moon.
I knew it then: Dick would have enjoyed the tour. He would have got a real kick out of it.
And I had no doubt in my mind that, wherever he is now, he is looking down on us and enjoying every minute.
The Dick *IS* pleased.
|I've just gotten back from Los Angeles where I have been since yesterday helping Ann and Kelly Laymon with arrangements. I know that, at a time like this, one wonders how the family are holding up and if there is anything that can be done to help.
As those who know them might expect, Ann and Kelly are doing fine. They have a good support network in the form of their friends and family members. Though this has been a terrible shock to them, they are optimistic and deeply touched by the outpouring of sympathy that the community has expressed. To answer the question that one wants to ask but can't - Their financial situation is perfectly fine. Furthermore, yes, they are eating (smile).
Without endlessly repeating information that appeared elsewhere - Dick died at around 9:30 am on the 14th. He died at home and was attended by his wife, Ann. The cause of death was heart failure and it was very sudden. He didn't suffer. He was 54 years old. His body will be cremated and there will be no public interment service. However, there will be a public memorial service held in Los Angeles on the 3rd of March. The memorial service will take place at Dark Delicacies (4213 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank CA 94505 phone (818) 556-6660) at 8:00 PM.
It is unfortunate that the formal announcement of Dick's death was preceded by rumors. It was unavoidable and not the intention of the family.
He will be sorely missed.
|Thank you very much for the birthday wishes, and thanks to the many terrific
people who sent birthday wishes to me through RLK!. It's really amazing and
gratifying that so many people would take the time to do such a thing.
I was actually somewhere in New Mexico on my birthday. Ann and I took off in our Jeep Cherokee (1990) on January 3 and drove to Fort Mohave, Arizona, where we hooked up with Frank and Kathy DeLarratta. Most RLK regulars will be familiar with Frank and Kathy because we've gone on numerous trips with them (seven? so far), and THE STAKE was inspired by a visit with them to some ghost towns. (THE STAKE is also dedicated to them.) Last year, we went with them through Nevada, visiting Rachel and checking out the Area 51 region.
Our trips with them always seem to focus on UFOs, government conspiracies, A-bombs, ghosts and cowboys. This year, we saw a lot of Billy the Kid sites, including the Lincoln County Courthouse (where he killed two people in an escape) and his grave. We also went to Columbus, NM, which Poncho Villa invaded with an army of 1,000, burning buildings and killing 8 townfolks in 1916. Also, we went to Los Alamos where the Manhattan Project developed the A-bombs that brought about the Japanese surrender in 1945. And Alamagordo and White Sands, where a lot of military testing goes on.
Among the highlights, however, was our visit to Roswell, New Mexico. That's where a UFO (or more) supposedly crashed in 1947. We visited the UFO museum. And also got to meet Glen Dennis, who was an undertaker in Roswell at the time of the UFO incident. We got to meet him, talk to him and get his autograph. He was phoned by someone from the air base and told that they needed as many child-sized coffins as he could get his hands on. He also went out to the base and met a nurse who supposedly actually saw alien bodies. She subsequently disappeared. Anyway, it was pretty exciting to meet someone who was actually involved in the incident. His name is probably familiar to those of you who have studied the Roswell incident. Apparently, he was even portrayed in the ROSWELL movie with Kyle McLaughlin. (Please forgive my spelling.)
While at the UFO museum, we got our hands on a map to the "crash site." So the next day, we all piled into Frank's Blazer and drove out there. It's a good thing he had four-wheel drive. The last part of the trip was over a very rugged dirt road through a heavily wooded mountainous area. The map was a little vague and there were absolutely no signs or markers to indicate where the crash site was located. (When the government covers something up, they don't post signs. And apparently markers that are put there by UFO buffs get quickly removed.)
Anyway, darkness was fast approaching by the time we reached the vicinity of the crash site. It was supposed to be 50-100 yards north of a certain camping area. Only problem, there were TWO campsites and we weren't sure which one it was. So we explored the areas north of both campsites. Nobody else was up there. It was very desolate (and cold) and darkness was coming down. But we wandered around, taking photos and video tape. We think, between the two areas, that we saw the crash site but we'll have to look at our tapes and photos to try to confirm it. Pretty creepy up there. I'm sort of a worrier, and was worried we wouldn't be able to find our way back to the car. But we did . . . and drove out of the area after dark.
We covered about 3,000 miles during the trip, and didn't get back until the night of January 18. That was just a couple of days before the start of the HWA art contest to come up with a new logo. And I came back to find myself overwhelmed with email and other sort of work.
But I couldn't work on my novel. My old printer had gone down a few weeks before Christmas. I'd bought a new printer, but it wouldn't work because my computer was too old. So, after getting back from the trip, I went out and bought a new computer using cash that Ann had collected over the past year or so by selling copies of my books to fans. I hooked up the new computer . . . but the printer STILL wouldn't run. So I went out and bought some new software: Microsoft Works with Word. In the past, I've always written on Wordperfect, but everyone has been saying I need to start writing on Word. So I bought the Word and installed it.
The printer STILL wouldn't work. I imagined myself hurling my computers and printers out the second-story window of my office. I threatened twice to run out and buy a typewriter. But then I phoned my friend, Jerry Lentz. The next day, he came over to the house. After two hours (including a long phone call to the technical service people at the printer company) he was able to get the whole thing working.
So I'm back in business. I'm now in the process of transferring 200 pages of my next novel, THE QUEEN OF THE SUNSET PALACE, into the new computer, changing it into Word (which means removing every page number by hand), and printing it up. After it's printed, I'll be able to reread it and return to writing . . . I hope.
By the way, this might be a good time to mention that Alan Clark (the artist) and I are working on a children's book. I've already finished writing it. It's called, THE HALLOWEEN MOUSE. We're hoping it'll be published by Cemetery Dance. I put my pooh-reading, and so on, to good use . . . I hope.
I'm also in the process of reading and correcting the proof pages for the Headline edition of NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER. That novel will be coming out in March (I think) from Headline and (in the US) from Cemetery Dance.
The HWA logo contest ended last night. The top three vote-getters (by John Turi, Marge Simon and GAK) were all great. Any of them would've been a terrifc choice, but the winner (featuring a mountain-top castle) by John Turi is really wonderful. It's bright and gorgeous.
Thanks again to everyone for the birthday greetings. And thanks to you, Steve and Addie, for another year of Richard Laymon Kills!. I hope everyone has a really good 2001. And that we'll see some of you in Seattle in May!
|Established names dominated the best science fiction of 2000. ...In horror, though, which continues to
undergo a renaissance due in large measure to the publisher Cemetery Dance,
the "big" names--King, Straub, Barker--were notably absent from PW's starred
reviews while less-known but innovative, even influential, authors
prevailed: John Shirley, for instance, with metaphysical horror in Demons;
Douglas Clegg with a masterpiece of emotional horror, You Come When I Call
You, and Richard Laymon with the flat-out fun horror read of the year, The
Traveling Vampire Show.
The Traveling Vampire Show
Richard Laymon (Cemetery Dance)
The career of Laymon, "once dead in the States, though not overseas, has risen anew, thanks largely to Cemetery Dance, which has issued his work.... This book, his best in years [offers] his trademark squeaky-clean yet sensual prose, high narrative drive and pitch-dark sense of humor.... A horror tale that's not only emotionally true but also scary and, above all, fun."
The full article can be found at: http://www.publishersweekly.com/starredreviews/SciFi.asp.
|From: THE NEW BRUNSWICK TELEGRAPH JOURNAL
Unlike the three-year-old set, most teenagers love a fright on Halloween. For them, Edo van Belkom brings together 15 very scary stories in BE AFRAID! These short stories are definitely not for the faint of heart. As van Belkom notes in his foreward, "horror is not about monsters -- it's about people's personal fears and emotions." And what gives these tales their edge is that they all feature teenaged characters and typical teenage concerns like physical appearance and the struggle for popularity.
Steve Rasnic Tem explores the horror of puberty in "Jake's Body," a story about a boy who sprouts red fox hair on his knees. In Robert J. Sawyer's "Last But Not Least" and Edo van Belkom's "To Be More Like Them" a boy who's always picked last for gym class and a girl with a nickname "Scary Face" wreak vengeance on their tormentors. Sixteen-year-old Kelly of Edmund Plante's "In the Middle of the Night" finds out the hard way that she's going to have to get along with her creepy stepbrother, while Ellen of Scott Nicholson's "In the Heart of November" realizes that her friendship with a dead girl's ghost is worth more than a romance with the school heart throb.
BE AFRAID! touches upon the entire spectrum of horror fiction. Although most of the stories are based, at least initially, in reality, the collection includes a couple of old-fashioned ghost stories and one gory tale about a boat that, like the car in the famous urban myth, drags behind it the severed body parts of unwanted passengers. Van Belkom, who lives in Ontario, invited several leading Canadian writers to contribute to BE AFRAID! including Monica Hughes and Tim Wynne-Jones, whose stories coincidentally deal with objects that come to possess their owners.
Without exception, these short stories are well crafted and chilling. But the one that made the hair on the back of my neck tingle was American writer Richard Laymon's "The Boy Who Loved THE TWILIGHT ZONE."
Chuck, a likeable teenaged couch potato, is looking forward to Halloween in front of the television watching an all-night marathon of THE TWILIGHT ZONE until his parents insist that he go out trick-or-treating. He hooks up with a group of little kids and their attractive older sister, and the story seems about to dissolve into a harmless adolescent romance. But then they ring the doorbell of a handsome young man, wearing black, who invites Chuck alone in to watch -- you guessed it -- THE TWILIGHT ZONE marathon.
Laymon doesn't tell us if, despite his pretty friend's desperate pleas, Chuck accepts the invitation. All he says is that Chuck finds out this night that "life outside the safety of his home can be more surprising, more gratifying and yes, more dangerous than an all-night marathon of THE TWILIGHT ZONE." It's enough.
Perhaps I will keep my daughter home this Halloween!