Archive for October, 2016

Halloween hits Harp & Fiddle … a night early

Posted in News on October 31, 2016 by Christian

Happy Halloween, everybody! Too bad it falls on a Monday, but I know I had fun this past weekend. I joined authors John Everson and Cynthia Pelayo for “Halloween Eve” at The Harp and Fiddle in Park Ridge, where we each read from our spookiest works. Afterward, there was the Cubs game (#aroldischapmanforpresident). But, on with the reading…


The crowd looks on as Cynthia Pelayo reads from THE MISSING.


John Everson reading “The Pumpkin Man”.




Cynthia Pelayo, John Everson, and me at The Harp and Fiddle in Park Ridge

I hope you had as great a time as I did. (The Cubs win certainly helped.) Whether you were able to make it out last night or not, I hope you have a horrific terrific Halloween!

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

It’s Halloween weekend, baseball fans! What are your plans for Sunday?

Posted in News on October 28, 2016 by Christian

Bram Stoker Award®-winning editor Michael Bailey (LIBRARY OF THE DEAD) is now compiling a list of the finest speculative, dark, and imaginative novels of 2016 … and my sophomore effort, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, has made the cut along with some of the genre’s heaviest hitters:

And while it’s technically not a novel, Bailey also said John Boden’s JEDI SUMMER WITH THE MAGNETIC KID was “a novella every X-generation should read, or Y-gen/Millennial if you want to better understand us.”

If you don’t have a copy of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH yet, I’ll be signing copies on Sunday from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at The Harp & Fiddle in Park Ridge for their “Halloween Eve” reading event with Cynthia Pelayo (THE MISSING) and John Everson (PUMPKIN MAN).


Everson, Pelayo, and I will each be reading short selections from our novels while you eat, drink, and mentally prepare yourself for Game 5 of the World Series, which–wouldn’t you know it–you can watch right there at The Harp & Fiddle on Sunday night.

First pitch is 7:08 PM, so you can load up on bangers and mash and scary stories from Chicago horror authors before you settle in for the baseball game. Here’s your invitation, and you can scout their menu by clicking here.

With Wrigleyville bars charging as much as $1250 to eat and drink with your fellow fans, The Harp & Fiddle is a no-cover bargain with a unique Sunday night pre-game you’ll never forget!

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

Cubs in Fall Classic; where will you watch (a potential) Game 5?

Posted in News on October 23, 2016 by Christian

Unless the Cubs (or Indians) sweep, game five of the World Series will be played at Wrigley Field on Sunday, October 30th … the night before Halloween. First pitch is set for 7:08 PM with a probable pitching matchup of Cubs ace Jon Lester versus the Tribe’s Corey Kluber… and it could be an elimination game. As a Cubs fan, how do you spend the last couple of hours leading up to that matchup?

By listening to horror stories at The Harp & Fiddle in Park Ridge, natch. You’re invited to Halloween Eve at The Harp & Fiddle from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, featuring stories from Bram Stoker Award®-winner John Everson, International Latino Book Award-winner Cynthia Pelayo … and I’ll be reading from my ghosts and gangsters novel, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, just minutes before Lester (probably) takes the bump.

When the read wraps up, settle in and watch some history-in-the-making at The Harp & Fiddle (if the first four games are split in any way). With two dozen beers on tap and brand-new TVs and surround sound, you can share the evening with your fellow fans. And let’s be honest: being a Cubs fan is a social thing—a thing lifted between friends from one generation to the next since Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House.


The first team photo. Jimmy Wood (sixth from left) later stabbed a zit on his leg with a pocket knife and had to have it amputated. The leg. Not the zit.

So call your buddies. Gather up the family. It’s the World Series and anything can happen, but if there’s a Game 5, watch it at The Harp & Fiddle in Park Ridge. Even if there’s a sweep, though, here’s a surefire bet: there will still be scary good times on Halloween Eve with John Everson, Cynthia Pelayo, and THE BLACKENING OF FLESH. I’ll see you there, starting at 5:00 PM. No tickets necessary, but bring money for food and drinks … and maybe a couple of books!

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

Halloween Horror – Free Read 2016 – Best Horror Stories on the internet!

Posted in News on October 20, 2016 by Christian

“Bast” was originally published in WHAT FEARS BECOME, but you can read it right now, for free! And be sure to check out the other great stories in The 2nd annual Parlor of Horror Best ‘Free Read’ Halloween Horror Stories contest!

parlor of horror

Halloween Horror – Free Read 2016 – Best Horror Stories on the internet!

hosted by Parlor of Horror


The 2nd annual Parlor of Horror Best ‘Free Read’ Halloween Horror Stories

Here they are folks! 20 deliciously horrific stories to delve into for Halloween scares! Great free reading for the Halloween Season and to put you in the mood for the creepiest holiday ever.

Check out the titles, click a link, get some goosebumps as you read some of the best stories from underground writers and authors on the web.


Our TOP Stories! Editors picks:

Best Story:

Buback – Kerry E.B. Blackbest-free-read-award-best

This story embodied the spirit of Halloween and pulled me in with wonderful descriptive wording and thick atmosphere. It’s a wonderful tale for Halloween so take a moment and give it a read. Kerry wins a $25 gift card to and the title, Best “Free Read”…

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Ghosts and gangsters coming Sunday to Milwaukee ParaCon

Posted in News on October 14, 2016 by Christian

Halloween’s coming, but the spirits … they’ve already arrived. It’s the Milwaukee Paranormal Convention, and it’s happening this weekend at the UWM student union. I’ll be there on Sunday among the ghost hunters, cryptozoologists, and UFO experts, signing copies of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH about a teenager who’s house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters. But I won’t be the only author at the table. Authors Dawn Napier and Christine Verstraete will also be inking their latest releases.

25256617.jpgNapier is the author of BLACK BELLS, the story of a woman who has to face the incarnation of her childhood fears in order to save her daughter, who’s gone missing. A child in danger cuts to the quick of our most basic fears, but if you’re looking for some adventure without the creeps, you might want to check out Napier’s MANY KINGDOMS fantasy series (DARK RANGERA FIRE OF THORNS; and WORLD OF DRAGONSWORLDS OF MIST), a perfect hat trick during this treating season.

Verstraete, author of GIRL Z: MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE, will also be personalizing copies of her latest work, LIZZIE BORDEN, ZOMBIE HUNTER, which puts a new spin on an old mystery: what if Borden did it … because she had to? Borden experts should love this new take, but if you’ve never even heard of Borden before, I’m sure you’ll find it’s a great entrance point to this head-scratcher of a case. If you liked ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, then I’m sure Verstraete’s Borden book will be right up your alley.


The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference happens this weekend at the University of Milwaukee Student Union from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Passes start at just $10, and include access to the vendor room, guest speakers and panels, workshops, media demos, activities, and a “ghost story” open mic. I get the feeling Halloween will be feeling a little big jealous this year. You don’t want to miss this. Especially Sunday. See you there!

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

PR Journal-Topics: Hear Author’s Scary Stories at Park Ridge Shop

Posted in News on October 13, 2016 by Christian

Halloween Eve at The Harp & Fiddle is a real thing now—it’s even getting press. The Park Ridge Journal & Topics is reporting on the Halloween-appropriate reading event featuring John Everson, Cynthia Pelayo, and me.

hear author's scary stories at park ridge shop.jpg

The event is free and if you’re reading this, you’re invited. You don’t even need a ticket, but you might want to bring a few bucks for food and drinks, and we’ll all be signing copies of our books for our readers, too.

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

John Everson joins lineup at Park Ridge reading

Posted in News on October 10, 2016 by Christian

It was Halloween 1987. My best friend and I decided to trick or treat across Park Ridge to my grandparents’ house two-and-a-half-miles away. They didn’t know we were coming, but I knew they were home. When we finally got there, though, they pretended not to be and finally turned us away by setting off their own burglar alarm. We ran away thinking we had really tripped it, but only for about 30 feet. Running makes you look guilty. I think that might be my favorite Halloween memory from childhood. Thanks, Grandma!

220px-john_everson_-_horror_authorPark Ridge gets its Halloween on a day early this year, as Bram Stoker Award®-winning author John Everson reads a short selection October 30th at The Harp & Fiddle at 110 Main Street between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Everson grew up in the Chicago suburbs, graduated from the University of Illinois, and edited the Illinois Entertainer for several years before establishing himself as one of horror fiction’s biggest 21st century draws with works like COVENANT, NIGHTWHERE, and THE FAMILY TREE.

International Latino Book Award-winning author Cynthia Pelayo will also be reading at the event on Halloween Eve. In her latest novel, THE MISSING, a Chicago woman visits Mexico in search of her previously unknown half-sister, and she must decide whether or not to enlist the aid of the saint of death to save her from one of the world’s most ruthless drug cartels. THE MISSING is the sequel to 2013’s SANTA MUERTE, now available from Post Mortem Press in paperback and Kindle formats.

I’ll also be reading that night from THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, a story about a teenager who’s house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters. The book is set in Park Ridge (or a fictionalized version, anyway), including a chapter or two in a pharmacy inspired by the former Scharringhausen’s at 110 Main Street—where The Harp & Fiddle now stands. So it’ll be a bit of a homecoming for the main character, Jared Dix. Same goes for me. I used to buy Luden’s cherry cough drops there before catching movies at the Pickwick.


Celebrate Halloween Eve at The Harp & Fiddle. Besides the short readings between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., they also have a terrific menu of Irish-American fare, 24 ice-cold beers on tap, and plenty of big screen TVs to watch Philly at Dallas … or maybe Game 5 of a certain Fall Classic involving a previously cursed entity from Chicago’s north side. So clear your calendar and make plans to attend Halloween Eve at the Harp & Fiddle. It’s free to get in, but bring money for food and drinks … and maybe a book or three.

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

New life for Living Dead at Rhode Center

Posted in Movie Reviews, News on October 9, 2016 by Christian

notldI must have heard Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” a thousand times before the BREAKING BAD series finale, but when I heard it again as the camera zoomed out on Walter White’s thousand-yard stare, I heard it again for the first time. It was like that today when I saw the Lakeside Players perform NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD based on the screenplay by John Russo and George Romero at the Rhode Center for the Arts in Kenosha.

Chances are better than even that you’re familiar with the plot, but here’s the official synopsis based on Lori Allen Ohm’s adaptation of the script: “Fallout from a satellite probe shot to Venus returns to Earth carrying a mysterious radiation that transforms the unburied dead into flesh-eating zombies. Seven people trapped in an isolated farmhouse, held hostage by the ravenous ghouls, begin to turn on each other as the dead encroach. A gripping terror-filled play that brings all the fright of the cult classic to life.”

You’re not attending the play to find out what happens next, any more than you’d go to DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Rhode Center next month to see what fate has in store for Willie Loman. You’re going to experience the story, and while it is as faithful to the source material as the venue would allow, interpretations of even the same exact words can be very different, or much more subtly so. Under Zach Wilson’s direction, the script became a real, live (or real dead) experience, vastly different than popping in a copy on BluRay.

The play opens with two zombies knocking down headstones affixed to the front of the stage and crawling out from underneath where most of the action takes place. They walked up the center aisle, and once cleared, Johnny (Hunter Turnaville) and Barbara (Rebecca Vansickle) come bickering down, reciting the lines about the drive that you could probably unreel by rote. No matter how big that screen might be, you’ll never be part of the action like I was watching it at the Rhode Center.

Benjamin Franklin makes his stage debut as “Ben”, the passer-by who appropriates a truck after the disaster at Beekman’s Diner and makes his way to the farmhouse where the action takes place. Franklin is a plumber by trade, but plays the role of Ben so honestly, so forthright, that you are sure his veneer of restraint is about to peel away under the strain of the catastrophe. As they watch the news reports, Ben is upstage tippling from the liquor cabinet, and his hands are shaking. Eyes are elsewhere, but the attention to detail is there, and almost loving.

The stage and costume design are simple, stark, and almost austere. The walls are black, the window frames and doors are white and gray, and all the actors are dressed in black and white–an homage, perhaps to the black-and-white source material, but here serving an artistic purpose: with a binary outcome of life-and-death on the line, the characters navigate as shades of gray. They do not fit in the world in which they find themselves. And that, for them, is very bad news. But for theater-goers, it’s a definite treat.

“Night of the Living Dead”

When: through Oct. 22

Where: Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th St. Kenosha

Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Tickets: $10 at 262-657-7529 or

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

Buy the Kindle edition of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH for only $2.99

Posted in News on October 6, 2016 by Christian

I’ll be signing copies of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH at The Harp & Fiddle on Halloween Eve, but if you’re not from the Chicago area and prefer to read on your device, I have killer news for you: THE BLACKENING OF FLESH is now on sale for Kindle. Just $2.99, but … for a limited time only, just like the ad says:


But since you can’t judge a book by its cover … what about it’s cover matter?

It’s June 1984. Jared Dix just graduated from Brickton High School, where he never fit in and never had any friends. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, but is content, in his first summer of freedom, to be a delivery boy for Isringhausen’s Pharmacy.

Then he meets Monica, a slightly older college girl who is fascinated with his house because of its dark history.

Fifty-four years earlier, the Dix house was the site of a grisly massacre in which the Capone Gang wiped out the Cerutti Mob, a rival in the bootlegging game. It was a crime unknown to the history books until Monica puts the pieces together for a college paper. She never saw the inside of the house, though, until she meets Jared, who lets her in.

But then Jared’s brother, sister, and parents start acting not themselves, and strange bruises emerge on their skin that don’t look like bruises at all. It is then that Jared finds that a bloody chapter of local history is creeping into the present, and its up to him to make sure it doesn’t go any further.

The pharmacy that inspired Isringhausen’s in THE BLACKENING OF FLESH is now The Harp & Fiddle in Park Ridge, so it’ll be a bit of a homecoming for young Mr. Dix come Sunday, October 30th, the eve of Halloween.

From 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., I’ll be reading a short passage from the book, and I’ll be joined by Cynthia Pelayo, author of the International Latino Book Award-winning novel SANTA MUERTE and its sequel, THE MISSING, from which she’ll be reading that night, too. It’s a free event, but bring money for food and drinks, and of course, a little extra for books.

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

Celebrate Halloween Eve at The Harp and Fiddle with THE BLACKENING OF FLESH

Posted in News on October 2, 2016 by Christian

You’re too old to trick or treat, and maybe too old to fit into that sexy cat costume, too, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Halloween in style. Or at least, Halloween Eve. Come to The Harp and Fiddle in Park Ridge on Sunday, October 30th, and hear some scary storytelling from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. before Philly visits Dallas on the national gridiron. It’s like candy for adults!

I’ll be reading from my ghosts and gangsters novel THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, which was inspired by a Park Ridge murder investigation and is partially set in a fictionalized version of Scharringhausen’s Pharmacy, which, wouldn’t you know it, used to be housed at 110 Main Street–the same address as The Harp and Fiddle. It’s more Guinness than Luden’s Cough Drops these days, but the building is a special, special place.


If you already have THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, right on! I’ll also be personalizing hardcopies of my debut novel, LOSING TOUCH, which also features key scenes set in all-but-the-name Park Ridge. (Go Brickton High! Home of the Harriers!). I’ll also be signing the anthologies GOTHIC BLUE BOOK V, THE GHOST IS THE MACHINE, and the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated QUALIA NOUS, including a story by me and one by Stephen King.


Now available from Post Mortem Press.

I’ll be joined by Burial Day Books owner and manager Cynthia Pelayo, who edits the GOTHIC BLUE BOOK series with her husband and partner, Gerardo. Cynthia is also the author of the short story collection LOTERIA, as well as the International Latino Book Award-winning title SANTA MUERTE and its 2016 sequel, THE MISSING. Pelayo’s stories are also set in the Chicago area, so you could be hearing a lot of local flavor while you’re enjoying a pint.

(They come in pints?)

Halloween is for the kids. Make October 30th for you. Come out to The Harp and Fiddle at 110 Main Street in Park Ridge for some terrifying tale-spinning from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and stay for the football game at 7:30. They’ve got 24 ice-cold beers on tap and big-screen TVs in pretty much every direction, but the west lounge will be quiet as the grave … at least while we’re reading, right?

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