(Interview) Share the Horror Prepares to Play the Dark Game with Jonathan Janz

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I set out to become a writer the same year Samhain Publishing launched. When I saw the Leisure Horror Books head acquisition man, Don D’Auria, was at the head of this new horror line, I knew good things were on the horizon. And I was right. Don, introduced us to Kristopher Rufty, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and  a guy named, Jonathan Janz.

The books from Janz came one after another–The Sorrows, The Darkest Lullaby, The House of Skin, Savage Species, Castle of Sorrows, Dust Devils, The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, and Exorcist Road before we all got the news that Samhain was a sinking ship.

Janz put out the excellent and much acclaimed, Children of the Dark, and also the much anticipated, Exorcist Falls with Sinister Grin Press before Don D’Auria landed with Flame Tree Press and called one of his favorite sons home. The-Siren-and-The-Specter-ISBN-9781787580053.0

Following Janz’s recent release with Flame Tree Press, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER from this past September, we prepare for his next new release, THE DARK GAME (Catch my brief review of this awesome book after the interview).

I called on Janz to join us here at Share the Horror and he obliged.

Share the Horror: Let’s go back a few years. You were one of the first Samhain authors and had built quite a catalog in a relative short amount of time. When the news that Samhain had a) fired Don D’Auria and then shortly afterwards 2) folding up shop, what were your thoughts and emotions at hearing those two things?

Jonathan Janz: The news about Don was really a shock. He’s a great editor and a great person, so mainly I just felt really bad for him. After that, the news of the publisher going under wasn’t too shocking. I figured if they were letting Don go, they were probably hurting for money, so while it was sad for the employees—many of whom remain my friends—that second piece of news wasn’t as surprising.
As far as emotions go, in addition to feeling terrible for those more directly impacted, I did experience a lot of uncertainty about the future. Everything has worked out really well, but at the time it was a giant unknown.

STHWhat did you do in the space between Samhain and then the start up of Flame Tree Press?

JJ: This sounds simplistic, but I just wrote. Even though I didn’t know where the books I was working on would end up, I knew I needed to keep writing. Fretting about events out of my control wasn’t going to be productive, so I threw myself into my work. So in the years between Samhain and Flame Tree, I wrote THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, NIGHTMARE WORLD, THE DARK GAME, THE DISMEMBERED, and I began CHILDREN OF THE DARK 2.

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STH: Let’s talk Children of the Dark for a second. This was a very well received book. It’s a part of your Savage Species (one of my personal favorites) world. I know your King influence bleeds through with this one, especially with Will Burgess. Whereas with Savage Species there was gore galore like a dark Ketchum novel or something from Richard Laymon, with COTD I get a lot of that THE BODY vibe. More about the characters and the heart of this kid rather than the all-out blitz style of its predecessor. Would you say that’s an accurate take? If so, was that intentional or did it just come out that way?
JJ: I’d say that’s very accurate. With SAVAGE SPECIES, I wanted a no-holds-barred, bloody, grueling epic. With CHILDREN OF THE DARK, the story was largely, as you allude to with your reference to THE BODY, about the pain of growing up and the difficulties this kid was experiencing. So like you said, even though the stories are in the same universe, they’re very different animals. I realized this when writing the sequel to COTD. My initial idea was to combine the worlds of SAVAGE SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE DARK, but that changed as I wrote the sequel. So while there are some intersections, the story really remained a COTD story and true to the tone of the first book.81hj+mlkx0l
STH: So, Don and Flame Tree Press happens. Did he come to you, or were you guys in constant contact and it sort of just happened?
JJ: We kept in contact. Not constantly, but I’d say every couple of months we’d email, and a few times we spoke by phone. The one thing we knew was that, wherever we landed, we wanted to work on more projects together. I got the news about Flame Tree when my family and I were in Virginia for Scares That Care in 2017. We were walking from a beach on the James River to our van when I checked my email and found out about Don’s new gig. I think I emailed him within a half hour or so, and we started talking about THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Since that story was set in Virginia, and I’d just wrapped it up, it was fresh in my mind and a natural first project to do with Don and Flame Tree.

STH: THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, like COTD, feels like another step forward in your writing. As someone that has read almost all your published works, I feel like your growing more and more comfortable with each release, and with that becoming even more fearless as a writer. Does it feel that way to you?
JJ: Thank you so much, Glenn! I truly appreciate that. Yes, it does feel like I’m progressing, but it’s an incredibly subtle and gradual progress. I’m fond of all my books, but I really noticed it a couple months ago when reading through HOUSE OF SKIN, which is the first novel I wrote (and the second one published). I really like the story, but I’m a very different writer now than I was then. It feels good, but I know I’m nowhere near a finished product and will never be finished in my writerly walk. I have to constantly strive to improve, to grow, and to learn. I’m too self-critical to ever be satisfied.
STHSIREN is landing on a lot of Top 10 lists right now, I know that’s gratifying. Do you let that good feeling linger and use it going  forward, or are you more the type that is focused on that next release and coming at it with the need to prove yourself again?

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JJ: Like you say, it is gratifying, and it feels wonderful to have one’s work acknowledged, but I don’t bask in that glow for too long. That need to create is too strong. And I also always want to make my next book better than my last. Hopefully, I did that with THE DARK GAME, and I hope to do it again with the titles coming in late 2019 and 2020.
STHTHE DARK GAME comes out in April. I’m reading an ARC now, and I believe this is my favorite book of yours so far. How much fun did you have crafting the antagonist in this one? Without giving anything away, what were your favorite aspects of Roderick Wells to create and play around with?
JJ: That’s so great to hear! I worked very hard on THE DARK GAME, so it’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying it. I had a lot of fun with it. The Roderick Wells character was at the center of the story, so I needed him to be all sorts of things: strong, elusive…incisive yet cryptic. He had to represent both writers and critics, both nurturing teachers and cruel taskmasters. Plus (and here, like you said, I’m trying not to give anything away), there are elements of his character that aren’t revealed until later. That means I have to play fair with the reader by hinting at those unexpressed character elements without completely revealing the character’s secrets. Walking that tightrope was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one. I think the aspect of Wells’s character I enjoyed the most was his love of power and how he reacted when that supremacy was threatened. There are some exchanges between him and a character named Sherilyn that were a blast to write.
STH: There’s a lot of writers in here. I’m imagining that there are aspects of your own strengths and self-perceived weaknesses in each of these characters. At this stage in your career, with regards to your writing skills, what do you see as your best assets and what areas are your constantly targeting to improve upon?
JJ: Wow, that’s extremely insightful! Yes, you do get some of that in the novel. Rick Forrester, for example, is a lot like me before I got anything published. He’s been rejected, told he’s not good enough, and basically dismissed. Like Rick, I once received a very chilly reaction from the head of a collegiate writing program, so that experience made its way directly into the novel.
Regarding the second part of your question, this doesn’t sound sexy, but I think my best assets as a writer are my support network, my willingness to learn, and my work ethic. My wife and kids always provide me with a bedrock, so I know that when a story isn’t going well or I face some other kind of adversity, what really matters—my family—will remain intact. I’ve been teaching for twenty-three years and teaching Creative Writing for seventeen of those, and I believe these experiences help me to remain grounded and focused on growing. Just as I’m helping my students evolve, I’m evolving too. I also never quit. Because that option is never on the table, I concentrate on ways to solve problems rather than allowing them to defeat me.
With regard to areas of improvement, I want to keep getting better at blazing new trails. Horror is a vast realm, and there are many untouched or rarely-trod areas in the genre. Therefore, I want to constantly aim to examine those and maximize their potential.

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STHOne last thing, before we go. Looking back on THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, which has remained one of my very favorite stories you wrote, what are your thoughts and memories on that story and its release?
JJ: I’m so glad you liked that one! That story was a major moment of growth for me because it forced me to use dialogue to carry a story. Yes, there’s description; yes, there are the other essentials of storytelling. But it’s the dialogue that reveals character, that unveils plot twists, that adds mystery and depth. I had to develop my dialogue-writing skills in “The Clearing of Travis Coble,” and looking back, I view that exercise as a moment of profound growth for me. Thanks again for mentioning it! 

STH:I love it and THE DARK GAME, so I will keep praising them from the mountains! Thanks for taking the time, good sir.

JJ: Thank you, Glenn. I had a blast!

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Don’t let our smiling faces fool you…
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Flame Tree Press is re-releasing Jonathan Janz’s entire Samhain Publishing catalog.
This month sees the re-release of SAVAGE SPECIES. You can also grab his debut novel,
THE SORROWS.
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MY REVIEW of THE DARK GAME

The Dark GameThe Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quite possibly Janz’s best work yet. His skills continue to sharpen, and it really feels like he’s comfortable as hell behind that keyboard now. There’s a piece about fearlessness in this book, and I think it’s safe to say Janz is feeling just that-fearless. This was by far my favorite cast of characters in any of his books, and the story read like something straight out of the Leisure Books Horror Club heyday!
THE DARK GAME is a horror gem.

 

My Experiences in Self-Publishing and the Indie Press Scene

I read a really cool article from Sci-Fi & Scary. It was about small presses and self-publishing here in our indie writing world.
Here’s the link if you missed it: Let’s Talk About It: Small Press Publishing
Having worked in both arenas, I just wanted to share some of my own experiences.
In 2013, I broke into the publishing world with a serial novel I, for lack of knowing any better, self-published in e-Book on Amazon. I did all the editing and formatting, and had a good friend doing the art. Launching off on my own, it could have been a complete disaster. It could have ruined my writing career before it even got started. Luckily, my stories and characters, combined with Jason Lynch’s fantastic cover art, garnered me enough positive attention to make a safe landing.

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One of the scariest things I did while creating this serial was reaching out to review sites and asking them to check out my work. Part of that fear was the everyday creatives insecurity. The other part was knowing that I needed an editor. I was lucky not to be slaughtered by sites like Matt Malgaard’s HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS, and to Joe Hempel’s TOP OF THE HEAP REVIEWS.
It was also in this initial toe-stepping into the self-publishing world/ review site reach-out that I met Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. OH, FOR THE HOOK OF A BOOK reviewed my serial and gave me one of my first interviews. Our shared love of Ronald Malfi really bolstered our instant friendship. Erin’s been editing or helping with book publicity ever since.
Having Matt (R.I.P.), Joe, and Erin in my corner early on was invaluable. This trio saw something in my work that gave me the confidence I needed to keep going and to work harder.
After my 2013 self-publishing experience, I learned that I needed to push harder to get published traditionally. I set my sights on cool indie publishers like Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and Nightscape Press with an ultimate goal of landing a book with Don D’Auria and Samhain Publishing.

At the time, PMMP was doing these monthly novelette/Novella releases in a series called, One Night Stands. They were down to their last spot of the year, and I had just finished writing a ghost story/small town mystery novella called, ABRAM’S BRIDGE. I sent it to PMMP and got word it was strongly being considered along with seven other stories for the last spot in the One Night Stands series. It did not get the final spot, but I couldn’t have felt any better. Knowing that I had written something good. Really good. That it had made it past the slush pile and into the ring with the big boys, I was elated. I sent the editor a response to the rejection letter that probably surprised him as much as anything. It was 100% positive and probably the most enthusiastic thank you on a rejection they ever received.
Armed with a story I now had validation was good, I decided to take my chances sending it to Don D’Auria and Samhain Publishing.
That was in December of 2013. In April of 2014, Don sent me an email letting me know that he loved ABRAM’S BRIDGE and that he’d love to send me contract if I was interested.
I ended up signing three novellas and two novels with Don. I got to sit at the Samhain table at the Bram Stoker Awards with a bunch of real writers and got to sell books at the Samhain table at two Horrorhound conventions. By 2016, I had achieved all my writing goals.

In 2016, Samhain announced that they were going under. Samhain’s demise was followed by a number of other small presses closing shop, most notably, Dark Fuse.
I managed to land a fourth novella (CHASING GHOSTS) with Sinister Grin Press, but by mid-2016, I decided I was going to try my hand at self-publishing again.
In my experiences, I’ve learned a few things. If you are going to self-publish, you must have a good editor. One that will tell you if something doesn’t work, or that you can do better. You must have professional looking cover art. And you have to actively seek reviews and readers. You are in charge of getting your book out there. It is a ton of work. And it will try to break you. But in my experience, the rewards can be well worth it.
For example, the year I’ve made the most money from writing? Had to be with Samhain, right? No. It was actually this year. A year when I’ve almost exclusively self-published. To be fair, the success I’ve had this year would not have been possible were it not for the small platform I made as an author on the Samhain roster.
As Joe Mynhardt, head of Crystal Lake Publishing, suggests in the Sci-Fi & Scary article, it is wise for authors to dabble in both traditional indie publishing and self-publishing simultaneously. Plus, working with and having a book contracted by a respected editor or company like a Crystal Lake Publishing legitimizes you and gives you a little extra street cred in the self-pub world. It let’s readers and reviewers know that you’ve been vetted.
As a writer, it is way easier to have a publisher in charge of editing, cover design, and helping to put together a publicity tour. They’ll also submit your book to reviewers and the Bram Stoker Awards jury. That’s a load off a writer’s shoulders. As Joe said, the publisher needs to earn that royalty cut.
I have continued to work with indie’s like CROSSROAD PRESS (they have ABRAM’S BRIDGE and THINGS WE FEAR-which Joe Hempel did a fantastic job on the audio book performance) and SINISTER GRIN PRESS.

Personally, I enjoy the madness that comes with being in charge of all that goes into creating, releasing, and promoting a book. I have a great team to work with Erin and Jason being my top picks for editing and covers.
That said, I am looking forward to a break soon. As with all goals in life, once you’ve achieved all the ones on your list, you create a new list.
In 2019, while still releasing my own work, I will begin my pursuit of this new batch of goals.
I hope you guys enjoyed this unofficial companion piece, and hope you’ll consider checking out one of my works.
Cheers!

LAND OF BONES

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“A rising star in the genre!” – Ronald Malfi, author of BONE WHITE
“A vital part of this generation.” – Brian Keene, author THE RISING

Demon lights, granted wishes, strange things, and brutal love at the Lucky Lounge Motel. A haunted sister, desperate parents, a little human touch, and the end of the world…

These are the stories whispered among dead leaves, the script etched bare for all to see. When the chills sink deep and your heart begins to pound…are you alone?

Welcome to Glenn Rolfe’s LAND OF BONES
14 tales of the strange and macabre

 

THE WINDOW

What kind of demons await you tonight?

For Richie, life’s constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything he ever wanted.

When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father’s behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is Jame’s imagination getting the best of him?

Summer’s almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will James be able to save his father? Or is it already too late?

The Window holds the answers…and the key.

(Interview) Talking Horror with the New Kid in Town, Patrick Lacey.

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I came across Patrick Lacey in 2015. He was one of the new authors signing with Samhain Publishing.  I reached out and invited him to the Samhain Author Secret Club I’d started on Facebook.  He seemed cool. I read his novella, A Debt to be Paid, and found that he was also talented. I suddenly realized that I’d seen his name before. Looking through my bookshelf, I found that we’d published alongside one another in an anthology called, PAVOR NOCTURNUS: Dark fiction Anthology Vol. II.  He had a great story in there called, “Pen Pals”.

We  all know Samhain collapsed shortly after firing Don D’Auria. Lucky for us newer guys at the company, Sinister Grin Press was there to catch our fall.  Shortly after announcing that my latest (Chasing Ghosts) would be published by SGP, Lacey announced that they had also picked up his novel, DREAM WOODS.

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The book was originally signed by Samhain, but after they announced their intentions to close, they allowed a number of authors to retrieve the rights to the unpublished books.

Between the release of his Samhain novella, and Dream Woods, Lacey also put out an amazing collection of short stories (which you should go buy right now) titled, SLEEP PARALYSIS.

I’ve only known the guy for about a year, but it already feels much longer than that. So, let’s bring him in and poke at his brain. Let’s enter Lacey’s Dream Woods….

 

 

Glenn Rolfe: The first thing I noticed about this book was how much it felt like a lost Bentley Little book…hell, it could have been called, The Amusement Park. I know you’re a big Little fan. We’ve both mentioned how great we think his novel, The Store, is.  Do you feel like his fingerprints are on Dream Woods?

PATRICK LACEY: Oh man, there’s no denying it. For me, Little is one of the all-time masters and one of the few horror authors that consistently scares me. Some of his imagery is so odd, bizarre, so out there, that it gets under your skin in a way you can barely describe. I mean, this is a guy who wrote a short story about a farmer falling in love with a potato and managed to make me lose sleep. He’s a freaking genius. So I channeled my inner Little in some of the scenes within Dream Woods. I, too, like to take every day scenarios and make them seem just a bit off before ramping up the weirdness factor.  There’s a certain vending machine scene that I think/hope would make Mr. Little proud.

GR: There’s some punk rock going on within the characters. I know you play, did you have a band, and how much of what Vince and Audra are going through personally have you felt yourself. 

PL: For sure. I grew up north of Boston and there was a decent music scene in my little town. Lots of punk and hardcore and metal. I spent almost every weekend in high school going to shows and eventually playing at them with my own bands. As far as Vince versus Audra, I actually don’t fall into either category. Vince is an aging punk rocker who’s taken to adulthood completely, whereas Audra is pushing it off as much as possible. I’m still as immature as I was back in high school. I just hide it well. I also don’t think one has to become a slave to the system just because they have a full time job and turn thirty. Rock and roll knows no age.

GR: This story takes place at an amusement park, but within that, you get to play in a hotel setting, too.  I love hotel stories. Hotels seem to be among the most perfect playgrounds for horror writers. Did you find that to be true?

PL: There’s this book. I think it’s called The Shining? Kidding. Yes, hotels are breeding grounds for horror stories. Whenever I stay at one, I like to wander the halls at an hour that would make me seem quite creepy. I think about all people who have stayed there over the years and start to get the heebie jeebies. Plus, I always seem to wind up at a vending machine. Sensing a theme here.

GR: I loved that you really made sure to make each of the main characters decipherable from one another. Each faces their own personal demons or struggles. Did you spend a lot of time crafting each of them, or was it one of those things that just developed naturally during the writing process?

PL: Glad you found them decipherable! I’m not a big plotter but I do have an idea of my characters’ main issues when I start a book. That said, they often end up steering me in different directions. For instance, I didn’t know one of the Carter boys was going to be diabetic until I started typing away on his first chapter. His condition actually became a big part of the book and I started to run off with the idea of a theme park knowing your true fears.

GR: Dream Woods was originally supposed to be a Samhain Publishing title. How exciting was it to hook up with Sinister Grin Press?

PL: I was a huge fan of Sinister Grin before working with them and they were always on my list of dream (pun intended) publishers that I wanted to work with. They are great to work with and saved the day when something came up just prior to this book’s publication. I’m talking a real eleventh hour scenario. And I’ll be working with them again in the near future.*

GR: You got to attend your first Scares That Care this past summer. What were some of the highlights and takeaways for you? And you can skip Saturday night (if you want).

GR: Of course, I’ll skip over Saturday night. I mean, what kind of guy would I be if I mentioned the ten or so pitchers of beer that we split, or the countless karaoke videos I took of you, or one of us sleeping on a sidewalk. Anyway, it was the…best…con…ever. I got to meet so many awesome readers and writers and despite the debauchery, every single vendor and attendee is constantly aware of how amazing the charity is. My main takeaway, though, would be how delicious the hotel bar’s chicken wings were. #priorities

GR: Oh, the memories…all that beer…   Back to the interview. Which authors would you say have been a huge influence on you? Any that are under the radar?

PL: In addition to Bentley Little (did I already mention him?), there’s Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Stewart O’Nan, Graham Joyce, Elmore Leonard, Brian Keene, Richard Matheson, John Skipp, Sarah Langan, and Joe Lansdale for my formative years. For newer (relatively speaking, considering some of these folks have been at it for over a decade) peeps that are influencing me as we speak, you’ve got Paul Tremblay, Adam Cesare, Laird Barron, Kristopher Rufty, Jonathan Janz, Mercedes M. Yardley, Orrin Grey, Michael Weihunt, Aaron Dries…the list could go on forever. Also, this guy named Glenn something or other.

GR:  I know that guy! I also know you’re a scary movie guy. Do films play into your writing? If so, which ones and what aspects in particular do you feel find their way into your work?

PL: Maybe? I’ve had a plethora of people call my writing “cinematic” but I’m not good at self-analyzing my stuff. My favorite types of horror movies are those that bend reality. Think A Nightmare on Elm Street, Jacob’s Ladder, The Beyond, In the Mouth of Madness, etc. I definitely think they’re present in a lot of my work. I have a novel sitting with a publisher right now that’s my love letter to this type of story.

GR:  I loved Jacob’s Ladder. Very trippy!   Okay,  let’s do some rapid fire:

Best horror movie to watch: See above.  A Nightmare on Elm Street. Seen it more than any other film ever. It’s the first movie I remember watching and it never, under any circumstances, gets old.

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Favorite fancy beer: Belgian Strong Dark ale brewed with cinnamon, on oak chips with figs.

Favorite crappy beer: Gotta go with PBR. I mean it won a blue ribbon. Did you know that?

Favorite book to read in October: Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge is one of my favorite seasonal reads. It’s like Halloween Hunger Games. I wish I was reading it right this moment.

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Would you rather (Death Edition) …be hit by a bus or punched out of a helicopter: I hate to take the obvious route but I’d rather be attacked by two transformers that moonlight as a bus and helicopter, respectively. First, I’m riding the bus when it morphs into its robot counterpart, therefore crushing me within its robot bones. As I’m hurled out onto the street, with my last few dying breaths, I see a helicopter transform into its robot counterpart and guess what? Its fists? You guessed it. Both propellers. One punch and I’m all guts and gore strewn about. But like I said: obvious.

 

GR: Obvious?  Yep. What’s next for you? Books to read, book releases, conventions, podcasts?  Feel free to mention anything you want.

PL: Let’s see. I’m reading an ARC of Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allen Gunnells (to be released by Crystal Lake Publishing) and it’s great so far. For my next release, Sinister Grin will be putting out my second novel Darkness in Lynnwood. It’s a small town horror novel about a teenage cult and is the most personal book I’ve written yet. It may or may not have driven me to the brink of insanity several times during the writing process. That should be released early to mid-2017. Then for conventions, I’ll be at Rock and Shock this October 14th, 15th, and 16th, hawking my books alongside my pals Adam Cesare and Bracken McLeod. And you bet your ass I’ll be back at Scares That Care next year. In fact, I think I have a table with that Glenn guy I mentioned earlier.

GR:  Oh yeah…that’s going to be fun.  Anyways, thanks for stopping by, jerk. 

PL: It was my pleasure, bastard.

 

 

Follow Patrick’s Blog tour for DREAM WOODS below:

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Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #DreamWoods #ScreamWoods #PeskyBear

Dream Woods, Synopsis

  • Print Length: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Press
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2016

Follow your screams…

When Vince Carter takes a shortcut to work he notices a billboard that nearly sends him into an oncoming van.

The ad is for Dream Woods, New England’s answer to Disney World. It closed decades ago, but now that it’s back in business, Vince is eager to take his whole family, hoping the magic he remembers will save his failing marriage.

His wife, Audra, isn’t so sure. She’s heard the rumors of why the place closed. Murder. Sacrifice. Torture. But those are just urban legends. Surely there’s nothing evil about a family tourist attraction.

The Carters are about to discover that the park’s employees aren’t concerned with their guests’ enjoyment. They’re interested in something else. Something much more sinister.

Welcome to Scream Woods!

Patrick Lacey, Biography

Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian, his mustached cat, and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), or visit hiswebsite.

Praise for Patrick Lacey

“This collection has it all, showing the world that Lacey can write and do it well. From frightening, eerie, soul-stamping to funny and gross, this book has it all. The man’s imagination is incredible. A must read!!!!” – David Bernstein, author ofA Mixed Bag of Blood

“It’s a rare and joyful thing for me to read a book and realize I’m in the hands of an author who can go absolutely anywhere, who works without a formula and without a net. Such is the case with this stellar debut collection.” – Russell Coy, Amazon Review

“This fast-paced novella has terror on every page and will keep you searching the shadows in your home far more often than needed.” – Russell James, author of Q Island, on A Debt to Be Paid

Purchase Links

Amazon

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

The Haunted Halls: Cover Reveal and Pre-Order from Matt Shaw Publications

Thanks to Matt Shaw for bringing this novel back from the dead!  Near the end of 2015, I signed a contract with Samhain Publishing and Don D’Auria  to re-release my novel, The Haunted Halls. It was set to come out this November.  Don loved this book and said it was my best yet. You know how that story goes. Don was let go, Samhain imploded, and The Haunted Halls was set adrift. Lucky for me, Samhain gave me the rights back and I was free to shop it around again. The Haunted Halls is definitely my most vicious, uncomprimising novel to date. I got in touch with Matt Shaw, the king of uncomrimising British horror, and asked if he’d be interested in looking at adding my novel to his recent venture of taking on up ad coming authors. He read the manuscript, and here we are.

With cover art by Jason Lynch, I give you the new exclusive eBook edition of my terrifying hotel story, The Haunted Halls.

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The Bruton Inn, located outside of the small Maine city of Hollis Oaks, is home to something sinister. An icy presence has made its way from a dark past to the present day. Cold spots, shadows, and whispers permeate the halls, and guests are beginning to change.

For two front desk employees, the dark rumors are about to come to light. They call upon an urban shaman and his connection with the spirit world to dig up the truth. Will they be able to stand against this malevolent force? Or will they come face to face with something beyond their most frightful dreams.

Welcome to the Bruton Inn. The Ice Queen has arrived.

 

This will be an eBook exclusive with Matt Shaw Publications and releases September 3rd. You can pre-order your copy now for just 2.99 !  Get on it.  Buy Now

The Audio edition will be out later this year featuring the fantastic voice talents of Joe Hempel. I’m currently wokring on getting a print edition back into publication, as well.

Again, much thanks to Matt Shaw and to everyone who helped out with this book along the way.

Here’s some praise for The Haunted Halls:

“Creepy, darkly humorous, and absolutely terrifying – yet smart and intelligent, not to mention character driven, there’s a lot going on here that will appeal to the masses. Part Laymon, part King, complete Rolfe, this is a book that any horror fan needs to read. Essential.” -Stuart Keane, author of Cine and Grin 

“…a book that will proudly be displayed between John Skipp and Craig Spector’s seminal novel The Light at the End, and Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game. The Haunted Halls is a tremendous read that is hard to put down.” – Beneath the Underground

“The Bruton Inn is the scariest hotel I have read about since the Overlook…
Glenn Rolfe runs at the front of the pack with the best of today’s emerging horror authors.” –  Terry M. West, author of Heroin in the Magic Now and Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein

“Glenn Rolfe’s The Haunted Halls pulls out all the stops in delivering a blood-soaked, sexually charged spook show.” – Peter n. Dudar, author of A Requiem for Dead Flies

 

(Interview) Somer Canon Stops by To Discuss the Ingredients of her Delectable Debut Novella, Vicki Beautiful

Somer Canon is one of the fresh crop of authors who was set to make a big splash with Samhain Publishing over the next year and a half. She had a number of pieces contracted and scheduled for release and was on cloud nine gearing up for her dream come true.

2016, however, had other plans. Samhain announced that it was closing its doors and all of these contracts were evaporating. Overnight, the Somer’s sunshine was murdered by a cold, hard rain.

In the bleakness, Samhain did deliver on at least one of those contracts. Somer’s debut, a novella titled, Vicki Beautiful, managed to make it in line for the companies final releases.

For this rabid horror fan, seeing at least one of her babies hit the eBook scene was better than nothing. The novella about an interesting dinner party (I’ll say no more) among a  group of close friends (you can read my full review HERE) has been getting positive reviews and doing its part in sharing the promise of an up and coming talent in the horror world.

I got to chat with Ms. Canon about Vicki Beautiful, her influences, and the world of a girl that smiles while she dabbles in blood and mayhem..

Somer Canon

 

Glenn Rolfe: Hey, Somer!
First off, congratulations on getting Vicki Beautiful published! I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to give anything away, but damn, after the first quarter of the book, it totally becomes this dread-filled read. What in the world happened to you to make you write a piece like this?
Somer Canon: Thanks a bunch, Glenn! I’m still sort of stunned that I got this crazy little story published. This story came about because of this really messed up dream that I had about a fancy dinner party (you can guess what was on the menu). It sort of stuck in my head and I finally started trying to come up with how in the world a dinner party like that would happen. I sat down and wrote Vicki’s letter, her final letter, and the rest of the story filled out around that. I wanted to mess around with who actually gets victimized in this story and it’s not the umm…honored person, but rather the guests.

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GR: I could easily see this being made into an interesting movie. Any thoughts of trying to bring it to that medium?
SC: I’m actually hearing this a lot. I can see it. I’d love to see it made into a movie as long as the visuals are done in detail. Intricate detail. I have no idea how to go about getting it done, in all honesty. I’m just riding this roller coaster and trying to enjoy myself. It’s obviously so fleeting.

GR: Who are your early horror influences, and who are the authors who push you now?
SC: My mom and my grandma are big horror fans and I was never kept away from watching or reading horror as a kid. In today’s society they would be deemed horrible at child rearing, but I really got exposed to a lot of different things. My family were very low income and I had to rely on libraries and yard sale books to get my reading. I read a lot of horror paperbacks by so many authors, but really, Stephen King stuck with me not only because I loved his stories but he was also so available that it was impossible NOT to run into his stuff. I read a lot of Dean Koontz stuff as well, but I read a lot of books by authors I never ran into again and I really got a sense of different styles and tempo from that.
Who pushes me now? I love Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison because they have really written characters that stick with me. I fucking love their heroines for their flaws and self-doubt as well as the worlds that they build. Also, Damien Angelica Walters and Jonathan Janz are killing it right now. I find myself hoping that I never actually meet those two because I would dork out to such embarrassing depths that I’d never show my face in public again!

GR: My wife is afraid to read my stuff. She doesn’t want to see that far into my mind. Does your husband read your work?
SC: My husband does read my stuff, but he will sort of silently hand the manuscript back to me and not say anything for a while. He’s not the huge horror fan that I am, but he is still a fan. I think I just freak him out every now and then.

GR: You guys live in Pennsylvania. A lot of my horror friends seem to be lurking around there. Obviously, you have Brian Keene, but also guys like Todd Keisling, T.Fox Dunham, and Adam Cesare. That’s some great company. What’s going on there? Any great back road stories you want to share?
SC: First of all, I’m a hermit! I literally go weeks without leaving my house. I’d love to meet up with some of these people and talk shop! I go in to Philly a couple of times a year and I always secretly hope I’ll spot Adam around, and then I could be a creep and approach him, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. I actually might track down Keene on his book tour this summer, he’s swinging right by me. But really, I’m not native to this state. I’m West Virginian and although I haven’t lived there in about a decade and I have no desire to ever move back, I will always be a West Virginian. That, my friend, is a state that is deserving of a mythical horror reputation. It’s actually the setting of most of my writing.

GR: Unfortunately, you and I are guests on the Samhain Titanic. I know you had two more pieces signed with them. Have you received any word on those? Have you gotten your rights back yet? And has it affected your writing? I know some writers are pretty down, while others with us (like Mr. Patrick Lacey) seem to be on fire with new work. Where do you sit with all of it?
SC: I had a solid two week period of moping after we got the bad news of the publisher closing. 2015 was such a fantastic year for me because I had three book contracts signed and 2016 was full of the promise of a great start to a writing career. *cue sad trombone music* Not so much now. I got the rights back to my two unpublished contracted works and I’m tentatively asking around about getting them a new home.
I’d say my writing has been negatively impacted by this. Before, when there was more promise, I was much more motivated to sit and get the words out. Now, with all of the waiting required of us in the submission process, I have my days where I’m a little defeated. I try to fight it and carry on and I AM still writing, I’m just slower at it right now.

GR: I just bought my wife two new Jamie Oliver cook books for Mother’s Day. We both love his stuff. It seems appropriate, so I have to ask….do you cook? If so, what’s one of your favorite meals to make?
SC: I do cook! I actually used to have a food blog where I would share recipes and my new creations. This is hilarious to me now, considering this novella of mine. I love risotto and I roast a couple of chickens every month. I love to eat, so I had to learn to cook so that we could eat well while money was tight. I have a pretty sizable collection of cookbooks and recipes and I love trying new things as well as comforting myself with the good old standbys like my mom’s lasagna.

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GR: Mother of two boys? How the hell do you potty train these guys? I have two daughters and they seemed eager to want to use the potty. My son is a completely different story. Any tips?
SC: With my boys, I waited until they were three years-old before I started really training them. I know the books and super achievers say to start earlier, but I waited until they could hold a small but real conversation with me before I could expect them to understand what potty training entails. It’s messy, oh God it’s messy, but you’ll get there. And try not to blush too much when you have to show him how to do the shake-shake!

GR: Lastly, let’s do some rapid fire:

Beer or Wine?   Beer                                                             
Movie Night: Jaws or The Thing    Jaws

Jaws-anniversary-shark-paBetter Music: ‘80’s or ‘90’s    That’s terrible to ask me to choose! 

Better King adaptation: Christine or Misery?      Misery!

Somer’s Favorites:
Rock song: The House of the Rising Sun
Love song: The Very Thought of You
Rom-Com: I love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pairings.
Horror (you can list three on this one): House, Fright Night, and Friday the 13th.
Movie you love that no one in your house wants to watch: Alien: Resurrection. I’ve had actual fights over this movie, but I can’t help it. I love me some cheese.

GR: Thanks for taking the time to do this. Best of luck with Vicki Beautiful and the future!
SC: Thank you so much, Glenn!

Vicki Beautiful tour graphic

 

Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #VickiBeautiful #WhatsYourLastWish #OneLastTaste

What would you do for a friend? Check out Somer Canon’s debut work! Follow along the tour!

Vicki Beautiful, Synopsis

 

    • Publication Date: April 26, 2016

 

    • Publisher: Samhain
  • Novella

 

One last taste of perfection…

Sasha and Brynn descend upon the showplace home of their girlhood friend, Vicki, planning to celebrate her surviving cancer to reach her fortieth birthday. As they gather around Vicki’s perfectly set dinner table, though, her husband shares devastating news. The cancer is back, and she doesn’t have long to live.

Her life is cut even shorter than Sasha and Brynn expect—the next morning, their friend is found dead, her flawless skin slit at the wrists. But a tub full of blood is only the beginning. Before the weekend is through, they are forced to question how far they’re willing to go to fulfill Vicki’s last wish.

A very specific, very detailed recipe that only the truest of friends could stomach…

Biography

Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of
being found out as a weirdo.  When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.

Vicki Beautiful is her debut novella.

Find out more about Somer and her upcoming works at her websitehttp://www.somercanon.com. You can also connect with Somer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SomerM.

Praise for Vicki Beautiful

“ I read this at one gripping session and I shall read more by this author. Excellent, original and worth every one of my five stars.” –Catherine Cavendish, Author of The Devil’s Serenade

“At times it reminded me of the cult classic “Eating Raoul” and others “The Big Chill”. Suffice to say, Canon has created an intriguing tale that will not only have you caring about characters put into an awkward, unsettling situation but also wondering how they’ll react to it every step of the way. I highly recommend this unique and entertaining story.”
–Matthew Franks, Author The Monster Underneath

“This is not the normal type of book that I would read, but the cover sold it to me, and I like reading new authors and genres. This book is beautifully written, the writing flows and you feel you really understand what the character’s are feeling…” Rebecca, GoodReads Reviewer

“The ending of this story was truly horrific. I am an old school horror fan, and have been indulging in the genre since I was old enough to hold a book. I also adore and enjoy the sub-genre splatterpunk, I read Jack Ketchum as a bedside book all the time. It takes a lot to phase me, but even I was turning my head in repulsion at the end. What a wonderful debut story for Somer Canon.”
–Badseedgirl, GoodReads Reviewer

“A simple story, but all the more powerful for its simplicity. Four stars. The author has guts and skill.” –Outlaw Poet

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

Want to Feature Somer Canon?

If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Somer Canon, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media:hookofabook@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

Update City: Samhain’s Horror Hangout and More News

Just a few updates for you.

Tuesday night Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters) , JG Faherty (The Cure), and I , participated in a Facebook Hangout for Samhain. We answered questions and talked beer and writing and other cool things….Anyways, it was a lot of fun and I wanted to thank all my buds and new  friends that stopped by and said hello.  It was a strange situation with all that’s going on with Samhain Publishing, but it turned out really well. Thanks to Lauren for her work in making this happen and running the thing.  🙂

The hangout, with all of our Q and A and comments is still up and available for you guys to look through. Just be sure to click on “Discussions” and feel free to scroll through and read all the fun stuff.  Also, if you missed the party and have any questions for any of us, just ask away on the page and be sure to tag us in your question.

Click below to get the direct link to the Hangout

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SAMHAIN HORROR HANGOUT w/ KIRK, FAHERTY, and ROLFE

 

In writing news....

I finished the first draft of my next novel, WINDOW, and will get started on edits and revisions next weekend.

We should have a cover reveal in the next couple weeks for the eBook re-release of my first novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (Matt Shaw Publications, September 2016). It is gorgeous and once again reunites me with artist, Jason Lynch. We’ll have the pre-sale/pre-order up with the reveal. Stay tuned!

In other Haunted Halls news: The audio book is sign with voive talent, Joe Hempel (Adam Cesare-Tribesmen) and I’m currently talking with other indie pubs about the rights to the print editions. I’ll keep you posted.

You can find Jason Lynh’s artwork here: J. Lynch Graphics

Lastly,  Matt Shaw has made a nifty little page on his website highlighting the (set of freaks I’m proud to be hanging with ) authors that he’s publishing these days.

Check out all the rad mother lovers here:  MATT SHAW PUBLICATIONS: CLIENTS

 

 

 

 

(Share the Horror Interview) David Bernstein stops in to discuss a Mixed Bag of Blood and more

david bernstein

David Bernstein is one of the hardest working, ass kicking, most likeable horror authors in our business. He’s armed with a crazy amount of originality and fearlessness. He’s uber-talented and more motivated by his craft than anyone I know.

His latest release, his short story collection, A Mixed Bag of Blood (Sinister Grin Press, 2016), is an excellent collection and perfect platform to showcase his immense talents and wild imagination. Check out my review:  A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD

We recently got a chance to chat…check it out.

 

Glenn Rolfe: Hey David, thanks for doing this.

Let’s start off with A Mixed Bag of Blood. Great title and totally appropriate. You bring the crimson pain when you need to, and I love that these stories vary from one another quite a bit. A truly nice mix.  What got you wanting to do the collection? Were these tales hanging around or did you pound out 10 shorts with this in mind?  

DAVID BERNSTEIN:  The collection came about after John Foley—the short fiction and novella acquisitions editor for Thunderstorm Books at the time—contacted me. He’d read some of my work and asked if I had a novella or enough short stories to put together a collection for possible publication with Thunderstorm Books. Since I had a number of previously published shorts over the years, many having only seen print before the e-book explosion, I put together the collection. I purposely wanted something that might appeal to a wide audience. Something for everyone. They liked it and I was thrilled to get my stories out there and published with such a great company. Then, Sinister Grin Press published the paperback and e-book and added an introduction by Kristopher Rufty. Both covers complement each other wonderfully too!

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GR: I loved a number of them. Eaten Un-Alive and Samurai Zombie Killer come to mind. Can you take me through those two a bit?  What inspired them, what past mind warps may have stuck them in that brain of yours? 

DB:: Eaten Un-Alive had been sitting on my computer’s hard drive for four years before it finally found a home in Scarlett Galeon’s anthology Dead Harvest. I had written it at a time when the zombie genre was exploding. I wrote and published a number of zombie tales and wanted to mix up genres. What if vampires existed and a zombie apocalypse wiped out their food supply? But I had nowhere to publish it so it sat collecting dust. Anthologies either wanted zombie-only tales or vampire-only tales or no zombies, vampires, or werewolves at all, so it sat. Then one day I was contacted by Mark Parker who was putting together the excellent Dead Harvest Anthology, and I sent him Eaten Un-Alive since it takes place in the country. Lucky for me he liked it so it finally found a home.

As far as Samuari Zombie Killer . . . I’ve always loved watching Kung Fu movies—the Shaw Brothers films being my favorite—and ninja movies like Revenge of the Ninja, Prey for Death, and American Ninja. I also studied martial arts for years—Karate, Aikido, Kung Fu, and Tai Chi. After writing a number of “regular” zombie stories I came across an anthology call looking for historical zombie stories. So I started with a Samurai and that’s how the story came to be.

GR: Were there any specific collection by another author that you love? And maybe you can give us some of your favorite short stories by other authors.  

DB: I’ve read so many anthologies over the years it’s really difficult to say. I would read any antho or short story collection that contained stories from Leisure authors. Besides that, I think some of my favorites are the Dark Delicacies anthologies, anything by King. I studied Thomas Mann, Raymond Carver, Phillip Roth and a slew of others. As an English major, I read a ton of short stories.

GR: You work for so many publishers. How does Sinister Grin compare to the others. Is there anything they do specifically that makes you smile when you get to work with them?  

DB: I consider myself very lucky. I haven’t had a bad situation with a publisher yet. Well, the Samhain thing is happening, but it’s too early to really go one way or another with that. As far as Sinister Grin, they’ve been all I could ask for and more. They are so accommodating. Communication is super fast. They make sure the author is not just satisfied but happy and fulfilled. They really make me feel like they want me with them. Their editing is wonderful and their artwork is top-notch quality. I’d say if someone has the chance to work with them, go for it. You will thank me later.

GR: I interviewed Krist Rufty. Even he is intimidated by your massive output.  That’s some serious writing machine shit. What is your typical work week like when it comes to writing and work. Do you go to the day job and then hit the notebook after dinner? Does Sandy get you at knife point and demand you get to it?  

DB: I have my day job Mon-Fri, and I’m fortunate that I can write a lot during it. I also write at home before work, but not as much as I used to since I can write at work. I get home around 12:15 a.m. so I watch TV and spend time with Sandy then. I don’t write on weekends except for maybe a little on Sunday morning. I was struggling for a while a few months ago. My output was small. I spent time writing short stories for anthos and after seeing A Mixed Bag of Blood come to fruition it got my juices flowing again. Sandy has been super supportive, always making sure I get my writing done, and she always makes sure to proofread and edit my work. Damn I scored big in the partner department!

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GR:I’m working my way (slowly) through your back catalog (which sounds funny since you haven’t been writing all that long). Goblins really stands out for me. Like your short stories, the characters are engaging instantly, and your imagination, man, it’s impressive. Where did Goblins come from and how much frigging fun was this one to write?  

DB: One day I got the idea that I wanted to write a book about trolls or goblins, but not in the typical fantasy genre. I’ve always loved Dungeons and Dragons books, games and movies, as well as other fantasy novels—Drizzt books being my favorite. So let’s use traditional fantasy creatures in a strictly horror novel. I wrote a synopsis involving a troll but it was all over the place and complicated, so I moved on to Goblins. I wanted to write something scary involving fierce, small creatures. Nasty critters. But how to make it different? I’ve always loved the whole Roanoke story and figured hey, why not go there? So I did some investigating and what would you know—it was goblins that caused all the chaos! With Goblins I decided it was going to be simply a fun, gory monster book and I hope I succeeded at that!

GR: Out of the works you have out there right now, do you appreciate or have a warm fuzzy feeling for one or two more than the others? Obviously, you love them all, but is there a couple that make you smile wide? 

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DB: I love all my children equally! But if I was forced to choose . . . I’d say Amongst the Dead and Witch Island. Amongst the Dead because it’s a coming of age tale and an adventure. I love those types of tales best. I really connected with the main character Riley. Witch Island because I love the slasher genre and it entails a mix of shows I watch. Witch Island is like Pretty Little Liars meets Friday the 13th meets Fallen. I could sit and watch the most simplistic slasher film and never be bored. It was a lot of fun to write.

GR: I will be attending Scares That Care III with you and some of our Samhain brethren in July. That should be a blast. Anything you’re looking forward to there? Anyone you can’t wait to meet? 

DB: I’m truly looking forward to meeting readers and meeting up with friends. Last year was a lot of fun. It’s great just talking with everyone. Whenever I get together with like-minded writers anything can happen and the fun never stops—until Sunday. Then it’s like a tire deflating. Ugh, the ride home. But I’m looking forward to meeting so many of the guests, including William Zabka, William B. Davis, and Bob Gunton to name a few.

GR: Obviously we’re on a wait and see mission with The Blue Demon…we won’t go there. What else is in the pipeline right now?  

DB: Let’s hope that goes well for us. Moving on . . . Episodes of Violence is a novel coming out from Sinister Grin Press. It’s a revenge tale that deals with a group of really bad teens that have turned mailbox baseball into human baseball as they drive around with machetes, bats, axes, crossbows, etc. trying to take out joggers, bicyclists, and the like. Then there’s Retch coming from Bizarro Pulp Press, a novella about a man who is cursed to puke every time he has sex. The Sludge is a long novella coming from Great Old Ones Publishing. It’s B-movie material and involves a bank robbery, campers, a National Forest in Montana, toxic waste being dumped, and a monster. It’s got everything.

GR:Thanks again for sitting down with me, sir.

DB: It was my pleasure.

 

A Mixed Bag of Blood synopsis

  • Print Length: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2016

From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person’s nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing, and the consequences of one man’s night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

This is a Mixed Bag of Blood.

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 A Mixed Bag of Blood

 

“Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you’ll want to read. With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did.” –Cat After Dark
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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