Tag Archive for john urbancik

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.

DarkWalker is Here!

My good friend John Urbancik’s new book, DarkWalker, has just launched from Evileye Books!

Darkwalker by John Urbancik

Cover art by Daniele Serra

The book will be available for free on Kindle for a short time. The trade paperback will be available later this summer, followed soon after by Nook and iBook editions.

Congrats, John!

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.

Stuff for Your Peepers to Peep

Evileye Books has just released the cover for John Urbancik’s upcoming Darkwalker, a beautiful, painted thing by Daniele Serra:

Darkwalker by John Urbancik

Click for the full scoop

John’s been working on this book—nay, this series!—for some time, and it’s good to see it coming together. I think he and the Evileye crew make a good team, and I look forward more and more to their expanding catalog. Right now I’m reading Cullen Bunn’s Crooked Hills, and it won’t be long now until we see The Burning Maiden available on Kindle and, soon after, in trade paperback.

Want to become an Evileye author yourownself? Now’s your chance: they are opening up submissions to The Burning Maiden 2. Guidelines available right here.

As much as I’ve become an Evileye junkie, I’m putting together quite a to-read list. Check out this trailer for Robert Swartwood’s Man of Wax:

Looks like a winner to me. Hell, it looks like a killer thriller flick.

More stuff to read:

All the Young Warriors by Anthony Neil Smith. I’ve been hooked on DocNoir’s stuff since I read Yellow Medicine. I plan to follow it up with Dead Money by Ray Banks, another title from upstart publisher Blasted Heath.

Shotgun Gravy by Chuck Wendig. I’ve been digging Chuck’s writing advice. It’s sharp and funny, and new writers should pay attention. Hell, even those of us who’ve been around at least a little while can sometimes use the smack upside the head. I figure it’s about time I check out his fiction.

Shotgun Honey. Throw in shotgun biscuits and you have breakfast. I hit this site every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new flash fiction. Great little crime pieces, every one, and they only take a minute or two to read. Kent, Ron, and Sabrina bring the pain.

Throw in the hardcover copy of Sonny Barger’s Freedom: Credos from the Road I picked up to consume in brief chunks before bed, and this should keep me busy a while.

What are you reading these days? Drop a note in the comments.

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 E-book Week!

Lots happening. Things moving are moving so fast, my head is spinning. Unfortunately, none of it is of particular interest to you, so I’ll move on.

Word is this is e-book week, and folks on Twitter are recommending a lot of great books. Rather than toss out a few random selections, I thought it might be better to provide you with a quick list. Here, in no particular order, are some of my recommended e-books.

Choke on Your Lies by Anthony Neil Smith
I’m reading this book right now, and while it’s not an action-packed thriller like his Yellow Medicine, it is a strong, sordid drama filled with tension and great characters. A steal at only $2.99.

The Deputy by Victor Gischler
I read The Deputy just a few weeks ago, my third Gischler title after Gun Monkeys and Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse. Fun, fun stuff.

To the Devil, My Regards by Gischler & Smith
Come on. Two great flavors in one small package for one dollar. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s high on my to-read list.

Quicksilver by John Urbancik
Hot off the e-presses, John brings his dark fantasy work to the Kindle for the first time. I downloaded a copy today. You should, too.

Blood Feud by Cullen Bunn
Cullen is one of those writers who is about to break out in a big way. A few formatting errors aside, Blood Feud is a wild ride through a backwoods Ozark town plagued by vampires. The first-person narrative by one of the resident hillbillies really  makes the book.

The Pack: Winter Kill by Mike Oliveri
What, you thought I’d get through a post like this without plugging my own work? Guess again.

The Fever Kill by Tom Piccirilli
Another book vying for the top of my to-read list. I’ve been reading Tom since he started writing horror for Leisure, and now he takes that distinct, dark flavor into thriller territory. The guy can’t be beat when it comes to creating atmosphere.

The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski
This is one of those thrillers that demonstrated high concepts and science fiction aren’t out of the question. I started with his Severance Package (which for some reason isn’t available on Kindle), then tore through his entire catalog. That’s how good these books are.

That should keep you busy a while.

Also, a quick update: the To Fight With Monsters drawing has been extended! Response has been good, and the book’s still not quite ready to go to press, so the folks at Antarctic Press have agreed to extend the drawing deadline to March 22nd. Get your order in today!

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 Evileye Family Grows

Last month, Evileye Books added Cullen Bunn & Shawn Lee to their roster with the Raze series. This month they expand again with John Urbancik‘s new series DarkWalker. You can find a more complete announcement on Indie Pulp, and the first book is due in May.

These are exciting times for the company. I may have been the first out of the gate, but these guys are bringing some strong work to the table, and I truly believe Evileye is going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2010 and beyond. They have big plans, and I wouldn’t have signed on for a multi-book deal if I didn’t think they could bring these plans to fruition.

It helps that Cullen, John and I all know one another, too. It’s starting to feel more like a studio than a company, and while there’s going to be a lot of crossover in our audiences, we also bring in our own groups of fans. It’s going to be a blast when we all have books out and we can man an Evileye table at a con.

Evileye isn’t done yet, either. Take a look in the back of The Pack: Winter Kill for a hint of what’s to come. Like I said, exciting times!

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.

VisionCon

So who else is coming to VisionCon in Springfield, MO, at the end of the month?

I’ve just finished most of the heavy lifting to prepare for the trip, which is a first for me. For most cons, I do the headless chicken dance the night before, only then realizing I’ve forgotten books or business cards. This time that’s all been taken care of, and Cullen Bunn and I should be rolling in Friday morning in time for the convention opening at noon.

I’ll have copies of New Dark Voices on hand, and you’ll be able to get them signed by Brian Keene and I. Brian wrote the introduction to the collection, which also features John Urbancik and Gene O’Neill. This book was just re-released in trade paperback.

I’ll also have copies of Restore from Backup available. This is a collaborative novella by JF Gonzalez and I, drawn in equal parts from our love of horror and our day jobs in IT. Jesus, of course, has since had the sense — or at least the balls — to go full time with his writing.

Finally, I’ll have copies of Werewolves: Call of the Wild on hand. I will at least have issues 2 and 3, and I’m hoping to score some copies of #1 as well.

I’d like to bring copies of Brimstone Turnpike, but I don’t think I’ll be lugging out a bunch of $40 hardcovers. If you have a copy or you can order one in time, however, I’ll be happy to sign it. Hell, bring along whatever you have with my name on it and I’ll deface it for you. I’m not hard to find at these things, and the VisionCon folks have even slapped my mug on their web site for your convenience. Here’s another hint: try the bar, especially since I’m told I can enjoy a cigar there.

I’d also like to hit Lambert’s Cafe and try these throwed rolls I keep seeing on cable food specials. I won’t forgive myself if I get that close to Kansas City and don’t sample some BBQ, but I guess it depends how loaded my schedule will be. I’m going on the convention’s dime, so I’m not about to go skipping out on them.

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.

New Dark Voices Now Shipping!

Hot Off the Presses!
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

It may be a hair too late to put under your Christmas tree, but New Dark Voices is now available in trade paperback!

Originally published in hardcover, this book features three novellas by myself, John Urbancik, and Gene O’Neill. My novella is “To Travel Among Men”, the sequel to “To Fight with Monsters” from 4×4.

Order your copy today! You can pick it up from Amazon or direct from the publisher via The Horror Mall.

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 Bad Moon Bundle

Bad Moon Books is offering Restore from Backup in the Bad Moon Bundle, a collection of their first six publications being offered for $95.00.

If you’re a Muy Mal fan and read John Urbancik‘s work over there, you should know that the Bad Moon Bundle includes two novellas by John, “House of Shadow & Ash” and “Wings of the Butterfly”.

Good stuff, Maynard.

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.

2008: The Year to Come

It’s been an interesting start to the year already, but there’s a lot on the horizon.

For starters, Muy Mal is officially back, complete with a rockin’ new look provided by Russ Dickerson. John and Weston have already posted their first contributions and mine won’t be far behind. I’ll be wrapping up Down Vendetta Road and sometime this Spring I’ll tackle the next volume of Bastard Precinct. Our plan is to tie up all the loose ends on the site by June.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got two book releases due. The German edition of Deadliest of the Species, Das Tödliche Geschlecht, will be released soon, and I’m writing a novella to go on the back of a second book that I’ll be able to announce soon.

I’ve signed the signature sheets for both In Laymon’s Terms and Brimstone Turnpike, so we should finally see them on the market. It’s been so long for both of them that I’m a little worried they will no longer be representative of my current writing style (especially In Laymon’s Terms), but that’s just part of the business. I dug around, and it turns out I was hoping to see the release of both books at least three years ago. Argh. ILT contains a short story and Brimstone has a novella.

I actually made progress on the To Fight With Monsters front, completing To Confront the Enemy over the fall. To Rise from the Ashes is next, and the whole package will go to a publisher as soon as possible.

There’s a spark of interest in Powerless, which I’ve decided will be my next novel. I’ve written two other novels since Deadliest, but I’m really not happy with either and they’d just about have to be rewritten from the ground up. Given I’m more excited about Powerless and it needs the same amount of work, I may as well pour my concentration into it. At the moment, all I’ve written on it so far is printed and waiting for me to edit and reintroduce myself to. There’s at least one chapter that will be excised, one that will be chopped in half, and then I need to tweak the location and geography throughout.

Last week I sat down with a publisher and discussed several things. It’s too early to announce anything, but we had a great conversation and we’ll be getting together again soon. Our conversation includes Wounded Gods and at least one other project which I’ll slap with the working title The Shattered Man. I’m excited about the direction we’re headed in, and if it continues I’ll be talking a lot more about these projects soon.

That’s only the projects already lined up, of course. The next step is to build toward the future, to put together some more sales and make sure 2009 will look as promising as 2008 does.

On a personal note, I’ll be continuing my karate training. If I work hard, I could (and should) be a purple belt by the end of the year, which is two ranks from my current blue belt. I’m also going to try to attend more kendo classes at my school, and I may even explore aikido in the fall if a local community college continues to offer it.

I’ve officially changed the Fatty post category to Fitness. I think losing 30 pounds last year has earned me that much. This year I’m setting a smaller goal to cut 20 more. When the weather warms up, I’m going to try to motivate myself to try the Couch-to-5K-Running Plan. It’s a long shot because I hate running, but I’m realizing it’s the best way to both cut weight and improve cardiovascular health. I’m trying to think of it as a good way to improve my endurance for karate class and sparring matches, too.

I’m going to try — again — to do more with my camera. I consider myself an amateur photographer at best, but I really do enjoy taking and sharing pictures. I’ve still got a lot to learn about digital post-processing, so that’s one of the areas I’ll concentrate on this year. It’s also high time I start saving up for a good DSLR camera and dump my aging, point-and-shoot PowerShot G2. If I get active enough I’ll start a Photography category on this blog.

That about covers it. I’d say it’s more than enough to keep me busy this year, too.

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.