Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

News & Events for C. Dennis Moore

Stephen King's Golden Years (1991)

Posted 9/22/2014

I guess if nothing else good came out of it, I can thank Stephen King’s very short-lived 1991 TV series “Golden Years” for my love of David Bowie’s music. I knew as soon as I heard that theme song (Bowie’s “Golden Years”, after which, obviously, the series was named), I knew I had to track it down, which I did on my mother’s ex-husband’s CHANGESBOWIE CD. The rest is history. As far as Bowie is concerned.

As for the series itself, things didn’t turn out quite so well.

“Golden Years” was designed as an ongoing TV series, but when it failed to be the ratings grab King and CBS had hoped it would be, the show was unceremoniously scrubbed without even offering a real ending for the fans who had stuck around. Originally I had planned on being one of those fans, but having just watched the entire 7-episode run, I realized I only made it to episode 5 before I just never saw the show on TV again, which, for the last 20-something years, has left me with the belief the show ended even worse than it actually had.

The story centers around Harlan Williams (Keith Szarabajka, THE DARK KNIGHT), a janitor for a military/scientific research lab where Dr. Todd hunter (Bill Raymond, THE CROW) is doing experiments with regeneration. One of those experiments goes awry and Harlan is caught in the blast. The result is that he begins aging backward, which is pretty good for the aging janitor who was in danger of losing his job because he couldn’t pass the eye exam. It’s not so good for Jude Andrews (R.D. Call, WATERWORLD), an agent of King’s shadow organization The Shop (the outfit responsible for the capture of Charlie McGee and her father in King’s FIRESTARTER), who is charged with covering up what happened to Harlan and bringing him in for further study.

Meanwhile the head of security at the facility where Harlan works, Terry Spann (Felicity Huffman, “Desperate Housewives”), and her boss, General Crews (Ed Lauter, “The X-Files”), are more interested in saving Harlan and his wife Gina (Frances Sternhagen, MISERY) from the sociopath Andrews.

Once things get rolling, the series becomes a cat and mouse game as Spann and Crews try to keep Harlan and Gina hidden and Andrews tries to discover their whereabouts and bring the janitor in for further study by the slowly unraveling Dr. Toddhunter.

It’s a fun series, but watching it now it’s so very dated it’s feels almost, at times, unwatchable.

Szarabajka does an excellent job as Harlan, totally immersing himself in the 70-something year old man to the point I didn’t recognize him at all and even after I realized who he was, had a hell of a time seeing him under the performance.

Huffman and Lauter do fine as the good guys, but the standout of the series has to be R.D. Call as Jude Andrews. There wasn’t a single likable thing about this man, and Call seemed to relish in the despicableness of his black ops character.

There’s not a lot one can say about “Golden Years”, really. It didn’t make enough of a splash to see a second season, and the ending--which originally had been a cliffhanger--had to be tweaked upon release of the videotape version of the series to something that was intended to bring some kind of closure but, in my opinion, just seemed even more confusing and unsatisfactory. In fact, if I hadn’t read about the alternate ending online, I would have had no idea at all what was “supposed” to have happened to the characters.

On the other hand, the original cliffhanger ending, had the series been picked up, could have been predicted by any layman how the series would have played out. This alternate ending, however, the aftermath is anyone’s guess and there was much more potential for future storylines.

Production quality on the series was on the cheap side, especially the scenes in Dr. Toddhunter’s lab where it looked like they’d borrowed some unused sets from some of the “Doctor Who” sets from the 80s, but only enough to fill the frame; I never got the sense that I was looking at part of a larger whole when I was in the lab, but instead felt like the shot had been dressed merely to fill that frame, but that the actors were standing in an otherwise empty room.

I also felt the writing was uneven. This may be because King only wrote the first five episodes while providing only the story for the last two, leaving Josef Anderson (“Slider”) to pen the scripts. Funny thing is, those last two episodes were the most exciting of the entire show.

“Golden Years” is available on DVD, but I can’t say it’s necessarily an essential addition to your King library, especially if you’ve never heard of it before now. If that’s the case, just move along and forget it ever existed, as I’m sure so many of those who worked on it did. If, however, you remember the series and only saw part of it and want to finish it off, saw none of it but were always curious, or saw all of it, and want to, for whatever reason, see it again, then by all means, give it a go. Just don’t expect top quality production value, because this thing has 1991 made-for-TV written all over it!

King on Film

Carrie (1976)

Salem's Lot (1979)
The Shining (1981)
The Boogeyman (1982)

Creepshow (1982)
The Woman in the Room (1983)
Disciples of the Crow (1983)
Cujo (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
Christine (1983)

Children of the Corn (1984)
Firestarter (1984)
Word Processor of the Gods (1984)
Cat’s Eye (1985)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Srazhenie (1986)
Gramma (1986)
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
Stand By Me (1986)

Creepshow 2 (1987)

Return to Salem's Lot (1987)

The Running Man (1987)

Sorry, Right Number (1987)

Pet Sematary (1989)

The Cat From Hell (1990): 
Graveyard Shift (1990)
It (1990)

Misery (1991)

The Moving Finger (1991)

Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Read the rest of this entry »

Book Talk-Sunday: On Writing.

Posted 9/21/2014

Yes, an old favorite.  I didn't just recently buy it--I got this hardcover when it was first published--but this morning I downloaded the audiobook from Emusic.  I've actually already heard this one on audio, too--I got it from the library over a decade ago and listened to it while painting my son's bedroom--but I didn't own it and while perusing the Emusic audiobook selections, I decided it was time I did.

It's been a very long time since I've read or listened to this one but I remember it flying by the last time I did so, and it's such a great source of writing inspiration, it's impossible to read or listen to this book and not want to get immediately back to the keyboard.  That's what I like about it.

And considering how close I am to the end of my part of RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, and how many other stories I've got directly in queue right behind it, a book like this is just the motivation I need to keep me powering through.

What old favorites do you return to when you need that extra push to keep you writing?  Tweet me@CDennisMoore or email me here and let me know.

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Update.

Posted 9/20/2014

RETURN TO ANGEL HILL is chugging along.  I did 1034 words today, which is 1034 more than I expected because I ALMOST used the last of my writing time to watch an episode of MONSTERS RESURRECTED on Netflix instead, but dammit, I told Dave I'd send him the days' words when I got them done and it's been pretty measly counts lately, averaging about 400-500 words a day.  Considering my STANDARD is 1000 words a day on whatever I'm working on, I was feeling pretty bad about it.  Today makes up for it, though, even though I almost blew it for Netflix.  DAMN YOU, NETFLIX!!!

Anyway, that's not the real topic today.  Today I want to talk about a cover I'm going to update and I need some advice.  I wrote this "novella" called AFTERMATH a few years ago, releasing each of its 5 parts weekly in serial format, then combining them into one book and scrapping the individual versions.  I'm keeping the book as is, one volume, but I'm thinking of adopting the cover of the first story for the book as a whole.

So as it stands, this is the current version of the AFTERMATH cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like this cover, I think the colors are dynamic and eye-catching.  But...

The picture itself was originally this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's a stock image I got from stckxchng online and did some fiddling with the hues to get the above photo.  Originally I had it like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then I decided I liked the reverse color scheme better.  Anyway, I'm thinking of changing it to use the cover photo from the first part of the story, "Glutton".  I think the photo is more in line with the tone of story and, well, I just like it better.  Here is the original version, followed by the "Glutton" version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I love how the "Glutton" version came out, but I've so far been unable to replicate the textures exactly.  It's not a straight inversion of the colors from positive to negative, there was some further manipulation, but I just can't remember how I did it.  So instead I've been just trying to figure out a way to use that image in a new, but equally satisfying way and have come up with two possible versions.  I'm leaning more toward one than the other, but for all I know both could totally suck ass.  So what I need is some input from you, my friends and fans, on which one you think sells the AFTERMATH story better:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can email me your preference HERE or Tweet me @CDennisMoore, #Aftermath.  Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Movie Talk-Friday: GODZILLA!

Posted 9/19/2014

Godzilla hit DVD the other day and while I haven't got it yet, I will be as soon as possible.

I took my son to see this at the theater and I frigging LOVED it and can't wait to see it again.  I have a lot of Godzilla DVDs, but haven't watched many of them.  But of the Godzilla movies I HAVE seen, this one fits right in there with the classics in that Godzilla is the hero, unlike the Godzilla of the late 90s with Matthew Broderick, which I didn't hate at the time, but compared to this one, it's a wretched abortion.

THIS is the American Godzilla movie I've been waiting for.  I highly HIGHLY suggest this one to anyone who loves the genre, and yeah yeah yeah, I know, Godzilla is hardly in it, but damn, he makes an impact when he shows up.

I just loved this movie.  I can't wait to buy this DVD and watch it again.  Of course, I'll gave to do it alone because my son has already seen it, and no one else in the house has any interest.  I'm fine with that, I don't mind watching it by myself, as long as I get to do it on the big TV with the speakers on.

What movies are you looking forward to seeing as soon as they hit DVD?  Tweet me@CDennisMoore or email me here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Music Talk-Thursday: No Much of a "Haul", but Still...

Posted 9/18/2014

$0.97, people.  How was I supposed to pass that up?

I haven't heard this album in YEARS.  I have it on cassette, but, of course, no longer have anything to play it on, and could never find a cheap copy of the CD--I sure as hell wasn't paying full price for it.  I like it, but let's be real here.

But $0.97 is a deal you can't beat, unless you happen to find a store that's just giving away copies of it, which wouldn't surprise me, honestly, but wasn't the case that day at that store.  So $0.97 it was, and I was happy to pay it.

Now I just have to go get Dave and challenge him to a game of horseshoes.  A game of HORSESHOES!

 

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week's Comics Haul.

Posted 9/17/2014

This was a pretty small week for comics, but could have been much bigger.  And may, in fact, GET bigger.  We'll see.  This week, my son got 2, and I got 9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there were a few comics that, according to Comixology.com, came out this week, but I didn't see them on the rack.  The first two don't surprise me; I had no idea DRAWING OF THE THREE was even being published, and HELLRAISER: Bestiary #1 I had to order from Amazon.  TREES, however...I've always got that on the rack, so maybe it'll be there Friday?:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there were a few i saw, but didn't grab.  mostly it was the Futures End tie in issues, and the reason is, because the ones I have bought just haven't been that interesting and, in my opinion, aren't really worth $5 each.  That's not to say I won't change my mind and get them later, and if I do, these are the ones I passed over today:

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a final three I considered but chose to wait on were:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These three I will, most likely, go back and get anyway because dammit, that's why.  The Futures End tie-ins, though....I just don't know.

What comics are you reading this week?  Tweet me at @CDennisMoore or send me an email here.

Read the rest of this entry »

TV Talk-Tuesday: MasterChef

Posted 9/16/2014

So last night was the season 5 MasterChef finale, and Courtney Lapresi deserved the win.  I find myself strangely drawn to just about every Gordon Ramsey show, especially Kitchen Nightmares.  It's the practical tips he gives on how to turn failing businesses around that intrigues me, because writing is a business and marketing is a part of that.  So I pay attention, and then totally don't do any of the things I learn from the show.  But MasterChef has always made me wonder about the "reality" part of reality TV the most.

Based on the idea that every contestant is simply a home cook who has taught themselves to cook well enough to impress these three judges, I often find them making things they admit to having never made before, having no idea HOW to make it, yet they not only manage but often succeed in turning out a winning dish.  How the hell do they do that when they have no idea what they're doing?

My only answer is there has to be some coaching going on.  I think the home cooks are given training during the off hours.  The next challenge MAY involve some sort of pie, so here's a quick primer on making crust, or here's how to make a custard or a doughnut.  And then, oh look, the next day's challenge is doughnuts and custard!  What luck.

Granted, I could be way off the mark, and maybe it really IS just a different level of thinking paired with just being really really good at what you do.

Now, how does Gordon Ramsey have anything at all to do with writing?

That's easy.  One of the things Ramsey is most famous for, aside from the yelling and cursing, is his insistence on standards.  Standards are important, I think, in ANY kind of work.  They keep us from becoming complacent and turning out work that is of a lower quality than we're capable of.

And unfortunately I've met a lot of writers who fall into that category.  I'd say of all the writers I've ever met over my 20+ years of writing, a good 20% of them simply have either no standards or very low standards.  They don't care about the STORY, they only care about the SALE.  They don't care about the characters, they only care about the archetypes.  Do they have enough women and minorities with major speaking roles?  Who gives a fuck?  Does the character, regardless of gender or race feel like a real, living, breathing person to me, that's what I care about.  I can tell you exactly the last time I read a book and commented "Man, there aren't enough Mexican women with major speaking roles in this novel": it was NEVER.  Nothing against Mexicans, women, or Mexican women, I just don't think populating your story with Mexican women because you need to fill that demographic is a good enough reason.  If the character that happens into the story is a Mexican woman, so be it, but you leave that kind of thing to chance.

I know several writers who care nothing at all about the language, and are ripping through their stories at such a breakneck speed, there's no flow, no rhythm, and no poetry to the words. Call me old fashioned, but I think every story should have some poetry in the words.

I know several writers--too many, in fact--who don't care about editing.  They type THE END, they run a SpellCheck, then call it done.  WTF???  That's no way to turn out quality work, man!  Go through it again, clean up the clunky language, clear up the continuity problems, and make sure the story says what you mean for it to say, not just what it said when you spat it onto the page.  Because no one gets it exactly right the first time, every time.  And if you do, then you're a lying mothertrucker.  And then after you go through it, go through it AGAIN!

The lack of standards I see in many writers is not only astounding, it's downright frightening sometimes, because some of these guys are actually succeeding.  Which means some of these readers think this is just the way it is.  Much like people who only go to McDonald's when they eat out are going to think the McNugget is the standard for chicken.  I think Gordon Ramsey would have a few choice words on that subject.

There are several writers out there who live and breathe the written word, and I thank God for them.  Gary Braunbeck is a poet disguised as a fiction writer.  Same with Charlee Jacob.  Ray Bradbury got a little too flowery at times, but that man was a craftsman of the highest order.  Clive Baker's prose often sings.  These are writers who know what's at stake and know the work that has to be put in to achieve their goals.  None of these writers woke up with the idea one morning "I'd like to try writing" and thought that was all it took.  They recognized the dedication not only in terms of time spent DOING the writing, but also in time spent LEARNING to write.  So what happened to that?  Why is the idea of standards NOT something that is taught, or handed down from one writer to the next?

I think a lot of "young" writers today could learn a lot from TV and shows like Hell's Kitchen or MasterChef.  They just have to be willing to learn, and to never stop learning.

What writing lessons--or life lessons in general--have you learned through TV?  Tweet me@CDennisMoore or CONTACT me here and let me know.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comic Talk-Monday: Unhaul.

Posted 9/15/2014

Sometimes you just lose interest in a title.  It happens more often than I'd like, especially at $3.99 each cover price, but it's so hard sometimes to stop collecting a monthly title when you're so comfortable and used to the characters, plus you never know when it's going to get good again.  One of those on the bubble titles I've had for a while are X-Factor, Amazing Spider-Man, Futures End and Ash & the Army of Darkness.  I buy them every month--or in the case of Futures End, every week--but so far haven't really found anything in them that makes me look forward to what happens next.  I keep reading X-Factor because it's written by Peter David, and I absolutely love his work, so in the pile it goes every month.  But I don't care for the team, I'm not invested in the story, and every week I kick myself a little for paying for it.

However, I do think it is time to let go of a few of these less than interesting books.  I'm probably going to drop Amazing Spider-Man, which I only started reading again anyway because it's was issue #1 and I wanted to see what happened when Peter Parker regained control of his body.  But 5 months later now, meh, I'm just not all that interested.

I've given X-Factor a year now and I'm going to read the next issue before making a final decision, but if this book were suddenly cancelled, I'm not sure it would bother me that much.

I started reading Ash & the Army of Darkness because it picked up at the end of the third movie but has since just not lived up to what I'd hoped the series would be, so I just don't know.  I'm probably going to stop reading it.

Futures End is the one that troubles me the most.  It's a weekly series that will last 52 weeks and takes place 5 years in the future of the mainstream DC universe.  It sounded like a great idea and I was anxious to see what happened, but now, 19 weeks in, the main characters are ones I wasn't too interested in in the DC universe anyway.  Now that I've discovered the secret of Superman's mask, I don't think there's anything else in there I'm all that interested in seeing.  But...but...but I'm almost halfway through it and, dammit, it might get interesting!

I'm still debating which of my regular monthly books are going to be dropped, but I do know some of them ARE going to be dropped.  Hell, I only started collecting across a wider range than before anyway was because I wanted to know what was going on with Avengers and Justice League.  And now look at me, collecting almost 40 regular titles every month.  And a good quarter of those are ones I won't miss when I stop.  Maybe I'll give them a try again later.  We'll see.

Read the rest of this entry »

Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 6

Posted 9/14/2014

I can't believe it's been 6 years since I bought the first volume of this series.  I also can't believe I haven't gotten around to reading ANY of them yet.  But I have them all and will eventually make my way to them.  I got this one a few weeks ago and am glad to see a ton of names I'm not familiar with.  I know, I know, it's the recognizable names that sell books, but the more unknowns I see in these books, the more possible it feels that I might make it into one of them, and that would be awesome.

Datlow is a legend in this field and to have HER recognize your work, that would rule.

I think collections like this are important to the horror genre.  I subscribe to a handful of booktube channels on YouTube, which are short videos where people generally just talk about whatever books they're currently reading, or have recently finished reading.  Sometimes it's just a video tour of their bookshelf and I feel like a huge nerd for enjoying those videos the most, but, dammit, I love books.  Sue me.

But what I've noticed on most of these channels is that they're almost ALL focusing on either young adult or fantasy, two genres I rarely read.  And that made me realize there really aren't a lot of horror novels, or horror authors, for that matter, that I anticipate new releases from.  Sure, I always buy the new King, Barker, Gaiman and Suzuki novels as soon as they're available, and I usually read them soon after, but that's only four authors, and there are TONS of authors writing horror out there.

So why am I not as excited when most of those writers have a new release, why am I not first in line to get a copy and why do I not spend an entire afternoon holed up in my office on the floor reading?  

My first thought was that self publishing has had a hand in this.  With the disappearance of Leisure several years ago, it seems more and more horror authors are going the self publishing route, which means I'm less likely to stumble upon a new author while browsing the shelves at my local book store.  That was my first thought.  But I soon realized that's not the case.  My most popular works were self published, and people find them every day.

So why am I REALLY not waited with bated breath for this author or that to release their next masterpiece?  I think I've just been burned too often, to the point I just don't get very excited about new horror like I used to.  There are a good dozen authors I found online, people who seem like really decent people, but once I read their novels, I feel let down, like they had a really great idea that could have gone amazing places, only to have it fall apart in the last act.

Tim Lebbon and Gary Braunbeck are two authors I LOVE.  My first books from these two were DESOLATION and IN SILENT GRAVES respectively and holy God they were both amazing.  So I bought and read everything else I could find from these authors and, in the end, found myself on the fence.  As outstanding as they both were in my first reads, they've both also got an equal number of titles I just wasn't impressed with at all.

There have been authors I've loved and then never heard from again, like Michael Cisco (THE DIVINITY STUDENT) and Mark Z. Daniellewski (HOUSE OF LEAVES--we're not counting ONLY REVELATIONS, his second novel; it was years ago too but since then I haven't heard a peep), and while I'd love to see something new from these guys, I don't know if I could bring myself to be really excited about either of them.  Maybe it's just been too long and the immediacy is gone.

Maybe it's just a temporary slump.  Maybe it's just me.  Whatever the issue, I just don't get excited anymore about new horror novels like I wish I did.  That being said, I'm glad Ellen Datlow is still releasing these collections every year.  They're not new and exciting novels, but short stories pack their own sort of punch, and maybe if I could get around to finally reading these books, I'd be able to find some new authors I didn't know and could start getting excited for THEIR new releases.  I can hope.

What authors are you reading or looking forward to?  Tweet me @CDennisMoore or send me an email:

Read the rest of this entry »

RETURN TO ANGEL HILL (excerpt)

Posted 9/13/2014

For this week's writing blog, I thought I'd post a few hundred words of RETURN TO ANGEL HILL which, if you've been paying attention the last year and a half, you know is the collaborative novel I'm writing with David Bain, bringing his psychic detective Will Castleton to Angel Hill for some mysterious goings on.  These are the words I wrote yesterday.  They're a little rough, first draft stuff, but I like them.  They take place around the 50,000 word-mark:

 

“I’m going to drive back there,” Rayburn said. “And I’m going to shoot those two in the face.”

Millie Reever’s picture lay among the rest of the photos he and Will had taken off the wall in Bobby McKay’s house.

“We should leave these where they are,” Will had tried to tell him. “We’re disturbing what is almost definitely a crime scene.”

“It’s only a crime scene if the police come looking,” Rayburn replied. “Something tells me whatever happens from here on out isn’t something I’m going to want to report.”

“Christ,” Will said, shaking his head.

Now they had the pictures all laid out in a grid on the desk in the room that had probably once been Ryan’s, but was now some weird shrine to God only knew what.

Among the pictures was Millie Reever smiling at the camera and almost definitely having no idea what was going on.

“How can anyone hurt a girl with that much innocence in her eyes?” Rayburn asked. “I hope she haunts them.”

“We don’t know that anything has happened,” Will said.

“Don’t be naïve.”

“I know. But I can hope.”

“I’m going back there and shooting them both.”

“Uh-huh,” Will said. He had been studying the photos for fifteen minutes. “Do you think there’s a pattern?”

“How do you mean?”

“You said some of these kids have been reported missing, but some just ‘moved away’ with their families. Do you know which is which just by looking at them?”

“I could make a pretty good guess on most of them,” Rayburn said. “But I couldn’t promise I’d get them all right.”

“Okay, we start with Ryan, we’ll make him number one.”

“But we don’t know that he was.”

“No, we don’t,” Will said. “But let’s just say that he was. He’s number one. We know he was reported missing.”

“Are these even in order?”

Will shrugged.

The grid they had laid them out in was six across and five down, and they’d been organized in the same order in which they’d come off the wall.

“Let’s assume so. The next one here,” Will asked, tapping the picture next to Ryan’s. “You know him?”

A young blonde-haired boy with a shy grin and mischievous eyes looked up at them from the desk, and Rayburn nodded.

“Toby Grippando.”

“Missing?”

Rayburn nodded. Will moved on to the next photo.

“Don’t know that one,” Rayburn said. “Don’t know that one either.” He pointed to the fourth picture. “Number five, however, is Lorraine Etheridge. Missing. Number six, I don’t know.”

“Okay,” Will said, “so we’ve got two missing, then two not missing, one missing and one not missing.”

“We don’t know they’re not missing.”

“But you were on the force then,” Will said. “You would remember. If you don’t remember, then it makes sense these were people who moved away.”

Rayburn shrugged.

Read the rest of this entry »