About Meli Hooker

I'm a cornfed mamma that grew up on slashers, b-movie horror and hair metal. These days I get my horror fix from books more than film, but still enjoy headbanging to metal tunes. I use emoticons obsessively (*^_^*)

Something Wicked Anthology Extended to January 2014

Banner courtesy of Mark Brown, a.k.a. Dark Mark

Banner courtesy of Mark Brown, a.k.a. Dark Mark

Happy New Year, Dreadites! Here’s to a twenty-fourteen full of horrific words and splendid terror.

With all the holiday festivities to be had in December, there just wasn’t enough time to really dig into this collection, so the Dreadful Tales Book Club opens the new year with an extension of its December 2013 title, Someone Wicked: A Written Remains Anthology. The extra month will not only allow readers more time to enjoy the stories, but also a chance to visit The Mortuary message board to chat with some of the contributing authors as well as the anthology’s editors, Weldon Burge and JM Reinbold.

What better way to kick off your New Year than by delving into some disturbing tales of wicked people?

Join usssssssss……

Chat with the editors, authors, and other readers here!

-Meli

Dreadful Tales Book Club – December 2013 Edition

Banner by Mark Brown, a.k.a. Dark Mark

Banner by Mark Brown, a.k.a. Dark Mark

Hello, Dreadites! I hope you enjoyed all the nastiness that John Everson’s little eight-legged friends had to offer in our October / November Book of the Month, Violet Eyes. Don’t forget to stop by and chat with us about the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

For December, we are reading the Smart Rhino Publications anthology Someone Wicked: A Written Remains Anthology. We’ve read Smart Rhino titles for the Book Club before. In fact, our inaugural Book of the Month was Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! which we later followed up with the sequel anthology Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!

If you read the above-mentioned anthologies, you will see some familiar names in Someone Wicked like L.L. Soares, who was featured in both Zippered Flesh anthologies; JM Reinbold, contributor to Zippered Flesh 2 and co-editor of Someone Wicked; and Weldon Burge who is editor for all three anthologies as well as a contributor to the first Zippered Flesh collection. There are several new names as well and I suspect this anthology will fill up your to-read list as it has mine with both titles before it.

Here is a little tease from the Smart Rhino Publications website:

Avaricious, cruel, depraved, envious, mean-spirited, vengeful—the wicked have been with us since the beginnings of humankind. You might recognize them and you might not. But make no mistake. When someone wicked crosses your path, your life will never be the same. Do you know someone wicked? You will.

The 21 stories in the Someone Wicked anthology were written by the members of the Written Remains Writers Guild and its friends, and was edited by JM Reinbold and Weldon Burge.

You can pick up a copy of Someone Wicked in paperback format or for Kindle then come on over to The Mortuary to chat with us about the book! In the past, we have had a lot of success engaging the authors on the message board in discussions of their stories, so it should be a good time.

Find out more about Smart Rhino Publications and keep up with all the latest Smart Rhino news at their website here. You can also stalk them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

-Meli

October 2013 Book of the Month Violet Eyes by John Everson Extends to November

Banner by Mark Brown, aka Dark Mark

Banner by Mark Brown, aka Dark Mark

Many of the Dreadful readers were too busy eating Halloween candy, drinking witch’s brew, and dressing ghoulish in October to get much reading done, including myself, so we are extending October’s Book of the Month, Violet Eyes by John Everson, into November.

We all read at our own pace and comment on The Mortuary message board thread when we feel like it, so this is just as fine a time to start as any. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up with the group and join the discussion too.

In case you missed last month’s official Book of the Month announcement, Violet Eyes is about mutant spiders that terrorize a small town. If you like killer bug stories and enjoy being creeped out, and I mean seriously creeped out, this book is for you. This story reminds me a lot of Edward Lee’s Slither but with spiders.

You can pick up a copy of Violet Eyes here in paperback or digital format.

I hope to “see” you on the message boards for the discussion as well. Join ussssssssss!

-Meli

All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 22) – You Gonna Die, Fly

You Gonna Die, FlyWe opened this week with a super creepy, atmospheric family friendly spoken word story on vinyl called The Ride of the Headless Horseman (see All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 20) here). Today, I have a hilarious not-so-kid-friendly 32-page picture book called You Gonna Die, Fly by sister duo Elizabeth Massie and Barbara Spilman Lawson published by Fucked Up Folktales Publishing. Massie penned the story of Fly, a world-weary fly, after being inspired by all these fucked up folktales she was reading. And Lawson brought Fly to life, born from her dream of flying and admiration of the fly since they can do just that. This is a story for adults who will enjoy illustrated stories and, in particular, will enjoy a tale that takes a humorous look at life & death through the compound eyes of a fly. Although You Gonna Die, Fly looks like a children’s book – with the exception of the word “die” in the title and the cig hanging out of Fly’s mouth – there’s drug use, violence, and sexual content that is definitely not appropriate for kids. “Rated RG for Racy Insect Drawings and Gratuitous Profanity.” You’ve been warned.

This is the first time I’ve seen Lawson’s work, but her loveable lil’ characters compliment Massie’s story, and general asthetic, perfectly. You Gonna Die, Fly is a fine representation of the dichotomy of Massie. On one side, she writes some of the most disturbing scenes in horror fiction, but on the other she’s knitting sweaters and scarves in her spare time. There’s a thread of frightening sexual perversity in her stories, but she also draws these adorable pictures of zombie animals. While reading a Massie short story, my mom yelled out “what the hell is wrong with this bitch!?” (“Bitch” meant to be complimentary in regards to Massie’s ability to freak her out, naturally). Massie’s stories may cause readers to question her mental stability, but just like any normal Jane, she can often be found people watching at Starbucks with her buds, or as she likes to call it, The Bux. Even her nickname for Starbucks is cute! I’m guessing that Lawson too is a similar blend of wholesome sweetness and morbidity.

I wouldn’t typically define Massie’s work as “cutesy,” but You Gonna Die, Fly is simply adorable, but with black humor and cursing. Massie has paired her love of pleasant and cute with dark and disturbing before through her zombie art, but the picture-books-for-adults project is the best forum for her to display both sides of her artistic personality. Of course, it’s not all Massie. Perhaps without Lawson’s dream of flying we’d have no Fly at all. I look forward to seeing more of Lawson’s characters and the progression of this Fucked Up Folktales venture.

you gonna die fly illustration

Fly on drugs. Illustrated by Barbara Spilman Lawson

You can snag a copy of Elizabeth Massie & Barbara Spilman Lawson’s You Gonna Die, Fly from Fucked Up Folktales here. And if you enjoy that, be sure to grab a copy of their follow-up, Damn You, Demon. Or you can take advantage of their special holiday deal and get both for $26 with FREE shipping! And they’ll sign them however you wish. Each title is usually $14.50 + $3.50 for shipping so you can’t beat that deal.

Based on Fucked Up Folktales’ Facebook page there is a third book in the works which will be out in the not-so-distant future, so keep an eye on their page here to see what fucked up thing they’ll come up with next!

For more information about Elizabeth Massie’s work past and present visit her website here. To explore more work by Barbara Spilman Lawson you can visit her website Art With A Twist here.

-Meli

All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 21) – Johnny Gruesome

JohnnyGruesomeCoverMedallion

I have an excellent, must-have, can’t miss FREEBIE! for you Dreadites today. It’s the perfect tale for heavy metal zombie heads in varying stages of decomposition, Gregory Lamberson’s Johnny Gruesome. We have quite a bit of virtual space reserved for Lamberson here at Dreadful Tales and I think the majority of his work has been reviewed here, including Johnny Gruesome a couple years back which you can read in full here. But the reason I’m resurrecting this “headbanger from hell” today is, as I mentioned above, the eBook version for both Kindle and Nook is available for a limited time for FREE! FREE! FREE! Sorry, I don’t mean to “yell,” but this is worth getting excited for. 

Johnny Gruesome is a leather jacket wearing bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, returned from the dead to give his enemies the what for in often creative and always nasty ways. This is the ghoul I envisioned when I heard the old 60’s cut “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels. The biggest difference is there is some kinda sweetness to “My Boyfriend’s Back.” He’s coming back to save his lady from what we can only assume is a stalker. Did I interpret that wrong? Anyway, there is no sweetheart tale in Johnny Gruesome, as much as I love a romantic story; this is a rebel yell revenge tale.

johnny gruesome

I go into quite a bit of detail regarding the basic plot (sans spoilers) and characters in my review (again, you can check that out here), so I won’t rehash all the gory specifics again, but here a couple highlights of note: Johnny Gruesome is a back-from-the-dead revenge slasher story as opposed to the survivors vs. zombies ilk. Lamberson puts his filmmaking skills to work with his cinematic prose so the imagery comes easily keeping the pacing steady. Johnny Gruesome reads more like a comic book than a novel, without the pictures of course. There are some excellent illustrations by Zach McCain included in the hardcover edition from Bad Moon Books which you can try to track down here, but it will be for a pretty penny. I have my own copy and think it’s worth every cent, but if that’s not in your budget, you can pick up the free version. Just follow the links below and hurry because it’ll only be free for a limited time!

Kindle users can pick up their free copy here. Nook users go here for your free copy.

Check out the trailer for Johnny Gruesome here. And for more about the author visit his website at slimeguy.com.       

-Meli