May 11, 2017

Meddling Supporting Characters


I like non-human characters. I don't mean vampires or demigods (nothing against those either); I mean animals or even objects that manage to share the spotlight with human characters. I like the challenge of making part of the team someone that is by nature different from the team. Like the dog, Help, in The Supernatural Enhancements. Or the ghost. In Meddling Kids we've got a dog too--and a canary! And a penguin! But I'm confident those will be well received; people usually root for the pets. What I'm hoping for about MK is people liking the car.

In my first version of the novel, the sleuths' vehicle (and a testimony to their status at the start) was a 13-year-old AMC Matador Coupé. I chose that model after days of research--meaning I had to google several variations of "lame American cars" before it popped up. When Doubleday acquired the manuscript, one of editor Robert Bloom's top priorities was convincing me to recast it. I liked the Matador Coupé because it has a sporty air about it, but it's a commuter's car, a failed attempt at coolness; most of all, it looked really unsuitable for the initial road trip from coast to coast, let alone the high-speed chases through haunted hills. But being no American myself, I didn't know that the model never left much of a print. It had no value.

Bloom wanted to bring in a station wagon, because "nothing is as epically, comically, embarrassingly out of date and boring than a station wagon." I shared that view, but I wanted a two-door car, to make things more inconvenient during action scenes. Luckily I learned on Wikipedia that two-door station wagons were a thing in the seventies. The Ford Pinto was at the top of our list, but I felt its history of spontaneous combustion would condition the plot too much. (Some weeks after this, I was happy to recognize a Ford Pinto as Winona Ryder's car in Stranger Things.) I settled with the second best, and that's how the kids ended up driving a Chevrolet Vega. One spookily close to this one, too.

"And I even like the color."

I know nothing about cars, really--I don't even drive. But I think cars have personality. I'd like to believe it's because of the memories and feelings of freedom and empowerment we attach to them, but I'm not that deep, so I guess I just see the front lights as eyes. Anyway, I want that Chevy Vega to look scared and ill-prepared, just like the meddling kids; I want it to say, "What's happening here? I'm a suburban family vehicle; you kids make a dysfunctional antihero team at best and you're gunning me at 120mph down the Cascades?! And you painted racing stripes on me?!" Of course, I can't just quote the car's thoughts. (Well I can, but it's cheap, so I won't do it. Much.) But I suppose I still can make you all feel for it, somehow. Maybe. To be honest I don't know half of how this writing thing works. But as I said, it's a challenge. :)


Meddling Kids. Coming July 10th. Pre-order.

March 31, 2017

Meddling Tunes: Sing It Like Self-Promoting Authors Before Us Sang

The setting is one early readers of Meddling Kids will recognize: the boys' ward in the loony bin in Arkham (but the scene doesn't necessarily fit in the novel's timeline). The lead singer is Old Acker and backing vocals are provided by the other patients (Ethan, Craig, Adam, Kimrean). The tune is It's Easy M'Kay, from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.



And these are the lyrics:

Well, I used to be like you guys,
mad about conspiracies and whatnot,
but why settle with that earthly yak
when you can just gaze up
and see the abyss stare back?

Think about it, check out all the space out there.
What are the real odds we're alone or we ever were?
We're a nubile blue world caught between cosmic gangs
Coveted by tentacled colossi with fangs,
Sing it like twisted ancient cultists before us sang,
Cthulhu fhtagn!

First off, just relinquish your god--
You're a random flitting lifeform on a flimsy space pod.
Now ask, as you look into the past,
Were we humans the first rulers, and why should we be the last?
Step three, see the evidence and weep,
All the manuscripts talking of lost cities in the deep!
Go on, read the Necronomicon,
and find about the names that over ancient Earth rang
and sing along, Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Think about it, check out all the space out there.
What are the real odds we're alone or we ever were?
We are flowers in the battlefield of yin and the yang,
Innocent birdies caught in their sturm und drang,
Sing it like crazy liberal artists before us sang,
Cthulhu fhtagn!

First off, just relinquish your god--
You're a random flitting lifeform on a flimsy space pod.
Now ask, as you look into the past,
Were we humans the first rulers, and why should we be the last?
Step three, see the evidence and weep
All the manuscripts talking of lost cities in the deep!
Go on, read the Necronomicon,
Cause ph'nglui mglw'nafh R'lyeh fhtagn!
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh R'lyeh fhtagn!
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh,
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh,
Yeah!

We are hit-or-miss byproducts of the mighty big bang,
'bout to be devoured by the monsters that sprang,
Sing it like virgin horror writers before us sang,
Cthulhu Fhtagn!
Cthulhu Fhtagn!
Cthulhu Fhtaaaaa--
--aaaaa--
--aaAAH--
--aaagn!


Meddling Kids. Coming July 10th. Pre-order.

March 21, 2017

Meddling Peeks

"I mean, there happened to be a guy in a mask there, and we captured him. But there was something else going on in that house."
This beautiful piece of art is the work of artist Jordi March, a fellow contributor to El Jueves magazine. Those are the meddling kids, the Blyton Summer Detective Club, in 1977.

What happened next will shock you.

Meddling Kids. Coming July 10th. Pre-order.

January 30, 2017

Punch

Source: refinery29

This makes me ridiculously happy.

America is divided. But it's funny how from where I'm watching, far away, everybody and everything that ever caught my attention and admiration stands on the same side: the good one.

January 9, 2017

Incoming kids


Meddling Kids has an official release date: July 11. I read that on the Internet, so it must be true.

And there's more: you can already pre-order it.

Better yet: you can pre-order the AUDIOBOOK. Can you believe that? Somebody (not Siri—actually somebody) is gonna read my sh*t aloud. And record it.

I am misplacing my manure, I tell you.

For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all…and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this!

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven’t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she’s got Sean, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter’s been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

 Meddling Kids. Coming July 11 from Blumhouse Books.