Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas List of Sorts

Ordinarily I respond to Facebook memes with the same kind of enthusiasm I reserve for chain emails.

But something about this one caught my eye and imagination. Maybe because it's Christmas, and a list called "25 Things" seemed not only seasonally appropriate, but a way to learn more about myself and those who are close to me.

The rules are simple: Write down 25 things about yourself. Send it to 25 people who you want to know more about, and ask them to write a similar list. When they do, they should send a copy back to you.

If you break the chain, you will have the worst Christmas ever.

Just kidding.

Here's mine.

1. I struggle with many contradictory beliefs and impulses.

2. I agree with the Buddhist saying that “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” You can tell a lot about a person by observing how they do something.

3. I believe everyone tries to do their best and what they think is right; many times, however, it doesn’t look that way.

4. I love to laugh and can find humor in almost any situation. This is why I sometimes laugh at inappropriate things.

5. I believe in God and Jesus Christ, but a lot of Christians give me the creeps.

6. As I’ve grown older, I feel that I’ve become a better person in many ways. Despite that, I really miss being young.

7. I love scents and am fascinated by them. If I could do it all over again, I’d be a perfumer.

8. I admire true expertise and accomplishment.

9. I’m a huge bargain hunter. Yet I still spend too much money on clothes.

10. I try to take good care of the things I own.

11. I’ve smoked for 25 years, and it freaks me out.

12. I wonder if starting too many entries on this list with the word “I” says something negative about me – even though it’s a list about me.

13. I’m a Myers-Briggs INTJ.

14. I try to keep up with trends and what’s happening in culture and entertainment.

15. I really enjoy art, but don’t attend nearly enough museums or shows.

16. Good design and architecture make me really happy.

17. I wish I dreamed more, and remembered my dreams better.

18. Until this past year, I didn’t understand what people meant by “the human condition."

19. I didn’t speak to my father for the last 25 years of his life.

20. I don’t keep in touch with nearly enough people.

21. I believe people in Europe and Scandinavia have it better than Americans, at least at this point in history.

22. There are vast powers beyond our knowledge at work in the world.

23. The great challenge of my life is translating into language what I see and think about life.

24. I like making stuff.

25. Details matter. Big things do, too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Short Short News

Terrific news that my flash fiction piece, "The Powers That Be," has been accepted into the Dark Distortions II anthology from Scotopia Press.

Flash fiction -- generally considered to be less than 1000 words -- can also be called a short short. In "The Powers That Be" men and women visit the site of a disaster and are transformed by what they find there.

Naturally, I'm delighted to be included, and grateful to the Dark Distortions editors Molly Feese and C.D. Allen for selecting my work.

Given the brevity of my story, I think I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Quick Contest

There's little in this world that's better than free books, which is exactly what Cutting Block Press and Dark Recesses Press are giving away to celebrate the debut of the Horror Library, Volume 3 and Issue 10 of Dark Recesses Press magazine.

Just a few of the names you'll find in these two volumes of dark goodness: Bentley Little, Clive Barker, Gary Braunbeck, Jack Ketchum, Jeff Strand, Michael Arnzen, Kealan Patrick Burke, Cody Goodfellow and, naturally, me. (My story, "The Living World," appears in the Horror Library, Volume 3.)

All you have to do is post a comment on the Horror Library blog, by Midnight, December 14, 2008.

Winners will be selected by random, and will receive

First Prize
One Copy of Horror Library Vol. 3
One Copy of Dark Recesses Press #10
$10 Gift Certificate to the Horror Mall
Second Prize
One Copy of Horror Library Vol. 3
One Copy Dark Recesses Press #10

Third Prize
One Copy of Horror Library Vol. 2

Fourth Prize
One Copy of Horror Library Vol. 1

Deadline for the contest: December 14th at Midnight, Eastern US Time.

Make a comment, win a prize, happy holidays!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Horror Library is Open for Business

The only thing better than seeing a book with your story in it is seeing another book with your story in it.

The Horror Library, Volume 3, arrived in my mailbox the other day, which means it's also arrived on store shelves and online. (While you're there, why not consider purchasing one or more additional products from Cutting Block Press?)

Naturally, I turned to my story first, "The Living World." In it, a young counselor at an anorexia hospital meets a patient who causes her to see the world in strange and frightening ways.

It's a pretty atypical horror story, and I have to give credit to R.J. Cavender, Boyd Harris and the rest of the Cutting Block gang for including it in what's considered to be one of the best (and I think, best-looking) anthology series in the business.

Now let's make it one of the best-selling, too, m'kay?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


As a writer you often dream about someone, some day, saying something wonderful about your work. Sometimes -- when the words aren't coming but the rejection slips are -- that dream is one of the few things that can keep you going.

The reality, however, is much, much better.

In a recent interview, Unspeakable Horror editor Vince Liaguno singled out my story, "The Boys of Bald Cave," for some praise that still has me making nice, gentle orbits around planet Earth.

When asked if he has a favorite story in the collection, he says, "There is something insinuating and genuinely haunting about C. Michael Cook’s 'The Boys of Bald Cave' -- a story that has yet to clear my mind completely as a reader. The story has shades of the emotional resonance of King’s 'The Body' and It for me, a realism of male adolescence that rings true in every sense. There’s a bittersweet feeling of innocence lost at its core and a melancholic ending that profoundly affected me."

There's enough material in that quote for half a dozen knockout blurbs, and I still can't quite believe that it's about something I wrote -- especially considering the quality of stories and writers Vince and his co-editor Chad Helder have gathered in the anthology.

I'm honored and humbled and grateful as all get-out.

Now go buy the book already.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Kids Today Are Crazy

This just in from the Associated Press: Approximately 1 in 5 Americans age 19-25 have a personality disorder serious enough to interfere with their everyday lives.

Add to them those with a drug and/or alcohol problem, and the number of young adults with a mental illness rises to almost 1 in 2.

Which explains this photo, and a whole lot more.

Now you kids get off my lawn.