Saturday, September 22, 2007


Hey, y'all! My name is Petronella Nightshade, but everbody calls me Punkin, and I am speakin to you through this here computer blog. You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The MonsterGrrls, what was written by Mr John Rose, who I have been thinkin must had some witchery way back in his family as he is such a creative sort of feller. (I have read his book and it is a right smart, with the occasional bit of kerfluffle here and there.) 

Somethin I was noticin was that a while back, the movin picture folks was makin a whole bunch of scary movies about zombies, which shows that most folks are scairt of bein eaten by zombies. This is all twaddle, as anybody with any common sense can see that dead folks do not need to eat,* even if they are roamin around a bit. However, I am postin this first recipe so that some of these folks may regain their self-confidence and well-bein by gettin to eat zombies instead of zombies eatin them. This here's pretty simple and is most efficacious for those households with young ones as it will give them somethin to do, but mind them whilst they are about the stove as we don't want nobody gettin burnt. Also, it is right nice for Hallowe'en, which is fastly approachin.

What You Need:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

What You Got To Do:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Cream butter and sugar together (this means beatin it with a hand mixer till it gets all fluffy). Add the egg and mix. Add your remainin ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate your dough for 2 hours.
Roll out your dough about 1/8 in. thick on a lightly floured surface, and dip cutters into flour before each use. Use one of them gingerbread-man cutters, or make your own pattern, cut it out and trace around it on the dough with a knife. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Place on a coolin rack for 5 minutes,
remove from sheet and cool.

After the cookies has cooled, you decorate em to look like zombies. This decoratin recipe come to us from Mistress Keetha DePriest Reed, who has written a couple of cookbooks and I reckon is a right smart when it comes to bakin. You can divvy up the frostin and add a few drops of food colorin to each batch to get the different colors you need. Some folks reckon that since these is zombie cookies they ought to be decorated in black and gray and such, but I am of a mind that you should want to look at what you're eatin. Here's Mistress Keetha's recipe:

Royal Icing
All manners of cookies can be decorated with this icing, which can
be tinted virtually any color. It’s great for simply
outlining cookies and can also be used to create elaborate,
detailed images. Simply thin icing with water until it reaches
the consistency you like.

1 pound confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons meringue powder*
4-6 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons flavoring (such as vanilla, lemon, butter, or


*Meringue powder is available at cake decorating supply

shops as well as many craft stores and large discount stores.

Sift powdered sugar into large mixing bowl. Add meringue

powder and combine. With mixer running on medium, add
about 3 tablespoons warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add
desired flavorings and additional water as needed.

To outline cookies and pipe details, icing should be fairly stiff.

After outlining and piping, simply return any unused icing to
the bowl, mix, and add more water until icing is thin enough
to spread or pour easily.

To quickly fill in large portions of cookies that have been outlined,

fill a squeeze bottle (like ketchup and mustard are in at
hamburger joints) with icing and use it to fill in the areas. This
is a quick method, great especially if you are making a large
quantity of cookies. Be careful not to overfill the cookie, causing
the icing to run over the “dam” created when you outlined
the cookies.

Allow cookies to dry completely, several hours, before stacking.

Mistress Keetha also tole us about somethin called Candy Melts, which is from a company called Wilton that makes all kind of pans, tubes and equipment for decoratin cakes and such. They come in ever kind of color and taste like chocolate, and can be melted up real quick in a microwave oven or over low heat on a stove for decoratin with. These can be found at craft stores and that old Wal-Mart place.

So that's it. Next time I'll be back with some more recipes and maybe some other stuff. Hope y'all enjoy this recipe and have some fun with it, 'cause you can make any kind of cookies with it, for other holidays or just any time of the year. Y'all take care, and peace be to you.

Punkin Nightshade

*They really don't. But we has noticed that zombies got a right smart taste for human fast food burgers, which I am thinkin says more about some humans than it does about zombies.

POST-MORTEM: If you got a recipe you want to share with everbody, send it through the e-mail to, and be sure to give us your name, city and state. We will sure put it up as we go, but please allow us time to get everthing straight. --P.N.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


One of my personal heroes died on September 6, 2007, the same day that one of my best friend's personal heroes died. Hers was Luciano Pavarotti; mine was Madeleine L'Engle, who wrote A Wrinkle In Time.

When I was a kid, there were reading lists of important books you were supposed to have read, that someone somewhere felt would enrich you in some way or another. I think the only book I ever read voluntarily from any of these lists was Mark Twain's Tom
Sawyer, which made me yearn for a lost age in some way that I couldn't define. Then I encountered Twain's Huckleberry Finn, which more or less handed Tom Sawyer its behind, and stands to this day as one of the two most important and inspirational books I ever read, where writing was concerned.

The second of these two was Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time.

I first encountered Madeleine L'Engle through the library of the now-defunct Jefferson Davis Academy, one of several places in Meridian, MS where adults sent the children they wanted to keep out of public schools. There was a book there called Spooks Spooks Spooks, which was a children's compendium of poetry and short stories about ghosts, goblins, witches, and other mysterious things. Among the pieces in the book was the climax of A Wrinkle In Time, titled "The Black Thing," where Meg Murry returns to the planet of Camazotz to save her brother Charles Wallace from the
grasp of IT, the disembodied brain that has taken over Camazotz, and the Black Thing, the red-eyed human-looking agent of IT. She realizes that the only way she can stop IT is to use what IT does not have, and never will--her love for Charles Wallace.

People use phrases like "burned off the page" to describe how words
affect them. That was not what happened to me the first time I read this story. Instead it was as if Madeleine L'Engle stretched her finger from Manhattan or Connecticut or wherever she may have been living at the time I read her words, tapped me on the forehead and spoke directly to me. It didn't have anything to do with the love she wrote about, or its importance or power; at the time I was in fifth grade and a perfect representation of callow youth. I didn't understand love by any means; I had the same vague, usually self-centered comprehension of it that every child of that age has.

But something about the way she explained it, described it, said it, spoke to my soul. It spoke to the part of me that very desperately wanted to see and believe that there were other worlds apart from this planet, and said, This is important. Keep this in your heart.

Later on, when I was (thankfully) old enough to fully appreciate it, I read all of A Wrinkle In Time. I have three copies of this book; an old paperback, an even older hardback and an almost brand-new omnibus of The Time Quartet, the series which this book begins. I would cheerfully hand over all seven of my Harry Potter books to be burned to ashes before I would part with any of them. It is, and has been, that important to me.

And as for Spooks Spooks Spooks... well, I eventually left Jefferson Davis Academy, but I returned at one point, for two reasons. The first was that I had decided to watch my old class graduate, and I now shamelessly admit that this was my cover story. The real reason I was there was that I hoped to steal the copy of Spooks Spooks Spooks from the JDA library to have for myself. I did not succeed. But later on I found it in a library sale for all of $2.00, and snapped it up.

I suppose you know which part I read first.

In pace requiescat, Mrs. L'Engle. And thanks for everything.


We were saddened to hear of the recent death of Madeleine L'Engle, who served as a great inspiration to us. The author of The Time Quartet, which included A Wrinkle In Time, A Wind In The Door, Many Waters, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, L'Engle's work was, in addition to being some of the best science fiction ever written, an eloquent and heart-felt statement on the power of love.

Born in Manhattan on November 29, 1918, L'Engle was considered a 'stupid' student by an elementary school teacher, and retreated into writing due to feeling like an outcast among her peers. She would eventually graduate with honors in English from Smith College.

In 1959, she had the idea for A Wrinkle In Time. When the novel was completed in 1960, it was rejected by 26 publishers. Finally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1962, it went on to be regarded as a masterwork, winning the 1963 John Newbery Award and gaining sales of eight million copies. It is now in its 69th printing.

We bid a fond farewell to a wonderful and inspiring writer, who wrote one of the most important books ever read by those here at the Monster Shop, which colored everything that was to come from us. Though we never met her personally, her words made her feel to us like a friend.

Click our title link above for the New York Times' article on L'Engle, and click here for more thoughts on Madeleine L'Engle at Notes From The Monster Shop.

Monday, September 03, 2007

PITILESS OBSERVATIONS By Bethany Ruthven: Review Of THE MONSTER SQUAD Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition DVD

Good evening, darlings, and thank you for reading. An auspicious DVD debut has come our way: after twenty years of fond remembrances, traded tapes and DVD-R copies by a fanatically devoted cult following, one of the Eighties' most overlooked genre films has been resurrected at last. The Monster Squad, which was notable at its release for being the only horror-themed film to feature classic legendary monsters instead of masked serial killers, receives a brand-spanking new release in a special 2-DVD set loaded with goodies.

The Monster Squad tells the story of Sean (Andre Gower) who leads a pack of rabid preteen monster-fan misfits in serious discussions of "who is the coolest monster" (well, I would say it's vampires, but I'm prejudiced) and contemplating the real identity of the neighborhood's Scary German Guy (Leonardo Cimino). In the course
of the film, Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) awakes from an eternal sleep (yeah, right) and calls together a gruesome gang of the world's greatest monsters: the Wolfman (Carl Thibault), the Black Lagoon's Gillman (Tom Woodruff), the Mummy (Michael Reid MacKay) and the Frankenstein Monster (Tom Noonan) to search for the only thing that can stop Dracula: an amulet crafted of pure good. When Sean acquires the diary of Abraham Van Helsing (which his mother secures for his monster collection at a garage sale; isn't that always the way) and learns of the evil scheme, the gang snaps into action as the Monster Squad, enlisting the help of the Scary German Guy (who turns out to be not so scary after all, and has pie--a true mark of the forces of good) and receiving the unexpected assistance of the conflicted Frankenstein Monster, who gains the friendship of Sean's little sister and becomes an ad-hoc member of the Squad. The movie quickly escalates into a race to find the amulet and stop Dracula's plan for world takeover.

Upon its release in 1987, The Monster Squad gained little fanfare and was considered a failure because of its preference for old-school monsters over maniacs with knives (doesn't that sound familiar). The movie had a brief appearance on VHS before disappearing, but rabid monster fans everywhere traded illegal tapes and later DVD-R copies of the film on eBay for years, whipping the demand for a legitimate DVD release into high dudgeon. This release, from a remastered print, is pristine, flawless, and brings forth the true glories of this movie: a raucous Goonies-esque teen comedy mixed with an uninhibited love letter to the classic monsters of old. It's rather a crime that Universal Studios refused to let director Fred Dekker use the original makeups of the monsters for this film, but the Squad makeups, created by Stan Winston (who I've heard is a master effects artist), give this movie a look and charm all its own.

(An aside: my werewolf grrl-friend and colleague Harriet Von Lupin has verified the Wolfman makeup as being startlingly close to the real thing. But we confess to being quite puzzled by what is considered the movie's most famous line, "Wolfman's got nards!" When we heard this line as we watched the film, Harriet looked at us with some confusion and responded, "Well, yeah. All boy werewolves do.")

DVD features include audio commentary with director Dekker, Gower and other Squad members Ryan Lambert and Ashley Bank, and another commentary with Dekker and his director of photography Bradford May, for those who are interested in such things. There is also a five-part retrospective, Monster Squad Forever, featuring new interviews with Dekker and several other stars of the movie, including Duncan Regehr and Tom Noonan (who played Drac and Frank), and A Conversation With Frankenstein, an interview with Noonan about his character. There are also deleted scenes, still gallery, trailer, TV spot and most of the usual paraphernalia--widescreen mastering, Dolby sound and such.

A splendid film, created with love and passion for its subject matter. Serve without reservation to older children, but perhaps allow younger children to watch only as a special Halloween treat (there are some language issues). Do allow yourself and other adult friends to enjoy this fine movie as well.

POST-MORTEM: We've learned that Duncan Regehr, in addition to being a fine actor, is also an accomplished artist. View his work online at

In the event that anyone who owns the rights and such may be reading, there is a long-lost Saturday morning show, also called
Monster Squad, that our Mad Doctor John often venerates. If anyone could see their way clear to creating a DVD release of this series, it would be much appreciated here at the Monster Shop, as we're all rather tired of him nattering on about it. --B.R.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The MonsterGrrls would like to give a special shout-out to mystery/romance novelist Carolyn Haines! Our Mad Doctor joined the Greenwood Writers' Guild Chapter and met with Mrs. Haines at a booksigning at Turnrow Books in Greenwood, MS recently.

Carolyn Haines hails originally from Lucedale, MS. The daughter of two journalists, she grew up reading and writing. She began her career writing for Harlequin Intrigue under the pen name Caroline Burnes, but now publishes her highly acclaimed Bones series under her own name. Bones details the adventures of Sarah Booth, a Southern belle and private investigator who is assisted by Jitty, the antebellum-era ghost who haunts Sarah's ancestral home of Dahlia
House. The latest in the series is Ham Bones, in which Sarah herself is under investigation for the murder of Renata Troviola, a diva actress who is now the main squeeze of Sarah's former lover Graf Mileau. Quite soapy stuff!

In addition to the Bones series, Carolyn has also published several acclaimed novels such as Penumbra and Fever Moon. Penumbra details the story of Jade Bramlett, the biracial sister of Marlena, the white daughter of a prominent society matron in Drexell, MS. When Marlena is raped and beaten and her six-year-old daughter abducted, Jade must cope with the town's racial discord as she tries to find the kidnappers. Fever Moon is a supernatural suspense thriller, in which Deputy Raymond Thibodeaux must discover the truth behind the murder of wealthy Henri Bastion and his alleged murderer Adele Hebert, who claims to be possessed by the spirit of a werewolf.

We proudly welcome Mrs. Haines into honorary Fang Club Membership! All of her novels are available at Click our headline link to visit her official website!

Friday, July 27, 2007


Hello, everybody! Gosh, all sorts of things are happening!

Yesterday (July 25, 2007), the MonsterGrrls joined the literary scene as part of Mississippi Arts Hour, a program broadcast live each Thursday from Jackson's WLEZ 103.7 FM on
Mississippi Public Radio. MonsterGrrls creator/author John Rose joined Mississippi Writers' Guild president Richelle Putnam and other MWG members on the program, which focuses on artists and creative folks in Mississippi. The program was hosted by Diane Williams of the Mississippi Arts Commission, and Thursday's show was an exclusive for the MWG.

In addition to John and Richelle, also
appearing were Vice President Ralph Gordon, Executive Director Anne McKee, Treasurer/Parliamentarian Dan McKee, and John Floyd, a mystery writer who has recently won the 2007 Derringer Award. Mr. Floyd will also be a speaker for the Guild's 2007 PLANS Conference, which will be held in August in Meridian, MS. Other members present were chapter heads Lydia Dell (Jackson) and Barry McMullan (Meridian), and members Judy Tucker, Peggy Campbell and Jerusha Bosarge.

John promoted the Greenwood chapter and books written by members of his chapter in Greenwood, MS, and read a short excerpt from The MonsterGrrls. Other books promoted were Keetha DePriest Reed's Culinary Kudzu series and Opal Turner Brown's Against The Darkness Of The Night.

Reed's Culinary Kudzu and More Culinary Kudzu are unique among other cookbooks: they also feature memories and stories of growing up in a Southern household. Reed herself has great credentials for being a Southern-food doyenne: a bachelor's degree in hospitality management from the University Of Southern Mississippi, award-winning public relations work, food writing, recipe development and catering. In addition to being the MWG Greenwood chapter founder and head of Pecan Street Press (her publishing company), Keetha is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. She blogs at the official WriteKudzu blog and is currently collaborating on a novel.

Opal Turner Brown's Against The Darkness Of The Night is a historical fiction novel which came out of stories told to her by her relatives around the fireplace. This engaging novel tells the story of Lydia Walker, who deals on a personal level with the upheaval of the Civil War when William, her husband, goes to fight. The novel details the struggles of Lydia's attempts to run the family farm on her own in her husband's absence. Opal has worked as a teacher and a volunteer within the National Park System, and is a very prolific writer with several other projects nearing completion. Against The Darkness Of The Night is available at iUniverse.

Clearly, our friend and official chronicler John is in fantastic company within the Mississippi Writers' Guild! Keep checking the Harbinger, our official MonsterGrrls website, and the other cool places listed here for all your literary needs!

Sincerely yours,
Frankie Franken

POST-MORTEM: WLEZ 103.7 FM's full schedule and roster of shows is available at
Richelle Putnam and the Mississippi Writers' Guild can be contacted through their website at for information on their work and the upcoming PLANS conference. Any Greenwood, MS area authors who are interested in local membership should contact Keetha DePriest Reed through the Pecan Street Press at

Monday, July 23, 2007

How To Make A MonsterGrrl: FRANKIE FRANKEN

(This post begins an irregular series in which John talks about his characters and the influences of their creation. We begin with the MonsterGrrls' leader: our charming Creature, Frankie Franken.)

Frankie Franken: Nancy Drew Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

The main reason I have so violently pursued this project known as The MonsterGrrls is very simple: Upon their creation, the Grrls arrived cut from whole cloth. That has never happened with anything else I've ever come up with, and that alone seemed reason enough to pursue it.

So what to say about my Creature-Grrl, Frankie Franken? She is, quite obviously, the Child Of Frankenstein, a hybrid of both Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester as they appeared in the films Frankenstein and The Bride Of Frankenstein. Both of Jack Pierce's makeups were referenced for her creation: I felt she should have the green
skin, the neck bolts, the stitches, the head-clamps, and of course, that beautiful, funky, Nefertiti-inspired hair, with a couple extra white streaks added and morphed into lightning bolts. (After all, there's never been any doubt in my mind that that hairdo is extremely conductive.)

Some updated elements were added too, such as a Ramones-style leather jacket, black jeans and the clunky boots, which were back in style again when the Grrls first saw the dark of night in 2001. Her T-shirt began as a striped T-shirt before I gave her a Shazam-style T-shirt, red with a yellow lightning bolt, perfect for a Creature born of lightning.

Frankie possesses her own kind of beauty, and her personality is very Grrl-next-door: sweet, intrepid, outgoing, and most importantly, intelligent. I had seen enough of dumb Frankensteins: though Boris Karloff's characterization of the Creature is both terrifying and sad, it has been the template for any number of goofball characterizations, and nearly all of them fall far from Mary Shelley's original Creature, which was cunning, well-spoken, thoughtful and quite self-aware. I wanted to go back to this, and as a result, Dr. Franken, who is Frankie's creator and "father", ensured that Frankie would be intelligent by teaching her once she got off the slab. I felt that Victor Frankenstein's big mistake was that he gave up on his Creature almost from the moment it woke up. I've never been sure what he expected: a home-grown, homemade homunculus cannot be expected to turn out like Brad Pitt mixed with Albert Einstein no matter how good you are. The Creature needed training, direction and acceptance. Most of all, it needed love.

And that's one of the real horrors these days when you think about it: that a lot of teenagers don't get the care and direction and love that they need. If you're going to be a parent, your child needs these things. If the child doesn't get them, it will become quite literally a monster, pure and simple.

So Frankie got trained in etiquette, poise, grammar, speech, vocabulary, and tap dancing (heh-heh, thank you, Mel Brooks; Young Frankenstein is still one of the best Frankenstein movies ever made). And there was, inevitably, a Nancy Drew influence; both of them have the same taste for adventure, and despite Frankie's enormous talents in Mad Science, I think she has a secret desire to be a detective. She's read all of her universe's equivalent of Nancy Drew, and her adventures at Clearwater High, (both present and forthcoming) will give her plenty of opportunity to sharpen her skills. Of the Grrls, she's probably my personal favorite, and she serves as a continuing inspiration and drive to keep working and keep punching with the Grrls, because she's one of the reasons that I've just got to see what happens next.

Next: Bethany Ruthven


Good evening, darlings, and thank you for reading. As you all probably know (mostly because the bloody media won't let us alone about anything anymore), the seventh and final book in J. K. Rowling's much-admired Harry Potter series, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, has just been released. Having finished it, I was initially loath to do a review of it because, quite frankly, none of us here at MonsterGrrls Central have any intention of giving away the answer to the big question: Does Harry Potter die?

Nevertheless, we must respond, so here is the MonsterGrrls' official answer, which I have been duly authorized to give: Buy the bloody thing and read it yourself if you want to find out, you grubby little git. What kind
of monsters do you think we are?

Now, I'm sure that some of you are wondering how I'm going to be able to review this book without giving away the proper answer to the does-Harry-die question. Well, here's how it goes:

People die. Other people become seriously injured. Some other people prove themselves to be right sodding bastards. Still other people confirm deep suspicions about themselves and their character that you have probably had all along. There's a quest (duh). There's quite a bit of violence, fighting and magic-using, which goes without saying (also duh). Two major characters do die, after all, in quite spectacular ways. (No, I'm not going to tell you who. See above.) Tons of secrets are finally revealed

And in the end (and I hope I'm not giving too much away by saying this), that which has been given the least amount of analysis and scrutiny throughout the whole of this series, that which has had almost no press or media attention at all, is that which ultimately saves the day.

Now read the bleeding thing yourself and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Sincerely yours,
Bethany Ruthven

Full marks. Completely sodding brilliant. But then, it's J. K. Rowling, so what else could it be?

POST-MORTEM: In the event that you are now searching around for something else to take up your time, an excellent fantasy called The MonsterGrrls is available for purchase at, or go directly to It's quite good and more spiritually satisfying than being on Myspace, so come round and have a look. --B. R.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

MonsterGrrls Special News Report: CASTLE DRACULA UP FOR SALE

According to an AP news story we discovered on the Internet this morning, Castle Dracula is now up for sale. The Bran Castle, located in central Romania, was put up for sale Monday by Archduke Dominic Habsburg, the heir to the estate through the line of Princess Illeana. Baytree Capital, the company representing Habsburg, will sell "to the right purchaser under the right circumstances" and predicts to sell for more than $135 million.

The castle was built in the 14th century as a fortress against the Ottoman Turks. The royal family moved in during the 1920's but lost the castle to communist regime in 1948. Since then the castle has been restored and has gained popularity as a tourist attraction in Romania, due to the legend that Vlad The Impaler, the Wallachian warlord who inspired Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, spent a night in the castle during the 1400's.

Our own vampire Grrl Bethany Ruthven commented on the sale: "It's a lovely old home, but I think $135 million's a bit pricey. I'd put up maybe $90 million if they threw in all the furniture and did something about that moldy spot in the dungeon. The most preferable thing would be to sell it to someone who would continue its current status as a tourist attraction, because the property is historically significant. But that's overstating the obvious."

The castle's namesake was not available for comment
, though the venerable count has been reported to be sighted at various times in the vicinity. Ruthven, upon hearing this, snorted, "Yeah. Him and Elvis."

The full story on Castle Dracula is available at the title link above. Let the bidding commence, and as always, caveat emptor...

Thursday, June 07, 2007


So here's the thing. I'm doing an early morning email check; I've got a Writers' Guild meeting at my house tonight, lots to do, so I'm grabbing a few quick messages. Like you, I use an email browser that throws tons of news and media crap at me when I open it up, in the hopes that I might click on some of it to see what's what. So I'm waiting to get my stuff and I see an entertainment headline: "Nicole Giggles About Jail."

Most of us, of course, have been following with half an ear the trials and tribulations of Paris Hilton and her "jail time." So I clicked on it, and the headline of the article quoted Miz Nicole Richie as saying, "Everyone goes to jail."

News flash: Not
everyone goes to jail, you jackass. In my world, you're not supposed to go to jail, and some of us don't. Instead we try to live our lives, get on with things, not hurt anybody if we can possibly avoid it and stay out of trouble as much as possible. And because of this, we are touted as boring "little people."

Now here's my question: How much longer are we going to let these idiots who call themselves "celebrities" and have become famous for doing
nothing stay in the limelight?

That's my word on the whole situation. I'm outta here. More Grrl talk next time.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Below is the text of an email I sent to a friend in my Writers' Guild group, when she asked for some thoughts on happiness:

Happiness.... hmmm. This could take a while.

I confess to being really suspicious of "happiness" as people use the word today. I have seen things that made some people happy and have completely not understood why this happened. I have seen other things that made other people happy but made me want to commit unrestrained, bloody and potentially ritualistic murder, such as The Lawrence Welk Show, which was a pleasant experience for those in my family except for me. I have always been happy with the knowledge that Lawrence Welk never knew of the Ramones or included a single Ramones song in his repetoire, because I am certain that if he had I would most likely be in jail today, serving my third life sentence for breaking into a television studio and trying to beat a large number of old people senseless with an axe that was lodged into the bellows of an accordion.

There's tons of stuff out there today that's supposed to make you happy: cell phones, DSL, satellite TV, wireless networks, comfortable underpants, dating websites, new cars, housecleaning tools with disposable/replaceable parts, flat-screen TVs, travel discount services, credit cards with allegedly low interest rates, music mp3 players, downloadable music for less than a dollar, all kinds of medicines for all kinds of discomforts and upsets with all kinds of potential side effects (but hey, there's a one-in-a-million shot you'll experience them, right?), DVD special editions, Paris Hilton going to jail, that really annoying person getting voted out of American Idol... and the list just goes on with no end in sight. I notice sometimes that I seem happier when I am either not aware or less aware of these things.

I have a reputation for not being "happy" at times. This is partially because I am a quiet person who is not prone to talk unless he has something to say (which seems to really bother more people that I had first believed), and partially because I am not fully convinced that people are supposed to spend every single day of their lives chock-full of gutbusting yucks. I am sort of like Fox Mulder in The X-Files: "I want to believe." And yet, the more I see of society, the more convinced I am that maybe we should be seeking contentment instead of happiness, mainly because one seems to last longer and is more durable in the long run than the other. I think that happiness is something that should be appreciated more than sought, like a good meal or a fireworks display, or some other such experience. When we all went to the writers' conference in Clinton, one thing that Carolyn Haines said that I noticed was that humans are geared toward pleasure. This stuck with me, mainly because it was a frightening thing when you consider just how far some people will go in the pursuit of pleasure.

That's my opinion. Do consider that I have five days of school left while reading, and use grains of salt accordingly.

Now just for the record, here are a few things that make me happy:

1) Any Ramones album
2) A new pair of Converse black monochrome Chuck Taylors (Converse Chuck Taylors are the rock and roll shoe, folks)
3) Good Italian food, shared with good friends
4) Sleeping late
5) Finishing mowing the yard (this probably makes everybody happy, but so what)

I will also add this about happiness: I think that some happiness is found in accomplishment of a task. I remember very strongly that when I finished writing The MonsterGrrls, I felt very, very happy. I felt a great sense of having finished something that I really needed to do. And even today, I still get that feeling when I have completed something connected with this project, whether it's an artwork, or a webpage, or a product design--anything. I believe that one reason I feel this way is because I rediscovered something that I was very passionate about, and I became even more convinced that real happiness is connected to treasuring and appreciating the things that have value to me, and not to somebody else. I think, in some ways, that this is what life is about.

Don't anybody expect me and the Grrls to leave yet. We're gonna stick around a while.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Welcome to the beginning of the new FrankenGeek Press blog. This blog is a production of one John Rose (me), who created The MonsterGrrls, a novel self-published under the imprint name of FrankenGeek Press, and is a great story about four teenage monsters sent to a human high school. If you haven't already gotten a copy, well, you should.

This blog is a bit different from our sister publication,
The Morlock Heights Harbinger, in that it is personally written by the publisher, and is an attempt to communicate some thoughts about the creation of these characters and their world, what I plan to do in the coming months with the Grrls, show some archival material (and do we have archival material? You bet we does, honey chile) and maybe rant a little bit about how weird everything is becoming, which is not always a bad thing. We're going to start off with five things about me:

1) I was born in Meridian, MS, and grew up in a house a good ten miles out of town, in a rural section populated with woods, trees and forests, where birds sang every morning and squirrels and other forest creatures frolicked in the treetops, and there was little fuss or bother from the outside world. I saw the flaw in this right away, and began working on getting out. Maybe some people can live in the middle of nature, but I'm not one of them. I need cars going by on the road and next-door neighbors who wave hello as they walk by on the street, kids playing in the front yard of their house and dogs barking to each other, and friends that I can gather with. I need the noises of other people living, and I have those things where I live now, in a neighborhood in Greenwood, MS.

2) I have an extremely low tolerance for what drive-in-movie critic Joe Bob Briggs refers to as
bullstuff, and there have been occasions where my personal relationship with other people and the world at large has suffered because of it. Bullstuff is more and more prevalent in society these days, and with the coming of the Internet, the average daily percentage of bullstuff entering modern life has increased by about 5000 percent. Gentle reader(s), I pledge to you now, with my mind and my heart, that I shall try with all my being to avoid bringing bullstuff unto you.

3) I used to listen to a great deal of music. Because the majority of my musical heroes are either dead or inactive and music in modern times has become a quagmire, I no longer do this. Some of the bands I still listen to and am unrepentant about enjoying can be found here and here.

4) I read a lot and have tons of books that I haven't read yet. Whether I will live long enough to read them all is anybody's guess.

5) I like Blogger and use it exclusively. This is not any sort of plug; it's just true. I've tried that damn Myspace thing twice already, and, well...
jeez. (Though I have heard good things about Yahoo 360...)

Check out more weird stuff from the Press at

Well, there is a page for me now on Yahoo 360, but to be honest... don't wait up. If you want the news straight up, come to this blog or the Harbinger. We'll leave a light on in the crypt...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


We are pleased to announce that today, April 18, 2007, is the 30th anniversary of one of our favorite bands, the Misfits!

Begun by Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only way back in 1977, the Misfits have survived breakups, personnel changes and countless other obstacles to become one of punk rock's greatest and most influential bands. The Misfits have continued into the Internet age with, their own website, and Jerry Only still heads and plays in the band, though Danzig and previous members have moved on to other things. For our own part, we love the Misfits and can often be found grooving to both their classic and new music, and the MonsterGrrls are proud to claim the Misfits as a major influence and inspiration on our own fiendish fang-faced frivolities! ("They even look a lot like Morlock Heights' own Teenage Undead! Super-cool band!" --Frankie)

Now, the Misfits will soon relaunch their website with a cool new look, new features and special content from their own archives. Click the link above to visit their site and preview the way-cool new 30th Anniverscary logo by Dave Burke of Monster Fetish, and keep checking back with us here at The Morlock Heights Harbinger, as we will proudly announce when the new site is launched! It's all a part of keeping the American Nightmare alive!

Click the photo above to learn more about the Misfits' music at!

Monday, April 16, 2007


We're pleased to post this wonderful email letter from Charla Miley, an old high school friend of mine and a MonsterGrrls reader in Jackson, MS. Last year I attended a high school reunion and brought a copy of The MonsterGrrls to show the class of '86. Her email was titled "Monster Girls Rule!"


Hey there! Tom Beck sent me a list of NE emails last week, and I was so glad to see yours on there. I ordered your book right after the reunion, and I have to tell you, I think it is absolutely amazing. No kidding, I was into it right from the beginning. I was excited about the thought of reading something that someone I knew had written, but I was not prepared for it to be so good. I loved the pop culture references. I don't know anything about monster/vampire lore, but I was certain that your references were hilarious to anyone who did.

I think the biggest evidence of praise is that my younger brother loved it. He called me laughing his head off about the part where Emily and Theo say they want to rule the world. That reference had escaped me, but apparently my brother was a big Animaniacs (I think that is the show, right?) fan. The only problem is that he took my copy and "loaned" it to his brother-in-law, who is a teacher a SEHS. He is teaching on Mississippi authors, and has apparently been referencing your work in his class. Maybe it'll translate into some sales. At least it will for me, because I don't think I am going to see that copy again. Not to inflate your head too much, but the book was very, very good. I can't wait for the second book to come out. October, right?

Your website is great, too. By the way, which teacher did you ask about doing the werewolf paper for--Mrs. McCraney or Mrs. Boyd? I just laughed imagining either one's reaction!!

Anyway, I just wanted to pass this along to you. You are very talented, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next.


I appreciate Charla's kind words very much. Any other readers of the book are welcome to share their thoughts at, or post a note on our guestbook at

Pleasant screams, everybody...

Sunday, March 11, 2007


(EDITOR'S NOTE: Our charming Creature Frankie is clocking in today with this special post to celebrate the publishing of Mary Shelley's classic novel. Click our title link above and visit the Bakken Library's cool 'n creepy Frankenstein exhibit. --J.R.)

Hello, everybody! Today is the official birthday of Frankenstein--not just a Creature like myself, but the whole idea. The classic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was published on this day in 1818, and it's still going strong 189 years later.

During the year 1816, a teenaged Mary Shelley and her husband-to-be, Percy Bysshe Shelley, visited Lord Byron in Switzerland. While they were visiting, Byron challenged the Shelleys and his personal physician John William Polidori to each write a horror story. While Byron wrote a bit about vampires**and Polidori managed to write a short story called The Vampyre, Mary turned out a full-blown novel about a scientist who creates a monster in an attempt to learn the secret of creating life. This novel went on to be one of the most well-known books in the world, birthing stage plays and movie adaptations of the story, as well as creating an immortal character in pop culture. Not bad for a young girl like me! (Well, maybe not quite like me, since I'm a Creature, but you get the idea.)

We proudly salute Mary Shelley and recognize her as one of the original MonsterGrrls, and wish her creation a monstrously happy birthday!

Frankie Franken

Bethany footnotes: "Hmmph. Not surprised at all, really. I knew Lord Byron briefly, and with all the carousing and drinking it's a wonder he managed to stay upright long enough to write anything."