Saturday, January 22, 2011

PRICE BREAKS AND HEARTACHES Now in Ebook Form!

That's right folks. All the stories in my ongoing PRICE BREAKS AND HEARTACHES series are now available in all Ebook formats!

And the price you may wonder?

Well they're free!

That's right- twenty years of rejection slips have ruined my self esteem and now I'm passing the savings on to YOU!

Enjoy!

Price Breaks and Heartaches
Chapter 3

Thursday, January 20, 2011

(an excerpt for In The Shadow Of His Nemesis) In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

(an excerpt for In The Shadow Of His Nemesis)

by

Al Bruno III




Angie was asleep from almost the moment her head hit the pillow, she didn’t even get undressed she just gave Sig a goodnight kiss and lay down atop the bed. Her snore was a gentle thing, almost a whistle. Sig could listen to it all night and frequently did.


For him sleep was an elusive thing and his insomnia had grown worse has he’d grown older; there were too many aches, too many memories. Sometimes he would lie down next to her for the intimacy of it but would find himself staring at the ceiling for hours. The long nights meant that Sig knew every corner of the room, the scuffs in the carpet, the pattern of the wallpaper, the crack in the corner of the bureau mirror and the little statuettes Angie kept on the night table next to her glass of water and pills.


Her pills. Sig realized, She was supposed to take her pills before bed.


But he didn’t want to wake her. With any luck the old nightmares would stay away and she would rest through the night.


What a couple we make, in love but dying inside.


Moving with care Sig approached the foot of the bed and pulled off the soft shoes Angie wore and put them beside the easy chair in the opposite corner of the room. He turned back to watch her again for a while. They were smoking cigars in the dining room, he could just catch a whiff of it. He thought of lighting a candle but preferred the dark.


After watching her a little longer Sig gave in to his anxiety and went to the bureau. He pulled the old duffel bag from the bottom drawer and checked the contents.


Everything was still there of course but it still felt better to check. He still felt uneasy, he wanted to slip out of the house loose the metastasis and prowl the grounds until sunrise. What was wrong with him? Why did he feel like trouble was coming?


Magwier of course. Magwier and his pet soldier.


Stripping off his clothes as he went, Sig walked into the bathroom and started the shower. It was a pitiful thing for such a lavish bathroom but considering that Laurel House had no electricity, running water was a happy luxury. Sig wasn’t sure how it was done, he knew there was a furnace down below; Jack and Hao seemed to have to tend it every few hours or so. Sig was sure must be wells or something for the water supply but the exact mechanics of it were of no interest to him.


Assuming of course it was mechanics at work here and not something far older. Sig had his suspicions; after all there were only certain kinds of places that could be so completely hidden away.


And it wasn’t love that protected them here, oh no.


Sig had read once that during the middle ages people had built homes in the shadow of the Coliseum. They assumed God had built it and living nearby offered them a kind of protection.


After all Laurel House wasn’t like other places was it? It was hidden away from the world.


John climbed in the tub, closed the curtain and sat down, he let the hot water wash down over him. He thought to himself that it wasn’t just Magwier that had him spooked. It was Galen; it was Galen more than anything else.


Galen DelaWorg, brother of Jared, son of Coyle.


Sig cupped the water into his hands and splashed it over his face, what he wouldn’t give to be young again- or at least middle aged. What he wouldn’t give to be the man Angie needed. If he were young and rich, and human, he could take her to a hospital, pay for specialists, find a way to keep her disease at bay.


And now Galen is here. A High Born. Perhaps one of the last.


Victor Kovach had warned Sig against men like Galen, men that carried a kind of personal doom, a dark fate. What had Victor called it?


A nemesis. That was it. Sig smiled to himself, he could almost hear Victor saying the word in his head.


Men like Galen carried a nemesis and it could destroy anyone and anything that fell into its shadow. Laurel House was supposed to be a safe place, a hidden place but would that be enough now?


The steam in the bathroom was getting thick, the warmth made Sig drowsy; he still couldn’t sleep but it made a nonsense of his worries and memories and that was enough. He pulled his knees up around him and closed his eyes.


i09 Brings us up to speed on THE DARK KNIGHT RISES villain BANE

 

 

Bane! Even the name sounds ominous. He's been confirmed as the villain of Christopher Nolan's third Batman film, but now people are wondering just who this wrestler-masked guy is. We've got you covered with our complete guide to Bane.

Spoilers for some old comic books and stuff ahead...

 

click here to read more

(Recommended Reads) CASTLE TERRIBEL: Stepdaughter of the Dark Lord by John Ball

It was a cool autumn day in the Lands of Night, with a gentle breeze blowing on the Plains of Dread. A pale white banner flew from the ramparts of Castle Terribel, the great fortress of House Cthonique which dominated the area.

There were many banners that could be flying there, and they all meant something different. A red one meant the castle was under attack. A blue one meant all was well. A green one meant to be on watch. A black one meant that it was a time of celebration.

A white banner meant it was time for a troop review.

Lord Mansemat Cthonique looked over the rows upon rows of soldiers, all standing at attention before his podium. Many were Erls of the Dread Plains and the Accursed Marsh, of course, but some were Ogres from the Mountains of Sorrows , others Goblins from the Shadow Woods, and a few even belonged to the Ghouls of the Blasted Heath--and they all served him and the cause of House Cthonique. Ten years ago, when his father died, it looked as if House Cthonique would collapse--yet now it was more powerful than ever. A smile spread over Mansemat’s lean, pale face. To think--he had not only equaled his father--but surpassed him. Even Mansemat was surprised.

His troops were gazing at him eagerly. It was time to speak. Raising a gauntlet-clad hand, the Dark Lord of Castle Terribel motioned for silence. “Soldiers of House Cthonique! The day of our ultimate triumph draws ever NEARER! The day when the hordes of Darkness cast down the proud denizens of the Lands of Light, and usher in a new age of TERROR! The day when--”

Suddenly, his hand went to his forehead, a distracted expression playing across his face. “Ummm--pardon me, gentlemen--it’s my wife. This will just be a moment, so--well, hold on.” His eyes shut tightly. “Ahh. Hello, dear.” ...

 

 

Click here to read the rest
 

(Recommended Reads) 'Man, boy, truck eighteen months' by Vincent Eaton

The father stared down at his boy who sat there in a comfy over-stuffed chair, eyes fixed on the television screen, playing some game, doing this for hours, and the father wondered, What am I going to do with this boy?

Click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) 'The Desert Moon' by Gary Harmon

Sergeant Burton made some hand signals in the darkness that were unintelligible to the untrained eye. His soldiers saw and nodded. He gave the signal to go and two soldiers went past him around the corner. He came next, followed by the rest of his squad. They shuffled silently down the street, keeping close to the building on their right. They reached a wooden door and the two in front of Burton posted up on either side of it. A soldier behind Burton squared himself up with the door and kicked it in where the knob met the jamb. Burton shuffled into the darkness...

Click here to read the rest.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hey my fellow DOCTOR WHO fans! Do you find this picture as adorable as I do?

Nerd News! THE DARK NIGHT RISES CASTING NEWS!

Thanks to Fandango Groovers Movie Blog for this.

 

Tom Hardy as Bane!

 

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle!

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seven

The CEO tried to explain to his wife that he wasn't cheating with hookers, he was just outsourcing his orgasms.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Six

 The Cheerleaders of the Wasteland built a bridge across the waterway using wrecked cars, effectively Fording the river.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Five

Someone stole the mules carrying Lord Caruthers' and Sir Smythe's clothes and supplies, leaving them just a pair of assless chaps.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Four

Amazing Ed didn't want anyone to know the location of his secret base, mostly because it was in his parents' basement.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Three

Scrimm's Funeral Parlor offered a refreshing breakfast before the wake began; there was fruit, toast and, of course, Mourn Flakes.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Two

The mad scientist held an egg that was the result of gene splicing an ax and a condor. Now all he had to do was hatchet.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and One

They tried to create a plus-sized clothing shop with a comedy club but the results were side-splitting.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred

Al still had it, he just couldn't remember where he put it.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Ninety Nine

The Mad Scientist created a species of rabbits without any fur on their bodies save for their groins, he called them Pubic Hares.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Ninety Eight

All the greatest secrets of the Porn Industry were revealed at the website Stickyleaks.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Ninety Seven

The dog like creature roared, “I am the Night Hound, the soul of the Dog Star!” Lorelei groaned, “You can't be Sirius.”

Of all the things a movie called RUBBER could be about...

I did not expect it to be about a sentient killer tire!

 

Thanks to TOPLESS ROBOT for this but of delightful insanity.

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter ninety nine

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Ninety Nine
By AL BRUNO III



Saturday, December 4th 1996




Anticipation made his heart beat faster than it had in years, joy made through an easy task and the thought of holding his Penelope close after so long made his prick stiffen.

It was worth it, Bodivar thought, and inevitable. No refuge is forever.

And while he knew that was true he still hoped the end had come quickly for the other residents of Laurel House. Most of them anyway.

Route 23 was in sight, and the small lake that bordered it. It was just a mile or so to the motel where she was waiting for him. Would he make love to her right then and there?

A helicopter passed overhead and Bodivar knew what that meant for Galen and Magwier. The Monarchs wouldn’t be kind to either of them but it was no less than they deserved. No less than they all deserved. The only true innocent had been Warren.

Bodivar felt a little sorry for the boy, his only crime had been being phenomenally unlucky. At least he had died quickly. Bodivar liked to think Warren might have been grateful if he had only understood what the future held in store for his world.

A loud crash made Bodivar slow to a stop. He looked back to see a plume of smoke rising up in the air. What was happening?

Whatever it is, it’s no concern of mine, he told himself.

The temptation to cast a spell was strong, to move himself through space and simply find himself at Penelope’s side but it wasn’t safe. Not with Laurel House in ruins.

Whatever might be left of Damiea was lost in the Spaces Between, dying and desperate she would be searching for a vessel to conceal herself. The dark god could displace a soul with the ease of a cuckoo displacing a rival chick and with that done she would then be able to defend herself.

He wasn’t about to risk such a fate, not when he was so close.

“You...” a voice growled.

A shape approached, a vlodek in its bestial form. It’s fur was marked with old scars and new wounds. “Sig?” Bodivar cleared his throat, “You escaped?”

“My Angie is dead...” Sig moved closer, “You killed her. Maybe in the end you’ll have killed us all.”

“What- what are you talking about?” Bodivar readied an incantation. He would have to be fast.

“Don’t lie to me. Treason marks you. It’s a mark we share.”

Bodivar hissed an incantation, his hands tracing sacred shapes in the air. Sig’s fur sparked and began to burn, his old scars opened and bled. Bodivar turned to go, certain this would be more than enough, after all he’d felled other vlodek with less.

Sig growled wetly. He began to move forward, half-running, half-falling. The old vlodek picked up speed, blood and fire trailing out after him.

Bodivar turned to run. Sig snapped at his heels. Bodivar didn’t even realize he’d run out onto the frozen lake until he heard the ice cracking underfoot.

No! Not like this! Bodivar thought.

A weight hit him in the back and he fell. Sig turned him over with a paw that gouged and cut. It ice cracked again, frigid water began to swallow them both up.

Bodivar began to speak the syllables that would send him to the spaces between. It was a risk he had to take.

“Quiet.” Sig snarled. He jabbed one of his claws into Bodivar’s eye socket and hooked it through to the other. Then he pulled.

Bodivar screamed from a broken face, blinded and choking.

“This is no less than we deserve.”

The ice gave way. The old Vlodek and the immortal Alchemist sank beneath the water.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

A simple equation THE PRINCESS AND THE GIANT = Cool

(Insane News) More fights at CHUCK E CHEESE's than at biker bars?

 

In Toledo, Ohio, four women were charged with disorderly conduct after a melee erupted at a Chuck E. Cheese's there last year. According to police reports, it started when parents complained to the restaurant manager that children were loitering at the drawing machine. The children were Barbie Clifton's daughters, then 14 and 10 years old. Ms. Clifton had come out of the bathroom when she saw a woman yelling at her daughters and her friend.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, what's happening here?'" says the 42-year-old stay-at-home mom. "Instead of [the woman] going to the parent or going to the manager, she was calling my friend and daughters all of those names."

That touched off a fight between more than 10 people, in which participants punched and screamed at each other. One woman removed the red rope that marks the entrance queue and handed it to another woman, who swung the metal clip attached to it at others involved in the incident.

"I thought they were going to start attacking me," says Sheri Kellar-Raab, the first officer who responded...

 

Click here to read the rest at WSJ online

 

Amanda Palmer shows her “Map Of Tasmania” (NSFW)

Oh Amanda you never fail to entertain...

Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart part five

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Five

Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart

part five





His body was hairless and rubbery, water ran from his hair into his eyes as he looked at me and to top it all off he was trying to cover himself with a hand towel. “Oh hey Al,” Kevin said. “You’re a little early. Come in.”


“Actually, I’m about five minutes late.” I stayed as far outside Kevin’s apartment as I could without fleeing to the next county.


“I was just getting out of the shower.”


“I kind of figured that. Is… is this double date thing still happening?”


“You bet it is,” he said with a grin. “Come on in and give me a minute or two to get ready.”


I suggested, “Maybe I should go and get the girls.”


“You don’t know the girls.”


I mused, “I could get the movie tickets and come back.”


“We haven’t picked what we’re going to see yet.”


Then I begged, “…can I at least go get you a bigger towel?”


And with that Kevin dragged me into his apartment and I had to scramble to make sure no part of my body brushed against his nakedness.


“What lovely wallpaper this place has,” I said.


One of my crazy uncles had told me that as long as you don’t look a naked man in the eye you can’t turn gay. Then again this is the same uncle that told me that the movie ‘They Saved Hitler’s Brain’ was made to distract the gullible public from what parts of the Fuhrer they had actually saved.


Truth or not I stumbled into the living room and sat down on a recliner with fabric that I can only pray had been left crunchy and stained from spilled food. I heard Kevin getting ready and wondered how I could have gotten myself into this latest in a series of fine messes.


‘Double date’, an innocent pairing of words on the surface but in truth the only pair of words more likely to cause more misery for a man is ‘I do’.


Kevin had approached me after History class telling me that he was going to be taking a real hottie out on Saturday night but he needed a date for her best friend. His original plan involved hooking said friend up with his roommate Marvin but then he had made the critical error of letting Marvin talk to the girl before they had met. She mentioned working for the post office. He mentioned having a special package for her. It went downhill from there.


After exhausting every other option Kevin turned to me.


So that was how I ended up in Kevin’s apartment waiting to meet the girls and trying to flush the image of the man’s untethered wangdoodle from my mind.


Of all the nights to be the designated driver.


After what seemed like an eternity of flipping through the dog-eared copies of ‘Playboy’ and ‘Soldier of Fortune’ Marvin and Kevin had placed out for guests to read (Please God let that be what they were for…) Kevin came down the stairs wearing the exact same clothes he had worn at college that day, except that he had missed two belt loops instead of one this time.


We drove out to some campus housing in Schenectady and found a pair of girls waiting for us at the bus stop near the corner. They climbed in and we all exchanged greetings.


Alice and Sarah seemed like nice enough girls but very earthy, and by earthy I mean they smelled like patchouli and dirt. We debated which movies we could go see, but it turns out that the girls had certain parameters; they refused to see any films that had realistic or artistic acts or threats of violence and they refused to see any films in which animals or women were exploited.


And that was how I ended up paying to go see ‘Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters’ in the theater.


Well at least the girls enjoyed it, mostly because they had begun toking up in the theater during the opening credits. Kevin joined in but I did not partake.


Yeah I know you’re snickering under your breath at that but it’s true. You see ever since I discovered if left to my own devices I could eat a sheet cake in a single sitting or spend over a hundred dollars at a comic book convention without feeling a single twinge of guilt or shame, I realized I had one of those addictive personalities and that I should stay away from things that might be too expensive, self destructive or illegal.


Was I sensible or an utter utter wimp? Ten years ago I considered it a matter of pride I stayed so pure but as my midlife crisis wears on I do have to wonder if I didn’t squander my life just a little. Even now this is the closest I can come to risky behavior; posting stories of my life on the Internet and hoping some member of my family doesn’t read it and fly into a murderous rage.


Actually I was exaggerating that last part, my family doesn’t read.


After ‘Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters’ had reached its pulse-pounding conclusion I offered to take the girls back home but Kevin said we should all hang out and talk a little. The girls were all right with that as long as we picked up some snacks first.


Kevin told me that we should park someplace remote and rarely trafficked. He directed me to a disused parking lot near the Albany Airport. I recognized the spot, I had been there before.


“Couldn’t we go someplace else?” I said, “I’ve heard that high school kids like to throw eggs at the cars parked out there.”


“Nahh that’s a rumor.” Kevin said, “I used to bring Lizzie out here all the time.”


I hit the breaks, the hippie girls in the back seat when flying everywhere with a clatter of beads.


“Lizzie, the girl from art club?” I asked.


“Yeah,” Kevin said through a mouthful of Hostess Fruit Pie. “You know her?”


“Never mind.” I said unable to comprehend how one of my exes could have ended up with someone like him. I would have thought that dating me meant she had an appreciation for the finer things in life.


We got there and killed the engine, there was a minor Chinese fire drill when Kevin got into the back seat with Alice, Sarah climbed up front with me. Kevin and Alice started swapping spit almost immediately, I had to get out of the car and have a seat on the bumper. It was a chilly September night but that was fine, I wanted to be cold for a while.


“Hey,” Sarah sat down beside me. “Are you feeling all right?”


I smiled at the concern I saw in her plain features and single eyebrow. I wondered to myself could I kiss this girl? Should I kiss this girl? And if I did kiss this girl would I get a contact high? I had heard in more than a few places that every girl was practice until the right one came along. How could I ever hope to kick a field goal if I was still pitching in the bullpen?


Note to self. Nerds should not use sports analogies.


“I’m just…” I said. “…look you’re a nice enough girl but I just don’t…”


“Hey,” she patted my arm. “No worries, I’m not attracted to you in the least.”


I chuckled to myself, “A perfect end to a perfect evening.”


“Besides I think you’re still hurting over someone.”


“It’s not even that, I mean yes I did park here once with someone special once but that was high school, or close to it anyway,” I explained. “I just feel like nothing’s happening. No not that, I feel like nothing’s ever going to happen to me except for failure and breaking even.”


“Wow.” Sarah whistled. “You know, you should learn to just loosen up a little, stop taking life so seriously. You’re going to have kidney stones before you’re forty.”


“I wake up at three in the morning and I just know that all my dreams are going to be ashes! I can feel it in my bones.”


Sarah gave me a hug, “You sure you don’t want to smoke some weed?”


“No,” I patted her on the back.


“What about a handjob?”


I broke the hug, “I... I... What?”


“Well you guys paid for our movie and our snacks,” she explained. “It’s the least we could do.”


Everything shifted into slow motion. I turned to see the windows of my car had fogged up and I could hear Kevin K. Hanson giggling like a cartoon mouse.


I cried “Nooooooooooooo!” but that was only the first dramatic ejaculation of the night.




Click Here To Continue

(Recommended Reads) "Possible Origins for Him. 11." by John Wiswell

I worked at a traveling circus. They weren’t famous for clowns, so I had to try very hard. Fire spitting. Juggling unicycles. I could empty a six shooter into a spinning wheel with a woman tied to it, and I only ever nicked her once, and that was the night after she broke up with me. Some nights I even helped the ringmaster with his lion. I don’t want to credit my outlook to some big cat, but sticking my head in its mouth a couple hundred times definitely loosened me up...

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "Larry Wins A Million" By John McDonnell

“I hate the winter,” Dolores said one day. “I need a vacation at the beach, but we have no money.” Larry had gone into hibernation mode and he was asleep in the corner of the TV room in the form of an 800 pound male grizzly bear...

click here to read the rest

FUEL YOUR WRITING has an interview with Jon (#FridayFlash) Strother

 

Friday Flash predates the Collector by several months. Friday Flash started out small, there was just a handful of us, and I collated the list by hand, doing a Twitter search for the hashtag and then doing a series of copy-and-paste operations to collect the title, author, and link for the listing. That worked fine for the five or six of us at first. It got a little tedious by the time we grew to around twenty-or-so, and downright unworkable once we passed the thirty-plus mark. Sheer exhaustion moved me to ask my friend, Susan, if she could put together some sort of data collection system so I did not have to do so much manual labor. Voila – the Collector was born. Personally, I’m petitioning for her canonization!

 

click here to read more

DOLLAR BIN HORROR fairly rates the film DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT a score of 2 out of 10...

It was originally released under the name The Forgotten as the 2nd act of a drive-in double feature featuring Last House on the Left, directed by someone guy called Wes Craven. The original name for this film directed by S.F. Brownrigg seems quite apropos. ..

 

click here to read more

THE HORROR DIGEST reviews THE LAST EXORCISM

 I was curious to see it of course judging from all the praise it received in the acting department. There were muffled whispers about some crazy ending--and being the really smart person that I think I am, I thought I guessed it but was of course, way off. It turns out that The Last Exorcism is vastly different than your typical exorcism film. It in many ways is actually an anti-exorcism film but we'll get to that...

Click here to read the rest

HEROPRESS shows us my idea of an average D&D night with THE FREAK GATE AND THE SHADOWS KEEPER

The first short film from Blue Goblin Studio, The Freak Gate and The Shadows Keeper is a delightfully weird 12-minute piece that combines Lovecraftian horror with fantasy role-players and a giant monster in an underground parking garage...

 

Click here to visit HEROPRESS