Sunday, May 02,
To Wildlife Identification
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
Otter (or Pine Marten) Tree:
and Signing on March 13th!
On Saturday, March 13, I'll be doing a reading and signing for my novel
at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. Joining me will be John Everson,
author of Covenant
It should prove
to be a night of good company and thrilling reading!
San Francisco CA
information about this event, please visit the website of Borderlands
and Interview for Voracious!
excited to report that a fantastic review
is up on Mostly Fiction!
I also have an interview
with the reviewer, science fiction writer Ann Wilkes.
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
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
and Stoker's Dracula
and how they compare to vampires in current books and films like Twilight
the Vampire Slayer,
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.
Brotherton, Jason Patnode, Alice Henderson, Owl Goingback, Nancy
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.
the Regional Horror panel -- Mike Brotherton, Alice Henderson, Owl
Saturday night was another fantastic dinner with writers. Mike
Brotherton and Owl Goingback and I discussed cryptozoology and tales of
On the last day of the con I met John Landis (director of one of my
favorite films, American Werewolf in
), who was very kind.
Landis and Alice Henderson
(photo by Owl Goingback)
I also met Ricou Browning (The Creature From The Black Lagoon), which
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!
September 17, 2009
Postpile National Monument
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.
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
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.
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
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
Monday, August 24,
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.
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.