Monday, December 30, 2019

The Twilight Groan 1: Introduction & Legacy

Hey there, kids.  My niece often asks me about the stories I'm writing, and she used to provide a voice here or there for my podcast.  But recently, I asked her if she'd like to do a podcast with me, where we talk about a topic we have in common.

She was agreeable, and we decided it would be on the original "Twilight Zone" television series.

So, as the TZ celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, Cathexis and I are presenting our new podcast, The Twilight Groan.  In this episode, we talk briefly about the show and its legacy, and hopefully open the door for many more conversations in the future.

So, which episodes of TTZ should we review first?  Next up will be "To Serve Man."

To download the episode, Right-Click HERE.

As always, to support me on Patreon, go to THIS LINK.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

(The Rest of) "Most Feared In The Galaxy" On Delusions of Grandeur

Marshal Latham was quick to post the second half of my Star Wars-related story, "The Most Feared In The Galaxy," and the two of us managed to talk about three more episodes of "The Mandalorian" before THE RISE OF SKYWALKER came out.

I don't know if I'll write a follow-up to this story.  I do have an idea about how a sequel would end, but I don't imagine I'll put forth the effort (I've got soooo many projects either in mind or in mid-stream right now) unless people demand it.

Even so, I'm happy with this little tale, and if you want to hear it, with Marshal himself voicing droid 0-KE, then check it out HERE.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Rish Outcast 159: Choice of a Sidekick

Happy Christmas, Ron.

This was last year's holiday episode, which I was unable to get out there in time.

In it, I'm presenting the Benny Parks prequel story "Choice of a Sidekick," but be warned, the sound quality is decidedly un-Christmasy.

Download the episode directly by Right-Clicking HERE.

To support me on Patreon, go HERE.

Logo by Gino "He Chose . . . Poorly" Moretto.

Music was "Americana" (of course) by Kevin McLeod of

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Christmas Collection, or Collections?

So, today I finished my 2019 Christmas story (and more than a week early to boot!), which I'm calling "The Many Faces of Christmas Eve."  It is my attempt to write an amusing holiday story, though (circumstances being what they are with me right now), there's also a pathetic attempt at romance in there as well.

But it made me think about the various X-mas stories I've written over the years.  The first one I can remember was from 1990 ("Santa and the Brats"), and I've done several since then.  I thought I might be able to put some of them out there in a collection.  Or collections.

I was considering releasing a four or five story set of 'em named after a line of a Christmas carol, and discovered I had enough for two volumes, if I did it that way.

Should I do that, put out a small collection now and another small one in a few months/years?  Or should I put out a big arse collection (eventually) with eight to ten stories in it?

Friday, December 20, 2019

I Narrate "Cosmetic Procedures" on Cast of Wonders

I was pleased to get an email today from Cast of Wonders, the YA Fantasy podcast.  Apparently, they've chosen one of my readings for an "Encore" performance, this week's episode.

So, I produced a reading of "Cosmetic Procedures" by Desmond Warzel years ago (2013).  It's a story of a private investigator hired to check out a man's wife who, after becoming involved with a makeup company, has been acting strangely.

Fun stuff.  Desmond's a fine writer, as I aspire to be.

Anyway, if you don't remember the story all that well, check it out HERE.  Heck, even if you remember it well, feel free to give it another listen.*


*If only to catch the familiar "Oh, hell no!" of the Dunesteef's Mildly Offensive Guest Star.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Rish Outcast 158: The Most Feared In The Galaxy

I deliberated quite a bit about whether to put this out as an episode or not.  But I must not have deliberated enough, because here it is.

In this show, I present my Star Wars-related short story "The Most Feared in the Galaxy."  Then I talk about whether I should have or not.

Apologies, in advance, to Marshal and Abbie.

Download the episode by Right-Clicking HERE.

Support my show on Patreon HERE.

Check out our "Delusions of Grandeur" podcast HERE.

Cover by Gino "Most Sheared" Moretto.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

True(?) Ghost Encounter

I was taking some photos of Star Wars figures today, and when I got them developed (ie, when I transferred them to my computer), I discovered something really disturbing.

In several of the pictures, there was a subtle, but very distinguishable, "human" face visible.

Here, I'll let you be the judge.

Nothing in this one, right?
Well, how about this one?

See, there seems to be a frightening, perhaps malevolent face in the right section of the picture.  Oh, it's subtle, but it's there.

How about this one?

This CAN'T just be my imagination, can it?

I looked through the rest . . . and there were more, like this one:

It's not shadows or a trick of the light, but a truly ghastly visage.

It's even clearer in this picture:

Horrific.  The kind of face no one could possibly love, according to Tobin's Spirit Guide.

Check this one out.

Yeah, it chills my blood to even contemplate this.

I don't know who I need to talk to about this, but not to crib too much from the Monkees, but consider me a believer.

Rish "Ghost Pointer" Outfield

Monday, December 09, 2019

R.I.P. Rene Aberjounes

"Star Trek," "Benson," "Boston Legal" and LITTLE MERMAID actor Rene Aberjounes died this week.  He was seventy-nine . . . which is actually a pretty good run.

Even so, it's sad when an actor you're fond of passes away.  I mostly knew him as Odo on "Deep Space Nine," and I have to say that his performance, under that alien makeup, always impressed me.  But more than his face, it was his voice that really worked.  I pretty much do my Odo impression whenever I voice Tellarite Commander Gant over on "Star Trek: Outpost."  Just with a bit more snorting (and the occasional squeal).

He wasn't a typical handsome leading man type, and almost always played pompous buffoons, or at least stodgy, humorless characters.  But there was a warmth that came through, from time to time.

The above picture was taken at the opening of the Star Trek: Experience in Las Vegas, Nevada in early (I wanna say January) 1998.  Even though I look about twelve (and in the midst of that awkward age), I was actually of driving age (and technically, drinking age).  Speaking of drinking, Aberjounes was pretty tired and tipsy after whatever fun activities they'd had the night before the opening, but was still kind enough to pose in a picture with me.

At the time, I was less familiar with the actor, so when I saw him, I said, "Rene, can I get a picture with you?"  Afterward, my buddy John said, "Wow, you called him by his first name, like you knew him!"  In actuality, I had no idea how to pronounce his last name.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Rish Outcast 157: What I Most Despise

Oh, it's another one of these.

In this episode, I share--overshare, between you and me--a couple of recent experiences where I became . . . what I most despise.

You know the feeling, don't lie.

Right-Click HERE to download the episode directly.

Left-Click HERE to support me on Patreon.

Logo by Gino "What I Most Revise" Moretto.

What the hell, here's another PATREON LINK.

Friday, December 06, 2019

(Half of) My Story "Most Feared In The Galaxy" On Delusions of Grandeur

In the latest episode of our Star Wars podcast, Marshal Latham and I talk about the first three episodes of "The Mandalorian."  It probably won't surprise you to hear that we liked it.

Afterward, I share the first half or so of my RETURN OF THE JEDI-era story "Most Feared In The Galaxy."  It's a pretty short tale, but the episode is not, so I've split it into two small segments.  You know, I've never dared put these stories up for sale, so really, this is the only way to hear them.*

We'll be running the second half in the episode where we talk about the next "Mandalorian" episodes.

Check it out HERE.

Rish "Least Feared" Outfield

*"Or is it?"  he asked, considering running the story on an Outcast episode.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

I Narrate "Deep Water" On StarShipSofa

Know that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age when Big Anklevich and I were young, wide-eyed podcasters, and we did a few readings for StarShipSofa, the Audio Science Fiction Magazine.  This was one of the big boys, producing works from top-notch writers, and winning a Hugo Award as Best Fanzine.

They went on to many great things, but their greatest impact on me was introducing us to Jason Sanford, who enjoyed our reading of "When Thorns Are The Tips Of Trees" enough to let us start doing his stories on the Dunesteef.*

But many years have passed since we worked with StarShipSofa, and those days, like being a regular podcast, are long behind us.  Except for a month ago, when new editor (and holder of the answer to the Riddle of Steel) Gary Dowell sent me an email and asked if I'd like to do a story for them.  Of course I said yes . . . and now you can hear me perform "Deep Water" by Steven Fischer.

It's a short piece, about a man attempting a rescue mission in a spacecraft damaged by an asteroid collision.  Check it out at THIS LINK.

We shall see if more stories come my way.  If so, then let me tell you of the days of high adventure!

*There's still one more Sanford story out there that I think about from time to time, and in a moment of ambition, I will produce it for the show.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Anti-Venom T-Rex

So, you may ask, "Rish, why do you do these painting things, when you could be writing or working on podcasts?"  To which, I say, "Come on, give me a break."  I find painting extremely relaxing, and while I finish up "The West Wing," it feels like multi-tasking.

Anyway, Anti-Venom is a character I was unfamiliar with until I saw an action figure of him in 2015.  Turns out, I've known who he is my whole life.

Flash Thompson, one-time nemesis and later friend of Peter Parker became a superhero in his own right when the Venom symbiote bonded with him, creating a new version of the character that calls himself Agent Venom, Anti-Venom, and most cleverly, Agent Anti-Venom.**

He has a white design, with a black spider, and a neat face with black and white and red, like this:

I had a used 2015 T-Rex (from a used lot I bought last year with various loose dinos in it) that I grabbed to paint.

First thing was to cover it in white.

To my surprise, the figure's skin ate up that white in a great, rather-lifelike way.

It looked preeeetty good, but then I did the head.

And wow, the head makes all the difference.

Dude, the red eyes and black teeth totally lend themselves to a T-Rex's head shape.  It looks awesome!

Having never read a comic featuring Anti-Venom, I shouldn't give a single crap about the character . . . but I like the design so much (especially on a dinosaur), that I think I'd count myself a fan all of a sudden.  Is that weird?

Next up was to paint the spider . . . which was the least-successful part of the custom.

Best picture so far:

And here's the final product:

Here he is squaring off against the Carnage Indoraptor:

And here's all three together:

I don't know where to go from here, except that I still have two more 2015 T-Rexes.  Hmmm.


*I did a little research just now, and I read that Flash can only be merged with the symbiote for a short time before it starts to take over, and he begins murdering people.  I can totally get behind a story like that.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Rish Outcast 156: Soul-Cleaver Clarence by Matthew Jarvis

In this episode, I present my performance of the Fantasy story "Soul-Cleaver Clarence" by Matthew J. Jarvis.

Then I talk for a while about whether I should have or not.

Be strong, and Right-Click THIS LINK to download the episode directly.

Here's a link to the full-cast version over at CAST OF WONDERS.

And if you'd like to hear "Last Contact" again, check it out HERE.

As often happens, this is a shorter episode than the Patreon supporters get, so, if you feel like joining up, serve your country and go to THIS LINK.

Friday, November 22, 2019

"Choice of a Sidekick" Available On . . . Somewhere

I wrote a somewhat-holiday-themed Ben Parks story in 2017 to use as my Christmas episode that year.  Then I didn't get it typed up in time.  I did get it typed in time to run as my Christmas 2018 episode, but I didn't get it recorded in time (I chickened out when I noticed how weak it was).  But I figured I HAD to put it out there for Christmas 2019.

So here it is.

"Choice of a Sidekick" was initially titled "A Sidekick's Holiday," until I realized that didn't work (not that "Choice of a Sidekick" will make a shortlist of good titles), and tells the tale of Benny Parks when he was nine, back at the San Domingo orphanage we met him at in 2005.*  It is a slight story (only about five thousand words) that may become important(ish) depending on how many more of these I get written.

So, here's the thing: I suggest you skip this one.  It's not necessary that you read it, and it's certainly not necessary that you buy it.  In fact, I'm going to not only suggest you not go to Amazon and pick this up, but I'm going to forbid you to.  You don't need this story in your life.  No one does.

I told Marshal Latham I would ask people not to buy it, and I fear he thought I was joking.  I ain't joking, kids.  I'm only posting this here because I knew I'd find an excuse not to publish it again this year if given half the chance.

If I'm not able to dissuade you--and hey, last time: this is not a story you need (or should want) to read--it is available on Amazon AT THIS LINK.

I know the cover's not particularly good, but my nephew is currently the same age Benny is in the story, so I took a picture of him in a thrift store with a cowboy hat on.

I took a picture of the trees behind the family cabin, and awkwardly inserted him into it.  Then, I found a website that turns photographs into something resembling old paintings.  I tried a bunch of different iterations, like these three abominations:

Finally, I decided on an earthtone one, even though the story takes place at Christmastime.  Big stuck the title on for me, and there you go.  So that part of the process, at least, is kind of interesting.

Rish "Hell of a Salesman" Outfield

*Well, you didn't meet him then, unless your last name is Anklevich, but I met him then.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Rish Outcast 155: The Shawshank Rishdemption

This is the episode where I talk about Frank Darabont's 1994 Stephen King adaptation The Shawshank Redemption. These are my thoughts and comments and there are probably spoilers.

Well, get busy listenin' or get busy dyin'.

Download the episode by Right-Clicking HERE, if that's your thing.

Support me on Patreon HERE, or am I being obtuse?

Logo by Gino "You're Damn Right" Moretto.

Monday, November 11, 2019

What's Going On (With Me)

Every month, I put out a podcast for my supporters on Patreon that I call my Patreon Address.  In it, I usually talk about what I'm up to, what's on my mind the day I record it, and what goals I set for the new month.*

I was about to sit down and start watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm" tonight (it's a show that I've been curious about for two decades, and never actually watched), but first I thought I'd publicly mention a couple of my goals for the month of November (or the rest of the year, whichever comes first).  Because watching television is easy, and practically anything else is less easy.

I set a goal in October to put out my two new "Dead & Breakfast" stories, and about halfway through the month, I set a goal to write and publish a new short story, just to see if I could do it.  Well, I got "Touching the Other Side" out there, and managed to write fudgin' "Murder Maze" twice by the end of the month, and published it with minutes to spare.  The second D&B story, "The Night Clerk," was a little bit more stubborn, as it turned out to be about fourteen thousand words long, and according to the rules, that makes it a novelette rather than a short story.

Is a novelette really a thing?  I'm starting to doubt my sources.

But as you saw a couple of days ago (if you saw it here on the blog), I did get "Night Clerk" published, and I spent the weekend editing the audio for it.  When I got to the end, I didn't like how unfinished everything seemed to be**, so I actually UNpublished it, wrote (and recorded) a new ending to the story, and republished it with an extra five or six hundred words in there.  I highly suspect that nobody bought the story in its original form, especially since it was only out there for fifteen hours or so.***

Big Anklevich and I had a conversation recently about his dream/goal of being a full-time writer, and the deadline he set for himself years ago coming and going.  It made him buckle down and try harder to get back on track, culminating in him setting a goal to write every day for a year.  I humored him in his mad quest, but was unwilling to make a similar commitment.  I know a little something about setting goals and failing to reach them, maybe more than a little something.

But I have tried--and failed--this year to get my sequel to "The Calling" out there, and to publish "My Friend of Misery," a story that is so long, no one would dare call it a novelette (heck, it may actually be novel-length if I ever copy-edit it and put it out there).  I keep saying I'm going to sit down and get one of those done, and I keep not doing it.

I also came up with another story idea a few days ago, one with the eye-rolling title of "Comes The Podcatcher," that I have only worked on at my family cabin, and then, only during daylight hours (you may chalk that up to either cowardice, or more abject laziness).

So, here is me publicly stating that, before the end of the year, I will finish "Podcatcher," and I will publish either "The Calling: Reunion," or "My Friend of Misery."  I'd also like to put out my sequel to "Like A Good Neighbor," since I completed that one this year.

Let's see if I can do a little bit better, in the days still left.

Rish "The Unpublisher" Outfield

*I also talk about my failure to achieve the goals for the previous month, but that's neither here nor there.

**I didn't answer some of the questions, not due to excessive laziness (for a change), but by design: I knew I wanted to write more "Dead & Breakfast" stories, so I thought if I didn't explain what happened with certain characters, I might be motivated to come back and write a story or two filling in the gaps.  We'll see.

***I'm reminded of a bit of weird trivia concerning THE SHINING.  When the film was first released in 1980, it had an epilogue that explained what happened to Wendy and Danny (and Mr. Ullman), and for some reason, Stanley Kubrick changed his mind about it, and actually went to every theater showing the film, and physically cut the scene out of the last reel, despite it having already been released for a few days.  Even more strange is that, according to various sources, Kubrick destroyed all copies of the scene and its negative, and it remains lost to this day.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

"The Night Clerk" Available On Amazon

I finally managed to get the second story in my "Dead & Breakfast" series published*, and I hope somebody out there likes it.  Even if they are dead.

Especially, I suppose, if they are dead.

"The Night Clerk" tells the story of Natalie Whitmore, the newest hire at the Noble Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Vernon, Idaho.  She is interviewed for the job, and sworn to secrecy about what she witnesses there, but is never explained why.  She meets Mason Bradley, the other desk clerk on the night shift, and evennnnnnntually, she gets to find out what's so special about that particular B&B.

I really had fun writing this one, and world-building a little bit, and just editing it this week made me think of new questions and gave me a couple of new ideas.  There were three years between the first story and the second, and only weeks between the second and third, so who knows what will happen next?

Even though the above cover is pretty good for one of mine, Gino Moretto came through and made me a better one.  I'm swapping them out now.

HERE IS THE LINK to the story over on Amazon, or you can wait a year or so before I run it on the podcast.

I have completed the audio version, and as you know, that always takes much longer.  As it stands, I'm trying to decide whether to publish "Night Clerk" by itself, with the other two stories, or write a quick fourth story that I can put out in an audiobook containing all four.  Feel free to let me know what I should do.

Rish "The Shite Clerk" Outfield

*This was supposed to be published before "Touching the Other Side," but when my plans to run it for the Halloween episode of my podcast, I switched their release order and focused on getting TTOS out there first.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Tales of eBay Horror 10: We Didn't Hear From You...

This was the last episode of Season One of "Tales of eBay Horror.'

This terrifying true story is called "We Didn't Hear From You..." and it includes a special guest.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Rish Outcast 154: Touching the Other Side

This is my Halloween episode, and thanks to two mishaps, I'm lucky to have gotten it to you at all.

Mishap number one was that, due to my craptop living up to its name, I had to substitute "The Night Clerk" with "Touching The Other Side."  You'll meet Natalie Whitmore next Halloween.

The other mishap was that I had to run to the cabin today because it has been unseasonably cold, and my brother (who is out of town) was worried the pipes would freeze.  I drove down there with my brother-in-law, and we discovered the toilets and pipes filled with ice.  So, we underwent the lengthy process of thawing everything, flushing the water from said pipes, and putting anti-freeze in them.

When I got home again, it was time to take the kids trick or treating,  but now that that's done, I can finally get this show out there.*

So, "Touching the Other Side" is a new story concerning a certain haunted building in Idaho, and I hope you dig it.

Happy greatest day of the year!

Spookily download the episode by Right-Clicking HERE.

Creepily check out "True Ghost Encounter" HERE and/or HERE.

Unsettlingly become a patron on my Patreon HERE.

Terrifyingly thank Gino Moretto for the logo (and cover) HERE.

*Another reason to support me on Patreon . . . those guys got it days ago.

"Murder Maze" Available On Amazon

I can't believe I pulled this off.

In fact, maybe I won't write this blog post until I get an email stating that the story is out there, and that I succeeded.  I'd hate to jinx it . . . again.

So, let's start again.  I can't believe I pulled this off.

I got the idea for "Murder Maze" while volunteering to work in an outdoor haunted house (a haunted field, really) on the coldest mid-October night in a century.  To keep warm--and occupied--I made up a story, during the long stretches waiting for the haywagon loaded with surly kids to come my way again.

The next day, I challenged myself to write the story through to the end, edit it, and actually publish it before the end of the month.

Not sure how great it is, but it actually got done, and that's pretty great.

Go ahead and check it out AT THIS LINK.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Carnage Indoraptor

So, after my successful Venom-saurus (and unsuccessful Venom Hulkbuster), I decided to go back to the dinosaur well . . . this time with a take on Marvel's Carnage.

Carnage was a spin-off character of the Spider-man/Venom franchise*, and his first appearance was this:

And unlike Venom's many transformations, Carnage's modern appearance is still really similar, like this:

In other words, he hasn't changed all that much since he was created.  Of course, once the movie comes out, that'll no longer be the case.


So, after Venom, I wondered which dinosaur to do in the Carnage style.  I thought initially, of grabbing a smaller T-Rex (there's one at Target with a baby Rex that's a good size), but I didn't have one handy.  I also thought of using the Carnotaurus, since it has a name that's so similar.

But I didn't like the stubby arms or the super-compacted head.  No, what I needed was a dinosaur like the Velociraptor, that looked like a predator, but wasn't as big as a T-Rex (in the same way as Carnage has always been depicted as thin and wiry, unlike Venom's huge bulk).

And lucky me, the main dino from FALLEN KINGDOM, the Indoraptor, can be found on the cheap.**

And since I had done the Venom paintjob without realizing I'd want to document the process, I made sure to take plenty of pictures for this one.

So, here's what he looks like right out of the package:

It's an excellent design and a great toy (there is a slightly larger one that makes noise that was a Target exclusive, but I never bought one of those--or found it for cheap).

There's something vaguely (or not-so-vaguely) human-like about the design, especially the arms, which have an almost Carnage aspect to them anyway.

The cheap red paint that I used kind of looks bad, but the way the black seeps through it kind of looks good too, in an actual reptile kind of way.

You could almost stop right there, just leaving the head, belly, and tail black, but I wanted to at least do the spider justice.

Then I discovered that Carnage, unlike Venom, Anti-Venom, Agent Venom, Lady Venom, Agent Anti-Venom, Monster Venom, Baby Venom***, Venomhorse, Chupacabravenom, Grannyvenom, Old Man Venom, Monkeyvenom, and Gilligan Venom, doesn't have a spider symbol on his chest.

Instead, he has black ooze all throughout his body.

Much like you do.

So, I just drew them on with a Sharpie.  It should have looked terrible . . . but somehow, it didn't.

 I tried to recreate the white eyes I did for Venom-saurus in exactly the same way.

So, this is the finished product (with a few more lines throughout):

I am really happy with it (and my nephew took it to school for Show & Tell).

And here are my two Symbiote-sauruses together:

Carnage has always had tons of tendrils and wisps coming off him, so I think I could use a glue gun to do that on a future one (if I do one), as well as making a longer tongue for a Venom.

There's also a white symbiote, called Anti-Venom, which might make for an interesting repaint.

To be continued . . .

*Amazing Spider-man 359, in 1992.  By this point, I had stopped reading the comics, but I do remember the first comic I saw him on (Amazing 361, which I bought out of curiosity).

**For now.  Dollars to donuts, it'll sell for thrice that price by Christmas.

***Wow, there really is a Baby Venom.  I thought I made that up.