First of all I want to thank all the incredibly awesome bloggers, writers and readers who made The Book of Paul Tour such a huge success. So many of the bloggers put so much effort into their posts and designs — and the reviews were amazing — truly an author’s dream. Thanks also to all the visitors here who subscribed to The Book of Paul newsletter and are following future posts! I promise to deliver on the entertainment factor, though any wisdom and valuable insights into the human condition will remain iffy at best. So without further ado and adon’t, here are the fantabulous winners of the photo contests (drum roll please):Read More
The Devil made me do it! Here I am with The Book of Paul, all decked out for Halloween. Now, I’ve shown you mine, it’s time to show me yours!
Time to get creative and compete for huge prizes! Grab your copy of The Book of Paul (either paperback or digital) and take a picture to enter in our themed photo contest. A Kindle Fire goes to the overall most creative entry, while the most Irish and best impression of a tarot card categories win a look into their future by a custom tarot reading performed by yours truly. One more tarot reading goes to one of my random mailing list subscribers, so click here to subscribe if you haven’t already. This contest runs from right now (yes, this very minute) to Sunday, September 30th, at 12 noon EST. Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t forget to be creative!
- Brand new Kindle Fire for the most creative photo submission
- Tarot reading performed for you by ME!, one to the most Irish photo and one to the best tarot dress-up
- A $50 Amazon gift card to one random Book of Paul mailing list subscribers
- For the photo contest, a copy of The Book of Paul MUST BE VISIBLE in your photo in order for your entry to be eligible
- Submissions to the most Irish or best tarot dress-up may still win the overall most creative prize, or you can be uber creative and do something completely different
- You may send in as many submissions as you’d like—one, one for each category, ten million, whatever
- Send your photo submissions to email@example.com
- By submitting entries to this contest, you give me permission to use the photos as I see fit for marketing and hype-building and what not
- A minimum of 10 entrants are required in order to declare a winner. The contest ends at 12 noon EST Sunday, provided 10 people have entered. Otherwise, the contest will be extended until this benchmark is met.
- Questions? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s face it, P.T. Barnum was right. “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.”
Or the collective intelligence. I was originally going to call this blog by this post’s title, but then I had the whole book thing to flog. Still, idiocy and hypocrisy remain two of my top ten tragicomic topics in the human drama, particularly when they apply to our great nation. So let’s start out with a BANG! CRASH! and some prime examples of American-Not-Know-How!Read More dumbass, funny photos, idiots, McDonald's, morons, Supersize me
I was joking around with a friend on twitter today and the subject became darker and darker until I had to stop and shift gears…to something even darker. All I’ll say is that it had something to with a head. For those who’ve read The Book of Paul, you will find this either as disgusting or amusing or some combination of both as you did the first time. For those who haven’t, it’s a heady (ba-doom-boom!) mix of the humor, thrills, chills and horror awaiting you, should you choose to push the magic button on the right.
The first two chapters are less than one page, but help to set up the finale, called ONE-WAY CONVERSATION. It’s one of my favorites. I’ll post the intro as an excerpt, then you can read on for the punchline. Enjoy!
JUST ONE KISS
Rose groaned with disgust and the effort of pushing the splattered corpse off Martin. After she helped him up, he put his arm around her, looking in all directions for any sign of witnesses. Nothing. This is weird. After all that shooting, there must be someone. Then, assuming they were all alone, he did the most unexpected thing. He bent his head down and kissed Rose tenderly on the top of her head.
It was a beautiful sight. Even I had to agree. Tony, the fifth young punk, didn’t find it the least bit endearing. As it turned out, he wasn’t that big a coward after all. Yes, he ran away, but not very far. He was catching his breath at the far end of the street, tucked under his own shadowy stoop. And surprise, surprise: Tony also had a gun, which he was now pointing squarely at the crown of Martin’s lowered, kissing head.
If Martin had known, he might have not waited so long before raising his head again. Even that little movement might have saved his life. Because that little punk Tony had him dead in his sights. And to make matters worse, he was a really good shot.
Tony squeezed the trigger long, slow and even, just like he’d been taught by Carlos, the very man Martin had just delivered from a lifetime of white canes and Braille Hustler magazines. His aim was perfect. Martin lingered with his kiss to make it even easier. Nothing in the world should have been able to save Martin from that long, slow, squeeze and the speeding bullet that followed.
Nothing at all. Except, just maybe, for a wee bit of luck.
Tony couldn’t see him. Neither could Rose or Martin.
Paul was coming like a great black ghost, his hair glowing under the streetlight. He was moving fast, but there wasn’t the slightest sound from his footsteps. He snapped the sickle open and it locked into place, its chrome engraved death’s head emblem gleaming under the street lamp. Tony turned around at the sound, knowing it had to be some kind of knife or switchblade, guessing the newcomer must be in league with the tall guy and his rabid girlfriend. As he turned, he continued the slow squeeze of the trigger, his gun thrust out at eye level, gripped tightly in both hands for steady support.
Tony decided he would start firing as soon as he fully turned around. At this range, any hit will slow him down. Then I’ll have time for a follow-up shot. And that’s exactly what he would have done. If he still had a head.
“C’mere! C’mere! Quick!” Paul hissed at Michael, trying to remain unobserved by Martin and Rose long enough to delight in one of his most trea- sured indulgences. When Michael didn’t move fast enough, he grabbed his hand and dragged him over, under the shadow of a barren tree.
There it was. It could have been mistaken for a half-deflated soccer ball, if it weren’t for the ears. “Look!” Paul hooted, practically bouncing with excitement. It was still alive.Read More decapitation, Reanimator, Reign of Terror, Talking Heads
I’ve been trying to digest my feelings about my Jerusalem trip ever since I returned last week. Being an ancient culture junkie and writer of occult paranormal fiction, I fully expected to come back full to the gills or maybe even drowning in inspiration.
Well, not so much. Or perhaps I should say not so much inspired in the ways I expected to be.Read More Abu Simbel, Blue Brain, Church of the Holy Sepulcre, Dome of the Rock, Giza, Henry Markram, Intense Theory of Autism, Jerusalem, Kamila Markram, King David, Petra, TED talk, tomb, Western Wall
When I first moved to Manhattan on April Fool’s Day 1980, the East Village was a cooler and creepier place than it is today. It’s still cool and creepy here and there. Some of the blocks don’t look that much different than they did back then. But from Avenue A eastward to Avenue D, well, that was a whole different world for us white folk, mostly artists, musicians, junkies and club kids, looking for cheap rent, cheap dope, cheap drinks and fun bars to mix all of the above with loud music.
I first lived on St. Mark’s between 2nd and 1st in a railroad apartment with the bathtub in the kitchen. I was a junkie then, a “speedballer” actually, which meant I shot dope and coke together, which was good for staying up all night while still maintaining my narcotic composure. I shared the apartment with three other junkies. We’d sleep all day, then cop some dope and coke in the abandoned buildings of Alphabet City, stay up and go to clubs all night, then out for breakfast at Kiev after watching an hour of Mary Tyler Moore reruns. Such was life.
I moved into a boarded-up storefront on 3rd street between A and B shortly thereafter. A two-bedroom apartment for $375 a month. All the streets south of 6th between A and B were pretty scary then. Between B and C they were really scary. Between C and D? Well, you didn’t want to go there at night. At all.Read More Alphabet City, Avenue A, Avenue B, Avenue C, Avenue D, East Village, junkies, junky, piercing, speedball, St. Mark's Place, tattoo
My parents fought all the time. One particularly horrendous episode lasted for months without a break. My brother and I used to hide in our rooms. You did not want to be anywhere near their line of fire. My mother was an alcoholic, my father a rage-aholic. Both of them were “Irish.” I use the quote marks because they called themselves Irish, even though they were both born in Buffalo, NY.
My father’s mother was born in County Clare, Ireland. I never met her, though I have her to thank for my dual Irish citizenship. I have never been to Ireland. After my mother died and I was making an attempt to connect with my father I invited him on a trip to “the old country.” Even bought the tickets. He first accepted the gift, then declined. I can’t remember why. I can’t remember what I did with the tickets either, but I didn’t go.
I never met any of grandparents. They were all dead before I was born. My parents rarely talked about them, and when they did it was chiefly to complain. Alcoholism. Abuse. Neglect. And so on.
In an earlier post I wrote about this same topic:
“My parent’s never told me anything about my Irish heritage. The Book of Paul was my way of trying to make sense out of the way my parents behaved – or why they even bothered having children in the first place. One time when I asked my mother what her father was like, in an effort to understand where I “came from” and how “she got that way”, she immediately broke down, sobbing uncontrollably:
“He was…a…bastard!” she sputtered, immediately followed by father’s contribution to the conversation: “Gooddam it! Why are you upsetting your mother?”Read More Celtic, Celtic mythology, childhood abuse, free ebook, giveaway, Irish, Irish-American, trauma, Twitter
When I was an art student I had a great teacher named Nancy Chunn. Her first assignment was to bring in a bunch of stuff we really “responded to.” The stuff could be pictures from magazines, photos, fabric, basically anything. Then together we would look at the objects and “read them like a shaman would read the entrails of a sacrificial animal,” to interpret my artistic muse.
Anyone who would use the words, shaman, entrails and sacrificial animal in an art assignment (or even the same sentence) was already rating high in my book. Since I was a collector, it wasn’t difficult to fulfill the request. My apartment, a boarded-up storefront between Avenue A & B in Alphabet City, was crammed with the stuff I collected. I brought in a number of items, including some old Valentine’s Day greeting cards (my birthday) and an illustrated western story about Billy the Kid.
Her interpretation? “There are a lot of female artists who deal with women’s issues, but I think you may be one of the few men who really wants to communicate male issues.”Read More art, female, inspiration, male, man, Manhood, muse, woman
The launch party for The Book of Paul took place on the evening of the summer solstice. It was a great turnout, a wonderful group, and lots of fun for all. About ten minutes before the solstice I expressed my gratitude to everyone for sharing in the celebration and for all the support and encouragement along the way. I gave some personal shout outs on the book’s acknowledgements page – one of which bears repeating here –Read More Aspen Ideas Festival, book party, Elaine Pagels, Emma's Hope Book, Huffington Post, James H. Cone, summer solstice, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, The Gnostic Gospels