Happy Anniversary, Buffy

Posted in Media Macabre, Occult Detectives on March 10, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Has it really been 20 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted on the WB?

How an unsuccessful early 90s movie became a smash-hit late 90s television series is some sort of esoteric alchemy that can not rightly be explained. Against all odds, Buffy conquered the small screen with a largely unknown cast spouting witty, irreverent, and sardonic dialogue.

The Scooby Gang, as they were so aptly called, were not us… they were who most of us wished we were.

Buffy was, without question, ground breaking television and, arguably, one of the finest modern depictions of the occult detective genre.

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Fedoras off to Joss Whedon and the entire cast, crew, writers, and directors that helped turn Buffy into something more than just a tv show. Does it hold up after 20 years? Yeah, mostly. Oh, there are a few chinks in the armor, here and there, but the heart remains, even if there is a stake plunged into it.

First Born

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First Born

Mark July 14th on your calendars. That’s right, at long last, I have a release date for my occult detective collection forthcoming from Seventh Star Press — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum.

For review requests or press inquiries, you can contact my publisher via ccjames (at) seventhstarpress (dot) com or email me direct through my freeman (at) occultdetective (dot) com address.

You can also sign up for the Seventh Star Press Read to Review Program

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The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Jim McLeod

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 6, 2017 by Occult Detective

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JIM McLEOD

Welcome to the nineteenth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

jimToday’s guest is none other than Jim Mcleod, who, along with being the first person born on Christmas Day in 1971 in the whole of the UK, a championship winning rugby captain, and a Scottish and British kickboxing champion, just so happens to be the founder and driving force behind the UK’s largest independent website dedicated to the world of horror — Ginger Nuts of Horror.

.:.

LAST MEAL

At the risk of sounding like a cliched kilt wearing Scotsman, it would have to Haggis neeps and tatties, and more precisely the haggis that my Nan used to make. I have fond memories of my helping my Nan make the haggis and the smell associated with grinding up sheep hearts and lungs and mixing them with her special blends of herbs and spice and oatmeal is one that brings make deep and happy memories.

Many people think that all haggis tastes the same, but haggis like a good whisky has a unique taste and you a can instantly tell if the haggis is a good one made with love over a cheap mass produced one.

Haggis for me just embodies the Scottish spirit, rough and ready, full of flavour and packing a hefty punch. Like us it’s a social thing, it’s meant for sharing with friends, and family. When you eat haggis, it gives you connection to your fellow countrymen who came before you. It can be a real spiritual experience.

LAST BOOK

At first, I thought this question would be a hard one to answer, but as soon as I thought about it, I realised that it could only ever be Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree.”

Bradbury is a master storyteller; his lyrical prose is one of the most evocative voices ever committed to paper, and “The Halloween Tree” for me is the most evocative. I love Halloween, and this book is the perfect example of the spirit of Halloween, but more importantly it is one of the best books about friendship and doing the right thing.

The bond between the boys and their love of Pip, always brings a tear to my eye. The scene where Moundshroud tells them about the deal they will have to do to save Pip is one of the most heartwarming, yet chilling scenes ever written.

And even though Pip doesn’t really feature in the book, he is such a wonderful character, so much so that i tried to bring up my children to be like him. I must have read this book at least hundred times, I have read to, and listened to my kids read it to me numerous times and seeing the light of joy in their eyes as they read it just makes me so happy. So much so I bought half a dozen copies of it to donate to Ella’s school book drive this year.

LAST MOVIE

This is a real hard one to answer, part of me wants to be all intellectual and go for for a film that has a lot of meaning, but to be honest the one film that I would want to see one last time would have to be the original Disney Jungle Book. I just love it, to me it is the perfect mix of a great story, great characters and a brilliant songs. It’s the sort of film that cannot help but lift my spirits.

LAST SONG

I grew up in Britain at the tail end of the punk movement and missed out on it by a few years. The two tone and Ska revival was my first musical movement. It was a weird time in Britain, the BNP was in full swing and the country was a dark place both socially and politically. However growing up in St Andrews meant that you were to a certain degree sheltered from the worse of it.

Politics and social relevance was something just just didn’t appear on a thirteen year old’s brain. Until the music of groups like The Special, The Selector and Madness started worming their way into your brain. These groups made you think, made you look at your sheltered life in a totally different way. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without the influence of these groups on my young mind. For the last song it would have to The Specials’ Ghost Town, a haunting and brutal look at the state of my country in this dark time. Even now almost 40 years since it first hit the airwaves it still has the power to chill me to the bone.

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

That’s and easy one to answer, it would have to be my Dad. And the first thing I would say to him be “I know you loved me, and I love you to”. Like many people I had father who ran his own business, he was a man who worked to provide for his family, a man who worked himself into an early grave. I had a strange relationship with him, because I never really saw much of him I never fully connected with him, and it is only now as a father myself that I fully appreciate just how much he loved us and how much he did for us. He may not have always been there, but he always cared. He was good man, I just wish I had more time to appreciate just how good a man he was.

For more on Jim, follow him on facebook and twitter, and be sure to visit the Ginger Nuts of Horror website.

In like a lion…

Posted in Liber et Audax on March 3, 2017 by Occult Detective

March stormed in with a roar on its lips and fangs bared.

The 1st was a whirlwind punctuated not only by a near gale-force bluster but by a little celebration of my nativity with Kim and Conn as well.

We ate chocolate-covered rice krispie treats and I opened presents. All books this year, which is really what I hope for whatever stripe present-receiving comes in

I snagged a couple of graphic novels — Conan: The Throne of Aquilonia by Roy Thomas and Mike Hawthorne and Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire by Neil Gaiman and Sean Oakley, two Conan pastiche novels — Conan the Rebel by Poul Anderson and Conan of Venarium by Harry Turtledove, and, most notably, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology.

We capped the revelry off with some homemade pizza and a couple of episodes of Deep Space Nine. Hard to argue with any of that, let me tell you.

I’m one lucky guy. I couldn’t have asked for a better family or better friends.

.:.

newguitarYesterday, the 2nd, Skadi and Höðr returned, bringing with them cold and snow. The snow was fleeting, however, though when it came, it came with a fury.

On February 27th I had traveled south to an old friend’s house. Tony gave me a guitar and practice amp he no longer had use for and I brought her home. She needs a little TLC, but she’s got good bones and I’m proud to have her.

I’d been sweating over a name for her and set up a poll on twitter and posed the question of facebook. I got some great suggested from everyone and I finally settled on her nom de guerre.

The idea came from two places. First, another old friend, Michael, had posted ” I dig that raven beauty“, then, my son, Connor, decided to write his critical essay on Poe’s The Raven.

Raven. By Odin’s beard, how could she be named anything else? She’s still in need of some of that TLC I was talking about, but she still sounds good and I’ve been enjoying my time with her.

Raven. Yeah, I dig it.

.:.

I should have a few announcements soon, writing wise.

I recently sold a short story to a respected small press magazine and I have a couple others that should be popping up over the course of the year.

This weekend we’ll be ironing out the details on my next two releases from Seventh Star Press, a Landon Connors Collection titled First Born and my Wolfe & Crowe novel, Descendant.

As for actually putting words on paper, I’m nearing the end of my Raben Wulfsson sword & sorcery novella, but I’ve decided to put it on the backburner for a bit. I have another tale that needs to be addressed, with a potential market lined up.

I’ll share more as soon as I’m able.

.:.

In addition to scoping out the cool new books I got for my birthday, I’m reading Kate Morton’s The Lake House with my Water Street Book Club partner-in-crime.

On the small screen I’m currently digging reruns of Deep Space Nine and Friday the 13th.

I’m still adventuring in Skyrim and playing Dungeons & Dragons via roll20 and Skype.

I could go on, but my phone keeps ringing…

Dreamland

Posted in Liber et Audax on March 1, 2017 by Occult Detective

51

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Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” — Stephen Hawking
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I admittedly have spent almost the entirety of my 51 years on this planet with my head in the clouds, innately and insanely curious about the boundless mysteries that surround us.
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As I celebrate another revolution around the sun, I am thankful for my continued, insatiable thirst for unraveling the esoteric and for those friends and family who humour my eccentricities.
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I am truly blessed.
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I look forward, after a long day of work (and writing, I hope), to a nice, quiet evening spent with the two most important people in my life.
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Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” — Edgar Allan Poe
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Skál, my friends, and good cheer. Liber et Audax!
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The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Steven Shrewsbury

Posted in Last Writes with... on February 27, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Welcome to the eighteenth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

shrewsburyToday’s guest is Steven Shrewsbury, a fantasy and horror author with well over 300 tales published online or in print.

I was first introduced to Shrews via his Dack Shannon and the Majestic Universe occult detective stories.

Other works include Bad Magick (with Nate Southard), Stronger than Death, Hawg, Godforsaken, King of the Bastards (w/ Brian Keene), Bedlam Unleashed (with Peter Welmerink), Hell Billy, and many more.

Steven lives in rural Illinois with his wife and sons.

LAST MEAL

Mashed potatoes, with milk gravy…pork chops; corn on the cob; apple pie with ice cream made by the Amish

LAST BOOK

GODFATHER by Mari Puzo. love it. entertaining

LAST MOVIE

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES

LAST SONG

Johnny Cash, GONNA SIT ON THE PORCH WITH MY OL GUITAR

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

My dad. He’s waiting for me. I’ve got so much to tell him

For more information on Shrews visit his official website, Amazon Author Page, or follow him on facebook or twitter.

Infinite Monkey Business — Do Ghosts Exist?

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on February 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

There is an article floating about the internet in which Brian Cox, a media science commentator and an Advanced Fellow of particle physics at the University of Manchester, states categorically that the Large Hadron Collider disproves the existence of ghosts.

Appearing alongside Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Infinite Monkey Cage, Cox began the program stating “We are not here to debate the existence of ghosts because they don’t exist.

coxCox went on to explain that “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.

Essentially, what Cox is saying here is that if spirits have an influence on the physical world, then there must be some definable and measurable effect that can  be detected by physicists. So far, no such detection has been verified to Mr. Cox or his colleagues’ satisfaction.

I am reminded of my favorite quote from Dion Fortune, “We live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive. We move among invisible forms whose actions we very often do not perceive at all, though we may be profoundly affected by them.

I have been keenly interested in the occult and paranormal since I was a child. I have dedicated more than forty years to its study. I can promise you, without hesitation, that Brian Cox is wrong. The fact that his science has yet to be able to quantify the existence of preternatural beings does not prove that they do not exist, it merely spotlights that science has not been able to successfully measure the ethereal realm and those who populate it. It may never be able to do so.

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I long ago abandoned any attempts at proving the existence of the so-called ‘supernatural’ to non-believers. My beliefs and experiences do not need any sort of validation from the scientific community or by the general populous for that matter.

I know what I have seen, heard, and felt with my own senses. With an open mind and an an insatiable curiosity I have come to my own conclusions.

I leave you to do the same.

 

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