Review: “Losing Touch reads like Philip K. Dick writing an X-Men origin story.”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on August 5, 2015 by Christian

I’m a little embarrassed by this. Joseph Williams, author of the novels BUNYAN UNDEADPARIN, and the Blues Traveler-inspired (and authorized) short story collection JUSTIFY THE THRILL, has written one of the most flattering reviews of LOSING TOUCH that I’ve ever read:

Joseph Williams: I fell in love with it instantly.

Joseph Williams: I fell in love with it instantly.

Have you ever read a book so good you were compelled to grab the nearest person, slap him or her across the face like Cary Grant knocking sense into a hysterical dame (the social norms in old movies didn’t age well at all, did they?), and demand they stop whatever they’re doing to read it so you can bask in their inevitable euphoria?

No? Well, I’m doing that to you right now. Don’t mind me. I’ll just be watching from over here, mouthing my favorite passages as you read and occasionally looking over your shoulder to tell you when you’re getting to the good parts. 

Fine. If you’re getting creeped out, I guess I don’t have to do that (my slapping arms aren’t long enough to reach you, anyway), but I hope you’ll at least consider the following earnest appeal:

Buy LOSING TOUCH by Christian A. Larsen. Read it. Squeal with delight. Then buy it again and give it to someone else to enjoy. You’ll be glad that you did, as will starving Chris Larsens across the Midwest.

I’m not prone to hyperbole and I’m aware that overhyping a book can be just as damaging as condemning it, but I can’t help myself in this case. LOSING TOUCH struck a chord with me. It was hilarious, sincere, suspenseful, well-written, and profound. As a writer, it made me jealous. I wasn’t prepared for it at all, which is probably why I’m so excited about it. In more ways than one, the book took me completely by surprise…

Read the rest of the review here, but be forewarned: it’s one of the most in-depth reviews I’ve read in a while, too. And then read some Joseph Williams fiction, too. Four novels and four short story collections, including TIMBERS OF FENNARIO, a short story collection inspired by the Grateful Dead. And yes, the Dead signed off on it, so you know it’s gotta be good!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Beyond the Written Word: Waggoner, Pelayo & trigger warnings

Posted in News on August 4, 2015 by Christian

You know those panels at cons? Sure you do, and you love ‘em. But going to cons costs money, and going to one mid-week is nigh on impossible. Well, bring a little panel into your life with the Beyond the Written Word podcast with Eric Beebe.

Episode Two is now up for download, and features panelists Tim Waggoner, creative writing instructor at Sinclair College and Seton Hill University, and Cina Pelayo, owner of Burial Day Books, who talk Millennial readers, trigger warnings, and mega retailers…

Episode 2 is just a click away.

Episode 2 is just a click away.

This is no buy-my-book-fest. It’s a podcast for writers. It’s a podcast for readers. And hey, the price of admission is a single click. Download the inaugural episode with Pelayo and author Brad Carter here, and get ready for episode three a little later on this month where things will take a slightly different note…

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Review: “Genuine gems” lurk in SHRIEKS & SHIVERS

Posted in Book Reviews, News on July 24, 2015 by Christian

Glenn Dallas of Manhattan Book Review has posted an appraisal of SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS, the latest anthology from The Horror Zine, which features my short story, “Center Stage Sideshow”:

Now available in paperback and Kindle editions.

Now available in paperback and Kindle editions.

A crash tapeworm diet brings unexpected consequences. Horror follows a selfish woman home from the nail salon. Something monstrous haunts the filming of John Carpenter’s THE THING. A heavy rainstorm brings a reckoning for a man who lost his wife. The footsteps of a tragic suicide victim follow a woman. A strange plague tears apart a community. Missing glasses are the least of a man’s worries when an artifact begins affecting him. A Vegas ghost haunts a woman on the eve of her wedding. Social media takes over a man’s life.

SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS covers horror in all its forms, from creeping slow-burn terror to monsters running wild, from body horror and gross-out scares to tales that delve deep into the psyche and unleash fears that haunt us all…

Read the rest of the review here. And if you haven’t read SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS yet, here’s what you’re missing:

Edited by Jeani Rector, SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS features a foreword by Bentley Little (THE SUMMONING) while screenwriter, director, and novelist John Russo (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) contributes the introduction. Pick up a paperback or ebook copy for yourself today!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Beyond the Written Word, Episode 1: Listen now!

Posted in News, Observations & Musings on July 20, 2015 by Christian

Another podcast has launched, folks, but its not just any old podcast. Hosted by Eric Beebe, a veteran of the publishing world, book connoisseur, and all around good guy has launched a webular-show called Beyond the Written Word:

Click to listen. Won't cost you nothin'.

Click to listen. Won’t cost you nothin’.

Hosted by Beebe, episode one guests of the inaugural episode are Cina Pelayo, owner of Burial Day Books, and Brad Carter, librarian at the Springdale Public Library in Springdale, Arkansas, where he leads the adult creative writing workshop.

Topics include: the passing of Tom Piccirrilli (THE LAST KIND WORDS), the continued decline of the Nook, changes to Amazon Kindle subscription services payouts, SCRIBID dumping Romance novels, and the shocking portrayal of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s new novel, GO SET A WATCHMAN. Also, Beebe, Pelayo, and Carter discuss the pros and cons of writers having a formal education versus an informal one.

Sounds interesting, no? And look here … another chance to click the link and give it a mad, mad listen. Get in on this before it becomes a thing and you’re behind the curve.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

 

Rest in peace, Tom Piccirilli

Posted in News on July 13, 2015 by Christian
May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015

Tom Piccirilli (May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015)

Tom Piccirilli died over the weekend. He was a writer. Dark stuff. Crime and horror, for the most part. I can’t say that I was a Tom Piccirilli expert, but I knew his work. And it was very, very good. Well, he died Saturday after an on-again, off-again fight with brain cancer. And that’s very, very bad.

My first exposure to Piccirilli’s work was reading “Husks and Formless Ruins”. It appears in A FEAST OF FRIGHTS, The Horror Zine’s 2012 anthology. I have a story in there, too, so I was just doing my homework when I first thumbed those pages. I didn’t even realize until I was writing this post that it was first published by BRUTARIAN in 2006. It was new to me in 2012, though. And it was terrific. We also had work collected in QUALIA NOUS and SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS. But his career was so much bigger than that.

His first novel, DARK FATHER (1991), was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award®. He was nominated for a Stoker eleven times, winning four of them. He was nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award four times, winning two. He also was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Not too shabby.

Piccirilli leaves behind an impressive body of work. Having never met him personally, that work is all that I have to know him by. He had been fighting brain cancer for three years, and had a stroke in 2014. But he was bigger than that battle. Bigger than his work. That’s just all I have to know him by, and I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity now.

He is survived by his wife, writer Michelle Scalise, who I similarly only know by reputation. But its a small community, horror writers. This one hurts.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

All the Things I’ll Never Be: a guest post by Jay Wilburn

Posted in Observations & Musings on July 12, 2015 by Christian

I was a pretty good teacher. The parents and students were happy with me. There’s something tough about teaching though. It is tough in ways that are difficult to describe to someone outside the profession. Even when someone is teaching in a good school with good leadership and good kids, it is still a tough job. When you don’t have one or any of those good things, it is even harder. As my health began to decline and doctors discussed life expectancy with me, I started doing the math. The likelihood of me making it to retirement was slim. I had resigned myself to teaching until I died. It was a heavy conclusion even in my good years. I was never going to be a grandfather with financial security enjoying his golden years.

Circumstances changed for my family and decisions had to be made. I took a leap of faith and quit my job to become a full time writer. I stayed home with my kids and worked to build up my writing career. I got a few breaks, but they’ll tell you that you are never going to be a best seller. They tell you that you can’t make a living writing. Money got tight and I almost gave up.

I started ghost writing and doing freelance work to supplement the slow, unsteady money from my own fiction. We got by. We fell behind in rent and I almost gave up again. I stuck it out, we caught up, and the money got steady enough that I was paying rent on time again. We finally got insurance again. We live on a slim budget. Being a full time writer, I may never have the comfortable life that other career paths might provide, but I write for a living and that is something.

I started rereading all of Stephen King’s novels in order. I want to learn a thing or two about writing from one of my heroes in the craft. It is slow going as I get bogged down in a steep writing schedule. I may be gone before I finish. I may never figure out the answers either. As I reread King, I come to realize that I will never become him in either scope or skill. He is on a different level than me and his writing covers other planes I don’t reach.

I’m slowly getting a feel for my own voice. I know how I tell a story and the notes I strike well while doing it. I’m starting to get an understanding of where the meat is on my steak, so I’m not trying to carve into the bone so much slicing as if I have a different cut of meat from what I really have. Being the best “me” I can be means letting go of a number of other ideas that I might never achieve. Chasing some of those ghosts might keep from being what I’m meant to be or capable of being in an attempt to focus on what I’ll never be. Unless I’m making a career of chasing ghosts which might just be it.

I have reason to believe that the Dead Song series I am beginning may be the voice and definition in my writing that I have been seeking for a while. Time will tell as time tends to do.

Click the images to check out the latest book and music from a new series by Jay Wilburn:

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

The Sound May Suffer - Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

The Sound May Suffer – Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of The Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com.

Mindy Novotny to read from MOCKINGBIRD at B&N on Monday

Posted in News on July 10, 2015 by Christian
No matter how much you liked it, it's better than you remember.

No matter how much you liked it, it’s better than you remember.

Mindy Novotny, midday host at 102.9 The Hog in Milwaukee, has volunteered to read during the TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Read-a-Thon at Barnes & Noble in Racine this Monday. Novotny will be reading from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in anticipation of the Harper Lee-penned sequel, GO SET A WATCHMAN, coming out the next day. And you’ve never heard TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD until you’ve heard Mindy read it.

The Read-a-Thon runs from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., during which time volunteers will be reading passages from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and will feature readers such as Jordan Debbink (HEROES OF FAITH), Gavin Schmitt (THE MILWAUKEE MAFIA), Elizabeth Ridley (SEARCHING FOR CELIA), and I’ll be taking a turn reading from 7:00 to 7:30, right before Mindy.

The event is totally free, and if you don’t live near Racine, Barnes & Noble is doing the Read-a-Thon nationwide, so you’ll be able to enjoy hearing passages from one of the most important books of the 20th century no matter where you are. If you haven’t read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD since high school, this is a great way to reacquaint yourself with Scout, Atticus, Tom and Boo.

Bob Ewell? Well, he’s part of the package. Gotta take the good with the bad.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.
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