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!

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Dreadfully Anticipated: Bag of Bones Miniseries

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Bag of Bones is one of the most personal books that Stephen King has ever written.  There are moments of quiet reflection that give us wonderful glimpses into the author’s mind as he mulls over his love for the written word.  There is no doubt that King outlines his passion for fiction as he name drops some literary heavy hitters like Mary Higgins, Ray Bradbury, Ed McBain, Herman Melville, Thomas Hardy and Daphne DuMaurier.  The writing reflects the dense style that made some of these authors and, almost as much as the namedropping, the style reflects more of Kings influences than anything else in the story.

This is what makes Bag of Bones such a fascinating read.  If one were to take the basis of Danse Macabre and try to create a work of fiction based on its themes, Bag of Bones would be that book.  The story drips with the atmosphere of the subtle ghost stories that King has praised through the years but there is also a very vicious backbone that is found in some of the author’s gore soaked tendencies.  It is a brilliant cohesion of influence and originality that only a writer of Kings talent would ever be to accomplish.

To further emphasize the point, King himself, took it upon himself record the audio version of the novel.  For those of you not in the know, it is extremely rare for Stephen King to record the audio for his novel adaptations and he pulls it off to perfection.  At first King’s voice is a bit jarring reading protagonist Mike Noonan’s innermost thoughts as he copes with the loss of his wife.  After the initial shock of hearing King read his own work, the listener is drawn into a haunted world of love and heartache and Kings voice strains with pain and fear- making for one of the most memorable listening experiences you’re likely to get from an audio book.

This story of haunting loss is the perfect backdrop for King to bring to life some of his most vivid characters.  There are classic incarnations of good and evil and sitting squarely in the middle is Mike Noonan.  Noonan is a writer who is experiencing a justified mid life crisis- having just lost his wife and suffering from the most intense cases of writer’s block.  In an attempt to rid himself of the ghosts of the pat, Mike Noonan takes off for his summer home.  Little does he know that the ghosts that had haunted him in the past are nothing compared to what is waiting at the sleepy summer escape.

Upon release the novel was praised by critics and fans- receiving a Stoker and British Fantasy Award for ‘Best Novel’.  The novel spent time atop the New York Times Best Seller list and is routinely cited as a fan favorite.  Simply put, people love this story.

Now, 13 years after the novels initial release, Bag of Bones will get the miniseries treatment from A&E. The four hour adaptation will be helmed by Mick Garris and boasts a budget in excess of $15,000,000.  Garris is primarily known for his adaptation of the King classic, The Stand, but he has quite a bit of experience with King ‘s other work, having brought The Shining, Desperation and Riding the Bullet to the small screen.  Many think of Garris as a poor man’s Frank Darabont since the Garris helmed films have been met with mixed reviews.  With that said, Bag of Bones seems like it is a story that Garris may do much better with.  The New England setting and strong mise-en-scene will play more to Garris’ directorial abilities than some of his previous efforts.

The Bag of Bones miniseries seems to be drawing quite a bit of interest from genre fans and fans of fiction alike.  There are pages upon pages devoted to the topic on various genre message boards while people try to get a grip on what this adaption has in store.  The success of the series may also impact the newly announced Dark Tower project to be aired on HBO.  Huge ratings for Bag of Bones could certainly help see that The Dark Tower gets fast tracked to production.  On the surface, this appears to be nothing more than an adaptation of a beloved modern King piece but this production may have a bit more at stake than just some ratings.

As previously mentioned, it would be absurd to think that the success of Bag of Bones will not directly impact The Dark Tower. This project has been on and off for about 10 years and seems to be gaining momentum as preliminary plans for a TV release were just recently announced.  Aside from TV projects, King’s reputation as a writer could sink or swim with this airing.  King has recently seen resurgence with the solid release of books like 11/22/63 and Bag of Bones, along with the novella collection Full Dark, No Stars.  This resurgence is well documented on genre websites as King reestablishes himself as an important name in modern horror. This resurgence has recently begun making its way into more mainstream circles and a few positive reviews of Bag of Bones would only help to foster that.  Now, conversely, if Garris and his team fail to deliver it could seriously hinder any headway that King has made over the last few years.

Whatever the end result is, fans should rejoice that a station like A&E is taking a gamble and bringing us one of King’s newer works in an uncut fashion.  Their efforts should be applauded and their ratings should reflect that. I know that I will be sitting in front of the TV with bated breath.

The first half of Bag of Bones will air on A&E on December 11th.  Check your local listings for full details.