Campus Tramp by Lawrence Block

While Colum and Jason were off gallivanting with hotties dressed like video game or manga characters at the Toronto ComiCON (I assume that’s what you do, but I don’t know because I’ve never been), I am stuck here in chilly Northwest Ohio watching my phone like a hawk waiting impatiently for a photo of Jason Eisner (director of Hobo With A Shotgun) to come through my text.

Luckily, I have a bit of sexy vintage sleaze I picked up from Creeping Hemlock Press to occupy my mind; Campus Tramp by Lawrence Block writing as Andrew Shaw.

Campus Tramp was originally published by Nightstand Books back in 1959, when Harlan Ellison was editor (yes, the Harlan Ellison) and Block was still at Antioch College. In fact, he had just been expelled, much to his own delight, just before the book was published. Block, and the other authors writing for publishers like Nightstand, was shirking the conventions that characterized the 1950s exposing a sexual revolution bubbling just beneath the clean cut all-American surface that would eventually define the 1960s.

Creeping Hemlock Press’ reprinting of this softcore pulp smut was timed just perfectly, whether intentional or not, because it seems as if some conservative figures want to take us back to an era of sexual repression. I whip this book out in public (hoping there are anti-women thugs nearby) to say “I enjoy sex. I enjoy reading about it. And there isn’t a goddamn thing you can do about it!” But we’re not here to talk about my politics; we’re here to talk about vintage trash, right? I use “trash” in the most complimentary way, of course, because I like trash!

Remember when you graduated high school and you couldn’t wait to get to college and lose your virginity? No? Already lost it in the back of a Buick 3 years earlier? Well, teenagers weren’t always total sluts like they are now. Back in the 50s, most women actually kept their hymen intact until they were in college and sometimes they even waited until they got married. Hard to imagine waiting that long, isn’t it? Hormones blazing like a California wildfire…

Campus Tramp opens with high school graduate Linda Shepard in transit to Clifton College in Ohio. Linda is a supple young virgin excited to get her cherry popped by “The next man whom she wanted.” The first man that strikes her romantic fancy is Don Gibbs, a bohemian free spirit and editor of the Clifton Record (just like Block was for the Antioch Record). The beautiful Linda has no trouble attracting Don’s interest and she is more than enthusiastic to finally shed her virginal status, but everyone knows how hard a woman can fall for her first and Linda smacks right into the concrete face first.

She becomes fixated on Don and her life starts to revolve around only him. The more she loses herself and her identity in the relationship, the more he tries to pull away eventually severing all ties completely. Linda feigns recovery from her heartache, boozing it up and engaging in meaningless trysts with other boys on campus, but she still can’t shake her love for Don. Linda has a ways to go before she finally hits rock bottom and when she gets there she faces a grim realization. She’s got nothing left but a bad reputation and boozed soaked memories.

As the blurb on the back cover of Campus Tramp suggests, this book can be “read as a time capsule from the eve of the sexual revolution traversing taboo topics like homosexuality and abortion, or just a retro sex romp.” For this reader, it was both. You experience firsthand—Linda our mind and body–the backseat romps, anxious and clumsy groping, and (my favorite) good ol’ nipple pinching. As you would expect, there are several passages to get the blood rushing to your groin, but there is a serious, dark side to Campus Tramp.

Campus Tramp isn’t just a series of steamy sexual escapades; Block also deals with the inevitable guilt and regret that can follow irrational, spontaneous decisions made by a girl on the cusp of womanhood. While it may be socially acceptable for her male counterparts to act promiscuously, Linda must learn that, as a woman, she bears greater responsibility. Block is accurate in his portrayal of the struggle young women face to balance a natural sexual desire with rational caution and I think there is a bit of Linda in every woman.

Block includes another controversial topic in Campus Tramp; homosexuality. The scene in which this revelation occurs is a good opportunity to include some sizzling girl on girl, but concludes as an important lesson in finding personal strength in the face of adversity and prejudice. You might read this scene one-handed, but it is also a nod for progress. Hell, Linda is practically saved by gay! I hope that doesn’t spoil anything. Surely you want to read the nipple-pinching, chest-heaving, knee-knocking sweaty goodness for yourselves, right?

Experience freshman year of college through the body of a hot and horny coed, read Campus Tramp. You can get your copy in paperback format, Kindle, or Nook.

Visit Lawrence Block’s website and connect with him on Facebook.

Since I burned through this in just a day, I’m back to watching my phone, anticipating a photo text of Jason Eisner… sigh.

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Feature: Interview with Creeping Hemlock Press’ Co-Founder & Co-Editor / Writer / Artist Julia Sevin

Photo by Donovan Fannon, http://www.donovanfannon.com

The restraining order hasn’t been lifted, but co-founder / co-editor of Creeping Hemlock Press and Print Is Dead Julia Sevin, felt safe enough to grant me a quick and dirty interview, with bodyguards in tow of course. If you don’t know about Creeping Hemlock Press or Julia Sevin, then my feelings are hurt because that means you didn’t read this. Luckily, I’m a forgiving woman.

Twenty-twelve is going to be huge for Creeping Hemlock Press and their zombie imprint Print Is Dead. You’ll see them everywhere, even haunting your dreams! With the release of the zombie road novella by genre favorite Greg Lamberson just around the corner (April 2012!), a collection of zombie tales from Joe McKinney called Dating in Dead World coming soon, and a hoard of other goodies clawing their way out of the graveyard, this’ll be a book apocalypse you can’t escape. And why would you want to?

So, then why all the fuss about Julia Sevin? Isn’t Creeping Hemlock Press / Print Is Dead a husband-wife venture? Well, yes it is. But Julia is the smarter, sexier half of this beast of a small press. She’s also got the most bitchin’ haircut in the entire horror lit community. There I go again, objectifying women by their hairstyles. But seriously, it’s killer.

Besides having the best hair in the biz, J-Sev (that’s what I call her now) is a writer, editor extraordinaire, and artist. In fact, she is responsible for the beautiful cover you’ll see further on down the page, the cover for the upcoming Print Is Dead book Dating in Dead World by Joe McKinney. It’ll make you wanna fall in love in a post-apocalypse world.

J-Sev is smart and wickedly funny (as you’ll find in our interview).

Find out more about the better half of the smallest small press beyond! If you think you can handle it…

 

DT: On the Creeping Hemlock Press website we read that you (and your husband RJ) “were frustrated with the scarcity of generous-paying, atmospheric and bizarre short story anthologies.” Was there something in particular that prompted this venture or was it a general distaste for the market as you mention on the site?

J. SEVIN: If there was “something in particular”, it was simply a financial windfall that came to us and we decided to do something exciting with it. Some folks have coke and Moet benders in Monaco; we have books. Arguably it was not the best choice we could have made but, god damn, we had fun, and we are awfully proud of the result.

We threw everything in to Corpse Blossoms: every dollar, every minute, every heartbeat, in order to make it the best book it could be. In a way, it saved us in return. Just as we were going into the final stage of production, Hurricane Katrina kicked our asses and the failure of the federal levees turned New Orleans into what felt like a wasteland of disregard and despair. Corpse Blossoms gave us something to focus on. We mailed the final galleys to the authors on the road, a week after evacuation, before the public was permitted back into the city, did our final typesetting and design in a 600 square foot apartment housing five people back in New Orleans, and received the entire run of 500 copies at our FEMA trailer. Without Corpse Blossoms, we might have gone around the bend, and who could blame us?

You can see why our love for that book is fathomless. We continue to be delighted that other people seem to find it just as exceptional as we do.

DT: Could you explain the origins of the name Creeping Hemlock Press? In brainstorming names, did this one pop up immediately or do you have any embarrassing names you can share that didn’t make the cut?

J. SEVIN: We were originally known as “Ghostly Haunting Spooks n’ Monsters Press” but then we found out it was already taken. So then we were going to be “Even Better Than Ghostly Haunting Spooks n’ Monsters Press” but we had trouble fitting in a logo on the spine so we cut it down.

DT: In Joseph Nassise’s introduction to Creeping Hemlock Press’ first release, the anthology “Corpse Blossoms,” he talks about how this book came to fruition and RJ’s initial attempt to solicit the Horror Writers Association via their message board. The first attempt was unsuccessful, but he gave it another shot, this time with you on board. How did he approach you about this project? Were you already collaborating on it together? How did the direction change once you got involved?

J. SEVIN: We were already collaborating on various marital projects, so it was kind of a gimme. I believe I was involved as soon as it became a Big-Ass Anthology instead of just a web-zine. A lot of editors complain about wading through slush but we loved it! Corpse Blossoms did not have a stated theme (other than the admittedly vague “quiet horror”), but a pattern that emerged as we made our selections – and which was not even apparent to us until after publication – was that in almost every case, the bugaboo (whatever that may be, the revenant or the walking fungus or the eerie phenomenon) is not nearly as dangerous or fascinatingly broken as the human characters. The evil we can and do effect upon one another, through action and omission, day in and day out, is much more real and much more horrifying than anything a ghost or a jellyfish-like thing in a shack can do.

DT: “Corpse Blossoms” is subtitled Volume 1. What is the plan for this anthology? An ongoing series, 2 volume set, trilogy? Any target date for when fans can expect to see the release of the next installment?

J. SEVIN: Haha! This is a Sword of Damacles Conan over our heads. Yes, we intended to serialize it, thus the name. The plan hasn’t changed, but the trouble with Corpse Blossoms is that doing it as properly as we want involves a lot of capital and putting everything else on hold, and right now we’ve got a fancy little maelstrom of activity happening. Everyone will know when we’re moving on Volume 2 because, as with Volume 1, we will be seeking to fill the slots with roughly half unknown or emerging writers, so you’ll see us all over the market listings during the open submissions period.

DT: The horror community seems to be split when it comes to zombie fiction these days; one group still has a great enthusiasm for the subgenre and the other gives a roll of the eyes and wave of the hand at the mere mention of zombies. Despite the wild popularity of the zombie subgenre, with The Walking Dead TV series, magnets, t-shirts, and endless rows of books, sometimes it seems like that latter group is the majority (although I am not one of them). So, what, in this environment, motivated you and RJ to launch the zombie fiction imprint Print Is Dead? Were you inspired by a particular story or writer?

J. SEVIN: We’ve had our hearts set on the undead for a long time. In fact, RJ and I first got to know each other at George A. Romero’s message board back in 2000/2001. Because our love for zombies brought us together, naturally, we kept up our interest in the stinkers, watched them go from a niche fixation to a mainstream fixture, and always hoped to find a way to do something with them.

It wasn’t until the 2008 Zombiefest Convention (now Horror Realm) at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, where Dawn of the Dead was shot, that we lived with zombies on the brain every waking moment, bringing our interest back into sharp relief, causing us to re-examine publishing zombie novels. Permuted Press had demonstrated that there was a considerable demand for zombie books. Around the same time, Ingram launched Lightningsource, which we use for printing all our trade paperbacks now, allowing us to put out way more titles than we could before. After wrestling with whether a series of fun, punchy, gory zombie books would be inappropriate for Creeping Hemlock, which we have thought of as pretty quiet and sophisticated. Once we decided to come up with the imprint — Print Is Dead — everything clicked into place!

DT: Since the start of Creeping Hemlock Press, is there a particular moment where you said to yourself “Ah, THIS is why we do what we do!”?

Photo by Donovan Fannon, http://www.donovanfannon.com

J. SEVIN: When we get money. No, for real, when people like what we do and tell us so, we know we’re on the right track. That’s all.

…and money.

DT: When / How did you first get into horror? Was there a particular book or author that started this obsession? How, if at all, has your taste in genre literature changed over the years?

J. SEVIN: I’ve been attracted to the redder side of life since before I can remember. In kindergarten, we once had an activity in which some sixth-graders came to visit us and wrote out a sentence on a two-foot wide scroll of paper describing what we see in our mind’s eye at that moment. The other girls came up with something about ballerinas or princesses. I came up with “I see a dead skeleton with green slime on it.” My mom couldn’t have been prouder; she kept that paper tacked above our kitchen window until it fell apart. She was a big horror reader, kept a whole room as a library stocked in part with Stephen King, Peter Straub, and other great authors and collections. My dad was the one who got me into horror movies. He showed me Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was about nine, and I must have responded warmly because he continued with a dozen other totally age-inappropriate horror flicks in the next couple of years. He got me hooked. Regarding taste changing, naturally — but only because I was only really exposed to classic, gothic, and mainstream popcorn horror for the longest time, and it’s only in the past few years that more experimental and genre-bending stuff has come onto my radar. I love not knowing where a book is going.

DT: You’re not only an editor and publisher, but a writer as well. You collaborated with your husband, RJ Sevin, and Bram Stoker Award-winning author Kim Paffenroth on the chapbook “Thin Them Out.” Can you tell us about your contribution to this chapbook?

J. SEVIN: Thin Them Out was the very definition of whirlwind. We decided a mere TWO WEEKS before Zombiefest that we wanted to have something special for that event, and we conceived this with Kim and tag-teamed the writing in about a week and had it printed the following week. The division of labor was kept pretty simple; it was round robin style, with Kim penning the first leg, and his bits all from the perspective of a single zombie who is starting to gain some degree of sentience. RJ’s bits are those centering around Wayne, and my bits are those featuring Sue, a fairly awful lady. I accessed some of my worst tendencies to write her. Sue is an anti-Mary Sue.

DT: In addition to “Thin Them Out,” we can find your work in Keith Gouveia’s “Bits of the Dead,” which is a flash fiction piece “The Shunned.” What else is on the horizon for writer-hat-wearing Julia? Where else can fans find your work?

J. SEVIN: I keep saying I’m going to throw a novel into the Print Is Dead hat but boy, writing is hard! I’m overworked as it is so I don’t have any plans for the IMMEDIATE future. I do have something tentative slated, a collaboration with a name you’ll recognize, but I hate to jinx it by saying too much before we actually get it off the ground. Keep your eyeballs peeled!

DT: Along with editing, publishing, and writing, you also designed the website. Oh, and I saw the flier you created for Slow Burn Burlesque. Is there anything you can’t do!? Can you juggle?

J. SEVIN: I don’t juggle. Not since… the accident. [she looks away, her eyes a churning darkness, betraying a tortured and complex soul who only sells the finest horror literature]

I can’t sing, I can’t sew, I can’t meet deadlines, I can’t lie, and my dancing looks like a marionette who might just be considering suicide. I can paint, I can drive, and I can cook like a motherfucker, though that doesn’t place on most curriculum vitae.

DT: Of all the hats you wear in your professional endeavors, is there one you favor more than the others?

Never before seen, super-duper exclusive peek of the Dating in Dead World cover!

J. SEVIN: Sombrero.

I enjoy doing original art for our book covers more than anything else. I did a piece for our upcoming Joe McKinney collection, Dating in Dead World, that’ll really grab ya. I did it while wearing my sombrero.

DT: You got your day job, Creeping Hemlock Press, Print Is Dead, and you’re a mommy! How do you introduce your son to horror, if at all? As a parent, what do you think is an appropriate age to break out the good stuff? And what, for you, is the good stuff?

J. SEVIN: This is a LONG-simmering debate between RJ and me. The kid has seen tons more already than I ever intended but because Mom and Dad work behind the scenes, he understands acting, understands special effects, and takes most of it in stride. Still — as my argument goes — just because he can handle it doesn’t mean we should fill his brain with it and nothing else. We’re directly or indirectly indoctrinating him with a love of zombies and whatnot, but we encourage him in the stuff he has glommed onto all on his own, most recently Real Steel. He adores that movie, watches it regularly, plays the video game, and has tons of toys. We hope that his own interests balance out the ones we force on him, and that he’s just well-rounded overall. He’s a super sweet, unusually smart, highly creative and somewhat absentminded regular seven-year-old. Who occasionally sculpts zombies. He’s perfect for us. Good job, God and/or genetic lottery!

DT: What’s next for Creeping Hemlock Press and Print Is Dead? What’s coming up that every genre fan should know about?

J. SEVIN: Aside from fiery apocalypse, 2012 will bring more zombie goodness from Print Is Dead: there’s The Crossing, a short novella by Joe McKinney currently available as an ebook, coming shortly to print; Slab City, another adrenaline rush from Nate Southard, author of Scavengers; Tom Piccirilli’s apocalyptic crime novel, Vespers, as well as Pale Preachers, a nasty little novella that sets the walking dead against a backdrop of moonshine and mountain magic; Eric Shapiro, author of It’s Only Temporary and The Devoted (read them both NOW!), is working on something dead sexy for us. We have not set dates for these titles, but April brings Carnage Road, from Gregory Lamberson. Not long thereafter, there’s Dating in Dead World, an epic collection of zombie tales by Joe McKinney. And loads more nudity, of course.

All this plus a few big surprises, and 2012 is going to be an awesome year for us.

If you’re not in love with Julia Sevin by now, you’re dead inside!

Keep up with everything Creeping Hemlock Press is doing on their website, follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook. Now you can stalk them like I do!

And don’t forget about the zombie imprint Print Is Dead because they’ll be releasing a hoard of flesh-hungry undead from the barn this year.

Feature: Creeping Hemlock Press’ Co-Founder & Co-Editor / Writer / Designer / Part-Time Nudist Julia Sevin

Today marks the second feature this week to which I owe credit to Greg Lamberson since he’s the one who introduced me to this seriously talented femme in horror! Julia Sevin, co-editor/co-founder and better half of the husband-wife brainchild Creeping Hemlock Press, is also a writer, graphic designer (some of my favorites being the Slow Burn Burlesque flyers), mommy and on and on.

First things first, I came across Creeping Hemlock Press, and eventually Julia Sevin, because I was hunting down deals for a special Black Friday edition of Bloody Bytes. I just started harassing all my favorite writers to ask, “Hey, got any cool deals for Black Friday?” No one really did, but Lamberson forwarded my query onto the Creeping Hemlock Press folks and a new obsession was born. Of course, Lamberson’s zombie road novella Carnage Road is coming out on Creeping Hemlock’s zombie imprint Print Is Dead in April 2012, so I probably would’ve made the connection eventually. Probably…

I got quite a lovely haul from the super-duper small press, picking up four titles. What initially drew me to them though was the reprint of Lawrence Block’s (writing as Andrew Shaw) 1959 “retro sex romp” Campus Tramp. One look at that badass throwback cover and it’s not hard to see why. Each chapter opens with a naughty little photo too.

I didn’t stop there. I also picked up their very first publication under the Creeping Hemlock brand, Corpse Blossoms. If you’re going to get anything from them, you must have the anthology that started it all. This collection includes stories from Tom Piccirilli, Brian Freeman, Scott Nicholson, Bentley Little, Ramsey Campbell, Steve Vernon, and over a dozen other talents, edited by R.J. and Julia Sevin. Corpse Blossoms has received some very high praise from genre lit greats like Jack Ketchum and Brian Keene, and was nominated for a Bram Stoker. Personally, I think being nominated for a Stoker is as much a badge of honor as the actual award. I know as a writer or publisher you want to win, but seriously, to be included among Bram Stoker-nominated talent is impressive.

This venture started simply enough for the Sevin duo:

As sometime writers, oftentime readers, they found themselves frustrated with the scarcity of generous-paying, atmospheric and bizarre short story anthologies.

As with most things, making this dream come true was anything but simple. I’m sure there were a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and paper cuts to make Corpse Blossoms happen. Based on Joseph Nassise’s introduction to the anthology, Julia Sevin was an integral part of that. R.J. had approached Horror Writers Association authors to solicit contributions to the collection. When the first attempt was unsuccessful, he went back to the drawing board, came up with a new game plan, this time with the help of Julia. The rest is history.

There are several titles out from Creeping Hemlock Press since the first publication of Corpse Blossoms in 2005. I picked up a couple them, Tom Piccirilli’s The Fever Kill (which has striking retro inspired cover) and Frayed, both of which Dreadful Tales will review… someday!

As I mentioned, Julia is also a writer. You can find her work in the chapbook Thin Them Out, a collaboration with her husband R.J. and Bram Stoker Award-winning author Kim Paffenroth. Unfortunately, I didn’t snag that title, but I will.

When Julia isn’t editing her fingers to the bone and posing nude for Playboy (or was that for the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society?), she’s designing sexy, titillating fliers for the Slow Burn Burlesque troupe.

I recently picked the dynamic young lady’s brain to get the deets on everything else she’s into, inspirations, inner working of the press, and being a Woman in Horror. You should see that soon, if I didn’t scare her off! Sorry, folks, but it’s possible I may have harassed her a bit too much. There were a string of socially awkward e-mails (all outgoing) that may have pushed Julia over the edge! Or she’s really busy. Like I said, she is into a bit of everything.

Either way, you have to check out the Creeping Hemlock Press website, buy some goodies, fall in love with solid genre fiction that will make your heart go pitter-patter like it was your first time all over again, and find out what all the cool kids are raving about!

Follow them on Twitter also, and stalk them on Facebook.

Oh, and don’t forget about the Print Is Dead Facebook page!

Dreadfully Anticipated 2012

Dear Dreadful readers, we have a great 2012 ahead of us because there a frightful number of horror titles clawing there way to your bookshelves and e-readers this year. While our film-obsessed horror brothers and sisters discuss the state of dismal box office turnout and the exhaustive onslaught of remakes, reimaginings, and reboots, we’ll be celebrating the hard work and dedicated efforts of some of the best in genre literature as well as meeting some fresh faces to the scene. Every year seems to get better as my to-read list climbs to new heights and the outlook for 2012 is no different. Here is a list of the releases we are dreadfully anticipating this year, in no particular order.

The unfolding of Monica S. Kuebler’s online YA vampire series Bleeder

We’ve mentioned Bleeder a few times now, but it is timely to give it another shout because Chapter 2 just went live yesterday! If you haven’t been reading along, go back and check out the first two chapters in the series and buckle in for the exciting saga of Mildred “Mills” Millhatten as her life is turned upside down by a long dormant family secret. Monica S. Kuebler calls Bleeder “pitch-black urban fantasy/horror crossbreed” for teens, but I can assure you this will be enjoyed by adult readers too. A new chapter will go live every Sunday, so mark your calendars! Visit the Bleeder website here.

Jeff Strand’s Faint Of Heart (February 2012)

Jeff Strand just made an announcement this past Thursday about his upcoming novel Faint Of Heart via his website, Gleefully Macabre, with a very simple but enticing teaser followed by a peek at the cover:

Some of you prefer my funny stuff.

Some of you prefer the more serious stuff.

For those of you in the latter category, on February 1st there’s…

We are huge Jeff Strand fans here at Dreadful Tales. Hell, I even got dressed up like the guy and went strutting around town because I admire him so much! I like the funny, I like the serious, I’m just happy when he’s releasing new work! Faint Of Heart is due out February 1st, so keep your eyes peeled on Strand’s Facebook page and website for the deets.

The Hunger Artist by Lisa Mannetti (TBD)

Lisa Mannetti just announced via Facebook a few hours ago, at the time of writing this, that she is starting her next novel, tentatively titled The Hunger Artist, so I can’t say for certain that is will be published in 2012. Regardless, I am as pleased as punch to hear there is a new book on the horizon from this Bram Stoker Award-winning talent. I have no synopsis to tease you with or cover art to entice your eyeballs, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted as information becomes available. In the meantime, you can stalk her Facebook page and visit her website to stay abreast (stop giggling, Colum!) of everything Mannetti.

Everything Greg Lamberson is releasing! (April 2012, June 2012, October 2012)

Greg Lamberson has at least three books coming out in 2012! Yes, you read that right, three! And he may even have some super top secret book that he’ll squeeze in before year end as well, but we’ll have to wait and see.

First up from Lamberson is his zombie road novella, Carnage Road, out from Creeping Hemlock Press’ zombie line, Print Is Dead, in April. I scanned the aged wall postings of my Facebook to find the original blurb Lamberson used to describe this novella, but without success. If memory serves me right, he said it’s “Dawn of the Dead meets Easy Rider.” If that doesn’t sell you, read Colum’s glowing review that just went live yesterday. Lamberson also put together a book trailer where he puts that filmmaking experience to good use! Carnage Road is due out April 3rd, 2012, which is also my birthday, so plug that one in your calendar! Creeping Hemlock Press has an obvious eye for talent and they’re quickly becoming my favorite indie press, so stop by their their website to see the other horror titles they offer.

Second on the agenda is the long-awaited follow-up to Lamberson’s werewolf novel The Frenzy Way, The Frenzy War. Already available for pre-order, The Frenzy War is due out in June 2012 from Medallion Press. It’s been almost two years since we left our hero, Detective Tony Mace, and I am anxious to catch back up with this hunka hunka burnin’ love fearless protector of humanity. Tony, if you’re reading this, call me!

And finally, the third book Lamberson will release this year is the fourth installment in the action / horror mashup, The Jake Helman Files series, Tortured Spirits, due out in October 2012 also from Medallion Press. This is a truly epic series with a badass paranormal detective, Jake Helman, and a whole host of monsters. If you haven’t had a chance to read these books yet, make it your top priority! Otherwise, Detective Helman might come kick you right in the groin! Find out more about the fourth book here.

House of Skin by Jonathan Janz (Summer 2012)

I just recently finished Jonathan Janz’ first title published by Samhain Publishing, The Sorrows, and it really blew me away. I will be posting a proper review soon, so I won’t elaborate too much here now, but I will say all you children of Laymon out there will be pleased. The Sorrows is a turbo-charged, erotic horror that has passages to make the roughest biker dude blush and maybe even warm his heart! Samhain will publish his sophomore effort, House of Skin, this summer and I can’t wait to see what other sick and twisted monsters Janz will unleash upon the reading community. Read more about House of Skin and browse around Janz’ site here.

Corrupts Absolutely? anthology edited by Lincoln Crisler (March 2012)

Corrupts Absolutely? asks its readers what would happen if people had superpowers. People including the mentally unstable, social outcasts, and the regretful and bitter. Featuring work by genre favorites like Jeff Strand, Joe McKinney, Weston Ochse, and a dozen more, this anthology will undoubtedly be on everyone’s wish list this year, if it isn’t already. Corrupts Absolutely? will be available from Damnation Books March 2012.

Zombies vs Robots: This Means War, edited by Jeff Conner (April 2012)

Here is another title being released on my birthday! I don’t know who sent the memo to the publishing world, but THANK YOU! Zombies vs Robots: This Means War takes IDW’s comic book series, created by writer Chris Ryall and artist Ashley Wood, and promises it “expands it in ways that will redefine both zombie and robot fiction.” While I’m not familiar with the original series, I like a good comic and the lineup for this collection is promising which makes it worthy of an instant self-gift for my day of birth! Great concept, talented contributors, and a pretty badass cover too. You can preorder ZVR: This Means War, due out April 3rd, 2012, now at Amazon for a slight discount.

Wild 2 by Lincoln Crisler (September 2012)

Lincoln Crisler is gonna be a busy bee this year, buzzin’ all over the genre scene. Not only is he involved in the two projects mentioned above, but he’ll also be releasing the sequel to his weird western zombie novella Wild with Wild 2. There’s no cover art available to tease you with just yet because the book won’t be out until September 2012 (apparently he didn’t get the memo that all releases are due on my birthday!), but here is a peek at what to expect from the second entry.

While escorting Henry Waters to his new beginning at a Massachusetts prep school, Matthias and Juan uncover the reason for the school’s headmaster’s mysterious disappearance. Less cowboy. More questions.

Release of the film adaptation of Elizabeth Massie’s short story Abed (Spring 2012)

Abed, short story by two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Elizabeth Massie, has been called one of the most disturbing horror stories ever written. Now, the director adapting the short story for film, award-winning writer/director Ryan Lieske, has his sights set on making it the most disturbing zombie film of 2012. Until just last night, literally right before I went to bed, I hadn’t read Abed, but being a Massie fan I was still excited to learn that one of her stories would be adapted for film. Now that I have finished Abed, I can say undoubtedly that the short is one of the most disturbing stories I have ever read and I am very curious to see how this evolves from the page to celluloid. You can pick up a digital copy for just $0.99, so you should do that right now! And just wait until you find out what “abed” means. Production for this project is in full swing and due out in my most anticipated season of the year, spring 2012! Like Abed on Facebook and keep up with one of the hardest working writers in this gory game on Massie’s website. Below is a synopsis to get your blood pumpin’.

The dead have risen … and in one small, Midwestern town, the residents have learned to cope as best they can.

Meggie lost her husband, Quint, during the early days of the undead uprising. She now lives a life of quiet horror and desperation, for her mother-in-law will do anything to help the family adjust to this new world. Even the unspeakable …

NightWhere by John Everson (June 2012)

Ever since Colum gave me a copy of John Everson’s The 13th a few years back, I haven’t missed anything by this author. His blend of erotica and horror has been perfected into an intoxicating signature style that hits all the right notes. Everson revealed some details about this project in his interview with Dreadful Tales here where he assures his sixth novel, NightWhere, is a return to form. More blood, more sex, more mayhem! NightWhere centers on a swinging husband and wife who are invited to a floating sex club, the titular NightWhere, where anything goes. There is no cover art available yet, but we’ll keep you posted. NightWhere will be available from Samhain Publishing June 2012. Prepare yourself! Until then, visit Everson’s website and sign-up for his newsletter to stay in the loop on everything the master of sexy is up to.

So, those are the titles we are most anxious for this year. Tell us about your most dreadfully anticipated titles in the comments section below!