Monday, August 31, 2009

Echelon Press Shorts

Echelon Press Shorts officially opens on September 1, 2009. So what can readers look forward to? This month, they have new releases scheduled for the first AND the fifteenth. There is a wonderful list of authors whose stories they are excited about and who they know you will enjoy reading.

There are also authors waiting to meet you! Readers will enjoy new blog posts Monday through Friday by the most current authors. Read about their latest ventures, their characters, and get to know them.

Both Echelon Press Shorts and the authors would love reader feedback, so feel free to leave comments. During launch week, there will be new releases and posts from the authors of those stories. Readers will hear from Regan Black, Mark Vun Kannon, Mary Welk, and Michelle Sonnier. To celebrate, they are giving away *free* ebook downloads. Want to know how? Visit them on September 1 at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bad Animals, Part 1

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote my first novel, a sleazy piece of junk called Bunnies from Hell. A raunchy satire, I tried to find the most ridiculous animal crawling the globe with which to form a humorous horror tale.

Little did I know that someone beat me to the punch...25 years earlier.

As a fan of animals-gone-bad movies, I’ve sat through a lot of junk about killer ants, bees, frogs, cats, dogs, worms, slugs, rats, etc. For every great movie like Jaws, there are dozens of low-budget knock-offs. But if you can’t appreciate good trash, there’s no point watching movies.

And I thought I’d seen it all until I heard of Night of the Lepus.

Night of the Lepus is one of the all-time great bad movies, the kind of endearingly stupid flick that would have made great MST3K fodder. Thus, unless you think such tripe is beneath you, this is a hard movie not to like.

In case you don’t know, ‘lepus’ is another word for rabbit. That’s right. This movie is about killer rabbits. I’ll pause for a moment while you ponder the concept.

Now I’ll repeat it. The movie is about killer rabbits, the least terrifying animal on Earth. That doesn’t stop director William Claxton from doing whatever he can to try and make them scary. He fails, of course, which is precisely what makes this movie so great! Night of the Lepus, made in 1972, is a low-budget hoot in which rabbits, breeding so fast they are destroying crops in the Arizona desert, are injected with a hormone intended to disrupt their breeding cycle. Instead, it turns them into cow-sized maneaters that kill everything and everyone in their path.

While the story is your basic nature-run-amok plot, what makes the movie worth seeing are the numerous (and oft-repeated) scenes of herds of little bunnies running (in slow motion) through miniature city streets, farmhouses and river beds, accompanied by cattle stampede sound effects. Occasionally, we get close-up of vicious hares, blood dripping from their jowls, chomping on their victims.

What shoves Night of the Lepus into camp classic territory is its deadly-serious tone, as though there’s any possible way rabbits, no matter how large, would ever be considered terrifying. Adding to the hilarity is a cast of once-famous actors earning their paychecks by reacting to the mayhem, including Janet Leigh, which is kind of pathetic. In 12 short years, she’s gone from being the most famous slasher victim of all time in Psycho, to igniting fuzzy puppets with a road flare.

And fans of the original Star Trek will be overjoyed to learn DeForest Kelly (Dr. McCoy), didn’t remain completely unemployed after the show was cancelled. Here, he looks like an aging 70's era swinger, complete with scarf & polyester bell-bottoms.

Aside from the laughable special effects, there is even more laughable dialogue. I don’t think there’s an actor in the world who could utter the line, "A herd of killer rabbits is heading this way!" and have it incite any terror at all. Add a title theme that sounds like discarded James Bond music, and you’ve got a movie so bad that it actually manages to be more entertaining than most modern big-budget epics.

Night of the Lepus is a must-see. And as ridiculous as it is, the movie is fast-paced and quite bloody for a PG-rated film. To quote an often-used cliche, they just don’t make movies like this anymore. Being relatively obscure, it may not be waiting on the shelf of your local Best Buy, so you’ll have to order it. But if you’re a true fan of video cheese, trust me, it’s worth it.

My first novel, Bunnies from Hell, remains tucked safely from the world in my desk drawer, where it will stay. The book was intended to be funny, but for sheer belly laughs, it simply cannot compete with a movie like this, made by folks who want to be taken seriously.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Cows on the Web!

I came across a few interesting and stupidly fun websites. The first one, The Cow Dance ( ) is similar to the Hamster Dance website that was popular several years ago, in which crudely animated cows dance and rock out to various popular songs, from showtunes to disco numbers to classic rock songs. The songs themselves sound like they are performed with a Casio Keyboard or some kind of music composing software like Garage Band or Cakewalk’s Music Creator. At any rate, the cheesiness of the way these songs are recreated merely add to the fun.

The second one is a song by Dana Lyons called "Cows With Guns." The song itself is hilarious, and can be found on Lyons’ website ( ). Make sure to watch the music videos. There are two of them, one animated by Bjorn-Magne Stuestol, the other done in claymation. Of the two, the first one is best. The animation is great and features the lyrics along with it.

Finally, there’s a site simply called Cow Games ( ) which features links to dozens of cow-related online games, including the Killer Cows game I mentioned in my last blog. Puzzles, tic-tac-toe, boxing, memory games, quizzes,’s all here. My personal favorite is "Milk Panic", where you must milk the cows before they explode.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Killer Cows Video Game

Just to see if this blog site turned up on Google, I typed in the title of my upcoming book, Killer Cows and all kinds of fun stuff popped up. Lots of articles about real-life incidents involving cow attacks, lots of amusing pix and cartoons.

I also discovered the existence of a UK-based comedy rap group called The Killer Cows. To quote their web page: "Hi, we’re the Killer Cows and we like to sing songs about cows killing stuff." There’s another band, Crazy Killer Cows, who play rockabilly.

And, with a small sigh of relief, I didn’t come across any fiction with that title.

Best of all is an online first-person-shooter game called Killer Cows! I don’t know who created it, but it’s available at several online game sites such as this one:

The premise is have 30 seconds to blast as many cows as you can using your computer mouse. The premise may be simple, but for me, hardly a video game wizard, it’s actually pretty tough to nail those suckers.

Still, it’s kind of fun, and even a little addicting.