Twisted Pulp Magazine Issue 024

What makes Christmas so wonderful? Is it the pulpy ghost stories, interviews and pinup girls?

I like to think so...

And that's what you'll get in this months collection of the trashiest belles-lettres or the poshest smut the world has ever known; we haven't decided which. But, with interviewees like David Drake and the boys down at the Weird War Podcast, Christmas horror from H.P. Lovecraft and Mark Slade, a Christmas comic inked by the masterful Frank Frazetta; you'll have a fun time figuring out if we're highbrow trash or the lowbrow litterati. Illuminate the edges with enough pinups and rock music to titillate a renaissance era Gregorian monk, well then, we got ourselves a magazine.

    Contents

  1. Editorial: Christmas used to be a time for telling ghost stories?
  2. Interview with Max and Rich of Weird Warriors Podcast
  3. Pinup with Rita: Christmas and Pinups!
  4. The Bride by Jane, Slade, and Haworth
  5. Top Ten Rock n’ Roll Christmas Songs by Eric Senich
  6. Favorite Christmas Jams by Jessica Catena
  7. Christmas Pinup: Lady Jane
  8. Christmas Pinup: Amanda Devine
  9. Christmas Pinup: Red Vixen
  10. Christmas With Charles
  11. Advertisement: Conversations with Joe R. Lansdale
  12. 10 Questions with David Drake
  13. The Christmas Angel by Mark Slade
  14. Pinup: Vinnie Von Vintage
  15. Pinup: Stylish Irish (Xmas)
  16. The 12 Days Of A Classic RockChristmas
  17. Cosplay Cornerwith Amanda (Winter Wonder Woman)
  18. Snowman
  19. The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft
Editorial 20221201

Christmas used to be a time for telling ghost stories?

There are a lot of traditions associated with Christmas. we have the tree and the nativity scene, mistletoe and holly. But there’s another tradition that goes back centuries; telling ghost stories around the fireplace on Christmas eve.

Ghost stories have a long history in england, dating back to medieval times. In the Middle ages, people spent a lot of time indoors, probably because of wolves… those things are terrifying. So, they would gather around their fireplaces and tell each other scary stories called “winter tales”.

One of the most famous Christmas ghost stories comes from Germany. In the 16th century, hans Sachs wrote a poem called “The Drummer”. The poem tells the story of a drummer boy who is murdered by his Christmas gift-giving master when he refuses to join in singing carols. The boy’s spirit haunts his murderer each year during Christmas until his master repents and asks God for forgiveness.

Dickens took the tradition one step further in 1843 when he wrote A Christmas Carol. The story of ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption is still a classic today. It’s been adapted for film several times, and other writers have used it as inspiration for their own stories.

As a fan of horror, winter holds a special place. It’s a perfect opportunity for isolation, making it a perfect opportunity for horror.

Personally, I’m striving to keep the darker side of Christmas alive. Christmas day can be all about Jesus and happiness, or commercialism and happiness, depending on which brand you subscribe to. But, Christmas eve needs to represent the fear; the history. In a world of computers and space and medical advancements, there’s something cathartic about going back to your roots and fearing the ghosts and demons in the darkness for a couple nights a year.

This year we close the issue with “The Ritual”. The Ritual is a short story written by american horror writer h. P. Lovecraft in 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales magazine.

The story is a first-person narrative of a narrator’s experience in Kingsport, Massachusetts as he comes to the town seeking his relatives, and instead finds a Latin translation of the necronomicon, which contains a passage about an ancient yule-rite.

Interview with Max and Rich of Weird Warriors Podcast

Where are you from? What is your back- ground?

Max: I am originally from the mostly uncharted vastness that is referred to as “Upstate New York,” which is a region that can include anything from White Plains to the border the US shares with Canada. In my case, I’m from a blast radius of towns that hover about an hour North of Albany. As for my background, I was what I like to call an “Eventual English Lit Major,” perfectly trained for wandering the Earth like Kung Fu after college, except for the fact that I am not at all coordinated.

Rich: That is true, because I’ve been following him around to all these places since 1989.I still currently live in “Upstate New York.” Originally I’m from Cincinnati, OH. Incredibly, I’m in the US Army Reserve. I have a BA in History that I did practically nothing with until I landed a gig as an archivist for a company that reviews historical documents.

What inspired you to do a podcast on old magazines of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and comic books, especially the bronze age? Why Weird War Tales?

Weird War Tales 23

Max: What Inspired me to start the podcast was that I missed having an excuse to talk about comics over a drink with my old buddy Rich. That, and perhaps the fact that a few years previous to floating the idea, I had discovered the Who’s Who podcast on what would later become the Fire and Water Podcast Network, which led to me listening to and commenting on tons of other comic-book podcasts, and eventually being a guest on a few shows. You might say I caught the bug, or was at least watching the bug fly around the light fixtures inside the house.

However, I put off acting on anything, as I had (finally) learned a bit about myself after nearly 50 years of bumbling around the planet. See, I have the kind of ADHD that makes me love to start new things…and then abandon those things to start even more new things! So, knowing this, I was hesitant to start doing a show, as I didn’t want to just put out a few episodes and then disappear.

I was also hesitant to contact Rich about it, as he’s quite the opposite of me in this regard: if he starts something, he sticks with it to the bitter end! I didn’t need that kind of pressure in my life! Or did I?

As for the subject matter for the show, that was easy: Rich and I are old! And, he’s almost exclusively a War comics collector, and I love my Horror comics anthologies, so Weird War Tales was one of the few series that we both had a strong interest in. We’ve found that WWT is a series that’s worked as a “meeting place” for a lot of other readers that way, with War readers getting a taste for Horror books and vice versa when they end up checking out an issue or two.

Rich: Like Max said, I’m a huge DC war book guy. I have about five long boxes of those alone and am only a handful away from having the complete run. I’ve had the honor of meeting some of the all-time greats in the genre: Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Sam Glanzman. I’d never actually even listened to a podcast before Max approached me about wanting to start one. He figured that of all of his friends, I was most likely to keep him on course, and he freely admits that he probably would have wandered off after the next shiny object by now if I wasn’t around to jerk the leash. The literal combination of “weird” for Max and “war” for me was what got us focused on this title.

What was the first comic book you remember reading?

Max: I learned to read in large part from having comics read to me before I went to Kindergarten, so I really can’t say. They were just always there for me, there’s no “starting point” for reading comic books for me. Also, my memory for specifics like that is notoriously terrible. That all being said, some of the earliest books I “seem” to recall are various “Modern Comics” reprints of Charlton titles, as well as various Whitman/Gold Key, Harvey, and Gladstone/Disney comics. A mix of garage sale finds, grocery store grab bags, drug store spinner rack purchases, and so on.

Rich: My grandparents lived close by when I was a kid, and up in their attic there were all the old comics that my dad and his brothers read as kids. Our Army at War 51 and 74 were certainly two of the first, both pre-Sgt. Rock, as was Showcase 57 with a Kubert- drawn Enemy Ace story. I read all those poor books to tatters and have since replaced them. One of the first ones I recall personally buying was DC Comics Presents 10, with Superman and Sgt. Rock. I later got Joe Staton to sign my copy.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

Max: Jack Kirby is a major muse of mine, for the sheer bombastic purity and force of his imagination. Sergio Aragones is my favorite artist, and Groo the Wanderer is my favorite comic book series of all time. I also hold Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol run very dearly, and the Legion of Superheroes from the ‘70s through the mid-‘80s looms large over my imagination as well.

In prose, some of my favorite series are The Black Company by Glen Cook, Wild Cards by G.R.R. Martin and Friends, and several books by Clive Barker.

Musically, I am most inspired by the like of Ronnie James Dio, Motorhead, Henry Rollins, The Ramones, and GBH.

Rich: I love Joe Kubert’s art, but always appreciated Russ Heath’s fanatical attention to detail. In an era where artists (for example) would draw a Stuka dive bomber when the soldiers on the page are screaming “ME-109!” Heath damn near always “got it right.” As far as writers are concerned, has to be Garth Ennis.

Hands down. I met him at Terrificon in Connecticut this summer and got a bunch of signatures. He’s the only comic writer I religiously follow. Punisher, Hitman, Battlefields, the list is endless. If he writes it, I buy it.

I still love my ‘80s music: Genesis, AC/DC, Billy Joel, etc. I’m a World War II reenactor and have serious joy for big band music like Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

Max: I’ve dabbled in writing and drawing over the years, but pretty much for my own entertainment, or for adding to the burden of those who continue to identify as my friends.

Rich: Max and I actually met in an art class at community college, appropriately enough. I love to draw, but unfortunately don’t do it anywhere near enough anymore. I also used to build plastic models by the dozen, and again, don’t do it often enough. I do enjoy creative writing and have had a couple articles published in magazines. I’ve also got quite the eye for photography and have gotten some great shots over the years.

do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on the type of art you cre- ate?

Max: Sure, but maybe in not in ways that I’m equipped to understand. I would imagine that mostly growing up in small towns and surrounded by trees and wildlife has baked certain biases into my perspectives, but given that I’ve almost always stood apart from those who were raised around me, I’m not sure what those would be.

Rich: My great grandfather bought a summer house on Lake George, NY in 1922. I spent large chunks of every summer of my youth up there. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without that experience.

Max got to visit several times before finances forced my family to part with it in 2000, and we’d talk all night under the Milky Way and sip some suds. I read dozens of books on the boathouse porch overlooking the lake, which no doubt at least peripherally affects how I approach the show even decades later. The camp was only about an hour away. Whenever life starts getting me down, I still enjoy heading up to the Adirondack Mountains.

What long term goals do you have?

Max: To finish covering all 124 issues of Weird War Tales! With Rich involved though, that’s not likely to be as impossible a goal as I may have thought. He’s always there… waiting… sending me emails.

Sure, I’d love to write something of some consequence that gets read by more than a handful of people, but the odds of that are the kind that Han Solo never seems to want to hear about.

Rich: Unless Max dies (or he kills me to get out of it), we’d like to complete the run. We’ve only recorded out to 35, so we have a ways to go. If we get that far, maybe we’ll select another title!

I’ve written a few short stories. I wrote one based on J. O’Barr’s The Crow that’s set in the American South in the 1930s. Maybe someday I’ll submit it somewhere.

What do you think the popular culture will be like in ten years?

Max: Hopefully something completely different. I don’t think I can take much more of this era of so- called “Fandom.” Social Media have weaponized the worst parts of, well, everything, and it really makes me want to just disassociate from all of this stuff sometimes. More and more these days, I find myself saying “the internet was a mistake.”

Rich: God, who knows. Trying to predict popular culture is like trying to catch rain with a fork. Who could have predicted TikTok ten years ago? Look what Covid inspired as far as electronic communication.

Maybe we’ll be walking around in a virtual reality like in the movie Ready Player One. But all the disinformation and people bathing in the fountain of conspiracy theories really doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope for the future.

What other things would you like to explore as a podcast?

Max: As a listener? Lots! You should see the sheer bulk of queue! As a podcaster? No thanks! Staying focused on this one thing is already pushing me well beyond my pre-existing limits! Besides, in the world of comics right now, it seems like pretty much everything is being covered very well by lots and lots of people from my generation (or so).

Rich: It’s a bit jarring if you listen to the first couple episodes of the show and see how it’s evolved over the years. We’ve introduced segments like “The Intel Report,” where we briefly tease other war/horror comics that are out there, and we crafted that based on listener advice. A lot of the future will depend on where the title goes as time goes on and what cool ideas our fans toss at us. I write 75% of the show’s scripts and as long as Max keeps showing up to do his part, it’s just a joy ride.

What projects are you working on now?

Max: I have a blog, maxreadscomics.wordpress. com, that was my main outlet for throwing stuff at the internet about my comic book nonsense before Rich and I started the Weird Warriors Podcast, but I’ve largely neglected it since. I think one of my main personal projects these days is to actually try to read at least some decent percentage of all of the various books I have accumulated in the diffuse but definitely formidable nerd hoard that is floating in various hiding spots around my house. Because, as the Skeletal Host of Weird War Tales would probably say: “Time is absolutely not on our side!”

Rich: The comics side of the Weird Warriors Podcast will be the main project as the weather cools off. In warmer months, we might do “Road Warrior” episodes where we “hit the road” and find cool comic-related stuff to share with the listeners. We’ve befriended Sue Glanzman, Sam’s widow, and have done some fun stuff with her. World War II reenacting is another major warm weather hobby of mine and I love educating the public on the era. Even browbeat Max to show up at one last year! I have literally hundreds of books on the shelves I haven’t read yet that I’d like to carve into, mostly history or alt-history, but it seems like for every two I read, I get another one. The struggle is real.Thanks for the chance to say our “pieces,” Twisted Pulp.

You can find the podcast on all podcast platforms.

Podcast Art by Bill Walko of The Hero Business

Pinup with Rita: Christmas and Pinups!

“Christmas time is here, Happiness and cheer, Fun for all that children call, Their favorite time of the year.” To quote Charlie Brown. I’ve heard many say I would love to find a pinup under my tree this year.

I did a Christmas photo shoot with the amazing and talented Lily Soto of Perfectly Pinup. She is the photographer I have worked most with. We just clicked when we met and my very first photo shoot

with her which was beach themed – she gave me my first magazine cover. Lily and I have a great working relationship, but she is also a very close friend and I feel like when we work together, it’s like magic.

I have decided for this month’s column to write a little less and included photos from my entire Christmas photo shoot with Lily. And I realize not everyone celebrates Christmas and that is perfectly fine.

On another note, some of my favorite Christmas movies are Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and in black and white of course) White Christmas (1954) and the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol (1951).

I also love all the glitter and sequins that show up around Christmas. And of course, if you get invited to parties or events such fun to get all dressed up!

So, with that being said Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night! Enjoy my Christmas photo shoot with Lily Soto of Perfectly Pinup.

Love Rita

XOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Top Ten Rock n' Roll Christmas Songs by Eric Senich

Top Ten Rock n’ Roll Christmas Songs by Eric Senich

Every Time A Rock And Roller Sings, An Angel Gets His Wings…

Eric Senich Has Come Up With His Top Ten Christmas Rock Song List So Grab Some Hot Chocolate, Fire Up The Spotify App And Turn The Volume Up!

Bobby Helms

Bobby Helms “Jingle Bell Rock”

Where Would Any Of The Songs On This List Be If Not For Bobby Helms? His 1957 Song “Jingle Bell Rock” Is Considered To Be The First Mainstream Rock ‘N’ Roll Christmas Song Ever. And Just How Much Did Fans Like It When It Was Released?

Although It Was Released Only Two Days Before Christmas Of ’57, It Shot All The Way To #6 On The Pop Chart. It’s The Show Starter. It’s The Show Stopper. It’s The Mightiest Of All Mighty Christmas Songs, So Fire This One Up And Let’s “Jingle Bell”

ROCK Boys And Girls!!!!

Band Aid

Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

There Are Super Groups And Then There Are SUPER Groups Like Band Aid. Bob Geldof Brought A Who’s Who Of Rock Stars Together To Sarm West Studios In London To Record This Song In November Of 1984 All In An Effort To End Famine In Ethiopia. With A Roster That Includes Bono, Phil Collins, Boy George, George Michael, Simon Le Bon, Sting, And Paul

Young, I Say, “Here’s To You Mr. Geldoff, And I Raise A Glass To Everyone Who Made This Timeless Song Happen. This Child Off The ‘80s Thanks You All!”

David and Bing

David Bowie & Bing Crosby “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy”

David Bowie’s Appearance On Bing Crosby’s Merrie Old Christmas TV Special In 1977 Was Described By TV And Music Critics As “Surreal.” It Appears As If The Record Label Suits Felt The Same And Had No Intentions Of Releasing The Recording Is A Single.

Following The Special’s Broadcast, This Song Went Unavailable For Several Years. But In November Of 1982, Someone At RCA Records Thought It Wouldn’t Be A Bad Idea To Release It As A Single. It Went all The Way To #3 In The UK. It’s Since Become a Holiday Staple.

Elvis

Elvis Presley “Blue Christmas”

This Is A Prime Example Of Just How Gifted Elvis Was. According To His Backup Singer Millie Kirkham, Elvis Didn’t Want To Record This Song From 1957’s Elvis’ Christmas Album. He Was Told He Had To Since The Sessions Had Already Been Scheduled. So Elvis Said, “Well, OK.” He Turned Around, Said To The Musicians, “OK, Let’s Just Get This Over With. Just Do Anything. Have Fun… Do Something Silly.” Unbelievable. My Dad Had This Album And Dropped The Needle On That Classic Every Christmas Morning. Brought Smiles To The Senich Family Every Time.

John and Yoko

John Lennon “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”

John Lennon And Yoko Ono Wrote This In Their New York City Hotel Room And Recorded It During The Evening Of October 28th And Into The Morning Of The 29th, 1971, At The Record Plant In New York.

Imagine (No Pun Intended) What It Must Have Been Like To Have Been In That Studio Listening To This Song Being Born. It’ll Live On Long After We’re Here.

Greg Lake

Greg Lake “I Believe In Father Christmas”

Greg Lake Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer Fame Wrote This Song At His West London Home. He Decided To Tune The Bottom String Of His Guitar From E Down To D And A Christmas Classic Was Born. What Is A Stunning Piece Of Music. Next Time There’s A Snowfall, Just Put This Gem On Repeat And Feel The Magic Take Over Your Mind, Heart And Soul.

Billy Squier

Billy Squire “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You”

When I Think Of Billy Squire, I Choose Not To Think Of Him Prancing Around In A Pink Tank Top To “Rock Me Tonite”. I Prefer To Remember Him Wearing Anything But A Pink Tank Top And Hangin’ Out With The Original Vjs At The MTV Studios Back In 1981 Performing This Song.

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”

How Many Of You Love This Classic From 1958 ‘Cuz Of Home Alone? It’s The Song That Never Fails To Pay Off Every Christmas. And Keep The Change… Ya Filthy Animal!

Paul mcart

Paul Mccartney “Wonderful Christmastime”

All I Want For Christmas Is A Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 So I Can Write A Song Like This One. Yeah, I Know What Most Of You Are Thinking. Sure, It’s A Cheesy Song But I Can’t Resist Its Charm. Call Me Crackers And You Can Throw That Cheese On Me At Any Christmas Party.

Trans Siberian

Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)”

Never Judge A Record By Its Cover. This Song About Sarajevo-Born Cellist Vedran Smailovic’s Return To His Homeland In Ruins After The Bosnian War, Was Initially Delivered To Radio Stations In 1995 As A Track Recorded By The ‘80s Heavy Metal Band Savatage. It Received Enough Airplay To Earn A Decent #65 Spot On Billboard’s Hot 100. But One Year Later, The Exact Same Song Was Sent Out To Radio Stations, Only This Time It Was Credited To Savatage’s Side Project Band Called Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The Cover Of The Record Also Had A Different Look. It Featured A Christmas Tree And An Angel On The Cover. The Result—It Shot To #1 On 500 Radio Stations.

Eric Senich

Eric Senich has been a professional FM rock disc jockey for over 20 years. He began his career in 1996 as a weekend on-air personality for WCCC in Hartford, CT. He went on to work for various stations throughout Connecticut before finding a home at i95/ WRKI in Danbury, CT where he was the night-time personality from 2000-2006. He returned to i95 to do Saturday mid-days from 2009-2019.

In March of 2019 Eric launched his own podcast called DISCovery with Eric Senich. Each week he discovered the stories behind the greatest albums, artists and songs of the classic rock era. Along the way he interviewed many interesting guests including authors Greg Prato, Greg Renoff, Martin Popoff, Matt Swayne, Corbin Reiff and Sandra B. Tooze.

Eric was having so much fun interviewing all of these great authors he decided to launch the “Booked On Rock” podcast in May of 2021.

Eric also has a background in journalism. He graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT in 1994. He worked as a sports writer for several years before turning his writing skills towards an ever bigger passion: Van Halen. He’s been a contributing writer for the Van Halen News Desk since 2017.

Favorite Christmas Jams by Jessica Catena

Favorite Christmas Jams

by Jessica Catena

Jessica Catena hosts Music Notes with Jess, a weekly podcast covering different types of music trends. Her passion developed singing at school choruses, church, took up radio in college, and later professionally. Three years later as a freelance podcaster, she does a light input of various music headlines: historic charting, artists milestones, award shows, and themed playlists. Jessica’s next holiday episode will be uploaded Christmas Eve, for now she shared 5 of her obscure Christmas rock songs.

When I’m asked what my favorite holiday is, it’s definitely Christmas because of the music. I enjoy learning different carols from family, friends, parties, and special TV programming. Although there’s classics we all love reminiscing to, they can get overplayed so quickly just as the season is getting started. Creating playlists for special occasions is such a treat for me, and fun to set the mood for others.

Here’s some of my Christmas favorites to literally rock around the Christmas tree.

Raised in the 1990s, I’ve always loved Home Alone’s first 2 films and can easily recite the movie lines verbatim. I’ll admit not knowing all of Tom Petty’s work until his sudden passing, but hearing the entire catalog enlightened me of his talent.

“Christmas All Over Again” – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (1992)

After meeting in supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, The Beatles’ George Harrison gave Tom Petty a ukulele as a gift. He used it to write “Christmas All Over Again”, though stuck to electric guitar on the actual recording. Following 1991’s Into the Great Wide Open, “Christmas All Over Again” was added to A Very Special Christmas 2 (benefiting Special Olympics), and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York’s Soundtrack. Fading out at the end, Tom Petty jokingly says his Christmas wishlist: “Now let’s see, I want a new Rickenbacker guitar, 2 Fender Bassmans, Chuck Berry songbooks, xylophone…” Ironically in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Kevin McCalister heard this song on his Walkman, which prevented him hearing being on the wrong flight. Dare we say, separated from his family during Christmas all over again.

My parents got engaged a week before Christmas, 1986. That same timeframe, my uncle crafted a mix- tape for my mom’s work Christmas party, which we still have after all these years! I can’t wait to check if it still works soon. I was born a few years later, and these next 3 songs were how I got introduced hearing them every year since; especially “She’s Right On Time,” I haven’t seen it on any holiday playlist.

“Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You” – Billy Squier (1981)

Favorite Christmas Jams by Jessica Catena

Billy Squier is known for 1980 hits “The Stroke,”

“In the Dark,” “Lonely Is the Night,” “My Kinda Lover,” “Everybody Wants You,” and “Rock Me Tonite.” The B-Side single of “My Kinda Lover” was “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You.” Sounding like an awesome party, a music video and vocals were performed at MTV’s soundstage by its staff, as well as New York and Philadelphia radio and record employees. Not a bad gig for a 4 month old music network.

“She’s Right On Time” – Billy Joel (1982)

Favorite Christmas Jams by Jessica Catena

Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain was nominated a Grammy for Album of the Year. “Allentown,” “Pressure,” and “Goodnight Saigon” were its commercial singles, “She’s Right On Time” is a hidden Christmas track. Gracious toward his fictional girlfriend coming to his life at the right moment, Billy Joel effortlessly makes his apartment festive to celebrate Christmas together. A music video was also filmed and showed on MTV.

I’ve always been a Queen fan, and it’s mind-blowing this song has yet to chart in the U.S. My mom met them at a 1982 Hot Space album signing, in concerts numerous times, including Freddie Mercury’s Tribute Concert in 1992! My parents exposed me to a lot of Queen prior to 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s amazing how their legacy lives on through so many generations. “Thank God It’s Christmas” brings joy to my family every Christmas season, or a great Queen song heard all year round.

“Thank God It’s Christmas” – Queen (1984)

In addition to Queen’s 11th album The Works, drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May wrote “Thank God It’s Christmas.” Using a drum machine, sleigh bells, and synthesizer, Queen’s front-man Freddie Mercury sings to forget hardships for a day, and be fortunate it’s Christmas. “Thank God It’s Christmas” has been a deep cut among Queen fans and classic rock stations. Originally put on a single with “Man On the Prowl,” it wasn’t until 1999 when it finally appeared on a compilation album: Greatest Hits III.

Christmas Day 2010, I came across a music video marathon on VH1 Classic, (now renamed MTV Classic). Various songs were shown from 1960s-1990s, as well as some modern ones. “2000 Miles (Live)” hypnotized me of its catchy melody. I love singing it and the orchestration is just so beautiful. I’m really surprised it’s not heard often.

“2000 Miles” – Pretenders (1983) / (Live) (1995)

The Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde, wrote a tribute after lead guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died in 1982, and bassist Pete Fardon in 1983 from drug overdoses. “2000 Miles” is a guitar looped ballad, promising a reunion around Christmastime. Guitarist Robbie McIntosh strummed the melody for 3rd album Learning to Crawl, then an acoustic strings arrangement was recorded during The Isle of View (Live) in 1995. The chord progression creates a traditional ambiance like Bach’s classical piece “Wedding Cantata.”

Christmas Pinup Lady Jane

Christmas Pinup: Lady Jane

Christmas Pinup Amanda Devine

Christmas Pinup: Amanda Devine

Christmas Pinup Red Vixen

Christmas Pinup: Red Vixen

Conversations with Joe R. Lansdale
Interview with David Drake

10 Questions with David Drake

Twisted pulp magazine is proud to have one of our writing heroes, David Drake. From his masterful science fiction stories to his fantasy, never a dull moment or bad story written by Mr. Drake.

David, Where are you from? What is your background?

I was born in Dubuque, IA, September 24, 1945. my dad was an electrician.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I always liked to tell stories

You’ve written so much in your career, i ‘d like to ask you what was the inspiration for Hammer Slammers and the old nathan sto- ries.

Hammer was just because, as a draftee in ‘Nam I’d served with the 11th armored cavalry. Old Nathan was spurred by Manly Wade Wellman’s Silver John stories.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

Robert E. Howard.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

None.

Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on type of art you create?

I wouldn’t be a writer if I hadn’t been drafted.

What long term goals do you have?

none.

What do you think the popular culture will be like in ten years?

No idea.

What’s the strangest thing thing you’ve been asked to do in your profession?

Rewriting Newt Gingrich’s Window Of Opportunity.

What projects are you working on now?

None. I’m Retired.

Christmas Angel by Mark Slade

The Christmas angel

by mark slade

To tell you that my sister and I had an unusual upbringing, would be a dreadful understatement. Tragic? Oh, no, Tansil and I never thought our story was tragic. Everyone else thought so. Only two things mattered to us: Playing until we fell asleep, and the Christmas Angel.

I was eleven and Tansil was Nine. We didn’t go back to school for three and half years after my father left us. Mama was so worn out from caring for us throughout the year, that when Christmas time came around, she would just shut down. She wasn’t heartbroken over Father, at least as far as we could tell.

Then again Mama’s moods were hard to barter through. Mostly, she laid in bed and slept. Occasionally, Mama would call out to us. Ask for food or water. She didn’t eat or drink much.

Mama and Father never really got on well. There were many awful fights. We heard them from our bedroom. The fights grew worse when Father would bring home two very strange friends. A man with scars on his cheeks and a woman in a black dress. She had a glass eye which she would frequently remove and reinsert. They would shuffle to the basement and not leave for hours.

In our first Christmas I had a friend, Tony, who lived two doors down, who played with me for a week. I loved Tony. I was so enamored with him, even though he was terrible to me. Bossy, rude, disgusting, burped, farted, peed in the street. So, excited to be with him, I stopped playing with Tansil. Tony showed me my first naked woman. I wasn’t as into it as he was. He taught me my first set of swear words.

I loved Tony.

When I told him this, he held me down and let a big, yellow, globby, goober roll off his tongue on to my face. He made me swear to never tell another boy that ever again. I swore, but I didn’t follow through. Ever.

Tony disappeared. They don’t know where he is.

Our second Christmas without adult supervision was less lonely, and quite exciting. This was the Christmas Eve of the blizzard none of the weathermen called for. The city was at a standstill. Nothing was open.

Everyone was buried in snow.

That Christmas Eve a strange man entered our lives. He was an ignorant brute who never believed nor understood the coming of the Christmas Angel. He said his name was Mickey. He was a short, angry man who shouted his words. Apparently his mother hadn’t taught him to use his inside voice.

Tansil and I were in the basement playing dress-up. She was in a lovely white dress, an old hat with a feather and Mama’s black pumps. Tansil was the bride, and her stuffed teddy wore father’s red tie. He was the groom. I was her bridesmaid, with a handkerchief in one hand in case I burst into tears. I wore Mama’s blue blouse and white skirt, no shoes, however. We couldn’t find any to match.

Tansil and I were also in the middle of giving thanks to the Christmas Angel.

Concentration plagued my sister throughout her life. Certainly reading any kind of text caused her mind to wander, yet Comic Books and TV held her attention for long periods of time. Listening to Father or Mama’s speeches for more than a minute would cause Tansil bop and down, twitch. Still earning a B.A. in English is a major accomplishment, on top of a Doctorate in the Arts. Her tongue partially out, and one eye shut, she held a snub of a plain white chalk between her thumb and index finger, carefully tracing a crooked oval on the concrete wall.

“You’re not doing it right!” I yelled at Tansil.

“I am too, Orin!” She yelled back, and continued to draw the intertwined circles on the discolored concrete wall, between the black mold and previous circles we’d drawn. Above the circles, she’d written three connected sevens.

I sighed, and stepped forward. “The circles are crooked! Let me do it!”

“No,” she protested, stamped her feet and hid the chalk behind her back. Without much more fuss, Tansil relented the chalk. “I told you Teddy wouldn’t work!

The Christmas Angel isn’t coming,” she crooned.

In the silence that came, we heard the window screech open. We fell silent. Our eyes grew wide, moved towards each other and momentarily locked, then shifted to the open window.

Suddenly, the window opened, snow drifted in, and soot stained trousers with very short legs followed. A stocky man in a windbreaker and ratty tennis shoes. He pulled the rest of his barrel chest through the open window. He turned around, glared at Tansil and I a long while before doubling over with a loud, hearty laugh.

That was Mickey.

“What’re you supposed to be!?” He said. Tansil gasped.

“A man just came through that window.” Tansil had a natural talent for stating the obvious.

This short, stocky boy who stood like a gorilla, furrowed his brow, scrunched up his pug nose, looked to be as old as Father was at that time, but now that

I think about it, his juvenile mentality pointed more towards teenage years.

“What’re you supposed to be?” He said in disgust.

I didn’t answer. I was too scared to say anything.

He continued. “You know boys ain’t supposed to wear dresses and makeup, doncha?”

Well, no, truth be told. I didn’t. I always played dress-up with Tansil. Mama knew about it and said I was cute. Father knew about it. He didn’t like it, but stopped complaining that I was ruining the reputation of his good family after a huge argument between Mama and him. After a while he just accepted it.

For some reason I became angry. I blushed. Felt slighted. A wave of confidence came over me.

I shrugged. “It’s just dress- up,” I sneered.

“You don’t play war in that get-up, do ya?” The man was really concerned. I wasn’t sure if he was offended or maybe he thought neighborhood kids were mean to me. Well, they were, but not because of the dress-up.

“No,” I said. “Sometimes Tansil wears one when we play war.”

“I don’t like to, though,” she said.

He looked around the basement. “Ain’t y’all cold?”

“No,” Tansil said. “We’re used to it.” Tansil looked at the man’s belt. A small caliber pistol barely hung

inside the top of his trousers. “Were you playing war?” She asked.

“No!” He fired back.

“You gotta gun,” I said. “Looks like you been playing war.”

“Naw,” he shook his head. He looked disappointed. “Cops and robbers,” he paused. “Mostly robbers.

You’re Tansil?” She nodded slowly.

“You’re Orin?” He asked me.

“Yeah,” I said. “What’s your name?”

He struggled to think of one until he blurted out “Mickey! That’s all I’m gonna tell ya!”

He examined the wall where we’d been drawing circles and other symbols. He picked up a candle stick that held thirteen candles, none of which Tansil and I had a chance to light yet.

Tansil leaned in, and whispered, “He has blood on his shirt.”

“I see,” I whispered back.

Mickey took the candle holder in his oversized, hairy hand. He turned to us, and said, “What are y’all doing with this?”

“Giving thanks to the Christmas Angel,” I said.

He blinked twice at us, tilted his beady black eyes at the candles, and moved his gaze back at us.

“What Christmas Angel?” Mickey snarled. Next thing you’ll say you still believe in Santa Clause!”

“Santa ain’t real!” Tansil scoffed, and rolled her eyes. “The Christmas Angel that brings good stuff to us, stupid!”

That infuriated Mickey. He tossed the candle holder on the floor. It fell with a loud bang. One of the candles fell and rolled past his ratty tennis shoes.

“Who’re you calling stupid, you brat!” Tansil squealed.

“Let her go!” I screamed.

I pulled his arm away. He loosened his grip on Tansil’s elbow. He pushed me and I fell on the concrete floor.

Suddenly, Mickey bristled. An astonished gaze crossed his face.

“Did you hear that?” He said, frightened.

Tansil gave a devious smirk. “No,” she said in a sing- song manner. “I didn’t hear anything.”

I shook my head slowly. “I didn’t hear anything,” I said.

He bleeped a small chuckle. “Yeah,” he scratched his head. “I didn’t hear nothin’ either. Look,” Mickey said to Tansil. “I’m real sorry for blowing up at ya. I ain’t had nothin’ to eat and it makes me irritable.”

Tansil and I glanced at each other. Her eyes sent a clear message. I concurred.

“Yeah,” I said, rolling down the dress and stepping out. I was in jeans and a Raiders T-shirt now. I kicked off Mama’s high heels and padded to the steps that led to the upstairs. “We got plenty of cans of SpagettiOs Mama bought before started feeling poorly. Want some?”

Mickey smiled hugely. He seemed to warm up to me now that I was dressed properly as a boy.

“Yeah, yeah. That would be great,” he charged up the steps after us. “Say, your Mother has the flu or somethin’? I can’t be around any of that, on account my mind makes me sick too. At least a Doctor once told me my brain causes my body to react weird around sick folks.”

The last took us into the living room. We hadn’t cleaned up our toys, books, Records and video cassettes in a week and a half. Our covers were hanging off the sofa. Our clothes and pajamas littered the room. Bowls and empty canned goods were on top of the TV, VCR, and coffee table.

Tansil shrugged. “We don’t know. Around this time of year Mama doesn’t do anything. It’s like she ain’t got no energy.”

“No kiddin’,” Mickey scanned the room. “Nobody had the energy to clean up. I hope the kitchen don’t look like this.”

“No,” I shuffled out of the living room, down the hallway, and into the dining room-kitchen area. “It’s a lot worse.”

Dishes piled sky high in the sink, tin cans and other packages sat on top of a trash can that was crammed with trash. The counters and kitchen table were filthy.

“God almighty,” Mickey said. “Looks like the last place I crashed. And it had been empty for ten years! Well, beggars can’t be choosers.”

He ate. He ate almost all of the SpagettiOs, except the ones we had hidden in our bedroom. He sat at the kitchen/dining room table and spoke incessantly about how everyone was against him and how the police had been persecuting him since he was our age. He spoke about a shopkeeper who riled him for writing bad checks. He pleaded to the old man for food for his family. They argued, the old man insulted Mickey, and he shot the old man.

“Pow!” he yelled. That caused Tansil and I to jump out of our chairs. “I shot him three times in the face. Who ain’t hard? Huh? All the guys in jail used to say I was a sissy. I wasnt hard enough to snuff somebody out.

Yeah, up yours!” He cackled.

His laughter was cut short, however. He turned as white as the falling snow outside the house. His eyes grew big and his mouth gaped open. He lifted a shaky hand, pointed it a finger as a droning squeal sounded off.

Tansil looked incredulously at Mickey. “What in the world is wrong with you?” She asked.

“You don’t see that?” The words barely escaped his quivering lips.

“What?” I asked him, annoyed and already sick of his presence.

“That!” He yelled, exasperated. He jumped from his chair and pointed. “That! That! A man and woman just walked through here and went through that wall! The woman…” he tried hard to catch his breath in between his spoken words. “She took her eye out and showed it to me!”

“Ohhhh…” we chimed in together, and snickered.

“What’s so funny?” Mickey asked. At first he was alarmed, but quickly annoyed at us for not letting him in on the joke.

“Nothing,” Tansil said

“You’re just tired,” I told him. “We have those things happen to us when we don’t sleep much.”

Mickey considered this. His little dark eyes darted quickly from left to right, and his lower lip trembled. He shrugged and sighed.

“True,” he said with a nervous chuckle. “I ain’t slept much.”

Tansil and I smiled, exchanged knowing glances. A few minutes of silence passed. He went on with his stories and we ate our Cheetos, bored out of our skulls.

He used our telephone. He talked for two hours to some weepy woman who wailed that she missed him, that she was scared the cops were coming for her, he was going to jail, and the kids were bad, no money, no food, the rent was due, no presents for Christmas…

It went on and on.

Mickey watched TV. He controlled the TV. He watched sports, reruns of TV shows we never heard of, the news, more reruns, talk shows, and Looney Tunes. That was it.

When he fell asleep, an idea popped into my head. I had Mama’s red lipstick in my pocket. I took it out and showed it to Tansil.

Tansil asked: “What’re you gonna do with that? Make Mickey pretty?”

I shook my head. “It would take more than this to do that,” I declared. Tansil. Giggled. I told her we were going to finish what we started in the basement.

A devious smile crossed her face and twinkle was in her eyes. “Heyyy… yeah.”

“But I draw the circles I told her.”

Tansil put up a small fight. “Aww! I like doing the

circles!”

“You write the sevens “

She was pleased with that. She clapped her hands and yelled horay.

“Shh!” I chided Tansil. “You’ll wake him.” “Sorry,” she whispered.

Mickey didn’t stir the entire time. He snored and we caught a whiff of his ghastly breath. Harsh broken yellow teeth and pale pink tongue wagged a foul odor at our pitiful nostrils. Tansil pinched her nose as she carefully wrote out three connected sevens, each point resembled dripping blood. She handed me the red lipstick and I was next to show my skill as a master of drawing shapes, a talent I would use to further myself in the advertising world.

We glared at him, smirking because we knew the Christmas Angel would be pleased with our work. I decided to take it further because of my dear sister’s power of suggestion. I traced Mickey’s thin lips, the tip of the lipstick shortened and mashed down as I created the sloppiest red lips on him that would make Robert Smith of the Cure proud.

He snorted, those beady black eyes darted around the room until they focused on me. Confusion went straight into paranoia.

“Hey,” his voice groggy, lazy, slow. “What’re you doing, kid?”

“Checking to see if you were alive,” I said.

“Well,I’m alive,” Mickey shook off the stupor. “What else would I be? I was just resting with my eyes closed.”

“That’s how Father left us,” I said. “He went to sleep, had a terrible nightmare, and never woke up.”

“Gee,” Mickey said. “That’s tough.”

Later on, Mickey had one of Father’s books, flipping through the pages. He was dumbfounded.

“I don’t understand any of this,” he said. He kept turning pages, stopped every other page, read with his lips moving, and continued the pattern for about twenty minutes. He looked at me and said, “You understand any of this?”

He showed me the cover of the book entitled: Ritualistic Magik: understanding how to get the things you want from an esoteric world.

Mickey was lounging in Father’s chair, I was laying on the sofa, my legs and feet resting on the walls. Tansil fell asleep on the floor. he bolted straight up. Around Ten to Midnight, he said to us, “You hear that?”

“Like what?”

He shrugged. “Whispers.”

Tansil woke up, rubbing her eyes.

“Just the wind,” I told him. “This house has a lot of strange noises.”

Mickey nodded. “Yeah. I guess old houses are like that.”

Tansil and I smiled at each other.

“Hey, you brought that creepy candle up here.”

“Yeah,” I told him. “The News people warned there could be power outages with the snow storm. I thought we could use it.”

Suddenly, the unlit candles were lit, eight wicks had blue flames whisking.

“The Christmas Angel is here,” Tansil said.

“You on about that dumb crap—wait,” Mickey pause. “I didn’t see you light those candles,” He said with grave concern.

“Of course you didn’t,” Tansil reprimanded Mickey. “You were asleep.”

The whispers grew stronger. Behind Mickey stood the man and woman with glass eye. He didn’t notice them. He was busy working it out in his head about the candles, but something else popped into Mickey’s small mind.

“Hey. Neither of you have checked on your Mother.” I sat up quickly, glared at him.

“No,” Tansil said meekly.

Mickey was outraged. “What?” He gave a sigh of disappointment, shook his head. “You gotta be kiddin’ me!”

He jumped up quickly. He knocked the cushion from the chair. His ratty tennis shoes punted it. He stomped away from us, and into the hallway. His walking swagger, orangutan arms flailed as if he was in a fist fight. “That’s what I was hearing! You’re mother has been calling you two!”

Tansil gasped. “He’s going to Mama’s room.”

“So what,” I shrugged. I laid back on the couch and kicked the wall with my bare feet.

“Don’t you want to see his reaction?” I stood up, excited. “Yeah! Let’s go.”

We quickly trailed Mickey to the bedroom just in time.

Mickey was frozen in place, hands cupped his gaping mouth to let a chilling scream escape.

“Mother of God!” He exclaimed.

The body of Mama had been deteriorating for years, except when her flesh grew back and she moved around fussing over us. You could see right through bullet hole in her forehead as big as a buffalo nickel, caused by a gun my Father killed her with, a few years ago. Mama’s corpse sat straight up in bed, bones cracking. Mickey quivered and shook, his eyes bulged

out of his oval shaped head. She rose from the bed and Mickey took a few steps back.

“No, no,” he murmured.

“Come… closer…” Mama groaned. “Let me see you…”

Mickey took a few more steps back, turned to run when a great white light appeared blinding us all. The Christmas Angel had come!

Mickey was stunned, flabbergasted, a deer caught in the headlights, and all of those overused hyperboles. He stood there, marveling at the Christmas Angel. The white light dissipated, and a beautiful glowing naked woman with golden hair stood before Mickey. She reached out and whispered, “Come to me…”

Mickey took her hand. He went to her open arms. She engulfed him in her glow and morphed into a wonderful grotesquerie that is difficult to describe.

Her flesh had become that of an octopus, although that is inaccurate as well, with her many spiky tentacles

and thousands of faces.I recognized three faces. The woman with the glass eye and her companion, and of course Father. Their hungry mouths were ready devour Mickey.

After that, we don’t know what happened. The lights did go out. The electricity hummed and faded away. All that was heard was the wind whipping through, the falling snow, and Mickey’s screams.

I surely will tell you we had a glorious Christmas with Mama back to herself, presents under the tree, and a huge turkey dinner enough to feed five armies! All in thanks to the Christmas Angel we invoke every year.

And I suppose thanks to Mickey as well.

Vinnie Von Vintage
Vinnie Von Vintage

Pinup: Vinnie Von Vintage

Where are you from? What is your background?

I am from Toledo, Ohio. I am a mama of two teens. I am obsessed with the time frame from 1940 to 1979. I love being in nature. I love to cook and I’m pretty good at it. I love to workout and pole fitness is my jam. I also adore video games in my free time.

What inspired you to become a model?

One of my dearest friends who is also a photographer, asked me to pose for her so she could practice more. I agreed and it started from there. I have been modeling for 9 years but in the last two, getting more serious.

What are the pluses and minuses of modeling?

I love modeling. It’s a part of me. I love sharing my work with the world. I don’t think there are any cons to modeling.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

My biggest inspirations are Bettie Page, Bunny Yeager, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

I am also dabbling in photography and I enjoy to paint.

Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on type of art you create?

Yes, living in Toledo has. We have some really beautiful spots to shoot at. I’m also not far from Detroit and I love shooting there too.

What long term goals do you have?

To become more known pinup world and to make consistent money off of it.

What do you think the popular culture will be like in ten years?

I think there will be more liberation and empowerment in how women feel in expressing themselves.

What’s the strangest thing thing you’ve been asked to do in your profession?

So far I’ve been pretty fortunate not to be asked anything ridiculous.

What projects are you working on now?

I have something lined up with Retro Lovely and more shoots with Enchanted Photography LLC.

Stylish Irish

Pinup: Stylish Irish

Where are you from? What is your background?

Hello, lovelies, I’m Stylish Irish. I’m a model, burlesque performer, gamer, business owner, and parent to one tenacious, soon-to-be teenager. I’ve been dancing and performing my entire life. If anything, I’m a sucker for anything that registers on my inner nerd radar, there are so many classic cars I wish I could just BREATHE near, and I never say no to tea.

What inspired you to become a model?

Art history and religion. I was raised in a very religious household and, under the radar, was introduced to Harry Potter, Dungeons & Dragons, and popular films by an uncle and a family friend starting at age six. With help, one thing led to another, and the next thing I bloody knew I was creating and modeling my first cosplay. That was when I was 12, but I have been a DM in Dungeons & Dragons since age eight. Can’t turn the creativity or nerd off in this Irish lass!

What are the pluses and minuses of modeling?

Let’s start with the minuses: creeps, unwanted behavior, and attention, fake gigs, so-called “photographers,” actually getting PAID to model, and the constant judgment plus the unwarranted comments ranging from, “Modeling isn’t a real job, you just get paid because you’re pretty,” all the way to comments that I dare not repeat because honestly? They are things I wouldn’t even say to my worst bloody enemy. However, when everyone has clear and open lines of communication, the art and photography that is created can be truly stunning when everyone is acting and behaving professionally. Safety first always!

The pluses of modeling: the satisfaction, accomplishment, endless wells of creativity to dive into and make a reality, and the love of the art.

Modeling isn’t just for the skinny, the confident, or only for celebrities. It’s for everyone of every size, always. Anyone, behind the camera or in front of it, who tells you otherwise? They don’t have your best interests as a creative at heart. I have had the pleasure of working with many photographers, creatives, and other artists throughout the years.

In recent years I’ve been very fortunate to network and collaborate with some truly amazing individuals in the entertainment industry. Not just photographers but other models, entertainers, digital artists, makeup experts, and prop designers. I have successfully helped several creatives get their first published work in magazines in the last few years and several just this year alone. Helping others is just in the Irish mentality. I hope it continues to be a part of the human mentality as well.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

I’m a big fan of author and writer Francesca Lia Block. Her books were some of the most magical, inspiring, and masterpieces of written words I’d ever read. Just her use of symbolism and coming-of-age viewpoints in her novels to the research and unique way of transporting you to a place that’s real. Through a perfect nostalgic kaleidoscope in a modern-vintage world with real magic, I’ll never forget how much her books inspired me. I also had the absolute bloody pleasure of getting Francesca’s permission to use one of her books as a prop in one of my burlesque routines a few years ago. I was beyond honored! Francesca’s out-of-this-world originality continues to inspire me every day to be exactly that: out-of-this-world original, but always myself. She’s such a bloody inspiration.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

Not only do I model, but as I mentioned I’m a burlesque performer as well. However, two of my biggest passions are dancing and performing, so when I discovered the world of cosplay? I thought I’d had an aneurysm and died, that’s how high on cloud nine this Irish lass was. I create all of my own cosplays, modeling outfits, and performance attire through thrifting, upcycling, and DIY. Then once I’m done with a photoshoot? I unmake it and put it back in my wardrobe. Whenever someone asks me what my favorite cosplay is, I have the perfect answer: The cosplay I have yet to create, so my answer is always a future cosplay.

Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on type of art you create?

I absolutely do. Being currently based in the birthplace of Route 66 most certainly affects some of my art. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for business! I’ve been published multiple times this year and was even invited to be a beta- tester for an insider’s club at an international pinup magazine. No end of creativity and inspiration in this location and certainly no complaints from this Irish lass!

Never say no to positives as a business owner. When it comes to life, personal or business, I must be like a plant: Submit or adapt. I’m always adapting. Plus, I’m a business member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri. Helping to host and attend the annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, as well as riding in the classic car parade, was an absolute dream and I look forward to next year, as well as the annual classic car show. We had over 700 classics just in 2022!

What long term goals do you have?

To continue being the best version of myself that I can be every day, being a good role model to my child, inspiring others, and still enjoying all the jobs I do for a living. After all, when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work! That’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Knowing I do all this as a parent on top of being a non-profit business

What do you think popular culture will be like in ten years?

Popular culture is just that: Culture that is currently popular. Whether the latest trends be wearing a meat suit, dressing up as film icons from the 1980s, embracing veganism, or a musical version of the film Zoolander being made, the masses determine their influences and vice versa. So what will popular culture be like in 10 years? Let’s ask whoever is prevalent in Hollywood in 10 years, I’m sure they will be more than willing to tell us.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to do in your profession?

I don’t know about the strangest, but I performed burlesque at a retirement party… for a guy who didn’t know he was retiring. Apparently, I was the entertainment distraction to gloss over the fact his family was forcing him to retire because he was a micromanager, older than Methuselah, refused to see a doctor, hated women over 40 except his wife, lost a yacht in a card game, stole seven gnomes from an orphanage, and drank two bottles of red wine at every company meeting and meal. I learned all this information in one five-minute rant from his sloshed wife who tipped me quite handsomely and thanked me for putting up with their drunkenness. I’m Irish, no judgment, plus I was paid. Still, though, it was rather odd.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m always working on photoshoots, outfits, and routines, but on top of being a business owner, I’m also auditioning for 12 events that will occur in the next 2 years as a model and performer. Currently, I’m rehearsing and filming my virtual auditions for several events, but one of the biggest events I am bloody ecstatic about is A Fantasy Ball by Eudantria Events. While you dance the evening away, you will also be assisting an incredibly important mission: to aid those who have suffered domestic abuse and our veterans. https://www.afantasyball.com/

It will take place in February 2024 in Houston, Texas at the historic and beautiful Chateau Cocomar. It will truly be a night of magic and wonder. A Fantasy Ball will be an event for those who love the worlds beyond our own, plus it will be full of a divine display of libations, delicious delicacies, and unforgettable entertainment to help aid some of the most vulnerable and often forgotten members of our society. I hope to be chosen as one of the dancers auditioning for A Fantasy Ball and have the honor of being a part of such an amazing, important event.

Stylish Irish

The 12 Days Of A Classic RockChristmas

Cosplay Corner with Amanda!

Cosplay Cornerwith Amanda!

Hey y’all! With the holidays just around the corner I’m here to teach you some tricks and tips on how to holiday-ify your cosplays! From concepting, to materials, I’m gonna show you how to craft a great holiday cosplay!

When it comes to concepting, designing, and creating a cohesive holiday themed cosplay you have to start with the big picture first. The way I approach creating a holiday themed cosplay is first by selecting the character and specific costume variation I’m going to wear.

Once I’ve decided on which iteration of the character I’m going to use I take their color palette and search for some fabrics and materials that could seamlessly work with the character and their vibe.

I’m gonna use my animated Justice League Wonder Woman cosplay as an example to show my thought process and method of designing a holiday cosplay! Below, I’ve selected my fabrics and possible accessories to use in lieu of the traditional expected materials for the character.

I found these great red and blue fabrics that mimic Wondy’s iconic starry blue hot pants with this cute blue number with white fir trees that take the place of the stars. Gold tinsel would be a cute and kitschy replacement for her lasso of truth, and silver tinsel may be a fun touch to use on her bracers. White marabou trim to replace the white leather boot trim is an excellent and cutesy touch to soften the look.

Next I’ll use a good quality photo of my completed cosplay and use a photo editing program to create a mock-up of my idea. Editing programs don’t have to be expensive, I use Polish pro, an app I downloaded for free. The subscription for the pro features is less than ten bucks a month if I’m not mistaken. I use it frequently enough to make those ten buckaroos really count.

Here’s an example and comparison of my mock-up versus my screen accurate cosplay that helps me get comfortable with the visual in my head. I really love the way it came out!

Sometimes I’ll use 2-3 photos to really get the feel for my concept. I really fell in love with the fabrics I chose, with the exception of the silver tinsel. But that’s the beauty of concepting! You don’t risk spending money on materials that might not look the best.

I hope you guys found this as informative as I found it fun! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @ladydevinecosplay!

Happy holiday crafting!

Snowman

Penciled by John Giunta and inked by a 16-year-old Frank Frazetta.

The Festival by HP Lovecraft

The Festival

By H.P. Lovecraft

“Efficiunt daemones, ut quae non sunt, sic tamen quasi sint, conspicienda hominibus exhibeant.”

Lactantius

I was far from home, and the spell of the eastern sea was upon me. In the twilight I heard it pounding on the rocks, and I knew it lay just over the hill where the twisting willows writhed against the clearing sky and the first stars of evening. And because my fathers had called me to the old town beyond, I pushed on through the shallow, new-fallen snow along the road that soared lonely up to where Aldebaran twinkled among the trees; on toward the very ancient town I had never seen but often dreamed of.

It was the Yuletide, which men call Christmas, though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten. Mine were an old people, old even when this land was settled three hundred years before. And they were strange, because they had come as dark, furtive folk from opiate southern gardens of orchids, and spoken another tongue before they learnt the tongue of the blue-eyed fishers. And now they were scattered, and shared only the rituals of mysteries that none living could understand. I was the only one who came back that night to the old fishing town as legend bade, for only the poor and the lonely remember.

Then beyond the hill’s crest I saw Kingsport outspread frostily in the gloaming; snowy Kingsport with its ancient vanes and steeples, ridgepoles and chimneypots, wharves and small bridges, willow trees and graveyards; endless labyrinths of steep, narrow, crooked streets, and dizzy church-crowned central peak that time durst not touch; ceaseless mazes of colonial houses piled and scattered at all angles and levels like a child’s disordered blocks; antiquity hovering on gray wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs. And against the rotting wharves the sea pounded; the secretive, immemorial sea out of which the people had come in the elder time.

Beside the road at its crest a still higher summit rose, bleak and windswept, and I saw that it was a burying-ground where black gravestones stuck ghoulishly through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse. The printless road was very lonely, and sometimes I thought I heard a distant horrible creaking as of a gibbet in the wind. They had hanged four kinsmen of mine for witchcraft in 1692, but I did not know just where.

As the road wound down the seaward slope I listened for the merry sounds of a village at evening, but did not hear them. Then I thought of the season, and felt that these old Puritan folk might well have Christmas customs strange to me, and full of silent hearthside prayer. So after that I did not listen for merriment or look for wayfarers, but kept on down past the hushed, lighted farmhouses and shadowy stone walls to where the signs of ancient shops and sea taverns creaked in the salt breeze, and the grotesque knockers of pillared doorways glistened along deserted, unpaved lanes in the light of little, curtained windows.

I had seen maps of the town, and knew where to find the home of my people. It was told that I should be known and welcomed, for village legend lives long; so I hastened through Back Street to Circle Court, and across the fresh snow on the one full flagstone pavement in the town, to where Green Lane leads off behind the Market House. I was glad I had chosen to walk. The white village had seemed very beautiful from the hill; and now I was eager to knock at the door of my people, the seventh house on the left in Green Lane, with an ancient peaked roof and jutting second story, all built before 1650.

There were lights inside the house when I came upon it, and I saw from the diamond window-panes that it must have been kept very close to its antique state. The upper part overhung the narrow, grass-grown street and nearly met the overhanging part of the house opposite, so that I was almost in a tunnel, with the low stone doorstep wholly free from snow. There was no sidewalk, but many houses had high doors reached by double flights of steps with iron railings. It was an odd scene, and because I was strange to New England I had never known its like before. Though it pleased me, I would have relished it better if there had been footprints in the snow, and people in the streets, and a few windows without drawn curtains.


When I sounded the archaic iron knocker I was half afraid. Some fear had been gathering in me, perhaps because of the strangeness of my heritage, and the bleakness of the evening, and the queerness of the silence in that aged town of curious customs. And when my knock was answered I was fully afraid, because I had not heard any footsteps before the door creaked open. But I was not afraid long, for the gowned, slippered old man in the doorway had a bland face that reassured me; and though he made signs that he was dumb, he wrote a quaint and ancient welcome with the stylus and wax tablet he carried.

He beckoned me into a low, candlelit room with massive exposed rafters and dark, stiff, sparse furniture of the seventeenth century. The past was vivid there, for not an attribute was missing. There was a cavernous fireplace and a spinning-wheel at which a bent old woman in loose wrapper and deep poke-bonnet sat back toward me, silently spinning despite the festive season. An infinite dampness seemed upon the place, and I marveled that no fire should be blazing. The high-backed settle faced the row of curtained windows at the left, and seemed to be occupied, though I was not sure. I did not like everything about what I saw, and felt again the fear I had had. This fear grew stronger from what had before lessened it, for the more I looked at the old man’s bland face, the more its very blandness terrified me. The eyes never moved, and the skin was too like wax. Finally I was sure it was not a face at all, but a fiendishly cunning mask. But the flabby hands, curiously gloved, wrote genially on the tablet and told me I must wait a while before I could be led to the place of festival.

Pointing to a chair, table, and pile of books, the old man now left, the room; and when I sat down to read I saw that the books were hoary and moldy, and that they included old Morryster’s wild “Marvels of Science,” the terrible “Saducismus Triumphatus” of Joseph Glanvil, published in 1681, the shocking “Daemonolatreia” of Remigius, printed in 1595 at Lyons, and worst of all, the unmentionable “Necronomicon” of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, in Olaus Wormius’ forbidden Latin translation: a book which I had never seen, but of which I had heard monstrous things whispered. No one spoke to me, but I could hear the creaking of signs in the wind outside, and the whir of the wheel as the bonneted old woman continued her silent spinning, spinning.

I thought the room and the books and the people very morbid and disquieting, but because an old tradition of my father’s had summoned me to strange feastings, I resolved to expect queer things. So I tried to read, and soon became tremblingly absorbed by something I found in that accursed “Necronomicon”; a thought and a legend too hideous for sanity or consciousness. But I disliked it when I fancied I heard the closing of one of the windows that the settle faced, as if it had been stealthily opened. It had seemed to follow a whirring that was not of the old woman’s spinning-wheel. This was not much, though, for the old woman was spinning very hard, and the aged clock had been striking. After that I lost the feeling that there were persons on the settle, and was reading intently and shudderingly when the old man came back booted and dressed in a loose antique costume, and sat down on that very bench, so that I could not see him. It was certainly nervous waiting, and the blasphemous book in my hands made it doubly so. When 11 o’clock struck, however, the old man stood up, glided to a massive carved chest in a corner, and got two hooded cloaks, one of which he donned, and the other of which he draped round the old woman, who was ceasing her monotonous spinning. Then they both started for the outer door; the woman lamely creeping, and the old man, after picking up the very book I had been reading, beckoning me as he drew his hood over that unmoving face or mask.

We went out into the moonless and tortuous network of that incredibly ancient town; went out as the lights in the curtained windows disappeared one by one, and the Dog Star leered at the throng of cowled, cloaked figures that poured silently from every doorway and formed monstrous processions up this street and that, past the creaking signs and antediluvian gables, the thatched roofs and the diamond-paned windows; threading precipitous lanes where decaying houses overlapped and crumbled together, gliding across open courts and churchyards where the bobbing lanterns made eldritch drunken constellations.

Amid these hushed throngs I followed my voiceless guides; jostled by elbows that seemed preternaturally soft, and pressed by chests and stomachs that seemed abnormally pulpy; but seeing never a face and hearing never a word. Up, up, up, the eery columns slithered, and I saw that all the travelers were converging as they flowed near a sort of focus of crazy alleys at the top of a high hill in the center of the town, where perched a great white church. I had seen it from the road’s crest when I looked at Kingsport in the new dusk, and it had made me shiver because Aldebaran had seemed to balance itself a moment on the ghostly spire.

There was an open space around the church; partly a churchyard with spectral shafts, and partly a half-paved square swept nearly bare of snow by the wind, and lined with unwholesomely archaic houses having peaked roofs and overhanging gables. Death-fires danced over the tombs, revealing gruesome vistas, though queerly failing to cast any shadows. Past the churchyard, where there were no houses, I could see over the hill’s summit and watch the glimmer of stars on the harbor, though the town was invisible in the dark. Only once in a while a lantern bobbed horribly through serpentine alleys on its way to overtake the throng that was now slipping speechlessly into the church.

I waited till the crowd had oozed into the black doorway, and till all the stragglers had followed. The old man was pulling at my sleeve, but I was determined to be the last. Then finally I went, the sinister man and the old spinning woman before me. Crossing the threshold into that swarming temple of unknown darkness, I turned once to look at the outside world as the churchyard phosphorescence cast a sickly glow on the hilltop pavement. And as I did so I shuddered. For though the wind had not left much snow, a few patches did remain on the path near the door; and in that fleeting backward look it seemed to my troubled eye that they bore no mark of passing feet, not even mine.

The church was scarce lighted by all the lanterns that had entered it, for most of the throng had already vanished. They had streamed up the aisle between the high white pews to the trapdoor of the vaults which yawned loathsomely open just before the pulpit, and were now squirming noiselessly in. I followed dumbly down the footworn steps and into the dank, suffocating crypt. The tail of that sinuous line of night-marchers seemed very horrible, and as I saw them wriggling into a venerable tomb, they seemed more horrible still. Then I noticed that the tomb’s floor had an aperture down which the throng was sliding, and in a moment we were all descending an ominous staircase of rough-hewn stone; a narrow spiral staircase damp and peculiarly odorous, that wound endlessly down into the bowels of the hill, past monotonous walls of dripping stone blocks and crumbling mortar. It was a silent, shocking descent, and I observed after a horrible interval that the walls and steps were changing in nature, as if chiseled out of the solid rock. What mainly troubled me was that the myriad footfalls made no sound and set up no echoes. After more eons of descent I saw some side passages or burrows leading from unknown recesses of blackness to this shaft of nighted mystery. Soon they became excessively numerous, like impious catacombs of nameless menace; and their pungent odor of decay grew quite unbearable. I knew we must have passed down through the mountain and beneath the earth of Kingsport itself, and I shivered that a town should be so aged and maggoty with subterraneous evil.

Then I saw the lurid shimmering of pale light, and heard the insidious lapping of sunless waters. Again I shivered, for I did not like the things that the night had brought, and wished bitterly that no forefather had summoned me to this primal rite. As the steps and the passage grew broader, I heard another sound, the thin, whining mockery of a feeble flute; and suddenly there spread out before me the boundless vista of an inner world—a vast fungous shore litten by a belching column of sick greenish flame and washed by a wide oily river that flowed from abysses frightful and unsuspected to join the blackest gulfs of immemorial ocean.

Fainting and gasping, I looked at that unhallowed Erebus of titan toadstools, leprous fire and slimy water, and saw the cloaked throngs forming a semicircle around the blazing pillar. It was the Yule-rite, older than man and fated to survive him; the primal rite of the solstice and of spring’s promise beyond the snows; the rite of fire and evergreen, light and music. And in that Stygian grotto I saw them do the rite, and adore the sick pillar of flame, and throw into the water handfuls gouged out of the viscous vegetation which glittered green in the chlorotic glare. I saw this, and I saw something amorphously squatted far away from the light, piping noisomely on a flute; and as the thing piped I thought I heard noxious muffled flutterings in the fetid darkness where I could not see. But what frightened me most was that flaming column; spouting volcanically from depths profound and inconceivable, casting no shadows as healthy flame should, and coating the nitrous stone above with a nasty, venomous verdigris. For in all that seething combustion no warmth lay, but only the clamminess of death and corruption.

The man who had brought me now squirmed to a point directly beside the hideous flame, and made stiff ceremonial motions to the semicircle he faced. At certain stages of the ritual they did groveling obeisance, especially when he held above his head that abhorrent “Necronomicon” he had taken with him; and I shared all the obeisances because I had been summoned to this festival by the writings of my forefathers. Then the old man made a signal to the half-seen flute-player in the darkness, which player thereupon changed its feeble drone to a scarce louder drone in another key; precipitating as it did so a horror unthinkable and unexpected. At this horror I sank nearly to the lichened earth, transfixed with a dread not of this nor any world, but only of the mad spaces between the stars.

Out of the unimaginable blackness beyond the gangrenous glare of that cold flame, out of the tartarean leagues through which that oily river rolled uncanny, unheard, and unsuspected, there flopped rhythmically a horde of tame, trained, hybrid winged things that no sound eye could ever wholly grasp, or sound brain ever wholly remember. They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings, but something I cannot and must not recall. They flopped limply along, half with their webbed feet and half with their membranous wings; and as they reached the throng of celebrants the cowled figures seized and mounted them, and rode off one by one along the reaches of that unlighted river, into pits and galleries of panic where poison springs feed frightful and undiscoverable cataracts.

The old spinning woman had gone with the throng, and the old man remained only because I had refused when he motioned me to seize an animal and ride like the rest. I saw when I staggered to my feet that the amorphous flute-player had rolled out of sight, but that two of the beasts were patiently standing by. As I hung back, the old man produced his stylus and tablet and wrote that he was the true deputy of my fathers who had founded the Yule worship in this ancient place; that it had been decreed I should come back; and that the most secret mysteries were yet to be performed. He wrote this in a very ancient hand, and when I still hesitated he pulled from his loose robe a seal ring and a watch, both with my family arms, to prove that he was what he said. But it was a hideous proof, because I knew from old papers that that watch had been buried with my great-great-great-great-grandfather in 1698.

Presently the old man drew back his hood and pointed to the family resemblance in his face, but I only shuddered, because I was sure that the face was merely a devilish waxen mask. The flopping animals were now scratching restlessly at the lichens, and I saw that the old man was nearly as restless himself. When one of the things began to waddle and edge away, he turned quickly to stop it; so that the suddenness of his motion dislodged the waxen mask from what should have been his head. And then, because that nightmare’s position barred me from the stone staircase down which we had come, I flung myself into the oily underground river that bubbled somewhere to the caves of the sea; flung myself into that putrescent juice of earth’s inner horrors before the madness of my screams could bring down upon me all the charnel legions these pest-gulfs might conceal.


At the hospital they told me I had been found half-frozen in Kingsport Harbor at dawn, clinging to the drifting spar that accident sent to save me. They told me I had taken the wrong fork of the hill road the night before, and fallen over the cliffs at Orange Point—a thing they deducted from prints found in the snow. There was nothing I could say, because everything was wrong. Everything was wrong, with the broad window showing a sea of roofs in which only about one in five was ancient, and the sound of trolleys and motors in the streets below. They insisted that this was Kingsport, and I could not deny it.

When I went delirious at hearing that the hospital stood near the old churchyard on Central Hill, they sent me to St. Mary’s Hospital in Arkham, where I could have better care. I liked it there, for the doctors were broadminded, and even lent me their influence in obtaining the carefully sheltered copy of Alhazred’s objectionable “Necronomicon” from the library of Miskatonic University. They said something about a “psychosis,” and agreed that I had better get my harassing obsessions off my mind.

So I read again that hideous chapter, and shuddered doubly because it was indeed not new to me. I had seen it before, let footprints tell what they might; and where it was I had seen it were best forgotten. There was no one—in waking hours—who could remind me of it; but my dreams are filled with terror, because of phrases I dare not quote. I dare quote only one paragraph, put into such English as I can make from the awkward Low Latin.

“The nethermost caverns,” wrote the mad Arab, “are not for the fathoming of eyes that see; for their marvels are strange and terrific. Cursed the ground where dead thoughts live new and oddly bodied, and evil the mind that is held by no head. Wisely did Ibn Schacabac say that happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all in ashes. For it is of old rumor that the soul of the devil-bought hastes not from his charnel clay, but fats and instructs the very worm that gnaws; till out of corruption horrid life springs, and the dull scavengers of earth wax crafty to vex it and swell monstrous to plague it. Great holes secretly are digged where earth’s pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl.”

The Festival by HP Lovecraft