Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Release and Giveaway: Where the Dead Fear to Tread


Where The Dead Fear To Tread
A police officer and a serial killer search separately for a missing child while running a malevolent labyrinth populated by creatures they never knew existed. 

Former prosecutor William Chandler, disgusted with his past inaction, spills the blood of those who victimize children to correct the ills he sees in the world. A self-admitted serial killer and uncomfortable with his actions, Chandler attends the funerals of those whose lives he has taken in an effort to retain a true understanding of the nature of violence. 

The carnage left in his wake is investigated by Detective Kate Broadband, who becomes progressively more comfortable with the corpses left by Chandler. Envying the power she sees in him, she pursues Chandler as each search for Maria Verde, a missing eight-year-old girl. 

As Chandler and Broadband draw closer to discovering what happened to Maria they are forced to confront The Devourer, an unnatural being trafficking in stolen children. 

Where the Dead Fear to Tread is a tale of hard-boiled macabre, bridging numerous genres to reveal a story of horror, crime and revenge. 

Available from the Untreed Reads Store, Amazon and most major e-book retailers for $4.99.

Author Bio
M.R. Gott is the author of the novel Where the Dead Fear to Tread and the forthcoming sequel Where the Damned Seek Closure. You can visit M.R. at his website Cutis Anserina. Aside from contacting M.R. you will find his collection of book reviews and a list of small horror films you may have missed. M.R. lives contentedly in central New Hampshire with his wife, and their three pets. Aside from writing M.R. enjoys dark coffee, dark beer and fading light.

M.R. and Untreed Reads are giving away an eBook copy of Where the Dead Fear to Tread to TWO lucky winners.  To enter, leave a comment with your email address.  Giveaway is open internationally.  Winners will be selected by  Ends Friday, October 14 Extended...ends October 31 at 11:59pm CST.

Good luck!


Banned Books Week 2011: American Psycho

As Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in Texas v. Johnson , said most eloquently:

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

I have not read this book, but I have seen the film and I can imagine that, with the descriptive quality of books, it is probably even more horrifying than the film.  This is on my must-read list.

Not only has it been challenged/banned, but there was much controversy involved during, and immediately after, its publishing.

The book was originally to have been published by Simon & Schuster in March 1991, but the company withdrew from the project because of "aesthetic differences." Vintage Books purchased the rights to the novel and published the book after the customary editing process. The book was never published in hardcover form in the United States, although a deluxe paperback was eventually offered.[6] Ellis received numerous death threats and hate mail after the publication of American Psycho."[7][8]

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem was among those opposed to the release of Ellis' book because of its portrayal of violence toward women. Steinem is also the stepmother of Christian Bale, who played Bateman in the film. This coincidence is mentioned in Ellis' mock memoirLunar Park. --wikipedia

American Psycho is on the ALA list of 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999 (#53)

Specific Instances:
The Carthage, Mo. public librarian (1991) was directed first "to take the book off the shelf and keep it under the circulation desk" and then "lose it." The incident involving the novel "snowballed" and was one of the reasons why, under protest, the librarian submitted her resignation. --Georgia Highlands College

Outside the U.S.:
In Germany, the book was deemed "harmful to minors," and its sales and marketing were severely restricted from 1995 to 2000.

In Australia, the book is sold shrink-wrapped and is classified "R18" under national censorship legislation. The book may not be sold to those under 18 years of age, or criminal prosecution may result. Along with other Category 1 publications, its sale is theoretically banned in the state of Queensland and it may only be purchased shrink-wrapped. In Brisbane, the novel is available to those over 18 from all public libraries and can still be ordered and purchased (shrink-wrapped) from many book stores despite this prohibition.[9] Bret Easton Ellis has commented on this, saying "I think it's adorable, I think it's cute, I love it."[10][11]

In New Zealand, the Government's Office of Film & Literature Classification has rated the book as R18. The book may not be sold or lent in libraries to those under 18 years of age. It is generally sold shrink wrapped in bookstores. --wikipedia


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Books Week 2011: Stephen King

What's the difference between a challenge and a banning? 

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

Why are books challenged? 

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. See Notable First Amendment Cases.

Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. 

— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to
the Office of Intellectual Freedom:
the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
the material contained "offensive language"
the materials was "unsuited to any age group"Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA's basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

--

STEPHEN KING: One the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century

Frankly, although some may not agree, I cannot imagine the horror genre without Stephen King.  He may not have been the first horror author I read when I was in junior high (John Saul gets that honor), but he was certainly my second.  I became an immediate fan and I grew up in the heyday of films based on his works, like Creepshow, Cujo, Carrie, Pet Sematary, The Shining, Salem's Lot, to name a few.  Every time I pick up a new SK book, it's like meeting up with an old friend.  To challenge/ban his work is unspeakable.  He has asked us to think outside the box so many times and stretched the limits of our imaginations.  A world without his books in it would simply be unfathomable.

Years challenged just in the 21st century:  2002 and 2003

100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990–2000: 
Cujo #55
Carrie #77
The Dead Zone #83

Specific Instances:
Carrie--Challenged, along with eight other Stephen King novels in Bismarck, N.Dak. (1994) by a local minister and a school board member, because of "age appropriateness." Challenged by a parent, and currently under review, at the Boyertown, Pa. Junior High East library (1994). The parent "objected to the book's language, its violence, and its sexual descriptions, as well as what she described as a 'Satanic killing' sequence." Source: May 1994, pp. 84-85.

Cujo, The Dead Zone, The Drawing of the Three, The Eyes of the Dragon, Pet Sematary, The Shining, Thinner--Challenged, along with eight other Stephen King novels in Bismarck, N.Dak. (1994) by a local minister and a school board member, because of "age appropriateness." Source: May 1994, pp. 84-85.

The Dark Half--Retained in the Roseburg, Oreg. High School library (1994) despite a parent's complaint that the book contains "extreme, bloodthirsty violence." Source: Sept. 1994, pp. 166-67.

--information from the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from March 1994 through March 1995.  read at

Different Seasons--Challenged for references to oral sex and prison rape scenes in "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption". 2002  Reference

The Brookeland ISD reported that all Stephen King books were banned in all district schools.  The challenge was brought by a parent, and “…also brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees.” This challenge was listed as one entry in our main report or our summary tables, since it was not specific as to title and because of the large number of Stephen King titles in existence. 2002-2003  ISD=Independent School District  Reference


I can't possibly list all of the instances of the challenge/banning attempts of SK works, but this gives an idea of how prolific are the instances.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway: Author Armand Rosamilia


Please join me today in welcoming Armand Rosamilia, author of Skulls, a horror short story collection.
Story Behind The Story: "Memorial Site"

As part of my Skulls World Blog Tour 2011 I'll be delving deeply into the stories behind the stories included in the Skulls horror short story collection I have out in eBook format. 

The collection includes six short stories: "Memorial Site", "Beastie", "Vacation's End", "Stairs To The Ocean", "Crow Mill Bridge" and "1920 Gallery Card #4". It also includes a preview of my urban horror novella Death Metal

Today's story is "Memorial Site", which is actually the lead story and the newest written for the collection. It's from an idea that started formulating in my head a few months ago, one of those 'hmm…' ideas that you can't actually form into a solid story just yet, but you know it will eventually do something. 

Like the TV show Law & Order, sometimes the news offers some great storylines, 'scenes ripped from the headlines' kind of things. As a writer I am constantly watching news channels, reading online news sites, and listening to people tell their strange stories. Just the other day in Florida a woman shot her husband and buried him near the hog pen in the yard. I don't know why that one stayed with me, but it was odd enough that I know I'll be filing it in my head somewhere for later use. 

Case in point: Casey Anthony. Living here in Florida - but still being a proud New Jersey boy, even after ten years being down South - you can't help but be inundated with the case. Every news channel, every talk radio show, every person you run into in stores and on the street, all talking about this case. 

Once the trial began you got most local stations carrying every mind-numbing testimony and rebuttal for hours on end. Every 'key' piece of evidence, every time Casey yawned or cried or got sick, every time the ninety lawyers looked at one another. They were breaking into baseball game coverage to 'catch us up' on the finer points of what we couldn't have missed during the day.

But the one thing that caught my writer's eye was the memorial set up for her poor daughter in the woods. To me, every time they showed it, it had gotten bigger and bigger. I wondered when it would stop growing. I found myself actually watching coverage, but only to watch the flowers, cards, stuffed animals and crosses marching on into the woods.

Of course, I'm a horror writer, so the ideas came fast and furious. 

No spoilers here, but when you read "Memorial Site" (and you just have to now, right?) I want you to keep that in mind, what I was fixated on when I wrote the piece. The story centers around a child dying, the memorial site that grows in the accident's wake and the people caught up in it. I hope that's enough of a teaser for you!

Armand Rosamilia

Look for Skulls on Amazon Kindle HERE 

Armand is giving away the Rymfire eBook release Vermin.

15 Horror Stories that will make your skin crawl... or is it tiny critters on your arms and legs?

rats... bed bugs... squirrels... ants... spiders... moths... cockroaches... leeches... and so much more...


Mondo Millipede by Murray Leeder
The Death’s Head Effect by Eben David November
The Hole by Frank Roger
Camouflage by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
The Unwanted Visitors by A. R. Braun
Deer Season by Adam Dunsby
Scratchings by Walt Jarvis
Squirrelly Skin by Chuck Wendig
Gimmie Shelter by Daniel R. Robichaud
Legs by Michael D. Griffiths
The Rat Farm by James Reilly
Final Solution by Keith Gouveia
Hecatomb by Trent Roman
Sweet Suffering by John Grover
Humanix by Alex Davis

Leave a meaningful comment for Armand and include your email address for winner notification.  A winner will be selected randomly.  Giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and will end on Monday, October 10 is extended until Monday, October 31 at 11:59pm CST.

Good luck!


Friday, September 23, 2011

September Zombies: Book Review of Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Click image for full
September Zombies schedule
My thoughts:
Man, I really liked this book! If you like zombies, but you want more than just a bunch of mindless, animate objects staggering around on a hunt for brains, then this is the book for you.  Turner has concocted a zombie tale for the intelligent reader.  Her zombies are pretty close to human, except they eat raw flesh...animal and human.  The zombies (although they do not like to be called that) have formed gangs and they live like families--hunting, fighting, and dancing together.  But, like any family, when one person starts veering from the group and their behavior changes toward the group, the family unit starts to crumble.  I can't really say too much because I really don't want to give away the story.  It needs to be discovered and savored, as a zombie would savor the liver of a fresh kill.

Not only do we get a dynamic zombie tale here, but the author takes it a step further and asks us.  What could be worse than zombies?  And then she proceeds to masterfully invent that next horror for us.  Dust is not only a zombie horror story, but is also a dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale of caution.  When I think of the possibility of being the last humans (or what resembles human?) on earth, I certainly never envisioned this type of scenario.  If you haven't read this book, I have to strongly recommend that you do so soon.

Book description:
Nine years ago, Jessie had a family. Now, she has a gang.

Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian. Now, she eats very fresh meat.

Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human.

Now, she’s not.

After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.

But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life…

Stop by over at vvb32 reads for my Zombie Apocalypse guest post.


Guest Post: Sally's Literary Hero...Dean Koontz

Please join me today in welcoming my friend Sally Wolf as she shares her personal story and her literary heroes.

Who is your literary Hero?

When I was a little girl I was abused physically, mentally and emotionally by my stepmother, and sexually by her son. As soon as I was able to read I escaped from them by following my imagination.

          Books have always been part of what makes me who I am. When I found out I could write my own books, I decided that was the path for me. I wanted a chance to give some of the same help I got from books. Unaware of how to start I sought guidance from the very people who started me on this quest in the first place, the authors of the very books I had been reading, which brings me to the point of all of this rambling about my past. When asked; Who is your Literary Hero? I would, without hesitation, reply Dean Koontz. 
         Why? Well, when I was eleven years old I was taken out of my stepmothers care and one of my new friends saw I was feeling sad so she, loaned me her copy of Phantoms. From page one I was hooked and instantly compelled to read all of his work. This continued into high school. I was ecstatic when one day my English teacher asked us to give a brief history of our favorite author and then write a short story in their style. I, of course, had no trouble deciding who it would be and went right to work. I did all my research and tried to find out as much as I could about him. In those days the internet was in its infancy and there were not many ways to get to know someone famous. Unlike today there was no My teacher suggested I write to his publisher and see if they could forward a letter to him. I did this but did not receive any reply. Disappointed but not deterred, I did the best bio that I could with what little information I could find. Then I wrote the first chapter of my story in his style. I even wrote it on a legal pad with a number 2 pencil just like he does.  You can read what I came up with here!
          This story of hero worship does not end there ,though. Two weeks before graduation I received a strange package in the mail. To my surprise two years after my original letter was sent I got a signed copy of a Dean Koontz Companion and a news letter with a really nice note stating that I did not specify who the letter was for so it got lost in the shuffle of the other mail. To a girl who thought that no one cared for her having her hero write her and tell her to keep the faith was like a hand up out of a deep dark hole. Now that I am all grown up and have a family of my own I still love Dean Koontz much to the teasing of my family. When we go to book stores they always pick up one of his books and say "Hey isn't this the guy you like?" I have a collection of his hardback books that take up a whole bookshelf. There is currently one on the back of the toilet I am in the middle of reading. I also listen to an audio book when I am busy doing other things. So hands if asked who is my literary hero. I would most definitely say it is and will always be Dean Koontz.
          That said however, I think that my new friend and author Devin O'Branagan is a close second. I met her in a Basset Hound forum where she came to do research on a new novel. Since then I have reviewed two pre-reader copies of her novels and we are friends on Facebook, and twitter. She has been very encouraging telling me to keep writing when I felt down and untalented. I have even signed up on her website and have found myself drawn to her flash fiction contests. Even when I don't think I could possibly write anything about the current topic for some reason I am compelled to please her and I find that I can write almost anything. Devin has an understanding of faith that makes you believe anything could be possible. So Dean Koontz will always be my first love but he will have to share a bit of my heart with Devin.
       There other authors who have inspired and thrilled me over the years, to name a few, Cynthia Voigt, Nicholas Sparks, Johnny Gruelle, Richard J. Margolis,and James Patterson.
       I just hope that one day I could be half as good as the above people I have mentioned so that I can fulfill my dream of helping some other child who needs an escape.

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Here is a list of some of my Favorite Dean Koontz Books:
  1. Odd Thomas Series (I know that is more then one book but you can't break it up)
  2. Life Expectancy
  3. Cold Fire
  4. Seize The Night
  5. Phantoms
  6. Watchers
  7. Mr Murder
  8. Intensity
  9. Dragon Tears
  10. The Husband
Thanks Mrs. Sally A Wolf

Such an inspiring story, Sally.  Thank you for sharing.  I too have been a fan of Dean Koontz for years and I'm becoming a fan of Devin O'Branagan too.  She really is an inspiration to aspiring authors.

So, which of Koontz's books is my favorite?  I would have to say Phantoms.  I read it around 20 years ago, but I can still remember the chill of fear I felt while reading it.

Are you a Koontz fan?  If so, share your favorite with us in the comments.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

A thank you to author Ray Garton for bringing this to my attention on Facebook!

Happy Birthday, Mr. King.  May you have many more years...of living and writing!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Horrifying Mailbox Monday...Another Witching Hour Edition

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour.  This month's host is Amused by Books  (want to read a book description?  Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (from Kai at Fiction State of Mind)

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving


Monday, September 19, 2011

Frightful Fall Reviewers Challenge (Sign-Ups)

Welcome to the Sign Up Page for the Frightful Fall Reviewers Challenge.

This challenge is hosted by:  Michelle/The True Book Addict at Castle MacabreKai at Fiction State of Mind, and Orchid at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia.

The Challenge Runs October 1st - October 31st

1) Create a post stating your intent to join the Challenge and add it to the linky. You MUST be registered to to be eligible for Prizes
2) READ! The theme is Frightful Fall so any book that has thrills and chills, vamps and were's, Mystery and Suspense qualifies.
3) Starting October 1st through the 31st, link up your reviews. They must be full reviews not just a few lines.
4) That's It!

3 WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN on November 1st.  First, second, and third place.  First place winner will get first choice of two books, second place chooses the next two books, and so on.  Open to US only.

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

(Click the book covers for book descriptions on Amazon)

Three books handpicked by me:
The Box: Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson--he is one of my favorite horror authors
Bag of Bones by Stephen King--one of my favorite Stephen King books
The Raven and Other Poems and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe--the master of the macabre!

Three books kindly donated by Kai (thanks, Kai!):
Bespelling Jane Austen by various authors
Night's Cold Kiss by Tracey O'Hara
Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

(Please note: books are previously owned with the exception of The Box)

Though it's NOT Required, Signing up and Posting your Reviews on the other two blogs gives you more chances to win

Also be sure to check out my Frightful Fall Readathon, October 3rd - 9th  Info and sign up HERE.


American Horror: Spotlight and Giveaway with Scott Nicholson

American Horror, with introduction by Scott Nicholson (read intro below)

A collection of horror stories, featuring vampires, zombies, monsters, serial killers, and other creepy creatures of the night. Edited by introduced by bestselling author Scott Nicholson (The Red Church, Speed Dating with the Dead, Liquid Fear).

Stories by Joseph Nassise, Simon Wood, Maria Alexander, Nate Kenyon, Kealan Patrick Burke, Lisa Morton, Jeremy C. Shipp, and Joe McKinney.


The Last American Horror Writer
By Scott Nicholson

I am a horror writer.
The last of a dying breed.
Actually, perhaps I’m already dead and just don’t know it yet.
I didn’t intend to be a horror writer, and if I’d had any commercial sense at all, I would have delved into paranormal romance, chick lit, suspense, mystery, and fantasy. All of which I write, by the way, often in the same book, but the word “Horror” is stamped on the spine. At the fork in the publishing road, as Robert Frost wrote, I took the one less traveled by, and all the difference has been made.
Showing up early for a recent signing, I had time to browse the store a little bit, checking out the competition, wading past the pirate and Da Vinci material to reach the fiction section. I looked for the titles of my friends, who are also horror writers. Miraculously, practically overnight, the spines of their books had been changed to read simply “Fiction.”
I was all alone, and that was scarier than any ghost or monster I had ever penned. I’m not vain enough to believe I had suddenly become the standard bearer for a fading genre. No, what had changed was the publishing industry perception of the label. The publishers’ sales teams believe horror doesn’t sell, so they convey this lack of enthusiasm to the bookstores. The bookstore owners don’t order it, and because readers don’t see it on the shelves, they believe horror must no longer be readable.
Horror is many things to many people. Author and anthologist Doug Winter once announced “Horror is an emotion, not a genre.” He said this a decade ago, long after the end of the 1980’s horror boom, when evil dolls, sharp-toothed critters, and decrepit manors adorned dozens of books each month. The genre born with “The Odyssey” and “Grendel,” passed up through “MacBeth” and on to “Frankenstein” and “Dracula,” reached its zenith with “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exorcist,” and an extraordinary average guy named Stephen King. Horror was selling like hotcakes, and even when the good times faded, largely due to an avalanche of crappy hackwork, a couple of publishers still maintained horror lines, turning out one or two horror titles a month.
Until a few years ago, when I alone survived, though I was already half dead because my mass-market shelf life was comparable to that of cottage cheese.
Within the horror community, the discussion over the “death of horror” was broken into two separate issues—a belief that “horror elements,” the ghosts, vampires, serial killers, and essential human fears that are the root of good storytelling have expanded and are touching more genres and writers and readers than ever.
Romantic suspense writer Iris Johansen wrote a novel that features a woman who wants to turn people into zombies. Kay Hooper’s bestselling series features psychic special agents. “The Lovely Bones” and “Beloved” are built on supernatural frameworks. One can hardly turn around without being poked by a stake-wielding, scantily-clad woman on a book cover who is drooling over a well-oiled Fabio with fangs. So horror, the emotional effect, seems to be quite popular.
And then there’s “horror,” the label, the market anathema.
The brand that’s no longer in stores, despite the plethora of ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires that still crowd the shelves. The brand that rarely merits its own bookstore section, and when it does, those shelves contain little more than King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose books are all labeled “Fiction.”
I watched people’s faces at my signing. Some saw the “horror” label, set the book down, patted the spooky scarecrow cover, grimaced, and made a brisk escape. A couple muttered, “I don’t read that kind of stuff,” or, “I don’t read horror, I only read King and Koontz.”
“But it’s not horror,” I wanted to say, not sure whether this constituted smart marketing or just plain lying. “This book is about the relationship between a mother and her daughter—it’s chick lit! It draws on Appalachian culture and religion. It’s a mystery, a paranormal romance, a psychological thriller—whatever category you want it to be!”
Who cares about the man-eating goats? What about the long sex scene where the new wife is possessed by the ghost of the dead wife? Those are sprigs of parsley, added for color and not taste. Those who take the time to talk to me about the story usually end up buying a copy, even people who profess a dislike for the genre. Once they get past that “H-word,” they see the story may serve up more than just the rehashed tropes and murder-by-numbers plots that plague too many modern horror movies.
My horror peers were a step ahead of me. They quit calling their books “horror novels.” Now their agents pitch them as “supernatural thrillers.” Same books, different words, higher advances, more marketing, a collective sigh of relief from the sales departments. At last they have books they can sell without embarrassment, as if horror were the literary equivalent of naughty pictures.
And then the indie revolution happened, and horror is back out of the closet, breaking the invisible chains that sought to keep it from the light.
I was the last horror writer in America, but only for a dark moment in literary history. Now we are everywhere, shambling, clawing, growling our way back into the hearts of readers, you who thirst like a coffined vampire or hunger like the last of the living dead.
Eight of my writing peers are happy to march in the ranks, and their contributions are shared here in our communal anthology project. Vampires, ghouls, zombies, serial killers, and other creepy creatures of the night infest these pages, proud to disturb your sleep or stir your fevered imagination.
Horror is back, but it never really left, because horror doesn’t die. And it doesn’t care. Horror just is.

To be entered to win a $10 gift card from your choice of Amazon or B&N, 'like' American Horror on Amazon or B&N and share this post on Twitter or Facebook.  Leave a comment telling me what you did and leave your share link(s) as well.  Be sure to leave your contact info (valid email address).  American Horror is available in eBook formats on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.

Scott Nicholson is crowdsourcing his book promotion this month and giving 15 percent of his money to the readers who help spread the word about his books. The Be Nicholson’s Agent event is housed at his blog. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for other giveaways and ideas.

Watch for my review of American Horror...coming soon!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Giveaway! The Vampire Hunters by Scott M. Baker

Today I am featuring The Vampire Hunters trilogy written by Scott M. Baker.  Scott was generous enough to offer one lucky winner a print copy of each book!

The Vampire Hunters

As former Boston cops, Drake Matthews and Alison Monroe thought they had experienced it all... until they found themselves tracking down a serial killer who turned out to be one of the undead. Stopping him cost them their careers and almost their lives. Thanks to an influential and anonymous benefactor, Drake and Alison find a new job ridding the streets of WashingtonD.C. of the vampiric threat terrorizing the nation's capital.

Only this time, Drake and Alison are not facing a single vampire but an entire nest led by Ion Zielenska, one of history's most evil and twisted masters. As the vampires indiscriminately prey on humans, seeing them as nothing more than food to satiate their hunger, they create a wave of violence that threatens to engulf the city. Orchestrating the carnage is Antoinette Varela, the mistress of the nest, who realizes that for the nest to survive the hunters must be eliminated. However, when her vendetta turns personal, the hunters find themselves in struggle they are not prepared for.

Buy on Amazon:  PRINT |  KINDLE

The Vampire Hunters: Vampyrnomicon

Within the vaults of the Smithsonian Institute lies the key to finding the Vampyrnomicon, theBook of the Undead, that contains the history and secrets of the vampires. According to legend, whoever possesses the book can establish a vampire nation on earth – or destroy the undead once and for all. With an opportunity to end the war against the undead so close, Drake Matthews is determined to find the book.

But the vampires also want the Vampyrnomicon. When Master Chiang Shih and her coven of the most powerful and dangerous vampires arrive in Washington to claim the book as their own, the hunters find themselves facing their most dangerous enemy yet. With the stakes so high, so is the ferocity of the struggle.

Buy on Amazon:  PRINT | KINDLE

The Vampire Hunters: Dominion.....release date, October 1, 2011


Watch for my reviews of all three books....coming soon!

Giveaway Details:

  • Open to US/Canada only.
  • Leave a comment and be sure to include your email address, in case you win.  Being a follower is not required, but it would be appreciated, if you like the site!
  • ONE winner will receive a print copy of each book.  Please note that book three, Dominion, does not release until October 1st.  All three books will be mailed out after that date.
  • winner will be selected using
  • Giveaway ends on September 30, 2011 at 11:59pm CST
Thanks for entering and good luck!!!


Horrifying Mailbox Monday...Witching Hour Edition

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour.  This month's host is Amused by Books  (want to read a book description?  Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Purchased from library sale:

The Time of Feasting by Mick Farren
Blood Roses: A Novel of Saint-Germain by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro


Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: Danny Marble and the Application for Non-Scary Things by Jessica McHugh

My thoughts:
Jessica has written a book that deals with the two major fears of most adolescents.  The fear of what is out to get them in their room when they go to bed and the fear of being bullied at school.  Danny Marble is a kid who is constantly plagued by fear.  He can't sleep because of it and it's taking a toll on his life.  All he wants is to get rid of the fear and he'll do anything to do it.  Where he goes to accomplish this is when we start getting into a sort of Greek mythology theme in the book.  Danny crosses a body of water in a gondola with a gondolier who is dressed in a black hooded robe.  Sound familiar?  He must deliver his 'application' to the Oneiroi, a god of the underworld.  The application is almost like an employment application, but it explains why he needs the fear to be gone.  Basically, the application turns out to be a contract with the Oneiroi and there are dire consequences if he breaks the contract, but it also turns out to be bad for Danny to be utterly without fear.

I liked this book not only because it was a great story, but also because of the various themes it touched on. Danny had lost both of his parents.  His mom became terminally ill and his father left them.  Jessica touches on how children who feel as though they were abandoned can be gripped by fear and this can also lead to problems in school and becoming a target for bullies.  There is also the old adage of "be careful what you wish for" as Danny learns that sometimes fear can be a good thing.  Fear can protect us from dangerous situations and some the fear of being on your first date with a girl...can be a good kind of fear.  This is an excellent story for the middle grade/young adult audience with some genuinely creepy crawliness thrown in.  Not only is it entertaining, but the underlying themes teach important lessons.  There are also some wonderful black and white illustrations (by Dave McHugh) throughout the book that add a fun visual aspect to the book.  I will definitely be letting my sons read it, if I can trust them with my e-reader!

Original illustration from the book
by Dave McHugh

Book description:
"Three years, ten months, and nineteen days had come and gone since Danny Marble had gotten a full night’s sleep. He had counted approximately one hundred fifteen thousand and eighty-two sheep and consumed nearly two thousand glasses of warm milk. He’d read his favorite book, 'The Phantom Tollbooth', one hundred and seventy five times in attempt to tire out his eyes and ingested no less than eight different herbs to promote healthy rest. But the only number that really mattered was the number three: the amount of scary things it took to ensure that all of those other numbers kept climbing." (from Jessica's website)


Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction that spans the genre from horror and alternate history to epic fantasy. A prolific writer, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, novellas, and even playwriting. She has had nine books published in three years, including "Song of Eidolons", "The Sky: The World" and the first three installments in her "Tales of Dominhydor" series.  Visit her at or

Check out Jessica's guest post from earlier today HERE.


Guest Post: Jessica McHugh, author of Danny Marble...

Please join me today in welcoming author, Jessica McHugh, as she shares with us her 'Degrees of Dick'.

Degrees of DICK
The Meanies of the McHughniverse

(disclaimer: This entry says “dick” a lot. A dickish amount, actually. Enjoy!)

My favorite type of character to write is “The Dick”. This person can be protagonist or antagonist, male or female. The most important thing to remember is that “dick” does not equal “evil”. Like real people, fictional characters have their motivations for behaving the way they do, and because of that, there are different degrees of the dickish character. Listed below are some of my characters with their dickish qualities highlighted.

The Born To Be Dicks Dicks
(The Oneiroi from Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things)

The sons of Hypnos and Nyx, the Oneiroi traffick in dreams. Once three separate entities, they decided they were tired of waiting for their birthright and joined into together, literally,to wage war on their father. Not only do the Oneiroi monitor the creation of dreams, they use dreams to ensnare humans. They play with mortals' fears and feed upon those who fail the tests. They fought for their birthright and they're enjoying every eon of it while Hypnos rots in an eternal cage, and boys like Danny Marble stumble into their traps.

The Self-Loathing Dick
(Captain Jack Racine of The Sky: The World)

Jack Racine hates being called “his father's son”, mostly because he believes the insult is true. An admitted lush and cad, he treats himself like that's all he is, and when others are wounded by his words and actions, he can't apologize because they should have known better. Jack wants to be more than he is, but he's too afraid he doesn't deserve it to even try. Instead, he masks his inadequacies with liquor, laudanum, and an endless stream of ladies. He is harsh to those who love him because he thinks their love misguided and himself unworthy. But when the better brother dies and Jack is all that's left to redeem the Racine name, he uses his dickish powers to his advantage.

The Selfish Dick
(Benjamin Robeson of Song of Eidolons)

Benjamin Robeson is an intelligent and well-respected man, but after discovering he has an accelerated expiration date, he becomes an extremely selfish man. He is determined to survive and will do whatever it takes, even if it means killing the only person his best friend, Arthur Dagson, cares about. He doesn't particularly need to kill her to maintain his current state, but he will just to show Dags he can. 

The “Mother Knows Best” Dick
(Faye Norton of Rabbits in the Garden)

Raising two daughters on her own in the 1950s, Faye Norton is religious, sensitive, and absolutely insane. Or is she? After all, it's not easy being a single mother, and in times of diminishing morals, someone has to stand up for what's right. Someone has to teach the world that bawdy is naughty. But most of all, Faye Norton wants to teach her daughters that the last person they should ever challenge is Mother. She teaches that lesson frequently. Faye's particular brand of dickishness could also be classified as “The Psychotic Dick”. 

The Bully Dick
(Preston Michaels of The Dangerous Life of Darian McCloud)

Preston Michaels has done a lot of bad things: things he doesn't think are so bad, at least not on the surface. Born into an assassin family, he takes pride in his work and eventually falls in love with another assassin. Unfortunately, her part in the tale is short-lived. After having two children together, Preston murders Darian McCloud because she posed a threat to the organization. To cope with the murder and abandonment of his children, he turns to alcohol and adopts a son whom he verbally abuses for amusement. There aren't many redeemable pieces of Preston Michaels. 

King Dick
(Chancellor Rojer Doa of From the Herald's Wearied Eye)

Rojer Doa and Preston Michaels could be related. In fact, they are. The ELM Corporation for which Preston works is a precursor to The Council which Chancellor Doa heads. But while Preston has a cruel tongue, Doa uses other instruments of torture. He has little restraint when it comes to his enemies...or his daughter, but it's to be expected. The Chancellor has rights others do not, and very few who still live free in Cartesia are likely to dispute it. He takes what he wants and deserves to do so.

Some are lovable, some are reprehensible, but they all have valid reasons for being dicks, whether the reasons justify the actions or not. I could go on and on, and I would if I didn't have The Prince Charming Dick (Kit Marlowe from Verses of Villainy) waiting for some tender loving care.

Thank you so much to Castle Macabre for having me on their blog. I had an incredibly awesome time. To anyone interested in my work, please visit or

Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction that spans the genre from horror and alternate history to epic fantasy. A prolific writer, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, novellas, and even playwriting. She has had nine books published in three years, including "Song of Eidolons", "The Sky: The World" and the first three installments in her "Tales of Dominhydor" series.

Danny Marble and the Application for Non-Scary Things releases today from Reliquary Press. Watch for my review coming later today.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cemetery Dance "Tweet For Books"--Win a $100 Cemetery Dance Gift Certificate

To enter for a chance to win a FREE $100 Cemetery Dance Gift Certificate, all you need to do is help promote this contest! There will be TEN WINNERS picked on October 1st and it costs absolutely nothing to enter! Go HERE for full details on how to enter.  Good luck!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Horrifying Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour.  This month's host is Amused by Books  (want to read a book description?  Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon).

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

from Jennifer at Reading with Tequila
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Department Nineteen by Will Hill

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Dreadfully Every After by Steve Hockensmith
Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker
Tempted by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast


Friday, September 2, 2011

R.I.P Challenge VI

It's time for my favorite reading challenge of the year...the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI, hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.  Here are the challenge details (condensed version) as laid out by Carl:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Dark Fantasy.

The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

There are two simple goals for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI Challenge:

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

R.I.P. VI officially runs from September 1st through October 31st.

There are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. VI....  Multiple perils await you. You can participate in just one, or participate in them all.

Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (my very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.
Peril the Second: Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the challenge categories.
Peril the Third: We all want you to participate. This Peril involves reading one book that fits within the R.I.P. definition.
Peril of the Short Story: I am a big fan of short stories and my desire for them is perhaps no greater than in autumn. I see Poe and Lovecraft in my future for sure. You can read short stories any time during the challenge.
Peril on the Screen: This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows, or your favorite film. 
Peril of the Group Read: This Peril is new for this year. I’ve recently discovered the joys of group reading and I posted about three group reads that I am hosting during this year’s R.I.P. Challenge. If you feel so inclined please join us in one (or more) of the planned group reads, information is located here.

For full, non-condensed details and to sign up, visit the post HERE.  Also, Carl asks that we post any reviews, including books, short stories, film/television viewed, at the R.I.P. VI Review Site. are the perils I'm planning on doing:

I have a lot of scary reading to do in the next two months, largely due to starting this blog so the requirement is 4 books, but I may end up reading more:
Dust by Joan Frances Turner
Decayed Etchings by Brandon Ford
Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things by Jessica McHugh
American Horror edited by Scott Nicholson
will probably add more...

Stories from My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer
possibly others...

Oh, I'm a big watcher of horror films!

Are you joining the fun?

- See more at: