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.



Monday, November 26, 2018

Magical Creatures... Take a Look!



Unicorns are beautiful creatures… until they disembowel you with that horn.
Mermaids are the gorgeous women of the sea… before they try to drown you, of course.
Leprechauns are charming little Irishmen… except when they rip out your gold teeth while you sleep.

Mythical creatures often have two sides, both enchanting and terrifying. I’m so stoked to be a part of a new anthology called Menagerie de Mythique. It’s a collection of short fiction about magical creatures, and it does a really cool job of straddling the line between wonder and danger.

My short, “Drains to the Ocean,” is definitely in the latter category. I did a creepy, little mix-and-match between Ewoks and CHUDs. (Don’t know what a CHUD is? That’s probably for the best.) Anyway, this anthology is lighting it up on Amazon right now, so check it out. How often do you feel enchanted and terrified at the same time?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Diggin' Up Frankenstein



Buzzing electricity.

Reanimated flesh.

A yellow eye slowly opening.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has given pop culture some of its most iconic horror images and ideas. For the last two hundred years, her work impacted all types of books, movies, songs, and TV shows. It’s been reinvented so many times that people forget what is and what is not in the book itself.

Flipping through the book today, modern readers may be surprised by the lack of any flat-headed, green-skinned monster. They might expect something very different from the short, ambiguous descriptions of the laboratory or the long, drawn-out scenes in the Arctic. These ideas have evolved so much in the last two centuries that vast chunks of the novel are near-unrecognizable to those who grew up on the Universal films or, say, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein.

What better time, then, to rediscover what started it all? 2018 is the bicentennial anniversary of the story’s first printing, so why not check it out before the end of the year? Even better, why not check out the glossy, beautifully printed, fully illustrated version? I was lucky enough to have my art featured in this collection, and I absolutely love how the text and illustrations work together to both recreate and reinvent the story.

The art doesn’t just capture the events of the iconic novel, it filters those events through two centuries of adaptations. It’s a coffee table book with all the original text intact, but it also riffs on that text in ways that even surprised me.

Now, this is a big project with a big price tag to match, but I really stand by it. The thing is gorgeous. And just like the monster itself, it’s pieced together from dozens of different sources, mixed and matched in a way that makes everything come alive.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloweeeeeen!

Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls! It’s that time of year again. Time to slide on your Haunted Mask, pop Hocus Pocus into the VCR, and eat about a pound-and-a-half of candy corn before you realize that candy corn is genuinely disgusting.



That’s right. It’s October, the season of the witch, the time when spirits walk among us and hopeless mortals spend way too much money on pumpkin spice lattes.

A couple years ago, I wrote a YA horror story about two brothers, a zombie, and one memorable night of trick-or-treating. If you want to get spooked, it’s still upon Amazon. And if you don’t want to be spooked, then BOO to you. You don’t deserve any candy corn.

Monday, August 27, 2018

We Are Bhutan


Hi, everybody! My name is Karma, and I'm a Himalayan black bear. I'm so excited that my very first book just came out! It's a short story collection written by high school students in Bhutan. If you're at all interested in our little kingdom in the mountains, you should check it out! You'll have a bear-y good time!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Summer Reading Time

Happy summer, everybody! I have all of July free, so I'll be bopping around Bhutan as much as possible. Fingers crossed I get to go white-water rafting.

I'll also be reading. A lot. I spent half my paycheck on new paperbacks at the only bookstore in town. First stop: Duma Key by Stephen King. So far, it's a real page turner.

And speaking of page turners...


Still available. And it's even discounted this month if you buy from Smashwords.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Great Mouse Detective


[crickets]

That's what I thought.

If you like cartoons and Sherlock Holmes, you're much better off watching Disney's 1986 classic The Great Mouse Detective. It's pretty wonderful, and it has (for my money) the best Disney villain in any film. This guy:


If it's been a while, here's a refresher: Basil of Baker Street is a mouse Sherlock who has to solve the mystery of a kidnapped inventor. On the way, he meets sexy saloon mice, a psychotic bat, and the mouse-queen of England. It's a blast.


I wrote a review on Film Table if you're interested. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Give Me Your Soul and I'll Give You a Pepperoni

   
My new horror short "Give Me Your Soul and I'll Give You a Pepperoni" is now live on Defiant Scribe! It's creepy and fun and just a little bit tasteless.
   
Basically, I wanted to write a Tales from the Crypt episode about first-graders. That's all I'll say. Check it out, boils and ghouls!

Deep Blue Sea 2: Not Good


The long awaited sequel to everyone's second favorite shark movie comes out today. I watched it instantly, because I'm a huge fan of the original. (Also, it's been a slow work day.)



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Children of the Corn: Runaway


We all love the Children of the Corn films, right? Right?

Well, maybe it's just me. I get this crazy blast of nostalgia every time I watch one of these dumb, repetitive, trashy films. (The only one I don't actually enjoy is the original, which is so, so boring.)

Anyway, there's a new one that just came out, and it's pretty good. I did a write-up for it over on Film Table, which will help you decide whether or not this one is up your alley.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Flash Fiction Aficionado

Reading is fundamental. We all love reading, but sometimes, there’s just not enough time in the day to sit down and focus on some massive novel.
 
That’s why we have novellas, and short stories, and flash fiction.
   
I was lucky enough to be selected for the very first issue of Flash Fiction Aficionado, a quarterly magazine in ebook and print forms that features a variety of short-short stories from writers all over the world.
 
My story, “The Wife,” is an eerie snapshot of a haunted house told from the haunter’s perspective. It’s probably one of the melancholiest things I’ve written. And it’s also super short, which means there’s virtually no time commitment. Just head over to FFA, flip through the digital pages, and have a quickie scare.
 
It won’t take long. I’ll be waiting right here.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Film Table and My New Leprechaun Article

If you’ve met me in real life—even for an hour—you probably know that I love the Leprechaun movies more than virtually anything else in my life. More than chocolate. More than friends and family. Those six movies (minus the reboot) have given me literal months of enjoyment. No exaggeration.
   

   
Which is why I decided that my inaugural article for FilmTable, the exciting new pop culture site, would be all about Leprechaun. What better way to introduce myself to its readers than by waxing rhapsodic about that pogo stick murder scene from the first movie?
 
Also, in case you haven’t heard, Syfy Channel is taking a break from Sharknadoes to re-reboot the franchise with a new actor. (I have very mixed feelings, of course.)
 
That said, head on over to Film Table for some quality movie criticism. They sometimes cover movies other than Leprechaun. Sometimes.
  


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Blumhouse

I love horror movies. And I love when horror movie studios know what they're doing. For my generation, Blumhouse is making all the right choices. Insidious. The Conjuring. The Purge. Paranormal Activity. These guys are rewriting the rules of horror while still keeping things rooted in classic filmmaking craftsmanship. Let's all hope they keep it up.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

In Defense of Seed of Chucky


       
For me, the Child’s Play series is one of the most consistently enjoyable and inventive horror properties in Hollywood. (I'm SO EXCITED about the upcoming TV show. Anyway.) Not only does the series maintain a surprising level of consistence, but it also seems to reinvent itself in subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways each movie.

That said, most people consider 2004’s Seed of Chucky as the worst in the franchise. That is very, very wrong.

Over on Slickster, I’ve penned a passionate (some would say TOO passionate) defense of this underrated movie. Be warned, though: There will be a reference to puppet masturbation.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


Happy holiday, everybody! I hope at least some of you have dug out your old VHS copy of Leprechaun and enjoyed a blast of gory, 90s nostalgia!

(I rewatched Leprechaun 3 and 4, which was a pretty solid double feature.)

I'd also like to take this opportunity to announce that I'll be a regular contributor to Film Table, a pretty awesome pop culture site that somehow allows me to be as random as possible with my movie reviews.

For my first feature, not surprisingly, I wrote an article about my favorite franchise. Check it out. 


Friday, March 16, 2018

Dummies and Mask-Wearing Crazy People

I have a couple new articles up this week. One is a friendly reevaluation of 2002's Halloween: Resurrection, which many view as a cinematic travesty. (I kind of like it.)

Another is a fun look at my students' brand new school play, a recreation of everyone's favorite film, Son of the Mask. The adaptation process has been... difficult.

And finally, I have a comedic rant about ventriloquist dummies. It's pretty epic.

Anyway, it's nice to stay productive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My New Werewolf Story!

I have a brand new werewolf horror story from Hagstone Publishing!


I'm stoked. They're a very cool publisher, and I think they did a great job with one of my creepier offerings.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Happily Destroyed: My Sci Fi Fairy Tale YA Mash-up


Welcome to THE HAPPILY, a paradise dimension where everyone is royalty… where every meal is a feast… where your loyal subjects burst into song at pre-scheduled intervals… where you can never, ever return.

Rose and her sisters live a life straight out of a fairy tale. Well, the crappy first-half of a fairy tale, anyway. They work and sweat and go about their days, always hoping that something terrible will happen. Maybe a troll will steal them away. Maybe a sorcerer will turn them to stone. Heck, maybe a beast will whisk them off to his dark, nasty castle. Wouldn’t that be great?

You see, if something bad happens, that means that someone will rescue them. And if someone rescues them, that means they just bought a one-way ticket to THE HAPPILY. Bing bang boom. Paradise.

Slowly, the sisters get into trouble. Slowly, they get rescued. Slowly, they achieve their happily ever after. That just leaves one sister: Rose. She’s too spunky and independent. She’ll never get rescued, which means she’ll never transition into THE HAPPILY. She’s stuck in the real world, with all the witches and ogres and dragons.

But what if she sneaks into THE HAPPILY? And what if she gets caught? Or worse, what if THE HAPPILY isn’t as great as everyone says? Well, there’s only one way to find out

Friday, March 9, 2018

Let's Get Political, Political


scandal, satire, trump, leftist
   
As a nation, we can all agree that HillaryClinton is the source of all our current problems. School shootings, Russian collusion, spousal abuse in the White House, a 2 trillion dollar deficit, the continuing threat of nuclear war… It can all be traced back to Hillary Clinton, a woman who is somehow the most powerful and corrupt person in the world, even though she didn’t win the election.
    

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tales from the Crypt: My Thoughts


horror, anthology, evan purcell
   
I love Tales from the Crypt more than pretty much any other show from my childhood (give or take a Buffy). This horror anthology series is insanely rewatchable, and even the bad episodes at least have a bit of gore or nudity (or both, simultaneously) to keep you coming back for more. Even the shitty puns circle back around from groan-worthy to funny just through repetition.
     
For a while there, it looked like M. Night Shyamalan was going to remake the series for a new generation. I was all on-board. Both Tales and Shyamalan love their twist endings. They’re also both wildly inconsistent, which I consider a good thing. I love when people (and shows) aren’t afraid to swing for the fences every time, even when they fail just as much as they succeed.
    
Unfortunately, it looks like the reboot isn’t going to happen. I’ve written a post-mortem for the would-be series over on Slickster. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tacky Alert!


satire, points in case
    

Thanks to Points in Case, I’ve written comedy articles about racism, sexism, corruption, crime, elder abuse, and a host of other serious issues. I’ve skirted the line between tasteful and offensive many times.

But I can say with confidence that my latest article is hands-down the tackiest thing I’ve ever written. I won’t give you the title. You’ll have to check it out for yourself.

But you’ve been warned.