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Lupo's World ~ A Blog


The recent epidemic of sudden or sudden-appearing deaths among friends, acquaintances, fellow writers, and revered celebrities (of whom legendary film critic Roger Ebert is only the latest), has set off another bout of depressing thought patterns, self-doubt, and contemplation of mortality. As I approach a telling milestone in age (and the one you're thinking of I've already passed), I find myself once again nervously watching the sands running all too smoothly, all too quickly through the hourglass. I find myself once again questioning, wondering, criticizing… trying to understand just what it is I've done with my life.

We all do it, don't we? Come on, fess up. As you get older, don't you look around and see what you've built, check to see whether it'll withstand the passage of time and carry your name forward into the future? Of course, if you've had children, you can make a checkmark on the plus-list. If, like me, you haven't brought anyone into the world, then you have little choice but to look at what else you've done and, much more uncomfortably, what you might have done.

I've brought some words into the world, not all of them great or memorable, most of them probably not memorable, really, some bound up in covers and called books. Others called stories and articles and book reviews. Some of them are even good, maybe one or two I'd consider great by some arcane standard. Most are passable, worthy of a satisfied "huh!" and not much else. Some of the fiction may be briefly interesting, though memorable is probably a stretch. But ultimately, the dead-bottom assessment is that all of it might as well not exist, that its lack of being in the world would not be missed pretty much by anyone. Perhaps if movies and television had been birthed from it, there would be more of what one could self-servingly call a "legacy," but without this form of immortalization, it's safe to say the words I've put into order (even those that make some sense and evoke some emotion or response besides unintentional humor) are all rather pedestrian and disposable.

While others were out in the world helping fight hunger and disease, or building homes for refugees, or trying to stop wars and tribal conflicts, or handing out meals to the homeless, or trying to educate those starving for knowledge, or trying to keep kids safe from violence and drugs, or attempting to provide for humans in need… while all that was going on, what I chose to do with my life was to put some words together so they could be read and forgotten, disposed of, consumed. Maybe enjoyed, I hope they've been enjoyable. Maybe they've brought some small measure of happiness or pleasure, or a laugh, or a smirk and a curse, maybe they've disturbed and offended. All those responses are acceptable, even desirable, for a writer of what is essentially a luxury – a small modicum of fantasy in an increasingly negative, predatory, and uncaring world.

Upon hearing the news of Roger Ebert's death, something attributed to him found its way to me through Facebook or maybe Goodreads, I'm not sure, and gave me a way to perhaps look in a more positive light upon the choice of what I chose to do in life.

Roger Ebert wrote: “I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”

Well, I have tried, and I continue to try, and that is the best I can do. If entertaining others to distract them from the realities of their own lives is a noble pursuit, then at least I've nobly attempted to do so – no matter how narrow the audience or small the appreciation. And on wrap-up day, that'll have to be sufficient.

Thanks, Roger Ebert, for the many years of entertaining reviews. I remember the earliest days on local public television. I watched, on and off, for decades. When renting tapes became all the rage, I had two books to consult, Roger Ebert's and Leonard Maltin's. I usually went with Roger. As much as I liked both him and Siskel, I usually agreed with Roger (with some notable exceptions). And when I discovered him on-line, Roger's Facebook and Twitter feeds became routine must-reads. I loved checking out his New Yorker cartoon caption entries and comparing them with mine. And now he's given me something positive to latch onto. Farewell, Roger Ebert.

The balcony is closed.
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Killercon 3 is history, and it rocked...

For a few days in late September, over a hundred writers gathered in that city of sin, Las Vegas, to examine why they write what they write: chronicles of sins disguised as tales of horror and thrillers and paranormal romance and everything in-between.

As a veteran of the first two Killercons, I felt obligated and destined to attend the third installment, and as always it was a great decision. First and foremost, conventions are all about friendship and collegiality. Writing is a lonely business, a kind of thankless business (unless you hit it big), and there's nothing better than recharging your batteries by hanging out with your friends, most of whom you haven't seen in a while, and making new friends out of the like-minded people who are drawn to the events to promote, sell, buy, or collect books -- and authors.

Really, I could list just about the entire roster of attendees as friends, so instead I'll just mention a few. Anyone I've neglected here, please forgive my failing memory. You all made an impact on me, but it's possible we didn't have a chance to hang together much. That's what Killercon 4 is all about then! Yes, I will be there. And so will you, if you know what's good for you.

This year's event got off to a great start as I had dinner with other early birds Gene O'Neill, Gord Rollo, Chris Welch, Bob Meracle (and a cameo by Erik Williams). Soon we were joined by Weston Ochse and Shane McKenzie. Next day was reunion day as good buddies and new buddies rolled in: Brian Pinkerton, Lisa Morton, Mercedes Yardley (and her friends Ryan and Mason), John Palisano, P.S. Gifford, Hal Bodner, Michael Calvillo, Rhonda Wilson and Craig, Steven Booth, Norm Rubinstein, Monica O'Rourke, John Skipp, John Little, Gabrielle Faust, Robert Devereaux, William F. Nolan, Laura Hickman, Gardner Goldsmith, Lauren (whose name I can't remember!), Ben Etheridge, and of course organizers Wrath James White, Bailey Hunter and R.J. Cavender. The guests were notable and it was great both seeing them and being on panels with some of them: Ray Garton, Jonathan Maberry, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Monica Kuebler, Jeff Mariotte... and more! There were more people, but my memory fails. My god, if I missed anyone I apologize! It was great talking to you all, buying some books, talking shop, sitting on the hot and controversial Erotic Fiction panel with Wrath, Ray, and Hal, getting my picture taken with the legendary Bill Nolan (of Logan's Run, Night Stalker, and Norliss Tapes fame) while chatting about his days writing for Dan Curtis (another legend), and meeting Paul Gifford's "creepy" friend, Bob. I don't think I had a bad conversation all weekend. I managed to get out some, too -- to The Gun Store (more in a separate post), to Fremont Street, to the Strip, to Bite (the Stratosphere's rock-themed vampire musical), and out and about. I want to thank my main posse: Chris, Brian, P.S., Gene, and Gord for some of the best times, but hey, there was nothing but good. I will see you all again next year. Killercon gets in your blood and doesn't seep out, believe me.  Read More 
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