Monday, December 24, 2012

Special Guest John Everson!

Hi everyone, and happy Christmas Eve! If this is your first visit to the Christmas blog party, here's a handy dandy link of the posts and the scoop on how to enter my giveaways.

I'm thrilled to have John Everson as our special guest today. Not only is John a fabulous author, he scores double points for working one of my favorite Christmas movies into his post. :)

So without further ado, please welcome John!



Have you been Naughty… or Nice? Well, it’s too late to change now!
By John Everson

It’s Christmas Eve! Have you been naughty, or nice this year? Personally, I like to split the difference, and always try to be a little of both.  Anyway, I’m really excited to share a few minutes of Christmas Eve with you. Thanks for inviting me to hold down the big day, Jodi! 

This is my favorite night of the year… after Halloween (there, I’ve given you a hint of my true nature – usually more naughty than nice!).
  
This is a magical night, a time when children dream of Santa and reindeer and elves, and adults sit up late into the evening in the shadows of twinkling red and blue and green Christmas lights, thinking of yules gone by, and the excitement that the coming morning will bring.

Christmas is about tradition, and I have developed a few of my own over the years. One of those started back in high school, when I helped my mom set out Christmas presents around the tree on Christmas Eve. Afterwards, I’d sit down on the couch and watch It’s A Wonderful Life by the glow of the Christmas tree (back then, it seemed like it played on every TV station on Christmas Eve…it was hard NOT to watch it!). These days, I watch it via DVD on a big screen TV in my basement, but I have seen  It’s A Wonderful Life pretty much every Christmas Eve for the past 30 years, at least.
That movie, as saccharine as some may find it, truly encapsulates the importance of the holiday, I think. This should be a time that we sit back and ponder the events of the year gone by, and be thankful for our good fortune. It’s a time to take stock, give thanks, allow emotion to flow, and prepare for the marathon of the next 12 months.

Of course, as a horror author, I also like to catch Nightmare Before Christmas sometime during the holiday season, bringing my two favorite holidays seamlessly together! My Jack Skellington “elf” has held up the purple stocking on my desk in my purple office for years. (He keeps an eye out for me the rest of the year too). 

While we’re touching on the topic of holiday movies, here’s a tip for the naughty ones – I recommend that all Grinch fans check out one of the last recordings of Lost in Space’s Jonathan Harris – it’s just a few minutes long, but it’s a hilariously naughty animated Grinch sendup called The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas. Just don’t show this to your kids if… they’re still kids. 

Let’s go caroling…
I have to say that one of the things I miss from my childhood is the tradition of Christmas caroling. As a kid, I remember going out on cold snowy notes with other kids and going door to door throughout the neighborhood singing Christmas carols to people, and then coming home to hot chocolate. It was a lot of fun… but I can’t think of the last time a group of carolers showed up at our door. I think we’ve really lost something that bound us together as a community there. 

But while I may not go knocking door-to-door to sing to my neighbors, music remains at the center of another of my holiday traditions. 

Music has always been integral to the Christmas spirit, and while I get as annoyed as anyone else when the stores (and even the radio) start piping in the usual standards a month early at Thanksgiving, when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I pull out a box of holiday CDs to play.
And it’s a BIG box.

I was a newspaper music critic for 20 years, and during that time I amassed a large library of Christmas CDs to review. Every year I take the box in to my dayjob to share the music – For a couple weeks I open “The Everson Christmas Music Library” for people to check out discs they want to listen to at the office, or at home. The range of artists in that box is laughably broad – from RuPaul to Rosie O’Donnell to Barry Manilow. And I love that. Christmas touches everyone.

I was actually a musician before I began to focus more on my fiction career, and for almost a decade, every year I wrote and recorded my own original Christmas pop songs in my home studio. Luckily I had a sister-in-law who didn’t mind guesting on the main vocals most of the time, because nobody would have been entertained if I’d been holding the mic. You can hear a couple of them on my Christmas Page at www.johneverson.com/xmas.htm. Those songs were fairly amateurish basement recordings, but I used to put them on cassettes along with dubs of my other favorite new holiday song recordings for that year and give them out as mix-tape gifts to family and friends. Usually the tapes (and later CDs) took their titles from my original songs. I loved introducing people to holiday tracks recorded by “cool” bands like The Smithereens or Cocteau Twins or The Pogues or Kate Bush.

This obsession with Christmas (and pop songs!) was,  to many, a fairly unusual activity for a guy who was becoming known for writing erotic horror stories!

But I love the idea of giving a gift of something creative to your family for Christmas. Something that comes from your hands and brain, not the store.  That actually became the theme of the first holiday short story I wrote   – “Christmas, The Hard Way.” It followed a family who were all “witches” and could do magic every day… but they give up magic every year for the holiday, to show reverence (and to remember the meaning of making things with your hands). This doesn’t sit well with the lead character, a boy who wants to take the easy way.  But he learns…

That story itself, ironically, became a Christmas gift to my family too – I designed it with some color artwork and put it together in a handmade chapbook back in the ‘90s. A couple years ago, I compiled that story, another Christmas tale called “Frost,” a bunch of lyrics from my songs and a brand new story based on one of my original Christmas songs (“Will You Spend This Christmas Night With Me”), together as an e-book called Christmas Tales. The book takes its cover from a snapshot of the bushes outside my house at the time, covered in snow and Christmas lights (so I got to use my creative photography as part of the project too!). If e-books could all embed music, I’d dump all of my original songs into this book! As it stands, people can bounce over to my Christmas page and hear a couple of my songs – the one I’m most proud of is “Show Me Christmas” – which we recorded in a basement studio with a live band and one of Chicago’s best indie vocalists at the time.  Too bad it never got to be a single!

Last year, I started a new chapter of family tradition and wrote a Christmas song for my son to sing (who was six at the time). By the time this blog sees print, we’ll hopefully have recorded another new one for this year. Maybe someday, he’ll take one of these tracks into a real recording studio!
OK, I’m waxing on here, and it’s Christmas Eve. There are presents to be wrapped or set out, and It’s a Wonderful Life to be watched. 

I hope you’ll take some time tonight, to sit back, stare at the lights on the tree, and think back upon the year.  I recommend listening to the classic homespun Christmas With Johnny Cash while you do that. But you’re welcome to stream a little bit of the naughty in “Show Me Christmas,” too:
Come on, come on, show me Christmas
I’ve been waiting all year, for you
Come on, come on, show me Christmas
I can make all your dreams come true
when the trees are twinkling
and the stars are bright
I’ve got my tinsel out for hanging,
yeah, the time is right
Come on, come on, show me Christmas, tonight.

If you want to be “Nice” enjoy Christmas Tales by John Everson at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBookstore | Kobo:

If you want to be naughty, check out John’s latest erotic horror novel NightWhere.
She yearned to go beyond... but some curtains should never be opened.
When Rae broached the idea of visiting an underground sex club, Mark didn’t blink. He should have. Because NightWhere is not your usual swingers club. Where it’s held on a given night…only those who receive the red invitations know. Soon Rae is indulging in her lust for pain. And Mark is warned by a beautiful stranger to take his wife away before it’s too late.
But it’s already too late. Because Rae hasn’t come home. Now Mark is in a race against time—to find NightWhere again and save his wife from the mysterious Watchers who run the club. To stop her from taking that last step through the degradations of The Red into the ultimate BDSM promise of The Black. More than just their marriage and her life are at stake: Rae is in danger of losing her soul...

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm in a warped mood, so THE BOLT WHO SCREWED CHRISTMAS sounds good. Gotta check out your songs, too!

vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

Anonymous said...

What a naughty Grinch parody with The Bolt. LOL. Will need to check out your Christmas page.

strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

bn100 said...

Nice post. Sounds like an intriguing book.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Joanne said...

Thoroughly enjoyed The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas. I need to check out your songs next. Thanks for the great post.

e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

elaing8 said...

Naughty all the way ;)
Enjoyed reading your post.

Marry Christmas
elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

squiresj said...

This is my first time to hear of this author. Like what I read. Please enter me in giveaway.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

flchen1 said...

LOL, John--thanks for the naughty send up! And hoping you and yours enjoyed some happy celebrating!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Booksrforever123 said...

blushed all the way through the bolt who screwed christmas. loved it though.
carolyn
j-coverholser at sbcglobal dot net

John Everson said...

Where did this week go??? After my Christmas Eve post went up, I was barely on the web again until today! Anyway - glad you all enjoyed the post, hope you enjoyed the "Show Me Christmas" song and I'm especially proud to have exposed a few more people to "The Bolt." Everyone should have a little Christmas blush, eh?

Hope you all had a great one...

laura troxel said...

Nice post. I like your book NIghtwhere. I am going to have to check it out.
lauratroxel@yahoo.com