Barnes & Noble doses dark fiction at Summer Writer’s Day

While there was something for everyone at Barnes & Noble’s Summer Writers Day this weekend, including poetry, children’s literature, memoirs, local history, puzzles, philosophy, and theology, programming was heavy on horror, mystery, science-fiction, and thrillers–moreso than ever before.

Jack Ketchum liked it. So will you.

Jack Ketchum liked THE NEW BLACK. So will you.

I finally had the chance to personally meet Richard Thomas, editor of THE NEW BLACK, an anthology of neo-noir stories that Jack Ketchum says “ought to be the New High Standard for dark fiction anthologies. It’s loaded with intelligence and talent. Every one of the pieces in this extraordinary compilation is worthy of your full attention.”

I sat next to Michael Matula, author of TRY NOT TO BURN, about a rookie cop who is shot and killed, and then has to find a way out of Hell. Matula called it a “lighthearted romp”, but you know he’s being sarcastic, because pretty much everybody’s dead in his story. This was my fourth event with Matula. We’re becoming regulars at this kind of thing.


Kirkus: "A sharp murder mystery held together by likable characters."

Kirkus Indie Reviews: “A sharp murder mystery held together by likable characters.”

JoBe Cerny, the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy (if you can believe it–and you should), wrote the non-fiction book HOW ACTORS MAKE MONEY AND CREATE CAREERS, which, as far as I can tell, kills none of its participants off, but he showed some range with his murder mystery RED CIN. That’s right–the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy is killing people off.

J. Michael Major, whom I met at a book signing last year in Woodstock, was there talking about his writing and publishing process … and ONE MAN’S CASTLE, which won the 2014 Lovey Award for best first novel. Murder. Revenge. Life on the run … ONE MAN’S CASTLE has it all–and more, and it definitely brought up the body count at Barnes & Noble.

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her, and now she's on the run.

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her, and now she’s on the run.

And the keynote speaker yesterday was Stacey Kade, author of THE PAPER DOLL series of science-fiction thrillers for young adults. THE HUNT, the second in the series, was published by Disney-Hyperion this year. Her first book for Disney-Hyperion, THE GHOST AND THE GOTH, a paranormal young adult romance, was published in 2010.

Of course, I was there, too, peddling copies of LOSING TOUCH, winner of the 2013 Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll for best horror novel, and the inaugural DRAWA Award® for best first novel. But after hanging out with these folks, I’m thinking that maybe I’m not always the skeeviest guy in the room. Sometimes.

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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