Merry Axemas! Well, perhaps I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I’m definitely in the Christmas spirit. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, I think I like it even more than (gasp) Halloween. It’s not just the shiny objects, sparkles, lights, cute little animals in Santa hats, and all the sweets people bring to work that I love; it’s the chance to reconnect with friends and family I haven’t seen all year. Of course, along with all the warm hot chocolate (or more likely eggnog) and cookies comes stress. For those who will be traveling like me, you have the headache of navigating through potentially dangerous weather conditions. Then there is the most nerve-racking part of the whole damn holiday, shopping! What the hell do you get for the mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa that have everything? What about your football loving brother-in-law? Do you get him gear marked by the logo of his favorite team, again? Or some cologne since he kinda smells funny? Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that. What I can do is tip you off to some lil’ goodies you can treat yourself to that will help eliminate some of that shopping stress. Isn’t rewarding yourself for navigating through crowds of evil shoppers to make your family and friends happy part of the fun of Christmas shopping anyway?
I’m going to break this out into a few different categories. While a horror fan is a horror fan, we are complicated people so I tried to include something nice (and maybe even something naughty) for everyone. Enjoy!
For Lovers of the Bizarre, Insane, and Absurd
If you love bizzaro fiction, weirdo fiction, and over-the-top stories, do yourself a solid and pick up a couple titles from Eraserhead Press. You can’t go wrong with this publisher. They put out some of the strangest tales you’re gonna read, the titles are clever & sick, and the covers are a freak’s dream. In my opinion, the cover art is some of the best in horror, or in any genre. Not only that, but the titles are super affordable, so you can pick up a couple titles for only 20 bucks. Case in point is Cameron Pierce’s Die You Doughnut Bastards. The title is sickly whimsical, the cover equal parts cute and terrorizing, and boasts the comparison to “William S. Burroughs on crack!”
You can pick up this title and most other Eraserhead offerings here.
For Fans of Noir, Mystery & Suspense, and Crime
For an updated noir story that mixes action, suspense, mystery, and horror all in one, I couldn’t recommend Gregory Lamberson’s The Frenzy Cycle series or The Jake Helman Files enough. Both stories are quite different, but share the same influences. Also, Lamberson shows no signs of slowing down in either series so he’ll keep ya pretty busy. The fourth book in The Jake Helman Files series and second book in The Frenzy Cycle series were just released this year. You can get any or all of these books at the Medallion Press website and keep up with everything Lamberson here.
For Fans of Whimsical Fantasy
Hands down one of my favorite fantasy stories from one of my favorite writers is The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn by Lisa Mannetti. Released in July of 2011 by Shadowfall Publications, this clever twist on Mark Twain’s classic is a thoughtful homage lost on most reimagined classics (i.e. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, etc.) As I mentioned in my review of The New Adventures, most other classic reboots are simply novelty books, but Mannetti’s respect and love for Twain really shines through in this tale. The story finds Tom and Huck reincarnated as cat familiars to a witch. It is cute, comical, and at times quite dark. I couldn’t recommend this book enough. You can pick up your copy here and check in with Lisa Mannetti and all her happenings here.
For the Digital Reader
If you have a Kindle or other digital reading device there is no shortage of cheap reads of all types, but there are a crap load of extremely cheap or even free horror titles. One publisher that is offering tons of deals for horror fans is Samhain Publishing. Samhain has a book club now and fans that like the book club Facebook page can snag deeply discounted or even free books through the club. Pretty sweet deal from the premier horror publisher. Like the Facebook page here to load up your digital device for super cheap.
For Fans in the Christmas Spirit
John Everson is one of my favorite horror writers, but he doesn’t just do erotic horror, he also loves Christmas and shares that love with his readers in the short story collection Christmas Tales: Three Stories of the Season. It’s not straight horror, but has some magical elements that I think even hardcore horror fans will enjoy. It’s a steal at $0.99 for Kindle and you can buy that here, so enjoy a warmer side of Everson!
Now that I’ve found some cool gifts to give yourself this season, I’m sure you’re wondering what I want for Christmas. Well, I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, of course! And I want my Bengals to make it to the playoffs.
So here’s to you and yours this holiday season. Merry Axemas and WHO DEY!