Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guest Blogger - MR Sellars

Mayhem: Not just something you do to your pants in May...

may-hem [mey-hem, mey-uhm] - noun:
1. The crime of willfully inflicting bodily harm upon another.
2. Random or deliberate violence or damage.
3. A state of rowdy disorder.
4. My life between 5:30 AM and 10:30 PM 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

The alarm clock breaks through the drone of my CPAP machine, pulsing out its annoying demand for attention. I actually opened my eyes 20 minutes ago to the sound of a voice, but I ignored it as I usually do. Unfortunately, now that the alarm is screaming, the voice is back, and it isn't happy with me.

"Murv," Felicity O'Brien says, her musical Celtic lilt bouncing around inside my head. "We need to talk to you."
"Not now," I reply.
"Aye, but it's important."
"When isn't it?" I don't really want an answer.
"Do I have to get Rowan to talk to you then?"
"Felicity, it can wait. I promise we'll all talk soon."
She wanders off in a huff, not that I would expect any less from her.

I slap the snooze button, turn off my CPAP, and then extricate myself from the mask and tangle of hoses. Before I can do anything else, however, I have a prescribed duty of extreme importance. I roll over and give my wife, Evil Kat, her morning backrub—two cycles of the snooze button… 18 minutes total. More will be accepted, however less will not be tolerated. She's a redhead, you see, and if things don't go her way, well then the day is going to be off to a really bad start.

The alarm squeals for the third time and the 18 minutes are up. This go around I switch it off completely. But, that only quiets the electronic chirp. There’s a new noise with which I must contend. Our geriatric cat is wandering up and down the stairs yowling as loud as he can. His "call of the wild" is punctuated by thumps and crashes as his cohort in crime—a gray tabby I simply call "the fat one"—is bouncing off the walls and furniture in a panic, all because he has just seen his own shadow. He's a little bit neurotic like that.

I wander down the stairs; pick my way through the feline carnage, and head for the kitchen. I start the coffee then set out a white bowl with blue accents on the corner of the island—Evil Kat is very specific about her preferences in breakfast dishes. I add a spoon, and then arrange a box of Raisin Bran next to it, just so. Finally, I head off to take care of that business everyone has to deal with first thing in the morning.

A few minutes later I’m splashing water on my face and washing the sleep from my eyes. Toweling off, I can start becoming one with the impending chaos. Back into the kitchen I wander. Evil Kat had ham and cheese for lunch yesterday. Today she will be having roast beef and Swiss on a spinach-garden vegetable wrap. I prepare it, wrap it, and place it into the fridge. I fill her snack container with the fancy, unsalted trail mix she likes so much—4 tablespoons, no more, no less.

The daughter will be having PB&J on whole wheat. She's currently stuck in a culinary rut, but of course, she's only 10 so there’s still hope. I place it into the fridge for safekeeping, and then line up their respective lunchboxes on the island, ready to fill when the time arrives. Now, I can pour myself a cup of coffee.

"Murv," Felicity's voice hits me again.
I jump. It's still dark in the house and I wasn't expecting her to sneak up on me like that. Of course, she always does, so you would think I'd be used to it by now.
"Dammit, Felicity," I tell her. "Don't do that."
"We really need to talk to you."
"I know, but not yet."
"You said soon."
"Yes, but not this soon."
"I'll let you know."
"Draoth," she says as she skulks off once again.
Felicity tends to express her displeasure with precisely aimed bursts of Irish Gaelic. No big surprise given that she's Irish. She has basically just called me a good-for-nothing. Fairly mild knowing her, so she must not be terribly angry just yet, but I doubt that will last for long.

First cup of coffee in hand, I head back upstairs to the office. I find my bifocals and slip them on. Suddenly the world is far less blurry than before. I read the text on my monitor. 137 emails are waiting for me. Must be a light day. 17 of them I forward to my publicist and 10 of them to my personal assistant. They both know better how to handle them than me. 10 are just SPAM that managed to circumvent my filters. Of the 100 remaining, 12 are personal, 25 are friend requests from an extra large sampler plate of social networks, 15 are fan mail I can handle directly, 8 are Twitter follow notifications, 1 is an e-ticket for an upcoming flight to a faraway book signing, and 17 are answers to questions I have posed to my various research sources. The last 22 are FROM my publicist and/or my PA and/or my publisher. Those will probably need answers by day's end.

I log on to Ping.fm and update my Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, ad nauseum, all at once, greeting the world with one eye open and tongue planted firmly in cheek.

M. R. Sellars is listening 2 theme from MacGyver while building rocket launcher out of a tampon, dryer lint, cheerios & a burnt sparkplug

I'm never particularly serious in the morning. Even if I sound serious, I'm not. It’s just no way to start the day.

Now I hear the radio playing in the bedroom across the hall. That can only mean one thing—time is short. I click over to weatherbug and check the forecast. Clear and cold with a high around 28. The radio switches off and I hear feet hit the floor. Immediately following that I hear the clang of iron against iron. Satan himself, hearing the petite footfalls and knowing that my wife is now awake, closes the gates to Hell for the day and hides in his fallout shelter. For the Prince of Darkness, he really is a big wuss.

I've finished off cup o’ java #1, so I move a few more emails into their designated folders then head down the stairs. I’m only a scant few minutes behind Evil Kat. When I arrive she is feeding the four-legged cats because she won the coin toss. You'll understand what I mean by that in a minute. I pull down a tray, set it up with a bowl of Trix, some fruit, a glass of milk, and a gummi vitamin. I put it on the dining room table and awaken the offspring on my way to the basement. Once there, I clean the litter boxes. Now you understand what I meant about the coin toss. I check the hamper. What day is it? Friday. Laundry day. I'll get back to that.

I take out the trash. The neighbors think I'm insane because it's 14 degrees outside and I'm in shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of worn out Crocs. No biggie. I have to maintain my rep as the crazy neighbor somehow, and this is as easy a way as any. Back inside I wash my hands then unload the dishwasher and start on my second cup of coffee. After that I pack the lunches I made earlier, line them up, then take a quick detour to sort the laundry.

The sun is coming up now. My wife is upstairs making herself too pretty for words while hatching her plan for world domination. I only know that it involves an army of red haired women, with her as their leader, of course. She refuses to tell me any more than that. I grab a quick shower, get dressed for the day, then head back outside. There's frost on the windshield of the redhead's van, and that simply won't do. I start it up, flip on the heater, and then scrape the windows. When I finish, I run back inside, throw Evil Kat's lunch tote over my shoulder, grab up her laptop, and walk her out to the van. A quick goodbye complete with PDA* right there in the driveway, and she is off to work. Now I can scrape the windows on my truck.

"Can we talk yet?" Felicity is right there once again, harping at me. "Your distraction is gone."
"Not yet."
"But yes she..."
I cut her off. "Daughter. School. You know the drill."
Felicity stamps her foot and shrieks. As she stalks off I can hear her yelling for Rowan and Ben. She's calling up the reinforcements. This could get ugly if I don’t hurry.

Back inside I pick something from the freezer to thaw, then check to make sure I have all the necessary ingredients to fix the dinner I have in mind. I don't, so I make a list and stuff it in my pocket. The offspring is ready to go. I pour coffee into a travel mug and load the paper-recycling bucket while she hops into the truck. 10 minutes later I am dropping her off at school. Cars are everywhere and no one is paying attention. A harried parent starts rolling across the parking lot without bothering to look in front of his car. I push my daughter and two other kids out of harm’s way then end up sprawled on the hood of the oncoming vehicle while screaming at the driver to stop. He's shocked, but I'm just angry. I give him a terse lecture about safe driving in school zones as he glazes over. He looks like he might be afraid that I’m going to pull out a tire iron and beat him to death. The truth is, I considered it, but I have too much to do and I don’t look good in orange, or stripes either.

Fuming, I leave. The kids are safely inside and I’ve successfully scared the parent enough that he is likely to be dropping by his house to change underwear before heading to work. And, speaking of work, I still have to drop off the recycling, run by the bank, check the PO Box, then hit the grocery for a gallon of milk, some black beans, and some frozen corn. I do all of that and finally make it back home in one piece.

Felicity is waiting for me. I knew she would be. I ignore her for the time being which just raises her ire even more. She’s a redhead just like my wife, so it’s starting to get a little dangerous in my world.

I have a handful of fan mail, 1 of which actually turns out to be hate mail, and another is somewhere in between. Seems the person who penned the latter read one of my books and now wants to save my soul. I hate to tell them this, but it’s already beyond redemption. I put away the groceries, and then pour the last of the coffee—now cold—into my mug and run it through the microwave before heading upstairs. Once in the office I stuff the hate mail into my "if anything suspicious ever happens to me look in here for possible suspects” file, then set the rest aside for now.

I sit down in my chair and roll forward to my desk. 32 new emails are cluttering my inbox. Nothing pressing though, so they will have to wait. I have a promise to keep. I look around for a moment and breathe a relaxed sigh, at least partially confident that the dust of the morning craziness has finally settled. I click a shortcut on my desktop, page down, and then rest my fingers on the keys.

"Okay, Felicity," I call aloud, just because I can. "Tell everyone soon is finally here. I’m ready to listen now."

Moments later, she, and all of the other fictional characters that live inside my head are talking all at once while I frantically take dictation.

And now is when the real mayhem begins...

* Public Display of Affection

(See Bio – Next Page)

An active member of the HWA (Horror Writers Association), M. R. Sellars is a relatively unassuming homebody who, in his own words, considers himself just a “guy with a lot of nightmares and a word processing program.” Legend has it he started making up stories to entertain a stuffed bear during his single digit years, then began writing them down sometime around his early teens when the growing catalogue of fiction started causing him to experience migraines. Although he had several short stories and newspaper articles published during his early adult life, it wasn’t until 2000 that his first full-length novel, Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation, hit bookstore shelves, officially launching the acclaimed paranormal thriller series which features a practicing Witch who aids the Saint Louis police department in solving bizarre crimes that have occult overtones.

Sellars says that the biggest adjustment he has had to make with his writing career is coping with the time spent away from his family while traveling on promotional tours. Still, he approaches the necessity of public appearances with the same humorously deadpan and satirical wit that he applies to life in general, stating, “As long as I have an RC Cola and a bag of peanuts, I’m all good, Bubba.”

All of the current novels in Sellars’ continuing Rowan Gant Investigations saga have spent several consecutive weeks on numerous bookstore bestseller lists as well as a consistent showing on the Amazon.com Horror/Occult top 100.

Sellars currently resides in the Midwest with his incomparably amazing wife, equally fantastic daughter, and a pair of felines he describes as, “the fat gray one and the stupid orange one.” At home, when not writing or taking care of the household, he indulges his passions for cooking and hanging out with friends. In order to satisfy his lifelong dream of being a satirical humor columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper, twice each week he removes his glasses, dons blue tights and a red cape, then blogs about the incredibly bizarre world that is his life as a writer, husband, and father. It has been said that his blog articles sometimes blur the line between fiction and reality. To that Sellars responds, “What line?”

M. R. Sellars can be located on the web wherever there is a virtual bar serving virtual single malt Scotch, single barrel bourbon, good Irish whisky, and decent beer. In other words, look for him on the major social networking sites.

Official Website: www.mrsellars.com

Blog: www.brainpanleakage.com


  1. What chaos your morning is! LOL


  2. What a wonderful peek into your day. I don't think mine has ever been so hectic, even when I shared a house with kids (now grown), cats (all passed on) or spouse (thankfully, legally absent).

    I do love the Rowan Gant books, and am looking forward to the next romp.


  3. @Terri - It can definitely be crazy around here. Evil Kat is actually home with a migraine today. Have to run the offspring to school shortly - she's having Nutella on whole wheat today (but don't tell her. I slipped it in to see if I can start moving her out of that PB&J rut LOL).

    @Dawn - Thanks! Glad you like the books. Miranda (#10) is going to be a bit of a game changer for the gang. But, I think everyone will enjoy it. :)

  4. You should really stop telling people about the redhead army. All that is supposed to be secret, you know...

  5. All this redhead talk makes me think of the Redheaded Argonians in Still Life With Woodpecker...

  6. Yes, but I have dark brown hair. I'm a dissident. :-O

  7. M. R. You never fail to make me laugh. and cry at the same time simply because I am laughing so hard. I must admit that among authors that I read (many you should see my TBR List and book shelves) though all of yours are on the special shelf with other signed books. I still need to catch up in the series though. Are you doing a signing anytime soon in St. Louis? Yeah I am right in your back yard go ahead Look!

    Sincerely yours


  8. Alexx -

    Actually, yes. Sorta kinda. Maybe. Could happen. Guess it really depends on your definition of "soon". If it's anything like Felicity's, we're screwed. :)

    But seriously (write that on the calendar. I'm rarely serious.) I promised Mystic Valley Books on Hanley Rd that I would do something there - Sooooo, we are going to work out the details of having the launch party for Miranda: A Rowan Gant Investigation at their store, probably in early to mid-June. The book is due out in May, so it could happen late May too, but it largely depends on my schedule, if you know what I mean. After all, I could be busy hemming my pants.

    Glad I can make you laugh. That's one of my favorite things to do - besides scaring the bejeebers out of folks. That's fun too. :)

    Thanks so much for the comment! :-D

  9. have you ever mentioned the other people in your head to a therapist? if not, then i suggest yo never do so. i like hearing about their lives and look forward to reading all of them in the future.

    i haven't read mystery since i was little, and was reading 'the boxcar children.' your books renewed my interest in the genre. thank you for that.

  10. Lovely -

    Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy the exploits of the crew. I thoroughly enjoy writing them, although Felicity can be a bit of a nag when I'm not writing fast enough for her liking - Don't tell her I said that. She's almost as mean as Evil Kat. ;-D

    As to therapy... I'll take your advice. People already look at me a bit askew most of the time. Best not give them a reason to sedate me. Although, I could definitely use a nap. ;-)

    Speaking of the Boxcar Children - EK tells me she loved those when she was a kid. I was a Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys fanatic. Had all of my mom's old library bound hardcovers... Tore through those and then ended up reading tons of Ellery Queen, Sherlock Holmes, and the like.

  11. This blog defintely made my morning. I had to laugh and then I laughed some more and who could have a bd morning, a hectic morning or a sluggish morning after reading this blog. LOL


  12. Glad to entertain, Pamela. And, I hear you... I always wonder why every single one of my mornings seems like a Monday. :-D

  13. Wow...and I thought I had my hands full with the morning zoo (yes, zoo...we do reptile rescue as well as stray felines/canines etc). This was a great read.. I would suggest you do so more often but hell, I can only get to my blog once a week or so. No stone tossing there bc I'll get hit. And I think the voices just make you sane. It's the straight-laced ones that are gonna end up going postal one day. Keep on writing and we will keep on reading. You are one my Circle's fave madman!

  14. Well...at least on this particular day, you didn't fall up the stairs, slip on the ice, or get your hand irrevocably caught in the garbage disposal. Of course, though, that could be seen as fodder for new book material! LOL!

  15. Thanks, Chaotic -

    (appropriate name there, LOL)... Cool that you do the rescue. EK and I rescued felines for years, and like you canines and a few other "beasts" - various snakes, turtles, birds, etc. We are actually down to just the two cats now. Taking a bit of a break since my tour schedule has me traveling all the time. Not fair to the animals, and not fair to EK for all the work to be heaped on her. Still, we keep involved with shelters and finding homes for critters. :)

    On the blogging thing, I had originally planned to blog daily, but very quickly found that I couldn't. 2 per week is about my limit. Sometimes 3. I try to get them done in batches so I can set them up to deploy at intervals and stay free to work on the projects I have contracted.

    And, I'll take you up on that last bit - y'all keep reading and I'll keep writing! :-D

  16. Dorothy -

    Soooo, has that been YOUR day today? And, is this the Dorothy I think it is? :-D

  17. Okay folks. I have to run downstairs and fix dinner before Evil Kat arrives home. I promise I'll be back to answer any more questions that crop up as soon as NCIS is over (Yeah... the redhead and I always watch NCIS and Castle together...)

    So, anyway, don't be shy. Ask whatever you want, and I'll try to answer. If it's too personal, I'll just make up something to tell you. ;-D

  18. What is it like to travel all over and speak at different events. Makes it hard for family time? And when are you getting back to Kansas City....cough cough


  19. "'Tis I," said the Dorothy you think this is. ;)

    And yes...yesterday included a minor slip on the ice and the hand caught in the garbage disposal. [Next time, I'll just wait for Mark to get home and fish out whatever I managed to drop in the damnable thing! LOL!]

  20. Just a quick drive by pre-dinner:

    @Dorothy - Yeah. Wait for Mark next time, okay? ;-)

    @Duane/Raven - Yes, actually, it does. My daughter learned to ride a bike while I was in New Jersey... Or New York... Or Maine... Or something of that sort. All I know is that I wasn't here at home. But, sometimes the family gets to come along with me and that makes it nice. I actually took some time off during 2009 to stay home and watch the kid grow and the redhead get prettier. Somehow she keeps doing that and I just keep getting older... I think that's why she keeps me in the attic. :-)

    As to KC - could be in the cards. When are you getting back to STL? ;-)

    Okay, EK is home. Dinner then NCIS. I'll catch up with y'all shortly. :)

  21. Thank you for a very entertaining look at "a day in the life of Murv". You already know I love your books, but you also have a killer sense of humor and it's always great to find out that someone you admire is a nice guy and not a dick. Keep up the great work!

    Michelle (DallasRedhead)

  22. @Michelle -

    Straight to the point down there in Texas, eh? LOL! Thanks. I try to be a nice guy, but the dude who almost ran over the kids - mine included - came close to getting the "Dexter" treatment.


  23. Entertaining peek into your world, as always, Murv! A couple of questions I've been meaning to ask:
    How well do you think you'll handle becoming a #1 best-selling author, comparable to Stephen King? (That is our mission as The Ghoul Squad, right?)
    Secondly, I've always thought the Rowan Gant books would translate beautifully into graphic novels. Have you ever been approached or considered this?

  24. Heya Ailishsmom! :)

    Well, if I become a #1 best-selling author, drinks are on me. LOL! Seriously though, I'd like to think I'll handle it the same way I handle everything else. Not much would change. I mean, maybe we'd buy a bigger house. Or, just put an addition on this one, but the reality is I'm just an old country boy at heart. I can't see myself going hog wild and getting terribly big headed. Besides, EK would just pop it with one of her stiletto heels and that would be that. :-)

    Of course, don't let that deter you from the mission LOL

    BTW - for those who might be wondering what The Ghoul Squad is, that's my official "street team" - You can read about them and/or join over at www.rowangant.com

    Now, on the second question - kinda yes but not really. How's that for being non-committal? :-) Actually, a friend of mine works for Marvel, and he tossed my name and the books around with some of the folks who did some other graphic adaptations, but thus far there haven't been any bites... I DO, however, have a good friend who writes game modules for RPG's and he is adapting the novels - and Rowan's world, so to speak - to an RPG. I think he mentioned something about a possible test game sometime this year... :)

    But, if someone is interested in adapting the novels to graphic novels, I'm more than happy to sit down and have a beer with them. :)

  25. Murv,

    Thanks for the response to my inquiry regarding a signing in St. Louis. Every time I drive through the area off of Midland by the one park I think of you and your books. I work in the area and bank in the area so Rowan and felicity's stories come to life for me. Thank you for all the hours of enjoyment both my husband and I get from your books. I can't wait to say hello in person once again


  26. Alexx,

    Rock on. Keep an eye out on my website for updates. I'll make sure the details are there. :)

  27. Good morning folks -

    I just wanted to drop in and say thanks to Terri and Pamela for hosting me here at Mayhem and Magic. I had a blast writing the blog, and thoroughly enjoyed "virtually visiting" with everyone. :-D

    And, now it's time for me to go pack some lunches and do the mid-week laundry sorting.

    Until the next time, remember to keep reading. The author's life you save may be mine. ;-)


  28. Thanks Murv! This was great!

  29. I know, I know. A week or so late a dollar short, but I do read you! Great to read some of what you go through on a daily basis. And I am eagerly anticipating Miranda (#10). My mind has been racing to trying figure out what mayhem you are going to get the crew into...I should leave that to you, but it is fun to think of what mischief you can cause for them.

    Redheads, true or from a bottle, can be very taxing. My business partner can be very demanding and her red is from a bottle. Goddess forbid she were a true redhead, I'd never get a moment's rest. lol

    I would like to talk to you about possibly doing an interview around the release date of your next book. I do a podcast on BTR called Pagan-Musings and we are always looking forward to interviewing authors. Talking with Kaedrich Olsen (Runes for Transformation) this weekend.

    Give Sly Dorothy a hug for me when next you see her. Been a year and half since she was in my neck of the woods (up at Next Millennium in Omaha). Would be great to get the chance to shake hands and heads with you!


  30. Philipp -

    Just caught up with you on Facebook... Absolutely, let me know how you want to go about doing the interview. I am a dyed in the wool Skyper if that helps. :) Also, will have to visit your store sometime! I've been out to Next Millennium before... That reminds me, I should get in touch with Charlie and see what's going on. I'd love to hit Omaha again.

    I see Dorothy next month in Texas of all places LOL! We are doing the Ostara Fest in Killeen together.


  31. Loved reading this. I got a good chuckle. Just one question...have you ever actually put the peanuts IN the RC Cola? I used to love that when I was a kid. YUM....


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