Monday, October 29, 2012

"Die You Doughnut Bastards" reviewed

When I was at Wordstock in Portland a few weeks ago, I randomly met bizarro fiction author Cameron Pierce. We chatted while tasting high quality bourbon provided by Bull Run Distilling. I have to plug these guys because A) I am a bourbon snob and B) they make damn fine bourbon. If you like good bourbon, check out their Temperance Trader Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It's one of the best bourbons I've ever tasted, and I don't make that statement lightly. I have deemed many a pricey bourbon "shit" after I've payed exorbitantly for a single shot.

While Cameron and I chatted, he told me all about Bizarro fiction. I'd never heard of this strange genre. I asked if it was anything like Bizarro World in the Superman comics. Cameron told me it sort of was. That got me on board immediately. I wanted to hear all about it. Fortunately, Cameron works for Lazy Fascist Press, an imprint of Eraserhead Press, and he knows quite a bit about this weird genre. He also writes Bizarro fiction himself. 

And as it turned out, his wife Kirsten Alene, who was sipping bourbon and talking bizarro with us, ALSO writes bizarro. I couldn't ask for a better pair to give me an overview of the genre. Kirsten told me she had just published a novel entitled "Unicorn Battle Squad." She called it her love letter to Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" with fighting unicorns thrown in. Having recently been told about the sub-culture phenomenon called Bronies, people who love the 1980's cartoon My Littly Pony, I couldn't wait to hear more. Because seriously, who doesn't love fanciful unicorns who kick ass?

When I got home from Wordstock, I immediately ordered Cameron's latest story collection entitled "Die You Doughnut Bastards" and Kirsten's "Unicorn Battle Squad." (I will be reviewing Unicorn Battle Squad in an upcoming post.) 

I was sorely tempted to start with Cameron's "Ass Goblins of Auschwitz" baed on the title and cover alone, but Cameron has stated publicly on his blog that if he gets 50 reviews for "Die You Doughnut Bastards" by this Thanksgiving, he will get a pink or similarly disgracefully colored mohawk. I have no axe to grind with Cameron, but when someone offers up such a bold publicity stunt, I HAVE to show my support. Also, I was amused by the utter coincidence that Cameron had written a story about killer doughnuts, and I have written a story about donuts that kill, entitled "Donut Does It," which is available on Kindle at Amazon.com for only 99 cents.

And now, on to my review for Cameron Pierce's brilliantly comical and rewardingly horrifying "Die You Doughnut Bastards."

Have you ever thought to yourself "Man, movies and books and TV shows are the same thing over and over again. Why can't Hollywood and the publishing industry make something different for a change?" I wonder this myself all the time. Everything is a remix of a re-hash of a remake of a book that was originally a folktale.

Cameron Pierce's story collection Die You Doughnut Bastards is none of those things. This book is actually different. It's original from top to bottom. It is chock full of stories like nothing you've ever read before. It is strange, surreal, morbid, poignant, intimate, and it's really good.

After reading a fair amount of commercial fiction lately, I was in the mood for something fresh and original. Bizarro fiction sounded like the perfect place to start.  Die You Doughnut Bastards delivered, and then some. It's a collection of short works that includes poems, flash fiction, short stories, and a novella. There are also dozens of quirky drawings by the author, one at the beginning of each story, which reminded me of Tim Burton's "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories."

Doughnuts do indeed kill...
Overall, the content of these stories are what I'd describe as a combination of the works of William S. Burroughs, Splatterpunk, Pulp noir, Surrealism, Magical Realism, the film-making of Michel Gondry (think of that Youtube video "Michel Gondry solves a Rubik's Cube with his nose"), some good old North American alternative comic book sensibility (Crumb, Harvey Pekar, Chris Ware), a bit of Ripley's Believe it or Not circus freak freakiness, and hallucinogens. It's everything weird and counter-culture you could possibly want.

At first, as I read through the stories sequentially (I can hear the die-hard anti-commercial types telling me I should have read the stories randomly or backwards or in a mirror or hanging upside down in a tree) I thought I was going to get a giant spaghetti bowl of weirdness where you never quite know what's going on, but you can't stop reading because it's all so vividly fascinating. This in itself would have satisfied me. Some of the shortest stories in Mr/ Pierce's book remind me of looking at abstract art or outsider art, where nothing fully makes sense in a familiar left-brain narrative capacity, but it's captivating and engrossing in an open-ended right-brain way. 

But Cameron Pierce is more than just an abstract artist. He also knows how to tell a good story and evoke emotion. Several of the stories in the book had a strong and finely-honed emotional narrative thru-line. "Death Card" tells the touching story of a quirky young couple facing the challenges of having a baby and dealing with mortality in their own creative way. "Pablo Riviera, Depressed, Overweight, Age 31, Goes to the Mall" makes some subtle yet enlightened observations about the nature of loving relationships. "Lantern Jaws" is the longest piece in the book, and would make a wonderful stop-motion animated film in the vein of "Coraline" or "Corpse Bride."

In case you're worried, this book isn't all just a touchy-feely mushroom-fueled hippie love-in. There's also guns, violence, amputations and blood. Lots of blood. 

And hordes of savage, killer doughnuts.

Die You Doughnut Bastards was a fabulous read, original and creative to the highest level. Cameron Pierce reminds all of us what art can be when an artist disregards the demands of commercialism and instead strives to be true to his own artistic vision.

Five stars.

If you're looking for something to read that is different AND good, buy Cameron Pierce's "Die You Doughnut Bastards" now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Robot Dinosaurs & Hot Babes

The core concept of Savage Paradise: hot babes using rock & roll instruments to control robot dinosaurs



My buddy Steve Curcuru is a genius.

Why, you ask?

Two reasons.

One, he is an amazing illustrator who can tell comic stories with his art like none other. Steve's work has always reminded me of the great Alex Toth, and as Steve continues to refine his style, his work gets simpler and more powerful every time I look at it.

The other reason Steve is a genius is because he has noticed something floating around in the public collective conscious that NO ONE ELSE has. Steve figured out that not a single person has realized you could combine hot babes, robot dinosaurs, the basic concept behind games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and wrap it all around a storyline about a nerdy teenage science whiz named Jasper Quan. So Steve did just that, and turned it into his hit online web comic Savage Paradise.

I don't think it's possible to squeeze any more coolness into the seed concept than Steve already has.

Savage Paradise is an amazing amalgam of some of the best all time post-apocalyptic and dinosaur story lines ever written. It combines Thundarr the Barbarian, Y: The Last Man, Jack Kirby's Devil Dinosaur, and even the "lost boy" story running through Jack Kirby's Kamandi. The lead character Jasper Quan is a hipper version of the archetypical boy-scientist we all know and love (think Will Robinson from Lost in Space as played by Billy Mumy, or a very young Ron Howard in the role of town genius in the cult-camp classic Village of the Giants).

The story's protagonist Jasper Quan is the classic egghead, too smart for his own good. Now that Jasper is in college, he is free to develop crazy science experiments involving cutting edge nanotechnology. Jasper has designed and built his own microscopic robots called "nano-meks" that can repair damage inside a body on a molecular level. These 'meks may also have the capability to create eternal youth or super strength in the subjects who are injected.

Like any crazy-smart, overly confident science genius, Jasper has injected nano-meks into his own body in order to test them. To make things worse, when he locks himself in a containment tank while the nano-meks go to work on the cells of his body, he ends up sleeping far, far longer than the four days he intended...

When Jasper wakes up, he finds himself in a savage world populated solely by beautiful women.

And robot dinosaurs.

The only problem? Most of the women are mean as hell, and the robot dinosaurs are even meaner.

What will Jasper do? How will he get back home? And what are those crazy nano-meks doing to his body?

You can find out every Monday and Thursday on Steve's blog, savageparadisecomic.com, where he posts new panels of Savage Paradise twice a week.

Dynomeks fighting
In the meantime, the story is well under way, and you can go back to the beginning of it on Steve's blog to fully immerse yourself in the story line and drool over Steve's art.

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about the art style of Savage Paradise is that it combines a retro, pulp-paper four-color vibe with a distinctly modern sensibility.

Steve creates all of the art digitally, and yet you will swear that in some panels, you are looking at scans of yellowing newsprint comics. I can practically smell the wood pulp when I look at them.
Welcome to the Land o' Babes: Steve Curcuru's Savage Paradise

Steve also gives a lot of love to his drawings of believable, differentiated people. Not a single character in the story looks like a stamped-out generically idealized super hero. Each one is a unique individual, with their own body language, facial expressions, and mannerisms. These subtle touches are the hallmarks of an experienced illustrator and Steve has them down cold.

Stop by savageparadisecomic.com and start reading! You won't be able to stop.
Jasper Quan: the archetypical nerdy science whiz who can't get a date



Monday, October 22, 2012

Wordstock 2012: MORE ZOMBIES!

Meet my zombies
The victims

My zombie army grows. Like the mad necromancer that I have always been, I keep turning more people into zombies. This time, my unsuspecting victims were attendees at Portland, Oregon's very own Wordstock 2012 Book Fair, where I was selling and promoting my new novel Night Walk and my short story collection The Nose Knows & Other StoriesI find large festivals a great source for fresh bodies.

The book lover's party went on for two days, so I had plenty of time to bag a bunch of corpses, bury them in a graveyard overnight, sprinkle magic necromancer powder over their graves, water, and wait for my zombies to grow.

And this time, the zombies sprung up like weeds!

Zombie Monkey attacks!!
Look how many different varieties crawled out of their fresh tombs! My very own botanical garden of monstrosities. It was like a scene out of The Walking Dead, but more gruesome and with no survivors. EVERYONE got turned into a zombie.

So let this be a warning to anybody who decides to purchase my horror novel Night Walk or my short story collection The Nose Knows & Other Stories: if you see me at a book event, and you decide to buy my book, you may very well wake up dead and zombified. 

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED...


The Necromancer and his wizard's laboratory

Saturday, October 20, 2012

James Roy Daley's "The Dead Parade" reviewed

James Roy Daley first thing in the morning
I just finished reading The Dead Parade by horror novelist and all-around good guy James Roy Daley.

How can I describe his book?

In a word: grim.

Or:

Like being chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged 40 miles down a gravel road.

This is a bleak book. It's an amazingly well written, fast-paced, page turner of a book. Reading this book is like witnessing a massive 18-car pile-up with multiple fatalities on the freeway first hand, narrowly avoiding death yourself, all while watching it through a microscope. The excruciating detail of human misery is presented with raw and scintillating depravity.

I loved this book.

First off, on a technical level, it's superbly well written. James Roy Daley has crafted The Dead Parade in a classically elegant pulp/noir "spare" style. There are no wasted words. Each sentence is about moving the plot violently forward. The metaphors are razor-sharp and inventive, reminiscent of some of Raymond Chandler's classic turns of phrase. The dialogue is fresh, authentic and reveals familiar and believable characters efficiently and with minimal description. A reminder to aspiring writers how much can be done with so little, Daley's style is akin to the masterly works of the late great Jim Thompson and equally skillful mid-career one-offs penned by John D. MacDonald (MacDonald is the avowed all-time favorite author of Dean Koontz). James Roy Daley has put a lot of words under his belt, and knows how to write.

He also knows how to captivate.

Secondly, let's talk story. Violence and tragedy erupt like an Independence day cannonade on page one. The story pauses to take a deep breath for but a few pages to establish character and setting, and then disaster bellows out for the remainder of the book. Like the train wreck that it is, how can you not keep reading? One terrible thing after another happens "seemingly" randomly to the innocents within. Does it seem gratuitous? Of course it does, that's why we read such books. Does it seemed depraved? Why yes, I'm glad you asked. Can people really do such terrible things to each other? They could, if given the proper motivation. But what sort of terrible impossible thing could motivate people to such lunacy? Read the book and you will find out. But how, you ask in shocked disbelief, could people THINK such things and DO such things to one another? I don't know, but when Daley takes us inside the heads of the characters in The Dead Parade, it all makes perfect sense. Their actions seem so perfectly suitable and sensible, as if we would all do the exact same thing in their shoes. Daley has such a deft hand when it comes to evoking the inner-minds of madmen, I have to wonder: did he write the manuscript with a two-inch pencil nub while straight-jacketed and chained to a wall? I'm going to guess yes.

If you like terror and horror, buy this book. Now.

If not, recommend it to your friends who do.

As an aside, I couldn't help but notice a similarity between the beast depicted on the two different covers of The Dead Parade and the infamous Zuni Fetish Warrior from Karen Black's magnum acting opus Trilogy of Terror. I have a life-sized statue of the Zuni doll from said film sitting in my office behind me right now, staring at my back. It glares at me malevolently, and when I'm not looking at it, I hear it creeping closer. I'm pretty sure that my copy of The Dead Parade has brought the previously inanimate doll to life. If you read James Roy Daley's The Dead Parade you will understand exactly why. I wonder if this was a conscious nod by Daley to "The" Trilogy? I hope so. He certainly earned a place on the podium directly adjacent.


BUY IT NOW:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monster Men Paper Puppet Giveaway

Melissa Kojima's paper puppet monsters
My friend, artist Melissa Kojima, is having a giveaway for Halloween themed paper doll monsters over at her blog Artist in La La Land.

If you have a fondness for creepy paper dolls, which are arguably scarier than evil clowns, then you should check out her giveaway.

Alice in Wonderland, Paper Mache, Art Doll, Cheshire Cat in Teacup for gift giving, for decor, pink, gray
Melissa's Cheshire Cat








I've known Melissa for a long time, and not only does she make cool paper dolls, but she also makes some amazing and bizarre papier-mache oddities.

Melissa Kojima's Papier Mache conjoined rabbit
If you like tattoo'd circus monkeys, tattoo'd bunny rabbits, anything Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat, conjoined twins, or even conjoined rabbits, you will love her work.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

FASTSIGNS of Salem, Oregon ROCKS!!

If you are an author and have been following my blog, then you know that I've been doing a number of book festivals and comic book conventions to promote my new novel Night Walk and my short story collection The Nose Knows & Other Stories. One aspect of my promotion machine is my fondness for large 20" x 30" posters of my book covers for my booth display. I find that these big in-your-face prints are drawing a lot of attention from festival attendees.

It's easy to get someone interested in picking up your book and leafing through the pages if you have a giant poster SHOUTING at them to do so. Then you don't have to do the shouting yourself, which usually scares them away anyway.

"HEY! MISTER! COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW AND LOOK AT MY BOOK!! I DON'T CARE IF YOUR KID JUST DROPPED HIS ICE CREAM ON YOUR SHIRT!! LOOK AT MY BOOK!! LOOK AT MY BOOK RIGHT NOW!!"

No.

Sales Tip #72: Don't shout at your customers. Let your sales material do it for you.

Me and Mark, the owner of FASTSIGNS of Salem, Oregon
When I needed to find a print shop that could make signage for me, I started with the local FASTSIGNS shop in Salem, Oregon. 

What a lucky decision that was. 

First of all, the entire staff at this branch of FASTSIGNS are awesome. The all know their stuff, are totally friendly, and always make me feel like I'm their most important customer, even though my orders are fairly small. If you've worked with print shops before, you know this is not always the case.

But at the end of the day, customer service is only a part of the process. Because ultimately I'm paying these guys to turn out great prints. 

Well, let me tell you, having worked with plenty of printers over the last 15 years as a print illustrator, I have never seen such a high quality of print output as I have with every single piece I've purchased from the guys at FASTSIGNS of Salem, Oregon. I'm super picky (ask anyone who works at the Salem FASTSIGNS) and yet I NEVER find a single issue with the signage I've purchased from them. The quality is phenomenal. The color is superbly rich, the contrast is maximum, and it ALWAYS matches what I see on my monitor.

I'm genuinely stunned that the guys at the Salem FASTSIGNS have their printer tuned up as well as they do. They are truly artists. If you have worked in or with the print business, you know how temperamental and unpredictable print output can be, and how difficult it is to get consistently high quality prints. Not with FASTSIGNS of Salem, Oregon. The work they do for me is always perfect. I'm not exaggerating here. 

These guys do the best work I've ever seen.

If you are anywhere even remotely close to Salem, Oregon and need the best signage money can buy, get in touch with the crew over at the Salem FASTSIGNS

You will not be disappointed.

And tell Mark that David Hudnut sent you.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Donut Re-Does It

The new cover for Donut Does It
I've been thinking about doughnuts a ton lately. I've also been thinking about tons of doughnuts.

I mean TONS.

As in thousands of pounds of doughnuts. All stacked together in a giant mountainous mass of glazey frosting and chocolate icing and mapley ecstasy.

Of the many cool things that may await all of us in Heaven, one will hopefully be the ability to eat as many doughnuts as we want.

There may even be a Doughnut Room in heaven that contains an infinite ocean of doughnuts, where any of us will be able to dive right in and eat as many doughnuts as we want without guilt or consequence.

Wouldn't that be awesome?

Doughnut Heaven.

Yeah, that sounds yummy, or scrumdiddlyumptious even.

I can't wait.

Unfortunately, we all know that in life, doughnuts must be eaten in moderation. If we don't, we'll have Hell to pay. And Hell does not accept credit cards.

Or doughnuts.

If you disagree, I encourage you to read my story Donut Does It  and find out what happens when poor Randy McArdle (pictured above on the new cover of Donut Does It) chooses to disregard the common sense wisdom of "All things in moderation."

Donut Does It is available now on Amazon.com for only 99 cents on the Kindle.


Buy DONUT DOES IT for Kindle 
only $0.99
Available on Amazon.com


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Meet my Zombie Army

Heavy Metal Hair
I was at the 2nd annual Florence Festival of Books last weekend selling my horror novel Night Walk and my new short story collection The Nose Knows & Other Stories and I had a great time.  Books were sold and drawings were drawn.

I think for any of you who know me, you all know the real reason I attend so many book festivals is to show off my heavy metal hair. Yeah, I'm metal. Deal with it.

But more importantly, I've been building my very own zombie army. Now before you all get up in arms and waving pitchforks around while shouting "David Hudnut is a necromancer!" calm down. When I say I'm building a zombie army, I don't mean I'm actually going to graveyards and morgues in the middle of the night to steal bodies and later resurrect them in my evil wizard's tower. Because we all know, I would never steal bodies. But I do have my very own wizard's tower, and I may or may not have resurrected dead bodies in it now and then.

At any rate, what I WAS doing at the Florence Festival of Books was drawing a picture of each person who bought a copy of my novel Night Walk or my short story collection The Nose Knows & Other Stories in the book they purchased. In some cases, it was a gift for someone not in attendance, so I worked from a photo.

The zombie army

I did all of the sketches using a Pentel 0.5 mechanical pencil, inked with COPIC 0.35 Multiliner SP, and colored with Tombow Dual Brush pens while I chatted with the customers about eating brains and the end of the world. No surprise that zombies LOVE to talk about brains.



The Brain Lovers Society

As usual, The HUDNUT IMP was trying to steal my thunder by crowding me out and getting in the way the whole time. You can see one of his unnecessarily gigantic comic strips right there in front of my booth! What a scene-stealer and attention whore that guy is!


The HUDNUT IMP trying to steal my thunder
The HUDNUT IMP

But I love the little green guy, so I let him get away with it every time.

Now that the show is over, don't fret. You can still buy my novel Night Walk and my short story collection The Nose Knows & Other Stories on Amazon.com.

And if you want me to turn you into a zombie, I will be at Wordstock this coming weekend, October 13 & 14, in Portland, Oregon selling books and drawing people as zombies.

Until next time,


"BRAINS!!!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Night Walk reviewed by SeattleBangBang

SeattleBangBang is one killer chic.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my horror novel Night Walk has been reviewed online. The review is by SeattleBangBang, a seasoned zombie hunter and aficionado of zombie body parts. She runs a blog on Tumblr called SeattleBangBang, and you can find her blog and the review for Night Walk here:

http://seattlebangbang.tumblr.com/post/32445684911/photos-from

I met her at the Jet City Comic Show, and she demanded I give her a copy of Night Walk at gun point. I think the lesson here is that anyone who waves firearms in your face while demanding a review copy of your book is likely the right audience for horror.

If you see SeattleBangBang at large, she is armed and extremely dangerous. I'm not 100% sure she only hunts zombies...

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Night Walk is a helluva good read

Demon Super Model Lilith loves Night Walk 
Word in the Netherworld these days is that debut horror novel Night Walk by author David Hudnut is the talk of the terrible town!

That's right! Demons and devils everywhere are raving over Night Walk. Read what they have to say:

"NIGHT WALK scared the poop out of me, which is a good thing, because I eat too much cheese and not enough fiber."
—Beelzebub

"I read a chapter of NIGHT WALK out loud to my minions every morning before they go to work. It gives them great ideas on how to torture all of my tortured souls. Thank you David Hudnut, you make my job easy."
—Asmodeus

"Being a demon is a thankless job. After a long day cracking whips, roaring with evil laughter, and throwing people in flaming cauldrons, all I want to do is go home alone to my creepy cavern apartment, curl up with a hot mug of human misery, and read NIGHT WALK. It's so much more enjoyable when someone else does the torturing for you, and the villains in NIGHT WALK are truly inspired. I wish I could hire them to take over my job so I could stay home and read more books by David Hudnut."
—Moloch

"I liked NIGHT WALK so much, I started reading it a second time as soon as I finished it the first time. I think I've read it 666 times so far, and I re-read it religiously once a week. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!"
—Orcus

"NIGHT WALK by new horror novelist David Hudnut is a helluva good read and is required reading where I teach at Demon Super Model University. I also tell the contestants on my hit reality TV show Project Hellway to take more ideas from Mr. Hudnut. He knows how to chill your bones and melt your brain with soul-scorching terror."
—Demon Super Model Lilith, pictured at left


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jet City Comic Show 2012

I had the good fortune to attend the Jet City Comic Show last weekend in Seattle, Washington at the Seattle Exhibition Hall. My friend, author James Shipman, was kind enough to share his booth space with me.

James Shipman and David Hudnut, best-selling authors in attendance at the Jet City Comic Show





James is the author of the brilliant new comedy fantasy novel Willie Washer's Local No.38. I have read the book and can attest that it's truly funny. I got a lot of laughs out of reading it, and I know that if you like fantasy novels and a good laugh, his book will do the trick.

Unboxing posters of LifeBringer by David Hudnut
If you've ever been to the Jet City Comic Show, or the Seattle Exhibition Hall, then you will remember how much the space is reminiscent of several 1970s era low budget sci-fi movies. The moment I walked in the front door, I was thinking about both versions of THX 1138, a scene from the original Death Race 2000 in a similarly white and linoleum covered industrial space, and every other episode of either the Six Million Dollar Man or The Bionic Woman. To me, you couldn't pick a better space for a comic convention.

A new addition for me at the show was selling a print of one of my digital fantasy paintings, shown on the left. I was pleasantly  surprised at the response it got from people. I will definitely be selling more prints at future shows, and if anyone has any specific requests for prints from my past art which you can find on my art website at https://www.hudnutart.com/ please let me know.

A high point of the show was when I learned that Kibiri Foxx, a Brigade CO of the Outer Rim Brigade http://outer-rim-brigade.com/, was a big fan of my new horror novel Night Walk. You can see him posing with my book.


Kibiri Foxx loves horror novel Night Walk

For those of you who don't know, it is my understanding that Kibiri Foxx is Boba Fett's older, hipper brother. Long before Boba Fett was cool, Kibiri Foxx was traveling the galaxy, making mayhem wherever he went, and generally paving the way for future generations of bounty hunters like his little brother Boba. I think you'll all agree that Kibiri is 1,000 times cooler than his li'l bro Boba, who is after all, named after a tapioca tea drink that requires kiddie-sized drinking straws to suck up the boba balls. And seriously, who wants to suck Boba Fett's balls through a drinking straw?

I don't.

Kibiri also told me that he tried to get Boba Fett to read my book, but Boba was too scared. Want a wimp.

Another show attendee I met was Lilith Faire, a regular contributor at Geek News Network  and fiction writer in her own right. Check out her ongoing story Book of Souls at her blog. It is dark, grandly Lovecraftian, and creepy as hell. Lilith proves that books really are dangerous, and that she's a writer brimming with fantastic ideas, one to keep your eye on.

While we chatted, I took a moment to draw a sketch of Lilith in a freshly minted copy of Night Walk. I think you will agree that Lilith is a dangerous and witchy woman capable of casting all manner of elaborate eldritch magicks to satisfy her every whim. Do not mess with her or else you might find your soul eternally lost in a dark extra-dimensional abyss. Your mind will be torn asunder by the loneliness and sensory deprivation. The only thing you will be aware of is your own eternal pain, and Lilith's taunting evil laughter.


Author & Columnist Lilith Fiare with her new copy of Night Walk
During the show, I talked to a lot of people, and a common theme was a love of zombies. We can all thank The Walking Dead for bringing some much needed love to the world of zombie fandom. 

I decided to draw sketches of zombies for some of my new readers who purchased Night Walk at the show, in honor of zombies everywhere. You can see some satisfied zombie lovers in the photo below.

By the end of the day I was wiped out from selling copies of the horrifically frightening Night Walk to the hordes of rabid fans. 

Satisfied Night Walk customers & zombie lovers
I had a great time, and look forward to attending the show next year. In the mean time, if you want to purchase a copy of Night Walk, it's available on the Kindle for a bargain at $2.99.

It will scare you to death, or should I say it will scare you to undeath, because I will wager that if you read the book all the way to the end, you will in fact turn into a zombie. For some, I know this is a deterrent, but for most of you, it will be a bonus.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rose City Comic Con 2012

Me and my booth before the mayhem
I was at the Rose City Comic-Con this weekend up in Portland. Attendance was beyond what anybody expected for a debut convention. It had the density of much larger shows like Comic-Con International in San Diego or Emerald City Comicon, but in a smaller, more intimate venue.

The fans were incredible and full of enthusiasm. A lot of them had never attended a comic convention, or had only discovered the Rose City Comic-Con on the day of the show. I think the Con owes a lot of credit to the large number of people in costume. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Pirates of the Caribbean, Marvel & DC heroes, and zombies were all in abundance. There was even a Klingon, and my personal favorite: a guy in a "The Greatest American Hero" outfit with a permed blond wig. When you see a crowd of people wearing awesome costumes and lined up outside waiting two hours to get into the show, you probably think "I want to go wherever that guy in the Chewbacca costume is waiting to get into."

I know I certainly wanted to be there.

Although I was at Rose City Comic-Con to sell my novel Night Walk, my short story collection The Nose Knows & Other Stories, and Owie-Cadabra's Verbal First Aid for Kids (written by my friend Judith Simon Prager and illustrated by yours truly), the spirit of the American comic book pantheon was contagious. It wasn't long before I set to work sketching The Incredible Hulk, one of my all-time personal favorite Marvel Comics characters. I ended up working on him most of the weekend, and finished my first official comic convention-drawn Hulk on Sunday. Several people offered to buy the sketch, but I couldn't let go of my first-born comic con sketch baby. But through the magic of the internet, all of you can get to know him better:


My Incredible Hulk sketch from the show

For the artists out there, I drew the Hulk in pencil using a Pentel 0.5 mechanical pencil, inked with COPIC 0.35 Multiliner SP, and colored with a combination of Tombow Dual Brush pens and Stabilo Pen 68 (from the 20 color set), both of which are water based. I've used alcohol markers like Prismacolor and COPIC extensively over the years, but I've found the water-based markers are easier to blend because they stay wet longer. Make sure you draw on thick laser printer paper that has some plastic coating to it. You can tell there is a coating because the paper surface will have a slick feel. I like the Hammermill 28 pound Color Copy Digital, or something heavier like Mohawk Color Copy Premium. You can usually find the Hammermill at any office supply store. If you use cheaper papers with the water based markers, you're likely to soak your paper and the fibers will start to lift and "pill" into little wads, and possibly make a hole in your paper if it's not thick enough.

During the course of the show, I met a lot of great comic creators, including Clayton Crain, Chris Mcfann at RKDN Studios, Ibrahim Moustafa, Jonathan Case creator of Dear Creature, Alex J. Murd and James Johnson with CrazedPixel Comics, Aaron Lopresti, and novelist James Shipman, author of Willie Washer's Local No. 38. Be sure to check out all of their respective work. It's all great stuff.

I will be at Rose City Comic-Con next year for sure! I can't wait!

Thanks to organizers Ron Brister, Dave Brockway, and Matt Makin for making the show a success.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This one goes to eleven



Lately some people have been questioning exactly how metal I really am. Sure,. anyone can say they're heavy metal until they're blue in the face. But sometimes, you have to put your metal where your mouth is.

Watch the video. Enough said. I'm 111% metal. Yes, I go to eleven. 24/7.

If you want a high quality mp3 of my new song "Spread Your Wings" from my upcoming album HateBall, send me an email at

DavidHudnut {at} gmail dot com

Then feel free to spread it around to your fellow Metal Heads. I know all of you go to eleven.



SPREAD YOUR WINGS
by David Hudnut
from the album HateBall

Get a job, go to work, that shit makes me rage
Bed of lies, the coward's curse, life without a soul
I don't know why they can't see I belong on stage
They don't know I'm full of fire as I struggle to engage     yeah

I don't feel like living life
I don't want to fight this fight
I don't have the guts to go
And live this lie that's all for show      

I've been living without my heart for all these years
All these years

My friends are dead, I'm out of luck, life is running out
Should I try or will I die, what's the use of going on
I don't know why they can't see I belong on stage
Even now I'm full of life as I wonder if I still can    yeah

Hurry up son
Don't waste your life
You've only got one
And time is on the run    yeah

I've been living without my heart for all these years
All these years

I've been living without my heart for all these years
All these years

You ain't gonna die
You just gotta try
When you jump and spread your wings you'll find that you can fly    yeah

Now I'm living with all my heart and I'm flying high
Spread your wings and fly

Now I'm living with all my heart and I'm flying high
Spread your wings and fly

Spread your wings and fly


Friday, August 31, 2012

Analyzing Carrie by Stephen King, Part 1

Years ago I read a memorable anecdote describing one way to learn the craft of writing fiction. The anecdote was in the book Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print by Lawrence Block, and was taken from an interview with novelist Harry Crews that appeared in The New York Times Book Review:

"Steve Oney: For someone who had been exposed to very little literature, how did you actually learn how to write?

"Harry Crews: I guess I really learned, seriously learned, how to write just after I got out of college when I pretty much literally ate Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair." My wife and I were living in a little trailer...in Jacksonville, Fla., where I was teaching seventh grade...I wrote a novel that year and here's how I did it. I took "The End of the Affair," and I pretty much reduced the thing to numbers. I found out how many characters were in it, how much time was in it---and that's hard to do as there is not only present time in a book but past time as well. I found out how many cities were in the book, how many rooms, where the climaxes were and how long it took Greene to get to them.

"And there were a lot of other things I reduced to numbers. I read that book until it was dog-eared and was coming apart in my hands. And then I said, "I'm going to write me a damn novel and do everything he did." I knew I was going to waste---but it wasn't a waste---a year of my time. And I knew that the end result was going to be a mechanical, unreadable novel. But I was trying to find out how in the hell you did it. So I wrote the novel, and it had to have this many rooms, this many transitions, etc. It was the bad novel I knew it would be. But by doing it I learned more about writing fiction and writing a novel and about the importance of time and places---Greene is a freak about time and place---than I had from any class or anything I'd done before. I really, literally, ate that book. And that's how I learned to write."

This anecdote electrified me when I first read it in the 1990s. It has always stuck with me. I often wondered what Crews' results---his numbers---were, but I didn't know where to find them. If he hadn't passed away this year, I would have emailed him and asked him if he remembered or perhaps still had his original notes containing his Graham Greene numbers.

Of course, I think real learning comes from doing, so I have decided to replicate the break-down portion of Crews' process and slice up Carrie by Stephen King into numbers.

To make this process more useful to my fellow authors out there, I will be graphing much of the information so that it is easier to visualize. I will break my analysis down into several blog posts, starting with this one.

Carrie by Stephen King, by the numbers, Part 1:

Number of Pages 245
Number of Words 60,190 (according to Amazon Text Stats)

CLICK TO ENLARGE

In the image above you will see the most basic numbers of Carrie:


Number of Scenes 101
Length of scenes: between 1/4 page and 11 pages.

Rather than give you merely an average of all scene lengths, I encourage you to look at the graph. You may notice all sorts of interesting things.

Some facts:

Half of the scenes in Carrie are 1 page or less in length
Only 1/4 of the scenes are longer than 3 pages
Only 10% of the scenes are longer than 5 pages.

That is a lot of SHORT scenes!

This reminds me of a famous saying in film & television writing: Enter the scene late and leave the scene early. Stephen King has clearly done this. He wastes no time on extraneous action or description.

If you have read Carrie, you will recall that many of the shorter scenes are fictitious newspaper articles about Carrie White, passages from fictitious books about "The White Affair," interviews, courtroom transcripts and AP news wires. These scenes are not filler. They move the story forward, either with pertinent backstory (mostly in the beginning of the book), or with plot development (mostly in the later portions of the book).

Another thing you will notice in the graph is two spikes where overall scene length is longer. One towards the beginning, and a second towards the end. The longish beginning scenes establish who Carrie is and how the town of Chamberlain relates to her. The longish ending scenes correspond to climactic action and high drama.

The more average length scenes in the middle develop the relationships between the supporting characters, the plot to humiliate Carrie at the prom, and Carrie's growing conflict with her mother Margaret.

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks as I delve into many other aspects of Stephen King's classic novel Carrie, sliced up by the numbers. Did you notice my graph bars are all red?

Pig blood for a pig.

Part 2 of my article will look at the number of characters and locations, with an emphasis on frequency of appearance, and which characters appear together and how often.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Nose Knows & Other Stories


The Book Gargoyle is back. You all remember him. He's the guy who supports printed books. He hates eReaders because his stony fingers always scratch the screens when he tries to turn the pages the old fashioned way: licking his stony finger with his stony tongue and swiping to the next page. You can imagine how well that would work on an iPhone screen!

The Nose Knows & Other Stories is a collection of three of David Hudnut's shorter works which were previously available only on the Kindle: The Nose Knows, Hands Off, and Donut Does It; it also includes The Hitler Machine, which is only available in this printed collection.

From the back of the book

THE NOSE KNOWS: Calvin Dunkley tries to find true love, but the mutant nose hair he discovers growing from his nostril doesn’t want him to...

HANDS OFF: Sometimes dogs are not man’s best friend...

DONUT DOES IT: Did you know that doughnuts can kill? Find out how...

THE HITLER MACHINE: Surprise, surprise. Adolph Hitler is still alive, trapped in a super-secret underground bunker. He’s old, he’s ornery, and he needs a nursemaid. That nursemaid is YOU...

And from the Book Gargoyle himself:

"E-gads! What a scary bunch of stories! I almost wet my concrete pants when I read these stories! I was scared stiff, and not because I'm made of stone! I posed with the book for this photo during the day time because I was too darned scared to stand next to it at night! Wow! Good thing for me I hang around cathedrals the rest of the time. God protect me...David Hudnut must get his stories straight from the devil..."


---The Book Gargoyle


Now available in book form

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Analyzing Plot: diagramming Cujo by Stephen King


As many of you know, I'm a huge Stephen King fan. I'm also a horror novelist. When I was writing the first draft of my debut Novel Night Walk, I decided to re-read Cujo by Stephen King. I hadn't read Cujo in more than 15 years, but I remember that it sucked me right in all those years ago.

This time around was no different. I was amazed by how good Cujo still is. I was hooked before I finished the first page. When I finished, I went back and re-read it two more times. Considering that Dean Koontz claims to have read each book by his favorite author John D. MacDonald four or five times apiece, I figured I should do the same with Stephen King.

The effort was worth it.

I was able to get a deeper sense of Cujo in a way I never had with any other book. Duh. That's obvious, right?

But what came as a complete surprise to me was the diagram you see above. Stephen King's Cujo in triangles. The gist of it popped into my head several months after my fourth reading of Cujo. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to put it down concretely and work out any kinks in my first inspiration. What you see here is the result of thoroughly massaging my original idea.

This analysis in triangles is not an exact, literal duplicate of the book's plot structure. I've cut away some less relevant characters and conflicts in order to emphasize the major triangle patterns I saw emerging.

Triangle 1:
We start in the center with the Trenton family: husband Vic Trenton, wife Donna Trenton, and son Tad Trenton.

Triangle 2:
The Camber family, owners of Cujo: husband Joe Camber, wife Charity Camber, and son Brett Camber.

Triangle 3
Vic Trenton's floundering advertising business, which includes Vic Trenton, his partner Roger Breakstone, and their main client Sharp Cereal Company, without whom their fledgling ad business would fail.

Triangle 4
Donna Trenton's affair with Steve Kemp, a triangle which includes: Vic Trenton, Donna Trenton and Steve Kemp

Triangle 5
The Lottery money that Charity wins which includes: Charity Camber, Joe Camber and Brett Camber

Triangle 6
Cujo and the Camber "men," who are the primary caretakers of the dog: Cujo, Brett Camber and Joe Camber

Triangle 7
The main plot of the book: Cujo's sustained attack on Donna Trenton and Tad Trenton.

Although the entire Trenton family meets the Camber family one year prior to the novel's main action (when the Trentons had driven out to Joe Camber's Garage to have him look at their faltering Jaguar) the two families have little direct interaction throughout the book. Their interactions with Cujo are of a very different nature: Donna and Tad Trenton are assaulted by Cujo while the Cambers main concern is the health of their beloved pet who has been acting strangely; the Camber's know nothing of Cujo's rabid state until the bitter end.

Along with the main plot of the book---Cujo's attack against Donna and Tad---we have the three major subplots. Three points make a triangle of subplots. Is that important? I don't know, but it makes my triangle analogy that much more interesting.

As I endeavored to peel away the layers of Cujo so that I could understand why it worked so damn well, I realized that each of the three sub-plots was in and of itself worthy of any novel.

Subplot 1
Money troubles for the Trenton family. Vic's ad business is on the skids and he must take on a Hero's Journey or Hero's Quest to put it back on track. Coincidentally, this Hero's Journey takes him away from his family, leaving his wife and son vulnerable to the disaster awaiting them in the maw of rabid Cujo.

Subplot 2
Adultery and forgiveness. Donna Trenton, not so happy housewife, has an affair. But she's decided she's now done with it. Steve Kemp, her paramour, doesn't want things to end. And he's a bastard. Steve sends an incriminating note to Vic's office. Vic struggles with the discovery, pondering whether or not to leave his wife while his business is falling apart all around him. Meanwhile, Steve Kemp is preparing to make things even worse for the Trenton family.

Subplot 3
Child Rearing and the domineering husband. The Camber's story could perhaps be considered three subplots, but all three involve the struggle between low-class, low-income Joe Camber and his wife Charity: in one they fight over control of their son, another for control of their marriage, and the final story over the lottery winnings. Joe rules the house with an iron fist. Charity fears Joe's low-brow ways are turning her son into his father, and she doesn't want to see that happen. Amazingly, Charity wins $5,000 in the state lottery (Coincidentally, in the novel McTeague, one of Stephen King's favorite novels by author Frank Norris, Trina Sieppe also wins $5,000 in the San Francisco lottery). This money becomes the central player in the struggle between Joe and Charity as she uses the money to bribe him into permitting her to take their son to meet her sister, who had previously married into a higher social strata and tax bracket.

There you have it. A general breakdown of the Triangle in Cujo, and my diagram to enhance the presentation of the basic ideas.

If you have read Cujo, you will recognize these structures and perhaps my diagram will help you see and remember them in a more cohesive fashion. If you haven't read it, I hope this diagram will still give you some ideas about how to structure a novel with multiple subplots, but to truly appreciate the richness of the many plot threads in Cujo and how they weave together, you should read the book.

If you want to see how Cujo influenced my writing, check out my novel Night Walk. There's even some awful dogs in it. You won't be disappointed. I promise. No seriously, I promise-promise. That's a double promise.  ;-)

And oh yeah, if you don't check out my book, I will sic Cujo and his kindred spirit Chopper on you!

Cujo! Chopper! Sic Balls!

And get off my property!

I'm joking, I'm joking. :-) Seriously, come around here any time you want to discuss writing or Stephen King. Just make sure you wear an athletic cup, or for the ladies, a durable chastity belt or equivalent (they offer great protection against dog bites---try it if you don't believe me).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Real Pictures of Heaven


The infinite tower of paperback heaven
I spent some time in Heaven today. And I mean capital "H" Heaven. Look at that photo above. It almost looks like the Tower of Babel. But it's really a giant tower of paperback books. And we're talking genre paperbacks. The good stuff. Yeah, you readers know what I'm talking about. From James Patterson to Nora Roberts, Stephen King to Dean Koontz, John Jakes to Jeffrey Archer. S. M. Stirling to Bruce Sterling, Debbie Macomber to Danielle Steel. All in one palatial place:

Escape Fiction in Salem, Oregon
Escape Fiction in Salem, Oregon. And I was there. I am a changed man.

Escape Fiction is a magical place that transcends the boundaries of space and time, much like Doctor Who's TARDIS, in several ways.

First, it is larger on the inside than it appears on the outside. I think this is due to the many science fiction and fantasy novels on hand in the store at all times.

The magic inside such books is likely responsible for the warping of space that allows Escape Fiction to defy the normal laws of physics.

Inside the Book Maze
Second, Escape Fiction is also a genuine Maze of Books. I think this is what Jorge Luis Borges had in mind when he envisioned heaven. For all we know, Jorge's spirit may in fact reside inside the winding halls of Escape Fiction. I guarantee that if you have never been to Escape Fiction before, and you explore it without a map, you are likely to get lost. I certainly did. It's better than any hedge maze I've ever been in, and it's even better than the hedge maze in the climactic scene in Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining. The difference is that unlike Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance, we all want to be in Escape Fiction's maze of books. Some of you readers, like myself, would be happy to live there forever and ever.

Maria and Scott, proprietors
I don't know if the owners of Escape Fiction, Maria and Scott, would actually want you to move in, but they certainly want you to enjoy the endless ocean of literary peace and comfort that their store provides, seven days a week.

Thirdly, Escape Fiction is a cathedral to the book. It celebrates the physical book, and it asks that we bow our heads reverently in respect for that which came before the eBook.

I have spent many an afternoon lost in Escape Fiction's wilderness of paperbacks, traveling through time along the spines of books I have seen in used bookstores since I was a kid.

I can't explain why used bookstores have this effect on me; I remember seeing many of the books contained in them previously as new books in chain bookstores over the years.

The Big Kahuna: Stephen King
And yet, when I see those same titles wearing cracked spines, sporting yellowing pages and tattered covers, the books somehow become better. There, I've said it. Used books are better. Maybe it's because you know that another human being has worked their way through the pages before you, as if that previous owner is saying "This book is a safe road to travel, friend. I hope you will enjoy it as have I."

Maybe I'm romanticizing. Maybe I'm not.

But the used book is still alive and well in America.

Kindles, iPads, Nooks and their ilk cannot kill the used book. The used book is fighting back and Escape Fiction leads the charge. So the next time you feel assaulted by the threat of the electronic book, head on down to Escape Fiction. You will be safe from ones and zeroes during your stay inside their Hallowed Halls.

Lastly, Escape Fiction is a magical domain of unprecedented proportion for the simple fact that they now stock my newest novel Night Walk.

Night Walk on sale now at Escape Fiction
You can see a fresh copy of Night Walk in the photo to the left. Maria was kind enough to place it there, in a position of prominence, at the front register. Where else would I, as a new author, find such support for my work? Not in a chain store.

I am very grateful to Maria and Scott for their willingness to support a local author like myself. Thanks guys! And I'm not the only local author with my book in their store.

You will note also that Night Walk is placed next to a fire extinguisher. I believe Maria put it there in case my book bursts spontaneously into flame. Night Walk is, after all, an intense, thrilling book which contains high-octane and extremely volatile story content. So placing Night Walk next to a fire extinguisher makes logical sense. It's the safe thing to do.

Smart move, Maria.

Some of you may be raising your hands now to protest: "But Night Walk is not a used book! How can you even consider selling it through a used bookstore?"

A quiet place to delve into good, old books.

The answer is simple: because Escape Fiction also stocks a good selection of new books. The popular kind: thrillers, science fiction & fantasy. Books with lots of zombies and vampires in them. J.D. Robb, Stephen King, Sandra Brown. The storytellers. Books we all like to read.

Remember, every used book is first born as a new book. It takes a dedicated, loving reader like yourself to properly rear and raise a new book until it is fully used, and ready to go out into the world so that it can enter the hands of another faithful book lover. I want my book to begin life in the hands of this sort of caring, loving reader; the kind of reader who frequents used bookstores, the kind of reader who shops at Escape Fiction.

That's why Escape Fiction is the perfect place from which to send my novel Night Walk out into the world.

The next time you are in Salem, Oregon, and need to go to Book Church, stop by Escape Fiction and pay Maria and Scott a visit. Tell them I sent you.


3240 Triangle Dr. S.E.
Salem, OR 97302
503-588-5865

The TARDIS of used bookstores, Escape Fiction. Bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside.