About typical lydia

I am a regular girl that likes gardening, death, horror and loud noises. Read my novel, Nightface, or short collections Pray Lied Eve on Amazon. check http://nightface.ca for more

All Hallow’s Read (Day 7) – Joyland

Have you read Stephen King before? I am amazed every time the answer is ‘no’. On the other hand, shouldn’t I be amazed every time someone who used to read every book he had has given up? I’m not. To each his or her own. There is always a watershed book that had a King fan fall off. I took a break after Wizard and Glass. Some people have not read a thing since It. I’m not sure why readers would draw a hard line against an author with so much to offer. Romance, crime, mystery, science fiction, coming of age, and horror can be found across his entire body of work. There really is a Stephen King book for everyone.

One of his latest books, Joyland, is an All Hallows Read for those who had given up on their favorite author. It is also for those who have never picked up a Stephen King book before. Now, I could recommend old standbys like Pet Semetery. I could go balls out and say read The Shining, but no. You had, what, an entire lifetime to read those? Let’s go with something new It’s short. As in, not 1000 pages. It’s catchy like a really good pop tune. Carnivals and ghosts… you can’t go wrong with that combination in Kingland! 

I’d buy this book for anyone who has not read Stephen King before. I would counter any former-fan argument with this book too. Not into his writing on women’s issues? This one is nice and balanced. Not into his brand of horror? Joyland is a spook story, a mystery. Not into romance? Well, this guy listens to a hell of a lot of breakup music. Not into aliens? No surprise greys here, folks. Not into the Dark Tower? Okay, I’d love to see where this one crosses over. Not into long fiction? Bam! Joyland.

Those who are not horror fans need not be alarmed. It’s not gory or something that will keep you up at night. His talent for getting under your skin is kicked down a notch. This is fun King. This is King chilling out on a long weekend. This is King Light.

For those who enjoyed creepy carnival horror like Laymon’s Funland, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury or It, this is for you. Jam packed with old and new carnival references, it’s as fun to read as it is to recall your first candy-floss enhanced trip through the spook show . 

One of us will be reviewing Joyland on Dreadful Tales eventually as two of us have read it. With all the Doctor Sleep buzz and books coming out for Halloween I wanted to talk about this one today so it doesn’t go in one door of this haunted house and never get out.


All Hallow’s Read (Day 6) – Goth: A Novel of Horror

Goth: A Novel of Horror, by Otsuichi (Hirotaka Adachi) is an All Hallows Read for goths. Or not. You see, it talks about death, murder, decay and longing… from the perspective of two teens with very dark hearts, but it’s not really about the subculture at all. A good thing too, since according to the Encyclopedia Gothica, a sure sign of being goth is that you claim to be not goth at all. Ergo; Goth is so totally not goth.

I’d buy this book for any of my horror loving friends who also love rainy overcast days and deserted cafes. Have you ever followed the news of a serial murder in the paper? Perhaps in high school you spent more time studying Jack the Ripper and Zodiac than you did, say, Harper Lee. If so, this one is for you.

Those who are not horror fans but enjoy literary slice-of-life works that delve into the psychology of awkward or dysfunctional relationships will enjoy Goth as well. It is about a serial murderer, after all.

Well, it is really more about the two high school students following the murders. One fits the modus operandi far too well, as a girl. Fits like a future victim. The other fits all too well into the lives of each – the girl and the murderer – due to his narrative.

For those who enjoy quiet horror told from a very calm and realistic point of view, any Otsuichi would fit, but Goth was my gateway drug. Told as a kind of serial anthology, each chapter is a story in and of itself. A novel digestible as brown leaves to a worm, you may find it sticking with you after. I did. And that, to me, is what good horror is all about. It crawls under your skin and whispers to you for days or weeks after. Not that it makes the shadows any darker, but this book sheds pale moonlight. Recall that scene in Fight Club where Tyler takes the ID of a young man and threatens his life, then has him run away? “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted”? Well, that is how you will feel after reading Goth. You step into the shoes of Raymond K. Hessel without even knowing it. That is something few horror novels can make you feel – to feel like you survived, like you made it out alive. If it takes a lot to scare you, if the hatchet barely makes a dent and no amount of blood could drown you, try this one for Halloween.

I fangirl hard for this book, as seen on youtube. Find more on this book at Goodreads.

Wake the Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales, by Christian Baloga

448836415_640Christian Baloga is an artist, and able to take the reins in nearly all aspects of production unlike many horror authors today. I was impressed by his body of work and multi-faceted nature. As such, Wake The Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales leads us beyond a plain spooky read. On realizing the labour in writing, packaging, and creating the visuals and teasers that surround the launch of this horror fiction gem, Baloga is able to do it all with frightening finesse. The book trailer intrigued me, and I had the suspicion the author was behind the creative drive for it as well. Soon enough, I confirmed my suspicions, interviewed Baloga, and reviewed the trailer on dreadfultales.com. Then, it was to wait anxiously for the book release.

Included in the paperback only, there are additional illustrations which I was lucky enough to see beforehand. Yet another skill this artist holds; bringing print stories to life in more ways than one.

Stand out favorites of mine include; Flesh Boots (I have an affinity for the German, dogs, and cleaning), Psycho Pharm (so terribly distressing and beautifully written in the tradition of Plague Dogs), Tremble For Me (which struck me as the most violent while being a commentary on popularity in the digital age), Savage Games (if anything, as a child, I avoided being monstrous and this lesson reminds me why), Dusk to Dust (fascinating visuals of powerful and wonderful women that remind me of the Soskas, Canada’s Twisted Twins), and Ripped to Ribbons, where curiosity caught the cat, but you will have to read on to see what dies.

Without going overboard too often into visceral or grotesque horror, Wake the Wicked dips in and out of terror, letting us peek around shadowy corners into nightmarish landscapes. In delightful dark moments the reader is plunged headfirst into brilliant gore and at times relentless brutality. All the while, an air of tenderness whispers through the prose making every moment personal and vividly imagined. Intensely descriptive, it’s easy to take walk in his characters shoes, though the faint of heart may try to stop or run away from what they face.

Wake the Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales will be available in paperback soon. Get the ebook or check cbaloga.com for updates.

Trailer Review – Wake The Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales by Christian Baloga

“On December 21, 2012, Baloga fulfilled his lifelong dream of writing, designing, and publishing his first book, “Wake the Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales,” edited by Michael Garrett, editor for the most successful writers of our time: Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Matheson…” from http://www.cbaloga.com/

While hunting for great book trailers, this one really caught my eye. The title alone sparked instant adoration. Thirteen is my favorite number. I love twisted things, and tales even more so. Perhaps it is a no-brainier title for a single author collection, but the hammer ‘Wake the Wicked’ I liked even more. So, of course I checked out the trailer and was impressed.

I made it through of course, then watched it again. That is a litmus test to me right there. Too many trailers I turn off at fifteen seconds. If I liked the title I might scan through a terrible trailer to the last frames for the newsy information.

Wanting to share a bit of the process with horror fans, I contacted author Christian Baloga who was happy to discuss why he made it, and how it came about. Shot by Baloga himself at nearby locations, the trailer speaks to his passions and diverse résumé .

“I filmed, edited the video, did the special effects makeup, and wrote the script/storyboard,” he said when asked about the nuts and bolts of the project.

A man walks alone in the forest, and encounters a strange looking vagrant. Confusion ensues: is he being threatened? Is this imagination? Are they one in the same? The music swells with a swirling cut to a darkened room where the vagrant now leers toward the camera. Filthy, menacing… yet curiously familiar. See why I like it? Simple. Odd. Lovely.

“From concept to publication it took about two months to complete… I began writing a script for the trailer while my editor corrected my manuscript. Wake the Wicked includes thirteen stories, but I decided against trying to capture each of them. Instead, I took one of my favorite characters from one story and went crazy with ideas.”

Filming took place in rural Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania—in the backyard of the house he grew up in—and on-set in an ordinary bedroom.”

He used tools available to many, filming on a Nikon D3100 and edited using Adobe products. It seems this is a popular combination for feature filmmakers and bloggers alike.

Talent and skill are needed but then there is talent… “There was one actor, Harley Kupstas, who played both roles in the film: the creepy bald guy we call the vagrant, and the running man,” he said, though I had no clue the actors were one in the same.

Why a trailer? He wanted to reach a broader audience. “I think most people who are interested in books are also interested in film and music, and Wake the Wicked was influenced by a compilation of these very things. It was also the perfect opportunity to give the viewer a taste of the freakish nature portrayed within the thirteen stories without use of the written word, which, in this case, would only rob the intended mood—not enhance it.”

Though, like many horror readers and writers, he has watched many book trailers he was mainly influenced “by the dark and decadent imagery of Marilyn Manson’s music videos.”

“As for the current state of fiction trailers,” Baloga said, “if the trailer is true to the book, it’s golden! Just like not every book is for every reader, neither is every book trailer. Stay true to your book. Gut it, play around with its insides, and create something that speaks to your intended audience.”

One bit of advice he imparts to others planning to make a trailer of their own (or for someone else) may be that he, “experimented with various concepts and shot much more than I needed to, on purpose. It gave me a lot to work with and during the editing phase things fell into place much better than I’d expected.”

I asked if the trailer was available anywhere else, and at this time it remains exclusive to YouTube. Authors, filmmakers and publishers note that well done book trailers are spreading and popping up as horror trailers and at film festivals.

Will I buy the book? Yes. I had not heard of this title before viewing the trailer and it piqued my interest enough to research the author. Wake the Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales is available on Kindle. Baloga said we can expect a paperback of Wake the Wicked: Thirteen Twisted Tales sometime near Halloween 2013.

This trailer works for me because it is short, has fine sound quality and production. It gives nothing away yet is eye catching without being absurdly abstract. While not scary, it has unsettling moments so I look forward to being unsettled when I read the book ~

The Fallen Boys by Aaron Dries

Like most new authors, Aaron Dries has held many jobs. My own list is almost as interesting as his; pizza boy, retail clerk, kitchen hand, aged care worker… stuff like that. He is also a video director and illustrator which sold me on his talents before, during, and after reading his second novel, The Fallen Boys.

Unlike most new authors, he was picked up by genre-fan-favorite Samhain Horror with no more than one published short story under his belt. After entering what would become his first novel in the Leisure Books / Rue Morgue/ Chizine Publications “Fresh Blood” contest, and winning the competition, House of Sighs was released by Samhain Horror in 2011.

Those in the know, know why the swap from Leisure to Samhain went down, so we don’t need to have a recent-history lesson here. Suffice it to say, this new Australian author was basically shot out of a cannon and survived to write another book. Continue reading