Ginger Nuts of Horror
For those you not in the know, Tom Piccirilli is an American novelist and short story writer. He has sold over 150 stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, erotica, and science fiction fields. Piccirilli is a two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for "Best Paperback Original" (2008, 2010). He is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He was also a finalist for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award given by the Mystery Writers of America, a final nominee for the Fantasy Award, and he won the first Bram Stoker Award given in the category of "Best Poetry Collection".
We asked Tom Piccrilli, to give us a little bit of back story on his tale, The Thing with Nothing to Give and Nothing to Lose, and here is how he responded:
I'm a word rep Nazi, so the very title of "The Thing with Nothing to Give and Nothing to Lose" grates on me like you wouldn't believe. It works, as a title, I think, poetic and lyrical in its way, as well as a theme, but when you train yourself to look back over your work and delete overused words, this kind of thing (ha ha, see what I did there?) can drive a person nuts.
Anyway, in the wake of writing my short novel EVERY SHALLOW CUT, a story where a man has lost everything, I still had a few similar stories left inside me that wanted out covering the same internal conflict of such a person. The idea that you wouldn't suffer alone because everyone was suffering in the same fashion, in such numbers that you could pick them out while having a beer at a bar, appealed to me. Could someone on the verge of a breakdown learn from someone who'd already had one? Or vise versa? And so came about "The Thing with Nothing to Give and Nothing to Lose."
Eric Dimbleby is an indie horror writer. He lives in Brunswick, Maine with his wife and three children. He's been published in dozens of anthologies in the US, Canada, and Australia. In 2012, he won the "Best Speculative Fiction" award from the Maine Writer's and Publishers Alliance, for his debut novel "Please Don't Go." Three of his novels have been published thus far, with more in the works
We asked Eric Dimbleby, the author of, Chuck, to give us some back story on his tale in Eulogies II and this is how he responded:
The story Chuck is based on a painting that I inherited from my grandfather. I'm not sure where he obtained it from originally, or who painted it for that matter, but it is a consistent inspiration to my writing. There's something sweet-yet-devious about the painting; the way he is puffing on his little cigarette--that strain in his lips and chin. It always made me feel like he was a real person and not just some painting. When I write, that's what I hope for in my characters. That is what fueled the story.
I'd seen this painting hanging in my parents' house since I was a toddler. It was always hanging in the same spot, right next to this eerie 70's style (read: orange) light in the hallway. At some point in the 90's it ended up in the attic, not fitting with the current trends and styles. At some point in the 2000's it came into in my possession. Now it sits front and center in my writing hovel, above old paperback books and scribbled notes and messes I'll never clean. He fits right in, like he was born there.
My perpetually smoking friend was never called "Chuck" until I wrote the story about a Vietnam Vet who is slowly losing his mind (or is he?). After acquiring the painting from a war buddy, the main character Dusty finds himself moving towards a strange friendship with Chuck. Every night they banter and bicker over endless bottles of cheap wine. Chuck smokes his cigarettes, always ready to engage in a verbal battle about the damage they inflicted on each other. Chuck and Dusty find that their friendship grows almost as quickly as it disintegrates. There is a real love-hate passion here... Dusty looks at Chuck with the idea that HE is what he focused on for such crucial years in his life, but Dusty can't even bare to look at him. He wants to look, so that he can remember what happened, but it frustrates him. Feeling frustrated, he finds, is better than feeling nothing at all.
Without spoiling too much about the last half of the story... Chuck and Dusty get back to the same games they played in a sticky jungle so many decades ago.
While it is certainly an odd sort of story, I also feel that it is an important look at the line between friends and enemies. Sort of my version of Dorian Gray, if you want to get really analytic about it. I'm a believer that nobody ever wins in war, no matter who is right and who is wrong. Sometimes the guy we're trying to kill/defeat/conquer ends up being our savior in ways that we may have never expected.
Stay tuned for a guest post from Gerard Houarner
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Eulogies II on Amazon