Archive for Skullvines Press

Regarding the Skullvines forum

Posted in News, Skullvines Press with tags , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by Jerrod Balzer

A lot of you now know what happened to the Skullvines forum but some may not, so I thought I’d offer the details.

But first off, please accept my sincere apologies. While there was one point to the crash where an error message came up saying, “Hacker?” I think it was something I did.

Since I was on Skype with S.D. discussing opening a new store at the time, he was there when it happened. I was upgrading it to the latest version, which involved getting into the server and messing with files there. Something went wrong and it was most likely user error on my part. It was also my first day of being on depakote, so I probably shouldn’t have been screwing with anything too complicated.

Going from memory, this is approximately how our Skype conversation went down:

JB: Got the upgrade done, and all seems okay.

SD: Great!

JB: Wait, where’d the news feed go?

SD: Hm, I can’t embed YouTube videos anymore.

JB: I bet the mods that allow that stuff didn’t take well to the upgrade. Wait, there’s a bunch of gibberish at the top of the screen now.

SD: I see that? I wonder what it is.

JB: I’ll uninstall those mods to see if it goes away… nope, now there’s more.

SD: Could it be something with the theme? Maybe we should try another.

JB: Yeah, I’ll switch to the basic theme for now… Nope still there. And I can’t switch back to any other themes now! What the hell?

SD: Man, that’s weird. Can’t we re-install?

JB: I’m worried we’d lose all the posts. I can’t seem to get back-up working.

SD: Damn.

JB: Shitty SMF.

SD: They’ve been giving us problems since day one. There was another software to use, wasn’t there? Maybe we should us that, instead.

JB: Good idea! I only went with SMF cuz I love the Twisted Sister song of the same name… Hey, I have an idea! Since we just created the site for the new store we’re getting ready for, let’s start the new forum there. It would make more sense to have it in a store so all the customers and companies can hang there.

SD: But the store isn’t ready yet.

JB: True, but we could have the forum going and work on the store from there. Everybody knows we do things ass-backwards, anyway.

SD: I agree. Let’s do it.

JB: And I can try to copy/paste as many cool posts from the old and bring them to the new, so a lot of that hard work isn’t lost. We could let the users do it, too, if they want. Then kill the old one after that.

SD: Sure, if they want to do that. It’s a good option.

JB: Wait, it’s not there anymore. Now there’s just a bunch of error crap all over the screen. I think it’s crashed and burned.

SD: Oh shit. Well, I’ll let people know. They’ll be asking what happened.

JB: Just blame me. I’m sure I did something wrong.

SD: And what’s funny is you were able to get a message on the news feed saying, “We’re upgrading. Let us know if anything goes apeshit.”

JB: Ha! Well, I think it did. Just tell everyone I burned it to the ground.

So there you have it. The paranoid part of me is concerned that people will thing it was done on purpose just to move it to the store’s site. Not true. I put a lot of hard work into that site, as well as all the users. There were great posts there that I (and I’m sure others) would dread trying to recreate. So it was far from intentional. But with the new one, I’ve already done an upgrade and it went perfectly. It’s a much easier program to work with, so I don’t think we’ll have a repeat. And it’s like SD said to me, “It’s the Internet where shit like this can happen at anytime, unfortunately. Everyone knows we work hard to keep the entertainment level as high as we can, and we’d never want to fuck that up on purpose.”

The store-in-progress is The Merchant’s Keep and we already have a lot of stores preparing to work with us. It will sell all genres on a consignment basis, and we’ll take a smaller cut than most (if not all) other stores. We figure stores get too greedy and therefore cut the throats of small presses, who are having enough trouble keeping afloat in today’s market.

If you’d like to watch the store being built, CLICK HERE. We’ll announce when it’s ready. Right now, we’re currently getting the Skullvines books up there while we wait on other companies’ products to arrive. Once it’s live, we intend to kill the bookstore at the Skullvines site – it will go back to descriptions of our titles with links to buy at the store. There’s really no sense in running two bookstores, selling identical products, when they come from the same place.

Oh! And CLICK HERE to go to the new forum. I believe the bugs are worked out, but let us know if you find any. This one is also more compatible with various browsers, where the old one wasn’t.

We appreciate your understanding and patience. We’ll try to make everything as smooth as possible, and in the end, we believe it will have improved things. We’re expanding, after all, and just in time for the 3rd anniversary of Skullvines Press!

Sorry I’ve been quiet

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by Jerrod Balzer

I haven’t posted a whole lot since Robin’s birthday.  Nothing really wrong, just very busy.  I thanked him in private, but I wanted to thank Pointy again for sending her a DVD of Dracula 2000. It’s a favorite of ours and Robin thinks Gerard Butler makes the hottest Dracula ever.  I, of course, love all the hot ladies in the cast.  But besides the eye candy, the movie rocks and has a neat twist on Dracula’s origin.  We’ve never bothered with the sequels.  Are they any good?

We also joined Netflix so we could catch up on movies we haven’t seen.  Lately, we watched Push (entertaining, but mostly consisted of moving around and plotting, very little action.  And it wasn’t original at all – think Firestarter and you have the gist), Wolverine (enjoyed it a lot – nothing mind-blowing but a fun action movie), Eagle Eye (loved it!), and we’ve been enjoyed Penn & Teller’s Bullshit series.

So, what’s been going on since?  Some of it is a secret, involving something big going on at Skullvines Press.  Don’t worry, it’ll be announced soon, and we’re really excited about it.

And guess what?  Robin hasn’t smoked in just over a month now!  She’s been on the patch, and she’s on Step Two now.  It’s been rough, but she’s hanging in there really well.  I thought for sure she’d end up in the hospital over all the stress, but she’s determined to make it work!  I have her ciggies in the safe, and she does demand one on occasion.  But hey, one every few days vs every hour is fantastic!  She’s been going on about how much better she can breathe when we take walks or go to the “Y.”  I am so extremely proud of her, but of course, this also requires me to spend tons of quality time with her (away from the computer) so she’s not dwelling on it.  That is a task I’m more than happy to fulfill.

Fall is here!  My favorite time of the year.  Ah but autumn, you’re a cruel mistress.  With it comes all the allergies that I suffer from.  My left eye is swelled and itchy as I type.  When school started, everyone in town got sick, it seems.  Kids with colds go to school, give it to all the other kids, then they all take it home to give the grown-ups… it happens every year.  But parents get so afraid to keep their children home on the first day.  Ah well.  We don’t have kids, but were around a lot of sniffling, sneezing people at the gas station, grocery store, etc.  And Robin was pretty sick for a bit.  I managed to stay ahead of it until the last time I mowed the lawn.  I had a nasty allergy attack, which kicked everything else off.  I was down with it bad until I was finally hooked up with some good drugs.  Then Robin got sick again, lol.

We’re much better now, though.  And oddly enough, I started staying awake during the day while sleeping at night.  For a large chunk of my life, I’ve always been a night owl, getting sick any time I tried to change my hours around.  I’m thrilled to have “normal” hours now, and hope it lasts for a good while.  It’s much easier when going to book signings, conventions, etc.  I don’t look like such a zombie and my blood sugar isn’t going wonky.

We’re getting the cloudy days and the leaves are starting to turn here and there.  I love being able to open the house up, even if the allergies screw with me.  It’s worth it.  The utility bills looks more attractive, too, with the dormant A/C.

I hope all is well with everyone else.

July 4th pics!

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by Jerrod Balzer

I spent the weekend at S.D. Hintz‘s house along with Rich Ristow and Mark McLaughlin, and we had a wild time with lots of great folks during CONvergence ’09.

Now, I’m not much of a camera person.  I don’t like carrying one around everywhere.  So I didn’t get any at the actual convention.  However, I did take several while at SD’s July 4th barbecue.  We had a blast, R. Scott McCoy was a hit with the absinthe he brought along.  We were also thrilled that Roy C. Booth, Rob Callahan, and the gorgeous MontiLee Stormer were able to stop by.

So here are some pics, along with a Burger King pic that Rich took while we made fun of a typo:

Cheesebuger

Cheesebuger

Mark McLaughlin

Mark McLaughlin

R. Scott McCoy with Lucid absinthe

R. Scott McCoy with Lucid absinthe

S.D. Hintz and Mark McLaughlin

S.D. Hintz and Mark McLaughlin

S.D. Hintz with Roy C. Booth

S.D. Hintz with Roy C. Booth

Mark McLaughlin in negotiations with Jerrod Balzer

Mark McLaughlin in negotiations with Jerrod Balzer

R. Scott McCoy and Rich Ristow

R. Scott McCoy and Rich Ristow

Rob Callahan and MontiLee Stormer

Rob Callahan and MontiLee Stormer

Rich Ristow and S.D. Hintz

Rich Ristow and S.D. Hintz

We ate, drank, and were very merry.  Thanks for the fun weekend, everybody!  And that includes all those I didn’t get pictures of like Brian Keene, Cynthia Booth, Ashanti, and everyone else I neglected to mention.  You all rock, and make me wish I carried my camera more.

Michele Lee’s ROT – cover, web page, and excerpt

Posted in Skullvines Press with tags , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2009 by Jerrod Balzer

Zombies Can Be Such a Burden

So you’ve raised your loved ones from the dead, but had no idea how difficult it would be to care for them.

No problem! Silver Springs is a warm, peaceful facility equipped to handle all your zombie needs. Their friendly staff will ensure they have a safe environment with daily exercise and raw meat.

Rest easy knowing they’re in good hands… as they rot.

In Michele Lee’s Rot, you won’t find an apocalypse or Romero-style flesh-eaters. This is far more disturbing.

In a world where certain people can will others back from death, Silver Springs Specialty Care Community caters to the undead for those who aren’t quite ready to let go (zombie milk available by special arrangement at the home office).

Dean, retired from the military and looking for an easier life, runs security at this zombie herding farm, but he learns that dark injustice is not unique to war. There’s a rotten core to Silver Springs. Now, Dean and a quickly-decaying corpse named Patrick are on the hunt for a woman they both love and lost to a lucrative business that specializes in greed, zombies and never having to say goodbye.

Cover art by Mark McLaughlin

**Available for Pre-Order very soon!**

Here’s what others are saying:

“Part detective story, part romance, all horror, Michele Lee’s Rotis an exceptional piece of work, one of those rare stories that manages to seamlessly blend together all those elements that make a horror story memorable, and it does so with such a confident voice, one might think Lee – a relative newcomer – is secretly channeling the masters. Rotis nothing less than the unveiling of an exciting new talent in the horror field, one I suspect – and hope – we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the future.”

~Kealan Patrick Burke, author of Master of the Moors, The Turtle Boy, and Currency of Souls

“Smart zombies, a mystery, and a love story – this has so many elements foreign to the typical zombie story, that it will be a true inspiration to any fan of the undead. In these pages we see real inhumanity, dark humor, and hope, and we realize our favorite monster is capable of so much more than gut munching and being shot in the head. Don’t miss this one.”

~Kim Paffenroth, author of Dying to Live and Dying to Live: Life Sentence

Rot is a definite winner. It’s well-written, has lots of plot twists, characters we care about, and it strikes more emotional chords than you’d probably expect in a novella about flesh-eating zombies.”

~Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

Want a taste? Here’s an excerpt:

The door beeped. Amy and I became conspicuously quiet. Dodgeston, a keeper dressed in blue scrubs embroidered with his name, came in with a young-looking blond man. Dodgeston nodded to me and left without a word or a look to either of the corpses in the room. Patrick sat sullenly at the desk with Amy.

“Hi, Amy.”

“Hi, Patrick. This is Dean. He’s the one that’ll kill us the day we go rogue.”

“Hi, Dean.” Patrick regarded me, then turned to Amy. “Did you try the ‘brains’ thing on him?”

“Yeah, he thought it was funny.”

Patrick nodded as if he approved.

The conversation was strange in several ways. Neither of them seemed to be bothered, or joking, when they mentioned that I might have to kill them. And it didn’t help that Patrick had a deep, bloodless gash across the right side of his forehead. It looked more like a fake movie effect than human flesh. It hadn’t even been stitched closed by the mortician. Perhaps it was one more punishment Patrick’s parents wanted him to endure.

“So he’s decent then?” Patrick asked.

“Yeah.”

I’d seen the other workers speak casually with each other, treating the residents as if they were nothing more than furniture. But being on the receiving end of it was irritating. “I can hear you, you know.”

“We know,” Patrick said. “So what are we doing today?”

“Nothing,” Amy answered. “The place is dead.”

I chimed in with a flat, “Ha, ha, ha.”

Amy smiled impishly at me before turning away.

Things were tense because we’d all had to pass Sabrina Rosa on the way to the back room. Hers was the heartbreaking kind of case you couldn’t find words for. She was a pretty little thing, delicate and well-formed with long black hair and beautiful Hispanic features. She’d died six weeks ago, hemorrhaging during child birth.

On the advice of the doctor, her husband had her raised and brought immediately to Silver Springs, where she expressed a steady supply of breast milk for their daughter. She begged daily to be allowed to see the child, and as depressing as it was, I couldn’t blame the father for wanting his daughter to remember her mother from pictures rather than the undead thing that nursed her.

“Monitor, west sector fence check.”

I grabbed my radio and keyed the mike. “Confirmed.”

When I turned back to Amy and Patrick, they had dark looks on their faces. I was unsure what had happened in that moment to change the light mood. “What’s wrong?”

Patrick looked at Amy, who avoided looking at me. I was beginning to hate that.

“You should tell him, if he’s that decent.”

“Tell me what?”

Amy didn’t answer. More looks passed between them that I disliked, and it was the bad feeling at the pit of my stomach dislike.

“Just tell me.” My amusement was long gone.

“Let’s just say we aren’t the only monsters here,” Amy said quietly. The barely-contained emotion in her voice made her sound more human than ever. “The day I go savage, if I have even a bit of brain left, there will be certain people I’m aiming for.”

Cover art for Grave Bits!

Posted in Skullvines Press with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2009 by Jerrod Balzer

This upcoming Skullvines Press title is outstanding.  Grave Bits combines 24 dark, deep poems by Todd Hanks with the gorgeous artwork of Juan McGowan.  Among vampires, scarecrows, and other creatures from various cultures, the reader will experience ritual sacrifice, intimacy, and madness.  Juan’s artwork accompanies each, bringing the imagery to life with fantastic detail.

Check out my Monster Name

Posted in Cool stuff with tags , , , on May 16, 2009 by Jerrod Balzer

I don’t usually bother with these things, but I thought this was funny:


Jogger-Eating, Redhead-Reaping Ogre from the Dungeon


Ravenous, Offensive Beast Inflamed by Nihilism


Sinister Knowledge-Urged Livestock-Lacerating, Villager-Injuring Nightmare from the Enchanted Sanctuary

Get Your Monster Name

Yay! Book covers!

Posted in Jerrod's writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2009 by Jerrod Balzer

Woohoo!  It’s my great pleasure to show off the covers of books that my work will appear in throughout 2009.  I dig ’em a lot:

My poem called “The Little Corpse,” which can be read for free HERE, will be appearing in the anthology, Death in Common: Poems from Unlikely Victims. The cover was done by Bob Freeman and it will be released by Daverana Enterprises:

Death in Common

My short story, “Wolf Plugs,” will appear in Dark Jesters through Novello Publishers.  Artwork is by William A. Renfro:

Dark Jesters

Fear the Woods

The first book of my serial, Fear the Woods, will be coming out through Skullvines Press.  I did the cover using a photo of nearby woods:

And last but certainly not least, my novella Zombie Bastard will be released through Novello Publishers at the end of the year.  Artwork is by Caroline O’Neal:

Zombie Bastard

So I’m excited about the rest of this year!  Also, we’re working on Tabloid Terrors 3, this time going after aliens.  We just don’t have a cover for that, yet.

I hope you like ’em!