Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion No. 15

Chances are, you've never heard of Hadoth Creek.

Henry Bickleworth certainly wasn't familiar with the isolated community situated on a dirt road in rural north Florida - not until an unfortunate detour forced him to meet some of the town's eccentric residents.

I invite you to join Bickleworth on his journey as he discovers Hadoth Creek's unconventional past and comes face to face with the unsettling secrets and ancient horrors found there.

"Jars in the Cellar," a 6,125-word short story, has been published by Damnation Books. If you like weird yarns with a Lovecraftian slant, I hope you will consider purchasing the story.

Movie Review: Red Cliff

Armchair historians, strategy game buffs and those who enjoy spectacular cinematic epics will love John Woo's Red Cliff - assuming, that is, they can find it playing at a theater without having to drive 500 miles.

Rival warlords Liu Bei and Sun Quan form an alliance to confront the power-hungry general Cao Cao, who is determined to annex both their territories. My introduction to these historical figures happens to go back to the early 1990s when I became addicted to a Nintendo game called Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Anyone who played this - or any other strategy game based on this conflict - will find the film intriguing.

For more information, check out my review at Tampa Bay Newspapers:
… Visually stunning, Woo delivers a spectacular masterpiece combining dazzling landscapes, larger-than-life battlefield scenarios and mesmerizing diplomatic and tactical sequences that showcase the art of subtlety ...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion No. 14

The Anthology of Dark Wisdom: The Best of Dark Fiction is now available from Elder Signs Press. Editor William Jones has selected some of the most horrifying and fantastical tales from the eponymous magazine along with previously unpublished works and award-winning short stories. As the publisher reports on its website, these tales "fearlessly venture into the hidden world of the supernatural, where strange creatures stalk the night and eldritch investigators search for the unknown."

The collection includes my short story "Plague of Fire" along with works by Peter Straub, Alan Dean Foster, Tom Piccirilli, John Pelan, Richard A. Lupoff, John Shirley, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Wendy Leeds, Gerard Houarner, Chirstopher Welch, Sam W. Anderson, C.J. Henderson, Paul Melniczek, Richard Wright, Deanna Hoak, Christopher T. Leland, Bruce Boston, Lee Ballentine, Sherry Decker, Gene O’Neill, James Argendeli, Patricia Lee Macomber, David Niall Wilson, Christian Klaver, Tim Curran, Neddal Ayad and Rachel Gray.

To tempt discerning readers into ordering a copy for the holidays, following is a brief excerpt from my story:

"Outside, the twilight shuddered with bursts of sporadic lightning. Spidery bolts erupted from beyond the horizon, scattered across the sky and invaded Obaid’s apartment in flashes of crimson and blue. The thunder growled with the whisper of the hidden horrors.

A pack of tormented sirens howled through the dusk, scrambling toward a dull, red glow smoldering in the besieged Florida night. Obaid temporarily abandoned his studies and peered through the breach in the curtains covering the window. In the distance, some vast conflagration illuminated the sky, reminding him of burning oil rigs in the desert."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion No. 13

To read my story "Newfound Gap," check out the anthology Grants Pass, recently published by Morrigan Books.

Within, you'll find some excellent end-of-the-world fiction revolving around a central theme: In each of the tales, survivors struggle to reach Grants Pass, Oregon, rumored to be the last bastion of civilization. Grants Pass was edited by Jennifer Brozek and Amanda Pillar.

In addition to my contribution, this collection features the work of Kayley Allard, Scott Almes, Jennifer Brozek, Ivan Ewert, Ed Greenwood, Stephanie Gunn, Carole Johnstone, Pete Kempshall, Jay Lake, Martin Livings, Seanan McGuire, Shannon Page, Jeff Parish, Amanda Pillar, Cherie Priest, James M. Sullivan and KV Taylor.

In his review on HorrorScope, Chuck McKenzie calls Grants Pass "a remarkable, disturbing, and worthwhile read, and one that is likely to stay with the reader for some time to come."

In another review, posted on LiveJournal, the reviewer wrote "I’ve only held onto one anthology for more than a year in my entire life. Grants Pass will make it two."

Yet another LiveJournal reviewer wrote specifically about my story, "Newfound Gap," saying it "had me with hope, that desperate kind which pushes people forward. Sometimes that drive pays off and sometimes it doesn't. My need for Kleenex was based out of one of those two ends. I'll let you read the story and find out which."

There are several positive reviews posted on the Goodreads website, too.

Grants Pass may be purchased online at the Morrigan Books website.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion No. 12

Within the pages of the June 2009 issue of Aoife's Kiss is my short fantasy story "Three Coins and the Sword of Mingus."

Aoife's Kiss, edited by Tyree Campbell, is one of many excellent products crafted by Sam's Dot Publishing. This particular issue also features stories by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Lawrence R. Dagstine and many others; as well more than a dozen poems, including works by Bruce Boston, Marge B. Simon and s.c. virtes.

For information about Aoife's Kiss and other magazines, anthologies and chapbooks, vist Sam's Dot Publishing.

Shameless Self Promotion No. 11

Since I am catching up on posting recent publications this evening, let me introduce you to Morpheus Tales, Issue 3, which includes a reprint of my short story "Alone in the Cataloochee Valley."

Based in London, Morpheus Tales is a magazine of horror, science fiction and fantasy, edited by Adam Bradley. Issue 3 was released in January and includes about 10 short stories including excellent tales by Ken Goldman and Joseph McGee. There also is an interview with Michael Laimo.

To order a copy of Morpheus Tales, visit the publication's website today!

Shameless Self Promotion No. 10

This issue of Strange Sorcery, edited by Steve Lines and John B. Ford, actually came out in the summer of 2008. I received my copy late due to a minor clerical error.

Included in this issue is "The High Priest of Turmiz," a short fantasy story I wrote years ago in the tradition of classic Weird Tales era pulp authors. It recounts the legend of necromancer Ak Khun Khan, and a reformer's attempt to exterminate his legacy.

Also featured in this issue are tales by Ron Shiflet and Scotch Carson, as well as poetry by Franklyn Searight.

This and other titles are available online from Rainfall Books.

Review - The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

I recently became a minion (reviewer), serving She Never Slept, a wonderful online source for science fiction, strange tales and horror news and reviews. There, you can read my review of The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, by Max Brooks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'Zombieland' review posted at TBN

Fleischer, Harrelson make zombie-killin’ fun


Directed by Ruben Fleischer, “Zombieland” is Hollywood’s attempt to capture some of the macabre humor exhibited in the brilliant 2004 British zombie comedy “Shaun of the Dead.”


Friday, May 29, 2009

Review - Potter's Field 3

Everyone who chances upon this blog post should immediately venture forth and read my review of Potter's Field 3, for two reasons. First, it's a great anthology ... handsome, full of scary stories and nicely priced. It's available through Sam's Dot Publishing. If you're a fan of speculative fiction and you are not familiar with this publisher - you should be.

Reason No. 2 is more self-serving. I was recently informed that the Literary News section of Tampa Bay Newspapers is in danger of being discontinued due to low traffic. Furthermore, it was suggested that people aren't reading as much anymore. For some time, book reviews in the printed editions of Tampa Bay Newspapers' weeklies have been rare. Many daily newspapers also have transplanted their book review sections to the Internet or have eliminated them altogether.

I find the trend discouraging, particularly because book reviewers have the ability to take books like Potter's Field 3 and introduce them to a broader audience. While I do review mainstream books from big publishing houses, I prefer to balance that with titles from lesser known companies - books by authors and editors whose skill and dedication rival bestselling literary figures but whose works have not yet reached the peak audience.

So, I'm hoping that some of those devoted readers - who aren't reading as much anymore - will take a moment to check out the Literary News section at Tampa Bay Newspapers, or visit their own hometown newspaper to see what their own local book reviewer is recommending these days.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion No. 9

Edited by Thomas Brannon and John Sunseri, Cthulhu Unbound is now available from Permuted Press.

Cthulhu Unbound is the first volume in a two-volume set of anthologies focusing on genre-blending Cthulhu Mythos tales. My story, "The Hindenberg Manifesto," is presented in this fine collection. Set in 1937, the tale mixes historical events, sinister spies and secret societies as a clandestine American organization tries to recover crucial, encrypted information smuggled out of Germany by an opponent of Hitler's Nazi regime.

From the publisher's description of the book:

Welcome to a place where bleak noir cityscapes share a Technicolor sky with combat fighters, where you can find gunslingers from the Old West and a lost chapter from a literary classic, all with something in common: Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. This is a place where the Crawling Chaos has to solve his own murder and the Old Ones come up against the Gods of Las Vegas, a place where the new player in London's underground isn't human and masked heroes go toe-to-tentacle with eldritch horrors.

Other authors included in this volume are Linda L. Donahue, Trent Roman, Kevin Lauderdale, Doug Goodman, Bennet Reilly, Dr. Kim Paffenroth, Steven Michael Graham, D.L. Snell, Lisa Hilton, Rick Moore, Ben Thomas, John Goodrich, John Claude Smith and C.J. Henderson.

That should serve to whet your appetite for what is being called one of the best Cthulhu Mythos collections in years. Visit the Book Store at Permuted Press or purchase a copy at, Horror Mall, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's Books.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recent Acquisitions No. 2

Ever searching for fine reading material to add to the overflowing shelves in my personal library, I recently visited a used bookstore on Madeira Beach aptly named Books to the Ceiling. I slowly made my way back to the back corner of the store, to the crowded shelves where all the science fiction and horror books had taken up residence as if exiled by the much larger mainstream fiction section.

Now, the books are generally arranged alphabetically by author's last name ... at least, that seems the intention of the store's proprietor and the various underlings who try to keep chaos from overwhelming the inventory. That said, the stacks of books do in fact reach the ceiling in certain places. Likewise, there are books neatly collected in piles on the floor in some areas.

That happens to be where I discovered a little treasure trove of 1970s speculative fiction periodicals. There were probably between 20 or 25 of them, and I picked through them and selected five or six that seemed most interesting to add to my collection. These are nice reading copies, nowhere near mint condition, but lovingly cared for by their previous owner(s).

Among them are the two pictured: the January 1976 issue of Galaxy, featuring fiction by Joanna Russ, Spider Robinson and Steven Utley; and the August 1972 issue of Fantastic Science Fiction & Fantasy Stories, featuring fiction by Avram Davidson, James Tiptree Jr. and Barry N. Malzberg as well as what I presume is the first publication of the Conan novella "The Witch of the Mists" by L. Sprague deCamp and Lin Carter.

The magazines, by the way, were priced at less than $1 each - cheap as chips!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion No. 8

A truly transformational tale, my short story "The Noble Thing" appears in the new issue of Cemetery Moon, a quarterly, digest-sized magazine produced by Fortress Publishing Inc. The issue boasts a slick, glossy cover and some great fiction by the likes of Wayne Summers, Natasha Bennett, John B. Rosenmen and Sarah Terzo, among others. The cover art, "Bloodlust," was created by digital artist Emily Heatherly whose dark, surreal work is showcased in an online gallery.

Shameless Self Promotion No. 7

Hadrosaur Productions has just released Tales of the Talisman, Volume IV, Issue 4, which includes my short story "When Time Slips," a tale with a classic Twilight Zone feel to it. The issue also features fiction by J Alan Erwine, Mike Allen, Janni Lee Simmer, Jim Chandler, K.S. Hardy, Jim Lee and others; as well as poetry by Jennifer Crow, Lawrence Barker, Marcy Lynn Tentchoff, Christina Sng and others. Sng, whose poetry has earned several honorable mentions in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, has been on a kind of hiatus of late so it's good to see her work popping up again.

I teamed up with Tales of the Talisman editor David Lee Summers last year to put together a collection of tasty vampire short stories called Blood Sampler: Subtle Sips & Spicy Shots. It is still available through Sam's Dot Publishing and the Genre Mall.

Earlier this year, Summers released his fifth novel, The Solar Sea, which tells the tale of humanity's first voyage to Jupiter and Saturn.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review - Star Trek: Countdown

Tampa Bay Newspapers
has posted my review of IDW Publishing's Star Trek: Countdown. The 104-page trade paperback collects the four-issue series produced this year in anticipation of J.J. Abrams' blockbuster Star Trek.

From my review:
... Star Trek: Countdown mainly provides a tidy study of the Romulan Nero, outlining the inspiration for his malice and the atrocities he will commit. For those who read it before going to see Abrams’ much-praised reboot of the franchise, the comic book may as well be called Star Trek: Spoiler Alert ... read more.

Shameless Self Promotion No. 6

Barbara Custer, editor of Night to Dawn magazine, was kind enough to reprint my review of Octavia Butler's Fledgling recently. Appearing in Night to Dawn, Issue 14, the review is just one reason to check out this vampire-themed publication. Also appearing in the issue is fiction by Tom Johnson, Angeline Hawkes, Wayne Summers and Caroline Bernard-Smith; poetry by John Grey, William Blake Vogel III and Cathy Buburuz; and artwork by Buburuz, Marge Simon and Chris Friend.

I have long been a fan of Chris Friend's illustrations, incidentally. I probably first became acquainted with his work in the pages of magazines like Deathrealm, Black Petals and Dreams and Nightmares. To wonder at the weirdness of his work, visit his web gallery.

Shameless Self Promotion No. 5

Admittedly, some time has passed since my last post to this blog ... but I am committed to getting back on track. For starters, I have a short stack of publications I need to report. I don't just list these to fulfill an inner need to glorify myself, you know ... the idea is attract attention to these fine magazines and anthologies in hopes of increasing sales.

With that in mind, I submit for your approval Thrilling Tales of Fantastic Adventure, Issue 4, available through Rainfall Books. This issue contains three "uncanny, exciting and mysterious" stories including "The Garden Fortress" by David Conyers, "There Was a Rocket" by Pierre Comtois and my contribution, a short story called "Cracks" which happens to be the first piece of fiction I sold back in 1991, reprinted here for the first time since its debut in Nocturnal Lyric, Issue 28, 1992.