The Halloween Hangover: a round table discussion about our favorite holiday, part 2

Posted in Observations & Musings on November 7, 2018 by Christian

Part II of Justin Hamelin’s Halloween Hangover discussion…

Mangled Matters

We are just about a week into the saddest fifty-one weeks of the calendar year. It’s been six days since kids and adults alike wiped on their finest grease paint and made their way through neighborhoods lit by Jack-o’-lanterns in search of the finest sugary treats imaginable.

Fear not, my fiendish friends! We here at Mangled Matters are here for you, all year long. We will continue to chat about the greatest holiday on the calendar until the next Halloween season begins.

Tonight, I’m honored to feature Part 2 of our 3-part round table discussion with a wonderful collection of Halloween enthusiasts.

Read on. If you dare…

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WHAT IS THE SCARIEST SCENE IN HORROR FILM HISTORY?

Gwendolyn Kiste, author: The freezer scene midway through The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one that really got under my skin when I was saw it as a teenager. In fact, so many moments…

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The Halloween Hangover: a round table discussion about our favorite holiday

Posted in Observations & Musings on November 6, 2018 by Christian

Rondo Hatton Award™-winning writer Justin Hamelin gathered us all together for a reason. What is that reason? Read on, courageous horror fans…

Mangled Matters

It’s that time of year again. When our favorite holiday has come and gone, our beloved Halloween aisles transformed into Christmas rows before the stores open on November 1st.

If you’re lucky, you can still find Halloween candy and decorations reduced to near free prices but odds are the clearance racks have been picked through three or four times over by now. Simply put, it’s the saddest part of the holiday year for many of us. But hey, the good news is we are only 361 days away from next Halloween!

Today, I present to you a fun little Halloween hangover piece- for those of us who simply don’t want to stop talking, reading or writing about the best holiday of the calendar year. I had the privilege of chatting with a group of ten fans of the weird, macabre and terrifying to bring you the first of a three…

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The Ray Bradbury Experience Museum welcomes THE BLACKENING OF FLESH

Posted in News on October 21, 2018 by Christian

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum (RBEM) last night as part of Waukegan’s ZombieWauk 2018. The 8th Annual ZombieWauk is a Halloween-themed edition of Waukegan’s monthly festival of the arts, or ArtWauk, which happens the third Saturday of every month. The museum, at 13 North Genesee Street in Bradbury’s hometown of Waukegan, Illinois, will feature exhibits that explore themes of space travel, freedom of expression, comics and more.

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Something awesome this way comes…

Before the event, fellow author Justin Hamelin and I grabbed a bite at (where else?) Green Town Tavern (110 S. Genesee Street). Green Town, of course, was Bradbury’s fictional moniker for Waukegan, which features heavily in his novels DANDELION WINE and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. Zombies started pouring in looking for brains while I finished my fried peanut butter & jelly sandwich, which is really something you ought to try at least once.

The evening began with RBEM Committee member Irene Edgar reading a passage from Bradbury’s 1972 novel, THE HALLOWEEN TREE, in which a group of eight boys look for their missing friend, Pipkin. Their search takes them on a journey across time and space as they discover the origins of Halloween. While Edgar read in one corner of the room, Orty Ortwein was the “writer in the window”, putting words on the page (or screen) in a museum celebrating the art of writing and imagination.

I then read several selections, including the first chapter of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, a nostalgic novel set in my own Green Town, “Brickton, Illinois”, which is a stand-in of sorts for my childhood home of Park Ridge. I also read a few flash pieces from 44 LIES BY 22 AUTHORS and a good chunk of “Center Stage Sideshow” in SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS. Fans of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES will not miss the inspiration in that one.

Rondo Hatton Award™-winning writer Justin Hamelin headlined the evening, giving those gathered a preview of his upcoming short story collection with a reading of “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire”, and also a bit of “Sick Love Potion” from his debut collection, THICKER THAN BLOOD. Hamelin wrapped up by fielding a questions from the audience, and the evening wrapped up with mingling, chatting, and more than a couple new fans forged from the crowd.

The Ray Bradbury Experience Museum is still in its infancy, but has big plans to grow in the space at 13 North Genesee Street, and maybe even someday to Bradbury’s childhood library a block away. Support RBEM by visiting their home on the web or the museum itself–and if you can, donate, volunteer your time, or just spread the word about this worthy cause endorsed by Bradbury’s daughters and fans of his work around the world.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH takes a ZombieWauk

Posted in News on October 14, 2018 by Christian

This Saturday night, midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, the dead wauk, er … walk, at ZombieWauk 2018–Waukegan’s 8th annual celebration of zombie and horror arts. It’s a night of themed art exhibits, live music, and horror stories told in the heart of Ray Bradbury’s home town.

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Nothing says Halloween like a freshly signed horror novel or short story collection!

I’ll be reading from THE BLACKENING OF FLESH between 6:30 and 7:30 at The Hub (13 N. Genesee Street), the future home of the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum. I’ll be signing copies of my book, too. Find out what happens when a high school loner discovers his house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters in my suburban horror novel, and then stick around for Rondo Hatton Award™-winning writer Justin Hamelin, who will be reading from his creepy collection, THICKER THAN BLOOD, and his latest short story, “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire”.

If that doesn’t put you in a downright literary mood, check out the “writers in the window”. They’ll be authoring stories live in the front window of The Hub, with Justin Matulonis in the spotlight from 6:30 to 7:30 and Orty Ortwein taking the stage between 7:30 and 8:30. But that’s not all…

Test your hand-eye coordination at the zombie shooting gallery hosted by Hauntingly Fun Entertainment, experience the bizarre acts of the circus, burlesque, and sideshow world with Dead Man’s Carnival at 6:00, or watch George Romero and John Russo’s seminal zombie classic, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD performed live on stage at 7:30 at Three Brothers Upstage (221 N. Genesee Street), and if you love animals … head to Three Brothers Downstage (115 N. Genesee Street) for the WAGS “Animal Walk of The Dead” from 5:00 to 9:00.

Enjoy singer and poet Faith Misters outside at Family Piano Co., and inside their Riverside Room … it’s award-winning blues and R&B from 7:30 to 9:30 with Times Two: Larry Wimmer & LeMel Lewis. Or get in the groove with live music by Audio BeingsGhost Machines, and The Dread starting at 5:00 in the heart of downtown Waukegan.

And don’t forget the Metal On The Rocks VIII festival within a festival from 4:00 to 10:00 in the CLC courtyard on Genesee Street with No Conviction, Siren of Sorrow, Portals, Purge, Shooter’s Tour, Vicious Attack, and Heavy Lies the Crown. It’s free, and you’ll fit in if you come as you are but if you want to look even more the part, special-effects artist Ermelinda Renee Pauig can help you look like one of the undead.

Hell, I haven’t even mentioned visual arts yet, where you can take in spooky art shows at Green Town haunts such as Dandelion Gallery, Dinosaur Studio Tattoo, Tufo Art, Karcher 405 Gallery, The Mic, Undercroft Gallery, Kapheim Studios, ArtPark-Waukegan, NorthPointe Resources, Backroom Gallery, and the Burgundy Room.

Come hungry (and thirsty), and Waukegan won’t dissapoint with Green Town Tavern, 17 North La Casa De Samuel, The Taproom, Sean’s Eatery, China Garden, Taqueria Guerrero, Lucky Food, Oooh Wee Sweet Tea, and Kafe 29 available for mid-Wauk refreshments. And keep an eye out for specialty food trucks like Killer Zombie Dogz and Grub-N-Go for quick, delicious, and fun stuff to eat.

While some specific events come at an additional charge, admission to ZombieWauk is free, and there’s even complimentary trolley service, so take the kids, take your friends, or just take yourself out for a legendary time this Saturday in Waukegan, where Ray Bradbury’s imagination first took off, and yours can, too!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Table of Contents for new THE HORROR ZINE antho unveiled

Posted in News on July 9, 2018 by Christian

Near the end of the double-aughts, when other genre magazines were shutting down at an alarming rate, Jeani Rector had an idea. Why not start a magazine of her own? One with a simple name that was easy to find. One that was free to read and featured a cross-section of writing talent seldom seen elsewhere. The result was THE HORROR ZINE, which published it’s first issue in July 2009.

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In December of that same year, THE HORROR ZINE released it’s first anthology: AND NOW THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS, featuring stories by Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Joe R. Lansdale. More anthologies followed, with stories from reputable and emerging authors, such as TWICE THE TERROR, WHAT FEARS BECOME, A FEAST OF FRIGHTS, SHADOW MASTERS, and SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS. In 2016, Rector released THE BEST OF THE HORROR ZINE: THE EARLY YEARS showcasing the best of the first three books.

Now, there’s a new anthology on the way from THE HORROR ZINE, building on the tradition Rector started nine years ago, and this time, there’s a theme: ghost stories. The book will feature a forward by Horror Writers Association President Lisa Morton, and stories from a bevy of talented authors (and also me):

You probably recognize some names on that list. And some are probably new to you. But if you like a good ghost story and love a good scare, you won’t want to miss THE HORROR ZINE’S BOOK OF GHOST STORIES, coming soon to a bookshelf near you!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

LOSING TOUCH “slowly creeps up and only reveals its sharp teeth at the last possible moment.”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on May 3, 2018 by Christian

The SAN FRANCISCO REVIEW OF BOOKS has posted a positive review of my debut novel, LOSING TOUCH, published by Post Mortem Press:

LOSING TOUCH Look Inside

Hold on tight.

It isn’t easy to adjust to a superpower that appears out of nowhere. This is even more true when the upside of having it seems to be overshadowed by the drawbacks.

What Morgan needs more than anything in life is a break. His emotional and financial troubles are explained in such excruciating detail that it almost felt like a memoir at times instead of a fictional story. The strained but loving relationship between Morgan and his wife only solidified my desire to know what what happens to them next. He has been with her for so many years that this reader learned more about his personality and character flaws from their interactions than I did from his inner monologue…

Click here to read the rest of the review. If you’re read the book, I’d love it if you left a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or wherever, really–it could be written on the wall of a restroom, but be sure you have permission first). Same goes for my sophomore novel from Post Mortem Press, THE BLACKENING OF FLESHin which the dead won’t stay buried–and neither will your review. Mwahahahaha!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH returns to Barrington this Saturday

Posted in News on April 15, 2018 by Christian

Five Prohibition-era gangsters murdered in the basement of a northwest suburban home get together for one more score in THE BLACKENING OF FLESH. And this Saturday, those same ghosts rise again at the Barrington Area Library.

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The past won’t stay buried.

Come to the Barrington Author Fair this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to find out more about the book, which was inspired by an actual mass murder. While you’re there, meet these outstanding fiction authors who will also be on hand signing their books:

If biographies and memoirs or anything non-fiction are more your speed, then check out these authors:

And that’s just a sampling of the event’s confirmed names and titles. Last year’s fair hosted almost 50 authors, so you never know who or what you’ll find this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Barrington Area Library at 505 N. Northwest Highway.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.