Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Matt Manochio's The Dark Servant - Guest Post and {Giveaways}


Do you ever wonder what Stephen King’s first book signing was like for Carrie? I’m guessing it was probably at a little Maine bookstore. Was he nervous? Antsy? Trying to find out what type of pen his favorite authors use to autograph books? I’d like to know the particulars. Here’s why:

Every author dreams of a book signing—the event that marks your arrival after years of writing, rejection, rewriting, landing a book deal, editing … you get the idea.

Prior to any of that happening, you envision throngs of adoring fans queuing around the book store, waiting for their chance to bask in your glow, and perhaps make unwelcome romantic overtures—which you of course decline with a polite: “Sorry, Miss Kardashian, I’m a married man and your butt is blocking the fire exit. Please move it.” This was the case—well, except for the Kardashian butt part—at the Stephen King book signing I attended last week at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, New York City.

People lined the perimeter of a city block—not a bookstore—just to get five seconds with the man. Fans clicked photographs, thanked the author, probably said strange things to him, and then held that prized possession (a signed copy of King’s newest work, Revival) in their hands.

That’s the dream. But here’s the reality. That’s the exception, not the rule. I’m guessing King wasn’t nervous prior to his November 11 signing in New York. He knew he’d move at least 350 books just by waking up that morning. Me? I’m on pins and needles that I won’t move 25 books on November 22, my first-ever book signing for The Dark Servant (Samhain Publishing). I’ll be signing at a Barnes & Noble in Bridgewater (NJ) at 6 p.m., and you’re invited!

I’m labeling this event as a book launch party, even though it’ll be more than two weeks after the official release date. It’s the only event I wanted to do. I’m not egotistical enough to think that if I arrange multiple book signings, people will magically appear.

There’s a scene in This is Spinal Tap where the band members appear at a record store to sign copies of their newest album, Smell the Glove, and two people show up—one presents the band with an album that isn’t theirs; the other fan complains when the band autographs the all-black album cover with black Sharpies.

I don’t think that’s going to happen to me. The good thing about a launch party is that family and friends (theoretically) will be there. The daunting part is convincing complete strangers to give your book a try. And I have no idea what that feels like—it’s nerve-racking and exhilarating just thinking about it. But Saturday will be here fast, and my journey as an author will continue. More than anything—and I believe this—at this stage of my career, selling books is important, but so is meeting potential readers and making a lasting impression. I worked as a newspaper reporter once upon a time and am used to speaking with new people. Hopefully, when it’s all said and done, it’ll have been fun, and potentially the first of many. Here’s to hope.

About Krampus 
December 5 is Krampus Nacht — Night of the Krampus, a horned, cloven-hoofed monster who in pre-Christian European cultures serves as the dark companion to Saint Nicholas, America’s Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas rewards good children and leaves bad ones to Krampus, who kidnaps and tortures kids unless they repent.
 

About the book
Santa's not the only one coming to town ...

It's older than Christ and has tormented European children for centuries. Now America faces its wrath. Unsuspecting kids vanish as a blizzard crushes New Jersey. All that remains are signs of destruction—and bloody hoof prints stomped in snow. Seventeen-year-old Billy Schweitzer awakes December 5 feeling depressed. Already feuding with his police chief father and golden boy older brother, Billy's devastated when his dream girl rejects him. When an unrelenting creature infiltrates his town, imperiling his family and friends, Billy must overcome his own demons to understand why his supposedly innocent high school peers have been snatched, and how to rescue them from a famous saint's ruthless companion—that cannot be stopped.

“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! Highly recommended!”
Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor

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

“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 of the Event Group Series

"I scarcely know where to begin. Is this a twisted parental fantasy of reforming recalcitrant children? Is it Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets Nightmare on Elm Street? Is it a complex revision of the Medieval morality play? 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. This is a winter’s tale, yes, but it is also a genuinely new one for our modern times. I fell for this story right away. Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller.”
Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Savage Dead and Dog Days

“Just in time for the season of Good Will Toward Men, Matt Manochio’s debut delivers a fresh dose of Holiday Horror, breathing literary life into an overlooked figure of legend ready to step out of Santa’s shadow. Prepared to be thrilled in a new, old-fashioned way.”
Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Damnable, Diabolical and The Angel of the Abyss

“In The Dark Servant, Manochio spins a riveting tale of a community under siege by a grotesque, chain-clanking monster with cloven-hooves, a dry sense of wit, and a sadistic predilection for torture. As Christmas nears and a snowstorm paralyzes the town, the terrifying Krampus doesn’t just leave switches for the local bullies, bitches, and badasses, he beats the living (editor’s note: rhymes with skit) out of them! Manochio balances a very dark theme with crackling dialogue, fast-paced action, and an engaging, small-town setting.”
Lucy Taylor, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Safety of Unknown Cities

“A fast-paced thrill-ride into an obscure but frightful Christmas legend. 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 of Violet Eyes

“A high-octane blast of horror. A surefire hit for fans of monsters and gore.”
Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown

“Have yourself a scary, nightmare-y little Christmas with The Dark Servant. Matt Manochio’s holiday horror brings old world charm to rural New Jersey, Krampus-style.”
Jon McGoran, author of Drift

Photo Credit: Eric Schnare

About the author
Matt Manochio is the author of The Dark Servant (Samhain Publishing, November 4, 2014). He is a supporting member of the Horror Writers Association, and he hates writing about himself in the third person but he’ll do it anyway.

He spent 12 years as an award-winning newspaper reporter at the Morris County, N.J., Daily Record, and worked for one year as an award-winning page designer at the Anderson, S.C., Independent-Mail. He currently works as a full-time editor and a freelance writer. 

The highlights of his journalism career involved chronicling AC/DC for USA Today: in 2008, when the band kicked off its Black Ice world tour, and in 2011 when lead singer Brian Johnson swung by New Jersey to promote his autobiography. For you hardcore AC/DC fans, check out the video on my YouTube channel. 

To get a better idea about my path toward publication, please read my Writer's Digest guest post: How I Sold My Supernatural Thriller

Matt’s a dedicated fan of bullmastiffs, too. (He currently doesn't own one because his house is too small. Bullmastiff owners understand this all too well.) 

Matt doesn’t have a favorite author, per se, but owns almost every Dave Barry book ever published, and he loves blending humor into his thrillers when warranted. Some of his favorite books include Salem’s Lot, Jurassic Park, The Hobbit, Animal Farm, and To Kill a Mockingbird. 

When it comes to writing, the only advice he can give is to keep doing it, learn from mistakes, and regardless of the genre, read Chris Roerden’s Don’t Sabotage Your Submission (2008, Bella Rosa Books). 

Matt grew up in New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and son. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in history/journalism.

See more about Matt and his book on his website: http://www.mattmanochio.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter (@MattManochio), Pinterest.

TWO Giveaways!
For everyone! CREATE a PINTEREST board by choosing one of the following themes: Krampus, Old World Legends, Vintage Holiday, Old World Christmas, Christmas Around the World, Traditions and Legends, Myths, Monsters, and Horror, or something very similar.

Second rule: You must pin Matt's book cover and Amazon purchase link or Samhain Horror Purchase link. Third Rule: Follow Matt Manochio and Erin Al-Mehairi.

Third Recommendation: Extra points for pinning extra things about Matt, such as tour page, articles, etc.

Your board will be judged on the above PLUS your creativity and effort in the project! Send Erin at hookofabook@hotmail.com your Pinterest page to enter by Dec. 8. Of course you can continue to use it through the Holiday if you wish!

Prize: A "Santa Checked His List and I'm on the Naughty Side" package. This will include your choice of Krampus themed apparel (t-shirt or sweatshirt, men or women, visuals to come) and a signed paperback of the book.

There might be shipping limitations. Check back to tour page before entering if you live outside the U.S. for updated information.

Example:

http://www.pinterest.com/erinalmehairi/its-old-world-christmas/

And a board about Matt:

http://www.pinterest.com/erinalmehairi/the-dark-servant-matt-manochio/

Giveaway for Reviewers!
Anyone on the tour, or outside the tour, who reviews The Dark Servant on Amazon and GoodReads and sends their review link into Erin (Publicist for Matt Manochio) at hookofabook@hotmail.com, now through Dec. 31, 2014, will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.


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Friday, October 31, 2014

A Special Halloween Treat! Ira Gansler's Things in the Darkness - Excerpt and {Giveaway}


Excerpt
Father Frank hung up his robe on a hook next to the door. He offered Kevin some coffee and Kevin accepted. Father Frank brewed the coffee and chattered while he did so about the recent activities in the church and how much he had missed the Tremmels’ presence, not only on Sundays but at many of their outreaches that had taken place since Kevin’s accident. He came out with a tarnished silver tray carrying the pot of coffee, two mugs, cream, and sugar. He sat the tray down on a table that sat on the inside of the L formed by the couch and chairs.

Once he and Kevin had fixed their cups of coffee, Father Frank sat back in one of the chairs as Kevin sat caddy-corner on the couch near him. Father Frank sipped his tea, while waiting for Kevin to start talking, which was another trick Kevin was sure he must have picked up during his days in the mental health field.

Knowing that it was up to him to start, Kevin decided to just lay all his cards on the table and blurted out, “I think I’m possessed.”

Father Frank did not bat an eye at this statement and Kevin felt himself able to breathe. This did not mean that the priest believed him, but it did indicate that he was willing to listen and that was all Kevin could ask at the moment. Finally, the priest spoke up. “When did you start to feel this way?” Kevin felt no judgment in the question and began to feel even more relaxed.

“Shortly after the accident,” Kevin said. “Maybe even right after it. I can vaguely remember some of the dreams or visions I had before I briefly came to in the operating room...” He trailed off and hesitated for a moment to share the point he thought might be vital, but one he didn’t know if the priest had any knowledge of. He thought to himself, “You’ve gone this far, you might as well not stop now.” He took a deep breath, looked into his coffee as if trying to read the future in the swirls of cream, or at least discover some vital secret behind existence, and then finally stated, “When I was dead.”

Father Frank did not drop his gaze and only took a brief second before saying, “I assume you mean clinically dead? Your heart had stopped?”

Kevin shook his head emphatically, “Yes, they used some kind of new resuscitation technique on me, but even so, they said I set some kind of record for how long I was dead before they were able to bring me back.”

“And you think that perhaps you brought something back with you from the afterlife?” Coming from anyone else, this would have felt like they were placating or even teasing him, but Kevin heard the sincerity in Father Frank’s voice and was willing to go on.

“I don’t know exactly. I only know that I haven’t been myself ever since I woke up from the coma.”

“How so?” Father Frank leaned forward and studied Kevin’s face and body language as he asked the question.

“I have been extraordinarily short tempered. I have felt rage at the slightest perceived or real threat or insult. I find myself critical of the very things I used to believe so strongly in, like my students and my family. I am
suspicious of everyone I meet and see ulterior motives in every action.” “Surely there must be more. You are an educated man. If this was all you were experiencing, I imagine your first thought would not have been demonic possession, but a mood disorder of some kind resulting from the trauma of your accident.”

Father Frank’s eyes bored into Kevin’s as if he could read the truth behind them. Kevin felt exposed and for a brief moment wished he had never came. Then he thought of Sarah, Chloe, and Jacob and the grisly visions he had seen when he lost his temper the previous day. He knew that he had to continue, no matter how crazy he would sound.

“I’ve been hearing a voice,” Kevin looked down at the floor. He was determined to get this out, but he could not meet the priest’s eyes as he said this part. “It urges me to do horrible things. Things of such a level of depravity that I find myself disgusted with the very thought of them once I come to my senses. It speaks of this darkness and urges me to join with the darkness. I dream every night of a pitch blackness, with creatures of some sort in the swirling in the background which become clearer every night.”

He looked up at the priest, and the look of desperation in his eyes was impossible to miss as he continued on. “These creatures, Father, I think if I see them in their entirety I really will go crazy. I don’t think any human mind was ever equipped with the ability to see them as they are.” Now the tears began to flow, but he had given up any pretenses at maintaining a sense of dignity or pride in this situation. “I see the most horrible things as if they are really happening. Violence, death, sexual perversion, and it is like I am actually committing these acts, it seems so real. My wife and children…I saw myself hurting, torturing, and killing them, and for a brief moment, I actually enjoyed the images until I came to my senses.” Kevin completely broke down into tears at that point and Father Frank placed a hand on his shoulder, but said nothing.

After a couple of minutes, Kevin was able to continue. “I would never actually harm them, Father. I would sooner damn myself to an eternity in Hell through taking my own life before allowing any harm to come to them. But it is so real. If this isn’t the work of a demon, then I don’t know what to think anymore. Six months ago, I would have thought that the notion of a demon in the literal sense was laughable. But now...now I don’t know what to think.” Kevin grabbed the priest’s hands and the desperation blazed in his eyes. “You have to help me, Father, you just have to!”

About the book
An accident puts Kevin Tremmel into a coma. Upon waking, he is not the same. Is it psychological trauma or something darker at work?

Until recently, Kevin Tremmel was at peace with his life. He had a wonderful family, a meaningful career, and his life is finally settling down. Everything seems to be going great - until the night he dies in a car accident.

When the doctors revive him, it's evident that he's not the same. Strange urges and images haunt his waking hours, and he finds himself fighting frightening new impulses. Has the trauma of the accident caused a mental illness -- or has he brought some malevolent being back with him?

In order to save his sanity, his sense of self, and his family, Kevin must discover what force is at work on him and how to overcome it. It’s that, or give up all he loves and become a servant to the things in the darkness.

Praise
"Terrifying and engaging, impossible to put down." Henrique Couto, Writer/Director of Babysitter Massacre and Director of Haunted House on Sorority Row and Scarewaves.

"Creepy, contemporary riffs on Lovecraftian themes!" John Oak Dalton, Screenwriter - Among Us, Haunted House on Sorority Row, and Scarewaves.


About the author
Ira M. Gansler is the father of three girls whom he adores and hopes to one day mold into fellow horror fans! He has been married to his fantastic, supportive wife for almost twelve years. Ira focuses on honing his writing craft through fiction, blogging, and screenwriting. He was one of the writers for the film Scarewaves, having written the screenplay for the “Office Case” segment.

Ira has been an avid horror fan since the time at age five when he ran screaming back to his bed after having witnessed the scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy was dragging a bloody and dying Tina across the ceiling. Since then, he has embraced all types of horror. The Shining, anything by H.P. Lovecraft, and the original Night of the Living Dead will always hold a special place in his twisted heart. He prays that when the zombie apocalypse does come that it consists of slow zombies and that the Elder Gods show mercy on us all.

You can follow Ira M. Gansler on his blog, The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void at http://ragecircus.blogspot.com, on twitter @RageCircusBlog, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ragecircusblogger. Ira also writes reviews and conducts interviews for the From Dusk Till Con Network at www.fromdusktillcon.com.

GIVEAWAY
Enter to win one of two great prizes during the #DarknessEmerges Tour. Ira is giving away a GRAND PRIZE of a signed print copy of his book, The Things in the Darkness, plus a signed copy of his “Office Case” segment from the movie, Scarewaves. As a second prize, he’s giving away another signed print copy! Enter to win through the Rafflecopter below. Enter now until Dec. 1, 2014. This is a tour wide giveaway, and open to U.S. Residents only due to shipping. If you want to enter from outside the U.S., and you can, but if you win, you’ll receive an e-book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A little bit of witchery and love - Juli D. Revezzo


Normally I like to read about all sorts of fantasy and magic; my first loved books were the Elric series by Michael Moorcock, about a brooding sorcerer taking on his changing world (or that’s the story in a very small nutshell). When I started writing, I couldn’t help including sorcerers and wizards and witches of all kinds. My paranormal series, Antique Magic, (including the books THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE, CAITLIN’S BOOK OF SHADOWS, and DRAWING DOWN THE SHADES) however, took a page from real-world magic. The series concerns a budding witch (Caitlin), an ancestral curse, and the ghosts she gets herself involved in. Caitlin is a kitchen witch, of sorts, whose magic derives from a vow and agreement with her gods even before this life. That magic is a combination of good wishes and love she mixes into everything in her home. She dotes over her garden and can make it thrive even in the worst part of the Florida summer. She also has prophetic dreams that lead her, (In THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE) to find the identity of the fiends maintaining an ancient curse against her beloved husband.

In the follow up to THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE, (entitled CAITLIN’S BOOK OF SHADOWS) she documents her trials as she again faces that evil, in danger of ruining her family still, and Christmas. The third book in the series, DRAWING DOWN THE SHADES sees Caitlin growing even more in her knowledge of the otherworlds, of magic, and its uses....practical and mystical. When a ghost comes to her begging for help about something whose source is buried under 50 years of speculation and post-modern folklore, it might take a little bit of magic to dig down to its core—and stop it in its tracks.

I hope you enjoy my worlds as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them! J Here’s a little taste of each if you’d like to check them out.


THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE (Antique Magic, book 1):

The balance between good and evil can be an art... or a curse.

Trevor and Caitlin were once happy newlyweds, profiting from Trevor's art. Until Trevor inherits his brother's house, and with it, his part of a family curse. Now, Caitlin will stop at nothing to save her beloved husband from insanity and suicide, even if it means she must embrace her destiny and become a witch.

THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE is available at Amazon (http://amzn.to/XokygP ), Barnes and Noble (http://bit.ly/R5mt86 ), Smashwords (http://bit.ly/RH0GCI ) and in paperback from Createspace (http://bit.ly/RkOdr0 ). I hope you will check them out and enjoy them.


CAITLIN’S BOOK OF SHADOWS (Antique Magic book 1.5)

Something terrifying stalks Caitlin and her beloved Trevor. Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of--or so legend says. When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin's long forgotten diary, she wonders will it tell the whole tale? Will it tell why Caitlin seemed so determined to tell the difference between reality and nightmare even as she continued the fight to defend her family from evil? Will it explain why she thought her world twisted? If she really became a witch?

Perhaps the answer lies between the lines of her story, one of lessons, struggles, and the hopes she carried like a warrior's shield.


**This is a side (or supplemental, if you will) story in the Antique Magic series, a companion to The Artist's Inheritance (Antique Magic, Book One).


DRAWING DOWN THE SHADES (Antique Magic book 2) 
Business can be hell…

Life is good at Starfort Collectibles until the owners, Caitlin and Trevor Fulmer, acquire a beautiful statuette with a murky past. Shortly thereafter, mysterious hauntings wreak havoc on the couple when a ghost in the attic threatens retribution. Caitlin presses her coven for help before the ghost succeeds in meting out deadly punishment—on Trevor.

You can find all the titles in the Antique Magic series at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1i7wIrd

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?series_id=850440

And Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/5714

And in paperback from Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=Juli+D.+Revezzo&sitesearch_type=STORE


About the Author
Juli D. Revezzo is a Florida girl, with a love of fantasy, science fiction, and Arthurian legend, so much so she gained a B.A. in English and American Literature. She loves writing stories with fantastical elements whether it be a full-on fantasy, or a story set in this world--slightly askew. She has been published in short form, and recently released her debut paranormal romance novel Passion’s Sacred Dance. She also has an article and book review or two out there. But her heart lies in the storytelling.

To learn more about Juli, THE ANTIQUE MAGIC series, and all her other works, see her site, at http://julidrevezzo.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1dmAwFa

She’s also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julidrevezzo

Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782712.Juli_D_Revezzo

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111476709039805267272/posts

Pintrest: http://pinterest.com/jewelsraven/

And Twitter: @julidrevezzo

For news on forthcoming releases sign up for her newsletter at: http://bit.ly/SNI5K6

The Artist's Inheritance is on sale through Saturday for 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! Grab your copy!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Anne Rice's The Vampire Armand Read-a-Long...Have you started?


Just a quick reminder that the read-a-long started on Friday, October 10. Still time to join us! First discussion will be around October 24 and will cover Chapters 1 - 7. Enjoy...I know I will!!!

Original schedule and sign up post here.


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's the Season of the Witch...Plus, Read-a-Long Update and Announcing a New Read-a-Long!


One of my favorite times of year is here! And this is the third year of Season of the Witch here at Castle Macabre. I'm looking for contributors this month, as I've learned from my fail with Gothic September that I just don't have time to come up with all the content myself. So, if you're interested in contributing a scary book or movie review, or just want to write something about what you love during this time of the year, please email me at truebookaddict (AT) gmail (DOT) com  I would really, really, really love to have you!

Next up is an update on The House of Seven Gables read-a-long and scroll down for the exciting new read-a-long announcement!


Update on The House of Seven Gables Read-a-Long - I am so sorry that I did not stay up-to-date on the read-a-long. I had a hell of a September with work and all so barely had time to read anything. And then when I did pick up this book, I just had so much trouble getting into it. So, I'm still reading and hoping to finish by this weekend so I can post a final update. Thank you to Carol who stuck with it...and to anyone else who did.


The Vampire Armand Read-a-Long! What could be better than reading an Anne Rice novel in the Fall!? And since I have not made it through the entire Vampire Chronicles yet so I won't be reading Prince Lestat like everyone else this Fall, I thought I would live with them vicariously by progressing to the book I was at when I last visited the series. Anyone game? I'm hosting this in conjunction with my Never-Ending Anne Rice Challenge which I launched in August. You can check it out on its dedicated site here.

I've made this one a bit longer than a month in hopes that the longer time period will be easier for me to manage. Reading will follow the schedule below (subject to change)...start reading on October 10:

Read Part I: Chapters 1 - 7 
Discussion will be around Friday, October 24

Read Chapters 8 - 15
Discussion will be around Friday, November 7

Read Part II: Chapters 16 - End
Discussion will be on Friday, November 21


Who's with me?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

House of Seven Gables Read-a-Long - Discussion Delayed #NH7Gables


Sorry, folks! I'm running behind. Will have the discussion up by Thursday or Friday at the latest. Please feel free to share your thoughts on Twitter in the meantime using #NH7Gables


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Monday, September 1, 2014

Gothic September and The House of Seven Gables Read-a-Long Kick Off!


It's time to kick off Gothic September and start the read-a-long of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables. I am so excited because Fall is here (unofficially after Labor Day, officially September 23) so the spooky/scary reading is starting and Carl's R.eaders I.bibing P.eril IX. Who else is excited!?

I am going to be doing some Gothic reading this September with The House of Seven Gables and a new book coming out in October, An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman. I'm also going to be listening to some Edgar Allan Poe on audio and, if I have time, I'll squeeze in Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown.

If you want to join me in reading some Gothic books this Fall, I hope you will share what you read with me in the comments. I will be posting several times all month about Gothic topics and will share links to your posts. Also, if you would like to contribute by writing a post, please also leave me a comment. Would love to have your contributions!

If you will be joining me for the read-a-long of The House of Seven Gables, I am keeping the reading schedule fairly simple. We will have only two check-ins here on the blog, mid-book and end. You can also share your progress on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #NH7Gables. If anyone would like to have a Twitter chat at finish, please let me know in your comment below.

The House of the Seven Gables Read-a-Long Schedule

September 1 - 15 
Chapter I/The Old Pyncheon Family through Chapter X/The Pyncheon Garden (end on p. 151)

September 16
Mid-Book Check In

September 16 - 30
Chapter XI/The Arched Window through end (ending page in my edition is 309)

October 1
End of book/Final check in

Twitter/Facebook hashtag:  #NH7Gables

Happy Gothic September and Happy Fall!

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Friday, August 8, 2014

The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III - Character Guest Post


I’m Claire Sanchez, curandera, medicine woman, protagonist in The Unholy. I witnessed my mother’s brutal murder in the nighttime forest of Aztlan at the hands of a black-robed man. Hiding behind the tress, a five-year-old girl, I was powerless to help. This nightmare haunted my waking life and dreams for twenty-five years. I feared fulfilling my destiny as a medicine woman. My mother died because of who she was. Terrible fright dominated my life. The black-robed man could find me and do what he had done to my mother. Death lurked around every corner of Aztlan. Religion, I came to discover, cloaks many a sordid deed and foul personage. There was no way I could continue to run. What I most feared came my way, discovered my whereabouts, what my life was about and was to become, and who I loved. The time came for me to decide. Decisions of life-long consequence are painful, agonizing. Nevertheless, I do not regret the decision I made. I had to face the ghost of my past or forever be haunted by nightmares of what might come and what I could have done differently. I am not one to be indecisive. It was all a matter of timing. Yes, it was violent. Yes, the world of the supernatural and natural collided and forever changed the lives of so many people; but, I would not have it any other way. I needed to be true to my life, destiny, to myself as a woman who could run no longer. I could no longer cling to old ways and crippling terrors that needed to be confronted. I did what I had to do and for that I am glad and am complete. To all who read, I send you courage as you confront the dark side of religion and a woman’s quest to discover self, destiny, and whether, because of the scarring of her past, she could ever love again.
About the bookA young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON


About the author
PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.

His latest book is the psychological/paranormal thriller, The Unholy.

Visit his website at www.pauldeblassieiii.com or his blog at www.pauldeblassieiii.blogspot.com.

Connect & Socialize with Paul!

TWITTER * FACEBOOK

Watch for my review...coming this weekend!


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Monday, August 4, 2014

The Never-Ending Anne Rice Challenge

Any Anne Rice fans out there? I just announced last week my new long-term reading challenge, The Never-Ending Anne Rice Challenge. To find out what it's all about and to sign up, visit the dedicated blog HERE. What better time, what with Prince Lestat coming out in a few months? Can't wait! Hope you will join me!





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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hunter Shea's The Montauk Monster - Spotlight with Excerpt


Publisher’s Weekly named the upcoming thriller, THE MONTAUK MONSTER, one of the best summer books of 2014! Not only that, they gave it an awesome review. Here’s a snippet:

The urban mythologies of the Montauk Monster and the government labs on Plum Island unite to cause staggering levels of mayhem when mutant animals with toxic blood descend on a Long Island town. This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley. — PW

About the book/Advanced praise"Shea combines ancient evil, old school horror, and modern style." --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

It Kills. . .

On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .

It Breeds. . .

In another part of town, a woman's backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What's clear is that they're hostile--and they're ravenous. . .

It Spreads. . .

With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can't help them;FEMA can't save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.

"Hunter Shea is the real deal.. . .intense." --Gord Rollo, author of Valley of the Scarecrow and Crimson

"Shea delves deep into the unknown. A thrill-ride of a read!" --Alexandra Holzer, author of Growing Up Haunted

Called “Most Anticipated Summer Read of 2014” by The Horror Bookshelf along with Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes and Brian Moreland’s The Vagrants.

Purchase
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Raves for Hunter Shea

Forest of Shadows

"A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won't soon forget." --Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity

"This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don't get much better than this." --Literal Remains

". . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!" --Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal

"Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare." --Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows

Swamp Monster Massacre

"If you're craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!" --Horror Novel Reviews


About Hunter Shea
Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, which are all published by Samhain Horror. The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster is published by Kensington/Pinnacle.

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His next book from Samhain Horror, titled HellHole, came out July 1, 2014, and is his first western horror. As you read this, he has a few more books in the works from both Kensington and Samhain and release dates should be announced soon.

His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

Montauk Monster Truth or Fiction

Is the Montauk Monster made up for the book or an urban myth? Is there some truth that propels the story? You can find out more about the real Montauk Monster story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montauk_Monster

Excerpt from The Montauk Monster
The bat suddenly felt like a lead weight in his hands. Brian took a step back. He couldn’t make out any details in the dark, but he could see that they had to be dogs, big ass ones to boot. His plan had worked, in that his little surprise had gotten them to stop rooting through the garbage. The one drawback, and it was a big one, was that they weren’t the least bit afraid. Not of him. Not of the bat in his hands.

They took a step forward. The one on the right flicked a paw, crashing the can into the side of the house.

Brian tried to shout. All that came out was a soft, stammering hiss of nonsense.

The dogs came closer.

What the hell was wrong with them? Brian could feel the heat of their savage intention coming off them in steady waves.

He tripped as his heel came in contact with the raised brick of the patio. Daring a quick glance to his right, he wondered if he could make it in the door and slam it shut before they got to him. It would be close.

They’d gone disconcertingly silent.

Drawing in a deep breath, he pivoted and started to run.

He didn’t go far.

The other garbage can took the brunt of his flight. His shin cracked into it and he somersaulted over the can, landing on his side. The pain in his leg was excruciating.

The ticking of nails on concrete made the hairs at the back of his neck stand on end as the dogs rounded the corner with confident strides.

Brian scrabbled to get back on his feet. The open door was just six feet away. In there was safety. In there was light and a first aid kit to take care of his leg.

In there was a place where pissed off, giant dogs could not go.

His yard was swiftly flooded with light.

“Brian, what the hell are you doing out there?”

The light and Sam’s angry voice put a good scare into the menacing dogs. They dashed back down the alley as fast as greyhounds. One of them brushed against the can on its way out, giving it one last ear-splitting clatter against the house.

Hands clasped over his battered shin, Brian couldn’t find the words to answer his neighbor.



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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Strain Read-a-Long - Twitter chat postponed #thestrainRAL


I am behind on posting the discussion post...and responding to the comments on the last discussion post. I'm so sorry! It's the end of the school year so it has been constant music performances and award ceremonies to attend. I promise I will have it posted tomorrow. Also, something has come up for me tonight and so I'm going to have to postpone the Twitter chat until next Friday, June 6 at 8:00pm CST/9:00pm EST. Again, I do apologize.

Hope you're enjoying the book as much as I am!


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Thursday, May 22, 2014

PUYB: Kevin Bohacz's Ghost of the Gods - Spotlight


Title: Ghost of the Gods
Genre: Techno-Thriller
Author: Kevin Bohacz
Publisher: Mazel & Sechel
Pages: 437
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Was it the accumulated wounds to the environment that had finally triggered the nanotech plague or was it simply one more step in a shrewdly crafted plan to replace us with humans 2.0? As I write this at least one pair of these transhumans breathe the same air as us, and there are likely many more. They may look like us, they may even be almost human, but they are also cybernetic and will live for an extraordinary length of time. Trust me, their goals are not the same as ours. It was not a natural plague that almost drove humankind to extinction but an attack from within, turning our own biology against us. Scientists discovered all too late an artificial entity, a sentient machine foolishly created in the image of god, had been studying us and genetically altering us for longer than we can imagine. Perhaps it is because of this god-machine that we evolved into creatures who can think and speak and know our own mortality? This silicon god is so different from us that we may never truly understand it, but what we do know is that it is terrifyingly intelligent and it hates us. What we do know is that it tried to eradicate us from the face of our planet and then stopped for no discernible reason. What we do know is that its work is not done.

Excerpt:
It had been a restless night for both of them. The old growth forest was dense with huge oak and hickory trees. The ground was damp, and the air had a mossy tang to it. Mark Freedman heard the snapping and popping of the campfire as he awoke very oddly from a dream. He no longer awoke as humans had since their beginnings. At some point the processing throughput of his nanotech augmented brain surged upward and his eyes simply opened. He was fully aware of the data streaming in from his senses and his wireless neurological interface to the god-machine. The machine was an artificial intelligence whose origin was murky. It was hosted redundantly within the world’s oceans in supercolonies of the same nanotech seeds that infected him. A single seed was a self-replicating nanotech machine about a quarter the size of an average bacterium, yet had the power of a personal computer. The technology was decades beyond anything humans could have created in a lab. Some thought the technology could be almost as old as life on earth while others had far different, more recent ideas.

Mark could still see the spherical colonies in his mind. He had been dreaming of them again. Each was an undulating mass of hundreds of trillion of COBIC bacteria. Each bacterium was infected with a seed that covertly replaced most of the nucleus. It was all so stealthful, like a skilled hunter toying with its prey. Only in this case its prey was the world. Each colony was only a few feet in diameter, a size easily lost in the vast chasms of deep ocean water. Only a handful of these super- colonies were secreted around the world. He could hear echoes of the artificial intelligence thinking to itself. At times it could be maddening.

The god-machine, through its global wireless web, linked together all seeds that permeated everything on the planet. The result was an ancient living network of unimaginable scale and distributed comput- ing power. The seeds undetectably infected virtually every multi-celled creature, including humans.

Mark took a deep breath to clear the cobwebs of his dreams then took another deep breath. He heard a twig snap in the darkness, and his heart jumped. At the edge of the small clearing, beyond the reach of the campfire’s glow, lurked a deep gloom thick enough to conceal almost anything. The night was alive with droning and chirping creatures that should have been hibernating. Climate change had brought so many unforeseen consequences. In seconds his nanotech brain had cataloged the telltale sounds of several species of insects and other small creatures. Some would be extinct before long.

Mark thought how humankind had come so dangerously close to extinction itself. When the nanotech seeds had metastasized inside him two years ago, the technology had not only altered his brain, it had modified his flesh and even to some extent his DNA. While most of the seeds had taken root permanently inside the neurons in his brain, some remained unattached.

Using a mental command, Mark augmented his vision to include medical information about his body. The information was mentally projected as virtual reality. Looking at his arms and legs, he saw what resembled a colored fluoroscopic view. Orange blotches in the overlaid schematic symbolically indicated where the unattached mobile seeds were now massing. He knew these seeds were concealed inside harm- less COBIC bacteria, which they controlled and used both for disguise as well as mobility. These nanotech bacteria navigated his circulatory system like computerized antibodies. The microbes were sheathed in a chemical disguise, dialed-in to match its environment in the same way a chameleon changes its color. The result was complete invisibility to the immune system of its host. If his flesh was injured, this free-swimming nanotech could knit his tissues back together at the molecular level, healing the damage in days instead of weeks. These seeds, however, did far more than heal. Slowly, over time, they perfected through genetic fine tuning. He was the first of his kind. He had no idea how long he would survive, but he did know his lifespan would be extraordinary.

Mark turned off the medical projection. While he could examine his flesh, there was no command that could show him what was happening to his mind. Soon after the nanotech seeds had infected his brain, all his dreams had become conscious experiences and remained that way. In his conscious dreams he was able to solve problems, explore places, and just simply live. It was like an entire second existence had been opened to him. He knew his conscious dream life was mostly the result of photographic recall of everything, including dreams. Surveillance data from the god-machine proved most people had conscious dreams every night; they just failed to remember them and called them by a different name: lucid dreams.

Mark gazed up from the small clearing at a sky overcrowded with stars. He felt like the only being alive in this infinite, lonely place. A gibbous moon was just setting below the branches. Its pale blue light cast long shadows of tree limbs across the clearing. The shadows reminded him of ghostly talons reaching out for their prey. He checked for dream signs to make sure he was not experiencing a false awakening.

The temperature should have been frigid and the ground covered in deep snow, but it was not. More signs of a planet teetering on the brink of environmental collapse. The continent no longer had uniform seasons. Some places were experiencing a frozen winter while here in Missouri it was closer to early spring. It was chilly enough to be uncomfortable for an organic, but not for Mark and his companion. He simply dulled the temperature sensitive nerve endings in his skin. The campfire’s low flames had been reduced to orange coals. He could see the radiated warmth on his arms and legs but felt nothing. The glowing coals seemed almost alive as they writhed in their superheated world. Unable to feel the warmth, Mark was fascinated and reached out with his hand. A computer assist acted automatically in response to his state of mind. This assist, like the medial schematic, was a geo-projected virtual reality. The assist was warning him that the heart of the fire was 1,262 degrees Fahrenheit. It did this by displaying the temperature superimposed over the coals. Mark thought about the utter pointless- ness of that warning and how it showed the machine interface was still adapting to him and had far to go. He never had any intension of inserting his hand into the flames.

A soft breeze stirred dying leaves on the branches around him as a few more floated to earth. He watched one incinerated as it drifted down onto the hungry coals… as it dissolved, a terrible memory crept back into his awareness unbidden and his heart broke anew. Every day when he awoke the world was as it should be for a brief time, then the serpent of reality opened her eyes inside him and the horror of what he knew broke him again as he knew it would every morning of every day of his unimaginably long life. He spoke in an urgent whisper directed at both God and the god-machine.

“I want our lives back. I want our hope back. How could you hate us so much?”

Sarah stirred next to him. She was a nanotech hybrid like him. They were the only two known to exist in a world of one and half billion humans who had survived the nanotech plague. A plague caused by the god-machine and the seeds living inside his flesh. Mark regretted whispering and furtively wiped the dampness from his eyes. Sarah’s Rottweiler, Ralph, was staring at him. The dog’s eyes glowed with orange light from the fire. The huge animal was like a witch’s familiar.

Sarah could partially see and hear through the animal’s senses as they were radiated out as data across the god-machine’s n-web. Since all creatures were infected with some nanotech seeds, all creatures radiated some emanations, be it mental or emotional. Sarah propped herself up. Mark could see her shadowed expression in the wavering light. She looked so attractive and so frighteningly intelligent. He knew she was curious. He could feel her empathic awareness begin to suffuse him as her cybernetic brain fully awoke like a rising sun. Her spiritual caress was a hand returning to a familiar glove. While she shared and expe- rienced all his emotions, she must never discover the terrible truth. He concealed it deep inside himself and kept it from her so that she did not lose all hope. There was always hope.


About the author

I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.

His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.

Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kevinbohacz.


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Ghost of the Gods Tour Page


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Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Strain Read-a-Long - Discussion Post One #thestrainRAL


I was going to post some questions from a reading group guide I found online, but it said it had a lot of spoilers and I, for one, do not want this book spoiled for me.

So, how are you liking it so far? I am finding it incredibly creepy. The part when the firefighter is up on the wing investigating and the door just opens. Holy cow! I had all kinds of skin crawling going on. And how about that huge coffin-like box in the cargo hold? I'm sorry but if I found a box like that with soil in it, what would I automatically think of? Dracula, vampires, and the like. I mean, come on...did these characters NOT read Dracula?! Yeah, that's just my horror novel/movie brain talking. haha!

The eclipse was an interesting addition to the story. It was cool to learn more about the phenomenon. I had no idea that a person could really go blind after looking at the eclipse during the sun's reappearance. Then shouldn't Dolores Claiborne be blind? She looked at the eclipse as the sun reappeared after letting her husband fall to his death in a well. But I digress. That's another book for another time. *wink* Anyway, I thought the eclipse added to the general foreboding of the story. I think Eph's ex-wife had just the right attitude about it...feeling very uneasy. Little does she know...

Share with us your thoughts by leaving a link in the comments or by just commenting below. If you've read ahead, please keep in mind that others may not have so try not to leave any spoilers.

I hope you're enjoying the book as much as I am.


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