Archive for » April, 2012 «

Friday, April 20th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Real life reared its ugly head this week, preventing me once again from finishing up chapter two of the “Trouble Gum” story! I know, I know, excuses and all that. But…real life is like that some times! I’m knuckling down this weekend though, hoping to knock out two chapters so we’ll be set for a bit. And before you go thinking I’m just slacking off eternally here…I *did* submit a story to an anthology this week!

Any who….

In order to keep things flowing, I’ve dug back into the vault a bit, looking for something fun that if inspired, I might be able to continue on with. I’ve a lot out there stashed in various forms of completion, but I have a problem finishing projects. (Trouble Gum is going to be my attempt at fixing said problem!) Enter “Hooper Charles, Esq.” Hooper came to me out of the blue a few years back. This story was original published as part of the “Kitchen Cinco” which appears to be no longer these days. Hooper was my attempt at some Hunter Thompson-esque Gonzo character writing with a bit of Hoosier flare and whether or not the end product was good or not…I don’t know. It was a lot of fun to play with though.

So, without further adieu….

Hooper Charles, Esq

10pm, Thursday night, cruising down country road 4, heading due south of the county co-op. The task that called us that day was the grand opening of the new Gnawbone grain elevator, a sure sign of economic growth and fertile fields for Southern Indiana. The mission was handled quickly and succinctly, no further worry until the morning. The task that called us down country road 4 was something grittier and more devout; a corn alcohol still operating in the burnt out remains of the towns last Tractor Supply Company. Tim Simons tipped us off; handy to have met the mayors son.


Category: Writing  | Tags: , ,  | Comments off
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s been a bit since the last episode, but a new episode of the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club is here! This time around, friend & co-hort Mark Newell returns to talk about some epic fantasy, namely in the form of Seven Princes, the the debut novel from John R. Fultz.

Also in this episode, I dive into a bit of the catalog from Orbit Books, an imprint here in that states that is quickly becoming a go to source for some quality genre fiction. Among these are some series that I’ve been meaning to sink my teeth into such as Ian Banks’ “Culture” series or Mira Grant’s “Feed” series plus a lot of other series that I think would appeal to a lot of you listeners!

So thanks for listening! I’ve changed up the format this time around just a smidge, hoping that it makes for a bit more of a streamlined listening experience for you all. Feedback is always welcome at, so feel free to let me know what you think of it! In addition to that, the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club on Facebook is going pretty well, some come join us and talk about books!

Finally, I’m looking for more guests to come sit on the shows here in the near future! If you’re a blogger, podcaster, etc and would like to be a Weird Friend? Shoot me an email at! I have a list of books that I am looking to cover, but I am open to suggestions as well! So, if you have a book you’ve been dying to read and are looking for an excuse to get it read? Now’s your chance! The only stipulations are that the books are genre related. They don’t have to be new, classics work as well!

Until next time Weird Friends, whatever you do, wherever you go, always take a good book.


Category: Books  | Tags: , , , , ,  | Comments off
Friday, April 13th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week for the writing experiment, I give you a piece of a story that’s actually been sitting around for a bit. As a long time reader of fantasy fiction…I’ve not spent much time trying to write it. So this, the story of Dega the Black, is my first attempt. There’s actually quite a bit of plotting for this story that is going on in the background, so some day, this may become a serious effort. At least that’s the hope!

A select few of you out there may get a chuckle when you see the name of the Necromancer, Dega the black. I had a very direct and obvious inspiration for this character, in the form of… my character from the MMO Rift! Cheesy, yes. But, the hours I spent playing that character put some serious ideas in motion I think, and that’s what counts! No for clarification, this is “Rift Fan Fiction” in the slightest. In fact, it’s not even tangentially related to Rift. It’s just an inspiration for a character and nothing more. The world itself is all made up by me.

As I said, this is an piece I’ve been sitting on for a bit. I’ve found myself a bit stuck carrying on with the next chapter, but the ideas are still percolation and I’m hoping that airing this out in the public helps to inspire further writing. I like the character and the idea quite a bit. For next week, I’ve decided that I’m going to serialize the tale of Troublegum and bring you a full story in quite a few parts. This week, it just didn’t come together with house projects, putting together a new episode of the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club and preparing for recording for 1951 Down Place. Excuses, I know, but hey…at least you still get something out of it in the end!

Until next time weird friends, I leave you with a quote from the late great Douglas Adams….
“So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish.”

Crowded Houses Pt. 1

The stately bedrooms of Simca Escher held all the trappings befitting the daughter of a Trader Baron of the Walovian Marshes. Sumptuous wall hangings that draped the rooms in rich dark brown fabrics, ornate wooden bed posts that towered over the common man and dressing tables strewn with sparkling jewels and shining gold. Even Simca herself embodied what one would envision when someone mentioned “Trader Escher’s Daughter”; flowing blond locks that cascaded over sun kissed skin, framing her high cheekbones dusted ever so lightly with pigment so that she looked her best when her maidens came to wake her in the morning. It was the grimace of fear that settled into the rigor of a death mask and the deep purple that stained the pockets of Simca’s throat that made the room feel off, perhaps alien to those that could call themselves regulars to the Baron’s chambers. The blood that seeped from the depths of Simca’s ears, nose and throat heightened the feeling of nausea that came with the dead princesses appearance, off setting the glamor of the rooms around her.


Category: Movies  | Tags: , , ,  | Comments off
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Over at Book Riot today, blogger Rebecca Joines Schinsky wrote a post on her 7 Dirty Little Reading Secrets and it was pretty fun. More importantly…it sounded fun to do, too! Me being as reading obsessed as I have been as of late, it sounded like a perfect idea for a blog post.

So, here you go, my own 7 Little Reading Secrets!

I’ve only read the first two books of the Song of Ice and Fire. I don’t know that I”ll read the rest. I liked the first two books of George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series, but there’s just too much of it. I love the TV adaptation too. The detail’s not quite so thick, so it flows a bit better. Whenever I think, “I want to read more Song of Ice and Fire”? I think immediately of a hundred other books that I’m dying to read and may not get to due to the time commitment.

I for one welcome our new Kindle Overlords! I am not saying ‘down with all paper books!’ or anything of that sort. For my library though? I do not lament saying good by to the paper back and welcome the ebook with open arms. I love my Kindle, I love ebooks. It’s changed the way I read, it’s changed the amount I read and it’s made the process even more convenient. It’s not you paperbacks, it’s me. I’ve changed. I do not see myself going back, except for the rare reference book here and there.

I’ve never read a Drizzt Do’urden book. I cut my teeth on Dungeons and Dragons and it was the Weis & Hickman’s “Dragonlance” books that turned me into a fantasy fan. I’ve never read a single page of the Drizzt Do’urden books, though I have probably told a few people I have, just to save face. I love Dark Elves too, which is the crazy thing. I’ve considered going back and reading them here as of late, but I fear they won’t live up to the years of hype. It may not sound like much these days but back in the day; these were must reads.

I’m not a huge horror novel kind of guy. I like horror books in general and I’ve read and loved the one’s you’re supposed to such as King, etc. But, as much as I’ve made my name as a horror blogger, horror podcaster and even a dabbling horror author? I don’t read very much horror. 9 times out of 10? I’m reaching for a science fiction novel followed closely by a fantasy novel. In my own writing attempts, I’ve tried to scribble out some horror stories but I often find myself hitting a road block. Maybe I need to dabble in some other genres!

I read sometimes upwards of 4 books at any given time. I…have an limited attention span at times. SQUIRREL!

Many books tend to bog down in parts, it’s just par for the course. Those chapters that the author has to slow the pacing down to worth through some of the headier ideas of their story. Those chapters that take place between big action sequences and their buildups. I have a hard time with those. Normally I hit a section like that, I sit that book down, move on to another and read until I hit a similar spot. Sometimes, it may be months before I make it back to that first book. It generally only takes me a page or two to remember who’s who and what’s going down once I do pick it up though. For some reason…I don’t do this as much with the Kindle these days.

I’m jealous of my Mom, my old high school friend Corey and my Wife. I read at a pretty decent clip I think. These three? They put me to shame. I spent the old days talking books with Corey. Generally, I’d find a book that blew me away and understandably I’d get pretty excited about it. Normally, when I’d tell Corey about it, the response was, “Oh yah, I read that.” “When?” “Tuesday.” My wife, this lady can put down a book a day given the chance. We recently received a flyer on a local college extension offering speed reading courses. When I asked he if she would want to take it with me, her response was, “What would be the point?”. Finally, my Mom took actual speed reading classes in college. When I was in high school, I would spend months laboring over some boring classic for a book report. She’d read it in two hours so she could help with said report. And the real kicker here? She’s not much of a reader.

The thought of being able to read a book a day still makes me feel giddy just from the sheer amount of cool stuff I could read!

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in ‘The Classics’ By ‘The Classics’, I mean classic literature. I’m all for classic sci-fi and genre books. When it comes to those books that literature classes, high brow lit blogs and everybody else says you ‘need’ to read? Meh. They’re important, yes and many writers wouldn’t be where they are today without these books. They just don’t hold any interest for me. I’ve gone through my share for college classes and the like. That’s enough for me. I know what I like and what I like generally has aliens, space ships, monsters or ray guns in them. I still haven’t read “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” simply because it’s still in part….”Pride and Prejudice”.

So there you have it, my 7 Dirty Little Reading Secrets. Nothing too blasphemous I think! What are your dirty little secrets? Come share them with us in the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club on Facebook!

Category: Books  | Comments off
Tuesday, April 03rd, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’m a long time fan of Hammer as we all know. My time spent with the studio has actually been tightly focused. I love the Peter Cushing “Frankenstein” flicks, I love the Christopher Lee “Dracula Flicks” and I love anything with Ingrid Pitt. The best part of doing the 1951 Down Place podcast for me is that it forces me to broaden my horizons and check out a large part of Hammer’s other offerings.

Going into Episode 7 of the show, I had heard of “Paranoiac”, but that’s about it. I’d heard the name, but knew absolutely nothing about the movie itself. Heck, I didn’t even know Oliver Reed was in it. The further I get away from the movie however, the more I like it. That’s not to say that I’m happy to see it behind me; it’s the fact that here even a few weeks away from my two viewings of the movie, I still find myself looking over bits and pieces of the film and really enjoying what they accomplished here. Everybody loves a good Hitchcock movie, and I still feel that “Paranoiac” is a pretty blatant take of that style of film. That’s okay though; it’s nice to see the touch of somebody else such as Jimmy Sangster or Freddie Francis put their own touch on Hitchcock’s classic formula.

Episode 7 of the 1951 Down Place Podcast can be found over on our official site! Once you give it a listen, we’d love to hear your feed back!

For our next episode, I’m really excited for the movie as it’s another Hammer film I’ve never made the time for. While I’m well known for being a horror fan, what I’m not quite as vocal about is my love for science fiction. My love for sci-fi is in fact…greater than my love for horror. I can’t get enough of the stuff, so being able to dig into 1955′s “The Quatermass Xperiment” is pretty damn exciting as I don’t get to podcast about sci-fi too much. (The Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club is starting to scratch that itch though!) I had watched the earlier “Quatermass and the Pit” and enjoyed it a lot; I’ve just never made it back to the good doctor. When it comes to talk of classic sci-fi movies, “Quatermass” is always on the top of the list, so it’s a pretty natural fit.

Other than that, I received a new book on Hammer films from my co-hort Scott, and it’s pretty great. Looking forward to drop some Quatermass knowledge on the next episode after giving that a read too!

Until Episode 8…..

Category: Movies  | Tags: , , , , ,  | Comments off