by Betty Dravis

Barbara Watkins and Betty Dravis, authors of “Six-Pack of Blood”

Unless you’re related to Johnny Depp, the sexy, lovable star of Pirates of the Caribbean, I bet you have never been asked to name a skeleton before.  Well, there’s a first time for everything and I hope you decide to hang around to help me and Barbara Watkins, my co-author of Six-Pack of Blood and its upcoming sequel Six-Pack of Fear. We’re looking for a real cool name for our hot little skeleton boy.

The cover boy on our internationally best-selling, award-winning Six-Pack of Blood, as you know, is a skeleton created by graphic artists Matthew and Danielle Drake. At first, our skeleton comes across as pretty gory–that horrible wound in his head and all–but once you get to know him, he’s really a lovable guy. He’s not all evil; only on his bad days. On those days, he’s putting on a monster act, anyway, to lure millions of you into reading our books. Don’t begrudge him that. It’s his job and he’s a killer at it; bringing in all kinds of horror/thriller/paranormal/supernatural/ghost and occult fans.

In fact, he’s so good at promoting that we’ve even had a movie offer and are anticipating an original feature film on the order of Twilight Zone. It’s even been rumored that the dream actor Johnny Depp is scheduled to play our “skeleton” to serve as host for the six segments of this upcoming movie.

I’m here to put that rumor to rest! That would be Barbara’s dream—she’s nutso about Depp–but it just isn’t happening that fast, folks.

And I can’t give all the credit to our skeleton boy for grabbing the attention of the award-winning producer/director Dimi Nakov and encouraging him to award Six-Pack of Blood the Best Paranormal/Horror award. To give credit where credit is due, Barbara and I are working ourselves to the bone (pun intended) promoting this book and the skeleton, by extension. And our loyal friends, like you, are pushing it too.

Look who’s peeking over Johnny’s shoulder. Isn’t is fantastic that he has our own Barbara Watkins hanging out on his wall? 🙂

The first skeleton I ever saw was in an anatomical school book where we were studying the human body (and snickering, as youngsters will). It looked something like this and seemed creepy to me at the time. The only real skeleton I ever saw was in a doctor’s office and that thing actually scared me.

Time and experience changes people and I’ve matured into a woman who can write about skeletons with abandon and joke about them without cringing. In fact, I came to love skeletons and all kinds of creepy monsters when reading my first horror book by writer John Saul. Then I went from books to movies, from Saul to Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz and more. (Of late, you’ll most likely find me with my nose planted in my Kindle Fire reading newer authors like the Queen of Terror Barbara Watkins, Mark LaFlamme, Scott Nicholson and Jeani Rector, the popular founder of Horror-Zine.

Skullduggery Pleasant

In my search for skeletons, I found two that were rather dapper: Skullduggery Pleasant who is a skeleton/detective/magician in a popular book series by Derek Landy. Another lovely skeleton who won my heart is in an exquisite oil painting Late Lover by the genius artist and author Uvi Poznansky. This work of art and other pieces by Uvi can be viewed at

Although I adore the romanticism of the cape-wearing, flower-bearing skeleton in Uvi’s masterpiece, none of those skeletons are as pretty as mine and Barbara’s “baby boy of horror.” That’s our temporary name for our “boy,” but it doesn’t do him justice. (Well, you know how “mothers” are about their kids.)

“Late Lover,” oil on canvasette, used with special permission from artist Uvi Poznansky

Our “baby boy of horror” is begging for a good name. Please come through for the poor kid.

AND THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN: A few weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook about having a name-the-skeleton contest and many of you were in favor of it. Some even gave your name choices. So now, dear reader, Barbara and I are inviting you to help name our horrific (but most often angelic) boy. Please post your name choice in a comment at end of this blog for a chance to win e-book copies of all of my books and all of Barbara’s.

Are you with us?

And now for a bit of humor in closing: Another reason we love Johnny Depp, outside the fact he loves playing eccentric characters, is his sense of humor. I got a kick because he didn’t “get” Al Pacino’s joke in the following anecdote. (Don’t feel bad, Johnny, I didn’t get it at first, either. Our cover boy had to explain it to me. And isn’t Al a real living legend?)

Here’s the story, as reported in

Johnny Depp will always be tickled remembering his time working with Al Pacino on Donnie Brasco because the Hollywood great told him the same joke over and over again. The actors filmed the mob thriller together in 1997 and the Pirates of the Caribbean star admits Pacino’s sense of humor made it one of the most memorable shoots of his career–even though it took Depp a while to figure out the gag’s punch-line.

Depp says, “Al’s fantastic, he’s a legend. All I knew about Al prior to shooting was that he was certifiably insane. He’s a joker, but he’d like to tell me this one specific joke over and over. And I really didn’t understand it. I didn’t get the joke! He thought it was my problem. He inflicted it upon me and I could feel my IQ points drop.”

“I finally figured it out. He’d lean over and he’d go, ‘John. Skeleton goes into a bar. Orders a beer and a mop.’ On a loop. He would howl every time he told the joke.”

Still with us? If so, then get busy thinking of a name for our cover boy and leave the answer in a comment on this page (not on my Facebook page). Remember, we’ll select the one we like most and the person who wrote it will get four of my five e-books and four of Barbara’s. Go for it, kids! Barbara and I have been doing the Happy Dance ever since “Six-Pack” released because it’s been very good ot us. This book put us into the international best-seller category by going to No. 2 in Germany horror and in the 30s in the UK and it was No. 1 in the U.S. for a day or two when it first came out. Go, baby boy. No matter what we end up calling you, your Mommys will always love you and think you are the most beautiful in the world. 🙂