by Kevin Gubernatis

What I did on my Holiday vacation…

As some might expect from my last post before the my brief and somewhat unexpected hiatus, I did a lot of Santa Clausing in my community and in my community of friends.  No, no – I didn’t dress up as the jolly bearded gift giver, though I am known for occasionally donning the mantle.  This year’s Yuletide cheer began mostly on December 12th.  You see, my wedding anniversary is New Years Eve, but there tends to be some frustration around this, as other things get planned near this date and we miss out on seeing people.  This year Liz and I decided to forgo our normal private New Years Eve plan and throw it out the window.  We set the date for Commune Christmas (I’ll get to that later) for New Years Eve so that we could spend more time with the people we love and miss.  I can hear you asking “What the hell does this have to do with Dec 12th?” and to that I say, “Don’t interrupt.  It’s like…..super rude, man.”

With our anniversary on the back burner, I decided to surprise my wonderful and beautiful wife.  When she went out to run errands on the 12th, I got dressed up nice and made her a silly little paper invitation to “Secret Dinners!” I put all of her favorite stuff in it with a poem, ’cause I’m awesome.  Then I waited for her to call and started making a surprise dinner of Pancakes, Bacon and Egg in the Hole, her favorites.  She laughed, she cried (a lot) we made kissy faces.  This first bit of love in the season kickstarted my holiday motor and we were under way!


Almost the whole of the following week was spent in preparation for the coming holidays and surrounding events.  On December 18th, the day before my birthday, Liz and I had a speaking event at a local library and, contrary to my doubt in my own abilities, it went off without a hitch.  Everyone was entertained and, thanks to Liz, learned something.  I even sold a couple of books, one to a librarian.  Which, if I do say so myself, is kind of impressive considering I donated four copies to the library system, and he could have borrowed one of those.

I also signed a number of copies, which felt great.  That is something I’m trying to get good at.  I want to write something meaningful to a person who asks me to sign their book.  You know?  I’m also getting good at my flourish-y author’s signature, which is kind of fun too.  That evening my D&D group got together to totally not play D&D and we surprised my one of our party with a new (real) longbow and arrows.  I love seeing people enjoy surprises!

The next day, on my birthday, the spirit of the season was within me and I went out into the world to spread it.  First, as a birthday wish, I asked my wife to show me how to make some simple chocolate chip cookies, so that I could make a huge plate for the staff in my building.  Which reminds me:  If you live in or work in a place that has a custodial engineer (or a janitor if you wanna be a dick about it), please be respectful and appreciative of that person and the function they perform.  I was a custodian for about three years and if you’ve never done it, you can never know how thankless and demoralizing a job it can be.  Please be nice to your cleaning persons, mostly because they clean your poo.


So anyway we gave out the cookies and then went to my wife’s knitting club where her best friend’s mom (our de facto bonus mom) and some of the coolest ladies in all of the fine state of Kansas, hang out, chat and knit, sew, crotchet and otherwise craft the crap out of some stuff in totally awesome ways.  My presence was a bit of a surprise, as I have never joined them before.  The chocolate candy bars I brought for them all were also a surprise.  Awesome crafty women like chocolate – I think I read that somewhere.  My de facto mom then surprised ME with the coolest Santa Claus quilt you’ve ever seen.  (It now resides on my comfy chair and will come down with all the other decorations WHEN I’M GOOD AND READY!)

Afterwards we grabbed Liz’s best friend/sister (who got me some delicious mead as a gift –  Nice one, Megan!) and grabbed some delicious hot beverages at the Dunkin Donuts before we went out to St. Joseph’s scenic Krug Park to check out all the wonderful light displays.  The night ended with a scrumptious birthday dinner at Cheddar’s (I got the Monte Cristo) and heading home to check out the new DLC for Batman: Arkham Origins that I got with my season pass for the game, which was my awesome wife’s gift.

krug park 5

The following weekend was spent at the King’s- a family of friends who are friends of our family.  Every year since we’ve moved to the midwest my wife and I go to their big open house Christmas party.  This year we got caught in the massive snow storm that blanketed all we could see in white, but we made it there safe and sound and since we were coming back to open presents with them the next day (and since it was icy death outside), we stayed the night.  The next morning was one of the nicest, most peaceful Christmas experiences of my life.  There was coffee and sticky buns and we watched the end of Despicable Me and we borrowed a computer so Liz and I could talk to my sisters and niece and nephew and watch them open presents and everyone got along and nobody fought or acted mean to each other.  It was glorious.  Later on Megan and her parents (our bonus parents) came over and we all opened presents and watched Christmas movies and ate chili and potato soup.  Oh, and by the by, yes, every single member of this family inspired the character you think they did.

On Monday the 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve, we swooped up to Omaha and absconded with my brother-in-law back to St. Joe, but not before taking him and HIS De Facto Mom out for dinner and getting some really expensive mead for like fo’ dollahs. (I like mead, it’s a theme.)  Liz’s bro could not wait and insisted on giving us the presents he got for us on that night.  Liz got Lego Marvel Super Heroes (FTW) and I got Poke’mon Soul Silver (yes I wanted it, piss off).  On Christmas Eve, we had Lasagna for supper, a tradition in my wife’s family, and opened our stockings later that night, another tradition.  The rest of that week was all gaming and awesomeness.


We ended the week with burgers at The Casbah in Lawrence, KS, which was totally worth the drive.  On that Saturday we returned to Omaha and had many laughs at Liz’s family’s annual party: Rourke Family Christmas, or RourXmas for short.  The hosts this year were Tim (another awesome writer) and Mary (an amazing hostess) and it was an absolute blast.  Delicious food and intelligent (most of the time) conversation, and so much fun.

We returned from there to our own home and another visit with the Kings, this time the youths of the clan.  There had been grand plans for a horror movie extravaganza, but we spent most of the time talking and battling colds.  Oh yeah, BIG important thing about this holiday season and the biggest reason for the hiatus…. Liz and I realized we were getting sick on our way to Omaha and there was absolutely nothing to do about it.  Luckily, the Kings were also sick, so we kind of had an amazing time, because no one really cared.  Then Liz and I started cleaning up the house for our new years eve party and what is known as Commune Christmas.


My wife went to college, I did not.  While she was at college she met and befriended many strange and awesome people.  As the ever-looming threat of apocalyptic desolation is ingrained into our culture, it was recognized that these strange and awesome people had unique talents and skills that would be useful in such an event.   Soon this realization began the institution of a plan — a plan for a post-apocalyptic community, or commune.  Hence the name for their annual holiday get-together: Commune Christmas.  White elephant as-seen-on-tv gifts were exchanged, tea was brewed and shit was strange…..and awesome.  We finished the event off the next day with a laid-back lunch at the El Maguey Mexican restaurant… least my lunch was mild.

The rest of THAT week was spent with another friend from Colorado who enjoyed more tea and and many games of Sentinels of the Multiverse (BEST CARD GAME EVAR!  Thanks again, Sis!) and Pandante (and also made for us a strange and delicious meal of  Bok Choy.  I think it’s French. (I know, it’s not!)).  After a few evenings of movies, games, and camaraderie, we drove our friend to the airport on Monday and officially ended our holiday season.

As you may have deduced from the length of this report, the midwestern branch of the Gubernatis family has been flipping busy!

And now, looking forward…

I want to tell everyone who I mentioned above that I love you with all of my heart, and that I am so glad to have you in my life.  I want to say to all of those not mentioned above that I love you with all of my heart and I miss you deeply.  Here’s to 2014, everyone, and a brighter future.

Batman and Santa Claus – A Comparison

Since today is my birthday, I’ve decided to write about anything that strikes my fancy.  Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the similarities between these two iconic and powerful characters.  Now I know what you’re thinking, but there are a LOT more similarities than one might think.

Lets start with the basics:  Both St. Nicholas and Bruce Wayne are wealthy philanthropists who use their power and influence to encourage others to obey the accepted rules of a societal system.  Both believe themselves to be of the highest moral authority, especially Batman (I tend to agree on this point).  Both are nocturnal, except in very rare instances.   Both use fear, intimidation and coercion to force others to be better people.  Their methods might be a BIT different, but the core of the M.O. is there:  “Be good, or else.”

I think a big misconception about Santa is that he uses bribery.  This is not true, for the simple fact that, for Santa, “Good little children” is the status quo.  He expects and assumes that most if not all children WILL be good; that they ARE good.  He believes in the goodness in all children, in all people.  Even if you were kind of bad one year, you were likely gonna get SOMETHING from him under the tree.  It is only when a child is REALLY or CONSISTENTLY bad, breaking with the norm, that they get nothing or coal.  Presents from Santa are NOT bribery and are more about his own desire to GIVE gifts and see little children smile.  Nothing, or a lump of coal is Santa’s equivalent to Batman creeping up on you in a dark alley and beating the shit out of you, because you broke the law.

Which brings me to another big similarity:  Santa and Batman are both nocturnal and achieve their goals with only a few lucky individuals having even seen them.   Most people only see the results of their night time good deeds, whether it’s children coming down the stairs to find a special gift just for them under the tree, or the poor tired Commissioner  Gordon finding yet another Gotham perp hanging from a lamp post, or tied to their accomplices.

They see you when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake.  They know if you’ve been bad or good, so be good or you’ll get a concussion.  Both Batman and Santa Claus, through the use of some craft they possess, seem to always know who’s been naughty and nice.  In the case of Batman, it’s an immensely vast security network and a plethora of informants.  In the case of Santa Claus it is a veritable army of invisible elves that report to him on the behavior of EVERY child on the planet.  Not to mention Hugin and Munin.  Another interesting similarity?  Neither of them give a damn about your privacy.

Batman maintains a hideout where he spends all day training in martial arts, making advanced crime fighting gadgets, investigating crimes and brooding.  Santa Claus has a fortress at the north pole where he spends all year eating cookies and cakes, making toys, reviewing his list and being jolly.  Ok those aren’t exactly similar things, but they both have super secret bases where they keep their straight up bitchin’ rides.  The Batmobile is like the ONLY car I’ve ever wanted to drive.  Though I think the sleigh trumps it, being emissions-free and all.

Both are utterly recognizable by both children and adults almost everywhere.  Interestingly enough, Batman may be MORE recognizable world-wide than the Right Jolly Old Elf.  Either way, when you see either of them, you know it and you feel immediately better than you did before.  At least I do anyway.  I mean, how could seeing either of them be a BAD thing?  I mean, unless you’ve been naughty…..have you?  Cause if you have and you see Batman…just…just lie down and give up or something.  Don’t try and run.  ESPECIALLY if you see them both, cause while it isn’t Santa’s like, regular gig, even money is on him helping the Dark Knight take your ass down.  You’ve got no chance at all.

Also there is selflessness.  It takes a lot of energy to be Santa Claus, even more to be Batman.  Both figures offer up their whole beings to be what they are.  Granted both of them enjoy what they do, but probably not all the time.  When Batman bites down on a belt while Alfred relocates his shoulder after a fight with Killer Croc, I bet he has second thoughts.  Just like when Santa gets stuck in another heating vent, because NOBODY USES REGULAR DAMN CHIMNEYS ANYMORE and has to call Blitzen to yank his ass out of there, he might be thinking about retirement.  But they keep doing it.  They keep on keeping on, because……well because we need them to.  Because we need to believe that goodness is rewarded and badness or evil is punished; that there are guardians who watch over us and protect us.

Which brings me to the most important similarity.  Batman and Santa Claus are both REAL.  We all know Santa is real, that goes without saying, but……I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and believing it for almost as long.  Batman has become real.  As real as Santa is.  The spirit of Batman, of the Dark Knight lives within us.  Whenever you see a crime being committed and you intervene, or even call the police instead of moving on and not getting involved….you’re Batman.  Whenever your kids stand up to bullies in school, not because they are picking on THEM, but because they are picking on someone else….they’re Batman.  Whenever you do the right thing, in spite of it being difficult or not particularly good for you at the time…’re Batman.

But you have to WANT it, too.  It’s like wearing a Santa suit.  You can put it on and not FEEL the spirit of Santa within you and you’re just some guy in a Santa suit.  But if you feel that spirit, let it into you and want it to be a part of you, you BECOME Santa.  The same is true for donning the cowl of the Dark Knight.  If you put it on and let the spirit of Batman into you….you become Batman.  Even if you are just making some sick kids feel better for an afternoon.  You ARE Batman.  Anyone who’s ever worn these suits knows it’s true.

The final similarity I offer is more just something they have in common.  They are both great role models.  As far as looking for someone to look up to, or someone for your kids to look up to and want to emulate, you can do a hell of a lot worse than Batman and Santa Claus.  I didn’t have very good role models as a child.  Nor did I have any particularly strong male figures in my life.  It was not until I grew older and reflected on my young life that I realized I had chosen these two figures.  You can ask anyone I went to school with, or frankly who knows me: if someone is doing something wrong or illegal, I will not turn a blind eye.  This has gotten me into trouble before and on several occasions gotten me injured.  You could ask the same people about the lengths to which I will go to try and help someone have a happy holiday, especially if their holiday isn’t going so great.  This has also gotten me into trouble before and on MANY occasions made me broke.  But those are the role models I chose.  There are no two men I can think of that I want to be more like and that is an encouraging thought.

Who are your role models?

Any thoughts on that mass of crazy that you just read? I want to hear about it!  Leave your thoughts in the comments.  Thank you so much for reading my insanity and as always, have a wonderful day and if I don’t see you, have a Happy Yule too!



Happy Thanksgiving

It’s thanksgiving, a time to reflect upon the last year and be reminded of what we have and are thankful to have.  I find that this year I have much and more to be thankful for.  I will be, as of Sunday, December 1st, a published author.  This wouldn’t have been possible for me a year ago, not just because of life circumstances, but simply by the virtue of the fact that I had not written a book at that time.  I wrote a novel.  I am coming to grips with that accomplishment for myself as I write these words.  I used to think of it as not such a big deal, but people in my life do not.  Having achieved this endeavor is no small feat, not everyone has the drive or gumption to actually finish a novel.  This makes me a little sad, because I know in my heart that everyone has a story inside them that needs and deserves to be free.

It is also a time  for stuffing one’s face full of plant and animal matter that has been arranged into delicious shapes by expert foodcrafters like my wife.  We have an amazing tradition in our house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We drive up to Omaha before or after these holidays and spend a few days with my wife’s awesome family.  We then abscond back to St. Joseph with her brother and spend the next week simply hanging out together.  Sometimes we play games, sometimes we just watch movies, but we spend this time together enjoying each others’ company.  This is my favorite part of the holidays in my recent life.  I say my recent life, because this tradition is young, only a few years old, but I hope that it endures for many years.

I am deeply thankful for all that I have accomplished this year.  It would not be possible to have accomplished these things without the love and support of the people in my life, for whom I am even more thankful.  To all of my family near and far, to everyone who has supported the book and to everyone who has simply listened while I talked:  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I cannot possibly express my gratitude to you enough for being in my life and enriching it with your presence.

From my soul to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

Holy crap I’m an author!

Ok well technically not QUITE yet, but in less than a week The White Wolf and The Darkness will be my first published work.  The first of many, I hope, frankly.  It’s been a sort of  crazy unexpected road my wife and I took when we endeavored on this whole project.  Then again, that’s been pretty much our lives since we met and it seems to be working out pretty damned well for us.  I want to say, first, that this simply would not have come to pass without the unyielding love and support of my Lizzy.  Not only would I have never published anything, but I doubt I would have ever had the confidence to write anything and ever think it was worth reading.  That point brings me to another good one…

If you are a writer, or if you want to be a writer I have three simple and easy pieces of advice.  This advice I will dispense…now.

1st Write.

Keep on writing.  Write some more.  I don’t mean spend every waking hour writing, but I do mean to listen to and give in to the muse when it descends.  If you are passionate about something, write about it.  If you have a story in your heart, get it out and onto paper, worry about fine-tuning it later.  Which brings me to….

2nd Share what you write.

Share it first with someone who loves you.  This person will encourage you and be thrilled to read something you’ve written.  Next, as my wife would say, give it to your grammar police friend.  This person will point out all of your spelling and grammatical errors and make you feel all butt-hurt, but will ultimately make your work better.  THEN, share it with others who write or create, or folks who love a good story.  These people will expand your mind and offer you places to go with your story that you didn’t think you could, or would.  I realize that I kind of hit the jackpot with this and got all of those people in one, but people tell me I ‘m lucky, what can I say.  And finally…

3rd Read what others write.

This kind of goes with number two, but bear with me.  When sharing your work with others who also write, encourage them to share their own work and when you do, be kind.  If you have ever put word to paper, you know that you are your own worst critic and that you are likely very self-conscious about your work.  So are just about ALL other writers worth their salt.  We’re all afraid that we don’t know what we’re doing, or don’t deserve to be heard, no matter how cavalier or confident we seem.  Remember this when reading the work of someone you know.  Be a safe place for them, as they are for you.  End of advice.

So yeah, this whole Published Author thing is something I am still trying to wrap my head completely around.  I have a book signing in January.  Me — Kevin Gubernatis — has a book signing at the local Hastings here in St. Joseph.  What?!?  I will be the guy that sits there and talks pleasantly with you about his book while sipping coffee.  Me.  I am an author.  I have written a novel.  It’s one of those things that you think anyone can do, and anyone CAN do it, but few people do.  It is an accomplishment; I have accomplished something with my life.  It is not the thing I THOUGHT I would accomplish, as I am not Batman, but I’m quite happy with it none the less.

I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone who helped this to come to fruition.  ALL my beta readers, everyone who supported the book on facebook or word of mouth and everyone who pre ordered, thank you so much.  I am going to again, and not for the last time, thank my beautiful and spectacular wife, who is my reason for living.  Thank you Lizzy, from the bottom of my heart.

Holy crap I’m an author and you can too!

Any questions or comments about being a self published author, or just writing/editing/publishing in general?  Leave them in the comments and Liz or I will answer as best we can.  Thank you all for reading and as always, have a wonderful day.

Oh by the way I was totally kidding before.

I’m Batman.

Dream of The White Wolf

Herein is as much as I remember about the dream that gave The White Wolf and The Darkness its title.  It’s kind of bizarre, being a dream and such.  I will never forget this dream as long as I live.  It is the most intense and vivid I have ever had.

A few months before my wife and I moved out here to St. Joseph, I had a dream —  and it was one of those that, if you’re lucky, you remember forever.  I am lucky.  It started out in some kind of teen bar or club.  A bunch of hormonal teenagers in eighties rock clothes acting cool.  It reminded me of the first live action Ninja Turtles movie…good times.  Anyway, a big fight broke out and a bunch of them were dog-piling onto each other and it was just a really stupid bar fight.  I wanted out of there so I asked a particularly sneery looking street tough with a mohawk to let me out.  He nodded and turned around where there was a big vault-like door.  He opened it and gestured for me to go through asking if I knew where it led.  I replied, and I quote, “It is to here that all places lead and from here that all places go” and stepped through.  This is the point where the dream changed, in that way that makes you feel like you aren’t dreaming anymore.

Before me lay what I can only describe as the lower levels of a great and vast castle in a frozen and snowy region.  Everything had a slightly blue tinge to it, which was calming.  I explored the place and realized that I was underground, but I could still see outside through windows high up in the walls.  All that I could see through these windows was a cold grey sky, which again was calming.  As I moved through the – dungeon?- I got the distinct impression that there was something very bad within these walls that I now moved through.  I became apprehensive, then.  I was unarmed and had little to no idea what I might be facing.   I thought it best to leave and return with some of my friends and make a good and proper party adventure out of it.  It was then that I saw a steel ladder leading up embedded into one of the walls.  This part always reminds me of the sewers beneath the Imperial City in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

I climbed out of the sewer/dungeon/castle and found myself within the ruins of what appeared to be some old castle.  As I explored these surroundings I realized that I was in my home town of Arbutus MD, and that the ruins were on top of what was once the playground behind the house I grew up in.  As I came out of the ruins, I saw familiar landmarks:  my elementary school, which was right next to my house, the basketball court, the field….and something else most curious.  There were a group of kids, young boys about 10-14 and they were dressed as knights and beating the crap out of each other, with wooden swords and lances.  I tried to help them by offering pointers, but the moment I thought of this, the dream changed again.  To this day, I have no idea of the significance of those young knights.

Suddenly it was night, and the parking lot of my old school was littered with refuse and steel trashcans with fire coming out of them.  There were also some kind of shanty lean-tos built next to the basketball court for some reason.  It seemed like a scene from a post apocalyptic movie.  It was colder than it had been before, even colder than it had been in the castle and I suddenly realized that I was stark naked, which was nice because as I’ve stated in the past, I like the cold.  Then I saw it, The White Wolf.  I immediately went into survival mode and ran around the side of one of the lean-tos and climbed up on top of it.  The wolf gave chase, but didn’t growl or bark or anything.  It just followed me and looked up at me when I reached the top.  I kept thinking that I needed to kill it or it was going to eat me and out of nowhere I was filled with a great strength and fury.  I somehow reached down and grabbed the wolf by its throat, lifting it into the air.

What happened next will forever be etched into my mind and soul and almost always makes me cry when I think about it.  As I stood there, naked and wild and free, I knew that this wolf was my teacher.  I knew that it meant me no harm and most importantly I knew that its life was in my hands.  I was more powerful than the wolf and the wolf knew this.  Still it did not flinch or struggle as I held it in the air, it just kept gasping for air.  I never before, or since, felt as powerful as I did then.  I looked at the wolf and knew I could destroy it and I knew too, that if I did, I would regret it forever.  I released the White Wolf and woke from my dream next to my wife.  I remember feeling as though the wolf had embraced me at the end.  Not literally, you understand, but in an emotional and spiritual way.  It was from this dream that I got the title of my book and the dramatis persona of its main character.

Do you ever have any memorable dreams?

I wanna hear about ’em!  Leave it in the comments if you please.  Thanks for listening and as always, have a wonderful day.

Big Announcement: Pre Order Now Available!


It’s finally here! The White Wolf and The Darkness will be available in print and in e-book for delivery in just 30 days, but you can reserve your copy now. Pre Orders for the print version are available starting today through and e-book pre orders can be placed through I’ll be updating you as other e-book distributors join the list, including a version for Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBookstores and more.

How to pre order your copy…

Trade Paperback via

E-book via

Thank you!

I want to thank everyone who helped spread the word. I’m really proud to be able to share the Soul Star Galaxy with you. Here’s to the first of many tales. As always, have a wonderful day!


What scares me…

Since it’s Halloween, one of my favorite holidays by the way, I’d like to talk about what frightens me.  Fear is one of those things that, for some people at least, is somewhat difficult to discuss.  It’s kind of a big thing to admit that you’re frightened at all, let alone what might have frightened you.  To some it’s about not appearing weak, for others it’s about not wanting to think about what scares them, for fear of….well, being afraid.  Still others refuse to speak of their fears because they feel dwelling on one’s fear for too long diminishes their experience of life and living it; that it gets in the way of the more enjoyable things in life. For myself, I embrace fear, for it is only in accepting and examining our fears that we overcome them.  The path to courage is through fear, you might say.

I’m afraid of a lot of things, actually, and my fears have evolved and changed as I have grown older.  For example, I used to be afraid to go into certain parts of my house, because that shit was haunted.  I’m still afraid of haunted places, but for very different reasons than I had been before.  I no longer think of what could come out of the darkness to”get” me, but what might follow me home and become interested in my life in a way I don’t want it to.  I’ve also found great comfort in my own courage about that sort of thing.  I used to be afraid of getting jumped and getting the shit kicked out of me after school, but these same kids who would beat on me would also never enter a haunted house alone, and I would.  I took my beatings and my humiliation (by far the more terrifying aspect of an ass-whooping for me) but they would not and could not take the….spooking?  BLOODY COWARDS!!!

It’s funny how we have different kinds of fears, too. There’s the palpable, serious fears of adulthood, like worrying about losing a loved one, or a job.  Then there’s the more ethereal fears like a fear of the dark, or the fear of the unknown, which I think everyone experiences at some points in their lives.  The more elusive fears are the far more serious ones, I think.  They’re the ones that creep up on us when we aren’t paying attention and suddenly make us feel completely out of control.  There is also the irrational psychological fears, like spiders, needles or sock puppets.  Mine is wasps and hornets.  I turn into a crazy person when it concerns those flying, stinging assholes.  **Disclaimer:  This does not include most honeybees!  Honeybees make honey and are directly responsible for the creation of mead.  They are a global treasure and must be preserved.  That is all!**

I think what I fear most is that I will somehow be the instrument of my own misery, that somehow my whole life will fall apart in front of me and I will lose everything that I care about and everyone that I love, and that it will be my own fault.  Again, this is a variation of a fear I held when I was a teenager: that I would completely lose control of my anger and explode, hurting everyone around me.  I overcame this fear as an adult, as I realized that for all of my own seething anger at the world, I am far more in control of my temper and my temperament than most people think I am and, more importantly than most people are.  One of my favorite lines from The Avengers is,  “That’s my secret, Captain…I’m always angry.”

I have to say, without arrogance, that one thing I’ve never feared is death, and I mean that.  I’ve never been afraid to die, not even when I was a little kid.  When I was in Ireland with my mother for a summer trip,  we were on the second level of a double decker bus and a couple of… let’s call them hooligans…. were giving my mom and I shit because we were American.  They came up and sat right behind us and one of them pulled out a gun and put it to the back of my seat.  He looked at my mom and menacingly sneered at her, which caused her to almost throw up and start blabbering about how she was born in the country and how very Irish she was.  A nine year old Kevin promptly mocked the shit bird for his “little” gun (I think it was a .22) and how it didn’t look at all real.  The guy looked at me with what I can only describe as a combination of frustration, amusement and respect, assuring me that it was real.  I assured him that if his gun was real, it was so small it didn’t look like it would have hurt me much.  He laughed at me loudly and after a short conversation with us, got off at the very next stop, telling us both to have a good day.  I realized many years later while looking at some pictures of firearms that his gun was likely very real.  Dodged that bullet I guess, HA!

Now having said that, I can tell you that had these two Irishmen wanted to beat me up, I’d have been terrified.  Again I think that I was far more afraid of the humiliation of getting beat up than any actual physical danger.  How that makes sense, I do not understand, but hey – that’s fear.  It usually doesn’t make sense.

What are you afraid of?

Care to share your inner most terrors with the rest of us?  Leave your fears in the comments below!  Thank you for reading and have a fucking amazing Halloween!

P.S.  Don’t forget to get your treat on Halloween and pre-order your copy of The White Wolf and The Darkness!



5 Horror Movies You Should Watch Right Now

Halloween is almost here and I thought I’d give you guys my top five list for scariest movies.  These are movies that scare the shit out of me and leave me feeling apprehensive and nervous for days after I watch them.  Some are classics, some are not as well known, but all are perfect for your scare fest for the season.  I’ll first say that almost all of them are supernatural horrors.  I don’t get scared at slasher movies because I FEAR NO MAN and torture porn just makes me sick to my stomach and makes me worry for the world as they seem to be so very popular.  No, all of the movies on my list are about shit being completely out of the average Joe’s understanding, let alone control.

5.  The Exorcist


I know what you’re thinking.  “The Exorcist?  Wtf?!?  This should be like number one on the list!”  Yeah, I agree that as far as supernatural horrors go, this is kind of the creme of the crop.  The problem is that I saw this one when I was 5 and then many,-MANY times thereafter, so some of the shock and creep is taken out of it for me at this point in my life.  As with most of the horror movies from this era, the scariest thing about them (for me at least) is the sound.  Not the sound track, but the actual SOUNDS.  The voice of the demon is terrifying to me.  The crab walk, not so much.

4. Session 9


Session 9 is a movie I found all on my own one day when I was around 17 years old.  This was again one of those films where the voices or sounds of the movie scared me more then what was actually happening.  The voice on the tape terrifies me and we still aren’t sure what it is.  The relatively mundane tone of the film at its beginning coupled with the idea that this could have easily been me (I used to do a lot of contract/painting and the like in my youth), made for an atmosphere that was all too frighteningly familiar.  Session 9 also leaves the watcher feeling not just scared, but really sort of depressed and worried about their state of mind.  Plus, it was before David Caruso wore cool sunglasses, so there wasn’t even any comic relief.

3. Phantasm


Ah, this one is easily my favorite.  I saw Phantasm before I could form words, I think.  This movie has solidly the most memorable main title theme in a horror movie ever.  Just hearing the theme can make my hairs stand on end.  I’m listening to it now and…eep, there they go.  The Tall Man, the Dwarves, the portal to fucking Mars it seems, the silver death balls, THE FUCKING BEE MONSTER AT THE END!!  All of these things come together to craft a solid B horror title that never ceases to terrify me.  Fun fact:  I met Angus Scrimm when I was 8 at a convention with my dad and sister.  He was VERY nice and took a pic with us all.  He even called me BOY!  Another fun fact:  My Dad kind of looks/looked like Angus Scrimm and was also fond of calling me BOY!  I had an exciting childhood.

2.  The Shining


I don’t think any list of good horror films could be complete without at least mentioning The Shining.  Jack Nicholson has arguably never been scarier in anything else.  Jack’s slow decent into total madness and Danny’s creepiness (yes, Danny was a creepy little kid, I said it) made the atmosphere oppressive to say the least.  The thing that always got to me, though, you know, aside from the evil twins, bear costume weirdness and psycho with an axe, was how sweet Shelly Duvall was in this movie.  More than many a damsel in distress, I really felt for her in this movie.  She was just always so sweet, which made the idea of harm coming to her more terrifying.  These days, you can’t wait for someone to die in a horror movie, because everyone is always so mean or asinine.  More than anything though, room 237 lives in my memory and my nightmares.

1.  The Haunting


The Haunting is hands down the most terrifying movie I’ve ever watched.  Once again one I saw, or rather, was forced to watch it when I was very young.  With relatively few true special effects, The Haunting scares the viewer with strange cinematography, a dark and oppressive setting and one damned creepy actress.  This movie scared me more with a close-up of a small section of wallpaper and some weird sounds in the background than most movies can with all the bloody make-up they can muster.  Anytime I’m thinking of scary movies, I think of the Haunting.  There are so many solid scenes that could be considered the scariest in the movie, I can’t really choose one.  If you are a horror movie fan and haven’t seen this one, you OWE it to yourself to watch it alone in the dark.

What horror movies should I watch Right Now?

What horror movies do you watch? What do you love about them? Is there one I should drop everything to watch right now? Let me know in the comments and have a nice, spooky day.

Paranormal Experiences

Hey everyone, I hope you enjoyed The Inspection. Things will be getting back to normal this week with a regular post today and a lore post on Thursday.

Today I’d like to talk about the paranormal.  Specifically paranormal experiences that I’ve had, some that folks I know have had, and some that folks I’ve never even met have had. I grew up in a very active house, as far as the paranormal is concerned.  I have five siblings older than me who grew up in that house before me and most of them have had some kind of experience or another.  As for me, when I was very young, I used to see shadow forms a lot.  Some looked like small animals, some looked like standing humans and some looked like hooded figures.

Once, when I was about six or seven, my sister and I were home alone.  She was babysitting me and the rest of the family was out for the evening.  It was quite late and I was in my sister’s room laying on a daybed near a window, trying to fall asleep.  I could not even remotely sleep; my mind was  racing.  Suddenly, I saw a silhouette on the shade of the window from the outside.  At first I thought it was a bird or something, but I realized almost  immediately, and to my horror, that it was in the shape of a human skeleton wearing a Parson’s hat.  I started to cry and woke my sister who was sleeping nearby.  She turned on the light and, of course, the silhouette disappeared.    My sister was skeptical, but went and looked out the window, finding nothing.  This wasn’t surprising, as it was a (roughly) twenty foot shear drop to the concrete ground out the back of the house.  She let me sleep in her bed for the night and I never saw the figure again….while I was awake.  Chronically after this event, I had a recurring nightmare.  Not about a skeleton with a hat, but featuring a wicked old man with a hat, dressed all in black, including a huge black cape.  As I grew older I stopped having the nightmare and dismissed the event as the overactive imagination of a very imaginative child.  I later discovered a phenomenon called the Hatman, which brought back all of those memories and had me wondering just what was outside that window that night.

I’ve heard a ton of stories over the years and I admit I seek them out.  If you know me, I will likely ask you about any experiences you’ve had as candidly as I might ask about any movies you might have seen.  By far the strangest story I have ever heard was from a coworker of mine from when I worked as a janitor at a university which will remain nameless for the time being.  She told me she had been working in a building on campus which at one time had been a morgue.  It was not her regular posting, but she was a thorough cleaner so she looked for something to do.  She found a bathroom on the sub-basement level and cleaned the entire thing.  Pulled the trash, disinfected, cleaned the toilet and wiped everything down.  She later informed her coworkers that she had done the work, so they did not need to worry about it.  They were very confused, insisting that there was no bathroom in the area that she’d indicated, to the point at which they insisted she show them the room.  When she brought them down to the area, the hall in question was not there.  The hall simply dead ended after a turn.  Needless to say, she was very worried and confused.  She even went so far as to seek therapy, concerned she may need assistance with her own metal health and faculties, but there wasn’t anything wrong with her that any doctor or therapist could find.  She was later relating the experience to another coworker, who informed her that there had at one time been a bathroom there, back when the building had been a morgue.  When she told me this story I was completely floored.  I knew I would never forget it, just because it was so damned strange.

Which brings me to the experiences of folks I’ve never met — you!

Please share any strange experiences you’re comfortable with in the comments.  I look forward to reading and, of course, retelling your stories.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

A Writing Soundtrack

Photo credit: XLucas

Photo credit: XLucas

I need to listen to some kind of music when I am writing, though sometimes when I’m really engrossed, the  music shuts off I don’t even realize it.  To get started though, I need some kind of immediate inspiration.  I tend to listen only to instrumentals while I am writing directly, as lyrics can distract me from the story at hand with whatever concepts are being expressed in a song.  I really like any form of electronica, but while writing there is nothing better than a good ambient track to put me in the mood and keep me in the mood.  Through the Ergosphere by Simon Wilkenson was of particular help to me while writing White Wolf for it’s eerie atmospheric tone and dark resonance.

Sometimes, for specific characters, I do have songs that I think express a character’s personality or actions.  I’ll usually listen to these songs just before I start writing a chapter about the character, to get myself revved up.  Fury Oh Fury by Nico Vega immediately struck a cord with me in reference to Asala the first time I heard it.  Its her ass whoopin’ song for sure.  For the character of King I often think of softer Johnny Cash songs like Help Me, which could not express that character’s struggles more.

Whenever I write typical or high fantasy, which I often do, I tend to like inspiring epic tracks like Over the Misty Mountains Cold from The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey (I’m a much bigger Hobbit fan the LotR, from an early age), or perhaps the Pirates of The Caribbean theme from Curse of the Black Pearl.  Adventure movies almost always have soundtracks that inspire.  Classics like Star Wars and Indiana Jones are always good for getting the wheels turning in an exciting way.

And, of course, I am often inspired by the music from video games I play.  Dragonborn from Skyrim is fucking AWESOME and always makes me want to fight something big, and I mean that.  The entire sound track from the Mass Effect Trilogy is just so gods-blessed good I can’t stand it.  Vigil always gives me chills.  It makes me think of how important Earth is and why we need to protect it, but the best part is that I have no idea why.

I’m also heavily influenced and inspired by super hero themes.  The intro to Batman: The Animated Series, in particular, made a 5-year-old me button the top button of his dad’s long coat around his neck and leap off the porch in search of criminals…..that same boy very promptly landed RIGHT on his face and busted his lip open, but it is the intent that counts!  Remember that, folks.


What’s your soundtrack?

What’s your favorite adventure music?  Shit, what’s your favorite music?  Let me know in the comments.  Once again, thanks for reading and please, have a wonderful day.