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MERCENARIES – FACT AND FICTION

My latest novel Scorpius Rex is the tale of a squad of private military contractors locked in a battle for survival against giant prehistoric scorpions. One of my favorite characters is Hansie Beeker, an aging Afrikaner mercenary. He was inspired by an article about South African apartheid-era troops turned soldiers of fortune who, despite being well into their sixties, are still fighting around the globe. So, in his honor, I thought it would be fun to give a little background on history’s most testosterone-drenched occupation. Continue reading

MY FAVORITE PREHISTORIC NIGHTMARES

My latest novel SCORPIUS REX is packed with rampaging nine-foot prehistoric scorpions. But these voracious monsters aren’t something I plucked from my imagination. A few million years ago, they were alive and kicking—part of nature’s pantheon of horrifying prehistoric creatures. These monsters make dinosaurs look like kittens in comparison. So, here’s a rundown of my personal favorites, with something for every phobia.

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WHY SMUT FILMS USED TO HAVE STORIES: A HISTORY LESSON

I’ve never pretended to be a perfect person, nor have I tried to hide my slightly tarnished past. In fact, I think it’s made me more interesting, and a bit less judgmental. During the first decade of the 2000’s I produced a plethora of Playboy and ‘Skinimax’ films along with some racy television shows. I was never involved with hardcore pornography, but, along the way I did meet people like Cecil Howard and Howard Ziehm who’d been part of a period from 1970 thru 1984 that some nostalgically call, “The Golden Age of Porn.” These colorful characters shared tales from that outlaw filmmaking period. On another occasion I met a retired first amendment attorney, who’s courtroom stories were even more entertaining.

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Zombies and Voodoo Go to the Movies

Once upon a time diehard zombie fans could only find the living dead on local television at 3:00AM or in dangerous inner city grind house theaters. But today there’s a virtual flood of zombie television shows like The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Z-Nation, I Zombie, plus dozens of big studio movies! But very few of these modern epics delve into zombies’ Voodoo origins.

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A Short Overview of Voodoo

Voodoo, or more properly Vodou or Vodun (Voodoo being a more Hollywood-ized version of the word), is a religion stemming from Africa that’s widely practiced in many Caribbean countries (most famously Haiti) as well as Africa, South America and Louisiana. The core belief in Voodoo is that there’s one god (Bondye) and that god employs spirits (or loa) to deal with day-to-day stuff like spiritual middle management. Each of these loa represents facets of earthy life. Like the Greek gods, loa are very powerful but have human foibles and egos, which can make invoking them tricky business. Many have a fondness for cigars, rum, mutton, mirrors and coffee and offerings of these items are encouraged to curry favor. The loa never appear in the flesh but possess those who call to them for short periods of time. It is considered a great honor to be mounted by the spirits.

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