Tag Archive for brian keene

Photo Friday: The Overlook

I first visited the Stanley Hotel back in 2003. As a horror writer, it’s almost mandatory to drop by and check out the influence for one of the horror genre’s most famous landmarks, Stephen King’s Overlook from The Shining.

The Overlook

The Stanley Hotel: inspiration for terror

It’s a cool place. One of these trips I think I’d actually like to stay there.

The Stanley embraces its reputation, of course. While only the ABC miniseries was shot at the Stanley, there are memorabilia and movie posters from the original film version all over the place, and of course the coffee shop also sells “redrum” chocolates and The Shining t-shirts and accessories. We took a few minutes to eyeball the movie posters for the Kubrick flick posted in the lower level mens room.

There was a wedding reception at the hotel while we were there, so the bride and groom and their guests were having pictures taken in the lobby and out front. That didn’t stop tour groups from going through, but we still took advantage of a quiet moment to take a handful of photos ourselves.

Wrecking Crew

If there are ghosts in the place, they were scared of us

The tours also include night tours and a ghost hunt, as well as a visit to Room 217, where King stayed. I wondered if it made sense to keep a room vacant like that, but I bet they make a lot more money in tours than they’d make on the room. I still have an old-style key to room 217 from my first trip, complete with an Overlook Hotel tag, but I didn’t see any reason to pay for the tour when Michelle Scalise used to work there and took us on a brief tour herself.

In any case, we enjoyed even our brief visit to the place, and it was good to be behind the camera again. I have a couple more sets of photos to upload from the last few months, and then I’ll need to decide if I can salvage the rest of Photo Friday 2012. Things blew up at work, got busy at the dojo, and got a little insane at home. When available time comes down to either working on photography or working on the writing, the writing has to win out every time.

But like the writing, it’s just a matter of developing habit and discipline.

More soon.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Thicker Than Blood, Stronger Than Time

It hit the five of us as we drove through the mountain passes between Loveland and Estes Park, Colorado: we’ve known one another fourteen or fifteen years, depending who logged in to the old HorrorNet chat when.

It occurred to me tonight that we’ve known one another over a third of our lives, even for the oldest of us.

KRAP 1

The original “KRAP” photo: John, Geoff, Brian, me, Mikey
World Horror Convention, Seattle, 2001

I’m horrible at keeping in touch with people. My family moved around like gypsies while I grew up, and I haven’t managed to do a whole lot better as an adult. The past seven years are the longest I’ve spent any place, any time. There are friends from farther back whom I’ve known longer, but there are very few who I’ve kept in touch with as consistently as these guys.

Part of the Cabal. The Four/Five Horsemen. The Musketeers. Several monikers (and epithets) have been thrown our way over the years. They all work, and they all tend to stick. I’ve always felt brotherhood was as good a description as any.

It’s been fourteen or fifteen years, but in many ways it feels like longer. That bit in my latest Indie Pulp column about spilling and shedding blood together? That was with these guys. We’ve seen births and deaths in our circle. We’ve been to marriages and through divorces. There have been fights and reconciliations. All through it, we celebrate with or lean on one another as appropriate.

KRAP 2 Color

KRAP Revisited, 11 years later
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, 2012

We gathered this time to visit our friend and mentor, Tom Piccirilli. All things considered, Tom’s doing well and he and Michelle are staying positive and are determined to fight. It was good to see them and to help out.

I think, too, we got a glimpse of our own mortality.

At least, I did. I may be the youngest of the group, but I can see age sneaking up on us. Various ailments were discussed, as were the health scares some have already faced. What will KRAP Re-Revisited look like in another 11 years? It’s hard to say.

But in the meantime, gentlemen, it’s damn good to know we can count on one another.

Boom de yada.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

It’s All About Trust

If a writer is going to succeed in self publishing, whether through a Kickstarter campaign or just jumping in on Amazon, he’s going to need the trust of his audience. More specifically, his audience must trust that he will actually deliver the product, deliver it on time, and that it will be a quality product.

This, I think, is the ultimate key to self-publishing and/or Kickstarter success.

Let’s revisit the 1,000 True Fans theory for a moment. In a nutshell, it says a writer—or any creative type, really—can make a living off of 1,000 true fans, or 1,000 people who will buy anything and everything said writer/creator produces. Put up a book or a print? They buy it. Release a t-shirt? They wear it. Add content to an existing project and produce a special edition? They throw their money at you.

Shut up and take my money

Get 1,000 people to do this and you’re set.

1,000 True Fans, then, are people who trust the writer. They have a history with the writer, and they have a reasonable expectation the writer will continue to deliver.

The writers with these fans are ready to go the self publishing route. (That’s not to say nobody else should, but that’s a subject for another blog post.) I think Brian Keene, for example, has the fanbase to pull it off. When he puts out an extra-crunchy edition of a new book, it sells out, often within 24 hours. When he puts his name to a publisher’s imprint as editor, his fans snap up those books as if they were his own. While he made the business decision to migrate to Deadite Press to avoid the logistical headaches of things like covers, design, and electronic formatting, several of us had no doubt he would have continued to sell well either way and made a living.

This extends to Kickstarter, too. Consider Chuck Wendig’s Kickstarter campaign for Bait Dog, the sequel to Shotgun Gravy (which, incidentally, he self published). Wendig doubled his goal. Why? His fans trust him. Check out all the Wendig content on Amazon and it’s clear the man is a writing machine. He’ll deliver. Shotgun Gravy‘s 71 four- and five-star reviews suggest they trust he’ll deliver quality, too. (I certainly enjoyed it.)

Boom! Project funded in ten hours because his fans trust him.

And to expand on yesterday’s thoughts, now Wendig can write Bait Dog with the confidence it will be worth the time it takes away from his other projects, such as his deal with Angry Robot Books (starting with Blackbirds, which I am currently enjoying), his recent three-book deal with Amazon Children’s Publishing, and the time he puts into his website and his books on writing advice.

Kickstarter is an effective tool when used correctly. Unfortunately a lot of people seem to treat it like a lottery ticket without reading the small print about the odds.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Congrats to Brian and ChillerTV!

Judging by the chatter on Twitter, Brian Keene’s The Ghoul has been a hit on ChillerTV tonight! The screenwriters and director diverged a bit, but they preserved the spirit of the book and did a great job bringing it to the screen. It sounds like Brian and the network have a hit on their hands, and I hope it allows them to keep more of these flicks coming.

The Ghoul

Look, Ma! No CGI!

If your cable service doesn’t carry ChillerTV, smack them upside the head and ask ‘em what the hell they’re thinking.

And don’t sweat it, there will be a DVD. Hopefully it will show up on Netflix and Amazon streaming as well.

Congrats, B. You’ve earned this.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Time May Change Me…

Yesterday, John Platt posted a photo of Brian Keene and I, taken way back at the 2000 World Horror Convention in Denver. I can’t embed it, but you can see the photo in John’s Flickr photostream.

Brian’s first reaction was “My God, look how young we were!”

My reaction went more like “Holy shit, look how fat I was!” I’m not sure what I’m doing in the photo. Maybe I was hungry and mistook Brian’s haircut as a small, edible animal.

That convention happened two years after I made my epic escape from retail hell. In three years as a manager of an electronics store, I gained over eighty pounds. The bad habits had set in by the end of that time, and I gained another twenty or so pounds between that job and John’s photo.

This is me now:

Shureido Self Portrait

Yeah. Much better.

I can afford contacts now and I’ve earned some gray hair, but I’ve cut a lot of that weight. I have more to go, but I feel better and, despite what I think when I look in the mirror, I know I look better.

See, the whole age thing has never bothered me. While it blows me away that many of my favorite albums are older than the students in the school district I work for, I just don’t feel that old. And would the old Mike have the guts to step out onto a karate mat and bust his ass? Would he have been able to do the things I’m doing now?

Now it's official.

Now I'm ready to take on Donatello.

I’d like to think so, but I couldn’t afford it then, either. I also might have thought I was too old or out of shape, both of which are ridiculous.

No, I look back instead at the things I haven’t done, or different choices I may have made. Instead of lamenting time lost, I just look at it as I still have time to correct those mistakes. None of it is an easy path, but the end results wouldn’t be worthwhile if they were easy to accomplish.

Think about that. What good is a black belt if someone is going to tie one around your waist just for showing up for class? How good is that novel going to be if you just hammer on the keyboard for a while and call it done? If you suck down pizza and ice cream for three meals a day, where does that get you?

The path of least resistance isn’t always the best path, and it’s never too late to change course.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

How Bad Do You Want It?

Yes, I’m alive.

Apparently everyone decided to call me this weekend while I was at hockey, karate, and the motorcycle show, and because I was unable to return calls they worried I finally snapped and killed somebody, or maybe my children were eaten by bears.

On the up side, it was a killer weekend. On the down side, I didn’t get shit done. I felt it was high time to revisit this video featuring a Floyd Mayweather motivational speech:

I got to thinking, just how bad do I want it?

To be a full-time writer, that is. I spent all day letting Microsoft bend me over a desk and ram it home. Eight hours wrestling with two different PCs. Eight wasted hours which probably cost more in both hourly wage and lost productivity than the dollar value of both PCs together.

This is how I learned you can’t schedule writing.

See, I expected a quiet day today. I thought I’d wrap up a few loose ends before my wisdom tooth extraction surgery tomorrow morning. I thought I’d even be able to sneak in a little bit of writing-related work at my desk, including posts to both this blog and my professional edtech blog. Instead I got the phone call five minutes after I walked into my office: “My computer doesn’t work!”

Those of us with families, let’s reflect: how many times have we planned to sit down and write at a given time, only to get hijacked by something else? More than I can count.

The habit shouldn’t be planning, the habit should be doing. Write every day before or after work. Write every day before the kids get up or after they go to bed. Write every day at lunch. Write during your coffee/smoke break. Write on the train or bus. Write while your meals are cooking or before they arrive at the table.

If I apply the same dedication to my writing as I do to my karate, I could have as many books available as Brian Keene does right now.

I’m going to start sleeping with my Bram Stoker Award statue close by. I’ll see it before I go to sleep and after I wake up. It will remind me of what I’m capable of.

The Stoker

If nothing else, it will be at hand to beat a burglar to death with.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Sundance Thing

Sundance is both nothing like I expected and everything I expected.

While most of the action is in Park City, Utah, it’s very spread out around town and includes events in Salt Lake City. There’s no central convention hall or meeting space full of people, or booths of movie folks hawking their flicks to fans and studio execs alike. There are a handful of theaters and a whole lot of movies, and it’s difficult to get tickets in most cases. I overheard conversations about actors unable to get into flicks, and I saw people scalping and trading tickets on buses and on the street. Apparently there’s a lottery just for the right to purchase tickets, and you take what you can get and worry about trading or selling later.

It’s also very commercial and touristy. Yes, Park City is gorgeous, but it’s obviously built to attract and everything is expensive. I expected big studio money to be there, but I didn’t expect to see corporate and bank sponsorships on banners and theater marquees. Your stereotypical L.A. type lurks everywhere, and many people are there just to be seen. Fashion trumped common sense as ladies wearing four-inch heels walked down sloped sidewalks covered with snow, ice and slush. Traffic jammed the streets, even in the blizzard that fell upon the city on Saturday.

Southwest Egyptian

Way to kill a marquee, Southwest

That all said, there’s still an energy about the place. No matter their reason for being there, everyone was genuinely excited about movies. We only got to spend one full day at the festival due to our travel schedules and the weather, but I had a great time being out there. If I were to do it again it would probably be for Brian’s next or another friend’s movie premiere (or, with luck, my own), and I would make sure I had more time and moolah to see a few more flicks.

Or am I obligated to say “films” now?

Finally Made It

Most of our Sundance crew: Mary SanGiovanni, Brian Keene, Mark Sylva, Tod & Suzin Clark

We all showed up to catch the premiere of Brian Keene’s Ghoul, as good an excuse as any to get everyone together and hang out. Ghoul screened at the Slamdance film festival, an indie festival which has been crashing Sundance for seventeen years now. Brian had yet to see the final cut himself, and it was cool to sit in there with the cast and crew as the opening credits kicked in.

Let’s get this out of the way: Brian Keene’s Ghoul is a good, made-for-TV flick. The studio makes a change fans of the book may question, but it’s true to the spirit of the novel and the director, Gregory Wilson (The Girl Next Door) handles the material with respect. Sure, it’s low budget, but there’s some terrific Ghoul makeup and there are no cheesy CGI effects. The soundtrack is heavy-handed and jarring, and there’s a plot element that goes unresolved, but in all we really enjoyed the movie and it accomplishes more with its limited budget than some big-budget horror flicks manage to do. Fans will be able to catch the movie’s cable debut on Friday, April 13th on Chiller.

Mikey at Slamdance HQ

Mike Huyck at Slamdance HQ, the Treasure Mountain Inn

We spent the rest of the time hanging out and catching up. Mikey and I rescued Mark Sylva from Salt Lake City and the blizzard, and the State Police closed the mountain pass just after we got back up into the canyons where we stayed. We spotted a handful of celebrities, watched paparazzi chase said celebrities, witnessed a studio marketing guy and a publicist try to impress everyone on a shuttle ride as they kissed one another’s asses, and bumped into a handful of interesting people. We hung out with some of Brian’s fans and made new friends, we of course hit a couple of bars, and we had food both good and bad. I learned a candy shop can still make a nasty cup of hot chocolate, and I visited a photographer’s gallery filled with some breathtaking landscape photos.

Oh, and we got accosted by drunks, too. At three in the afternoon. It takes all kinds, I guess.

The Snow Bunnies

Mark and some ladies we chatted with as I finished a cigar. No, they weren't the drunks.

I shot several photos, most of which can be found in my Sundance Flickr set. Jump on over and check them out; they tell the story faster than I could.

In some ways it felt like a convention, just with higher stakes but less pressure. I’d love an opportunity to go back, and I’ll admit to having more than a little envy of Brian’s success and of the things he was able to accomplish over the weekend (which, I hope, he’ll be able to share with his fans soon). Prose is still my first love, but I’m not averse to screenplays any more than I am comics, and I’m confident I can make this happen one way or another.

I just wish I knew about the movie The Raid before I got home, because, damn:

Like I said: next trip, I make more time and bring more money.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

And We’re Back

Back home and back to the grind.

It was a great weekend at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals, especially the opportunity to catch up with friends. The Twitter posts showed up late on the blog, but as you can see we faced a blizzard and had several adventures while waiting to see the premiere of Brian Keene’s Ghoul.

The Twitter stream on the blog is caught up to my last flight home, so I’ve turned the feature off. I’ll have a separate blog post and some photos up soon. In the meantime, here’s a shot by Mark Sylva:

Brian and I at the Egyptian

Brian and I at the Egyptian Theater at Sundance

Mark has several more photos, which you can check out here.

If you feel you missed out on the opportunity to see Brian Keene’s Ghoul, don’t sweat it: the film will be broadcast on Chiller on Friday, April 13th, at 9PM Eastern. It’s a good flick, and it stays true to the novel despite a change for television. Here’s hoping Chiller keeps the originals coming.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Win a Copy of TFWM

The good folks over at Dreadful Tales have reviewed To Fight With Monsters, the comic book written by Brian Keene and myself and illustrated by Ben Dunn. You can read the full review here, but here’s a blurb:

This story reeks of modern horror in its themes and intense, unbridled sense of… wrongness… if I may use that word. The subject matter at hand is brutal, and so far from what one would automatically thing this little story is about. It is, in fact, about monsters – but who and what the monsters are is left completely to the reader to find out. In fact, I’d say that that there are more monsters present in this than the average reader would admit. It’s just a matter of opinion as to how you would define the word.

As a bonus, the DT guys are giving away free copies of the comic! You can win one by purchasing your very own copy of Winter Kill and sending proof to DT. Supplies are limited, so act fast. For full details, scroll to the bottom of the review.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The New Horror Meme

Taken from Brian Keene’s shenanigans at CONvergence.

BITCH, PLEASE

The horror... the horror...

The black socks and shoes really make the outfit.

Update: And then the meme continued.

BITCH, PLEASE MB

Once again, the shoes make the outfit.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

To Fight With Monsters On Shelves Today!

Word is To Fight With Monsters has landed on store shelves as of today. Get out there and get yourself a copy!

To Fight with Monsters final cover

To Fight With Monsters from Antarctic Press, available now!

If your shop doesn’t have it in stock, it can still be ordered with the Diamond/Previews order code DEC10 0723.

Or, if they’re unable to fill the order, you can purchase a copy direct from the publisher, Antarctic Press.

I don’t know what kind of  store penetration Antarctic gets, so please do let me know if your store has it in stock. If you like, send pictures or add them to the comments and I’ll be happy to note it on message boards.

This comic was adapted from the short story of the short story of the same name by Brian Keene and I. It first appeared in the collection 4×4 from Delirium Books, and you can find the script in the upcoming collection Smoke and Mirrors from Cemetery Dance.

If you like this book, track down a copy of New Dark Voices, which features the sequel novella, “To Travel Among Men”. I hope to reprint that as an e-book at some point in the future, as well as two more sequel novellas to round out the trilogy. One of those is written and the other plotted.

Once Lie with the Dead is put to bed, I’ll be able to concentrate on getting all of that done.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

TFWM: New Cover, Preview

A new cover and six-page preview have been posted for To Fight With Monsters, the one-shot comic I co-wrote with Brian Keene. I just wrote a foreword for the inside front cover this week, and I’m told the book is on its way to printing. You can still preorder, and it should be in your hot little hands very soon.

To Fight with Monsters final cover
Art by Ben Dunn

I dig the new cover. The old one wasn’t bad, but this is a little sharper and cleaner.

If your comic shop isn’t stocking Antarctic Press, ask them to start! Antarctic also publishes Brian’s The Last Zombie and several other quality titles.

And don’t forget, The Pack: Winter Kill digital editions are only $2.99! You can get it in Kindle, Nook, or iBooks formats.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.