Illiteracy SUCKS: Muskoka Novel Writing Marathon and Fundraiser

925776522c35f060b99776f399bb5c5eI don’t like asking for money. Whether it’s for myself, or it’s for any other reason, really. I suck at it. But sometimes it’s necessary.

That said, you all know reading is a big part of my life. It’s kept me on the brink of sanity when I was losing my mind. It’s calmed me down when I wanted to beat something senseless. It’s blown my mind. It’s made me laugh, cry, swear, sweat, and smile. Reading is important to me. Reading has saved my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. Neither would my kids. And I’m willing to bet something you’ve read in the past has stuck with you and has helped form the person you are today. Whether it be a piece of fiction, or the text books you studied from to help you gain the career you have today. Reading did this for you.

And that’s what this “asking for money” thing is all about; raising money to support literacy programs. Why? Because damn near half of all Canadians can’t read, and that’s absolute crap (It’s 42%, for any of you nerdlingers who need a number to attach to that).

This needs to change, and we can help.

For 72 hours, and in line with my insane thirst for excessive and potentially crazy-making self-torture, I have rather brazenly decided to sit down with 39 other writers and put your money where my mouth is. I’m going to write the s*** out of something. Can you imagine that? Me? Three days. Sitting still. Writing.837543

But I need your help.

Each writer is asked to raise a minimum of $500 toward the YMCA Muskoka Literary Services literacy programs. For more information on “where the money goes” please click here.

If you’ve ever been entertained, irritated, made happy, or made pissed off, by something you read… then something you’ve read has affected you in some way – and that’s important. There are a lot of people who haven’t experienced that.

Please follow this link and click on the DONATE NOW button and then sit back, comfortable in the knowledge that you’ve helped me sit at a table and tear my hair out, curse a lot, and then try to string one word after another in some sort of coherent order.

Please, together we can work to end illiteracy in Canada.

Dark Side Tour – Pobi, Pyper and Cutter in Ottawa

To anyone, three men sitting around a restaurant discussing the books in hand may not be so striking. To know they are preparing for readings and selecting passages may pique the interest of a student of horror. What they are choosing are bits that they know are either striking to their readers, or portions that they really feel embody the highlights of that particular work or as a hologram of their craft as a whole.

~DSC_6017smNone of them wear ‘scary’ like a uniform. Horror is in books and film and in their imaginations. It’s not sitting down for a meal or spending the day on the lake with the kids, let alone getting to meet and talk with the public. So, seeing them all with their books going over the evenings reading selections and chatting about their work and the tour remains as “business casual” as anyone would suspect. They were fresh off the Dark Side Tour launch the night before in Toronto and this, the second date on the tour in Ottawa, was the gateway to Montreal and Quebec City.

‘Paperback Writer’ by The Beatles drifted over the restaurant sound system and conversation veered in and out of the craft of writing, their current work, beginnings, forensic pathology, the current tour and their tremendous support they receive from the sponsors. Such regular conversation to start, you barely notice the quick dips from mundane to taboo without the bat of an eyelash.

Andrew Pyper: “We are externalizing a very internal process. Like, every question is about this thing I do inside of my head, alone, at four o’clock in the morning… it’s like explaining skateboarding. Try explaining skateboarding to somebody.”

Without focusing on beginnings such as school and earliest memories of writing, I asked how their publishing journey was. Had they had a long arc with small presses or short story sales, or hit large publishers right off the bat.

AP: I was very lucky. I had a book that came out of a small press, The Porcupines Quill. Then I went away and wrote a novel. I had an agent based on essentially that she thought I was going to write a novel. So she took it out and it was picked up in Canada first with Harper Collins, then in the US, UK and elsewhere. There was a movement from small press to big but without the process of rejection or multiple novels having to be written before you take that next step.”

Robert Pobi: I had a longer, weirder experience. I sold my first novel when I was 23. I was in Mexico waiting for the galleys to be sent to me, and the publisher was bought out twelve days before the publisher went into production. Presidio Press. Afterward, I went out a few query letters, didn’t have any luck. I mean I had been picked up to the first one I sent the book to and got a contract so I thought this was easy. I tried for six or seven months, sent out seven or eight letters and they all said, ‘thank you, but no thank you’. So I was just writing in a vacuum for the next twenty years. I didn’t show my work to anybody. When I came out of the box, five or six years ago now, Simon & Schuster were the first people to pick me up. I got picked up by Random House in the UK and things just went. I got lucky right off the bat, I guess, but after paying my dues in private for twenty years.”

Nick Cutter: It’s been a roller-coaster for me too. I wrote my first horror book under a different pseudonym. I think I was 25 or 26. And then I started writing literary stuff and tried to sell short stories to journals. If I were masochistic I could have filled a pillowcase with rejection slips. I cobbled some stores together and it feels like when the floodgates opened, they opened suddenly. Like boom. Then boom-boom-boom you got a bunch of acceptances. Maybe I had pre-loaded. Like just had to get better and better so then you just hit this nice slipstream. ‘Rust and Bone‘ came out, then ‘The Fighter‘, but no one wanted anything to do with me after ‘The Fighter‘, my second novel. So I was down again. Didn’t know what i was going to do, then ChiZine, who I’ve been friends with published my book ‘Sarah Court‘ and that sort of helped me get back on track toward writing ‘Cataract City‘ which is my over book under Craig Davidson, then ‘The Troop‘ and ‘The Deep‘. So yes, it’s been a roller coaster but I think a lot of writers follow that same course.”

Horror, as a genre, could be seen as paying rent to live in the basement of a building it used to own. A sad state on one hand. On another, the mother ship could be seen as buried under the new civilizations that are thriller, urban fantasy and dark literature. I asked their take on that idea and being fit into the horror genre.

RP: ‘Eye Of The Storm‘ I thought was a horror novel. ‘Harvest‘ I didn’t, but the next one coming out, ‘Mannheim Rex‘, that’s a horror novel. I just write fun stories and see where they go–I guess children having their feet sawed off qualifies as horror–I didn’t approach Harvest as horror. I would have worked on the heat a little more, the atmosphere in the city a little bit more. Probably dealt my main character a couple more blows emotionally. I would have handled it a little bit differently. I had sold ‘Bloodman‘ to Random House UK which I had written as a horror book and they said it was a great thriller and said ‘we’ll take it if you sell us a second police novel’. So they saw it as a strict police book. In France I’m on the shelf with literature. French translations of Poe; then me. In the UK it’s in the take-away at Sainsbury’s next to the fried chicken.

AP: I wouldn’t say I’m uncomfortable with the term horror to describe my work, because it is. Within the genre, I think something like psychological horror or supernatural thriller would probably in my case be simply more accurate. I don’t care whether it’s more savory, just that it’s more accurate. It’s at the end of the spectrum where it kind of crosses over into suspense or literary, or even to an extent crime. These nuances are interesting to think about as the more nuanced it gets the more helpful it gets at marketing books. Whether it is the UK or here. To market it as horror? I’m fine with that. That’s just a decision of the rack, but as a matter of aesthetics, I would probably be more comfortable with supernatural thriller.

NC: I grew up in the 80s and 90s reading books that were clearly marked horror on the spine. So, if I could fall in with that lineage I’m fine with that. I think things have splintered since that time and it gets broken down into elements of what a book could be slotted as. It’s more of a decision of the publishers and what they see things as, but for me personally, if I have horror stamped on the spine of my books that’s fine.

Huge thanks to Amy Jacobsen and Loretta Eldridge from Simon & Schuster, who did an excellent job of managing the tour. Alongside sponsors from Beaus Brewing, and Elle Canada, they worked with hosts ChiSeries, Maxwell’s and Perfect Books to make for one very cool evening. Seeing everyone from ChiZine, Can-Con, Maple Books, Geek Inked, Postscripts to Darkness and Lackington’s was a veritable who’s who of dark literature here, and that’s just who I had a chance to visit with.
The readings were intense. Stark. The selections had lines that toyed along the edge of good taste and taboo, as those familiar with these books could guess. Pobi had even those that had read his work squirming and the crowd reactions to all were priceless. You can hear and watch over at Geek Inked!


The question and answer segment was new to Ottawa ChiSeries but flowed like a mini panel on the mind of a horror writer. Gone were industry questions on how to get an agent and what writing is like. The crowd wanted blood or at least meatier input. How their minds work. How research influences them and how they can lay their morbid thoughts to rest and have headspace to share among the living and loved ones. One of the questions that arose was how do they reign it in. Have editors ever stopped them from including passages that may be too scary, too gory, or too insane?

RP: Going too far. It’s something I worried about when doing this full time and my standard response is ‘Do you know Ed Gein?’ what ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is based on? When they arrested him, he was wearing under his clothes a belt made out of human nipples and had a vagina that wasn’t his in his pants. What can I do that’s gonna top that? Edmond Kemper is another one… you look at the news what ISIS is doing, there is so much badness in the world…truth is stranger than fiction.

NC: In ‘Danse Macabre‘, Stephen King talked about the three levels of fear. He said, first I’ll try to terrify you, and if that won’t work then I’ll try and horrify you and if I can’t do that, try to gross you out. Sometimes I skip terrify and horrify and go straight for the gross out. Andrew works on a different register where he terrifies… but Rob and I have to deal with the question of do you turn it up to the next level or do you not? I have given up on trying to write by trying to assay peoples tastes. It’s a hard thing because what doesn’t even get close to ‘your’ terror register as a horror fan is way over ‘their’ taste level. You can get frozen inertia by staying where your supposed readers tolerance is and then you don’t do anything. You have to have fun with this if it’s what you want to do, so you have to be able to do whatever you want.”

The question of research and how it influences their writing ranged from profiling crime to spirituality. This is one area where I think many authors tend to understate the amount of research that goes into fiction. That or it is largely unnoticed as Pobi pointed out, since it may take a stack of books to influence or validate a line or two in a chapter.

AP: My research tends toward the specific or going places like Detroit in the case of ‘The Damned‘. Or more mythological research. There is a typically a classic text that forms the basis for the recent books. There is the ghost of Dante’s ‘Inferno‘ in ‘The Damned‘ or Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost‘ in ‘The Demonologist‘, so there is a kind of fact based research, but for me it’s understanding the pre-existing myth and what I’m going to do with it.”
Hopefully we will see another round of the Dark Side Tour.

So, what will we see on the shelves next?

Andrew Pyper: Probably the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken as it requires quite a lot of research. It has historical aspects to it and conceptually it’s the most ambitious book too. I’ve never been as excited by a book and as scared as I am of blowing it with this book.

Robert Pobi: My next book is called ‘Deselected’. It’s about evolutionary mechanics and the beliefs in place in the religious right in the States and when scientific threats start coming down on humanity beliefs begin crumbling in domino effect. It’s about this narcissistic navel gazing and us being the centre of the universe.

Nick Cutter: My next book with ChiZine is called ‘The Acolyte’. It’s about this society also ruled by a religious right and the acolytes job is to stamp out any faiths that are not in line with the traditional state. It follows a couple of these acolytes and what is going on when they begin to fight against this system that is in place.

News Release: Medallion Press Release The TREEbook


On June 1st, 2014, Medallion Press took the first steps into the future of Ebook technology, and ushered forth a new era of Jetson-esque reading. And while those who read on their iPads may still find that they can’t use the device as a hoverboard, unlike the aforementioned futuristic family, one might still be entertained just enough to fuhgeddaboudit.

Now, while I’ve read what can be called the “trunk” story of Medallion’s newest TREElease (see what I did there?), The Julian Year by Gregory Lamberson, and can honestly say it’s a goddamned blast, I haven’t had a chance to check out the Time Reading Experience Ebook out, performing in all its glory.

But what I can tell from others who have reviewed it is that it’s a great experience. And damnit, the internet is never wrong.

Read on for news on what Medallion has in store for its readers.
We’ll have a review of The Julian Year up soon.

C. Continue reading

2014 Stoker Awards

Ah Stoker season. The time of year when everybody and their mother who is involved in the horror genre biznasss gets all primped and primed to… I actually don’t know WHAT they do there. I’ve never been… *sob*

But they do offer a live stream online! WOO!

Now, just in case you were like the hundreds (or more likely handful) of people who couldn’t log on to the live stream of tonight’s HWA Bram Stoker awards, please let me rub it in your face that I was there (eventually… it’s a long story).

I win. You lose. Goodnight.

No. In all seriousness, the majority of users (all but 25, in fact) could not log into the “Stoker-cast” because of the hotel’s bandwidth limitation. The HWA offered up this explanation via Twitter:

HWABandwidth copy


Naturally, the explanation came after I had already tweeted this (and continued my tradition of being annoying during the Stoker Awards):StokersBlockedTwitter copy

That said, when I managed to get in there – likely because some poor bastard lost their connection right when I was assailing the feed again and again – I live tweeted the ever-loving fuck out of the whole damned thing for those of you who are savvy enough to follow yours truly on The Tweeter. (@paperbackhorror).
And then my RTs went stupid crazy, and some hot chick in a yellow bikini started following me… but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t actually exist, and, well… THAT, my friends, was the highlight of my night.

Anywhooo… you can see below for the nominees and wieners… sorry… winners.
You’ll have to go to another site for wieners.

(All of the below opinions belong to me, myself, and I(rene), and in no way reflect the blah blah blah Dreadful Tales blah blah. Don’t bug the others if you don’t agree with me. They won’t listen anyway. So shush.)

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Joe Hill – N0S4A2 (William Morrow)
Stephen King – Doctor Sleep (Scribner) WINNER
Lisa Morton – Malediction (Evil Jester Press)
Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson – A Necessary End (Thunderstorm/Maelstrom Press)
Christopher Rice – The Heavens Rise (Gallery Books)

*I was kind of pulling for Pinborough and Wilson to win this one, but the battle of the Kings pretty much made that difficult, didn’t it? Regardless, I seriously urge all of you to pick up A Necessary End. It is fantastic*

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Kate Jonez – Candy House (Evil Jester Press)
John Mantooth – The Year of the Storm (Berkley Trade)
Rena Mason – The Evolutionist (Nightscape Press) WINNER
Jonathan Moore – Redheads (Samhain Publishing)
Royce Prouty – Stoker’s Manuscript (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

*I had my eye on Moore’s Redheads for this one, but Mason deserves the win just as much.*

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Patrick Freivald – Special Dead (JournalStone)
Kami Garcia – Unbreakable (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Geoffrey Girard – Project Cain (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Joe McKinney – Dog Days (Journalstone) WINNER
Cat Winters – In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Harry N. Abrams)

*In The Shadow of Blackbirds was my pick for this category, but McKinney spins a good yarn as well. I’d still like to encourage y’all to check this one out. It’s a great, and inventive read.*

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Ed Brubaker – Fatale, Book Three: West of Hell (Image Comics)
Caitlin R. Kiernan – Alabaster: Wolves (Dark Horse Comics) WINNER
Brandon Seifert – Witch Doctor, Vol. 2: Mal Practice (Image Comics)
Cameron Stewart – Sin Titulo (Dark Horse Comics)
Paul Tobin – Colder (Dark Horse Comics)

*Caitlin R. Kiernan kicked the shit out of this category, and I really couldn’t be happier. She deserves this win. Alabaster: Wolves was my pick for the win, with Brubaker’s Fatale coming in a very close second.*

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Dale Bailey – “The Bluehole” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2013)
Gary Braunbeck – “The Great Pity” (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards) WINNER
Benjamin Kane Ethridge – “The Slaughter Man” (Limbus, Inc., JournalStone)
Gregory Frost – “No Others Are Genuine” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Oct/Nov. 2013)
Greg F. Gifune – House of Rain (DarkFuse)
Rena Mason – East End Girls (JournalStone)

*I’m super stoked that Gary won the award for this story. It’s incredible, and he deserves the win.*

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Michael Bailey – “Primal Tongue” (Zippered Flesh 2, Smart Rhino Publications)
Patrick Freivald – “Snapshot” Blood & Roses, Scarlett River Press)
David Gerrold – “Night Train to Paris” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2013) WINNER
Lisa Mannetti – “The Hunger Artist” (Zippered Flesh 2, Smart Rhino Publications)
John Palisano – “The Geminis” (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)
Michael Reaves – “Code 666” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Mar/Apr 2013)

*This category was tricky for me, but only because it was near impossible for my to get a few of the stories in my hands. I had Mannetti’s The Hunger Artist picked for this one. But then again, I’m a lifelong Mannetti fan.*

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Fabien Adda and Fabrice Gobert – The Returned: S1E8 “The Horde” (Ramaco Media I, Castelao Pictures)
Brad Falchuk – American Horror Story – Asylum: S2E11 “Spilt Milk” (Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision, Ryan Murphy Productions)
Bryan Fuller – Hannibal: S1E1 “Apératif” (Dino De Laurentis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production, Gaumont International Television)
Daniel Knauf – Dracula: S1E2 “A Whiff of Sulpher” (Flame Ventures, Playground, Universal Television, Carnival Films)
Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead: S3E16 “Welcome to the Tombs” (AMC TV) WINNER

*I really didn’t see TWD winning this award. If it was up against Dracula by itself, sure. But with AHS, Hannibal, and The Returned stacked against it? I was rooting for The Returned (Les Revenants) to take it home. But I guess you Americans still don’t like the French. ;) *

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

R.J. Cavender and Boyd E. Harris (ed) – Horror Library: Volume 5 (Cutting Block Press)
Eric J. Guignard (ed) – After Death… (Dark Moon Books) WINNER
Michael Knost and Nancy Eden Siegel (ed) – Barbers & Beauties (Hummingbird House Press)
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (ed) – The Grimscribe’s Puppets (Miskatonic River Press)
Anthony Riviera and Sharon Lawson (ed) – Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror, Volume One (Grey Matter Press)

*Don’t even ask me about this one. I’ll stand by The Horror Library forever. I’m glad Guignard won, as he seems like a nice guy, but I want to see +THL+ receive its due.*

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Nathan Ballingrud – North American Lake Monsters: Stories (Small Beer Press)
Laird Barron – The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories (Night Shade Books) WINNER
James Dorr – The Tears of Isis (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)
Caitlin R. Kiernan – The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories (Subterranean Press)
S.P. Somtow – Bible Stories for Secular Humanists (Diplodocus Press)

*”It’s about time Barron took home a Stoker Award” says every Lovecraft and modern “Weird” fiction fan ever. I agree, but still don’t dig HPL. Sorry, Brice. Barron deserves the recognition for his stellar work in the genre*

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Barbara Brodman and James E. Doan (ed) – Images of the Modern Vampire: The Hip and the Atavistic (Fairleigh Dickenson)
Gary William Crawford – Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror (Scarecrow Press)
William F. Nolan – Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction (Hippocampus Press) WINNER
Jarkko Toikkanen – The Intermedial Experience of Horror: Suspended Failures (Palgrave Macmillan)
Robert H. Waugh (ed) – Lovecraft and Influence: His Predecessors and Successors (Scarecrow Press)

*I don’t even want to talk about this category. Have you ever tried to read essays on HPL or Ramsay Campbell, let alone Bradbury? This ain’t bathroom reading, folks! This is some seriousness! I couldn’t handle it, so I don’t have a vote. But YAY for Nolan, right?*

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Bruce Boston – Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems 1971-2012 (Dark Renaissance Books)
Helen Marshall – The Sex Lives of Monsters (Kelp Queen Press)
Marge Simon and Sandy DeLuca – Dangerous Dreams (Elektrik Milk Bath Press)
Marge Simon, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, and Linda Addison – Four Elements (Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press) WINNER
Stephanie M. Wytovich – Hysteria: A Collection of Madness (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

*And finally, the Poetry award. See, I had my sights set on Helen Marshall for the win, not only because she’s hot, or because she’s Canadian, but because this was a really goddamned good book! I haven’t read something this awesome since Maria Alexander’s At Louche Ends. Boston’s Dark Roads is a trip worth taking as well, but I’m glad Rain, Marge, Linda, and Charlee won. They do a lot of good for Horror Poetry.*

In Memoriam: Dave Brockie Aug 30/63 – Mar 23/14


It is with heavy hearts that I, and the folks here at DT, say goodbye to one of the true kings of DIY. The punk rock and metal God. The multi-talented singer/songwriter/author/artist, Davie Brockie.

I first came across GWAR’s music at a very young age, somewhere in between the time when their second release, Scumdogs of the Universe, came out and when America Must Be Destroyed, their third, violated my sensitive eardrums, back in the days where you could still buy tapes at the record store. And you could actually find records in a record store… let alone a store full of them.

A real one. Not an online store.
Moving on…

Do the math here, folks. I was born in 1981. The space between the release of those two albums was only a year’s time (1990-1991) which makes me… 10. Yes, you read that right. I was 10 years old. That’s seriously fucked up, thinking about it… but it also makes a lot of sense.

Jesus… 10? What’s wrong with my parents? No, this isn’t my parents’ fault. They didn’t censor my musical choices, and I love them for that. Better yet, it’s a question of what’s wrong with the dude with the short, yet impressively feathered hair, who was selling GWAR tapes to a 10-year-old? (I still love him, wherever he ended up…)

Like a lot of people, I was introduced to the world of Dave Brockie’s GWAR persona before I was introduced to the man behind the mask, or his artwork, wild musings, and intensely creative writings. It shouldn’t be impossible for any of our readers to imagine me dancing like a maniac to Saddam-A-Go-Go or The Salaminizer, what with the insane ramblings I subject you to on a not-so-regular basis. Well… it sure as hell shouldn’t… but I always wondered about you lot…

Ugh. I’m sorry. This is actually proving to be really difficult to write. I have so many memories tied to GWAR and Dave Brockie. It’s actually a lot more than I initially thought it was.

See, I am an official, card carrying member of the GWAR Total Slavery Fan club, and I only just found out about Brockie’s passing the day after his passing – I’m writing this on Monday March 24th, 2014. I feel like I’ve been through the goddamned wringer.

I’ve got 13 albums of this man’s shit memorized, and every one of those albums spells out a different part of my childhood and adolescence. I know that what I’m feeling is obviously nothing like what his friends and family are going through, but it just… this is the saddest I’ve ever been about the death of someone I don’t know. I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I feel like I’ve lost someone I could turn to when things got bad. It feels like something major is gone from my life.

And, y’know… something is gone. A big something. No… two big somethings are gone.

1) Dave Brockie the friend, family member, artist, musician, author, and so much more, is gone. And 2) so is Oderus Urungus – the monster of my dreams, and the voice of one of my favourite musical fiends.

If any of my peers caught me listening to GWAR back in the day, they automatically knew it was a good day, and that I’d be in good spirits. And in truth, whenever I was listening to a GWAR album, it was a good day. How could I not laugh at Fucking An Animal‘s over-the-top barnyard insanity, or Slaughterama‘s ridiculous and overtly political Geraldo talk-show styled themed killings? Or how about Meat Sandwich. Penis I See. Have You Seen Me? Or my absolute favourite, nonsensical, and smile inducing song – Dirty, Filthy? How could I be even remotely upset when lyrics of The Ultimate Bohab coursed through my brain? (I don’t suggest that any of you who are easily offended actually look up those lyrics. They’re… they’re not very nice.)

But my real relationship with Dave Brockie, as much as it wasn’t a real, in-person relationship, began when I happened across Whargoul – his first, and sadly his only novel – on the website A site that now simply features the statement “We’ll miss you Dave…” instead of the treasure trove of rants, art, and musings of a beautiful madman.

(But if you’re savvy like my dear old self, and know how to use the Internet Wayback Machine, you can take a gander at the site in all of its yellow, disgusting glory. In fact, if you go back far enough, you can actually take a look at the book before it was published by Deadite in 2010, and the way Brockie initially meant for it to be read before any professional edits happened.)

Reading Whargoul at such a young age was a real eye opener. While I was aware of Brockie’s incredible knowledge of historical events through his lyrics, and his penchant for war culture, it had never occurred to me that the man who wrote some of my favorite songs could possibly pen a full-fledged novel, let alone one that was actually any good. The fact that he was able to blend his vast knowledge of war with his vile, crass, and thoroughly inappropriate sense of humour, and bring to life a character only once before glimpsed in the song Wargoul (yes, the spelling was different) was more than my teenage mind could deal with.

And then imagine my surprise when I found out he was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – a four and a half hour drive away from me.

It wasn’t until many years later and my discovery of the Splatterpunk movement that I was again to wonder how writers were getting away with this kind of stuff.

From the matter-of-fact opening paragraph that reeks of Brockie’s brand of deadpan humour, to the last line that dares you to challenge its strange, almost non-sequitor-like sense of finality – Whargoul is a goddamned ride.

A lot of people around the internet today are calling Whargoul a “true piece of bizarro fiction”, but I see it as something more than that. It has its place in bizarro, of that there is no doubt. But it’s also a piece of history as seen by the dual personality of Dave Brockie/Oderus Urungus, and a unique vision at that. It’s the aforementioned musings of a madman, but told through the filter of someone who was brutally intelligent and had his shit together.

It has been for years, and will probably always remain one of my favourite books.

But listen, I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been thinking about what to say for hours now, agonizing over it, really, and I’ve decided that writing this is just prolonging the needless torture of saying goodbye.

I want nothing more right now than to spend a great many thousand words sharing all of my favorite Brockie and GWAR stories, of the friends made through a mutual GWAR appreciation, and of the amazing memories I made and shared with girlfriends and best friends… but I can’t.

I don’t want these memories to end. I want more, and that’s just never going to happen now.

So I’ll just bite the bullet and say goodbye.

Goodbye, Dave. Even though we never actually met, I’ll miss you more than you’d ever know. I’m sorry I never got to tell you how much you meant to me as an artist and a leader, and how you helped mold the sick and twisted man I am proud to have become.

And goodbye Oderus. I hope the trip home on the World Maggot is a good one.


Save a seat for me in hell, you beautiful bastard.


P.s: Enjoy one of my favorite videos of Oderus/Brockie reading Goodnight Moon (very or NSFW or for those who offend easily)

Prey Drive by Wrath James White

preydrivecoverfinal_zps869f8e34Am I the only Wrath James White reader that ever wondered how Joseph got to be so goddamned fit and fearsome in Succulent Prey? Cause seriously… the way White describes this man’s physique is nothing short of a perfectly sculpted human flesh wall.

Well, this book not only proves to be an incredible return to the story and character that gave a ton of men shame-boners, and made more than a few women uncomfortably wet, but it also serves as somewhat of a rudimentary blueprint for how to become as fit as a ferocious murderer using Plyometrics and Body weight Training!

Oh, and how to eat people. Because that’s what y’do, right? Eating the people? Yes. Nom nom nom.

In 2005, twenty year-old Joseph Miles went in search of a cure for a disease he was convinced was turning him into a monster. The result was a killing spree that left a string of dismembered and cannibalized bodies from San Francisco to Seattle.

Eight years later, after being tried and sentenced to life in prison, Joseph is still searching for a cure. To do so, he must first escape from super maximum security prison where he has been involved in underground death matches sponsored by the prison guards and has been targeted by two of the prison’s most dangerous inmates.

Joseph enlists the aid of a lonely female guard with a history of inappropriate behavior with inmates, and a young model named Selene whom Joseph met in art class when he was still a psychology student. She has followed him obsessively over the years and will do anything to help Joseph escape. But could Selene be even more dangerous and twisted than Joseph Miles? Is she really trying to help him find a cure or does she have darker motivations?

– from

After reading this author’s previous work, I’m quite familiar with his thirst for blood and violence. In fact, I’ve come to a place in my life where, not only to I look forward to reading his insanely realistic scenes of bodily mutilation and torture, but I also kinda feel all warm and gooey inside when I’m in the middle of one. Which makes me sound like I should be filling out a self-admittance form for a mental health clinic, but I digress…

White has a way of crafting an engaging story filled with energy and action, but also letting the reader in on the subtle nuances of the characters and creatures he’s created – what makes them tick, really. Both Succulent Prey and Prey Drive have a massive thread within them concerning the main character’s need to love and be loved, and the supporting character’s need to love the monster they are actually more obsessed with than anything. Joseph’s desire to eat someone, to me, isn’t homicidal in nature, but is more-so presented as an urge or a drive that he cannot simply “control”, in the conventional sense of the word. It’s both the way he defends himself, and the way he shows his love, both physically and emotionally.

Think about it for a second:

Scenario One: You’re bleeding the lizard at a urinal in the washroom of a subway late at night. Do do do do dooooo aaahhhhhhh… BAM! someone grabs you from behind in a choke hold, but a portion of his forearm is close to your teeth. You’re like Joseph Miles and you’ve filed your teeth into sharp points (because yes) aaannnnnnd CHOMP! There goes the bastard’s Brachioradialis.

Scenario Two: You’re rolling around on your rotating, water bed – your sexy Muppet bed sheets washed and cleaned for the loving occasion – just as the lady of the night, or Candy, as she calls herself, finishes doing a line in the bathroom and stumbles saunters into the room. You pick her up off the ground sweep her off her feet and nibble the side of her neck… buuuut those teeth are a little sharper than you thought and now you’re covered in sticky hooker blood. (A sentence I never thought I’d ever type.)

See? Two scenarios – two different, and useful, instances where one would use their filed and sharpened teeth. Only… in a Wrath James White novel, someone’s going to lose more than a small piece of themselves.

Where the hell was I going with this? Teeth! Teeth and biting and…

Ugh, I don’t remember. Whatever.

The point is, this novel doesn’t at all fall into the George Lucas “I’m going to create a sequel and make it suck” area of the writing spectrum. No! In fact, it’s quite the contrary. This novel is almost better than the first, if only because it feels more mature and honed than Succulent Prey did, and focuses on a very limited geographic area, thus allowing more of a story to develop without having the reader have to imagine a bazillion little places along the way.

Joseph, as a character, is more refined and controlled from the writer’s perspective, and the surrounding cast is used to the best of their ability, as opposed to being thrown into the cage with a starving lion.

White obviously listened to his inner fan with this one, fashioning more theories as to what drive this particular killer, whether or not it is something that can be created, and what lies ahead of someone driven by such an incredibly powerful urge to kill.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this lands on my TBR pile at least once a year. It’s addictive, and an incredibly successful addition to what I only hope becomes “The Prey Series”.

I, for one, sincerely wish Wrath James White would create a workout routine and diet plan based on Joseph Miles’ prison house run. I would take the challenge in a heartbeat if I knew I could get this doughy center off my body and look like this menacing brute.

Well… you know… without the people eating part. Cause that’s not likely going to be very legal…


Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlín R. Kiernan

16136945This book… This book is… I don’t know. It’s so many things.

I haven’t seen a book run around, tagging so many horror-centric clichés this much, and yet still manage to stay true to itself and remain steadfastly interesting at the same time.

Like the title suggests, this is a book about Werewolves. But that’s being too specific and under-selling it a ton. It’s about a lot more than just Werewolves – which is something I never thought I’d actually write, EVER. Just Werewolves? Who says that? Nobody sane, anyways.

What this book is really about is faith, belonging, and a whole helluva lot of fire – both in its metaphoric and in physical guise. And hot damn, if it doesn’t cause a stirring in your hero-loving heart, I don’t know what will. (see what I did there? A helluva lot of fire? Hot Damn? Eh? Eh?)

Personally, this one felt like Kiernan was channeling a little bit of my beloved Brite with the creation of a character like Dancy, but I could be completely off base with that. This is my first actual experience with the acclaimed author’s writing, but it definitely won’t be the last.

Any reader in their right mind is liable to be drawn to this story. I mean, here… take a look at the synopsis:

Dancy Flammarion may look like a frail teenage girl, but her journey through the swamps and byways of the American South brings her into battle with werewolves, monsters, and grotesque secrets, armed only with a knife and a mission to destroy the deadly creatures that lurk in the shadows.

– from

Side note: I love spell-check. How many mistakes were in that paragraph, right there? You’ll never know. HA! Ugh.

With Alabaster: Wolves, Kiernan breathes a new sort of life into Dancy, a character from the world of her own short stories, and plants her firmly in the land of pictures and colour, much to this comic lover’s delight. Sometimes you just need to see the story instead of read it. And honestly, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately – so this was a welcome experience.

The overall dynamic between all of the characters from the get-go is incredible. The main character, Dancy, sits in her own headspace, relives her own wounded past, and throws threatening barbs at her villainous counterpart just as easily as she trades sarcastic remarks with a very cleverly crafted and simply loveable new animal friend/feathered annoyance. It’s a testament to the author’s ability to set such powerful scenes and have them also be so strongly driven by rich dialogue.

I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this tale could surely exist as either a graphic novel or a short story – Kiernan is truly able to transcend both of the mediums involved.

The art and colouring involved in Wolves are a thing of beauty, as well. Not only do they marry the skillfully crafted words to the scenes so well, but they also help create something of a relaxed feel to what should really be a more urgent story. It’s hard to think about a werewolf story being anything even remotely resembling “relaxed”, but that’s exactly how this one feels. From the introductory few pages, all the way to the climactic scenes of each issue, the pace is set wonderfully, and never urges the reader to hurry along in order to reach a “money-shot”, to use the term loosely.

Kiernan, Lieber and Rosenberg are masterful at allowing the reader to believe they’re in control, when in fact they’re being drawn from panel to panel hand-in-hand the whole way through a wonderland of terror, mystery, and modern, horror-centric fairytales.

Alabaster: Wolves is available at Dark Horse and on