Friday, January 17, 2020

Cemetery Dance "Last Grab Bag of 2019" Unboxing, Night Worms releases March Theme and some Book Mail.

Today I unbox the Cemetery Dance "Last Grab Bag of 2019" that arrived this week.

Also Night Worms has revealed the theme of their March 2020 package at looks to be one awesome package.

And a look at some recent book mail.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

GUEST POST: Top 10 Favorite Cosmic Horror Novels by Brian Fatah Steele

Today we have a Guest Post from Brian Fatah Steele, author of the upcoming release CELESTIAL SEEPAGE. This new novel will be release on Oct. 18th from Alien Agenda Publishing.

I really enjoyed Brian's last novel BLEED AWAY THE SKY, and am looking forward to this new release.

Brian's post gives you 10 more works of Cosmic Horror to check out. Just click on the book title to be taken to the works Amazon page.

I would like to thank Brian for joining us today and make sure to pre-order CELESTIAL SEEPAGE now.

by Brian Fatah Steele

I have my own cosmic horror novel coming out this October from Alien Agenda Publishing, but more on that later. Let’s talk about some other amazing works, books written in the last ten years or so. Cosmic horror novels that I have loved, that I love to talk about. While I’m a fan of Lovecraft’s work, these are all ones that have created their own mythos, so no homages here. Also no novellas or collections, but I do enjoy genre-bending stuff, so don’t be surprised to see some titles other purists might not necessarily consider cosmic horror. In no particular order...

While SanGiovanni has become famous for a number of excellent series she written, this stand-alone novel was the first I read by her, and remains my favorite. It captures the sheer majesty and insanity of the best cosmic horror, with insane asylums, dimensional portals, and gross monsters. The book is written in a style that makes it accessible to readers from any corner of the fandom, commercial yet true to the genre.  

One of the most literary horror novels I’ve read in the past few years, this book straddles that line between cosmic and weird. A tale within a tale, everything within is gripping and tense, often off-kilter as the reader progresses further into the darkness. More subtle than some, the descent is still horrifying.

Readers of Barron will recognize the Old Leech Mythos from numerous short story tales, and that’s exactly how this novel is presented as a series of connected shorts. Barron’s work is iconoclastic, with some portions exquisite and terrifying, while others dense and slow. Saturated with cosmic nihilism, it’s literary, yet fun, THE CRONING can appeal to a wider range of readers, people looking for something more in their horror than simply zombies and vampires. 

Simply put, I’m jealous I didn’t write this book. I absolutely love it, and it’s one of my new favorites. Adventurous cosmic horror full of its own lore and unique characters, a tale both brutal and hysterical. Matthew Davis has created a wonderfully insane mythos all his own that continues on with more books in the series.If you’re looking for loser mages, fallen angels driving muscle cars, ancient books of evil, and zombie pigs, this book is for you. 

Another author who made his name with astounding short story work, the book affects the reader in an almost synesthesia-like fashion. You feel the madness as you delve into the pages, deeper into the dark frontier. Smith writes in a style that makes the vile seem beautiful. It’s that illusion of beauty, of intimacy, that allows the horrors to flow so easily. Burroughs and the beat writers are not the only influences at play here, along with a healthy dose of H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker. RIDING THE CENTIPEDE is something unique, insane, and terrifying... something worth seeking out. 

A genre-bending book that takes cosmic horror and throws in urban fantasy and historical fiction. Bizarre, dark, and often humorous, you have to wonder at the utter nihilism of this universe. The reader doesn't have all the information, but we are given enough clues, and enough insight to these characters and their strange corner of Victorian England to find the magic and mystery. Oh, plus Hawker and Boon are the best. 

A stunning, character-driven tale that keeps you turning pages. A slow burn of heavy metal and cosmic horror, wonderfully told. Peak draws you in, and lets things unfold organically, almost as if you’re watching a documentary. At no point do you question the validity of events or motives, but simply accept this is all happening. When it all boils down, this is an untold tale of behind-the-scenes music industry and ancient, galactic monstrosities.

While some might not consider this cosmic horror, upon consideration, I find it hard not to. There are gods, cults, portals, and monsters! The Sisters Of Slaughter deliver a brutal and brilliant tale of mythological horror that’s hard to put down. Utilizing a fascinating archeological theory, they build on that to create a contemporary piece of extreme horror that will satisfy fans of many genres. 

 Someone stole a dead squid, and there might be an apocalypse coming. So many bizarre and outré concepts are presented in this novel, the fantasy aspect of England takes on a life of its own. Londonmancers, squid cults, memory angels, and thugs manifested as tattoos on people’s backs. There is a unique and vivid mythology here, just as real as anything adopted by Neil Gaiman, and it feels just as terrifying. Just as real. We have no real answers much of the time, but simply has to accept this new mad reality.  

Another title that blends cosmic horror and urban fantasy, this book had a huge impact on me when I read it almost a decade ago. A trapped city, magic run amok, tarot cards revealing ancient gods, and a young woman with a secret past. The mythos here is quite original, the characters well developed and the genres blending perfectly.To me, GHOST OCEAN remains not only an influence, but a woefully overlooked masterpiece.  

Now, if you dig any of these books above, let me tell you about mine.CELESTIAL SEEPAGE is a short novel of cosmic horror put out by Glenn Rolfe at Alien Agenda Publishing, edited by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, with cover art by Don Nobel, and the kind support of Maurice Broaddus. It’s a stand-alone work about dimensional prisons, refugee gods, remixed realities, lunatic tyrants, ravenous hordes, and galactic genocide. All these incredibly talented authors above helped allow me to create this story in some way.

 Sure, CELESTIAL SEEPAGE is about monsters and gross stuff, but I wrote it the first year after the last U.S. Presidential election. It’s also about greed, intolerance, and zealotry. The book is as much about higher entities making disgusting mixed drinks as it is about the collapse of the American town. A lot of cosmic horror deals with the unknowable, but this also has an urban fantasy vibe, filled with action, humor, and just plain weird stuff. 

I invite you to check out CELESTIAL SEEPAGE on Oct. 18th from Alien Agenda Press on Amazon. It’s available for pre-order now. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

GUEST POST: Dream Casting 69: A Short Novel of Cosmic Horror by Tim Meyer

Today we are joined by author Tim Meyer. Tim is the writer of numerous books and has been included in several anthologies. His stories range from haunted house to creature features to his upcoming novel of cosmic horror.

Many authors like to think of their books becoming a movie, and Tim has put together a stellar cast wish list for the new novel 69.

69: A Short Novel of Cosmic Horror will be released on October 1st from Evil Epoch Press.

Dream Casting 69: A Short Novel of Cosmic Horror 

It probably wouldn’t surprise you that I’m a huge fan of movies, but it might surprise you that I don’t fantasize (much) about my books being turned into movies. That said, I don’t usually think about which actor or actress would be right for my characters. I know some writers do, but I don’t - usually - until well after I’m finished. Usually when I don’t know what to write for some promotional post (ha!). I’ve always enjoyed visualizing my characters in their own image and not people I know or celebrities I follow. Sometimes it’s hard. Most of the time it’s not. 

Anyway, if 69 were turned into a movie, here’s whom I would cast if given the choice.  

Amanda Guerrero - Aimee Garcia - Garcia has a big list of TV credits and some movie credits, and I think she’s a superb actress, perfect for carrying any lead role. From what I’ve seen her in (Lucifer, Dexter) I’ve really enjoyed. She would be the perfect choice to portray Amanda, lead investigator for the CDC, and bring to life her intelligence, anger, and strong will. The character would benefit from Garcia’s range, as Amanda experiences so many different emotions while investigating the strange happenings at Spring Lake Assisted Living. Aimee Garcia is an actress on the rise, and, in general, I would love to see her in more stuff.  

 Joe Barnes - Brad Pitt - Okay. Well, I can dream, can’t I? Brad Pitt’s been one of my favorite actors throughout the years, mostly for what he brings to some of cinema’s most interesting characters. The role of Barnes would be awesome for him. Joe Barnes is a member of Amanda’s team, tasked with keeping his boss in check. Not to mention, the challenges he faces forces him to confront his own past, which would make Pitt an interesting choice for the role. Plus, it’s friggin’ Brad Pitt.  

Phelps - Aubrey Plaza - Aubrey Plaza is one of my favorite actresses working right now, and she’s been in some great stuff lately (Child’s Play remake, Legion). I think she’d bring something special to the third member of Guerrero’s team, the analytical researcher who also must confront her history while dealing with the unsettling terrors hidden in Spring Lake. 

 Kim Charon - Gwyneth Paltrow - Paltrow has considerable range as an actress and the role of Kim Charon would probably require someone of her talents. Charon is the director at Spring Lake who wants to keep the strange happenings very hush-hush. She’s prone to angry outbursts and is overall very hostile toward her guests. I think it would be interesting to see Paltrow step into the role of Kim Charon, considering what she brings to the table as a performer. 

Well, there you have it. The cast in 69 isn’t very large, and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with this small ensemble. I think it allows me to dive deeper into these characters’ headspaces and in a lot of ways I think that’s been pretty helpful. The novel I’m currently working on has a huuuuuuuuuge cast, and it’s been a challenge managing their point-of-views. Anyway, I really enjoyed writing 69 and I hope you consider picking up a copy when it drops on October 1st! 

Just always keep in mind: The Field will remember. Everything is sixty-nine.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

TALES FROM THE CRUST video unboxing.

Today I received a pizza in the mail. A pizza book that is. TALES FROM THE CRUST is a new pizza themed anthology from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. The book is edited by David James Keaton and Max Booth III.

The edition I received is the Special Delivery Edition. It comes delivered in an actual pizza box and includes lots of goodies. 

This is the first time I have tried doing a video, (being that I have a face for radio), but this is a really cool edition and I wanted to do a quick unboxing.  I loved the presentation, but I do wish that the piza box would have been shipped inside another box to keep it safe and label free. Would have loved to keep it for presentation. Full review of the book itself will come later.

 TALES FROM THE CRUST Special Delivery Edition has a price of $60 and is limited to 100 copies. You can pick yours up at PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE PUBLISHING.

Friday, July 12, 2019

GUEST POST: How two Canadian’s made me a better writer by Steve Stred.

Today I am excited to have a Guest Post from Author Steve Stred. Steve has 9 books under his belt, including his newest release THE STRANGER, with new work on the way. You can visit his website HERE for loads of info on the author and his works. Steve is from the Great White North and today shares with us some of his writing inspirations.

                                              How two Canadian’s made me a better writer
by Steve Stred

“So you’ve got a direction, but not a destination?” – Biker, One Week (2008) played by Gord Downie.

Hello. My name is Steve Stred and I am Canadian. We may already be friends or acquaintances 
over on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You may just be a fan of my work as a new indie author who writes dark, bleak horror. Or heck, you may even just be a fan of my reviews over on Kendall Reviews.

No matter how we met or became friends, whether in real life or through social media, you’ll more
than likely know that I am a proud Canadian. I grew up in the super small, unincorporated community of Burton, British Columbia. Approximate population - 100 people. Sometimes more, 
sometimes less. We were roughly thirty minutes from the town of Nakusp and three hours from
Kelowna. (Google it – go ahead I’ll wait. Yeah, see how small it is? Now you zoom in – see that
ball field in the middle? My childhood home is the one just to the right of it. When you zoom in as far as you can and it says Burton Main Rd – our home is just to the right of ‘Rd.’ That’s my mom’s car all blurry. She still lives there.)

I loved my childhood. I spent a lot of time by myself in the woods behind our house and really
learned to utilize my imagination to create different games etc. I also loved playing sports and enjoying the outdoor offerings, which has been a big inspiration on my writing. I recently revisited my hometown while at my Grandpa’s memorial and I was struck with just how many of my stories, novels, and novellas are based on places and things from there.

But I didn’t really grow up wanting to be a writer. It was a combination of two other Canadians;
Gord Downie and Andrew Pyper who gave me the confidence to pursue writing.

For those who don’t know, Gord Downie was the lead singer for the Canadian rock band The
Tragically Hip. I discovered The Tragically Hip on Much Music. The song “Ahead by a Century” from the album “Trouble in the Henhouse” blew my mind. It was Canadiana through and through and haunted my brains. To this day, when I hear this song, it sticks in my head for weeks.

The Tragically Hip – Ahead by a Century

Though this came out in 1996, I didn’t explore much more of the Hip’s music until I heard “Bobcaygeon” from the album “Phantom Power” released in 1998. The lyrics to this song are few powerful and allude to a different moments in Canadian history.

The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon

Then in 2008, I saw a trailer for a movie that I knew I needed to see. ‘One Week’ tells the story of a man who finds out he has terminal Cancer. So he buys a bike and heads West, across Canada. He leaves behind his job, his fiancée and family and just drives West. He’s young, doesn’t have much time left and wants to find himself, discover more about himself before he passes on.

One Week Trailer

Not only is ‘One Week’ one of my all-time favourite movies, it also inspired my short story ‘Jim’ from my collection Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery. The premise of the movie and my story – where one day you simply find out you have a terminal disease and don’t have much time left really gets to me. More so now that I have a young son, but I think it’s a frightening thing that could happen. And yes I do dwell on this frequently.

Oddly enough, there is a horrible, strange connection between ‘One Week’ and Gord Downie. You see, Mr. Downie appears in the movie as Biker Guy. Joshua Jackson, yes of Dawson’s Creek and Fringe fame, plays the main character Ben. So Ben heads West and along the way runs into everyday Canadians. One such character is Biker Guy who Ben meets at a motel. That meeting leads to this interaction;

Biker Guy: “You know they’ll approve Medicinal Marijuana for Cancer treatment.”

Ben: “Why did you bring up Cancer?”

BG: “I had an ass-load once.”

Ben: “So you got treatment?”

BG: “Actually... it went away on its own.”

Ben: “Seriously?”

BG: “Nah, I’m just shitting you man. I got treatment.”

On May 24, 2016, Gord Downie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Brain Cancer.
Now you are asking yourself – where does Andrew Pyper fall into this equation?
Great question. Let me tell you.

I’ve been reading horror/thrillers for almost 30 years, ever since my mom’s friend, our neighbour let me borrow some of her Stephen King books. I stuck to the tried and true and mostly read King for many years.

Then, in 2015 I was in a Walmart in Abbotsford, BC and I was looking through their paperback section where they typically have 2 for $15. I’ve told this story a number of times, but it really is a in key moment both my journey as a reader but also as a writer.

In the 2 for $15 section that day, I spotted ‘The Demonologist’ by Andrew Pyper and ‘The Troop’ by Nick Cutter. I read the synopsis for both and was very intrigued. I also saw that both of them were Canadian. I went into shock. I’d been a pretty sheltered horror reader for many, many years and to see that not one but two authors from Canada had books out like this, really threw me for a loop. To see a Stephen King blurb on Nick Cutter’s book and to read that Pyper’s book was an International Bestseller was amazing to my Canadian reader’s brain.

I talked about it so much my wife finally told me to go back and just buy them, so I did. Don’t get
me wrong, I absolutely love ‘The Troop,’ but it didn’t speak to me like ‘The Demonologist’ did.

Pyper embraced being a Canadian and actively includes Canadian locations in his books. I’d
never experienced it before and it left me thrilled (and my wife a bit annoyed at how much I kept talking about it.) I grabbed Pyper’s other books ‘Lost Girls’ and ‘The Damned’ next and when I began reading ‘Lost Girls’ and it was set in Northern Ontario I could have cried. I’d finally found my author.

As I started my writing journey, I knew that it was ok for me to base my stories around my
childhood haunt in Burton. I try not to ever use specific locations as I like to leave some  
ambiguity as well as to allow the reader to use their imagination and place the location somewhere they’ve been, but all of my releases have been based on real places, real locations in and around Burton. I have a few upcoming releases that aren’t, but for the most part – anything wilderness related I’ve released – Burton.

By Andrew Pyper showing that it was ok to embrace Canadiana and use real Canadian locations I was able to write how I wanted to write. After all, if my favourite author (and bestseller) can do it, then why can’t I?

I spent the month of May celebrating my love of Pyper and it’s still ongoing, but I had the chance
to interview Andrew via email. I’ll remember it forever and can’t thank him enough. I even made sure to ask him about any difficulties he’d come across from being a Canadian author and was happy to see that it wasn’t anything major. (Condensing his reply – essentially everyone thinks Canada is really far away.)

But my Gord Downie – Andrew Pyper connections don’t end there. I really respected just how much Mr. Downie spoke out about reaching people and fighting for the rights of the less fortunate. He became an advocate for Aboriginal Rights and spoke out about environmental issues frequently.

After his diagnosis The Tragically Hip announced a farewell tour, which culminated with their last
performance, a home town show that was also aired live on our national television channel, the 
CBC. I had hoped to get tickets for me and my father in law Peter in Calgary, but sadly they sold out in minutes.

On August 20, 2016 the band performed one last time in Kingston, ON. It happened during the Summer Olympics and CBC cut through coverage off to go live and showed the entire concert commercial free. I watched it while my wife puttered around the house (we were only a week
away from our son joining us at that time.) I cried pretty much from the opening song (Fifty-Mission Cap) to the last song from their encore, which you may have guessed was Ahead by a Century.

“I write every day. I walk around in silent conversation with my latest unfinished songs.”— Gord Downie, 2009.

While the quote discusses Downie’s approach to songs, it’s how I’ve always approached my stories. It’s how my brain works and functions.

As I continued writing I kept Downie’s words front of mind and my belief that is was ok for me to be a Canadian Horror Author. I wrote a blog once called “I’ll never be a bestseller... and that’s ok,” and I still stand by that sentiment. I write stories I want to read, stories that I need to tell, stories
from where I’m from. I believed this because Andrew Pyper was Canadian and his books connected with me, which meant just maybe my stories might connect with others as well.

After those first three Pyper releases, the next book of his that I read was “The Wildfire Season.”
The story follows a chief of a forest fire brigade. I smiled frequently while reading this book, as
Pyper mentioned numerous small towns in Western Canada that I’d visited. I was also intrigued 
as the story itself is set in Ross River, in the Yukon, which is very rare to read Yukon based thrillers.

On October 18, 2017, I was in Peace River, Alberta for our regional clinic for work. I finished      reading ‘The Wildfire Season’ as we flew up. Just before lunch that day the news began to trickle out that Gord Downie had passed away at the age of 53. As we always do in Peace River, we ate lunch at Tim Horton’s. The reason Ben decides to ‘go West,’ in the movie – a Tim Horton’s Roll-Up-the-Rim cup has it printed on the inside. When me and my colleague had finished lunch, he drove me up to an overlook so that I could see the town and the mighty Peace River. I’d never been in the town before and wanted to check it all out. As we drove up the winding road the local radio played “Ahead by a Century.” Part of their ongoing tribute to Mr. Downie that day.

Recently, I was back in Peace River for work again and wouldn’t you know – I was reading “Trade
Mission,” by Pyper. This odd Canadian connection continues.

I hope one day to meet Andrew, shake his hand and thank him for inspiring me in a way I didn’t know I needed. I’ve been fortunate now to strike up a casual social media friendship with him, messaging occasionally and getting butterflies when I see that he’s taken the time to reply. I never like to feel like I’m bothering anybody, so I need to keep myself in check from not messaging him every day.

When it came time for me to really look at writing my newest release “The Stranger,” I had the
confidence in myself to pursue the environmental and bigotry story lines because these two            Canadians laid the foundation down for me to be confident. I thought about Gord Downie’s work with Aboriginal rights and people. I looked at Andrew Pyper’s scope of work and his dedication to not being afraid of saying he’s Canadian in a literary world populated with Best Sellers from other countries.

And I looked at myself and thought about the road I’d taken to get here.

They did it before me.

I knew I could do it.

So I did.

And I can’t thank them enough for making me believe in my Canadian-ness.

“I love this country. I love my idea of this country.” — Gord Downie, 2012

* Thanks Jim & One Legged Reviews for all your support and for inviting me to contribute a guest

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Matt Hayward & Robert Ford

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Matt Hayward & Robert Ford

Published on June 1st 2019

Published by Poltergeist Press

(from the book description)

Fresh from a stretch in prison, Joe Openshaw is living at home with his father and trying to get his life together again. He has let go of old habits, especially the ones that turned him into an addict and helped land him in prison.

On a hike along the Lowback Trail, Joe stumbles on one of the town’s oldest secrets—buried long ago, if not forgotten.

It’s an unusual but safe enough treasure—a jar of old pennies. What interests Joe isn’t the pennies themselves, but the pieces of paper taped to every coin—a child’s handwritten wish on each one.

When the first few wishes come true, they are simple things. Fun. Harmless.

Except as time goes on, Joe realizes they aren’t really wishes at all…they’re exchanges, and the bill was racking up.

Nothing is free in life.

Sooner or later, you always pay.

 Ok, so I am not going to beat-around-the-bush on this review. I LOVED this book. Robert Ford and Matt Hayward have taken one of the oldest idiom's "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" and put a new twist on the story with horrifying outcomes.

And it all starts with a jar of pennies. Our main character Joe is trying to get his life together after serving time in prison. While hiking he stumbles upon an old jar of pennies with strange written notes attached to them. A seemingly innocent find that will lead Joe and his friends and family down a path that will leave them changed forever.

The authors writing styles come together seamlessly to create a compelling and wondrous story. We are treated to some truly frightening and disturbing scenes, but they manage to even it all out with doses of comedy (mainly centered around Joe's friend Kenny who falls victim to a very particular wish early in the story). You become invested in Joe very quickly in the story. His character is believable and very likable and you will find yourself rooting for him as the tale progresses. Really all of the characters that the authors have created in this story are believable, and that is a true writing art in my eyes. To connect with a character and in turn the story itself, you have to become vested in the characters lives and care about their outcomes. It came to the point that I could not put the book down and found myself reading until 3am just to finish it.

While there is comedy present in the book, there is also a fare share of  horror, loss, sadness and finally redemption.

This is just such a well written novel and I could not recommend it higher. A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS is sure to be on everyone's top 10 lists for 2019.

You can purchase A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS in print and ebook on AMAZON.

You can learn more about the authors and their other works by clicking on their names below.

And to learn more about the published please visit POLTERGEIST PRESS.