Monday, April 25, 2011

"The Lakatos Clan" in Sideshow Fables #3

Sideshow Fables #3 is live.  You can read my tale of gypsies, rival carnivals, and magic entitled "The Lakatos Clan" in this issue for FREE!!!!!  Check it out HERE.

This one has been a long time in coming, and frankly I'm kind of interested in re-reading it myself.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Till Death..." Accepted for Publication!

Got the good word the other day that my short story "Till Death..." was accepted for the Library of Horror anthology Made You Flinch...Again!  This pleases me greatly as this story has nearly made it into several other publications with the editors rejecting it due to not liking/being able to connect with the protagonist.  Sure, there's not a good person in this story, but like I always say, "Bad people have stories too."

In fact, this is the story that was the seed that eventually turned into Malicious Deviance.  I toyed with the idea of publishing "Till Death..." in MD, but I am weary of publishing my own work in an anthology I edit.  There's nothing wrong with doing that, I just rather not judge my own work that way.

Anyway, thanks Bill Tucker and Jonathan Moon for seeing the potential in this twisted story.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nice Review for Through the Eyes of the Undead

Horror World published a nice review of the anthology I edited entitled Through the Eyes of the Undead.

Check it out HERE

The book is available at in print and for kindle as well as and smashwords in a variety of formats.

Look for volume 2 later this year or early 2012.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jack's Magic Beans by Brian Keene

I recently finished reading Brian Keene's Jack's Magic Beans, one of the many reissues from Deadite Press. This book contains the title novella as well as four additional short stories, all of which were phenomenal. At about 100 pages I tore through this book in no time at all.

"Jack's Magic Beans" begins like any normal day at the grocery store until people suddenly turn into bloodthirsty psychopaths.  Only four people find themselves unchanged and have to deal with a nightmare of blood and guts and crazies. The only complaint from me is that the story ended too early. I was so engrossed that when I read the last sentence I couldn't help but feel like there was a whole story there to be told and I sort of felt let down. On the other hand, this novella delivers the goods and the characters are so very real that you feel like you're there dealing with the madness they are subjected to.

The four stories that follow are quick little bites of nastiness.  Very poignant and brutal. I particularly liked "Without You," the tale of a man so disgusted with his life that he goes to extreme measures, only he finds that some promises are more powerful than life itself.  "I am an Exit" and "This is Not and Exit" follow, introducing a serial killer Keene promises we will see more of in the future. Serial killer stories are getting bland, but these ones bring the goods. The final story "The King, in: YELLOW" is a crazy tale about a couple who decide their lives are getting dull and that they need to spice things up.  They decide to see a play that some half-cocked bum tells them about which is anything but dull, although perhaps a bit too spicy.

I would suggest this title to any fan of horror.  Nicely written, bloody, bizarre -- good stuff! I am certainly going to buy another Keene title from Deadite press and I suggest you do too. Available HERE

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hell Awaits -- The Progress of Madness

I still refuse to look at the word count and it is becoming very clear that I will no longer pay attention to word counts while writing longer works.  I've come to the conclusion that they are bothersome and more of a hindrance to my creativity.  I glance at the page count, but not obsessively.

Hell Awaits is coming along nicely.  I've written 215 pages with no end in sight.  I know where the story is going and how the conflict will come to a head, but I don't know when or where and how it will end.  The characters (four of them) have been developed rather nicely, though one of them is completely different from when I began writing the book.  I will have to fix those details while doing rewrites (I suppose they've all changed a bit from the beginning).  Now that I think about it, there's a villain who needs a little developing...

I already have my next project planned out.  Well, not really planned out so much as waiting in the back of my mind.  I have the title already, but I'm going to keep it under wraps.  There's no reason for me to get excited about a project that hasn't even began and probably not a lot of folks who really give a damn.  I will say this: it will be on a much heavier emotional level than Hell Awaits with far less gore and bloodshed.  It will be a blend of literary fiction and horror, if I can pull that off.  Either way, I'll give it my best shot.

Review of Pantomime

The folks at Sonar4 wrote a nice review of my four story chapbook Pantomime on their blog Sonar4 Landing Dock Reviews.  You can read the review HERE.  The book can be purchased at in print or at for kindle.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The State of Horror

It seems like everyone is talking about the state of horror fiction lately; trends, and which direction the genre is moving in.  So I thought I would write some of my views for what they're worth.

I have been an avid fan of the macabre for as long as I can remember.  Looking back, I suppose it was the emotional reaction that drew me into horror's embrace.  As a youth films that aren't supposed to be scary like Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice scared the hell out of me.  It was the strange and unnatural I suppose, but it now seems foolish that those films once instilled fear within me.  I was but a child.  As a young teen I watched everything from Hellraiser to Night of the Living Dead to A Nightmare on Elm Street.  There are scary parts in these films, but I was more attracted to the horror, and it snowballed when I discovered Stephen King and HP Lovecraft.

Once I began reading horror it was over.  I never looked at entertainment the same.  There's so much to offer in a book, worlds that are far more vivid and interesting that that of a film, and the possibilities are endless.  Just so long as the writing is good and the ideas are fresh, right? Sure.

As any avid reader, I have read a shit-load of crap (pardon the pun), but with that comes works of absolute brilliance, which makes all the shoveling of the crap well worth it.  Now we live in the age of the Internet, e-readers and POD (print-on-demand) publishing, which allows any old shmo to self publish their book and promote it all over blogs, forums, facebook, twitter, myspace, and who knows what other avenues.  Maybe one in several hundred of these self published books are gems.  Maybe not.  Point is, I for one don't want to waste my time reading self published drivel to get to the good book that should have been picked up by a small press publisher at the very least.  I don't see self publishing going anywhere soon, because authors who cannot find a break or those who are writing absolute garbage will take the easy road and self publish, though most if not all of them will later realize what an error that was being that the success rate of self published authors is very low.  There are some out there who have signed major book deals, but they are far and few between.

As for the small press scene, I think it will grow, primarily due to technology, i.e. POD publishing, e-readers, etc.  This is a good thing, though an overabundance of small press publishers can easily lead to unqualified people publishing books without any know-how and pushing poor quality books for the sake of making a buck.  This hurts authors and the industry, but it is a fact of life and a very good reason we as authors should do our research before querying a publisher.

As for the major publishers, they are going nowhere, for the most part, but I have to assume they will stay "safe" and publish books that either ride the latest trend (sparkling vampires, anyone; zombies) or emulate the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  Maybe enough buzz will be created with the small press to cause the big guys to take a chance on some brilliant new authors who write quality horror that stretches the bounds, but I'm not holding my breath.  Some of us will make it to that New York publisher and see our names on the cover of hardback books in a brick and mortar bookstores, but more of us wont, and that's just the reality of it.

Now, what about trends?  Where are they going?  Well, it's safe to say that emotional vampires have been a trend and it can't go away too soon, in my opinion.  Zombies seem to be a trend that has been slowly rising (from the grave!), though I fear what will become of the zombies when they become emotional and, God forbid, sparkly.  At my local book store over the past holiday season I was stunned at how many zombie parody books were available at the counters as I walked in the store.  There was nothing serious containing zombies, but there sure were a lot of humorous books and children's books featuring the undead.  Take that how you like, but we're one step away from zombies in a love triangle, and I'm afraid of where that will lead.

What I see as a trend in the small press is ultra violent and erotic horror.  I'm all for the ultra violent as long as it's a good story and not a senseless gore fest, but I have to say the erotic element that seems to be rearing it's head in horror is something that I don't enjoy reading.  It does seem like a trend, though, and I can't do anything about that.  There are a lot of extreme horror anthologies that have come out in the past couple of years, and many more on the way, and, unfortunately, extreme means genital mutilation and sexual deviance to far too many horror authors.  I suppose there's a market for this, but I'm sad to see so much of it.

What I want to see: well written tales filled with dreadful mood and atmosphere that thrill and scare and aren't afraid to shed some blood.  Fortunately, there's a lot of this out there, and that makes me happy.  Where the next decade will take us, only time will tell.