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.

All Hallow’s Read (Day 24) A scary book for…

…art lovers

We’ve got a couple of books here that you should check out, and two artists you really need to acquaint yourself with right now. And a contest to win some custom art. Keep reading. You won’t regret it.

Gothic Art Now, by Jasmine Becket-Griffith, features some of the most stunning art we’ve come across in this genre. From Kyri KoniotisSacrifice, a digital painting that will blow you away, to Erlend Mark‘s photo and digital manipulation piece, Narrentraum, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything to complain about here. The images range from beautiful to barbaric, and the overall sense is deliciously dark.

Hell Bound: New Gothic Art, by Francesca Gavin, is jam packed with amazing photography, digital images, classical art, and a slew of mixed media that will send shivers up your spine, and really define the marriage of beauty and brutality found within this genre. Hell Bound is a masterpiece that focuses not only on the imagery, but also on the background of the artists as well. It’s very well put together, and displays everything we love about the genre.

Russell Dickerson is a powerhouse of an artist with a heaping ton of credits to his name.. He’s worked a great deal with Cemetery Dance, the Maelstrom imprint of Thunderstorm books, and various other outlets. The above image, The Lost Nightmare (mixed media – scratchboard, ink, acrylic)¬†encapsulates exactly what horror art is, for Colum, and redefines the very vision of nightmares. More of Dickerson’s art can be found at rhdickerson.com and www.darkstormcreative.com¬†(the above image is property of Russell Dickerson)

Colum and family were there when Chris Zenga knocked this piece out. The idea that anyone would zombify Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters is a hilarious, phenomenal, and ambitious venture – to say the least. In fact, his whole operation is grand. For an indie artist in the horror community, Zenga is taking a ton of risks that push his creativity skyward. In fact, Zenga has agree to run a little contest with us here at Dreadful Tales.

For the remainder of October (the next 7 days), any new followers that @DreadfulTales receives on Twitter will be eligible to win one of his custom zombie portraits. That’s right, folks! Follow Dreadful Tales, and Chris Zenga will draw a custom picture of your undead self! You can take a look at Zenga’s custom work at his website:¬†The Day After – Art For Those Left At The End.

All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!