Monthly Archives: November 2012


Guest post from James J Murray:


As I watched one of the national news feeds yesterday, I was reminded of how unaware the public is to one of the more serious drug-food interactions.


The subject of the feature was the adverse interaction between many drugs and grapefruit. It was presented as a “startling revelation” that there is a detrimental interaction between certain drugs and grapefruit when either the fruit or the juice from it is consumed concurrently with these medications.


The truth is that the medical community identified this harmful interaction at least ten years ago and now pharmacists routinely attach alert notices to certain prescription medications involved in these interactions.


The new information here is that the number of drugs that can cause a deadly interaction with grapefruit has doubled in just the last few years.  At present, 85 drugs interact with grapefruit to cause injury, 43 of which cause serious or deadly interactions.


The list of drugs that interact with grapefruit now includes many blood pressure medications, most of the cholesterol-lowering drugs, certain cardiac drugs, some anti-seizure medications, specific chemotherapy drugs and a few antibiotic medications.


What astounded me about this news broadcast was that the medical expert being interviewed recommended that patients who have been prescribed these medications “stop taking their medications and call their physicians for alternatives”.


The easier solution and a much better recommendation would be to simply STOP EATING GRAPEFRUIT!


Many of the drugs that interact with grapefruit are maintenance medications, those that patients take every day for chronic medical conditions. If a patient is achieving good therapeutic effects (especially long-term) with a drug therapy, it’s considered irresponsible to discontinue that drug in favor of a specific food in the diet.


The safer action is to keep the patient’s medical condition stable with that specific drug and to DISCONTINUE EATING THE OFFENDING FOOD.


As healthy and tasty as grapefruit is, if taken with certain medications it can be deadly.  As little as one-half grapefruit, or the equivalent in juice, can interfere with the metabolism of certain drugs.  A chemical in grapefruit called furanocoumarin causes some drugs to stay in the body much longer than expected and create an overdose effect when subsequent drug doses are given. Patients have died from respiratory failure, kidney failure and internal bleeding as a result of this accumulated drug effect.


As mentioned, this has been known for a long time and patients are now being warned about this serious interaction. The problem, however, remains a public health hazard for two reasons.


First, many people don’t read warning labels and, secondly, grapefruit is usually a food consumed as part of a healthy diet. People don’t associate a food as simple as grapefruit with having a deadly effect, and the problem is becoming more widespread as additional new drugs come on the market that have this potential interaction with grapefruit.


While it’s important to have news features to educate the public concerning this dangerous drug-food interaction, it should be emphasized that the recommended plan should be elimination of the offending food, not the beneficial drug.


It’s much easier to delete grapefruit from the diet than it is to find a replacement drug that would work as well as the one prescribed by your doctor, particularly if that drug is working well to control a medical condition.


Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!


Bio for James J. Murray:


With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on a patient’s quality of life have been my expertise.  My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter.  My obsession with reading murder mysteries and thrillers left me longing to weave such tales of my own.  Drawing on past clinical expertise as a pharmacist and an infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, I create novels of Murder, Mayhem and Medicine that will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.



James J. Murray






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Originally posted on Carol Carroll, Author:

Today I have my first appointment to set up a book signing.

Like with every other first I’ve been doing since I wrote Inconclusive Death, I’m traveling into unknown territory. It’s a little nerve-racking, but at the same time exciting to be learning more about marketing my book.

I’ve read on the internet about how others do a book signing, so I have a good idea how to go about it. I know I need to pick a place where and when there is high traffic, the more people coming through the better.

Then there is promotion. I have to get the word out and try to get people excited about coming by. That one I’m still working on! A press release could help. A few folks probably still read newspapers, right? Maybe I should give a free book to someone who calls into a radio station? The DJ gets…

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Interview with Al Sarrantonio

I did an interview with Al Sarrantonio in August last year on my old website.  Figured I’d dig it up and share it with you here.

It was about a year in the making, but the stars finally aligned and I stumbled into an interview with Al Sarrantonio. He edited an anthology, Portents, which was released earlier this year from Flying Fox Publishers. Read on:


RP: What started your interest in horror?

AS: I actually started out as a science fiction buff. But after I was booted out of engineering school (my Dad actually helped design the Space Shuttle) I discovered that my writing talent was more easily geared to the horror field – specifically the so-called “quiet” horror that Charles L. Grant and others were promoting in the 1980s.

RP: That’s interesting—I dropped out of GMI Engineering & Management Institute after two semesters. How many rejections did you have before your first sale?

AS: I could have wallpapered a room with them. That’s part of what keeps you going – if you believe, you don’t give up. Ambition and talent are the twin engines that drive any writer to success. If you don’t have both, forget about being a professional writer.

RP: Did you keep them and if so, what did you do with them?

AS: Good question! I probably still have some, socked away in a box somewhere. Some were interesting. The form letters I tossed out. The one I remember vividly (and that kept me going) was from Bob Silverberg, who was editing a series of original sf anthologies called NEW DIMENSIONS at the time. He took the time to give me some advice.

RP: What was the first story you submitted and has it ever been published?

AS: Actually one of the very first I submitted was eventually published. I wrote the first draft of it at the Clarion SF Writers Workshop at Michigan State University in 1974.It was an sf/horror story titled “The Artist in the Room Above.” It was published in a volume of the Chrysalis series and was reprinted in my collection HALLOWEEN AND OTHER SEASONS.

RP: I read Skeletons probably when I was about 14.That novel blew my mind! I’d never read or seen zombies like that (and I’d never read anything told in first-person before).What was the inspiration?

AS: As bizarre as this sounds (I don’t think it does) the inspiration for that book was Thomas Pynchon – specifically, GRAVITY’S RAINBOW. It took me many tries to get through that book, but it blew me away. And I thought to myself, why can’t I do something like this in the horror field? Meaning snatches of song lyrics, gonzo situations, etc. It was probably the most fun I ever had writing a novel. There’s a follow-up novel to it that’s never been published, my only unpublished novel (Bantam was set to do it in the early 90s when they got rid of their entire horror line); it’s called UNDERGROUND and has characters with names like Malice in Wonderland. Someday…

RP: I grew up on late 70s and 80s horror. The Howling, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Return of the Living Dead, Creepshow and then my mother got me hooked on King and Koontz. What did you have as a child?

AS: Another great question. I had the Alfred Hitchcock Y.A. anthologies that were published by Random House, which had all kinds of crazy stuff in them – sf, horror, mysteries, you name it. They were brilliantly edited. I received one every Christmas from my godparents when I was perhaps 10-13 years old. They changed my life. And I got to know (!) some of the writers who were in there, such as Manly Wade Wellman, later in life.

RP: When would you say you ‘made it’ as a writer?

AS: That’s all in your mind. My epiphany was the first time I wrote a story and I knew – I knew– that I nailed it. After that it didn’t become easier, but I knew what I was doing.

RP: Do you see a point when you’d stop writing or is it something you’ll do until you physically can’t?

AS: The old line: they’ll have to pry the keyboard (used to be typewriter) from my cold, dead hands. It’s a compulsion as well as a business.

RP: Have you ever had an idea and someone beat you to the punch in their own novel? Did you abandon the idea or revamp it?

AS: Not really. The only time that happened was when another horror writer came out with a novel titled OKTOBER a couple months before my OCTOBER came out. It didn’t make a difference.

RP: Was there a ‘sophomore slump’ when it came to getting your 2nd novel published? If so, how’d you get past it?

AS: Honestly, I didn’t have a sophomore slump. Once I knew what I was doing, I just kept going. That was almost thirty years ago. I did go through periods when I needed to recharge the batteries, but that’s only natural. My third novel actually had a character in it who got jettisoned, and it became my fourth novel.

RP: You’re very prolific—have you ever had a significant writer’s block?

AS: What gets you out of writer’s block is when you need a paycheck. I’ve always found that when I needed to write, I could write. When I don’t I get lazy. I’m not saying I don’t believe in writer’s block. But I think it can be overcome by need. Need to eat, need to put kids through college. And then of course there is the need to write, which, like I said, is a compulsion sometimes.

RP: What’s it going to take to get you to do a signing in Metro Detroit?

AS: Yow! Been in the airport there on the way to see my eldest son in Chicago. I don’t know. It could happen. I haven’t done many signings or gone to many conventions the last couple years. Hunkered down with the work.

RP: I wanted to ask if you still work in multiple genres, but I see the anthology Stories: All-New Tales, which was published back in June, has stories across a myriad of genres. Do you still think diversification is the best policy for any writer?

AS: My good friend Joe Lansdale and I have talked about this over the years. When the horror boom of the 1980s collapsed in the 1990s we both saw the writing on the wall. He was quicker than me, broadening out into comics and just about everything else, but I, out of boredom with any one genre, and out of necessity to make a living at writing, starting going every which way, too. Also, people were asking me to. I wrote my first western (WEST TEXAS) because an editor at a hardcover house asked me to.

RP: I see your new anthology, Halloween, is coming out next month- what’s your story about?

AS: The reprint antho HALLOWEEN is edited by Paula Guran, and contains my novella “Hornets,” which was the very first Orangefield tale. It also appears in HORNETS AND OTHERS, a short story collection of mine that will be available as an e-book soon.

RP: Looking through your titles on Amazon I see a lot of your titles have been re-released on Kindle. How do you feel about the rise of the e-book considering the bulk of your career has been in print?

AS: Almost all of the books that are coming back on Kindle were dead in the water, out of print, and unavailable to my fans. Because of this, it’s almost impossible for me to put down e-books. I bought a Kindle this past January, and am beginning to see what it’s good for. It will not replace physical books. It will augment them. Nobody in the publishing industry –publishers, agents, editors, some writers and readers — seems to be able to wrap their heads around this yet. It’s not a replacement system – it’s an augmentation system.

RP: Is there anything you have upcoming you’d like to tell us about?

AS: I’m working on a long story for an original monster anthology, which looks like it’ll take place in Orangefield. The original horror anthology I edited and published, PORTENTS, is still available through my website, And a bunch more titled will be available as e-books, including my sf/horror trilogy FIVE WORLDS, which was another experiment for me. I tried to yoke space opera to the horror genre (There’s a character named the Machine Master of Mars, whose own brother snipped his lips off, leaving him looking like the Phantom of the Opera.)I think some of the best novel writing I ever did was in those books.

RP: Well, I’m a fan of yours. My collection of Al Sarrantonio books rest proudly amongst my other favorites—Ethan Black, F. Paul Wilson, Thomas Harris, Thomas Disch—I’d say all of you had an impact on the writer I became. Do you attend any of the horror-cons on a regular basis? I’d love to bump into you someday. Thank you for your time.

AS: Like I said, haven’t hit the cons in some time. Maybe in the next couple years. And funny you should mention Tom Disch – he was one of my mentors, and I was able to publish a bunch of his stories in the original anthologies I edited.

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Originally posted on Matthew Vaughn:

I just realized while posting this that this is my first review of a Brian Keene book. I’m pretty sure I meant to do reviews of some of his other books, but obviously I didn’t. It’s better late than never though.

I only started reading Brian Keene’s work just as his relationship with Dorchester dissolved. What I read was what my brother had and a couple books my wife bought for me over the internet. A little while back he started a relationship with Deadite Press, and for fans like me this is exactly what we needed. They have been reprinting not only Brian’s mass market novels but stories that had originally only appeared in rare limited editions. So now I and so many others can easily get our hands on books and stories that diehard fans may have been dreaming about for years. Sometimes it pays to be late…

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Originally posted on October Country:

Concluding a series must be one of the most difficult things a writer can do – especially a series that’s been as popular for a writer as the Timmy Quinn stories (comprised up to this point of The Turtle BoyThe HidesVessels, and Peregrine’s Story) have been for Kealan Patrick Burke. Not only have they been popular for him, they have in many ways defined his career: from the hot-shot indie writer making a splash among those “in the know” with The Turtle Boy, to the growing artist tackling more complex themes in Vessels, to the mature author back from a long absence with new confidence and mastery of his craft as displayed in Nemesis: The Death of Timmy Quinn.

Many of the series I’m familiar with as a reader are open-ended, like the Hap and Leonard books by Joe R. Lansdale. Series such…

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Oh My!

Guest blog by Carol Carroll
What a week it’s been. As I have recently published my first full novel, I have moved into trying to figure out how to market. I can’t believe how many sites out there are devoted to instructing people how to do their own marketing. Of course, most of what I find says pretty much the same things, and they usually want to sell me a course to let me in on all the details.
One thing leads to another and before I know it another day has slipped by without my writing a single word on my new story. Hopefully once I get all this good advice into some kind of organized plan, I’ll be able to get back to my novel.
Let’s see, the first and seemingly most important issue is to build a hub from which all the other facets can take off from; the hub being either a blog or a website. Okay, that part I started about a month ago. I enjoy blogging and reading other’s blogs. No problem.
Next thing is to grow a mailing list. I have to work on that one. It is suggested getting social is a good way to let people in the cyber world know I even exist. All well and good, except I’m enjoying the social aspect too much! I’m spending a lot of my time getting to know people, which I love, but how do I fit in some time to write?
Then there is figuring out how to launch my new book. I’d never even heard of a book launch before getting into all this marketing business. I need to learn how to set up book signings if I want the general public to know I live and breathe and sell books! Okay, I will do that just as soon as I find the time.
Book trailers, what a great way to advertise what my mystery book is all about. One more thing I have to learn from the ground up. I’ve never even videotaped anything except my children with a super eight camera forty years ago. That one I will put on hold.
I go into the internet to find an answer to one of my many, many questions. Before I finish one thing it links me to another that I just have to see before I lose track of it, and then there’s a new link there vying for my attention. I’m gleaning a wealth of information, which is boggling my mind. And I still need to get back to my writing.
My helpful sites tell me all this marketing strategy takes time, lots of time. Patience is essential, stick-to-itiveness is a must, and fortitude helps a lot.
Meanwhile my husband is beginning to think he’s a widower. Now that will never do. He is, and always will be, my number one priority. So I will keep plugging away. I will make time for writing. And most important, I’ll spend quality time with Marv. Everything else will just have to be patient. :)

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Let Me Explain…

I tweeted about a writing pet peeve, something about ‘he thought to himself’. I thought this was obviously redundant considering if you think something, it can only be to yourself unless you’re a telepathic.
But as with all thing internet, this was immediately disputed by someone stating this is ‘internalizing’ as if this was an actual term.
It isn’t.
If a character thinks something, ‘internalization’ is already established. And a character nodding to himself is just as silly. He either nods or he doesn’t. There is no ‘to himself’. That implies that he’s committing the action with something other than his real, physical head as it was something only he could perceive. I have no clue how a character comes about having this ghostly appendage and what purpose it serves outside of establishing that a character can agree with himself, but it’s definitely a reading speed bump and, in this author’s estimation, should be avoided.

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I Know How Dexter Will End…

Now of course, I’m only operating on a theory, but I think the stars are aligning for one ending in particular for Dexter Morgan.

He’s going to wind up on his own kill table.

But first, a few things are going to happen.  LaGuerta is going to continue to pursue the Bay Harbor Butcher and her theory that he’s someone who works for Miami Metro.  I thought for a moment she might come to the conclusion it was Quinn as he fits the general profile of single white male, but he’s too much of a screw-up, whereas the Butcher has to be someone who is orderly.

The rest of this season will play out with Deb deciding to take matters into her own hand and kill Dexter’s girlfriend, putting him in the position of either following his code and killing Deb or letting her live, which would destroy the code.  Of course, Dexter can’t kill his sister, so Dexter will be left to reinterpret the code, meaning he can kill more than just other killers and he will slip into this area in the final season.  But not before Isaak Sirko has to be dealt with.  Dexter doesn’t want to kill him because Sirko’s death will bring a lot more problems than it would solve.  I’m not entirely certain how that gets fixed–perhaps Deb kills him on a legit shoot.  On second thought, Quinn is going to kill him and go to prison.

But the final season will have LaGuerta zeroing in on Dexter as the Bay Harbor Butcher and I think they will go back to the books for source material and have a serial killer imitating Dexter’s M.O., killing those who have escaped justice, but maybe leaving more of a mess than Dexter would.  Dexter and his sister will be on opposite sides, as she knows what he does and no longer finds issue with it, but also knows she has broken his code.  After Dexter kills and disposes of his copycat, the noose will be tighter than ever, leaving Dexter and Deb on a final collision course where she winds up confronting him after he has strapped himself on a table and leaves her with no other choice but to kill him, freeing him and thus, saving herself.  Because if Dexter isn’t the Butcher then Deb couldn’t have been covering for him.

I’m sure there are bugs in this theory.  For instance, if the copycat is killing killers, then they should suspect Dexter of being a killer, right?  Well, perhaps people already do.  His wife’s killer was never caught and there had to be people who thought he had something to do with that.


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Minimalist style pictures by me

Minimalist style pictures by me.

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The Path of the Fallen

Guest Post from Dan O’Brien:


I thought it might be fun to imagine who would play the characters from The Path of the Fallen. I would encourage people who have read the book to comment, and disagree if need be. If you would prefer not to have the characters imagined a certain way, then I would steer clear of this post. This is a list of actors and actresses I can imagine playing the characters based on what I have seen them in previously (I will comment briefly on what it was specifically that makes them an ideal fit) as well as the look of the character as I envisioned them.


E’Malkai Armen

(Connor Jessup)

E’Malkai has always been different than everyone else, and the actor who would play him would have to be able to convey both a sense of belonging and distance from those around him. Connor plays Ben Mason on TNT’s Falling Skies, which, in the words of a friend of mine, is little more than a science fiction family drama. That being said, he delivers on a kind of quiet desperation and intelligence that I think would fit E’Malkai well.



(Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)

Elcites, Umordoc guardian of young E’Malkai, must be able to convey tremendous emotion and power with only slight movements and limited facial expressions. Additionally, the beast-like appearance of the character requires much emoting without saying very much at all. Adewale has a great screen presence, and this was quite apparent in his character ‘Mr. Eko’ on Lost. I think his ability to convey emotional depth with a stare or a posture makes him ideal to play the remorseful and trustworthy Elcites.



(Ryan Gosling)

Fe’rein, born Ryan Armen, has become the All-god of a world bathed in hatred and shadow. The character undulates between a sullen hatred and a wanton desperation obscured by tremendous power. Ryan has demonstrated his ability to be a likable character, a powerful actor. His performance in Drive solidified for me that he had the physicality and emotional range to truly bring to life the villainous and flawed Fe’rein.



(Jim Caviezel)

I have to admit that Arile is one of my favorite characters. His wry cynicism and quiet, yet powerful, demeanor makes the choice of Jim Caviezel a no-brainer. His portrayal of ‘Mr.Reese’ on Person of Interest has shown that he can play physically imposing characters.



(Lena Headey)

Leane, E’Malkai’s mother, is a character fraught with secrets and influence. Her sadness is hidden behind a veil of confidence and command that serves her too well. Lena Headey portrays ‘Cersei Lannister’ on HBO’s Game of Thrones and has proven to be an incredible actress. I could not imagine a more cunning character, and as such I think she would be a perfect fit for Leane.


Seth Armen

(Jude Law)

The path of the Fallen began with the exile of Seth Armen. Seth has all of the qualities present in Jude Law’s portrayal of ‘Dr. Watson’ in Sherlock Holmes. Seth is strong, intelligent, and somber by necessity. Though not a major component of The Path of the Fallen, he still has a strong influence over E’Malkai’s journey to discover his place in the world.



(Ben Foster)

Kyien is the leader of the Culouth armies and a narcissistic, unlikable jackass. Ben Foster, from the moment I saw him on Six Feet Under, was brilliant. He has range and I would love to see him play a power-hungry madman who at moments can be cunning and manipulative.



(Tom Hiddleston)

M’iordi is a manicured, cultured councilman who sits at the right hand of Fe’rein. His intelligence, as well as his lust for power, make him a useful ally and a frightening enemy. The obvious selection for Hiddleston’s prowess would be his commanding villainy in Avengers. However, it was a quiet performance in Midnight in Paris that really resonated with me.



(Katee Sackhoff)

T’elen is a powerful and beautiful warrior woman who commands legions and is quick to take a man’s head for foolishness. I have two words for you: Battlestar Galactica. I might as well have just named the character Kara Thrace, but honestly Katee encompasses everything about the character that I could imagine.



(Tim Kang)

Xi’iom is a commander with a simple demeanor and a severe dislike for smiling. If you have watched The Mentalist, then you will no doubt be familiar with Tim Kang’s portrayal of CBI agent Kimball Cho. He has the serious demeanor and unwavering personality that defines Xi’iom so well.



(Alexander Skarsgard)

Higald, proud chieftain of the Fallen, is built like a viking: blond hair, cold blue eyes, and a somberness that cannot be quelled. Sounds a bit like Eric Northman, no? Not really, but Alexander Skarsgard has the look, though he would need to put on some muscle to look the part and smile a little less. Higald is not as pleased with himself as Eric on True Blood is.



(Idris Elba)

S’rean is by no means a major character, but he is a significant presence in the second half of the book. Idris Elba has taken on so many fantastic roles from The Wire to Luther that I wish I could cast him somewhere else. Perhaps if the movie ever does get made, casting folks will be able to place him in a role worthy of his acting prowess. Either way, he would be a wonderful fit for S’rean.



(Ian McNeice)

This might have been the most obvious cast for me. Ian McNeice has been delighting moviegoers for a very long time, and if I didn’t know better, I would think that I created the part specifically for him. Augustine is the speaker of the Culouth population, a vociferous and superfluous orator with a powerful and distinct voice.

Check out these other posts about The Path of the Fallen:

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