Archive for the Books Category

Slow Motion Emotion

Posted in Books on September 28, 2015 by Michael Louis Calvillo

time (n): the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.


It’s been a long time, Michael’s Loyal Readers. A long, long time. In fact, about two years time since I’ve posted on Michael’s site… Please accept my apologies. A lot has happened with Michael’s writing since then that I should’ve posted about, but time kept slipping away. Physically, a widow’s clock ticks its own rhythms and after almost four years, I still haven’t adjusted to the new way time moves.

Oh, speaking of “moves…” Moving is what has prompted me to poke my head out and say “hello” to all of you. Yep, I have finally decided to make the long over-due “big move.” It’s bittersweet beyond belief. Moving sucks in general but I’ll have to say, moving when one has become so mindlessly and emotionally rooted… is the worst.

They say there’s no forward progress without movement (by “they,” I actually mean my therapist, Jason). I guess that’s true. I used to think “moving on” or “moving forward” suggested having to leave things behind… I was resistant to that. I loved all I had. I didn’t want to leave any of it behind.

In this move, I have been sorting through so many things. Packing things up and actually “unpacking” things that had never been unpacked from previous moves! Sad but true. I’ve been struggling with what to keep and what to throw out. Seems easy to most people… Keep what you need and toss what you don’t. Well, duh.

This whole “moving thing” has unearthed a lot I’ve forgotten about. It’s also demonstrated how much of an emotional hoarder I’ve been over the years. Even though moving has been a total bee-otch, I am still very grateful for the experience. I feel I’ve gotten better at discerning what’s most important to keep and what needs to go. I’m also seeing that even with getting rid of so much, I still have all I need (and then some). In fact, I have enough that I can donate and share with others. Which is what feels best.

My new “roommate,” Kevin has comforted and supported me in this process immensely. He has lovingly assured me that there’s no timeline in which to decide what to do with every little “thing”… there are some things I will pack again and come back to later. Kevin reminds me that it’s okay to hold on to things until I’m ready to let them go. I’m lucky for Kevin. He has motivated me to repurpose myself in this life. He makes me feel it’s time to love again. Most importantly, he allows me to love in my own way and at my own pace. He is a good man.



Well, Michael’s Loyal Readers, it’s time to get back to packing. But, before I do, I wanted to leave you with a piece of Michael’s writing. As you can imagine, I have come across many of Michael’s letters while packing… Each one eliciting varied emotions from one day to the next. There’s one I found tonight that reaffirmed how special the love Michael and I shared and how irrelevant time has always been.

Michael continues to enlighten me every day and I’m grateful to share the love lessons he’s left behind for me.

Timeless Love Letter

Timeless Love Letter

Dearest Love, 

12 years gone in the blink of an eye. So it goes, each wonderful moment spent in your company feels… unreal. I don’t know how I got so lucky. I know I met you, and had a strong reaction, and knew pretty early on, but I could never imagine things being as awesome as they are. 

My life, for what it’s worth, for the ups and downs, for the disease, for the pain, for the ruined hip and ever-creeping fatigue, is a million times better with your love and care seeing me through. 

You’ve always been a great wife, but with the onset of my illness you have taken your role to the next level and I can honestly say I don’t know where I’d be without you. You are my REASON for living. You’re my hopes, dreams, and survival instincts, all rolled into one. Each night I go to bed with your kiss on my lips and wake to your smile and I am the happiest man on planet earth because of it. I could die tomorrow (but don’t worry, I won’t, I’ve got to hang on so we can enjoy this life together) and my life would feel complete. The mystery, the key, the point, is obviously to love and seek love in return. Many people stumble around trying to find happiness and make things make sense, but we already have it. Things are so simple and so clear. Twelve years in and everything makes perfect sense. 

So we continue and hope the time we have lasts forever (it won’t). And while it seems pathetic to hope for something we know is impossible, hope keeps us going nonetheless. Still, hope or not, no matter how overwhelming things become, we will always have one another to lean on, guiding each other through the joy and (unfortunate) loss looming on the horizon. 

Alas, I digress. Getting too heavy never turns out. The future is scary and uncertain. Thoughts and words veer toward the ugly. But never fear… All I have to do is shift this neural pattern or that and recall your gorgeous smile, your intelligent gaze, your rip-snortin’ laugh, and I am immediately transported. The world becomes a safer, warmer place. Through the aching muscles and screaming bones, purpose is evident. 

We talk about trips and wasting away at the movies or the bookstore, but when it comes down to it, all I need is you. Twelve years in and I love you more than sentiment can even begin to express. Where does that leave this letter? What about these mute words? As feeble as they are, they’ll have to do in conveying my love to you. Just remember, what we have goes beyond ink, and word processing programs, and the sun and dust, and the rotation of our planet. It encompasses these notes, these forget-me-nots, but it’s also found in the beating of our hearts and the quickness of our breath and the dreams that never seem to last long enough. 


What’s up, 2013?

Posted in Books on December 31, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

3:53 a.m. New Year’s Eve.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a bit reclusive these past few months, Michael’s Loyal Readers. And, before you say anything, I do want to offer my deepest apologies for the rude absence.  I know, I know… Yes, I do remember that I made a promise to keep my dear husband’s blog up. What the heck, right? Trust me, MLRs, my intent was absolutely genuine.  But, truthfully, the grieving process has been quite the hardhearted beeotch.  We’re talking crippling. The skillful and horrific words Michael crafted never came even close to personifying the dark, lonely, and scary truths of loss like this…

BUT! Luckily, my faithful companion, Insomnia, encouraged me to make use of the time and keep good on my promise this morning. So, F’ you, Grief, we’re going to attempt to be productive today! And, as cliché as it is, New Year’s Eve seemed as good a time as any to reflect on the talent, love, friendship and loss of my dear, sweet Michael Louis Calvillo.

At this point, you’re probably anxiously wondering, “Well, c’mon, what do you have to share? Hmm?”  I know, you’re waiting. You want something. It’s been a while. You wanna know what’s crackin? What’s going on with the earthly MLC world that Michael prematurely left behind? Can we expect more from MLC? Tupac continued giving the world more of his talent posthumously. We know MLC can do it too.

Well… yes, of course, you can definitely expect to see more from Michael Louis Calvillo in 2013! For starters, Bad Moon Books will be publishing Michael’s novel Bird Box in the early part of the new year. Yay, right? And, trust me, Michael’s Loyal Readers, you are going to love this one! In addition, as most of you know, Michael left behind a plethora of completed unpublished works (“Jefe, what is a plethora?”). So, needless to say, this upcoming year we will be working on securing loving publishing homes for Michael’s titles and decide on the appropriate timing of releases. Seriously, I promise to keep you all updated! Promise, promise. Virtual pinky swear!

Full Novel (Bad Moon Books; TBA 2013)

Full Novel
(Bad Moon Books; TBA 2013)

Also, in Michael’s honor we have been successfully running our charity club Lancers for Life at Lakeside High School. I am serving as the club advisor, along with my department chair and friend, Debbie Hanlon, and Deja (our daughter) is the club’s president. Since the beginning of the school year we have offered support to three families affected by cancer. We have a very kind and compassionate group of students that have really dedicated themselves to helping others and they have done a great job coming up with ideas on how to help others in need. We are all really looking forward to seeing this club become a permanent resource for our Lakeside students.


By the way, if you haven’t already, please “Like” us on Facebook.

Also, if you’re interested in donating to Lancers for Life, PayPal donations are accepted at Our club is so appreciative of the overwhelming encouragement we continue to receive and feel fortunate that we are able to provide support for these families because of the generosity of so many. So, a big “Thank you!” to all those who have supported Lancers for Life.

In closing, Michael’s Loyal Readers, I’d like to share a couple of links with you. Recently, Mr. Carl Alves facilitated a tribute to MLC featuring some of Michael’s most respected and loved writer colleagues. Very touching and beautifully stated words about MLC. Thank you to all who shared such beautiful words about our dearly missed Michael Louis Calvillo.

It’s hard to imagine a happy new year without the love of my life but someone once told me, “Sometimes you have to fake it to make it!” So, here’s to a happy and healthy new year, y’all!

Enjoy the Silence

Posted in Books on September 30, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

In my nervous anticipation yesterday, I mentioned to someone that tomorrow (the 30th) will be the 6 month mark of Michael’s passing. Always terrible at math and yes, that includes basic counting, I still can’t believe I threw an extra month on there.

Be patient with me. Time and space has compressed in weird little ways since April 30, 2012.

April 30th is the day my life fell silent. That day, my dear sweet husband sought to find the peace and comfort he so deserved. Today, I reflect inward on the love and life we shared. Truthfully, there isn’t a moment that crawls by that I don’t pine for that beautiful life once again. However, I have learned to take comfort in the silence forced upon me. It’s allowed me to understand a part of the many things Michael has taught me (all of us) about love… One specific thing Michael taught me is that to love is to truly have gratitude. (Michael had a very Zen quality about him, right?) I know I was fortunate for the precious love I experienced in Michael. I even knew that at the time. I didn’t come to the realization after his passing. I didn’t have to lose him in order to appreciate what I had. In fact, Michael and I always marveled at how “lucky” we truly were. We never took for granted what we were so fortunate to possess.

Appreciate the love you have each and every day…

Michael also taught me that love isn’t limited to the passionate love between lovers but it extends to those who impact our lives in a variety of ways. He felt gratitude for everyone. Not just those who we saw on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, or those who made the Annual Halloween Party Invite List, or those who were easily labeled as “friend” or “family…” He had love in his heart for so many. (In all the years we were married, I only heard him say he didn’t like about three people. Trust. If Michael didn’t like you… You had to be some kind of jerk.)

Last weekend, some family and I went out to Las Vegas to attend a Tribute Session held in Michael’s honor at an annual horror writer’s conference called, KillerCon. We were so touched that a Tribute was organized to recognize Michael’s talent and friendship in the field of horror writing. Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Gene O’ Neill, Brad Hodson, and John Palisano made up the panel of speakers for the tribute. My husband had true love in his heart for every one of these men (and so do I). Ben, Gene, and Brad shared readings from the newly released, second edition of Michael’s first novel, I WILL RISE. Last on the panel, John straight put some verses on smash that Lisa Morton scripted (Translation: John rapped some rhymes that Lisa wrote very well). John also did a really cool “Apocalypse Now” style reading with an acoustic guitar that had us all in awe. Many others, including Michael’s favorite publisher, Roy Robbins, as well as one of Michael’s co-author and friends, Michael McCarty (referred by MLC as the “Cool One”) shared their personal remembrances. Our family is so grateful to all the involved contributors and attendees, including James Wrath White (KillerCon’s organizer), for making the Tribute a meaningful and heartwarming experience. Michael would have been genuinely thrilled.

Ben, Gene, Brad, and John
Make up MLC’s Tribute Panel

After Michael passed, everyone promised Time Would Heal. I can’t tell you how many times I insincerely nodded only to placate them. Because, truthfully for me, it felt as though each day intensified the pain I felt in losing Michael. Each day brought into light that this was reality and not some effed up dream. I would never see or hold my Michael again… How was I supposed to go on? What was I supposed to do? Who am I without him?

The operative word: “I”

Michael rarely thought of himself before others. He was such a good man. Being married to him was such a blessing. He always made me want to be a better person. He taught me so many lessons in doing so. What nerve did I have in focusing on me over everything else that continues? Life is not about us. It’s about love. It’s about finding ways to improve this world we share with others. Making a difference. Living life with purpose.

So, with that in mind, these days I try not to focus so much on my personal pain but rather on what remains. I know exactly what Michael wanted for me (us). It’s the same I would’ve wanted for him. Happiness. I am thankful for the loving kindness that remains in my heart for others who are still here. My daughter, Deja, my family, my friends, my students, my pets… the list goes on.

Thank you, my dear friends and family, for giving me hope that I still belong here.

Reunited and it feels so… good?

Posted in Books, Love, News, Rants, Raves on August 3, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

I am a terribly sentimental person. Maudlin, in fact. I admit to having a very self-indulgent attachment to most everything! I probably have movie stubs of every movie Michael and I ever went to since the day we met. I’m bad. I mean, really, really bad. Seriously. If there’s a popcorn kernel lodged at the bottom of my purse, I sit and wonder if it was from a movie that had significant meaning… Better hang on to it just in case, right?

Michael, on the other hand, was not sentimental. He was a very simple man in a lot of ways. He loved music, videogames, books, and movies but never felt the need to hoard the physical casings of any of it. Well, he did collect books… But, if a friend or family member showed the slightest interest in any of the above… Yours! He simply didn’t hang on to many material items. Don’t get me wrong. He saved certain mementos. In fact, just last month I found a restaurant napkin tucked into one of his shoe boxes that I wrote a love message to him on.

Ouch. Love hurts.

Strangely, he also held sentimental value on a pressure washer and an old tripod that his father gave him. (Some of you already know that Michael’s father, “Daddy-o,” suddenly passed away just one day before Michael received his cancer diagnosis.) The pressure washer was a gift from Daddy-o when we bought our first home. Michael used it maybe once? The tripod was very old. We’re talkin’ old-old. I thought, “We have two tripods here. One is very old. The other new.” Seemed simple which one to get rid of but since the old one belonged to Michael, I asked him out of respect whether we should bid farewell to the old rusty tripod. He told me Daddy-o gave him that tripod in his youth and he used it to create videos from his band days. Alas, we have two tripods. One old. One new. These were the only two things I can recall him asking me to hang on to when we were packing up to move out of our home last year while he was sick. (Oh, there were also two buckets of weird orphan wires and cables he refused to part with… don’t ask! I didn’t.)

Snakes? I hate snakes!

Anyhow, some time last year, Michael’s 20 Year High School Reunion was announced. Michael was invited to a “VVHS 1992 High School Reunion” group on Facebook. He silently poked around the group reading the announcements and statuses people posted. One thing Michael found interesting was the amount of alumni that had passed. We’re talking at least 10?  I don’t know. That might not seem like a lot to you but when you’re talking about people your age that you used to know… It just didn’t seem normal. Michael read the “In Memoriams” to me… various cancers, random illnesses, suicides, MURDER!? C’mon, the Class of ’92 are only in their late 30s! As he was reading them to me, we had one of those brief “Elephant in the Room” moments. Neither of us said a word about what Michael was personally battling. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to be one of “them.” But honestly, if Stage IV Cancer didn’t make you hyper-aware of your own impending mortality, seeing that list certainly made it clearer. Cancer or not, you have to come to terms that life is quite random and we are not guaranteed tomorrow no matter what your current health status is.

My dear husband mentioned the reunion to me again in early February and pondered whether he wanted to attend or not. The organizers had chosen Las Vegas as the reunion spot. I suppose they all thought it’d be more fun to meet in Sin City rather than the “humble small town” we grew up in. In any case, we talked about possibly attending. We both thought it would be fun to get away to Las Vegas and catch up with some old classmates. (Michael and I both attended the same High School, although he was a grade level higher than me and we were not in each other’s social groups.) However, at some point in late February, we stopped talking about it all together.

The Victor Valley High School Class of 1992 will be reuniting this weekend. I’m actually sad we can’t be there. Today, as I thought about Michael’s reunion, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the legacy Michael left behind. Yes, I know, Michael’s Loyal Readers, my sentimentality is one of the things that makes healing from the loss of my dear sweet Michael so incredibly difficult. But… I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring on the pain, I say.  In fact, as the old adage goes – misery loves company… So, join me, won’t you? Let’s stroll down Michael’s legacy and reflect upon his endless talent and passion for writing (each image is a link):

Published Novels, Novellas, and Collections

Full Novel
1st Edition
(Lachesis Publishing; 2007)
Finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel

Full Novel
(Bad Moon Books; 2009)
Black Quill Award Winner – “Best Small Press Chill: Readers’ Choice”
Black Quill Award Winner- “Best Cover Art & Design: Editors’ Choice”
Black Quill Award Winner – “Best Cover Art & Design: Readers’ Choice”

Short Story Collection
(Bad Moon Books; 2010)
Bram Stoker Award Finalist – “Superior Achievement in a Collection”
Dark Quill Award Winner- “Best Dark Genre Fiction Collection: Readers’ Choice”

(Delirium Books; 2011)

Full Novel
(Morning Star Press; 2011)
Preliminary Ballot – Bram Stoker Novel list

(Burning Effigy Press; 2011)
Bram Stoker Finalist – “Superior Achievement in Long Fiction”

Full Novel
(DarkFuse Publications; 2012)

Full Novel
2nd Edition
(DarkFuse Publications; 2012)

Full Novel
(Bad Moon Books; TBA 2013)

Published Anthologies

Short Story: “Consumed”
Edited by R.J. Cavender
(Cutting Block Press; 2008)
Preliminary Bram Stoker Ballot – “Superior Achievement in Short Fiction”

Short Story: “There’s No Place in a Sleeping World for a Wakeful Man”
Edited by Shane Ryan Staley
(Delirium Books; 2011)

Poem: “Devolution”
Edited by Christopher Conlon
(Dark Scribe Press; 2011)

Butcher Knives & Body Counts: Essays on the Formula, Frights, and Fun of the Slasher Film

Essay on the Formula, Frights, & Fun of the Slasher Film: “Embracing the Chaos”
Edited by Vince A. Liaguno
(Dark Scribe Press; 2011)

Short Story: “The Sad, Not-So-Sad, Ballad of Goat-Head Jean,
Ambivalent Devil Queen”
Edited by Weldon Burge
(Smart Rhino Publications; 2012)

Reviews Galore!
(These aren’t all of Michael’s reviews…these are only links to the archives for two Horror-Entertainment websites that he frequently wrote reviews for.)

Horror Entertainment Website
Movie and Game Reviews
Edited by Greg Lamberson

Horror-Entertainment Website
Game Reviews
Edited by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
This website was a finalist for the HWA‘s BRAM STOKER AWARD for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction (2010)


Original Feature Length Motion Picture
Currently in Production – Summer 2013
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

“Chekhov’s Children”
Short Film
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

“The Promise Jar”
Short Film
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo, Robert W. Filion
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

Short Film
Written By: Michael Louis Calvillo
Directed By: Robert W. Filion

Gosh, this list doesn’t even include Michael’s cache of completed unpublished novels, novellas, screenplays, poems, etc. OR, the HUNDREDS of songs he wrote for the bands he was in… OR, all the raps he wrote for his students … OR, the raps he wrote just for fun… OR, all the beautiful love letters he wrote for me! (Sigh.)

And, yet… I still feel like I’m overlooking other things he wrote? (Am I? Probably.)

Well, in any case… I wanted to acknowlege all the amazing accomplishments Michael could’ve shared with his fellow alumni this weekend. Of course, if you knew Michael, he would have humbly kept all this to himself. His proud wife, on the other hand, would not have been able to keep herself from bragging!

Cheers, VVHS Class of 1992!

Michael Louis Calvillo
Victor Valley High School
Class of 1992

Posted in Books on August 2, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Thank you, Meli, for the lovely review of Michael’s LAMBS!

Dreadful Tales

The Dreadful Tales Book Club is a celebration of horror fiction. The club affords genre fans the opportunity to share our enthusiasm for macabre tales and genre talent with like-minded readers and chat about our experience in the virtual hangout, The Psychopedia Necronomicon. Just as members cracked open Greg Lamberson’s zombie road novella Carnage Road for May’s Book of the Month, the horror fiction community lost one of its most talented members, Michael Louis Calvillo, after a long and arduous battle with cancer. Lamberson joined as a guest member to pick our June title and there was no question that the most appropriate choice was to honor the late Calvillo’s legacy with a reading of his posthumous release from DarkFuse Publications, Lambs.

From DarkFuse Publications:

Plagued by a trio of murderous ghosts, Arthur has bigger problems than your average teenager. Young love, wild hormones, and The…

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He’s Got the Moves Like Tupac

Posted in Books on June 22, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo
In an effort to honor my dear husband’s blog, I have decided to do my best to keep up with his promotions, updates, and reviews for him here. Michael was such a prolific writer that he left behind 8 completed novels and 4 novellas yet to be published, among a bank of short stories and poems. So, Michael’s Loyal Readers, be prepared for “hope in the midst of chaos” and maybe, just maybe, one day a rapping hologram of MC Mischief will put Tupac’s “resurrection” to shame.
In the meantime, we have Michael’s re-release of I WILL RISE to look forward to. Here is an announcement I posted on Facebook:
In hind sight, Michael’s health was declining when he received word that a second edition of I WILL RISE would be published by Dark Fuse. We were at Loma Linda Medical Center and although he was being poked, prodded, and was sick as hell, he was elated and eager to get home to work on his I WILL RISE revisions. I can’t tell you how much happiness it gave me to see him full of fire once again. I WILL RISE was Michael’s first published novel in 2007 (Lachesis Press) and was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. He was so happy to see this re-release coming together. The limited hard covers will include tribute pieces written by authors he considered great writers… and dear friends. If you’re interested, read the link to see how you can get a limited hardcover, trade paperback, or e-book copy! ~Michelle Stockdale-Calvillo
There are currently only 32 limited hardcovers remaining for purchase, but trade paperbacks and ebooks will be available for order September 25th. Please visit Dark Fuse’s site to get more details and/or order your copy.

Cover by Frank Walls

In true Michael form… I humbly leave you with a video of the infamous Tupac hologram performance. (Warning: As if you didn’t already know, Tupac is not for the kiddies.)

WHC 2012 (Utah, Here We Come…)

Posted in Appearances, Books, General, News on March 28, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

It’s been a loooooooong while since I posted here on the blog. And yes, I feel guilty. And yes, unaccomplished. But, alas, I’ve been going through some stuff (medical woes) and it’s kind of got me bogged down…

My plan is to get back to the daily (well, mostly daily) blogs soon, but in the meantime, I’ve got a little news to fill the void…

World Horror Convention 2012 is in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the end of this week (we fly out tomorrow). The event, chock full of panels, and cool readings, and all things horror, and literary, and awesome, should be a real blast. The convention is also playing host to the HWA’s annual Bram Stoker Awards (in their 25th year!). It so happens my novella 7BRAINS is up for an award (though I expect to be thoroughly stomped by the competition). Cool, huh?

For those hoping to meet up, or check in, or say hi to Michelle, or watch me embarrass myself, I’m on a panel about supernatural freakiness and then I’m giving a reading. The rest of the convention, we’ll be doing the rounds, networking, selling books, sigining books, and fingers crossed, making some new deals. There are also a bunch of nightly parties. Providing I’m feeling up to it, the plan is to attend a few of them.

Here’s my schedule – see you on the other side!


Thursday – Arriving!

Friday – Enjoying the convention…

8:00PMMass Autograph Signing with a billion other authors. Come pay me some attention why don’t you?

Saturday -1:00PM – I’ll be sitting in on a panel called, The Supernatural in Fiction. Why it fascinates us and its place in horror and other genres of fiction. Come watch me put my foot in my mouth! 😉

2:00PM – I’ll be reading from a variety of works and hamming it up (most likely focusing on 7BRAINS since it’s up for a Stoker). I promise to entertain you. Also, I’ll raffle off some books! The chaos takes place in ROOM I.


And that’s that. Hope to see you all there!!!

Here’s the full schedule of programming as well…