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I'm Giving Away an Autographed Copy of Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter" - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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I'm Giving Away an Autographed Copy of Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter" [Feb. 8th, 2010|11:03 pm]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vElN9BCNtHk]

Like he needs any help from me, but Peter Freaking Straub the man who singlehandedly re-invented the gothic novel, scared the wits out of millions of people for the past 30 years, as well as acting on a soap opera, has a new book out and I want you to read it so much I'm giving away an autographed copy of it.* (He's also a very very funny man, check out his website and read his Frequently Asked Questions).

Forty years ago something happened in a field in Wisconsin.

Something horrible that left one person dead, horribly mutilated, and another ... simply vanished with no trace. The other seven people who were in that field had their lives changed in ways that nobody will ever understand. At the heart of it is Spencer Mallon, the strange, charismatic guru who brought them to that place and lead them in a strange ritual.

Four decades later, the survivors are scattered and one man, armed with a handwritten manuscript -- the diary of a dead detective who was unable to solve the greatest case of his career -- sets out to discover what happened, and what manifested itself in that field so many years ago.

Here's how it goes:

To win this book, mailed to your door, write a short story in 350 words or less that involves Roswell and any mix of the following:

a) a mysterious man named Spencer Mallon
b) a creepy, lonely field in Wisconsin
c) a shadowy serial killer
d) college buddies
e) hidden pasts
f) apparitions and monsters
g) strange rituals

(If you're new to all this, Roswell is my cat.)

Roswell, photographed with book to enhance value

Post your entry here in the comments. The final winner may possibly be picked by Peter Freaking Straub, we shall see.

Contest goes until midnight TUESDAY, February 16th 2010. Continental US only. In the event of a winner from outside the con. US a substitute, but equally cool prize may be awarded.

Now get writing. And feel free to repost this in your own LJ's.

* Note -- he hasn't actually signed it yet -- so in the event of some catastrophe like Peter suddenly joining a fish-cult, moving to Antarctica and refusing to sign autographs, you'll get the book and some other Thing of Coolness.

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[User Picture]From: fivecats
2010-02-09 04:06 am (UTC)
i would so enter this contest but seeing as how i won the Boneshaker contest and, *ahem*, still haven't seen that autographed copy of Cheri's book appear in my mailbox (after sending you my home address again and again) i think i should probably just skip this one.


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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-09 04:09 am (UTC)
Now that Carl the Intern Monkey is no longer laden down with copies of Bunny Named Swine, I'll put this package in his "todo" box, it wasn't super high on his list because you said you already had one. Sorry about that!

Edited at 2010-02-09 04:11 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mutantenemy
2010-02-09 04:19 am (UTC)
September 15th is a Wednesday. Just a heads up. :)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-09 04:24 am (UTC)
of course it is, because my calendar was still set to 2009. fixed.
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[User Picture]From: segue
2010-02-09 04:41 am (UTC)
No Roswell auto? Well, interesting devices... I'll have to write it with my phone, which is another interesting plot device!
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[User Picture]From: thespian
2010-02-09 04:56 am (UTC)
that is one of the most grand pictures of Roswell ever.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:05 am (UTC)
She does have the Evil thing down doesn't she? What a wonderful actress.
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From: cherokee1
2010-02-09 05:46 am (UTC)
Spencer Mallon is out in a dark field in Wisconsin.
Accompanied by cat.
Rosewell licks a paw, swipes an ear, and clearly asks, " ....What?"

Strange rituals tonight, strange rituals and shadowy, nefarious deeds.

The man calling himself Mallon mutters, and stops.

"You did say," he addresses the cat, "You did say that the Ingredients include one serial killer?"

Rosewell eyes Mallon calmly, promises and threats visible in the set of her whiskers.

"Right, right. One serial killer coming up."

A shivery, chuckled whisper crackles in the cold.

"Are you sure, Mallon?"

Spencer turns away from the shredded leaf voice, bending to pick up Rosewell, and moves slightly to the west.

"Why, Mallon, it's been so long since you called me out.... I thought it was hunting season again. Have you forgotten our little pleasures? Mallon?"

A whoosh of air, a burst of bright, the cat's eyes shining ghostly green in the circle of wrong flame that springs up, not cold not hot, not right.

"Never forgotten, never forgiven, recompense is required. Both of us pay this night, monsters that we are."

"Got religion since college, old friend? It won't save you, and does amuse me. We are our own gods, you
remember, we had them praying to us, our prey, our supplicants..."

Mallon shakes his head, heavy as a beast with horns, "Enough! Rosewell, your time, your call, your turn."

And the Goddess Bast did descend amongst the beasts of the field, and silence once more ruled the
Wisconsin night.

Rosewell again licks her paw, and disdainfully flickers out of sight.


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From: cherokee1
2010-02-09 05:53 am (UTC)
Aaaand I misspelled Roswell's name. Consistently.
Please forgive the unintentional slight, it is late, and I apologize.
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[User Picture]From: m_cobweb
2010-02-09 06:55 am (UTC)
I am pleased that you have a proper appreciation of Peter Straub, as I also do.
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[User Picture]From: hellziggy
2010-02-09 07:06 am (UTC)
Oh, if only I had the time and the short story writing skills.

These two items: b) a creepy, lonely field in Wisconsin & c) a shadowy serial killer just scream out in my head that the shadowy serial killer should be Neil Gaiman.

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[User Picture]From: eliaele
2010-02-09 10:31 am (UTC)
Story in english, I guess ? ;o)
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[User Picture]From: diamondreads
2010-02-09 01:06 pm (UTC)
Yay! I love Peter's work! I remember lo those many years ago when I first read Floating Dragon, which of course hooked me. It was fun to reread Eyes of the Dragon and find Ben and Peter both in the pages!
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From: infiniteskyes
2010-02-09 07:08 pm (UTC)
Roswell could not shake the feeling that there was something wrong with the field she had just entered. Being the intelligent cat she was, she knew that she should just turn around and find somewhere else to go, but there was just something about that field that made it impossible for her to turn away. It was as if there was an invisible magnetic pull that she prevented her from turning away.

Of course she wouldn’t have been in this mess if Spencer Mallon, a mysterious supposed college buddy of one of her human associates hadn’t shown up. She had never heard of him before and when he suddenly showed up at their front door, she could sense something was wrong. He smelled wrong, like he wasn’t completely human at all. She had tried to warn the others but instead she found herself in the car, going somewhere she had never been before.

Somehow, she was still unsure of how, she ended up alone, walking along a back road in the middle of the night. Being pulled toward this strange, lonely looking field.

As she got closer she saw a figure standing alone, with candles flickering around him. Curiosity getting the better of her, she started to inch closer, realizing that the figure was in fact this Spencer Mallon. From the looks of things, he was in the middle of a ritual, one she had never seen before, which was saying a lot because she was a well traveled cat and had certainly seen a lot of things.

Even though her gut was telling her to turn around and run away, she wanted to see what would happen when this mysterious man finished what he was doing. She backed up, making sure that she was covered by the shadows and some tall grass. Laying down she made herself as comfortable as possible, it was going to be a long night.
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[User Picture]From: tempest_gypsy
2010-02-09 08:17 pm (UTC)

"Roommates Make the Worst Warlocks"

In movies, occult rituals occur at midnight, involving bonfires and dark-robed, chanting men. But firelight makes vision difficult, and arcane symbols smudged by long hems make very bad things happen.
Which is why two friends stood under grey, afternoon skies, in a bare field. Their pants were muddy and the wind whipped through the bare limbs of the distant windbreak.
Charles chanted, sketching in the muck with his hands. Nathan shivered.
"Do you know what you’re doing?" Nathan grumbled.
Charles stopped chanting. "We've tried police and private eyes. None found this Spencer Mallon, and HE's the one who knows who is murdering our friends."
"Summoning spirits helps, how?"
Charles's grinned. "Have I ever betrayed you?"
"Yes. Freshman English. That frat party where you said the punch was just Kool-aid. Setting me up with 'Lavender,' who was actually 'Larry.'"
"Doesn’t matter," Charles poked a drawing. "I’m done."
"This isn't-" Nathan trailed off as the mud in the center of the circle bubbled, then spat forth a seriously annoyed looking tuxedo cat.
"ROSWELL! You summoned Roswell. While epically cool, I don’t think he's, oh, useful!"
"I don’t understand!" Charles wailed. "I should have summoned a spirit that understood our most pressing problem." He reached down to pet Roswell, who had gleaned that Charles’s boots were marginally drier than mud.
"Our problem," Nathan growled, "is you! You mess everything up, and now we’re out in a freakin' creepy field, in freakin' Wisconsin to ask Kyle Freakin' Cassidy’s freakin' nori-eating cat who is freakin' murdering people?!”
Charles was startled as Roswell leapt off his feet, neatly over his circle, and ran for the treeline. Charles was more startled when Nathan violently tackled him.
He groaned as the two friends fell, obliterating a large portion of the circle.

Spencer Mallon flipped up his collar as the shower of mud fell around him, splatting on the branches. He appreciated for his hat. He lifted Roswell, who had just arrived.
"You knew their most pressing problem, didn't you, Roswell?" he muttered, as he wiped mud from perfect paws. "Their most pressing problem was they were idiots."
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[User Picture]From: littlegoth
2010-02-09 09:04 pm (UTC)
Nobody had seen or even met Spencer Mallon before that fateful day he came to town with a lovely tuxedo cat. He was an enigma to the people in the small community of Ironwood, Wisconsin. He appeared one foggy morning in one of the abandoned pastures, standing like a bizarre statue. Around him and the cat (who was later discovered to be named “Roswell”) were strange and grotesque apparitions, shifting and undulating, half seen in the opaque morning air. The only person brave enough to approach the pair was a small girl called Ash. She stumbled, trembling and shivering, through the thick air, walking wide of the strange creatures. From the road, the townsfolk saw her slight form approach them, and they stood in conference for what seemed an age, and then the girl returned, carefully lugging the cat in her arms. She explained that Spencer Mallon demanded a few of the folk to return to the field that evening for some kind of ritual, and if they didn’t the bizarre creatures would slowly gain strength and roam freely.

A few members of the community met at the place they had first seen the stranger at sunset that evening, and they noticed that the eerie pastureland was still covered in a dense fog, but the creatures seemed to be less transparent than they were that morning. Those brave souls crept in as night began to swallow all the colors of the landscape, replacing it with silvery outlines from the moon. As they reached the spot Spencer was to be waiting, the sight that met their eyes was something none would forget. Yet, none of those brave souls would ever be able to tell of it.
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[User Picture]From: i
2010-02-09 10:39 pm (UTC)
i'm too busy learning spanish to write a short story, but i'll definitely buy his freaking book.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:02 am (UTC)
that's what it's all about.
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[User Picture]From: albertine
2010-02-10 11:21 pm (UTC)

Can we submit more than one story?

Roswell happened to be a cat that morning. Later, when he will spread out this latest story, he will state it was for the best. But right then, he wished he had picked a fiercer form. A wolf perhaps.

But as things were, he was a cat and had to handle the situation as such.

She rested on one knee and called out to him, black eyes twinkling and pretty red lips pouting: “Pretty pretty, come to me pretty little cat.” Leaping through mid air, Roswell slashed the woman’s hand with his claw and bit down viciously. Blood sprayed out, soaking the budding bush that would spread life through this desolate plain in the middle of Wisconsin.

His prey screamed in pain and collapsed almost instantly. She had done great evil and now was no more. The grainy dirt beneath her instantly became a fertile ground promising to feed the nearby village. Her body slowly sunk unto the soil as Roswell, once again a man, turned his back and walked away.

Of course, this is how he recounts the story. He doesn’t mention how he spent over a century tracking her down and losing every fight. Or how he got stuck in cat form because he had hit his head the night before and couldn’t remember the right words. Or how he hit his head the night before because he was once again making love to her. Or how the fight that culminated in her collapse took over 12 hours.

Oh no. Listening to him, he showed up, licked his paws clean, attacked her, and won. This is why, after all, he is known as the greatest man to have ever existed. Each step walking away from the fertile plain brought him one step closer to joining her, finally, forever.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:06 am (UTC)

Re: Can we submit more than one story?

knock yourself out.
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[User Picture]From: the_seraph
2010-02-11 03:03 pm (UTC)
The day my cat saved the world was like any other Thursday. I got up that morning and made a pot of coffee, was half-way through my second cup when I realized the T.V. had been left on CNN. They were following some strange hostage stand-off situation in Wisconsin. I hadn’t been paying too much attention because all the footage was of this fog-shrouded field with a solitary barn washed out to pastel in the distance.

What made me sit up and take notice first was probably the realization that I hadn’t been watching T.V. before bed. Then there was the fact that I never watch CNN. But when I saw Roswell, my cat, streak across the front of the screen, tearing across that field like the mother of all tuna cans was being opened in that distant forlorn barn, I nearly fell off my chair. The reporter moved aside and started to interview a “Mr. Martin Grant,” whom I instantly recognized as being one of my old college pals. I got the rest of the story from him later.

See, even though the police and the news later reported that Spencer Mallon, the alleged hostage-taker and all around mysterious and murderous individual, killed himself up in the hayloft, Martin told me that he’d seen the body himself when he helped lead a SWAT team through the old bomb shelter dug underneath the barn. He said that Mallon was surrounded by a bunch of strange symbols and carvings, burnt-down candles and the stench of incense, but that wasn’t the strange part. The strange part was Roswell, standing over his body, licking his paws like nothing strange was going on despite the fact that Mallon’s body was clawed to shreds, like he’d been in a razor-blade blender.

Now, Martin was always slightly prone to exaggeration, but Roswell didn’t turn up again for another two days, and when he did, he still smelled of strange incense and had a piece of parchment stuck to his fur. The parchment, you ask? Covered in strange symbols. I tossed it out. Good riddance.
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