(Interview): Share the Horror Dives the Depths with Chad Lutzke

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Chad Lutzke is a name you should make yourself familiar with. His style is all his own, and it’s one filled with two of my favorite things: horror and, more importantly, heart.

Hot on the heals of his 2018 releases OUT BEHIND THE BARN (co-written with John Boden), SKULLFACE BOY, and STIRRING THE SHEETS, this man is dropping a new novel titled, THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU (which releases today, January 11th).

I invited him over for a quick chat.

SHARE THE HORROR :  You’ve had quite a year. I’ve seen three titles of yours popping up on the Best Of lists–SKULLFACE BOY, STIRRING THE SHEETS and the one that I absolutely loved, OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. How long did each of these books take to complete?

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CHAD LUTZKE: I think a few months for each one. I can’t remember exactly, but I think SKULLFACE BOY, though it’s twice as long as the others, took the shortest amount of time. It was just really easy to write because I was so into it, and while I pants everything I write, that one even more so. I had no idea where I was going with it other than eventually getting the protagonist to the beach. SHEETS felt like it took much longer because it was depressing being in that mindset of losing loved ones and being alone. As far as OUT BEHIND THE BARN goes, once John and I actually started working on it, it went pretty fast. Maybe 4 to 6 weeks? Plus we already had Boden’s short that we were using as a skeleton.

STH: Which one are you most proud of?
CL: SKULLFACE BOY because it was kind of experimental and it turned out to be a lot of people’s favorites, even surpassing OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, which I wasn’t sure I could do.

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STH. You have yet another new book. Tell us a little about it.
CL: The book is called THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU. For that one, the reader is basically a fly on the wall, watching a group of kids in their late teens go through love, let downs, tragedy, drugs and alcohol. I’ve been comparing it to the films KIDS, RIVER’S EDGE and DAZED & CONFUSED. It definitely gets dark. And in a very personal way the book is heavily influenced by The Cure’s Disintegration album.

STH: Your style is unique. Of Foster Homes and Flies was brilliant. It was one of the most original coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read. Do you ever see yourself going for a straight forward horror story, or is it just not appealing to you?

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CL: I really appreciate that. Thank you! I really don’t have any interest in doing anything I feel has been done before. I really try and come up with concepts I feel are original and fresh. Sometimes I just want to write some silly slasher that is outlandishly absurd, but I don’t know if I could make it entertaining enough to not have it feel like everything else that’s already been done, and if I can’t then I won’t bother. I prefer to write about things that have to do with the human condition, things we can all relate to. The horrors of the heart and mind.

STH: Who are some of your favorite horror authors past and current.
CL: The usual suspects like King, Koontz, McCammon, Poe, Matheson, Serling. For some of the newer guys, I’m a big fan of Stephen Graham Jones and Joe Hill. But I think my style more reflects my sincere love for Ketchum and Lansdale.

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STH: I know Jack Ketchum read Of Foster Homes and Flies. What was the interaction like with him? I know when he read my book, Things We Fear, I saved every email from him. What were those interactions like with you guys and what would you say was Jack’s number one strength as a writer?
CL: This may be a long answer because I really miss Dallas and think the world of him and his ability to write. I’ve told this story before, maybe a few times, so some may be tired of hearing it but I don’t care. I love sharing how awesome Dallas was. My communication with him was short, only over the course of a year, and it started by a friend of mine congratulating me on Jack Ketchum tweeting about my book. I had no idea what he was talking about so he sent me a link and I kind of never left the cloud I found myself on that day. I reached out to Kevin, the guy who run the Ketchum website, and asked if he’d forward an email to Dallas for me. I think it was within an hour Dallas contacted me. Now, I keep in contact with a few “famous” people in the music world and I’m very careful about making sure I don’t get all fanboy on them and I keep things to a minimum and that’s how I played it with Dallas and I wished I hadn’t. I wished I would have gotten closer with him, reached out more, because I now know he was that kind of guy. He wouldn’t have minded. Months went by and he tweeted about an anthology I was in, calling the two stories I contributed as standouts. By this time, I had already had Dallas’ home address and I had sent him a book (WALLFLOWER). Then when I was doing the final draft on STIRRING THE SHEETS for my publisher, I reached out to Dallas and asked him for a blurb. He told me that he doesn’t just hand them out, that he would have to love the book. And then he told me “But since it’s you, I’d love to read it.” He was dying at the time and I had no idea. I scrambled to get the cover together for SHEETS and we were having issues because I wasn’t using a template because we were creating a custom-sized book, so the cover kept getting rejected. Finally, all the files were accepted and I had spoken with Dallas again, he was looking forward to the book. He didn’t know this, but he even had a little cameo in it as Dallas Doud, “the neighbor who maybe smokes too much.” The day we were to send the book to Dallas I got a message on Facebook from a friend that Dallas had passed. I had no idea he was sick. No idea. And all I kept thinking was “Who does that? Who agrees two weeks before their death, while their sick with cancer, to read someone’s book?” That told me everything I needed to know about the man and wished I would have reached out more than I did. Within minutes I contacted my publisher and had him dedicate the book to Dallas.

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As far as his strengths as a writer, he just had this way of putting words together in a sentence that completely floor you. When you’re reading Ketchum you’re never safe because you know at any moment he’ll go straight for the dark, and when he does it’s worded in a way that is profoundly disturbing. Nobody does that like him. He also shares my love for human horror, fictionalizing things that either did happen or could absolutely happen. Or maybe is happening somewhere right now. In a nutshell, the way the man crafted a sentence was like no other. He knew exactly what to say to get under the reader’s skin, and with few words.

 

 

 

STH: He is certainly missed.  I’m right there with you.  we definitely lost , not just a great writer, but one of the most amazing people in our business. 

What’s up ahead for you this year?
Lutzke: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU will be out January 11th. Unfortunately, you caught me at a time where a lot of the cool stuff I can’t even talk about yet. There are a handful of anthologies I’m in that will be out in spring and summer that I can’t name yet. I’ve gotten a few anthology invites I still need to write for and I assume those will also be out this year. I have a huge deal coming sometime this summer that I can’t talk about yet. I signed the contract but haven’t been given the go-ahead. I’ll be in another Corpus Press anthology due out this summer. July, I believe. This spring/early summer I will be putting out a collection of stories that are all Patreon exclusives. The paperback will only be available to my patrons, but the Kindle will be available to everyone else. Also, I’m part of the editorial team that is resurrecting Shock Totem Magazine and we’ve got some great surprises with that one and we’re all neck deep in reading slush right now from the open call, but the first return issue should be out late spring/early summer. And Boden and I are going to see what we can do about releasing another novella before the year is up. Overall, the plan is to be even more prolific than I was last year and with some other things I’ve got in the works I hope to have that happen.

STH: Well, I think I have a story in that Corpus Press anthology with you and a few of our friends. That should be rad.  Also, I cannot wait to dive into THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU. 

CL: Thanks, Glenn!

 

Grab your copy of THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU HERE 

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chad-lutzke

Chad Luztke lives in Michigan with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had a few dozen stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, WALLFLOWER, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, and THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU.

 

 

 

 

(Share the Horror Interview) CHAD LUTZKE and JOHN BODEN on Their New Release, OUT BEHIND THE BARN

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The boys crept to the window and watched as Miss Maggie carried the long bundle into the barn, the weight of it stooping her aging back. Rafter lights spilled from the barn doors, and Davey saw an arm fall from the canvas-wrapped parcel. He smiled.

“She got someone!”

Both children grinned and settled in their beds, eyes fixed to the ceiling.

This was family growth.

 

I recently caught up with authors Chad Lutzke and John Boden to talk about their excellent new book, OUT BEHIND THE BARN (See my review here).  It’s equal parts horror and dark fairy tail, and well worth your time.

 

First off, let’s talk about your starts. How did each of you get into writing and when did you sell your first piece?

Chad Lutzke:  I only read like one book (THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS) until I was in my early 20s.  I hated reading and stayed clear of it unless it was Fangoria, Famous Monster of Filmland, some metal magazines or Maximum Rock & Roll––stuff with pictures and articles.  Then in my mid 20s I went to college to be a teacher, sucked at writing and decided to finally start reading.  This was in the mid-to-early 90s. Everything I learned about writing was just from reading. Not any class. I read a ton for a few years and tried my hand at writing a handful of stories that turned out pretty good, but then never wrote again (other than song lyrics) for another 2 decades. I wish I would have stuck with it. Finally, I found out about people self publishing and indie publishers and all that and decided I was going be writer. That was in 2014. I had some stories published through some “exposure only” markets and that same year I sold my first piece as well as won 1st place in a small short story contest with a cash prize. It kept me from stopping for another 20 years.

John Boden: I wrote throughout my high school days and off and on after, but I sort of gave it up completely during my twenties. I only went back to it after Ken Wood asked me on board with SHOCK TOTEM. Reading all that slush was inspiring, as much as was meeting other writers, including some I had read as a teen.  The first piece I ever sold was a story called “Peter Peter” and it went to Sideshow Press for the BLACK INK HORROR #7. It’s not a great story but I was thrilled to get it in there. Before that there were a few non-paying markets that put out stuff of mine.

 

What’s your personal favorite piece you’ve written?

Lutzke:  As far as books, probably SKULLFACE BOY.

Boden: That’s always a tough one, I personally think SPUNGUNIONIt was out briefly last year and will be seeing new life next year from John Skipp’s Fungasm imprint. Maybe folks will check it out and let me know if I’m correct in thinking it’s kinda cool.

 

What books by your co-author other really stands out?

Lutzke:  John’s JEDI SUMMER is wonderful…loved every bit of it, but he wrote a weird western called WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN that is my favorite. He found a home for it but I think that’s still a secret so I can’t say anything more.

Boden:  I’ve been reading Chad for the last, what? Almost 3 years…We read almost everything the other writes. We’re beta buddies. He’s written a lot of great stuff and he’s only getting better. So far my fave would be SKULLFACE BOY. It scratches all the itches: the coming-of-age itch, the weird characters itch. The sad/melancholy itch. It’s wonderful!

I know we talked privately about this. Your styles blend really, really well together. I was not shocked in the least that OUT BEHIND THE BARN is so good.   Will we be seeing more collaborations between you two? And if so, is there one already in the works?

Lutzke:  Thanks! We had started something a few years ago that I don’t know if we’ll ever revisit, but we have talked about writing together again…maybe even a yearly novella. The thing we did came together easily enough to entertain that idea.

 

Boden: I wouldn’t say one is in the works, but I’d definitely say you’ll see one or more in the future. Chad wants us to commit to doing a collaborative novella every year. I can’t or have trouble doing that. I’m always worried about making those kind of pacts, life, day job and things always have a way of derailing the best laid plans and I absolutely hate disappointing people. I’m pretty sure we’ll cross the streams again one day though.

 

Let’s talk about the new book.  This story came from one of John’s short stories. Chad when did you decide the story had more to it and when did you step in and start working on the project?

 

Lutzke:  As soon as I read it I thought it needed more and I tried talking John into expanding it. He said he tried but felt he was ruining it.  The story kept getting rejected so finally he’d kinda had it and handed it to me to toy with. I wrote some, tossed out some ideas about creating some new characters and scenes, but I wanted to keep the very end pretty much the way he had it.

John, how did you feel about Chad’s thoughts and ideas for this thing?

Boden:  If I’m honest, and I am, I was a bit uptight about it. Probably more so a dick. I kinda of pissed and moaned about his ideas and really didn’t want anyone meddling with my story. But Chad is nothing if not stubborn and he kept at me, and when he sent me his first portion, with his changes, I began to warm. I never really stopped being nervous until we neared the finish line though. Chad and I share a very unique bond. We get one another in an almost spousal way, it made for a very tight collaboration and a gel in voices that was amazing. I’m a good mimic, I’ve written with folks before and they’ve all gone this way, but with Chad it went a slice deeper.

Was it easy to work together in this?  I don’t think I could ever write a book with someone else, it’s such a personal private thing. Did that ever make it hard for either of you?  Did either of you hold back or feel at any time that the other was holding back?

Lutzke:  It was easy, though at first we both had different ideas on how Maggie should be.  That character was all John’s and it was important to him that she not be this evil villain but wanted the reader to have some empathy for her. Once I was able to see that character through his eyes then the rest flowed really well.  The hardest part, honestly, was trying to come up with an attractive synopsis that didn’t give anything away. We kind of hit a wall for a while on that.  As far as writing this together, John was worried at first because some parts of the original story were very personal to him and here he was handing it to me “Here, you feed this baby.” It’s one thing to enjoy another writer’s work, but it’s another thing to have them touch something you’ve created that has sentimental value. I respected that the whole way through, to the point that I even emulated John’s style in some scenes, so much so that even he had a hard time remembering if he’d written it or not. It’d be difficult for anyone reading it who is familiar with both our work to be able to tell who wrote what.  And by the time we were done, John was really proud of it.  We both were.

Boden:  I touched on this in the answer above but I’ll state again. It was difficult for me, not because I had little faith in Chad. I knew he knew what we needed to do. But I was all “Dammit, I wrote this story, these are my characters, I can’t let the leash into another’s hand that easy.  I know I pissed Chad off on more than a few occasions.

The story is fantastic. You have the two “brothers” who love to read or be read to, and the books they love are mostly darker Poe and Lovecraft type books.  I’m guessing the love for these books and authors mentioned are favorites of yours.  Reading along, I just thought it was another neat way to slip in another layer of the dark side into what reads like an almost fairy tale type story.  That’s something I really love and appreciate from each of your works that I’m familiar with, they almost transcend horror yet you manage to tether them to our genre with these neat little add -ins.  Is that intentional at all?  Or do these dark things just bleed out into the story naturally?

Lutzke:  Good question. For me, I love the horror genre, but I’ve grown tired of old tropes decades ago so I shoot for original concepts. But it’s not forced. It just comes. I think it’d be harder for me to write something completely traditional than it would be to come up with something like a kid who leaves his rotting mom at home while he attends a spelling bee. Though, coming up with those types of concepts sometimes raises an eyebrow before they get to reading.  When I told my wife the idea I had for OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES she looked at me like I was nuts, and rightly so. The elevator pitch for that book feels like it shouldn’t work, but people seem to like it. Same goes for SKULLFACE BOY and even STIRRING THE SHEETS. But in every one of them, the darkness does dwell and I suppose that’s because it has bled out. I never really set out to write something that is “borderline” horror and then feel like I need to add some horror element just to make it horror.  My thing is when I started writing I wanted to be Joe Lansdale and Robert McCammon, authors who are adored by the horror community but who write a ton of non-horror stuff.  I mean, who else can get you to read a western or a period piece more than those guys?  You can’t put them in a box and I didn’t want to be put in one either. I will add this. John and I joke with each other about how often our stuff is full of heartache. That’s never on purpose. It just happens. But it happens so much it’s almost comical. I think we’re both empathetic people who have experienced some things that maybe we’re continually feeding on when we write and it’s therapeutic. But you could probably say that about most writers. I hope that answered your question in some roundabout way.

Boden: I grew up adoring books and horror. In almost anything I write, if there’s a kid in it, it’s little Johnny.  And in this one Maggie was a helluva a lot my Mom.  I write very personal and I think the book love, especially in this was important to show that.  It somehow makes them real and gives an instant connection…if you’re reading this in the first place, chances are you’re familiar with and at least appreciate Bradbury, Poe and the others we lace in there. So when you read that, you’re inner giddy fan gets to fidgeting.  It’s kind of like cheating for a little extra bump of love.

What are some of your favorite pieces to this story that your co-author brought in? Can you give us a specific scene or subtle touch?

Lutzke:  The very end, which for the most part is the same end as the original short. It hit me pretty hard when I read it and I think I kind of choked up a little. I eventually read it out loud to my wife and when I got to the end I had to keep my cool or my voice would have gotten a little shaky and she probably would have laughed.  She knows I’m a softy. Also, there’s a paragraph in there that’s sandwiched by the line “Summer was sliding away, like carrion from bone.” I love that.

Boden:  I wanna be careful not to spill any beans, I think Chad’s addition of the character Rose was a smart one, and a great move…and also one that I initially pitched a hissy over. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

I won’t ask about the ending because I don’t want to spoil that for anyone.  Is it something you guys intentionally did. Did you want the reader to fill in any of the blanks there? Or is that just the way it felt best to close the door for you guys?

Lutzke:  Personally, I hate being spoon-fed, and I love stories and films that leave me wondering, and giving me just enough to maybe come up with my own conclusion, yet still wonder if I’m right. I felt the very last line in the story was like a shovel to the face and to add anything after such a powerful line I thought would take away a moment that held such emotion. Here you finally find out exactly what is going on, and there is resolve for characters you really care about, and anything that kind of leaves you on a note like that can have a very powerful sustain, where you’re just thinking about it long after you’re done reading it. That’s what we were going for.

Boden: The ending is exactly as the short story ended, final draft that is. I had an earlier version that ended on a different beat but I cut it.  I’d love to expound more but I don’t want to spoil things for any who’ve not read it but ending it that way, was important. It put the focus where I/we wanted it to be.

Anyways, the story and characters are terrific. You guys are amazing writers.  Is there anything you want to say to people considering picking up a copy of OUT BEHIND THE BARN?

Lutzke:  Thanks for considering it. We had a lot of fun writing it. And if you’re already familiar with our stuff then I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the contents.  Also, I really appreciate these questions you created, Glenn. I’m sure you know as well as we that the best interviews are the ones that didn’t come from a template but are personalized, so thank you!

Boden:  I think the simplest and most honest thing I could say to those folks is: I hope you’ll take a chance on it and I hope you’ll like it. We’re very proud of this little book and the world we built within it.

 

Praise for OUT BEHIND THE BARN:

“Boden and Lutzke weave heartache and a backwoods tale as easily as telling a story around a campfire, delivered in an incredible voice.” ~Robert Ford, author of BORDERTOWN

“Poetic, unnerving, and heartbreaking. The partnership between Boden and Lutzke yields the kind of story that leaves you aching and unsettled. Long after finishing, I couldn’t stop thinking about Maggie, her boys, and what happens out behind the barn.” ~ Kristi DeMeester, Author of BENEATH

“Lawdy mercy. This story was amazing. There’s something magical and sad about it. I dig it a lot.”~ Michelle Garza (half of the Sisters of Slaughter) authors of MAYAN BLUE & THOSE WHO FOLLOW

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is available now!  Grab a copy HERE

 

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John Boden lives a stones throw from Three Mile Island with his wonderful wife and sons.

A baker by day, he spends his off time writing, working on Shock Totem or watching M*A*S*H re-runs.

He likes Diet Pepsi, cheeseburgers, heavy metal and sports ferocious sideburns.

He is the author of JEDI SUMMER with the MAGNIFICENT KID, SPUNGUNION, and DOMINOES, and more

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PRAISE FOR JEDI SUMMER

“Jedi Summer drops the floor right out from under you, leaves you standing in a childhood that’s been roiling around inside your chest for too long. But you’d trade anything to stay there just one more day.”
– Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels 

“[I] could not put it down. It moved me more than any novel in recent memory. Highly, highly, highly recommended, and I’m almost certain it will be one of the ten best books I’ll read this year.”
– Brian Keene, award winning author of the The Rising

 

 

 

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Chad Lutzke lives in Michigan with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had a few dozen stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, WALLFLOWER, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, and OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. Lutzke’s work as been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, James Newman, Stephen Graham Jones and his own mother. He can be found lurking the internet at www.chadlutzke.com.

 

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PRAISE for SKULLFACE BOY

“I was captivated by the first sentence…The pages fly by. I was utterly absorbed into the world of this transient teenager and his endearing, poignant and often hilarious take on every situation.”
~Cemetery Dance

“I’ll summarize with this: Chad Lutzke is an author to watch. With SKULLFACE BOY, he’s moving up on my favorite author’s list!” 

–Char’s Horror Corner

 

 

(REVIEW) BLUE DEMON by David Bernstein

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When the meek need defending, they call on Blue Demon, a guardian of bloodshed and retribution. Its loyalty is forever, as long as you remain righteous. For those that oppress the demon’s flock, life grows short. It kills in the most brutal fashion, and maims those it most despises. It has no feelings, only loyalty and devotion for the ones it protects.

Of course, this is all from the Blue Demon television show and Cal Langston, Blue Demon’s biggest fan, knows such things can’t be real, at least not until the people who messed with him start dying in the most horrific of ways.

Frightened and not sure what to believe, he sets out to discover what is truly going on, and if Blue Demon is for real, does he want it watching over him?

First off, look at that freaking cover! Beautiful!

Here’s my review:

Blue DemonBlue Demon by David Bernstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderfully entertaining and ruthless novella.

David Bernstein’s BLUE DEMON is about a blue demon action figure that holds the ability to exact revenge upon command. It’s a fun idea that Bernstein runs with and executes like a boss.

The main character here is Cal Langston. He suffers a horrible amount of shitty things in the 100-plus page story. There were multiple times I found myself saying, “Holy fuck, Bernstein!” There’s two scenes in the hospital that got me for different reason. The first shocked me, the second was just a perfectly executed horror scene. Great stuff.

I love how Bernstein’s twisted mind works. He has a vision and follows through fearlessly. I won’t give anything away, but even the most Sherlock of you readers out there are in for some surprises.

The blue demon’s viciousness might seem like a bad thing, but these people have it coming.

I give BLUE DEMON 5 stars!

View all my reviews

Blue Demon tour graphic

Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #BlueDemon  #SinisterGrinPress

 

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Biography of David Bernstein

David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. You can reach him on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/david.bernstein.3. Visit him at his website: davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com email dbern77@hotmail.com, or on Twitter at @Bernsteinauthor.

 

Praise for David Bernstein

 

“David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…” —Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight

 

“A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

“Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein.”  —Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden

“A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!” —Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift

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Scares That Care: What a Weekend!

I recently attended my first Scares That Care Weekend. I have to start off by thanking fellow author and friend, Matt Manochio, who jumped in to save the day. I was about to cancel my trip when Matt stepped up and offered me a ride and a room. He said if I could make it to Jersey, he’d make sure we got there.

DAY ONE

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We got to Virginia, set up, and then…I had to go run the 5K. It was hot as hell and I hadn’t run in some time, but I did my best and finished 56 out of over 150 participants. I’ll take that. So, I come back in sweaty and with a cool new Scares That Care t-shirt and a cool medal. I’m happy. Matt and I worked the table and made some sweet sales. By the end of the night, we were zonked.

DAY TWO

Saturday was great for sales. We moved a lot of units and met a lot of fine folks. I think I finally got face time with like four or five Good Reads/Facebook friends that I’d never met before. Brian and Nick are the first two that come to mind. Thanks, guys!

At five pm , it was time for Patrick Lacey and I to do our readings. We found out David Bernstein had come in too late to make his reading Friday, so we pulled him into ours.

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We all read from our short story collections. Sleep Paralysis, A Mixed Bag of Blood, and Slush.

After the reading and before the mayhem….

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And then…the party started. We (Patrick and Carissa, David and Sandy, and Matt and I) grabbed a table and got ready for some dinner, drinks (lots of drinks), and Scareyoke.

It was here that i got to hang for a few minutes with one of my favorite writers, Ronald Malfi. He also kicked up some ’90’s dust with a great rendition of a Live song. I got up and did Vacation by The Go Go’s.Matt Serafini and Adam Cesare also grabbed the mic for some Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grease tunes.

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And drinks. Did I mention the drinks?

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Yeah, it was pretty epic.

I stumbled across Bryan Smith and his new bride, Jen. We talked some Guns N’ Roses and somehow I started doing Ric Flair impressions until Bryan and Jen went back inside and some dudes I can’t remember let me share their Uber back to the Super 8.

From there, rather than put Matt through my possible puke moans, I stayed outside until I felt well enough to sleep without spinning. I ended up passing out on the sidewalk by our room and opening my eyes as the sun was just coming up.

 

DAY THREE (aka The Hangover 4)

I had to run around and let people know I survived. Matt took on a larger role as the salesman, letting me rest half-zoned out for the first few hours. Thank you again, Matt.

As the day headed to a close, I made my way to the bigger authors next door to our room. I got to chill for a bit with Kristopher Rufty, Ronald Malfi, and managed to squeeze in a quick hug with my bud, Jonathan Janz.

Then, I had a terrific conversation with Brian Keene. He bought a copy of my book and made me sign it.If you had told me in 2004, when I bought The Rising, that ten years later he’d be buying my book? Yeah, I would have told you to fuck off.

The gig was over. It was time to go home.

I suck at getting pictures during these types of events. The ones you see above were mostly from those I was hanging out with. Next time….next time…

Matt and I got back to Jersey by like 1 am. I left for Maine in the morning and got home safe and sound to my wife and three monkeys.

I have to say thanks (again) to Matt Manochio for everything. To my wife for letting me go do this. To Patrick and Carissa Lacey for being so damn cool. To David Bernstein and Sandy for also being wicked awesome. To all of those I met and hung out with. To all of those folks who bought copies of my books, and to Brian Keene and his guys that throw this whole event together. It’s to raise money for those in need, and it also gives us a place to chill out and get crazy.

AND…if you guys want to help out these families that Scares That Care take care of, you can do so year-round by going to this link: DONATE.

Until next year!

 

 

The Go Go’s Vacation from Myfanwi Meyrick on Vimeo.

New Release, New Deal: Aliens and Things We Fear– It’s a 99 cent summer!

I have two sweet deals for you!

I grew up loving alien movies. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Flight of the Navigator, the TV series, V. These started my love affair. Then I found Alien, The Thing, Fire in the Sky, and The Watch. There’s a billion others, but those are some of my favorites.

After years of listening to Art Bell and George Noory on Coast to Coast AM, I finally scribbled my first alien-themed tale, my novella, BOOM TOWN.  It just wasn’t enough.

Today, I present to you three more tales of extra-terrestrial horror….OUT of RANGE.

OOR COVER

Edited by Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi (Hook of Book Media), with a fantastic cover from Jason Lynch (Jlynchgraphics.com), and an alien-tastic foreword by the great Hunter Shea (author of The Dover Demon and The Jersey Devil), this trio of alien/horror stories is coming at you for the nice price of 99 cents!

Featuring my stories: “Not of This World”, “The Astronauts”, and “Out of Range”

Grab you copy:   AMAZON US   AMAZON UK 

Also, my last novella, the thriller,  THINGS WE FEAR, is on sale until the end of August for 99 cents, too.

 

Summer has just begun, and fear is in season.

School’s out, and the faculty at Fairington Elementary School are free for the summer. Emily Young can’t deny her attraction to Aaron Jackson, the Ed Tech from her classroom, but she’s afraid of being hurt again. Meanwhile, Aaron is determined not to let his phobia of drowning prevent him from enjoying the sun and the sand of Maine’s best beach town.

But they’re about to learn real fear. Fairington is home to a monster. Phys Ed teacher Matt Holmes has more to offer the ladies than a perfect smile. He’s a killer and he’s got his sights set on Emily. Who at Fairington will conquer their fears? And who will fall to a psychopath’s hellbent rage?

  • Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh and The Last Mile
  • “Whoa! Glenn Rolfe is on a roll! Following the success of his last book, Blood and Rain, he has another gripping story to tell, Things We Fear. This story has all the makings of a good horror flick. We have a plot within a plot that intersects at just the right moment. The chills are there, the characters are identifiable and the intensity of their actions all make for an entertaining time. All in all, well worth the price of admission!” – Horror Novel Reviews
  • “There is a definite old school feel about this novella. It isn’t an over the top gore-fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” – Ginger Nuts of Horror
  • “In this frighteningly real look at true horror, Rolfe manages to up the ante of tension while balancing genuinely heartbreaking moments, while showcasing his talent for creating unforgettable characters placed in equally unforgettable moments… a testament to Rolfe’s growing ability to spin a story that sets him apart from his peers and displays the talent of a horror author that wants to do far more than scare you – he also wants you to think.” – Beneath the Underground
  • “Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller (Things We Fear) is addictive. A quick, compelling read.” – Duncan Ralston,author of SALVAGE
  • Things We Fear is a taught,character-driven tale of terror that delves way too close to reality and makes you wonder who may be watching you.” – David Bernstein, author of A Mixed Bag of Blood and Relic of Death

Grab a copy :   AMAZON   BARNES AND NOBLE

Some sweet summer deals!

Stay tuned for the release of my next horrorific novella, CHASING GHOSTS (Sinister Grin Press, Aug. 1st) and the re-release of my novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (Matt Shaw Publications, Sept 3rd).

Also, I’ll be attending Scares That Care in Williamsburg, Virginia this coming weekend. Stop by the vendors room and find Matt Manochio and myself signing books and wearing masks–yeah, just look for Krampus and the Wolf Man!

 

Stay Frosty, people!

 

 

COVER REVEAL: My Next Piece,CHASING GHOSTS

Cover Reveal for Chasing Ghosts by Glenn Rolfe

We are excited to announce the cover for Glenn Rolfe’s Chasing Ghosts, created by graphic artist Scott Carpenter, from Sinister Grin Press! Get your next Rolfe novel fix in August! Pre-order available now!

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Chasing Ghosts, Synopsis

The Cobbs were ignorant woods-people that died off and left nothing to fear. Locals in Naples, Maine think they know the story. But are they wrong?

Luke Howard and his mom move to Naples and Luke’s eager to make new friends. When Jason and Davey invite him out to the abandoned Cobb place for a game they call “chasing ghosts,” he’s ready and willing. However, the boys will come to discover that some vacant houses are better left to die alone.

Meanwhile, a punk band set to play in a rented cabin out of town feel eyes upon them. Somebody’s watching, but not their usual audience. When their lead singer strays too far from the group and disappears, his band mates set out in the darkness to find him.

Police Chief Walt Henderson is about to discover that there’s more going on out in the woods of his town than he ever imagined.

Chasing ghosts is more than just some children’s game.

Pre-order now in E-book! Paperback and e-book to release later this month.

Kindle US

https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Ghosts-Glenn-Rolfe-ebook/dp/B01HYKVYRQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467684693&sr=1-2&keywords=sinister+Grin+Press#navbar

Universal Amazon

http://mybook.to/ChasingGhosts

 Glenn Rolfe author photo

Glenn Rolfe Biography

Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon.

He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and his latest, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, was also released in March 2016. His next book is Chasing Ghosts (August 2016) from Sinister Grin Press.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Sinister Grin Press

Find more information on Sinister Grin Press at www.sinistergrinpress.com. We have “horror that’ll carve a smile on your face.”

Top Reads of 2016 (So far).

Wow, how is it July 1st already?

I’ve read some really awesome books in the first half of 2016, and I thought I’d share them with you. Now. there are plenty of books I expect to make this list at  year’s end (Tremblay, Malfi, Shea, and plenty of others have some great works out there or coming soon that I need to read), but these are the best of what I’ve read to date.

Novels

9. THE MONSTER UNDERNEATH– Matthew Franks

This debut from Samhain Publishing author, Matthew Franks, is an interesting psychological mash up of Criminal Minds, The Following, Silence of the Lambs, and something with a mind reader/dream invader. If you want to make a splash out the gate, I guess creating your own concoction that nobody has seen before is a good way to achieve that.    *THIS ONE IS ON SALE for 99 CENTS!

8. THE COMPLEX by Brian Keene

A lot of reviewers (myself included) mentioned how great is to see Keene return to form with this vicious, yet thoughtful horror ride. A gang of possessed people descend upon an apartment complex full of interesting characters. It pays to be on speaking terms with your neighbors! One of Keene’s short story character’s plays a major role in here, an added bonus for BK fans. I’m not sure THE COMPLEX will make my end of the year list, but I’m happy to see him back in any of my top lists.

7. CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Jonathan Janz

Janz delivers another strong effort. This one has him reaching into the coming-of-age bag, pulls out of big, bloody ball,  and bats a solid hit. I’ve seen a lot of praise out there from the Janz-ites, and if you’re a big JJ fan, you will no doubt have this one on your 2016 list. COTD serves as a prequel to Janz’s SAVAGE SPECIES novel and I’m thinking we’re in for more from this universe. Stay tuned!

6. MAYAN BLUE by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason

Remember what I said about creating your own concoction to make that initial impact? Well, the “Sisters of Slaughter” have done just that. MAYAN BLUE has a very original story (Mayan ruins/artifacts in Georgia?) and showcases their unabashed taste in writing some pretty vicious scenes. I mentioned in my review how their style had me thinking back to Brian Keene’s original Leisure Books run. I stand by that statement.

5. THEY RISE by Hunter Shea

Hunter writes like he’s making these crazy horror/action movies. It’s perfect for that hungry horror bookworm who wants something good that reads like a match set to gasoline. This one has a lot of JAWS-like sensibilities which, I’m sure, suits Mr. Shea just fine. A great monster fish long thought extinct resurfaces and in numbers that would scare the bejesus out of any seaman…

4. PRINCE OF NIGHTMARES by John McNee

This is a haunted hotel story that reads like something hidden in Clive Barkers steamer trunk. The writing is smooth and exciting, and the story  is just about perfect. The evil creations McNee uses and the horrifying sights they show the guests in this ghost attraction hotel are top notch and scary. I really loved this book.

3. NORTHWOODS by Bill Schweigart

This book is a sequel to a novel I have never read (Beast of Baycroft). That being said, I had no trouble following along with the characters or their situations. A great sequel stands alone. Schweigart nails that model here in spades. I had a lot of fun reading this one and will go back and find the first book before Christmas.  If you like shapeshifters, cryptozoology, and action, you will love this! (Writing-wise, he could be Hunter Shea’s twin brother!)    *AND this one is on sale for 99 cents !

2. DESOLATION by Kristopher Rufty

Definitely a contender for my Top 5 at the end of the year, Rufty’s DESOLATION really hit me in the guts. With the most heart-wrenching opening I’ve read in years, this novel dares to go straight for your soft spot. There’s revenge, there’s right and wrong, there’s a family trying to keep itself together while trying to avoid being chopped to bits…it’s pretty freaking great.  I loved this one. You should make time for it, too   And, if you act now, you can get the paperback version from Amazon for just $7.23!

1. MONGRELS by Stephen Graham Jones

I LOVED this book!  Sounds like I’ve had a pretty good 2016 in the reading world, right? Yes, I have, and MONGRELS tops the list. SGJ writes this book like he has some sort of inside information on werewolves that the rest of us don’t. It’s not a fast and furious werewolf blood bath like Janz’s WOLF LAND (or that book that I wrote), but what it is is SOOO MUCH better. Not to kick any of the werewolf novels that came before it in the nuts, but I truly believe Mr. Jones is in or knows a real wolf pack. This is just a wonderful piece of literature wearing a horror jacket and being really fucking cool. The story of a werewolf family and the challenges they face trying to stay under the radar in the world around them, and a boy waiting to see if he’s ever going to change. A really wonderful book and one that should make everyone’s Top 10 of 2016.

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I’ll drop a few novellas and a collection that I really enjoyed here. Check out:

WOMAN IN WHITE by Kristin Dearborn

VICKI BEAUTIFUL by Somer Canon

THE WINTER BOX by Tim Waggoner

and FLESH AND FIRE by Lucas Mangum

(Mangum’s is part of Journal Stone’s double down collection, and is paired with a new Jonathan Maberry piece-BONUS!)

And don’t miss A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD by David Bernstein, a fantastic and imaginative collection of perfect horror.

 

To see all the books I’ve read so far this year, go check out GLENN’s GOOD READS CHALLENGE  (I will add this link later-my computer is acting fruity)

 

CHEERS!

-GR

 

 

Summer Kickoff! Hard at Work, No Whining, Samhain, and Guns N’ Roses

Summer is here! I won’t lie, even though all of us horror writers enjoy Halloween and fall, I still think this is my favorite time of year. Living in Maine, our summer lasts from June through maybe the middle of September. We’re lucky if we get a full two months of hot weather (usually July and August it finds its way to the upper 80’s/low-90’s) . So, when we actually get the hot sun, it is totally time to bask in the warmth and jump in the lake or ocean (which is still freezing). I will make my way to Old Orchard Beach  as much as the wife allows. She prefers the state parks, I like the crazy collection of tourists and beach people by the pier.

Tonight, the wife and I are heading up to Bangor to catch Def Leppard. No, for you younger folks, that is not a disease. They’re a mega-selling rock band from the ’80’s who still make great new music and continue to tour around the world.

AT WORK

I’ve been putting in a lot of writing work behind the scenes, as well. I’m very excited about my three upcoming releases. First up will be a triple shot of short alien-themed stories titled,  NOT OF THIS WORLD. It will be an eBook/Kindle exclusive and launch at a 99 cent special sometime before the end of June. We should have a cover reveal very soon featuring the artwork of my good friend, Jason Lynch.

In August, my next novella, CHASING GHOSTS, will be released. It will be my first work with Sinister Grin Press. We should have a cover reveal for this one soon, too.

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September 3rd will see the release of the new Matt Shaw presented version of my novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS. This will be an exclusive eBook deal with Mr. Shaw in command. Anyone who is interested in receiving review copies will have to talk to him. I am very pleased to be part of the Shaw Family and I’m grateful that he’s seen it fit to release one of my works. Pre-Order your copy today: THE HAUNTED HALLS

I’m currently doing final revisions on my novel, WINDOW, and will be submitting it very soon.

As for another novel I’ve finished….BECOMING has become…a headache! As a songwriter, you write like ten songs to get one good one. I think the same idea might apply to writing. Not as bad, but to some extent. Sometimes as songwriters, we work and work on a tune that we believe has something, but for whatever reason, it never turns out right. I feel I’ve reached that point with this novel. After like three re-writes, I don’t feel it is up to the standard I’ve set for my own work. Quality control should start with the author. I think the final work is okay, but I want to release work that is better than okay. So, it is going back in the trunk. I’m sure I’ll take another crack at it, but for now, I have plenty of other stories to finish.

CRY, CRY, CRY

I want to thank everyone who read, shared, and commented on my last post, Why You Gotta Be So Mean….Again.  I’m happy to see I wasn’t alone in thinking that some writers are worse cry babies than the bad reviewers. I’ve still seen it on social media in the few days since my post, so I guess I’m just going to have to learn to use that “unfollow” option on my Facebook feed. Some of the whiners are friends of mine. I like them and their work too much to unfriend them, but I can definitely stop getting their sloppy tears on my computer screen and their over the top bashing of “bad” reviewers. I think its pathetic and childish. And with that, I hope to put the whole conversation to bed. I don’t like letting their negativity induce my own. Let’s move forward and keep it on the pos!

 

SAMHAIN PUBLISHING

I also want to touch on the latest news from the Samhain Publishing camp. After all the cuts and streamlining of the company, Samhain has decided that they can in fact carry on. I’m pleased with this decision and hope they will make better decisions moving forward. I’d love to see them rise up and become favorite destination for horror. That said, I got my rights back for the one book I had lined up with them and have no plans currently to send them any future works. I’m not ruling it out, I’m just busy in other places right now.

And lastly, GUNS N’ FUCKIN’ ROSES

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Guns N’ Roses kicked of the Not in this Lifetime Tour last night in Detroit. Axl is back on his feet after breaking his foot at the surprise gig in April, and the reviews have been great.I cannot wait to see them in July. This has been my favorite band since I was 11 years old. They were my first concert back in 1993, and I’ve been dreaming of the day that Axl and Slash would patch things up and get back in the ring together. I’m psyched to see them play personal favorites such as “Estranged” and “Coma”, but also, I’m really hoping they add “Madagascar” to the set. That was my favorite song off Chinese Democracy and I’d love to see them play it with Slash and Duff. July 19th can’t come soon enough!

 

 

Okay, I’m done. carry on.

 

Why You Gotta Be So Mean….Again.

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I’ve been down this road already, but it seems like some writers are still being offended and hurt and feel the need to take it out on people who “don’t get” their art. I’m really sorry that not everyone liked your book. I know, I know, you thought those five star reviews meant your book was amazing and that it somehow gave you the right to treat anyone that doesn’t get it like they’re a moron.  Let’s make fun of their grammar, let’s point out that they should learn how to write a review.

What? Seriously? Yes. Even among well respected authors, I have seen this ugliness pop up. Look, I get it. You don’t understand or agree with their review. Maybe a line or two in there even hit a nerve and hurt your feelings. Get over it. Stop staring at the one or two bad reviews and move on. Not everyone is going to get your piece. And guess what? That doesn’t automatically label them ignorant or less than you. You don’t need to post the review on social media where your friends are going to come on and pat you on the back, hand you a baby bottle, and oh…maybe they’ll join in on the beat down of that “stunted intellectual” who didn’t get your masterpiece.  Fuck.  I’m so tired of all this negativity.

We’re writers, we’re artists. We create these pieces with everything we have and we’re lucky if someone sees that and agrees to put it out or display it. But you know what? Once you make your art public, the public is allowed to have their opinion. And they will. And it’s not all gonna be sunshine and IPAs. Someone is gonna miss the point, someone is gonna be rude, someone is gonna be a straight up troll. My advice to you is this: If you can’t handle the awful or not good reviews, you have two choices: 1) Only read the 3-5 star reviews. (I wouldn’t advise this, because sometimes you get a kernel of truth your friends won’t share with you)  2) Stop putting your books out to the public. That’s right. Just keep them to yourself or only give them to your friends.

I hate that this post came off negative, but sometimes people need to grow up and deal with adversity (even something as miniscule in the world as a bad review-fuck me, haven’t you seen that there is real shit going on nearly every goddam day? People are starving, getting blown up, living in shit and piss, Trump is aiming to be the emperor of the world and on the verge of attaining that despite his racism and ignorance????)

.

Let me relax a second here….

Look, it is not easy being told something we poured our hearts into misses the mark with someone who happens to come across it. Sure, in a perfect world we would love for our words to make every heart, mind, and soul sing. Our art would be in perfect harmony with each reader. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works and that’s never going to change. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can learn to shrug it off and keep moving forward.

Bono once sang, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”  Don’t. Keep your chin up and walk on.   That means don’t go putting the poor sod up on your Twitter or Facebook as a dart board. Let it go. Be the better person. I know you can do it.