Friday, August 14, 2020

Recent Reads From HELL!

It's been a while since I wrote about the recent books I've read. In this post I will focus on the horror boom books I've recently read. The first two I actually read earlier this year. I started this post and never finished it.

Ever since reading Pin by Andrew Neiderman, I have been trying to include his books in a somewhat regular rotation (there really is no regular rotation--I read many different authors). At the end of last year I read his book The Immortals (Pocket Books, 1991). I have a theory about Neiderman's work. He was published by about every mass market publisher in the 80s, namely Pocket Books, Berkley and Zebra. So far the Zebra books I've read by him are terrible. I mean, they're so bad I feel like he hired a sixth grader to write them. The Pocket Books novels are written and edited well. Maybe he had a shit editor at Zebra. Maybe those are first drafts and his Pocket Books editor worked magic. Who knows.

The Immortals (Pocket Books, 1991) is a story about vanity and the greed, plain and simple. How far will a man go for riches, and to what ends will vain people go for looks. Seems timely, doesn't it. I won't get into the nitty gritty of the story or plot. Basically a salesman takes a job selling miracle cream that works almost instantaneously...but to what end? People become addicted to the stuff, the salesman becomes addicted to the money, and shit goes downhill quickly from there.

It was a fun read. Nowhere near as good as Pin, but probably a runner up for me. The themes are just as relevant today as when he wrote the book, which I found interesting. The best scene has to do with a dolly that the man's employer gives to his daughter. I won't give it away, but I gotta say that was some gruesome shit. It's a fun read, but nothing groundbreaking.

I also read Ronald Kelly's Something Out There (Zebra, 1991) earlier this year. Above I mentioned that it seemed as if Neiderman had a crummy editor at Zebra. This is certainly not the case with Ronald Kelly. That or Ronald is just a far superior writer. This is my second Kelly book, the first being Fear, which is a stand-out coming of age story. Something Out There aka The Dark'Un, is about A family secret on Pale Dove Mountain concerning a race of beings that have lived in concert with humans for many years, but are being pushed to their breaking point by greedy developers. Again, a timely theme, or perhaps a theme that never loses its potency. I live very close to where the story takes place and I see the destruction greedy developers wreck on once beautiful hills, and it's heartbreaking.

I don't want to get into the plot too much. I enjoyed this book, though in the third act it sort of became a men's adventure novel. I'm not a fan of action movies or books, so that part didn't appeal to me. Otherwise, the story is well crafted from beginning to end, with and array of interesting and memorable characters. After reading a couple of Ronald Kelly novels I'm truly shocked that he wasn't rubbing elbows with King and McCammon on the New York Times bestseller list with his work coming out in shiny hardback editions. If you are a fan of those authors, you absolutely have to give Ronald Kelly's books a try. You won't be disappointed.

My most recent Paperback From Hell read was Child of Darkness by David B. Silva (Leisure, 1986). What en excellent story this was. A coming of age story about two young brothers taken in by their aunt and uncle after their parents are torched in the family barn. One of the brothers is suffering from some darkness within, a darkness that is responsible for the fire. Now that they are under a new roof with auntie and uncle, the darkness wants out.

 I liked this one a lot. It was dark and moody, fueled by rich atmosphere. A slow burn that really gets under your skin. There is a small cast of characters, namely the two brothers and their aunt and uncle, which I really like. Too many characters can be hard to focus on (although Ronald Kelly does that with expertise in the aforementioned Something Out There). I really like books that get into the characters' psyche, and Silva worked wonders with a kid who has a few psyches in him. Though Silva's books aren't easy to find (I'm really not sure if they're in print or not, but this old Leisure paperback I have is the only one I've ever seen), but this one is well worth keeping your eye out for.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Chew on This! Up For Pre-Order!

That's right! Chew on This! is up for pre-order. This is a project I've been working on with Blood Bound Books for quite a while now, so I am beyond happy to see that publication day is coming soonish.

Chew on This! has everything you need to satiate your appetite for the strange and macabre.

Tonight’s menu is a fifteen-course meal of subtle and atmospheric tales all the way down to the grisly, blood-drenched extremes.

Creepy restaurants, treacherous take-out, forbidden feasts, and more!

We’ve got horror so good you can taste it!

Dig in!

Featuring: Kristopher Triana – K. Trap Jones – Nikki Noir - Mark C. Scioneaux – Vivian Kasley – Chad Stroup – John McNee – Victorya Chase – Armand Rosamillia – Sarah Johnson and Robert Bose – S.C. Mendes -– Shenoa Carroll-Bradd – Sylvia Anne Telfer – Tonia Brown – Ronald Kelley – Chad Lutzke

 Grab your pre-order HERE for just .99 cents!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Shallow Graves

Out now form Death's Head Press: SHALLOW GRAVES by Robert Essig and Jack Bantry

"Shallow Graves isn’t afraid to go where most horror stories dare not tread. It may be a little short for some readers, and a bit too disturbing for others. However, this isn’t a collection that should be forgotten about." --Cultured Vultures (read full review HERE)

"Fans of Robert Essig and/or Jack Bantry do not want to miss this eclectic collection. Extreme Horror fans who have not had the pleasure of reading these authors also do not want to miss this." --Bibliophilia Templum (read full review HERE)

"If you’re a fan of in your face, brutal horror, this is a collection for you." -- Steel Rain Book Reviews (read full review HERE)

Keep an eye out for some behind the scenes info on how each of these stories came to be, which will be posted sometime soon at SplatterpunkZine.

You can find Shallow Graves in the US here, the UK here, Canada here, and whichever Amazon platform you use to find kick ass books.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Double Barrel Vol. 3 COMING SOON!

The cover for the third installment of the Pint Bottle Press Double Barrel series has been released. There is a fantastic round of authors in this one, including myself. Just look at that cover art!

Double Barrel means double the stories. My contributions to this fine anthology of horror are called "From Unclean Spells" and "Fuel For the King of Death". I won't give anything away, but one story could be classified as a creature feature, and the other is set in the world of my novel Death Obsessed.

Coming soon!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Fungus ... Some Thoughts Mushrooming in My Brain

I just read Harry Adam Knight's The Fungus, and I have to say, there wasn't one mention of the phrase "there's a fungus among us" in the entire book (unless it was in that part I skimmed...), and that kind of bums me out a bit.

So, The Fungus. What can I say? The beginning was great, engaging, creepy. The kind of horror I like. Maybe a little light on the character development, but we're talking about a book called The Fungus here. About mushrooms taking over the world. Well, the UK.

The second act turned into a goddamned military thriller, a watered down men's adventure book. That bored me silly. I'm not a fan of military fiction, so I skimmed and eventually just skipped ahead to act three. Honestly, those pages weren't missed. Act two, for the most part, was a giant unnecessary intermission. A way to take the plot from point A to point Z that could have been covered in a chapter at most. Could be my unfavorable look at military fiction, though, I suppose.

The third act was okay, but at this point I realized how weak the plot was. Basically there's an epidemic of mutating fungus that is rapidly taking over the population of England. A small group of people are set out in an armored vehicle to find the scientist responsible for the outbreak. The dynamic between the small group of people could have been dynamite, but turned out to be a missed opportunity. For me, less action in act two and more drama between the group would have worked better for a horror story, but then the characters would have had to be fleshed out a bit more. Most of them were unlikable, which means they would have had to be fleshed out even more so that we could at least relate to them in some way.

The end was meh. The reveals were kind of predictable, and I was left hoping my next read knocks my socks off. Books of this nature (I'm looking at Hutson's Slugs and Herbert's Rats) are often idea stories that would work a lot better were they very short novellas rather than full-on novels. But it was the 80s. Bloated doorstops were in order, and though The Fungus is slender in comparison to many of the tomes that were published at the time, it's still needs the fat trimmed. Not every story is a novel idea. Some of them are shorts.

This was published as Death Spore in the States. I was lucky enough to score the Star edition, pictured above (one of my favorite covers!). The only other Knight book I have is Slimer. I will eventually get to that one. It has something to do with Ghostbusters, right?

Up next will be either In Darkness Waiting by John Shirley or Something Out There by Ronald Kelley. Unless I start reading yet another book and finish it first. Both of these are very good so far.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Future of This Blog

I usually do a year in review post at the beginning of the year, but I'm going to skip that, for the most part. Truth is, I hardly used the blog in 2019. This was due to a multitude of factors. Mostly It's kind of a pain in the ass to blog regularly. I only have so much time in the day to write, and I would rather spend that time writing stories.

I tried a Patreon page last year that turned into a flaming bag of dogshit. I had hoped I could replace the blog with the Patreon (because people can follow a Patreon page for free and read public posts), but I just couldn't get any interest. I'm no salesman. I'm not the best at social media. Frankly, the failed Patreon experience filled me with dread and self-loathing. It was a blatant reminder that promotion is the necessary evil, and I'm no goddamned good at it. Bummer. 

On the other hand, I published several books and a few short stories. I'm not going to go into that part here, because that would turn this into a year in review, and I was going to skip that, remember?

What I want to do in the future is start a YouTube channel for vintage horror book reviews, but I'm smart enough to know that isn't going to happen. I'm shit with technology and have no idea how to make a video clip look good. I hardly have the drive for all the set up. It takes so much time just figuring out how you're doing something wrong, that it always feels like a waste of time trying to do much beyond what I already know, and what I know is reading and writing. I can't even make promotional ads or bookmark designs on software everyone says is so easy to use.

So what I think I'll start doing is posting short reviews here on the blog starting with The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight. I'll see how it goes. Hopefully I manage some other fun stuff here, but who knows.

What I'm saying here is that I'm going to try and be more active on the blog. I had good numbers at one time. Whether the blog helped book sales, I really don't know. But I do know that it didn't hurt sales, so why not try to engage a bit more. Are people reading blogs? Everyone says no, but I'll give it another shot.

Hopefully 2020 will be as eventful as 2019. After all, I published a couple of books, short stories, a signed/limited novel with Thunderstorm Books, and moved across the country.

Oh, it's an election year.

We're doomed.

Just sit down with a book and forget about all that shit.

Come back for my review of The Fungus. See you then!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Exciting News!

I have a lot of exciting news to share, so let's dig right in. First off, my novel Stronger Than Hate was just released by Death's Head Press.

This is a book about Francine Mosely, retired high school teacher, who slips into a sinkhole in her backyard. Fearing that no one saw her and no one can hear her pleas for help, she is relieved when she sees her neighbor Gregory Palmer - ex-student who wasn't the most popular kid in school - has come to her rescue.

Only when Gregory comes back he doesn't bring the police or maybe the fire department to rescue poor Mrs. Mosley. He brings two of the most rotten, sadistic individuals she ever had the displeasure of teaching. She watched the deal from withing the pit, and now she is at the mercy of deviants.

Can Francine stick it out as they torment her? Will help arrive in time? Is she...Stronger Than Hate?

Available HERE in the US, and HERE in the UK, as well as Amazon outlets across the world.

Another big announcement is my novel Mojave Mud Caves that was published by Thunderstorm Books, signed and limited to 40 hardcovers and 60 paperbacks. I'm pleased to announce that the hardcover SOLD OUT in under twenty-four hours!

This is my first signed/limited edition and I am overwhelmed and humbled by the response and support. For those of you who snagged one of those hardcovers, you rock! They will be shipping soon. There are still some paperbacks left. You can get them directly from Thunderstorm Books HERE.

In other news, I've been invited to a few anthologies that are really cool. One is a King Diamond tribute anthology that will be published by Death's Head Press next year. I have a pretty solid idea that I've started working on. Should be a lot of fun. Another invite has me pretty damn excited as well, but I cannot say anything about it. Let's just say the writers attached to it are BIG. I also have two short stories coming out as a part of a series a certain publisher does that, again, I cannot reveal.

I'm hard at work reading submissions for my Blood Bound Books anthology Chew on This! Nothing new to report here, as much as I'd like to tell everyone about certain stories that have me very excited about this project. Then there are the stories that should be used as cautionary examples of what not to do while submitting to a publisher...

That's all for now. Remember to support your favorite writers (or even the OK ones) by leaving them reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and, of course, by buying their books. I will do the same.

In my attempt as resurrecting this blog I am going to review some, if not all, of the books I read. Nothing too in depth, because I'm no critic. Just my thoughts. I hope to have some thoughts on Charles L. Grant's The Orchard up soon. Currently I'm reading The Nest by Gregory A. Douglas and The Store by Bentley Little (struggling a bit with this one...but I'll get into that when I share my thoughts). I'll be reading Out Behind the Barn by John Boden and Chad Lutzke soon.

Take care, horror fiends!