Retrieving Zeder from the K-Zone

This is a story of a cinema treasure hunt, and as such, may be a bit tedious to those outside the rather narrow confines of “Lost Italian horror films of the 1980s” fandom. But I suspect everyone loves a mystery, and I’ll do my best to make this one interesting. Right around the turn of the last century, I recall … Read More

What’s in a Name? Well…

A lot of times, my novels will be catch-alls for everything I find interesting about a particular topic. Burn Me Deadly, for example, deals with dragons, and Blood Groove with both vampires and 1970s culture. Usually by the time I finish, I’ve burned out my intense interest in a sort of positive exorcism that gets the obsession out of me … Read More

Chatting at the Bottom of the Lake

Steven Stack is an internationally-produced playwright for teens and middle-schoolers, and a full-time acting teacher for kids. He’s also one of my best friends, and he’s just published his first novel, The Bottom of the Lake. Here we discuss the fairly unique project of turning a play into a novel. Me: You’ve written many plays, so why did you decide … Read More

The Unexpected Return of Dakota North, part 2

In an earlier post, I talked about the Marvel comic Dakota North, which ran for five issues in the mid-80s and is now the subject of a brand new collection, Dakota North: Design for Dying. Now Dakota’s creator and writer, Martha Thomases, has been kind enough to talk to me a bit about Dakota’s origins. You wrote about the fashion … Read More

The Unexpected Return of Dakota North, part 1

Addendum: R.I.P. Stan Lee.  The mid-1980s, when I was a serious comic book fan, was a great time for taking risks: it gave us Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Watchmen, and Miracleman; Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; Frank Miller’s Daredevil and The Dark Knight Returns; and significant runs in all the major series, many of which have turned up as the plots of … Read More

Mount Horeb’s Psychic Boy…or Not

When you’re an author of fantasy and horror, and you live in a small town like Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, it’s inevitable that you get requests like the one I recently received from our library director, Jessica: “I have a spooky question for you.” She presented me with a badly-faded microfiche printout (see above) of a news story from 1909, about … Read More

The Vampires Want to Wear My Mud Shoes

One of my personal traditions is that, every October, I re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s such a rich novel that I usually find at least one detail I’d never noticed before. This year, though, in addition to reading the actual novel, I’ve been reading a children’s version to my daughter (after all, what else can follow Frankenstein?). It’s easy to … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 3

You can read part 1 of this series here, and part 2 here. I’m old enough to remember when comics were considered strictly for kids. The very term “comic book” implies the immaturity and humor of the earliest examples. Comic strips in the newspapers were even grouped together on what was called the “funny pages.” The idea that one day comics would … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 2

Previously in Part 1, I wrote about the eighties comic Night Streets, which ended at issue #5, promising a storyline conclusion in issue #6, which never appeared.  The unresolved cliffhanger is a special kind of torture. If you’ve ever gotten emotionally invested in a story—whether a movie, TV, comic, or novel—the idea that there will never be a resolution can … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 1

With every bit of information and history seemingly at our fingertips, it can be hard to recall that once, finding out things was much harder. Occasionally, though, you run across a topic that hasn’t been done to death on the web, and for which there’s virtually no information. Then you have to roll up your sleeves and start digging. So … Read More