Writer of Horror Fiction

Archive for August, 2011

Cover revealed for upcoming KnightWatch Press anthology “Soul Survivors-Hometown Tales, Volume 1”

Yep, another anthology coming out soon that I am thrilled to be a part of…and there were so many good stories, they filled two volumes with all of them!  My little story, “Love Thy Neighbor” appears within the pages of Volume 1.  While I am showing the cover for Volume 1, what is really cool about Soul Survivors-Hometown Tales is that the two covers fit nicely situated next to each other, each showing one half of a face…but they are each distinct from the other.  I am really proud of my very sick and disturbing story that takes place right here in Cincinnati that I wrote for this one, and I guess the publishers did as well!  The premise behind the stories we were asked to write was to tell a story of the end of the world based on our own hometowns, giving it sort of a personal touch.  It could be with any sort of disaster…natural, man made, supernatural…so I am positive there are some really twisted tales in both of these tomes that take advantage of some really unique potential world shattering events.  So check out the artwork for the cover of the book I appear in, and I will of course be promoting this book and its partner in crime once both are released later this year (or early in 2012).

Book Trailer for “Live and Let Undead”

I wanted to share this cool video promoting one of the anthologies that I recently announced that I am going to be a part of with my short story, “Legacy.”  Peter Giglio, whose own story appears within the pages of Live and Let Undead, created this video for Hollie Snider, who compiled the anthology.  So I wanted to share it here.

Just hit the link and head on over to YouTube:  http://youtu.be/kFkMtCjez4k

Review of Alan Draven’s “Fractured Time”

Donovan Vicar is a man with a special gift.  He is a feeler, which the author describes as someone who feels the vibrations of those around him.  It becomes clear rather quickly that this is only scratching the surface of this gift…a gift he will soon need on a strange journey he must set out on across time.

Fractured Time begins in the present era, in the year 2007 in the city of Bitternest, Louisiana.  Donovan is working to manage his power as a feeler, which tends to knock him for a loop every time he is around someone who has a negative or evil aura.  So when someone walks by that has the most potently evil aura of anyone he has ever met, it compels him to follow them.  Donovan fears the danger they represent.  In the past, he has discovered too late that when he senses such evil, something horrible is about to occur.  Not long after this discovery, Donovan finds himself traveling backwards in time in pursuit of this evil man.  Fifty years in the past to be exact, to the Bitternest of 1957.  It becomes clear rather quickly that the man he was tracking is responsible for this new puzzle, and it is up to Donovan to figure out how to stop whatever foul plan the man has for the world and to hopefully find a way back home, to the present.

Fractured Time is a good old fashion mystery spiked with magic, imbibed with ancient evil, and with just the right touch of nostalgia mixed in for good measure.  Alan Draven has created a city shrouded in darkness and strange alien forces, and populated it with a cast of colorful characters that are quite entertaining.  I enjoyed the almost retro feel of this story, and not just because the vast majority of it was set in a world fifty years in our past.   This is a good old fashion tale of sorcery and evil men who crave absolute power who are willing use the blackest magic in their cause.

Naturally, no story is perfect, and this one suffers a bit from what I would say is the author’s enthusiasm to share with his audience as many details as possible about the world he has created.  The thoughts and motivations of not only the main characters are revealed, but those of most of the secondary characters are as well.  Mysteries are unraveled at a pace that is probably faster than I would have preferred for this type of tale, and leaving some questions left unanswered would have been just fine by me.  The epilogue is an example of this.  While probably necessary, to fill in all the blanks, some of the answers seem almost abrupt-loose ends that are sewn up in a hurry, so nothing is left to puzzle over.

Even so, I can understand the enthusiasm the author wants to share with us over his creation.  Bitternest holds up a strange, fun-house type mirror to what would be its sister city of New Orleans, another Louisiana city filled with oddities, magic, and strange tales of the occult.  Alan Draven has given us old magic and old gods that feel right at home in this strange city, and I can understand his passion for sharing every last bit of it with us.

Fractured Time can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Time-Alan-Draven/dp/097699478X/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314631559&sr=1-7

Cover for Live and Let Undead revealed.

Well, I was going to wait until the official wrap around cover was released, but I decided I didn’t want to.  There will be a few more tweaks to this one, but I love the artwork, and love my story that appears within its pages.  The title of the book is Live and Let Undead, and as the back cover describes, it is a bit of a different take on the traditional zombie apocalypse story telling.  More details to come on this anthology, and my short story “Legacy” as it gets closer to a release date.

The Zombie-pocalypse is real!  Loved ones are returning from the grave in search of flesh and brains!  Humans are running scared!

Aren’t they?

Here, rather than shooting them in the head, eighteen talented authors have figured out how to put the Undead to work.  Zombies can now be contributing members to society once more.

Looking for some customer service help?  “Operators” from AM Burns, has just the call center crew for you.  Need road repairs?  Check out the workers in Mike Baretta’s “Memorial Day.”  How about a solution for all those bombs, drugs, and other nasty stuff crossing through our seaports?  Matt Adams’ Sparky can take care of it in “Sparky Save The World.”

These stories, and others, from authors-

Rebecca Snow

Keith Gouveia

Barry Rosenberg

Suzanne Robb

Patrick D’Orazio

Janet Tait

JW Schnarr

Brian Johnson

Steve Ruthenbeck

Daniel Robichaud

Brook Fabian

Jeff Chitty

HE Roulo

Peter Giglio


Eric Juneau

-will have you wishing for a zombie of your own.



Review of Bill Bibo Jr.’s “Dr. Zombie Lives Next Door”

Every once in a while, I like to reminisce about the stories I used to read as a kid that had a taste of spookiness to them but that didn’t give me nightmares.  In many ways, despite the creepiness of the story elements, they were fun adventures that helped sate my passion for reading and left me wanting more of the same.  Dr. Zombie Lives Next Door reminds me of those scary tales that I used to check out as a kid.  My path to darker, more adult horror soon followed, but there will always be a desire for me to reach back to read something fun that I can share with my kids, who are at the right age for a story like this one.

The premise is simple.  When new neighbors move in next door, young Jenny is fearful that the father is a mad scientist, with his crazy fly away hair and strange equipment he is moving to the basement.  Against her better judgment, she is introduced to Victor, the strange man’s son, who is a scientific genius and helps this athletic Tomboy with her science fair project, while at the same time, the man she has dubbed Dr. Zombie toils away in his mysterious lab down in the basement…creating something she fears will take over the world!

My kids, who are 11 and 12, enjoyed this story.  Given the fact that their dad loves to write and read adult horror, they don’t get to check out much of what I enjoy at their age, so sharing something like this with them, that combines a few good scares, some mystery, and quite a few laughs put a smile on my face.  Dr. Zombie Lives Next Door is a fun story with a good heart that is great for preteens and anyone who enjoys a good spooky story.

Dr. Zombie Lives Next Door can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Lives-Next-Door-ebook/dp/B0059Y4I0A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313634036&sr=8-1

A double whammy of anthology covers!

While I would typically try to promote two different books I am going to be in with separate posts, I believe that will come later, when the two of these books are released at different times.  For now, I was made aware of the covers of each book within the last couple of days, and as such, it is time for me to promote them both, side by side.  So, without further ado and in no specific order, here are two anthologies that short stories of mine will be appearing in.  As to the projected release dates, that remains to be seen, but as always, once they are released, you will receive notice here on them from me, and I will share links on where to buy them as well.

The first book is being released by Norgus press, and is entitled: Look What I Found!  

My short story, VRZ, will appear in this book.  Here is the description from the back cover:

We spend our lives going through places surrounded by things of magic and mystery, but sometimes choose not to open our eyes to see them.  The world around us still has places that are yet to be discovered.  There are people that we pass on the street that are not what they seem to be.  There are objects with untold powers that are only waiting to be found.  We train ourselves to look at the norm.  The stories within this anthology examine those mysteries and the excitement of discovery that awaits those who dare to tread.  The members of society that look a little deeper.  Those who long to say, “Look What I Found!”

The other anthology is from Wicked East Press and I am actually in the process of writing up my short story for this one, so I don’t even have an official title as of yet, but fear not, there shall be one soon enough.  This one is entitled Read The End First.  24 Apocalyptic Tales.  24 Time Zones.

Here is a description:

Ever wonder how the world would end if you could decide?

This anthology takes the concept of the Apocalypse a step further.

24 authors pick their own time zone to destroy, and leave you wondering if the prophecies they speak of are true.

The premise here is simple: each of the authors were given a time zone and they are expected to have a story that starts at midnight that speaks of a unique ending to the world.  Combined, there will be twenty four time zones of annihilation and doom when all is said and done.  I am pretty excited to be a part of this project.  My own little bit of destruction will hopefully be quite interesting.  But no hints as to what time zone I have or what demise I have chosen for you all.  I will just say that no zombies will be harmed in the making this short story, heh.  More details to come later.

I am pretty proud of the twisted tale, “VRZ” in Look What I Found!, which involves a trip into virtual reality…but it almost seems too real for the character taking the trip.  And I am working hard to make the story for Read the End First one I am just as proud of.  I will definitely be letting everyone know more about them around their release times, for certain!

Review of Katherine Hanna’s “Breakdown”

Breakdown  is the story of Chris, a man who has lost everything in his life, as the world around him spins out of control.  A worldwide pandemic has killed many and set civilization back several centuries as all we take for granted goes away seemingly overnight.  After his wife and young daughter die from the plague, Chris sets out on a slow, arduous journey to return home to England, across the ocean from where he lived in New York.  The story is not necessarily of that journey, but of the journey that takes place after he returns home to the remnants of his family-a brother who had no idea if he was alive or dead, an old mate who his relationship with was damaged long before the plague came about, and other new faces, including new people who attempt to help Chris heal.  He has seen what the world has turned into during his travels-barbaric and wretched, and there are experiences he had that have shattered him emotionally.  It will take a great deal of kindness and patience to allow Chris to come to grips with who he is and what he has become, and a dedicated and persistent person willing to take that journey with him.

This is a post apocalyptic novel, true enough, but not the type that I would typically pick up.  I did so at the recommendation of a friend, and while this is different than what I am used to, I can’t say that I have any regrets reading it.  The author is a solid storyteller, developing her characters in slow bits and pieces with reveals that are satisfying and plausible.  The broken down world, as well as the broken down man that inhabits it, provide ample opportunity for her to give us just cause for Chris’s brooding state.  He is troubled, but I didn’t get the urge to tell him to get over it-his losses, and sense of regret for what he believes he didn’t do are real, tangible, and identifiable.  Chris is no different than any of us would be, or at least any of us would try to be, if we wanted to maintain some sense of humanity despite living in a inhuman, monstrous world.

I liked the setting where the things we take for granted-speaking to someone over the phone, being able to drive to see someone 70 miles away from where we live in about an hour or two becomes impossible, and everyone is closed off from those more than a mile or two away from them.  Life is rough, and difficult, but in many ways much simpler for the folks that live in it.  They do their chores, the grow food, they milk the cows, and on occasion they remember how easy they had it, and hope that the technology will return, and that the world will come together again.  But they fear the world around them, still worried that the plague may revisit them, and trust very few outside of their own circle of close family and friends.

While I guess this book could be defined as a post apocalyptic romance novel, I would venture to say that it is more of a character study, with the relationship coming about naturally, slowly evolving as Chris learns more about himself and accepts who he is and what he has been forced to do ever since the world turned brutal and went dark in the early days of the plague, while he opens up and discovers things about those around him-how they too have suffered, and that he is not alone, no matter how much it feels that way.

For anyone who has looked at any of my reviews, they will know this is perhaps not my normal type of book that I review, but I have to say that this is a story definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes PA fiction with strongly drawn, compelling characters.

Breakdown can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/Breakdown-Katherine-Amt-Hanna/dp/1461093791/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312750908&sr=1-1

My interview with The Functional Nerds!

I had the chance to answer a few questions from podcaster and fellow author Patrick Hester, who is, proudly, a Functional Nerd.  What is a functional nerd, you ask?  Once upon a time, a boss noted that, for a nerd, Patrick Hester still managed to ‘function’ within society – hence was born: The Functional Nerd.

We chatted about bizarro, The Dark Trilogy, me (ugh!), my life outside of writing, the pluses and minuses of the “big publishing house route” vs. “the small press publishers”, short story writing vs. novel writing, and of course, zombies!  It was a blast to do.  Patrick conducts a great interview.  My thanks to him for his great questions, insights, and the conversation we had afterword that shed some light on some really cool conventions I wasn’t aware of that I might be checking out in the upcoming months and years.

Check it out here!  http://functionalnerds.com/2011/08/episode-067-patrick-dorazio/.