Friday, June 17, 2016

I Got Sent to Copyright School

So, it hasn’t exactly been a stellar few weeks. I’ve been dealing with many personal issues and doing a lot of moping/feeling sorry for myself. What I needed was a distraction, so I took to YouTube. No, not to record a bunch of weepy, “woe is me” video journals, but to upload some genre rarities and work on revamping B-Movie Bonanza, a movie commentary project I started back in 2014, but let fall by the wayside.

For B-Movie Bonanza, I wanted to record commentaries for films outside the mainstream. Cult films, nade-for-television camp fests, and a few hidden gems. A lot of the stuff I had on my calendar had yet to see new life on DVD, or had been released in crudely edited versions (i.e. Prom Night III), so I wanted to make it easy for my listeners (all five of you) to have a source with which to follow along. Since many of these movies are so obscure, I knew it was up to me to provide that source.

I spent many hours uploading content to my YouTube channel (this includes new episoes of B-Movie Bonanza). Some of the films I’d already recorded commentaries for, others I’d intended on adding to the roster. And then there were the films so obscure and hard-to-find that I wanted millenials who’d never experienced what it was like to rent a film on VHS (the only source for some of these movies) to enjoy. In other words, I thought I was doing something good for mankind. A service to the future generations, if you will.

Yes, I fully admit that many of the films were protected by copyright law, but I figured if I were in violation, I’d just receive some sort of “cease and desist” e-mail from the YouTube powers-that-be. All I’d have to do would be remove the file and no harm done. Right? Yeah, not so much.

While perusing my video manager earlier this evening, I came to find one of my uploads had been taken down. I found this a little strange, as in the past, I’d receive a notification that the file had been blocked in certain territories due to copyright infringement. Not wanting to step on any toes, I’d just remove the file from my catalogue. I found it a little strange that the file had already been removed for me. I read on.

Turns out I’d been reported by the copyright holder of a poorly made, ridiculously bad, shot-on-video shitfest called Cenetery Sisters. Because of this, I got a strike added to my account. The copyright holders, a pair of doofballs who call thmselves “slasher // video,” provided Olive Films with content to produce a DVD edition of the “film” (the goddamn thing is literally 59 minutes long) last year, so they didn’t particularly appreciate my upload. Fair enough. I assumed that since the video had been taken down and I’d been properly penalized, the whole thing was over and done with. Wrong again.

In order to access my YouTubechannel, I had to complete “Copyright School.” In all actuality, it sounds a lot worse than it is. You just have to watch a video, correctly answer a few questions, and you’re in the clear (unless, of course, you make another violation). While all this sounds like a slap on the wrist, I had no idea the barrier I’d crossed by uploading a shitty little movie like Cemetery Sisters, and what lay ahead should I become a repeat offender.

The Copyright School video stresses that it’s wrong to upload content you didn’t create. Fair enough. But it goes on to threaten the offender with thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, and *gasp* permanent suspension of my YouTube privileges.

They may seem silly and nonsensical (and in a lot of ways, they are), but I work pretty hard putting together the content for B-Movie Bonanza (I know, I know, just as hard as the filmmakers who created the content I uploaded sans permission). I’d hate to see it all taken down just because I’d made the mistake of uploading something I shouldn’t have. And, if I end up doing time, it sure as hell won’t be over a shitfest like Cemetery Sisters, or a couple of doofballs like the “slasher // video” guys. So, I went ahead and removed all content, with the exception of the posted episodes of B-Movie Bonanza, from my channel. Even the stuff not presently copyrighted.

It bums me out that all the work I’d done over the past few weeks is down the tubes (pun intended) and that those five listeners of my silly little podcast won’t have a copy of certain movies to watch with me. But in all honesty, I spend much of each episode rambling on about personal experiences and the good old days of my local mom and pop videostore that video accompaniment isn’t really mandatory.

The moral of the story? Don’t cross the “slasher // video” doofballs. You, too, might end up getting sent to Copyright School.

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm Too Old for This Shh...

About a half-hour ago, I had a run-in with a bizarro author by the name of Vince Kramer. He’d been on my friends’ list for quite a while, but I really didn’t know much about him. Until tonight. Here’s how it went down...

A friend asked me to expand upon my disability (as some of you may or may not know, I suffer from a rare condition of the eyes known as retinitis pigmentosa, which causes one’s vision to slowly, and sometimes rapidly, deteriorate). In turn, this friend confided in me about his lupus diagnosis and how the disease has affected his life. For a while, we had a back-and-forth about our conditions and I found it rather therapeutic. Hope he did, too.

Not long after, I decided to peruse my Facebook timeline, something I almost never do, and I came across a lengthy rant by this Vince Kramer, who expressed how hard life can be when you’re tall, good looking, blond, and well-built. How frustrating it can be when you’re so often wrongly seen as a “womanizing jock asshole” when in reality, you’re actually quite “shy and nice.”

In all honesty, my stomach turned at this. I suffer daily due to my vision loss, as does my friend due to lupus, and this Vince Kramer is whining about being too pretty? Really?? So, I left what I thought was a completely harmless, albeit snarky, comment that read as follows: “And I thought all those starving children in Africa had it rough.” Minutes later, he sends me a DM which read:

“That's a fucking retarded thing to say. Are you fucking retarded? I mean, what the fuck does that have to do with anything? You're an asshole.”

I was initially struck by how inarticulate the message was (this guy’s a published author??). Second, I thought that maybe if I explained things a little better and maybe even apologized for my surly remark, he just might see things from my perspective. But—and I’m sure this’ll come as no surprise—I couldn’t respond because he blocked me. Womp womp.

This has been quite the learning experience, I must say. Suffering daily with diseases like lupus and ailments that cause one to lose a large percentage of their vision is one thing, but when you’re a handsome, broad-shouldered guy who is often judged solely on his appearance, all else simply pales in comparison.

 

 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Shattered Goals


About six or seven years ago, I sat down to write a list of things I’d like to professionally accomplish. I wouldn’t call it “a bucket list,” as it doesn’t contain feats of mental and physical strength, like jumping out of an airplane, or climbing Everest. It’s merely a list of around a dozen plateaus I’d hoped to reach as a professional scribe. I’m proud to say I accomplished some of these goals and prouder still that I haven’t accomplished others.

One thing I’d always wanted was to win a Bram Stoker Award for my efforts in fiction writing. I’ve wanted one of these awards so badly and for so long that I printed out a picture of one and tacked it to my cork board as a reminder to work harder and continue plugging away so that maybe I could one day achieve this honor. In the world of horror fiction, having “Bram Stoker Award-winning author” before your name really means a tremendous lot. Or at least it used to.

Another in my list of goals: becoming an active member of the Horror Writers Association. I have no real excuse as for why I never joined. I suppose I continued to allow life and personal projects to get in the way year after year. Needless to say, I’m beyond grateful to never have had any association with the HWA, or the Bram Stoker Awards, especially after some pretty horrific events have been brought to light.

I will not rehash these stories here, as they are not my stories to tell. For those of you unable to quell your curiosities, some minor Internet sleuthing will undoubtedly answer all of your questions. So much has come out about the HWA, the Stokers, and some pretty high-ranking members that I admit I’m ashamed to have ever wanted any part of such a crooked organization. All this time I believed to grasp that brass ring and reach a higher strata occupied by so many authors I’ve respected and admired over the years, these were the steps I must take. Oh, how wrong I was.

I have no interest in winning a Stoker, no interest in reaching this higher strata if being a part of this upper echelon means being what some of these truly detestable people are. So as not to confuse the issue, I want to stress that thee are, in fact, respectable members of the HWA and not everyone involved are of questionable morale. There are enough, however, for me to believe that they are, in fact, corrupt. Therefore, I shall continue to keep my distance.

For now, I will remain dedicated to my craft and keep hoping that one day this dedication pays off. Whether that means landing a contract with a major publisher, acquiring the interest of literary agents, or winning an award presented by a more respectable organization remains to be seen.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Stiff Things: The Splatterporn Anthology


On this sunny spring afternoon, my excitement knows no bounds. As a matter of fact, I’m positively bursting at the seams and oozing a variety of fluids (I should probably get a new chair).

 

It is my extreme pleasure to share the news of an upcoming anthology from the delightfully demented minds at Comet Press. The tome, entitled Stiff Things: The Splatterporn Anthology, will contain ten gruesomely over-the-top stories from such authors as Eric LaRocca, Brian Rosenberger, Kristopher Triana, and...ME!

 

No, I’m not, nor have I ever planned, to be known for writing anything in this particular genre, but part of me wanted to be involved simply to prove that I could do it. When I sat down to pen “Modern Celebrity,” I really tried hard to push the envelope. To write something so insanely twisted that those who know me (and especially those who don’t) would question my mental stability. And apparently, I succeeded, because I made the cut and I’m damn proud of it, especially since the competition was so...well, stiff.

 

Stiff Things: The Splatterporn Anthology will be released on August 22nd. Until then, whet your insatiable appetites by checking out the tentative table of contents (located here) and please visit the official Comet Press website for news and info on their vast library of sadistic literature.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pay Phone -- Now Available in a Brand New Revosed Edition!

 

Pay Phone, originally released by Arctic Wolf Publishing in the spring of 2010, is back in a newly revised edition, which contains a brand new introduction chronicling the evolution of the novel!

 

Revisit the terrifying story of Jake Taft, a ruthless serial killer who uses a pay phone across the street from his third-story apartment to lure unsuspecting victims into his web, and of Chelsea Summerfield, a struggling actress trying to make it in the big city. By pure happenstance, their paths meet and thus begins a brutal and sadistic thrill ride that will surely leave trembling more and more with every page!

 

Pay Phone is currently available in both paperback and Kindle editions, but for those of you who just can’t wait, scroll down for an exclusive sneak peak at the novel’s introduction and find out what real-life experiences inspired the story!
 
***
 
RING RING:
An Introduction
 
By
Brandon Ford
 
Fall, 1995. I was fourteen, a freshman in high school. I remember the burning sun and an unseasonable warmth as I stepped out of the subway station to begin a short walk across the park. As I passed a crowded bus stop, I heard a loud, distinctive sound cutting through the air.
A ringing phone.
A pay phone stood mere feet from the horde of teenagers awaiting their mode of transportation. I watched them, watched the phone, certain someone would grasp the receiver before I had the chance. To my surprise, the crowd of more than a dozen youths stood oblivious, or more than likely apathetic. Curiosities piqued, I quickened my pace, so sure the ringing would stop before I’d made it. By then, more than ten rings echoed in the warm, late afternoon air. My overstocked backpack weighing me down, I reached with a tentative hand and grasped the receiver. Lifted it. Placed it to my ear.
“Uh…hello?” I called in a quavering, puberty-laced Peter Brady voice.
Though the woman on the other end of the line spoke in a low, sultry voice, did all she could to come across sensual and seductive, I could tell she was long past her prime. She sounded in her mid-to-late fifties, some trace of a nicotine addiction behind her unusual timbre. I don’t recall how she opened the conversation or which name she asked for, but I know that name belonged to a man. I had my doubts this man existed, even after she displayed a strong sense of surprise when I told her the number she’d dialed was not to a personal residence, but a pay phone just off Broad and Oregon.
I figured our conversation would end there, but it seemed she had other things on her mind and keeping me on the line was obviously part of that agenda. She asked where I’d come from. How my day had gone. If I was alone, or had any friends with me. And finally, how old I was. I gave brief, but polite responses, feeling more than ill at ease. The more she spoke, the more seductive her tone, and that sense of discomfort grew.
I told her I had to go, that I was expected home, but she wouldn’t relent. “I was hoping for a little company today,” she said, breathy and eager. “What would you say if I asked you to come over to my house?”
“Uh…” I stammered, choking on my own words. “I…”
“We could have some fun together,” she went on. “If you’re interested.”
The more she tried to persuade me, the more I wanted to flee. But something held me in place. Something kept me talking. I looked at the small crowd waiting for the bus. Wondered if they knew what was happening. I felt more and more embarrassed just standing there holding the receiver.
“I don’t think… I mean, I…”
And then she said it. The four words that caused me to involuntarily pull my lips back in a tight grimace. The four words that left my eyebrows knitted and nose scrunched.
“Do you like titties?”
 
 
***
 
 
 
***


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Open Wounds -- Available as a FREE Kindle download for a VERY limited time!



Open Wounds, my demented coming-of-age novel of rape, revenge, and self-abuse, is available as a free download for your Amazon Kindle from now until March 9th!  If you like ‘em dark, twisted, and disturbing, this one’s for you.  It’s The Girl Next Door meets The Bell Jar meets Go Ask Alice.  Am I tooting my own tooter by making such comparisons?  Probably.  But do I give a tiny rat’s ass?  Definitely not.  I worked incredibly hard on this novel and I’m really proud of the end result.  So, head on over to Amazon and pick up your free digital copy (while you can)!

==> CLICK HERE <==

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

That Hoodoo, Voodoo That You Do: A Dark Rituals Anthology



From Angelic Knight Press, That Hoodoo, Voodoo That You Do: A Dark Rituals Anthology is a mammoth tome, featuring nearly 400 pages of spells, witchcraft, and more, penned by some of today's most talented voices in small press horror. Authors include Jeffrey C. Carter, Rose Strickman, Mark Mellon, Jake Elliott, Timothy Baker, and yours truly. Edited by Lincoln Crisler, That Hoodoo, Voodoo That You Do is now available in paperback and digital editions!