Archive for June, 2012

West Pigeon Press antho to be titled FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS

Posted in News on June 29, 2012 by Christian

My short story, “724,” was accepted by West Pigeon Press this winter for its upcoming horror/dark fantasy anthology, about which I just received a boatload of information. The title of the anthology has been announced as FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS. I am proud to share pages with writers such as B.V. Lawson, Samuel Minier, and C. Bryan Brown, among many others.

In addition to the title, the cover image has also been revealed. The publisher used the same cover artist who designed J.R. Hamantaschen’s YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW SECURITY, which I also loved, (though it certainly didn’t hurt that the first time I saw it, it was in the hands of a gorgeous topless woman…) Anyway, here’s the cover of the book in which “724” will appear:

The cover is done, the copy editing is complete, and the introductory material has also been written. Most of what’s left is formatting for paperback and Kindle, so the publisher is still aiming for a summer release. As always, I’ll keep you posted…

One Title Magazine reviews A FEAST OF FRIGHTS

Posted in Book Reviews, News on June 28, 2012 by Christian

Samantha J. Moore of One Title Magazine reviews A Feast of Frights, featuring my short story, “Clawed Sod.”

A Feast of Frights from The Horror Zine, edited by Jeani Rector, begins with a stirring forward from none other than Ramsey Campbell. In his meticulous breakdown of each piece within the collection, he describes the anthology as a “buffet” of sorts, a feast from which to “savour”, and I couldn’t agree more. A Feast of Frights boasts work by both new and established authors, and touches upon multiple genres. From horror to dark fantasy, this collection is a feast for the lover of the unknown, the connoisseur of “bump-in-the-night” fiction, and the spectator of gore. With skilled art-work and a section of expertly crafted poetry, this anthology is a worthy read that offers something for every reader no matter what their tastes.

A few of my favourites, which I think are worth a mention, include…

Read the rest of the review here

Download TALES FROM THE RIVER (VOL. 1) today for FREE!

Posted in News on June 26, 2012 by Christian

Download Tales from the River (Vol. 1) for free, today only!

Tales From The River (Vol. 1), featuring my short story, “Crybaby Bridge,” is available for free today only. If you haven’t downloaded this Kindle ebook from Dark River Press yet, now is your chance to enjoy some terrific free reads from writers like Thomas James Brown, K.A. Opperman, Marcus Tsong, Dawn Napier, and many, many more.

Robert Leyland, the editor-in-chief at Dark River Press, has done a fantastic job putting Volume 1 together, and I’m very proud to be a part of this book. I’m also excited that my short story, “Cadwalader’s Camera,” will be a part of the upcoming Takes from the River (Vol. 2), available this August.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. Today–now!–click here and download Tales from the River (Vol. 1), at the absolutely unbeatable price of $0.00.  Because let’s face it–the price isn’t going to get any lower, and it won’t even stay this low for long…

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter review

Posted in Movie Reviews on June 22, 2012 by Christian

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a much better book than movie

First off, let me say that I enjoyed Seth Graham-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. That is to say, I enjoyed the book. It was clever, well-researched, and didn’t take itself too seriously. The conceit that the Confederacy was a vampire-backed plot is obviously a little tough to swallow without one’s tongue firmly planted in cheek. The book toed that line perfectly. And then the movie jumped right over it. On horseback.

It reminded me of watching those spoof comedies (the Scary Movie franchise comes to mind) which do everything they’re supposed to do, and yet ring hollow. The ridiculousness is so over the top, its not even internally consistent. How can a mortal man chop a mature tree down with one stroke? Or chase a vampire on horsebacks (not horseback, they are running–the vampire and the man–on the backs of horses, like rocks across a stream)? The filmmakers never bother to tell us.

It is visually stylistic, but is too in love with the Matrix-style combat scenes and video techniques. We get it. That shot was cool ten years ago or so. Used sparingly, it can still be effective, but director Timur Bekmambetov uses it too much for my taste. And the climactic showdown between Lincoln and the head vampire (an unnecessary character who is nevertheless well-played by Rufus Sewell) feels committeed into the film by studio executives clamoring for more action! more action! There was plenty in Grahame-Smith’s novel. The rest is shoehorned in.

Benjamin Walker delivers a solid performance as Abraham Lincoln (the makeup is also convincing, which is saying a lot considering how iconic Lincoln’s actual face has become), but it winds up coming off as an unfunny spoof of itself. There are also glaring historical inaccuracies not present in the book, and significant additional departures from the original novel by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also co-wrote the screenplay, which makes it that much more of  a head scratcher).

I have heard the laughable complaint that this movie will create a generation of Americans who believe that Lincoln was an actual vampire hunter. Nonsense. My six-year-old knows that vampires are merely pretend. This movie won’t change anyone’s mind of that, no matter how ignorant they are. Unfortunately, it will likely create a generation of Americans (and others) who believe that Seth Grahame-Smith’s book is a cartoonish exercise in over-the-top buffoonery. And that is a real shame. Do yourself a favor. Don’t judge the book by the movie.

Writers contributing to FORTUNE: LOST AND FOUND

Posted in News on June 19, 2012 by Christian

One of the things I like best about having work appear in anthologies is that it exposes me to the work of other writers that I haven’t read yet. There are a dozen writers (including myself) contributing to Omnium Gatherum’s FORTUNE: LOST AND FOUND, edited by L.S. Murphy and Kate Jonez. Here is the lineup (in no particular order):

  • Garrett Cook (“Things They Took from Luke”)
  • Andrew G. Dombalagian (“The Second Vault”)
  • Kurt Fawver (“The Bottom Line”)
  • Wednesday Lee Friday (“Trabajando Alegre”)
  • Eric J. Guignard (“Hungry”)
  • Cory J. Herndon (“Storbeck’s Gold”)
  • Phil Hickes (“Down the Pan”)
  • Brent Michael Kelley (“A Friend in Paga”)
  • Christian A. Larsen (“The Plagiarist’s Wireless”)
  • John Jasper Owens & Lydia Ondrusek (“Best Laid Plans”)
  • Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi (“Bad Penny”)
  • Andrew M. Stockton (“Twisted Words”)

I am familiar with my own writing (obviously) and that of Eric J. Guignard (if you haven’t read him yet, trust me–you’ll love him), but everyone else is new to me, and I can’t wait to see what they have to offer when FORTUNE: LOST AND FOUND is released later this year.

Horrotica to re-release “Ethyl’s Alcohol” in upcoming anthology

Posted in News on June 16, 2012 by Christian

Horrotica editor Terry D. Sheerer is preparing the magazine’s debut anthology, Crawl Space, which will include my short story, “Ethyl’s Alcohol.” Horrotica had previously published the story in volume #4, issue #4 of their magazine in June of last year, but it has been unavailable online for several months, so it gives me great pleasure to announce that it will be commercially available once again this fall in the upcoming book.

As the title suggests, Horrotica specializes in horror and erotica–a fairly edgy combination. Most of my work would not be a good fit for this publication, but “Ethyl’s Alcohol” is right in their wheelhouse. Imagine Alice Cooper’s “Cold Ethyl” without the comedic bent, and you’re starting to have an idea of what the story is about.

As always, I’ll keep you abreast with information as it becomes available.

“Sic Semper Versipellis” to see ink in Dark Moon Books’s alt history anthology

Posted in News on June 15, 2012 by Christian

My short story, “Sic Semper Versipellis,” has been accepted by the editors of Dark Moon Books’s upcoming alternate history anthology due this fall. Edited by Lori Michelle, Max Booth III, and Stan Swanson, the volume will ask the important questions, like:

  • What if Hitler had won the war, but only after selling his soul to the devil?
  • What if the San Francisco earthquake had released demons from the depths of hell?
  • What if vaccinations had never been discovered?
  • What if John Wilkes Booth returned to life as a zombie?

I’m not saying it will ask these exact questions, but it will ask questions like these. Imagine history reshaped. In these pages, you’ll find stories about what the world would be like if the course of events had happened just a little bit differently, and the monsters therein had maybe not all been human.

While I haven’t seen the table of contents yet, Dark Moon Books has previously published horror giants (and aren’t all giants horrible?) such as Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Jack Ketchum, Tim Lebbon, Graham Masterton, Joe McKinney, William F. Nolan, Jeremy C. Shipp, and Joe R. Lansdale, so chances are very good that this one will scare you silly.

NO REST FOR THE WICKED now available as an ebook!

Posted in News on June 14, 2012 by Christian

Read my short story, “The Gloaming Hour,” now available in the ebook edition of NO REST FOR THE WICKED (Rainstorm Press). “The Gloaming Hour” was one of the first short stories I wrote when I started getting serious about the craft, but before I started getting published.

It is especially gratifying for me to see it available to the public, not just because I think it’s a good story, but because I was able to resurrect a long dead family member–for a couple of thousand words, at any rate.

Some things are better left forgotten. Hidden away in drawers or locked in closets where memories can’t escape and torture the living yet some do. Some…escape. Haunted objects tease the mind with dark thoughts, exposing the residue of a life imprinted on itself and now in the hands of another. No Rest for the Wicked tells the stories of these possessed possessions and cautions the reader to think twice before pulling out their wallet for a great deal on an old crib.

NO REST FOR THE WICKED is available now as a Kindle ebook through Amazon.com, but in the coming days, Rainstorm Press will also release the paperback edition, for you ink and paper traditionalists out there. Like me. But if you can’t wait, pick up the ebook tonight, and the paperback later. That way you have options. Everybody likes options.

“The Plagiarist’s Wireless” to appear in FORTUNE: LOST AND FOUND

Posted in News on June 8, 2012 by Christian

Fortune: Lost and Found to feature “The Plagiarist’s Wireless”

Omnium Gatherum has accepted my short story, “The Plagiarist’s Wireless,” for inclusion in its upcoming anthology, Fortune: Lost and Found. Originally published in issue #13 of Golden Visions of Fantasy and Science Fiction (January 2011), “The Plagiarist’s Wireless” is about a rock n’ roll journalist who tries to find out why an influential band abruptly disappeared back in 1977.

While fame and professional remuneration are certainly part of the story, they are not central, and I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how it fits into the anthology’s theme:

Capital, cash, gold, lucre — money makes the world go round. But fortunes easily gained are often painfully lost. Since the very first king pressed his face onto the very first coin no single thing has led so many to ruin. Fortune, it seems, has a dark side and a wickedly evil sense of humor. Curses, plagues and misfortunes rain down on those who dare to tip the scales in their own favor. Fortune: Lost and Found, edited by L.S. Murphy and Kate Jonez, is a collection of tales about  money and wealth and the potentially horrifying consequences of gaining or losing it.

Of course, you’ll have to actually read the story to figure out how it fits, so unless you have a copy of Golden Vision’s issue #13, you’ll have to pick up a copy of Fortune: Lost and Found. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did. The cover alone is worth the price of admission.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

Posted in News, Observations & Musings on June 6, 2012 by Christian

The late Ray Bradbury–you love him even if you don’t know it yet.

Ray Bradbury died today. He was 91. I’m not going to pretend that I read everything he ever wrote. I don’t think many people did, largely because he wrote so goddamn much. But even if you hate reading (not sure why you’re reading a writer’s blog, but whatever), chances are good that you’ve still enjoyed some of Bradbury’s storytelling.

My first encounter with Bradbury was watching Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce. It was, of course, based on the novel of the same name by Bradbury, and while I haven’t seen it in a quarter century or more, it remains one of the creepiest movies I can remember seeing. Maybe not outright frightening, but creepy, like so many of Bradbury’s stories.

Right around this time, I saw his Twilight Zone contribution, “I Sing the Body Electric,” which was the strangest combination of sweet and disturbing I think I’ve ever encountered, even to this day. The episode isn’t often counted among the series’ best, but I can tell you that as a devoted Twilight Zone fan, it’s still one of my favorites.

I don’t know if the production of Something Wicked led directly to The Ray Bradbury Theater, but the anthology series hosted by the writer himself ran on cable from 1985-1992. I remember watching those early seasons with the same kind of dread one feels staring down a dark and echoey hallway, full of imagined clanking and scurrying. The series presented a murderer’s row of Bradbury classics, such as “A Sound of Thunder”, “Marionettes, Inc.”, “Banshee”, “The Playground”, “Mars is Heaven”, “Usher II”, “The Jar”, “The Long Rain”, “The Veldt”, “The Small Assassin”, “The Pedestrian”, “The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl, “Here There Be Tygers”, “The Toynbee Convector”, and “Sun and Shadow.”

In high school, I finally read Fahrenheit 451. I may have enjoyed other books more (and I really mean may, because I enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 very much), but I can honestly tell you that I believe it to be one of the most important books ever written. How someone could have the prescience to predict the inundation of media and connectivity and diagnose its negative effects so accurately a half century before any of it was invented, well, that takes genius.

And I don’t throw that word around lightly.

Several years ago, I discovered the old time radio series, X Minus One, and with it, a number of other Ray Bradbury stories I had never encountered before, including: “And the Moon Be Still as Bright,” “Dwellers in Silence,” “There Will Come Soft Rains,” “Zero Hour,” and “To the Future.”

When my son was in the hospital with pneumonia a couple of years ago, we watched several episodes of “Ray Dradbury” together. I think maybe another screening tonight is in order. And then maybe I’ll dust off a collection of his short stories and chomp away at them like a bag of potato chips until my fingers are greasy and the bag is empty.

I didn’t know Ray Bradbury personally at all, and as a writer, less than I should, but as I type this today, I feel a profound sense of loss. The world lost a giant in the field of writing, the rare kind of–and here comes that word again–genius that comes along maybe once in a generation.