Sunday, May 02, 2010

Key To Wildlife Identification 

Many of you may be familiar with the pleasure of going on hikes and identifying wildlife along the way. But I've noticed that most field guides do not contain the most common wildlife sightings. And so, for your edification, here is a guide to some of the more frequently sighted wildlife:

The Bear Log:

The Otter (or Pine Marten) Tree:

The Owl Stump:

posted 12:11 AM

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reading and Signing on March 13th! 

On Saturday, March 13, I'll be doing a reading and signing for my novel Voracious at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. Joining me will be John Everson, author of Covenant and Sacrifice.

It should prove to be a night of good company and thrilling reading!

The details:
Saturday, March 13, 2010
6 p.m.
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia Street
San Francisco CA

For more information about this event, please visit the website of Borderlands Books.

posted 5:20 PM

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review and Interview for Voracious! 

I'm excited to report that a fantastic review of Voracious is up on Mostly Fiction!

I also have an interview with the reviewer, science fiction writer Ann Wilkes.

posted 4:51 PM

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend! 

I just returned from Orlando, where I was an author guest at Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend. With media guests, authors and artists, the convention was full of horror goodness. Owl Goingback did an amazing job organizing the author side of the event, with signings and panels.

On Friday I moderated the Evolution of the Vampire panel with fellow authors Jeff Strand, Lynne Hansen, and Vince Courtney. We discussed early works such as Varney the Vampire and Stoker's Dracula and how they compare to vampires in current books and films like Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and 30 Days of Night. Vince regaled the audience with hilarious stories about how being a vampire cop might be a disadvantage when one is confronted with an upturned truck full of garlic pizzas.

After that I signed some books, and the vampire panelists rejoined for dinner, talking of writing, stories, and monsters.
Mike Brotherton, Jason Patnode, Alice Henderson, Owl Goingback, Nancy Goingback

On Saturday I was on the Women in Horror panel, and discussed the work of women writers and directors in the horror genre. I signed more books afterward. I met actor Chris Sarandon and we talked briefly about vampires and their association with religious iconography, and how that figured into his film Fright Night.

Later that day I met actor and writer William Forsythe, whose work I very much enjoy. He's got a dynamic range of portraying really dastardly villains and heroic good guys. He was incredibly nice.

Afterward, my third panel, Regional Horror, went very well. Fellow panelists included author and astronomer Mike Brotherton, Owl Goingback and Vince Courtney. We discussed researching specific settings for novels and how to be true to a region while still creating your own story set there. Owl talked about mysterious legends of Florida. I talked about setting my novel Voracious in Glacier National Park.

On the Regional Horror panel -- Mike Brotherton, Alice Henderson, Owl Goingback

Saturday night was another fantastic dinner with writers. Mike Brotherton and Owl Goingback and I discussed cryptozoology and tales of creature sightings.

On the last day of the con I met John Landis (director of one of my favorite films, American Werewolf in London), who was very kind.

John Landis and Alice Henderson
(photo by Owl Goingback)

I also met Ricou Browning (The Creature From The Black Lagoon), which was fantastic.

Next I was on a panel I'd been looking forward to all weekend -- The Cryptid Panel, with Mike Brotherton, Owl Goingback, and Scott Marlowe, a cryptozoologist and skunk ape expert. I talked about my master's thesis research into sightings of Bigfoot, lake monsters and El Chupacabra. Owl Goingback told stories of mysterious tall people found buried in Florida. Mike talked of hearing eerie cries in the darkness while searching for Bigfoot. Scott Marlowe thrilled us with tales of skunk ape sightings. The audience asked great questions and we just had a blast talking about one of our favorite subjects -- creatures!

My last panel of the con was Choosing Your Monsters. Fellow panelists included writers Mary SanGiovanni and Jeff Strand, who were a delight to chat with. We talked about how we pick monsters for our novels. Vampires, zombies, succubi, werewolves and more made appearances in our talk. The audience was very participatory, asking some great questions. Even more obscure creatures from mythology got touched on. It was a very well attended panel, especially for being late in the day on the last day of the con.

I was delighted to be a part of the programming at the con and to meet so many fellow people in the industry. Thanks to all who attended!

posted 10:28 PM

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Devil's Postpile National Monument 

I camped in the Inyo National Forest near Devil's Postpile National Monument. The view as I descended down toward the Postpile area was absolutely stunning. The jagged Minaret peaks jutted above snowfields and granite worn smooth by glaciers.

It got incredibly cold one night, with hail falling in the morning, covering the ground. This cold front drove the mosquitoes to lower elevations. Clouds hung over the mountains. I hiked to the Postpile itself, a stunning example of columnar cracking that occurs when molten rock cools at an even rate. Devil's Tower (that striking tower featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) is another example of this kind of formation.

One really amazing aspect of Devil's Postpile is that the top was carved off by a glacier. I hiked up there, where the hexagonal tops of the columns had been worn smooth by ice.

posted 5:51 PM

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pikas at Long Lake 

Long Lake in the John Muir Wilderness was particularly stunning. The deep blue water sparkled in the sunlight as beams broke through from the clouds.
I was delighted and relieved to see pikas leaping around on the rocks, gathering grass. They dry it in little haystacks and use it for food when the deep snows of winter blanket their rock piles. These little relatives of the rabbit are currently in danger of extinction due to global warming. They live above 10,000 feet in the John Muir Wilderness and other montane locations. But as the earth heats up, the pikas must move higher up the mountainsides. Soon there will be no higher place to go.

posted 5:13 PM

Monday, August 24, 2009

The John Muir Wilderness 

After the Alabama Hills, I hiked into the John Muir Wilderness. It's a gorgeous place full of alpine lakes, wildflowers, and rushing streams, all set against the stunning backdrop of snowy, jagged peaks. The trailhead is the highest in the Sierra, starting at 10,300 feet.

I hiked alongside sapphire mountain lakes and lush, emerald meadows.

Lakes abound in this granite region, green and blue jewels amid the snowy scenery.

Storm clouds gathered over the peaks, the clouds moving quickly in the high altitude winds. It's a place I've wanted to travel into for a long time, and I was delighted to be there! It's powerful to journey through a road-less area where wildlife roams -- bears, deer, pikas, cougars, even wolverines still live in this remote area. Recent additions to the John Muir Wilderness moved the current wilderness boundary down from the crest of the mountains to the top of the alluvial fan. This change protects the lower elevation habitat and the streams that flow into the valley below.

posted 1:27 AM


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