Friday, January 8, 2016

Jonathan Janz's Wolf Land - Review and {Giveaway} #WolfLand

My thoughts
Boy oh boy, what a werewolf novel! We're not given long until we're served up a truly scary massacre by one monstrous werewolf. At that point, that's can't put it down (or stop thinking about it when you must put it down). I keep asking myself, "Is this really my first Janz read? What the hell have I been waiting for!?"

Let me tell you though. He doesn't just do gore. Oh no. There is some serious character development here. So much so that you're either rooting for the good guy, or seriously hating on the bad guy. Also, he writes werewolves the way I think they would/should be. More like a man-wolf beast rather than a wolf in the traditional sense, a la Twilight or True Blood. But it's not just the look. The charisma and self assurance that I also feel would accompany a werewolf's physique is also here. We're treated to downtrodden characters with low self esteem suddenly becoming confident and enigmatic. Never mind that they're also becoming monsters. Good stuff!

Janz has written a good many horror novels that I will be scooting closer to the top of my to-be-read stack (or the queue in my Kindle). This novel, Wolf Land, is not only a true masterpiece of werewolf horror. It is also just a damn good novel. I can't help but think of Stephen King. You get the scares, but you also get great writing. This book definitely fills the bill. Read this!

About the book
“A 10-year high school reunion is the catalyst for lots of furry, toothy scares in this gruesome yet entertaining gorefest.” –Publishers Weekly on Wolf Land

An unholy predator on the prowl!
The small town of Lakeview offers little excitement for Duane, Savannah, and their friends. They’re about to endure their ten-year high school reunion when their lives are shattered by the arrival of an ancient, vengeful evil.

The werewolf.

The first attack leaves seven dead and four wounded. And though the beast remains on the loose and eager to spill more blood, the sleepy town is about to face an even greater terror. Because the four victims of the werewolf’s fury are changing. They’re experiencing unholy desires and unimaginable cravings. They’ll prey on the innocent. They’ll act on their basest desires. Soon, they’ll plunge the entire town into a nightmare. Lakeview is about to become Wolf Land.

Praise for Wolf Land and Janz
"One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites." –Brian Keene, best-selling author

“It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it “The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.” You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!”-Author Edward Lee on HOUSE OF SKIN

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.” –Tim Waggoner Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, this should please readers who appreciate a good haunting.”
—The Library Journal

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.”
–Tim Waggoner, author

“A 10-year high school reunion is the catalyst for lots of furry, toothy scares in this gruesome yet entertaining gorefest.” –Publishers Weekly

"Probably the best werewolf novel I've read in a decade."- Pete Kahle, author of The Specimen

"If you like werewolves, you will think you have died and gone to heaven. Highly recommended." -Confessions of a Reviewer

"This fast-paced read was a frenzy of carnality in epic proportions. Visceral and surreal, Janz has outdone himself with this newest title."
-Nikki, Horror After Dark

"For years now, the werewolf has been hijacked by the shifter romance genre. Well, Jonathan Janz has claimed a bloody morsel back for the horror genre!"
-2 Book Lovers Reviews

"Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won't be disappointed." -Pod of Horror

“Jonathan Janz has created a realistic world and peopled it with characters that could be people you know then introduces a whole new werewolf legend to rip them to shreds. I highly recommend this relentlessly fast paced story. A hair raising 5 star read.” –Horror Maiden Book Reviews

Buy the book

About the author
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, "reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub's Ghost Story."

2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, "Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror--Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows--will find much to relish." Jonathan's Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a "Rousing-good weird western," and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014's top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan "Horror's Next Big Thing." His newest release is Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author's wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.

Enter to win ONE (1) print copy signed by Jonathan Janz of WOLF LAND! Click the link to enter. There are several things you can do to get multiple entries each day. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Brian Kirk We Are Monsters - Author Interview and {Giveaway}

CM: First of all, I would like to thank Brian for joining me today and taking the time for this interview.

Well that sure is nice. I’m happy to chat with you and appreciate the time you’re taking for this as well. Look at us! We’re on our way to becoming proper chums. 

CM: Your new novel, We Are Monsters, came out in July to wide praise. Congrats! Can you tell us a little about it?

Yes, and thank you. We Are Monsters is my debut novel, literally making it a dream come true. Although all books are basically dreams that have come true when you really think about it. I mean, isn’t a book basically the end result of someone extracting the contents of some subconscious dream-state into the material realm. But that’s off topic, and perhaps too esoteric for this early on in the interview. My apologies.

We Are Monsters is a story about a brilliant, yet troubled psychiatrist named Alex Drexler who is working to create a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.

I am overwhelmed by the reception it has received so far from readers, professional critics, and some of my favorite authors who have been kind enough to endorse it, including Mercedes M. Yardley, John F.D. Taff, Jonathan Moore, and Brian Keene. 

CM: Was there an inspiration behind the writing of We Are Monsters

I’ve always been fascinated by mental illness. The idea that our own brains can turn against us is terrifying. It’s the ultimate enemy; it knows our deepest secrets and it’s something we can’t escape. 

I also have a great deal of sympathy for people who suffer mental heath disorders. I’ve dealt with OCD all of my life, which produces chronic anxiety, negative thought loops, and periods of depression. No fun, I’ll tell you. And I feel that mental disease is misunderstood by our society at large. In fact, many people who are mentally ill are often labeled as evil or deranged, which I feel is unfair, and precludes us from exploring proper treatment options. 

I suppose I found the subject both fascinating and deeply personal, and I wanted to explore it further, so I wrote about it. 

CM: This is your debut novel, but I also read in your bio that you are a freelance writer. Was breaking into writing fiction difficult for you? 

I grew up a voracious reader with a love for telling stories. But then I went to college and figured it was time to put aside this frivolous pastime and get serious about pursuing a “career.” I studied marketing and took a job at an ad agency, which was the most creative line of work I could find that paid real money. But it wasn’t fulfilling. I was miserable. I still had this intense desire to tell stories that wouldn’t go away. 

So I started writing short stories in the evenings and on the weekends, and then I began submitting them for publication. After accruing a massive stack of rejections for a couple of years, I finally sold one. Then another. After a while I decided to quit my full time job at the ad agency to work freelance and write a book. That’s how We Are Monsters came about.

CM: Do you have aspirations to write in other genres besides horror?

I aspire to tell stories that are entertaining, meaningful, and emotionally engaging. For some reason these stories typically have dark underpinnings, and most likely always will to varying degrees. I don’t really think in terms of genre, however, until it comes time to find a market for the story. 

I’m currently working on a trilogy of dark sci-fi thrillers, so I’ve already strayed outside of horror a bit. Although there are sections within each book that are certainly horrific. 

CM: Have you been inspired by any particular books or movies? What is your favorite horror novel and/or movie? 

I’m always finding inspiration through others’ work. I love to read books that are so good they intimidate me and make me feel helplessly inferior. That’s where inspiration comes from. David Mitchell is an author who does this for me on a regular basis. Cloud Atlas made me want to quit writing, then made me want to do it better. Quentin Tarantino provides the same kind of inspiration on the film side. 

Regarding my favorite horror novel, I’d say The Stand by Stephen King, with Peter Straub’s Ghost Story being a close second. 

My favorite horror movie is The Shining, with Event Horizon being a close second.

CM: What books would we find on your nightstand? Any recommendations (besides your own book, of course)? 

Right now you’d find Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale, who is quickly becoming my favorite contemporary writer. There’s nothing he can’t do. I keep a recommended reading page on my website where I write about books that have inspired me. His novel Mucho Mojo made the list, and here’s what I had to say about Lansdale, whom I highly recommend to readers of all kinds.
There are many reasons why you should be reading Joe R. Lansdale. Here are a few:
  • He writes like Ernest Hemingway, but is more fun to read. Thus, by extension, and in my humble opinion, he is a better writer than Hemingway.
  • He embodies the best qualities of a writer. He’s incredibly talented, but does not rest on talent alone. Read his writing advice and you’ll soon learn he maintains his prolific pace the same way a construction worker builds tract homes. By waking up at the crack of dawn with a lunch pale and a hard hat and going to work. He doesn’t wait for inspiration to come.
  • He can, and does, write anything he wants, crossing genres and making up some of his own. You like horror, westerns, sci-fi, or literary books? You’ll like Lansdale.
  • He can make you laugh, make you cry, and scare the living shit out of you.
  • He is constantly churning out books, and they’re all really good.
Another writer to keep an eye on is Jonathan Moore. His debut novel Redheads was a Bram Stoker Award® finalist and received the praise of Jack Ketchum. His follow-up Close Reach was one of my favorite novels of the year. And his next release The Poison Artist, which comes out in January 2016, has received advance praise from Lee Child, Justin Cronin, and the almighty Stephen King. I have it pre-ordered and can’t wait for it to arrive. 

CM: And last, but not least, what do you have in store for your readers next?

Thanks for asking. First, I have a new short story titled Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave coming out in the anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, alongside two of my idols: Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. When one of the editors, Doug Murano, announced the story he said, “This is the kind of story that starts book burning parties,” which leads me to believe the story works. I’m honored to be part of this project, and can’t wait for the anthology to come out.

In addition, I am currently working on the second book in a trilogy of dark sci-fi thrillers. The first book is complete and currently in the hands of a literary agent whom I’ve recently signed with. We are putting the final touches on the book and plan to submit it to publishers early next year. 

CM: Thanks again for joining me today, Brian. I look forward to hosting you and your books in the future here at Castle Macabre.

Thank you for having me! And I look forward to being back.

In the meantime, I invite anyone interested to connect with me through one of the following channels. Don’t worry. I only kill my characters.

Brian Kirk




About We Are Monsters
Samhain Horror (July 7, 2015)

The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum.

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.

About the author
Brian Kirk lives in Atlanta with his beautiful wife and rambunctious identical twin boys. He works as a freelance writer in addition to writing fiction, and is currently working on the second book in a planned trilogy. We Are Monsters is his debut release. Feel free to connect with him online. Don't worry, he only kills his characters.

See more about Brian at:

Follow Brian on Facebook and Twitter. He's found on Twitter at @Brian_Kirk and looks forward to connecting with you.

Praise for We Are Monsters
“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut, We Are Monsters, is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners on split screens. ” — Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Redheads

"We Are Monsters is fantastic -- a frightening and intense thriller and one hell of a debut novel. I was blown away. Brian Kirk is exactly what readers need -- a talented new voice with original, awe-inspiring ideas that can push the genre forward."
-Brian Keene, best-selling author of Ghoul and The Rising

"Brian Kirk's debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that's a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I've read this year." (Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.)

"A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before." (Ginger Nuts of Horror)

"Brian Kirk's debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up... and what happens when they're freed. Highly recommended!" (John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.)

"A disturbing, gets-under-your-skin debut novel. I expect to read much more from Kirk in the future." (Robert Ford, author of The Compound and Samson and Denial.)

"Cleverly told. Psychologically complex." (Scarlet's Web)

"A gorgeous display of conceivable terror that resonates long after reading." (Ranked as one of the Top Ten Horror Novels of 2015 by

Buy the Book
Barnes and Noble

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Robert E. Dunn's The Red Highway - Guest Post and {Giveaway}

Getting Better at Things

THE RED HIGHWAY is not my first novel. My first long piece was a novelization of a comic book series by the great Jack Kirby, Kamandi-The Last Boy on Earth. I think I was eleven. It was hand written and ran through a couple of full spiral bound notebooks. I remember it fondly but without the illusion that it was any good. As a matter of fact I’m glad it no longer exists. My early efforts still have the power to embarrass me completely. The thing is though, I’m just as proud of the childish notebook scribblings as I am mortified. They were a beginning. My beginning.

Writers write and that has to start someplace. I imagine that there are people who decide, out of the blue, to set down at the word processor and pump out a hundred thousand words. I imagine also, most of them are celebrities given sacks of cash to do so. Most of us start writing early and fail through a couple of million words before we do anything we are truly proud of. But we can take pride in the effort. We can take a great deal of pride in the progress.

Let’s face it, writing is hard work. Beyond time and commitment, it requires a creativity that stands up to the daily grind. Then when it’s done, everyone and their cousin, you know the one, the know-it-all that can’t understand why cutting his own hair is a bad idea, gets to judge your work. That can kick your ass.

The amazing thing, and that one little thing that separates most of us writers from almost-writers, is the getting better thing. We do it and suck. Then we do it and suck a little less. We suck for a long time but keep up the work and finally we don’t suck completely. In fact, there are some things even we can admit shine. Then someone tells us it shines but in the wrong way or that shine has gone out of style, or that there are too many shining in too similar a manner on the market. Then we start all over. Each starting, each ending, is a little bit better.

My first published novel was my second completed and after many short stories, screenplays, corporate writing, journalism, advertising copy, travelogues, training scripts, college plays and bad poetry. That’s the way it goes. Bad poetry is the price we pay for getting to a full novel. That first novel was written as a ZomCom, a zombie horror/comedy that I had originally titled Redneck Zombie Rodeo. The publisher felt that was too American and not scary enough. It became The Dead Ground. I still get notes from readers that say it was not what they expected. But that’s okay because what they (mostly) don’t say is, it sucks. After it, I rewrote an alien abduction novel that I had originally blogged as a serial. Then I let it sit and wrote another novel, a mystery that became a romance. That was published under my other, secret name. I dare you to find it. Then, again I returned to the Alien novel and worked it over again. It was published as, Behind the Darkness Alien Abduction.

All of this has been the long way to tell you about THE RED HIGHWAY. I took the long way because I wanted you to understand the work that goes into a book isn’t just writing a long story. The real work is years of writing the books, stories, and bad poetry that become the foundation a writer builds his or her house of titles upon. THE RED HIGHWAY is the best book I can give you right now but I don’t think it’s my best book. That one hasn’t been written yet. I hope you will keep your eye out for it.

Now I'd like to tell you a little bit about THE RED HIGHWAY and give a fair warning, there runs through it, a small theme of bad poetry.

In January of 1992, the fading life of Paul Souther, a homeless veteran, is changed by two events. He witnesses a murder committed by a big black man who, for a moment, seemed to have wings. And, as Paul hides from the man in a XXX theater, Mary Prince, the adult actress on screen, begins to speak directly to him.

On the other side of the country, the real Mary encounters the same big man when she visits the site of the Rodney King beating. He infests her life and her mind then traps her in a mental health ward, impossibly, pregnant.

In LA, two other black men, a tabloid reporter, and a celebrity TV preacher, are on the trail of the same mysterious man. They follow the tracks of rage and race leading throughout the city. At every hot spot the man is seen pulling strings and spreading the message of race war.

Paul and a mix of outcasts is called to Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city of LA is sitting on a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the big man, who now claims to be a god, reveals himself to be an ancient, dark power using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands the child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between a child or a city and to save the people he has come to care about.

Twenty years later, as the grown child is spreading her own message of practical faith, as protesters picket and shout a new hate, a mysterious man shows up in the new crowds. This time his message is, God Hates Fags.

About the book
Necro Publications/Bedlam Press
PAGES: 282
ISBN: 978-1-939065-82-7 Trade Paperback (List: $12.95)
Distribution: Trade Paperback: Amazon, LSI and CreateSpace eBook: Kindle, Smashwords, Baker & Taylor, Nook, LSI, Apple, Kobo, Sony and others

In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.

Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary's side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

About the author
Robert E. Dunn was born an army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He wrote his first book at age eleven, stealing, or novelizing, as he called it at the time, the storyline of a Jack Kirby comic book.

His college course of study, philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications, left him qualified only to be a televangelist. When that didn’t work out, he turned to them mostly, honest work of video production. Over several years he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues. Still always writing for the joy of it he returned to writing horror and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.

He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.

Praise for The Red Highway
“The Red Highway is not one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year, or that I’ve read in a long time…it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read! It was an incredible read, one that has so many layers that I was completely enthralled with the story.” –2 Book Lovers Reviews

"A thoroughly gripping read. Dunn is a writer with guts and the chops to grab his readers by the eyeballs and dare them to look away." –Hunter Shea, Author of Tortures of the Damned

Buy the book
Necro Publications

Enter for your chance to win either a copy of The Red Highway, Behind the Darkness, or a print of the beautiful cover artwork from The Red Highway done by Erik Wilson! You can do multiple things each day to gain more entries! Just click the rafflecopter link. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Matt Manochio's Twelfth Krampus Night and Krampus (the film) - Reviews and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
Krampus, Krampus, Krampus...we're hearing a lot of that name this year. It seems the beast of legend, one of Santa's helpers with the not so nice on the list, is finally making his way into our modern world consciousness. I find it exciting actually. I love the old legends surrounding holidays so I welcome Krampus as the dark alter ego of Santa. After all, everyone has a dark side, whether it be small or large.

Manochio's Twelfth Krampus Night is set in medieval times when people were very superstitious and believed in such legends as Krampus and Frau Perchta. But even the people of the time found themselves having to suspend disbelief when they encountered these individuals, especially Krampus, the demon/man/goat monstrosity. Turns out, these two have a score to settle with a very naughty individual. Little do they know...they're not after the same person. When they decide to join forces, all hell breaks loose...literally.

This novella is a short read, but it packs a lot of punch. It's not really Christmas-y, but it is set during Twelfth Night so still within that window of the festive season. Manochio shows a real talent for spinning a good, scary yarn, with some humor thrown in for good measure.

Krampus, the motion picture which came out this past weekend, is what I would describe as a dark take on the Home Alone story...sort of. Max is having a rough time this Christmas (a la Kevin McAllister). There's a altercation at the Christmas pageant and then when Max and family return home and the relatives arrive for the holidays, things escalate to Max stating he hates them all (again, a la Kevin McAllister). However, that's where the similarities end. The family doesn't leave and forget Max. Instead, Max's disappointment draws the attention of something much darker than the "wet bandits". The rest of the movie is a myriad of scary creatures (and kind of cute) from living Gingerbread men/boys (the cute ones) to some kind of creepy and disgusting jack in the box "worm" that...well, don't want to give it away. Let's just say...yuck.

There are some very festive parts in this movie and a lot of not so festive moments. And in the end, as with any good Christmas movie, we are reminded to cherish what is important. In this case, it's not all apples and sunshine...but I won't say more. You'll have to see it to find out...and you should definitely see it!

Be sure to stop over at The Christmas Spirit tomorrow to read Matt's guest post about the legend of Krampus. And a giveaway of an eBook copy of Twelfth Night Krampus!

About the book
“This is a macabre, dark tale with a timeless quality about it. An atmospheric landscape, complete with Bavarian castle; characters that could have stepped out from your worst nightmares. It kept me thoroughly and enjoyably entertained in a dark, scary way. Full marks!” –Cat Cavendish, Author of The Dark Avenging Angel

Follow the tour with the hashtags: #TwelfthKrampusNight #TKN

Print Length: 121 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (December 1, 2015)
Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Dark servants clash!

Medieval maiden Beate, who’s grieving over the mysterious evisceration of her best friend, Gisela, must escape a Bavarian castle under siege by sadistic creatures.

Standing in her way—beyond towering walls and crossbow-toting guards—are Saint Nicholas’s demonic helper, Krampus, and Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag who prowls the countryside during First Night festivities to punish naughty teens.

Beate wants out. Krampus and Frau Perchta want in, determined to breach the castle to snag their prey. Beate has no idea why these monsters want her, but she must use her wits to save herself from horrors both human and inhuman—lest she wind up like Gisela.

About the author
Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree. He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting.

He wrote about one of his passions, rock ‘n’ roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career. He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment.

His debut novel, The Dark Servant, was published with Samhain Horror in November of 2014. His second novel, Sentinels, was release November 2015, just prior to Twelfth Krampus Night in December 2015. He currently lives in New Jersey with his son.

Praise for Matt Manochio
“Twelfth Krampus Night is an enjoyable read and a strong horror story. Manochio is a very strong writer and his talent is evident in this novel. I easily slid into the world that Manochio creates and was fascinated by Frau Perchta and Krampus.” –Minneapolis

“The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be–eerie, original and utterly engrossing!” — Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author

“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers–creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm!” — Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author

“Matt Manochio is a writer who’ll be thrilling us for many books to come.” — Jim DeFelice, New York Times bestselling author

“Matt Manochio has taken a very rare fairytale and turned it into a real page-turner. Matt has constructed a very real and believable force in Krampus and has given it a real journalistic twist, and he has gained a fan in me!” — David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author

“In The Dark Servant, Matt Manochio has taken the tantalizing roots of Middle Europe’s folklore and crafted a completely genuine modern American horror story. … I fell for this story right away. Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller.” — Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author

“Could there be a dark side to Santa? And if so, what would he do to those kids who were naughty? Matt Manochio provides the nail-biting answer with The Dark Servant.” — John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author

“If you want some pure escapism on a quiet afternoon and you don’t mind a little–okay, maybe a lot–of blood, SENTINELS is exactly what you’re looking for. Manochio is a talented author with a bright future and someone who’s work I will follow with great interest.” –Shotgun Logic

Purchase Twelfth Krampus Night
Samhain Horror

Test your luck and enter to see if you’ll win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a print copy of The Dark Servant (Matt’s Krampus book from 2014). Anyone can enter and you can enter multiple times per day in various ways.

Also, if you review Twelfth Krampus NIght and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at, and click you’ve done this on the Rafflecopter section for it, you will get 5 extra entries!! Any questions, defer them to Erin as well. Click on the Rafflecopter daily to enter!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Matt Manochio's #Sentinels - Guest Post

Researching History for My Horror Novel

History can be tricky. You don’t want to get it wrong. Throwaway lines—even one word—can expose a flaw in your research or lack thereof.

I set my new novel, Sentinels, in post-Civil War South Carolina. It’s a rough place. The KKK is killing freedmen and their supporters. Northern soldiers are dispatched to keep the peace in the South. Oh, and there are supernatural forces going around killing both sides, and nobody can figure out why.

People die. Which leads to the question: How were funerals held in the 1870s? What were the customs? What tools were used? Well, the mortician traveled to your place (assuming you died and your viewing is being held at your home, where your spouse lives). That’s right. They fixed you up right there in your sitting room. Oh, and superstitions at the time involved shrouding mirrors, windows, even doorknobs, in black cloth. (Seeing your reflection in a room with a dead body can be bad, apparently.)

Some people might find research annoying. I dig it. I majored in history in college, and even though my fascination lies with WWII (I’m more a fan of modern history), life in the decade following the Civil War was horrendous in the United States. That’s a period of time that many people know little about. I was one of them until writing Sentinels.

First, I had no idea there were five military districts, manned by Northern soldiers, scattered throughout the South to ensure stability. (When you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, we left troops in Germany, Japan and South Korea following war.) But just that one realization helped shape the course of Sentinels. And it’s great when that happens.

And what kind of horse carriages did people operate back in the 1870s? How were outhouses physically built and how far back were they situated from the living quarters? What were the most commonly used firearms? How much did an acre of land cost?

As I said, even throwaway lines can get you in trouble. I mentioned that a character put on a T-shirt and was informed by a reviewer that T-shirts, as we know them, weren’t invented until the 1900s. Words matter in that regard. Undershirt probably would’ve been a better choice.

Such are the perils of writing historical fiction. But those little details matter, even if a large part of your story involves creepy things that physically cannot happen.

About the book
These are no ordinary killers.

They don't distinguish between good and evil. They just kill. South Carolina's a ruthless place after the Civil War. And when Sheriff's Deputy Noah Chandler finds seven Ku Klux Klansmen and two Northern soldiers massacred along a road, he cannot imagine who would murder these two diametrically opposed forces.

When a surviving Klansman babbles about wraiths, and is later murdered inside a heavily guarded jail cell, Noah realizes something sinister stalks his town. He believes a freed slave who's trying to protect his farm from a merciless land baron can help unmask the killers. Soon Noah will have to personally confront the things good men must do to protect their loved ones from evil.

About the author
Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree.

He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting. He wrote about one of his passions, rock 'n' roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career.

He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment, and currently lives in New Jersey with his son.

Praise for Matt Manochio
"Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller." -Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Savage Dead

"A real page turner. Matt Manochio has gained a fan in me!" -David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author of the Event Group Thriller series, on The Dark Servant

"Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted. A clockwork mechanism of terror! Highly recommended!" -Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Shattered, on The Dark Servant

Purchase Links 
Barnes and Noble 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Glenn Rolfe's Blood and Rain - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
Anyone who thinks the werewolf thing has been done...and done again...well, you need to read Blood and Rain. I haven't been this captivated by a werewolf story since seeing "American Werewolf in London" when I was a girl...or maybe "The Howling". It seems these days, werewolves have become less scary, as we get to know their human side before we really know their beast side. I'm talking about "True Blood" or Anne Rice's new werewolf series. Not to discount those awesome storytellers (everyone knows Rice is my favorite author), but it's just refreshing to read about a werewolf and to be really scared and horrified. Rolfe did not pull any punches in this book. We get the fear and we get the gore...and it's luscious (for lack of a better word). I've been reading a lot of great horror lately (via the terrific publicist, Erin of Oh, for the Hook of a Book fame) and this one ranks near the top.

Blood and Rain is a riveting monster novel that keeps you guessing until the end. Thanks for bringing me back to the scary werewolves. It was a wild ride!

About the book
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man's terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can't even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.

Find Glenn Rolfe at: as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Stan Springs stared at the curse in the night sky. His curse. He clenched his jaw, and bit back the grunts that demanded release from within his sweat-covered body. His muscles tightened and took turns throwing fits. He could feel his heartbeat’s thunderous barrage at work inside his heaving chest. It was only a matter of minutes before the changes would come.

He ripped his gaze from the clouds, moved away from the window and knelt down next to the bed against the concrete wall. He slipped one shaky hand beneath the mattress and found the small incision he’d made when he first arrived at the institution. He had traded a guard, a heavyset fella by the name of Harold Barnes, his prized Ted Williams rookie card in exchange for a copy of the key. Parting with this gold mine had been necessary. Stan Springs had nothing else of value with which to barter. Harold trusted him enough to make the swap; he told Stan there were crazies here by the dozen, but he could tell that Stan was not one of them.

No, Harold, I’m something far worse.

Key in hand, Stan stepped to the unlocked door and cracked it open. The hallway was clear. He moved down the corridor, as stealthily as during his heydays working on the force in New York. Hearing footfalls ahead and to his left, he fell back and pressed his large frame against the custodial door. Hidden by the entryway’s shadow, he watched Nurse Collins—a tall, thin woman with a dark complexion—pass fifty feet from where he stood, before she disappeared into the nurses’ break room.

Barefoot and dressed in only a Red Sox T-shirt and his sleeping shorts, Stan made a break for the staircase across the hall. His breaths were coming faster now. If he didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t make it outside. He crept down the steps leading to the main hallway.

Through the small window on the stairwell door, he could see Harold Barnes’s haunted jowls illuminated by the laptop screen in front of him. The old man’s eyes were closed, his mouth open. Harold hadn’t even made it an hour into his shift before he was out. Stan knew Harold also ran his own antique shop in the neighboring town of Hallowell. He’d told Stan that working both jobs on the same day, which was sometimes unavoidable, made it difficult for him on the night shift. It was another shared nugget Stan had stored away for nights like this one—the nights the beast in him needed to get out.

Easing the door open, Stan skulked his way along the shadows on the wall, and tiptoed to the main entrance door. Despite the cramps now rampaging through his calves and thighs, he slipped the procured key into the lock, slow and steady. The door clicked open, and he stepped out into the night.

As the cool breeze brushed against the sweat of his brow, the tendons and bones in his face began to shift. The rest of his body followed suit. He dropped to one knee and cried out. His skin, his scalp, his eyes, his muscles were all too tight. He reached behind him and managed to push the door shut.

If you could see me now, Harold.

The private roads out front were deserted. He launched from the building’s stairs and landed on the lawn below, making a beeline for the woods to the left of the large property.

He was twenty feet from the forest when the change hit him like a massive wave, crashing him to the ground. His muscles clenched and squeezed and tore, while the bones of his face continued to crack and grow. His teeth began to fall out in place of the monster’s. Down on all fours, he crawled to the tree cover and vomited. A mix of last night’s cafeteria meat loaf, black coffee, loose teeth, and blood splashed the ferns before him. Stan’s fingers extended as his claws dug into the soft soil of spring’s floor. He moaned and grunted his way through the rest of the fluid process.

In full beast mode, Stan Springs stood and howled at the cloud-covered sky. The creatures of the night became ghosts among the trees. He felt the strength flowing through him and the hunger begging to be sated.

He burst forward, headed north. Despite Stan’s best effort to control the beast’s killing zone, he found himself heading home.

About the author
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas, Abram's Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Praise for Blood and Rain
“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!” –Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

"With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Blood and Rain will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos, and proof that we're in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!" -Ronald Malfi, author of The Floating Staircase

“Rolfe tells a tale that captures your attention like King without all of the wordiness. He also spills the red stuff like Laymon…” – Into the Macabre

“Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.” — Horror Underground

“Wow! Easily one of the best werewolf books I’ve ever read.” – Hunter Shea, author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon

“Some good ‘ol fashion violence and gore…” – Jason Parent, author of Seeing Evil

“Glenn Rolfe takes a swing at the werewolf genre and hits a home run.” – Russell James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

“…not just another werewolf story, Rolfe has managed to take the werewolf to a-whole-nother level…” – Horror Novel Reviews

“The best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt.”–Horror After Dark

Buy the book

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Extending Season of the Witch & In Honor of Day of the Dead, a Scary Story by Julie Dawn

Playing With Markers
by Julie Dawn

I fumbled for a marker. Damn Backpack.

“Hurry up. You’re going to get us busted,” Lila said as she smacked her gum.

“Would you quit that?” I whispered, but it echoed off the graffitied walls. The school had been abandoned when grandfather was young. He won’t talk about it, it’s like asking him about the war. Mom says he was changed by the war, he saw things, and I mustn’t talk about it with him.

A long hallway was the only other entrance into the bathroom we were in—other then the broken window we had entered through. It probably led to the classrooms, decorated with picture books and ABC banners. I thought about my days in elementary school, the conformity—the long hours staring out of the windows—the boredom.

Something moved—banged, rolled?—in the hallway. A can, beer bottle?

Lila elbowed me.

There was no way I had come this far to give up now. Probably a stupid mouse.

Lila elbowed me again.

The bottle clinked against the wall. Vibrations rippled through the abandoned school. The floor beneath our feet moved.

Lila’s hand slid off my arm as she fell to the tiled floor.

I glanced at the hallway, but I couldn’t tell. There didn’t seem to be anybody there. Then I thought I saw a … no. There was nothing. Shit. Mom and Dad had warned me to never go to the old school at the top of the hill, through the forest, and set beside the most gorgeous lake one’s eyes could lay upon, glistening beyond the broken window.

In the doorway, a shadow appeared. It looked like a man, only bigger. Its shoulders blocked the threshold.


“Shit.” Lila climbed to her feet and ran past me, to the broken window, clearing it with one jump.

The shadow raised its chest. When it fell back down, another ripple of vibrations crashed over the room. My weight shifted onto my heels and pushed me back, stumbling, caught against a sink.

Lila screamed out my name. I looked at her, but her eyes led me back to the man—now charging me. He rushed me, full force, and then disappeared. A gust of wind puffed against my face. He vanished right in front of my fucking eyes.

I looked at Lila, but she was gone. I can’t believe she left me. I glanced back at the doorway—nothing. A chill rippled down my spin. I grabbed the straps of my backpack and took a step to leave—run like hell—and then yell at Lila for being such a punk. I took another step, but the weight of the marker in my backpack restrained me—stopped me.

Fuck it. I’m doing it. I can’t believe I just said fuck. Man, mom would kill me if she …. I dug through the bag. Where is it? I pushed maxi pads, pencils, and my phone out of the way and then … there it was. I grabbed the marker, but as my fingers tightened, I felt weird. Whatever. I shook my hands out and pressed the marker against the mirror.

A glass bottle rolled down the hallway.

My throat knotted.

The bottle clinked against the wall.

Julie Dawn grew up in southern Jersey, spending the summers collecting bee stingers in her feet. After graduating from Richard Stockton College, she dipped her toes in the environmental field for a few years, got married, moved to North Carolina, and finally got to become a mom. Four years of living in state parks was enough to make her relocate to the Oregon Coast. Under bright stars, she started writing again, determined to change the world one story at a time.


Yosemite Rising: A Zombie Novel by Julie Dawn

A legend that will change the world.
It’s been 150 years since the Ahwahnee Indians lived where Yosemite National Park now stands. Their last surviving Chief appears to Elizabeth Hutchings, a twenty-year-old biology student, the very day her parents die. Within 24 hours, she too is clinging to life as his whispers echo in her thoughts.

An ancient prophecy has begun. A plague rips through the world’s population, taking everyone and everything she has ever cared about. As agents of a mysterious organization called Meadowlark hunt her, she must find the strength to fight the infected even as she struggles to keep herself alive.

Just when she thinks she can’t go on, a man from her past arrives. He holds the key to understanding the prophecy. If she can unravel its secrets, she not only may change her own fate—but the fate of the entire world.

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