I was born and raised in the Washington D.C. where tourists don't go--a land of soul food and Scrapple.
We lived directly behind the neighborhood movie theater, and my mother took me to everything from the time I was barely out of diapers. When I reached the ripe old age of about six, I couldn't wait for the Saturday creature features. Atomic mutants running amok, the monsters of Ray Harryhausen, Roger Corman's Poe films, and the unabashed frightfests of William Castle were among the early influences that warped my writer's muse into a breeding ground for--to borrow a line from the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet--my "Monsters from the Id."
In Castle's The Tingler, when Vincent Price told us all to scream because the Tingler was loose in the theater, you better believe I screamed. On the literary front I soon discovered Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Bloch, among others, and followed the trail they blazed into the "ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."
It seems I have always been drawn to scary stories.
Here are a few highlights from the Cliff's Notes version of my life:
In the late seventies I did standup comedy at fondly remembered El Brookman's on Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the first comedy showcases in the country. One night I pulled my then-10-year-old nephew up onstage and did a bit of schtick with him. I mention this because that young man has gone on to have a very successful career as a stand-up comedian, and since he often performs in the UK, some of you may know him: Tom Rhodes. If you ever run into Tom and mention Uncle Bob, it's no guarantee of a free pint, but a couple minutes of lively conversation will probably result.
In between thinking up jokes, I studied film and acting at the University of Maryland and wrote film criticism for the award-winning Diamondback.
Getting married was THE highlight of the ensuing years. Our careers took my wife and I to Florida, where I wrote book reviews for a literary magazine, recorded for an audiobook company, and acted in community theater. A definite highlight of the latter was playing Van Helsing in Dracula. For a horror aficionado like myself, particularly of old Universal classics, it was a thrill to say lines like: "This creature...is the terrible Vlad Dracul himself!" And Van Helsing's delicious speech, when he steps through the curtain to warn the audience:
"When you get home tonight, and the lights have been turned out, and you are afraid to look behind the curtains, and you dread to see a face appear at the window--why, just pull yourself together, and remember that...after all...there are such things."
2013: Beyond Armageddon is my fictional answer to the question that plagues us all when we consider the atrocities human beings inflict on one another: Why is there evil? Where does it come from? Can it be stopped?
This is the first novel in a series I'm developing called Tales from the Shadowland. Unabashed horror novels for adults. More titles to follow soon. I hope you will join me on this journey into the darkest chambers where Evil dwells, for there are places no human should ever go--alone.
Remember Van Helsing's immortal words: "There ARE such things."