Archive for the Last Writes with… Category

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Freeman & Lilith Presson

Posted in Last Writes with... on December 11, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

I met Freeman Presson through twitter some ten years back. It started as most twitter interactions do — a bit of back and forth banter regarding our shared interests in the esoteric. We “followed” one another and began to converse more and more. Then, shortly after, we were invited by Weiser Books’ Lisa Trudeau, or Ankhie as she was more commonly known, to join her on the Weiser website for a discussion on Chaos Magick — Chaos Magick for the Clueless (which would be me) – a converstation with Bob Freeman & Freeman Presson — which was tremendously fun and Freeman and I because fast friends in the wake of it.

To be honest, I felt a kinship and connection with Freeman nearly from the start. We both had Arkansas roots and a thirst for knowledge, especially of the more arcane arts, and a mutual appreciation of magical fiction. As our friendship grew, I felt a strong connection with his family — his enchanting wife, Lilith, and their son Erik — and we would often discuss family matters, and I often leaned on him for advice.

He and his family mean the world to me, and as much as I so often loathe the internet and social media, without it I would have never become friends with the Pressons, and for that I am truly thankful. Freeman is a skilled astrologer and the proprietor of Hermetic Healing Works, while Lilith is a trusted medium and social activist. It is my upmost pleasure to share with you their Last Writes.

FREEMAN

Last Meal

I would not care so much what the menu was, but I’d like to have it with family and friends. We might revisit a favorite restaurant, like Bettola or Galley and Garden. There would have to be wine, and a glass of Strega or Chartreuse afterwards.

Last Book

I’d be tempted to indulge in a 30th re-reading of Lord of the Rings, but I think I will go with a careful reading of the Corpus Hermeticum instead, as it’s somewhat better as preparation for that exciting trip out the Capricorn Gate.

Last Movie

I’m not a big movie person, but this is where I sneak in the Lord of the Rings (Extended Edition of course! It looks like I am trying to stretch things out, doesn’t it?)

Last Song

There’s a lot of competition here, but I’m going with an Emerald Rose favorite: “Come to the Dance.” That’s a rousing Pagan anthem to go out on.

First person I’d want to see on the other side?

I have a vision of all my ancestors crowding around to welcome me, and maybe some of my Gods and Guides. I’d include my wife, but she is under no circumstances allowed to predecease me!

— LILITH —

Last Meal

My last meal should be strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with an assortment of cheeses and breads with Dom Perignon – the comfort of the familiar and down-to-earth paired with the fancy I’ve never tried. 

Last Song

The last song would probably be “The Parting Glass” as sung by The Wailin’ Jennys, as it seems appropriate. 

Last Book & Last Movie

As far as books and movies, I would likely want to spend my time enjoying the company of people I love and giving away my possessions to people who could enjoy them rather than consuming media.


First person I’d want to see on the other side?

First person I’d want to see on the other side would be my paternal grandfather who died in February 1993, followed by my maternal grandfather who died in December 2016.  Both men were wonderful, compassionate, hard working people who gave unconditional love to me and many other people.  I miss them tremendously.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Edward M. Erdelac

Posted in Last Writes with... on December 4, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

Another Hoosier born author, Ed Erdelac hangs his hat in the LA area these days, where he’s set up camp with his wife, kids, and an assortment of feline companions. I discovered Ed through my pal Greg Mitchell who turned me on to Ed’s Weird Westerns, The Merkabah Rider series. Ed’s a multi-genre threat, with a style the embraces pulp sensibilities interspersed with a modern edge. If you’re not reading Ed Erdelac, you’re missing out…plain and simple.

Last Meal

My mom’s fried chicken and french fries

Last Book

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Last Movie

Harvey

Last Song

The Greatest Adventure by Glenn Yarborough

First person you’d like to meet on the other side?

My dad.

Only two weeks left in this season of Last Writes.

The 2020 Occult Detective Awards will follow soon after.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Lee Thomas

Posted in Last Writes with... on November 27, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

I met Lee Thomas in 2011 at Mo*Con VI, a small Inter-Faith Convention that explored the themes of horror literature and spirituality. I was a paneled guest, sitting alongside Cullen Bunn and Lucien Soulban, to discuss alternate avenues for writers. Lee, a Bram Stoker Award and Lambda Literary Award Winner, was there as a Special Guest. I hadn’t read any of Lee’s fiction, but after a long and thoughtful conversation with him, knew that I would have to rectify that at my earliest convenience.

I was not disappointed.

I first picked up Black Sun Set, a noir character piece, that showed me he had real writing chops, but it was Torn, which was released in 2012, that cemented for me the depth of his storytelling. I went on to read a number of brilliant works by him — The German, Like Light for Flies, Ash Street, Butcher Road

Lee writes deep, psychological literature that transcends the tropes and genres he explores. He is a truly gifted author that we simply don’t get enough from.

It is my privilege and honor to share with you now the Last Writes of Lee Thomas.

LAST MEAL

Breakfast – banger sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sourdough toast

LAST BOOK

The Throat by Peter Straub

LAST MOVIE

Shaun of the Dead, go out with a laugh

LAST SONG

“Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE?

James Baldwin. I have so many questions.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… David J. West

Posted in Last Writes with... on November 20, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

Another friend discovered through Howard Fandom, David J. West, who also writes under the name James Alderdice, pens savage tales of sword & sorcery, wonderfully weird westerns, grim and dark fantasy, and the like.

West and I share similar values, being family men and patriots, but we also have a common affinity, not just for Robert E. Howard’s philosophies and writings, but for ancient ruins, swords, and spending time in the back country.

As such, being able to share his Last Writes with you now is an honor.

Last Meal

Vanilla milkshakes take me back to hanging out with my grandfather and Dad. A cappuccino with way too much sugar. A medium rare sirloin cut of elk steak. A slice of pepperoni pizza from Marias Italian Kitchen in LA. And finally a salted caramel gelato. All of these take me back to incredibly fond memories.

Last Book

This is really hard as a serious bibliophile. I thin as a spiritual guide I would reread The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi which is already something I refer to as one of my gospels.

Last Movie

I’m a person who enjoys rereading and rewatching my favorites. I think I would go with Conan the Barbarian for old times sake.

Last Song

This Corrosion by the Sisters of Mercy

First person you’d like to meet on the other side

I expect to meet my deceased brother, but for someone that the rest of you would know, I would say I would really like to spend some time chatting with my favorite author Robert E. Howard.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Matt Cowan

Posted in Last Writes with... on October 30, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

It’s Devil’s Night, Hallowe’en Eve, and who better to turn to when mischief, mayhem, and the macabre are in full bloom than the founder of Horror Delve, author Matt Cowan.

Matt is a skilled writer of the sort of fictions we crave all too much around here, and he is a connoisseur of classic horror stories and of the men and women who create them.

As soon as I decided to resurrect Last Writes, I had Matt in mind for our Hallowe’en Chapter. It is an honor to call him a friend and even more so to have him now share with us his Last Writes…

Last Meal

It would have to be a works pizza with extra cheese and mushrooms, an order of bread sticks with double cheese sauces (I really love cheese!) and a sangria to drink.

Last Book

This is extremely hard because because I love reading so much, but as I’m addicted to buying horror anthologies it would probably have to be one of those. I’m partial to haunted house stories, so it would need to have plenty of those in the mix, and considering Ramsey Campbell is my all-time favorite author, it would need to include a story or three by him as well.

Last Movie

This one is tough as well. The first Best of the Best movie is the one I’ve seen the most over my lifetime but that was largely when I was heavily into Tae Kwon Do back in the 90’s. If I were picking a horror film it would likely be either Insidious, The Legend of Hell House or The Mothman Prophecies. I also have a huge love for the Marvel Super-Hero films but for sheer mindless fun I’m going to go with Hawk the Slayer. I know it has many flaws and lots of haters, but I’ve loved it since I first saw it on television as a kid. It’s my favorite fantasy film and just manages to make me smile each time I watch it.

Last Song

I’m not a huge music person in general. I do tend to listen to Tori Amos, Seal and Sarah McLaughlin while writing as their music is often infused with a mournful eeriness I seek to convey in my stories. I guess I’ll go with Sarah’s haunting melody, Out of the Shadows. It has a haunting, life-slipping-away quality to it which seems appropriate for such an occasion.

First person I’d like to meet on the other side

I’ve been blessed in that I haven’t lost any members of my immediate family thus far. There’s my grandfather who I was close to as a child, or someone like Mark Justice who I never got to meet in person but whom I became friends with online. Ultimately, I think I’d go with someone I only ever spoke with once – my wife’s father. He died of Lymphoma back in her home state of Mississippi early on when she and I’d begun dating so I never got the chance to meet him. I talked to him once briefly when she handed me her phone to say hi. He joked with me a little before I gave the phone back. Our interaction was brief but his sense of humor came through and knowing how important he was to my wife makes me wish I’d better had the chance to know him.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Paul Hodson

Posted in Last Writes with... on October 23, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

One of the best things about social media is making connections with people half a world away, blokes who, if you lived in the same time zone, would be lifelong friends.

Such is Dragon Prow Shadow author Paul Hodson of rural West Lancashire. We share a common fascination for archaeology, ancient history, and the sort of folk legends that keep one up at night.

I think you’ll find his Last Writes an interesting discourse, and as we share the same Last Movie, well, obviously we are kindred spirits.

Last Meal

I’m going to for the full hit here; potato and leek soup; roast potatoes, sweet corn (covered in butter and a dusting of black pepper), and my mum’s cheese and onion pie; a chocolate mousse with desiccated raspberry and raspberry couli. And because I can and was never fond of rules, a spot of trifle, not a sherry one, just plain old fashioned trifle, to fill in any gaps.

Last Book

I spent a lot of time thinking about Terry Pratchett books here, but in the end I have to go for American Gods – Neil Gaiman – it gives me hope.

Last Movie

John Boorman’s Excalibur – how the world should be. Could be.

Last Song

This is going to vary from which day you ask me, but today I think I’ll have to go with (again the rules) David Bowie – the triptych centre piece from Diamond Dogs – Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise) – which for me is one coherent track.

First person I’d like to meet on the other side

I’m going to bend the rules here (no surprise) – the first person I have known that I’d like to meet who I knew is my Auntie – she gave me many things when I thought there was nothing. First person in history – Nikola Tesla (might be different tomorrow)…

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Bob Ford

Posted in Last Writes with... on October 2, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

I met author Robert Ford long before I read his fiction. Bob is one of those free-spirited guys — you know, quick with a smile and in possession of a heart of gold (I hear he keeps it in an old mayonnaise jar, buried under the black Pennsylvanian earth). He’s got wit and charm to spare, but it’s his words that will get you.

What I like about his writing is that it’s real. Real people with real problems. An ordinary Joe, you know, and then there’s a subtle twist of the dial, and suddenly you’re in the Twilight Zone. That’s Bob.

My favorite story by him is Samson and Denial, about a guy who runs a pawn shop and ends up on the wrong end of things when a junkie looks to pawn a mummified head.

If you’re looking to read something different this Hallowe’en, Bob’s your guy. But enough of the flattery, we’ve Last Writes to perform…

LAST MEAL

I thought long and hard about this one because I’ve been privileged to have some incredible meals in my life, and the first that came to mind was a dinner at a small café in New Orleans. It was blackened catfish with a side of seasoned crawfish that the memory itself makes my mouth water. But, if I had to pin it to a last meal, it would, without question, be a dinner in Texas at Killer Con 2019. I won’t mention his name, as I don’t want to embarrass him, but an amazing person in the horror community invited a group to Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse. This wasn’t a dinner so much as an experience. The server and his team handed out cards to everyone at the table and you could flip it up to show “yes, I’d like what food you’re bringing around the table” or flip it down to indicate “no thank you” and the servers would pass you by. Every single morsel wasn’t good. It wasn’t fantastic. It was an entirely new realm of culinary delight. Even the damned salad bar was filled with unique choices, including a spicy, candied bacon that still haunts my dreams. I had an after-dinner drink of an aged cognac that arrived with its own warming candle beneath the glass. Absolutely and completely otherworldly.

LAST BOOK

This question is like trying to answer which child you’d say goodbye to last. Lorenzo Carcaterra’s “Sleepers” comes to mind. King’s “The Stand” or Robert McCammon’s “Boy’s Life” were quick considerations as well. But after taking a moment to look over my bookshelves, it wouldn’t change my mind on the final choice I’d arrive at. “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White would be my choice of last book. I grew up an only child on a 55-acre farm in Maryland and spent countless hours roaming the hills or playing in the massive haybarn. We had cows and a few ponies, two pigs and countless chickens. I’d go to the barn and breathe in the sweet smell of hay as I read comics or paperbacks. I’d watch the Barn Swallows fly in and out as they built their nests or fed their hatchlings. Sometimes I’d find a litter of kittens in the hay from a stray cat. It was a magical way of growing up and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When I read “Charlotte’s Web” for the first time, the book couldn’t possibly have described farm life any better. I’ve read it many times since, and the core story of true friendship and what that means, along with the sweet nostalgia of my memories on the farm, has always made me smile.

LAST SONG

“Imperial March” maybe? No, no. Okay, serious thought here. My musical tastes vary widely from Nine Inch Nails and Tool, to Muddy Waters’ stellar “Electric Mud” release, Johnny Cash, Dave Brubeck, and The Cure, and I listen to music whenever I write. For me, it helps form a rhythm as I type, most definitely sets a tone for the work, and depending on what I’m working on, I adjust accordingly. But the one single song I’d choose as my last song would be Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”. The thing is, I don’t own a single classical music CD. Not one. The first time I ever heard Barber’s Adagio was at a concert in Baltimore to see The Cure. It was sunset, and the venue was open seating at an outdoor park. People were sitting on blankets and talking, laughing, drinking. The weather forecast had called for a chance of rain, but the threat had passed. The sky was painted in fireball red and orange, and as everyone waited for the show to begin, “Adagio for Strings” began to play. People continued to talk and laugh, but we all knew the music was an indication the show would start fairly soon. But as I listened, and the music grew and grew until the high-pitched crescendo near the end, everyone grew quiet. Everyone stopped and seemed to simply take in the music itself, to be lifted up and encompassed by it. More than a few people were moved to tears, myself included.

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

My maternal grandmother, Essie. She could be tough on people at times, but had a unique sense of humor, and was a natural storyteller. So many times, as a young kid, I’d sit away from the grownups, watching and listening to the stories they exchanged. I heard about seances, though I didn’t truly grasp the meaning at the time. I’d hear about tough times they went through when they were younger, or funny stories as they grew up. I’d sit there like a gargoyle and take it all in—not only the story itself, but how the story was told, the rhythm and cadence of it all. The word choices and pauses. It’s one of the reasons I started writing. Pretty sure if I saw her on the other side, she’d smile and hold her hand out and say “Was wondering when I’d see you again. Now here… pull my finger.”

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Amber Petty

Posted in Last Writes with... on September 25, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

You may know Miss Amber Petty as a presenter, or perhaps from her stint on Australia’s Celebrity Survivor, her turn on SAFM, or as Princess Mary’s best friend and Royal Bridesmaid, but I met Amber through a strange confluence of events regarding a tarot card.

Showing that she has tremendously good taste, Amber came across my High Priestess card illustration for my SKA Tarot Deck from a few years back and she fell in love with it. She reached out across the internet, hoping to license the image for her Tarot Tea House. How could I say no?

The Tarot Tea House is such a brilliant idea. Billed as “a Tea and Tarot/Oracle card reading business that moves from location to location via a magic carpet”, Amber is well suited for being the ringmaster of these events.

Through emails and Skype conversations, I discovered an infectious personality that exudes warmth and compassion. Her forthcoming memoir, This is Not a Love Song, covers her struggles with depression and a series of personal and professional mishaps that ultimately led to a spiritual awakening.

And now, without further ado, alow me to share Amber’s Last Writes —

LAST MEAL

A seafood banquet, with a Greek salad
and a large bottle of Rekorderlig cider.

LAST BOOK

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

LAST MOVIE

Rocket Man

LAST SONG

Harry Chapin’s A Better Place To Be

THE FIRST PERSON YOU WANT TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE?

My dad definitely, but if it were to be someone
I’ve never met, I’d say Mary Queen of Scots.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Shawn Hebert

Posted in Last Writes with... on September 18, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

It’s a strange thing to build relationships with people whom one’s never met up close and personal and yet this is the world we’ve manifested for ourselves and I am thankful for it. Otherwise I may never have been blessed to call Shawn Hebert a friend.

Shawn is the proprietor of what I consider the premier source for ritual candles, incense, and oils — Lailokens Awen. Shawn is a genius when it comes to the formulation of spiritual, magical blends through his expertise in aromatherapy and herbalism and I can personally attest to his products, having utilized his Beeswax Sabbat Altar Candles, and the results have been spectacular.

Shawn is quite simply one of my favorite humans. I respect his magical beliefs, his dedication to his craft, his heart and passion, and his gift for spinning occult detective yarns that, I hope, you’ll all be reading in the near future.

It is an honor to share his Last Writes with you…

LAST MEAL

My last meal would have to be chicken enchildadas with verde sauce, Spanish rice, pico de gallo, and a couple of ice cold Dos Equis.  Not only because that’s my favourite meal, but also because it evokes fond memories of when I lived in Texas, my favourite place I’ve ever lived.

LAST BOOK

I’m torn between Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill, and Heartlight by Marion Zimmer Bradley, for two very different reasons.  If I really had to chose, it would be Mist Over Pendle.  I’ve read it probably about 10 times over the years, and can easily read it dozens of more times before I close my eyes for the last time.

LAST MOVIE

The last movie I’d like to watch is Labyrinth.  It’s not my favourite movie, but it was an influence as a child, one of the things in my life that allowed me to dream and wonder, and imagine strange things in other worlds, and I’d like to think that a part of who I am today is because of that.

LAST SONG

The last song I’d like to hear is Disturbed’s cover of The Sound of Silence.  Not my favourite song in the world, but sad, dramatic, and appropriate.

THE FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

The first person I’d like to meet on the other side is the person I was prior to 2008.  I’d like to see if we’re as different as I think we are, or if there is still a little bit of that person tucked away somewhere in my personality.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with…Woelf Dietrich

Posted in Last Writes with... on September 11, 2020 by Occult Detective

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

I stumbled upon author Woelf Dietrich online through our mutual love of the writings of Robert E. Howard. We followed the same people. Commented on the same threads. Soon, I was an avid reader of his blog, particularly his essays on Writers of Past Renown.

Outspoken. Opinionated. Woelf is cut from the same cloth as most authors I admire. He writes with a kinetic energy, with fiery prose that is passionate and damn near poetic.

His latest work, The Carrion Hunter and Other Tales from a Broken Earth, collects his award winning short stories for the first time all under one roof.

LAST MEAL

I haven’t had a beef schnitzel with a pepper sausage in over a decade, so it makes sense to have that as last meal. I remember enjoying it greatly with an ice-cold beer.

LAST BOOK

Bernard Cornwell is releasing War Lord, the final book in the Lost Kingdom saga in September this year. It will be the final chapter of Uhtred of Bebbanburg’s life. Therefore, it is a fitting book to read as last book. Plus it helps that Cornwell is one of my favourite authors.

LAST MOVIE

Gladiator. I love that movie. I have seen it many times. The hero moves on to be with his family in Elysium. And, as I am to head of to the unknown, it appears appropriate. 

LAST SONG

This is a difficult one. I don’t now what mood I’ll be in when I die or just before I die, and so much of my musical interests is linked to emotion. To stay in theme with my previous answer and given the nature of these questions, I’d choose Now We Are Free by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE 

I always thought I’d like to meet Ernest Hemingway but I now think it must either be Robert E Howard of David Gemmell. Both these men wrote stories that press every bloody button I have.

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