Update City: Let’s Get, Let’s Get, Let’s #GetRolfed

CHASING GHOSTS at Amazon.com PURCHASE NOW

CHASING GHOSTS at Amazon.UK    PURCHASE NOW

THE HAUNTED HALLS at Amazon.com  PURCHASE NOW

THE HAUNTED HALLS at Amazon.UK  PURCHASE NOW

If you’ve never been Rolfed before, September is the best time to acclimate yourself. August 1st saw the release of my Laymon-esque effort, CHASING GHOSTS (Sinister Grin Press), and this weekend (Spetember 3rd) offers those of you new to the Rolfe universe, a chance to own my first novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (Matt Shaw Publications). There will be a Facebook Release Party for THE HAUNTED HALLS Friday. Stay tuned for details.

Z-Dubz over at THE EYES OF MADNESS coined the phrase, #GetRolfed  We’re hoping it catches on.

For those of you new to my work, I have three novellas with Samhain Publishing (Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and Things We Fear). They are also available in a collected book called, WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN (also from Samhain).  These three novellas find me branching my horror out into the edge of mystery, sci-fi, and psychological horror, but I’ve always had a thing for the Laymons, Keenes, and Ketchums of the world. If you read my werewolf novel, BLOOD and RAIN, you got a hint at my darker side. With CHASING GHOSTS, you got a full on kick to the teeth (Read the latest review HERE). And if you think that was rough you will be begging for mercy with THE HAUNTED HALLS. It’s my first novel,. It was originally self-published in serial format, then released by James Ward Kirk Publishing in 2014. I signed on with Samhain and they offered to republish it. When Samhain announced that they were closing their doors (which they later decided not to do), I got the rights for the novel back. Within days of getting the rights back, I signed an exclusive eBook contract for it with British Horror master, Matt Shaw. There’s a reason this novel found a home with Mr. Shaw–it is brutal and pulls no punches.  I’m super excited to see it coming back out and can’t wait to see what people think. An audio version will follow, narrated by the talented Joe Hempel (Voice of Joey) who did my audio book of SLUSH. Joe has also recently been busy with Adam Cesare and Mercedes Yardley. Print rights for the book are being shopped around. hopefully, we’ll find a happy home.

Looking ahead, I will have another 99 cent set of short stories for you guys before the end of the year. The stories included will be “The Death Wish” and “One of These Things…” along with a surprise that I can’t mention yet.

My next two novels, WINDOW and WAITING FOR DARKNESS (aka the sequel to Blood and Rain) will hopefully see the light of day before the end of 2017 or early 2018 at the latest. I think these are my strongest two novels to date and can’t wait to share them with you all. I’ll keep you posted.

As for now, I’ll be pushing these two latest piece, both of which I am hugely proud of, and I look forward to chatting with you guys soon.

Keep up to date with all my latest releases by following my Amazon Author page HERE

Stay tuned!

-GR

 

 

 

 

July Monster Beach Party: A Trio of New Releases from Samhain Horror

RELEASE DAY!  Yep, Samhain Horror welcomes you to the heart of summer with these three hot releases. Brian Kirk’s debut puts you in the crazy house, Russel’s James’s latest treats you to a New York-sized epidemic, and Devin Govaere takes you out to the lake. What could go wrong?

Click any cover below to order today!

-GR

The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.

Reviews:

“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut, We Are Monsters, is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’sFlatliners on split screens. ” — Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Redheads

“Brian Kirk’s debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that’s a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I’ve read this year.” – Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.

q-island

Epidemic!

An ancient virus has surfaced on Long Island, NY, turning its victims into black-veined, infectious, psychopathic killers. Chaos and madness rule.

In desperation, the military quarantines the island, trapping Melanie Bailey and her autistic son, Aiden. Somehow Aiden survives infection. He could be the key to a cure…if Melanie can get him to the mainland.

Gang leader Jimmy Wade also survives the virus, but he’s acquired a hunger for human flesh. Believing consuming Aiden will make him all-powerful, he and his gang hunt the boy. Melanie and Aiden must evade both Wade’s tightening grip and the growing army of the infected in an impossible escape from what all call Q Island.

Reviews:

“James creates powerful intimacy and terror….This is a seriously creepy page-turner that will keep readers up all night.”
 – Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly

“This could very well be the best horror novel of the year. 5 Stars!” – The Examiner

girrrl

Surrounded by fears. And all of them real.

There isn’t much that doesn’t frighten ten-year-old Kelly Carter—the dark, the water, monsters, you name it—but she’s about to enter the summer of all fears. When Kelly and her family arrive at Kildare Lake, she knows it’s not just for vacation. They’ve come to say goodbye to her little brother, Cody, who is dying.

Kelly tries to be brave for Cody, but everything around her is plagued by darkness, and all of it is scary. Dangerous things lurk beneath calm water, and others skulk beneath her bed. Shadows swirl through the lake, and more dart in the upper corners of her room. Her parents tell her there’s nothing to be afraid of, but she doesn’t believe them. Her fears are real. Somehow, scared or not, she must find the courage to keep her brother safe.

Find all three new releases, plus all of your favorite horror titles from authors like Hunter Shea, Kristopher Rufty, David Bernstein, Jonathan Janz, and more!  Click the Samhain Horror logo and discover your dark side.

samhain-logo

My Samhain debut is garnering some nice reviews. It is now available for pre-orders.

AB SAM

There is a darkness in this town, and it’s buried beneath Abram’s Bridge.

When Lil Ron meets Sweet Kate under Abram’s Bridge he is mesmerized. And when he realizes this beautiful girl is a ghost, it frightens him, but also draws him to her. Curiosity and a drive to make things right lead Lil Ron into a tangle of small-town secrets involving his own father and other members of this otherwise quiet community. Bit by bit, he will uncover the truth about Sweet Kate, a story of heartbreak, violence…and fear.

I have been blown away so far by the great reviews trickling in for my debut novella with Samhain Horror. Abram’s Bridge will release on January 6th in all e formats (stuffed in with some other much anticipated Samhain releases from Jonathan Janz, Hunter Shea, and Russell James).

Thanks to some ARC’s made available by myself and Samhain Publishing, a number of readers have devoured my piece and left their impressions.

Here are a few:

Mallory Heart Reviews: “I loved this story, literary horror at its best, so lyrical I expected it to burst into poetry. Here we have two “angels” (in the metaphorical sense), striving to live in innocence and purity, which among this cast of small-town picayunes is about as effective as sinners trying to climb from the depths of Hades while low-rent demons continually pull them.back down.”

Top of the Heap Reviews: “Glenn Rolfe has come a VERY long way, in a very short time. I’ve been following his career for the better part of a year or so, and with each piece of work he puts out, the better he gets. He doesn’t just tell you that he’s working on improving his craft, the proof is evident. It couldn’t be more evident than in this novella. In my opinion, this is the most polished work I’ve seen from him, and it raises his status in the horror world.

The story is a tale that has been done before, but this time, there are more sinister elements at work. Not with the supernatural elements, but with the human elements.

The sweet interactions between Lil Ron and Sweet Kate underneath Abram’s Bridge instill the familiar feelings of young love, and the feeling of knowing that you are falling for someone that you know you can’t have. Glenn builds this relationship slowly and each time Lil Ron takes a trip to that bridge, you are ready to return as well.

In between the sweetest moments of this novel are instances of human degradation and pure evil. Nobody, and I mean nobody in the town seems to really care about what happened to Sweet Kate those many years ago. In fact, they seem to go out of there way to prevent Lil Ron from finding out anything about her, even attempting to kill him in order to keep the town’s secret.

The Bottom Line: I have a hard time sometimes going through a short story without taking little breaks. It’s a special skill set that an author has to have to create a wholly engaging story from beginning to end. This title though, was completely mesmerizing, captivating, and left me completely satisfied as my eyes passed over the final sentence. Glenn Rolfe is one to watch, big things are going to happen with him.”

Scarlets Web: “At 85 pages Abram’s Bridge is a quick read, it’s a ghost story but it’s also a lot more than just that. The story revolves around Lil’Ron meeting the ghost of a young girl, so it is at it’s heart a ghost story but it also has elements of thriller, suspense and the horror every day people are capable of. Drawn to the Sweet Kate, Lil’Ron spends more and more time with her and wants to know what happened to her and why she is still around, little does he know that in looking into her death his life will change drastically. Every town has their secrets and this small town is no different.

Short stories tend to be a hit or miss for me, many of them have big gaps in the story where the reader has to try fill in the information themselves, or on finishing you’re left with questions and no answers given and you’re left wondering what the heck just happened or they lack depth and background and have boring flat characters. Abram’s Bridge had none of that, it’s a good solid story with a main character you can’t help but like and root for. The pacing and tension builds slowly throughout and the story has a good beginning, middle and end and held my attention easily.

I enjoyed this one, it took me on a whole different journey than I was expecting.”

You can read all of the reviews HERE

You can pre-order your copy of Abram’s Bridge today from these links:

Samhain Publishing.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Some AB inspiration:

AA MMY

“Share the Horror” Why? Because We’re a Happy Family, That’s Why/

I recently read an article posted on Jim McLeod’s GINGER NUTS OF HORROR site (you can read it HERE). He made some good points and got me thinking. As horror writers and musicians, we’re constantly forced into being self-promoters. This makes us look like egotistical dicks most of the time, but it comes with the gig. If we don’t shout it out loud over and over and over again, people aren’t going to know we (or our goods) are here and available.  Well, Jim went brought up something that some of us may do (whether intentionally or not I can’t say), and that’s a lack of sharing. You know, on social networks, the “Share” button? Yeah, we have all of these friends and comrades in arms on Facebook and Twitter and we’re all pushing our Brand, but Jim pointed out that it feels like some of us think we’re all fighting for one piece of pie. Like if I share your book, that somehow loses me a chunk of cherry, or a sale if you will. Now, I don’t know how many of us do this with with the dark side of the Force coursing through our veins, but I think it’s something to consider. I know if I just add “Please share this” on Facebook, I get like five shares out of the hundreds of friends I have. Now, they could be busy, or have their settings so that they miss my post, or they just don’t want to do it. I don’t know. A lot of times they just hit the “like” button. (Hey guys! The “share” is right there next to it!) I don’t want to come off as a whiny baby here, because when I really have something important to share and I go to my friends individually, 9/10 come through for me and help me out. But that’s me. I’m not afraid of rejection or the word no, or someone telling me to fuck off!

With all of this in mind, I decided to spend Black Friday sharing books I’ve read this year that I loved. And you know what? It felt GREAT! Not sure if I helped anyone, but I know a few friends added some of my “shared loves” to their Good Reads, and a bunch more commented and shared them with their friends. I’d say my self-less campaign (coined “Share the Horror”) was a smashing success. And I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly thing. I invite all of you to do the same.

Here are the 20 books I shared:

montauk monster

JJ DD

DOW BM

KD SI

DS MM'

CN HELL

BK BP

ACCON j

AATK

AA HH

AA BT

pldg (1)

AA KL

AA WM

AAPD

AANK

AANC

AACATH

AACB

These are the 20 I shared. I tried to stick with smaller writers, but Barker and Keene slipped through the door.

If any of these covers look good to you, click on them and they will redirect you to the corresponding Good Reads page.

Buy ’em and add ’em to your to-be-read lists!

SHARE THE HORROR.

NEW (or newish) RELEASES in the WORLD of HORROR!

Being that October is the most socially acceptable time for horror literature,when the seductive veil we refer to as Dark Fiction is peeled back like flesh from the victims in our imaginary realms,  and many of our throng love to unleash our latest  keep-the-reader-up-all-night goods, I wanted to highlight a few that have caught my (evil) eye.

(nice looooong sentence, Glenn 😉  )

So last week I shared my October  reading list, this week I want to point out some of the releases (recent or upcoming) by some of my favorite horror authors out there right now.

Let’s start with the new releases today from Samhain Horror: Which you can purchase at Amazon or at SAMHAIN

John Everson- THE FAMILY TREE

JOHN E FT

Mark Rigney- CHECK-OUT TIME

check-out-time

Tim Waggoner- A STRANGE AND SAVAGE GARDEN

a-strange-and-savage-garden

WHAT WAITS IN THE SHADOWS (Samhain’s Gothic-themed Anthology with Russell James, Catherine Cavendish, JG Fahertyry, and Devin Govaere)

what-waits-in-the-shadows

And also some recent releases I’ve either read or will be reading soon!

Jonathan Janz- EXORCIST ROAD

exorcist-road

Hunter Shea- HELL HOLE

hell-hole

Mercedes M. Yardley- PRETTY LITTLE DEAD GIRLS

pldg (1)

Stephen Graham Jones- AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF

after people lights sgj

Adam Cesare- TRIBESMEN

adam tribes

And if you get curious, or enjoyed my debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS…You can Pre-Order my forthcoming collection, SLUSH

SLUSH cover

AND the new anthology from Terry West: JOURNALS OF HORROR: Found Fiction (featuring Todd Keisling, Stuart Keene, Robin Dover, and myself among others)

found_fiction-194x300

 

ALMOST forgot: coming in November (I will also have an interview with him later this month)—

Ronald Malfi- A SHRILL KEENING

shrill_keening

These are all available to order or pre-order at Amazon. You may also find them on Barnesandnoble.com

Find ’em and give ’em a chance!

PRETTY LITTLE AWESOME: MERCEDES M. YARDLEY TALKS THE BONE ANGEL TRILOGY, PRETTY LITTLE DEAD GIRLS, AND THE POWER OF HEARTBREAK AND OPENNESS

mmy

She’s an amazing woman who has been faced with more heartache and challenges than anyone I’ve ever known and come through life’s shit-storm to pound out some of the most unique, beautiful , and bloody little stories I’ve read this year. Her debut novel, NAMELESS: THE DARKNESS COMES, has garnered mad acclaim and landed her a sweet deal with its publisher Ragnarok Publications  (two more Bone Angel books).

On September 29th, Mercedes M. Yardley and Ragnarok Publications will release her next novel, PRETTY LITTLE DEAD GIRLS. I got a chance to talk with Mercedes about her whirlwind 2014 and a whole lot more.

First off, Nameless  66 Amazon reviews—40 5 stars, 24 4 stars (2 meat-heads that didn’t get it). Congrats on the success. One of the reviews I saw called it “Buffy meets Odd Thomas”. To quote Dylan: How does it feel?

MMY: It feels surreal. I can’t believe that many people have read it! And to take the time to review? That’s just awesome. It seems to be hitting people in different ways, too. Some say they laughed out loud. Some love Luna, some hate her. Some people identified with the mental illness aspect. Others ask me how I feel about the demonic personally. It’s been a ride.

But a fun one, I’m sure. How are the follow-up books coming along?

MMY: They’re coming. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to continue a series. Do I pick up where I left off? Assume (arrogantly) that everybody has read Book One? Reintroduce characters and risk sounding like I’m talking down to the audience? These are things I hadn’t considered before, and quite frankly, I dig it. The sequels are challenges, and I thrive on challenges.

Any idea when we can expect #2?

MMY: Book Two is slated to release in January of 2015. So just a few more months! Book Three is set to release in January 2016. Things are coming along smoothly, and I’m excited. Book Two will be exceptionally dark. I’m pushing Luna to her breaking point, trying to see if I can shatter her psyche. It’s terribly fun.

pldg (1)

In August you announced the upcoming release of Pretty Little Dead Girls. (I FUCKING LOVE that title!)  You said, “…my favorite thing I ever wrote will be coming out this fall…” Is this still true and why is it your favorite?

MMY: Oh, it’s true! I love all of my books. Each character becomes important to me. But this particular story, and the way it’s written…it was a joy.  I wrote this story in three weeks, Glenn. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Everything spilled out onto the page in this great flurry of happiness.

I abandoned the project I felt I was “supposed” to do, and wrote something devastating joyful and unique. It’s a fairy tale with a high body count. It has lyrical language. It breaks the fourth wall. It’s magical realism sprinkled with horror. I love the characters with my whole heart and soul.  Bryony, the protagonist, is all about seizing the moment, about living life as hard as she can before she’s murdered. She’s soft and ephemeral and chats with flowers and stars. She wears fluffy mittens and wears every emotion on her face. When I started writing Nameless, I called Luna the “Anti-Bryony.” They’re both aspects of my personality, but to an extreme. Bryony is open and exceptionally naive. Luna is spiny and sarcastic. These two ladies are Yin and Yang, and I love them fiercely.

There are also several little Easter Eggs in this story. The places she lives. The names of some of the characters, including a shout-out to the Shock Totem boys. The detective is named after members of my writer’s group. If you have read Beautiful Sorrows, there’s a story in there that’s the killer’s origin story. Things like that. Shiny things that tie into other places.

I had the most fun writing PLDG than any other project. I’ll always remember that.

Give us the gist of the story.

MMY: Bryony Adams is destined to be murdered, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny.

Sounds so cool! And there will be a limited run of a hardcover edition?

MMY: Yes! Ragnarok Publications is putting out a special signed limited edition hardcover. It’ll have a beautiful piece of art created exclusively for the hardcover by Orion Zangara, who is a phenomenal artist. I mean, I saw his stuff and commissioned him that day, if that tells you how stunning his work is. And Hugo Award Winner and all-around wonderful lady Galen Dara did the cover. It’s exquisite. Dark, ephemeral, and perfectly captures the terrible beauty of the story. The LE hardcover is limited to 100 copies, and they’re currently available for preorder on the Ragnarok site. When they’re gone, they’re gone. You can still purchase paperbacks and hardcovers, I believe, but without the extra bells and whistles.

Awesome. Check that out people!

Some of your works have been audio-ized. Which ones are available and  which ones are coming?

MMY: NAMELESS and APOCALYPTIC MONTESSA AND NUCLEAR LULU: A TALE OF ATOMIC LOVE are both available right now! I adore the narrators they chose. They did a wonderful job. BEAUTIFUL SORROWS will be available fairly soon, I believe. Perhaps in the new year. I’m narrating it with my fellow writer Mason Bundschuh recording, and we still need to do a few overdubs. The problem is that we have 6 ½ children between us, so it’s difficult to find a time when we can get together and record while the kids are quiet. Ha. Those darn kids, playing and having fun. What trouble. 😉

I also caught the “in the closet” photo of you doing the Beautiful Sorrows audio. That’s how I did the vocals for the Never Nudes EP. There’s nothing like getting in there and going for it is there?

closet

MMY: Did you? I didn’t know that! Yep, that’s Mason and his wife’s closet. His wife had the most beautiful pair of boots in there. I fell in love with them during recording. It was strange and fun lurking in their closet. My house doesn’t have a single closet that big. What a shame.

That’s a damn shame.

Let’s talk shop for a minute….

I recently finished up a couple of pieces and found myself leaning heavily on a couple friends of mine. They really kicked my ass and wouldn’t allow me to cut corners or write anything stupid. Do you have someone or someones like that? If so, who? And what makes you trust them ?

MMY: I do. I rely on my writer’s group, The Illiterati. It consists of Mason, Billie the girl, Ryan, Matt, and myself. I ran into Mason at a city writer’s group, and he brought me into the fold, so to speak. We’ve all been working together for five or six years now, and we’ve become family. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If one of them tells me something, I’m going to listen. It doesn’t mean I always agree with the critique or the advice, but I know it’s coming from a place of love and skill. They’ve helped me improve so much.

In fact, The Desert Companion had journalist and photographer hang out with us last week at an Illiterati meeting! It was so awesome. They’re doing a write-up on us for the October issue, which I think is pretty cool. The group is amazing. We travel to conventions together. We go to each other’s birthday parties. We play ukuleles and banjos and guitars together. I love these cats.

I told you not too long ago that two of my pieces from last year were heavily influenced by Beautiful Sorrows, or at least, I tried to soften my edges and slip into more whimsical/magical realms (even if only for bits here and there). Thank you for that.  What’s the last couple of things you read that you feel really inspired your latest works?

MMY: Glenn, you don’t know how much that pleases me. Thank you! I can’t wait to pick up your newest. Coming from Samhain, right?

Absolutely.

I read this utterly breathtaking book titled THE MOON SISTERS by Therese Walsh. It’s about a mother who may or may not have committed suicide, and how her family deals with the aftermath. Heartbreakingly lovely. Quite frankly, I wish I had written it.

moon

My debut novel, NAMELESS, has a sort of Dean Koontz feel. It’s been compared to both TICK TOCK, which I loved, and his ODD THOMAS. That’s pretty flattering. I suppose I did borrow some of the tone from TICK TOCK, because I loved it so much. They have this fun banter back and forth that really amused me, and I think the dialogue is one of NAMELESS’ strong points.

Another one of your strong points is your heart, your openness.

Real life’s cheap shots often fuel the artist. In light of some of the hardships in your personal life, do you let your pain in, and how do you use it. Do you lash out with a harder edge, or do you let it lend that extra weight to your more melancholy pieces?

MMY: I have to let my pain in. As an artist, I tend to feel things especially deeply. I was never good at letting things roll off my back or walking by somebody who was suffering. I always manage to get right down there in the trenches with them, to see if I can help. Sometimes a little kindness is all I can offer, but you can’t underestimate the value of kindness when it seems like the world is dark.

Sometimes I lash out. In Luna’s case, she deals with things in a very ferocious, biting manner. I finished the second half of that book after losing two babies, so it was a cleansing and safe way for me to scream at the world using her voice. And sometimes I allow sorrow and loss to drift into some of the softer things I do. That melancholy is always there. It always has been. Melancholy runs under my skin like a thin vein of sorrow, and I don’t think that will ever change. But I try to use it instead of letting it weigh me down to the point where I can’t get back up.

My wife is a children’s case manager. She deals with special needs kids on a daily basis. She was looking over my shoulder while I was going through some of your blog posts. When I read some of your posts, I was like ‘ damn.’ . My wife says, “Some people are dealt a shitty hand because the lessons that they can learn can help others.”  And I feel like with your openness and willingness to share your heartbreak and challenges, that’s exactly what you’ve done and continue to do. Can you touch on that?

MMY: Your wife put it beautifully. Please thank her for me.

Heartbreak and challenges. It isn’t something that most people want to share. We’re taught not to show our weakness, and that’s damaging. We all struggle. We all suffer. To put on a happy face when you’re really falling apart inside is insane. It only hurts us. I’ve found being open about some of our challenges allows others to open up as well. To say, “Oh, thank goodness! I thought I was the only one.” You’re not. Whatever you’re going through, somebody has struggled through it, or is currently there.

My oldest son has Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disease that turned our world inside out. He was abused by a teacher. I had post-partum preeclampsia with my middle child, which the doctors said didn’t technically exist. My organs were shutting down and they called my husband in to say goodbye. My last pregnancy were three beautiful triplets. Two passed away with a rare genetic disease called alobar holoprosencephaly. Be very careful if you research that. It isn’t for the faint of heart.

So we have things that come up and they feel like too much weight to handle. But I’ve found that when I say, “Help,” others are there to reach out and help. When Niko was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, I didn’t know one other person who had it. I started my Williams blog (www.williamssyndrome.blogpost.com) and I was simply screaming into the universe. Now I’m in a support group with over a thousand members, all who understand the syndrome.

There are strong, sensitive people out there who understand you and whatever you’re going through. The Internet makes it especially easy to reach these people. I hope that by talking about things I used to feel ashamed about, like having a bad day with a special needs child, or grief, or anger, or depression, that others will see that they’re not alone. That’s what I think the purpose of life is. Relationships. Giving each other a hand or a hug or a pillow fort when needed. Protecting those you care about. Realizing that there is dignity in all things, even suffering.

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I also saw that earlier this year you were in a book called, Three Minus One. How did that come about? And have you heard back from any of its readers?

MMY: I have heard back from some readers on that one. Three Minus One is a book dealing with the death of a child. I was still processing my feelings about it and I saw the submissions call. I wrote about the conflict of losing two of my three triplets. Celebrating birthdays and death days, and how difficult that is. I was shopping for a stroller and a casket on the simultaneously, and it was so conflicting and surreal. But the readers seem to find comfort in the book, in knowing they aren’t alone. That’s what I hoped to do by contributing my story along with the others.

It is an amazing ability to be able to accept what comes our way, and an even more admirable gift to be able to put yourself out there and be that someone for those who think no one else gets it.

I want to switch gears back to writing and inspiration.

A couple months ago i watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (great flick). It really inspired me to sit down and write.     Give me the one or two movies that when you watch them they make you want to sit down and craft a new story.

MMY: Stranger Than Fiction made me want to write. I enjoyed it through and through. Also, watching the series LOST made me want to write, too. They dealt with such a huge cast and all of these intricately woven plot lines! I want to do that! Challenge myself by dealing with a large cast of crazy characters. That would be very cool.

What is the scariest novel you ever read?

MMY: Stephen King’s IT scared me. I was eight years old and snuck out to the big, comfy chair in the living room to read it in the middle of the night. Pure terror. We had a gutter and grate right by my house. I was sure Pennywise lived down there. I was also scared by The Amityville Horror. Some of my mom’s romancing were pretty frightening, as well. I thought, “Ewwww! I don’t know what’s going on, but that seems disgusting!”

What’s one novel you haven’t read yet that you’ve TOTALLY been meaning to?

MMY: Oh, geeze. There are so many. I’ve always wanted to read MEIN KAMPF to figure out how a person with such vile views could, with a straight face, explain them. I’ve heard he was a passionate, convincing speaker, and I’m interested in that from a sociological standpoint. I also have so many books from my friends that are on my To Be Read pile. I have three piles, actually. One on my son’s shelf, one in the linen closet, and one by my bed.

I want to read anything that Lee Thompson puts out. Oh, and Gillian Flynn’s SHARP OBJECTS. Armand Rosamilia’s CHELSEA AVENUE. And James Walley’s THE FORTY FIRST WINK. These are all books in my TBR pile or currently on my Kindle.

What about you? What novel have you TOTALLY been meaning to read?

I’ve been meaning to dig into Robert McCammon’s catalog. I read BOY’S LIFE and was dizzied by the magic on the pages. Ronald Malfi’s DECEMBER PARK is also on my very soon list. I also have that friend’s To-be-read collection.

food

Now, everybody loves food. I know you dabble in the kitchen quite a bit.

Personally, I’ve been barbecuing like a mad dog since the beginning of May (I make some pretty tasty BBQ chicken these days). What is the latest kitchen masterpiece from the Yardley home?

MMY: I can’t barbeque to save my life. That’s awesome you do it. I hereby invite myself over to dinner with your family! I’ll bring dessert

We’ve been trying to eat a little healthier. The other day I made potato quinoa patties with curried chickpeas. It sounds bizarre, but it really was delicious and filling. It tasted like comfort food. I’m always making new treats! I made my first full-sized trifle not too long ago. Lemon raspberry, and it was a success. I’m really into making soups right now. Potato, or split pea. Even cauliflower. I pair them with homemade bread sticks or cheddar biscuits with flax and kale added to it. It sounds like it would be dry, but it’s really good.

My biggest achievement right now was putting together freezer meals. I went shopping, cut everything up, and assembled twenty different meals that I can freeze. Pork chops and sweet potatoes, sausage and peppers, rosemary chicken, etc. Then I throw those suckers in a crock pot. Voila, dinner. Because I have three kids, three chickens, a bunny, a turtle, and a fish. Oh, and some insane, brain-exploding deadlines. I just gave myself twenty nights where I don’t have to cook, and that hour and a half will be put toward writing to knock these projects out. It’s crunch time and I’ll use every trick in the book to get things done.

If you guys ever want to come all the way over to the east coast, you are more than welcome.

Thank you so very much for making the time for me. Best of luck with the new book!

MMY: Thanks, Glenn! It’s absolutely a pleasure. And good luck with yours! I’m excited to pick it up.

Find Mercedes and her blog, books, and stories here:

A BROKEN LAPTOP

MERCEDES’S AMAZON PAGE

RAGNAROK PUBLICATIONS

My review of Kevin Lucia’s Devourer of Souls: Who wants to play a game of Sophan?

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I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of Kevin Lucia’s Ragnarok Publications debut, Devourer of Souls. I would suggest reading Lucia’s fantastic collection Things Slip Through (from Crystal Lake Publishing) prior to diving into these two tales. It’s not necessary, but I would recommend it just to familiarize yourself with the mysterious town of Clifton Heights.

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Devour of Souls is really two novellas put back-to-back.  It starts off with Sophan. This is a fantastic tale about a dangerous Vietnamese game. Although it has roots in reality, Lucia has twisted it and created his own game of fate (and does a marvelous job, by the way). The story follows a couple of boys from Clifton Heights. Jake and Nate, and the Vietnamese blueberry farmer, Mr. Trung. Mr. Trung displays the Sophan game at his table at the community lawn sale. The boys and a couple of their friends surround the old man and listen to the rules of the game. Mr. Trung and his game hold much more power than any of them know. I’m not one to put spoilers in my reviews, so you can check the story out to see how things turn out for the boys and Mr. Trung. Lucia sprinkles Stand by Me over a twisted mash-up of a Creature Feature version of Mr. Miyagi. The results are a lot of fun.

 

Next, we have The Man in Yellow. The story of a town that is no more and how that came to be. This one happens outside of Clifton Heights, just north in the town of Tahawus. I really connected to the main character here, Stuart. He suffers from cerebral palsy and that keeps him from doing sports and participating in any real physical activities. I battled with Scoliosis my whole life and was (and still am today) restricted from some sports, plus, Stuart’s also a huge metal head/hard rock kid…  Anyways, a preacher (the Man in Yellow) comes to the small town and is rumored to be able to heal people. This presents an inner-struggle for Stuart.  Stuart’s grown comfortable with his “handicap” and is not real keen on God, but soon learns that the He the man in Yellow is preaching about might not be the Christian He. A great concept and a nice beginning, but for me, the story sort of drags a bit. I was hoping for a few things to happen that never did.

Overall, I loved Sophan and thought The Man in Yellow was okay. Devourer of Souls is still totally worth picking up for Sophan alone. Lucia is a great talent and a studious devouer of all things horror (including souls!).

 

 

Stay Tuned for my interview with Mr. Lucia this Wednesday (July 2nd).

And if you’re on Facebook Monday night (June 30th), stop by the Devourer of Souls Facebook party! I’ll be there with Todd Keisling, Mercedes M. Yardley, and more!   Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/253636224830336/

For more on Kevin, check out his official website Kevin Lucia.com

Click here to pick up a copy of Devourer of Souls

High Body Count Fairytails: My HNR interview with Mercedes M. Yardley (re-post)

 

 

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(This interview originally appeared on HorrorNovelReviews.com in January 2014)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 sees the release of the first full-length novel from one of the horror writing communities secret darlings, Mercedes M. Yardley, Nameless: The Darkness Comes. Yardley is not so much a secret among our community (with two releases already under her belt–2012’s excellent collection of short fiction, Beautiful Sorrows and last year’s novella, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love), just a more of a hoarded treasure. Kind of like that up and coming band that you love and don’t want the mainstream media to get their fat, nasty, write-me-a-hit-or-you’re-back-on-the-streets hands on.

I had the pleasure of meeting her at the World Horror Con in New Orleans last summer. She is as cool as she is talented. I spoke with her last week about her career, her voice, her works and, of course, Nameless: The Darkness Comes. I think you’ll come to see the light side of the dark side once you open that cold, cold horror heart of yours. Come join us…

 

HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS: Let’s start at the start. How long have you been writing?

MERCEDES M.  YARDLEY: I’ve been writing forever. Always. I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t reading or writing. Those annoying Sam and Ann workbooks we used in school? I blew through all of them until the elementary school didn’t have anymore. Then I wrote about how much I hated Sam and Ann, their dog, Nip, and their cat, Fluff. My first grade teacher congratulated my reading and advised me to work on my attitude.

HNR: Was there a story or novel in particular that made you want to write?

MERCEDES: Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist” really resonated with me. The cruelty, the beauty. I read it and thought, “I can never write like that.”  Then I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and I despised it, but it awoke something in me. It shook something loose in my soul and I opened my eyes to magical realism.

HNR: I love it when a writer has that kind of impact. It’s powerful.

You worked for Shock Totem? How did that come about?

MERCEDES: I had a story in their first issue. It was a cool little mag with an amazing staff. I hung out on the forums and got to know everybody. We just rocked together. One day they asked if I wanted to join the magazine as their nonfiction writer. Later on, they promoted me to contributing editor. It was an incredible experience. It definitely accelerated my learning curve. It was a great decision to join staff.

HNR: Will you continue on with them?

MERCEDES: Funny you should ask that. I stepped away from the magazine a few months ago. I found that I wasn’t able to keep my head above water. If I was writing, I’d feel badly that I wasn’t reading ST slush or doing interviews or articles. When I was doing those things, I was torn because I wasn’t writing. Finally I decided that I needed to devote myself to writing full time and focusing on novels. It was scary. It was also sad. But it was the right thing to do, and I still get to see the ST staff around. They were the best part of the gig.

HNR: Your first collection really showcases your unique style and voice. Beautiful Sorrows was next to brilliant. I found it impressive that you had your own style developed right from the get-go. To me, it’s like a terrifying, bizarre fairytale…with sprinkles. How would you describe your style?

MERCEDES: Glenn, thank you! That’s so nice to hear! A terrifying, bizarre fairytale…with sprinkles. Now that’s a blurb!

I have two distinct styles. I call the lyrical style “whimsical horror.” Fairytales with a high body count. The other is more smart aleck swagger. Nameless, the novel that is coming out this month, lands firmly on the swagger side. But the whimsical, starry style…I’d say that shows up more. It’s the way my brain works.

HNR: Where do you think it comes from?

MERCEDES: It comes from getting out of my own way. From reading fairytales and fantasies, and gorging on the exquisite beauty of things. It’s a style that people either love or hate, and I spent a lot of time being afraid of that. I tried to write the way I thought I was “supposed” to. Now I realize there isn’t any such thing. You write happy and hard and see what emerges when the worry stops. It’s lovely.

HNR: And I sense that’s just what you did in your novella,Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love. The work had your signature style, and it felt like you got to open it up a little more and really let it breathe. Was that liberating, to write a larger piece? Or did you find it more intimidating?

MERCEDES: It was intimidating, in a way. It was a darker piece with blood and pain, and I didn’t know how my style would lend itself to that. I ended up immensely happy with it, but there were periods of worry and concern. Their tale was so important. The terrible experiences that I touched upon are real to many people, and I wanted to deal with it in a sensitive yet fiercely truthful manner. And I naturally write shorter stories. I write flash fiction quite a bit. Yes, the longer was different, but immensely satisfying.

HNR: And this was put out through Ragnarok Publications. How are they to write for?

MERCEDES: Fantastic. They’re talented, timely, and enthusiastic. Genuinely good and fun people. They’re one of the best decisions I’ve made of late, and that’s really exciting.

They also put out my first novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, so I know their coolness isn’t a fluke. They’re actually this great to write for.

Are your ears burning, Ragnarok? I’m saying good things about you!


HNR: And that brings us to the upcoming new Novel,Nameless. It’s coming out this week. What are your readers in for?

MERCEDESNameless!  It’s not only my debut novel, but it’s the first book in The Bone Angel Trilogy. I’m over the moon about it! It’s a dark and scary book about Luna, a sarcastic girl who can see demons. There’s a lot of humor in it. People who were scared to pick up a demon novel are telling me that they’re really enjoying Luna’s voice and that they think it’s funny. So it softens the whole “We Are Legion; Give Us Your Soul” thing. It’s been compared to Dean Koontz Tick Tock and David Wong’s John Dies at the End, which are both books that I enjoyed.

These are some of my favorite characters. They’re just fun to roll around with.

HNR: How was writing this compared to the other works you’ve released?

MERCEDES: Nameless is a different labor of love. I was zipping along with it at lightning speed, literally writing a chapter a night. It was a break from the other things I was working on, and written purely for fun. Meanwhile, I was put on bed rest because I was having triplets. Then we lost two of the triplets, and it took me a while to get my mojo back. The ending was a struggle, and I put it aside for a while. When I came back with fresh eyes, I fell in love with the characters all over again. So this novel represents the best of times and the worst of times, quite literally.

HNR: Do you feel pressure leading up to the release?

MERCEDES: Yeeeeeees. It’s my debut novel and the first of a trilogy. I hope it will go well and people like it. But as I was reminded, I mostly write for myself and I’m pleased with it. Still, I think an author always hopes their work will be well-received.

HNR: You just unveiled on your blog, A Broken Laptop, that Ragnarok Publications picked up the next two in this trilogy? How did this come about? And how does that make you feel?

MERCEDES: Oh, I’m pumped! I was nervous at first. “Can I pull this off? Will somebody want to read three of my books?”  But the characters. They’re fascinating. I love them. I’ll follow them through Hell, literally, and in fact we kinda do. They have things to say, and I’m going to let them.

Nameless is set up for a sequel. I didn’t expect that, actually. I planned it to be a standalone book. Then I realized there was something much bigger behind it, and more to the story. So I set it up as a duology. But then I kept thinking a little more…

Hey, Ragnarok. How about a trilogy?

Hey, Mercedes. How about yes.

It’s perfect. It fits. It’s awesome.

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HNR: Switching gears a little, you went through some agent issues recently. How did that affect your writing, if at all, and how is the new agent relationship going?

MERCEDES: I’ve been with my agent for about three years, and we just couldn’t market my work. It doesn’t fit into any of the traditional publishing genres, per se. They want traditional fantasy, or straight noir, or women’s fiction. I do dark fantastic thrillers (or women’s fiction) with strong horror and magical realism elements. Oh yeah, and nonfiction. So I understand being hard to place.

I’m currently sans agent right now. I have a novel titledStormlight that I want to polish up and sub to agents who would be prepared to deal with the eclectic delight that is my screwy work. I still aspire to somebody who thinks they can market me. But I’m very happy where I am right now, too. Giddy happy.

HNR: I want to touch on some things outside of the books. Sort of a quick hits line of questioning.

As a mother and a wife, what are some tricks you use to squeeze in some writing time? Or do you just wait until the house is asleep?

MERCEDES: The house is never asleep. Having three kiddos, and two that are medically fragile, means that somebody is always awake. Someone is always sick and needs the nebulizer. I always leave the computer up so I run to it whenever I have a spare minute. It’s a laptop so I carry it with me from room to room to wherever the kids are. Every spare second is spent darting to the computer. It takes a lot of tenacity and devotion, but the end result is that I get to build a novel. In fact, I’m teaching an online course on that very subject this February for ANWACon. It’s something I think we all struggle with. Using our time wisely and building a novel sentence by sentence, word by word.

HNR: You’re part of a writing group, the Illiterati. Cool name. How do you guys help each other?

MERCEDES: Thanks! We do everything. We travel together to cons, when we go. We critique each other’s work with fangs and claws and then we lick each other’s wounds. The Illiterati is a huge support group. We’re each other’s best cheerleaders. We spread the word about each other’s work and celebrate birthdays together. Mason helped me get an invite to the Tales of Jack the Ripperanthology and helped me record the Beautiful Sorrowsaudiobook. Ryan Bridger and I are writing a very cool trilogy together. Billie is my go-to for the relationships inNameless. She has beautiful ideas. Matt was the perfect traveling companion in New Orleans and didn’t let me get lost. We have THE ILLITERATI: THE WRITERS GROUP and soon we’ll be doing ILLITERATI: THE BAND. One day we’d love to have THE ILLITERATI: THE COMMUNE.

HNR: You guys live where it’s warm, so count me in! Would you suggest a writing group to all writers?

MERCEDES: It works for me, but I like running in a pack. I don’t have that “Oh, I need betas!” problem that a lot of writers have. Mine are built in. I know I’ll be seeing them every Tuesday. I know they’re my first readers. I say everybody should try a writer’s group and see if it works for them. In person, online, it doesn’t matter. But it’s something worthwhile and I think everybody should give it a go.

HNR: All right, let’s get a couple quick ones in here. Favorite treat you’ve brought to a book related event?

MERCEDES: Frozen Junior Mints and Cherry Coke. Mmm!

HNR: Favorite character in a book you read in the last 6 months and why?

MERCEDES: This is horrible. Probably Reed Taylor in my book Nameless. I’ve been reading mostly nonfiction for the past six months. Writing books, enrichment books, true crime books. I can’t very well pick a criminal as my favorite person. But I’ve read and reread Nameless so many times while editing. I’ve gotta go with Reed.

HNR: TV show (old or new) that you secretly love?

MERCEDES: I’m open about my love for The X-Files, so my secret love must be Murder, She Wrote. That squirrely Jessica and her pastel collared shirts! She’s so sassy.

HNR: You play the ukulele. Would you write and record a record with Eddie Vedder if he asked you to?

MERCEDES: In a heartbeat, especially now that he’s softened his style. Our music would be a thing of tragic beauty. Set that up for me, would you, Glenn?

HNR: I agree, and I will see what I can do. Any parting promo or tip for the peeps?

MERCEDES: Yes! This writing thing is awesome, but it’s a business. All of those hurt feelings? Those “I was rejected so I’ll never write again” moments? Let them go. Learn how to breathe through it. If you want to write, then don’t let anything stop you. You have it in you, my darlings. Don’t let anybody tell you anything different.

I also want to say that Nameless: The Darkness Comes is slated for a January 21 release. I’ll also be doing a Reddit AMA on February 11, and I invite everybody to come play with me and ask questions! I’m really looking forward to it.

HNR: Thank you for being rad and taking the time.

MERCEDES: It was a pleasure, Glenn! I was totally digging on some Never Nudes jams while answering the questions. Great sound.

HNR: Thank you, Mercedes. And just so everyone knows, I did not add that last part post-script! Go buy Nameless: The Darkness Calls, and pick up the rest of her work while you’re at it!

 

Buy Nameless: TheDarknesss Comes 

and visit Mercedes blog:  A Broken Laptop

 

Read this interview and others, along with weekly reviews at Horror Novel Reviews

 

Come back next week. I’ll have a brand new interview with Hunter Shea, author of The Montauk Monster

 

The Fool on the Hill: Woman in Horror Month

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Women in horror? I can’t imagine reading a horror novel penned by a woman. How would I ever be able to relate? I need that male perspective. Guys know how to get vicious, how to take the wheel and press the throttle until the testosterone-fueled hell ride drives us toward and over the precipice of literary mayhem paved by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz. Surely there’s no way a female author can handle such a bloody, calculating, journey through Hades and back…right?

I’m afraid to say that I was one of the passengers in this vehicle of ignoramuses. Let me check that…I had works by one woman, Ann Rice. The first four books of the Vampire Chronicles were among my introduction to the world of horror, but somewhere along the line I forgot women could write horror that could cast that magical spell. In 2004, I started reading more King, Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, Brian Keene. Ann Rice got lost in the background somewhere.  I didn’t touch a book from a female author until February of 2013. And I was a moron.

I joined the Horror Writers Association early in 2012. One of the things I love about the organization is the forum, specifically, the bountiful amount of members in there who are eager to help out, offer advice and be real with you. I realized how many women were in there and people like Sherry Decker (among others) were regularly responding to my infant author questions.

Throughout 2012, I focused on my own works. I regularly jumped into the forums and interacted with the HWA community as often as I could. In February of 2013, after being part of the community for a year, I started hearing about February being Women in Horror Month. And it dawned on me that I hadn’t read a terror tale by a female author in A LONG time. Meeting numerous women authors in the forum and on Facebook, I knew I needed to set aside this strange notion I’d acquired over the last eight years or so and give these ladies of blood and fright the attention they deserved.

I started with Shirley Jackson’s, The Haunting of Hill House and followed that up with Sarah Langan’s, The Keeper. Needless to say, I was quickly enlightened of the grave error of my reading ways. I was a fool for even thinking women couldn’t reach my fear factor. For believing I wouldn’t be able to relate to the voice, that I wouldn’t be able to be completely hooked in and taken anywhere close to the heights of fear and intensity that guys like John Everson and Ronald Malfi constantly delivered me to. I was wrong.

I followed my first official celebration and participation in Women in Horror Month by seeking out new female authors to read and discovered amazingly talented writers like Damien Walters, Mercedes M. Yardley, Rena Mason, and even someone who graduated from my tiny high school here in Maine–Ms. Kristin Dearborn. I can’t believe how stupid I was being. And furthermore, I can’t even recall where this bizarre stigma I’d attached to these wicked ladies came from.

Although I know I have come to the light and stepped into the unisex bathroom of horror authors, I know there are still confused and irrationally minded dudes out there making the same critical error with their horror novel selections. Hell, I’m sure it goes on within every genre. I am here today, February 17, 2014, to tell you guys…ladies are just as vicious, just as dark, twisted, and wordily crafty as any of your favorite male horror writers out there.  Set aside your misguided ideas of women writers being too soft, too sensitive, too light to spray the walls of your small minds with the real guts, gore, and brains of our beloved evil realms. I implore you to set down today or tonight and seek out one book in your favorite genre written by a person without a penis. Trust me– you will thank me later (after you get done cursing yourself for being a dolt and apologizing to the other half of our amazing writing community).

To all of you kick ass and gifted female writers…I say, CHEERS!

Here are a few Good Reads links for you to check out to some of my favorite vagina carrying authors:

Damien Walters

Mercedes M. Yeardley

Kristin Dearborn

Rena Mason

Sarah Langan

and a link to an interview I conducted for HorrorNovelReviews.com with Mercedes M. Yardley:

Mercedes M. Yardley Talks ‘The Hunger Artist’, High Body Count Fairytales and Being a Busy Mother to Boot