Sunday, April 19, 2020

People. It's what's for dinner.

CANNIBALS! You know you love 'em. I sure do.


The glorious weirdos at Red Cape Publishing are releasing a series of horror anthologies. They're on letter C right now, which is where my cannibal story comes in. It's called "Bert," and it's about a chubby, little farmboy who has suspicions that his dad might be planning to eat him. Try to guess the twist ending, because I'm sure you won't.

This collection is very dark, very funny, and very... delicious? Can I say that? Sure. Why not? It's my blog.

The point is, check out C IS FOR CANNIBALS when it's finally served on June 24. And bring your appetite!


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Crazy Stories from Kazakhstan


My students are awesome. No matter where I teach, I always find students who are creative and excited and eager to share their stories with the world.

That's why I'm so proud of this latest antho! Crazy Stories from Kazakhstan is a collection of student-written stories from the kids of Almaty. Killer teddy bears, aliens, dragons, curses... These stories have a little bit of everything.

And the craziest part? All the stories were written by non-native speakers in thirty minutes. That's right! We had a contest at our school, and students had to finish their stories (based on four secret photos that we gave them) in under a half hour! This is what they came up with.

And of course, I added some illustrations to go with their words. This time, the mascot is the famous Kazakh snow leopard.

This guy.

 Check him out in ebook form, or just email me and I can connect you with a PDF. We're raising money for a local charity, and this is just a little thing I could do to help.




Saturday, October 26, 2019

Go to India

Here is one very cool school visit. Of course, I signed some books.


And met all the awesome staff.


But I also got a very traditional welcome! (With a surprise dance performance.)


And the students of course were very cool.


I guess what I'm saying is: Go to India. You'll love it.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Bring on the Monsters!


Here I am signing books for some of the students in India. Each one got a personal monster drawing from yours truly.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Welcome to India!

My first visit to India was amazing! I went to six different schools and talked to the students about monsters. What a cool job I have!


All the students were excited, creative, and cool.


They created their own monsters. Some were funny. Some were crazy. Some were scary. But they were all awesome!


They asked lots of interested questions and had a lot of opinions to share. (Apparently, mummies are very popular with these kids. Who knew?)


And of course, they had a lot of ideas to share. Color me impressed!


And I can't wait to go back again!


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Another Monster for Karma to Fight


Congratulations to another winning monster! Melania did a great job with her monster Jelly Freeze. It was so hard to judge this contest, but Jelly Freeze was one of my personal favorites! And look at that poem! It's hilarious.

Here are some more great creatures:





Funny, scary, cute, and creepy. Monsters come in all different flavors.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Problem with Monsters (Besides Them Eating You)

Varsha Seshan is a critic and blogger in India. She just posted a really inciteful piece called "The Problem with Monster Stereotypes in Literature" and it really sums up my feelings about monsters (especially in young adult literature).

One of my big reasons for creating the Karma Tandin: Monster Hunter series was to challenge the assumptions about good vs. evil. I wanted to create a village full of monsters that are a bit more complex than just MONSTER = BAD. My monsters are real characters with real quirks and personalities. They're different and they're dangerous, but that doesn't mean they're irredeemable. They're young and old, male and female, ugly and beautiful. And they're complicated.

In my first book, the monster is a book-loving librarian that just happens to hide a mutant shark face under her human head. In the second, a school bully becomes a decomposing zombie that learns the hard way what it feels like to be the victim of bullying. In the third book, well... stay tuned, but it will involve an "evil twin" with a bit more complexity than you'd expect.

Especially in kidlit, writers have the responsibility to expand the definition of "monster." The world isn't a simple, black-and-white place, and monster characters shouldn't easily fit into any category. That's more-or-less the mission statement of the Karma Tandin series, and Varsha's article really captures that. Give it a read.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wedding in Kazakhstan


This was a Kazakhstan/American wedding in the mountains just outside Almaty, Kazakhstan.


I danced all night. Badly.


And I'm so happy for the lucky couple.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! NEW SERIES!


All my writing experience has prepared me for this. After publishing a bunch of horror shorts for anthologies big and small, and after reading and rereading every Goosebumps book until my eyes turned fuzzy, I've finally started my own middle grade horror series!

Karma Tandin: Monster Hunter is a series of funny, exciting, spooky adventures about a twelve-year-old monster hunter who battles wild creatures throughout Bhutan. The first in the series, Karma Fights a Monster, just hit stands and it is wild! I am so proud of this story (and all the stories to come). Check out our hero as he contends with his school librarian who may or may not be a shark monster. (Spoiler: She is.)

Seriously, guys, this is my passion project, and it's so, so cool to share it with you all. What's even cooler is that I get to write about Bhutan, my favorite place in the world. If you like monsters (and who doesn't), then you'll love Karma!



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Welcome to SAN CICARO


San Cicaro is a coastal resort town in California where strange things happen every day. I was lucky enough to be included in this travel companion. I wrote all about a local landmark called Missy's Diner. Come check it out or (better yet) visit San Cicaro yourself. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Startling Monsters

"When I started reading it, I hoped there would be ‘real’ monsters, not allegorical or imagined monsters. I was not disappointed. The monsters in the book startled me, and it was wonderful."

Another happy, monster-loving customer. Check out Varsha Seshan's review of my latest middle grade horror book, Karma Fights a Monster.


Plus: more awesome fan art for the Karma series. This is Bibi-Da-Bi, a color-sucking monster created by Aditeya Goyal (age 11).

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Duckbill Books

My new series Karma Tandin: Monster Hunter got a nice shout-out from Indian children's author and editor Sayoni Basu. I've worked with her closely over at Duckbill Books, and I'm always amazed by the amount of good, positive, funny, exciting work they release.


Monday, June 10, 2019

An Everyman Superhero

"Karma is a protagonist that every child can easily identify with. He is not shown to be a superhero of sorts, though he is the famed monster hunter. He is as ‘human’ as any of the readers reading the book. Excellent story, capturing plot and loads of good humour…"

Karma Fights a Monster is fresh off the presses, and already we've been getting some good reviews. This one comes courtesy of the Booked for Life blog. I'm so happy that my little story of a monster-hunting twelve-year-old is really connecting with readers. 


And of course, here is another monster submission to add to the collection. This one is by Aadya,  a four (!) year old monster hunter from India. Jigiliboo is a fierce creature from an enchanted forest. Better watch out!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Karma Gets a Review!

"Through this monster story, Purcell has tried to introduce the issues that kids face in their lives and how everyone has to struggle against their worst impulses. His cool, shark monster represents something that we can all understand and relate to — teachers and their ways."

Amen.

Our first review is in! Ministry of Magik (which is a very cool blog) gave us their thoughts on Karma Fights a Monster. I'm so glad that Karma's wacky adventures are finally catching on with people. I've had this story (and this series) kicking around in my head for over two years now, and it's so exciting to hear the reactions.

And, to further celebrate this occasion, I'd like to share a piece of fan art from our monster design contest. Here it is:


This was made by Ria Melanie (age 10). Clever, spooky, and very cool, Jelly Freeze is a monster that I wish I'd thought of myself. Great job!

Monday, June 3, 2019

NO SLEEP PODCAST


WARNING: This is a horror fiction podcast. It is intended for mature adults, not the faint of heart. Join us at your own risk...

NoSleep Podcast is terrifying. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so at your own risk. This latest season is killer. I'll keep you posted for when my new horror story "Defaced Currency" becomes available. It's bizarre, and the first story since Bentley Little's "The Washingtonians" to make our wooden-toothed first president scary again.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Paper Mill, Uzbekistan


Zara and I got to visit a really cool paper-making factory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Cereal Commercial Goes Murderous

So I wrote a story about a fictional character in a cereal commercial who suddenly realizes that she's in a cereal commercial. She goes crazy and tries to murder the other characters.

It's probably one of the weirdest things I've ever written, and it's a total blast. I'm really proud of this strange creation.

Anyway, most publishers wouldn't touch a story this openly strange, but the good folks at The Pretty Trees Podcast are also very strange people, and they included it in their latest episode. Please check it out, along with two other stories that are totally great.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Samarkand, Uzbekistan


I actually heart Samarkand (not Sam), but the stranger we asked to take the photo didn't understand how photography works.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Where Am I?


Guess where I am. I'll give you two clues.

Clue #1: This is definitely not Kazakhstan.

Clue #2: That first clue was a lie.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Jungle Rot: An Exclusive Interview



My father, Darryle Purcell, is the author of the popular Hollywood Cowboy Detectives books, a series of B-Western pulp mysteries featuring actual cowboy stars of the 30s and 40s. You can find all his books on his new website.

His newest ebook, Jungle Rot, is a huge departure from the Hollywood Cowboy stories. Here is our discussion about Jungle Rot, released today.

Tell me a little bit about Jungle Rot.
 
The story takes place in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam during 1965 and ’66.  Two First Cavalry Division PFC paratroopers, Patrick Stone and Dan Loman, have been assigned to the “unlucky platoon,” where accidental deaths have become daily occurrences. Stone begins to believe that someone other than those pesky communists has been targeting and killing his fellow troopers. Unfortunately, he cannot relay his concerns to his platoon sergeant, who considers Army privates two levels lower than pit vipers.
 
As the body count increases, Stone attempts to make sense of the situation while holding on to his own ability to stay vertical in the wet, deadly jungle filled with enemy soldiers, venomous snakes, booby traps and angry sergeants.
 
What was the inspiration for this story?
 
I served in the First Cav during those years and I based the characters, attitudes, areas and actions on reality, with a slight twist. I added the existence of a murderer. During that war, there were many accidental deaths caused by mortar and artillery short rounds, exploding tubes, mishandled grenades, accidental shootings, etc. Much of it early in the war when lots of the ammunition had been in storage for quite a while; some of which was actually left over from the Korean War.
 
It was a logical jump to question whether a serial killer could have choreographed such “accidents.”
 
Why did you want to set a mystery story in the jungles of Vietnam?

I enjoy reading a variety of mystery stories. It seems like just about every setting has been used for crime fiction, except the Vietnam War.
 
When we veterans returned and rejoined the workforce and/or attended college, we were not very well thought of by our peers. Books and movies of that era depicted us as psychopaths. We usually made sure our college instructors were unaware of our service in that such knowledge would assuredly have impacted our GPAs. Certainly times have changed. But to this day, very few works of fiction depict soldiers of that time period as regular human beings.
 
Loman and Stone are two typical 18-year-old soldiers who, like most of us who served, did their best to do their jobs while surviving jungle warfare. And those guys would have returned to civilian life to become productive members of society. I wanted to portray my protagonists as regular guys going about their daily lives in the very surreal atmosphere of the Central Highlands.
 
There is a lot of action and danger sandwiched into this story. Were there any ideas that you decided not to include?
 
Besides the stereotype psychopath characters in which Hollywood filmmakers wallow, there is the myth that real war veterans don’t speak of their experiences. They do tell stories, but most often they are humorous episodes that are shared only with other veterans who would understand and get a good laugh about the situations (usually over a cold beer or two). I tried to thread enough elements of humor throughout the mystery to ground the characters in reality. At the same time, I had to be careful not to overdo it, as both war and murder are serious topics.

   
How does this story compare to your popular Hollywood CowboyDetectives series?
   
They are nothing alike.
   
My B-western mysteries take place between 1934 and 1941. Former newspaperman Sean “Curly” Woods, who works as a studio flack for low-budget cowboy films, has to keep B-western Barrymores out of trouble while protecting the film industry from a variety of bad guys. Sounds simple enough, but problems arise when egotistical producers, National Socialists, Soviet Socialists, international assassins, mob thugs, criminal scientists and supernatural, preternatural and extraterrestrial beings threaten the studio system as well as the American way of life.
 
I write the Hollywood Cowboy Detective books in the style of the great Saturday matinee serials of the 1930s and ’40s, while illustrating them along the lines of the pulp adventure publications from the same era.
 
Thanks so much for the information. Where can we find this ebook?
 
Jungle Rot came out today, exclusively on Amazon. All my books in the Hollywood Cowboy Detectives series can be found on my website.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Happ(il)y New Year


Happy New Year, everyone! And don't we all deserve a happy ending to one of the craziest years of the century?

Personally, I've been through a lot. I was on a stamp (!) thanks to my awesome friends over at the Bhutan ministry. I moved, deciding to relocate from the beautiful Himalayas to the even snowier, even more beautiful mountains of Kazakhstan.

And I've been steadily writing. My two story collections (We Are Bhutan and Scary Stories from Bhutan) are selling like hotcakes. And it's so cool to help my students become Amazon best-selling writers. How crazy is that?

But today, I wanted to highlight the book that started me on this journey, the one I originally wrote for the 3-Day Novel Contest. After being a finalist in that crazy, grueling event, I rewrote Happily Destroyed about a dozen times. Each time, it got longer and crazier. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so. That would be a nice New Years gift: reading a book about robot dragons, parallel dimensions, and singing villagers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

So This Is Christmas...

And what have you done?

Another year older.

And you still haven’t read my killer Santa story in Deathlehem Revisited.

Shame on you. It’s the perfect reading material for when you’re curled up in front of the yule log. Or when you’re sitting next to the Christmas tree, shotgun in your lap, waiting for Krampus to show up. You know, typical holiday stuff.



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Heart Mind Store


I
f you didn’t catch all my excited Facebook posts last week (and I can understand why, because things have been a bit cluttered on social media lately), I was one of the lucky winners over at the Heart Mind Store. What does that mean, exactly?

Well, it means that I finally won something! All those years of avoiding ladders and not breaking windows has finally paid off. Let’s all take a moment to savor that.

More importantly, though, I got a very cool shout-out on the Heart Mind Store site. Head over there and you can see a nifty, little author spotlight. And while you’re at it, check out the other featured authors. We’re a pretty eclectic bunch.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Scary Stories from Bhutan

Howdy! I'm a black-necked crane. I'm the official mascot for Scary Stories from Bhutan, the brand new anthology written entirely by the students of central Bhutan. I'm quite excited for you to check out their writing. They're all super talented kids.

And while we're at it, you can always say hi to my good friend, the Himalayan black bear, whose book We Are Bhutan is also available.

Cool stuff.


Oh. I almost forgot. You can check out our own blog. We have a bunch of cool stuff available over there. 


Monday, December 10, 2018

Five More Days!!!!!!

That’s right! Five more days until Scary Stories from Bhutan escapes from the haunted corners of your local library. Just a reminder: Each story in the collection was written by a different high school student in central Bhutan. Also, each story in the collection will rattle your bones and chill your blood. You know, the usual.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Bundle of Madness

Do you like HP Lovecraft? Do you like ghostly hitchhikers and fish creatures and ancient, tentacled gods who watch over us from space? Yeah. Me too.

That’s why it was such a pleasure to be included in the Lovecraftian anthology That Ain’t Right. The stories were spooky, retro, and surprising. Honestly, my story (“Passenger”) was one of the coolest things I’ve ever written. I’m really proud of it.

Now, the crazy cultists from Miskatonic Valley have decided to bundle that book with post-apocalyptic craziness, architectural horror, and a whole bunch of other random scarefests. Get the bundle, and you’ll have hours and hours of reading materials, dozens of creatures, and a whole lot of insane protagonists. It’s pretty awesome, is all I’m saying.