Tag Archives: Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole

OF MASKS AND MAKING IT HAPPEN

15 Sep

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be signing books at the wonderful Annex! Comics at 314 Broadway in Newport, Rhode Island, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 6, 2010.


Owner Wayne Quackenbush is a very interesting guy who’s made Annex! Comics into more than a shop—it’s become not only a gathering place, but a hub of pop fan art and culture in not just the world of comic books. He holds, for example, “Zombie Fridays” (check out his Facebook page for all the gory details – search on Annex Comics). He’s open to holding signings and other events. My favorite feature? He’s got an awesome selection of Japanese horror films. He also has a fantastic street-front gallery window and is always looking for artists to fill it with their work. Free gallery space on one of the most happening streets in any city is hard to find. If you’re an artist and you’d like to submit something for his consideration, you can visit Wayne’s web page at www.annexcomics.com for guidelines.

Right now, Wayne is preparing the MASSIVE GROUP WALL OF HALLOWEEN MASKS, which will run from the middle of October through the middle of November. He’s inviting anyone and everyone to send him a mask for display.

When I talked to him on the phone about the event, he said I should send him a mask for this show. I’d been tempted to do something because I’d seen his posts on Facebook, but shied away from making anything—I’m not very good with visual art. Like, AT. ALL. I’m pretty sure I even draw a crappy stick figure. But Wayne suggested that even one of those old plastic masks that used to come in the kits would be great—just anything that expressed my personality.

Well, that sounded fun. An excuse to go shopping.

What I really wanted was a Disney character mask—Alice in Wonderland, specifically, because of all the Disney characters I’d been as a child she was my favorite (and my mother hand-made all my gowns—this was in the days before they pre-fabbed costumes), but I’d take anyone pretty. Then I was going to get some small doll parts—arms, lets, maybe some heads—and glue them on there. You know, like a ‘bad memory of childhood’ type of idea.

But my local Party Stop didn’t have anything remotely close to what I was looking for—in fact, it didn’t even have those cheap mask-with-plastic bib kits; the shelves were crammed with the “realistic” costumes that way back in the 1970s my mother had to make (she’d have made a FORTUNE had she lived. She was way ahead of her time). So I decided to get creative after all. I bought a clear mask at the party store, then headed over to Michael’s to comb their aisles for anything I could mutate into creepy dolls.

In the scrapbooking aisle, I found an entire section of official Disney embellishments. The It’s a Small World set featured the familiar happy doll children—easy enough to make a little creepy by X’ing out their eyes with a Sharpie. I was also attracted to some Halloween-themed cloth flower embellishments. I figured I could use them to fill in the eyes (I mean, no one’s really going to wear this anyway, right)?

So, here is my pathetic attempt that I’ll send to Wayne later this week. I dunno, I think for somebody who has not one lick of visual artistic ability I did pretty well. When I stood back and looked at it, it had a Dia-de-los-Muertos feel to it—at least for me.


OUR FIRST PRE-ORDER!

12 Sep

Hello, folks! We got our very first pre-order today! The awesome buyer? C.L. Ross, author of the forthcoming dark paranormal thriller series The Llewellyn Legacy.

Thank you, C.L.! You’ll be getting not only your personalized, signed copy, but a set of our collector’s postcards!

THINKIN’ OUTSIDE THE SWIMMIN’ HOLE

11 Sep

Most of my favorite books–ones I’ve carried around for years, ones that have survived every purging, ones I plan on re-reading every few years into my old age–aren’t bestsellers, aren’t published by big houses, and weren’t found in big box bookstores.

They have titles like Champ: In Search of a Legend, A Geologic Survey of Herkimer County, Ghosts of Fort Ticonderoga, or The Howe Caverns Story. They’re published by tiny companies (well before what we think of small publishing companies now–I’m going all the way back to the ’80s, here, so it was a LOT harder to be a small place)–and I found them in attraction gift shops, small bookstores, diners, and even ice cream stands.

Since this was all before the days of ordering online and huge bookstores that can afford to carry niche-specific titles, these books had–and still have, at least for me–a special quality about them. And it’s not just that they are connected to a special vacation memory.

When I found a book on a topic I was really into at a place like that, I came away feeling like it had been written just for me, because I couldn’t possibly find that book anywhere else.

I spent a lot of time in Lake Placid, New York, as a kid. I’d heard a story about a woman who’d gone missing, and they found her perfectly-preserved body in the lake thirty years later. No one could really tell me much more about it–it was pretty much clear-cut, right? I mean, what else would some vacationer’s kid need to know? But then one day I went with my Dad to With Pipe & Book, on the town’s main drag. While he selected tobaccos, I perused the books. And that’s when I saw it: A Lady in the Lake. It was a slim volume that told the whole story, and featured what I was really after–gruesome descriptions of her wax-like face disintegrating as they brought her up from the deep. And other yummy stuff a burgeoning writer who didn’t know she was a writer yet eats for breakfast.

Dad was an English teacher, so of course he bought me the book. Two copies, in fact, because I convinced him that I needed one to trash and one to keep nice (I still have both copies). I read it in two hours. I wished it were longer. I felt incredibly lucky to have found it. And I have treasured it ever since.

I have never seen another copy of this book in my life. Anywhere (and no, I’m not going to search for it online and ruin the magic).

One of my goals with Skeletons is to make it feel like that kind of book–that unusual book you always wished existed, and then you spot it in some unexpected place.

Like, for example, a Spirit Shop.

So I’m pleased to announce that Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole has found its first random home: Brookfield Country Wine & Spirits in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Store owner Louis Venezia (who really knows his wine, by the way, and is also a fan of Disney Parks) will be selling copies of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole. We’ve talked about, for the week before Halloween, possibly putting copies on display with some Halloween-themed liquors, like Crystal Head vodka (which comes in a glass skull). It’s an exciting, fresh idea, and always what I’d dreamed for a project like Skeletons.

Because I believe Skeletons might be, for at least one person, that kind of book that A Lady in the Lake was for me.

SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

28 Jul

Welcome to http://www.haunteddisneytales.com, home of the only collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks!

Right now, this site’s under construction. It’ll have a nifty news section keeping you up to date on the buzz, an events page so you can find out when Skeletons’ll be in your neighborhood or on your laptop, and a “Got Pix?” page — so you can share your photos of…well, click on over there and check it out.

Check back often!

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