Saturday, March 4, 2023

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)


I thought it might be good to occasionally use this blog to discuss some of my favorite topics, such as Classic movies and Classic rock music as well as the usual writing and publishing. These topics bring the blog back to some of the origins of the name Classic Camp. So today, I thought I would blog about one of my all time favorite movies, King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963) and the first time I had the opportunity to see this movie. Some sources might place that film at 1962 because that was the year of the original Japanese release, but because I have not seen the Japanese version (but I would love to) and this is mainly about the American version of the film, I place it in its American release date of 1963.

This film always had an aura about it for me. I mean, how could it not? The two biggest and baddest monsters of all time duking it out on screen. I had seen photos of the movie in several books about horror movies, which were my first introduction to the genre. I wanted to see so badly, but it seemed to only come on cable, and my family did not have cable yet. I asked friends and relatives to record it on their VCRs for me when it came on cable, but it never seemed to work out. We didn't have our own VCR yet, so I would have to see at their place.

Finally, in the spring of 1984, when I was 11 years old, my family got cable. I used to the check the TV schedule every week to see when some of my favorite movies that I had never seen were going to come on, like the 1933 King Kong or the one for this blog. At last I saw it there on the schedule, in black and white. King Kong vs. Godzilla was coming on WGN channel 9 in Chicago, but at 4 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night. I contemplated if I should even attempt to see it, but decided I just had to. I would not tell my parents I was going to do this.

I slept on the couch that night, which was not unusual for me then since I used to stay up late watching all the great television, such as Night Flight on USA network, which introduced me to many Poverty Row Horror movies. I set an alarm next to the couch and set it for a few minutes before 4 am so I could wake up and see the movie. I stayed up until around 2 or 3 am, as I usually did, watching late night movies. But when my head hit the pillow, I could not sleep a wink. I was too excited to see the greatest movie battle of all time. So I just laid there for over an hour until my alarm went off. I stopped the alarm instantly so my parents would not wake up and tell me to get back to sleep, or worse yet, make me go to bed in my own room.

So I got up and turned on the television, but kept the volume down low, again so I would not wake up the parents. Because it was so low, I had to sit about two feet from the screen. And I stayed up for the whole thing. My heart was pounding so hard, I never even felt sleepy. I don't think it's much of an exaggeration to say I lived for that moment.

At 6 am the movie ended. The sun was starting to glow over Lake Erie, the first time I stayed up until the sun started to show. I went to bed, but even then I still found it hard to sleep. I figured I would sleep until noon or later since I stayed up so late, but I wound up waking up around 10 or 11 am to the sight of my mom sitting in the living room reading the Sunday morning paper. I told my mother I stayed up to watch the movie, and she actually said that was fine, like she knew I would be doing this at some point after we got cable.

After that, I caught that movie every chance I could, and found it often came on WOR Channel 9 in New York, which has since gone defunct. When we finally got a VCR around 1989, one of the first VHS tapes I purchased was, of course, King Kong vs. Godzilla, and I used to watch it about once a week for the first few months after I got it. Then I slowed down to about once a month. I'm surprised the tape did not grow worn out. In fact, the DVD version of that film I own today is still a transfer of that old VHS copy I purchased so long ago. And I still watch that film about once a year to this day. I would say it is the movie I've watched more times than any other in my entire life.

I assume most monster kids have similar stories about a movie they were forbidden to watch, either because of the content or the time it came on. But don't those make the best memories? Don't they make those movies the most special? There is something about the forbiddeness of horror movies and horror stories that make them that much more special. Feel free to share any of your own similar stories and memories in the comments.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Halloween 2022

Here are some photos from last year's Halloween.

I was challenged to create a raven for the annual jack-o-lantern because we just got a few birds as family pets.

I dressed as Norman Bates for a few Halloween events I attended. I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?

We bought new salt and pepper shakers. I decided to keep these out all year long.

The lawn decorations turned out pretty well this year. I've always loved old cemeteries.

I know this is dark, but here I am handing out candy for the trick-or treaters. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.


Friday, January 27, 2023

Last year's Monster Fest

Let's take a look at a few photos from last year's Monster Fest, which took place on October 1, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia at the Chesapeake Central Library.

I worked the table for the Horror Writers Association where I signed up a few prospective members for the organization. The table was positioned between other HWA members, authors Red Lagoe and Pam Kinney. Author Brad Center also worked the table during the day.

I watched the costume contest, which is always fun. These are this past year's winners. I always consider the costume contest to be the main event of Monster Fest each year.

 Here is me displaying the line-up of events for the day. The HWA Virginia Chapter ran a panel / presentation on the importance of joining writing organizations. Overall, it was another fun event put on by Rob and Phyllis Floyd.

Friday, January 13, 2023

2022 By the Numbers

Every year I do this post to publicly state how much I am submitting and how many of those submissions result in successfully publishing one of my works.  Perhaps it will help any readers to gage themselves against what I have done each year. Perhaps many writers submit far more works than I do. Perhaps many submit far fewer. The idea of doing this began when I read a writer's blog (sorry, I cannot remember who) and they said they submit around 100 works per year. I decided I would see how many works I could submit each year. I found that I could submit between 35 and 50 works per year. I now try to work toward that 50 mark as much as possible. I have also found that the more works I submit each year the more of those works end up getting published, on average anyway.

So anyway, here are this year's numbers. I submitted a total of 8 books, although it was actually the same book submitted 8 times, which brings up another point. This is the total number of submissions, which means if the same book is submitted many times (8 in this case) it still counts as 8 submissions. The same holds true of short stories, poems, etc. I am working very hard to finish the follow-up to that first book, and I think I am getting close to deciding to self-publish that first book if I receive a few more rejections. Which brings up yet another point, some of these works I am still waiting to hear back on, including a few submissions of this novel.

I also had 29 short story submissions. Unfortunately, only one of those were successful this year, but again, a few of those submissions are still waiting on replies. That makes this year an anomaly in that I submitted more items than most other years, 48 total submissions, my second highest number of all time, but I had only one sale (again, so far). That success was "Beheaded" which appears in Madame Gray's Poe-Pourri, pictured above, and available on Amazon here. I also blogged about that particular sale here.

I had 11 poetry submissions, without any sales, and no non-fiction submissions this year. Just for comparison, 29 short story submissions is tied for my second highest, and 11 poetry submissions is tied for fourth highest. Eight novel submissions comes in second highest.

The most submissions I ever made in a year was 2018 where I hit 53, and it got me the most published works in a year as well with five total. This year saw my second most total at 48 as noted earlier. Third was in 2019 when I reached 47 total submissions, followed by 2021 with 44 total submissions, fourth was 2010 with 42 total, and 2020 with 35 total.

My goal for the coming year may be a little lower as I would like to start working on my longer works once again, namely my follow-up novel, and that Frankenstein project and hopefully get them both sent out to potential publishers or even agents.

I keep track of these on an Excel spreadsheet, and only recently started keeping track of total submissions each year. I find it helps me compete with myself to keep getting my works out there. If you see fit, feel free to tell me how many submissions you made last year, and how that looks compared to your other years. If it makes you feel better, I've had a lot of years with only a handful of submissions and even a few years with goose eggs.🥚😊


Friday, August 19, 2022

My Latest Short Story Sale

I am particularly excited about my latest short story sale for several reasons. For one thing, it is always exciting to make a short story sale, obviously, but this sale is particularly exciting. My latest short story sale is "Beheaded" (I love that title, by the way, but again, that's not why I am particularly excited about this sale). It will appear in the anthology Madame Gray's Poe-Pourri (cover pictured above) with the publisher, HellBound Books.

I have submitted to other anthologies with HellBound Book, but this was the first one they have actually accepted so far. All these are great reasons to be proud of this short story sale, and they are all reasons that I am proud of this short story sale. But there is one reason that makes me particularly proud of this specific short story sale.

The thing that makes me particularly proud of this short story sale is the fact that I consider this story, "Beheaded," to be part of the same universe as my first completed novel-length manuscript, The Sorcerer and my current work in progress, Blood of the Werewolf. That proves to me, and hopefully one day to a publisher, that stories in this universe can and will sell.

That universe is Romantic England (note the capital R in Romantic). It is similar enough to Victorian England that fans will be able to identify with both eras. It is the era just before the Victorian Era, usually noted as 1800 to 1835 in England. It is also my favorite literary era, with its love of nature and "spontaneous overflow of emotions." And it is the literary era I studied in college.

For more information on these works, you can see my previous blog-post on Shameless Self-Promotion. And for more information on this anthology, here is the link to HellBound Books

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Shameless Self-Promotion


I was sending out my old manuscript for The Sorcerer to another small press recently, and their submission guidelines said their authors should be prepared to promote their work nearly every day. Most small presses, and even many large presses, want their authors to do quite a bit of their own promotion. Perhaps it has always been this way, but I think most people in the writing and publishing industry would say authors are expected to do more of their own promotion that at any time in the past. And most of that promotion at this stage should be about my current projects.

Then just today, I was in my Horror Writers Association-Virginia chapter meeting when we got to the end of the meeting, the point where we all discuss our current projects, and I spouted off a few items I have out for consideration. When they moved on to another member, it occurred to me that I had an intriguing story about my current manuscript project, Blood of the Werewolf but forgot to mention it.

With that in mind, here is that (hopefully) intriguing story:

I am currently in the editing process of Blood of the Werewolf, when I reached a scene that needed a total revision. Why? Because one of the characters was supposed to leave town by train, but the story takes place in 1815 England. When I researched the history of train travel, I discovered this was about 15 years too early for regular train travel. While many of my horror writing cohorts are researching far more interesting things like types of poisons and how much bloodloss a human can endure, I spent my writing session researching the history of train travel and the history of slippers. Anyway, it is a pivotal scene that cannot be totally deleted, so I must revise it in a way that the character uses a different mode of transportation. The most obvious mode of transportation would be ship.

This opened up an interesting possibility for the story. I want both The Sorcerer and Blood of the Werewolf to take place within the same universe, and it would be even better if they had another direct connection. But up until now they did not have any connections other than parts of both stories take place in England in the 1810s. The Sorcerer actually concerns a man who owns a shipping company. So this character in Blood of the Werewolf will now travel via the Nichols Shipping Company because it is the name of the shipping company the character in The Sorcerer owns, giving the two novels the type of direct connection I was hoping to create for them.

Oh yes, the photo above is me promoting a public presentation at Monster Fest.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Conversations With Cal Panel

I appeared in a panel interview recently talking about a short story in a self published anthology (but not self-published by me). It contains stories from several writers besides myself. Check it out as we get into a variety of subjects such as writing, vampires, horror in general, even music.