I’ve stated on this site previously that Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door is what turned me on to this crazy genre and forever changed my life. As much as I owe to Mr. Ketchum and his brutal masterpiece, I owe that much more to Don D’Auria. Don is the man who brought extreme horror to the literary masses and shaped the minds of a generation of gorehounds.
Don D’Auria has worked in publishing for twenty-five years but most readers know him from his fifteen years spent as executive editor at Leisure Books. During this time, Don brought the talent of young writers such as Brian Keene and Bryan Smith to the forefront while giving genre masters like Richard Laymon wider exposure. Readers began picking up Leisure titles because the publisher was synonymous with blood, guts and of course, superb storytelling. Don had an eye for horror because Don was a fan of horror. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off of Leisure and Don was nowhere to be found. Genre fans were all wondering about the future of this great fixture in our community. There were rumblings here and there but nothing substantial. Fans began to wonder if they had seen the last of the great don D’Auria.
Then in January of 2011 it was announced that Don would join Samhain Publishing and head up their new horror line. When the announcement was initially made many genre fans were left scratching their heads. Who was this Samhain Publishing? Samhain was a company that was known for their romance novels but, under Don’s control, they quickly became one of the biggest players in the scene. The initial launch took the genre by storm as they unleashed powerful stories from W.D. Gagliani, Hunter Shea, Frazer Lee, Jonathan Janz and Ronald Malfi. Samhain immediately created a buzz here at the Dreadful Tales office and the staff would sing their praise to anyone who would listen.
Samhain rode that initial momentum and is currently doing a fantastic job of mixing genre heavyweights, such as Ramsey Campbell and Ronald Malfi, with up-and-coming talents. It is a brilliant business model and the perfect gateway for fans looking for fresh blood in the genre. Over the next week and a half Dreadful Tales will devote itself to the brilliance that is Samhain Publishing. Expect to see some interviews and reviews from some authors that you already know and love and a few that you will surely love in the future.
Prepare to get rocked!
What a fantastic article, Pat. I know I’m biased, but I happen to agree with you that Samhain is something special (and will continue to be something special for a long time to come). And thanks for mentioning Don so prominently. I owe a debt to him, too. Sure, he’s publishing my work, but I wouldn’t even be a writer (at least, not the writer I am now) if he hadn’t published guys like Ketchum, Laymon, and others.
I’m convinced that Don D’Auria is a genious. I’ve heard many folks accuse either him or Leisure of being too proscriptive of what certain people right, but I think you nailed it correctly: Don is a horror fan. He knows what horror fans expect, but not only that: he knows that horror is a wife and varried genre that appeals to diverse tastes, and he assembles his line-up accordingly. Very interested in Samhain’s future.
is a WIDE and varried genre…
I’m incredibly biased, but Samhain Horror truly rocks. Don is awesome and a wonderful guy to work with. And a great article too, by the way.