Monday, December 18, 2023

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

The last ever quality post brought to you by Steve!

Hey, everybody!

That's the last time I'm going to say, "Hey, everybody!" on this blog.

In case you've missed it over the past month plus, Across the Blog is the end of this post.  I could make some empty promises about us getting the band back together here and there, or maybe hosting a special event or a special guest in the future, but they would be just that: empty.  Probably after today this blog will just sit and rust, unused, unthought of, and unread, until Google shuts down Blogger or the internet implodes.

And that's sad.  

But it's not the end of the world.

We'll all still be here.  I have my own personal blog, which will probably become the new ground zero for my thoughts, as it was before there ever was an Across the Board.  For the last few years, as I've found I have less I wish to say publicly and blogging has become harder and harder, I've held everything back until it was my turn to come on here.  Now, when thoughts arise that demand to be shared, I'll just go straight to Manuscripts Burn.

Christian, Victor, Jess, Kayleigh, Mary, Sam, and Karissa will all return to their corners of social media and the internet, as so many of our contributors have before.  And the friendships will remain.  

So why does it feel so damn hard to say goodbye?

I haven't been involved with a lot of creative endeavors that ended.  Usually, if anything, they just peter out.  And when something just peters out you don't "miss" it in the way you would that something with a hard start and stop does, because you never really thought about it ending, until you look back at it and realize that it just did at some point.  Certainly, I've never been involved in a creative endeavor that lasted ten years and then ended.  That' God, a quarter of my life.  It sounds stupid to say, but it's true.  Almost the entirety of my writing career, put another way.

For the past two months, in anticipation of this day, I've been looking back at our earliest posts, mostly to get a feel for when we actually started and how and what that looked like.  My first appearance on this blog was being interviewed by Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, who invited me to be a contributor here in the first place, and has gone on to have an astonishing career.  Then my first post was interviewing Mary Fan, who a few years later would become a contributor here, and has also gone on to have enormous success.  

I hate to name any more names, for fear of making anyone feel left out, but I've followed the careers of each of the contributors to this blog since departing, and everyone's gone on to do great work.  In a funny way, a lot of people had to say goodbye to ATB in the first place because their careers were taking off.  Maybe someday looking at the ATB archives will be like looking at that photograph of the West Point Class of 1915.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it's just a thing some people did for a while, and then will have fond memories of for a little while, and then be completely forgotten.

I probably need to stop writing now or I'll start crying.  Or, worse, get schmaltzy like the last episode of MASH, and perhaps even name this final blogpost after it.

So...thank you.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you for spending the last ten years with all of us here at Across the Board.  And we'll see you all on down the road.

Goodbye, everybody!

Saturday, December 16, 2023

On Death and Rebirth - A Goodbye Post from New Orleans

I am currently writing this final post for ATB: Writers in New Orleans, where I am attending the wedding of a friend. It’s been a commemorative and lively celebration of sorts thus far, celebrating in a city very much built to be the life of the party in and of itself. Weddings are events celebrating the fact we are very much alive. A reinforced forging of a bond crafted out of something something broken. There’s something magical to the deconstruction and of the I in the embrace of the WE. A ritual that sees two spirits becoming one in partnership sharing their ideals, hopes, and dreams. Forged in rituals of reaffirmation, marriage feels like a reminder of the ending of one's bachelorhood and the embrace, of a new modality of being, and the priorities that come with it.

Children. Retirement. Savings. Responsibility. Things of interest in the pursuit of fulfilling the needs of not just our happiness, but with that, those of the external other that is your partner. To live for not just your interest but in the joys of being with that someone as well or else you become a lost soul in the sea of the strayed. Which I don’t fully believe yet is something proselytized to no end.

I love the city of New Orleans because it is a city of Life and Death. A place alive with its lively jazz music – an improvised style historically crafted to embrace the feeling of the moment – and sweeping all-spiritual juju, summoned by imbibing in the spirits. The absinthe bottles to ever clear the clairvoyance of our perception that New Orleans has always felt like a place to ramble on absolutely about absolute nothings, which is not unlike what I'm doing right here.

In the short time that I’ve spent in this city, besides getting heinously drunk – or Cahssay’d as the locals have called it – I have now tried all the local cuisine, done the French Quarter tours, and visited many museums, atop checking out a few local hauntings and cursed places. I visited these places out of morbid curiosity and personal interest, coming from a former Goth kid gone Emo turned Scenester, now just shy of middle age for any of these hipstery labels to feel relevant now.

Tomb of still-living actor Nicholas Cage in New Orleans' oldest cemetery.

Adventuring the city included visits to the most popular attractions of the spiritual including a cursed ghost mansion of atrocities, a convent hosting a series of vampires, and the grave of the Voodoo Queen. On our first day, we found a three-hundred-year-old European mirror at an antique store, whose frame was finished about the edges with a pair of dancing Phoenixes. Creatures who in ancient Egypt, depicted rebirth within the flames. It was the death of who we were as people from before. The beginning of something new. And the embrace of the people we were going to be, which is what I was happy about with the newly married couple.

This was sort of the feeling I’ve been having this entire trip with me leaving The Workprint, my little entertainment journalism outlet I helped shape after 6 years, and of course, seeing the end of this Blog right here. I do feel like many chapters of my life are closing at the moment but I also do think this is making room for brand new stories. 

See, I’m at a point in life where I feel connected to something beyond my control.  I have a greater sense of purpose now, which as mentioned in my previous posts after finishing my first comic book, makes me sharper in pursuit of what I want to value within my life. This is good, as I’ve been feeling like I have been needing a change for quite some time. At the moment, I have a new Comic Book I am working on called ‘Dead on The Inside’. It is a different take on the zombie genre equal parts love letter as it is, satire. Atop of this, I am also ghostwriting a book about recruiting, pitching a few stories, and working on a screenplay pilot for a company hoping to get picked up by Netflix. So yes, this year, will be my busiest, and I’m sad I cannot share it here. Though I can promise things are happening for me.

I can’t think of a better place for this new phase to begin than down in New Orleans. A place built upon the abandoned graves of the dead, spawning life anew in the Bayou. When I visited the Tomb in Cemetery #1 of Marie Laveau, a woman of legend whose life inspired not just Voodoo but the city itself and a whole sea of art and musicI couldn’t help but feel like I was meant to make a wish on her spirit.

The sayings tell stories of her being almost like a D'jinn of sorts, etch XXX on the tomb and ask a deal with her soul and the spirits of the Earth for any wish in return. Which I wondered, if it would be worth it, to ask for strength to make something great that’ll stand the test of time.

I realized of course, that despite liking to write about the paranoia of the paranormal – I’m actually, not all that into the practice. Just the ideas behind beliefs. Which, I promise, if you follow me on this next leg of the adventure, is where the magic will be made. Those things will happen soon in my life as a storyteller. 

And the world will feel ineffably changed. 

I’ll leave you with this. In the 13th card in the tarot deck, lies the death card. It is one that I often draw by chance quite often in these ‘psychic’ readings. 13 is also, by coincidence, my lucky number. If you know me personally, I probably have also shared with you that wherever I go, death often seems to follow. So as a result I'm a bit obsessed with death and the beyond. Yet, as dictated in both Boolean logic equations which form the basis of modern computing, and even, the philosophy of Daoism: every iteration of something hosts a concept of NOT that thing in itself. So with every death comes rebirth. The start of life anew. Or as that drunken bar tune goes…

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

So here’s to the end of ATBWriters and the beginnings of something else entirely.

Thank you to Mary Fan for letting me be a part of the club.

This one is for all of you. That we may start the new year with humble beginnings that shake the foundations of our very world -- for the better.


Monday, December 11, 2023

The End of an Era!

Hello (and goodbye, I suppose)!

If you regularly read the blog you'll know that we're closing up shop, and are all posting are last ever offerings to you fine folk. This is mine.

I would have had to, regretfully, leave after this last month of 2023, anyway, but I'm sad to know that it's all ending entirely because I enjoy reading everyone's posts each month. This year has been crazy, so packed with responsibilities, new things, and obligations. I've hit the point of complete and utter burnout, so much so that I've come to the reluctant realisation that moving forward in 2024, I'm going to have to drop some of the plates I've been spinning.

I'd like to thank Koz for inviting me on as a contributor a couple of years ago, and everyone else for having me in the clan, amongst all the other wonderful posts that I've got to live amongst. And obviously, to anyone reading - thanks for being here! I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings as much as I enjoyed writing them!

So to close out, I'd like to share the good word about one last thing, a festive book that I'm currently reading! John McNee's HAIL SANTA is currently available, and satisfies both my love of horror, and my extremely intense and all-encompassing love of Christmas!

Reject God. Worship Santa!

With a failing economy and dwindling population, the once-flourishing mining community of St. Nicholas in northern Canada is on the road to ruin.

That was until the arrival of the Bingzhen Group, a Chinese-American conglomerate with ambitious plans to buy the town and transform it into the most popular ski resort and holiday destination in North America.

With the deal done and Christmas approaching, the community is buzzing with excitement about the future and the influx of new residents, like Binzhen envoy Ling Wong, Scottish schoolteacher Shona Fleming, new school custodian Curtis Tate and a small army of contractors. What none of them realize is that St. Nicholas was never theirs to sell.

There is something else here which has long laid claim to the land. Something which has long held the town in its thrall and does not intend to give it up without a fight. Something strange and inhuman. Something cruel and powerful and very, very, hungry.

The children call him Santa Claus.

I'm only one chapter in and already I recommend it. The mystery, the scary folk-horror(ish - don't know where it's going yet!) vibe, and the tone it's written in is thoroughly entertaining!

If you want to check it out, you can find it HERE.

Okay, for the last time, that's it from me. Happy Holidays everyone, love to you all xxxxxx

Thursday, December 7, 2023

10 Resolutions for 2024 (Goodbye)


The year is coming to an end, and it looks like this blog is too. Everyone's already touched on that by now. We're all a bit sad and a bit relieved at the same time. The end of one era signals the beginning of another. I'm so glad I got to be a part of it these last few years. I didn't always have a lot to say. Blog topics have always been hard for me, but it was nice to have something to contribute to on the regular. I'm super thankful to Koz for inviting me to be a part of it.

So, now that the elephant in the room has been acknowledged, I leave you with my list of New Year's Resolution suggestions for the start of 2024:


1.) Make yourself the most important person in your life.

2.) Stop defining yourself by what you do to earn money (or how much money you make!)

3.) Take long relaxing soaks in the bathtub at least once a week.

4.) Stop worrying about your weight and concentrate more about your overall health.

5.) Be proud of every scar, wrinkle, and stretch mark you've earned.

6.) Wash your pillows more often.

7.) Redo one room in your place, even if it just means throwing out stuff.

8.) Create something.

9.) Splurge every now and then.

10.) Tell your friends you love them.

I'll knock one of these out right now. 

I love you all. 

Thanks for reading my random crap every week. If you want to read more of my crap, visit my website for a list of my newest books at

Stay weird.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Fare Thee Well, Across the Board!

If my previous post sounded a little final, well, that's because I actually thought it was gonna be my last post and only realized after writing it that there was another month left to 2023 (I've been very discombobulated this year). I'm of course bummed about the blog coming to an end, but also I'm glad we were able to give it a proper send-off. Also, eight years, the amount of time I've been writing here, is a looooong while to be doing anything. Other than living in my Jersey City apartment and owning my cat, I haven't stuck with any one thing for this long consistently.

Since I already waxed philosophical last month, I figured I'd use this final post to give a summary of where I'm at, writing-wise, and what's coming up next.

A bunch of my writer friends were making graphics to show off their published output for 2023, and of course I couldn't resist jumping on the brag train...

I find it pretty funny that they're all short stories pictured here, since I still consider myself a novelist, and still say I can't write short stories, only mini novels. The novel I was supposed to publish this year, Flynn Nightsider and the Ire of Inferno, hasn't materialized yet for a number of reasons... okay mainly one reason, which is burnout. I also have half a dozen novel-length manuscripts in the aether... maybe my agent will be able to find a home for one, or maybe I'll publish one myself after I wrap up the Flynn Nightsider series. I don't know. A few years ago, I wanted nothing more than to see my books in print, even if it meant putting in the work to print them myself. Now, I'm a little more neutral about it. Having the book be finished was the goal... I care less about whether it's out there or not. Or maybe that's the burnout talking.

Anyway, here's what I've definitely got coming up in 2024:

Flynn Nightsider and the Ire of Inferno,
the third and final Flynn Nightsider book... I mean it this time! I'm gonna release this one at Gen Con in August if it's the last thing I do!!!!! I already have a full outline and the first few chapters written... just need to shake the cobwebs out of my head and finish the damn thing.

Brave New Girls: Chronicles of Curious Girls who Create. Yes, we're back with an EIGHTH anthology,
which feels wild because the whole project kicked off after a beer-fueled Facebook rant between me and Paige Daniels, which led to the crowdfunding campaign for what was meant to be a single book, which has apparently turned into a series... hey, as long as people keep askin' for 'em, we'll keep makin' 'em! Submissions are currently open, by the way! We'll be releasing the anthology in July 2024.

Magic Under the Big Top, a circus-themed anthology I'm editing for indie author collective Snowy Wings Publishing. This one's taking longer than expected to come together because we're all busy, busy indie authors with a gazillion irons in the fire... I just finished my own contribution, like, yesterday (that's not even an exaggeration). But I'm okay with the long timeline, since I know it'll be amazing when it finally comes out... sometime in 2024.

Phenomenons: The Wind and Fire, the third installment in Crazy 8 Press's superhero shared-world anthology, edited by Michael Jan Friedman. We just hit our Kickstarter goal, which means this book is definitely happening! My salt-wielding teen heroine Sarcastic Fringehead will be returning for another adventure! What's it about? Not entirely sure yet, though I think I'll pick up some threads from my last story, "Above the Salt", in Phenomenons: Season of Darkness... 

Eliminate the Impossible, an anthology of Sherlock Holmes reimaginings with Derek Tyler Attico, Christopher D. Abbott, and Keith R.A. DeCandido. We'll be indie publishing this just-for-funsies project, with a cover by yours truly! Who will my Holmes be? Undecided... But I'd better figure it out soon, because we're aiming to release it around Christmas 2024.

Combat Monsters, a World War II secret history anthology edited by Henry Herz, in which I'll have a short story. The theme is: What if monsters and mythical creatures had taken part in major World War II battles? This was new territory for me, and writing my story took a lot more effort than I expected. But I turned in my draft earlier this year, and I'm excited to see it out in the world sometime in 2024!

That's it for now (wait that's already 6 things GAH!). There may be one or two other short things that materialize over the course of next year... Also, at some point, I've gotta return to the Fated Stars series... we'll see...

Anyway, farewell, Across the Board! You can find me writing at The Workprint, and, of course, posting on the socials, mainly Facebook and Instagram (and occasionally, for some reason, Twitter-now-X).

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Endings are Hard

Well, here it is, My final post on the blog. 

I was thrilled to be invited here in 2021, and my first post was published almost exactly two years ago. My first appearance on here was about eighteen months before that, where I discussed our pandemic rewatch of the Star Wars films with Karissa Laurel and Mary Fan. It's been a fun two years, where I got to write about AI created TV shows, Jack Reacher, how to approach art from creators who are assholes, and introduce many of you to the cutest dog in the world. It's been great to have a place to share my thoughts on things that I didn't otherwise have an outlet for. 

 As this blog draws to a close, I got to thinking about what makes a good ending. We all have examples of  an ending that feels satisfying and endings that don't. (Hoo boy, do I have examples of shows that didn't stick the landing... Too bad the blog is wrapping up because I could write a few thousand words about Game of Thrones and how they screwed over Danerys and WTF with King Bran and... deep breath... cool blue ocean...)

But, in the time we have left together, let's focus on the positive. For me, one of the most satisfying endings ever came from the HBO drama, Six Feet Under. The show was good for about three seasons and kinda wonky for the last two, but the finale...

In case you are unfamiliar with this 20-year old prestige soap opera, it centered on a family-owned funeral home, Fisher & Sons, and the foibles of the staff. One of the hooks of the show was that the cold open each week would show someone dying, often in a fairly gruesome or macabre way (like the woman who stood out of the sunroof of her limo and got slammed by a traffic light). The episode would feature the staff preparing their funeral while their own personal dramas played out, giving you a bit of a window into the life the deceased had.

For the final scene, the daughter, Claire, is driving off to college. As she heads east through the desert, the episode flashed forward, showing glimpses of the lives of her family and their partners and children. And it also shows how each one of them will meet their end. Most live long and happy lives, some end unexpectedly (RIP poor Keith Charles' security guard character), but it absolutely feels true to the series. 

While the series may have gotten wildly off track in its last two seasons, the finale definitely nailed what fans liked about the show. Every character had their story completed, every arc was paid off in a satisfying way that was true to the characters. The subtext of the series about life at a funeral home was always that life can end unexpectedly, so treasure what you have. Especially those around you. 

Thank you to everyone who read my posts over the last two years. Thank you to this blog for hosting me. Thank you to Karissa and Mary for inviting me to come write. 

And if you want to follow me or more of my writing, you can find me at Instagram and Bluesky under the handle @vgcatano, and over at the pop-culture site

And Dany will miss you all as well, so come and visit her on Instagram where you can see more cuteness.

Until we meet again.

Victor Catano lives in New York City with his wonderful wife, Kim, and his adorable pughuaua, Danerys. When not writing, he works in live theater as a stage manager, production manager, and chaos coordinator. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles. Follow him on Bluesky and Instagram @vgcatano and find his books on Amazon

Monday, November 27, 2023

That's All Folks 🫡

I discovered Across The Board two years ago, when Koz made a post asking to fill a spot that had recently been vacated. At the time, I saw it as a way to reach a larger audience in regards to my book reviews and indie horror. Now, as I look back at my time with ATB, I realize these regular postings and email updates became a part of my routine that I'm greatly going to miss.

Koz really said everything best with his most recent post, especially since I haven't spent the last decade in this arena. However, I will say that I have appreciated this opportunity so much and it's been a pleasure to write amongst the amazing writers here. Koz gifted me a chance I'll always appreciate and that I'll never forget. 

Thanks to all our followers and supporters, thanks to the awesome Koz, and thanks to my fellow bloggers. Happy holidays and happy new year! 🥳 ✨️

If you'd like to connect with me in the future, you can find my socials here:

Goodbye friends ❤️ 

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