Adam Cesare Rejected My Wagon (Scares That Care, 2016)

Scares That Care Weekend is an annual charity event dressed up in a con costume for horror lovers. We gather in Williamsburg, Virginia and go to readings, costume contests, have a trick or treat parade, all for charity.

This year was its third, and dare say, its best yet. I’ve been to all of them, and each has had a great experience, with Karen and her crew improving and refining things for us all.

I sold books in the dealer room, this year next to Adam Cesare, Scott Cole and Matt Serafini to one side, and comic artist, Marcus from Soul Bullet (who you should check out).

Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the table… But it was magnificent. Trust me.

Both John Boden and Victorya Chase hung around the table for the weekend. We had new books by them, Jedi Summer by Boden, a creepy coming of age story published by Post Mortem Press, and advanced reader copies of Marta Martinez Saves The World by Chase, a kaiju novella published at Apokrupha (the first in a new series, Kaiju Revisted!). Amber Fallon made a stop in on Saturday with her new book, Terminal.

John and I did a reading at 10 am on Saturday morning, and despite that, there were people in the audience. We made some nifty hand outs, a little chapbook inspired by The Zine, called The Book of Jacks. Here is the nifty cover:

Book of Jacks


It had some poetry and flash fiction from the two of us in a flip book format. And was fun to make, with each copy hand folded and stapled. Yes, right before the reading…

The trailer for I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday, written and directed by Mike Lombardo, premiered as well. I cannot wait for this movie.

Overall it was a great time, with lots of shop talk, writing talk, random talk. There was Jaws at the pool, Count Gore De Vol, costumes, and lots of laughter all around.

It was also the first test run of my new wagon. I got tired of hauling books or waiting for carts, so I grabbed a folding one to bring with me. It was a great help getting set up, and taking down. I offered it to my neighbors to use, so they too could enjoy the relief a wagon could bring, but Adam was unimpressed, and instead grabbed all of the boxes of books he had in one hand and said “I don’t need your stinkin’ WAGON!” before flipping the table and taking flight.

True story.

After The Horror Show, with Brian Keene

I was on The Horror Show with Brian Keene this week. It was a great time, and (I hope) a good talk with Brian and Dave (and Phoebe!).

We talked the origins of Apokrupha and Lamplight, about new releases–LampLight Volume 3 and The Honey Mummy by E. Catherine Tobler— and about Samhain closing down, shark movies and more.

Here are some links and follow on discussions from the interview. (and maybe a link so you could subscribe to LampLight)

Dream Authors

Keene asked me about what my dream authors for LampLight would be… and I promptly stumbled over my words. Here is a short, and by no means complete, list of dream authors.

  • Elizabeth Hand
  • N. K. Jemisin
  • Livia Llewellyn
  • Laird Barron
  • Joyce Carol Oates


We spoke of other presses I admired and thought were doing a good job. Just wanted to list them again, and add one I forgot on air, Raw Dog Screaming Press.

And here is the blog post Keene talked about.


I talked on three different poetry challenges I’ve been doing this year. Here is more info and links for all three!

1 in 12

I want you to write one poem in 2016, but write it 12 times, seeing what time brings to the process.

Monday Poems

I want you to take a moment every Monday morning and write a poem.

April Poems

Write one poem a day for all of April

My Books

Volume 3 of LampLight is out, which I edited. Check it out, there are some amazing stories in this one.








My poetry collections, Extrospections and April Poems 2011.

April Poems, 2015 will be out in April, AND come join us on Facebook if you want to do your own April Poems.

If you use Smile.Amazon.Com, they donate a portion of your purchase to charity, and I suggests Scares That Care!

Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoyed it.

On Sentence Clarity and Oxford Comma Memes

If you are a writer for any appreciable amount of time you will come across one of the great debates of our trade: the oxford comma.

This is not to be about that. Rather, I would like to talk about the example sentence being passed around on a meme. Yes, this is a discussion about a meme, but as it is being passed around to educate, I want to comment on it.

There are a few, but they have similar structure to this one.

We invited the rhinoceri, Washington(,) and Lincoln.

(Oxford comma in parenthesis)

The meme goes like this: with the Oxford comma, you have a list of three things (a group of rhinos, two people, one named Washington, the other Lincoln) but without it, just two things (two rhinos, one named Lincoln and the other Washington, which are odd but acceptable names for rhinoceri).

The sentence, while correct, is poorly constructed. While one can argue the function of the comma, it is the ambiguity of the sentence, not the Oxford comma that is the issue, and why the sentence fails.

Perhaps context would have fixed the ambiguity, but we should not rely on the surroundings when clarity can be presented in the sentence.

The striking part of this sentence is the specificity of “the” for the rhinoceri. THE rhinoceri were invited, not “some” or “a few” or any other designation. Clearly this was done to make the sentence ambiguous.

“The rhinoceri” are not the same rhinoceri as “some rhinoceri” or even “a few friendly rhinoceri”, etc. I suspect the context of this sentence would remove the ambiguity, as it would explain the use of ‘the’ over any more appropriate word.

But, back to our list. There are two situations: Washington, Lincoln and a whole bunch of animals are coming; two animals are coming, one named Washington, one named Lincoln.

There are three things in my sentence

The first point of this situation is ordering in your list. In general, it is best to go specific to unspecific, as well was singular to plural.

We invited Washington, Lincoln and the rhinoceri.

Of course you could argue that “Lincoln and the Rhinoceri” could be a punk band, but that’s just you being difficult.

Since there is a change of the noun from both proper to general and from singular to plural between our subjects, care needs to be taken in the phrasing.

We invited our friends, Washington, and Lincoln, and several rhinoceri.

or perhaps:

We invited Washington, Lincoln, as well as the rhinoceri.

They are just two Rhinos with odd names

The first solution to this one is a simple change of punctuation.

We invited the rhinoceri: Washington and Lincoln.

However, it would be better to make the sentence read clearly.

We invited two rhinoceri named Washington and Lincoln.

Clarity is key

The take away is not that a single punctuation mark can fix all of your problems.

It is that naming rhinoceri “Washington” and “Lincoln” is probably a great idea.

But you didn’t tell me whether to use an Oxford comma!

If you are a lawyer, always use an Oxford comma. This is their fault, after all, stemming from nit-picking text in contracts. IANAL YMMV AAFYB.

As for the rest of you, do what you will, just be consistent about it, and in your sentence structure, be clear.


And for those wondering, “rhinoceri” is not the proper plural of “rhinoceros.”