Tag Archives: Horror

Swan Song by Robert McCammon (Book Covers I Like)

This was one of the first small press Limited Edition books I ever saw as a kid and I was instantly hooked:

Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Dark Harvest, 1989.

swan song by robert mccammon

Special thanks to Hunter Goatley over at the official Robert McCammon website for the scan.

Blue November Storms eBook Edition Available Now!

If you’ve ordered the unsigned trade paperback of Blue November Stormsyour copy will be on the way very soon. The Cemetery Dance warehouse has just been slammed with a 35 title project that will probably end up devouring all of April, but they are shipping regular orders every day. (For those who ordered the signed and remarqued copies, those are already making their way around the country and will hopefully be ready to ship by the end of next month.)

In today’s news, the new eBook edition of Blue November Storms is available for download now:

Blue November StormsAbout the Book:
It’s been twenty years since the group of friends known as the Lightning Five visited their hunting cabin together. Twenty years spent living in the shadow of something they did in high school, an event that forever defined them in the minds of everyone in their small town.

Now they’re returning to the cabin to reminisce about old times and forget their troubles, but mother nature has other plans in mind. Before too long supplies will be running low and the Lightning Five will have to make some hard choices… like who gets to live and who has to die.

Special Bonus Features:
* New introduction by horror legend Ray Garton about why you should never, ever go into the woods
* Twenty original illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne
* Afterword by Brian James Freeman detailing how and why the story was written
* “Ink-slinger: An Interview with Glenn Chadbourne” by Robert Brouhard
* Stunning new cover artwork by Vincent Chong

Download from Amazon (US) Download from Amazon (UK) Download for the Nook Download from KoboDownload from Cemetery Dance Download from the iBookstore

Thanks again for all of your support!

New Trade Paperback Announced: Blue November Storms by Brian James Freeman

“Everything in Blue November Storms works. Brian’s lean and vivid prose propels us through a story that surprises and moves; his characters and their relationships with one another ground this otherwise fantastic and frightening story in human experience. The spell worked for me and my bet is that it will work for you, too.”
— Ray Garton, from his introduction

Blue November StormsI’m pleased to report Blue November Storms, which was originally published in the Cemetery Dance Novella Series years ago and quickly sold out, is finally available again as a value-priced trade paperback for just $9.99.

I’ve always thought of this early work of mine as a bit of a “chills and thrills” B-Movie type of story, so I hope readers who enjoy that kind of horror will have fun with it.

This new edition features a revised version of the text, an exclusive introduction by Ray Garton in which he explains why you should never go into the woods, 20 original illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, a beautiful new cover painting by Vincent Chong, a bonus interview with Chadbourne about his artwork, and a new afterword I wrote explaining how the story got written in the first place.

You can see a few samples of Glenn’s interior artwork on my website, but I’ll post more here in a few days because they really are amazing.

Here’s the sales copy for this new trade paperback edition:

It’s been twenty years since the group of friends known as the Lightning Five visited their hunting cabin together. Twenty years spent living in the shadow of something they did in high school, an event that forever defined them in the minds of everyone in their small town.

Now they’re returning to the cabin to reminisce about old times and forget their troubles, but Mother Nature has other plans in mind. Before too long supplies will be running low and the Lightning Five will have to make some hard choices… like who gets to live and who has to die.

Place your order on the Cemetery Dance Publications website!

Or you can order an unsigned copy of Amazon.com!

My New Website: eHorrorBargains.com (FREE and Heavily Discounted eBooks)

On Tuesday, I came up with an idea for a new website and spent the last couple of nights getting it ready to launch. I was inspired to create this site because some helpful posters on the Cemetery Dance Forums pointed out some HUGELY discounted horror eBooks on Amazon that I definitely would have missed without their help. These were all classic or bestselling titles that I had read before but ordered for my e-reader for future re-reads because the price was unbeatable. As I was placing my orders, I realized it would be great if someone gathered future deals in one place for horror readers. Then I set out to do just that.

Here’s my basic pitch to promote the website:

eHorrorBargains.comWould you like to have bought the eBook editions of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Horns by Joe Hill, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill for just $1.99 each?

Or how about The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty or The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin for just $2.99 each?

Those were the first six featured deals on my new “eHorror Bargains” website and there are many more bargains to come! If you sign-up for my FREE updates on the site, you’ll automatically be notified the moment I post about a new heavily discounted or free horror eBook!

Read more or sign-up for FREE notifications here:

You can also follow my FREE updates on these social networking websites:

(In fact, Heart-Shaped Box and Horns are still just $1.99, and The Exorcist and The Boys from Brazil are still just $2.99, so follow this link for more information if you’re interested!)

Thanks, as always, for your continuing support!

Thank You For 50,000 Page Views

man celebratingI just realized this blog is at 49,983 page views, so by the time you read this, it’ll probably be past 50,000. That seems like a pretty cool achievement since I still have no idea what I’m doing with a blog.

To those of you who’ve been reading my work, I just wanted to say thank you for your support. There should be a lot more to come in 2013. In the meantime, here are my five “most-read” posts on this blog if you want to kill a few minutes:

Michael Marano Discusses the New Signed Limited Edition Trade Paperback of Stories From the Plague Years

Long time Cemetery Dance contributor Michael Marano took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to discuss ChiZine’s Signed Limited Edition Trade Paperback of his acclaimed collection, Stories from the Plague Years, which will be published in December.  (The preordering deadline is November 1st, so time is running out!)

BJF: Can you tell us a little bit about how you assembled Stories from the Plague Years? Was there a method to your madness when it came to organizing the table of contents?

MM: I assembled the collection in the way I did when I stacked my shorter works together and realized, within the larger theme of the Plague Years that holds the book together (the Plagues being the mental, spiritual, and physical sicknesses killed a lot of my friends in the 1980s and early 1990s, like drugs, urban blight, despair, AIDS), there were sub-themes. The section titled “Days of Rage” refers to an anger that comes out of hopelessness that feels like it can’t end. “Prayers for Dead Cities” is about the unreal sickness that messes up your mind when you live in an urban reality that is broken, like what I choked on when I was an apartment building manager in a crack neighborhood in Oakland where the cops wouldn’t come when you called. “Two for Marian” is made of two stories I wrote in order to grieve for a friend whom I loved very dearly, Marian Anderson of the band The Insaints. Her death kicked me apart, inside. And “Winter Tales” are both stories set in the season of winter, but that also refers to a kind of inner winter. The stories treat of suicide in one form or another, except the final story, “Shibboleth.” I wanted to end the collection with a story about a guy who didn’t listen to the temptation to die, but who fought harder than he ever had before to survive.
BJF: What is the oldest story in this collection? The newest?

MM: I really have no idea which is the oldest and which is the newest! I work in a way that is kind of erratic. I get an idea, then I’ll sketch it out, and might even start writing it. Then I put it away if something with a more pressing deadline comes up. Or, I’ll start writing, put it away when I realize I need to do research to make it plausible. Then, while I’m researching that story, I might crank out a story that comes out with no need for research. Chronologically, there’s so much overlap with the composition of these stories, there’s no way to line ’em up in order of their creation.

BJF: What was the most difficult story to write?

MM: Emotionally, “…And the Damage Done” and “Exit Wound”, the two I wrote for Marian as an act of mourning, were the hardest. In terms of stress and chaos, “Winter Requiem” was, because I was living in poverty and I was surrounded by mental and physical illness and a number of people close to me were dying. In terms of research and technique “Shibboleth” was the hardest, to the point that I was talking to an atmospheric chemist at Harvard about what exactly the disaster that “Shibboleth” describes would do to the sky at different latitudes of the planet.

BJF: Were any of them easy to write?

MM: Nope! I don’t want to perpetuate the bullshit myth of the tortured artist, but writing fiction is very difficult for me. I’m just wired that way. Joseph Conrad hated to write, too. That gives me some comfort I guess, because I love that guy. And Thomas Harris, who is a hero of mine, according to Stephen King, finds “the very act of writing… a kind of torment.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Writing fiction for me is like trying to shit a sea urchin.

BJF: Can you share a little bit about the two original novellas? Their inspiration and why you included them?

MM: “Displacement” is something I originally wrote back in 1992, believe it or not. I sent it out, and got rejections and good feedback from a bunch of editors, like from my fellow brother in the Cemetery Dance Sicilian Front, Tom Monteleone and Kris Rusch at F&SF. I wrote it as an attempt to create a really compelling horror story in prose that was structured like a One Act Play, with a lot of it just two guys in a room talking. My inspiration for that was William Peter Blatty’s Exorcist III, which has completely terrifying scenes with George C. Scott and Brad Dourif just talking. And then SE7EN came out, and since the novella shares a lot of the same ideas, I thought I’d never sell it. Then I noticed the extent to which SE7EN and other “diabolical killers with poetic inspiration” stories had eaten their way into popular culture, and I decided to tweak “Displacement” so it existed in a world in which SE7EN and other “diabolical killers with poetic inspiration” stories existed.

“Shibboleth” is actually a chapter from a sprawling science fiction novel I’ve never been able to sell. Editors have liked it, but saw no commercial potential for it. It’s a very dystopian work that addresses how a lot of post-apocalyptic books make the apocalypse look like fun. And also how a lot of inferior cyberpunk books make poverty look fun. There was a point in my life when I was so broke and hungry, I really think I had the beginnings of scurvy. Being hungry with bleeding gums, kicking through rubble past boarded up, burnt out buildings isn’t fun. Trust me. I wanted to write about how the “shell shock” of living through an apocalypse and the resulting physical effects of that would affect how people lived and thought and how’d they love each other if all their families had died. My template for that was Europe during the Black Death.

BJF: Stories from the Plague Years was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Horror Books of the Year. Were you expecting the acclaim the book received?

MM: No! Didn’t see that coming, especially after the murderous drubbing the book took from Publishers Weekly, who raked me over the coals for the book’s epigraph, for God’s sake. I still chuckle over that. I was really moved the Booklist honor, because as a horror writer, any day you’re sharing space on a list that includes Stephen King is a good day. What was also extremely gratifying was “Displacement” being nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Being in the same company as Deborah Biancotti, Reggie Oliver, Tim Waggoner, Lucius Shepard and Liz Hand was humbling.

BJF: Would Stories from the Plague Years be a good place for a new reader to experience your work for the first time?

MM: Sure! I like to think that since there’s nine stories, it’s really nine good places to start reading my work. I try to make all my stuff pretty different. If not in terms of theme, then approach and plot. I kinda wanna be a Whitman’s Sampler of a writer, only without the really icky weird fillings that taste like furniture wax.

This Month’s Question: What Horror Novel Should Everyone Read?

The Question of the Month has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In these posts you’ll discover how these authors think, giving you insight into where their darkest tales come from. These responses are listed here in the order they were received.

This month’s question is: If you had to recommend just one horror novel for everyone to read, what would it be and why?

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Why? Because it’s not only the scariest novel I’ve ever read, it’s also a “literary” novel, so it can demonstrate to snobs and skeptics that the genre can have intellectual heft.  In addition, it’s a mainstream work of fiction with no overt sex or violence, so it has the potential to win over milquetoast Middle America, those wimpy readers who flinch and flee at the sight of blood. It’s the perfect poster boy for horror. As far as I’m concerned, Jackson’s masterful novel should be required reading for every human on the planet.
Bentley Little

I’m going to hail Richard Matheson’s Hell House, because I still recall finding it impossible to put down and wishing I hadn’t stayed up after midnight by myself to finish it. Truthfully, it’s the only book that made me realize that looking over your shoulder because of what you’re reading isn’t always an exaggeration. Forget the timid movie adaptation and go straight for the real thing—Matheson certainly does.
— Ramsey Campbell

The Shining by Stephen King.  I love that man.  I love that book.
— Nancy Holder

The one horror novel that I would recommend that everyone should read is Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. As an inward and an outward journey of discovery it exposes the narrator to the nature of evil. Both it and its palimpsest (Coppola’s Apocalypse Now) resonate for a generation (mine) that went to college, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, or Vietnam in the ’60s. Those of us who did those things (I did all three) understand perfectly Kurz’ (or Brando’s in the film) cry at the end: “The horror! The horror!”
— Robert Booth

My answer is Reprisal by Mitchell Smith. Reasons: the nightmarish scope of his human imaginings, the austere and limpid grace of his prose.
— Michael Shea

Dracula by Bram Stoker. As a King “expert” it would be expected of me to recommend The StandIt or even the under-rated Bag of Bones. But, our whole genre is founded and fed by certain great classics. Stoker’s great novel has influenced the horror genre more than any other, and no horror book has had a greater impact on popular culture. Yet, most of those who still read entire books have not actually read this novel. Surprisingly that goes for many horror or dark fiction genre readers. Yes, it is written with a Victorian sensibility and the epistolary style is difficult for many but the payoff from this carefully crafted novel, full of the back-imagery of our minds, is immense. The sexual tension, the multi-layered representational use of blood, the ancient fear of the unknown, and the tools of a newly scientific age, all combine with tremendous characterization and a rollicking good story. Best of all, when the tale is done, a mighty genre lies downstream from its headwaters.
— Rocky Wood

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  This is a classic novel for a reason. The story evolves from two thirteen-year-old boys, James Nightshade and William Holloway, who are still at that age where the world is full of unknown mysteries and anything can happen. They are opposites, one adventurous and daring and spur-of-the-moment, the other cautious and grounded and wary. They are at the crossroads of innocence and adulthood. And when a dark carnival comes to town, they find themselves drawn to the darkness by all the possibilities.

And while that’s the core of the story, it’s not the whole story.  Something Wicked This Way Comesalso explores a part of human nature deeply rooted in all of us … wishing things were different.  The aging school teacher who wants to be young again. The disabled ex-football player who dreams of playing again.  The father with a bad heart who fears experiencing life to its fullest because it might mean his death.

And of course, there’s the dark carnival and the small town and the library.

How can you go wrong!
— David B. Silva

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.  It’s my favorite book by the best writer in the field.  It shows King at his best, with wonderful characterizations of a small town filled with fear.  I was 20 years old when I first read it and it dazzled me.  It showed what horror writers were capable of and I never looked back.  Even three decades later I remember the story vividly.  No other book has ever hit me so hard and I recommend it at every opportunity.
John R. Little

This, at least for me, is a deceptively difficult question because so many exceptional books so easily come to mind. On a strictly personal level, Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood and, before that, Richard Matheson’s Hell House, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula were all huge influences that I believe remain as exceptional “ambassadors of horror” for new readers. However, if I must choose only one, (and possibly a bit of an uncommon or even contentious choice as it is often labeled as “fantasy” rather than horror) I’d have to select Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. The novel is beautifully written, can be appreciated equally by readers of all ages, and touches upon some of our deepest universal fears and aspirations including our fears of growing old, of dying, of lost opportunities, and of lost friendship, among others. The book examines horrors of both supernatural and entirely mundane, human origin and manages to be mutually terrifying and life-affirming and a thoroughly entertaining read.
—  Norman L. Rubenstein