Top Reads of 2016 (So far).

Wow, how is it July 1st already?

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

Novels

9. THE MONSTER UNDERNEATH– Matthew Franks

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

8. THE COMPLEX by Brian Keene

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

7. CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Jonathan Janz

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

6. MAYAN BLUE by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason

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

5. THEY RISE by Hunter Shea

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

4. PRINCE OF NIGHTMARES by John McNee

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

3. NORTHWOODS by Bill Schweigart

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

2. DESOLATION by Kristopher Rufty

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

1. MONGRELS by Stephen Graham Jones

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

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

WOMAN IN WHITE by Kristin Dearborn

VICKI BEAUTIFUL by Somer Canon

THE WINTER BOX by Tim Waggoner

and FLESH AND FIRE by Lucas Mangum

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

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

 

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

 

CHEERS!

-GR

 

 

Best of… and close calls, Plus WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN.

Yep. Blood and Rain made some Best Of lists. And Abram’s Bridge and Boom Town also sneak in there!

Top 5 Confessions of a Reviewer!

Top 10 Horror Maiden Reviews

Top 3 Beneath the Underground

Honorable Mention Hunter Shea

Top 10 Scarlet’s Web Book Reviews

Top 10 Paul from Horror After Dark

Top 2  The Mouths of Madness podcast

Top 5 THE EXAMINER

Russell Coy also listed Abram’s Bridge in his top 10 reads of 2015. Thanks, Russell!

I started the year off with some great support for Blood and Rain from people I’ve admired like Ronald Malfi and Nate Kenyon, then I got judo chopped by Publisher’s Weekly….and finally, to see it make so many of these lists…It’s an amazing feeling. Thank you all for the love, the time, and the effort you’ve each made in supporting and promoting my work.

Turning to the future….

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“Where Nightmares Begin is an excellent collection of harrowing and terrifying tales that clearly show Rolfe knows horror! A MUST read for any horror fan!” –David Bernstein, author of Goblins and Witch Island

“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods… small town horror is back, with a vengeance!”–Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock,Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

COMING  MARCH 8th  FROM SAMHAIN HORROR.

Boom Town is an alien invasion novel with teeth…blue, gelatinous teeth, to  be exact. Rolfe weaves a wonderful tale of big, bad things happening to a small, good town. A sure winner!” -Hunter Shea, Author of The Montauk Monster andTortures of the Damned

“Glenn Rolfe’s writing is a breath of fresh air, followed by a jolt of adrenaline.” – Iain Rob Wright, author of The Final Winter

“Rolfe is the real deal, folks, and anything he writes is well worth checking out.” – Gord Rollo, author The Jigsaw Man and The Crucifixion Experiments

THINGS WE FEAR is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of THE WAY OF ALL FLESH and THE LAST MILE

“…Through written word or poetry in motion Glenn Rolfe’s supernatural soiree is a bona fide thrill ride for the ages.” – Horrornews.net on Abram’s Bridge

“(Abram’s Bridge is) literary horror at its best!” – Mallory Heart Reviews

 

Features all three of my eBook novellas for Samhain (Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and Things We Fear) in one print book!

 

Check the link below for more info.

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5780/where-nightmares-begin

 

 

 

THINGS WE FEAR Praise from a Brilliant Author–Tim Waggoner

THINGS WE FEAR is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of THE WAY OF ALL FLESH

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THINGS WE FEAR will be part of my Samhain Horror Print novella collection, WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN.  Both the eBook and the Print collection come out in March.

 

Tim Waggoner is one of many gifted authors out there today. His works have been published by way too many publishers to list, which speaks volumes of his talent. I am honored that he would make time in his busy teaching and writing schedule to fit in an early read of one of my stories.

Thank you, Tim.

TIM

Tim Waggoner writes fantasy and horror for both adults and young readers. He also teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program.

 

 

 

Tim tackles so many different areas with his writing. From young adult to fan fiction (Grimm and Supernatural) to out-right scary as hell horror.

Click on the covers below to check out just a few of his works.

Find out all you need to know about Mr. Waggoner and his fiction at:

TimWaggoner.com

TIMM

 

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You can find THINGS WE FEAR on GoodReads or Samhainpublishing.com

or Pre-Order it today at Amazon.com

 

This song would be on the soundtrack if it had one:

A 2015 Highlight: My 3 Releases with Samhain Publishing

Beginning in January with the release of my novella, Abram’s Bridge, following that up with April’s horror/sci-fi novella, Boom Town, and concluding with my first full novel, Blood and Rain, 2015 was a great year for my writing on a professional level.

It was an amazing feeling each time out and I have a lot of people to thank for it all:

My wife, Meghan, and our babies (Ruby, Ramona, and Axl). They give me the space I need when I need to finish up an important piece or meet editing deadlines. They also howl with me and celebrate each acceptance and cover art reveal.  They rule!

Also to Erin (my friend, publicist, and pre-editor), her husband, Tim, and Oh for the Hook of a Book! Erin, you are my BASF (and eighties and early nineties reference) you make what I do better. You bust your hump setting up tours, keeping dates straight, giving me ideas about what the hell to write a post about next, and so much more. Thank you. And I will send anyone who needs help your way.

To Don D’Auria for believing in these stories and taking a chance on me. Can’t wait to work with you again wherever that may be.

To the Samhain team (Tanya, Kaitlyn, Jacob, Lauren, Matthew, Christina, and everyone in-house that I don’t get to chat with regularly). You guys work hard and answer the call whenever I reach out (even at the last minute).

To all my fellow Samhain authors for their support, friendship, and advice, to all my readers and reviewers who made time for my work, and to anyone who shared a post, a tweet, or mentioned me to a friend….thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

I also want to say a special thanks to  Ronald Malfi, Nate Kenyon, Adam Cesare, Gord Rollo, Catherine Cavendish, David Bernstein, Russell James, Tim Waggoner, and Hunter Shea for taking time out of their crazy writing schedules to read and blurb my work. Some of you have read each piece, some only Blood and Rain, I thank you for each and every minute, hour, and word.

May 2016 be a great year for you all.

Stay Tuned!

-GR

 

Horror Hound Weekend–Cincinnati, 2015

Where the heck do I start? Horror Hound Weekend was AMAZING! It was my first time attending as a part of the Samhain Family (my first time attending at all). I was floored to meet a bunch people I’d never talked to face-to-face, but harass constantly online. People like Adam Cesare, Jonathan Janz, and Matt Manochio, and the ladies of the Samhain office: Kaitlyn and Tonya. And two of my favorite readers to jaw with: Joe Hempel and Duane Mincel. I got to catch up with some of the guys I’d met before: Russell James and Tim Waggoner. I also made a bunch of new author and reader friends. Oh, and did I mention that I met The Greatest American Hero????? Yeah, it was pretty freaking rad.

Being at the Samhain vendor booth was a lot of fun. Watching Jacob scramble back and forth with a giant grin, listening to Adam grab every possible reader that came by and getting them to consider one (or each) of his three titles, listening to Matt’s perfected pitch for his fantastic Krampus novel, The Dark Servant, jabbering to my closest neighbor, Brian Pinkerton, and serenading him with the hits of Micheal Bolton and Richard Marx, selling some of my favorite Samhain titles when I saw the opportunity (Janz’s Dust Devils, Cesare’s The Summer Job, Everson’s The Family Tree). I also helped sell a couole novels I haven’t gotten to read yet (Pinkerton’s Anotomy of Evil, and Mark Rigney’s Check Out Time).

The hardest part for me was pushing my eBook novellas (Abram’s Bridge and Boom Town). A lot of people said,  “I only read real books”. I took it in stride and only pushed my works on the Kindle/ Nook crowds (surprisingly, a lot of the Sunday crowd were Kindle-friendly!).

When I wasn’t at the booth helping out or talking shop (or Bolton/Marx), I managed to venture around to help spread the word about my works. I found the food room (don’t they call that a cafeteria?) to be a terrific place to make new friends and talk books. I brought the remaining copies of my first noel (The Haunted Halls) with me and ended up handing out and signing them to some pretty eager to read people. I also got some positive vibes back from people when I pitched the novellas. Shared some Greatest American Hero love with my two new buds, Bryan and Angela, and hopefully they’ll try some of my horror stories. I also participated in two interviews while I was there. I will share the links as soon as I have them. All good things.

I’d say four of my favorite HHW moments were:

Meeting up with Tonya, Kaitlyn, and Lauren for our pre-Con Samhain Marketing meeting. So many cool ideas were discussed. I have total faith in this team and think we are going to bring Samhain Horror to a whole new level (of confidence and power).

When the kids I met down in the cafeteria (Raul, Kat, and Kat’s brother) came up to the booth the following day and had me sign a copy of The Haunted Halls…that was soooo cool!

Meeting William Katt and totally going full retard (and we all know, you never go full retard) in front of him. I ended up getting out “you were my childhood hero”, “My mom made me a doll of you”.  He was still so cool and helped me get through my star struck moment. Still my hero!

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Sunday finished by helping Adam sell out The Summer Job and catching a couple beers with him after we closed out. We talked all kinds of shop, business, Stephen King, and much more. Adam, thanks for the conversation and the PBR’s!

What did I forget? Oh yeah, DAMN! Ron Simmons is the best salesman of all time! I got close enough to his signing table that this happened:

20150320_180921I will definitely be at HHW Indy in September!  Until then, here are some more photos….enjoy!

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For Brian Pinkerton, and to all of my new friends….