Archive for December, 2013

THE BEST OF THE HORROR SOCIETY 2013 is an “extraordinarily strong showing”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on December 20, 2013 by Christian

Chuck Briggs has written a five-star review of THE BEST OF THE HORROR SOCIETY 2013, which features my short story, “It Has Teeth”:

Now available via Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Now available via Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Some clarification for the uninitiated: This is the best of the Horror Society – not necessarily the Years Best Horror (although I think the anthology would be in the running for such a title.) The Years Best Horror was a legendary series of short story collections issued by DAW and edited, if memory serves, by the great Karl Edward Wagner. “The Horror Society” is a new organization that has reached a remarkable level of distinction in a short period of time. As Scott Gorsiak, the president of the organization claims in his forward, it is “a think tank” for those who contribute to the field of Horror, not limited to one particular discipline, such as writers, but including musicians, directors, make up artists, etc., where artists can network for connections and exchange ideas. This isn’t the Horror Writer’s Association of America, the H.P. Lovecraft Appreciation Society, the Stephen King Wannabe Club, Clive Barker Uber Alles or any other darned group.

There are some very good writers here. Along with the legenary William F. Nolan, the only living writer I know of who can be included along with the likes of Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. Included too are rising stars Richard Thomas, Weldon Burge, Joe McKinney, Aaron Warwick Dries, Robert S. Wilson, Scott Gorsiak (grin) and editor Carson Buckingham. Twenty-Five Tales of short and not-so-short, high quality and mostly unfamiliar shivers. Authors are included I’ve never heard of, but I chalk that up to personal ignorance on my part. One Hell of a lot of good horror writers have shambled their way into print and eprint over the last few years. It’s enough to make you throw your typewriter against the wall and try writing Harlequin Romances.

This is an excellent collection and terrific way to find out what’s happening on the current, horror scene. Unlike a lot of anthologies, the stories aren’t limited to a particular theme, although they aren’t necessarily original to this collection. You may have encountered a couple of these before. (The William F. Nolan is from 1985 – culled, in fact and appropriately enough, from “The World’s Best Horror” Collection of 1985.)…

Read the rest of the review here, and if you haven’t already read THE BEST OF THE HORROR SOCIETY 2013, here’s what you’re missing:

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.

LOSING TOUCH, shipped free in time for Christmas

Posted in News on December 17, 2013 by Christian
Now shipping from Amazon.com.

Now shipping from Amazon.com.

Order the paperback edition of LOSING TOUCH at Amazon.com by 11 p.m. CST and get it shipped for free in time for Christmas.

Just make it part of your qualifying purchase of $35 or more, and you can give the gift of indie horror, sci-fi, and urban fantasy this year all in one self-contained book. With shipping on the house.

Professor emeritus from Pepperdine University and two-time Bram Stoker finalist Michael R. Collings, writing for HELLNOTES, says LOSING TOUCH is an “insightful, intriguing, and ultimately entertaining and uplifting novel…”

In her review for SHOCK TOTEM, Rose Blackthorn writes that LOSING TOUCH “wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Regardless, I was quickly caught up in the storyline and clear writing, and taken to an ending I didn’t see coming but thoroughly enjoyed…”

Star, at THE BIBLIOPHILIC BOOK BLOG, says “dark and sometimes violent, LOSING TOUCH will make you think about the realm of possibilities and the responsibility which goes along with power.”

LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by NY Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, joins the works of Joe HillHarlan Ellison, and Tim Waggoner on the Post Mortem Press front list.

Kindle edition of ZIPPERED FLESH 2 on sale now!

Posted in News on December 17, 2013 by Christian
ZIPPERED FLESH 2, now available at Amazon.com.

ZIPPERED FLESH 2, now available at Amazon.com.

Download ZIPPERED FLESH 2 for your Kindle this week and save big on the regular retail price as part of Amazon’s “Kindle Countdown Deals”.

Here’s how it works:

Buy it today by 2:00 CST for just $0.99. Buy it tomorrow by 2:00 for $1.99. On Thursday, the total goes up to $2.99. On Friday, the price goes to $3.99, with $4.99 coming on Saturday. Your last chance to save is Sunday before 10:00, when it goes back to the regular price of $5.99.

But why put it off?

Click on the cover image and get it now, at the lowest possible price, and enjoy twenty-two chilling tales by some of the best horror and suspense writers today.

Edited by Weldon BurgeZIPPERED FLESH 2 features the following contributions:

ZIPPERED FLESH 2 is a product of Smart Rhino, a horror and suspense fiction publishing house based in Delaware.

Barnes & Noble Winter Writer’s Day to feature LOSING TOUCH

Posted in News on December 16, 2013 by Christian
LOSING TOUCH, now available at Barnes & Noble.

LOSING TOUCH, now available at Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble in Racine has invited me to participate in their 5th Semi-Annual Winter Writer’s Day on Saturday, February 22nd … and you should bring the kids, because it won’t be all horror this time.

From 10:00 to 11:30, enjoy picture book story time with authors Janet Halfmann (EGGS 1, 2, 3: WHO WILL THE BABY BE?), Karen Franco (JUST HOLD MY HAND), and Norma Lundstrom (THE CHUBBY GIRL).

After the children’s part of the program, I’ll be fielding questions about LOSING TOUCH as part of the adult author panel.

The participating authors represent a huge variety of adult fiction and non-fiction, including memoirs, theology, local history and culture, and yes … horror:

Following the panel, there will be a writer’s workshop from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and an open house from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., during which time you can bring your books for personalization and talk less formally with the participating authors.

If you missed HorrorFest at Racine’s Barnes & Noble in October, you’ll definitely want to come to this event!

Books that stayed with me

Posted in Observations & Musings on December 9, 2013 by Christian

The latest viral Facebook “tag, you’re it” list is too much for me to resist: ten books that have stayed with you…

I’m deliberately not including books by people I know, (either personally or on Facebook), but that’s the only rule I’m minding.

I’ll probably have some regrets because I didn’t think too long or too hard about the following books (but then, neither did the following reviewers):

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

The Wind in the Willows
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

The Great Gatsby
CANNERY ROW by John Steinbeck (1945)

Cannery Row
FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Fahrenheit 451
I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson (1954)

amazon_iamlegend

THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkein (1955)

The Lord of the Rings
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (1960)

To Kill a Mockingbird

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST by Ken Kesey (1962)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

JAWS by Peter Benchley (1974)

Jaws
THE STAND by Stephen King (1978)

The Stand

These are not “essential” books, “best” books, or “must-read” books … they’re just books that have stayed with me, so to speak. And they may have stayed with the aforementioned reviewers, too. But not in the cool way.

And if you can’t look away from bad reviews of classic creations, click here.

Tagging the following to keep the beach ball in the air: T. Fox Dunham, Jessica McHugh, Lori MichelleC. Bryan Brown, David NellMichael Matula, Jay WilburnCynthia Pelayo, W.D. Gagliani, and J. Michael Major.

Horror Novel Reviews highly recommends LOSING TOUCH

Posted in Book Reviews, News on December 8, 2013 by Christian

Paula Limbaugh has written a review of my novel, LOSING TOUCH, for Matt Molgaard’s Horror Novel Reviews, giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars:

LOSING TOUCH, now available at Amazon.com.

LOSING TOUCH, now available at Amazon.com.

Remember how it felt as a kid with your imagination running wild? You could fly, you could walk through walls; you could do anything you wanted! I used to think I could enter a toy store and walk away with all kinds of goodies, never really giving thought to how the whole invisibility thing work.

In LOSING TOUCH by Christian A. Larsen, we meet Morgan Dunsmore a man at odds with himself. His life is going nowhere, he’s lost his job, his wife is recovering from back surgery and bankruptcy is looming in his future.

One morning while sitting on the toilet a strange thing occurs.  He has somehow fallen off, but not quite, the toilet.  It’s as though he fell through!  Little by little more strange things happen.  When eating at times his food falls through him contained only by his boxers.  Drinks run through his body as if he were a sieve.  Slowly the realization hits him; his body is fading in and out of solidity.  Like his life he is losing touch…

Read the rest of the review here. And if you haven’t already, buy the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon.com.

Featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers AnthonyLOSING TOUCH joins the works of Tim WaggonerJoe Hill, and Harlan Ellison on the Post Mortem Press front list.

ZIPPERED FLESH 2 is a “must read”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on December 7, 2013 by Christian
ZIPPERED FLESH 2, now available at Amazon.com.

ZIPPERED FLESH 2, now available at Amazon.com.

Amazon reader Patrick D. has posted a review of ZIPPERED FLESH 2, which features my story, “The Little Things”. In Patrick’s review, he says the anthology “takes body enhancements to the next level. There’s a tale for everyone here. For a true horror fan, a must read.”

Steroids from Hell. Horrendous piercings. Bizarre brain modifications. Obscene amputations. Facial reconstruction. Self-mutilation. Implants. ZIPPERED FLESH 2 offers twenty-two chilling tales by some of the best horror and suspense writers today, determined to keep you fearful all night (and skittish during the day).

Edited by Weldon BurgeZIPPERED FLESH 2 features the following contributions:

ZIPPERED FLESH 2 is a product of Smart Rhino, a horror and suspense fiction publishing house based in Delaware.

Hoofbeats on the Rooftop

Posted in Observations & Musings on December 6, 2013 by Christian

Today, celebrate St. Nicholas Day by reading my story “Hoofbeats on the Rooftop,” originally published in CHRISTMAS ANGELS from Whortleberry Press.

I believe, Virginia. I most certainly do, but not in the way most grown-ups do. You know how they twist things around so that anything can be true, depending on your point-of-view? Not this guy.

I wanted to watch Gremlins on TV, but my folks said it was too scary for Josh. We could both have another cup of cocoa, and then it was off to bed before Santa skipped our house. That really got Josh. He gulped down his cocoa and told me that the peppermint whipped cream tasted like Santa’s beard. It made me want to barf.

“There is no Santa Claus!” I said coolly.

Mom’s face went white. “Peter! What if he hears you?” She looked at Josh, who was still staring at me.

“Aw, mom,” I said. “Simon’s brother told us that’s just made up.”

“Go to your room!” she said icily. “I’ll send your father in there in a minute to say goodnight. I don’t suppose you’ll want him to read you ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ will you?”

The corners of Josh’s trembling mouth went down, making my brother look vaguely trapezoidal. His eyelids filled up and a fat, salty tear rolled down his face. He started vocalizing like a deaf person. “G-g-g-guh-rummm-puh-s-s-s!”

Mom muffled Josh’s sobs in her Rudolph sweater, and he seemed to cry even louder to make up for it. “I hope you’re proud. And on Christmas Eve, of all times! Something tells me you won’t be getting the visit you expected tonight.”

So I laid there in bed, listening to Josh cry. A small, nearly silent part of me wanted to take it all back and let Josh have his Christmas the way a little boy should, but I was enjoying the power I was feeling a little too much to care. Right then, everyone else got in line behind me.

I don’t know how much later it was, but it was dead quiet in the house. When I heard it, Josh was asleep, and mom and dad were long gone into their bedroom after an argument about what was going to happen to me. Brass bells over the house. I thought it was my imagination, but then I heard hoofbeats. Honest-to-goodness hoofbeats, and there was no mistaking it. I skipped down the stairs three at a time, all alone. He would be coming down the chimney, filling up the stockings, and propping up the low-hanging branches of the Christmas tree with Star Wars toys after all. Simon’s brother was wrong … but not in the way I expected.

The lights from the Christmas tree bathed everything in a dim red light, and even then, I remember thinking how weird it was, that all those different colors on the tree added up to red in the room. There weren’t any presents covering the tree skirt like I had expected, but there was a rustle behind the branches, like someone trying to scoot between them and the wall, so I held my breath tight, like a fist, and waited for that right jolly old elf to show himself—and his giant bag of goodies, just waiting to be played with. I could feel the smirk on my face. It was huge.

“Peter,” said a voice, as dry as winter branches on a window pane. “Peter, come here for your Christmas present.” That voice didn’t sound anything like Santa Claus, and I stayed where I was, mostly hidden behind the corner of the door. “Who’s there?”

And then I saw him, a flesh and blood rendering of all my Bavarian grandmother’s most frightening fairy tales. He was covered in soot from the chimney, but he didn’t have a sack of presents, and if he was smiling, it was the evilest smile I’ve ever seen—more like a grimace of the most painful sort. He had a goat’s face, hairy and twisted, with two horns sprouting out of his forehead. With a chain in one hand and birch rod in the other, he came at me, and as terrified as I was, I couldn’t move. He pinned me down with those horizontal, slit-shaped pupils, and when he got to me, he delivered to me the worst beating of my life.

A Victorian representation of Krampus punishing a child.

A Victorian representation of Krampus punishing a child.

I bawled, I howled, and I carried on, but I could still hear my parents talking in their room—arguing, it sounded like—about whether to come and save me. My mom wanted to, but my dad wouldn’t let her. He said the name ‘Krampus’ and something about how he’d be done in a minute if they just let him, but he’d beat silly anyone who tried to stop him. I never heard my dad sound so scared in all my life, and I can tell you now, with the scars to prove it, that I really don’t blame him. Not even then, when the pain was so bad I wet my pants.

When I finally woke up—or came to—the next morning, Josh had piles and piles of brand-new toys, and I had bruises, welts, scrapes and cuts all the way up one side and down the other. So you can try and tell me there’s no Santa Claus, I suppose. I never saw him myself. But, please, for your own sake, don’t try to tell me that there’s no Krampus. Because I know. I believe, Virginia. I certainly do.

“Hoofbeats on the Rooftop.” Originally published in Christmas Angels: A Holiday Anthology. Gainesville, FL: Whortleberry Press, 2011.

MISERIA’S CHORALE is “highly recommended”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on December 5, 2013 by Christian

Goodreads contributor Dave Granger has posted a review of MISERIA’S CHORALE, which features my short story, “Becoming the Beast”:

MISERIA'S CHORALE, now available at Amazon.com.

MISERIA’S CHORALE, now available at Amazon.com.

This book is a beast! It is big and packed with stories, 48 in all! That is huge. And when you read what has been put in here, it’s amazing that so many of them are not just good, but great. I will say that there were a few bumps in the road, some stories that just didn’t strike my fancy, but all in all it is well worth the money.

Highlights in this were “The Cherry Tree” by James S. Dorr, “Becoming the Beast” by Christian A. Larsen, “Give Me Convenience” by Shaun Meeks, “Evacuation” by Jay Wilburn, “From Suicide Station” by Adam Millard, “The Face of Death” by Paul Kane, “The Gatehouse” by Anna Taborska, “In Green Remembered” by Christopher Nadeau, and “Sowing the Seeds” by Bear Weiter. There are so many other great ones in here, trust me, but these were the highlights. Highly recommended.

Pick up your copy of MISERIA’S CHORALE in paperback or Kindle at Amazon and pick a few stories that you might want to recommend:

Edited by David Nell, MISERIA’S CHORALE is a product of Forgotten Tomb Press, publishers of 100 DOORS TO MADNESS.

FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS is an “enjoyable experience”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on December 3, 2013 by Christian

Amazon reader Charlotte Vale has posted a review of FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS, featuring my short story, “724”.

FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS, now available at Amazon.com.

FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS, now available at Amazon.com.

When my package containing my copy of FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS arrived, I ran into my home, tore open the box, and sat down to finish reading “724” by Christian A. Larsen. The 4-page Amazon teaser had drawn me into the story already. My anticipation grew as I waited the week for my book and was determined not to wait a minute more to find out what was going on with Owen and Linnie. I was not disappointed. The story makes a good prequel to the author’s novel LOSING TOUCH. Well, it would have made a good prequel if I hadn’t already read LOSING TOUCH. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and order your copy today.

From “724” I went on to read “The Persistence of Frondu,” a story that took an odd happening and turned it into a difficult to express but extremely relatable feeling. Deciding that I should stand up and take my coat off at the very least before reading more I put the book down.

Later, in a cozy and quiet moment, I reread “724” and was struck by the expressive nature of certain phrases and the feelings that they generated. I moved on to “A Coat that Fell” and “Nothing Bad Has Ever Happened Here” wondering how the authors were going to pack an entire story into so few pages. Upon completing Michael Wehunt’s story, I actually threw the book down as if something would jump from its pages and get me. When I recovered myself, I read A. A. Garrison’s story, which didn’t help my nerves. It was disturbing for a whole new set of reasons.

Every evening I looked forward to sitting down with a new set of stories by a new set of authors and have enjoyed the experience. I also very much enjoyed the Post-scripts and Author Bios section allowing me to get to know these creative minds a little better.

FOR WHEN THE VEIL DROPS features “resonant, unbridled dark fiction” from the following authors:

Choose the paperback or Kindle edition available at Amazon.com, each for less than $7.00.